Mossad hit men targeted Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan

The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has failed in an attempt to assassinate Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Jordanian weekly says.

Informed sources in Turkey say that the Mossad plot has been foiled by the country’s security forces, al-Manar quoted a report in the most recent edition of the Al-Majd weekly as saying.

There are also reports that Israel has been trying to incite violence inside Turkey by lending support to the militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Earlier in June, Sedat Laciner, the head of the International Strategic Research Organization — a Turkish think tank — said Mossad agents and Israeli military retirees had been sighted providing training to PKK militants in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Laciner said Tel Aviv does not have a positive perception of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, which is led by Erdogan.

After an Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound flotilla that left nine Turkish citizens dead on May 31, Ankara drew up a roadmap to “completely” cut its ties with Israel.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul had earlier announced that a roadmap would be prepared on the issue of sanctions against Israel.

“The roadmap details a process through which Turkey will completely cut its ties with Israel” in several stages, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported on June 17.

According to the roadmap, the first step would be that Turkey’s ambassador to Tel Aviv, who had previously been recalled, would not be sent back unless Israel sends a member to a UN investigatory commission that aims to look into the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla.

The roadmap would also require all military training and cooperation with Israel to be halted and states that an internal Israeli inquiry into the attack would in no way be recognized by Turkey.  Source

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Qatar sends aid to Gaza flood victims

January  21 2010

DOHA: Qatar Charity has sent aid to flood victims in Mighrafa area in the centre of Gaza Strip. The Charity’s humanitarian gesture is aimed at alleviating the miseries of the families affected by flooding that forced them to evacuate their homes and farms.

Abdullah bin Hussien Al N’amah, Chairman of the Charity, said that Qatar has sent instant relief material to families and has begun distributing it to 40 families.

The relief goods consist of foodstuff and cash doles.

The Charity is also coordinating with local authorities to asses the damage to further provide aid and also to contribute in the reconstruction of damaged houses.

At least 12 people were injured in the flooding which destroyed scores of homes and inundated animal shelters.

The flooding cut off roads and washed away a bridge linking Gaza city to the south of the territory. Flood waters reached 3 meters (9ft) in some places.
Source

SAIA demands that Carleton University immediately divest its stock in BAE Systems, L-3 Communications, Motorola, Northrop Grumman, and Tesco, and adopt a Socially Responsible Investment policy.

January 2010, Ottawa, Ontario

More information: http://carleton.saia.ca

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Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 9:26 am  Comments Off on Qatar sends aid to Gaza flood victims  
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Egyptian authorities have temporarily opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip

Egypt opens Gaza border crossing

Egyptian authorities have temporarily opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, allowing those with permits to cross.

Authorities said that by early afternoon on Sunday around 133 people had crossed from Gaza into Egypt – mostly students with visas for foreign countries, and patients in need urgent of medical care.

Another 25 people crossed the other direction – largely those who live in Egypt with family in Gaza, or Palestinians who had been unable to return home due to the border closures.

Egypt had announced last week it would be opening Rafah – the only border crossing into Gaza not controlled by Israel – from January 3 to 6.

Although opened sporadically, the Rafah border crossing has largely remained shut – as have the Israeli-controlled crossings into Gaza – since Hamas gained full control of the territory through violent Palestinian infighting in June 2007.

The siege of Gaza has been the source of recent protests, planned to coincide with the anniversary of Israel’s 22-day offensive in the Strip.

Hundreds of people rallied in central Tel Aviv on Saturday night, chanting slogans and waving signs calling for “Freedom and Justice in Gaza”.

‘Freedom’ march

On the Egyptian side of the border, hundreds of international activists held repeated protests around Cairo this week demanding the authorities permanently reopen the crossing point.

Around 1,300 members of the Gaza Freedom March (GFM) had gathered in Egypt from more than 40 countries to march to Gaza with aid and supplies as a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians there.

However, Egyptian authorities barred the group from crossing the border, citing security reasons, and instead offering to allow 100 members to cross.

Up to 92 delegates did eventually cross into Gaza, meeting with non-governmental organisations and witnessing first-hand the devastation wrought by last year’s war and the continuing siege of the Strip, march organisers told Al Jazeera.

Many of the GFM activists were leaving Cairo on Sunday for their respective countries with a sense of accomplishment, Ann Wright, a co-ordinator for the march, said.

On Friday, the Gaza Freedom March approved the “Cairo Declaration” , a document calling for the end of Israeli occupation and Palestinian self-determination, as well as for “boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to compel Israel to comply with international law”.

Backed by a delegation from South Africa, the document also made repeated reference to Israel as an apartheid state, and made comparison’s to the former South African government.

Wright, a retired US army colonel and diplomat who resigned from the US state department in protest against the Iraq war in 2003, said organisers “want to build on what has occurred by having this march, and expand it so that we can keep the attention on the plight of the people of Gaza”.

“These things are really unprecedented in Egypt I think,” she said. “I don’t think there’s ever been this type of international demonstrations here.”

However, Wright said that to Egypt’s credit, and despite heavy-handed use of force by police at times, the government did allow them to hold demonstrations outside the UN, Israeli, US and French embassies, contrary to what some expected.

UK convoy

Cairo has also come under increasing criticism for reportedly strengthening a wall along the Gaza border, with Palestinians concerned it might affect underground smuggling tunnels used to bring in basic supplies, such as food, but also weapons.

Meanwhile, a long-delayed aid convoy destined for the Gaza Strip is expected to arrive in the coastal territory on Monday.

The Viva Palestina convoy, with 210 lorries full of medicine and other supplies, set out from the UK nearly a month ago.

A ferry carrying the supplies reportedly arrived in the Egyptian port El Arish on the Mediterranean on Sunday after sailing from Latakia in Syria.

Source

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Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 4:03 am  Comments Off on Egyptian authorities have temporarily opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip  
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Pentagon’s Role in Global Catastrophe: Add Climate Havoc to War Crimes

by Sara Flounders

December 19 2009

In evaluating the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen — with more than 15,000 participants from 192 countries, including more than 100 heads of state, as well as 100,000 demonstrators in the streets — it is important to ask: How is it possible that the worst polluter of carbon dioxide and other toxic emissions on the planet is not a focus of any conference discussion or proposed restrictions?

By every measure, the Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy in general. Yet the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements.

The Pentagon wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; its secret operations in Pakistan; its equipment on more than 1,000 U.S. bases around the world; its 6,000 facilities in the U.S.; all NATO operations; its aircraft carriers, jet aircraft, weapons testing, training and sales will not be counted against U.S. greenhouse gas limits or included in any count.

The Feb. 17, 2007, Energy Bulletin detailed the oil consumption just for the Pentagon’s aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and facilities that made it the single-largest oil consumer in the world. At the time, the U.S. Navy had 285 combat and support ships and around 4,000 operational aircraft. The U.S. Army had 28,000 armored vehicles, 140,000 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, more than 4,000 combat helicopters, several hundred fixed-wing aircraft and 187,493 fleet vehicles. Except for 80 nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, which spread radioactive pollution, all their other vehicles run on oil.

Even according to rankings in the 2006 CIA World Factbook, only 35 countries (out of 210 in the world) consume more oil per day than the Pentagon.

The U.S. military officially uses 320,000 barrels of oil a day. However, this total does not include fuel consumed by contractors or fuel consumed in leased and privatized facilities. Nor does it include the enormous energy and resources used to produce and maintain their death-dealing equipment or the bombs, grenades or missiles they fire.

Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, reports: “The Iraq war was responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from March 2003 through December 2007. … The war emits more than 60 percent of all countries. … This information is not readily available … because military emissions abroad are exempt from national reporting requirements under U.S. law and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.” (www.naomiklein.org, Dec. 10) Most scientists blame carbon dioxide emissions for greenhouse gases and climate change.

Bryan Farrell in his new book, “The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism,” says that “the greatest single assault on the environment, on all of us around the globe, comes from one agency … the Armed Forces of the United States.”

Just how did the Pentagon come to be exempt from climate agreements? At the time of the Kyoto Accords negotiations, the U.S. demanded as a provision of signing that all of its military operations worldwide and all operations it participates in with the U.N. and/or NATO be completely exempted from measurement or reductions.

After securing this gigantic concession, the Bush administration then refused to sign the accords.

In a May 18, 1998, article entitled “National security and military policy issues involved in the Kyoto treaty,” Dr. Jeffrey Salmon described the Pentagon’s position. He quotes then-Secretary of Defense William Cohen’s 1997 annual report to Congress: “DoD strongly recommends that the United States insist on a national security provision in the climate change Protocol now being negotiated.” (www.marshall.org)

According to Salmon, this national security provision was put forth in a draft calling for “complete military exemption from greenhouse gas emissions limits. The draft includes multilateral operations such as NATO- and U.N.-sanctioned activities, but it also includes actions related very broadly to national security, which would appear to comprehend all forms of unilateral military actions and training for such actions.”

Salmon also quoted Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat, who headed the U.S. delegation in Kyoto . Eizenstat reported that “every requirement the Defense Department and uniformed military who were at Kyoto by my side said they wanted, they got. This is self-defense, peacekeeping, humanitarian relief.”

Although the U.S. had already received these assurances in the negotiations, the U.S. Congress passed an explicit provision guaranteeing U.S. military exemption. Inter Press Service reported on May 21, 1998: “U.S. law makers, in the latest blow to international efforts to halt global warming, today exempted U.S. military operations from the Kyoto agreement which lays out binding commitments to reduce ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions. The House of Representatives passed an amendment to next year’s military authorization bill that ‘prohibits the restriction of armed forces under the Kyoto Protocol.'”

Today in Copenhagen the same agreements and guidelines on greenhouse gases still hold. Yet it is extremely difficult to find even a mention of this glaring omission.

According to environmental journalist Johanna Peace, military activities will continue to be exempt from an executive order signed by President Barack Obama that calls for federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Peace states, “The military accounts for a full 80 percent of the federal government’s energy demand.” (solveclimate.com, Sept. 1)

The blanket exclusion of the Pentagon’s global operations makes U.S. carbon dioxide emissions appear far less than they in fact are. Yet even without counting the Pentagon, the U.S. still has the world’s largest carbon dioxide emissions.

More than Emissions

Besides emitting carbon dioxide, U.S. military operations release other highly toxic and radioactive materials into the air, water and soil.

U.S. weapons made with depleted uranium have spread tens of thousands of pounds of microparticles of radioactive and highly toxic waste throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans.

The U.S. sells land mines and cluster bombs that are a major cause of delayed explosives, maiming and disabling especially peasant farmers and rural peoples in Africa, Asia and Latin America . For example, Israel dropped more than 1 million U.S.-provided cluster bombs on Lebanon during its 2006 invasion.

The U.S. war in Vietnam left large areas so contaminated with the Agent Orange herbicide that today, more than 35 years later, dioxin contamination is 300 to 400 times higher than “safe” levels. Severe birth defects and high rates of cancer resulting from environmental contamination are continuing into a third generation.

The 1991 U.S. war in Iraq , followed by 13 years of starvation sanctions, the 2003 U.S. invasion and continuing occupation, has transformed the region — which has a 5,000-year history as a Middle East breadbasket — into an environmental catastrophe. Iraq ‘s arable and fertile land has become a desert wasteland where the slightest wind whips up a dust storm. A former food exporter, Iraq now imports 80 percent of its food. The Iraqi Agriculture Ministry estimates that 90 percent of the land has severe desertification.

Environmental War at Home

Moreover, the Defense Department has routinely resisted orders from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up contaminated U.S. bases. ( Washington Post, June 30, 2008) Pentagon military bases top the Superfund list of the most polluted places, as contaminants seep into drinking water aquifers and soil.

The Pentagon has also fought EPA efforts to set new pollution standards on two toxic chemicals widely found on military sites: perchlorate, found in propellant for rockets and missiles; and trichloroethylene, a degreaser for metal parts.

Trichloroethylene is the most widespread water contaminant in the country, seeping into aquifers across California , New York , Texas , Florida and elsewhere. More than 1,000 military sites in the U.S. are contaminated with the chemical. The poorest communities, especially communities of color, are the most severely impacted by this poisoning.

U.S. testing of nuclear weapons in the U.S. Southwest and on South Pacific islands has contaminated millions of areas of land and water with radiation. Mountains of radioactive and toxic uranium tailings have been left on Indigenous land in the Southwest. More than 1,000 uranium mines have been abandoned on Navajo reservations in Arizona and New Mexico .

Around the world, on past and still operating bases in Puerto Rico, the Philippines , South Korea , Vietnam , Laos , Cambodia , Japan , Nicaragua , Panama and the former Yugoslavia , rusting barrels of chemicals and solvents and millions of rounds of ammunition are criminally abandoned by the Pentagon.

The best way to dramatically clean up the environment is to shut down the Pentagon. What is needed to combat climate change is a thoroughgoing system change.

Source

The US is the worst polluter on the planet, in war and their corporations.

The war machine must be ended.

Their polluting corporations must be brought under control.

At the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen no once was there any mention of war pollution and it’s affects on the environment or the health hazards to people.

One of the major and morst devastaing things in the world and they neglected to consider it’s impact on the world as we know it.

I am horrifyingly disappointed their lack of concern in this area of disastrous type of pollution.

“Military emissions abroad are exempt from national reporting requirements under U.S. law and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.” 

That is just wrong! No special treatment for the war machine and it’s polluters. They leave a trail of DEATH behind them everywhere they go.  A trail that continues to kill for years if not millions of years.

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Why Not Crippling Sanctions for Israel and the US?



By Paul Craig Roberts

August 31, 2009
In Israel, a country stolen from the Palestinians, fanatics control the government. One of the fanatics is the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Last week Netanyahu called for “crippling sanctions” against Iran.

The kind of blockade that Netanyahu wants qualifies as an act of war. Israel has long threatened to attack Iran on its own but prefers to draw in the US and NATO.

Why does Israel want to initiate a war between the United States and Iran?

Is Iran attacking other countries, bombing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure?

No. These are crimes committed by Israel and the US.

Is Iran evicting peoples from lands they have occupied for centuries and herding them into ghettoes?

No, that’s what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians for 60 years.

What is Iran doing?

Iran is developing nuclear energy, which is its right as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran’s nuclear energy program is subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which consistently reports that its inspections find no diversion of enriched uranium to a weapons program.

The position taken by Israel, and by Israel’s puppet in Washington, is that Iran must not be allowed to have the rights as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that every other signatory has, because Iran might divert enriched uranium to a weapons program.

In other words, Israel and the US claim the right to abrogate Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy. The Israeli/US position has no basis in international law or in anything other than the arrogance of Israel and the United States.

The hypocrisy is extreme. Israel is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and developed its nuclear weapons illegally on the sly, with, as far as we know, US help.

As Israel is an illegal possessor of nuclear weapons and has a fanatical government that is capable of using them, crippling sanctions should be applied to Israel to force it to disarm.

Israel qualifies for crippling sanctions for another reason. It is an apartheid state, as former US President Jimmy Carter demonstrated in his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The US led the imposition of sanctions against South Africa because of South Africa’s apartheid practices. The sanctions forced the white government to hand over political power to the black population. Israel practices a worse form of apartheid than did the white South African government. Yet, Israel maintains that it is “anti-semitic” to criticize Israel for a practice that the world regards as abhorrent.

What remains of the Palestinian West Bank that has not been stolen by Israel consists of isolated ghettoes. Palestinians are cut off from hospitals, schools, their farms, and from one another. They cannot travel from one ghetto to another without Israeli permission enforced at checkpoints.

The Israeli government’s explanation for its gross violation of human rights comprises the greatest collection of lies in world history. No one, with the exception of American “christian zionists,” believes one word of it.

The United States also qualifies for crippling sanctions. Indeed, the US is over-qualified. On the basis of lies and intentional deception of the US Congress, the US public, the UN and NATO, the US government invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and used the “war on terror” that Washington orchestrated to overturn US civil liberties enshrined in the US Constitution. One million Iraqis have paid with their lives for America’s crimes and four million are displaced. Iraq and its infrastructure are in ruins, and Iraq’s professional elites, necessary to a modern organized society, are dead or dispersed. The US government has committed a war crime on a grand scale. If Iran qualifies for sanctions, the US qualifies a thousand times over.

No one knows how many women, children, and village elders have been murdered by the US in Afghanistan. However, the American war of aggression against the Afghan people is now in its ninth year. According to the US military, an American victory is still a long ways away. Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared in August that the military situation in Afghanistan is “serious and deteriorating.”

Older Americans can look forward to the continuation of this war for the rest of their lives, while their Social Security and Medicare rights are reduced in order to free up funds for the US armaments industry. Bush/Cheney and Obama/Biden have made munitions the only safe stock investment in the United States.

What is the purpose of the war of aggression against Afghanistan? Soon after his inauguration, President Obama promised to provide an answer but did not. Instead, Obama quickly escalated the war in Afghanistan and launched a new one in Pakistan that has already displaced 2 million Pakistanis. Obama has sent 21,000 more US troops into Afghanistan and already the US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is requesting 20,000 more.

Obama is escalating America’s war of aggression against the Afghanistan people despite three high profile opinion polls that show that the American public is firmly opposed to the continuation of the war against Afghanistan.

Sadly, the ironclad agreement between Israel and Washington to war against Muslim peoples is far stronger than the connection between the American public and the American government. At a farewell dinner party last Thursday for Israel’s military attache in Washington, who is returning to Israel to become deputy chief of staff of the Israeli military, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, and and Dan Shapiro, who is in charge of Middle East affairs on the National Security Council, were present to pay their respects. Admiral Mullen declared that the US will always stand with Israel. No matter how many war crimes Israel commits. No matter how many women and children Israel murders. No many how many Palestinians Israel drives from their homes, villages, and lands. If truth could be told, the true axis-of-evil is the United States and Israel.

Millions of Americans are now homeless because of foreclosures. Millions more have lost their jobs, and even more millions have no access to health care. Yet, the US government continues to squander hundreds of billions of dollars on wars that serve no US purpose. President Obama and General McChrystal have taken the position that they know best, the American public be damned.

It could not be made any clearer that the President of the United States and the US military have no regard whatsoever for democracy, human rights, and international law. This is yet another reason to apply crippling sanctions against Washington, a government that has emerged under Bush/Obama as a brownshirt state that deals in lies, torture, murder, war crimes, and deception.

Many governments are complicit in America’s war crimes. With Obama’s budget deep in the red, Washington’s wars of naked aggression are dependent on financing by the Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Saudis, South Koreans, Indians, Canadians and Europeans. The second this foreign financing of American war crimes stops, America’s wars of aggression against Muslims stop.

The US is not a forever “superpower” that can indefinitely ignore its own laws and international law. The US will eventually fall as a result of its hubris, arrogance, and imperial overreach. When the American Empire collapses, will its enablers also be held accountable in the war crimes court?

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Published in: on September 1, 2009 at 12:37 am  Comments Off on Why Not Crippling Sanctions for Israel and the US?  
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European Commission plans sanctions for wayward bankers – reports

March 4 2009

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer

The European Commission wants Europe to set up a sanctions regime for banks and bankers that flout industry rules, according to plans to be published on March 4 2009, AFP reported.

The proposal is part of plans for a major shake-up of European supervision of the financial sector based on recent recommendations from an expert panel headed by former IMF director Jacques de Larosiere.

In a media statement on March 4, the EC said that it was calling on EU leaders to further step up co-ordinated European action to fight the economic crisis.

In its communication to the European Council summit on March 19 and 20, the Commission sets out proposals for building on the extensive support already being given to the real economy and to employment.

The Commission’s communication unveils a comprehensive reform of the financial system based on the de Larosiere report.

“It shows how a clear and united commitment to this ambitious programme can pave the way for the EU to give a global lead at the G20 summit in London on April 2,” the EC said.
EC President Jose Manuel Barroso said: “The Spring European Council must send a strong signal to citizens, businesses and the world. Yes, there is a way out of this crisis. Yes, Europe has the unity, the confidence and the determination to win this battle. We must forcefully implement the agreed recovery plan in a coordinated way. We must use the single market to the full.

“Today we are asking EU leaders to agree on a comprehensive action plan. To do everything possible to protect our citizens from unemployment. To clean up financial markets on the basis of the de Larosiere Report. And to pave the way for Europe to lead by example and by persuasion as we approach the G20 summit in London,” Barroso said.

The Commission’s communication begins with an overview of the measures taken since autumn 2008 which have prevented the meltdown of the European banking industry and thus prevented countless bankruptcies and job losses.

It urges member states to act quickly to restore confidence and get bank lending flowing again, in particular by implementing the guidance the Commission issued on February 25 2009 on removing impaired assets from banks’ balance sheets.

“The Commission endorses – and asks EU leaders to endorse – the key principles set out by the de Larosiere Group,” the EC statement said.

The Commission calls for a supervisory system combining much stronger oversight at EU level with maintaining a clear role for national supervisors.

It backs the Group’s proposal to set up an early warning body under ECB auspices to identify and tackle systemic risks.

The Commission supports the Group’s recommendation for a core set of regulatory standards throughout the EU.

In April, the EC will bring forward initiatives already in the pipeline on hedge funds, private equity and remuneration structures.

Following an impact assessment, the Commission will put forward to the June European Council a detailed timetable for further measures based on the de Larosiere report.
It will bring forward proposals in the autumn on the new supervisory framework and on issues including: liquidity risk and excessive leverage; further reinforcing protection for depositors and policy holders; and effective sanctions against wrongdoing.

The communication points to good first results of the European Economic Recovery Plan. The overall fiscal support to the economy from European and national measures and from automatic stabilisers amounts to at least 3.3 per cent of GDP over the 2009-2010 period.

An annexe summarises 500 national measures and concludes that they are broadly in line with the principles that recovery action should be timely, targeted and temporary.

The Commission calls on EU leaders to endorse clear principles for further action, in line with the single market, with open trade worldwide, with building a low carbon economy and with returning to sustainable public finances as soon as possible.

The Commission repeats its call for Member States to agree on the targeted investment of five billion euro in energy interconnections and broadband.

The Commission’s contribution calls for member states to step up efforts to tackle unemployment – which could approach 10 per cent in 2010 for the first time since the 1990s – and social exclusion.

“These efforts will also help maintain demand and prevent further job losses.”  They should be a central plank of national stimulus plans, the EC said.

The Commission invites member states to use measures such as financial support for temporary working-time arrangements, boosting income support for unemployed people, lowering non-wage costs for employers and boosting investment in skills and retraining.

At European level, the EC calls for rapid approval of its proposal to allow an immediate increase of 1.8 billion euro in advance payments under the European Social Fund.

The Commission also sets out a road map towards the European Employment Summit in Prague in May, which should agree on further concrete measures to save jobs and create them in the sectors of the future.

The Commission will organise a series of workshops with all key stakeholders in different member states in the approach to the summit.

The EC asks EU leaders to agree on a number of areas “where Europe can and should give a firm lead” on April 2 at the London G20 summit, building on the success it achieved by speaking with one voice at the Washington Summit in November 2008.

“The EU should make a united push to improve the global financial and regulatory system, focusing on: better transparency and accountability; appropriate regulation of all financial actors; tackling difficulties caused by uncooperative jurisdictions; boosting international supervisory cooperation; and reforming the IMF, Financial Stability Forum and World Bank,” the EC statement said.

“Europe should also promote global recovery by calling for a review of the global impact of fiscal measures taken so far, by promoting open trade and by inviting the London Summit to launch a multilateral initiative on trade finance and to reaffirm the Washington commitment to the Millennium Development Goals,” the EC said.

Source

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Published in: on March 6, 2009 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on European Commission plans sanctions for wayward bankers – reports  
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Gordon Brown backs move to block full publication of MPs’ expenses

January 21, 2009

By Sam Coates and Francis Elliott

Gordon Brown has imposed a three-line whip to force a move to block full publication of MPs’ expenses through the Commons, The Times has learned.

Labour MPs could face sanctions if they rebel in tomorrow’s vote on an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act that would exempt MPs from disclosing exactly how they have been spending their annual £22,000 second-home allowance.

Public opposition is growing against the move, with almost 5,000 people signing a Facebook campaign led by mySociety, who run the “theyworkfor-you” website, to urge MPs not to push through the change.

Yet the amendment is almost certain to be passed. An early day motion tabled by the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, opposing the change, has been supported by only 11 MPs.
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* Why should they be spared the scrutiny?

The Commons had been on the brink of publishing receipts for every claim made by an MP since 2005 after losing a High Court battle last year. Instead, Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House, announced last week that expenses would be published under 26 general headings, an increase from the current 13. The information will be broken down into “fixtures, fittings and furnishings” and “other household costs”, with no specific detail about what has been bought.

The process of scanning more than a million receipts for publication, which has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, will be abandoned.

Both main opposition parties have said they oppose the move. The Tory front bench will vote against the change, with other MPs being urged to follow their lead. All Liberal Democrat MPs are under a three-line whip to vote against.

One Labour MP considering rebelling said that doing so posed considerable risks. “Not only could you face sanctions from the whips, I would also face considerable sniping from colleagues if I tried to oppose this,” he said. “You have to watch for the blade between the shoulders.”

Nick Clegg has been the only party leader to speak out against the change, with both Mr Brown and David Cameron more cautious.

Mr Clegg said: “At a time when families are having to count every penny, it is outrageous that MPs are seeking to hide how they spend their money. The Liberal Democrats are totally opposed to any government move to allow MPs to avoid being subject to Freedom of Information requests.”

Mr Brown’s spokesman referred all inquiries to Ms Harman. He added: “The aim was to finish up with a system that was more transparent.”

MPs against the amendment

Labour

Frank Field

Mark Fisher

Kate Hoey

David Winnick

Conservative

Richard Shepherd

Peter Bottomley

Lib Dem

Adrian Sanders

Jo Swinson

Evan Harris

Steve Webb

Bob Russell

Source

So much for accountability.  A free for all,  for those who would spend Taxpayers money any way they want. The money they spend isn’t really theiris it is the taxpayers money and the tax payer, has ever right to now how it is spent.

Some of these people forget they work for the people and must answer to the people.

Seems like a  bunch of crooks, trying to hide their crimes.

How sleazy can one get?  Obviously pretty bloody  sleazy.

Published in: on January 21, 2009 at 5:56 am  Comments Off on Gordon Brown backs move to block full publication of MPs’ expenses  
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Embargo against Israel: Spreading Willingness in the Middle East

Qatar to cut relations with Israel?
January 12 2009

Qatar’s premier says Doha will cut trade ties with Israel if other Arab states are united.

Doha has proclaimed that it would be willing to sever its trade relations with Israel if the Arab world meets certain conditions.

“If Arab countries decide collectively to sever relations [with Israel], we will join the Arabs,” Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani said in a televised interview with Al-Jazeera.

The Qatari prime minister added that Israeli operations in Gaza have created a humanitarian crisis that can only be alleviated by such collective action.

“They only want Qatar to make a sacrifice [while] they continue to deal with the Jewish state,” he added.

Even if it severs relations with Israel, Doha says it will not close down Israel’s trade office, which has been run by two Israeli diplomats since 1996.

Qatar has lobbied for an extraordinary Arab summit to discuss “measures to address the continued Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip”, but its efforts have been inconclusive.

Over 900 Palestinians — the native population of the land — have been killed and more than 4000 wounded in Israeli military operations in Gaza since December 27. The UN has only managed to adopt a nonbinding resolution to condemn the crimes.

The recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the latest of a series which began when world powers created Israel in 1948 under the Zionist slogan of a ‘land without a people and a people without a land’.

The establishment of Israel in the Middle East was carried out in compensation for the hardships and suffering imposed on the Jews of Europe due to anti-Semitism in the continent.

Zionists benefited by gaining power over the native land of the Palestinians, but the establishment and the subsequent terror attacks against the Palestinian population gave rise to the philosophy of resistance and in recent years armed retaliation.

According to Tel Aviv, the war on Gaza is aimed at ending rocket attacks against Israeli settlers, toppling Hamas and preventing the resistance group from rearming.

Hamas, on the other hand, demands a cessation of Israeli attacks and the opening of the Gaza border — which has been closed due to the 18-month blockade imposed on the strip by Tel Aviv.

Source

Jordan OK with forcing end to Israeli ops

Israel has been targeting the Gaza Strip in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

January 12 2009

King Abdullah II says the world must force Israel to halt its operations in Gaza if Tel Aviv does not live up to current expectations.

“Israel should immediately abide by UN Security Council Resolution 1860 and should stop its aggression on the Gaza Strip,” the Jordanian monarch said on Sunday. Source

Iran to tighten screws on Israel funders

Tehran plans to punish firms that directly or indirectly aid or abet Israel.

January 12 2009

The Iranian government has sent a bill to parliament that would hold liable any firm that directly or indirectly aids or abets Israel.

The bill, finalized by the Ahmadinejad administration on Sunday, will impose sanctions on any foreign firms dealing with Israel or monetarily supporting Israeli interests.

The decision came after Israel launched a seventeen-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip that has so far killed 905 Palestinians — many of whom are women and children — and wounded 4080 others.  Source

Can’t say I blame them. Those lovely weapons Israel is using could used on them any time Israel comes up with some feeble excuse.

They will also reap the Toxic Chemicals, DU etc being dropped on Gaza. Of course they want it stopped who wants their populations reaping the a plague of Cancer, and numerous other illness cause from the pollution,  because of a warmongering lunatics.

UK firm blasted for arming Israeli military

US delivering more “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to Israel

79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

Israel continues to attack Hospitals, Clinics and Public Buildings in Gaza

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

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

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

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

December 7 2008

BY JACQUELINE CHARLES

BAIE D’ORANGE, Haiti

The slow road to death runs high above the scenic coastline, past the crumbled bridges and buried rivers. It traverses a jagged trail passing green slopes and red fertile dirt before arriving here: an isolated mountain village where little Haitian girls dream of eating rice and the doctor is a three-hour walk away.

This is the place where children, suffering from stunted growth, look half their age, where struggling mothers cry that their half-starved babies with the brittle orange hair — evidence of malnutrition — neither crawl nor walk.

“He doesn’t cry, ‘Manman.’ Or ‘Papa,’ ” says Christmene Normilus, holding her malnourished 2-year-old son, Jean-Roselle Tata.

Emergency intervention
In the past month, international aid workers and doctors have airlifted 46 children on the brink of death from this southeastern village and neighboring communities to hospitals in Port-au-Prince, and elsewhere in the south.

The emergency intervention came after it was reported that 26 children from the Baie d’Orange region had died from severe malnutrition in the wake of the four successive storms that devastated Haiti in less than a month this summer.

But long before the deaths and hospitalizations plunged this poverty-stricken nation into the global spotlight amid fears of storm-related famine, the people of this farming community already were battling hunger.

Proud, they reluctantly admit that it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to feed their children, many of whom already suffer from chronic malnutrition.

Their story is repeated throughout the countryside, where a lack of roads, potable water and public-health facilities, as well as deforestation, already had Haiti’s rural poor living in life-threatening misery before the four back-to-back storms washed out more roads, killed livestock and wiped out crops.

“We can’t give our children what they need,” said Jilesca Fulcal, 37, a mother of seven who recently sought medical care for her 2-year-old son, Jean-Samuel Jules. “There is no food. No work for the people. The children can’t live like that. The children are suffering in their mothers’ arms.”

In recent weeks, the United Nations World Food Program has delivered food to the region, taking care to treat the children who are severely malnourished. But with many parts of the hilly hinterland accessible only by foot and horseback, residents say some people still have no access to the food.

Unseen suffering
Unlike Port-au-Prince, where Haiti’s crushing poverty is visible in the crowded slums and on the streets, the misery here is through what visitors don’t see: the eight- to 10-hour walk for water because there are no rivers, able-bodied young men toiling in the fields, the daily struggle to find food — including three hours to walk 12 miles on a rugged road to see the doctor.

“What’s happening in Baie d’Orange is the result of poor political decision-making that has happened over several years,” said Fednel Zidor, the government delegate for the southeast, who has gone on the radio to bring attention to the community’s plight. “No one paid any attention to it.”

Source

A bit of history.

January 7 2005

Photos: © 2005 Haiti Information Project – A UN armored personnel vehicle rolls through Delmas 2 in Bel Air. Five people were killed on January 5 when the UN entered the pro-Lavalas neighborhood under the pretext of cleaning the streets of garbage. Although the UN force took advantage of several photo opportunities to show their public works projects yesterday, their only duty on January 5 was to enter the roiling slum on heavily armed patrols. ©2004 Haiti Information ProjectOn October 28, 2004, the Haitian police entered the slum of Bel Air and shot these four young men execution style. Now that the UN controls Bel Air, members of Aristide’s Lavalas party demanded the UN stop the police and the former military from committing more murders in their communities. Some residents decided to leave Bel Air after the UN assumed control of the streets on January 5, 2005. Although the UN claims responsibility for security, members of Lavalas accuse the multinational force of allowing the Haitian National Police  to execute armed raids in poor neighborhoods where support for ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide remains strong. Despite UN claims of having entered Bel Air with force on January 5th to clear the streets of trash, other than a few carefully planned photo opportunites with the Associated Press, there was little evidence of progress the next day.

A UN armored personnel vehicle rolls through a nearly deserted street in the neighborhood of Bel Air. Residents claim five persons were killed on January 5, 2005 when the UN invaded the slum with hundreds of Brazilian troops under the guise of street cleaning and civic improvement projects

UN occupies Bel Air in Haiti
Port au Prince, Haiti Hundreds of Brazilian soldiers and special units of the Haitian National Police stormed the pro-Aristide neighborhood of Bel Air in the early morning hours of January 5. Residents were surprised and frightened by the armed incursion as gunfire broke out. Witnesses reported that five persons were killed as the operation unfolded.

Bel Air is a slum in the capital of Port au Prince that has served as a launching site for demonstrations demanding the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide was ousted last February 29th amid charges he was kidnapped by U.S. Marines and remains in exile in the Republic of South Africa. The Bel Air slum had been under siege by police since violence erupted last September 30th after police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators.

Following the military operation, UN peacekeepers were seen providing photo opportunities to the press as they fixed a few water pipes and cleared the carcasses of burned out vehicles blocking the road. One resident who refused to give their name fearing reprisals stated, “Do you think we want to live like this? We are more afraid of the police coming in here and killing everyone than we are of the rats and the garbage. Those wrecked cars were our security because it stopped the police from coming in here at night and shooting us. Now that the UN has opened the door for them we don’t know what is going to happen to us. Look what they did in Cite de Dieu yesterday.”

The UN incursion came one day after Haitian police were accused of committing another deadly raid in a neighborhood close to Haiti’s National Theater. In Cite de Dieu the police reportedly killed six people including a 16 year-old girl and later justified the slaughter claiming they were bandits.

An unidentified representative of Aristide’s Lavalas party commented on the situation, “If the UN is really going to provide security to our communities then they must stop the police from murdering our citizens. We all want peace but you cannot blame people for wanting to defend themselves while the UN allows the police to commit murder and fill the jails with political prisoners. They must stop the police and the former military from murdering our citizens.

“Last October 28th the police executed four young men they thought were Lavalas and the UN did nothing to stop them.

“The UN cannot on one-hand say they are bringing security while on the other they claim to be assisting the police as they kill us, beat us and arrest us. It is a contradiction they must resolve or there will never be peace. They must control the police and stop the killing! They must support us in releasing all the political prisoners filling our jails!

“For now, it appears the UN are equally responsible for this partisan campaign to exterminate Lavalas that is clearly meant to silence our opposition to the coup of February 29, 2004.”

Source

San Francisco Bay Area Journalist Kevin Pina Held in Haiti

by Leisa Faulkner
September 12, 2005

Reporter Kevin Pina opened his family home to me last month in Port au Prince, Haiti when violence closed the orphanage where I usually stay to do human rights work. Tonight, Kevin sleeps in a jail cell like those I visited in Cap Haitian just weeks ago. He has become part of the story he risks his life daily to tell.

UN works to squash followers of Aristide in Haiti Port-au-Prince, Haiti Corralling residents and kicking down doors, heavily armed troops of the UN and the Police Nationale de Haiti invaded several neighborhoods of Cite Soleil one day after an alleged attack on the headquarters of the mission of the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. Jan 9

Deaths reported as UN enters Haiti slum Port au Prince, Haiti Sustained and heavy gunfire erupted in the pro-Aristide slum of Cite Soleil at about 3 a.m. this morning and was followed by an incursion into the area by hundreds of Brazilian and Jordanian troops of the United Nations. – Dec 14 2004

Tearing up the Charter: UN’s Erosion Continues in Haiti Flashpoints Radio’s Dennis Bernstein interviews Kevin Pina and Brian Concannon. Oct 18 2004


Council On Hemispheric Affairs

Aiding Oppression in Haiti: Kofi Annan and General Heleno’s Complicity in Latortue’s Jackal Regime Dec 16 2004

Haiti’s Ship Sails on Without a Captain and With a Very Disreputable Crew: Kofi Annan, Roger Noriega, Colin Powell and Lula of Brazil have much to answer for failing to implement the UN’s Stabilization Mission – Dec 9

Brazil’s Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti: Doing God’s or Washington’s Work? -Dec 6

Oh, When All is Looted & Pillaged, Your Hunger Will Remain
February 28 2004
When President Bush took to the airwaves on Wednesday of this week, touting his Haitian counter-exodus measures, my suspicions of a repeat of 1991s coup d’etat were confirmed. The Coast Guard is to establish a wet line-of-defense, protecting the Cuban Shangri-La of Miami from boatloads of greasy, AIDS infected, odiferous Haitians. A carte blanche gifted to the water patrol units, granting cutter vessels total amnesty from any outcry resulting from dubious repatriation practices. The message was clear; this country will not tolerate another influx of non-European immigrants, especially those who defied our French brethren 200 years past.

Canada The Coup Coalition
March 7 2004
It looks like Paul Martin is already putting his mark on foreign affairs, with a shameful pandering to America in this. It was interesting to watch the hesitation in Foreign Affairs as the old hands working to save democracy in Haiti got the rug pulled out from under them by what Jamaica is already calling “new Canadians” – not meant to imply an improved version. I guess the business at any price types in the Liberal party have finally gotten their way.
So Americans, have no fear, or minor annoyance anyway – Canada will once again help hold the bag for you while you fill it with the corpses of anyone who dares to oppose your God given right to tell everyone else in the world how to manage their economy and live their lives.

Operation Enduring Sweatshop Another Bush Brings Hell to Haiti
March 10 2004

This week, the Bush administration added another violent “regime change” notch to its gunbelt, toppling the democratically elected president of Haiti and replacing him with an unelected gang of convicted killers, death squad leaders, militarists, narcoterrorists, CIA operatives, hereditary elitists and corporate predators – a bit like Team Bush itself, in other words.

Hidden from the Headlines
Haiti After the Coup The Final Chapter Has Yet To Be Written

When Hidden from the Headlines was first published in August 2003, we wrote: Since the election of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2000, the United States has moved to sabotage Haiti’s fledgling democracy through an economic aid embargo, massive funding of elite opposition groups, support for paramilitary coup attempts, and a propaganda offensive against the Aristide government. Hidden from the headlines for years, this campaign has now become an open effort to destroy a popularly elected, progressive government.

And I am sure the Sanctions they were under also helped them into extreme poverty as well.

Haitian children died from severe malnutrition

Poverty crushing the People of Haiti /History on Sanctions

Save the Children has served the needs of some of Haiti’s poorest children and families since 1985. Today, through advocacy, by reinforcing government social services and supporting community-based development programs in protection, education, health, food security, livelihoods and humanitarian relief, we are improving the lives of some 425,000 children and adults in urban and rural communities in six provinces and 33 districts. To better serve the great needs of children and best use the vital resources of our donors, Save the Children recently merged programs and activities with other members of the International Save the Children Alliance who also have programs in Haiti.

Challenges for Children

Of all the nations in the Western Hemisphere, none faces greater challenges to improve the lives of its children than Haiti. In addition to its poor development indicators, Haiti is the country most affected by HIV/AIDS outside of sub-Saharan Africa, which aggravates the well-being of children whose health is already compromised by poverty and inadequate access to basic health care.

Improving the health, education and food security of poor children and women.
Improving the health, education and food security of poor children and women.

Numbers at a Glance

  • Average life expectancy in Haiti is 52 years.
  • Under-5 mortality rate is 120 per 1,000 live births.
  • Some 3.8 percent of the population is believed to be HIV positive, among them 17,000 children.
  • Some 500,000 girls and boys are out of school and some 300,000 children live in domestic servitude.

Our Response

Protection: In urban areas, including the capital of Port-au-Prince, Save the Children supports welcome centers for street children that provide food and shelter, education and health programs and counseling and play opportunities. Centers offer scholarship assistance so that children can attend school and provide on-site lessons to prepare children for formal schooling. Save the Children also supports children’s rights through direct local interventions and national advocacy. Through a network of children’s clubs, we educate girls and boys on their rights, offers recreational youth activities and endorse positive civic participation.

Education: Save the Children implements a rural education program in over 200 community, government and mission schools. Through it, we reach over 22,000 students in Haiti’s Central Plateau, Southeast and Artibonite regions. We advocate for state recognition and more resources for the country’s growing network of community-run schools. We also pilot school readiness programs for pre-school girls and boys to increase their chances for later educational success.  Primary children benefit from our school health and nutrition activities, receiving de-worming medication, iodine, iron supplementation and hygiene training, all of which help them stay in school. Innovative radio learning programs further extend the reach of our educational initiatives. And, Haiti is also part of Save the Children’s Rewrite the Future campaign to support education in conflict-affected countries.

Community Health: In partnership with the Ministry of Health, Save the Children provides quality primary health care to mothers and young children in the Artibonite and Central provinces. We help prevent and treat malaria, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. We also train health care workers, invest in health infrastructure and medical equipment and develop community-based health committees to promote local participation and community well-being. In addition, we vaccinate children, provide them with supplemental vitamins and micronutrients, promote the benefits of breastfeeding and address childhood illnesses such as diarrhea. Save the Children projects also increase access to potable drinking water and oral re-hydration therapies. Reproductive health activities promote family planning, pre- and post-natal visits, safe deliveries and sexual education.

HIV/AIDS: Save the Children implements an HIV/AIDS program which has been greatly scaled up over the past year. Its goals are to improve access to prevention services and testing and counseling, mobilize community support for orphans and vulnerably children, improve the management of antiretroviral treatment programs and develop a coordinated system of care in the Artibonite, Central, Western and Nippes provinces. Activities include: mobilizing communities to assist persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; and promotion of safer sexual practices among youth. We help form local support groups and health committees and organize public awareness campaigns such as weekly radio broadcasts. Save the Children also leads a consortium of other organizations which is expanding HIV/AIDS programs into disadvantaged rural areas.

Food Security: Save the Children helps improve the nutritional status of children in eight districts in the Central and Artibonite provinces. We monitor children’s nutrition, provide food to pregnant and lactating women, children under age 2 and malnourished children; improve community health and nutrition practices and promote improved agricultural production and marketing to bolster local economic growth.

Humanitarian Relief: Save the Children provides humanitarian relief and child-centered assistance for children and families affected by natural disasters. Over the past five years, we also have conducted community-based disaster preparedness and mitigation activities.

Sponsorship: In Haiti, Save the Children sponsors are one of our most important resources. Through this support, we improve the lives of thousands of children every year by providing primary education and school health and nutrition programs in the Maïssade district in the Central Plateau. We are currently exploring expansion possibilities to other regions.

Looking Forward for Children

Save the Children continues to integrate its protection, education, primary health care, HIV/AIDS prevention and food security programs, while promoting household economic growth activities in communities. We also plan to broaden our impact through expanded geographic coverage in both urban and rural areas and increase our advocacy work for children’s rights.

More Teachers Help Make a Difference for Mona

Like many children from the community of Maissade, Mona began attending the local public school when she was 6. She is now in 3rd grade, but despite good attendance and health, Mona did not pass the tests that would have promoted her to the next grade. Save the Children learned that the school Mona attended had six classrooms managed by only one director and one teacher.

Save the Children responds to the shortage of teachers in public schools by training and placing new teachers in classrooms. In partnership with a local university and the Ministry of Education, high school graduates receive intensive teacher training followed by an assignment to a classroom that previously had no teacher.

The increased teacher-student ratio has made a difference in the quality of learning for Mona. She passed all of her exams; many girls just like Mona are advancing to the next grades.

Loudouide and Friends: A Chance to Attend School

“Because of Save the Children, all the children in my community can go to school and I am happy about that.”

Loudouide and her family live in a remote part of Maïssade District, an eight-hour drive from the capital of Port-au-Prince. In a country where half a million children do not go to school because their families cannot afford to send them, and only 2 percent finish secondary education, Loudouide and her village friends are benefiting from a golden opportunity – a chance to attend school.

Thanks to our community schools initiative, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of children attending school in the areas where we work. In a country where nearly one person in every two is illiterate, this presents a life-changing opportunity for children such as Loudouide and her friends, their families and community.

Donate now to support Save the Children’s work in the U.S. and around the world

Large sections of Haiti’s population, particularly in the capital, Port-au- Prince, live in precarious conditions due to poverty, neglect, urban violence and lack of access to basic healthcare. Violence continues, especially in Martissant, where MSF treated over 200 gunshot injuries. An MSF survey between January 2006 to July 2007 showed that nearly one in four deaths in Martissant was related to violence.

Violence and conflict
Since December 2006, MSF has operated an emergency health center in Martissant, a neighborhood characterized by daily violence and a lack of medical facilities. Every day, patients are referred from the emergency health center to the other hospitals where MSF works. MSF established a number of mobile clinics in the heart of the Martissant neighborhoods, with medical teams offering primary healthcare to some 400 patients a day.

At the end of 2007, MSF handed over its project in the slum of Cité Soleil, where the security situation has improved, to the Ministry of Health. The project started in July 2005 to guarantee access to care for victims of the violence. The ongoing presence of MSF teams, even during the most intense fighting, resulted in 72,000 consultations at the primary health center of Chapi and 32,000 at Choscal hospital, where more than 13,000 patients were hospitalized. However, since April the situation has got better, with no patient with a bullet wound seen at the Tuscaloosa hospital and people in the neighborhood no longer living in fear and isolation.

MSF continued to provide medical and surgical care at its Trinite trauma center in Port-au- Prince, admitting more than 14,000 patients compared with 11,000 in 2006. The number of admissions for gunshot wounds fell from 1,300 in 2006 to 500 in 2007, although the number of victims of stab wounds, rape and beatings continued to rise. In total, 2,847 patients were admitted for violence-related trauma.

Throughout the year, MSF medical teams focused on improving quality of care, working to perfect the recently introduced surgical technique of orthopedic internal fixation. A total of 205 patients benefited from this technique, which sharply reduced their length of stay in hospital.

MSF also operates a physical rehabilitation center where patients needing specialized post-operative treatment can receive physiotherapy and psychological care.

In June, MSF increased its capacity to treat victims of sexual violence in the capital, offering comprehensive psychological and medical treatment. The program treated 242 victims between July 2006 and June 2007. Awareness campaigns emphasizing confidentiality and the need to seek treatment within 72 hours resumed in July in the shantytowns and city center.

Maternal health needs
Maternal mortality rates in Haiti are the highest in the western hemisphere (approximately 630 women die for 100,000 births), mainly due to eclampsia. The insecure urban slum environment where many women live limits their access to healthcare as physical and sexual violence, extortion and common crime are serious threats.

In 2006, the emergency maternal Jude Ann hospital was opened in Port-au-Prince, the only hospital in Haiti to offer free emergency obstetric care. By the end of 2007, over 13,000 women had given birth here. MSF also started providing services in fixed clinics in selected slum communities, with ante- and post-natal care and a referral service in the three slums of La Saline, Pelé Simon and Solino. Mental health services will be added in 2008.

MSF has worked in Haiti since 1991.

More Reports or to Donate

Fidel Castro has offered to speak with Barack Obama

Cuban President Fidel Castro

(Enrique Marcarian/Reuters)

December 5 2008

Fidel Castro, the former President of Cuba, has offered to talk to Barack Obama, in Havana’s latest overture to the US President elect. ”With Obama, talks could happen anywhere he wants,” the former head of the Communist regime wrote in the latest of a series of columns he has published in state-run media since falling ill in 2006.

His remarks follow an offer from his brother, President Raul Castro, to meet Mr Obama “on neutral ground” to try to end the 40 year long conflict between the two countries.

If taken up it would be the first meeting in half a century between the leaders of Cuba and the US. The head of the Communist regime and a US president have not come face to face since the island’s revolution in 1959.

Fidel Castro’s offer to meet came with a warning for Mr Obama.

“He should remember the carrot-and-stick approach will not work with our country,” he wrote. “The sovereign rights of the Cuban people are not negotiable.”

Mr Obama has said he is open to talks with the Cuban government, and will consider easing Us sanctions. After taking office in January, he plans immediately to lift all restrictions on family travel and financial remittances to the island.

However he said he would not support lifting the four decade old trade embargo until Cuba releases all political prisoners. An independent human rights group has said that there are 219 prisoners of conscience on the island.

Before the US elections last month, Fidel Castro praised Mr Obama as intelligent and humanitarian.

Raul, who replaced his ailing brother in 2006, has said several times he was willing to talk to the US.

In his most recent interview, with left wing actor Sean Penn in the US magazine The Nation, he suggested they meet in Guantanamo Bay, the site of the prison camp and where the US maintains a naval base considered by Cuba as a violation of its sovereignty

Source

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 12:52 pm  Comments Off on Fidel Castro has offered to speak with Barack Obama  
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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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3,000 dead from cholera in Zimbabwe

November 26 2008

By Basildon Peta

A man pushes his relative in a wheelbarrow to a Cholera Polyclinic, where victims of cholera are being treated in Harare, Zimbabwe

Getty

A man pushes his relative in a wheelbarrow to a Cholera Polyclinic,

where victims of cholera are being treated in Harare, Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s President, is trying to hide the real extent of the cholera epidemic sweeping across his nation by silencing health workers and restricting access to the huge number of death certificates that give the same cause of death.

A senior official in the health ministry told The Independent yesterday that more than 3,000 people have died from the water-borne disease in the past two weeks, 10 times the widely-reported death toll of just over 300. “But even this higher figure is still an understatement because very few bother to register the deaths of their relatives these days,” said the official, who requested anonymity.

He said the health ministry, which once presided over a medical system that was the envy of Africa, had been banned from issuing accurate statistics about the deaths, and that certificates for the fraction of deaths that had been registered were being closely guarded by the home affairs ministry.

Yet the evidence of how this plague is hurting the people of Zimbabwe is there for all to see at the burial grounds in this collapsing country. “When you encounter such long queues in other countries, they are of people going to the cinema or a football match; certainly not into cemeteries to bury loved ones as we have here,” said Munyaradzi Mudzingwa, who lives in Chitungwiza, a town just outside Harare, where the epidemic is believed to have started.

When Mr Mudzingwa buried his 27-year-old brother, who succumbed to cholera last week, he said he had counted at least 40 other families lining up to bury loved ones. He said: “That’s sadly the depth of the misery into which Mugabe has sunk us.”

Unit O, his suburb, has been without running water for 13 months. The only borehole in the area, built with the help of aid agencies, attracted so many people day and night that it was rarely possible to access its water. Residents were forced to dig their own wells, which became contaminated with sewage. The water residents haul up is a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria, including Vibrio cholerae, which causes severe vomiting and diarrohea and can kill within hours if not treated.

The way to prevent death is, for the Zimbabwean people, agonisingly simple: antibiotics and rehydration. But this is a country with a broken sewerage system and soap is hard to come by. Harare’s Central Hospital officially closed last week, doctors and nurses are scarce and even those clinics offering a semblance of service do not have access to safe, clean drinking water and ask patients to bring their own.

As the ordinary people suffer Mr Mugabe is locked in a bitter power struggle with the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai over who should control which ministries in a unity government. The President has threatened to name a cabinet without the approval of the Movement for Democratic Change, which could see the whole peace deal unravel.

Talks were continuing between the two parties in Johannesburg yesterday with little sign of a breakthrough, but pressure is growing from around the region and beyond to strike a deal as the humanitarian crisis deepens. Hundreds of Zimbabweans have streamed into South Africa, desperate for medical care. Officials in the South African border town of Musina say their local hospital has treated more than 150 cholera patients so far. “[The outbreak] is a clear indication that ordinary Zimbabweans are the true victims of their leaders’ lack of political will,” the South African government’s chief spokesman Themba Maseko said.

Yesterday Oxfam warned that a million of Zimbabwe’s 13 million population were at risk from the cholera epidemic, and predicted that the crisis would worsen significantly in December, when heavy rains start. “The government of Zimbabwe must acknowledge the extent of the crisis and take immediate steps to mobilise all available resources,” said Charles Abani, the head of the agency’s southern Africa team. “Delay is not an option.”

The Zimbabwean Association of Doctors for Human Rights has accused the government of dramatically under- reporting the spread of the disease. Doctors and nurses – whose salaries can just buy a loaf of bread thanks to hyperinflation – tried to protest last week against the health crisis, but riot police moved in swiftly.

It is not just cholera victims who are suffering. Willard Mangaira, also from Chitungwiza, described how his 18-year-old pregnant sister died at home after being turned away at the main hospital because there were no staff and no equipment to perform the emergency Caesarean operation she needed. Yet he added that if the situation in Chitungwiza was deplorable, what he had left behind in his village of Chivhu, 100 miles away, was beyond description. Adults and children alike were now living off a wild fruit, hacha, and livestock owners are barred from letting their animals into the bush to graze until the people have fed first.

Bought foodstuffs are beyond reach. The official inflation figure is 231 million per cent and the real level is higher: some estimates say basic goods double in price every day. Few can afford to give their deceased relatives a proper funeral. Death used to be a sacred time, with families taking a week to celebrate the life of the deceased before burial. Now the dead are buried instantly.

Lovemore Churi buried his father within an hour of his being confirmed dead. “I did not have the money to let mourners assemble and then start to feed them,” he said. “If mourners hear that someone is already buried, they don’t bother coming and one does not have to worry about how to feed them. That is the way we now live.”

The disease: Deadly, but preventable

* Cholera is caused when a toxin-producing bacterium, Vibrio Cholerae, infects the gut. It is carried in water containing human faeces.

* In its most severe form, and without treatment of antibiotics and rehydration, it causes acute diarrhoea and dehydration, and can kill within hours of symptoms showing.

* John Snow, a doctor in 19th-century London, was the first to link it with contaminated water when he studied an outbreak in Soho in 1854, which had killed more than 600 in a few weeks.

* Until then, it was thought to be spread by a mysterious “miasma” in the atmosphere. Snow showed the outbreak came from a single contaminated well in Broad Street. He had the handle of the well removed, and the epidemic stopped almost overnight.

* Preventing cholera relies on proper sewage treatment, sanitation and water purification.

Source

Half of the Zimbabwe population faces starvation

In Zimbabwe Doctors and Nurses beaten by police during peaceful protest

Sanctions=Zimbabwe kids ‘eating rats’

Cholera Grips Zimbabwe’s Capital
MSF teams react to cholera outbreak in Harare

November 14, 2008

In Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is responding to a major outbreak of cholera, which the local Ministry of Health has declared “the biggest ever in Harare.” MSF has set up cholera treatment centers (CTC) in Budiriro Polyclinic and Harare Infectious Diseases Hospital, where 500 patients have been treated to date and, on average, 38 new patients are admitted every day. About 78 percent of the patients come from two densely populated suburbs in the southwest of Harare— Budiriro and Glen View—which have a combined population of approximately 300,000 people. The outbreak has also affected people from the neighboring suburbs of Mbare, Kambuzuma, Kwanzana, and Glen Norah. Up to 1.4 million people are endangered if the outbreak continues to spread.

Since they were asked to assist with the outbreak in Harare, MSF has been providing human, medical, and logistic resources at both CTCs. MSF’s growing team is comprised of over 40 national staff nurses, logisticians, chlorinators, and environmental health workers. The latter perform an important role in reducing the spread of cholera in the community, by disinfecting the homes of those affected, following up with contacts of patients, and supervising funerals, where the traditional practice of body washing, followed by food preparation and eating without proper hand washing, is a recognized factor in the spread of cholera.

Medical Teams are Overwhelmed

MSF water and sanitation officer, Precious Matarutse, comments on the situation: “At Budiriro CTC things are getting out of hand. There are so many patients that the nurses are overwhelmed. In the observation area, one girl died sitting on a bench. The staff is utilizing each and every available room and still in the observation area patients are lying on the floor. A man came to the clinic yesterday for treatment. His wife had just died at home and that is what made his relatives realize this is serious, and they brought the man to the clinic. They wanted to know what to do with the wife’s body. People are concerned about catching cholera from others. Health education must be intensified to inform the population.”

The challenges MSF teams face in the CTCs are manifold. Vittorio Varisco, MSF logistician, describes the struggle: “It is a constant challenge to keep up with increasing patient numbers. We are running out of ward space and beds for the patients. Today patients at the Infectious Diseases Hospital are lying outside on the grass and we are setting up tents with additional beds as an overflow for the wards.” MSF doctor Bauma Ngoya explained how vital human resources are in order to effectively treat patients and contain the outbreak: “Patients need constant supervision to ensure adequate hydration, without which they will die. As patient numbers continue to increase we must continue to recruit and train nursing staff.”

A New Urgency

Cholera is no new phenomenon in crisis-shaken Zimbabwe. In some of the rural areas of the country cholera is endemic and occurs every year. However, until recent years cholera was relatively rare in urban areas of the country where treated, piped water and flush toilets exist in most homes. With the ongoing economic crisis and the constantly deteriorating living conditions these urban areas are increasingly affected. The disease is water-borne and transmitted by the oral-fecal route; hence it thrives in unsanitary conditions. Run-down infrastructure, burst sewage pipes and water cuts are mainly responsible for the outbreak, as they force people to dig unprotected wells and to defecate in open spaces. During the rainy season from November to March, heavy rains effectively flush standing sewage into unprotected wells. The fact that the recent outbreaks of cholera have commenced before the rains, is a clear indication of the deteriorating sanitary conditions and shortage of clean water, and a worrying precursor to the rainy season.

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