The people, who took the time to hammer out a Peace Plan, were wasting their time.
It is obvious that the Ukraine Government, cannot be trusted.
No sooner are the Peace talks over, then they say, they want more war.
This is absolute criminal, insanity.
Vadym Prystaiko Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister and the former ambassador to Canada, says Russian President Vladimir Putin must be stopped, for the sake not just of Ukraine but also Europe and Russia as well. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)
Ukraine preparing for ‘full-scale war,’ says former envoy to Canada
Vadym Prystaiko, now deputy foreign minister, calls on the West to ‘stiffen up in the spine’
Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister says he is preparing for “full-scale war” against Russia and wants Canada to help by supplying lethal weapons and the training to use them.
Vadym Prystaiko, who until last fall was Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, says the world must not be afraid of joining Ukraine in the fight against a nuclear power.
In an interview with CBC Radio’s The House airing Saturday, Prystaiko says the ceasefire brokered by Germany and France was not holding.
“The biggest hub we ever had in the railroad is completely destroyed and devastated,” he told host Evan Solomon about Debaltseve, captured by Russian-backed rebels after the terms were to have taken effect earlier this week.
‘What we expect from the world is that the world will stiffen up in the spine a little’— Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister
“We see that they are not stopping,” he says, suggesting the fight was now heading south to the port of Mariupol.
“It doesn’t take a genius to see what they are trying to do.… They are taking more and more strategic points.”
The former ambassador was in the room during the attempts to broker a political solution with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk.
“Personally I don’t trust him,” he says. “You look at him and you think, ‘Are you serious?'”
“Nobody knows what is going on in his head. I believe he is becoming very emotional [over the two countries’ historic ties],” he suggests, calling Putin’s intentions “difficult to predict.”
Prystaiko echoes the view German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to have expressed to U.S. President Barack Obama privately a year ago: “He is rational in his own way. He is in some parallel universe … and he sees differently than everyone else.”
‘We have to do something’
“The stakes are really high,” Prystaiko says, pointing out that Ukraine has now closed its border crossing with Russia. “We don’t want to scare everybody, but we are preparing for full-scale war.”
What to do in the face of such a threat? For starters, get over your fears, he says.
“What we expect from the world is that the world will stiffen up in the spine a little,” he says. “Everybody is afraid of fighting with a nuclear state. We are not anymore, in Ukraine — we’ve lost so many people of ours, we’ve lost so much of our territory.
“However dangerous it sounds, we have to stop [Putin] somehow. For the sake of the Russian nation as well, not just for the Ukrainians and Europe.”
Prystaiko says Ukrainians are blunt when it comes to what they need.
“We would like Canada to send lethal weapons to Ukraine,” he said. “Weapons to allow us to defend ourselves.”
Canada has been helping to train Ukrainian soldiers for the last decade, but it isn’t enough, he says.
“It wasn’t on the level that would help our army [against an] invasion.”
Ukraine wants weapons, and training to use them, he said.
Beyond weapons, Prystaiko emphasized the importance of financial assistance, including a package on its way from Canada and Japan.
“Don’t forget that the infrastructure in Donetsk is already devastated. We’ve lost at least 20 per cent of the industrial [output] of Ukraine. We’ve had to close the market with Russia, which is a third of our exports and imports.
He says Canada has been helpful by taking “probably the most staunch position” and talking to its allies.
“It’s a big change for Europe,” he says, where neighbouring countries feel scared.
But he doesn’t hold back from calling on Ukraine’s Western allies to step up, echoing the frustration he expressed last November over Canada’s willingness to intervene in Iraq but not send troops to help Ukraine.
“I was quite blunt … and probably it was premature at that point but now I have to ask again: If we see the same sort of rebels coming towards central Ukraine, towards other cities, how much is different from what we see in Iraq and the international help which was coming?”
“Unfortunately, we will probably pose a very serious question for the rest of the world: How can we react to this new challenge? We haven’t had it for 50 years in Europe. Now it’s back again.” Source
Canadians are not very impressed by this. Go to the Source and check out some of the comments.
Minsk Agreement On Ukraine Crisis: Text In Full
February 12, 2015 “ICH” – Translation of the full text agreed upon by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, and signed by pro-Russian separatists, on Thursday
Immediate and full ceasefire in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts of Ukraine and its strict fulfilment as of 00.00 midnight (Kiev time) on Feb. 15, 2015.
Pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creation of a security zone on minimum 50 kilometres apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70km for MLRS and 140 kilometres for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch and tactical missile systems Tochka U.
– for Ukrainian troops, from actual line of contact;
– for armed formations of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts of Ukraine, from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk memorandum as of Sept. 19, 2014
The pullout of the above mentioned heavy weapons has to start no later than the second day after the ceasefire and finish within 14 days.
This process will be assisted by OSCE with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.
Effective monitoring and verification of ceasefire regime and pullout of heavy weapons by OSCE will be provided from the first day of pullout, using all necessary technical means such as satellites, drones, radio-location systems etc.
On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,” and also about the future of these districts based on the above mentioned law.
Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,” based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of Sept. 19, 2014.
Provide pardon and amnesty by way of enacting a law that forbids persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in particular departments of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts of Ukraine.
Provide release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons, based on the principle of “all for all”. This process has to end – at the latest – on the fifth day after the pullout (of weapons).
Provide safe access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian aid to the needy, based on an international mechanism.
Define the modalities of a full restoration of social and economic connections, including social transfers, such as payments of pensions and other payments (income and revenue, timely payment of communal bills, restoration of tax payments within the framework of Ukrainian legal field)
With this aim, Ukraine will restore management over the segment of its banking system in the districts affected by the conflict, and possibly, an international mechanism will be established to ease such transactions.
Restore full control over the state border by Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone, which has to start on the first day after the local election and end after the full political regulation (local elections in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts based on the law of Ukraine and Constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, on the condition of fulfilment of Point 11 – in consultations and in agreement with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.
Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.
Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with the new Constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the footnotes, by the end of 2015. Source
State Dept spokesperson grilled over “F**k the EU tape”
Dr. Michael Roesch MSF Surgeon “I’m a surgeon, but I have never in my life seen so many amputated people—people go shopping and one hour later they are without their legs. The surgeons here—who have never had to deal with war-wounded before—are having to carry out at least one or two amputations every day.”
February 13, 2015
The industrial city of Gorlovka in eastern Ukraine is under constant shelling, its hospitals are overwhelmed with wounded, and medical supplies have run out, leaving many doctors no choice but to stitch up patients with fishing line. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) surgeon Dr. Michael Roesch is supporting the Ukrainian surgical team in Hospital #2. Here, he describes his experience:
I arrived in Gorlovka six days ago and went straight to the hospital. The main operating theaters up on the sixth floor are no longer functioning because they’re just too dangerous with all the shelling. There’s one working operating theater on the ground floor. Every day they receive between five and twenty victims of shelling.
Last week, 60 injured people were brought in on one day. But for three days there was no running water in the hospital, and so they had to cancel all but the most urgent operations. Without water, you can’t sterilize anything.
The city isn’t in ruins, as the shells and rockets don’t destroy buildings completely, though smaller houses in the suburbs can collapse. But all the buildings have shattered windows—an issue when the temperature goes down to 10 below zero at night. Yesterday we passed a children’s playground with scorch marks on the ground from where a shell had exploded. And there are bomb craters everywhere, including one right in front of the children’s hospital.
But you hardly see any children. Most of the families with small children have left. It feels like a ghost town. Most of the shops are closed, there are no cafes or restaurants. If people have to go out, they walk very swiftly. No one stands around unless they’re waiting for a bus.
MSF first came to Gorlovka in September  and since then, my colleagues have been regularly providing this hospital with much needed medical supplies and drugs. When the conflict escalated in January, we decided to have a team based here so we could directly support the local doctors to provide emergency surgical care to influxes of wounded.
Every hour or two, a shell or rocket hits somewhere in the city, completely randomly. Most victims are hit in the open air, when they’re walking down the street or waiting for the bus. Inside houses, you’re mostly safe as long as you stay away from the windows.
Two days ago, a house 200 meters from where we are living was hit. We were woken at 5 a.m. by a sudden blast. The windows were shaking, and we knew it had to be a bomb. I jumped up, gathered some essentials together—my computer, reading glasses, penknife, and warm clothes—and ran down to the basement for shelter. I’d already stashed an emergency medical kit downstairs. At times like that you’re just waiting for the next blast to happen.
“At Times You’re Just Waiting for the Next Blast to Happen”
The hospitals are running out of basic medical supplies. Doctors in other hospitals have told us they have no surgical sutures left, so the surgeons are stitching people up with fishing line.
As the water supply worsens due to the shelling, diarrhea amongst infants is increasing, but the children’s hospital has run out of the infusions they need to prevent dehydration. Supplies of all sorts of drugs have run out—we’ve been asked for insulin, antibiotics, disinfectants for wounds—we’ve already received a huge list of things they urgently need beyond what we’ve already brought in.
But getting supplies into the city is not easy. Gorlovka is basically surrounded by the frontline, and can only be reached on one narrow entry road. The area gets shelled often, so it’s dangerous to pass through it, and frequently it is closed.
I’ve visited three hospitals in the city [that] are still functioning, but many health centers and clinics are closed, partly due to the shelling, but also because around half of the medical staff have left the city. Those who remain haven’t been paid for seven months.
Abandoned by the Outside World
The past six days have been really overwhelming for me. I’m a surgeon, but I have never in my life seen so many amputated people—people go shopping and one hour later they are without their legs. The surgeons here—who have never had to deal with war-wounded before—are having to carry out at least one or two amputations every day.
It’s difficult for the hospital staff, but they are coping remarkably well. Like the rest of the people here, they have a very stoic attitude. They are very brave, very calm and contained; they are doing their best to cope.
But you can sense that underneath they are very close to desperation. They feel abandoned by the outside world. Apart from MSF, there are no other international organizations here. People are desperately waiting for a sign from the rest of the world that they haven’t been forgotten. Source
Washington Was Behind Ukraine Coup: Obama admits that US “Brokered a Deal” in Support of “Regime Change”.
Washington Was Behind Ukraine Coup: Obama admits that US “Brokered a Deal” in Support of “Regime Change”
US Sticks to Tried and True Policy of Supporting Coups
Global Research, February 03, 2015
US President Barack Obama’s recent interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakiria reveals the United States’ involvement in the Ukrainian crisis from its outset and that the country worked directly with Ukrainian right-wing fascist groups, experts told Sputnik.
On Sunday, in his interview with CNN, Obama admitted that the United States “had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine.”
“Obama’s statement is reiterating something that the world public opinion already knew — the US was involved in the coup of [ex-Ukrainian President] Viktor Yanukovych from the start. History shows us that the US has overthrown numerous governments in Latin America, Asia and Africa and replaced them with leaders that ruled with a fascist ideology that proved useful for Washington’s geopolitical interests,” independent researcher and writer Timothy Alexander Guzman told Sputnik.
Yanukovych’s decision to not sign an association agreement with the European Union in late 2013 triggered a mass wave of protests across Ukraine, culminating in the February 2014 coup. Following the transition of power, Kiev forces launched military operation against those who refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government.
Guzman claimed that during the Ukrainian conflict, Washington and its NATO allies worked directly with right-wing Ukrainian Fascist groups, including the neo-Nazi inspired Right Sector militia.International law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law Francis Boyle shares a similar opinion, also arguing also that Obama’s approach to Ukraine is no different to the neoconservative approach of former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, or political scientist Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” philosophy.
“I think he [Obama] has made it very clear that he is going to continue to take a Brzezinski hard-lined approach toward Ukraine and Russia and that there are not going to be any compromises at all, and effectively he expects President Putin to throw in a towel, capitulate, whatever, it does not appear to me there is any ground for negotiations in light of what President Obama at least said publicly,” he said in an email to Sputnik.
Boyle also stated that the United States may already be sending covert offensive military equipment to Ukraine, despite Washington’s claims that it provides Kiev only with non-lethal aid.The expert also claimed that Obama’s ignorance of the Minsk agreements and of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposals to negotiate the conflict peacefully, indicates that Washington is going to continue with its aggressive policy in Ukraine.
“How can Russia tolerate this gang of Nazis in Kyiv [Kiev] setting up shop right there on the borders of Russia, and being armed, equipped and supplied by NATO? Of course, Russia cannot tolerate that,” Boyle concluded, adding that the Unites States itself would not tolerate such threats close to its borders.
Obama & Merkel to Discuss Arming Ukraine in Washington Next Week
“The very fact that Obama feels he needs to comment on [the] US direct role in the regime change [in Ukraine] and on Putin’s response over Crimea in this manner, rather than calling Putin a Hitler with well thought out expansionist designs, as has become the norm in the US, speaks for itself: perhaps, the White House is finally coming to the view that it needs to come to its senses and negotiate with Moscow,” Vlad Sobell, a professor at New York University’s Prague campus stated.
On Sunday, US President Barack Obama, in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakiria, explained that the United States “brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine.” The US President said that Russian President Vladimir Putin made his decision to legally annex Crimea “not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protests in the Maidan.”
In late 2013 a decision by Ukraine then-President Viktor Yanukovych to avoid signing an association agreement with the European Union triggered mass protests across Ukraine, dubbed Maidan, culminating in the February coup. Following the coup and a rise in aggressive nationalism in the country, Crimea seceded by referendum from Ukraine and rejoined Russia in March 2014.
Former US Officials Urge Washington to Send Lethal Military Aid to Ukraine
Pepe Escobar, a correspondent for Asia Times, Hong Kong, who has closely followed developments in Ukraine, told Sputnik of his belief that every independent observer, including himself, “had known from the beginning those $5 billion, [US Assistant Secretary of State] Victoria Nuland’s number, over the years unleashed to boost ‘freedom’ in Ukraine one day would come to fruition.””And Putin was not ‘caught off-balance’,” Escobar added. “Russian intelligence knew in a few hours that Maidan would be replicated in Crimea, so the Kremlin acted swiftly,” he stated.
Professor Sobell claims that “Mr President [Obama] should be aware that Yanukovych fled [Ukraine] because he had solid reasons to fear for his life. The hallowed Maidan was not a peaceful democratic regime change, as it was presented in Western media, but a violent putch complete with murderous acts by hired assassins.”
Sobell states that unnamed EU officials affirm that on February 20 snipers shot both demonstrators and police dead, in order to provoke chaos. These crimes, he continued, are not being investigated by Kiev’s “democratic — Western values” regime or its Western sponsors, as “today it is ok to install a Nazi-driven regime by these means and then demand that Western tax- payers support it.”
According to Escobar, the way the Ukrainian coup will be perceived “all across the Global South is another US regime change operation, using local patsies.”
Commenting on the recent increase in hostilities between Kiev and independence supporters in the southeast of Ukraine, Sobell said the situation has changed in favor of the Donbas militia.
“Washington knows it and knows that they must either compromise, start genuine negotiations with Moscow and separatists, or escalate support for the Nazi regime by supplying it with arms. This would lead to major escalation of the conflict – at this point we cannot rule out that Obama will opt of this,” Sobell insisted.
Russia’s relations with the West deteriorated sharply in 2014, following Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the start of the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine. The United States and its allies accused Moscow of interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs and imposed several rounds of economic sanctions, targeting Russia’s energy, banking and military sectors, as well as several high-ranking individuals. Source
Ukrainians Rage Against Military Draft: “We’re Sick Of This War”
By Tyler Durden
Feb 10, 2015 When Ukrainian army officers came to the Ukrainian village of Velikaya Znamenka to tell the men to prepare to be drafted, they weren’t prepared for what happened next. As the commanding officer was speaking, a woman seized the microphone and proceeded to tell him off: “We’re sick of this war! Our husbands and sons aren’t going anywhere!” She then launched into a passionate speech, denouncing the war, and the coup leaders in Kiev, to the cheers of the crowd.
What she did is now a crime in Ukraine: the only reason she wasn’t arrested on the spot is that the villagers wouldn’t have permitted it. But in Ukrainian Transcarpathia, well-known journalist for Ukrainian Channel 112 Ruslan Kotsaba has been arrested and charged with “treason” and “espionage” for making a video in which he declared: “I would rather sit in jail for three to five years than go to the east to kill my Ukrainian brothers. This fear-mongering must be stopped.” Kotsaba may sit in jail for twenty-three years, the prescribed term for the charges filed against him.
Kotsaba’s arrest is part of a desperate effort by the Ukrainian government to intimidate the growing antiwar and anti-draft movement, which threatens to upend Kiev’s dreams of conquering the rebellious eastern provinces. Kotsaba’s particular crime, according to prosecutors, was in describing the conflict as a civil war rather than a Russian “invasion.” This is a point the authorities cannot tolerate: the same meme being relentlessly broadcast by the Western media – that an indigenous rebellion with substantial support is really a Russian plot to “subvert” Ukraine and reestablish the Warsaw Pact – now has the force of law in Ukraine. Anyone who contradicts it is subject to arrest.
Also subject to arrest, and worse: the thousands who are fleeing the country in order to avoid being conscripted into the military. In a Facebook post that was quickly deleted, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak wrote: “According to unofficial sources, hostels and motels in border regions of neighboring Romania are completely filled with draft dodgers.” President Petro Poroshenko, the Chocolate Oligarch, is readying a decree imposing possible restrictions on foreign travel for those of draft age – which means anyone from age 25 to 60. Ukrainians may soon be prisoners in their own country – but they aren’t taking it lying down.
Draft resistance is at an all-time high: a mere 6 percent of those called up have reported voluntarily. This has forced the Kiev authorities to go knocking on doors – where they are met either with a mass of angry villagers, who refuse to let them take anyone, or else ghost towns where virtually everyone has fled. In the Transcarpathia region of western Ukraine, entire villages have been emptied, the inhabitants fleeing to Russia to wait out the war – or the fall of the Kiev regime, whichever comes first. “It may seem a paradox,” says Transcarpathia’s chief recruitment officer, “but from the western Ukrainian region of Ternopyl people have fled to Russia in order to escape army conscription.” The frantic Ukrainian regime is now contemplating conscripting women over 20.
Poroshenko’s military mobilization is due not only to numerous setbacks in the east – Ukrainian troops are being pushed back on all fronts by highly motivated rebels defending their own towns and villages – but also because thousands are deserting, throwing down their arms and fleeing to Russia. In response, the Ukrainian parliament has passed a law authorizing local commanders to shoot deserters on the spot.
With Poroshenko’s war looking like a major disaster, one that could easily topple his EU/US-installed regime, the War Party in the US is turning up the heat, demanding that Washington provide Kiev with arms. Sen. John McCain is – naturally – leading the charge, but prominent liberals are also in the front ranks, with leading scholars of the Brookings Institution recently calling for heavy weapons to be sent. That provoked a response from a dissident within Brookings, former State Department official Jeremy Shapiro, who argues that the Ukrainian conflict is a civil war that cannot have a military solution, and is more than likely to provoke a dangerous military confrontation with Russia.
The Obama administration is under considerable pressure from within the President’s own party to start arming the Ukrainian army, but America’s European allies are reluctant to let this war go on much longer, especially now that their sock puppet Poroshenko is increasingly unpopular. With protests erupting all over western Ukraine, Germany’s Angela Merkel is openly opposing escalation of the war. She made that clear at a recent conference in Munich, where Merkel spoke after returning from talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, McCain was telling reporters: “If we had provided Ukraine with weapons they wouldn’t have had to use cluster bombs.”
The United States is providing the Kiev regime with military training, and we already have American boots on the ground there, ostensibly to “strengthen the rule of law.” What that means in practice is that we are bolstering a government that has declared war on its own people, and is rapidly closing off all legal means of dissent – charging political opponents with “treason,” banning political parties, and unleashing ultra-nationalist mobs on anyone who dares dissent. While the US State Department regularly canoodles with Russian “dissidents” who defile Orthodox churches and bare their breasts for the Western cameras, you won’t hear Marie Harf so much as mention Ruslan Kotsaba’s name. As far as I know, the Global Post is the only Western media outlet that has noted his existence – and I’ve not seen a single mention in English about his arrest.
Ukraine is a tripwire that could easily set off World War III – and US provocations are edging closer to that by the day. The crisis was initiated by Washington’s regime-change campaign which succeeded in violently overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych, whose electoral victory was made possible by the criminal incompetence and outright thievery of his predecessor, US-supported Viktor Yushchenko. The so-called “Orange Revolution” led to economic chaos, rampant corruption, and the unleashing of a virulent nationalist current that has culminated in the rise of open neo-Nazis taking seats in the Ukrainian parliament. We are seeing its openly fascistic culmination in the current gang lording over Kiev.
All this was done in the name of sticking a finger in Vladimir Putin’s eye, whose great sin has been kicking out thieving oligarchs and opposing US pretensions to global hegemony. Washington’s ultimate goal is regime-change in the Kremlin, and the reinstallation of a Yeltsin-like sock puppet who, when Washington says “Jump!”, will answer: “How high?”
That they’re willing to risk World War III in order to achieve their goal underscores the sheer craziness of US foreign policy. The latest official US “National Security Strategy” puts the new cold war at the center of Washington’s military-diplomatic vision – an emphasis so monstrously misplaced that it’s hard to believe they’re serious. Yet you had better believe it: this is what we can expect from a future Democratic administration, if one should come to pass, with Hillary Clinton taking her husband’s Slavophobia – remember the Kosovo war? – to new heights of unreason.
The US has no business interfering in Ukraine’s civil war, and no legitimate security interest in the question of who gets to administer Crimea – which has been Russian since the days of Catherine the Great. The idea that we are going to confront Russia over this issue is dangerous nonsense – and, unfortunately, it is just the sort of nonsense politicians of both parties find hard to resist.
There are even some ostensible “libertarians” who can’t resist the temptation to refight the cold war, notably the voluble and well-placed NATO-tarian faction of “Students for Liberty” (SFL), who denounced Ron Paul for his supposedly “pro-Putin” (i.e. anti-interventionist) statements on Ukraine. Ron is appearing at their upcoming “International Conference,” with several of the loudest NATO-tarians in attendance: one hopes he’ll give them a good talking to, although perhaps a spanking is more appropriate for these noisy brats. These juvenile blatherskites claim “Compelling arguments can be made for both advocates of globalist and noninterventionist foreign policy positions,” but aver that “Ron Paul has crossed the line.” It is they who have crossed the line: no libertarian is or can be an advocate of a “globalist” foreign policy – because conquering the globe is, you know, a statist thing.
Of course now that Ukraine – where SFL held a conference – is jailing draft-resisters and clamping down on all dissent, we don’t hear a peep from these adolescent cold warriors. They talk a lot about “liberty,” but not in places where it can get them into trouble.
The main danger to liberty and peace in the world isn’t in the Kremlin, or Peking, or North Korea – it’s right here in these United States of America, in the global epicenter of evil otherwise known as Washington, D.C. This, our “libertarian internationalists” claim, is vulgar “anti-Americanism,” but these foreigners have little conception of what true Americanism is all about. The Founding Fathers of this country are rolling in their graves as the usurpers in Washington sully the good name of America with the blood of innocents worldwide and defile the Constitution in the process. True Americanism means opposing these monsters as they rampage over the earth and destroy our civil liberties at home – not dutifully echoing their rationalizations for endless wars of aggression. Source
No one wants war. Those in the East of Ukraine never wanted war and
now those in the West are also saying no to war.
There have been many in the Western Ukraine who
have been doing the same thing, the woman in the video has done.
She is not alone.
Ukrainians are burning their military drafts
Published on Jul 27, 2014
Ukrainians are burning their military writs, refusing to leave their sons to Ministry of Defense
What part of NO does the Ukrainian Government not get?
The people from Western Ukraine are refusing, to kill men, women and children
from their own country.
They are all Ukrainians.
None of them want war.
The only ones that want war, are their Leaders and of course the US.
Make sure you give a copy to all your friends out there.
The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State
February 11, 2013
On Wednesday a few hundred activists crowded into the courtroom of the Second Circuit, the spillover room with its faulty audio feed and dearth of chairs, and Foley Square outside the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in Manhattan where many huddled in the cold. The fate of the nation, we understood, could be decided by the three judges who will rule on our lawsuit against President Barack Obama for signing into law Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The section permits the military to detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who “substantially support”—an undefined legal term—al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” again a term that is legally undefined. Those detained can be imprisoned indefinitely by the military and denied due process until “the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war this is probably a lifetime. Anyone detained under the NDAA can be sent, according to Section (c)(4), to any “foreign country or entity.” This is, in essence, extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens. It empowers the government to ship detainees to the jails of some of the most repressive regimes on earth.
Section 1021(b)(2) was declared invalid in September after our first trial, in the Southern District Court of New York. The Obama administration appealed the Southern District Court ruling. The appeal was heard Wednesday in the Second Circuit Court with Judges Raymond J. Lohier, Lewis A. Kaplan and Amalya L. Kearse presiding. The judges might not make a decision until the spring when the Supreme Court rules in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, another case in which I am a plaintiff. The Supreme Court case challenges the government’s use of electronic surveillance. If we are successful in the Clapper case, it will strengthen all the plaintiffs’ standing in Hedges v. Obama. The Supreme Court, if it rules against the government, will affirm that we as plaintiffs have a reasonable fear of being detained.
If we lose in Hedges v. Obama—and it seems certain that no matter the outcome of the appeal this case will reach the Supreme Court—electoral politics and our rights as citizens will be as empty as those of Nero’s Rome. If we lose, the power of the military to detain citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military prisons will become a terrifying reality. Democrat or Republican. Occupy activist or libertarian. Socialist or tea party stalwart. It does not matter. This is not a partisan fight. Once the state seizes this unchecked power, it will inevitably create a secret, lawless world of indiscriminate violence, terror and gulags. I lived under several military dictatorships during the two decades I was a foreign correspondent. I know the beast.
“The stakes are very high,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who with attorney Bruce Afran brought our case to trial, in addressing a Culture Project audience in Manhattan on Wednesday after the hearing. “What our case comes down to is: Are we going to have a civil justice system in the United States or a military justice system? The civil justice system is something that is ingrained in the Constitution. It was always very important in combating tyranny and building a democratic society. What the NDAA is trying to impose is a system of military justice that allows the military to police the streets of America to detain U.S. citizens, to detain residents in the United States in military prisons. Probably the most frightening aspect of the NDAA is that it allows for detention until ‘the end of hostilities.’
Five thousand years of human civilization has left behind innumerable ruins to remind us that the grand structures and complex societies we build, and foolishly venerate as immortal, crumble into dust. It is the descent that matters now. If the corporate state is handed the tools, as under Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA, to use deadly force and military power to criminalize dissent, then our decline will be one of repression, blood and suffering. No one, not least our corporate overlords, believes that our material conditions will improve with the impending collapse of globalization, the steady deterioration of the global economy, the decline of natural resources and the looming catastrophes of climate change.
But the global corporatists—who have created a new species of totalitarianism—demand, during our decay, total power to extract the last vestiges of profit from a degraded ecosystem and disempowered citizenry. The looming dystopia is visible in the skies of blighted postindustrial cities such as Flint, Mich., where drones circle like mechanical vultures. And in an era where the executive branch can draw up secret kill lists that include U.S. citizens, it would be naive to believe these domestic drones will remain unarmed.
Robert M. Loeb, the lead attorney for the government in Wednesday’s proceedings, took a tack very different from that of the government in the Southern District Court of New York before Judge Katherine B. Forrest. Forrest repeatedly asked the government attorneys if they could guarantee that the other plaintiffs and I would not be subject to detention under Section 1021(b)(2). The government attorneys in the first trial granted no such immunity. The government also claimed in the first trial that under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act (AUMF), it already had the power to detain U.S. citizens. Section 1021(b)(2), the attorneys said, did not constitute a significant change in government power. Judge Forrest in September rejected the government’s arguments and ruled Section 1021(b)(2) invalid.
The government, however, argued Wednesday that as “independent journalists” we were exempt from the law and had no cause for concern. Loeb stated that if journalists used journalism as a cover to aid the enemy, they would be seized and treated as enemy combatants. But he assured the court that I would be untouched by the new law as long as “Mr. Hedges did not start driving black vans for people we don’t like.”
Loeb did not explain to the court who defines an “independent journalist.” I have interviewed members of al-Qaida as well as 16 other individuals or members of groups on the State Department’s terrorism list. When I convey these viewpoints, deeply hostile to the United States, am I considered by the government to be “independent”? Could I be seen by the security and surveillance state, because I challenge the official narrative, as a collaborator with the enemy? And although I do not drive black vans for people Loeb does not like, I have spent days, part of the time in vehicles, with armed units that are hostile to the United States. These include Hamas in Gaza and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey.
I traveled frequently with armed members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador and the Sandinista army in Nicaragua during the five years I spent in Central America. Senior officials in the Reagan administration regularly denounced many of us in the press as fifth columnists and collaborators with terrorists. These officials did not view us as “independent.” They viewed us as propagandists for the enemy. Section 1021(b)(2) turns this linguistic condemnation into legal condemnation.
Alexa O’Brien, another plaintiff and a co-founder of the US Day of Rage, learned after WikiLeaks released 5 million emails from Stratfor, a private security firm that does work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Marine Corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency, that Stratfor operatives were trying to link her and her organization to Islamic radicals, including al-Qaida, and sympathetic websites as well as jihadist ideology. If that link were made, she and those in her organization would not be immune from detention.
Afran said at the Culture Project discussion that he once gave a donation at a fundraising dinner to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic organization. A few months later, to his surprise, he received a note of thanks from Sinn Féin. “I didn’t expect to be giving money to a group that maintains a paramilitary terrorist organization, as some people say,” Afran said. “This is the danger. You can easily find yourself in a setting that the government deems worthy of incarceration. This is why people cease to speak out.”
The government attempted in court last week to smear Sami Al-Hajj, a journalist for the Al-Jazeera news network who was picked up by the U.S. military and imprisoned for nearly seven years in Guantanamo. This, for me, was one of the most chilling moments in the hearing.
“Just calling yourself a journalist doesn’t make you a journalist, like Al-Hajj,” Loeb told the court. “He used journalism as a cover. He was a member of al-Qaida and provided Stinger missiles to al-Qaida.”
Al-Hajj, despite Loeb’s assertions, was never charged with any crimes. And the slander by Loeb only highlighted the potential for misuse of this provision of the NDAA if it is not struck down.
The second central argument by the government was even more specious. Loeb claimed that Subsection 1021(e) of the NDAA exempts citizens from detention. Section 1021(e) states: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”
Afran countered Loeb by saying that Subsection 1021(e) illustrated that the NDAA assumed that U.S. citizens would be detained by the military, overturning two centuries of domestic law that forbids the military to carry out domestic policing. And military detention of citizens, Afran noted, is not permitted under the Constitution.
Afran quoted the NDAA bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said on the floor of the Senate: “In the case where somebody is worried about being picked up by a rogue executive branch because they went to the wrong political rally, they don’t have to worry very long, because our federal courts have the right and the obligation to make sure the government proves their case that you are a member of al-Qaida and didn’t [just] go to a political rally.”
Afran told the court that Graham’s statement implicitly acknowledged that U.S. citizens could be detained by the military under 1021(b)(2). “There is no reason for the sponsor to make that statement if he does not realize that the statute causes that chilling fear,” Afran told the judges.
After the hearing Afran explained: “If the senator who sponsored and managed the bill believed people would be afraid of the law, then the plaintiffs obviously have a reasonably objective basis to fear the statute.”
In speaking to the court Afran said of 1021(e): “It says it is applied to people in the United States. It presumes that they are going to be detained under some law. The only law we know of is this law. What other laws, before this one, allowed the military to detain people in this country?”
This was a question Judge Lohier, at Afran’s urging, asked Loeb during the argument. Loeb concurred that the NDAA was the only law he knew of that permitted the military to detain and hold U.S. citizens.
Bad enough Americans already have people being Entrapped.
Inside the FBI’s ‘Terror factory’
You could be sent to anyone of these Countries.
CIA used 54 countries for detaining prisoners for toture
The 54 governments identified in this report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, and include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen,
and Zimbabwe. Must not forget Cuba. Cuba did not help, but did have the US prison there. Guantánamo Bay. Source
Now the Military can help with all of this.
You can bet many of those countries still help the CIA.
Like many who were sent to prison from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and other countries of course.
The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, administered by the United States Department of State offers monetary compensation for individuals who volunteer information that leads to the location, capture, and trial of suspected terrorists. The program also seeks information relevant to finances, assets, and plans of terrorist organizations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) work closely with the Department of State to investigate all information garnered through the Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program. In 1998, after the bombing of United States embassies in East Africa, the Department of State raised the maximum reward for information to $5 million.
The rewards program not only offers monetary rewards for information aiding anti-terrorism operations, but also promises confidentiality and anonymity for the informant. The United States government further promises to aid and relocate informants whose disclosure of information places themselves, and their family, in jeopardy.
The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program is now a part of a larger anti-terrorism operation, the Rewards for Justice Program. The program pays for information relevant to the arrest and capture of wanted terrorists, both domestic and foreign. As part of the Patriot Act of 2001, the secretary of state can pay rewards greater than $5 million for information leading to the arrest of suspected terrorists. To date, the program has paid $9.75 million to 24 individuals who aided government antiterror investigations.
The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, as part of Rewards for Justice, has had several key successes. Information received through the program led to the arrest and eventual conviction of the 1993 World Trade Center bomber, Ramzi Yousef. The highest current priority of the rewards program is information leading to the capture of al-Qaeda front man, Usama bin Laden, and others with suspected involvement in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Source
Have a beef with one of your neighbours.
Turn them in and get a reward. They will of course be tortured until they confess, not to worry.
By the way how do your neighbours feel about you? You could be sent to a black hole never to return.
If the NDAA is accepted you will have no rights at all.
This is what a witch hunt looks like.
Rather reminds me of what is done to Palestinians in Gaza and especially the West Bank. They live under the same rules as the NDAA.
Here is a must read Article.
Max Blumenthal: How Israeli Occupation Forces, Bahraini Monarchy Guards Trained U.S. Police For Coordinated Crackdown On “Occupy” Protests
New York – In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.
At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”
Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.
The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.
Having been schooled in Israeli tactics perfected during a 63 year experience of controlling, dispossessing, and occupying an indigenous population, local police forces have adapted them to monitor Muslim and immigrant neighborhoods in US cities. Meanwhile, former Israeli military officers have been hired to spearhead security operations at American airports and suburban shopping malls, leading to a wave of disturbing incidents of racial profiling, intimidation, and FBI interrogations of innocent, unsuspecting people. The New York Police Department’s disclosure that it deployed “counter-terror” measures against Occupy protesters encamped in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is just the latest example of the so-called War on Terror creeping into every day life. Revelations like these have raised serious questions about the extent to which Israeli-inspired tactics are being used to suppress the Occupy movement.
The process of Israelification began in the immediate wake of 9/11, when national panic led federal and municipal law enforcement officials to beseech Israeli security honchos for advice and training. America’s Israel lobby exploited the climate of hysteria, providing thousands of top cops with all-expenses paid trips to Israel and stateside training sessions with Israeli military and intelligence officials. By now, police chiefs of major American cities who have not been on junkets to Israel are the exception.
“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism,” said former US Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, who now serves as the US Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. Cathy Lanier, the Chief of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police, remarked, “No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel.” “One would say it is the front line,” Barnett Jones, the police chief of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said of Israel. “We’re in a global war.”
Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security and a leading expert on terror and civil liberties, said the Israeli influence on American law enforcement is so extensive it has bled into street-level police conduct. “After 9/11 we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture,” Greenberg told me. “The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training. There’s been a huge downside to taking our cue from the Israelis and now we’re going to spread that into the fabric of everyday American life? It’s counter-terrorism creep. And it’s exactly what you could have predicted would have happened.”
Changing the way we do business
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is at the heart of American-Israeli law enforcement collaboration. JINSA is a Jerusalem and Washington DC-based think tank known for stridently neoconservative policy positions on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians and its brinkmanship with Iran. The group’s board of directors boasts a Who’s Who of neocon ideologues. Two former JINSA advisors who have also consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, went on to serve in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush, playing influential roles in the push to invade and occupy Iraq.
Through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), JINSA claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for over 9000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal level. “The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey,” Richard Fuentes, the NJ State Police Superintendent, said after attending a 2004 JINSA-sponsored Israel trip and a subsequent JINSA conference alongside 435 other law enforcement officers.
During a 2004 LEEP trip, JINSA brought 14 senior American law enforcement officials to Israel to receive instruction from their counterparts. The Americans were trained in “how to secure large venues, such as shopping malls, sporting events and concerts,” JINSA’s website reported. Escorted by Brigadier General Simon Perry, an Israeli police attaché and former Mossad official, the group toured the Israeli separation wall, now a mandatory stop for American cops on junkets to Israel. “American officials learned about the mindset of a suicide bomber and how to spot trouble signs,” according to JINSA. And they were schooled in Israeli killing methods. “Although the police are typically told to aim for the chest when shooting because it is the largest target, the Israelis are teaching [American] officers to aim for a suspect’s head so as not to detonate any explosives that might be strapped to his torso,” the New York Times reported.
Cathy Lanier, now the Chief of Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, was among the law enforcement officials junketed to Israel by JINSA. “I was with the bomb units and the SWAT team and all of those high profile specialized [Israeli] units and I learned a tremendous amount,” Lanier reflected. “I took 82 pages of notes while I was there which I later brought back and used to formulate a lot of what I later used to create and formulate the Homeland Security terrorism bureau in the DC Metropolitan Police department.”
Some of the police chiefs who have taken part in JINSA’s LEEP program have done so under the auspices of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a private non-governmental group with close ties to the Department of Homeland Security. Chuck Wexler, the executive director of PERF, was so enthusiastic about the program that by 2005 he had begun organizing trips to Israel sponsored by PERF, bringing numerous high-level American police officials to receive instruction from their Israeli counterparts.
PERF gained notoriety when Wexler confirmed that his group coordinated police raids in 16 cities across America against “Occupy” protest encampments. As many as 40 cities have sought PERF advice on suppressing the “Occupy” movement and other mass protest activities. Wexler did not respond to my requests for an interview.
Lessons from Israel to Auschwitz
Besides JINSA, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has positioned itself as an important liaison between American police forces and the Israeli security-intelligence apparatus. Though the ADL promotes itself as a Jewish civil rights group, it has provoked controversy by publishing a blacklist of organizations supporting Palestinian rights, and for condemning a proposal to construct an Islamic community center in downtown New York, several blocks from Ground Zero, on the basis that some opponents of the project were entitled to “positions that others would characterize as irrational or bigoted.”
Through the ADL’s Advanced Training School course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats, over 700 law enforcement personnel from 220 federal and local agencies including the FBI and CIA have been trained by Israeli police and intelligence commanders. This year, the ADL brought 15 high-level American police officials to Israel for instruction from the country’s security apparatus. According to the ADL, over 115 federal, state and local law enforcement executives have undergone ADL-organized training sessions in Israel since the program began in 2003. “I can honestly say that the training offered by ADL is by far the most useful and current training course I have ever attended,” Deputy Commissioner Thomas Wright of the Philadelphia Police Department commented after completing an ADL program this year. The ADL’s relationship with the Washington DC Police Department is so cozy its members are invited to accompany DC cops on “ride along” patrols.
The ADL claims to have trained over 45,000 American law enforcement officials through its Law Enforcement and Society program, which “draws on the history of the Holocaust to provide law enforcement professionals with an increased understanding of…their role as protectors of the Constitution,” the group’s website stated. All new FBI agents and intelligence analysts are required to attend the ADL program, which is incorporated into three FBI training programs. According to officialFBI recruitment material, “all new special agents must visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to see firsthand what can happen when law enforcement fails to protect individuals.”
Among the most prominent Israeli government figure to have influenced the practices of American law enforcement officials is Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service and current member of Knesset who recently introduced legislation widely criticized as anti-democratic. During the Second Intifada, Dichter ordered several bombings on densely populated Palestinian civilian areas, including one on the al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza that resulted in the death of 15 innocent people, including 8 children, and 150 injuries. “After each success, the only thought is, ‘Okay, who’s next?’” Dichter said of the “targeted” assassinations he has ordered.
Despite his dubious human rights record and apparently dim view of democratic values, or perhaps because of them, Dichter has been a key figure in fostering cooperation between Israeli security forces and American law enforcement. In 2006, while Dichter was serving at the time as Israel’s Minister of Public Security, he spoke in Boston, Massachusetts before the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Seated beside FBI Director Robert Mueller and then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Dichter told the 10,000 police officers in the crowd that there was an “intimate connection between fighting criminals and fighting terrorists.” Dichter declared that American cops were actually “fighting crimiterrorists.” The Jerusalem Post reported that Dichter was “greeted by a hail of applause, as he was hugged by Mueller, who described Dichter as his mentor in anti-terror tactics.”
A year after Dichter’s speech, he and then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff signed a joint memorandum pledging security collaboration between America and Israel on issues ranging from airport security to emergency planning. In 2010, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano authorized a new joint memorandum with Israeli Transport and Road Safety Minister Israel Katz shoring up cooperation between the US Transportation Security Agency – the agency in charge of day-to-day airport security – and Israel’s Security Department. The recent joint memorandum also consolidated the presence of US Homeland Security law enforcement personnel on Israeli soil. “The bond between the United States and Israel has never been stronger,” Napolitano remarked at a recent summit of AIPAC, the leading outfit of America’s Israel lobby, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Demographic Unit
For the New York Police Department, collaboration with Israel’s security and intelligence apparatus became a top priority after 9/11. Just months after the attacks on New York City, the NYPD assigned a permanent, taxpayer-funded liaison officerto Tel Aviv. Under the leadership of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, ties between the NYPD and Israel have deepened by the day. Kelly embarked on his first trip to Israel in early 2009 to demonstrate his support for Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip, a one-sided attack that left over 1400 Gaza residents dead in three weeks and led a United Nations fact-finding mission to conclude that Israeli military and government officials had committed war crimes.
Kelly returned to Israel the following year to speak at the Herziliya Conference, an annual gathering of neoconservative security and government officials who obsess over supposed “demographic threats.” After Kelly appeared on stage, the Herziliya crowd was addressed by the pro-Israel academic Martin Kramer, who claimed that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was helping to reduce the numbers of “superfluous young men of fighting age.” Kramer added, “If a state can’t control these young men, then someone else will.”
Back in New York, the NYPD set up a secret “Demographics Unit” designed to spy on and monitor Muslim communities around the city. The unit was developed with input and intensive involvement by the CIA, which still refuses to name the former Middle East station chief it has posted in the senior ranks of the NYPD’s intelligence division. Since 2002, the NYPD has dispatched undercover agents known as “rakers” and “mosque crawlers” into Pakistani-American bookstores and restaurants to gauge community anger over US drone strikes inside Pakistan, and into Palestinian hookah bars and mosques to search out signs of terror recruitment and clandestine funding. “If a raker noticed a customer looking at radical literature, he might chat up the store owner and see what he could learn,” the Associated Press reported. “The bookstore, or even the customer, might get further scrutiny.”
The Israeli imprimatur on the NYPD’s Demographics Unit is unmistakable. As a former police official told the Associated Press, the Demographics Unit has attempted to “map the city’s human terrain” through a program “modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank.”
Shop ‘til you’re stopped
At Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, security personnel target non-Jewish and non-white passengers, especially Arabs, as a matter of policy. The most routinely harassed passengers are Palestinian citizens of Israel, who must brace themselvesfor five-hour interrogation sessions and strip searches before flying. Those singled out for extra screening by Shin Bet officers are sent to what many Palestinians from Israel call the “Arab room,” where they are subjected to humiliating questioning sessions (former White House Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala encountered such mistreatment during a visit to Israel last year). Some Palestinians are forbidden from speaking to anyone until takeoff, and may be menaced by Israeli flight attendants during the flight. In one documented case, a six-month-old was awoken for a strip search by Israeli Shin Bet personnel. Instances of discrimination against Arabs at Ben Gurion International are too numerous to detail – several incidents occur each day – but a few of the more egregious instances were outlined in a 2007 petition the Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed with the country’s Supreme Court.
Though the Israeli system of airline security contains dubious benefits and clearly deleterious implications for civil liberties, it is quietly and rapidly migrating into major American airports. Security personnel at Boston’s Logan International Airport have undergone extensive training from Israeli intelligence personnel, learning to apply profiling and behavioral assessment techniques against American citizens that were initially tested on Palestinians. The new procedures began in August, when so-called Behavior Detection Officers were placed in security queues at Logan’s heavily trafficked Terminal A. Though the procedures have added to traveler stress while netting exactly zero terrorists, they are likely to spread to other cities. “I would like to see a lot more profiling” in American airports, said Yossi Sheffi, an Israeli-born risk analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation and Logistics.
Israeli techniques now dictate security procedures at the Mall of America, a gargantuan shopping mall in Bloomington, Minnesota that has become a major tourist attraction. The new methods took hold in 2005 when the mall hired a former Israeli army sergeant named Mike Rozin to lead a special new security unit. Rozin, who once worked with a canine unit at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, instructed his employees at the Mall of America to visually profile every shopper, examining their expressions for suspicious signs. His security team accosts and interrogates an average of 1200 shoppers a year, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.
One of the thousands who fell into Rozin’s dragnet was Najam Qureshi, a Pakistani-American mall vendor whose father accidentally left his cell phone on a table in the mall food court. A day after the incident, FBI agents appeared at Qureshi’s doorstep to ask if he knew anyone seeking to harm the United States. An army veteran interrogated for two hours by Rozin’s men for taking video inside the mall sobbed openly about his experience to reporters. Meanwhile, another man, Emile Khalil, was visited by FBI agents after mall security stopped him for taking photographs of the dazzling consumer haven.
“I think that the threat of terrorism in the United States is going to become an unfortunate part of American life,” Rozin remarked to American Jewish World. And as long as the threat persists in the public’s mind, Israeli securitocrats like Rozin will never have to worry about the next paycheck.
“Occupy” meets the Occupation
When a riot squad from the New York Police Department destroyed and evicted the “Occupy Wall Street” protest encampment at Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan, department leadership drew on the anti-terror tactics they had refined since the 9/11 attacks. According to the New York Times, the NYPD deployed “counterterrorism measures” to mobilize large numbers of cops for the lightning raid on Zuccotti. The use of anti-terror techniques to suppress a civilian protest complemented harsh police measures demonstrated across the country against the nationwide “Occupy” movement, from firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets into unarmed crowds to blasting demonstrators with the LRAD sound cannon.
Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much it will inform police repression of future upsurges of street protest. But already, the Israelification of American law enforcement appears to have intensified police hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, common criminals, and terrorists. As Dichter said, they are all just “crimiterrorists.”
“After 9/11 we had to react very quickly,” Greenberg remarked, “but now we’re in 2011 and we’re not talking about people who want to fly planes into buildings. We’re talking about young American citizens who feel that their birthright has been sold. If we’re using Israeli style tactics on them and this stuff bleeds into the way we do business at large, were in big trouble.”
This article is cross-posted from Al-Akhbar.com with permission from the author Max Blumenthal.
You can read more of Max Blumenthal at MaxBlumenthal.com. He is the author of Republican Gomorrah, published by Nation Books.
Ahmad picked up a bright metal object in a park where he was celebrating his 5th birthday in Lebanon. It was an unexploded cluster bomblet, which blew up in his face, killing him slowly in front of his family.
Three years ago, public pressure pushed through a ban of these cruel bombs. But now the US is lobbying nations to quietly sign a new law that allows their use — signing the death warrant for thousands of other children. Most countries are still on the fence on how to vote. Only if we raise the alarm across the world can we shame our governments to block this deadly decision.
Positions are being drawn up now. We only have days until countries meet to send our leaders a clear message: stand up for the cluster bombs ban and keep our children safe. Click below to sign the petition — it will be delivered directly to delegates at the Geneva conference:
Thousands of people — many of them children — have been maimed or killed by these bombs. When they are fired, they spray small “bomblets” over a wide area, many of which fail to explode. Years later, people disturb them in their fields or school playgrounds not knowing what they are, and they explode.
In 2008, over half of the world’s governments outlawed these weapons by signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions. But now, shockingly, countries like France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK, who all signed the Convention, are under pressure from the US, China and Russia to run rings round the ban by signing a separate agreement that would allow them to use cluster munitions. Only Norway, Mexico, Austria and a few others are fighting this horror.
Negotiators at the Convention on Conventional Weapons meet in Geneva next week. Most governments don’t really want this protocol and have not said which way they will vote, but they are under severe pressure from the US to comply and will only object if the global public persuades them.
There’s no time to lose — the conference starts on Monday. Let’s call on our governments to reject this deadly and cynical US campaign to legalize cluster killing. Click below to sign the petition and forward this email widely — we’ve done it before, let’s do it again:
Cluster bombs and land mines were banned because citizens raised the alarm across the world — with victims and survivors leading the way. For their sakes and to ensure no more lives are lost, let’s not allow these cruel weapons back and join together now to demand a more peaceful world.
Please pass this on. And do take the time to sign it. US to stockpile cluster bombs in Australia? Despite Australia having signed the convention against cluster munition, a US base may transport and stockpile munition.
The Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) has confirmed the worst fears of its creator President Harry Truman that it might degenerate into “an American Gestapo.” It has been just that for so long it is beyond redemption. It represents 60 years of failure and fascism utterly at odds with the spirit of a democracy and needs to be closed, permanently.
Over the years “the Agency” as it is known, has given U.S. presidents so much wrong information on so many critical issues, broken so many laws, subverted so many elections, overthrown so many governments, funded so many dictators, and killed and tortured so many innocent human beings that the pages of its official history could be written in blood, not ink. People the world over regard it as infamous, and that evaluation, sadly for the reputation of America, is largely accurate. Besides, since President Obama has half a dozen other major intelligence agencies to rely on for guidance, why does he need the CIA? In one swoop he could lop an estimated 27,000 employees off the Federal payroll, save taxpayers umpteen billions, and wipe the CIA stain from the American flag.
If you think this is a “radical” idea, think again. What is “radical” is to empower a mob of covert operatives to roam the planet, wreaking havoc as they go with not a care for morality or, for that matter, the tenets of mercy implicit in any of the great faiths. The idea of not prosecuting CIA interrogators (i.e., torturers), as President Obama has said, is chilling. These crimes have to be stopped somewhere, sometime, or they will occur again.
“The CIA had run secret interrogation centers before—beginning in 1950, in Germany, Japan, and Panama,” writes New York Times reporter Tim Weiner in his book “Legacy of Ashes, The History of The CIA”(Random House). Weiner has won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the intelligence community. “It had participated in the torture of captured enemy combatants before—beginning in 1967, under the Phoenix program in Vietnam. It had kidnapped suspected terrorists and assassins before…”
In Iran in 1953, for example, a CIA-directed coup restored the Shah (king) to absolute power, initiating what journalist William Blum in “Rogue State” (Common Courage Press) called “a period of 25 years of repression and torture; while the oil industry was restored to foreign ownership, with the US and Britain each getting 40 percent.” About the same time in Guatemala, Blum adds, a CIA-organized coup “overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of military government death squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling more than 200,000 victims—indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century.” The massive slaughter compares, at least in terms of sheer numbers, with Hitler’s massacre of Romanian and Ukranian Jews during the holocaust. Yet few Americans know of it.
Blum provides yet other examples of CIA criminality. In Indonesia, it attempted in 1957-58 to overthrow neutralist president Sukarno. It plotted Sukarno’s assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phony sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the government, including bombing runs by American pilots, Blum reported This particular attempt, like one in Costa Rica about the same time, failed. So did the CIA attempt in Iraq in 1960 to assassinate President Abdul Kassem. Other ventures proved more “successful”.
In Laos, the CIA was involved in coup attempts in 1958, 1959, and 1960, creating a clandestine army of 30,000 to overthrow the government. In Ecuador, the CIA ousted President Jose Velasco for recognizing the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The CIA also arranged the murder of elected Congo Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961 and installation of Mobutu Seko who ruled “with a level of corruption and cruelty that shocked even his CIA handlers,” Blum recalls.
In Ghana, in 1966, the CIA sponsored a military coup against leader Kwame Nkrumah in 1966; in Chile, it financed the overthrow of elected President Salvador Allende in 1973 and brought to power the murderous regime of General Augusto Pinochet who executed 3,000 political opponents and tortured thousands more. In Greece in 1967, the CIA helped subvert the elections and backed a military coup that killed 8,000 Greeks in its first month of operation. “Torture, inflicted in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States, became routine,” Blum writes.
In South Africa, the CIA gave the apartheid government information that led to the arrest of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, who subsequently spent years in prison. In Bolivia, in 1964, the CIA overthrew President Victor Paz; in Australia from 1972-75, the CIA slipped millions of dollars to political opponents of the Labor Party; ditto, Brazil in 1962; in Laos in 1960, the CIA stuffed ballot boxes to help a strongman into power; in Portugal in the Seventies the candidates it financed triumphed over a pro-labor government; in the Philippines, the CIA backed governments in the 1970-90 period that employed torture and summary execution against its own people; in El Salvador, the CIA in the Nineties backed the wealthy in a civil war in which 75,000 civilians were killed; and the list goes on and on.
Of course, the hatred that the CIA engenders for the American people and American business interests is enormous. Because the Agency operates largely in secret, most Americans are unaware of the crimes it perpetrates in their names. As Chalmers Johnson writes in “Blowback”(Henry Holt), former long-time CIA director Robert Gates, now Obama’s defense secretary, admitted U.S. intelligence services began to aid the mujahideen guerrillas in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet invasion in December, 1979.
As has often been the case, the CIA responded to a criminal order from one of the succession of imperial presidents that have occupied the White House, in this instance one dated July 3, 1979, from President Jimmy Carter. The Agency was ordered to aid the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul—aid that might sucker the Kremlin into invading. “The CIA supported Osama bin Laden, like so many other extreme fundamentalists among the mujahideen in Afghanistan, from at least 1984 on,” Johnson writes, helping bin Laden train many of the 35,000 Arab Afghans.
Thus Carter, like his successors in the George H.W. Bush government — Gates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, and Colin Powell, “all bear some responsibility for the 1.8 million Afghan casualties, 2.6 million refugees, and 10 million unexploded land mines that followed from their decisions, as well as the ‘collateral damage’ that befell New York City in September 2001 from an organization they helped create during the years of anti-Soviet Afghan resistance,” Johnson added. Worse, the Bush-Cheney regime after 9/11 “set no limits on what the agency could do. It was the foundation for a system of secret prisons where CIA officer and contractors used techniques that included torture,” Weiner has written. By some estimates, the CIA in 2006 held 14,000 souls in 11 secret prisons, a vast crime against humanity.
That the CIA has zero interest in justice and engages in gratuitous cruelty may be seen from the indiscriminate dragnet arrests it has perpetrated: “CIA officers snatched and grabbed more than three thousand people in more than one hundred countries in the year after 9/11,” Weiner writes, adding that only 14 men of all those seized “were high-ranking authority figures within al Qaeda and its affiliates. Along with them, the agency jailed hundreds of nobodies…(who) became ghost prisoners in the war on terror.”
As for providing the White House with accurate intelligence, the record of the CIA has been a fiasco. The Agency was telling President Carter the Shah of Iran was beloved by his people and was firmly entrenched in power in 1979 when any reader of Harper’s magazine, available on newsstands for a buck, could read that his overthrow was imminent—and it was. Over the years, the Agency has been wrong far more often than it has been right.
According to an Associated Press report, when confirmed by the Senate as the new CIA director, Leon Panetta said the Obama administration would not prosecute CIA officers that “participated in harsh interrogations even if they constituted torture as long as they did not go beyond their instructions.” This will allow interrogators to evade prosecution for following the clearly criminal orders they would have been justified to disobey.
“Panetta also said that the Obama administration would continue to transfer foreign detainees to other countries for questioning but only if U.S. officials are confident that the prisoners will not be tortured,” the AP story continued. If past is prologue, how confident can Panetta be the CIA’s fellow goons in Egypt and Morocco will stop torturing prisoners? Why did the CIA kidnap men off the streets of Milan and New York and fly them to those countries in the first place if not for torture? They certainly weren’t treating them to a Mediterranean vacation. By its long and nearly perfect record of reckless disregard for international law, the CIA has deprived itself of the right to exist.
It will be worse than unfortunate if President Obama continues the inhumane (and illegal) CIA renditions that President Bill Clinton began and President Bush vastly expanded. If the White House thinks its operatives can roam the world and arrest and torture any person it chooses without a court order, without due process, and without answering for their crimes, this signifies Americans believe themselves to be a Master Race better than others and above international law. That’s not much different from the philosophy that motivated Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. It would be the supreme irony if the American electorate that repudiated racism last November has voted into its highest office a constitutional lawyer who reaffirms his predecessor’s illegal views on this activity. Renditions must be stopped. The CIA must be abolished. Source
When the CIA/US needed money or weapons shipped into a country they enlisted the help of Israel. Israel was the funnel tunnel used by the US. Israel’s Latin American trail of terror
June 5 2003
By Jeremy Bigwood
“I learned an infinite amount of things in Israel, and to that country I owe part of my essence, my human and military achievements” said Colombian paramilitary leader and indicted drug trafficker Carlos Castao in his ghostwritten autobiography, Mi Confesin. Castao, who leads the Colombian paramilitaries, known by their Spanish acronym AUC, the largest right-wing paramilitary force to ever exist in the western hemisphere reveals that he was trained in the arts of war in Israel as a young man of 18 in the 1980s. He glowingly adds: “I copied the concept of paramilitary forces from the Israelis,” in his chapter-long account of his Israel experiences.
Castao’s right-wing Phalange-like AUC force is now by far the worst human rights violator in all of the Americas, and ties between that organisation and Israel are continually surfacing in the press.
Outside the law
The AUC paramilitaries are a fighting force that originally grew out of killers hired to protect drug-running operations and large landowners. They were organised into a cohesive force by Castao in 1997. It exists outside the law but often coordinates its actions with the Colombian military, in a way similar to the relationship of the Lebanese Phalange to the Israeli army throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
According to a 1989 Colombian Secret Police intelligence report, apart from training Carlos Castao in 1983, Israeli trainers arrived in Colombia in 1987 to train him and other paramilitaries who would later make up the AUC.
Fifty of the paramilitaries’ “best” students were then sent on scholarships to Israel for further training according to a Colombian police intelligence report, and the AUC became the most prominent paramilitary force in the hemisphere, with some 10,000-12,000 men in arms.
The Colombian AUC paramilitaries are always in need of arms, and it should come as no surprise that some of their major suppliers are Israeli. Israeli arms dealers have long had a presence in next-door Panama and especially in Guatemala.
In May of last year, GIRSA, an Israeli company associated with the Israeli Defence Forces and based in Guatemala was able to buy 3000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition that were then handed over to AUC paramilitaries in Colombia.
Links with the continent
Israel’s military relations with right-wing groups and regimes spans Latin America from Mexico to the southernmost tip of Chile, starting just a few years after the Israeli state came into existence.
Since then, the list of countries Israel has supplied, trained and advised includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
But it isn’t only the sales of planes, guns and weapons system deals that characterises the Israeli presence in Latin America.
Where Israel has excelled is in advising, training and running intelligence and counter-insurgency operations in the Latin American “dirty war” civil conflicts of Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and now Colombia.
In the case of the Salvadoran conflict – a civil war between the right-wing landowning class supported by a particularly violent military pitted against left-wing popular organisations – the Israelis were present from the beginning. Besides arms sales, they helped train ANSESAL, the secret police who were later to form the framework of the infamous death squads that would kill tens of thousands of mostly civilian activists.
From 1975 to 1979, 83% of El Salvador’s military imports came from Israel, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. By 1981, many of those in the civilian popular political movements who had survived the death squads headed for the hills to become guerrillas.
By 1981 there was an open civil war in El Salvador which took over a decade to resolve through negotiations.
Even though the US was openly backing the Salvadoran Army by 1981, as late as November 1983 it was asking for more Israeli “practical assistance” there, according to a declassified secret document obtained recently by Aljazeera.
Among the assistance asked for were helicopters, trucks, rifles, ammunition, and combat infantry advisors to work at both the “company and battalion level of the Salvadoran Army”.
One notable Salvadoran officer trained by the Israelis was Major Roberto D’Aubuisson, who always held a high opinion of the Israelis. It was Major D’Aubuisson who ordered the assassination of El Salvador’s archbishop amongst thousands of other murders.
Later he would organise the right-wing National Republican Alliance Party (ARENA) and send his son to study abroad in the relative safety of Israel.
Amazingly, while the Israelis were training the El Salvadoran death squads they were also supporting the anti-semitic Argentine military government of the late 1970s and early 1980s – at a time when that government was involved_in another “dirty war” of death squads and disappearances.
In 1978, Nicaragua’s dictator Somoza was making his last stand against a general uprising of the Sandinista-led population who were sick of his family’s dynasty which had ruled and monopolised the county for half a century. The Israelis and the US had been supplying Somoza with weapons for years. But when President Jimmy Carter came into office in 1976 he ordered a cessation of all US military assistance to Nicaragua.
Filling the void, the Israelis immediately increased their weapons supplies to Somoza until he fled the country when the Sandinistas took power.
Israeli operatives then helped train right-wing Nicaraguan Contras in Honduran and Costa Rican camps to fight the Sandinista government, according to Colombian police intelligence reports Aljazeera_has obtained.
At least some of the same Israeli operatives had also previously trained the nucleus of the paramilitary organisations that would become the AUC in Colombia.
But by far the bloodiest case of Israeli involvement in Latin America was its involvement in Guatemala from the 1970s to the 1990s. As in El Salvador, a civil war pitted a populist but, in this case, mainly Indian left against a mainly European oligarchy protected by a brutal Mestizo Army.
As Guatemalan President Carlos Arana said in 1971, “If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.”
The Israelis supplied Guatemala with Galil rifles, and built an ammunition factory for them, as well as supplying armoured personnel carriers and Arava planes. Behind the scenes, they were actively involved in the bloodiest counter-insurgency campaign the hemisphere has known since the European conquest, in which at least 200,000 (mostly Indians) were killed.
Like Israel’s original occupation of Palestine, several entire Guatemalan Indian villages were razed and a million people displaced. “The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea. If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea,” said Guatemalan President Rios Montt in 1982.
Guatemalan army officers credit Israeli support with turning the tide against the uprising, not only in the countryside where Israeli counter-insurgency techniques and assistance set up strategic-hamlet-like “development poles” along the lines of the Israeli kibbutz, but also in the cities where “Israeli communication technicians and instructors” working through then-sophisticated computers were able to locate and then decimate guerrillas and their supporters in Guatemala City in 1981.
From the late 1970s until the 1990s, the US could not overtly support the Guatemalan army because of its horrendous human rights record (although there was some covert support), but many in the US government, especially in the CIA, supported Israel in taking up the slack.
But the US grew to regret its actions. On 10 March 1999, US President Bill Clinton issued an apology for US involvement in the war: The “United States… support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression…was wrong.” No similar statement has ever been forthcoming from the Israelis.
At the present time, the only major insurgency war in Latin America is in Colombia, where Israel has an overt involvement.
Besides the dozen or so Kfir IAI C-7 jet fighters they have sold the Colombian government, and the Galil rifles produced in Bogota under licence, most of the Israeli ties to the government’s counter-insurgency war are closely-guarded secrets.
Aljazeera’s attempts to obtain clarification on these and other issues for this story were stonewalled by the Israeli embassy in Washington.
Why does Israel continue to provide arms and expertise to the pariahs of the world? Clearly, part of the reason is the revenues produced by arms sales, and part of it has do with keeping up with trends in counter-insurgent war across the globe.
But another factor is what is demanded of Israel by the world’s only superpower, the US, in partial exchange for the superpower’s continued support for Israeli dominance in the Middle East. Assistance
This relationship can be best illustrated by recently declassified 1983 US government documents obtained by the Washington, DC-based National Security Archives through the Freedom of Information Act.
One such declassified document is a 1983 memo from the notorious Colonel Oliver North of the Reagan Administration’s National Security Council and reads: “As discussed with you yesterday, I asked CIA, Defense, and State to suggest practical assistance which the Israelis might offer in Guatemala and El Salvador.”
Another document, this time a 1983 cable from the US Ambassador in Guatemala to Washington Frederic Chapin shows the money trail.
He says that at a time when the US did not want to be seen directly assisting Guatemala, “we have reason to believe that our good friends the Israelis are prepared, or already have, offered substantial amounts of military equipment to the GOG (Government of Guatemala) on credit terms up to 20 years…(I pass over the importance of making huge concessionary loans to Israel so that it can make term loans in our own backyard).”
In other words, during civil wars in which the US does not want to be seen getting its hands dirty in Latin America, the superpower loans Israel money at a very good rate, and then Israel uses these funds to do the “dirty work”. In this regard, in Latin America at least, Israel has become the hit-man for the US. Source
Israel Trains Other Undemocratic, Abusive Regimes
For years, Israeli military expertise has been shared with other abusive undemocratic regimes across the globe. In the 1980s, Israeli security forces trained a Honduran military intelligence unit, Battalion 316, that disappeared, tortured and killed Honduran citizens. Israel also trained members of the South African apartheid regime’s Inkatha hit squads that targeted ANC leaders. US aid to Israel, then, has led to the support of regimes that US taxpayers perhaps would not have otherwise aided. Source
lsrael’s ties with South Africa seem to be especially disturbing to many who follow Israel’s international activities. Perhaps it is natural that Israel has been castigated more harshly for its arms sales to South Africa than for its sales to other countries: first, because there has been for a decade an arms embargo against South Africa; and second, because of the unsurpassed criminality of the white regime and the uses to which it puts the Israeli-supplied weapons.
Israel has also been involved with the Mozambican “contras,” the South African-backed MNR (Mozambique National Resistance or “Renamo”), which has brought great economic and social distress to Mozambique. Renamo has a particular reputation for ideological incoherence, being regarded by most other right-wing insurgencies as a gang of cutthroats. For several years there have been stories coming from Southern Africa of captured mercenaries of Renamo who say they were trained in neighboring Malawi-one of the four nations to maintain relations with Israel after the Organization of African Unity (OAU) declared a diplomatic embargo in 1973-by Israelis. And more than one report has told of “substantial Israeli aid” to the MNR, thought to have been funded by the CIA and Saudi Arabia as well as South Africa and former Portuguese nationalists. Source
May Day Protests around the World
May 1 2010 Trade union members march in May Day celebrations in downtown Kiev on Saturday. About 4,000 people rallied in Ukraine’s capital.(Sergei Chuzavkov/Associated Press)
Millions of people marched in cities around the world Saturday to mark May Day, or International Workers’ Day, as they rallied for better work conditions, higher wages and laws that are more just.
Demonstrators poured into the streets from Hong Kong to Moscow to Santiago, Chile, waving flags, beating drums and dancing to music.
About 140,000 jubilant workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since dozens of people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.
The Istanbul demonstrations marked a special victory for Turkish unions, which had been denied access to Taksim Square since 1977, when 34 people died after a shooting triggered a stampede. The culprits were never found and workers on Saturday demanded an inquiry into the demonstrators’ deaths.
‘I reject the five per cent increase,’ says a La Paz demonstrator’s sign denouncing the size of Bolivia’s proposed minimum-wage increase. (Juan Karita/Associated Press)
Thousands joined peaceful May Day marches in Stockholm, where opposition leader Mona Sahlin blamed the centre-right government for failing to stem rising unemployment and eroding the nation’s cherished welfare system. Sahlin is hoping to become Sweden’s first female prime minister after national elections in September.
In Manila, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced she had ordered the labour secretary to speed up negotiations between unions and employers on a $1.70 increase in the daily minimum wage.
In Toronto, a few thousand demonstrators pressed for reforms to make it easier for refugees to seek haven in Canada and for immigrants to come to the country.
In Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!” Rally organizer Bayu Ajie said a free-trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to create safer working conditions and improve job prospects if the workers maintained political and economic stability.
Kasparov leads rally
France saw rallies that drew hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Paris, Marseille, Lille and other cities, but the turnout nevertheless disappointed labour unions that had been hoping for crowds in the millions to provide a show of force against a planned pension overhaul.
A rare opposition march took place in Moscow, where former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, now an opposition politician, led activists calling for the ouster of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of stifling democracy.
In La Paz, the Bolivian capital, marchers carried signs denouncing the government’s proposed five per cent hike in the minimum wage as too paltry.
About 1,000 protesters — among them bus drivers and janitors — took to the streets in Hong Kong to demand that the government enact a minimum wage of the equivalent of $4.35 an hour. Though the Chinese territory has some of the richest residents in the world, its wealth is too unevenly distributed, advocates say.
People participate in a May Day protest in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Edgar Romero/Associated Press)
Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in Santiago, clashes broke out with police, who launched tear gas and deployed a water cannon against demonstrators.
Athens also witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large rally against austerity measures imposed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece.
In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.
German police detained 250 neo-Nazis who attempted to attack them in downtown Berlin.
The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities asserted the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s Communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights. A smiling President Raul Castro watched the rally go past from a high podium. Source
May Day turns violent in Berlin
May 2 2010
Riot police made targeted arrests during clashes on May Day demonstrations in Berlin.
May Day demonstrations have turned violent after police battle rioters in two German cities, using water cannons to drive back crowds of protestors.
In the capital Berlin, police tried to disperse hundreds of left-wing protesters in the west of the German capital late Saturday, as they set cars on fire and demolished police vehicles.
The eastern side of the city also saw clashes between anti-Nazi demonstrators and right-wingers.
In the port city of Hamburg, some 1,500 leftist radicals held a parade that continued into the early hours of Sunday. Police said the protestors vandalized banks, overturned parked cars and set them on fire.
It has become a ritual for leftists and rightists to engage in violent clashes with police and storm banks and shops on the May Day for more than a decade in Berlin and Hamburg.
Some 7,000 riot police were deployed to keep the two groups apart. Nearly 20 people were injured in those clashes. Police said they have made more than 250 arrests.
Last year’s May Day in Berlin was the most violent in a decade with hundreds of arrests and dozens of police officers injured. More than 400 cars were set ablaze in Berlin and Hamburg.
May Days have traditionally been an opportunity for workers and the left in general, to let off steam.
In many countries, it is synonymous with International Workers’ Day or Labor Day, a day of political demonstrations and celebrations organized by unions and other groups. Source
May Day marked with global protests
Turks mark first May Day in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in 33 years [AFP]
Tens of thousands of people have marched in cities from Hong Kong to Istanbul to mark International Worker’s Day, demanding more jobs, better work conditions and higher wages.
In Turkey, about 140,000 workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since 34 people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.
The demonstration was a special victory for Turkish labour unions, which had been denied access to the site since 1977, after a shooting triggered a stampede.
Aydin Demir, a 44-year-old kiosk owner, said labourers had won a 33-year-long struggle for their right to rally at the square.
“We paid a heavy price to be here today. Thousands of comrades have been arrested, but now we get the result of our struggle,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught, reporting from Taksim Square, said that in the past, trade unions who tried to hold rallies there in defiance of the ban met with a heavy police crackdown which left dozens injured and hundreds in detention.
“Then human rights and especially workers rights were crushed for years in Turkey,” McNaught said.
“Over a series of years, particularly the last three, the unions have steadily pushed and pushed to be reallowed access to back to this square.
“They have said there is no good reason not to allow them back and this year, the government agreed.”
More than 22,000 police officers were deployed for the rally and demonstrators went through security checks before entering the square.
Zafer Yoruk, a professor of political science at Izmir University, said the number of workers organised in Turkish unions has fallen dramatically since the 1970s.
“Regarding unionisation and economic rights, I think we’re far behind the 1970s,” he told Al Jazeera.
“The right to strike, for rights, or solidarity strikes, are totally gone.”
Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in the Chinese territory of Macau police used water cannon and pepper spray against rowdy protesters, injuring at least eight people, including a photographer.
Clashes broke out in a number of countries as workers staged rallies [AFP]
Hundreds of thousands of people joined rallies in Europe, many protesting against government austerity policies in the wake of the global financial crisis.
In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannon in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.
In Germany, police said 17 officers had been injured when they clashed with 150 demonstrators who threw paving stones and set garbage cans ablaze in the northern port city of Hamburg.
At least nine demonstrators were detained after the confrontations with police on the eve of Saturday’s May Day holiday, the German news agency DDP reported.
Several hundred officers were deployed in the capital, Berlin, ahead of a planned neo-Nazi march and other demonstrations.
The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities claimed the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights.
In Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!”
Workers took to the streets to protest labour conditions and demand better pay [Reuters]
Bayu Ajie, a rally organiser, said a free-trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption.
In Russia almost two million people turned out to mark international worker’s day.
Demonstrators carrying red balloons, red Soviet flags and portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, called for the Russian government’s resignation over rising prices and unemployment in Moscow.
Thousands of Cambodian workers marked May Day by marching through the capital to demand better work conditions and the establishment of a labour court.
Thousands of workers in the Philippines also took to the streets to reiterate their call to the government to protect jobs and to safeguard the interests of workers.
In the South Korean capital, Seoul, about 20,000 people gathered to demand better working conditions for labourers and farmers.
In Tokyo and Taiwan, thousands marched for better working conditions and permanent jobs.
In Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, several hundred workers protested a proposed four per cent goods and services tax. While, in Hong Kong, about 1,000 protesters, including janitors, construction workers and bus drivers, demanded the government introduce a minimum wage of $4.30.
“A lunch box at a fast-food restaurant costs about $4. It’s an insult if you can’t afford a lunch box after working for an hour,” Leung Yiu-chung, a pro-democracy legislator, said on the sidelines of Saturday’s protests. Source
Workers demand better jobs, pay on May Day
Indonesian workers shout slogans during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday (AP photo by Dita Alangkara)
STANBUL (AP) – Tens of thousands of workers marched in cities from Hong Kong to Istanbul Saturday to mark international worker’s day, demanding more jobs, better work conditions and higher wages.
About 140,000 jubilant workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since dozens of people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.
The demonstrations in Istanbul, which sits on both European and Asian continents, marked a special victory for the Turkish unions, which had been denied access to the Taksim Square since 1977, when 34 people died after shooting triggered a stampede. The culprits were never found and workers demanded Saturday an inquiry into the deaths of the demonstrators.
Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in the Chinese territory of Macau police used water cannons and pepper spray against rowdy protesters who tried to break away from the approved route. Hong Kong radio RTHK reported at least eight people injured, including a photographer.
Athens also witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large May Day rally against austerity measures needed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece. In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.
German police detained 250 neo-Nazis who attempted to attack them in downtown Berlin, while they braced for further clashes after sundown.
Nadine Pusch, a spokeswoman for Berlin police, said 7,000 officers were scattered throughout the city in an effort to ensure peaceful demonstrations.
Overnight in Hamburg, 17 officers were injured in clashes on the eve of May 1 and at least nine demonstrators were detained, the German news agency ddp reported Saturday.
The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities claimed the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights.
Thousands joined peaceful May Day marches in Stockholm, where opposition leader Mona Sahlin blamed the centre-right government for failing to stem rising unemployment and eroding the nation’s cherished welfare system. Sahlin is hoping to become Sweden’s first female prime minister after national elections in September.
Several thousand demonstrators in Paris also took to the streets amid concerns about conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to overhaul the pension system.
In Manila, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced she had ordered the labour secretary to speed up negotiations between unions and employers on a 75-peso ($1.67) increase in daily minimum wage.
In Indonesia’s capital, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!”. Rally organiser Bayu Ajie said a free trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to create safer working conditions and improve job prospects if the workers maintained political and economic stability.
Thousands of Communist demonstrators, carrying red balloons, red Soviet flags and portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, called for the Russian government’s resignation over rising prices and unemployment in Moscow. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov led hundreds of opposition activists in a separate rally. They also called for the ouster of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of stamping out democracy. A few thousands also rallied in Ukraine’s capital.
In Seoul, South Korea, Tokyo and Taiwan, thousands marched for better working conditions and permanent jobs. Jeong Ho-hee, spokesman of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union, vowed to fight against long working hours and high death rate related to industrial accidents.
In the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, several hundred workers protested a proposed 4 per cent goods and services tax while about 1,000 protesters, including janitors, construction workers and bus drivers, demanded the government in Hong Kong to introduce a minimum wage of 33 Hong Kong dollars ($4.30).
This freewheeling capitalist Chinese enclave is one of the world’s wealthiest cities, but critics say its wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few.
“A lunch box at a fast-food restaurant costs about HK$30 ($4). It’s an insult if you can’t afford a lunch box after working for an hour,” pro-democracy legislator Leung Yiu-chung said on the sidelines of Saturday’s protests. Source
An exclusive interview with one of Europe’s most well-known political prisoners
By Kourosh Ziabari
April 30, 2010
Ernst Zundel is a German author and historian who has spent seven years of his life behind bars as a result of expressing his controversial viewpoints and opinions. He is a revisionist who has denied the Holocaust as described by most historians. He has been one of the most prominent political prisoners in Europe and has been jailed in three countries on two continents.
After his arrest in the U.S. in 2003, he was deported to Canada, where he was kept in prison as “a threat to the national security” for two years. After deportation to Germany in March 2005, he was convicted and sentenced in 2007 to five additional years of imprisonment on charges of holocaust denial. He was finally released on March 1, 2010.
This is the first interview Ernst Zundel has given since his release.
Firstly, I would like to extend my congratulations on your recent release. Were you ever mistreated or subject to any type of mental or physical punishment in breach of international conventions?
Ernst Zundel in a courtroom in Mannheim, Germany on November 8, 2005 (Michael Probst/AP)
My entire treatment these past seven years by those arresting me, trying and convicting me, and keeping me in prison has been in brutal breach of international conventions. I was arrested in broad daylight on American soil by officials of the U.S. government who acted as hit squads for a nefarious lobby. There was no arrest warrant. I was not read my rights. I was whisked away in handcuffs without being allowed to get my wallet, to call my attorney, to be allowed to make my case before an American Immigration Judge or even hug my wife goodbye.
I was incarcerated in six different prisons on two continents in three countries—the USA, Canada, and Germany—without relief of any kind. In effect, I have had 10 percent of my life stolen from me – and for what “crime”? For having “overstayed my U.S. visa”?
Throughout my imprisonment, basic human rights principles were trampled underfoot repeatedly and with impunity. The worst prisons were the Canadian detention centers at Thorold, Ontario and at Toronto West, where I was held for two long years in isolation cells, ice-cold in the winter, no shoes or socks allowed. The electric light in these cells, bright enough to be able to read, was kept on 24 hours a day. Through a glass slot in the door I was checked every 20 minutes, and my activities were meticulously noted by the guards: one sheet for every day. No dignity, no privacy. My toothbrush was kept in a plastic bin in a hall. I was not allowed to speak to other prisoners. Bed sheets were changed only after three months. No pillows. No chairs. When I wrote to my wife or to my attorneys, I had to sit on a makeshift pile of my court transcripts. No radio, no television, not even an electrical outlet to sharpen my pencils. No ball point pens, only pencil stubs, cut in half with a saw. No spoons, forks, or knives were permitted; only a white plastic spoon with a fork called a “spork” that had to be returned every time at the end of the meal. With very few exceptions when furtive guards showed me some kindness away from the surveillance cameras, I was treated as though I was the worst of criminals. That’s Canada for you, where I have lived and worked without a criminal record for more than 40 years.
It was somewhat better, but not much, in the United States. In Germany, it was quite a bit better in terms of the basic necessities, but personal mail was routinely withheld – 1,700 letters for up to five years – even after I forced a court to order that it be given to me. My so-called trial in Mannheim was a political show trial in the Stalinist mode in that my guilt was a foregone conclusion. I requested that exculpatory exhibits be allowed as validation for what I believed and had written and said. No meaningful defense was allowed. I could not put on record any forensic evidence, any historical documents, or even expert witnesses, That very request to be allowed to offer evidence was held to be a new offense of criminal behavior and could have resulted in new criminal charges – as were, in fact, lodged against my lawyers during that very trial who tried to overcome these restrictions.
Along with the rest of EU members, Germany regularly criticizes other countries for violations of free speech and human rights. However, your case demonstrated the emptiness of such claims within Europe. What’s your take on that? Is Europe really a utopia of liberty and freedom of speech?
Most European countries have only selected free speech for officially approved and sanctioned views on history. Almost all EU countries have laws in place that restrict freedom of speech under the guise of one fig leaf or other, such as the prevention of racist or neo-Nazi activities. The state decides selectively who is and what is racist. These laws are hypocritical, in Germany’s case superseding even their own Basic Law.
Dissidents are allowed very little opportunity to be read or heard in the mainstream corporate media channels of the West. The control mechanisms of the press are many, often subtle but widely understood and obeyed – fear of loss of jobs, diminished circulation, the withholding of government advertisements etc. There is no longer unrestricted freedom in any Western country, not even in the U.S. with its wonderful Constitution and Amendments such as the Bill of Rights.
Allow me here to point out to your readers the outline of a censorship practice known by its neutral term “rendition”, but more honestly defined as political kidnappings to force the silencing of dissident speech or alternate thoughts. Renditions in the West are ever more frequently practiced not only against alleged “terrorist suspects” but against ordinary political activists and writers whose viewpoints are frowned upon by such outfits as AIPAC and similar Zionist lobby and interest groups, B’nai Brith, the Canadian Jewish Congress etc.
In order to spell out what I can only describe to you in broad strokes, I’d like to briefly shed light on the period preceding my arrest in the U.S. and Canada, the conniving and the similarity in other cases like mine, where an innocuous or alleged infraction is used as a fig leaf to silence a political opponent.
Viet Dinh, a Georgetown University law professor and director of their Asian Law and Policy Studies Program who helped craft the Patriot Act, put it succinctly, as reported in an American publication called Wired that deals with freedom of speech on the net. That interview reads:
Wired News: An estimated 5,000 people have been subjected to detention since 9/11. Of those, only five — three noncitizens and two citizens — were charged with terrorism-related crimes and one was convicted. How do we justify such broad-sweeping legislation that has resulted in very few terrorist-related convictions?
Dinh: I’ve heard the 5,000 number. The official numbers released from the Department of Justice indicate approximately 500 persons have been charged with immigration violations and have been deported who have been of interest to the 9/11 investigation.
It may well be that a number of citizens were not charged with terrorism-related crimes, but they need not be. Where the department has suspected people of terrorism, it will prosecute those persons for other violations of law, rather than wait for a terrorist conspiracy to fully develop and risk the potential that that conspiracy will be missed and thereby sacrificing innocent American lives in the process.
This is exactly what happened to me. The initial reason given was an alleged immigration infraction – namely a “visa overstay”. I was no terrorist; I was a dissident writer. My political detractors knew perfectly well that I was in America legally, awaiting adjustment of status due to my marriage to an American citizen. I was in Immigration Adjustment of Status proceedings, meticulously following all the prerequisite steps. I was living openly in a rural area in Tennessee and was listed by address in the local telephone book. The U.S. government had given me a Social Security number, a work permit, a document that allowed me to leave the country and return unmolested. I had undergone and passed an FBI check and a health clearance. The only last step missing was a personal interview by an immigration official to ascertain a valid marriage to my American citizen wife.
We had been notified in writing that this interview could take as long as three years, and that no status report would be given. We were patiently waiting for that last step, a routine interview with an immigration official. Our immigration attorney had requested such an interview in writing – twice! Under oath, he testified that he had written those letters. These letters have mysteriously disappeared from our immigration file. When I was arrested, it was claimed that I had negligently “missed a hearing” which gave them grounds for an arrest due to a visa overstay. In other words, a simple bureaucratic loophole was found or fabricated that has cost me seven years of my life.
What happened to me in the context of a deliberate state policy of deception has also happened to others. Similar ruses via false accusations were used in cases like Germar Rudolf, likefwise married to an American citizen, El Masri of Germany, Maher Arar of Canada, Gerd Honsik of Spain, Siegfried Verbeke of Belgium, David Irving, and now Bishop Williamson of England, to name only a few individuals who were caught between the grind stones of a criminal policy possible only under the Patriot Act in the U.S. and similar legal instruments in other countries. Embedded in that background of a widespread covert policy and practice to force political conformity, my case makes eminent sense. We are no longer dealing with an aberration. These extrajudicial renditions give 9/11 and the Patriot Act a new light as a global policy instrument of brutal censorship of unpopular thinkers and writers.
The thrust of a prestigious publication such as yours would normally deal with the policies of foreign governments, renditions, kidnappings, and incarcerations not only of foreign enemies but, as in the case of Vanunu, an Israeli-born- and-raised atomic scientist. He was no neo-Nazi, no racist, no Holocaust Denier, yet he was relentlessly pursued by the Mossad and ultimately kidnapped and jailed for 18 years.
The patterns of the breaking of international law and conventions, the use of false identities, and the brazen practice of breaking and entering by spy and intelligence agencies, etc. – these criminal activities are daily in the news. This sets the stage and makes my case a logical progression of an old, established policy, with this one difference: we are no longer talking about hunting and kidnapping alleged “Nazi war criminals” like Eichmann or stone-throwing Palestinians or even “Arab terrorists”, but instead the targeting of writers and other political dissidents in Western countries calling themselves “democracies”.
My story does not even end there. In my case, my “Holocaust Denier” profile was convenient, but passé. It was not even, as is so commonly and falsely claimed, “Denial of the Holocaust” or even more bizarre, my “visa overstay”! I was told what actually happened by a friend of ours with high-level UN connections. In his own words: “It was the Blue Booklet that did it! That’s when it was decided at the very highest level to take you out for good!”
Here is what happened, briefly: In the early months post-9/11 my wife, an avid Internetter, discovered a compelling research document entitled Stranger than Fiction: An Independent Investigation of 9/11 and the War on Terrorism by Anonymous, 11-11-2. She gave it to me over breakfast. I read it, found it interesting, and ran a few copies off on my printer for people on my mailing list. I did not write that lavishly footnoted paper. I did not research it. I merely copied it. Somebody must have concluded that I, with my background of thorough forensic investigations in other areas, showed more than ordinary interest in 9/11 as a potential political false flag common in intelligence agency operations!
During my trial in Mannheim, ostensibly for “Holocaust Denial”, portions of my monthly newsletter, where I mentioned this booklet and the 9/11 topic, were referenced by the prosecution as criminal offenses. Only after it became clear that I welcomed the opportunity to have my attorneys present forensic evidence of a potential 9/11 cover-up were those portions of the accusation against me hastily dropped, and my trial became a “Holocaust Denial” show trial in the traditional Stalinist mode, “… accuse wildly but don’t allow a defense!”
As we later found out through various freedom of information requests in various countries, there was in place for years a deliberate, convoluted plan to arrest and detain me under false pretenses so as to take me out and put me behind bars.
I mention this only as an overarching, logical example as to how diabolically clever my political opponents are in using the accusation of “Holocaust Denial” and persecution of Holocaust Revisionists as arrows in their arsenal of weaponry to shore up, consolidate, and protect their deceptively acquired power and influence.
What’s the reality behind Holocaust? Didn’t it happen at all? What about people such as Elie Wiesel, Thomas Blatt, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Leopold Engleitner who are Holocaust survivors and describe their own accounts of those painful days, when they personally witnessed the heart-rending demise of their parents in concentration camps and bone-crushing machines. How should we resolve these contradictions?
I will not answer this question. I would risk five more years in jail if I answered these questions honestly and truthfully. However, in the age of the Internet, others less known than I am find ways to simplify a painful, multifaceted problem, as the cartoon below makes plain:
“Prevent Holocaust: BOMB IRAN” by Carlos Latuff
Many people of other countries have come to the categorical conclusion that the Western world is a beacon of liberty and unrestricted freedom of speech. But it sometimes seems that the reality is something else, and that people can be easily prosecuted merely for publishing views that are disliked. The booklet you published, Did Six Million Really Die?, is an example. What do you think?
Here is just one more example of what I already outlined above: We have faxes and other documents that prove on official embassy letterhead that the much vaunted and propagandized U.S. Judiciary has run interference for these kidnappers and renditioners via behind-the-scenes ex parte communication, thus engaging in a cover-up and whitewash worse than the ones practiced by those the U.S. government always blames for human rights violations in their hypocritical press campaigns, like against China in Tibet, Lukashenko in Belarus, Putin in Moscow and, of course, Iran during the recent so-called Green Revolution.
Many Zionist websites have introduced you as a white supremacist. Is that a fair characterization?
This claim is a convenient character assassination technique. I have never been a white supremacist and have stated so for decades, publicly, in countless interviews, newsletters, speeches, broadcasts, etc. It is my opponents’ modus operandi to broad-brush complex issues by politically expedient demonization.
You’re opposed to the regime of Israel because of its discriminatory and atrocious approach against the nation of Palestine. You consider yourself a pacifist who advocates stability and peace; aren’t these beliefs incompatible with your viewpoint regarding Hitler, who is internationally considered to be a notorious dictator and relentless killer? How can your peace-seeking stance come together with your approval of Hitler?
I cannot answer this question due to legal restraints. An honest and complete answer would land me in jail as a re-offender very quickly. Implicit in your question is the toxic image of me that my detractors would like you to have. To be called a Nazi is worse than being called a leper. For decades I have been on the receiving end of just such a targeted character assassination campaign. I have been jailed many times not for advocating an ideology but for expressing a dissident, alternative viewpoint on many topics, including Adolf Hitler’s role in history. Revisionism is not an ideology. It is merely a scientific method of re-examining historical events and of trying to understand the movers and shakers who made history a footnote to their personalities.
Let me answer your question this way: I have always abhorred any kind of violence in the pursuit of political goals. By anyone! Politically, I was and am a pacifist, much in the Gandhi style. I advocate a sober, neutral look at history, including the period known as the Third Reich. The peoples of the world, regardless of what system of government they live under, owe it to themselves to emancipate themselves of the simplistic images of propaganda and deceit posing as history.
On May 1995, your Toronto residence was the target of an arson attack which resulted in $400,000 worth of damage. A few days later, some of your extremist opponents were caught trying to break into your property. Again a few days later, you received a parcel bomb which the Toronto police detonated. Have you ever tried to lodge a complaint against them? Have they ever been lawfully sentenced?
This is the flip side of some of the questions above. While I have never advocated or engaged in violence, egregious acts of violence have been repeatedly practiced on me, of which the political kidnapping in 2003 was merely the latest. As to the fire and the bomb, no, nothing was ever resolved. The police apprehended the bomb builders and senders, but the charges laid were stayed. There seems to have been no political will at the highest levels of the Canadian government. There was no political coin to be garnered by prosecuting Jewish arsonists, who even confessed to the deed.
Do you differentiate between the Zionists and Jews as the followers of a divine, monotheistic religion?
Yes, the two are totally different. Some Orthodox Jews who are united against Zionism, such as the Neturei Karta, believe that also. They know the godfathers of Communism and Zionism followed identical policies. The guiding spirit behind the two systems is the same. Neturei Karta rabbis attended the 2006 Teheran Conference sponsored by your President in an attempt to distance themselves from what they consider to be a dangerous atheist clique in the pursuit of illegal politics of conquest of which they want no part.
The mainstream corporate media, while having already vilified you, remained silent about your release. What do you think about this? Are you going to continue your ideological path or would you prefer to keep a low profile and forget about the intellectual activities?
Ironically, that was exactly what I intended to do when I moved to Tennessee and married Ingrid; keeping a low profile and turning to private endeavors such as my love for art and music. I felt that my revisionist outreach was finished, concluded to my inner satisfaction. Let others read both sides and then judge for themselves. All the arguments, all the information needed on the Holocaust is out there, on the Internet, in tens of thousands of websites, all for the taking. How often do you have to dig up an archeological site to find yet one more bone, yet one more implicating shard? My wife likes to say that you don’t have to eat a camel to know what a cutlet tastes like. I was quite ready to retire and satisfy my creative needs and desires. I could leave the political mopping-up activities for others to complete. But could my political opponents bring themselves, as rational people might have, to likewise call it quits? No; that is simply not in their nature.
As you point out so cogently, a powerful vilification campaign is still going full blast. It keeps my name in the media for people to decide for themselves who I am. Upon my release, my wife has collected thousands and thousands of letters from readers, only three of which were negative! Not a bad record, of the millions of dollars spent and millions of words dispersed in an attempt to paint me as as a devil with horns.
Let me ask you – would your prestigious publication have cared to interview me if you thought that I deserved the label of Evil Incarnate?
[Editor’s note: The views and beliefs of Ernst Zundel are his own, and not those of Foreign Policy Journal. It is the policy of FPJ to uphold the principle of freedom of speech, which means freedom to say things that others may find despicable. It is otherwise a meaningless principle. It is also the position of FPJ that both sides to a story deserve to be heard. It’s up to readers to draw their own conclusions and make their own judgments.]
Ernst Zündel: 1st holocaust-trial, Toronto, 1984/85, as seen on Canadian TV
This is a compilation of the media coverage by Canadian television of the 1st holocaust-trial of Ernst Zündel in Toronto/Canada in 1984/1985. He was defended by Douglas Christie and had as one of his main defense witnesses Prof. Robert Faurisson (France). As main witnesses on the prosecution side were Prof. Raul Hilberg (chief holocaust historian) and Rudolf Vrba (alleged witness of the gassings in Auschwitz). Ernst Zündel was found guilty by the jury, went into a kind of appeal in 1988, his 2nd holocaust-trial, with this time Fred Leuchter as one of his main witnesses (this, lost again, but was then acquitted by the Supreme Court of Canada in August 27, 1992, as the laws, which had served to sentence Zündel, were seen as unconstitutional.
This report was presented at his trial, Apparently the Polish also later tested and found the same results as Leunchter.
There are two sides to every story so in all fairness both sides should be presented.
Zundel was in jail in Germany because he questioned the facts about the Holocaust. In Germany that is illegal as it is in a few other countries.
You are not allowed to deny it or anything about it.
You just suppose to believe what your told. That is the Law.
Personally I think we all should have the right to question history.
Taking everything presented as facts from Governments or the Main stream media is not necessarily the truth.
Like 9/11 for example we all know full well the official story is filed with many flaws and the only way to find out the entire truth is to question it? We have the right to seek the truth.
There are many things about World War II Children were never taught in schools. Hence it kept them from knowing the entire truth.
World War II began in September 1st 1939.
What many do not know is that in 1933.
This caused Germany a lot of problems.
I was never taught about this in school.
So Germany’s problems were enhanced by this declaration.
What followed, did affect the economy in Germany to great extent.
This declaration of course was fostered and implemented by Zionists however, who wanted Israel to be created for them. Even then they wanted that land now called Israel.
The Zionists had been working towards this before WW I happened as well. Many Jewish communities wanted nothing to do with this course of action. Many even today do not agree with Israels creation or what they do to the Palestinians.
Of course even today the Zionist proclaim to speak for all Jews, which in fact is a bold faced lie.
We all know this however, or do we?
Anyway moving on I will give you some other sides of this story and you decide for your self what to believe.
We all have the right to decide what we do or do not believe. Just like you have the right to believe in which ever God you want to, or you have the right to not believe in any God at all. That is your right.
You have the right to believe what you want. Forcing people to beleive soemthing is just wrong.
Do we have the right to force people to believe? NO.
Everyone has the right to examine all the evidence and Judge for themselves. Just like a Judge in any court room, presiding over a trial, listens to all the evidence and then he or her decides what they believe to be the truth bases on the evidence given to them. If much of the evidence has been deliberately kept from the presiding Judge, the outcome would be a miscarriage of justice.
Video about NY Times 1933 Headlines “Judea Declares War on Germany”
After the war was over millions of innocent Germans were either enslaved or died due to starvation or illnesses related to starvation.
This of course included innocent children as well.
Funny how when I took history this was not part of the curriculum either. I think all people should know this part of history as well.
Interpol issued red notices for 16 suspects, bringing the total number in the case to 27. The notices enable arrest warrants to be circulated to other countries to help with arrests and extradition.
Also this is rather interesting.
Israeli named Yuval Tal owns Payoneer—which offers prepaid cards, mostly as a way for employers to compensate foreign workers without checks and wire transfers—had been linked to this year’s cinematically brash Hamas assassination in Dubai.
When medical examiners inspected Mabhouh’s corpse, they found an injection mark on his thigh. Toxicology tests showed that he had been dosed with succinylcholine, a paralyzing agent. The cops concluded that after sedating Mabhouh, the killers smothered him with a pillow. But by the time the results had come in, police say the suspects had fled to Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong–and possibly Iran. For the rest Go HERE
March 2 2010
Dubai’s police chief plans to seek the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of Israel’s spy agency over the killing of a Hamas leader in the emirate, Al Jazeera television reported.
Dahi Khalfan Tamim “said he would ask the Dubai prosecutor to issue arrest warrants for … Netanyahu and the head of Mossad,” the television said. It did not give details.
Tamim has said he is “almost certain” Israeli agents were involved in the killing of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a Dubai hotel in January, calling for Mossad’s boss, Meir Dagan, to be arrested if it is proved responsible. Tamim said on Monday Mossad had “insulted” Dubai and Western countries whose fraudulent passports were used by suspects in the assassination.
Dubai has asked the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into prepaid cards issued by the Meta Financial Group’s MetaBank which the suspects used, a United Arab Emirates newspaper said.
Citing an FBI source, The National newspaper said the investigation would look into any Israeli involvement in the killing.
“Thirteen of the 26 suspects used prepaid MasterCards issued by MetaBank, a regional American bank, to purchase plane tickets and book hotel rooms,” the newspaper said, quoting Dubai police.
MetaBank said it followed proper procedures when it issued the cards.
Authorities told the bank that the suspects appeared to have used stolen passports to get employment with U.S. companies, MetaBank said in a statement on Tuesday. The companies paid the employees with prepaid cards issued by MetaBank and other banks.
MetaBank said it had launched its own review of the matter, and had so far found that it followed all bank and regulatory requirements.
The suspects authorities had identified were not on any list that would indicate their identities were fraudulent, it said.
The UAE, a U.S.-allied Arab state that backs the Palestinian drive for an independent state and an end to Israeli occupation, has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
But it has established low-level political and trade links in recent years, with some Israeli officials attending events in the Gulf Arab state. Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer competed in the Dubai Championships last month.
Members of the hit squad used fraudulent passports from Britain, Ireland, Germany, France and Australia. Residents of Israel with the same names as the suspects, holding dual nationalities, have said their identities appear to have been stolen.
The passport abuse has drawn criticism from the European Union, and some of the governments involved have summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their countries to protest.
(Reporting by Tamara Walid and Firouz Sedarat; additional reporting by Dan Wilchins in New York; editing by Andrew Roche)
They should be also checking those U.S. companies the frauds/assassins had a job with.
I wonder who owns the places they were employed. Are those places even real or were they as fake as the passports?
I sure would like to know.
To get a job they would also need a work visa from the US as well.
A bit more information I came across today March 5 2010
Also, why was not a single agent out of the 27 identified to be holders of foreign passports a US passport holder?
Israel has a large number of dual-national Jewish-Americans living in the country, many of whom serve in the Israeli military and various government related jobs. Was this deliberate so as not to draw the wrath of the United States? Or was it simply that this operation was coordinated with the CIA?
The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and numerous foreign press outlets have reported that two men linked to the assassination of al-Mabhouh entered the U.S. on specific dates after the killing. According to the reports, someone using an Irish passport with the name Evan Dennings entered the U.S. on Jan. 21, and someone using a British passport with the name Roy Allan Cannon entered the U.S. on Feb. 14.
A sayan in the US?
According to Dubai’s Chief of Police, the MasterCards used by some of the assassins were branded by US-based Meta Bank, but issued by another small company called Payoneer. The company specializes in prepaid debit cards that can be used as credit card alternatives for online shoppers. Payoneer, which is registered in the US, has most of its employees based in Petah Tikva, Israel and is headed by Yuval Tal, who in a 2006 Fox News interview was identified as a former member of the Israeli Special Forces. Is there a relationship between Mr. Tal and the Mossad?
Many of these questions can be easily answered by the US government, but then again the term sayan has a much broader meaning when it comes to Israel and the United States. Source
Update February 25 2010: Apparently there were also a few more people involved. Some used Australian passports.
Mounting diplomatic fury over the killing of a top Hamas commander in a Dubai hotel reached Australia on Thursday, with Israel’s ambassador summoned over the use of Australian passports by a suspected assassination squad.
Dubai authorities have now identified 26 people suspected of involvement in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, with three using forged Australian passports named among 15 new suspects, most of them Europeans.
“Any state that has been complicit in use or abuse of the Australian passport system, let alone for the conduct of an assassination, is treating Australia with contempt and there will therefore be action by the Australian government in response,” said Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, without elaborating.
Report: PM approved Dubai assassination in early January
February 23 2010
By Yossi Melman, Ofer Aderet, Liel Kyzer, Barak Ravid and Avi Issacharoff
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized in early January the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, according to a report published in the Sunday Times.
Based on information obtained from “sources with knowledge of Mossad,” the paper reported that Netanyahu gave Mossad chief Meir Dagan the green light for the Dubai operation during a meeting at the Midrasha – the intelligence agency’s headquarters, in the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv.
The sources also said that the Mossad hit squad trained for the Dubai mission by secretly rehearsing in a Tel Aviv hotel.
Netanyahu reportedly told the Mossad agents, “The people of Israel count on you. Good luck.”
Meanwhile, Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim said that an internal Hamas source leaked information to Mabhouh’s assassins that led to his killing, Israel Radio reported.
Speaking to Persian newspaper Gulf News, Tamim said that the aide, whose identity was not revealed, was the only person who knew about Mabhouh’s visit to the emirate.
Meanwhile, Hamas on Saturday again blamed Israel again for the hit. At a press conference, Salah al-Bardawil, one of the group’s Gaza-based leaders, said he does not suspect that the Palestinian Authority was involved in the killing and that the entire affair was the responsibility of Mossad.
However, the Hamas official said the two Palestinians arrested in Dubai in connection with the killing are former officers in the Palestinian security services, and were employed by a firm owned by a senior member of rival Fatah.
The London-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported that this company is owned by Mohammed Dahlan, formerly a Fatah strongman in the Gaza Strip before its takeover by Hamas two and a half years ago.
Bardawil also said that Mabhouh had put himself at risk by booking his trip through the Internet and risked a security breach by telling his family in Gaza by telephone which hotel he would be staying at.
Also Saturday, the daily newspaper Al-Bayan reported that Dubai police had new evidence implicating the Mossad in Mabhouh’s assassination, which included credit-card payments and suspects’ phone records.
“Dubai police have information confirming that the suspects purchased travel tickets from companies in other countries with credit cards carrying the same names we have publicized [from the passports],” Al-Bayan quoted Dubai police chief Tamim as saying.
Interpol has put 11 people suspected in the slaying of a Hamas militant leader in Dubai on its most-wanted list as Dubai police stepped up their accusations against Israel’s Mossad spy agency for the murder.
The international police agency said it has issued red notices, its highest-level alert, to its member countries worldwide for “11 internationally wanted individuals who have been charged by UAE-Dubai authorities with coordinating and committing the murder.”
Interpol says it was acting on the request of Dubai authorities and that it believes the suspects used false passports.
Interpol issued the notices – which include photographs – “to limit the ability of accused murderers from traveling freely using the same false passports.”
Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s body was found Jan. 20 in his hotel room.
Meanwhile, Dubai Police Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim was quoted as saying he was “99 percent, if not 100 percent” certain that Mossad was behind last month’s slaying of al-Mabhouh in a luxury hotel room in Dubai.
Israel insists there is no evidence that Mossad agents were involved.
The comments – which appeared on the Web site of UAE daily The National – came as international pressure mounted for Israel to answer questions about possible links to the killing.
The investigation also widened to the United States. Emirates authorities said the alleged killers used fraudulent passports to open credit cards accounts through U.S.-based banks, an official said.
“Our investigations reveal that Mossad is involved in the murder of al-Mabhouh,” Tamim was quoted as saying by The National, which is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.
He told another local paper, Dubai-based Gulf News, that: “All elements strongly indicate the involvement of the Mossad.”
Tamim and other Dubai police officials could not be immediately reached for further comment. Israel government spokesman Mark Regev also had no comment.
The international fallout from the murder in a Dubai hotel room showed no signs of easing, with Britain and Ireland summoning Israeli ambassadors Thursday for talks about the case following allegations that European passports were used by the alleged team of assassins.
A UAE official, who has close knowledge of the investigation, said at least 18 people – including two women – are now suspected in what Dubai police describe as a highly coordinated operation to kill al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas’ military wing.
Ten of the men and one woman were identified by Dubai police Monday as members of the group that traveled to Dubai on apparently fraudulent passports – six from Britain, three from Ireland and one each from Germany and France.
Britain has said it will investigate how some of the suspects came to have British passports – and how they might have been produced.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said one of the nation’s top diplomats, Peter Ricketts, “explained the concern we have for British passport holders in Israel” during the meeting with Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor.
“He made clear that we wanted to give Israel every opportunity to share with us what it knows about this incident, and we hope and expect that they will cooperate fully with the investigation,” he said, adding he would raise the issue with Israel’s foreign minister when they meet in Brussels in the coming days.
Prosor told journalists he was not able to add additional information to Britain’s request.
Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, Zion Evrony, said he had nothing useful to tell Ireland because he knew nothing confidential about the Dubai assassination.
Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin has said the three Irish passports did have valid numbers but were issued to people with different names than those made public by Dubai.
He said the Foreign Ministry had contacted two people with the same passport numbers and found they had not lost their passports or had any stolen. The assassins apparently had access to pre-2005 passports that lacked biometric information, Martin said.
Also linked to the slaying are two Palestinians in Dubai custody and five others, including one woman who was caught on video surveillance at the luxury hotel where al-Mabhouh’s body was found Jan. 20, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with standing policies.
Dubai authorities have released extensive footage from surveillance cameras that allegedly shows the movements of a professional 11-person assassination team in the hours before and after a top Hamas leader was killed last month in a hotel room.
Hamas has accused Israel of carrying out the killing, and Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan said that Mossad, Israel’s infamous spy and dirty tricks agency, was one suspect.
“I don’t exclude any party that has an interest in the assassination,” Mr. Khalfan said. “There were seven or more people holding passports from different European countries” in the group suspected of killing Mr. al-Mabhouh, he said.
This is not a new phenomenon as this has been done many times, among other assassinations and terrorist acts by Israel.
Mishal came to power largely as the result of a botched assassination attempt by seven Mossad agents in September 1997. Mossad used Canadian passports, some forged and some stolen from a Canadian embassy.
This is unbelievable. All of the countries are also violating International Laws as well.
Hamas has little to nothing in comparison to Israel.
The difference is staggering.
Shame on those who supply grossly, massive, amounts of Weapons of Mass Destruction to Israel.
Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza Fueling Conflict
Both Israel and Hamas used weapons supplied from abroad to carry out attacks on civilians. This briefing contains fresh evidence on the munitions used during the three-week conflict in Gaza and southern Israel and includes information on the supplies of arms to all parties to the conflict. It explains why Amnesty International is calling for a cessation of arms supplies to the parties to the conflict and calling on the United Nations to impose a comprehensive arms embargo.
With fragile ceasefires now in place in Gaza and southern Israel, the full extent of the devastation caused in recent weeks is becoming increasingly clear. Amnesty International researchers visiting Gaza and southern Israel during and after the fighting found evidence of war crimes and other serious violations of international law by all parties to the conflict.
In the three weeks following the start of the Israeli military offensive on 27 December, Israeli forces killed more than 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza, including more than 300 children and many other civilians, and injured over 5,000 other Palestinians, again including many civilians. Israeli forces also destroyed thousands of homes and other property and caused significant damage to the infrastructure of Gaza, causing a worsening of the humanitarian crisis arising from the 18-month blockade maintained by Israel. Some of the Israeli bombardments and other attacks were directed at civilians or civilian buildings in the Gaza Strip; others were disproportionate or indiscriminate. Amnesty International has found indisputable evidence that Israeli forces used white phosphorus, which has a highly incendiary effect, in densely populated residential areas in Gaza, putting the Palestinian civilian population at high risk. Israeli forces’ use of artillery and other non-precision weapons in densely-populated residential areas increased the risk, and the harm done, to the civilian population.
During the same period, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups continued to fire indiscriminate rockets into residential areas of southern Israel, killing three civilians.
Direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks are war crimes.
Amnesty International is calling on the United Nations, and the Security Council (SC) in particular, to establish an immediate independent investigation into allegations of war crimes and other serious violations of international law committed by all sides to the conflict and for those found responsible to be brought to justice in order to ensure accountability. The organization notes and welcomes the investigation established by the UN Secretary-General into attacks on UN installations in Gaza but considers this insufficient, and that an independent international investigation must be held into all allegations of war crimes and other violations of international law by all the parties to the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel. As well, Amnesty International is calling on the UN, notably the Security Council, to impose an immediate, comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict, and on all states to take action individually to impose national embargoes on any arms or weapons transfers to the parties to the conflict until there is no longer a substantial risk that such arms or weapons could be used to commit serious violations of international law.
Amnesty International is deeply concerned that weaponry, munitions and other military equipment supplied to Israel have been used by Israeli armed forces to carry out direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects in Gaza, and attacks which were disproportionate or indiscriminate. Amnesty International is also concerned that Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have been firing indiscriminate rockets, supplied or constructed of materials supplied from outside Gaza, at civilian population centres in southern Israel.
Misuse of conventional arms by Israeli forces
Hundreds of civilians taking no part in the hostilities, including over 300 children and more than 100 civilian police cadets who were not directly participating in the hostilities, were killed in attacks by Israeli forces against the Gaza Strip. Civilian homes and other buildings, including medical facilities, schools and a university, were also damaged or destroyed by Israeli air strikes and artillery and other attacks — artillery is an area weapon, not one that can be used with pinpoint accuracy, and so should never be used in densely-populated civilian areas.
Amnesty International researchers, including a weapons expert, found various fragments and components from munitions used by the Israeli army during the three-week military offensive launched on 27 December. They include fragments of artillery shells (white phosphorus, high explosive and illuminating), tank shells, mortar fins, highly incendiary white phosphorus-impregnated felt wedges, anti-tank mines and a range of live and spent bullets casings of various calibres – including 7.62 mm, 5.56 mm and the larger .50 calibre.
The information below describes the types of munitions and military equipment used during the conflict that Amnesty International has documented, including in circumstances which violate international humanitarian law and, in some cases, may amount to war crimes.Amnesty International called on the Israeli authorities to disclose the weapons used by their forces in Gaza so that medical staff would be adequately informed to treat victims of the conflict.
Air delivered munitions
Amnesty International found remnants of air-delivered munitions — ranging from fragments of 20mm cannon and Hellfire and other missiles fired from helicopters and unmanned drones, to large fragments of large laser-guided and other bombs dropped from F-16 warplanes, as well as pieces of rocket motors, circuit boards and other electrical components of the missiles. Fragments from these bombardments are all over Gaza – on the streets, in school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes. Fragments from one 500lb bomb contained the inscription ‘For use on MK-82 fin guided bomb’ and the markings 96214 ASSY 837760-4. The cage code 96214 indicates that this fin was produced by the US company Raytheon. A US government solicitation notice dated 22 October 2001 for ‘bomb spare parts’ included AFG Fin, Raytheon part number 837760-4.
By the rubble of the American School in Gaza, Amnesty International delegates spoke to the father of the school guard, Mahmoud Mohammed Selmi Abu Qleiq, who was killed when Israeli F16 aircraft bombed the school campus. Hundreds of homes were completely destroyed as a result of bombardments by F-16 aircraft.
At the northern end of the al-Shati (Beach) refugee camp in Gaza City, Amnesty International visited the Abu ‘Eisha family. Five members of the family – three children and their parents – were killed on the night of 5 January, when an Israeli aircraft dropped a bomb which struck and partially destroyed the house. The following day, 6 January, another Israeli F-16 bombardment killed 23 members of the al-Daya family, most of them children and women, as they slept in their home in the Zaytoun district of Gaza City. When Amnesty International delegates visited the ruins of the house two weeks later, several of the dead were still trapped under the huge pile of rubble.
On Wednesday 28 January, at the home of the Mardi family in Atatra, where 20 members of the family lived, Amnesty International delegates found one of the anti-tank mines that was used by Israeli soldiers to blow up the family’s house on 4 January. The mine was damaged but had failed to explode. The family said that they had found another such mine, wholly unexploded, which had been removed by the local police. The mine, like others – exploded and unexploded – found by AI delegates in the rubble of other destroyed houses, bore Hebrew writing and serial numbers. Though designed for use against tanks, these mines are easily adapted to other purposes through the addition of an explosive charge and fuse. Israeli soldiers have previously confirmed to Amnesty International that these anti-tank mines have long been used to destroy Palestinian houses, most often in the West Bank but also in Gaza.
Artillery and Mortars
During the three-week military campaign Israeli forces made extensive use of artillery including 155mm white phosphorus shells (see below White Phosphorus) in residential areas, causing death and injuries to civilians. Homes, schools, medical facilities and UN buildings — all civilian objects – took direct hits from Israeli artillery shelling. Artillery shells are for use on conventional battlefields and are not capable of pinpoint targeting. Yet in Gaza they were fired into densely-populated civilian residential areas.
In an UNRWA primary school in Beit Lahia, where 1,600 people were sheltering from the fighting, an artillery carrier shell hit a classroom on the second floor where 35 people were sleeping at 6am on 17 January. Two brothers, aged five and seven, were killed and 14 others were injured, including the boys’ mother, whose leg had to be amputated. Two days after the incident Amnesty International delegates found remains of 155 mm white phosphorus artillery shells and still smouldering remains of white phosphorus at the school.
Eleven days earlier, on 6 January, mortar shells fired by Israeli forces had landed in the street outside another UNRWA school in Jabalia, killing at least 41 people, among them 10 members of one family.
There is evidence that white phosphorus was used by Israeli forces across Gaza. Amnesty International came across many white phosphorus 155mm artillery carrier shells throughout Gaza with markings M825 A1 — a US-made munition. These are the same markings of the 155mm white phosphorus shells photographed in Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) stockpiles (see section Arms supplies to Israel below).
Several white phosphorus artillery shells hit the UNRWA field operations headquarters in Gaza City on 15 January, causing a large fire which destroyed tens of tons of humanitarian aid, including, medicines, food and other non-food items.Amnesty International delegates who visited the site found the marking PB-91K018-035 on the fragments of one of the artillery shells which is the lot number and indicates that they were assembled by Pine Bluff Arsenal (PB) in 1991 (91) in October (K).
Amnesty International found that the Israeli army used white phosphorus, a weapon with a highly incendiary effect, in densely-populated civilian residential areas in and around Gaza City, and in the north and south of the Gaza Strip. The organization’s delegates found white phosphorus still burning in residential areas throughout Gaza days after the ceasefire came into effect on 18 January – that is, up to three weeks after the white phosphorus artillery shells had been fired by Israeli forces. Amnesty International considers that the repeated use of white phosphorus in this way in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes a form of indiscriminate attack, and amounts to a war crime.
White phosphorus is a weapon intended to provide a smokescreen for troop movements on the battlefield. When each 155mm artillery shell bursts, it releases 116 wedges impregnated with white phosphorus which ignite on contact with oxygen and can scatter, depending on the height at which it is burst (and wind conditions), over an area at least the size of a football pitch. In addition to the indiscriminate effect of air-bursting such a weapon, firing such shells as artillery exacerbates the likelihood that civilians will be affected. When white phosphorus lands on skin it burns deeply through muscle and into the bone, continuing to burn until deprived of oxygen. It can contaminate other parts of the patient’s body or even those treating the injuries.
A 16-year-old girl, Samia Salman Al-Manay’a, was asleep in her home in the Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza City, when a phosphorus shell landed on the first floor of the house at 8pm on 10 January. Ten days later, from her hospital bed, she told Amnesty International that she was still experiencing intense pain due to the burns to her face and legs. “The pain is piercing. It’s as though a fire is burning in my body. It’s too much for me to bear. In spite of all the medicine they are giving me the pain is still so strong.”
Amnesty International has seen documents written during the Israeli military offensive on Gaza by the office of the Israeli army Chief Medical Officer and Medical Field Operations headquarters.A document signed by Colonel Dr Gil Hirschorn, head of trauma in the office of the army’s Chief Medical Officer, states: “When the phosphorus comes in contact with living tissue it causes its damage by ‘eating’ away at it. Characteristics of a phosphorus wound are: chemical burns accompanied by extreme pain, damage to tissue … the phosphorus may seep into the body and damage internal organs. In the long run, kidney failure and the spread of infection are characteristic … In conclusion: a wound by an ordnance containing explosive phosphorus is inherently dangerous and has the potential to cause serious damage to tissue.”
Another document entitled “Exposure to White Phosphorus,” prepared by Medical Field Operations HQ and sent from the Health Ministry, notes that “most of the data on phosphorus wounds stems from animal testing and accidents. Exposure to white phosphorus is highly poisonous, according to many lab experiments. Burns covering a small area of the body, 12-15 percent in lab animals and less than 10 percent in humans, may be lethal as a result of its effects, mostly on the liver, heart and kidneys.”
In addition to the danger posed by the incendiary effect of white phosphorus, the artillery shells themselves continued to pose lethal threat after they dispersed the white phosphorus, as they continued on their trajectory and in many cases smashed into home full of civilians.
In Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, in the south of Gaza, Amnesty International delegates found white phosphorus artillery carrier shells, both whole and in fragments, in several homes in a densely-populated residential area. In one home, they found the fragments of another 155mm artillery carrier shell which had killed 47-year-old Hanan al-Najjar, a mother of four. She and her family had fled their home and were staying with relatives in a residential area well inside the town. On the evening of 10 January an artillery shell penetrated the roof of the house and travelled through two rooms, breaking up in the hall, where a large fragment hit Hanan in the chest, almost severing the upper part of her body. She was killed instantly. In the patio of the house, Amnesty International delegates found an artillery shell (illuminating round) and in a nearby house they found another whole artillery carrier shell which had crashed through the wall and landed on the young couple’s bed, where a baby had been sleeping only minutes earlier.
Illuminating artillery shells
Amnesty International delegates encountered 155mm M485 A2 illuminating shells used by the IDF which had landed in built up residential areas in Gaza. These eject a phosphorus canister, which floats down under a parachute. At least three of these carrier shells were found which had landed in people’s homes. These shells are yellow and one had the following markings: TZ 1-81 155-M 485 A2. TZ is a known marking on Israeli ammunition.
At the home of journalist Samir Khalifa, in the Zaitoun district of Gaza City, Amnesty International delegates found a 155mm artillery shell which had smashed into his fourth floor apartment at 6am on 10 January, striking the room next to where he and his wife and children usually slept The family escaped harm as they were sleeping downstairs with the grandparents.
Flechettes are not specifically prohibited under international humanitarian law. However, their use in densely-populated civilian areas in Gaza contributed to unlawful killings of and injuries to civilians. Flechettes are 4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 of these darts are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks. The shells explode in the air and scatter the flechettes in a conical pattern over an area about 300m long and 100m wide.Flechette rounds are designed to be used against massed infantry attacks or squads of troops in the open and obviously pose a very high risk to civilians when fired in densely-populated civilian residential areas, as deployed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.
Amnesty International investigated several deaths and injuries of civilians in Gaza caused by flechettes in January.In one case, on 4 January 2009, an ambulance arrived about 15 minutes after a missile strike in Beit Lahiya that apparently targeted five unarmed young men. The ambulance was hit a few minutes later by a tank shell filled with flechettes. Two paramedics were seriously wounded in the incident and one of them, Arafa Hani Abd-al-Dayem, later died.
The following morning, Israeli forces fired several flechette shells into the main road near the Abd al-Dayem family home in ‘Izbet Beit Hanoun, to the south-west of the town of Beit Hanoun. Two people, a child and a woman, were killed and several others were injured. Sixteen-year-old Islam Jaber Abd-al-Dayem was struck in the neck by a flechette. He was taken to the hospital’s intensive care unit but died three days later. Mizar, his brother, was injured in the same attack and still has a flechette lodged in his back. Nearby, 21-year-old Wafa’ Abu Jarad, who was pregnant, her two-year-old son, her husband, and her father and brother-in-law were all injured by flechettes in the courtyard of their home. Wafa’ Abu Jarad died of her injuries two days later.
Amnesty International has previously documented Israeli forces‘ use of flechette rounds in Gaza resulting in the killing of children. The manner in which shells containing flechettes were used by Israeli forces in Gaza — fired in densely populated civilian areas – violates the international law prohibition on indiscriminate attack. Prior to their use during the recent military offensive, the last known incident when flechettes were used in Gaza was on 16 April 2008, when Israeli soldiers fired a flechette tank shell at Reuters journalist Fadel Shana, while he was filming the tank, killing him and three other unarmed civilians, including two children.
In 2001, Jane’s defense publication quoted an Israeli military source, who stated: “The Israeli military obtained these weapons from the USA after the 1973 war and we have thousands of old shells in warehouses…The weapon is not regarded as reliable or effective and gunners have a difficult time in aiming this properly.”
The markings on the base of one tank round found by Amnesty International delegates in Gaza at the destroyed house of the Abu ‘Ida family indicated that it was a 120mm M830 High Explosive Multi Purpose Cartridge made in the USA.
Amnesty International delegates found fragments from 120mm tank rounds all over Gaza, including in homes where these munitions had killed children and other civilians. Tank rounds are precision munitions. The killings of so many civilians, many in their homes, indicates that these munitions were — at best — used in a reckless or indiscriminate manner. In Jabaliya, north Gaza, at the home of Dr Izz al-Din Abu al-‘Eish, a gynaecologist who works in an Israeli hospital, Amnesty International delegates found fragments of the two 120mm tank shells which were fired by Israeli soldiers into the bedroom of Dr Abu al-‘Eish’s daughters on the afternoon of 16 January. Three of the doctor’s daughters and his niece were killed on the spot and another daughter and niece were seriously injured.
Missiles from UAVs — or “drones”, helicopters and aircraft
Three paramedics in their mid 20s — Anas Fadhel Na’im, Yaser Kamal Shbeir, and Raf’at Abd al-‘Al — were killed in the early afternoon of 4 January in Gaza City as they walked through a small field on their way to rescue two wounded men in a nearby orchard. A 12-year-old boy, Omar Ahmad al-Barade’e, who was standing near his home indicating to the paramedic the place where the wounded were, was also killed in the same strike.
Amnesty International went to the scene of the incident with the two ambulance drivers who had accompanied the paramedics and who had witnessed the attack and met the child’s distraught mother and found the remains of the missile that killed the three paramedics and the child. The label read “guided missile, surface attack” and the USA is mentioned as the weapon’s country of origin.This AGM 114 Hellfire missile, usually launched from Apache helicopters, was produced by Hellfire Systems of Orlando,a Lockheed Martin/Boeing joint venture, under a contract with the US Army’s Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama which uses the number DAAH01-03-C-0106 on its contracts.
Amnesty International found evidence of missile components, including Hellfire AGM 114, from the air attack on the police cadet parade that took place on 27 December 2008. One of the electrical components had “made in France” written on it.
Amnesty International delegates in Gaza also found evidence of the use of a new type of missile, seemingly launched from unmanned drones, which explodes large numbers of tiny sharp-edged metal cubes, each between 2 and 4 mm square in size. This purpose-made shrapnel can penetrate even thick metal doors and many were seen by Amnesty International’s delegates embedded deep in concrete walls. They appear designed to cause maximum injury and, in some respects, seem to be a more sophisticated version of the ball-bearings or nails and bolts which armed groups often pack into crude rockets and suicide bombs. The signature of these new missiles, in addition to the deadly tiny metal cubes, is a small and deep hole in the ground (about 10 cm or less in diameter and up to several metres in depth) and a small quantity of shrapnel made of very thin metal, seemingly from the missile’s casing.
An X-ray of a young man who had been injured in one of these missile attacks, which killed a dozen youths and injured several others, showed the tiny metal pellets still embedded in his thigh.
A 13-year-old girl who was asleep in her bed; three primary school-age boys who were carrying sugar canes; two young women on their way to a shelter in search of safety; a 13-year-old boy on his bicycle; eight secondary school students who were waiting for the school bus to take them home; an entire family sitting in the courtyard of their home, and many others were all killed in attacks with these missiles.
Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME)
There have been reports of the use by Israeli forces of DIME munitions in Gaza. Amnesty International researchers in Gaza were not able to confirm the use of such weapons but they interviewed doctors who described treating patients with injuries that could be consistent with the use of DIME weapons.
According to the military publication, Jane’s Intelligence Defence Review, DIME munitions contain high explosives mixed with a powdered, high-density metal such as tungsten, a design which reportedly”improves the blast impulse and lethality near the detonation point (near field) but reduces the more distant (far field) effects.”
DIME munitions are not specifically prohibited under international law. However, as a relatively new weapon, there are questions about their long-term health consequences, which require further study. It is suspected by some scientists that embedded weapons-grade tungsten alloy shrapnel rapidly causes cancer in rats and, while it is not known whether the rate of inducement would be equivalent in human beings, further studies are required into the effects, and risks posed to humans exposed to it, of weapons–grade tungsten shrapnel.
Some medical doctors in Gaza described attending victims who had unusual wounds that might have been caused by DIME weapons. Patterns of injury include limbs severed in a sharp amputation-like manner, with wounds looking as if cauterized and with little or no bleeding; very deep burns; and unexplained deterioration and deaths of patients with seemingly light injuries. Doctors are finding it difficult to treat these patients because of uncertainty about the nature of the munitions which caused the injuries.
Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities to disclose the weapons and munitions used by their forces in Gaza, in order to facilitate treatment of the injured. The organization believes further studies are required before it can be determined whether the use of DIME munitions is lawful under international law. If it were determined that such weapons cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, or if they violate the provisions of the Protocol on Non-Detectable Fragments (Protocol I to the Convention on Conventional Weapons) of 10 October 1980, then their use even against combatants, not only civilians, would be prohibited.
Unlawful use of indiscriminate rockets by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups
Palestinian armed groups affiliated to Hamas and to other Palestinian factions (including the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s party) have been launching rockets into towns and villages in south Israel. Although most of these rockets fall in empty areas, they have caused the deaths of several Israeli civilians, injured scores and caused damage to civilian property. In some cases these rockets have failed to reach Israel and have fallen inside Gaza, and some have killed and injured Palestinian civilians. In January 2009, as an increasing number of Palestinian rockets hit Ashkelon, Israeli officials reported that up to 40 percent of the city’s 122,000 inhabitants had left their homes temporarily to stay in other parts of Israel. Sderot and villages in the area have also been similarly affected.
The rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups cannot accurately be directed at specific targets especially at longer distances. They include rockets described as Grads (Russian generic names which may indicate specific (Grad 122mm) calibres, or generically describe multiple-launched rockets) which have a range of about 35km, and home-made short range “Qassam” rockets (another generic name).The military publication Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor has described the “Qassam” rockets as: “inaccurate, short-range and rarely lethal”. According to Jane’s the “Qassam” is a Palestinian improvised artillery weapon.Amnesty International delegates visited Sderot and Ashkelon police stations, where they saw the rockets which have struck the towns and surrounding areas, including Grads, Qassams and Quds. The latter two are very crude, rusty 60, 90, or 120mm pipes about 1.5 metres long with fins welded onto them. They can hold about five kilograms of explosives as well as shrapnel in the form of nails, bolts, or round metal sheets which rip into pieces on impact. They have a range of up to 20km, but cannot be aimed accurately. Grad rockets are more professionally built and according to Israeli Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld are smuggled into Gaza, not produced locally there.
According to the Israeli army, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups launched 643 rocket attacks on Israel between 27 December 2008 and 11 January 2009. See the table for more information:
Fueled IDF Reports of Number of rocket attacks by Hamas
27 December 2008 — 11 January 2009
Seven Israeli civilians were killed in 2008 by rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza into communities in south Israel. Three of the victims were killed in separate attacks on three consecutive days, on 27, 28 and 29 December 2008.
Fifty-eight-year-old Beber Vaknin was killed when a rocket fired from Gaza hit his apartment building in Netivot on 27 December 2008. The following day, on 28 December a 27-year-old Bedouin, Hani al-Mahdi, was killed and 16 of his co-workers were injured when a Grad rocket missile launched by Hamas militias from Gaza exploded at a construction site in the town of Ashkelon, where the group worked. A third Israeli, Irit Sheetrit, aged 39, was killed the following day, on 29 December 2008 when another Grad rocket hit the centre of the town of Ashdod. As with the attack of the previous day, Hamas also claimed responsibility for the attack.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on Hamas and all other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza to stop firing indiscriminate rockets against towns and villages in southern Israel, and continues to do so.2
Arms supplies to Israel
Israel is a significant manufacturer of conventional arms, falling within the top 10 of arms exporters in the world, but also relies on imports of military equipment, parts and technologies. For example, Merkava-4 tanks produced in Israel have used diesel engines assembled in the USA incorporating components produced in Germany.
Since 2001, the USA has been by far the major supplier of conventional arms to Israel based on the value of export deliveries of all conventional arms including government to government as well as private commercial sales. US foreign military sales to Israel have continued on a large scale (see Appendix 1). The US authorities reported to the UN that the USA commercially traded $1,313 million in “arms and ammunition” to Israel in the years from 2004 to 2007, of which $447 million was traded in 2007. Israel did not report this trade to the UN. These figures for US trade would normally exclude gifts of military equipment and associated or “dual use” equipment and technologies. In addition to this trade, the USA has provided large funding each year for Israel to procure arms despite US legislation that restricts such aid to consistently gross human rights violators.
Since 2002, during the Bush administration, Israel received over $21 billion in US military and security assistance, including $19 billion in direct military aid under the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. Put simply, Israel’s military intervention in the Gaza Strip has been equipped to a large extent by US-supplied weapons, munitions and military equipment paid for with US taxpayers’ money.
Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act stipulates that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” which includes “acts of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person.” Section 4 of the Arms Export Control Act authorizes the supply of US military equipment and training only for lawful purposes of internal security, “legitimate self-defense,” or participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations or other operations consistent with the U.N. Charter. However, under the US Export Administration Act, security assistance may be provided if the President certifies that “extraordinary circumstances” exist, so Section 502B is circumvented. The Leahy Law, named after the senator who introduced the amendment to US legislation, prohibits the USA from providing most forms of security assistance to any military or police unit when there is “credible evidence” that members of the unit are committing gross human rights violations. Assistance can resume if the government in question takes “effective measures” and, under the Pentagon’s interpretation of the law, if the foreign government filters out the “few bad apples” in that particular unit, security assistance can continue.
On 16 August 2007, the US and Israeli governments signed a 10-year agreement for the provision of $30 billion in US military aid. Full details of the package were not disclosed; however, it is reported to include a new generation of F-35 fighter jets, advanced bombs, and laser-guided missiles. This military aid package, amounting to $3 billion per year, represented a 25 percent increase of the US annual military aid appropriation to Israel of $2.4 billion. Israel was already the largest recipient in the world of US military aid before the proposed increase. Even after the start of the current conflict and reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law by the IDF in Gaza, the US authorities continued to authorize large consignments of US munitions, including white phosphorus munitions, to Israel.
Other major arms exporting states such as France, Germany and the UK have been exporting far less to Israel than the US since 2004 but nevertheless these exports appear significant. According to the EU’s 2008 report on arms export licences, published in December for the 2007 calendar year and consolidating the accounts that Member States must annually submit, 18 EU Member States authorised a total of 1,018 such licences to Israel worth €199,409,348. France, Germany and Romania were the top three exporters. France issued export licences worth €126 million, Germany authorised €28 million and Romania €17 million. Export authorisations from states do not necessarily correspond to actual arms export data in any one year for a variety of reasons, but licence authorisations do show the willingness of governments of exporting States to equip Israel’s armed forces. Actual annual arms export data from the EU to Israel until the end of 2007 are shown in the table below.
Under Criterion 2 of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, Member States are supposed to “deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression” or “be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law”. The term “internal repression” “includes, inter alia, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, summary or arbitrary executions, disappearances, arbitrary detentions and other major violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms as set out in relevant international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” Across the EU, only 28 export licences were refused as a result of human rights, internal security or regional stability reasons.
As a result of political pressure in some EU countries concerned about the conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, nine EU states including Sweden now claim not to export any arms to Israel and states such as Italy and the UK have claimed to restrict their exports of conventional arms overall, but sometimes such exports to Israel consist of components or transit trade. Nonetheless export data show that such states have exported infantry weapons, military vehicles and components for arms sent to Israel.
Other significant suppliers of military equipment to Israel since 2001 are (in alphabetical order) Austria, Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea and Spain. The Netherlands and Greece have been major transit countries for military equipment sent to Israel. Albania, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Brazil, Colombia, and India are reported to have been in the top 20 commercial suppliers of arms and ammunition.
International obligations regarding conventional arms transfers
The UN Security Council, in Operative Provision 6 of Resolution 1860 (2009), of 8 January 2009, called on Member States “to intensify efforts to provide arrangements and guarantees in Gaza in order to … prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition…” According to the 1996 United Nations Guidelines for International Arms Transfers, the term “illicit arms trafficking is understood to cover that international trade in conventional arms, which is contrary to the laws of States and/or international law.”
The responsibility of all states to prohibit international arms transfers that will facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights derives from their obligation not to participate in the internationally wrongful acts of another state. The principle is stated in Article 16 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts in terms which reflect customary international law, binding on all States. Article 16 states: “A State which aids or assists another State in the commission of an internationally wrongful act by the latter is internationally responsible for doing so if: (a) that State does so with knowledge of the circumstances of the internationally wrongful act; and (b) the act would be internationally wrongful if committed by that State.” General international law prohibits conduct that involves patterns of blatant abuse and complicity in such a pattern of blatant abuse. The expression “gross” or “serious” violation of human rights is commonly used to convey a sense of scale, evoking both the number of violations and the gravity of their consequences for the victims. It also suggests a measure of intent.
The table below shows the USA and EU suppliers of conventional arms to Israel, including government to government transfers and commercial sales — up to the most recent period publicly available.
Actual Export of US and EU conventional military equipment to Israel for the period 2004 to 2007:
This shows actual exports of military equipment as reported by the USA and EU governments. The value of the deliveries is shown in the different currencies as reported. Statistics are compiled differently by states. There is no available data for 2008. The above has been compiled, with the exception of the USA, in alphabetical order of the countries named.
Major commercial suppliers of infantry weapons, munitions and armoured vehicles, and aircraft to Israel
Based upon customs data submitted by states to the UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade) the US accounted for 95 percent of all commercial sales – which are those sales made directly to Israel by manufacturers to foreign recipients falling within the broad UN customs category 891 of “arms and ammunition” between 2004 and 2007 amounting to a total recorded value of over US$1.3 billion. Other major suppliers in this category were Serbia and Montenegro (in 2004), Poland, Romania, Serbia (since 2005), South Korea, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Finland and Austria.
The table below shows the top 20 arms suppliers to Israel by value in US$ according to this UN customs category of “arms and ammunition”, code 891. UN data is not yet available for 2008.
Top 20 Arms and Ammunition Deliveries to Israel between2004-2007 measured in US$
Serbia and Montenegro (2004 only)
A note on UN Comtrade data
No useful information is submitted by States to the UN Comtrade database on the quantity or exact types of military equipment or munitions transferred. The only indicator of the size of the shipment(s) is the value in US$. Also, not all States report or report reliably to the UN and do not necessarily report their trade statistics for each and every year. However, UN Comtrade data can be used to ask governments about the exact nature of these deliveries, what equipment they exactly covered, what quantity, who the end-user is and what is the intended end-use. Nonetheless, the UN data does show which States are the main suppliers of arms to Israel.
Aircraft and Helicopters
Over the years, the US has also supplied Israel with US-made F-16 combat aircraft, Apache AH-64 helicopters and Black Hawk UH-60 combat helicopters.
According to the most recent data available submitted to the UN Register on Conventional Arms by the US government, during 2007 the US exported to Israel one M577A2 Command armoured combat vehicle; 18 F-16D combat aircraft; and 50 LAU-129 A/A launcher missile launchers.In 2006, the USA exported to Israel 21 F16 aircraft in 2006 and 42 Bell AH-1F Cobra.The Bell AH-1F Cobra gunship incorporates the 2.75 inch rockets fired from 7-tube M158, 19-tube M200, 7-tube M-260, or 19-tube M261 rocket pods, the M65 TOWmissile system and the M197 20mm gun.
Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles
According to the UN Comtrade database the following countries are the top five suppliers of equipment under the category of ‘tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles’ code 89111.
Top 5 suppliers of armoured fighting vehicles between 2004-2007 in US$
According to the UN Comtrade database, the US was the largest commercial supplier of “munitions of war” under the code 89129 to Israel between 2004-2007 with US$480 million – 98% of all commercial sales in this category.
Top 10 deliveries of ‘munitions’ 2004-2007 in US$
Serbia and Montenegro (2004 only)
According to research by Amnesty International and International Peace Information Service (a NGO based in Antwerp), Serbian and Bosnian companies have in recent years exported large quantities of small arms ammunition and components, as well as artillery shell and mortar components to Israeli companies that supply such weapons to the IDF. Such exports have been sanctioned by the governments of Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzogovina.
The primary Israeli importer of small arms ammunition components and finished products from the Balkans is the company Israeli Military Industries (IMI). During 2005 and 2006, IMI imported millions of rounds of 5.56 calibre ammunition from the Prvi Partizan factory in Serbia. IMI also ordered 45 million rounds of 5.56 calibre ammunition compatible with IDF assault rifles from a Bosnian factory in September 2005. IMI continued to import massive quantities of IDF compatible ammunition from Serbia. IMI is the leading small arms supplier to the IDF. See below for information on small arms and light weapons.
Rockets and Missiles
Israel typically uses the AGM-114 Hellfire II missiles which are fired from the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The armament of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter consists of the 2.75 inch (70mm) Hydra rockets carried in 19-tube rocket pods and the M230 30mm chain gun.The US supplies these to Israel as the table below shows.
Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008 (DSCA)
Radio Frequency (RF) TOW 2A Missiles
TOW 2A Fly-to-buy Missiles
AGM-114K3 HELLFIRE II Missiles
AGM-114L3 HELLFIRE II Longbow Missiles
AGM-114M3 HELLFIRE II Missiles
PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+)
M72A7 66mm Light Anti-Armor Weapons (LAAWs),M72AS 21mm Sub-Caliber Training Rockets.
The table below shows proposed US supplies of the GBU-28 ‘bunker buster’ and other bombs to Israel between 2005 and 2008.
Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008 (DSCA)
GBU-28 bombs that include: BLU-113A/B penetration warhead, WGU-36A/B guidance control unit, FMU-143H/B bomb fuze, and BSG-92/B airfoil group guide. Also included are: support equipment; testing, spare and repair parts; supply support; publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and
other related elements of logistics support.
MK-84 (Tritonal) general purpose bomb units
MK-84 live bombs;
MK- 82 live bombs;
BLU-109 live bombs;
GBU-28 guided live bombs
GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB1)
The US Department of Defense contracted Boeing in September 2006 to incorporate focused lethality munition (FLM) technology into small diameter bombs.According to the table above 1000 GBU-39s were ordered in September 2008 by Israel. There are reports that the FLM uses DIME technology.
Artillery shells including white phosphorus shells
During the Gaza conflict, photographic evidence emerged of the Israeli army using stocks of white phosphorus smoke shells. Amnesty International has identified the pale blue 155mm rounds, clearly marked with the designation M825A1, as an American-made white phosphorus munition.White phosphorus is also marked in the US list of munitions due to be carried on a ‘ship of shame’ from the USA to Israel — see section on “US arms ships” below.
The table below shows government-to-government sales’ notices for the shipment of artillery munitions from the US to Israel:
Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008 (DSCA)
M433 40MM High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) CartridgesM930 120MM Illuminating CartridgesM889A1 81MM High Explosive Cartridges with M935 FuzesM107 155MM High Explosive Artillery RoundsM141 83MM Bunker Defeat Munitions
Israeli companies such as Soltam Systems have also purchased large quantities of key mortar and artillery shell components from Bosnia & Herzegovina.Soltam Systems is a leading supplier of artillery and mortar shells to the IDF.
Small Arms and Light Weapons
Israel makes its own pistols, assault rifles (Galil and Tavor), machines guns and other light weapons, while such items in the hands of Hamas and other Palestinian groups are usually former USSR types smuggled in from unknown sources.
The US has been a large supplier of firearms and light weapons to Israel. Many Israeli soldiers can be seen carrying M4 carbine assault rifles. According to EU reports for exports to Israel during 2007, Bulgaria and Poland issued licences for small arms and/or light weapons worth over €2 million, with Germany, Spain, Slovenia and the UK approving small amounts of less than €500,000.
The top five suppliers to Israel of ‘military weapons’ (under the code 89112 in the UN Comtrade database) have been:
Top 5: 2004-2007In US$
The EU’s 2008 consolidated report on arms exports lists “electronic equipment specifically designed or modified for military use” with licences for export to Israel approved by France (€89 million) and Germany (€5 million) during 2007. In addition, France approved the export of €22 million of “imaging or countermeasure equipment for military use”. The US is also thought to be a major supplier of such equipment.
According to the UN Comtrade data, the US was the largest commercial supplier of “parts and accessories for military weapons and non-military weapons” to Israel. Between 2004 and 2007 the US exported US$151 million-worth of such parts and accessories – 97% of all commercial sales in this category. Other suppliers include: Austria which shipped $3,045,131 worth during the same period; the Netherlands $361,841; the UK $279,565 and the Czech Republic $116,304. The table below shows proposed government to government transfers from the US to Israel:
Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008 (DSCA)
Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits;
PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-82 warhead;
PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-83 warhead;
PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK- 84 warhead;
FMU-139 live fuze components; and
FMU-152 live fuze components.
The UK is also coming under increasing scrutiny about the export of components. Amnesty International remains particularly concerned about the exports of UK components that may have been incorporated into military systems used by the IDF. The introduction in 2002 of revised UK guidelines for the control of exports of components for incorporation in military systems were specifically intended to allow the export of UK components to the USA for incorporation in military equipment such as F-16 combat aircraft and Apache combat helicopters which were known be exported to the Israel. The UK has also licensed components for a wide variety of military equipment directly to Israel. Details contained within UK government reports do not allow for a meaningful assessment of the end-user of this equipment, but Amnesty International has concerns that some of this equipment, particularly components for UAVs and naval equipment, may have been exported to Israeli military forces and used for serious violations.
In addition, numerous credible sources, including company promotional literature, established defence industry journals and sources from within the Israeli military have stated that a UK company provides the engines for the Hermes 450 pilotless “drone” UAV aircraft manufactured in Israel by Elbit systems. The Hermes 450 UAVs are currently operated by the IDF as well as other armed forces. It has been widely reported that the Hermes 450 UAV uses a ‘UEL AR-80-1010’ engine manufactured by a company based in Lichfield. The initial version of the aircraft was reportedly powered by an ‘AR741’ engine, also produced by the Lichfield company, when at the time the IDF were the only users of the Hermes 450.
A spokesperson for Elbit Systems has denied these claims, stating that whilst the UK company does provide engines for Hermes 450s that are destined for export, the UK company does not provide the engines for any of the drones used by the Israeli armed forces. Amnesty International is not alleging any illegality on the part of UK companies, nor suggesting that any of its exports have not been authorised by the necessary export licenses from the UK government.
UAVs have been extensively used in combat operations by the IDF in Lebanon and Gaza. The claims have been strongly Denied by Elbit systems, the Israeli manufacturer of the Hermes 450, who have stated that UK engines are only used in variants manufactured for export and not used by the IDF. Amnesty International-UK has written to the UK government to seek assurances that it has not licensed components for use in UAVs and that it has undertaken sufficient end-use monitoring to ascertain that UK engines are not and have not been used in UAVs operated by the IDF. Government officialshave admitted that they are unable to say whether UK engines have been incorporated into drones used by the IDF. MPs are calling for a full account into arms exports to Israel. The lack of a robust end-use monitoring and verification system hampers public and parliamentary scrutiny of UK arms supplies, especially where it concerns the transfer of components that are incorporated into military equipment.
According to the Canadian NGO Ploughshares, Canadian-built components are also included in many US weapons systems that are exported to Israel.
Under the Foreign Military Sales program the US government regularly provides the Israeli government with various fuels: EN590 diesel fuel and JP-8 jet fuel. Because of its properties JP-8 is also used in ground-based operations, for example armoured vehicles.See appendix two for a table showing fuel contracts for the Israeli government between 2002 and 2008.
Current US arms ships
Since early December 2008, the US Military Sealift Command has been organizing three large deliveries by sea of military ammunition and high explosives, including explosives with white phosphorus, from the US base at Sunny Hill, North Carolina, to an Israeli port near Gaza.
On 4 December 2008, the USA’s military shipping service, Military Sealift Command, issued a request to charter a commercial cargo vessel to move a very large consignment of “containerized ammunition and other containerized ammunition supplies” from Sunny Point, North Carolina — the location of a US Military Ocean Terminal – to Ashdod in Israel. The contract was awarded on 8 December 2008 to a German shipping company, Oskar Wehr KG GmbH, and the cargo was due to be loaded in North Carolina on 13 December 2008.
The US military tender request indicated an extremely large quantity of ammunition and associated supplies: the first planned shipment consisted of the equivalent of 989 standard (20ft) shipping containers of cargo, and required the ship to carry at least 5.8 million lbs (around 2600 metric tons) of ‘net explosive weight’, a measure of the explosive content of the cargo. The ship was placed under the tactical control of the US Sealift Logistics Command for the duration of the voyage, and was required to have up to 12 US armed forces personnel on board.
On 31 December 2008, just four days after the start of Israel’s attacks on targets in Gaza, a second request was issued by the US Military Sealift Command for a ship to transport two further shipments of ammunition from Astakos in Greece to Ashdod, Israel. These shipments were to comprise 157 and 168 standard shipping containers of ammunition with a net explosive weight of nearly 1 million lbs. The ‘Hazard Codes’ of the cargo indicate that the cargo would include articles containing white phosphorus.
Planned US munitions shipments to Ashdod (Israel), according to US tender documents:
Latest Arrival Date in Ashdod
Cargo Size (equivalent no. of 20ft shipping containers)
Net Explosive Weight (lbs)
Sunny Point, NC, USA
13 Dec 2008
?? (42 day charter)
18-19 Jan 2009
22 Jan 2009
25 Jan 2009? [latest arrival date in Astakos]
29 Jan 2009
Transport tenders for these second and third shipments were cancelled on 9 January. However, a US military spokesperson confirmed on 12 January that they were still seeking a way to deliver these shipments, likewise destined for the Israel stockpile. US forces have also previously transferred ammunition consignments between vessels at sea around the Greek mainland and Crete.
According to Amnesty International research with the NGOs TransArms and the Omega Research Foundation, on 20 December 2008, the first delivery of 989 containers was taken from North Carolina in a container ship, the Wehr Elbe, owned by Oskar Wehr KG. This arms ship entered Gibraltar on 28 December, but the German firm told Amnesty International that its ship did not unload the arms in Israel. According to maritime tracking facilities, the Wehr Elbe sailed off the coast of Greece near Astakos for several days then disappeared off the radar on 12 January reportedly after the Greek Government refused to grant permission to tranship the munitions to Israel. The Wehr Elbe has a capacity of over 2,500 20 ft shipping containers and thus has the capacity to load the first shipment of ammunition in North Carolina, load the other shipments in Astakos, and sail on to Ashdod. As of 27 January, according to maritime tracking facilities, the ship’s last port of call was Augusta, Italy. As of 17 February, the ship has not subsequently docked anywhere.
According to a report from Reuters on 9 January 2009, a US naval spokesperson stated that the delivery was “to a pre-positioned U.S. munitions stockpile in Israel in accordance with a congressionally authorized 1990 agreement between the U.S. and Israel…This previously scheduled shipment is routine and not in support of the current situation in Gaza.” However, the portion of US Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) maintained in Israel is the War Reserve Stocks for Allies — Israel (WRSA-I) stockpile. According to information provided to Congress in 2003 by the US Department of Defense, this is a “separate stockpile of U.S.–owned munitions and equipment set aside, reserved, or intended for use as war reserve stocks by the U.S. and which may be transferred to the Government of Israel in an emergency, subject to reimbursement.”
Arms supplies to Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups
Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have smuggled small arms, light weapons, rockets and rocket components into Gaza, using tunnels from Egypt into Gaza; this weaponry has been acquired from clandestine sources. “Katyusha” rockets are originally Russian-made, but those being used by Palestinian fighters are unlikely to have been acquired directly from Russia. Such imports and holdings are on a very small scale compared to those of Israel. A rocket arsenal that provides an offensive or deterrent capability similar to that fielded by the Lebanese group Hizbullah during the 2006 war with Israel is beyond the reach of Palestinian militant groups.
It is reported by Jane’s Defence Weekly that Hamas has an estimated rocket arsenal of 3,000, primarily locally made, short-range rockets: the Qassam 1, 2 and 3. The longer-range rockets are purchased abroad and smuggled into Gaza via Egypt. These include the 122mm Grad rocket, originally Russian-made, the Iranian-made 220mm Fadjr-3, and allegedly also Chinese-made rockets smuggled from Sudan. The explosives used in the warheads is either manufactured locally from fertilizer or smuggled into Gaza through tunnels or from the sea.
Over the years several arms shipments allegedly en route to Gaza are reported to have been intercepted by Israeli or Egyptian security forces. In May 2006 the Israeli Navy said it had intercepted a Palestinian fishing boat with 500kg of weapons grade TNT.The Egyptian police said they recovered 1,000 kg of explosives in Sinai — 30 km from Gaza – in October 2006.Also, in 2008, several large caches were reportedly recovered: Egyptian police uncovered a cache in May 2008 containing 500kg of TNT500 metres from the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.In late May 2008, an Egyptian police official told the Associated Press news agency that the Egyptian authorities had found ammunition boxes, RPGs and anti-aircraft missiles apparently bound for Gaza some 80 km south of Rafah.
The table below estimates the Hamas rocket arsenal:
According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, Hamas is in the possession of several home-made anti-armour rockets: the Al-Battar, the Banna 1 and Banna 2.
There have been several reports that Iran has provided military equipment and munitions, including rockets, to Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups but Amnesty International has not seen any evidence to verify these allegations.
Impose UN SC arms embargo – Impose immediately a comprehensive UN Security Council arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that weapons or munitions and other military equipment will not be used to commit serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. This must include ensuring that alleged violations are thoroughly and impartially investigated and accountability, with any persons who are found responsible being brought to justice in fair trials.
Suspend All Arms Transfers – Act immediately to unilaterally suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions, as well as those which may be diverted, to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until there is no longer a substantial risk that such equipment will be used for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. The suspension should include all indirect exports via other countries, the transfer of military components and technologies and any brokering, financial or logistical activities that would facilitate such transfers.
Accountability – Establish without delay thorough, independent and impartial investigation of violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including the Israeli attacks which have been directed at civilians or civilian buildings in the Gaza Strip, or which are disproportionate, and Palestinian armed groups’ indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian centres in southern Israel. Amnesty International has collected evidence of possible war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. There must be full accountability for such crimes. Where appropriate states must be ready to initiate criminal investigations and carry out prosecutions before their own courts if the evidence warrants it.
Support for the Golden Rule on Human Rights – Actively support the establishment of an effective global Arms Trade Treaty that includes the “Golden Rule” on human rights and international humanitarian law to avoid and minimise the recurrence of arms supplies contributing to such serious violations — the Golden Rule promoted by Amnesty International and other NGOs is that all States will prevent the transfer of arms, including military weapons, ammunition and equipment, where there is a substantial risk that the arms are likely to be used for serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.
International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK
Appendix One: Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008
GBU-28 bombs that include: BLU-113A/B penetration warhead, WGU-36A/B guidance control unit, FMU-143H/B bomb fuze, and BSG-92/B airfoil group guide. Also included are: support equipment; testing, spare and repair parts; supply support; publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and
other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$30 million.
MK-84 (Tritonal) general purpose bomb units, testing, support equipment, spares and repair parts, supply support, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$65 million.
Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits;
PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-82 warhead;
PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-83 warhead;
PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK- 84 warhead;
MK-84 live bombs;
MK- 82 live bombs;
BLU-109 live bombs;
GBU-28 guided live bombs;
FMU-139 live fuze components; and
FMU-152 live fuze components.
Also included: Containers, bomb components, spare/repair parts, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements. Total value could be US$465 million
RGM-84L BLOCK II HARPOON Anti-Ship missiles with containers andAIM-9M SIDEWINDER Short Range Air-to-Air Infrared Guided missiles, spares and repair parts for support equipment, training, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is US$163 million.
AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air (AMRAAM) missiles, containers, components, spare/repair parts, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements. The estimated cost is US$171 million.
Radio Frequency (RF) TOW 2A Missiles
TOW 2A Fly-to-buy Missiles
AGM-114K3 HELLFIRE II Missiles
AGM-114L3 HELLFIRE II Longbow Missiles
AGM-114M3 HELLFIRE II Missiles
PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+)
M433 40MM High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) Cartridges
M930 120MM Illuminating Cartridges
M889A1 81MM HE Cartridges with M935 Fuzes
M107 155MM HE Projectiles
M141 83MM Bunker Defeat Munitions
Also, includes non-MDE cartridges, projectiles, charges, fuzes, containers, spare and repair parts, test and tool sets, personnel training and equipment, publications, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, Quality Assurance Team support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$1.329 billion.
T-6A Texan aircraft, Global Positioning System (GPS) with CMA-4124 GNSSA card and Embedded GPS/Inertial Navigation System (INS) spares, ferry maintenance, tanker support, aircraft ferry services, site survey, unit level trainer, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$190 million.
PATRIOT System Configuration 3 Modification kits to upgrade 3 PATRIOT fire units to Radar Enhancement Phase 3 (REP-3) and Classification, Discrimination and Identification Phase 3 (CDI-3). Non-MDE includes: communication support equipment, tools and test equipment, integration and checkout, spares and repair parts, installation and training, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is US$164 million.
Littoral Combat Ships (LCS-I variant): Hull, and all mechanical and electrical functions. Each ship will be equipped with: 2 MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems, 8 cells for each system; 1 Close-In-Weapon System, Block 1A, 1 Enhanced HARPOON Launching System with launchers; 2 MK-32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes; Communications and Sensors; Link 16; COMBATSS-21 with SPY-1F(V) and MK-99 Fire Control System; or Ship Self-Defense System. Also includes design and integration services, hardware and software, spare and repair parts, test and tool sets, personnel training and equipment, publications, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$1.9 billion.
Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 United States Air Force (USAF) baseline aircraft including USAF baseline equipment and Block 7.0 Software;Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 spare engines;AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems (includes three spares) ;AN/ALR-56M Advanced Radar Warning Receivers (includes three spares);AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing Systems (includes three spares) ;AN/AAQ-22 Star SAFIRE III Special Operations Suites (includes three spares) ;spare AN/ARC-210 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS);spare Secure Voice Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency Radios ;spare Secure Voice High Frequency Radios ;
spare AN/AAR-222 SINCGARS and Key Gen (KV-10) Systems ;
Also included are spare and repair parts, configurations updates, communications security equipment and radios, integration studies, support equipment, aircraft ferry and tanker support, repair and return, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logisticis US$1.9 billion.
GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB1),
BRU-61/A SDB1 Mounting Carriages,
Guided Test Vehicles,
BRU-61/A SDB Instrumented Carriages,
Jettison Test Vehicles,
Separation Test Vehicle,
Reliability and Assessment Vehicles,
Common Munitions BIT and Reprogramming Equipment with Test Equipment and Adapters,
SDB1 Weapons Simulators, and
Load Crew Trainers.
Also includes containers, flight test integration, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$77 million.
25 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft with an option to purchase at a later date an additional 50 F-35 CTOL or Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft. All aircraft will be configured with either the Pratt and Whitney F-135 engines or General Electric-Rolls Royce F-136 engines. Other aircraft equipment includes: Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence/Communication, Navigational and Identification (C4I/CNI); Autonomic Logistics Global Support System (ALGS); Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS); Flight Mission Trainer; Weapons Employment Capability, and other Subsystems, Features, and Capabilities; F-35 unique infrared flares; unique systems or sovereign requirements; reprogramming center, Hardware/Software In-the-Loop Laboratory Capability; External Fuel Tanks; and F-35 Performance Based Logistics. Also includes: software development/integration, flight test instrumentation, aircraft ferry and tanker support, support equipment, tools and test equipment, spares and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is US$15.2 billion.
M72A7 66mm Light Anti-Armor Weapons (LAAWs),M72AS 21mm Sub-Caliber Training Rockets, spare and repair parts, support equipment,publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$89 million.
Appendix Two: US Foreign Military Sales Fuel Contracts for Israeli government 2002-2008
Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas
$45,978,408.00 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for fuel. Using service is the Government of Israel. The date of performance completion is Aug. 13, 2008
Defense Contracts, No. 562-08
(3 July 2008)
Refinery Associates of Texas, Inc., New Braunfels, Texas,
a maximum $22,556,374 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for diesel fuel. The using service is foreign military sales — Israel. The other location of performance is Compagnie Industrielle Maritime SNC, Le Harve, France. This is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity type contract. The date of performance completion is July 31, 2006.
Defense Contracts, No. 707-06
(25 July 2006)
Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas
a maximum $36,781,780 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for JP8 jet fuel for the government of Israel. The date of performance completion is Jan. 30, 2007.
Defense Contracts, No. 669-06
(14 July 2006)
Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas
A $103,331,200 fixed price with economic price adjustment type contract for fuel for the government of Israel. Performance completion date is expected to be December 31, 2005.
Defense Contracts, No. 1216-04
(29 November 2004)
ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, Fairfax, Va.
A maximum $32,306,080 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for USG of EN590 and EN 228 for Foreign Military Sale to Israel. Performance completion date is Dec. 31, 2005.
Defense Contracts, No. 229-05
(4 March 2005)
ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, Fairfax, Va.
A $24,314,094 fixed price with economic price adjustment for fuel for Foreign Military Sale (Israel). Performance completion date is expected to be March 1, 2005.
Defense Contracts, No. 965-03
(19 December 2003)
Valero Marketing and Supply Company, San Antonio, Texas
A $7,093,519 fixed price with economic price adjustment type of contract for fuel for the government of Israel. Performance completion date is expected to be November 30, 2003.
Defense Contracts, No. 817-03
(4 November 2003)
Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas
A $87,199,890 fixed-price with economic-price adjustment type contract for JP8 and EN590 fuel for the government of Israel. The performance completion date is January 30, 2004.
Defense Contracts, No. 618-02
(5 December 2002)
Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas
A $6,922,338 fixed price with economic price adjustment type contract for JP8 jet Fuel for the Government of Israel. Performance completion date is scheduled for October 2002.
Defense Contracts, No. 464-02
(12 September 2002)
Valero Marketing and Supply Company, San Antonio, Texas
A $8,744,537 fixed-price with economic price adjustment type contract for 10,500,000 USG of EN590 for the Government of Israel. Performance completion is expected to be April 30, 2002.
Plus Israel also possesses over 200 Nuclear Bombs.
Early next week the report heads to the floor of the US Congress and the UN General Assembly, and we’re expecting continued pressure to have this important document roundly dismissed.
The continued attacks on the Goldstone Report prevent accountability for the civilian victims before, during and after the attack on Gaza — both Palestinians and Israelis — and shred the rule of law.
Israel decided not to cooperate with the investigation and now claims that the report and its results are biased. Worse yet, Israel claims that the report negates its right to defend its population, when in reality, all the report does is insist that such a defense take place within the bounds of international law.
The truth is that the Goldstone Report is a well-researched, fair-minded report. It accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the attack on Gaza, and it calls on Israel and Hamas to conduct credible, independent investigations or face the International Criminal Court.
The United States and other countries are repeating the same lines, and have exerted great diplomatic pressure to kill the report.
The US Congress is getting ready to pass a resolution next week calling on President Obama to do everything he can to bury the Goldstone Report. The UN General Assembly will vote on it. Israel might launch its own investigation, if it is pressured enough to do so. And if it does, our task will be to ensure that the investigation is comprehensive, impartial, and aimed towards addressing, punishing and preventing future human rights abused – and not at changing the laws of war such that another blatant assault on civilian life and property as the Gaza war will ever become acceptable under international law.
The UN Goldstone report is a well-researched, fair-minded report. Israel and Hamas must conduct credible, independent investigations on war crimes and possible crimes against humanity or face the International Criminal Court. We demand accountability for all victims, respect for the rule of law, international law and human rights.
The Goldstone report must not be shoved aside. It is important to all of us. If these kind of crimes can be perpetrated on those in Gaza and disregarded it can be perpetrated on anyone in any country including ours.
This is a crime against all of us not just those in Gaza. The International Laws must be respected for all our sakes.
Scream at your representatives.
Senators of the 111th Congress http://www.senate.gov/general/ co…enators_cfm.cfm
Contact the White house http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/
Pass it on. War Crimes and Crimes against humanity must not go unpunished.
Depleted uranium was found in Gaza victims by Norwegian Doctors.
LEGALITY TEST FOR WEAPONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
Weapons must pass four tests in order to determine that they are legal under international law. The tests are:
(1)TEMPORAL TEST. Weapons must not continue to act after the battle is over.
(2)ENVIRONMENTAL TEST. Weapons must not be unduly harmful to the environment.
(3)TERRITORIAL TEST. Weapons must not act off of the battlefield.
(4)HUMANENESS TEST. Weapons must not kill or wound inhumanely. Depleted uranium weaponry fails all four tests. For that reason it is illegal under all Treaties, all agreements and all war conventions.
At least 18 countries are thought to have weapon systems with DU in their arsenals. These include: UK, US, France, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Pakistan, Thailand, China, India and Taiwan. Many of them were sold DU ammunition by the US while others, Including France, China,Russia, Pakistan ,UK and India are thought to have developed it independently.
New Reports on Sundays protests at bottom of the page
Demonstrators hurl shoes at Downing Street in day of global protest against Israeli attacks
January 3 2009
Demonstrators demanding an end to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza hurled their shoes at the gates of Downing Street today during a wave of global protests.
Around 12,000 people took to the streets of the London, including singer Annie Lennox, former model Bianca Jagger and former mayor Ken Livingstone.
Elsewhere in Britain, 2,000 demonstrators marched through Manchester and 500 braved the cold in Edinburgh.
London: 1,000 pairs of shoes litter the protest route near Downing Street
Paris held the world’s biggest protest, with 25,000 people showing up to condemn the Israeli offensive, which has killed at least 436 Palestinians since December 27th.
The death toll includes 75 children, according to Gaza medics. And almost 2,300 people have been wounded inside the territory.
Four Israelis have been killed by rocket attacks by Hamas, Islamist militants who took over Gaza three years ago.
In Britain, many people were angry at Gordon Brown refusal to condemn Israel’s attacks.
Hundreds of protesters threw shoes at the iron gates of Downing Street residence, in the spirit of an Iraqi journalist who hurled his footware President George Bush with his shoes last year.
Crowds: at least 12,000 people marched up Whitehall
Around 1,000 pairs littered the streets outside Number 10 with demonstrating singing: ‘Shame on you, have my shoe.’
Zac Sommer, an 18-year-old British-Palestinian student from Essex, said: ‘Britain is quick to condemn Robert Mugabe, but where is the condemnation of Israel? Israel is killing hundreds of people.’
Also outside Downing Street, a firework exploded yards from the gates.
The Metropolitan Police later said they had been forced to contain one group of around 5,000 protesters who left the agreed route between protest between Embankment and Trafalgar Square to the march to head for the Israeli Embassy in Kensington.
Many clashed with officers wearing riot hear and armed with truncheons and gas canisters.
Clash: Riot police deal with protesters trying to raid the Israeli Embassy in London
Focus point: Around 5,000 people went to the embassy after the march
The demonstrators were kept at a distance of about 20 yards from the entrance of the Embassy but several hurdled the barriers and attempted to make for the entrance.
The atmosphere as darkness fell was noticeably more heated, vocal, and aggressive than the earlier march through central London.
The demonstration in the capital was the biggest of at least 18 organised across the country.
Other rallies were taking place in Glasgow, Exeter, Bristol, Liverpool, Norwich, Hull, Tunbridge Wells, Leeds, Newcastle, Swansea, York, Caernarfon, Bradford and Sheffield.
Anger: Protesters gather in Trafalgar Square at the end of the march
Support: Annie Lennox, centre, is flanked by George Galloway and Bianca Jagger
Condemnation: Musician Brian Eno speaks out against the Israeli attacks
Former model Bianca Jagger and singer Lennox have backed the protests, calling on American president-elect Barack Obama to speak up against the bombardment.
Speaking at a press conference in central London, Ms Jagger said: ‘I would like to make an appeal to president-elect Obama to speak up.
‘People throughout the world were hopeful when he was elected and we must appeal to him to ask for the immediate cessation of the bombardment of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.’
Lennox spoke of her shock at watching scenes of the bombing on television.
She said: ‘A few days after Christmas I came downstairs, put the television on, and saw smoke pyres coming from buildings and I was shocked to the core because I was thinking as a mother and as a human being.
Madrid: Protesters burn an Israeli flag in the Spanish capital
Paris: Demonstrators burned cars after a march by 25,000 people
Berlin: Some 7000 Palestinian supporters outside the city’s cathedral
‘How was this going to be the solution to peace?’
She said the intervention from Bush blaming Hamas for starting the violence, had not helped the situation.
‘The problem is, from my perspective, they are pouring petrol onto the fire,’ she said.
‘They have to sit down. This is a small window of opportunity just before things kick off.
‘For every one person killed in Gaza, they are creating 100 suicide bombers. It’s not just about Gaza, it’s about all of us.’
Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather said Israel’s military response to the firing of Hamas rockets had been ‘disproportionate’.
Amsterdam: A man holds up a blood smeared doll
Milan: Demonstrators carry a simulated body of a Palestinian
‘Anyway, what Israel is doing is counter-productive. No terrorist organisation has ever been bombed into submission,’ the Liberal Democrat MP said.
Police said 8,000 people demonstrated in the central French city of Lyon, 3,000 people protested in the southern city of Nice and 3,800 in Mulhouse in the east.
Two people were arrested as more than 1,000 marched through Amsterdam, condemning the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and calling for a boycott of Israeli goods, police said.
Hundreds protested in Madrid, carrying signs saying ‘This is not a war but a genocide’.
More than 2,000 people also demonstrated in the Austrian city of Salzburg.
Athens: A woman walks in front of burning barricades during riots after a rally
Photos: ‘Britain – Gaza Siege Demoonstation’
By James Wray
January 3, 2009,
Singer Annie Lennox (C), social and human rights advocate Bianca Jagger (formerly married to Mick Jagger) (2nd R) and British politician George Galloway (L) march through London with thousands of protestors in London, Britain, 03 January 2009. A series of demonstrations took place across Britain against the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. EPA/ANDY RAIN
epa01589872 Under the shadow of famous city landmark Big Ben, pro-Palestinian protestors pass through Parliament Square as they participate in a rally in central London, 03 January 2009. It was one of a series of manifestations across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza,. EPA/ANDY RAIN EPA/ANDY RAIN
Under the shadow of famous city landmark Big Ben, pro-Palestinian protestors pass through Parliament Square as they participate in a rally in central London, 03 January 2009. It was one of a series of manifestations across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza,. EPA/ANDY RAIN
Pro-Palestinian protestors demonstrate in central London, Britain, 03 January 2009. A series of demonstrations took place across Britain against the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. EPA/ANDY RAIN
Thousands of protestors march along Whitehall, central London, Britain, 03 January 2009 as part of a series of rally across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. In the background is seen the capital landmark Big Ben EPA/ANDY RAIN
Thousands of protestors march along Whitehall, central London, Britain, 03 January 2009 as part of a series of rally across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. In the background is seen the capital landmark Big Ben EPA/ANDY RAIN
Thousands of protestors bathed in bright sunshine, march through central London, 03 January 2009 as part of a series of demonstrations across the country to protest against Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. EPA/ANDY RAIN
LONDON—Thousands of chanting, banner-waving demonstrators marched in cities across Europe on Saturday to demand a halt to Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip.
Protests were held in Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain as the Israeli offensive entered its second week.
Israeli Arabs held a protest march and Kuwaitis also took to the streets, a day after bigger Middle East rallies.
In Paris, police said more than 20,000 demonstrators, many wearing Palestinian keffiyeh headscarves, marched through the city centre chanting slogans like “Israel murderer!” and waving banners demanding an end to the air attacks.
Similar protests were planned in some 30 other towns.
London police said more than 10,000 people staged a noisy march and rally to urge an end to an Israeli offensive against Hamas militants that has killed at least 435 Palestinians.
In many European cities people waved shoes—recalling the action of an Iraqi journalist who hurled footwear at U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad last month in a symbolic insult.
British demonstrators threw dozens of shoes into the street as they passed the gated entrance to Downing Street, where Prime Minister Gordon Brown lives, and shouted angrily at a line of 40 police officers on guard there.
“Come to get your shoes Gordon,” one woman shouted as other marchers directed chants of “Shame on you” at Brown.
A spokesman said Brown had spoken again to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Saturday and was pressing hard for an immediate ceasefire.
Leading the march were singer Annie Lennox, politicians Tony Benn and George Galloway and comic Alexei Sayle. Demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and placards with slogans such as “End the siege on Gaza” and “Stop the massacre”.
Israel says rocket attacks from Gaza by Hamas Islamists must stop before it halts operations, but the attacks continued on Saturday. Four Israelis have been killed by Hamas rockets since the offensive began.
Anger at Western Reaction
Paul Mukerji, 42, from Birmingham, acknowledged Israel had security reasons but called its action disproportionate.
“The best way for peace for Palestinians and Israelis is to end the occupation,” said Mukerji, who said he had spent six months working with Jewish and Palestinian peace groups.
Ali Saeed, 24, from Luton, said Western governments had failed to condemn Israel’s actions.
“What’s going on in Gaza is not right … It’s not a coincidence that it’s going on Iraq, in Chechnya, in Kashmir. It’s just about going on everywhere. It’s almost a direct insult to every single Muslim,” he said.
Protests were scheduled in a score of other British cities.
Greek police said they fired teargas at protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Athens. Protesters burnt flags and effigies, hurled stones at the embassy and clashed with police during a march by about 5,000 people, they said.
Tens of thousands of people marched in the town of Sakhnin, northern Israel, on Saturday in one of the biggest rallies held by Israeli Arabs in recent years, Israeli media reported. Calling Israeli leaders “war criminals”, the demonstrators demanded an end to the onslaught on Gaza, they said.
Around 3,500 people marched in Berlin and 4,000 in the western city of Duesseldorf, police said.
In the German capital, demonstrators carried pictures of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and one small girl cradled a doll smeared in blood.
Hundreds joined a protest in central Dublin.
“I just thought the fact that 300-400 people would’ve been bombed, would’ve been killed, was extremely wrong,” said Andy Defaoite, a 27-year-old teacher in the Irish capital.
More than 1,000 demonstrators marched through Kuwait City, with banners reading “Gaza will not die” and “We want a free Gaza”.
Another 1,000 marched in Madrid, some calling for sanctions against Israel, equating Zionism with Nazism and chanting slogans like “Israel kills, the world just stands by”.
Police said about 1,500 people marched through Amsterdam.
About 1,000 demonstrators marched through the Italian city of Milan on Saturday, some burning Israeli flags, with a smaller rally in Turin.
People destroy a French policeman’s car, during a demonstration against the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip on January 3, 2009, in Paris. (Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors stand behind an over-turned car during a demonstration against the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip on January 3, 2009, in Paris. (Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images)
Some of the thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters fight to get to the Israeli embassy in Athens as Greek riot police stand guard on January 3, 2009, during a demonstration against the Israeli attacks in Gaza. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters opposed to Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip gather near the Israeli Embassy following a demonstration in Trafalgar Square in London, on January 3, 2009. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
The World Demonstrated in protest against the war in Iraq and the politicians did not listen. The War in Iraq is in fact illegal, based on lies. Will they listen to us now as we say NO AGAIN to Israel killing innocent people in Gaza?
Israel is committing many crimes and we Say NO MORE.
Are they still deaf?
Defending the criminals in the US and Israel who kill innocent people has gone on far to long.
We are fed up with war mongering, murdering, power hungry, profiteers.
There are a large number of Demonstrations in the US and I will post them if they magically appear anywhere. I can only hope to have a busy evening.
Reports on protests
The Ceasefire was broken by Israel when their armed forces carried out several attacks on November the 4th 2008 resulting in the death of 6 Palestinians
Hamas had not fired a rocketsince June 19 2008 ( when the Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was finalized) and only resumed after the Israeli attacks. Israels claim of Self Defense is a lie.
Also added Protests from January 2nd, 3rd, 4th at the bottom of the page.
December 29, 2008 – 11:13AM
A Palestinian woman mourns the death of loved one following the attacks.
Demonstrators in cities around the world on Sunday marched in protest against the Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip that have killed nearly 300 people in the Palestinian territory.
British police made 10 arrests as a demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in London turned violent. Riot police moved in after people tore down the barriers keeping them back from the embassy.
Earlier on Sunday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called for an “urgent ceasefire and immediate halt to all violence” in Gaza.
A call to “urgently halt” the military action also came from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who spoke to his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni.
The top diplomats in Italy and Spain, Franco Frattini and Miguel Angel Moratinos, also spoke by telephone with Livni who said Israel would try “to limit the suffering of the people of Gaza”, the Italian foreign ministry said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency, told Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas by telephone of his grave concerns about the escalating violence in the region and the need for both sides to stop their aggressions.
Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday denounced the violence between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza, and urged everyone involved in the “tragic situation in the Middle East” to strive for humanity and wisdom.
The UN chief added his voice to the UN Security Council’s call for an immediate end to hostilities and urged Israel to allow humanitarian aid into the poverty-stricken territory.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “deplores that violence is continuing today, and he strongly urges once again an immediate stop to all acts of violence”, his spokeswoman Michele Montas said in a statement.
While the outgoing Bush administration has blamed Hamas “thugs” for provoking the Israeli offensive by firing rockets into the Jewish state from Gaza, a top aide to Barack Obama was more measured, saying the president-elect is “committed” to achieving peace in the Middle East.
Recognising the special relationship between the United States and Israel, Obama will work closely with the Israelis, David Axelrod said in an interview on CBS television.
“But he will do so in a way that will promote the cause of peace, and work closely with the Israelis and the Palestinians on that – toward that objective,” said Axelrod.
Around European capitals, Danish police arrested a man on the fringes of a protest march in Copenhagen after he threw a petrol bomb at officers. Police said the rally drew about 700 people, though organisers put the number closer to 2,000.
In Paris, about 200 people gathered on the Champs Elysees, while across the city in the northern district of Barbes, an area with a high concentration of north Africans, police said 1,300 others had joined an anti-Israel protest.
In Madrid, hundreds of people demonstrated outside the Israeli embassy, brandishing placards reading “Israel terrorist”, “Stop state terrorism” and “No to the Palestinian holocaust”.
The largest single protest of about 8,000 people took place in Egypt on the streets of the southern city of Assiut. Some 4,000 protesters rallied in the capital Cairo, while a demonstration in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria drew a similar number, a security official said.
Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah urged Egyptians in their “millions” to take to the streets to force their government to open the country’s border with Gaza, to help save Palestinians from the Israeli bombardments.
Another major showing of anti-Israeli sentiment was seen in Turkey where thousands of people joined demonstrations in about a dozen Turkish cities.
In Syria, protesters burned Israeli and American flags as thousands demonstrated in central Damascus. Security was tight around the US embassy, which lies some two kilometres from the scene of the protest in the Syrian capital.
Demonstrators also burned Israeli flags in the Jordanian capital Amman, where hundreds of people led by Islamist lawmakers gathered to demand the closure of the Israeli embassy.
With Egypt, Jordan is one of only two Arab governments to have signed peace treaties with Israel.
The Israeli bombardment of Hamas targets in Gaza has killed more than 280 people since Saturday, the Jewish state’s biggest offensive against the Palestinian territory since its capture in the 1967 Middle East war.
British aid agency Oxfam warned of a looming humanitarian crisis in Gaza if the Israeli bombardments do not cease.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement: “The influx of war wounded has put a tremendous strain on Gaza’s already overburdened hospitals, which are in dire need of medical equipment.”
Egyptians Protest Against Israel, Own Government Over Gaza Attacks
By JOSEPH MAYTON
SOLIDARITY — Egyptians participate in a pro-Gaza rally outside the headquarters of a doctors’ union in Cairo on Dec. 28. (MaanImages via Newscom)
CAIRO — It is the only story in the Arab world: Gaza’s battering at the hands of Israeli planes. Across the region, frustration continues to grow as hundreds of Gazans die and hundreds more are injured in the three days of bombing by the Israeli air force despite international calls to end the violence. In Egypt, thousands of protesters continue to pour onto the streets to voice their anger at Israel’s actions as well as their own government, highlighting how deep the chasm as run.
At a demonstration Monday, Egyptian protesters called for an immediate end to Israeli “aggression” and asked for all “to boycott the Jewish state.” Reports indicated that tens of thousands of people made their way to the streets to demonstrate against the Israeli military action in Gaza and against what they deemed as President Hosni Mubarak‘s “inaction” to help bring the situation to an end.
Ironically, the demonstration on Monday and another over the weekend in Cairo are reminiscent of the action taken by Egyptians two and a half years ago when Israel began what turned into a month-long war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Thousands went to the streets in 2006, and even larger numbers are heeding opposition leaders’ calls for action this time.
“Showing solidarity with besieged Palestinians by means of words and action is not a crime, but a duty that should be upheld by all freedom-loving people,” senior Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi said on the movement’s Web site.
The protests showed how far reaching the conflict has run within the Arab world. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood went to the streets alongside secular activists in their calls for an end to the Israeli “holocaust in Gaza.”
“It is horrible that we are out on the streets and demanding something be done, while the Arab leaders are sitting in their palaces doing nothing. I hold them responsible for what is going on,” one protester told the Middle East Times.
Images of the wounded and dead continue to bombard Arab television and have heightened the tension between citizen and state. Arabs feel their governmental leaders are not doing enough to pressure Israel to end the attacks, which the United Nations has condemned.
Leading Kifaya member, Karima el-Hefnawy, said at an earlier demonstration that the violence is a “natural result of the treason and collaboration of the Arab regimes with America and Israel who want to generally wipe out any resistance in Gaza.”
She continued to show her anger over Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni‘s recent visit to Egypt.
“What made the Egyptian foreign minister invite her at such timing? Did she come to tell him she was going to bomb Gaza the following day so that he agrees? This is what had happened and he didn’t dare say there was going to be bombardment of Gaza.”
Egypt’s foreign ministry, which according to a Ha’aretz newspaper report, knew of the planned assault against Gaza days before the incursion began and approved, has lashed out against the Jewish state, calling on Israel to stop the “murder” of Palestinian civilians.
“We call for an immediate end to Israeli military operations. We cannot allow these attacks to continue. We cannot permit the murder of Palestinians,” Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on state television.
“We summoned the Israeli ambassador and we said we refuse this aggression,” foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki added.
Abul Gheit talked with his U.S., Russian and French counterparts – Condoleezza Rice, Sergei Lavrov and Bernard Kouchner – and urged them to call for an end to Israeli operations that should be “reciprocal” with Hamas, a statement said.
Mubarak condemned “the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip and blames Israel, as an occupying force, for the victims and the wounded.”
At least 300 people have already been killed in the three days of bombing in Gaza, with well over 1,000 wounded. According to Egyptian state television, an Egyptian police officer was killed at the Rafah border crossing as a result of Israeli bombing. Independent news agencies said he was killed in a firefight while trying to stop Palestinians from passing through a breach in the wall, a result of Israeli bombing.
Mark Regev, the Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, said that bombing along the Egyptian border is an attempt to curtail the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.
Police arrest 12 protesting against Israel in Central Jakarta
December 29 2008
Police arrested 12 protesters rallying against Israel’s attacks in Gaza at the Hotel Indonesia circle on Monday for not having permission to hold a demonstration, kompas.com has reported.
The 12 are Agung, Ahmad, Arsilan, Ferry, Gempar, Mulyana, Oji, Oking, Okta, Sayidan Muhamad, Umar and Zainal. Some are members of Indonesian Muslim Students Action Unity (KAMMI) and students at Darma Tirta University in Banten and the University of Indonesia.
Ferry from Darma Tirta said Monday he and his friends were facing charges for organizing the rally.
The police had not given permission to the students to stage a rally because they had not informed police about their plans. Police said the rally was unofficial and had violated city ordinances because it was staged on a holiday.
Ferry said he and the other students were talking with the police to get permission to continue protesting through the afternoon.
The demonstrators were opposing Israel’s attacks on Hamas facilities in Palestine that have claimed 300 lives so far.
Protests against Israeli assault on Gaza in pictures
December 29 2008
Beirut- From Beirut to Jakarta in the east and Houston Texas, USA in the west , demonstrators took to the streets across the Arab and Muslim worlds in protests against Israel’s deadly bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Over 345 Palestinians have been killed so far during the first 3 days of the assault .
Tens of thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah supporters protested Israel’s air assault on the Gaza Strip. In a speech addressed to the protesters Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah attacked the United States and Egypt and called for a third intifada ( uprising ) not only in Palestine but in the Arab world as well. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit on Monday accused Nasrallah of “declaring war on the Egyptian People” but said “the Egyptian People would confront this war.”
Some of the demonstrations were peaceful but some others were violent .A protest in the occupied West Bank turned deadly, when one Palestinian demonstrator was killed in clashes with police.
A demonstration in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was also marred by bloodshed when a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up among the crowd, killing one person and wounding 16, police said.
Here are pictures of some of the demonstrations courtesy of AP and Reuters photographers :
Jordanians shout anti-Israel and U.S. slogans during a protest against the Israeli attacks on Gaza, in Amman December 29, 2008.
Demonstrators protest against the Israeli air strikes in Gaza, in front of the journalists’ syndicate in Cairo December 29, 2008. Israeli aircraft killed more than 345 Palestinians in the deadliest violence in the territory in decades.
A Palestinian flag flutters in the wind, as people protest in the southern suburb of Dahiyeh, Lebanon, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008. Tens of thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah supporters poured into the streets south of Beirut to protest Israel’s air assault on targets in the Gaza Strip
Several hundred Bahrainis raising Palestinian flags and images of killings in the Gaza Strip pray, cry and shout during a demonstration Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008, in Muharraq, Bahrain.
Women take part in an anti-Israeli protest in Sanaa December 29, 2008. The posters read, “Relieve Gaza”
Demonstrators shout slogans in Istanbul December 28, 2008 during a protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Thousands of Syrian and Palestinians demonstrated on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008, at the Youssef al-Azma square in Damascus, Syria, in a show of protest against the Israeli assault against Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal is based in Damascus
Protesters took to the streets of Europe’s capital cities on Monday in demonstrations against Israel’s assault on Gaza.
In Greece, riot police fired tear gas to stop protesters from hurling rocks at the Israeli Embassy in Athens during a rally.
In London, some 600 protesters gathered outside the Israeli Embassy waving flags as the police looked on.
In Berlin, about 2,000 Palestinians and their supporters formed a protest. Men and women held Palestinian flags, chanted slogans against Israel and waved banners denouncing the Israeli operation in Gaza.
Israeli warplanes continue to bomb the Gaza Strip for the third day. Ten more Palestinians have been killed in the attacks taking the toll to 330.
Several people have been seriously injured. The air strikes flattened government buildings in Gaza City and the Islamic University has been struck once again.
According to the United Nation figures, 320 Palestinians have died so far. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for immediate ceasefire.
Israel has launched more than 300 airstrikes, and its military has said naval vessels have also bombarded targets from the sea.
Meanwhile, several groups across the world have united to send aid and supplies to the troubled Gaza region. On Monday, a group of international activists said they would try to defy an Israeli naval blockade and send a boat with medical supplies to Palestinians in Gaza.
The group has successfully made five deliveries of aid by boat to Gaza since August, defying the blockade Israel imposed when Hamas won control of the territory in June 2007.
Organisers acknowledged that the Israeli Navy may try to stop the boat but they said the need for aid “outweighs the risks” of entering a war zone.
Israel has done everything humanly possible to destroy the Palestinians. This has been ongoing for a very long time.
Aid to Israel should be stopped and a boycott isn’t such a bad idea either before they murder all the Palestinians, which is their goal it seems. All weapons of mass destruction should also be stopped from entering Israel as well. The US gives money in aid to Israel, aid which buys weapons of mass destruction. Weapons they use to terrorize the Palestinians and their neighbors. They are starving and murdering the Palestinians.
Much of the media and others are blaming the wrong people.
Israel is anything but the innocent victim as some have made them out to be. They are in fact the guilty war criminals. They have become the enemy they hated most. They are now the exterminators. They rate right up there with Bush and his cronies exterminating Iraqis. They are not so different. The Iraqis were starved and treated horrifically just as the Palestinians have been. Now it seems the “shock and awe” is now being implemented against the Palestinians. There is no real difference.
Turmoil Spurs US Plant Closures, EU Layoffs At ArcelorMittal
December 10th, 2008
By Alex MacDonald
In a sign of the severity of the economic downturn, ArcelorMittal (MT), the world’s largest steelmaker, announced plans to close two U.S. steel processing plants and lay off several hundred workers in the European Union.
ArcelorMittal plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Lackawanna, N.Y., by the end of April and plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Hennepin, Ill., sometime in the future, although no date was disclosed. The two closures will result in 545 job losses, 260 of which are located at the N.Y. plant and 285 of which are located at the Illinois plant.
Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal rolled out voluntary redundancy programs in Europe over the past week or so that would eliminate 3,550 mostly white-collar jobs through voluntary layoffs. The company is eyeing 6,000 job cuts in Europe out of 9,000 job cuts globally.
The closures and layoffs are in line with the company’s plans to cut 35% of its global steel production capacity during the fourth quarter and saving $1 billion annually by cutting 3% of its global workforce.
Both steel plants supply the auto market, where demand has slumped so dramatically that the U.S.’s three largest car manufacturers are now seeking federal government funds to avert bankruptcy.
The closures are part of ArcelorMittal’s global restructuring program to weather the economic downturn.
The decision to close ArcelorMittal Lackawanna was “purely an economic business decision based on the extraordinary economic conditions we face today,” the company said in a statement.
The Lackawanna plant has inherent disadvantages due to its location that lead to higher costs, longer customer lead times, and higher inventory levels than other ArcelorMittal finishing facilities in the US, the company said.
Meanwhile, at Hennepin, “the company had to make the tough decision to close the…facility, consolidate operations and move production to other ArcelorMittal facilities in the U.S.” in order to remain competitive.
ArcelorMittal now has announced plans to lay off 19% of its U.S. salaried workforce of 15,543 people and has announced more than half of its planned job cuts in Europe.
The United Steelworkers union and other relevant stakeholders were notified about the plant closures and job layoffs. They are now negotiating with the Luxembourg-based company to arrive at a compromise.
Jim Robinson, the director of USW’s District 7 said the union was aware that ArcelorMittal faced operational issues at the two plants but was surprised by the company’s decision to close the plants.
“They called us before they announced but we did not know this specifically” beforehand, he said.
Robinson dismissed views that ArcelorMittal has underinvested in the plants. “I don’t think the issue is lack of investment over time, I think it’s an issue of the company’s overall strategy.” He declined to elaborate further.
ArcelorMittal is one of many steelmakers globally that have announced production cuts and layoffs. U.S. Steel Corporation (X), the world’s tenth-largest steelmaker by volume, announced last week it would temporarily idle an iron ore mining facility and two steel works. The move will affect 3,500 employees.
Corus, Europe’s second largest steelmaker by volume and the European arm of India-based Tata Steel Ltd (500470.BY) has cut production by 30% and has shed about 500 jobs from the U.K.
In Europe, ArcelorMittal is seeking voluntary redundancies equal to 1,400 jobs in France, 800 in Belgium, 750 in Germany, and 600 in Spain. Most of them are white collar jobs. ArcelorMittal’s American depositary shares recently traded up 8.9% to $25.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Brussels – European Union businesses called Monday for a cut in interest rates amid predictions that the bloc’s economic slowdown could lead to more than 1 million jobs being lost in 2009.
BusinessEurope, which groups national business federations from 34 European countries, also called on governments to ensure a continued flow of credit and to approve structural reforms aimed at improving the continent’s competitiveness.
According to its latest Economic Outlook, EU gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to grow by just 0.4 per cent in 2009, compared to 1.4 per cent this year, with exports, imports and private consumption levels all slowing.
Unemployment is predicted to increase from 7 per cent to 7.8 per cent, with the loss of 1.1 million jobs, compared to a net job creation of more than 2 million in 2008.
“The most fundamental preoccupation of the business community is obviously the way in which the impact of the financial market turmoil will play out,” the paper said.
“Even though a fully-fledged credit crunch has not yet appeared in Europe, uncertainty about the impact for companies and consumer markets has increased tremendously.”
SEMI Europe calls for investment to avoid mass job losses in semiconductor industry
December 10 2008
During the third SEMI Brussels forum, SEMI Europe declared that the decline in the European semiconductor industry could potentially put half a million European jobs at risk. SEMI Europe presented its White Paper to EU officials and urgently appealed for the EU and national policymakers to invest to support the European semiconductor industry citing the industries importance to the health and global competitiveness of the EU economy.
The equipment/materials producers and the semiconductor device manufacturers contribute around €29 billion to the EU economy and provide around 215,000 jobs. The European semiconductor industry is also a significant contributor to the GDP in EU countries such as France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.
“If semiconductor manufacturers leave Europe, indigenous equipment & materials producers will face an uncertain future”, said Franz Richter, Chairman of the SEMI European Advisory Board. “The current economic crisis and rising unemployment underscore the urgent need to safeguard jobs in the European semiconductor industry. Supporting a robust and competitive semiconductor industry in Europe is critical to keeping jobs in Europe across all industries and supporting key European economies.”
The decline of the market share even during the increase in total volumes sold reflects that manufacturing is changing and moving away from Europe because of the unfavourable global level playing field conditions. The European equipment and materials manufacturers that supply the semiconductor industry with machinery and parts are for the most part small or medium-sized European businesses that heavily rely on the future European semiconductor industry to guarantee their own future and the 105,000 jobs they embody.
Further information on the Brussels forum is available here.
Spanish auto sector highly exposed to global crisis
December 11 2008
By Robert Hetz
Spain’s car industry, which became Europe’s third largest, thanks to a cheap workforce, has lost cost advantage and could shrink as companies slash costs at foreign plants and save politically-sensitive jobs at home.
As executives at multinational manufacturers weigh up Spain’s ageing factories, relatively high wage costs and weak competitiveness against their own domestic markets and cheaper alternatives, the country’s plants are clear targets as the credit crunch saps demand all over the world.
“The big decisions are being taken abroad, not here, and managers in London, Paris and Detroit prefer to close a plant here and not in their home market,” said the director of one Spanish parts plant, who asked not to be named.
Unlike Germany, France or Italy, Spain’s auto industry has no nationally-owned car maker and little control over decisions on the future of its 18 foreign-owned plants, which employ around 70,000 people.
And unlike the case of Britain, Spain’s plants are older and less productive, and the country lacks a more skilled workforce or much tradition of home-grown research and development.
Global car makers, also including Peugeot, Opel and Volkswagen, built most of their Spanish plants in the 1970s when Spain was a low-cost backwater, well placed to serve Northern European markets.
Since the 70s, Spain has lost its price advantage as living standards have caught up with the European average. In 2007, per capita income overtook that of Italy. At the same time, new competitors have emerged as low-cost manufacturing centres.
Spain’s auto-sector salaries averaged 22.83 euros ($29.64) an hour last year, above the European average and around three times the 6.93 euros in Poland and 8.83 euros in the Czech Republic, Europe’s new manufacturing hubs, alongside North Africa.
NORTH AFRICA PASSES SPAIN FOR RENAULT
Renault plans to make 200,000 cars at its plants in North Africa in 2010 and double that within a couple of years, overtaking production from its Spanish operations.
The global credit crunch has hurt demand for new cars across Europe, with new car registrations in November falling 36.8 percent in the UK, 18 percent in Germany, 30 percent in Italy and 50 percent in Spain.
With some 84 percent of cars built in Spanish plants for export, manufacturers are finding fewer financial or political reasons for remaining in the country as international competition rises.
Spanish plants are ideal candidates for the inevitable cuts across Europe, head of Ford Espana Jose Manuel Machado said, as salaries rise and productivity fails to rise at a similar rate.
Machado’s comments came before the U.S. company announced production cuts of 120,000 units at its Almussafes plant in Valencia, and the temporary layoff of 5,200 workers.
Job cuts are expected from most of the major manufacturers, with more than 60 filings listing potential layoffs by private companies made to the government, which may affect up to 40,000 workers, Spain’s main union UGT said.
As Spain’s unemployment rate soars to the highest in the European Union and the economy nears recession, the government is keen to keep the industry, which accounts for around 5 percent of gross domestic product, in the country.
Spain has earmarked 800 million euros for the sector as part of measures worth a total of around 50 billion euros to stimulate the economy.
But this aid may not be enough.
“It’s a good gesture from the government, but obviously the amount of money is insufficient. It would be less than 80 million euros per manufacturer,” said Jose Antonio Bueno of consultancy Europraxis.
The sharp fall in new car sales in Spain has also affected the manufacturers’ showrooms and spare parts centres throughout the country.
Concessions for new and second-hand cars and garages employ around 278,000 people in Spain, and 16,000 of those jobs are at risk, the association for the sector, Ganvam, estimates.
“Four years ago we sold two or three cars a day, but now its not even two a week,” said Adela Benito, who has worked in a Madrid-based Renault showroom for 20 years. (Reporting by Robert Hetz; Additional reporting by Tomas Gonzalez; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Rupert Winchester)
In a new survey just released, 68 percent of Swedes want to see the Swedish government bail out its beleaguered carmaker Volvo. Although Volvo is owned by US carmaker Ford, Swedes would like its government to temporarily take control of the nation’s iconic firm, as many residents fear Volvo may disappear entirely from Sweden in the near future.
The Local newspaper reports that support for government intervention is piling in from all sides of the political arena. Some 65 percent of those polled who support the bailout side with one of the governing Alliance parties, and 73 percent of all left bloc voters approve of a government bailout.
Peter Larsson of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers points out that Volvo’s current crisis is not minor. “One thing is certain, there are no dollars on their way over the Atlantic,” Larsson said, referring to the massive problems currently faced by the “Big Three” US carmakers – Ford, Chrysler, and (Saab-owner) General Motors.
Rolf Wolff, dean of the school of business at Gothenburg University, told The Local: “If Volvo Cars disappears as a base for industrial knowledge and skills, then Sweden will never again be a part of the auto industry. All the knowledge and skills would be lost, and with it all future associated development potential would be gone.”
Maud Olofsson, Sweden’s minister of trade and industry, has expressed doubts whether the government would be able to better manage Volvo than the car firm itself. For now, the issue has been placed on the political back burner, but the crisis at Volvo and Ford goes on.
Whether Bush Can Grant His Administration Pre-emptive Pardons on Torture, a Dicey Area of the Law
By Daphne Eviatar
December 8 2008
In his Nov. 16 interview on CBS’s “60 minutes,” President-elect Barack Obama reiterated his pledge to shut down Guantanamo Bay and end U.S.-sponsored torture. Both actions would be “part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world,” he said.
Obama’s advisers are similarly encouraging him to look to the future and avoid the appearance of seeking vengeance for past practices. But many legal experts insist it’s as important not to let those responsible for diminishing America’s moral stature get away scot-free.
“When we speak about accountability, we’re not talking about vengeance,” lawyer and writer Scott Horton told at a packed forum on torture at New York University School of Law last week. “We’re really talking about the future.” President George W. Bush “has set a precedent that we cannot let stand.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who also attended the forum, added: “Accountability is one of the most important questions before the country. It’s critical to preventing a recurrence of the lawbreaking that clearly has been done [by this administration].”
Liberal lawyers and civil rights advocates have been calling for prosecutions, even impeachment, of Bush officials tied to torture for years. Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Democratic congresswoman, published “The Impeachment of George W. Bush” in 2006. Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, published his book, “The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book,” in September. Others have published volumes of evidence implicating Bush officials in potentially criminal conduct . Among the most influential are Jane Mayer’s “The Dark Side,” Phillipe Sands’ “Torture Team” and “The Torture Papers,” a collection of administration documents on detainee abuses edited by Karen Greenberg, executive director of the Center on Law and Security at NYU, and Joshua Dratel, a prominent defense attorney who represents detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
But as the administration nears its end, the debate over what Obama should do about officials who authorized torture, humiliation or systematic abuse of detainees as part of the “war on terror” has become more urgent. (The NYU forum attracted so much interest that hundreds of vociferous supporters of prosecution were denied entry into the auditorium because of fire-code restrictions.)
Even as the pressure on Obama to take action grows, some prominent legal experts are urging restraint.
In a Nov. 26 Op-Ed in the Washington Post, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith, director of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Dept. from 2003-2004, urged the incoming administration to let bygones be bygones. The decisions to use waterboarding or other forms of torture on terrorist suspects should not be prosecuted as criminal actions, he argued. Instead, they were wartime policy decisions that shouldn’t be second-guessed by lawyers. “[T]he greater danger now is that lawyers will become excessively cautious in giving advice and will substitute predictions of political palatability for careful legal judgment,” he wrote.
But what if President Bush pardoned himself and all other officials who authorized abusive interrogations of prisoners? Would that render the torture-accountability debate moot?
In August, Stuart Taylor Jr., a Brookings Institute fellow and columnist for Newsweek and the National Journal, argued that the president should issue a blanket pardon — and leave it to a non-prosecutorial truth commission to set the record straight for posterity.
In November, Nadler, the congressman, introduced a House resolution urging the president not to pardon officials who authorized torture and potential lawbreaking. Since then, Democrats.com has been circulating a petition on the Internet to collect signatures of those who support the resolution. So far, almost 50,000 have signed it.
But legal experts say that neither the resolution nor the petition would have any legal effect on the matter.
“Congress can’t control the pardon power,” said New York University law professor David Golove, an expert on executive power. “For practical purposes, there are no clear limits.”
The breadth of the president’s pardon power has been challenged before, particularly after President Abraham Lincoln pardoned former confederate officials who swore an oath of loyalty to the Union. But in Ex Parte Garland, the Supreme Court spelled out just how far-reaching the president’s power is.
The pardon power “clothe[s] the president with the power to pardon all offenses, and thereby to wash away the legal stain and extinguish all the legal consequences of treason — all penalties, all punishments, and everything in the nature of punishment,” the court ruled.
Accordingly, if Bush pardoned administration officials accused of authorizing torture — say, Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Cheney chief of staff Richard Addington or former Justice Dept. lawyer John Yoo, to name a few frequently mentioned possibilities — legal experts say the pardons would be extremely difficult to challenge in court. The fact that none of these men have been convicted of anything makes no difference.
The Confederates pardoned by Lincoln hadn’t been indicted or tried, either. Similarly, President Jimmy Carter preemptively pardoned draft evaders during the Vietnam War when he took office in 1976. Even the Watergate-plagued Richard Nixon, pardoned by Gerald Ford in 1974, was never convicted of a crime.
Could Bush pardon himself?
That’s legally dicey. Although it’s never been done before, nothing in the Constitution specifically prevents it.
“I do not believe that a president can issue a pardon of himself,” said Holtzman, a panelist at the NYU forum. “I believe that would be an abuse of the pardon power.”
Some say that pardoning administration officials whose actions you signed off on would also be an abuse of power. Allowing a president to do that may set a precedent that’s even more destructive, say some legal experts, because it would remove any incentive for future presidents to follow the law.
“One of the most effective potential weapons to assure that a runaway executive does not violate the rule of law is that the people who carry out the president’s wishes are themselves subject to legal jeopardy,” said Golove.
In that regard, the U.S. presidency is similar to the British system. Although by law the English king could do no wrong, his ministers could, explained Golove. “So the way you controlled the crown was by threatening to bring criminal prosecutions against those who carry out his orders.”
That’s been the case in the United States as well. “So to allow the president to pardon those people is to remove to a considerable extent the incentive for the executive branch to follow the law,” contended Golove. “I see this as a terrible problem.”
Carolyn Patty Blum, emeritus professor at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, agrees. “Bush doesn’t really need to pardon himself if he preemptively pardons others, because then no one has an incentive to talk about his role.”
Some commentators, such as Taylor, have argued that a blanket pardon would still allow for the appointment of a truth commission along the lines of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It could be easier for such a body to learn what really happened because participants wouldn’t face jail for participating.
But Blum, a consultant to the International Center for Transitional Justice, which specializes in accountability for human-rights abuses, disagrees. “[Our] institutional experience working with truth commissions around the world is that the opposite happens. Once people feel they are already protected, they don’t have any incentive to come forward.”
In South Africa, she noted, people were pardoned only after they testified truthfully about their crimes.
Pardons for administration officials would not necessarily close down the inquiry, however. A pardon wouldn’t stop victims of torture from suing U.S. officials, for example, and revealing the truth — although federal government officials can claim all sorts of immunities that would make such cases difficult to pursue in the United States. And a pardon would not prevent another country, or an international tribunal, from investigating and prosecuting war crimes and other violations of international law.
“Hitler could not pardon himself and the Nazi general staff for war crimes committed during World War II,” said Golove. “Even if he could have pardoned them under German law, that wouldn’t have had any effect at the Nuremberg Tribunal.”
As Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights noted at the NYU forum, “You cannot pardon war crimes and torture. Maybe here, but they’re not going to walk so freely in Europe.”
The center and prosecutors abroad have already sought to bring administration officials to trial in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, among other countries. Although charges probably wouldn’t land any U.S. officials behind bars, it could at least put a crimp in their travel plans — and prompt investigations that might further tarnish the Bush legacy.
Depleted Uranium is a waste product of the nuclear enrichment process.
After natural uranium has been ‘enriched’ to concentrate the isotope U235 for use in nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons, what remains is DU.
The process produces about 7 times more DU than enriched uranium.
Despite claims that DU is much less radioactive than natural uranium, it actually emits about 75% as much radioactivity. It is very dense and when it strikes armour it burns (it is ‘pyrophoric’). As a waste product, it is stockpiled by nuclear states, which then have an interest in finding uses for it.
DU is used as the ‘penetrator’ – a long dart at the core of the weapon – in armour piercing tank rounds and bullets. It is usually alloyed with another metal. When DU munitions strike a hard target the penetrator sheds around 20% of its mass, creating a fine dust of DU, burning at extremely high temperatures.
This dust can spread 400 metres from the site immediately after an impact. It can be resuspended by human activity, or by the wind, and has been reported to have travelled twenty-five miles on air currents. The heat of the DU impact and secondary fires means that much of the dust produced is ceramic, and can remain in the lungs for years if inhaled.
Who uses it?
At least 18 countries are known to have DU in their arsenals:
Most of these countries were sold DU by the US, although the UK, France and Pakistan developed it independently.
Only the US and the UK are known to have fired it in warfare. It was used in the 1991 Gulf War, in the 2003 Iraq War, and also in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s and during the NATO war with Serbia in 1999. While its use has been claimed in a number of other conflicts, this has not been confirmed.
DU is both chemically toxic and radioactive. In laboratory tests it damages human cells, causing DNA mutations and other carcinogenic effects.
Reports of increased rates of cancer and birth defects have consistently followed DU usage.
Representatives from both the Serbian and Iraqi governments have linked its use with health problems amongst civilians.
Many veterans remain convinced DU is responsible for health problems they have experienced since combat
Information from animal studies suggests DU may cause several different kinds of cancer. In rats, DU in the blood-stream builds up in the kidneys, bone, muscles, liver, spleen, and brain. In other studies it has been shown to cross both the blood-brain barrier and the placenta, with obvious implications for the health of the foetus. In general, the effects of DU will be more severe for women and children than for healthy men.
In 2008 a study by the Institute of Medicine in the US listed medical conditions that were a high priority to study for possible links with DU exposure: cancers of the lung, testes and kidney; lung disease; nervous system disorders; and reproductive and developmental problems.
What is missing from the picture is large-scale epidemiological studies on the effects of DU – where negative health effects match individuals with exposure to DU. None of the studies done on the effects on soldiers have been large enough to make meaningful conclusions. No large scale studies have been done on civilian populations.
In the case of Iraq, where the largest volume of DU has been fired, the UK and US governments are largely responsible for the conditions which have made studies of the type required impossible. Despite this, these same governments use the scientific uncertainties to maintain that it is safe, and that concerns about it are misplaced.
However, in cases where human health is in jeopardy, a precautionary approach should prevail. Scientific scepticism should prevent a hazardous course of action from being taken until safety is assured. To allow it to continue until the danger has been proved beyond dispute is an abuse of the principle of scientific caution.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has studied some of the sites contaminated by DU in the Balkans, but it has only been able to produce a desk study on Iraq. Bullets and penetrators made of DU that do not hit armour become embedded in the ground and corrode away, releasing material into the environment.
It is not known what will happen to DU in the long term in such circumstances. The UNEP mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina found DU in drinking water, and could still detect it in the air after seven years – the longest period of time a study has been done after the end of a conflict.
Uranium has a half life of 4.5 billion years, so DU released into the environment will be a hazard for unimaginable timescales.
Decontaminating sites where DU has been used requires detailed scrutiny and monitoring, followed by the removal and reburial of large amounts of soil and other materials. Monitoring of groundwater for contamination is also advised by UNEP. CADU calls for the cost of cleaning up and decontaminating DU affected sites to be met by the countries responsible for the contamination.
CADU is a founder member of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) – now comprising over 102 member organisations in 27 countries.
CADU and ICBUW campaign for a precautionary approach: there is significant evidence that DU is dangerous, and faced with scientific uncertainty the responsible course of action is for it not to be used. To this end CADU and ICBUW are working towards an international treaty that bans the use of uranium in weapons akin to those banning cluster bombs and landmines.
Through the efforts of campaigners worldwide the use of DU has been condemned by four resolutions in the European Parliament, been the subject of an outright ban in Belgium, and brought onto the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly.
141 states support second uranium weapons resolution in UN General Assembly vote
The United Nations General Assembly has passed, by a huge majority, a resolution requesting its agencies to update their positions on the health and environmental effects of uranium weapons.
December 2 2008
The resolution, which had passed the First Committee stage on October 31st by 127 states to four, calls on three UN agencies – the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update their positions on uranium weapons. The overwhelming support for the text reflects increasing international concern over the long-term impact of uranium contamination in post-conflict environments and military ranges.
In the 17 years since uranium weapons were first used on a large scale in the 1991 Gulf War, a huge volume of peer-reviewed research has highlighted previously unknown pathways through which exposure to uranium’s heavy metal toxicity and radioactivity may damage human health.
Throughout the world, parliamentarians have responded by supporting calls for a moratorium and ban, urging governments and the military to take a precautionary approach. However the WHO and IAEA have been slow to react to this wealth of new evidence and it is hoped that this resolution will go some way to resolving this situation.
In a welcome move, the text requests that all three agencies work closely with countries affected by the use of uranium weapons in compiling their research. Until now, most research by UN member states has focused on exposure in veterans and not on the civilian populations living in contaminated areas. Furthermore, recent investigations into US veteran studies have found them to be wholly incapable of producing useful data.
The text also repeats the request for states to submit reports and opinions on uranium weapons to the UN Secretary General in the process that was started by last year’s resolution. Thus far, 19 states have submitted reports to the Secretary General; many of them call for action on uranium weapons and back a precautionary approach. It also places the issue on the agenda of the General Assembly’s 65th Session; this will begin in September 2010.
The First Committee vote saw significant voting changes in comparison to the previous year’s resolution, with key EU and NATO members such as the Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Iceland changing position to support calls for further action on the issue. These changes were echoed at the General Assembly vote. Once again Japan, which has been under considerable pressure from campaigners, supported the resolution.
Of the permanent five Security Council members, the US, UK and France voted against. They were joined by Israel. Russia abstained and China refused to vote.
The list of states abstaining from the vote, while shorter than in 2007, still contains Belgium, the only state to have implemented a domestic ban on uranium weapons, a fact that continues to anger Belgian campaigners. It is suspected that the Belgian government is wary of becoming isolated on the issue internationally. Two Nordic states, Denmark and Sweden continue to blow cold, elsewhere in Europe Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain are also dragging their feet, in spite of a call for a moratorium and ban by 94% of MEPs earlier this year. Many of the abstainers are recent EU/NATO accession states or ex-Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan.
Australia and Canada, both of whom have extensive uranium mining interests and close ties to US foreign policy also abstained.
The resolution was submitted by Cuba and Indonesia on behalf of the League of Non-Aligned States.
Voting results in full
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.
Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine.
Absent: Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Monaco, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia.
As Europe mourns in Verdun today for those lost in “The War to End All Wars”, World War I, we could look to another moment in European history to shed light on the most aggressively silenced story of the Bush administration.
But history shows that the United Nations and the World Health Organization could be intimidated. The report from the WHO – that detailed how the DU vaporized upon impact into tiny particles that were breathed in, or consumed through the mouth or entered through open wounds, where the irradiating bits attacked cells all the way through the body, causing mutations along the way – was shelved under pressure from the U.S.
Even now, the major U.S. news organizations do not touch the subject, though the international press cannot ignore it. Even last month, a Middle Eastern Reuters reporter discussed the health damages because of the contaminated environment with Iraqi En Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman,
“When we talk about it, people may think we are overreacting. But in fact the environmental catastrophe that we inherited in Iraq is even worse than it sounds.”
But we evolve, and the United Nations First Committee has overwhelmingly passed a resolution, on October 31st, calling for “relevant UN agencies, in this case the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update and complete their research into the possible health and environmental impact of the use of uranium weapons by 2010.”The only countries that voted against it were the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and France.
Meanwhile, to help the reader get to the point, I’ve put together the following. Although the facts, for the most part, do not contain links, there is a list of the references at the end.
Ten Essential Facts:
1. Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually “depleted” of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.
2. Depleted uranium is plentiful – there are 7 pounds remaining for every pound of enriched uranium – and requires expensive and often politically-contentious hazardous waste storage.
3. Depleted uranium is less of a problem for the nuclear industry when it is cheaply passed on to U.S. weapons manufacturers for warheads, penetrators, bunker-busters, missiles, armor and other ammunition used by the U.S. military in the Middle East and elsewhere, and sold to other countries and political factions.
4. Depleted uranium is “pyrophoric”, which makes it uniquely effective at piercing hard targets, because upon impact, it immediately burns, vaporizing the majority of its bulk and leaving a hard, thin, sharpened tip – and large amounts of radioactive particles suspended in the atmosphere.
5. Depleted uranium weaponry was first used in the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1991, under President George H. W. Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.
6. Depleted uranium weaponry was later used by President Bill Clinton in the NATO “peace-keeping” bombing missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. By January 2001, as the 2nd President Bush and Dick Cheney were moving in to the White House, there was a furor in Europe over the news of an alarming increase in leukemia and other cancers amongst the NATO troops who’d served in the Balkans.
7. The World Health Organization suppressed a November 2001 report on the health hazards of depleted uranium by Dr. Keith Baverstock, Head of the WHO’s Radiation Protection Division and his team, commissioned by the United Nations. Baverstock’s report, “Radiological Toxicity of Depleted Uranium”, detailed the significant danger of airborne vaporized depleted uranium particles, already considerably more prevalent in Iraq than the Balkans due to the difference in military tactics, because they are taken into the body by inhaling and ingesting, and then their size and solubility determines how quickly they move through the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, attacking and poisoning from within as they travel, and where the damages occur. In addition, the report warns that the particles tend to settle in the soft tissue of the testes, and may cause mutations in sperm. In 2004 Dr. Baverstock, no longer at the WHO, released the report through Rob Edwards at Scotland’s Sunday Herald.
8. The George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration twisted the meaning of the failure of the World Health Organization to produce evidence of depleted uranium’s health hazards, turning it into evidence that there was no link between exposure to depleted uranium and the increases in cancer in Europe and Iraq; instead, as presented in the January 20, 2003 report by the new Office of Global Communications, ironically titled Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990 – 2003, the depleted uranium uproar was only an exploitation of fear and suffering. Two months later, Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Rice began to “Shock and Awe” Baghdad by again dropping tons of depleted uranium bombs on densely populated areas.
9. On March 27, 2003, significant increases in depleted uranium particles in the atmosphere were detected by the air sampler filter systems of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at 8 different sites near Aldermaston Berkshire, Great Britain, and continued at 4-5 times the previous norm until the end of April 2003, after the Coalition forces declared the war over. This information only came to light in a report on January 6, 2006 by Dr. Chris Busby, due to his diligent fight for access to the data through Britain’s Freedom of Information law.
10. We have a new, intelligent President, who is willing to listen. It is up to us to bring this to his attention. THIS IS HOW WE CAN HONOR VETERANS.
Department of Defense description of self-sharpening depleted uranium: click here
Germany said on Saturday it would provide a 308-million euro loan to Iceland’s deposit guarantee fund so it could pay back savings of German clients of Kaupthing bank, which was taken over by the Icelandic state last month.
The International Monetary Fund this week approved a $2.1 billion loan for Iceland. The loan had been held up due to a dispute between Iceland, Britain and the Netherlands over how to repay savers with deposits in frozen Icelandic accounts.
German savers also had money locked up.
German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck told Tagesspiegel daily the German savers would get their money back in full.
The German loan would total 308 million euros, the amount savers in Germany had held at Kaupthing
Iceland was caught in the global financial crisis as its currency plunged and its financial system crashed last month under the weight of tens of billions of dollars of foreign debts incurred by its banks, three of which failed.
Britain, the Netherlands and Germany issued a statement last week saying they would provide “pre-financing” to help Iceland meet foreign deposit obligations. The IMF, in a conference call on Thursday, estimated those obligations at $5-6 billion.
A British finance ministry source said Britain would lend Iceland 2.2 billion pounds ($3.27 billion). The Netherlands said it was working on aid to help cover 1.2 billion ($2.63 billion) to 1.3 billion euros of Dutch deposits held in Icelandic accounts.
Kaupthing said last week it hoped to pay back customers of German operations in the next few days or weeks.
Germany’s financial watchdog BaFin has implemented a temporary moratorium for the German unit of Kaupthing and the bank said it had been working on an agreement with the German government in recent weeks.
(Reporting by Andreas Moeser; Writing by Kerstin Gehmlich)
Japan’s stock market soared in early trading Tuesday, leading a second-day rally in Asian stocks after Wall Street staged a dramatic comeback from its worst week ever.
Sparked by global efforts to fix the world’s crippled financial system, Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index jumped 1,079 points, or 13 per cent, to 9,355. The Japanese financial markets were playing catch-up because they were closed Monday for a public holiday.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 index traded more than five per cent higher after the government announced plans to inject $10.4 billion Australian ($8.4 billion Cdn) to strengthen the country’s economy.
Markets in South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and Taiwan also climbed five per cent or more.
The advance came after the Dow Jones industrial averages on Monday jumped more than 930 points, its biggest single-day point gain yet.
Traders reacted with relief to moves by the U.S. government to inject capital into major banks and get lending flowing again among companies. That followed signals that European governments were putting up nearly $2 trillion to safeguard their own banks.
“The governments are ensuring that no matter what happens, they’re not going to allow another major institution to fail,” said Nicole Sze, an investment analyst at asset manager Bank Julius Baer & Co. in Singapore. “…You’re seeing a reversal of the panic selling, and we think a temporary bottom has been found.”
U.S. stock indexes closed up more than 11 per cent Monday as governments around the world committed trillions to easing the global credit freeze.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up more than 936.42 points, or 11.1 per cent, at 9,387.61
It was the Dow’s biggest single-day point gain yet, a stunning turnaround after its worst week on record. The blue-chip index recovered nearly half of the 1,874 points it lost last week.
The Nasdaq composite closed up 11.8 per cent and the S&P 500 advanced 11.6 per cent.
Canadian markets were closed Monday for Thanksgiving.
The U.S. markets were responding to injections of billions of taxpayer dollars, pounds and euros into the Western world’s leading banks.
European governments — Britain, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria and Portugal — have committed up to $2.3 trillion to support banks.
The British government said Monday it will inject nearly $75 billion into three of the country’s largest banks to prevent the institutions from collapsing. The move means the government is effectively taking over the Royal Bank of Scotland and will also hold a large share of Lloyds/TSB and the Halifax Bank of Scotland, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.
A German government spokesman said Monday that Berlin had put together a package worth $780 billion to provide fresh capital for banks, guarantee loans between banks and cover potential losses.
In the U.S., the government is working on its $700-billion US financial rescue plan, consulting with six private law firms to determine the best way to buy stakes in a number of banks.
The plan to buy shares, announced by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson late Friday, is intended to get capital quickly into financial institutions. It’s seen as a faster way to do that than the original plan, which involved buying bad mortgage-related derivatives.
The European countries and the U.S. are trying to get capital into banks quickly so they will start lending again, providing credit to people and companies on which the economy depends. The freeze in lending, the result of banks’ fears that they won’t be repaid, could tip the Western economies — and the world — into a recession.
Stock prices also rebounded in Europe and Asia on Monday after a week that saw huge losses on markets all over the world.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 10.2 per cent Monday. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 8.3 per cent, Germany’s DAX 11.4 per cent and France’s CAC-40 11.2 per cent.
London’s leading share index jumped more than 4 per cent today as markets continued to rally in the wake of efforts to shore up the global financial system.
The FTSE 100 Index was up more than 190 point after an hour, with the banks taking part in the Government’s £37 billion rescue plan clawing back some hefty losses seen yesterday.
Royal Bank of Scotland, which is in line to receive £20 billion, was up 12 per cent, while merger partners HBOS and Lloyds TSB were up 11 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.
Trading was boosted by surging global markets overnight as investors cheered co-ordinated efforts to stabilise the financial sector.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 soared 14 per cent, its biggest one day rise, while New York’s Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 11 per cent, the index’s biggest daily jump since the Great Depression.
Australian shares finished up 3.7 per cent in the wake of a government package was announced to boost the economy via one-off cash hand-outs to families and pensioners.
In Hong Kong, shares rose 3.2 per cent. The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed 520 points higher at 16,832, after earlier soaring to 17,141.
In London, energy-facing stocks were making good progress as oil prices ticked up on commodity markets. BP was nearly 7 per cent up, with rival Royal Dutch Shell 6 per cent higher.
Retailers were also edging ahead despite data from the high street showing like-for-like sales fell 1.5 per cent in September.
Marks & Spencer was up more than 1 per cent, with Sainsbury’s enjoying a 3 per cent rise.
There were mixed fortunes for Barclays and HSBC, two banks not turning to the Government for extra funds. Barclays was 6 per cent higher while First Direct owner HSBC was steady.
ETX Capital broker Manoj Ladwa said: “Everyone is relieved that the market is up.
“We have probably seen the short-term lows in the market, with some of the volatility also calming down.
“After the recent falls, some of the stocks out there do look fairly interesting now.”
European indices were also firmly on the front foot, with Germany’s Dax up nearly 4 per cent, and France’s CAC 40 also up 4.6 per cent.
European governments have said they are allocating more than 1 trillion euro (£780bn) to protect the region’s banks through guarantees and other emergency measures.
So far Germany has approved a bank rescue plan worth up to 500 billion euro (£391bn), with France spending about 350 billion euros (£273bn).
The US is also expected to unveil details of a plan to take stakes in banks, following steps by the UK and European leaders.
Yesterday executives from leading US banks were summoned by the Bush administration to Washington to work out a plan to get loans moving again
London’s Footsie leapt more than 8 per cent yesterday, its second biggest one-day gain, as investors digested the banking rescue package.
Shares in RBS, HBOS and Lloyds TSB – in which the Government is set to be a major shareholder – fell heavily despite the surge as investors faced the prospect of seeing their stakes diluted. The banks will also not be paying any dividends until their taxpayer loans are repaid.
Old certainties lie in pieces as markets hover on the brink of uncharted territory – and all trust has evaporated. Margareta Pagano and David Randall report
October 12 2008
It took centuries to build sophisticated free-market economies, but this weekend, it looks like it may have only taken one week for it all to unwind. Not only have stock markets fallen to their lowest levels for decades, but, more than that, the assumptions that have underpinned commercial life for years are now threatened, some possibly doomed. Banker is not trusting banker, savers can trust no one, share traders do not trust governments, leaders (including conservative ones) suddenly discovered the virtues of public ownership; and there is the very real prospect of a country in the developed world actually going bankrupt.
Today the world’s leading politicians and central bankers are working around the clock to flesh out a rescue package to prevent the crumbling financial system from cracking further. But they are now praying that the emergency package announced late on Friday night in Washington by the US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, together with leaders from all the leading seven industrialised nations, will stabilise the world’s financial markets when they open again tomorrow. In an unprecedented move, the world’s heads of state have agreed to work together to buy shares in their banks and mortgages to prevent further systemic collapse.
Back in March, forecasters who said we were heading for the worst crash since the Wall Street crash of the 1930s were dismissed as doomsters. Today JK Galbraith’s book, The Great Crash 1929 is flying off the shelves, as everyone, from governments to financiers, seeks a template for the new commercial world, whatever that will be. But, for now, we can only try to understand what has been, not what is to come. This is how the week’s events unfolded:
On a day that nearly everyone hoped would be confined to rest, recreation and a certain amount of sober reflection by traders around the world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel throws a pebble into hitherto calm Sabbath waters. Just 24 hours after a meeting between the four main EU economies in Paris concluded with President Nicolas Sarkozy declaring “European leaders acknowledge the need for close co-ordination and co-operation”, she follows Ireland’s example and guarantees all private deposits. It is a unilateral move that could see EU nations competing like fairground barkers to offer the best safety net for savers.
Words of a more elliptical nature come from the Chancellor Alistair Darling on The Andrew Marr Show. Asked if he was prepared to put public money into recapitalising banks, he says: “We are ready to do whatever it takes, and that is we’ve put money into the system to help banks generally. There are other measures that we will be taking too, and I’ll announce them when we’re ready to do that.” Mr Darling knows that his officials are preparing plans to recapitalise banks for some time, but couldn’t say so because the details are not yet ready, and the banks are not yet on board. But trading the next day will show that in the present febrile atmosphere, even cautious words can do damage.
And, in what was regarded by most media as a mere footnote, news comes from Iceland that the government and central bank are engaged in increasingly frantic efforts to prop up the country’s swooning banking system with an injection of £7.78bn. As the world goes to bed, the problems of a small northern island with a population about the size of Coventry’s seem the least of all our worries. Like so many of the experts’ assumptions, how wrong that would prove to be.
After Mr Darling’s comments the day before, the markets smell blood in the water. The FTSE opens at 4980.25 and within three hours it is down 300 points. Not a single firm in the FTSE 100 is rising, and, by 11am, there are only two stocks on the entire exchange that have gained. Mid-morning the price of oil falls to its lowest mark for eight months, the sort of tidings that, normally, would produce a bounce. Not today. Despite, or even because of, Mr Darling’s assurances that he is assembling a cavalry to ride to the rescue of the banks, the plunge continues. By the merciful close, the index is down 391 points, a fall of 7.8 per cent (its biggest one-day collapse), and the lowest total for four years: 4589.2.
The issues of yesterday – which, at the pace things are moving, instantly seems like yesteryear – are picked at by Mr Darling, who chips at Ms Merkel for her unilateral personal savings guarantee (by now mimicked by Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Portugal). And, as the FTSE continues its descent, the Dow takes up the theme. It ends the day 3.9 per cent down, all part of a global fall that sees $2.5 trillion wiped off world shares.
In Washington, Congress begins investigating the murky roots of the banking crisis. Before them is Richard S Fuld Jr, chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy in US history. Asked if it was true that he took home some £275m in compensation since 2000, Mr Fuld took off his glasses, held them, and looked uncomfortable. It’s not quite that much, he said. “We had a compensation committee that spent a tremendous amount of time making sure that the interests of the executives and the employees were aligned with shareholders,” he waffled, before admitting that he took home £172m in those years. Democrat Henry Waxman could not resist the obvious conclusion: “Even as Mr Fuld was pleading with Secretary Paulson for a federal rescue, Lehman continued to squander millions on executive compensation.” It is an issue that may yet keep American lawyers employed for years.
An upbeat start on the London markets, but, ultimately, a day of portents and rumours, and the growing tremors of a deeper, seismic events to come. The FTSE opens 2 per cent up, just about the time that Moscow is suspending trading on its market for an hour. By 9am the FTSE is already retreating from that early optimism.
Half an hour later comes the first of a series of shudders from Iceland. Icesave, the internet subsidiary of Landsbanki, is stopping customers – 300,000 in the UK – withdrawing their funds. And there’s soon more: Iceland, a country whose banks had swept across Europe over the past few years in a tide of acquisitions, is so short of funds that the government is having to borrow from Russia to help in the nationalisation of Landsbanki, its second-largest bank, and its currency, the krona, is being pegged. Then figures are released showing UK manufacturing output fell for the sixth month in a row, something that has not happened since Margaret Thatcher’s first year of office.
And the rumours fly. Royal Bank of Scotland has asked the Treasury for a capital injection (strenuously denied, but the firm’s shares still fall by a quarter), the Government is soon to unveil a rescue package for the banks, and, according to the BBC, they had done so in response to pressure from leading bankers. But some in Europe are not happy at the prospect of such state aid. At a meeting in Luxembourg, Czech finance minister Miroslav Kalousek says: “Politicians in Europe are going crazy. We didn’t live through 40 years of real socialism only to return to it.” He talks, but no one’s listening. The FTSE closes a hesitant 16.03 points up, and, in New York, the Dow takes a further dive by 508 points, not helped by the announcement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that US bank losses could reach £1.4 trillion.
At 5pm, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling meet the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, and the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Lord Turner. A No 10 spokesman denies it is an emergency meeting, but, in the present climate, what else could it be? At 7.30 comes the news from Mr Darling that he will announce a comprehensive rescue package for the banks before trading opens tomorrow. Treasury officials and bankers will spend much of the night in talks. At 8.30pm, they ring Gandhi’s, a fashionable eaterie, and order take-aways – £245 worth. It’s going to be a long night.
A day that could be scripted by Lewis Carroll. Before the day is even fully light, Alistair Darling announces his £500bn rescue plan: £50bn for recapitalisation of the eight participating banks, a guarantee of £250bn of new short and medium-term bank debt, and an extra £200bn to allow banks to swap mortgage-backed securities for cash. Preferential shares, probably, for the Government (ie taxpayers) in return, and, says Mr Brown, we might even make a profit. We’ve been working on this for weeks, says Mr Darling. The market’s response? Opening 2 per cent lower, it embarks on a bipolar course through the day that has moments of manic highs, but more lasting depressions. It ends more than 5 per cent down at 4367, concluding the worst three-day run in more than 20 years.
The half-point interest-rate cut (soon seen as part of a co-ordinated trim around the world) makes a difference for a while, but an afternoon IMF warning that Britain is on the brink of a recession pushes stocks towards a gloomy day’s end. Helping them on their way was the news from Iceland: more large sums heading the way of its banks (this time from Sweden), and emergency powers to take over companies, limit directors’ authority, and call shareholders meetings. The Icelandic boom, which saw the average family’s wealth rise 45 per cent in five years, is over. It, and especially the roaring expansion of its banks (which hold liabilities eight times the nation’s GDP), was all built on foreign debt. But why, apart from those adventurous private savers in Icesave, should we care?
That becomes obvious during the Chancellor’s statement to the Commons. In response to a question from George Osborne, Mr Darling confirms that British local authorities had large sums invested in what was now the world’s shakiest banking system. Within hours, the Local Government Association is calling for government help, and, in the course of an evening in which council after council coughed to savings in Icelandic banks, it seems as much as £1bn is at risk. And thus a day in which the rate cut is going to save a £150,000 mortgage payer £570 a year ends with many more people not knowing whether to call their bank manager or the Samaritans.
Not every country is in turmoil. In China, the nation’s ruling Communists open a four-day conference relatively unscathed by the panics and financial implosions. Their economy will grow by 9 per cent this year.
Back in the parallel universe, the Dow Jones has its worst one-day fall since 1987, down 7.3 per cent to 8579, its lowest for five years. The FTSE perks up in the morning, and is still up in mid-afternoon, but it can’t resist the siren call from across the Atlantic and ends the day 52.9 down at 4313.8. Iceland takes control of another one of its banks, and closes its stock exchange. And, according to the Halifax, UK house prices are falling at a record rate, down by 13.2 per cent in the year to September. The record of the day, however, is set by Britain’s trade gap in goods – the largest deficit since 1697. Small wonder that the Church of England says that more than 8,000 have logged on to an online prayer asking for divine intervention.
And maybe they’re being answered. Not only is nationalisation (partial or otherwise) now acceptable on both sides of the Commons, there is a bidding war on which party could be most punitive on executive bonuses. The Tories, calling for a complete ban, won. Mr Brown’s strongest words were reserved for Iceland. As more councils and charities discover they could lose major funds, he fumes: “We are holding the Icelandic authorities responsible. We are demanding that the money be paid back to the local authorities. We are prepared to consider all forms of action, including to freeze assets.”
In Russia, the government offers its banks a £51bn bailout; in Japan, the sub-prime crisis claims the scalp of Yamato Life Insurance, which files for bankruptcy with $2.7bn liabilities; Germany is preparing a rescue scheme for banks; Iceland (the country) seems to be heading into liquidation; and in the US, the Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency says General Motors, Ford and Chrysler could all be forced into liquidation. The FTSE closes 8.85 per cent down on the day at 3932, ending the second-worst week in its history, having lost 21 per cent since Monday. The Dow finishes a further 1.49 per cent down. Henk Potts, director of investment strategy at Barclays Stockbrokers, said the markets were “very close to panic”.
And from Washington comes the spectacle of the most right-wing president in generations embracing the policy of near-nationalisation. His Treasury Secretary says that part of the already-announced $700bn bailout would be used to take stakes in wobbly banks. Mr Bush now finds himself in the role assumed 73 years ago, with rather more grace, by President Franklin D Roosevelt. Ahead of Saturday’s G7 meeting, Mr Bush says: “The world is sending an unmistakable signal: we’re in this together and we’ll come through this together.” Hardly poetry, but the right message to the flapping traders who continue to discount billions of government commitment.
London lawyers are on their way to Iceland to retrieve our money, traders are stuck to their screens adjusting their positions, bankers are huddled in their offices working out how the Government’s bailout will work, while our political leaders use up a year’s worth of carbon footprint as they criss-cross the globe flying between the emergency IMF-G7 rescue talks in Washington to those in Paris tomorrow.
The world financial system is “on the brink of systemic meltdown,” IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn warns, as G7 finance ministers meeting in Washington agree to follow the British lead in part-nationalising their banks. British treasury officials, meanwhile, pledge to take majority stakes in banks should this be necessary to prevent the system’s collapse.
But what everyone wants to know now is when will this crisis be over? What the world needs is some kind of sign; some indication that the fat lady is ready to get up and sing. But, this weekend, there’s no sign she’s even in the theatre, let alone in the wings.
Research by Jesse Loncraine
The digested analysis. Digested…
* Starting with New Century in April 2007, a series of US institutions filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as risks of sub-prime lending finally emerged.
* Bear Stearns revealed in June that it was spending $3.2bn to bail out two of its funds that invested heavily in sub-prime loans. Nine months later, the Fed loaned JP Morgan $29bn to rescue Bear Stearns.
* Banks revealed as making “covenant-lite” loans with very relaxed borrowing terms. Private equity groups used this easy money until the loans disappeared in July.
* 9 August 2007: the official start of the credit crunch. BNP Paribas froze three funds that had difficulties with its sub-prime lending.
* Northern Rock involved in bank run in September 2007, the first in the UK since 19th century. Customers were frightened by the Rock’s need for emergency funding. Nationalised in February 2008.
* Banks turned to petro-dollar-fueled, government-backed sovereign wealth funds. In November 2007, Abu Dhabi gave Citigroup $7.5bn for a 4.9% stake; Kuwait took a $2bn stake in Merrill Lynch.
* Most major UK banks issued new shares or tapped investors for capital in March and April 2008. Shareholders’ stakes diluted as a result.
* Nationalisation of US mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September 2008. They had $5.4 trillion of mortgages guaranteed, but were worth $40bn combined.
* Attempts failed to sell US bank Lehman Brothers. It ended up in administration.
* The joke was that Iceland (pop: 320,000) was the world’s biggest hedge fund, with all its investments overseas. But the fund’s investment gambles didn’t come off.
The Crash by numbers
£250bn wiped off the FTSE last week
21% drop in value of Britain’s 100 top companies last week
111 profits warnings issued by British firms between July and September
8.9% fall in the FTSE on Friday, to end its worst week since Black Monday in 1987
£1bn losses by more than 100 local authorities with investments in Iceland banks
The greenhouse gases released by the Iraq war thus far equals the pollution from adding 25 million cars to the road for one year says a study released by Oil Change International, an anti petroleum watchdog. The group’s main concerns are the environmental and human rights impacts of a petroleum based economy.
The study, released last March on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, states that total US spending on the war so far equals the global investment needed through 2030 to halt global warming.
Of course skeptics and oil companies will be right to ask how these numbers were calculated. The group claims Iraq war emissions estimates come from combat, oil well fires, increaesd gas flaring, increased cement manufacturing for reconstruction, and explosives.
“Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.” – 1992 Rio Declaration
The application of weapons, the destruction of structures and oil fields, fires, military transport movements and chemical spraying are all examples of the destroying impact war may have on the environment. Air, water and soil are polluted, man and animal are killed, and numerous health affects occur among those still living. This page is about the environmental effects of wars and incidents leading to war that have occurred in the 20th and 21st century.
Timeline of wars
“My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can’t deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars” – Guns ‘n Roses (Civil War)
In Africa many civil wars and wars between countries occurred in the past century, some of which are still continuing. Most wars are a result of the liberation of countries after decades of colonialization. Countries fight over artificial borders drawn by former colonial rulers. Wars mainly occur in densely populated regions, over the division of scarce resources such as fertile farmland. It is very hard to estimate the exact environmental impact of each of these wars. Here, a summary of some of the most striking environmental effects, including biodiversity loss, famine, sanitation problems at refugee camps and over fishing is given for different countries.
Congo war (II) – Since August 1998 a civil war is fought in former Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The war eventually ended in 2003 when a Transitional Government took power. A number of reasons are given for the conflict, including access and control of water resources and rich minerals and political agendas. Currently over 3 million people have died in the war, mostly from disease and starvation. More than 2 million people have become refugees. Only 45% of the people had access to safe drinking water. Many women were raped as a tool of intimidation, resulting in a rapid spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV-AIDS. The war has a devastating effect on the environment. National parks housing endangered species are often affected for exploitation of minerals and other resources. Refugees hunt wildlife for bush meat, either to consume or sell it. Elephant populations in Africa have seriously declined as a result of ivory poaching. Farmers burn parts of the forest to apply as farmland, and corporate logging contributes to the access of poachers to bush meat. A survey by the WWF showed that the hippopotamus population in one national park decreased from 29,000 thirty years previously, to only 900 in 2005. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed all five parks as ‘world heritage in danger’.
Ethiopia & Eritrea – Before 1952, Eritrea was a colony of Italy. When it was liberated, Ethiopia annexed the country. Thirty years of war over the liberation of Eritrea followed, starting in 1961 and eventually ending with the independence of Eritrea in 1993. However, war commenced a year after the country introduced its own currency in 1997. Over a minor border dispute, differences in ethnicity and economic progress, Ethiopia again attacked Eritrea. The war lasted until June 2000 and resulted in the death of over 150,000 Eritrean, and of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians. During the war severe drought resulted in famine, particularly because most government funds were spend on weapons and other war instrumentation. The government estimated that after the war only 60% of the country received adequate food supplies. The war resulted in over 750,000 refugees. It basically destroyed the entire infrastructure. Efforts to disrupt agricultural production in Eritrea resulted in changes in habitat. The placing of landmines has caused farming or herding to be very dangerous in most parts of the country. If floods occur landmines may be washed into cities. This has occurred earlier in Mozambique.
Rwanda civil war – Between April and July 1994 extremist military Hutu groups murdered about 80,000-1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda. Over 2,000,000 people lost their homes and became refugees. Rwanda has a very rich environment, however, it has a particularly limited resource base. About 95% of the population lives on the countryside and relies on agriculture. Some scientists believe that competition for scarce land and resources led to violence prior to and particularly after the 1994 genocide. It is however stated that resource scarcity only contributed limitedly to the conflict under discussion. The main cause of the genocide was the death of the president from a plane-crash caused by missiles fires from a camp.
The many refugees from the 1994 combat caused a biodiversity problem. When they returned to the already overpopulated country after the war, they inhabited forest reserves in the mountains where endangered gorillas lived. Conservation of gorilla populations was no longer effective, and refuges destroyed part of the habitat. Despite the difficulties still present in Rwanda particularly concerning security and resource provision, an international gorilla protection group is now working on better conditions for the gorillas in Rwanda.
Somalia civil war – A civil war was fought in Somalia 1991. One of the most striking effects of the war was over fishing. The International Red Cross was encouraging the consumption of seawater fish to improve diets of civilians. For self-sufficiency they provided training and fishing equipment. However, as a consequence of war Somali people ignored international fishing protocols, thereby seriously harming ecology in the region. Fishing soon became an unsustainable practise, and fishermen are hard to stop because they started carrying arms. They perceive over fishing as a property right and can therefore hardly be stopped.
Sudan (Darfur & Chad) – In Sudan civil war and extreme droughts caused a widespread famine, beginning in 1983. Productive farmland in the southern region was abandoned during the war. Thousands of people became refugees that left behind their land, possibly never to return. Attempts of remaining farmers to cultivate new land to grow crops despite the drought led to desertification and soil erosion. The government failed to act for fear of losing its administrative image abroad, causing the famine to kill an estimated 95,000 of the total 3,1 million residents of the province Darfur. As farmers started claiming more and more land, routes applied by herders were closed off. This resulted in conflicts between farmers and rebels groups. In 2003, a conflict was fought in Darfur between Arab Sudanese farmers and non-Arab Muslims. The Muslim group is called Janjaweed, a tribe mainly consisting of nomadic sheep and cattle herders. Originally the Janjaweed were part of the Sudanese and Darfurian militia, and were armed by the Sudanese government to counter rebellion. However, they started utilizing the weapons against non-Muslim civilians. The tribe became notorious for massacre in 2003-2004. In December 2005 the conflict continued across the border, now involving governmental army troops from Chad, and the rebel groups Janjaweed and United Front for Democratic Change from Sudan. In February 2006 the governments of Chad and Sudan signed a peace treaty called the Tripoli Agreement. Unfortunately a new rebel assault of the capital of Chad in April made Chad break all ties with Sudan. The Darfur Conflict so far caused the death of between 50,000 and 450,000 civilians. It caused over 45,000 people to flea the countries of Sudan and Central Africa, into north and east Chad. Most refugees claim they fled civilian attacks from rebel forces, looting food and recruiting young men to join their troops.
Pearl Harbor (WWII) – When World War II began, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Consequentially, the United States closed the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping, and initiated a complete oil embargo. Japan, being dependent on US oil, responded to the embargo violently. On December 1941, Japanese troops carried out a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, aimed at the US Navy stationed there. Despite the awareness that Japan might attack, the US was surprisingly unprepared for the Japanese aggression. There were no aircraft patrols, and anti-aircraft weapons were not manned.
For the attack five Japanese submarines were present in the harbor to launch torpedos. One was discovered immediately, and attacked by the USS Ward. All five submarines sank, and at least three of them have not been located since. As Japanese bombers arrived they began firing at US marine airbases across Hawaii, and subsequently battle ships in Pearl Harbor. Eighteen ships sank, including five battleships, and a total of more than 2,000 Americans were killed in action. The explosion of the USS Arizona caused half of the casualties. The ship was hit by a bomb, burned for two days in a row, and subsequently sank to the bottom. The cloud of black smoke over the boat was mainly caused by burning black powder from the magazine for aircraft catapults aboard the ship.
Leaking fuel from the Arizona and other ships caught fire, and caused more ships to catch fire. Of the 350 Japanese planes taking part in the attack, 29 were lost. Over sixty Japanese were killed in actions, most of them airmen.
Today, three battle ships are still at the bottom of the harbor. Four others were raised and reused. The USS Arizona, being the most heavily damaged ship during the attack, continues to leak oil from the hulk into the harbor. However, the wreck is maintained, because it now serves as part of a war memorial.
World Trade Centre explosion – The so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ the United States are fighting in Asia currently all started with the event we recall so well from the shocking images projected on news bulletins. On September 11, 2001, terrorists flew airplanes into the buildings of the World Trade Centre. It is now claimed that the attack and simultaneous collapse of the Twin Towers caused a serious and acute environmental disaster.
“We will live in the death smog for a while,
breathing the dust of the dead,
the 3 thousand or so who turn to smoke,
as the giant ashtray in Lower Manhattan
continues to give up ghosts.
The dead are in us now,
locked in our chests,
staining our lungs,
polluting our bloodstreams.
And though we cover our faces with flags
and other pieces of cloth to filter the air,
the spirits of the dead aren’t fooled
by our masks.” Lawrence Swan, 05-10-2001
As the planes hit the Twin Towers more than 90.000 litres of jet fuel burned at temperatures above 1000oC. An atmospheric plume formed, consisting of toxic materials such as metals, furans, asbestos, dioxins, PAH, PCB and hydrochloric acid. Most of the materials were fibres from the structure of the building. Asbestos levels ranged from 0.8-3.0% of the total mass. PAH comprised more than 0.1% of the total mass, and PCBs less than 0.001% of total mass. At the site now called Ground Zero, a large pile of smoking rubble burned intermittently for more than 3 months. Gaseous and particulate particles kept forming long after the towers had collapsed.
Aerial photograph of the plume
The day of the attacks dust particles of various sizes spread over lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, for many miles. Fire fighters and medics working at the WTC were exposed, but also men and women on the streets and in nearby buildings, and children in nearby schools. In vivo inhalation studies and epidemiological studies pointed out the impact of the dust cloud. Health effects from inhaling dust included bronchial hyper reactivity, because of the high alkalinity of dust particles. Other possible health effects include coughs, an increased risk of asthma and a two-fold increase in the number of small-for-gestational-age baby’s among pregnant women present in or nearby the Twin Towers at the time of the attack. After September, airborne pollutant concentrations in nearby communities declined.
Many people present at the WTC at the time of the attacks are still checked regularly, because long-term effects may eventually show. It is thought there may be an increased risk of development of mesothelioma, consequential to exposure to asbestos. This is a disease where malignant cells develop in the protective cover of the body’s organs. Airborne dioxins in the days and weeks after the attack may increase the risk of cancer and diabetes. Infants of women that were pregnant on September 11 and had been in the vicinity of the WTC at the time of the attack are also checked for growth or developmental problems.
Afghanistan war – In October 2001, the United States attacked Afghanistan as a starting chapter of the ‘War on terrorism’, which still continues today. The ultimate goal was to replace the Taliban government, and to find apparent 9/11 mastermind and Al-Qaeda member Osama Bin Laden. Many European countries assisted the US in what was called ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’.
During the war, extensive damage was done to the environment, and many people suffered health effects from weapons applied to destroy enemy targets. It is estimated that ten thousand villages, and their surrounding environments were destroyed. Safe drinking water declined, because of a destruction of water infrastructure and resulting leaks, bacterial contamination and water theft. Rivers and groundwater were contaminated by poorly constructed landfills located near the sources.
Afghanistan once consisted of major forests watered by monsoons. During the war, Taliban members illegally trading timber in Pakistan destroyed much of the forest cover. US bombings and refugees in need of firewood destroyed much of what remained. Less than 2% of the country still contains a forest cover today.
Bombs threaten much of the country’s wildlife. One the world’s important migratory thoroughfare leads through Afghanistan. The number of birds now flying this route has dropped by 85%. In the mountains many large animals such as leopards found refuge, but much of the habitat is applied as refuge for military forces now. Additionally, refugees capture leopards and other large animals are and trade them for safe passage across the border.
Pollution from application of explosives entered air, soil and water. One example is cyclonite, a toxic substance that may cause cancer. Rocket propellants deposited perchlorates, which damage the thyroid gland. Numerous landmines left behind in Afghan soils still cause the deaths of men, women and children today.
Cambodia civil war – In 1966 the Prince of Cambodia began to lose the faith of many for failure to come to grips with the deteriorating economic situation. In 1967 rebellion started in a wealthy province where many large landowners lives. Villagers began attacking the tax collection brigade, because taxes were invested in building large factories, causing land to be taken. This led to a bloody civil war. Before the conflict could be repressed 10,000 people had died.
The rebellion caused the up rise of the Khmer Rouge, a Maoist-extremist organization that wanted to introduce communism in the country. In 1975 the organization, led by Pol Pot, officially seized power in Cambodia. The Khmer considered farmers (proletarians) to be the working class, as did Mao in China earlier. Schools, hospitals and banks were closed, the country was isolated from all foreign influence, and people were moved to the countryside for forced labor. People were obligated to work up to 12 hours a day, growing three times as many crops, as was usually the case. Many people died there from exhaustion, illness and starvation, or where shot by the Khmer on what was known as ‘The Killing Fields’.
The Khmer Rouge regime resulted in deforestation, caused by extensive timber logging to finance war efforts, agricultural clearance, construction, logging concessions and collection of wood fuels. A total 35% of the Cambodian forest cover was lost under the Maoist regime. Deforestation resulted in severe floods, damaging rice crops and causing food shortages. In 1993, a ban on logging exports was introduced to prevent further flooding damage.
In 1979 the Khmer Rouge regime ended with an invasion by Vietnam, and the installation of a pro-Vietnamese puppet government. Subsequently, Thai and Chinese forces attempted to liberate the country from Vietnamese dominance. Many landmines were placed in the 1980’s, and are still present in the countryside. They deny agricultural use of the land where they are placed. In 1992 free elections were introduced, but the Khmer Rouge resumed fighting. Eventually, half of the Khmer soldiers left in 1996, and many officials were captured. Under the Khmer regime, a total of 1.7 million people died, and the Khmer was directly responsible for about 750,000 of those casualties.
Hiroshima & Nagasaki nuclear explosions – Atomic bombs are based on the principle of nuclear fission, which was discovered in Nazi Germany in 1938 by two radio chemists. During the process, atoms are split and energy is released in the form of heat. Controlled reactions are applied in nuclear power plants for production of electricity, whereas unchecked reactions occur during nuclear bombings. The invention in Germany alarmed people in the United States, because the Nazi’s in possession of atomics bombs would be much more dangerous than they already where. When America became involved in WWII, the development of atomic bombs started there in what was called the ‘Manhattan Project’. In July 1945 an atomic bomb was tested in the New Mexico desert. The tests were considered a success, and America was now in possession of one of the world’s deadliest weapons.
In 1945, at the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, nuclear weapons were applied to kill for the first time in Japan. On August 6, a uranium bomb by the name of Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima, followed by a plutonium bomb by the name of Fat Man on Nagasaki on August 9. The reason Hiroshima was picked was that it was a major military centre. The bomb detonated at 8.15 p.m. over a Japanese Army parade field, where soldiers were already present. Nagasaki was picked because it was an industrial centre. The bomb, which was much larger than that used on Hiroshima, exploded at 11.02 a.m. at an industrial site. However, the hills on and the geographical location of the bombing site caused the eventual impact to be smaller than days earlier in Hiroshima.
The first impact of the atomic bombings was a blinding light, accompanied by a giant wave of heat. Dry flammable materials caught fire, and all men and animals within half a mile from the explosion sites died instantly. Many structures collapsed, in Nagasaki even the structures designed to survive earthquakes were blasted away. Many water lines broke. Fires could not be extinguished because of the water shortage, and six weeks after the blast the city still suffered from a lack of water. In Hiroshima a number of small fires combined with wind formed a firestorm, killing those who did not die before but were left immobile for some reason. Within days after the blasts, radiation sickness started rearing its ugly head, and many more people would die from it within the next 5 years.
The total estimated death toll:
In Hiroshima 100,000 were killed instantly, and between 100,000 and 200,000 died eventually.
In Nagasaki about 40,000 were killed instantly, and between 70,000 and 150,000 died eventually.
The events of August 6 and August 9 can be translated into environmental effects more literally. The blasts caused air pollution from dust particles and radioactive debris flying around, and from the fires burning everywhere. Many plants and animals were killed in the blast, or died moments to months later from radioactive precipitation. Radioactive sand clogged wells used for drinking water winning, thereby causing a drinking water problem that could not easily be solved. Surface water sources were polluted, particularly by radioactive waste. Agricultural production was damaged; dead stalks of rice could be found up to seven miles from ground zero. In Hiroshima the impact of the bombing was noticeable within a 10 km radius around the city, and in Nagasaki within a 1 km radius.
Iraq & Kuwait – The Gulf War was fought between Iraq, Kuwait and a number of western countries in 1991. Kuwait had been part of Iraq in the past, but was liberated by British imperialism, as the Iraqi government described it. In August 1990, Iraqi forces claimed that the country was illegally extracting oil from Iraqi territory, and attacked. The United Nations attempted to liberate Kuwait. Starting January 1991, Operation Desert Storm began, with the purpose of destroying Iraqi air force and anti-aircraft facilities, and command and control facilities. The battle was fought in Iraq, Kuwait and the Saudi-Arabian border region. Both aerial and ground artillery was applied. Late January, Iraqi aircraft were flown to Iran, and Iraqi forces began to flee.
The Gulf War was one of the most environmentally devastating wars ever fought. Iraq dumped approximately one million tons of crude oil into the Persian Gulf, thereby causing the largest oil spill in history (see environmental disasters). Approximately 25,000 migratory birds were killed. The impact on marine life was not as severe as expected, because warm water sped up the natural breakdown of oil. Local prawn fisheries did experience problems after the war. Crude oil was also spilled into the desert, forming oil lakes covering 50 square kilometres. In due time the oil percolated into groundwater aquifers.
Fleeing Iraqi troops ignited Kuwaiti oil sources, releasing half a ton of air pollutants into the atmosphere. Environmental problems caused by the oil fires include smog formation and acid rain. Toxic fumes originating from the burning oil wells compromised human health, and threatened wildlife. A soot layer was deposited on the desert, covering plants, and thereby preventing them from breathing. Seawater was applied to extinguish the oil fires, resulting in increased salinity in areas close to oil wells. It took about nine months to extinguish the fires.
During the war, many dams and sewage water treatment plants were targeted and destroyed. A lack of possibilities for water treatment resulting from the attacks caused sewage to flow directly into the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Additionally, pollutants seeped from bombed chemical plants into the rivers. Drinking water extracted from the river was polluted, resulting in widespread disease. For example, cases of typhoid fever have increased tenfold since 1991.
Movement of heavy machinery such as tanks through the desert damaged the brittle surface, causing soil erosion. Sand was uncovered that formed gradually moving sand dunes. These dunes may one day cause problems for Kuwait City. Tanks fired Depleted Uranium (DU) missiles, which can puncture heavy artillery structures. DU is a heavy metal that causes kidney damage and is suspected to be teratogenic and carcinogenic. Post-Gulf War reports state an increase in birth defects for children born to veterans. The impact of Depleted Uranium could not be thoroughly investigated after the Gulf War, because Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate. Its true properties were revealed after the Kosovo War in 2001 (description below). DU has now been identified as a neurotoxin, and birth defects and cancers are attributed to other chemical and nerve agents. However, it is stated that DU oxides deposited in the lungs of veterans have not been thoroughly researched yet. It was later found that this may cause kidney and lung infections for highly exposed persons.
After the Gulf War many veterans suffered from a condition now known as the Gulf War Syndrome. The causes of the illness are subject to widespread speculation. Examples of possible causes are exposure to DU (see above), chemical weapons (nerve gas and mustard gas), an anthrax vaccine given to 41% of US soldiers and 60-75% of UK soldiers, smoke from burning oil wells and parasites. Symptoms of the GWS included chronic fatigue, muscle problems, diarrhoea, migraine, memory loss, skin problems and shortness of breath. Many Gulf War veterans have died of illnesses such as brain cancer, now acknowledged as potentially connected to service during the war.
Iraq & the United States – The war in Iraq started by the United States in 2003 as part of the War on Terrorism causes poverty, resulting in environmental problems. Long-term environmental effects of the war remain unclear, but short-term problems have been identified for every environmental compartment. For example, some weapons are applied that may be extremely damaging to the environment, such as white phosphorus ammunition. People around the world protest the application of such armoury.
Damage to sanitation structures by frequent bombing, and damage to sewage treatment systems by power blackouts cause pollution of the River Tigris. Two hundred blue plastic containers containing uranium were stolen from a nuclear power plant located south of Baghdad. The radioactive content of the barrels was dumped in rivers and the barrels were rinsed out. Poor people applied the containers as storage facility for water, oil and tomatoes, or sold them to others. Milk was transported to other regions in the barrels, making it almost impossible to relocate them.
Oil trenches are burning, as was the case in the Gulf War of 1991, resulting in air pollution. In Northern Iraq, a sulphur plant burned for one month, contributing to air pollution. As fires continue burning, groundwater applied as a drinking water source may be polluted.
Military movements and weapon application result in land degradation. The destruction of military and industrial machinery releases heavy metals and other harmful substances.
Israel & Lebanon – In July 2006, Hezbollah initiated a rocket attack on Israeli borders. A ground patrol killed and captured Israeli soldiers. This resulted in open war between Israel and Lebanon.
The war caused environmental problems as Israelis bombed a power station south of Beirut. Damaged storage tanks leaked an estimated 20,000 tons of oil into the Mediterranean Sea. The oil spill spread rapidly, covering over 90 km of the coastline, killing fish and affecting the habitat of the endangered green sea turtle. A sludge layer covers Beaches across Lebanon, and the same problem may occur in Syria as the spill continues to spread. Part of the oil spill burned, causing widespread air pollution. Smog affects the health of people living in the city of Beirut. So far problems limiting the clean-up operation of oil spills have occurred, because of ongoing violence in the region.
Another major problem were forest fires in Northern Israel caused by Hezbollah bombings. A total of 9,000 acres of forest burned to the ground, and fires threaten tree reserves and bird sanctuaries.
Russia & Chechnya – In 1994 the First Chechen War of independence started, between Russian troops, Chechen guerrilla fighters and civilians. Chechnya has been a province of Russia for a very long time and now desires independence. The First War ended in 1996, but in 1999 Russia again attacked Chechnya for purposes of oil distribution.
The war between the country and its province continues today. It has devastating effects on the region of Chechnya. An estimated 30% of Chechen territory is contaminated, and 40% of the territory does not meet environmental standards for life. Major environmental problems include radioactive waste and radiation, oil leaks into the ground from bombarded plants and refineries, and pollution of soil and surface water. Russia has buried radioactive waste in Chechnya. Radiation at some sites is ten times its normal level. Radiation risks increase as Russia bombs the locations, particularly because after 1999 the severeness of weaponry increased. A major part of agricultural land is polluted to the extent that it can no longer meet food supplies. This was mainly caused by unprofessional mini-refineries of oil poachers in their backyards, not meeting official standards and causing over 50% of the product to be lost as waste. Groundwater pollution flows into the rivers Sunzha and Terek on a daily basis. On some locations the rivers are totally devoid of fish. Flora and fauna are destroyed by oil leaks and bombings.
Vietnam war – The Vietnam War started in 1945 and ended in 1975. It is now entitled a proxy war, fought during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union to prevent the necessity for the nations to fight each other directly. North Vietnam fought side by side with the Soviet Union and China, and South Vietnam with the United States, New Zealand and South Korea. It must be noted that the United States only started to be actively involved in the battle after 1963. Between 1965 and 1968 North Vietnam was bombed under Operation Rolling Thunder, in order to force the enemy to negotiate. Bombs destroyed over two million acres of land. North Vietnam forces began to strike back, and the Soviet Union delivered anti-aircraft missiles to North Vietnam. The ground war of US troops against the Viet Cong began. The United States would not retreat from Vietnam until 1973, and during those years extremely environmentally damaging weapons and war tactics were applied.
A massive herbicidal programme was carried out, in order to break the forest cover sheltering Viet Cong guerrillas, and deprive Vietnamese peasants of food. The spraying destroyed 14% of Vietnam’s forests, diminished agricultural yield, and made seeds unfit for replanting. If agricultural yield was not damaged by herbicides, it was often lost because military on the ground set fire to haystacks, and soaked land with aviation fuel en burned it. A total of 15,000 square kilometres of land were eventually destroyed. Livestock was often shot, to deprive peasant of their entire food supply. A total of 13,000 livestock were killed during the war.
The application of 72 million litres of chemical spray resulted in the death of many animals, and caused health effects with humans. One chemical that was applied between 1962 and 1971, called Agent Orange, was particularly harmful. Its main constituent is dioxin, which was present in soil, water and vegetation during and after the war. Dioxin is carcinogenic and teratogenic, and has resulted in spontaneous abortions, chloracne, skin and lung cancers, lower intelligence and emotional problems among children. Children fathered by men exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War often have congenital abnormalities. An estimated half a million children were born with dioxin-related abnormalities. Agent Orange continues to threaten the health of the Vietnamese today.
“Drafted to go to Vietnam
To fight communism in a foreign land.
To preserve democracy is my plight
Which is a God…Given…Right.
Greenery so thick with hidden enemies
Agent Orange is sprayed on the trees.
Covering me from head to toe
Irate my eyes, burns through my clothes.
Returned home when my tour was done
To be told “You have cancer, son”.
Agent Orange is to blame
Government caused your suffering and pain.
Fight for compensation is frustrating and slow
Brass cover-up, not wanting anyone to know.
From cancer many comrades have died
Medical Insurance have been denied.
Compensation I now receive
My health I hope to retrieve.
In Vietnam , I was spared my life
Just to be stabbed with an Agent Orange knife” Yvonne Legge, 2001
Today, agriculture in Vietnam continues to suffer problems from six million unexploded bombs still present. Several organisations are attempting to remove these bombs. Landmines left in Vietnam are not removed, because the Vietnamese government refuses to accept responsibility.
Kosovo war – The Kosovo war can be divided up in two separate parts: a conflict between Serbia and Kosovo, and a conflict between Kosovo and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The first conflict originated in 1996 from the statement of Slobodan Milocevic that Kosovo was to remain a part of Serbia, and from the resulting violent response of Albanian residents. When Serbian troops slaughtered 45 Albanians in the village of Racak in Kosovo in 1999, the NATO intervened. NATO launched a 4-month bombing campaign upon Serbia as a reply to the massacre at Racak.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) investigated the environmental impact of the Kosovo war. It was concluded that the war did not result in an environmental disaster affecting the entire Balkan region. Nevertheless, some environmental hot spots were identified, namely Belgrade, Pancevo, Kragujevac, Novi Sad and Bor.
Bombings carried out by the United States resulted in leakages in oil refineries and oil storage depots. Industrial sites containing other industries were also targeted. EDC (1,2-dichloroethane), PCBs en mercury escaped to the environment. Burning of Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) resulted in the formation of dioxin, hydrochloric acid, carbon monoxide and PAHs, and oil burning released sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead and PAHs into the air. Heavy clouds of black smoke forming over burning industrial targets caused black rain to fall on the area around Pancevo. Some damage was done to National Parks in Serbia by bombings, and therefore to biodiversity. EDC, mercury and petroleum products (e.g. PCBs) polluted the Danube River. These are present in the sediments and may resurface in due time. EDC is toxic to both terrestrial and aquatic life. Mercury may be converted into methyl mercury, which is very toxic and bio accumulates. As a measure to prevent the consequences of bombing, a fertilizer plant in Pancevo released liquid ammonia into the Danube River. This caused fish kills up to 30 kilometres downstream.
In 1999 when NATO bombed Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, the resulting environmental damage was enormous. Petrochemical plants in suburbs started leaking all kinds of hazardous chemicals into air, water and soil. Factories producing ammonia and plastics released chlorine, hydrochloric acid, vinyl chloride and other chlorine substances, resulting in local air pollution and health problems. Water sources were polluted by oil leaking from refineries. The Danube River was polluted by oil more severely, but this time hydrochloric acid and mercury compounds also ended up there. These remained in the water for a considering period of time and consequently ended up in neighbouring countries Rumania and Bulgaria.
Clean drinking water supplies and waste treatment plants were damaged by NATO bombings. Many people fled their houses and were moved to refugee camps, where the number of people grew rapidly. A lack of clean drinking water and sanitation problems occurred.
Like in the Gulf War, Depleted Uranium (DU) was applied in the Kosovo War to puncture tanks and other artillery. After the war, the United Kingdom assisted in the removal of DU residues from the environment. Veterans complained of health effects. It was acknowledged by the UK and the US that dusts from DU can be dangerous if inhaled. Inhalation of dust most likely results in chemical poisoning.
World War I: Trench Warfare – In 1914, the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary resulted in the First World War, otherwise known as The Great War, or WWI. It started with Austria-Hungary invading Serbia, where the assassin came from, and Germany invading Belgium. The war was mostly in Europe, between the Allies and the Central Powers.
Allies: France, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro, Rumania, Albania, Greece, Portugal, Finland, United States, Canada, Brazil, Armenia, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Liberia, China, Japan, Thailand, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
Central Powers: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Turkish Empire, and Bulgaria
The war was fought from trenches, dug from the North Sea to the border of Switzerland. In 1918 when the war was over, empires disintegrated into smaller countries, marking the division of Europe today. Over 9 million people had died, most of which perished from influenza after the outbreak of the Spanish Flu (see environmental disasters). The war did not directly cause the influenza outbreak, but it was amplified. Mass movement of troops and close quarters caused the Spanish Flu to spread quickly. Furthermore, stresses of war may have increased the susceptibility of soldiers to the disease.
In terms of environmental impact, World War I was most damaging, because of landscape changes caused by trench warfare. Digging trenches caused trampling of grassland, crushing of plants and animals, and churning of soil. Erosion resulted from forest logging to expand the network of trenches. Soil structures were altered severely, and if the war was never fought, in all likelihood the landscape would have looked very differently today.
Another damaging impact was the application of poison gas. Gases were spread throughout the trenches to kill soldiers of the opposite front. Examples of gases applied during WWI are tear gas (aerosols causing eye irritation), mustard gas (cell toxic gas causing blistering and bleeding), and carbonyl chloride (carcinogenic gas). The gases caused a total of 100,000 deaths, most caused by carbonyl chloride (phosgene). Battlefields were polluted, and most of the gas evaporates into the atmosphere. After the war, unexploded ammunition caused major problems in former battle areas. Environmental legislation prohibits detonation or dumping chemical weapons at sea, therefore the cleanup was and still remains a costly operation. In 1925, most WWI participants signed a treaty banning the application of gaseous chemical weapons. Chemical disarmament plants are planned in France and Belgium.
World War II: – World War II was a worldwide conflict, fought between the Allies (Britain, France and the United States as its core countries) and the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan as its core countries). It started with the German invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1939, and ended with the liberation of Western Europe by the allies in 1945.
Estimates for the total casualties of the war vary, but most suggest that some 60 million people died in the war, including about 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians.
World War II: Hunger winter – In late 1944, the allied troops attempted to liberate Western Europe. As they reached The Netherlands, German resistance caused the liberation to be halted in Arnhem, as allied troops failed to occupy a bridge over the River Rhine. As the Dutch government in exile in Britain called for railway strikes, the Germans responded by putting embargo on food transport to the west. This resulted in what is now known as the Hunger Winter, causing an estimated 20,000-25,000 Dutch to starve to death. A number of factors caused the starvation: a harsh winter, fuel shortages, the ruin of agricultural land by bombings, floods, and the food transport embargo. Most people in the west lived off tulip bulbs and sugar beet. Official food rations were below 1000 cal per person per day. In May 1945 the Hunger Winter ended with the official liberation of the west of The Netherlands.
The there is this. So what do they do with weapons of mass destruction? Coming to an Ocean Near YOU! The cost in dollars for the pollution caused by war is staggering. The cost to human life is horrendous. The price of war to the Environment is deadly. This is of course a Global problem. What you don’t see can hurt you. If you don’t know it is only because they don’t want you too. They will never tell you the true unless we as a Global community force them to. This will affect our children for many years to come. War is probably one of the worst polluters on the planet. Stoppingthe WAR MACHINE is in everyone’s best interest.
Here you find tons of weapons that were dumped into the oceans among other things.
Iceland and Russia launched major efforts Tuesday to keep important banks afloat as the American financial tsunami crashed onto European shores.
Tuesday morning, the Reykjavik-based government of Prime Minister Geir Haarde dumped the directors of Landsbanki and took over the country’s second-largest bank.
Landsbanki, whose chair owns the West Ham United English football club, had stopped depositors from withdrawing their own money, a sure sign of a bank in financial difficulty.
Iceland also lent the country’s biggest bank, Kaupthing, $745 million to help the bank stay afloat.
In addition, the national financial authority stopped trading in the nation’s six biggest banks in a bid to prevent the further erosion of their share prices.
Finally, the government received a $5.95-billion US loan from Russia to bolster its foreign currency reserves, a necessary commodity for trade and international investment.
Iceland’s moves signal that a financial crisis economy watchers believed was largely contained to U.S. lending institutions is spreading as fast as a bottle of spilt ink.
“Over this period the Icelandic banks have grown hugely and their liabilities are now equivalent to many times Iceland’s GNP. Under all normal circumstances larger banks would be more likely to survive temporary difficulties, but the disaster which is now engulfing the world is of a different nature, and the size of the banks in comparison with the Icelandic economy is today their main weakness,” Haarde said in an address to his countrymen on Monday.
Europe’s financial pains
Russia has had troubles of its own since the beginning of September.
The country’s main stock indices have lost substantial value, including the RTS, which is down 60 per cent since May, as investors reacted badly to the ongoing global financial dislocation and slumping oil prices, a factor that hits crude producing countries such as Russia especially hard.
As well, banks in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ireland have in recent weeks been taken over or otherwise bailed out by national governments.
These institutions, which often have lower amounts of cash on hand than their American counterparts, have been unable to write off large amounts of now-worthless asset-backed commercial borrowing without destroying their financial balance sheets.
Europe’s financial paralysis has forced governments to come up with huge amounts of fiscal aid.
On Monday, for example, the German government stepped in with a $75 billion plan to help the country’s largest mortgage lender.
In a bit of good news Tuesday, European governments agreed to $75,000 as the maximum financial deposit they would guarantee.
The deal eased complaints after a series of countries — Ireland, Greece, Germany, Austria and Denmark — essentially said they would make good most monies deposited in their banks.
Other nations griped that the move placed pressure on their lenders since customers now had an incentive to give their cash to financial institutions domiciled in those five countries.