Muntazer al-Zaidi tells us why he Threw the Shoe

Why I Threw the Shoe

I am no hero. I just acted as an Iraqi who witnessed the pain and bloodshed of too many innocents

By Muntazer al-Zaidi

September 19, 2009

I am free. But my country is still a prisoner of war. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act. But, simply, I answer: what compelled me to act is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.

Over recent years, more than a million martyrs have fallen by the bullets of the occupation and Iraq is now filled with more than five million orphans, a million widows and hundreds of thousands of maimed. Many millions are homeless inside and outside the country.

We used to be a nation in which the Arab would share with the Turkman and the Kurd and the Assyrian and the Sabean and the Yazid his daily bread. And the Shia would pray with the Sunni in one line. And the Muslim would celebrate with the Christian the birthday of Christ. This despite the fact that we shared hunger under sanctions for more than a decade.

Our patience and our solidarity did not make us forget the oppression. But the invasion divided brother from brother, neighbour from neighbour. It turned our homes into funeral tents.

I am not a hero. But I have a point of view. I have a stance. It humiliated me to see my country humiliated; and to see my Baghdad burned, my people killed. Thousands of tragic pictures remained in my head, pushing me towards the path of confrontation. The scandal of Abu Ghraib. The massacre of Falluja, Najaf, Haditha, Sadr City, Basra, Diyala, Mosul, Tal Afar, and every inch of our wounded land. I travelled through my burning land and saw with my own eyes the pain of the victims, and heard with my own ears the screams of the orphans and the bereaved. And a feeling of shame haunted me like an ugly name because I was powerless.

As soon as I finished my professional duties in reporting the daily tragedies, while I washed away the remains of the debris of the ruined Iraqi houses, or the blood that stained my clothes, I would clench my teeth and make a pledge to our victims, a pledge of vengeance.

The opportunity came, and I took it.

I took it out of loyalty to every drop of innocent blood that has been shed through the occupation or because of it, every scream of a bereaved mother, every moan of an orphan, the sorrow of a rape victim, the teardrop of an orphan.

I say to those who reproach me: do you know how many broken homes that shoe which I threw had entered? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.

When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, George Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.

If I have wronged journalism without intention, because of the professional embarrassment I caused the establishment, I apologise. All that I meant to do was express with a living conscience the feelings of a citizen who sees his homeland desecrated every day. The professionalism mourned by some under the auspices of the occupation should not have a voice louder than the voice of patriotism. And if patriotism needs to speak out, then professionalism should be allied with it.

I didn’t do this so my name would enter history or for material gains. All I wanted was to defend my country.

Source

Population of Iraq in 2008  28,221,181

Year Unemployment rate (%)
2005 25
2006 25
2007 25
2008 18
Year Oil – proved reserves (bbl)
2003 113800000000
2004 113800000000
2005 112500000000
2006 112500000000
2007 112500000000
2008 115000000000
Year Natural gas – proved reserves (cubic meters)
2003 3149000000000
2004 3149000000000
2005 3149000000000
2006 3115000000000
2007 3115000000000
2008 3170000000000

No one can say  Bush and company wanted a war for any reason other then oil and gas.

The US should pay retribution to Iraq for all the damage that has been done in the name of theft, greed, control and profiteering.

The homeless need homes, the orphans need care. The maimed need support. The list goes on and on.

For the million who have died. And those who were tortured.

Prison is where Bush and company should be.

Over a million have died, that is a Crime against humanity.

That is genocide.

That is a war crime.

The war is illegal based on lies, propaganda and fraud. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

Just the WMD the US used on the Iraqis.  They used things like White Phosphorus, Napalm, 240,000 cluster bombs, 10,000  unguided munitions, 20.000  precision bombs and missiles were dropped and I am pretty sure they also used Bunker Busters (type of nuclear bomb),  all by May 1, 2003.

That is definitely overkill. Excessive use of force against a country that had been under sanctions for about a decade. The US loves to attack the defenseless and weak.

Since then the killing has continued. The war wasn’t over as Bush declared, again he lied.  Bush is a criminal.

For that the criminals should be held responsible, to do less would be a crime against all of us.

  • Genocide
  • War crimes
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Crimes of aggression

The rest of the world cannot sit by and allow anything this horrendous to go unpunished.

It’s time for the US and other forces to get the hell out of their country.

Spanish judge resumes torture case against six senior Bush lawyers

200,000 War Veterans homeless in US

January 16 2009
Glantz: ‘We’re going to be looking at an increase in those statistics’

200,000 war veterans homeless in US

300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans file disability claims with US federal government.

PACIFICA

For six years of war in Iraq, the Bush administration has done absolutely nothing to take care of the hundreds of thousands of wounded veterans coming home, said Aaron Glantz, a journalist who has been covering the stories of US military vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We’ve had people brought into the VA, turned away, who have committed suicide after coming back from the war with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We’ve had people redeployed to Iraq, even after they were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We have 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans coming home with traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage.

We have 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have filed disability claims with the federal government,” Glantz told Democracy Now! on Thursday.
“In many cases, there is no medical services at all, because remember that many people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan come from rural communities where the VA doesn’t even have a hospital,” he explained.
There are 200,000 homeless war veterans in the United States.
“On every night, 200,000 people who have put on the uniform and served this country sleep homeless on the streets,” said Glantz.
“Imagine that you come home from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental wound, or traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage often caused by a roadside bomb. The first thing that you have to do just to get in the door at the VA is to fill out a twenty-six-page form where you substantiate exactly how you were wounded, where you get letters of support from your battle buddies, from your commanders. You subpoena your own Army records, often with the help of your congressperson. And you present to the VA a gigantic claim folder, which they then sit on for an extended period of time. And that’s just to get in the door.

So we take our veterans when they’re most wounded and most vulnerable and exploit them by making them fill out a mound of paperwork just to get in the door,” noted Glantz.
“If you served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and you come home and you say that you have PTSD, that the VA should assume that you got that in the war, not from a auto accident, not from some experience growing up, but perhaps your experience seeing your buddies killed or your experience killing an innocent civilian, that those might be the incidences that caused you to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder,” he explained.
But some problems date back way back to 1991.
“We are seventeen years after the Persian Gulf War of 1991, and veterans of that war are still fighting to get disability compensation and healthcare. And for the last seventeen years, up until about two months ago, the VA had said that Gulf War syndrome simply didn’t exist, and they called it ‘undiagnosed illness’. And one problem with that is if you call it undiagnosed illness, then there’s no way to treat it, because you’re pretty much throwing up your hands,” said Glantz.
“I think another question that we should be asking is, what is the ‘Gulf War illness’ of the war that we’re involved in right now?

Is it our troops’ exposure to depleted uranium, for example?

Is it our troops—the pills that our troops were forced to take before they went into this war?

Might those things have long-term effects on our Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans?

Shouldn’t we get ahead of the curve this time and not wait until seventeen years after the war to begin to look at how to treat and compensate people who served in it?” Asked Glantz.
“We can’t forget about the 1.8 million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are coming back into our communities. And if we don’t deal with this now, we’re going to be looking at an increase in those statistics.”

Source

Well maybe the new president will take care of them.

Bush did everything including “cutting their health care” to help them. He helped as many as possible onto the streets. George was extremely helpful.

Nothing like being thrown in the trash, after serving your country.

Just another part of the Bush legacy.

Vietnam war vets were also treated badly. Many of them also ended up homeless.

The US has never taken good care of those who served.

They should be ashamed of this considering, these people put their lives on the line, to serve their country. But that is the American way. Has been for years.  Will it change with the new President,  maybe, maybe not.  They never really cared enough before to change anything so why would they now?  War Vets are disposable, as far as the US government is concerned. Like a Dixie Cup. Just throw them away, after they have served their purpose.

This is of course a “Human Rights Violation” under “UN LAW”.

Traumatic brain injuries the signature wound of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq

Gov’t Study Concludes “Gulf War Syndrome” is Legitimate Condition, Affects 1 in 4 Vets

Pro-Obama Haitian-Americans want help

Pro-Obama Haitian-Americans want help
December 30 2008

LAUDERHILL, Fla.,

Haitian-American leaders who turned out the vote for U.S. President-elect Barack Obama in Florida say they expect him to help ease crises in their homeland.

Members of a Broward County, Fla., branch of Haitians for Obama, which worked hard to canvass ethnic communities for the president-elect, say that while immigration and the economy are big issues for them, they also expect Obama’s administration to work more closely with Haitian leaders to help their impoverished native country, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Tuesday.

“Our country is in a permanent crisis,” group member Aude Sicard told the newspaper. “We’re not simply asking for humanitarian aid, but we want this country to send technicians and engineers and see a true path for development in Haiti.”

Saying they’ll continue to build on the activism established to elect Obama, the Haitian-Americans have vowed to continue to lobby for temporary protected status, which would grant undocumented Haitian immigrants in the right to work in the United States legally until their homeland becomes more stable, the Sun-Sentinel said.

Source

U.S. Haiti policy senseless, deadly
By Myriam Marquez
December 31, 2008

Two years ago, Louiness and Sheryl Petit-Frere were newlyweds celebrating their good fortune. Both from Haiti, they had found love and each other in Miami.

Today, Louiness, a 31-year-old baker, waits at the Glades detention facility in Central Florida to be sent to a country he hasn’t seen in a decade, where no one waits for him.

His 27-year-old bride in Miami tries to make sense of a senseless immigration law that would deport an otherwise law-abiding, working man because he had an old asylum petition denied.

Never mind that he is married to a U.S. citizen, that he had, in good faith, filed for legal status and had shown up for the interview at the Citizenship and Immigration Services office when he was hauled away like a common criminal.

Petit-Frere’s mother and five siblings are all permanent U.S. residents, including his brother, Sgt. Nikenson Peirreloui, a U.S. Marine with a war injury to show for his two tours in Iraq. But none of that matters.

The U.S. government deems it imperative to deport Petit-Frere, who has no criminal record, to a place decimated by four back-to-back storms this summer, with thousands of starving, dehydrating children left homeless and adults facing no prospects for jobs.

“It seems terrible,” his mother, Francina Pierre, told me Saturday while she waited for her daughter-in-law to get off work as a grocery store clerk.

“He has nobody left in Haiti,” she said. “My mom died, my dad died, my sister died. And my two brothers live here. One is a U.S. citizen and the other is a permanent resident. We have no more family living in Haiti, no more.”

The Bush administration had sensibly put deportations to Haiti on hold after a succession of hurricanes and tropical storms destroyed parts of the island, leaving thousands without work or home. But the president stopped short of granting temporary protected status, or TPS, to Haitians living in the United States without proper documentation.

Natural disasters generally qualify for TPS consideration — as Central Americans with TPS can attest. But Haitians can never seem to catch a break.

U.S. immigration officials decided recently that it would be just dandy to deport Haitians while recovery efforts on their part of Hispaniola proceed in spurts and stops, as children die of malnutrition and mudslides continue to impede reconstruction.

“How can this nation in good conscience send children and families to face the terrible conditions that exist in Haiti?” Cheryl Little, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center’s executive director, said in a statement. “People could die because of this decision.”

She’s not crying wolf.

The conditions in Haiti cry out for solutions — not asinine deportations that only exacerbate an already untenable situation.

As President Bush looks through his list of pardons to wipe the slate clean for criminals, he should move to do more for the common man, people like Louiness Petit-Frere. Why not grant TPS for Haitians who have no criminal record, so they can stay and work here until conditions improve in their country?

Those who do have family in Haiti can send money and goods back to help the reconstruction and rev up the economy.

TPS was designated for catastrophic situations like Haiti’s. There’s no reason to deny Haitians TPS. Only racist excuses.

Source

Thrice-built house embodies Haiti aid shortfalls
By JONATHAN M. KATZ
December 30 2008

GONAIVES, Haiti

The farmer camps in a crude tent of broken sandbags as he guards the foundation of his destroyed home and his last possessions: a pickax, a hoe and some charcoal.

This is the third time Olisten Elerius is preparing to build his tiny cinderblock house. Four years ago, Tropical Storm Jeanne flooded it and drowned his father, sister and nephew. Then, late this summer, Tropical Storm Hanna swallowed it along with his daughter and another sister. It could happen again.

After Jeanne struck in 2004, more than $70 million in aid went to immediate relief such as food, medical aid and jobs, but little went to flood control, according to an Associated Press review of relief spending. Despite pledges to prevent such devastation in the future, few projects to build drains, fix roads and stop erosion were even attempted.

In other parts of Haiti, U.S. officials launched an ambitious flood control project. But it took 3 1/2 years to plan and was not placed in Gonaives because of a lack of funding.

So when four major storms hit within a month this year, nothing stopped the La Quinte River from roaring over its banks again. It inundated farmers like Elerius on its way to the center of Gonaives, where men, women and children swam for miles through swirling waters to escape. The storms killed 793 people and caused $1 billion in damage.

“The authorities were always coming here to take pictures and measure things,” Elerius said. “The words in their mouths said they would help, but they never did anything.”

Top officials agree that efforts fell short.

“I think we were very successful in getting Gonaives back on its feet,” Alexandre Deprez, an official for the U.S. Agency for International Development, said of the work after Jeanne. “But it is true that we didn’t put the time and the resources to do what needs to be done in the longer term.”

___

Haiti’s floods are not natural disasters, but a direct result of widespread deforestation, erosion and poverty. Farmers cut trees for charcoal and plant shallow-rooted crops. Rains that would be forgotten elsewhere can kill thousands.

In 2004, Elerius was working in the neighboring Dominican Republic when Tropical Storm Jeanne came twisting like a wounded animal out of the northern sky, sending a wall of water through his cinderblock home and sweeping away his father, sister and nephew. Gonaives residents fled to their rooftops as rivers broke their banks, overflowing morgues with bloated corpses.

A horrified world pledged to help. Elerius returned home just as the money and the white SUVs of non-governmental organizations began flowing into Gonaives, in the north of Haiti.

The U.N. appealed for $37 million in flood relief. Washington would donate more than $45 million, first for emergency food and supplies and then through USAID for the two-year, $34 million Tropical Storm Jeanne Recovery Program.

Disaster officials, newspapers and aid workers called for well-planned, well-financed, long-term aid. Haitian officials told the agencies to spend the money on projects that would save lives: secure rivers, fix roads, design better canals, build homes with better drainage to the sea.

But the U.N. member states, distracted by the Indian Ocean tsunami four months later, raised less than half their funding target.

Work was hampered by violence and insecurity. The Inter-American Development Bank provided about $10 million in loans, mostly for construction of a small drainage system. That project was abandoned by Haitian contractors after bandits stole the cement and steel, IDB representative Philippe Dewez said.

Washington sent money mostly for short-term projects: cleanup, restoration and repair of basic services such as schools, health clinics, roads, bridges and homes. In 2005, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that U.S. organizations cleared more than 2 million cubic feet of mud and restored the livelihoods of 48,000 people. But the GAO said they failed to meet an already reduced target for houses and completed no roads or bridges.

Elerius rebuilt his family’s flimsy home at Mapou, a flat plain on the outskirts of the city, just 50 feet from the La Quinte River after it descends from barren mountains toward the sea.

On the denuded hillside, USAID said projects to grow plant cover and build terraces have restored 3,700 acres of the La Quinte watershed — 2 percent of the basin. But few trees are visible, and local officials said most saplings were eaten by goats.

Corruption watchdogs with Transparency International said public funds — nobody seems to know exactly how much — were distributed with little oversight by the U.S.-backed interim government.

Soon after Jeanne, USAID commissioned a study of Haiti’s watersheds, which led to an ambitious $18 million effort to reduce flooding. Work did not begin until February 2008.

The report recommended action in high-risk flood areas, including Gonaives. But the U.S. Congress only gave enough money for the agency to start in two smaller, less populated watersheds — Limbe in the north and Mountrouis in the west, both more than 40 miles away from Gonaives. Some money went to a project on a Port-au-Prince river this year.

“With the funding that we were given we said to ourselves, ‘Why go into a place where you’re not going to make a difference?’ ” Deprez told The Associated Press. “Go into a place where you can focus and make a difference and test the approach that was recommended.”

It will take five years to know the effects of the pilot flood-control programs. Officials then hope to replicate them elsewhere.

But the storms didn’t wait.

___

Starting in mid-August, Tropical Storm Fay hit Haiti, followed by Gustav, Hanna and Ike. They destroyed thousands of homes, devastated crops and set the country back decades. Starving families, whose plight had fueled April riots, got even hungrier.

On the dark afternoon of Sept. 2 in Gonaives, there was no warning as mountain run-off began to gather in ravines. Officials were not given orders to evacuate, and in any case no plan was in place. There was nobody to clear fallen trees that had jammed a bridge on the La Quinte River and caused it to divert the day before.

Elerius was in town getting supplies when he heard radio reports about a new storm. Even as rain fell in Gonaives, radio broadcasts in Port-Au-Prince, the capital, repeated predictions that it would veer to the north, away from Haiti.

It was only word of mouth that sent Elerius running home. There he found the river had again become an ocean, his family submerged and his house disintegrating.

He dived into the water and pulled his mother and 4-year-old son Jonslay to safety. Then he yelled for his 6-year-old daughter, Joniska, and his 21-year-old little sister, Jimele.

Neither called back.

This time, without a network of roads that could withstand the flooding, Gonaives was trapped. A Haitian-funded causeway needed to connect it to the capital, 80 miles away across the cactus plain of Savanne Desolee, was left half-finished, denying scores of families a way out. Refugees climbed its scaffolding to escape the rising waters.

Others were stranded on their rooftops. It took four days for the U.N. to bring in ample food aid by ship.

Some development workers say the reduced death toll this year — in the hundreds instead of thousands — validates their efforts. But survivors and local officials say more survived this time because the memory of Jeanne sent them running for higher ground.

Today in Gonaives, homeless families crowd tent neighborhoods. Men scrounge for fish in stagnant floodwaters. Schoolgirls wear sunglasses and surgical masks to block the clouds of dirt that cover the city. The road to Port-au-Prince is still blocked by an enormous lake.

As former Gonaives disaster management coordinator Faustin Joseph said, “Everybody failed.”

The craggy roads of Gonaives are filled again with white SUVs. The U.N. issued a $107 million appeal, of which it has raised about half, and is now requesting $20 million more. The World Food Program has delivered more than 11,000 tons of food. The Haitian government has set aside $198 million for rebuilding roads, fortifying river beds and restoring agriculture.

The U.S. government pledged more than $30 million in immediate relief. Another $96 million from Congress is on its way.

President Rene Preval told the U.N. General Assembly in September he feared that “once this first wave of humanitarian compassion is exhausted, we will be left as always, truly alone, to face new catastrophes and see restarted, as if in a ritual, the same exercises of mobilization.”

Some in Gonaives have become restless.

“If things go like they did after Jeanne again, and it looks like people are doing nothing, we might get up and start burning things down,” said Odrigue Toussaint, 40, who has not worked since he lost his motorcycle to Hanna. “We will let the authorities know it can’t happen again.”

Elerius sent his son, mother and siblings to live with neighbors. He never found the bodies of his sister and daughter.

He sleeps on the dirty ground under the plastic tent. Inside it’s stiflingly hot during the day but cooler at night.

The La Quinte River gouged a shallow canyon through what was once his farmland, where he planted onions, plantains and potatoes. The topsoil washed to the streets of Gonaives, encasing the city in mud.

Haitian construction crews put the river back into its bed a week after Hanna, just as they did after Jeanne, and built temporary levies with gravel and sandbags that Elerius pilfered to make his tent. The bags were falling apart anyway, he said.

The farmer who keeps losing everything is resigned.

“Whatever they do now we’ll accept it,” Elerius said. “I just wish they would have already done more.”

Source

The Rebirth of Konbit in Haiti

Haiti’s road to ruin

Starvation slams Haiti: Kids dying after 4 storms ravage crops, livestock

Haitian children died from severe malnutrition

Homeless Nepalese in Baghdad are victims of Human trafficking

Homeless Nepalese in Baghdad are victims of trafficking

A group of Nepalese men living rough near Baghdad airport in the hope of finding work at a US military base are victims of human trafficking, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said yesterday.
The Geneva-based body is also looking into the case of another 1,000 workers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Nepal who were kept in three, drab warehouses in the airport zone for up to three months by a subcontractor to Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), a service provider to US forces.
“I am very much worried because we have been highlighting this problem for some time,” Rafiq Tschannen, the IOM’s Chief of Mission to Iraq, told The Times.
Nepalese_squatters_in_baghdad6
These eight people live in the small shack behind them

The 58 Nepalese men and a handful of Indians were brought in by agents in their home country who took about 5,000 dollars off each person in exchange for flights to Baghdad and the promise of work, which never materialized.
Instead the agents disappeared and the men have been forced to live for weeks in makeshift shelters of wooden planks, cardboard and blankets. They survive on food and water donated by passing Iraqis and fellow migrants who have jobs.
“These are trafficking cases,” Mr Tschannen said. “It looks like they have been smuggled into the country in the hope that KBR would pick them up.”
Nepalese_squatters_in_baghdad8
Two men cook rice donated by sympathetic passers-by

The IOM provided eight of the destitute Nepalese men with plane tickets home and is ready to help more, although some have found work in the secured airport zone, which is home to a large US military base and a number of other entities.
A lack of funds, however, means the IOM is unable to assist larger groups of migrant workers such as the 1,000 men in the warehouses who were brought to Iraq, also by agents, to work for Najlaa International Catering Services, a Kuwait-based subcontractor to KBR.
These men were left in an overcrowded warehouse compound with poor food, broken toilets and no salary after contracts, anticipated by Najlaa, to provide catering services at US military dining halls fell through.
Mr Tschannen said cases of human trafficking by agents are common place throughout the world, with many migrant workers choosing to travel to European shores on the promise of employment only to end up jobless and penniless.
Nepalese_and_indian_squatters
About 20 people are living rough under this shelter

European governments have mechanisms in place to help, he said, an option that is not so readily available in a conflict zone like Iraq. Also, “in the case of Iraq, it is not like they can go to town and look for a job themselves”, he added.
The prospect of a salary of up to 800 dollars a month, a good wage in their home country, entices thousand of Asian workers to risk the perils of war and come to Iraq. They provide a range of services at US bases, such as catering and laundry, freeing up soldiers to concentrate on other tasks.
Nepalese_squatter
One Nepalese man sits in his makeshift home

Mr Tschannen said the migrant workforce is just “like any other commodity”. Agents bring in excess numbers, he explained, to be able to provide firms with labour instantaneously rather then having to wait to fly them in from overseas.
“These people should only be brought in when they have the final contract from the people who will be using them,” he said.
He plans to report the case of the in the warehouses to IOM headquarters in the hope of being able to encourage donor countries to offer funds to help such people, while noting that it was ultimately the responsibility of the contractor.
The best option would be to give each person trafficked to Iraq, but unable to find work, a ticket home and extra money to erase any debts incurred paying an agent to travel to Baghdad in the first place. This money would also help a person to reintegrate into his community, Mr Tschannen added.

Nepalese_squatters_in_baghdad3
A Nepalese man uses water to wash clothes.

Source

U.S. Contractor in Iraq, KBR, Accused of Slavery From August 29 2008 Video and Story

Published in: on December 16, 2008 at 3:18 pm  Comments Off on Homeless Nepalese in Baghdad are victims of Human trafficking  
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The connection between mental illness and homelessness

Living on the margins:

The connection between mental illness and homelessness

goh iromoto graphic/the ubyssey

by Erin Hale

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Montréal (CUP)­­ — “Now, they don’t put people in a hospital, which is a good thing, but sometimes it’s so intense. Now there’s a [schizophrenic man] by himself on the street with nowhere to sleep, eat, taking drugs more than they used to, doing prostitution—but I don’t think he even realizes he’s doing it,” Kim Heynemand said of a homeless man she met on the job.

Heynemand works as a peer helper with the Centre local de services communautaires (CLSC) des Faubourgs Équipe Itinérance (homeless division).

While she might see some of the more extreme cases, the fact remains that many of the 30,000 homeless in Montréal—and thousands more in Québec—suffer from mental health disorders.

In a study of 230 homeless individuals surveyed in Ottawa and Gatineau by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, two-thirds of adult males, three-quarters of adult females, 56 per cent of male youths, and two-thirds of female youth self-reported mental health problems.

The percentages of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts were also higher than in the general population.

But the way the system is set up right now, shelters and community organizations are fighting a losing battle to help some of Montréal’s most vulnerable citizens.

There are only 2865 emergency beds and 1592 transitional beds in Montréal shelters, according to the Centre for the Study of Living Standards. At 3094 beds, that serves only a tenth of the city’s homeless population.

What most people don’t realize, however, is that a lack of programs and resources doesn’t just affect individuals with pre-existing mental health disorders. Living on the streets creates its own stress, and if someone is there long enough, it can lead to serious problems.

Alain Spitzer, director of the St. James Centre in Montréal, notes that while many Montréalers find themselves homeless at some point, he estimates that someone has about three months to get off the street before it starts to really affect them.

Resources are limited for those living on the street. There are shelters and community centres, but many, like the St. James Drop-In Centre, have restricted membership due to budget and resource constraints. While many homeless people do have access to clinics, the drop-in system creates barriers to those people requiring consistent, recurring care.

Dispensing medication might seem like a quick fix: the person takes the drug, feels better, and suddenly has the mental capacity to look for a job and apartment. But while medication does solve some important immediate problems, any good psychiatrist will tell you that even for non-homeless individuals, medication is not enough to treat a psychiatric condition.

CLSC primarily dispenses lithium to patients, Heynemand says, because it only needs to be injected once a week. Lithium, though, is a difficult drug to take—it is linked to acne, weight gain, and a feeling of mind-numbing. It’s not surprising that some of CLSC’s patients choose not to take it.

Other clinics sometimes hand out hard narcotics in original packaging, which some patients choose to sell, Spitzer says.

Heynemand, however, says that even medication can take a backseat to more immediate daily needs.

“It’s hard to make them realize they need to take their medication…but at the same time, taking medication can be hard,” she said. “For a guy doing prostitution, taking drugs for five days in a row with a mental disorder, what’s important is finding him a place to stay.”

Fielding the desire to self-medicate is also a difficult task for people like Heynemand, who work on the street level.

“Sometimes they don’t realize their meds work—they stop taking them and do [illegal] drugs as self-medication. If you hear voices and alcohol makes it stop, then you drink more,” she said.

The individuals interviewed for this story had various coping mechanisms, such as dogs, boyfriends, pot, cigarettes or alcohol.

One man, Martin, a self-labelled alcoholic, spends his days sitting on Sherbrooke Street, panhandling and slowly sipping beer, because “it helps with the pain in [his] muscles.”

Each demographic of homeless people faces their own challenges of how to deal with mental health disorders. Homeless youth—who often use illegal drugs for self-medication—are at a particular risk of resorting to prostitution to get money.

“Working in sex, for a lot of people who take drugs, it’s a big part of it. After some point, if you don’t find money, you’ve got to think of it,” Heynemand said. “Some do it only sometimes, some as a job. For a lot of people who have borderline [personality disorder] it’s a way to find love. Some people just don’t care.”

But once youth hit their mid-20s, many assistance programs end. And if they’re male, even fewer options become available—something Spitzer attributes to society’s notion of “women and children first” and the expectation that men can fend for themselves.

Spitzer also links it to the fact that problems like chronic depression have only recently been diagnosed en masse, so there’s a whole generation of 40 to 55 year olds who did not receive treatment at key points in their 20s when many mental illnesses develop.

Matthew Pearce, director general of the Old Brewery Mission (the largest men’s shelter in Québec) blames the provincial government for the resource strain felt by Montréal shelters and community programs.

“It’s important for [people] to understand that the provincial government funds less than 20 per cent. It’s the public that supports us. The provincial government does not meet its social or moral obligations,” Pearce said. “Shelters in Toronto are 100 per cent provincially funded. We receive $12 per bed, per night, and in Toronto they receive $61 per bed, per night.”

This problem also stems from the process of de-institutionalization that occurred during the 60s and 70s. While many view this as a human rights achievement, others say the government has not held up its end of the bargain.

When many mental health institutions were either closed or reduced in size, government funds were supposed to be channelled to community-based or outpatient health programs and other alternative services like subsidized housing or shelters, says Paul Whitehead, a professor in the department of sociology at the University of Western Ontario.

While Whitehead found that money had, in fact, been moved toward the community programs, he admits the absence of a live-in arrangement for patients resulted in more mentally ill homeless individuals.

Should an individual be lucky enough to find adequate mental health treatment and somehow get a leg up—because starting at $560 a month, welfare will hardly cover rent—statistics remain equally dismal.

There is a 10,000 person waiting list for 24,700 slots of public housing on the island. The city also seems set on razing neighbourhoods with more affordable housing to install condos and luxury housing.

The homeless, particularly the mentally ill, are locked into a vicious cycle of limited treatment and self-medication, with access to equally limited, though well-intentioned, community services trying to compensate for a lack of government responsibility.

Source

Poverty in Canada is Very Real and Rising

Published in: on November 22, 2008 at 12:11 am  Comments Off on The connection between mental illness and homelessness  
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B.C. court says homeless can camp in parks

Jim Gibson

October 14, 2008

VICTORIA – The city’s homeless can now set up camp in Victoria parks, according to a B.C. Supreme Court decision Tuesday.

“Yesterday it was illegal to set up my tent. Today it isn’t,” said David Johnston, one of the homeless activists who argued they have a right to sleep outdoors on public property.

Lawyer Catherine Boies Parker, who acted on behalf of the homeless campers in their court challenge of the city’s anti-camping bylaw, confirmed the 108-page judgment upheld their argument that a City of Victoria bylaw that prohibits using “temporary abodes” like tents and large tarpaulins for shelter in parks and public spaces violates the rights of the homeless.

She said the judgment noted that in the absence of sufficient safe and secure beds for the homeless, it was unconstitutional for the city to prevent them from erecting some form of shelter to protect themselves from the elements.

The decision came three years after a group was arrested in October 2005 for setting up a “tent city” in a Victoria park. The eviction sparked the court challenge.

“We don’t have to search every morning and night for a place to sleep,” Johnston said.

He predicted that tent cities will spring up in other municipalities once the decision becomes widely known.

Such encampments “might be the thing which saves us from the economic crush,” he said.

At a city hall news conference, Mayor Alan Lowe predicted the impact of the decision will be felt throughout Canada.

“This judgment demonstrates what years of cuts to social programming and housing programs has done. Municipal governments were never in the business of providing housing and social support services to individuals in need,” Lowe said, calling on higher levels of government to respond to the court decision.

The judgment does not bode well for city parks, Lowe warned. “Our city parks are not equipped to support camping of any kind.

“We’ve seen first hand the ill effects of tent cities. In 2005 . . . we saw a tent city that had become a hub of illegal activity, health concerns and vandalism,” he said.

“These are not acceptable conditions for our parks and green spaces, but even more importantly these conditions are not acceptable for the homeless.”

Lowe said there were no winners with the judgment. “This is still no way to accommodate our homeless and will be detrimental to the families and children that enjoy our park system.”

At the conference, acting police Chief Bill Naughton said police will respond “situationally” to any homeless encampments.

“We’ll see what confronts us and act accordingly,” he said.
Officers can still respond to criminal behaviours, infractions, despite ruling

Rob Shaw

October 16, 2008

Victoria’s police chief says his officers will still enforce existing laws and bylaws if the homeless community builds tent cities on public property in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling.

“The toolbox is not empty,” interim chief Bill Naughton said yesterday. “This is a very narrow judgment with very narrow impact, and it’s important to try to not extract more from the judgment than what it says.

“It is not a carte blanche for a tent city, or open season, or [any] of those things.”

On Tuesday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that a city of Victoria bylaw, which prohibits people from erecting tents and large tarpaulins for shelter in parks and public spaces, violates the rights of the homeless.

The ruling said that in the absence of sufficient safe and secure beds for the homeless, it was unconstitutional for the city to prevent them from erecting shelter for protection.

The court case was launched after city broke up a tent city in Cridge Park, at the corner of Blanshard and Belleville streets, in 2005. Yesterday, Naughton said what started then as a political movement was quickly compromised by drug addicts and criminals.

“What you saw was a downward spiral in terms of behaviour as the population began to shift,” he said.

There were assaults among campers and drug activity, he said, along with numerous at-risk vulnerable youth found living at the site.

Enforcing criminal laws — possession of drugs, assaults, etc. — and bylaw infractions, such as fires, was key to controlling the community, he said.

“All those behaviours are unaffected by this judgment,” said Naughton.

“You still can’t light a fire in a public park, or do any of those things. There are still existing bylaws to manage those behaviours. And obviously we’re going to respond to those behaviours. As I said, the [legal] decision doesn’t contemplate the establishment of a permanent tent city.”

Still, the police are looking for direction from city council once it decides how to deal with the campers, some of whom have already set up tents in Beacon Hill Park.

Recent police practice has been to generally let homeless people sleep undisturbed between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., whereupon officers roust them from doorways and parks and ask them to move along.

That will continue, for now, said Naughton. But it will be up to council to decide whether the leniency continues or applies to future campers, he said.

Officers remain overworked as they handle numerous mental health and homelessness calls, said Naughton.

If a tent city does appear, and grows, the police workload will increase significantly, he said. “But at this point I think it’s premature to speculate,” said Naughton.

No special patrols were planned for tents erected at Beacon Hill Park last night.

Police are expected to seek direction from council today at a meeting at city hall.

Source

US Spending and Revenues 1902 to 2008 and 2011

Just added Statics on Debt for 2011 at bottom of page.

In 1915 there were no revenues from Income Tax.

Well that was because no one paid any Income Tax.

45% revenue was spent on Defense (war).

In 1916 there were Income tax revenues.  I guess someone between 1915 and 1916 figured they needed to tax peoples income.


Over 47% revenue was spent on Defense (war).

It is all rather interesting to see how income Revenues and Spending compares from year to year however.

One can track the changes in social spending as well. Do visit the Source, you will find it all rather interesting.

IN 2008

Amounts in $ billion

About one quarter of the Budget is Spent on Defense ( War) 728.7,

Add that to interest paid 243.9 on money that was borrowed.

War + Interest = about one third of the spending.

Total spending is 2,931.2

Revenue however is only 2,521.2

They are of course spending more then they receive in Revenue, as a result are running a deficit, meaning they will have to borrow money to cover their spending.

This means also more interest will have to be paid the following year or years.

This adds to the Debt for future generations.

Go to source for 1902 to 2008 and see how things have changed over the years.

Source

Who they have borrowed money from?

Who do the American people owe?

Foreign owners of US Treasury Securities (April 2008) Nation (in billions of dollars) are

Japan 592.2

Mainland China 502

United Kingdom 251.4

Oil exporters 153.9

Brazil 149.5

Caribbean banking centers 115.4

Luxembourg 84.8

Hong Kong 63.1

Russia 60.2

Norway 45.3

Germany 44

Republic of China (Taiwan) 42.6

Switzerland 42.5

South Korea 40.5

Mexico 38

Singapore 33.3

Turkey 31.1

Thailand 27.9

Canada 24

Ireland 18.5

Netherlands 15.5

Sweden 13.1

Egypt 12.7

Belgium 12.5

Poland 12.5

Italy 10.6

India 10.5

All other 154.2

Grand Total 2,601.8 =About 25 %

Source

Other creditors include

Venezuela,

Indonesia,

Iran,

Iraq,

Saudi Arabia,

The United Arab Emirates,

Libya

Nigeria.

Source

About 52% is the privately owned Federal Reserve

What is interesting about this, Bush is working on convincing Americans to go to war with some of the very people that have lent the US money. Now isn’t that SPECIAL??

Now if you look at this way, it is a bit easier to understand. I like to simplify things. Sometimes when you simplify it is easier to grasp the concept of a senerio.

So you lend your neighbor money, then he bad mouths you to all the other neighbor, then comes and blows your house up.

He kills your wife, kids, aunts uncles, cousins. grandparents and a few of your friends.

Then says he did it to rescue them, from the mean nasty father namely you.

Of course what the rest of the neighbors didn’t know,

You were nice enough to lend the murder money.

They actually thought he the murder was a nice guy.

He sure could BS his way into their hearts and minds.

He even took some of the money you lent him and paid one of the other neighbors money, to help him blow up your house.

Well you know sooner or latter the rest of the neighbors will find out what he did and yes he should go to jail.

Not much of a neighbor is he. Not someone you really want as a friend.

Turns out a whole lot of other neighbors, lent him money too.

Oh yes it gets more interesting all the time.

He also went around bad mouthing them too. Well the nerve of him.

He was also trying to get some of the other neighbors, to go blow their houses up too.

What and S.O.B.

Well everyone finally had a neighborhood meeting and found out what was really going on.

They found out the murder was a drug dealing, drug doing, low life, lier.

Boy is everyone pissed off when they find out the truth.

Well wouldn’t you be a bit angry or downright furious?

Think about it?

Anyway Back to the task at hand.

The national debt equates to $30,400 per person U.S. population, or $60,100 per head of the U.S. working population, as of February 2008.

Of course now that the Bailout Bill of about 810 billion has been implemented keeping in mind &00 Billion + $110 Billion in other areas and the 612 billion for Defense Spending has been put in place that will increase substantially. More borrowing, more interest, More Debt.

This is also like dating a drug addict. They just can’t quit. Their drug of choice is War.

Now from what I understand they will to save money, cut anything but Defense spending as a matter of fact it has grown year after year and has become a staggaring burden to the American people. So if they tell you they need to cut social spending or pension plans that is pure BS if anything should be cut it would be Defense spending. War is not a nessesity.

If they try blaming their problems on the Poor which have been doing for years it is not now or ever was the poor it was always War that drove the American people into deficit and debt. Because of their war addiction they have also created poverty not only in America but in the countries they have invaded.

Because of absolute mismanagement, the American people are being driven onto the streets and becoming homeless. The middle class are becoming the poor. Children are going hungry. Innocent people are dieing due to lack of Health Care. For others their debts due to medical bills or job losses are also causing them to lose their homes.They are the new homeless folks. You could be next. You could end up on welfare. Many have because of mismanagement.

Cause and affect. If you know the cause you can cure the problem.

Military Industrial Complex 2.0


Pentagon can’t find $2.3 trillion

World Wide Network of US Military Bases

Map Military Bases

The shaded countries are one which have a U.S. military presence through bases and/or a significant number of troops in 2005. They have more now.

Department of Defense, Base Structure Report, FY2005 Baseline and Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and Country as of December 31, 2005.

A Study of the History of US Intelligence Community Human Rights Violations and Continuing Research

in Investigative Research

By Peter Phillips, Lew Brown and Bridget Thornton

This research explores the current capabilities of the US military to use electromagnetic (EMF) devices to harass, intimidate, and kill individuals and the continuing possibilities of violations of human rights by the testing and deployment of these weapons. To establish historical precedent in the US for such acts, we document long-term human rights and freedom of thought violations by US military/intelligence organizations. Additionally, we explore contemporary evidence of on-going government research in EMF weapons technologies and examine the potentialities of continuing human rights abuses.

Just added November 2 2011

Who owns US Debt for 2011

MAJOR FOREIGN HOLDERS OF TREASURY SECURITIES (in billions of dollars), HOLDINGS AT END OF PERIOD

Last Column on the right is

% change, June 2010 to April 2011

Country                                   April,11    Jan,11      June,10       %                 

China, Mainland 1,152 1,155 1,112 3.6
Japan 907 886 800 13.4
United Kingdom 333 278 94 252.4
Oil Exporters 222 216 210 5.4
All Other 199 194 199 -0.1
Brazil 207 198 164 26.3
Carib Bnkng Ctrs 138 166 179 -22.8
Hong Kong 122 128 137 -10.7
Taiwan 154 157 152 1.7
Russia 125 139 168 -25.4
Switzerland 112 108 106 5.5
Canada 88 86 36 144.3
Luxembourg 78 83 98 -19.7
Thailand 61 56 36 70.0
Germany 61 61 52 17.4
Singapore 60 58 53 13.1
Ireland 40 44 56 -27.8
Korea, South 31 32 37 -16.8
India 42 41 35 18.9
Mexico 27 34 33 -19.3
France 20 30 24 -16.1
Belgium 32 32 35 -9.2
Egypt 14 21 25 -45.6
Turkey 38 33 26 47.5
Poland 27 26 26 6.6
Italy 25 25 23 9.3
Norway 21 19 15 37.0
Netherlands 24 25 25 -4.5
Colombia 20 20 16 20.7
Israel 19 20 18 5.5
Sweden 21 17 18 21.6
Philippines 24 23 20 19.5
Chile 19 15 12 55.0
Australia 13 15 18 -28.8
Malaysia 12 11 11 8.1
Total 4,489 4,453 4,070 10.3

Source

Another source  had a few other details mot in the above one.

$14 Trillion in Debt, But Who Owns All That Money?

Jul 22 2011,

Hong Kong

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $121.9 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 0.9%

Social Security Trust Fund

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $2.67 trillion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 19%

The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds invest exclusively in special issue bonds that are only available to the Social Security trust fund. These are not publicly traded securities, but they still constitute a huge amount of debt.

The Privately owned Federal Reserve

The Treasury owes the Fed $1.63 trillion in Treasuries, much of which were bought for the Quantitative Easing programs.

That’s 11.3% of US debt, much more than China.

China

Total Holdings of Treasuries: $1.16 trillion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 8%

 US Households

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $959.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 6.6%

The ‘Household Sector’ does include hedge funds, by the way

Japan

Total Holdings of Treasuries: $912.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own:

State and Local Governments

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $506.1 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 3.5%

Private Pension Funds
Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $504.7 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 3.5%

United Kingdom
Total Holdings of Treasuries: $346.5 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.4%

Money Market Mutual Funds

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $337.7 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.4%

State, Local, and Federal Retirement Funds

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $320.9 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.2%

Commerical Banks

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $301.8 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.1%

Mutual Funds
Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $300.5 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2%

Oil Exporting Countries

Total holdings of Treasuries: $229.8 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.6%

Oil exporters include Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria.

Brazil
Total Holdings of Treasuries: $211.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.5%

Taiwan

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $153.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.1%

Caribbean Banking Centers

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $148.3 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1%

The Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles and Panama, and British Virgin Islands all function as offshore financial centers. Of course, they invest in Treasury Securities as well.

 Source