US going from Police State, To Military State

Every America needs to know this.

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

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State

February 11, 2013 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Via Truth-Dig Source

Chris Hedges: NDAA Lawsuit Update

Bad enough Americans already have people being Entrapped.

Inside the FBI’s ‘Terror factory’

You could be sent to anyone of these Countries.

CIA used 54 countries for detaining prisoners for toture

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

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

Now the Military can help with all of this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changing the way we do business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons from Israel to Auschwitz

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

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

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

Fighting “crimiterror”

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

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

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

The Demographic Unit

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

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

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

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

Shop ‘til you’re stopped

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

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

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

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

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

“Occupy” meets the Occupation

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

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

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

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

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

Source

 

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World Wide Occupy Wall Street Protests

Wall Street Tsunami: OWS grows in force Oct 22 2011

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

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

Occupy Wall Street Spells It Out

Updated Photos: Occupy Vancouver – global movement

Photos at link below

Thousands participated in the Vancouver leg of the financial protests.

Video on the protest in Vancover

Video Occupy Toronto protesters settle in at St. James Park 

Occupy Montreal

Close to 3000 people have joined up to Occupy Montreal

Occupy Ottawa Confederation Park Ottawa

There are numerous other videos for Occupy Ottawa on youtube

‘Occupy’ protest takes root in downtown Edmonton

There are numerous other videos on Occupy Edmonton on youtube

Occupy Calgary

There are more Occupy Calgary Videos on youtube

Occupy Winnipeg Day 1

More Videos on Occupy Winnipeg on youtube

Occupy Regina

Occupy Quebec City Short video

Rome not so peaceful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Occupy London clashes: Fighting erupts at UK protest

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Occupy Wall Street Spain

Occupy Tokyo 2011

Violence erupts as general strike shuts down Greece

Wall Street and Greek protests spread to Brussels

Wall Street/Washington Protesters an Inspiration to Behold

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Published in: on October 16, 2011 at 9:23 am  Comments Off on World Wide Occupy Wall Street Protests  
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Dubai police chief to seek Netanyahu arrest

Update March 13 2010

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.

For the rest Go HERE

Alternative reading of the al-Mabhouh murder

Update March 12 2010

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

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)

Source

That is now 28 suspects wanted by Dubai police.

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

The CIA

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

Related

Assassination latest act in nightmare without end

UK police meet passport victims connected to assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

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.

Source

Now they are looking at 26 perpetrators as opposed the the 11 previous suspects. Concern over fake passport use should be  in the forefront as Mossad has a long history of such use of passports.

Finally some are now becoming aware of  forged or stolen document use. I just have to wonder what took everyone so long to finally do something about it? This has been ongoing for years.

Newest suspects

Photo from Press TV

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.

Source

Related

Police in Dubai said that some of the assassins involved in last month’s killing of a Hamas commander had entered the emirate carrying diplomatic passports.

Dubai Suspects Are Interpol’s Most Wanted
International Police Issues Red Notices for 11 Alleged Assassins; Dubai Authorities Finger Israel’s Mossad Spy Agency

February 18, 2010

Interpole Website showing 11 suspects wanted by Dubai Police in connection with murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

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.

Source


Alleged Assassins Caught on Dubai Surveillance Tape

February 17 2010

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.

February 2 2010 Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, 49, a military official of the Islamic Resistance Movement, was found dead in his Dubai hotel room late last month. While the death appeared to be from natural causes, an autopsy revealed Mr. al-Mabhouh was killed, apparently by suffocation with a pillow after receiving electric shocks, perhaps from a taser.

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.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also  authorized the assassination of Khalid Mishal in 1997.

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.

Update February 26 2010

UK police meet passport victims connected to assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

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

By BRIAN M. CARNEY
September 10, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

Germany suspends ratification of Lisbon Treaty

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

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

Boycotts on Israel are Growing/Unions, Academics

South African Dock Workers to Boycott Israel

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
February 5 2009

Israel faces a new boycott as the huge Cosatu trade union of South Africa vowed to refuse “apartheid Israeli” goods due to arrive in the port of Durban on Thursday and Sunday. The union previously has refused to unload goods from countries it calls “dictatorial and oppressive.”

The local Palestine Solidarity Committee and Young Communist League announced a series of protests starting on Thursday in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and the city of Benoni, according to the South African Daily News website. “This follows the decision by Cosatu to strengthen the campaign in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel,” they explained.

The union also revealed that western Australian workers refused to handle Israeli goods.

“We call on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free,” said the joint statement by Cosatu and the Palestinian and Communist committees.

The union called on workers all over the world to follow suit in an effort to strangle Israel economically. A boycott by dockworkers “should shockwaves to [Israel’s] arrogant patrons in the United States who foot the bill for Israel’s killing machine.”

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies charged that the union’s is a political action intended “to show its muscle” towards upcoming national elections. “It is a pity Cosatu cannot show the same solidarity with its own brothers in the African continent,” Board chairman Zev Krengel told the Daily News. “More than 3,000 people in Zimbabwe have died of cholera, yet we do not see any protest about that.”

Foreign Minister spokesman Yigal Palmor said responded, “If these people think that by refusing to unload shipments from Israel they are promoting peace, they should go back to school because they have misread the situation in the Middle East big time.”

In Turkey, the Consumers Association has urged a boycott on Israeli products, and the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia is calling for a boycott of products by several large United States companies to protest the American government’s not denouncing Israel for the Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign in Gaza.

Among the companies whose products consumers are urged to avoid are Colgate-Palmolive Co., Coca-Cola and the Starbucks coffee chain. A similar boycott in the country aganist McDonalds’s has proven ineffective.

Source
SAPA: Workers to boycott Israeli ship

South African Transport & Allied Workers Union

South African Transport & Allied Workers Union

Durban dock workers are expected to refuse to off-load an Israeli ship as part of a week of action against “apartheid” Israel, Cosatu and the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) said on Tuesday.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven and PSC spokesperson Salim Vally said dock workers would refuse to off-load the ship arriving on Sunday, February 8, as part of a refusal to support oppression and exploitation across the globe.

SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) general secretary Randall Howard said the union’s members were committed to not handling Israeli goods.

Last year, Durban dock workers refused to off-load a shipment of arms from China that was destined for Zimbabwe.

The arms would have been used to “prop up the Mugabe regime and to intensify the repression against the Zimbabwean people”, Craven said.

“In 1963, just four years after the Anti-Apartheid Movement was formed, Danish dock workers refused to off-load a ship with South African goods.

“When the ship docked in Sweden, Swedish workers followed suit. Dock workers in Liverpool and, later, in the San Francisco Bay Area also refused to off-load South African goods,” he said.

Western Australian members of the Maritime Union of Australia supported the “campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions” against Israel and had called for a boycott of all Israeli vessels and all vessels bearing goods arriving from or going to Israel.

“This is the legacy and the tradition that South African dock workers have inherited, and it is a legacy they are determined to honour, by ensuring that South African ports of entry will not be used as transit points for goods bound for or emanating from certain dictatorial and oppressive states such as Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Israel.”

Cosatu called on other workers and unions across the globe to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine was free.

The week of action would include a protest in front of the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies in Johannesburg on Friday, a rally on the same day in Actonville on the East Rand and a picket in front of Parliament in Cape Town.

The protest would be addressed by Howard and former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, Craven said.

The rally on Friday would be addressed by Vally, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, South African Council of Churches general secretary Eddie Makue and Kasrils.

A protest at Durban harbour and a rally in Cape Town were planned for Sunday February 8, Craven said.

Source

Anti-Apartheid Talk a Hit at UCLA
By Pat McDonnell Twair

(L-r) Diana Buttu, Rev. Makue, and Katherine Fuchs (S. Twair photo).

AS PART OF a national U.S. tour entitled “Separate Is Never Equal: Stories of Apartheid,” sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, South African Rev. Eddie Makue and international law advocate Diana Buttu spoke Nov. 19 at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“As a black person, I was essentially born guilty in apartheid South Africa.” explained Reverend Makue, who has been an activist for three decades. He stated that the implementation of separation laws is more severe in Palestine than it was in his homeland. “My liberation will not be complete until the people of Palestine are free,” he vowed.

Buttu, who was born in Canada to Palestinian Israeli citizens and holds a master’s degree in law from Stanford University, worked on litigation at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, which decreed Israel’s apartheid wall to be illegal.

“Instead of implementing the World Court’s ruling and dismantling the wall, Israel said ‘so what?’” stated Buttu. She noted how Israel cuts off Jews from Palestinians with a separate Jews-only highway system, checkpoints to cripple Palestinian movement, curfews and economic controls. Gaza has been blockaded into a walled open air prison.

Campaign national organizer Katherine Fuchs advised the rapt audience that the best means to stop Israeli apartheid is to follow the South African tools of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

The Campaign has focused on boycotting two U.S. corporations which sell equipment to Israel: Motorola and Caterpillar.

Motorola manufactures fuses used in Israeli MK-84 bombs, mountain roads security systems Israel uses in its truck-mounted checkpoints, and Wide Area Surveillance Systems (WASS).

“Write letters to Motorola protesting this and let it know you will boycott all its products,” Fuchs urged.

A national campaign targeting Caterpillar shareholders is making inroads, she added. Increasingly at each annual meeting, shareholders complain about Caterpillar selling mammoth D-9 bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes.

“Check if your university endowment funds include Motorola and Caterpillar and insist that it divests them,” Fuch said.

During the question-and-answer session, the audience groaned when a coed asserted that Israel strives for peace.

“If Israel wanted peace, it would stop building settlements,” Buttu responded. “The fourth largest Israeli political party is calling for the expulsion of Arab citizens.”

The coed then directed a question to Reverend Makue: “Blacks never bombed whites in South Africa like Palestinians do Jews in Israel.”

Makue replied: “Show me any Palestinian who is implementing apartheid laws. The word terror is being abused. Apartheid created terror against blacks.

“Apartheid laws were drawn up in South Africa and in Israel in 1948. Nelson Mandela recognized the similarities and cooperation of these two systems. In 2007, when the United Nations asked Nobel Peace Laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu to see firsthand conditions in Gaza, the Israeli government barred him from entering.”

Buttu concluded to the protesting coed: “You are implying only Palestinians commit terrorist acts. Dropping bombs on civilians, targeting children is terrorism. Focus on the disease of occupation and lack of freedom rather than on their symptom of violence.”

Irish Civil Society Calls For Boycott of Israel

January 31 2009

The following letter was published in a full-page advertisement in The Irish Times on 31 January 2009:

The original ad, including signatures may be downloaded here. [PDF]

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza killed over 1,300 Palestinians, a third of them children. Thousands have been wounded. Many victims had been taking refuge in clearly marked UN facilities.

This assault came in the wake of years of economic blockade by Israel. This blockade, which is illegal under international humanitarian law, has destroyed the Gaza economy and condemned its population to poverty. According to a World Bank report last September, “98 percent of Gaza’s industrial operations are now inactive.”

The most recent attack on Gaza is only the latest phase in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and appropriation of their land.

Israel has never declared its borders. Instead, it has continuously expanded at the expense of the Palestinians. In 1948, it took over 78 percent of Palestine, an area much larger than that suggested for a Jewish state by the UN General Assembly in 1947. Contrary to international law, Israel expelled over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes. These refugees and their descendants, who now number millions, are still dispersed throughout the region. They have the right, under international law, to return to their homes. This right has been underlined by the UN General Assembly many times, starting with Resolution 194 in 1948.

In 1967, Israel occupied the remaining 22 percent of Palestine: the West Bank and Gaza. Contrary to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has built, and continues to build, settlements in these occupied territories. Today, nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in the illegal settlements in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and the number grows daily as Israel expands its settler program.

Israel has resisted pressure from the international community to abide by the human rights provisions of international law. It has refused to comply with UN Security Council demands to cease building settlements and remove those it has built (Resolutions 446, 452 and 465) and to reverse its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem (252, 267, 271, 298, 476 and 478). Since September 2000, over 5,000 Palestinians, almost 1,000 of them minors, have been killed by the Israeli military.

Eleven-thousand Palestinians, including hundreds of minors, languish in Israel jails. Hundreds are detained without trial. In addition, Israel is breaking international law by imprisoning them outside the occupied territories, thereby making it almost impossible for their families to visit them. Every year, hundreds of Palestinian homes are demolished. The Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza livesw imprisoned by walls, barriers and checkpoints that prevent or impede access to shops, schools, workplaces, hospitals and places of worship. They are subjected to restrictions of every kind and to daily ritual humiliation at the hands of occupation soldiers and checkpoint guards.

Source

Invasion, occupation and plantation of their land is the reality that Palestinians have faced for decades and still face on a daily basis, as their country is reduced remorselessly. Unless, and until, this Israeli aggression is halted, and the democratic rights of the Palestinian people are vindicated, there will be no justice or peace in the Middle East. Israel’s 40-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza must be ended.

The occupation can end if political and economic pressure is placed on Israel by the international community. Recognizing this, the Palestinian people continually call on the international community to intervene.

We, the signatories, call for the following:

  • The Irish Government to cease its purchase of Israeli military products and services and call publicly for an arms embargo against Israel.
  • The Irish Government to demand publicly that Israel reverse its settlement construction, illegal occupation and annexation of land in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and to use its influence in international fora to bring this about.
  • The Irish Government to demand publicly that the Euro-Med Agreement under which Israel has privileged access to the EU market be suspended until Israel complies with international law.
  • The Irish Government to veto any proposed upgrade in EU relations with Israel.
  • The Irish people to boycott all Israeli goods and services until Israel abides by international law.

Source

Academic boycott of the Israeli terrorist state spreads to US, Canada, & Al-Quds University

Academic boycott of Israel spreads to US & Jerusalem universities

Monday February 02, 2009 03:18 by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC News

Hundreds of professors and scholars in the US have, for the first time, joined in an academic boycott of the terrorist state of Israel, in an effort to pressure the Zionist racist Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian land, and disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people. In addition, Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, a Palestinian-run university, has joined the call for boycott.

The US boycott comes in the wake of dozens of similar boycotts launched in various parts of the world, including in England, Spain, Canada and Australia.

The Canadian boycott began in Quebec when academics signed a letter stating:

“We are a group of teachers and employees at Quebec colleges and universities who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and with the people of Gaza who have suffered through the Israeli siege as targets of Israel’s brutal military attack. It will take more than ceasefires to bring a just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel. We are acting in response to an appeal for support issued January 2, 2009 by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees. In the wake of the Israeli bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza, the Federation of Unions has urged academics around the world to support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” The Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario proposed, “Israeli academics be barred from speaking, teaching or conducting research at the province’s universities unless they condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza.”

In the US, professors and scholars declared, “As educators of conscience, we have been unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel’s indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions.” They launched the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel after Israel’s 3-week long assault on the Gaza Strip which ended on January 18th, in which 1400 Palestinians were killed, many of them civilians. The professors call for divestment initiatives and boycotts of Israeli academic institutions and joint educational and cultural initiatives. They make a comparison between the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the apartheid policies of South Africa, which ended in 1993.

al-Quds University in Jerusalem, with branches in the West Bank, has stated that it will phase out all cooperation with Israeli universities. In a statement issued by the University, officials stated:

“If the two-state solution is as far away today as it was ten years ago, there is no justification for continued academic cooperation based on reaching that solution. And there is no justification for continued official and non-official cooperation in other fields, foremost security coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel. Ending academic cooperation is aimed at, first of all, pressuring Israel to abide by a solution that ends the occupation, a solution that has been needed for far too long and that the international community has stopped demanding.”

The University Board of Directors also noted that the decision to cut ties came “in response to the prior Israeli onslaught [on Gaza]; the acts and policies of Israeli governments over the past ten years, including settlement construction in East Jerusalem, the tightening of the siege on the occupied territories and thwarting any negotiated peace process that will lead to an independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.”

Source

The UN is unable to get Israel to abide by the law. One has to wonder if they really even try. For About 60 years  Zionists in Israel have terrorized Palestinians and still no solution.

Boycotting Israel is the way to go.

Anyone who supports Israel in any way, is supporting their Genocide.

They are supporting Criminal activity including War Crimes. They are also supporting Apartheid. Israel is a threat to all  neighbouring countries as well. Israels weapons of mass destruction must be taken from them. They are more dangerous then any other country in the Middle East. They are the problem. They threaten everyone continually.

Israel is the terrorists in my opinion. They terrorize everyone with their threats.

The US must stop all Aid to Israel as well. They need 6.5 million a day for what? To bomb their neighbours maybe?

Zionists are nothing but warmongers just as George Bush and company were. Over the years they are and always have been the problem.

Jews in Syria get along just find.  Jews in Iran get along just fine. They are treated with respect and allowed to practice their religion freely. The  problem is Israeli  Zionists. They are fanatics. They use the propaganda machine to try and make themselves look so sweet and innocent. It is just that propaganda and lies.

Zionists betrayed their own people and still do. Reading this might give you an idea of how far they will go. The Holocaust Victims Accuse

For links to the “conventions, treaties”  go to “ICC stats analysis of Gaza war crimes allegations”

ICC starts analysis of Gaza war crimes allegations

Israel still Bombing Gaza/Petition To EU

What an Aid Worker Saw in Gaza, Then and Now

About Israel: “Did You Know?”

Israel abducted over 5,000 people and put them in prison

Interview: Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the ISM/UN Reports Gaza/ US Aid to Israel

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on February 5, 2009 at 3:28 am  Comments Off on Boycotts on Israel are Growing/Unions, Academics  
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Saturday Jan 3 Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009

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 protest

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.

Protest

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.

London

Clash: Riot police deal with protesters trying to raid the Israeli Embassy in London

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.

London

Anger: Protesters gather in Trafalgar Square at the end of the march

London

Support: Annie Lennox, centre, is flanked by George Galloway and Bianca Jagger

Brian Eno

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

Madrid: Protesters burn an Israeli flag in the Spanish capital

Paris

Paris: Demonstrators burned cars after a march by 25,000 people

Berlin

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

Amsterdam: A man holds up a blood smeared doll

Milan

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 Athens: A woman walks in front of burning barricades during riots after a rally

Source
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

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

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

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

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 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

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

Thousands in Europe Protest Gaza Offensive

January 3 2008

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)

Source

Another excellent report on the Demonstration in London Here the estimated turnout is 50-60 thousand people.

Israeli ground-forces finally invade Gaza strip after day of increased air strikes

PETER HITCHENS: Will Israel never learn? Each bomb is a gift to its enemies

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

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Jan 4  Reports: Protests around the World Against Gaza assault

Reports on Canadian protests below. Approximately  3000 came out to protest in Toronto.

Just added Jan 4th 2009

Saturday Jan 3 Reports:Canadian Protesters march in support of Palestinians

Saturday Jan 3 Reports:US protests against Israels attacks on Gaza

Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza


Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 10:13 pm  Comments Off on Saturday Jan 3 Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009  
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Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

The crew of the vessel SS Dignity along with journalists, raise their hands before a press conference at the Lebanese journalist syndicate in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008. (AP / Mahmoud Tawil)

The crew of the vessel SS Dignity along with journalists, raise their hands before a press conference at the Lebanese journalist syndicate in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008. (AP / Mahmoud Tawil)

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza
December 30 2008

BEIRUT, Lebanon
A boat carrying international peace activists and medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip was turned back and damaged by the Israeli navy on Tuesday, Israel and organizers of the trip said.

The vessel, called SS Dignity, was greeted by a small cheering crowd as it pulled into the southern Lebanese port of Tyre with clear marks of damage near the prow. Its foiled aid trip came as Israel was waging a major bombardment of Gaza on that has killed more than 360 people since Saturday, aiming to halt Hamas rocket attacks into Israel.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said an Israeli navy ship intercepted the boat, which he said ignored an Israeli radio order to turn back as it approached Gaza early Tuesday.

Palmor saids the boat tried to outmaneuver an Israeli navy ship and crashed into it, lightly damaging both vessels. The navy then escorted the boat out into the territorial waters of Cyprus.

But passengers and crew aboard the SS Dignity disputed the Israeli account, saying the Israeli vessel rammed the ship.

“We were prevented from entering Gaza … by Israeli patrol boats that tracked us for about 30 minutes. They shone their spotlight on us and then all of a sudden they rammed us approximately three times, twice in the front and once in the side,” said former U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney who was aboard the boat.

“Communications from the Israelis indicated that we were involved in terrorist activities … I presume that’s why they rammed our boat,” she added.

The boat’s British captain, Denis Healey, said the Israeli action came “without any warning, or any provocation.” Organizers said the boat was in international waters — 90 miles off the coast of Gaza –when the Israeli navy intercepted it.

The 66-foot (20-meter) yacht Dignity set off from Cyprus on Monday with almost 4 tons of Cypriot-donated medical supplies, including surgical equipment and antibiotics, as well as 16 passengers from the U.S., Cyprus, Britain, Australia, Ireland and elsehwhere, organizers said.

The trip was organized by the Free Gaza group, which has made five deliveries of aid by boat to Gaza since August, defying a blockade imposed by Israel when Hamas won control of the territory in June 2007.

Source

So the people aboard the ship trying desperately to deliver much  needed medical supplies to Gaza are “Terrorists” are they?

Israel is crying wolf yet again. This is very typical of the Israeli mind set however. Rather reminds me of George Bushes wolf cry’s.

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Published in: on December 30, 2008 at 11:02 pm  Comments Off on Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza  
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Did being part of the EU protect them from the Financial Crisis

Turmoil Spurs US Plant Closures, EU Layoffs At ArcelorMittal

December 10th, 2008

By Alex MacDonald

In a sign of the severity of the economic downturn, ArcelorMittal (MT), the world’s largest steelmaker, announced plans to close two U.S. steel processing plants and lay off several hundred workers in the European Union.

ArcelorMittal plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Lackawanna, N.Y., by the end of April and plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Hennepin, Ill., sometime in the future, although no date was disclosed. The two closures will result in 545 job losses, 260 of which are located at the N.Y. plant and 285 of which are located at the Illinois plant.

Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal rolled out voluntary redundancy programs in Europe over the past week or so that would eliminate 3,550 mostly white-collar jobs through voluntary layoffs. The company is eyeing 6,000 job cuts in Europe out of 9,000 job cuts globally.

The closures and layoffs are in line with the company’s plans to cut 35% of its global steel production capacity during the fourth quarter and saving $1 billion annually by cutting 3% of its global workforce.

Both steel plants supply the auto market, where demand has slumped so dramatically that the U.S.’s three largest car manufacturers are now seeking federal government funds to avert bankruptcy.

The closures are part of ArcelorMittal’s global restructuring program to weather the economic downturn.

The decision to close ArcelorMittal Lackawanna was “purely an economic business decision based on the extraordinary economic conditions we face today,” the company said in a statement.

The Lackawanna plant has inherent disadvantages due to its location that lead to higher costs, longer customer lead times, and higher inventory levels than other ArcelorMittal finishing facilities in the US, the company said.

Meanwhile, at Hennepin, “the company had to make the tough decision to close the…facility, consolidate operations and move production to other ArcelorMittal facilities in the U.S.” in order to remain competitive.

ArcelorMittal now has announced plans to lay off 19% of its U.S. salaried workforce of 15,543 people and has announced more than half of its planned job cuts in Europe.

The United Steelworkers union and other relevant stakeholders were notified about the plant closures and job layoffs. They are now negotiating with the Luxembourg-based company to arrive at a compromise.

Jim Robinson, the director of USW’s District 7 said the union was aware that ArcelorMittal faced operational issues at the two plants but was surprised by the company’s decision to close the plants.

“They called us before they announced but we did not know this specifically” beforehand, he said.

Robinson dismissed views that ArcelorMittal has underinvested in the plants. “I don’t think the issue is lack of investment over time, I think it’s an issue of the company’s overall strategy.” He declined to elaborate further.

ArcelorMittal is one of many steelmakers globally that have announced production cuts and layoffs. U.S. Steel Corporation (X), the world’s tenth-largest steelmaker by volume, announced last week it would temporarily idle an iron ore mining facility and two steel works. The move will affect 3,500 employees.

Corus, Europe’s second largest steelmaker by volume and the European arm of India-based Tata Steel Ltd (500470.BY) has cut production by 30% and has shed about 500 jobs from the U.K.

In Europe, ArcelorMittal is seeking voluntary redundancies equal to 1,400 jobs in France, 800 in Belgium, 750 in Germany, and 600 in Spain. Most of them are white collar jobs. ArcelorMittal’s American depositary shares recently traded up 8.9% to $25.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Company Web site: http://www.arcelormittal.com

Source

EU businesses expect 1 million job losses in 2009

Brussels – European Union businesses called Monday for a cut in interest rates amid predictions that the bloc’s economic slowdown could lead to more than 1 million jobs being lost in 2009.

BusinessEurope, which groups national business federations from 34 European countries, also called on governments to ensure a continued flow of credit and to approve structural reforms aimed at improving the continent’s competitiveness.

According to its latest Economic Outlook, EU gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to grow by just 0.4 per cent in 2009, compared to 1.4 per cent this year, with exports, imports and private consumption levels all slowing.

Unemployment is predicted to increase from 7 per cent to 7.8 per cent, with the loss of 1.1 million jobs, compared to a net job creation of more than 2 million in 2008.

“The most fundamental preoccupation of the business community is obviously the way in which the impact of the financial market turmoil will play out,” the paper said.

“Even though a fully-fledged credit crunch has not yet appeared in Europe, uncertainty about the impact for companies and consumer markets has increased tremendously.”

Source

SEMI Europe calls for investment to avoid mass job losses in semiconductor industry

December 10 2008

During the third SEMI Brussels forum, SEMI Europe declared that the decline in the European semiconductor industry could potentially put half a million European jobs at risk. SEMI Europe presented its White Paper to EU officials and urgently appealed for the EU and national policymakers to invest to support the European semiconductor industry citing the industries importance to the health and global competitiveness of the EU economy.

The equipment/materials producers and the semiconductor device manufacturers contribute around €29 billion to the EU economy and provide around 215,000 jobs. The European semiconductor industry is also a significant contributor to the GDP in EU countries such as France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

“If semiconductor manufacturers leave Europe, indigenous equipment & materials producers will face an uncertain future”, said Franz Richter, Chairman of the SEMI European Advisory Board. “The current economic crisis and rising unemployment underscore the urgent need to safeguard jobs in the European semiconductor industry. Supporting a robust and competitive semiconductor industry in Europe is critical to keeping jobs in Europe across all industries and supporting key European economies.”

The decline of the market share even during the increase in total volumes sold reflects that manufacturing is changing and moving away from Europe because of the unfavourable global level playing field conditions. The European equipment and materials manufacturers that supply the semiconductor industry with machinery and parts are for the most part small or medium-sized European businesses that heavily rely on the future European semiconductor industry to guarantee their own future and the 105,000 jobs they embody.

Further information on the Brussels forum is available here.

Source

Spanish auto sector highly exposed to global crisis

December 11 2008

By Robert Hetz

MADRID,

Spain’s car industry, which became Europe’s third largest, thanks to a cheap workforce, has lost cost advantage and could shrink as companies slash costs at foreign plants and save politically-sensitive jobs at home.

As executives at multinational manufacturers weigh up Spain’s ageing factories, relatively high wage costs and weak competitiveness against their own domestic markets and cheaper alternatives, the country’s plants are clear targets as the credit crunch saps demand all over the world.

“The big decisions are being taken abroad, not here, and managers in London, Paris and Detroit prefer to close a plant here and not in their home market,” said the director of one Spanish parts plant, who asked not to be named.

Unlike Germany, France or Italy, Spain’s auto industry has no nationally-owned car maker and little control over decisions on the future of its 18 foreign-owned plants, which employ around 70,000 people.

And unlike the case of Britain, Spain’s plants are older and less productive, and the country lacks a more skilled workforce or much tradition of home-grown research and development.

Global car makers, also including Peugeot, Opel and Volkswagen, built most of their Spanish plants in the 1970s when Spain was a low-cost backwater, well placed to serve Northern European markets.

Since the 70s, Spain has lost its price advantage as living standards have caught up with the European average. In 2007, per capita income overtook that of Italy. At the same time, new competitors have emerged as low-cost manufacturing centres.

Spain’s auto-sector salaries averaged 22.83 euros ($29.64) an hour last year, above the European average and around three times the 6.93 euros in Poland and 8.83 euros in the Czech Republic, Europe’s new manufacturing hubs, alongside North Africa.

NORTH AFRICA PASSES SPAIN FOR RENAULT

Renault plans to make 200,000 cars at its plants in North Africa in 2010 and double that within a couple of years, overtaking production from its Spanish operations.

The global credit crunch has hurt demand for new cars across Europe, with new car registrations in November falling 36.8 percent in the UK, 18 percent in Germany, 30 percent in Italy and 50 percent in Spain.

With some 84 percent of cars built in Spanish plants for export, manufacturers are finding fewer financial or political reasons for remaining in the country as international competition rises.

Spanish plants are ideal candidates for the inevitable cuts across Europe, head of Ford Espana Jose Manuel Machado said, as salaries rise and productivity fails to rise at a similar rate.

Machado’s comments came before the U.S. company announced production cuts of 120,000 units at its Almussafes plant in Valencia, and the temporary layoff of 5,200 workers.

Job cuts are expected from most of the major manufacturers, with more than 60 filings listing potential layoffs by private companies made to the government, which may affect up to 40,000 workers, Spain’s main union UGT said.

As Spain’s unemployment rate soars to the highest in the European Union and the economy nears recession, the government is keen to keep the industry, which accounts for around 5 percent of gross domestic product, in the country.

Spain has earmarked 800 million euros for the sector as part of measures worth a total of around 50 billion euros to stimulate the economy.

But this aid may not be enough.

“It’s a good gesture from the government, but obviously the amount of money is insufficient. It would be less than 80 million euros per manufacturer,” said Jose Antonio Bueno of consultancy Europraxis.

The sharp fall in new car sales in Spain has also affected the manufacturers’ showrooms and spare parts centres throughout the country.

Concessions for new and second-hand cars and garages employ around 278,000 people in Spain, and 16,000 of those jobs are at risk, the association for the sector, Ganvam, estimates.

“Four years ago we sold two or three cars a day, but now its not even two a week,” said Adela Benito, who has worked in a Madrid-based Renault showroom for 20 years. (Reporting by Robert Hetz; Additional reporting by Tomas Gonzalez; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

Source

Swedes want government bailout for Volvo

In a new survey just released, 68 percent of Swedes want to see the Swedish government bail out its beleaguered carmaker Volvo. Although Volvo is owned by US carmaker Ford, Swedes would like its government to temporarily take control of the nation’s iconic firm, as many residents fear Volvo may disappear entirely from Sweden in the near future.

The Local newspaper reports that support for government intervention is piling in from all sides of the political arena. Some 65 percent of those polled who support the bailout side with one of the governing Alliance parties, and 73 percent of all left bloc voters approve of a government bailout.

Peter Larsson of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers points out that Volvo’s current crisis is not minor. “One thing is certain, there are no dollars on their way over the Atlantic,” Larsson said, referring to the massive problems currently faced by the “Big Three” US carmakers – Ford, Chrysler, and (Saab-owner) General Motors.

Rolf Wolff, dean of the school of business at Gothenburg University, told The Local: “If Volvo Cars disappears as a base for industrial knowledge and skills, then Sweden will never again be a part of the auto industry. All the knowledge and skills would be lost, and with it all future associated development potential would be gone.”

Maud Olofsson, Sweden’s minister of trade and industry, has expressed doubts whether the government would be able to better manage Volvo than the car firm itself. For now, the issue has been placed on the political back burner, but the crisis at Volvo and Ford goes on.

Source

This is just the tip of the iceburg.  Seems no one is safe from the Financial Crisis. Not even EU members.

There are 27 member of the European Union.

austria 1. Austria
belgium 2. Belgium
UK 3. UK
denmark 4. Denmark
germany 5. Germany
greece 6. Greece
ireland 7. Ireland
spain 8. Spain
italy 9. Italy
luxembourg 10. Luxembourg
netherlands 11. Netherlands
portugal 12. Portugal
finland 13. Finland
france 14. France
sweden 15. Sweden
cyprus 16. Cyprus
czech 17. Czech Republic
estonia 18. Estonia
hungary 19. Hungary
latvia 20. Latvia
lithuania 21. Lithuania
malta 22. Malta
poland 23. Poland
slovakia 24. Slovakia
slovenia 25. Slovenia
bulgaria 26. Bulgaria
romania 27. Romania

EU members and when they joined.

1952 Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands

1973 Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom

1981 Greece

1986 Portugal, Spain

1995 Austria, Finland, Sweden

2004 Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

2007 Bulgaria, Romania

Source

Hungary’s Letter of Intent to the IMF

World Bank lends to Bulgaria to tackle poverty, jobless

Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region

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

Europeans Angry at their Money being Used for Bailouts

The £2trillion question for British economy

Europe catches America’s financial disease

How Britain’s banks will never be the same again

Economist, deregulation and loose fiscal policies lead to Meltdown

World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation

Ryanair to appeal EU’s ‘corrupt’ support of Alitalia takeover

Ashley Mote Revealing European Union Corruption

The EU budget is necessarily corrupt

EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone

Starting to remind me of the Corruption in the US where the Crisis started.

141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Sign Petition to Ban DU

What is DU?

  • 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:

  • UK
  • US
  • France
  • Russia
  • China
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • Thailand
  • Taiwan
  • Israel
  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • India
  • Belarus
  • Pakistan
  • Oman

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.

Health Problems

  • 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.


Epidemiology

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.

Environmental Impacts
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.

The Campaign
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.

Source

Sign Petition to Ban DU

International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

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

In favour:

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.

Against:

France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:

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.

Source

Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

November 11, 2008

by Barbara Bellows

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.

In late 2000 and January 2001, reports were exploding across Europe about the rise in cancer amongst NATO soldiers who had served in the “peacekeeping missions” in Bosnia and Kosovo. The effects of the depleted uranium in the U.S. and U.K. weapons could not be ignored.

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.”

And The Tehran Times further endangers their country by continuing to report on the problem, calling it a war crime.

And across the internet, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Helbig seeks to intimidate anyone who dares to bring up the subject.

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.

VALUABLE REFERENCES:

Department of Defense description of self-sharpening depleted uranium: click here

Dr. Keith Baverstock’s November 2001 report, suppressed by the World Health Organization:
Rob Edwards article on Baverstock:

Karen Parker, a Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Lawyer:  Scroll down on the page and you’ll find her documents on DU.

January 2003 White House Report – Apparatus of Lies:

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

Source

Depleated Uranium Information

Or Google it there is tons of information out there.

Be sure to encourage those who are still not supporting the ban,  that it  is something that needs to be banned.

This is an extremely dangerous form of Pollution.

We, the people, need to let governments and the United Nations know that these weapons can have no part in a humane and caring world. Every signature counts!

  1. An immediate end to the use of uranium weapons.
  2. Disclosure of all locations where uranium weapons have been used and immediate removal of the remnants and contaminated materials from the sites under strict control.
  3. Health surveys of the ‘depleted’ uranium victims and environmental investigations at the affected sites.
  4. Medical treatment and compensation for the ‘depleted’ uranium victims.
  5. An end to the development, production, stockpiling, testing, trade of uranium weapons.
  6. A Convention for a Total Ban on Uranium Weapons.

The life you save may be your own.

Sign Petition to Ban DU

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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Carnage: Seven days that shook the world

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:

Sunday

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.

Monday

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.

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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.

Thursday

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.”

Friday

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.

Yesterday

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

Source

Capitalism at it finest hour.

I might be going out on a limb here, but it seems, it doesn’t work all that well.

Seems the side affects of it are, just a major disaster to all involved.

Who will pay the price?

Well the tax payer.

The American way is, as we all may notice, the worst way.

Mark my words, there are those who are getting rich from this disaster.

Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 11:01 am  Comments Off on Carnage: Seven days that shook the world  
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Europe catches America’s financial disease

October 7 2008

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.

Deposit deal

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.

Source

Published in: on October 8, 2008 at 2:38 am  Comments Off on Europe catches America’s financial disease  
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