Act of Piracy, Kidnapping, Illegal Confinement, Theft, Assault and Battery, committed by Israel

Israel expels Gaza aid ship crew

February 6 2009

Al-Ikhwa was seized by the Israeli navy and taken to the city of Ashdod [AFP]

Israel has expelled 10 activists and journalists after detaining them for hours and seizing their cargo ship that was trying to deliver aid to Gaza.

Al Jazeera’s Salam Khoder, who was among the group, said she and some of the others on board were beaten by Israeli forces before being taken to a police station in Ashdod and interrogated.

Minutes after being escorted across the Israeli border to southern Lebanon on Friday, Khoder reported on her capture.

“At about 11pm last night… the Israeli ship intercepted the ship, fired at the ship and more than 30 soldiers came on to the boat and started beating the passengers,” she said.

“They blinded our eyes, bounded our hands, kept us in uncomfortable conditions for one hour … they also told us not to communicate with each other in Arabic.”

She said that the whereabouts of some of the 18 people who were on board the ship was unknown.

The Al-Ikhwa was carrying 60 tonnes of medical supplies, food, books and toys to Gaza, where a more than year-long Israeli blockade along with its devastating offensive last month have left residents struggling to get basic necessities.

Israeli denial

Israel denied using violence in the operation and said it had warned the ship on Wednesday night against entering Gaza’s coastal waters.

The ship was carrying 60 tonnes of relief supplies bound for blockaded Gaza [AFP]

“During today’s [Thursday] morning hours, the cargo ship changed its bearing, and began heading towards the Gaza Strip … disregarding all warnings made,” the Israeli military said.The Al-Ikhwa, which originally set sail from Cyprus, left the Lebanese port city of Tripoli on Tuesday.

Maan Bashour, an aid co-ordinator for the group End the Blockade of Gaza, told Al Jazeera that the ship “was searched in Cyprus and in Lebanon”.

“And we were very eager to let it be searched by Lebanese and Cypriot authorities in order that there be no reason for the Israelis to prevent it from going to Gaza.”

Israel increased naval patrols off the coast of the Gaza Strip in December when it launched a 22-day air, naval and ground assault that left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead.

Foud Siniora, Lebanon’s prime minister, condemned the attack on Al-Ikhwa, emphasising that it was on a humanitarian mission to Gaza.

“It is no surprise for Israel to perpetrate such an action as it has been accustomed to ignoring all international resolutions and values,” he said in Beirut.

Yahya Mahmassani, the Arab League’s envoy to the United Nations, said he had asked the staff of Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, to intervene in the matter.

“I demanded that the ship be released immediately,” Mahmassani said. “The world community should condemn this act of piracy. We consider this an act of piracy committed by Israel.”

Source

This is the Third time  Israel has interfered with ships in International waters. They also interfered with the “Dignity” and the “The Spirit of Humanity” as well. The Dignity was rammed by an Israeli ship and The Spirit of Humanity passengers were threatened they would be fired upon.

This one is definitely and act of “Piracy”. They also had no right to detain those on ship either. That would constitute nothing less then kidnapping. Beating the passengers on the ship is totally unacceptable.  Assault and Battery.  Illegal Confinement. They have no right to seize the ship,  it’s cargo or the people on board.  Seems they are  stealing the Aid for Gaza.

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

As far as Israels denial they like they would tell the truth. Criminals lie you know. Israel has already lied one to many times for me to ever believe them. Like they didn’t use White Phosphorous for example.  That is a massive lie. Or being so sorry they hit hospitals and UN buildings they lie in those cases as well. The still torture people as well if they say other wise that to is a lie.  Their words mean nothing.

Those were out and out blatant lies. The worst lie is they didn’t target Civilians. What BS. Do we all have complete idiot written across our foreheads.  Seems to me nothing they say can be believed. They never keep their word either. They cannot be trusted. The US must stop giving them Aid. The use it only to harm others. They don’t need it. That money could be better spend on other things such as the homeless Veterans in the US.  The US Veterans deserve to be helped,  Israel doesn’t they just kill, starve and bully others.

Like the Holocaust Victims the people of Gaza and the West Banks should be compensated, for the years of torment inflicted by the Zionist movement of Israel. 60 years is long enough. Israel has proved beyond a doubt they do not want peace and they will not stop until all Palestinians are run off their land.

ISRAEL/ OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

Right to family life denied
Foreign spouses of Palestinians barred

March 21, 2007
By Amnesty International

Enaya Samara is a 56-year-old US national of Palestinian origin. For 31 years she lived in Ramallah with her husband, Adel Samara, who is a resident of the OPT, and their two children. For three decades she had to travel abroad every three months to renew her tourist visa. The family’s repeated attempts to obtain family unification and establish Enaya Samara’s right to reside in the OPT were unsuccessful. On 26 May 2006, after more than 120 trips, she was denied entry when she tried to return home to the OPT. She did not see her family until 23 February 2007 when the Israeli Interior Ministry allowed her a three-month visa. She does not know if it will be renewed.

Tens of thousands of foreign nationals who are married to residents of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 are not allowed to live with their husband or wife by the Israeli authorities. In virtually every other country in the world, there are procedures to allow such couples — where one spouse is a foreign national — to live together.

Israel controls the borders of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and forbids foreign spouses from entering. The husbands and wives who are denied entry are not seeking admittance to Israel. They simply want to enter the OPT to live with their spouse in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

As an occupying power, Israel is obliged to respect the family rights of Palestinians (1). Yet violations by Israel of the right to family life have persisted for decades and have worsened over the past six years. By 2006 at least 120,000 families were affected. Moreover, since 2006 the restrictions on family life, and the number of families affected by such restrictions, have increased — the right to enter the OPT is now also denied to spouses from countries for whom advance visas are not required to enter Israel.

Israeli restrictions on foreign spouses are profoundly discriminatory. Jewish settlers in the OPT (whose presence there, unlike that of the Palestinian inhabitants, is actually illegal under international law) face no restrictions in obtaining authorization from the Israeli authorities for their spouses to enter the OPT and reside with them there.

Restrictions on foreign spouses

The restrictions on what is called “family unification” in the OPT are not based on any law. Formerly, spouses from outside the OPT seeking family unification applied to the Israeli authorities for a residence permit under which they would be allowed to reside in the OPT. It would often take many years for the Israeli authorities to issue such a permit. In the meantime, however, foreign spouses were able to enter and reside in the OPT by obtaining a temporary visitor’s visa and regularly renewing; this was done mostly by travelling to Jordan or another foreign country every three months and obtaining a new visitor’s visa on re-entering Israel. It caused inconvenience but at least foreign spouses were able to remain with their families in the OPT.

This process was ended after the second intifada began in September 2000. The Israeli authorities suspended all family unification procedures for OPT residents who had married spouses from other countries, and no residence permits were given to spouses. At the same time, visitors’ visas were not renewed.

As a result, foreign nationals who did not want to be separated from their Palestinian spouses and children, but who had not yet been granted family unification, were left with two options: remain in the OPT illegally after the expiry of their visitor’s visa, or leave and be separated from their husband or wife and, possibly, their children.

Those who remain illegally are cut off from any family, friends and business they may have outside the country.

They live in constant fear of being apprehended and deported, and cannot move freely within the OPT because of the many Israeli army checkpoints between towns and villages. They are essentially confined by their uncertain status to their homes and immediate surroundings.

Those who have left the OPT — for instance, to see a sick parent — have not been allowed back, and remain separated from their spouse and sometimes their children. The Israeli authorities sometimes allow a Palestinian spouse to leave the OPT, but may take away his or her right to reside in the OPT if they stay away too long.

The restrictions have had a devastating impact as they have made it impossible for many of those affected to enjoy a normal family life. Families are forcibly broken up. Children are separated for long periods from one parent and often from their wider family of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

The great majority of those barred from entry to the OPT are Jordanian women of Palestinian origin who are married to Palestinian men. Although the Israeli authorities tend to justify such restrictions on security grounds, Amnesty International knows of no case in which a woman within this category has been responsible for or involved in any important security incident.
Yahya Bassa, a 40-year-old date merchant and OPT resident, has been married to Nibin, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin, for six years. They have two daughters, four-year-old Nur and 18-month-old Talin, who live with their mother in Jordan.

Yahya Bassa used to travel between Aizariyah near Jerusalem, where his business is, and the Jordanian capital, Amman, to see his wife and family and to conduct business. His troubles began, he says, four years ago when he refused a request by Shin Bet, the Israel Security Service, to become an informer. For the next two years he was not allowed to leave the OPT to visit Jordan. He appealed to the Israeli High Court and was then allowed two visits. Then Israeli security personnel offered to allow him to leave the OPT if he would stay away for four years. He refused.

Yahya Bassa was then harassed by Israeli security officials. In 2005 he was accused of murdering a “collaborator” — the file against him has since been erased. In 2006 he was arrested and placed in administrative detention without charge or trial for six months. When he was released, he sought to visit his wife in Jordan but the Israeli authorities again refused him permission to leave and return unless he stayed away for four years. Meanwhile, his wife is not permitted by the Israeli authorities to enter the OPT, and they have been denied the opportunity to enjoy a normal family life.

Yahya Bassa brought an action before the Israeli High Court of Justice seeking to obtain authorization for his wife to enter the OPT or for him to visit her in Jordan. This has not yet been heard. However, in response to the action, Israel’s State Prosecutor allowed him to meet his wife and daughters on the Allenby Bridge that spans the Jordan river which forms the border between Israel and Jordan, but for just three hours. His elder daughter, Nur, who is a Palestinian ID-holder, was later allowed to join him temporarily inside the
West Bank, but his younger daughter, Talin, who has no ID, and her mother are still refused entry to the OPT.

Many others who have been barred from living in the OPT are spouses from regions such as eastern Europe, from where advance visas are required by the Israeli authorities to enter the OPT.

S, a Palestinian from Ramallah in the West Bank, met his Bulgarian wife M when he was a university student in Bulgaria. The couple were married in Bulgaria in 1992 and their first child was born there. In 1998 they moved to Ramallah, where their second child was born.

M entered Israel and the OPT on a visitor’s visa and the family immediately applied for family unification. M’s visa expired after six months and the couple waited for the result of their family unification application. In September 2000, they were informed that the application had been approved in principle and that M would receive her papers by the end of the year.

Later that month the intifada broke out and application procedures for family unification were suspended. M told Amnesty International:

“I am constantly afraid of being arrested and deported and separated from my husband and children and so I am totally unable to move. In 2002, in one of the incursions by the Israeli army, the soldiers came into our home and when they saw that I have no valid permit they took me outside and told me that I would be deported; they kept me outside for two hours; it was the worst experience of my life; the idea that I would be separated from my husband and children and not be allowed to return to live with them terrified me.

“Every year my husband takes our children to visit my mother and my family in Bulgaria but I cannot go because I would not be allowed back to Ramallah. I have not seen my mother since I left Bulgaria…What can we do? The only option would be for me, my husband and the children to leave and go to Bulgaria. But we have worked hard here to make our life, my husband is working and we want to live here. We should not be forced to leave and for my husband and our children to lose the right of coming back to live in their home country.”

Additional restrictions

Until 2006, foreign spouses from countries such as the USA and most European states were usually able to be with their spouses in the OPT by leaving and re-entering the country on a visitor’s visa. People from these countries, unlike those from eastern Europe, did not require advance visas to enter Israel and the OPT.

However, after Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian elections in 2006, the Israeli authorities extended the restrictions on entry to the OPT to these foreign spouses. Relatives of OPT residents were also denied entry.

It is not only families who are affected by this policy. The extended restrictions often prevent re-entry of foreign nationals who are working in education or economic development. Such people are helping to improve conditions in the OPT, where poverty is widespread and the Palestinian inhabitants have been exposed to a growing humanitarian crisis.

Since January 2007, as a result of protests against the policy, the Israeli Civil Administration has allowed around 200 short extensions of visas to those who were previously refused. However, most of those who have been denied entry continue to be denied entry.
Riad Sharma, a 50-year-old US national married to a Palestinian ID-holder living in Ramallah, has already suffered the pain of a long forced separation from his family and faces future separation. He has acute diabetes and needs regular medical attention in the USA. He also manages a business there. Over the past year, he has twice been stopped on arrival at Ben Gurion airport in Israel and required to return to the USA.
The first time, on 6 January 2006, he was told not to attempt to re-enter Israel and the OPT for at least a year. On 20 December 2006, after being separated from his wife and two daughters, also
Palestinian ID-holders, for almost a year, he was again denied entry. On 3 January 2007, he tried to enter the OPT via Jordan across the Allenby Bridge and was told again that he would not be permitted to enter. However, on this occasion he engaged a lawyer (at a cost of some US$9,400, including the lawyer’s fee, court fees and a deposit) and was then able to secure an entry visa for two weeks. Just before this expired, he obtained a 10-week extension through another lawyer, which is due to expire on 4 April. The legal fees in this new case amounted to US$6,000. Riad Sharma’s ability to be reunited with his family came at a high financial cost, a cost beyond the reach of most of those who also aspire to live together with their spouses and other family members in the OPT.

CONCLUSION

The policy of not allowing family unification for foreign spouses has no discernible link to security. The Israeli authorities have not claimed that foreign spouses who are now prevented from returning to the OPT are a security risk to Israelis. The restrictions do not target individuals but apply to spouses of Palestinians in general and, therefore, are wholly discriminatory. As such, they may constitute a form of collective punishment against Palestinians in the OPT; the imposition of collective punishment is a violation of international humanitarian law.

There has been a long-standing Israeli demographic policy to refuse or limit residency rights for Palestinians, whether in Israel, in occupied East Jerusalem, or in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The 2003 Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law bars Palestinians from the OPT from living with Israeli spouses in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem. In the OPT, the policy is implemented without reference to any law. This has caused some Palestinians with foreign spouses to decide to leave the OPT in order to enjoy their right to a normal family life. Such people are then considered non-residents by the Israeli authorities and denied the right to re-enter the OPT

Letting AP in on the Secret: Israeli Strip Searches are Torture

ICC starts analysis of Gaza war crimes allegations

Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

More Pictures from Another site.

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

Reading this might give you an idea of how far Zionist will go. The Holocaust Victims Accuse

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

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Published in: on February 6, 2009 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Act of Piracy, Kidnapping, Illegal Confinement, Theft, Assault and Battery, committed by Israel  
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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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Zimbabwe: Cholera Feeds Off a Perfect Storm

Harare:

All but one of Zimbabwe’s ten provinces have reported fatalities as a result of a cholera epidemic sweeping the country, according to the UN.

The rapid spread of the waterborne disease is attributed to a confluence of events that have created the perfect storm, in which a disease described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “easily treatable”, is thriving.

The collapse of municipal services, such as potable water, refuse collection and sanitation in the past few years, a health service hamstrung by an annual inflation rate that the government has estimated at 231 million percent, and the onset of the rainy season, have all conspired to officially kill about 300 people and infect thousands more.

The eastern province of Manicaland is so far the only place not to have recorded any official cholera deaths. “The cholera outbreak has taken a national dimension. Newer outbreaks are reported from all the provinces,” said a situational report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“The spatial distribution of outbreaks will most likely continue to expand, as well as the number of people infected as the water and sanitation [services] worsen, with severe water shortages, sewage and waste disposal problems reported in most densely populated areas. The starting of the rains further raises alarm levels,” the report said.

Warnings by the UN and other relief agencies that Zimbabwe was facing a humanitarian crisis, on top of acute food shortages – expected to peak in the first quarter of 2009, when nearly half the country’s 12 million population will require emergency food aid – were dismissed by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF government.

“The situation is under control,” Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti told an international news agency on 27 November, although the government was reportedly appealing to regional governments for body bags.

Efforts to contain the spread of the disease across international borders have failed, with victims seeking assistance from neighbouring countries, particularly the continent’s economic powerhouse, South Africa.

Neighbouring countries feel the effects

About 1,000 victims have received rehydration treatment at the South African border post of Beitbridge in recent weeks, according to local reports.

Barbara Hogan, South Africa’s health minister, told local media on 26 November that an emergency medical response team, including nurses, epidemiologists and medical supplies, had been sent to the Zimbabwe border.

“Given the scale of the outbreak, the weakened health system in Zimbabwe and the extent of the cross-border movement of people … all aspects or our interventions need to be scaled up, and a renewed sense of urgency [is required] to deal with this outbreak,” Hogan told a press briefing in Pretoria.

She dismissed claims by Zimbabwean authorities that the cholera situation was under control, as there was “no recognised government”.

Zambian authorities have put medical services in Southern Province, which borders Zimbabwe, on high alert, health ministry spokesman Canicius Banda told IRIN, although there have been no recorded incidents of cholera in the province.

“We are not leaving anything to chance. We are screening all Zimbabwean nationals crossing into Zambia and, should anyone be found with cholera, our health workers will treat them,” Banda said.

“We have health workers at all the three border posts [with Zimbabwe] … our health workers are very much alert in case of any possible [cholera] outbreak,” he said. “All the [10] districts in the province have epidemic preparedness committees which run all year round; these have also been put on alert.”

Zambia shares three border posts with its southern neighbour at Chirundu, Kariba and Kazungula, in the country’s tourism capital, Livingstone.

“We are also carrying out random inspections of all foodstuffs, such as meat at the market places, to ensure that the products sold are of high standards,” Banda said.

Since the onset of the rainy season, Zambia has recorded about 1,000 cholera cases in its northern regions and the capital, Lusaka; there have been nine confirmed fatalities.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), which advocates the right to care and protection from abuse, told media organisations on 26 November that the country’s cholera death toll was probably much greater as a consequence of the collapse of health services, because many hundreds of deaths were not recorded when people died in their homes.

One in ten fatality rate

ZADHR Chairman Dr Douglas Gwadziro said figures “are pointing towards a 10 percent death rate of those that have been affected by cholera”, although the waterborne intestinal infection causing acute diarrhoea and vomiting, which can cause death from dehydration within 24 hours, could be easily treated with dehydration salts.

Figures are pointing towards a 10 percent death rate of those that have been affected by cholera

According to the state-controlled daily newspaper, The Herald, China had pledged to supply US$500,000 worth of cholera vaccines “as soon as consultations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were complete.”

However, when the vaccines arrive, distribution and administration may be complicated by industrial action in the health services. Health workers have defied a government order to return to work, and said they would only comply with government demands in 2009 if concerns about their remuneration were addressed.

Nurses are demanding better salaries to cope with hyperinflation estimated by independent economists to be billions of percent annually, and exemption from the Z$500,000 (US$0.25) daily maximum cash withdrawal from banks because they are “essential” personnel.

The average one-way commuter fare in the capital, Harare, is about Z$1 million (US$0.50), if there is cash available.

Doctors working in the public health services are also refusing to return to work unless the government pegs their salary to a monthly equivalent of US$2,500.

Lovemore Matombo, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the country’s largest union federation, said the growing trend of government to sanction the use of foreign currency by retail outlets prejudiced both government employees and other workers, although less than 20 percent of people were employed in the formal economy.

“It does not make sense for the government to say traders can sell commodities in foreign currency, while it pays its workers in local currency which they cannot get from the bank,” Matombo told IRIN.

“Calls by workers that they should be paid in foreign currency are legitimate because almost all outlets are providing services using the US dollar denomination,” he said.

“If the government acknowledges that its currency is useless by allowing traders to sell in US dollars, why does it want the workers to receive the useless and worthless local currency?”

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

Source

Economic sanctions are a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”

In Zimbabwe Doctors and Nurses beaten by police during peaceful protest

Economic sanctions are a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”

As many of us well know , Zimbabwe is under Sanctions. By the US and EU among others as well.

This bit of information may give you a bit of enlightenment as to how Sanctions are used and most importantly are abused by those in charge.  This typical of what is done.  Everyone should be aware of how Sanctions really work and what is really happening.  Sanctions are just another “Weapon of Mass Destruction”.
By Joy Gordon

Economic sanctions as a weapon of mass destruction

In searching for evidence of the potential danger posed by Iraq, the Bush Administration need have looked no further than the well-kept record of U.S. manipulation of the sanctions program since 1991. If any international act in the last decade is sure to generate enduring bitterness toward the United States, it is the epidemic suffering needlessly visited on Iraqis via U.S. fiat inside the United Nations Security Council. Within that body, the United States has consistently thwarted Iraq from satisfying its most basic humanitarian needs, using sanctions as nothing less than a deadly weapon, and, despite recent reforms, continuing to do so. Invoking security concerns—including those not corroborated by U.N. weapons inspectors—U.S. policymakers have effectively turned a program of international governance into a legitimized act of mass slaughter.

Since the U.N. adopted economic sanctions in 1945, in its charter, as a means of maintaining global order, it has used them fourteen times (twelve times since 1990). But only those sanctions imposed on Iraq have been comprehensive, meaning that virtually every aspect of the country’s imports and exports is controlled, which is particularly damaging to a country recovering from war. Since the program began, an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five have died as a result of the sanctions—almost three times as many as the number of Japanese killed during the U.S. atomic bomb attacks.

News of such Iraqi fatalities has been well documented (by the United Nations, among others), though underreported by the media. What has remained invisible, however, is any documentation of how and by whom such a death toll has been justified for so long. How was the danger of goods entering Iraq assessed, and how was it weighed, if at all, against the mounting collateral damage? As an academic who studies the ethics of international relations, I was curious. It was easy to discover that for the last ten years a vast number of lengthy holds had been placed on billions of dollars’ worth of what seemed unobjectionable—and very much needed—imports to Iraq. But I soon learned that all U.N. records that could answer my questions were kept from public scrutiny. This is not to say that the U.N. is lacking in public documents related to the Iraq program. What is unavailable are the documents that show how the U.S. policy agenda has determined the outcome of humanitarian and security judgments.

The operation of Iraq sanctions involves numerous agencies within the United Nations. The Security Council’s 661 Committee is generally responsible for both enforcing the sanctions and granting humanitarian exemptions. The Office of Iraq Programme (OIP), within the U.N. Secretariat, operates the Oil for Food Programme. Humanitarian agencies such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization work in Iraq to monitor and improve the population’s welfare, periodically reporting their findings to the 661 Committee. These agencies have been careful not to publicly discuss their ongoing frustration with the manner in which the program is operated.

Over the last three years, through research and interviews with diplomats, U.N. staff, scholars, and journalists, I have acquired many of the key confidential U.N. documents concerning the administration of Iraq sanctions. I obtained these documents on the condition that my sources remain anonymous. What they show is that the United States has fought aggressively throughout the last decade to purposefully minimize the humanitarian goods that enter the country. And it has done so in the face of enormous human suffering, including massive increases in child mortality and widespread epidemics. It has sometimes given a reason for its refusal to approve humanitarian goods, sometimes given no reason at all, and sometimes changed its reason three or four times, in each instance causing a delay of months. Since August 1991 the United States has blocked most purchases of materials necessary for Iraq to generate electricity, as well as equipment for radio, telephone, and other communications. Often restrictions have hinged on the withholding of a single essential element, rendering many approved items useless. For example, Iraq was allowed to purchase a sewage-treatment plant but was blocked from buying the generator necessary to run it; this in a country that has been pouring 300,000 tons of raw sewage daily into its rivers.


Saddam Hussein’s government is well known for its human-rights abuses against the Kurds and Shi’ites, and for its invasion of Kuwait. What is less well known is that this same government had also invested heavily in health, education, and social programs for two decades prior to the Persian Gulf War. While the treatment of ethnic minorities and political enemies has been abominable under Hussein, it is also the case that the well-being of the society at large improved dramatically. The social programs and economic development continued, and expanded, even during Iraq’s grueling and costly war with Iran from 1980 to 1988, a war that Saddam Hussein might not have survived without substantial U.S. backing. Before the Persian Gulf War, Iraq was a rapidly developing country, with free education, ample electricity, modernized agriculture, and a robust middle class. According to the World Health Organization, 93 percent of the population had access to health care.

The devastation of the Gulf War and the sanctions that preceded and sustained such devastation changed all that. Often forgotten is the fact that sanctions were imposed before the war-in August of 1990-in direct response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. After the liberation of Kuwait, sanctions were maintained, their focus shifted to disarmament. In 1991, a few months after the end of the war, the U.N. secretary general’s envoy reported that Iraq was facing a crisis in the areas of food, water, sanitation, and health, as well as elsewhere in its entire infrastructure, and predicted an “imminent catastrophe, which could include epidemics and famine, if massive life-supporting needs are not rapidly met.” U.S. intelligence assessments took the same view. A Defense Department evaluation noted that “Degraded medical conditions in Iraq are primarily attributable to the breakdown of public services (water purification and distribution, preventive medicine, water disposal, health-care services, electricity, and transportation). . . . Hospital care is degraded by lack of running water and electricity.”

According to Pentagon officials, that was the intention. In a June 23, 1991, Washington Post article, Pentagon officials stated that Iraq’s electrical grid had been targeted by bombing strikes in order to undermine the civilian economy. “People say, ‘You didn’t recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage,’” said one planning officer at the Pentagon. “Well, what were we trying to do with sanctions-help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of the sanctions.”

Iraq cannot legally export or import any goods, including oil, outside the U.N. sanctions system. The Oil for Food Programme, intended as a limited and temporary emergency measure, was first offered to Iraq in 1991, and was rejected. It was finally put into place in 1996. Under the programme, Iraq was permitted to sell a limited amount of oil (until 1999, when the limits were removed), and is allowed to use almost 60 percent of the proceeds to buy humanitarian goods. Since the programme began, Iraq has earned approximately $57 billion in oil revenues, of which it has spent about $23 billion on goods that actually arrived. This comes to about $170 per year per person, which is less than one half the annual per capita income of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Iraqi diplomats noted last year that this is well below what the U.N. spends on food for dogs used in Iraqi de-mining operations (about $400 per dog per year on imported food, according to the U.N.).

The severe limits on funds created a permanent humanitarian crisis, but the situation has been worsened considerably by chronic delays in approval for billions of dollars’ worth of goods. As of last July more than $5 billion in goods was on hold.

The Office of Iraq Programme does not release information on which countries are blocking contracts, nor does any other body. Access to the minutes of the Security Council’s 661 Committee is “restricted.” The committee operates by consensus, effectively giving every member veto power. Although support for the sanctions has eroded considerably, the sanctions are maintained by “reverse veto” in the Security Council. Because the sanctions did not have an expiration date built in, ending them would require another resolution by the council. The United States (and Britain) would be in a position to veto any such resolution even though the sanctions on Iraq have been openly opposed by three permanent members—France, Russia, and China—for many years, and by many of the elected members as well. The sanctions, in effect, cannot be lifted until the United States agrees.

Nearly everything for Iraq’s entire infrastructure—electricity, roads, telephones, water treatment—as well as much of the equipment and supplies related to food and medicine has been subject to Security Council review. In practice, this has meant that the United States and Britain subjected hundreds of contracts to elaborate scrutiny, without the involvement of any other country on the council; and after that scrutiny, the United States, only occasionally seconded by Britain, consistently blocked or delayed hundreds of humanitarian contracts.

In response to U.S. demands, the U.N. worked with suppliers to provide the United States with detailed information about the goods and how they would be used, and repeatedly expanded its monitoring system, tracking each item from contracting through delivery and installation, ensuring that the imports are used for legitimate civilian purposes. Despite all these measures, U.S. holds actually increased. In September 2001 nearly one third of water and sanitation and one quarter of electricity and educational—supply contracts were on hold. Between the springs of 2000 and 2002, for example, holds on humanitarian goods tripled.

Among the goods that the United States blocked last winter: dialysis, dental, and fire—fighting equipment, water tankers, milk and yogurt production equipment, printing equipment for schools. The United States even blocked a contract for agricultural—bagging equipment, insisting that the U.N. first obtain documentation to “confirm that the ‘manual’ placement of bags around filling spouts is indeed a person placing the bag on the spout.”

Although most contracts for food in the last few years bypassed the Security Council altogether, political interference with related contracts still occurred. In a March 20, 2000, 661 Committee meeting—after considerable debate and numerous U.S. and U.K. objections—a UNICEF official, Anupama Rao Singh, made a presentation on the deplorable humanitarian situation in Iraq. Her report included the following: 25 percent of children in south and central governorates suffered from chronic malnutrition, which was often irreversible, 9 percent from acute malnutrition, and child—mortality rates had more than doubled since the imposition of sanctions.

A couple of months later, a Syrian company asked the committee to approve a contract to mill flour for Iraq. Whereas Iraq ordinarily purchased food directly, in this case it was growing wheat but did not have adequate facilities to produce flour. The Russian delegate argued that, in light of the report the committee had received from the UNICEF official, and the fact that flour was an essential element of the Iraqi diet, the committee had no choice but to approve the request on humanitarian grounds. The delegate from China agreed, as did those from France and Argentina. But the U.S. representative, Eugene Young, argued that “there should be no hurry” to move on this request: the flour requirement under Security Council Resolution 986 had been met, he said; the number of holds on contracts for milling equipment was “relatively low”; and the committee should wait for the results of a study being conducted by the World Food Programme first. Ironically, he also argued against the flour—milling contract on the grounds that “the focus should be on capacity—building within the country”—even though that represented a stark reversal of U.S. policy, which consistently opposed any form of economic development within Iraq. The British delegate stalled as well, saying that he would need to see “how the request would fit into the Iraqi food programme,” and that there were still questions about transport and insurance. In the end, despite the extreme malnutrition of which the committee was aware, the U.S. delegate insisted it would be “premature” to grant the request for flour production, and the U.K. representative joined him, blocking the project from going forward.

Many members of the Security Council have been sharply critical of these practices. In an April 20, 2000, meeting of the 661 Committee, one member after another challenged the legitimacy of the U.S. decisions to impede the humanitarian contracts. The problem had reached “a critical point,” said the Russian delegate; the number of holds was “excessive,” said the Canadian representative; the Tunisian delegate expressed concern over the scale of the holds. The British and American delegates justified their position on the grounds that the items on hold were dual—use goods that should be monitored, and that they could not approve them without getting detailed technical information. But the French delegate challenged this explanation: there was an elaborate monitoring mechanism for telecommunications equipment, he pointed out, and the International Telecommunication Union had been involved in assessing projects. Yet, he said, there were holds on almost 90 percent of telecommunications contracts. Similarly, there was already an effective monitoring mechanism for oil equipment that had existed for some time; yet the holds on oil contracts remained high. Nor was it the case, he suggested, that providing prompt, detailed technical information was sufficient to get holds released: a French contract for the supply of ventilators for intensive—care units had been on hold for more than five months, despite his government’s prompt and detailed response to a request for additional technical information and the obvious humanitarian character of the goods.

Dual-use goods, of course, are the ostensible target of sanctions, since they are capable of contributing to Iraq’s military capabilities. But the problem remains that many of the tools necessary for a country simply to function could easily be considered dual use. Truck tires, respirator masks, bulldozers, and pipes have all been blocked or delayed at different times for this reason. Also under suspicion is much of the equipment needed to provide electricity, telephone service, transportation, and clean water.

Yet goods presenting genuine security concerns have been safely imported into Iraq for years and used for legitimate purposes. Chlorine, for example—vital for water purification, and feared as a possible source of the chlorine gas used in chemical weapons—is aggressively monitored, and deliveries have been regular. Every single canister is tracked from the time of contracting through arrival, installation, and disposal of the empty canister. With many other goods, however, U.S. claims of concern over weapons of mass destruction are a good deal shakier.

Last year the United States blocked contracts for water tankers, on the grounds that they might be used to haul chemical weapons instead. Yet the arms experts at UNMOVIC had no objection to them: water tankers with that particular type of lining, they maintained, were not on the “1051 list”—the list of goods that require notice to U.N. weapons inspectors. Still, the United States insisted on blocking the water tankers—this during a time when the major cause of child deaths was lack of access to clean drinking water, and when the country was in the midst of a drought. Thus, even though the United States justified blocking humanitarian goods out of concern over security and potential military use, it blocked contracts that the U.N.’s own agency charged with weapons inspections did not object to. And the quantities were large. As of September 2001, “1051 disagreements” involved nearly 200 humanitarian contracts. As of last March, there were $25 million worth of holds on contracts for hospital essentials—sterilizers, oxygen plants, spare parts for basic utilities—that, despite release by UNMOVIC, were still blocked by the United States on the claim of “dual use.”

Beyond its consistent blocking of dual-use goods, the United States found many ways to slow approval of contracts. Although it insisted on reviewing every contract carefully, for years it didn’t assign enough staff to do this without causing enormous delays. In April 2000 the United States informed the 661 Committee that it had just released $275 million in holds. This did not represent a policy change, the delegate said; rather, the United States had simply allocated more financial resources and personnel to the task of reviewing the contracts. Thus millions in humanitarian contracts had been delayed not because of security concerns but simply because of U.S. disinterest in spending the money necessary to review them. In other cases, after all U.S. objections to a delayed contract were addressed (a process that could take years), the United States simply changed its reason for the hold, and the review process began all over. After a half-million-dollar contract for medical equipment was blocked in February 2000, and the company spent two years responding to U.S. requests for information, the United States changed its reason for the hold, and the contract remained blocked. A tremendous number of other medical-equipment contracts suffered the same fate. As of September 2001, nearly a billion dollars’ worth of medical-equipment contracts—for which all the information sought had been provided—was still on hold.


Among the many deprivations Iraq has experienced, none is so closely correlated with deaths as its damaged water system. Prior to 1990, 95 percent of urban households in Iraq had access to potable water, as did three quarters of rural households. Soon after the Persian Gulf War, there were widespread outbreaks of cholera and typhoid—diseases that had been largely eradicated in Iraq—as well as massive increases in child and infant dysentery, and skyrocketing child and infant mortality rates. By 1996 all sewage-treatment plants had broken down. As the state’s economy collapsed, salaries to state employees stopped, or were paid in Iraqi currency rendered nearly worthless by inflation. Between 1990 and 1996 more than half of the employees involved in water and sanitation left their jobs. By 2001, after five years of the Oil for Food Programme’s operating at full capacity, the situation had actually worsened.

In the late 1980s the mortality rate for Iraqi children under five years old was about fifty per thousand. By 1994 it had nearly doubled, to just under ninety. By 1999 it had increased again, this time to nearly 130; that is, 13 percent of all Iraqi children were dead before their fifth birthday. For the most part, they die as a direct or indirect result of contaminated water.

The United States anticipated the collapse of the Iraqi water system early on. In January 1991, shortly before the Persian Gulf War began and six months into the sanctions, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency projected that, under the embargo, Iraq’s ability to provide clean drinking water would collapse within six months. Chemicals for water treatment, the agency noted, “are depleted or nearing depletion,” chlorine supplies were “critically low,” the main chlorine-production plants had been shut down, and industries such as pharmaceuticals and food processing were already becoming incapacitated. “Unless the water is purified with chlorine,” the agency concluded, “epidemics of such diseases as cholera, hepatitis, and typhoid could occur.”

All of this indeed came to pass. And got worse. Yet U.S. policy on water-supply contracts remained as aggressive as ever. For every such contract unblocked in August 2001, for example, three new ones were put on hold. A 2001 UNICEF report to the Security Council found that access to potable water for the Iraqi population had not improved much under the Oil for Food Programme, and specifically cited the half a billion dollars of water- and sanitation-supply contracts then blocked—one third of all submitted. UNICEF reported that up to 40 percent of the purified water run through pipes is contaminated or lost through leakage. Yet the United States blocked or delayed contracts for water pipes, and for the bulldozers and earth-moving equipment necessary to install them. And despite approving the dangerous dual-use chlorine, the United States blocked the safety equipment necessary to handle the substance—not only for Iraqis but for U.N. employees charged with chlorine monitoring there.


It is no accident that the operation of the 661 Committee is so obscured. Behind closed doors, ensconced in a U.N. bureaucracy few citizens could parse, American policymakers are in a good position to avoid criticism of their practices; but they are also, rightly, fearful of public scrutiny, as a fracas over a block on medical supplies last year illustrates.

In early 2001, the United States had placed holds on $280 million in medical supplies, including vaccines to treat infant hepatitis, tetanus, and diphtheria, as well as incubators and cardiac equipment. The rationale was that the vaccines contained live cultures, albeit highly weakened ones. The Iraqi government, it was argued, could conceivably extract these, and eventually grow a virulent fatal strain, then develop a missile or other delivery system that could effectively disseminate it. UNICEF and U.N. health agencies, along with other Security Council members, objected strenuously. European biological-weapons experts maintained that such a feat was in fact flatly impossible. At the same time, with massive epidemics ravaging the country, and skyrocketing child mortality, it was quite certain that preventing child vaccines from entering Iraq would result in large numbers of child and infant deaths. Despite pressure behind the scenes from the U.N. and from members of the Security Council, the United States refused to budge. But in March 2001, when the Washington Post and Reuters reported on the holds—and their impact—the United States abruptly announced it was lifting them.

A few months later, the United States began aggressively and publicly pushing a proposal for “smart sanctions,” sometimes known as “targeted sanctions.” The idea behind smart sanctions is to “contour” sanctions so that they affect the military and the political leadership instead of the citizenry. Basic civilian necessities, the State Department claimed, would be handled by the U.N. Secretariat, bypassing the Security Council. Critics pointed out that in fact the proposal would change very little since everything related to infrastructure was routinely classified as dual use, and so would be subject again to the same kinds of interference. What the “smart sanctions” would accomplish was to mask the U.S. role. Under the new proposal, all the categories of goods the United States ordinarily challenged would instead be placed in a category that was, in effect, automatically placed on hold. But this would now be in the name of the Security Council—even though there was little interest on the part of any of its other members (besides Britain) for maintaining sanctions, and even less interest in blocking humanitarian goods.

After the embarrassing media coverage of the child-vaccine debacle, the State Department was eager to see the new system in place, and to see that none of the other permanent members of the Security Council—Russia, Britain, China, and France—vetoed the proposal. In the face of this new political agenda, U.S. security concerns suddenly disappeared. In early June of last year, when the “smart sanctions” proposal was under negotiation, the United States announced that it would lift holds on $800 million of contracts, of which $200 million involved business with key Security Council members. A few weeks later, the United States lifted holds on $80 million of Chinese contracts with Iraq, including some for radio equipment and other goods that had been blocked because of dual-use concerns.

In the end, China and France agreed to support the U.S. proposal. But Russia did not, and immediately after Russia vetoed it, the United States placed holds on nearly every contract that Iraq had with Russian companies. Then last November, the United States began lobbying again for a smart-sanctions proposal, now called the Goods Review List (GRL). The proposal passed the Security Council in May 2002, this time with Russia’s support. In what one diplomat, anonymously quoted in the Financial Times of April 3, 2002, called “the boldest move yet by the U.S. to use the holds to buy political agreement,” the Goods Review List had the effect of lifting $740 million of U.S. holds on Russian contracts with Iraq, even though the State Department had earlier insisted that those same holds were necessary to prevent any military imports.

Under the new system, UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency make the initial determination about whether an item appears on the GRL, which includes only those materials questionable enough to be passed on to the Security Council. The list is precise and public, but huge. Cobbled together from existing U.N. and other international lists and precedents, the GRL has been virtually customized to accommodate the imaginative breadth of U.S. policymakers’ security concerns. Yet when U.N. weapons experts began reviewing the $5 billion worth of existing holds last July, they found that very few of them were for goods that ended up on the GRL or warranted the security concern that the United States had originally claimed. As a result, hundreds of holds have been lifted in the last few months.

This mass release of old holds—expected to have been completed in October—should have made a difference in Iraq. But U.S. and British maneuvers on the council last year makes genuine relief unlikely. In December 2000, the Security Council passed a resolution allowing Iraq to spend 600 million euros (about $600 million) from its oil sales on maintenance of its oil-production capabilities. Without this, Iraq would still have to pay for these services, but with no legal avenue to raise the funds. The United States, unable in the end to agree with Iraq on how the funds would be managed, blocked the measure’s implementation. In the spring of 2001, the United States accused Iraq of imposing illegal surcharges on the middlemen who sell to refiners. To counter this, the United States and Britain devised a system that had the effect of undermining Iraq’s basic capacity to sell oil: “retroactive pricing.” Taking advantage of the fact that the 661 Committee sets the price Iraq receives from each oil buyer, the United States and Britain began to systematically withhold their votes on each price until the relevant buying period had passed. The idea was that then the alleged surcharge could be subtracted from the price after the sale had occurred, and that price would then be imposed on the buyer. The effect of this practice has been to torpedo the entire Oil for Food Programme. Obviously, few buyers would want to commit themselves to a purchase whose price they do not know until after they agree to it. As a result of this system, Iraq’s oil income has dropped 40 percent since last year, and more than $2 billion in humanitarian contracts—all of them fully approved—are now stalled. Once again, invoking tenuous security claims, the United States has put in place a device that will systematically cause enormous human damage in Iraq.


Some would say that the lesson to be learned from September 11 is that we must be even more aggressive in protecting what we see as our security interests. But perhaps that’s the wrong lesson altogether. It is worth remembering that the worst destruction done on U.S. soil by foreign enemies was accomplished with little more than hatred, ingenuity, and box cutters. Perhaps what we should learn from our own reactions to September 11 is that the massive destruction of innocents is something that is unlikely to be either forgotten or forgiven. If this is so, then destroying Iraq, whether with sanctions or with bombs, is unlikely to bring the security we have gone to such lengths to preserve.

Source

The Cholera epidemic is just one of the problems of Sanctions. What happened in Iraq,  Afghanistan  and other countries that have been sanctioned is also happening in Zimbabwe.

Those behind the Sanctions, are in great part to blame.  They will let people die. They will deliberately withhold supplies needed for clean water, medical necessities and food. Their rational, of course is rather pathetic.

Those in charge don’t want anyone to know the truth. They don’t want anyone to know what they do and how they kill people.  They do however want natural resources among other things.

Some of the Minerals produced in Zimbabwe

Ammonia
Asbestos
Bentonite
Chromite
Cobalt
Copper
Feldspar
Ferrochromium
Gold
Graphite
Hydraulic Cement
Industrial Sand And Gravel (Silica)
Iron Ore
Lithium Minerals And Brine
Magnesite
Nickel
Perlite
Pig Iron
Platinum-Group Metals
Raw Steel
Silver
Vermiculite

Source

Today Zimbabwe received a bit more help.

ZIMBABWE

Byo receives 5 600 kgs of chlorine

November 28 2008
In the advent of high cholera alert in Bulawayo, the City Council has benefited from a consignment of 5 600 kilograms of chlorine donated by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and 600 litres of fuel from the Civil Protection Unit.

In the advent of high cholera alert in Bulawayo, the City Council has benefited from a consignment of 5 600 kilograms of chlorine donated by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and 600 litres of fuel from the Civil Protection Unit.

Due to the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the west the council, like other national institutions, is facing cash flow problems which are affecting service delivery.

As a result of the current financial crunch Bulawayo faces sewage reticulation challenges with a risk of a possible cholera outbreak.

Bulawayo is currently under water rationing due to the shortage of water chemicals and residents are concerned that this may worsen the cholera situation.

Commenting on the donation Governor and Resident Minister of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Ambassador Cain Mathema said government will continue to assist local authorites with resources to improve service delivery.

He said through ZINWA government is providing complementary resources to the local authority to contain a possible cholera outbreak.

Source

Help For Zimbabwe with Cholera Epidemic is on the Way

Published in: on November 28, 2008 at 11:45 pm  Comments Off on Economic sanctions are a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”  
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