Trafigura attempts to silence Norwegian Media/Trafigura charged in Norway

The Minton report:

Minton-rapporten

In the report an expert analyses the Probo Koala waste on behalf of Trafigura. The oil-trader has chosen not to disclose the content of the report to the public. The content of the report shows that the waste contained hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and a wide variety of toxic substances.

The expert writes that the waste in worst case can cause deaths. The analysis is done in September 2006, only a month after the Probo Koala delivered waste in the Ivory Coast, and a month before Trafigura sent the Probo Emu to Norway with identical waste.

Possible gas-chamber

Professor Emeritus in Chemistry, Jon Songstad is shocked by the Minton-report. –If this had exploded without burning, the whole village of Sløvåg could have turned into a gas-chamber.

After the tank-explosion in Western Norway in May 2007, people in the village became ill. They vomited, had severe headaches and chemically red sore throats.

Based on information from the Minton-report, Songstad is convinced that the fire in the tank saved the population. H2S burned in the fire, and prevented deadly concentrations of toxic fumes leaking out.

Sworn to silence

The British newspaper, The Guardian, has also obtained a copy of the Minton-report, but according to a High Court ruling have until today not been allowed to mention it, report on it or in any way disclose that they have the document.

Read the Court ruling here:

Kjennelse The Guardian

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation received the High Court ruling and information about The Guardians situation directly from Trafigura’s Norwegian lawyers. The information and the ruling was sent to us in an attempt to stop us from publishing this report on our web pages.

Communication with Trafigura

Trafigura has not been willing to comment on the content of the report. But on September 15th they sent us this e-mail:

« As mentioned in our e-mail of yesterday, Trafigura finds it improper to answer questions to the media as long as the criminal charges in Norway are still under investigation by Økokrim. However, certain of the additional questions and statements in your e-mail of this morning are biased and can not be left unchallenged. Trafigura is in process of producing a written statement as a response to the questions raised by NRK. We will forward this statement to you during the course of business tomorrow, and kindly ask that you refrain from publishing anything before having had the opportunity to carefully examine the response from Trafigura.
Your questions of today do also reveal the fact that you are in possession of a draft, preliminary expert opinion produced by Minton Treharne & Davies Ltd, and that you appear to be ready to disclose information from this report. Trafigura looks very serious upon this, as disclosing any information from this report would be a clear breach of confidentiality and privilege. The report is clearly privileged and confidential and was obtained unlawfully by whoever is responsible for it coming into your possession.

Please be aware that on Friday of last week, our clients sought and obtained an injunction in relation to this document and information contained in it against the Guardian newspaper and Persons Unknown, pending a further hearing. For your attention we have attached hereto a copy of the Court Order.

In the circumstances, we kindly ask you to confirm that NRK will not disclose or make reference to this expert report or its contents. We might add (although it is not directly relevant to your obligation not to publish a document which has been obtained unlawfully) that the document was, as we say, draft and it is clear from its text that it was produced generically without reference to the underlying evidence. We can also assure you that its generic conclusions have long since been wholly superseded by the analyses of the Probo Koala slops by independent experts.»

Trafigura charged in Norway

Oil-trader Trafigura is under police investigation in Norway, accused of illegal import of waste. The waste was brought to Norway on the Probo Emu in 2006, and is identical to the waste that Trafigura shipped to the Ivory Coast on the Probo Koala.

The Norwegian police have been investigating Trafigura for more than a year and a half, but so far nobody in the company has been willing to give statement or answer questions from the Norwegian police.

– We are surprised, and have the impression that Trafigura is not interested in assisting in the investigation, says Hans Tore Høviskeland, head of prosecution in Økokrim.

Source

Well I am glad Norway isn’t letting Trafigura dictate, what can or cannot be reported.

Petition/E-mail the UK Government in Protest of Gag orders on the Press

UK: Press Banned from Reporting on Parliament/Trafigura

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2008 in US and around the world

Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 10:37 pm  Comments Off on Trafigura attempts to silence Norwegian Media/Trafigura charged in Norway  
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How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster

By David Leigh

September 18 2009

• Trafigura offers payout to 31,000 victims of toxic dumping
• Secret email trail exposes truth behind £100m legal battle
Read the emails here

Waste-removal-experts-in--001

Waste removal experts clear hazardous material from a site in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in November 2006. Photograph: AP

The Guardian can reveal evidence today of a massive cover-up by the British oil trader Trafigura, in one of the worst pollution disasters in recent history.

Internal emails show that Trafigura, which yesterday suddenly announced an offer to pay compensation to 31,000 west African victims, was fully aware that its waste dumped in Ivory Coast was so toxic that it was banned in Europe.

Thousands of west Africans besieged local hospitals in 2006, and a number died, after the dumping of hundreds of tonnes of highly toxic oil waste around the country’s capital, Abidjan. Official local autopsy reports on 12 alleged victims appeared to show fatal levels of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulphide, one of the waste’s lethal byproducts.

Trafigura has been publicly insisting for three years that its waste was routine and harmless. It claims it was “absolutely not dangerous”.

David Leigh: ‘They claimed the injuries were all imaginary’Link to this audio

It has until now denied compensation claims, and its lawyers repeatedly threatened anyone worldwide who sought to contradict its version. It launched a libel case against BBC Newsnight, forced an alleged correction from the Times, demanded the Guardian delete articles, and yesterday tried to gag journalists in the Netherlands and Norway with legal threats.

But the dozens of damning internal Trafigura emails which have now come to light reveal how traders were told in advance that their planned chemical operation, a cheap and dirty process called “caustic washing”, generated such dangerous wastes that it was widely outlawed in the west.

The documents reveal that the London-based traders hoped to make profits of $7m a time by buying up what they called “bloody cheap” cargoes of sulphur-contaminated Mexican gasoline. They decided to try to process the fuel on board a tanker anchored offshore, creating toxic waste they called “slops”.

One trader wrote on 10 March 2006: “I don’t know how we dispose of the slops and I don’t imply we would dump them, but for sure, there must be some way to pay someone to take them.” The resulting black, stinking, slurry was eventually dumped around landfills in Abidjan, after Trafigura paid an unqualified local man to take it away in tanker trucks at a cheap rate.

Trafigura’s libel lawyers, Carter-Ruck, recently demanded the Guardian deleted published articles, saying it was “gravely defamatory” and “untrue” to say Trafigura’s waste had been dumped cheaply and could have caused deaths and serious injuries. The Dutch paper Volkskrant and Norwegian TV said they were yesterday also threatened with gagging actions Trafigura also launched a libel action against the BBC’s Newsnight, complaining it had been wrongly accused of causing deaths, disfigurement and miscarriages, and had “suffered serious damage to their reputation”. The BBC filed a fighting defence this week, accusing Trafigura of knowing its chemicals were “highly toxic, potentially lethal and posed a serious risk to public health”. The broadcaster also alleged a cover-up, saying Trafigura’s denials “lack credibility and candour”.

The UN human rights special rapporteur, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, criticised Trafigura for potentially “stifling independent reporting and public criticism” in a report the oil trader tried and failed to prevent being published in Geneva this week.

He wrote: “According to official estimates, there were 15 deaths, 69 persons hospitalised and more than 108,000 medical consultations … there seems to be strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping.”

Trafigura’s lobbyists, Bell Pottinger, claimed to be “appalled” by the report, saying it was “premature”, “inaccurate”, “potentially damaging”, “poorly researched”, and “deeply flawed”.

Yesterday Greenpeace launched a legal action in Amsterdam calling for the oil firm to be prosecuted there for homicide or grievous bodily harm. It said: “This intentional pollution … has caused many people to suffer serious injuries and has even led to death.”

Trafigura said it “utterly rejected” claims of a cover-up. “Every statement that has been made … has been made in good faith”. The firm said the autopsy reports were unreliable and that hydrogen sulphide in the waste was only there in “potential” form. It had never actually been released. It said the emails contained “crude and distasteful” language, but had been taken “out of context” and should “not be taken literally”.

It repeated denials that the slops could have caused death or serious injury, and were highly toxic. It denied lying about the composition of the slops.

A sudden public announcement about the settlement offer in the compensation case followed legal attempts yesterday to prevent publication of Trafigura documents. The compensation deal is likely to be confirmed imminently, according to Martyn Day, a senior partner at the British law firm Leigh Day, which has brought one of the biggest group actions in legal history, seeking damages of £100m.

He said today in Abidjan, where he has been negotiating the settlement: “The claimants are very pleased.”

Trafigura said the deal – for an undisclosed amount – was likely to be acceptable to most if not all of the claimants. It was based on an acceptance that the company had no liability for the most serious deaths and injuries alleged in the dumping scandal. Trafigura says it is the world’s third-biggest private oil trader, and declared a $440m profit last year. Its 200 traders are reported to receive annual bonuses of up to $1m each.

Source

Trafigura should be charged with murder. Man slaughter and a few other assorted things. Blackmail may even be a potential case.

Someone or a few should be doing jail time. This was a deliberate act on their part. This was no accident.

They shouldn’t be dumping their toxic slop.

Trafigura is behaving like a temper, tantrum, throwing, brat, that got caught doing something horrible. I suppose they think they are above the law.

The reporters were just doing their job.  Digging up dirt.

That is their job. Seeking the truth.

Call for murder charges to be brought over Trafigura’s toxic dumping


Norway provides aid to Gaza

By Luna Finnsson

January 8 2009

Norway’s government has voted to send NOK 30 million worth of humanitarian relief to Gaza in the wake of Israeli attacks on the region. Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere stated: “We are extremely concerned about the precarious humanitarian situation in Gaza.” He added that it is essential to guarantee the aid actually reaches those in Gaza who need it.

The Norway Post reports that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently allocating funds to a number of humanitarian organisations that work to provide emergency medical help to injured residents of the Gaza Strip. “We presume that Israel will provide the necessary access for humanitarian aid. There is an acute need for medical and surgical equipment at the hospitals in Gaza. We join in a broad international appeal to Israel to help to ensure that humanitarian relief supplies reach those in need,” Stoere said in a public statement.

Priority is being given to those aid groups who can ensure the aid will get directly to the victims who need it. Most of the funds are being sent through the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Red Cross (ICRC) and the Norwegian Aid Committee (NORWAC), and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA).
Source

This is a very small of amount of what has been happening in Gaza,
A very small amount of history as well. There so many things most do not realize about Gaza, but the Palestinians are not the bad guys. They have been symptomatically, killed, displaced and robbed of their land for years.

Gaza Reports from: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Reports from: “Save the Children Canada” Charity in Gaza

US Senate Endorses Israel’s War on Gaza

Jewish Voices Against the Israeli Attacks

Gaza War Why?: Natural Gas valued at over $4 billion MAYBE?

War in Gaza: Israel accused of killing 30 after shelling safe house

Israel killing their own by Using Deadly Weapons of Mass Destuction again Gaza

Israel kills UN driver causing halt to UN Relief Aid in Gaza

Red Cross slams Israel over 4 day wait to access  wounded

The making of Israel’s Apartheid in Palestine

Bombs rain down in Gaza as peace deal accepted ‘in principle’

Egypt floats truce plan after 42 killed in Gaza School and Bars Doctors from Gaza

Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family

There are 5 pages of pictures all the links to them are in Gaza (1)

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus Shells/Targets UN School

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

An Open Letter From Jewish Youth in Canada – Support of Gaza

Foreign Press still banned from Gaza/Israel attacks Media Building in Gaza City

Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances

War on Gaza – Timeline: June 19 2008 to January 3 2009

Gaza: Al-Wafa Hospital received warning they would be shelled

Israel pounds Gaza strip, vows to continue attacks

Will the global economic crisis save or kill NAFTA?

Israeli tanks, soldiers invade Gaza Strip

Lucky few leave Gaza, Israel planned attacks six months ago

If Hamas Did Not Exist

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

There have been a number of Protests around the world as there are this weekend as well. I will add the ones from this weekend when they are posted.

Links about   World wide protests in support of about Gaza are in the January Index

January 2009 Index


Published in: on January 11, 2009 at 7:31 am  Comments Off on Norway provides aid to Gaza  
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IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia

By Nina Kolyako, BC, Riga,
December 24 2008

Yesterday evening, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) board confirmed an international loan to Latvia.

Latvia will receive EUR 7.5 billion (LVL 5.27 billion) worth of financial support, writes LETA.

The European Union plans to allocate a medium-term loan to Latvia worth up to EUR 3.1 billion (LVL 2.18 billion).

Also participating in issuing Latvia the loan is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – EUR 1.7 billion (LVL 1.19 billion), Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway – EUR 1.8 billion (LVL 1.27 billion), and the World Bank – EUR 0.4 billion (LVL 0.28 billion).

The European Reconstruction and Development Bank, the Czech Republic, Poland and Estonia will allocate Latvia another EUR 0.5 billion (LVL 0.35 billion), which is a total of EUR 7.5 billion (LVL 5.27 billion).

The loan will be issued to Latvia gradually over the next three years.

Source

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 4:38 am  Comments Off on IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia  
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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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Iceland Crisis Sends Viking Descendants Back to Norway for Jobs

By Meera Bhatia and Helga Kristin Einarsdottir

December 2 2008

Almost 1,200 years after Viking chief Ingolfur Arnarson left Norway to found Reykjavik, the crisis engulfing Iceland is forcing his descendants home.

“There are no jobs here,” said Baldvin Kristjansson, an 18-year-old former container repairman from western Iceland, at a European job fair in Reykjavik. “I’m going to move away and go to Norway.”

The Atlantic island of 320,000, suffering from its worst financial crisis since gaining independence in 1944, faces the biggest exodus in a century. Iceland’s $7.5-billion economy may shrink about 10 percent next year, according to the International Monetary Fund, which is helping provide a $4.6 billion bailout package.

About half of Icelanders aged between 18 and 24 are considering leaving the country, Reykjavik-based newspaper Morgunbladid said, citing a survey of 1,117 people between Oct. 27 and Oct. 29.

“Tens of thousands” will depart, estimated Jesper Christensen, chief analyst at Danske Bank A/S, the biggest lender in neighboring Denmark.

Iceland’s biggest wave of emigration was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Then, 15,000 out of a total population of 70,000 left, joining a flow to North America from countries including Norway, Sweden and Ireland.

Foreign Debt

A hundred years later, Iceland’s economy is struggling after the nation’s banking system collapsed under the weight of its foreign debt last month.

Inflation surged to an 18-year high of 17.1 percent in November following a currency collapse that drove up prices. A protest against the government turned violent last week as police used pepper spray to battle activists in front of Reykjavik’s main police station.

Unemployment is forecast to rise to 7 percent by the end of January from a three-year high of 1.9 percent in October, the country’s Labor Directorate estimates.

“A lot of people are registering unemployed,” said Valdimar Olafsson at European Employment Services in Reykjavik. “It’s very hectic and Icelanders are asking for jobs, especially in Norway.”

Norse settlers arrived in Iceland around 874 on sail- powered wooden longships. The country came under Norwegian control in 1262 and then under Danish dominion in 1380. It gained autonomy 90 years ago yesterday and became fully independent from Denmark in 1944.

‘State of Coma’

The Danes and Norwegians, along with Germans and Poles, returned to pluck Icelandic talent at a job fair on Nov. 21 and 22. It drew 2,500 people.

Neither country has been fully spared from the effects of the global crunch. Denmark’s economy will shrink 0.5 percent next year, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation. Norwegian economic growth more than halved to 0.2 percent in the third quarter.

Both remain in much better shape than Iceland, though, and Norwegian and Danish companies are seeking skilled workers.

“Iceland is more or less in a state of coma,” said Sigrun Thormar, who runs a consulting business for Icelanders moving eastward. “There’ll be an increase in the number of Icelanders seeking work in Denmark.”

Danish unemployment is 1.6 percent. In Norway, the jobless rate rose to 1.8 percent last month from 1.7 percent the previous month. Norway’s Labor and Welfare Administration, or NAV, expects unemployment to stay below 3 percent over the next two years.

Swamped

Kristiansand-based Teknova, a research institution looking for scientists, and Billingstad-based Aibel AS, a provider of products and services to the oil and gas industry, are among Norwegian companies seeking Icelandic workers.

In total, NAV has 350 vacancies posted, according to Ragnhild Synstad, an adviser at NAV EURES who attended the job fair.

“I have been absolutely swamped with employers that are interested,” said Synstad. “The response was overwhelming. We heard some very sad stories about families who have lost everything.”

Stefan Gudjonsson, 37, who was let go from his job as an account manager at an information technology company, said he may have to leave his 6-year-old son behind for work elsewhere.

“I don’t like the look of things right now and also worry about what has yet to happen,” he said. “People are trying their best to be optimistic, but the prospects look anything but good.”

Source

Protest in “Iceland” ends in Violence

Published in: on December 3, 2008 at 8:54 am  Comments Off on Iceland Crisis Sends Viking Descendants Back to Norway for Jobs  
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European Union joins the lineup, staking claim to Arctic resources

November 20 2008

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union gave notice Thursday it is keen to have a share of the much sought after oil, gas, mineral and fish resources in the Arctic region as the polar ice cap melts.

The move is likely to irk other Arctic players, including Canada, Russia, Norway and the United States all of which have issued territorial claims in the polar region.

The European Commission said the 27-member bloc, which has three member states in the polar region – Denmark, Finland and Sweden – should get involved in the current rush in the Arctic, notably in offshore oil and gas exploitation.

Denmark controls the semiautonomous territory of Greenland.

The announcement was part of a first outline of priorities the EU is seeking in the Arctic, an area where the bloc is now planting its own flag of sorts as a key economic and security interest for Europe.

“The Arctic is a unique and vulnerable region located in the immediate vicinity of Europe,” said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner.

“Its evolution will have significant repercussions on the life of Europeans for generations to come.”

She added that the quickly changing Arctic posed new challenges and opportunities for EU states and as such the bloc needed to formulate a policy for the region.

Interest in the Arctic is intensifying because global warming is shrinking the polar ice and that could someday open up resource development and new shipping lanes.

Ferrero Waldner stressed however, that any EU moves in the region would not endanger the local environment or local native populations.

“The EU is ready … to keep the right balance between the priority goal of preserving the environment and the need for sustainable use of natural resources,” she said.

Ferrero-Waldner said recent U.S. surveys “estimate that up to 25 per cent of the planet’s undiscovered oil and gas could be located” in the region.

A share of that would help the EU bloc ease its heavy reliance on Russian oil and gas imports.

European involvement is sure to add weight to Arctic claims filed by Denmark.

Danish officials are gathering scientific evidence to show that the Lomonosov Ridge, a 2,000-kilometre underwater mountain range, is attached to Greenland, making it a geological extension of the island.

Canada and Denmark also both claim Hans Island, a 1.3-square-kilometre rock at the entrance to the Northwest Passage. The island is wedged between Canada’s Ellesmere Island and Danish-ruled Greenland, and has been a subject of bitter exchanges between the two NATO allies.

The new EU strategy, which will be debated by EU governments in coming months, foresees a stepped up role by EU officials in the eight-country Arctic Council as well as part of the United Nations’ Law of the Sea Convention which is trying to settle claims over the Arctic.

Ferrero-Waldner said that acting through these means, the EU as a whole will be able to have a greater say over the Arctic’s future.

Countries involved in the claims recommitted themselves last May to settle competing claims under the UN convention. A UN panel is supposed to decide on control of the Arctic by 2020.

However, Russia and Canada have already moved to flex their muscle over their claims by holding military exercises in the Arctic.

Russia last year sent two small submarines to plant a tiny national flag under the North Pole, while Ottawa has announced plans to build a new army training centre and a deep-water port in contested Arctic waters.

Source

All after oil, gas, mineral and fish .  At the expence of the enviroment I might add.

The masters of destruction.

BREAKING NEWS: Iceland IMF loan approved

November 20 2008

By Alex Elliot

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just confirmed that it will extend the requested USD 2.1 billion loan to Iceland, according to MBL.is.

In addition to this, the Finns, Swedes, Norwegians and Danes intend to lend Iceland some USD 2.5 billion. Reuters quoted a senior Finnish politician as saying that the Norwegians will provide USD 631 million of that sum; but it is not yet known how the rest will be split between Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

Earlier today, the Finnish business paper, Kauppalehti stated that in addition to the above loans, the Icelanders are also likely to receive a USD 500 million loan from Russia and funding from Poland, the Faroe Islands and the European Union.

IceNews will bring further details on the implications of this news as it comes to light over the next days.

Source

Iceland gets $2.1 billion loan from the IMF

By Robert Daniel

Nov. 20, 2008

The International Monetary Fund approved a two-year standby arrangement for Iceland, in which the country will receive a $2.1 billion loan, the agency said on Thursday.

Additional loans totaling as much as $3 billion have been secured from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden.

The Faroe Islands will also lend Iceland $50 million.

The IMF will provide $827 million of its loan immediately with the rest in eight installments of $155 million each. Iceland will repay the loan during 2012 through 2015, the agency said.

Source

Nice to see the other countires coming to the aid of Iceland.

Lets hope things improve.

Considering everything they have been through, they need their friends.

The people in Iceland are good people and desrve to be treated as such.

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on BREAKING NEWS: Iceland IMF loan approved  
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Iceland Abandoned

By HANNES H. GISSURARSON

November 17 2008

Brown’s actions helped to worsen the island’s financial crisis.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland

As recently as last year, Iceland was considered an economic success story. After 16 years of free-market reforms, it was one of the world’s 10 richest and freest countries. Efficiently managing its fish stocks — elsewhere operated with huge losses — it also enjoyed a strong pension system. Massive tax cuts had led to strong economic growth and rising tax revenues. At the same time, extensive privatization generated about $2 billion for the state, allowing it to pay off most of its debt. The newly privatized banks were flourishing. Income distribution was relatively even, and the poverty level one of the lowest in Europe. Like other Nordic countries, Iceland was a stable democracy under the rule of law.

Then, in the first week of October 2008, all went wrong. The three main Icelandic banks collapsed and the government took over their domestic branches. It is still unclear what will happen to their foreign operations. The local currency, the krona, went into free fall. Foreign trade came to a standstill, as it became almost impossible to transfer money to and from the country.

Why did the international financial crisis hit Iceland so hard? A plausible answer is that Iceland’s banks were oversized: With assets worth more than 10 times the country’s GDP, the Icelandic Central Bank simply could not act as their only lender of last resort. In hindsight, Iceland’s Financial Supervisory Authority should perhaps have demanded much earlier that financial institutions significantly scale down their foreign operations.

While some Icelandic bankers may have behaved recklessly, there is another side to the story. In 1994, Iceland joined the European Economic Area, a free-trade zone that unites the 27 EU member states with Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. The idea was that any company based within the EEA could operate freely throughout the area, provided it followed the rules.

The Icelandic banks took this seriously and began operations in other European countries, working under EEA regulations. Efficient, aggressive and technologically advanced, they often offered better terms than their competitors, undoubtedly causing some resentment.

At the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, the Icelandic banks were quite solvent. They had almost no subprime loans. But there was a foreseeable liquidity problem. When the Icelandic Central Bank tried to obtain credit lines from other central banks in the EEA, it was refused almost everywhere. Suddenly, it did matter where the banks had their headquarters. Once the financial markets realized that there was no credible lender of last resort in the Icelandic financial system, a run on the banks became almost inevitable.

One or two of the Icelandic banks might have survived, though, if on Oct. 8 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had not used the country’s antiterrorist law to take over the assets and operations of two Icelandic banks in the U.K., Kaupthing and Landsbanki. The Icelandic Ministry of Finance and Central Bank even found themselves briefly on the list of terrorist organizations published on the Web site of the British Treasury, alongside al Qaeda and the Taliban.

These British measures significantly worsened Iceland’s financial crisis. The island’s banking system and foreign trade collapsed. Unsurprisingly, banks are reluctant to transfer money to and from “terrorists.”

Mr. Brown justified his draconian actions by saying that the Icelandic government was unwilling to honor its legal obligations to British depositors of Icelandic banks. There is no evidence for this charge. To the contrary, the Icelandic government repeatedly asserted that all legal obligations to depositors in the EEA area would be honored. These obligations are covered by the Icelandic Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund set up under EEA rules. The fund is an independent body, guaranteeing all deposits up to about €20,000. However, if the fund is unable to fully meet its obligations, then there is no requirement, under EEA rules, for the Icelandic government to step in.

Prime Minister Brown also talked darkly of last-minute bank transfers from England to Iceland. Whether that is true or false remains to be seen. But interestingly, the last-minute transfer of $8 billion from Lehman Brothers in England to America in September did not land the U.S. Treasury or the Federal Reserve on the British list of terrorist organizations.

Having helped to bring down two of the three Icelandic banks, Mr. Brown, using the position of London as a financial center and his country’s influence in the IMF and the European Union, demanded that the Icelandic government go far beyond what the Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund is obliged to do under EEA rules. The prime minister, fearing that the fund does not have sufficient means, insisted that the Icelandic government must guarantee foreign deposits in Icelandic banks. Late Sunday, Reykjavik succumbed to this pressure and agreed to reimburse European savers for up to about €20,000. This might put a debt of perhaps $10 billion on the shoulders of 310,000 people, close to 100% of the country’s GDP.

The central banks in the EEA that refused to come to the assistance of the Icelandic Central Bank probably did not anticipate the damage their inaction would cause even beyond Iceland’s shores. And Prime Minister Brown probably did not understand that bringing down the Icelandic banks would inflict much higher costs on British depositors than if he had stayed calm and participated in resolving the situation.

Little wonder that Icelanders these days feel rather abandoned by their European friends.

Mr. Gissurarson is a board member of Iceland’s central bank and a professor of political philosophy at the University of Iceland.

Source

Well Mr. GissurarsonI I have to agree with you. Seems Iceland was in the process of doing everything within their power to resolve the problem.  What Brown did certainly didn’t help matters any. The EU, Iceland and Canada all started falling together.

Icesave may have been a problem but it of course was  a Privately owned bank. Iceland itself at the time was not in control of it. The owner however was.

Brown punishing a country because of a privately owned bank, was over stepping his bounds for sure.

The Government in Iceland was working to remedy the problem. Brown was in my opinion in to much of a hurry.

Iceland certainly is not a terrorist country and should not have been treated as such.

From October -There is more in my November Index as well.

New State-Run Glitnir Bank Established

Iceland’s Kaupthing Prepares Lawsuit against Britain

Iceland Registers Complaint about Britain to NATO

Government set on collision course with Iceland over Landsbanki assets

Iceland ‘working day and night’

Salaries hit by Icelandic bank Collapse

Fear on streets of Reykjavik as country can only go to IMF for financial bailout

UK Government ‘ignored Iceland warning’/ Charities may lose

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned Iceland’

Iceland government seizes control of Landsbanki

Icelands, Icesave freezes deposits and withdrawals

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

Icelanders Take to Streets to Protest Government’s IMF Loan Failure

By Tasneem Brogger and Helga Kristin Einarsdottir

November  14 2008

Icelanders will take to the streets in their thousands tomorrow to protest the government’s failure to clinch a $6 billion International Monetary Fund-led loan while countries in less dire economic straits jump the IMF queue.

Weekly protests in downtown Reykjavik may swell to 20,000 soon, or 6 percent of the population, said Andres Magnusson, chief executive of the Icelandic Federation of Trade and Services. The islanders are venting their anger on politicians as prices soar, the krona collapses and the economy goes into reverse.

“Enormous mistakes were made, but those who made them are still in the same place,” said Hildigunnur Runarsdottir, a music composer who has attended five protests since the country’s banking system collapsed last month. “They don’t seem to be doing anything at all about the situation.”

The Atlantic island, which had the fifth-highest per capita income in the world last year, needs the money to finance imports and revive the banking system. Central bank forecasts that the economy will contract 8.3 percent next year may prove optimistic if the loan isn’t approved soon, said Lars Christensen, chief analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen.

This “isn’t sustainable,” Christensen said. “You can’t starve the economy, and that’s what the government’s doing at the moment. Every day that passes makes the economic outlook worse.”

`Depressed’

Many retailers are relying on credit from their suppliers to keep their shops stocked.

“I have a long-standing relationship with suppliers, who have given me 30-60 days credit,” said Gudrun Steingrimsdottir, who runs a lingerie store in central Reykjavik. “If the situation persists another month, I don’t know what is going to happen.”

Trouble is, neither does anyone else.

“The main thing that is creating unrest is that the government doesn’t come forward and inform the public what is on the agenda,” Magnussen said. “Nobody can get any information.”

As the currency fell and imports shrank, the inflation rate reached an 18-year high of 15.9 percent in October. Delays in sealing a loan package mean the central bank can’t return the currency to free float. The bank now holds daily krona auctions, with the currency trading for 178 against the euro on Nov. 12, compared with about 90 kronur per euro at the start of the year. The traded volume at that auction was 13.8 million euros.

“What I notice is how depressed people have become,” said Steingrimsdottir. “We know nothing. People seem to have lost all hope.”

IMF Rescue

The IMF is withholding approval of its $2.1 billion loan until other lenders agree to fulfill their commitments to a wider bailout, Fund spokesman Bill Murray said on Nov. 11.

Norway has pledged 500 million euros ($635 million), the Faroe Islands 300 million kronor ($50 million) and Poland $200 million. That leaves Iceland well short of the $6 billion it says it needs.

Complicating talks are U.K. and Dutch demands that the government repay depositors at the Internet unit of Iceland’s collapsed Landsbanki Island hf. Those debts may amount to as much as 5.5 billion pounds ($8.2 billion), the size of Iceland’s economy, according to a report by Jon Danielsson, an economist at the London School of Economics.

“By comparison, the total amount of reparations payments demanded of Germany following World War I was around 85 percent of GDP,” Danielsson said.

Iceland’s government has accepted it will have to reach a negotiated solution to the dispute with the U.K. and the Netherlands to get the IMF loan, the newspaper Morgunbladid said yesterday, without saying where it got the information.

Envy

Icelanders are shooting envious glances at Eastern Europe where Hungary and Ukraine received loans from the IMF within two weeks of asking. Iceland has little to show for its efforts, six weeks after its banking system started to collapse.

“It’s worrying enough that they’re not getting the $6 billion they’re talking about, but the fact they’re not even getting the $2 billion is very worrying,” Christensen said. “It’s amazing that Ukraine is able to get a $16 billion loan, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and Iceland is not able to pull it off.”

Ukraine had its $16.4 billion loan from the IMF approved on Nov. 6. Hungary said on Nov. 11 it’s already drawn on the first 4.9 billion euro ($6.16 billion) tranche of its IMF-led 20 billion-euro loan.

While the IMF loans to Hungary and Ukraine make up less than 20 percent of those countries’ gross domestic products, Iceland needs loans worth more than its entire GDP to repay debts built up through five years of economic boom.

“We should have turned the music down when the party got out of hand,” Runarsdottir said.

Source

Bottom line, it all started in the US.

Iceland has be hit extremely hard and things don’t seem to be improving.

Protests against Crisis in Iceland Get out of Hand
November 10 2008

People ganged up on police during the latest in a series of protests outside Iceland’s Althingi parliament in central Reykjavík on Saturday. Police were having problems with keeping the situation under control and one man was arrested.

From the protests on Saturday, November 8. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

Demonstrators were demanding actions to improve the economic situation, Fréttabladid reports.

“There is nothing wrong with people protesting in a democratic society but one also has to differentiate between legal peaceful demonstrations and riots,” Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde told Morgunbladid. “A demonstration is in real danger of becoming a riot when the parliament building is pelted with stones.”

Among actions undertaken by protestors was raising the Bónus supermarket-chain flag (a pink piggybank on a yellow background), from the parliament building roof.

Haarde said his government was trying to inform the public on the status of the situation as quickly as possible—lack of information is one of the issues angering demonstrators—with regular press conferences, via the websites of the ministries and elsewhere.

“People who ask for information should be able to receive it,” Haarde stated.

Source

More on Protests

One problem leads to yet another.

Iceland Cuts Funds to Foreign Aid

Iceland’s Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir presented yesterday a strategy for limiting expenses at her ministry in light of the economic depression, including cutting funds to development assistance.

Well you do what you have to do.

By Alex Elliott
November 13 2008

Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, Icelandic Foreign Minister, says she is hopeful the negotiations currently underway in Brussels to work out a satisfactory settlement with the British and Dutch governments over Icesave compensation can be completed tonight or tomorrow, MBL.is reports.

Stod 2 television news reported this evening that the Icelandic delegation has adjourned the meeting until midnight, when their conclusions may be delivered. According to sources, the British government is reported to be demanding the equivalent of ISK 600 billion (USD 4.7 billion) to pay British Icesave customers up to the EUR 20,000 state guarantee. If an agreement is reached, it is thought Iceland will be free to take control of Landsbanki’s UK assets and sell them – generating crucial revenue. The burden on the Icelandic tax payer will likely be less than feared.

The Foreign Minister said in an interview with the Icelandic state broadcaster RÚV, that the government has received a very clear message on just how important it is to resolve the Icesave issue with the Dutch and British. It is important for the entire European economy. A lot is at stake if the issue is not successfully resolved very soon, she said.

Source

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 6:02 am  Comments Off on Icelanders Take to Streets to Protest Government’s IMF Loan Failure  
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Iceland awaits IMF decision on Monday


A decision on whether or not Iceland will receive its requested loan from the IMF has been delayed again for two days. The decision is now expected on Monday.

The Icelandic PM says he is entirely confident that the USD 2.1 billion loan will be granted, and that a wider 6 billion dollar rescue package will be agreed upon as a result.

The delay is blamed on IMF coordination with the Nordic countries. Some sources claim the IMF is waiting for the Nordic countries to commit money beforehand; while others claim the Nordic countries are waiting for the IMF’s confirmation before they pledge support.

PM Geir H. Haarde believes the weekend’s hurdles will be easy to conquer – although, if true, it could potentially become a frustrating situation.

Norway and the Faroe Islands have already pledged to lend Iceland money. The final rescue deal is expected to include cash from the IMF, the Nordic bloc, the UK, Netherlands and Poland. The participation of the USA, Russia and the European Central Bank has not yet been confirmed or denied.

The Prime Minister denies credible rumours that the delay is caused by IMF unease over Iceland’s ongoing negotiations with the Netherlands and the UK over frozen savings accounts.

Source

Published in: on November 8, 2008 at 3:23 am  Comments Off on Iceland awaits IMF decision on Monday  
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Iceland and Norway criticise UK Labour Party for Scotland jibes

November 4 2008

By Alex Elliott
Icelandic officials urged Labour ministers to stop using Iceland’s financial problems to “undermine the case for Scottish independence”, TimesOnline.co.uk reports.

Even top level politicians have got involved in the bitter slanging match. Cameron Buchanan, Iceland’s honorary consul to Scotland believes Labour has been cultivating the impression that Iceland’s banking crisis proves that small countries cannot manage their financial affairs. Buchanan calls such notions “objectionable”. Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde is said to be “incensed”.

“Politicians are using Iceland’s predicament for their own political ends rather than for the benefit of the Scottish and Icelandic people,” he said.

“The comments from UK ministers about Iceland being insolvent and bankrupt are unmerited and they are not helping the already frosty relations between the two countries.”

The issue centres on SNP leader Alex Salmond’s proud assertion over recent years that an independent Scotland could form part of an ‘Arc of Prosperity’ with other northern neighbours, especially Norway and Iceland.

Ministers, including Gordon Brown, have since lined up to ridicule Salmond’s comments. Scottish secretary, Jim Murphy described it as more like an “arc of insolvency”.

The Norwegian government is also said to be angry at the Labour Party’s apparent use of sensitive international matters to score points against domestic political opponents.

Source

Published in: on November 4, 2008 at 7:36 pm  Comments Off on Iceland and Norway criticise UK Labour Party for Scotland jibes  
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Unbowed Icelandic PM sends a strong message to UK

October 16 2008

Geir H. HaardeIn an emotional address to parliament today, Icelandic Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde summed up the tempestuous waves of misfortune that over the last weeks have shaken the nation’s financial foundations and threathened its sovereignty.

“It is at such times that the Icelandic nation will show what stuff it is made of – its fortitude and prudence in the face of these disasters inspires admiration everywhere. We may for a time be bloodied, but we are unbowed.”

Haarde went on to say that now that the worst of the storm was over, that the time to regain control over the raging economic situation and normalise the economy had arrived. Landsbanki and Glitnir have already begun operating in a changed form.

“…loan lines of up to 400 million euros were activated yesterday from the central banks of Denmark and Norway. We will strengthen the currency reserves considerably in addition to this and discussions are now in progress in Moscow on a possible currency loan,” said Geir. “Furthermore mentioning discussions with the IMF on the possible involvement of the Fund in the financial reconstruction work that lies ahead. All possibilities are being assessed without prejudice.”

The Prime Minister then reminded how the seriousness of Iceland’s situation has its roots in the financial upheavals across the world that have left no country unaffected and have brought larger economic entities to their knees.

“…dozens of banks around the world have had to throw in the towel and look to the state for assistance in their home countries. The problem which faced the Icelandic Government when this chain of events was unleashed was more serious than the problem facing other governments, because of how large the Icelandic banking system was in proportion to the economy. It was, therefore, clear that it was neither sensible nor feasible for the Icelandic state to shoulder the burdens of the entire banking system.”

In face of these facts Haarde stated that, “The Government decided to take another course with the long term interests of the Icelandic nation uppermost. The actions of the Icelandic authorities are among the most radical actions taken by a government in a banking crisis.”

Haarde then took this opportunity to thank the members of Althingi from all parties for working to ensure that the so-called emergency legislation was passed as quickly as it was.

He continued that the most important task was to retrieve as much value as possible from the operations of the banks in order to limit the damage caused by their collapse. “All of us, the administration, members of parliament, and others in leading positions must stand together in this task. In this work we will need to make use of the efforts of all those with experience and expertise in banking. We should not allow speculation about the causes of the fire to hinder the work of extinguishing it,” Haarde said.

Haarde then hit the topic of relations with UK. “…the way we were treated by the British Government last week had nothing to do with salvaging British interests and was absolutely unacceptable.”

“The British Government’s unprecedented actions against Kaupthing in the United Kingdom have led us to review our legal position vis-à-vis the British authorities. To that end, the Government of Iceland has appointed a British law firm, which is now working to prepare a case, and the Icelandic Government has also taken various measures to ensure that the British public is made aware of our point of view.”

“Despite the dispute that has arisen in relations between Iceland and the United Kingdom, both countries have emphasized resolving the issues connected to Landsbanki’s IceSave accounts. The same applies to IceSave accounts in the Netherlands.”

“No agreement has yet been concluded with the United Kingdom, but I am hopeful that an outcome will be achieved soon.”

“In the emergency legislation passed by the Althing last week, depositors’ claims were given priority during the receivership process. There are good prospects that Landsbanki’s assets in the Netherlands and Britain will go a long way toward covering the claims that savers in these countries have on the respective banks – which will in turn reduce the claim that falls on the Icelandic state. The Government has taken measures to ensure the value of the banks’ assets and in that way limit losses as far as possible.”

Haarde ended his speech by asking the nation to come together, learn from its mistakes and not to turn to anxiety.

“There are always opportunities in a difficult position. We have been forced onto the defensive in recent days, but with determined effort, we will slowly but surely regain the offensive.”

“The Icelandic nation has been confronted with great and difficult challenges in the past, and adversity has always fortified us and brought out the best in this nation. There are difficult times ahead, and they will put our solidarity to greater tests than ever before. But no one need be in any doubt that the people of Iceland will draw on their inherent strength and make their voice heard in the world once again.”

“In these difficult times it is essential to prevent fear and anxiety, which understandably effect people, from developing into confusion and panic.”

Source

Published in: on October 16, 2008 at 6:21 pm  Comments Off on Unbowed Icelandic PM sends a strong message to UK  
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