Canada: Aboriginal children were used in government experiments

Hungry Canadian aboriginal children were used in government experiments during 1940s, researcher says

New historical research says hungry aboriginal children and adults were once used as unwitting subjects in nutritional experiments by the Canadian government.

By: Andrew Livingstone News reporter, Bob Weber The Canadian Press,

July 16 2013

Aboriginal children were deliberately starved in the 1940s and ’50s by government researchers in the name of science.

Milk rations were halved for years at residential schools across the country.

Essential vitamins were kept from people who needed them.

Dental services were withheld because gum health was a measuring tool for scientists and dental care would distort research.

For over a decade, aboriginal children and adults were unknowingly subjected to nutritional experiments by Canadian government bureaucrats.

This disturbing look into government policy toward aboriginals after World War II comes to light in recently published historical research.

When Canadian researchers went to a number of northern Manitoba reserves in 1942 they found rampant malnourishment. But instead of recommending increased federal support to improve the health of hundreds of aboriginals suffering from a collapsing fur trade and already limited government aid, they decided against it. Nutritionally deprived aboriginals would be the perfect test subjects, researchers thought.

The details come from Ian Mosby, a post-doctorate at the University of Guelph, whose research focused on one of the most horrific aspects of government policy toward aboriginals during a time when rules for research on humans were just being adopted by the scientific community.

Researching the development of health policy for a different research project, Mosby uncovered “vague references to studies conducted on ‘Indians’ ” and began to investigate.

Government documents eventually revealed a long-standing, government-run experiment that came to span the entire country and involved at least 1,300 aboriginals, most of them children.

These experiments aren’t surprising to Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission became aware of the experiments during their collection of documents relating to the treatment and abuse of native children at residential schools across Canada from the 1870s to the 1990s.

It’s a disturbing piece of research, he said, and the experiments are entrenched with the racism of the time.

“This discovery, it’s indicative of the attitude toward aboriginals,” Sinclair said. “They thought aboriginals shouldn’t be consulted and their consent shouldn’t be asked for. They looked at it as a right to do what they wanted then.”

In the research paper, published in May, Mosby wrote, “the experiment seems to have been driven, at least in part, by the nutrition experts’ desire to test their theories on a ready-made ‘laboratory’ populated with already malnourished human experimental subjects.”

Researchers visited The Pas and Norway House in northern Manitoba in 1942 and found a demoralized population marked by, in their words, “shiftlessness, indolence, improvidence and inertia.”

They decided that isolated, dependent, hungry people would be ideal subjects for tests on the effects of different diets.

“In the 1940s, there were a lot of questions about what are human requirements for vitamins,” Mosby said. “Malnourished aboriginal people became viewed as possible means of testing these theories.”

These experiments are “abhorrent and completely unacceptable,” said Andrea Richer, spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt.

The first experiment began in 1942 on 300 Norway House Cree. Of that group, 125 were selected to receive vitamin supplements, which were withheld from the rest.

At the time, researchers calculated the local people were living on less than 1,500 calories a day. Normal, healthy adults generally require at least 2,000.

In 1947, plans were developed for research on about 1,000 hungry aboriginal children in six residential schools in Port Alberni, B.C., Kenora, Ont., Schubenacadie, N.S., and Lethbridge, Alta.

One school for two years deliberately held milk rations to less than half the recommended amount to get a ‘baseline’ reading for when the allowance was increased. At another school, children were divided into one group that received vitamin, iron and iodine supplements and one that didn’t.

One school depressed levels of vitamin B1 to create another baseline before levels were boosted.

And, so that all the results could be properly measured, one school was allowed none of those supplements.

The experiments, repugnant today, would probably have been considered ethically dubious even at the time, said Mosby.

“I think they really did think they were helping people. Whether they thought they were helping the people that were actually involved in the studies — that’s a different question. Source

More on this story

Hungry aboriginal people used in bureaucrats’ experiments

Update July 18 2013

First Nations leaders demand apology for nutritional experiments

Update July 19 2013

Canadian nutrition experiments ‘alarming’ but not surprising, says former aboriginal student

Update July 30 2013

Aboriginal nutritional experiments had Ottawa’s approval

Update July 31 2013

Aboriginal children used in medical tests, commissioner says

Aboriginal Canadians were not only subjected to nutritional experiments by the federal government in the 1940s and 1950s but were also used as medical test subjects, says the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In an interview with CBC Radio’s All Points West on Tuesday, Justice Murray Sinclair told host Jo-Ann Roberts that commission staff has “seen the documents that relate to the experiments that were conducted in residential schools.”

Other documents related to experimentation in aboriginal communities outside of residential schools have not yet been obtained, Sinclair said.

“We do know that there were research initiatives that were conducted with regard to medicines that were used ultimately to treat the Canadian population. Some of those medicines were tested in aboriginal communities and residential schools before they were utilized publicly.”

Sinclair said some of those medicines developed were then withheld from the same aboriginal children they were originally tested on.

“Some of those medicines which we know were able to work in the general population, we also have discovered were withheld from children in residential schools, and we’re trying to find the documents which explain that too,” Sinclair said.

CBC News has not seen the documents in the possession of the commission.

Recent revelations that the Canadian government used at least 1,300 aboriginal children attending residential schools in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia as test subjects have prompted further calls from aboriginal groups to pressure the federal government to turn over all archival documents related to residential schools.

“Our government recognizes that the relationship between Canada and First Nations has helped shape the country we know today,” Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt’s director of communications Jason MacDonald said Wednesday in a statement.

“While we cannot undo the past, we can learn from it and ensure that those dark chapters are not repeated.”

MacDonald said that is why the Conservative government apologized for the residential school policy and “that is why we continue to focus on the work of reconciliation, on improving living conditions for First Nations, and on creating economic opportunities for First Nation communities.”

The commission, according to Sinclair, is in possession of the documents used by historian Ian Mosby to show that the Canadian government conducted nutritional experiments on malnourished aboriginal children and adults attending residential schools during and after the Second World War.

However, the commission has not been able to obtain documents “related to experimentation that went on in aboriginal communities outside of the residential school setting.”

“We haven’t seen those documents,” the chair of the commission told CBC News.

Valcourt’s office has said they have turned over 900 documents related to this to the work by the commission.

Ottawa ordered to provide all documents

In January, an Ontario Court ordered the Canadian government to turn over all residential school archival documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and while the federal government has expressed a willingness to comply, Sinclair said “we haven’t seen the documents start to flow yet.”

The worry now, said Sinclair, is that even with the best of intentions Ottawa may not have the resources to provide all these archival documents in a timely manner.

“It’s a question of capacity and whether they have sufficient resources and time to be able to get them to us before our mandate as a commission expires on July 1, 2014.”

Sinclair said that if the federal government is unable to turn over all of the documents from Library and Archives Canada before the commission’s mandate expires next summer, the commission may have to turn to the courts once more.

Many of the documents are said to reside with departments outside of Aboriginal Affairs, such as the Health Department.

But a final report without all the documents would not be a “truthful” report, according to Sinclair.

“The report itself, in our view, only complies with the mandate if we are able to write a full and complete history of residential schools and in order to do that, we need those documents,” the chair of the commission told CBC News.

The residential schools system, which ran from the 1870s until the 1990s, removed about 150,000 aboriginal children from their families and sent them to church-run schools under a deliberate policy of “civilizing” First Nations.

Many students were physically, mentally and sexually abused. Some committed suicide. Mortality rates reached 50 per cent at some schools.

In the 1990s, thousands of victims sued the churches that ran the schools and the Canadian government.

The $1.9-billion settlement of that suit in 2007 prompted an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper followed by the creation of the commission in 2008. Source

August 19 2013 Update

80 per cent of Kenora residential school students had TB

Newly released archival documents show alarming rate of deadly disease

For the rest of the story go HERE

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In Shining India, Over 5,000 Children Die Every Day From Hunger And Malnutrition

By Devinder Sharma

September 9, 2010

The startling figure still resonates in my memory. Some 25 years back, I remember reading a report in one of the major dailies which said that some 5,000 children die every day in India. Today morning, my attention therefore was automatically drawn to a news report: 1.83 million children die before fifth bithday every year: Report (Indian Express, Sept 8, 2010).

I immediately took out a pen and paper to find out the per day child mortality rate. I wanted to know whether the child mortality rate has come down, and by how much, in the last 25 years or so. My disappointment has grown. The calculations shows that every day 5,013 children are succumbing to malnutrition. Given that a half of all children in India are under-nourished as per the National Family Health Survey III (2005-06), of which over 5,000 die every day I think every Indian needs to hang his/her head in shame.

Globally, 14,600 children die every day. This means that India alone has the dubious distinction of having more than a third of the world’s child mortality. This is ironically happening at a time when food is rotting in the godowns.

Yes, India is surely an emerging economic superpower, but building an Empire over hungry stomachs! Mera Bharat Mahaan!!

A new global report “A fair Chance at Life” by the international child rights organisation Save the Children is not only a damming indictment of the supplementary nutrition programmes that have been running for several decades now, but also is an eye-opener in many ways. While it tells us how hollow the global claims under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are, nationally it shows us the stark hidden realities. A country which doesn’t get tired of patting itself in the back for creating an impressive list of 50 billionaires, and off and on does bask under the fictitious glow of Shining India, the dark underbelly remains deliberately hidden from the media glare.

Let us look at what the report says: “Of the 26 million children born in India every year, approximately 1.83 million died before their fifth birthday. “What these aggregate figures do not reveal are the huge inequities in mortality rates across the country, within States and between them, as well as between children in urban and rural areas.”

Half of these children actually die within a month of being born. In other words, nearly 2,500 children of those who die have not even survived for more than a month. This is an indication of not only the inability of the parents to provide adequate nutrition to their new born, but more than that is a reflection of the impoverished condition of the especially the mother. Does it not tell us to what extent poverty and hunger prevails in this country? Do we need to still work out more effective parameters to measure hunger and malnutrition? Do we really need to find a new estimate of people living below the poverty line (BPL)?

Madhya Pradesh tops the list, followed closely by Uttar Pradesh. The under-5 mortality rate in Kerala was 14 deaths per 1000 live births. This stood at a sharp contrast to Madhya Pradesh at 92 per 1000 and 91 per 1000 for Uttar Pradesh.

I am reproducing below a news report from the pages of The Hindu (Sept 8, 2010):

‘Children from poorest section 3 times more likely to die before age of 5 than those from high income groups’

Children from the poorest communities are three times more likely to die before they reach the age of 5 than those from high income groups, Save the Children, a non-governmental organisation has said.

In a global report titled A Fair Chance at Life, the organisation said the policy to lower child mortality in India and elsewhere appeared to focus on children from better-off communities, leaving out those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The 41 percentage decline in child mortality over the last two decades masks a dangerous expansion of the child mortality gap between the richest and poorest families in India,” Save the Children CEO Thomas Chandy said.

Child mortality is often described as the best barometer of social and economic progress. Despite being one of the fastest growing economies, there has been no visible pattern between per capita income growth and the rate of reduction of child mortality rates. In 2008, 5.3 lakh children under 5 died in the lowest income quintile in comparison to 1.78 lakh among the wealthy quintile. The rate of decline between 2005-06 and 1997-98 among the lowest income quintile is 22.69 per cent, compared to 34.37 per cent among the high income quintile for the same period.

Of the 26 million children born in India every year, approximately 1.83 million died before their fifth birthday. “What these aggregate figures do not reveal are the huge inequities in mortality rates across the country, within States and between them, as well as between children in urban and rural areas,” Mr. Chandy said.

The under-5 mortality rate in Kerala was 14 deaths per 1000 live births. This stood at a sharp contrast to Madhya Pradesh at 92 per 1000 and 91 per 1000 for Uttar Pradesh.

“Every child has the right to survive and the Indian government has an obligation to protect them. Save the Children’s research shows that prioritising marginalised and excluded communities, especially in the States lagging behind, is one of the surest ways that India can reduce the number of children dying from easily preventable causes. The National Rural Health Mission, for example, should have a clear focus on social inclusion of Dalits and adivasis in terms of access to healthcare,” he said.

Save the Children’s report comes two weeks before a high-level U.N. summit in New York from September 20-22 to assess progress against the Millennium Development Goals.

By demonstrating a political will and the right policies, MDG4 could be achieved in India. The good schemes in place needed to be matched by effective implementation. And there was enough experience in India proving that low-cost interventions can make the difference between life and death for a child, the report said.

Huge inequity in child mortality rates: Survey
http://www.thehindu.com/news/article617626.ece

Source

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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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Diplomats say U.S. blocks UN statement on Gaza

Jean-Maurice Ripert, French ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to reporters at UN headquarters after an emergency meeting on the situation in Gaza on Sat., Jan. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/ David Karp)
Jean-Maurice Ripert, French ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to reporters at UN headquarters after an emergency meeting on the situation in Gaza on Sat., Jan. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/ David Karp)

Diplomats say U.S. blocks UN statement on Gaza
January 4 2009

UNITED NATIONS
The United States has blocked approval of a UN Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, diplomats said.

French UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, the council president, said the 15 council members could not agree on a statement in closed discussions held after Israel launched a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip on Saturday. But he said there were “strong convergences” among the members to express concern about the deteriorating situation in Gaza and the need for “an immediate, permanent and fully respected cease-fire.”

Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi said the United States during the discussions late Saturday objected to “any outcome” on the proposed statement. He said efforts were made to compromise on a weaker press statement but there was no consensus.

Several other council members, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were closed, also said the U.S. was responsible for the council’s failure to issue a statement.

The U.S., Israel’s closest ally, has designated Hamas a terrorist organization. U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the United States saw no prospect of Hamas abiding by last week’s council call for an immediate end to the violence. Therefore, he said, a new statement “would not be adhered to and would have no underpinning for success, (and) would not do credit to the council.”

Libya, the only Arab nation on the council, called the emergency meeting after Israel sent tanks and infantry across the border into Gaza on the eighth day of its offensive against Hamas militants. The ground attack followed a week of air strikes, which Hamas responded to with salvos of rocket fired into southern Israel.

Arab nations demanded that the council adopt a statement calling for an immediate cease fire and expressing “serious concern at the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the situation in Gaza and southern Israel,” a view echoed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

If it had been approved, the statement would have become part of the council’s official record but would not have the weight of a Security Council resolution, which is legally binding.

Egypt’s UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said it was regrettable that one permanent council member — a clear reference to the U.S. — refused to accept any statement at a time when “the aggression is escalating and more people are dying and the military attack on the ground is at its full scale.”

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN observer, said: “We have war. We have aggression against the Palestinian people, and it is a sad and tragic moment when the Security Council cannot address this issue by at least demanding from Israel … to stop this aggression immediately.”

More than 480 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 3,000 injured in Gaza, and four people have been killed in Israel.

Israel maintains the offensive is aimed at stopping the rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza that have traumatized southern Israel.

Though the Security Council took no action on Saturday night, an Arab draft resolution circulated by Libya on Wednesday night that would condemn Israel and halt its military attacks on Gaza remains on the table. It would have to be revised, however, since the United States has already called it “unacceptable” and “unbalanced” because it doesn’t call for an end to the Hamas rocketing of Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected in New York on Tuesday, along with half a dozen Arab foreign ministers who will be at the UN on Monday, to press for a cease-fire resolution.

Mansour said he hopes Abbas and the ministers will succeed in pushing through a resolution “so that we will have a durable and sustainable cease fire between us and the Israelis.”

Asked what kind of resolution would be acceptable to the United States, Wolff said: “The important point to focus on here is establishing the understanding of what type of cease fire we’re talking about and to ensure that it’s lasting, and to ensure that we don’t return to a situation that led to the current situation.”

Source

The US makes a habit of this. They have blocked UN Resolutions 40 times previous to this one as well. Just because the US says anything doesn’t make it true, except in their own minds.   They said Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction” too and that was a lie. What Israel is doing I consider premeditated, mass, murder as they planed this  over six months ago.  This is the second time in as many weeks the US has interfered with the UN as noted below.

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

December 28, 2008

The UN Security Council has been unable to force an end to Israeli attacks against Gaza due to the intervention of the United States.

Israel wouldn’t  let the UN in to deliver food back in November.

November 14 2008
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
A U.N. official says Israel is holding up planned food aid shipments to Gaza.

You know letting people starve is a crime. If Hamas did do something, it was in reaction to premeditated,  death by  starvation. Of course Israel has done numerous things to terrorize the Palestinians.

Building of the Wall for example.  Kind of reminded me of the Berlin wall.

Of course I am not alone in thinking much of what the Israelis are doing is similar to what Nazis did to the Jews. This opinion is growing.

Where is the shock and horror towards the over 420 Palestinian men, women and children have been killed by Israeli bombs in the streets of Gaza? Where is the urgent reaction by world leaders, and not just those from the Arab league?

There are a lot of Questions this writer asks and I have asked myself many of the same questions. You should too.

Through out all of this everyone around the world will see the cruelty of Israel and the determination of the US to make absolutely sure nothing is done to help the Palestinians. In recent weeks up to the invasion of Gaza Israel had done numerous things to push Hamas into a corner.

They have been doing this for years not just because of  Hamas,  but anyone who leads in Gaza.

I guess we will have to dig up a nice long list of some of their nasty deeds. There are many.

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Israeli troops bisect Gaza, clash with Hamas fighters

Palestinians carry people injured during an Israeli army operation in Gaza, into Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. (AP / Fadi Adwan)

A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of a relative that was killed in an Israeli air strike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. (AP / Fadi Adwan)

January 4 2009

Israeli troops clashed with Hamas militants early Sunday, leading to a number of casualties on both sides, as an Israeli ground offensive in the Gaza Strip gained momentum.

After moving into Gaza after nightfall, Israeli tanks and troops bisected the narrow strip of land and surrounded Gaza City.

The Israeli military says that soldiers have killed or wounded dozens of militants, but according to Gaza officials, at least 31 civilians have been killed in the ground offensive.

However, Palestinian medical officials could not confirm the exact number of casualties, as they are unable to move around Gaza due to the fighting. According to Hamas, four of its fighters have been killed.

The Israeli military reports that one soldier has been killed and 30 wounded, two seriously, as television news images show army ambulances bringing soldiers to a hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.

The ground invasion came after a week of air strikes launched by Israel against Hamas targets in Gaza in an effort to stem the rocket attacks launched into Israel from within the territory.

The air strikes have killed more than 500 people in Gaza since the latest conflict began on Dec. 27, and Palestinian and UN officials say at least 100 of those killed were civilians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel would protect its civilians from rocket attacks, which continued throughout the air assault.

“This morning I can look every one of you in the eyes and say the government did everything before deciding to go ahead with the operation,” Olmert said.

Israeli officials have said they do not intend to occupy the Gaza Strip and have been clear that the goal is to stop rocket attacks.

However, the ground offensive would not be “a rapid one that would end in hours or a few days,” warned one senior military officer, who asked not be named.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the ground offensive “brutal aggression,” and reached out to his rivals in Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

In response to the troop movement, Hamas officials said Gaza would become a “graveyard” for Israeli soldiers.

“You entered like rats,” Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said in a statement on Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV. “Gaza will be a graveyard for you, God willing.”

Offensive widens

The Israeli army has called up tens of thousands of reserve soldiers in advance of a potential third phase that could include a wider ground offensive.

Defence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the troops could be called in should militants in the West Bank or Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon launch attacks of their own.

But early Sunday, the Israeli offensive targeted the northern Gaza Strip, cutting off Gaza City’s 400,000 residents from the rest of the region to the south.

It is from northern Gaza that most rockets are fired into Israel.

In an interview Sunday morning on Newsnet, CTV News correspondent Janis Mackey Frayer said that partitioning Gaza is an attempt by the Israeli army to “impede the movement of Hamas and other militant groups. They believe it disables fighters from being able to move around, it disables rocket squads, it’s trying to effectively take control of movement within the Gaza Strip.”

The heaviest fighting Sunday occurred in the town of Beit Lahiya, where an artillery shell killed eight civilians as they ran to a nearby school to take cover, according to local paramedics.

Earlier this week, Beit Lahiya was hit by at least two air strikes, which also killed civilians.

Israeli troops were also reportedly searching houses in the northern town of al-Attatra. However, many residents had already fled in advance of the soldiers’ arrival.

Humanitarian disaster looms

The week-long air offensive has knocked out power to many homes and businesses in the Gaza Strip, leaving many families without heat and many shops unable to store food supplies.

“They’re traumatized, they’re terrorized and they’re trapped,” John Ging of the UN Relief and Work Agency, which has 10,000 Palestinian volunteers in Gaza, told CTV Newsnet on Sunday. “The population is without water, food is critically low, there’s no electricity.”

Ging also said that the dead and injured have left Gaza hospitals “completely and utterly overburdened.”

According to Ging, one Palestinian UN aid worker volunteering at a local hospital has been killed. He did not elaborate on exactly how the worker died.

The Israeli army dropped leaflets on Gaza Saturday, warning residents to take cover in advance of the ground offensive.

“The problem of course is that Gaza is a sealed place. It is confined, it is densely populated,” Mackey Frayer said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit the region Monday in an attempt to broker a cease fire and encourage the resumption of peace talks.

Source

Israel prepares for possible ground offensive

Palestinian nurses treat Ihab Alhrzyn who was wounded in a recent Israeli airstrike, at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008. (AP / Hatem Moussa)

A Palestinian inspects damage at the Hamas Interior Ministry building, following Israeli missile strikes in Gaza City, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008. (AP / Hatem Moussa)

December 31 2008

Israel ramped up preparations Wednesday for a possible ground assault of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, amassing more troops at the border after it rebuffed a possible ceasefire.

Soldiers gathered at the edge of the densely-populated strip of land, along with dozens of tanks. Israel’s government also approved the call-up of 9,000 reservists.

Overnight, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had discussed a 48-hour truce proposal put forth by France with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

The meeting ended with a rejection of the proposal.

Israel has rebuffed international pressure to impose a temporary halt of its offensive in Gaza, promising not to stop until Hamas guarantees they will no longer shoot rockets across the border.

Overnight, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed a 48-hour truce proposal put forth by France with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

The meeting ended with a rejection of the proposal.

“Giving Hamas a respite just to regroup, rearm is a mistake,” Olmert spokesperson Mark Regev said. “The pressure on the Hamas military machine must continue.”

CTV Middle East Bureau Chief Janis Mackey Frayer sat down with Livni in Sderot, a town in southern Israel hit hard by Hamas rockets, and asked her about Israel’s objectives for the current military operation.

“When Israel is under attack we are going to retaliate, we are going to act back,” Livni said. “I’m not going to exist as a government and say to my citizens, ‘This is something you need to get used to’ — to be under attacks, even sporadic attacks, from the Gaza strip.”

She said Israel wants to “change realities” in the Gaza Strip, meaning a regime change. However, she also said removing Hamas from power is not the purpose of the current military campaign, but that Israel hopes Palestinians will vote out the group.

“Now (Hamas) knows that when they target Israel, Israel will act back, and I mean with forces that are not a proportionate answer to rocket attacks,” she said. “This should work once. And if they don’t understand it, it’s going to work in the future until they understand, and the population in Gaza understands, that Hamas is a problem for everybody.”

Livni also dismissed criticism that Israeli’s air strikes were carefully timed to coincide with the country’s upcoming election to draw support from voters, and before Barack Obama — who may be less supportive of Israel’s tactics than George Bush — takes office in the United States.

“It’s not connected to elections or to timing, it’s a question of a moment in which we can say, ‘OK, reality has changed,'” she said.

Livni also said Israel is “not the aggressor in the conflict.”

‘Far away’ from peace

Samah Sabawi, a spokesperson for the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations, said she was dismayed by that assertion.

“Israel has held, for 40 years, an illegal occupation of Palestinian land,” Sabawi, who was born in the Gaza Strip, told CTV Newsnet on Wednesday. “That occupation itself is a form of aggression against the Palestinians.

She said the way Israel has treated the Palestinians — building settlements in the territories, erecting walls — is also a “great form of aggression, and until Israel starts to understand that, we’re really far away from any kind of peaceful resolution.”

The campaign, which will enter its sixth day, has so far killed about 400 people in the Gaza Strip and injured 1,600. Of the dead, at least 200 were uniformed Hamas members. According to the UN, 60 Palestinian civilians have also been killed.

Hamas is protesting a blockade enforced by Israel that has reduced the amount of food and medical supplies entering the country. Sabawi said her sister, a doctor working in Gaza, told her the hospitals have been flooded with casualties but lack enough resources to treat them.

“The situation is very dire,” said Sabawi. “There is no hot water in the hospital. There is still no electricity, so the hospital is having to rely on generators to keep the lights on and keep the life-support machines running.”

She also said that while some supplies are still reaching the hospital, staff have run out of medication to help burn victims.

“Because Israel destroyed the infrastructure and the fire department, there’s a lot of fires going on from the bombings, and from people trying to find heat by burning wood and coal inside their homes,” said Sabawi.

Attacks continue

Gabriella Shalev, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said the bombing campaign is the only way for Israel to bring about peace and security for Israelis targeted by rockets in the south.

“This is the right and the duty of every sovereign state to defend its own people so unless we get assurances and guarantees that Hamas will stop rocketing Israel, there will be no ceasefire,” Shalev told CTV Newsnet on Wednesday.

By midday Wednesday, more than two dozen rockets and mortar shells had been fired on Israel, including five that struck Beersheba, a major southern Israeli city.

Militants have been able to extend their reach with better rockets, putting more than one-tenth of the Israeli population in danger.

Since the conflict began, four Israelis, including three civilians, have been killed by militant rocket fire.

Hamas spokesman Taher Nunu said Wednesday that the Gaza government is still functioning.

“What our people want is clear: an immediate stop to all kinds of aggression, the end of the siege by all means, the opening of all border crossings, and international guarantees that the occupation will not renew this terrorist war again,” Nunu said in a statement.

The current crisis began roughly a week after a six-month truce between Israel and Hamas ended with a barrage of Hamas rocket fire. On Christmas day, 80 rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel.

Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae said Wednesday that Hamas needs to change the way it operates.

“Hamas has refused to recognize Israel and has rejected a ceasefire,” Rae told CTV Newsnet. “It’s absolutely crucial that Hamas change the way it behaves.”

At the same time, Rae said everyone has to work with the Israelis to achieve a real ceasefire that Hamas will respect.

“We all have to be working with the Israeli government to make sure that the long term efforts at finding a peaceful solution are not lost sight of,” he said.

Calls for an immediate ceasefire have also come from the Quartet — the U.S., E.U., UN and Russia — who joined together to attempt to broker a peace agreement in 2002.

“Israel says that at this stage there’s no use in exploring band aid solutions to what they still see as a grave problem — Hamas is still firing rockets from the Gaza Strip,” Mackey Frayer said.

Although it has rejected the temporary ceasefire, Israel has agreed to allow 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies into Gaza Wednesday.

Shalev said Israel’s borders were open all the time to allow aid into Gaza.

Source

Shalev said Israel’s borders were open all the time to allow aid into Gaza.

This is a blatant lie. What BS. They wouldn’t even let the UN in with food .

U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

How stupid are people if they believe this type of lie?

So I am guessing Israel is saying  the UN lied ?

Israel is the lier. If they lie about that they will lie about anything.

Published in: on January 5, 2009 at 1:26 am  Comments Off on Diplomats say U.S. blocks UN statement on Gaza  
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Lucky few leave Gaza, Israel planned attacks six months ago

Iranian clerics wearing shrouds chant slogans during an anti-Israeli demonstration after the Friday prayers at Palestine square of Tehran Jan. 2, protesting Israel's continuing bombardment of Gaza.`
Iranian clerics wearing shrouds chant slogans during an anti-Israeli demonstration after the Friday prayers at Palestine square of Tehran Jan. 2, protesting Israel’s continuing bombardment of Gaza.`
Photograph by: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

GAZA – They boarded buses in the pre-dawn murk on Friday, lucky foreign passport holders allowed by Israel to escape from seven days of Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip.

“The situation is very bad. We are afraid for our children,” said Ilona Hamdiya, a woman from Moldova married to a Palestinian. “We are very grateful to our embassy,” she said in lightly accented Arabic.

Between 350 and 450 foreigners were authorised by Israel to leave Gaza if they wish, via the forbidding concrete corridor that ushers them into Israel’s fortified crossing point and its panoply of security scanners to detect hidden suicide bombs.

Five busloads headed out on the short trip to the border, one of American passport holders and four of mainly East Europeans.

They left behind 1.5 million Palestinians unable to escape the conflict which has killed 414 people since it began last Saturday. Four Israelis have been killed by Gaza rockets.

Gaza city was waking up to another day of Israeli air strikes, flickering electricity and long queues for bread. Aside from the bakeries, the almost deserted streets were cold and dirty, littered with a week’s bombing debris.

Morning air strikes hit six houses. A Palestinian girl of about 14 died apparently of a heart attack, terrified by an explosion which rocked her house, neighbours said.

In the south an Israeli missile killed three children aged 8 to 12, as they played in the street in southern town of Khan Yunis. One was decapitated. At Shifa hospital in Gaza City, doctors could not disguise their anger.

“These injuries are not survivable injuries,” said Madth Gilbert, a Norwegian surgeon unable to save one boy who had both feet blown off. “This is a murder. This is a child,” he said.

At the UN Beach Distribution Centre, teenagers with rickety trolleys and men with horses and carts collected sacks of flour and other food aid from a warehouse replenished the day before by 70 aid trucks allowed in via Israel.

“Only God can get us out of this mess,” said one old man waiting to buy his ration of unleavened loaves.

DIE BEFORE GOD

At Jabalya refugee camp to the north, boys inspected the twisted concrete left by one of the Israeli air force’s latest targets, the so-called Mosque of Martyrs which Israel says was a a hidden arsenal and command post for fighters of the Islamist Hamas group which rules the Gaza Strip.

The air force supplied black and white cockpit video of the strike to underscore the large number of secondary explosions which it said proved its case.

Several mosques that would normally be busy before Friday prayers were still closed in the morning because they had been warned by Israel’s army that they would be bombed.

Nine have been hit since the attack began on Saturday.

“I will pray at home. You never know, they may bomb the mosque and destroy it on our heads,” said one man buying humus from a street stand. Another was defiant: “What better than to die while kneeling before God?” he said.

Gaza markets, normally bustling on a Friday, were deserted.

“It is an adventure to get out of your house to fetch a kilo of tomatoes or something,” said Abu Yasser, a father of four.

“But I must take my chances because my children are not to blame for this and they do not understand why all this is happening,” he told Reuters.

Hundreds of families say they have had telephone calls warning their houses would be bombed, and they have left to stay with relatives or friends. Some of their neighbours have packed up and gone as well, wary of becoming “collateral damage”.

Duct tape has been in heavy demand by Palestinians who tape up their windows hoping to protect against flying glass from the heavy explosions.

Hamas police moved about mostly in plain clothes, with no guns on display. Merchants were warned against war profiteering.

Source

The True Story Behind this War Is Not The One Israel Is Telling

By Johann Hari

December 29 2008
The world isn’t just watching the Israeli government commit a crime in Gaza; we are watching it self-harm. This morning, and tomorrow morning, and every morning until this punishment beating ends, the young people of the Gaza Strip are going to be more filled with hate, and more determined to fight back, with stones or suicide vests or rockets. Israeli leaders have convinced themselves that the harder you beat the Palestinians, the softer they will become. But when this is over, the rage against Israelis will have hardened, and the same old compromises will still be waiting by the roadside of history, untended and unmade.

To understand how frightening it is to be a Gazan this morning, you need to have stood in that small slab of concrete by the Mediterranean and smelled the claustrophobia. The Gaza Strip is smaller than the Isle of Wight but it is crammed with 1.5 million people who can never leave. They live out their lives on top of each other, jobless and hungry, in vast, sagging tower blocks. From the top floor, you can often see the borders of their world: the Mediterranean, and Israeli barbed wire. When bombs begin to fall – as they are doing now with more deadly force than at any time since 1967 – there is nowhere to hide.

There will now be a war over the story of this war. The Israeli government says, “We withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and in return we got Hamas and Qassam rockets being rained on our cities. Sixteen civilians have been murdered. How many more are we supposed to sacrifice?” It is a plausible narrative, and there are shards of truth in it, but it is also filled with holes. If we want to understand the reality and really stop the rockets, we need to rewind a few years and view the run-up to this war dispassionately.

The Israeli government did indeed withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005 – in order to be able to intensify control of the West Bank. Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser, Dov Weisglass, was unequivocal about this, explaining: “The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians… this whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.”

Ordinary Palestinians were horrified by this, and by the fetid corruption of their own Fatah leaders, so they voted for Hamas. It certainly wouldn’t have been my choice – an Islamist party is antithetical to all my convictions – but we have to be honest. It was a free and democratic election, and it was not a rejection of a two-state solution. The most detailed polling of Palestinians, by the University of Maryland, found that 72 per cent want a two-state solution on the 1967 borders, while fewer than 20 per cent want to reclaim the whole of historic Palestine. So, partly in response to this pressure, Hamas offered Israel a long, long ceasefire and a de facto acceptance of two states, if only Israel would return to its legal borders.

Rather than seize this opportunity and test Hamas’s sincerity, the Israeli government reacted by punishing the entire civilian population. It announced that it was blockading the Gaza Strip in order to “pressure” its people to reverse the democratic process. The Israelis surrounded the Strip and refused to let anyone or anything out. They let in a small trickle of food, fuel and medicine – but not enough for survival. Weisglass quipped that the Gazans were being “put on a diet”. According to Oxfam, only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza last month to feed 1.5 million people. The United Nations says poverty has reached an “unprecedented level.” When I was last in besieged Gaza, I saw hospitals turning away the sick because their machinery and medicine was running out. I met hungry children stumbling around the streets, scavenging for food.

It was in this context – under a collective punishment designed to topple a democracy – that some forces within Gaza did something immoral: they fired Qassam rockets indiscriminately at Israeli cities. These rockets have killed 16 Israeli citizens. This is abhorrent: targeting civilians is always murder. But it is hypocritical for the Israeli government to claim now to speak out for the safety of civilians when it has been terrorising civilians as a matter of state policy.

The American and European governments are responding with a lop-sidedness that ignores these realities. They say that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate while under rocket fire, but they demand that the Palestinians do so under siege in Gaza and violent military occupation in the West Bank.

Before it falls down the memory hole, we should remember that last week, Hamas offered a ceasefire in return for basic and achievable compromises. Don’t take my word for it. According to the Israeli press, Yuval Diskin, the current head of the Israeli security service Shin Bet, “told the Israeli cabinet [on 23 December] that Hamas is interested in continuing the truce, but wants to improve its terms.” Diskin explained that Hamas was requesting two things: an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. The cabinet – high with election fever and eager to appear tough – rejected these terms.

The core of the situation has been starkly laid out by Ephraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad. He says that while Hamas militants – like much of the Israeli right-wing – dream of driving their opponents away, “they have recognised this ideological goal is not attainable and will not be in the foreseeable future.” Instead, “they are ready and willing to see the establishment of a Palestinian state in the temporary borders of 1967.” They are aware that this means they “will have to adopt a path that could lead them far from their original goals” – and towards a long-term peace based on compromise.

The rejectionists on both sides – from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to Bibi Netanyahu of Israel – would then be marginalised. It is the only path that could yet end in peace but it is the Israeli government that refuses to choose it. Halevy explains: “Israel, for reasons of its own, did not want to turn the ceasefire into the start of a diplomatic process with Hamas.”

Why would Israel act this way? The Israeli government wants peace, but only one imposed on its own terms, based on the acceptance of defeat by the Palestinians. It means the Israelis can keep the slabs of the West Bank on “their” side of the wall. It means they keep the largest settlements and control the water supply. And it means a divided Palestine, with responsibility for Gaza hived off to Egypt, and the broken-up West Bank standing alone. Negotiations threaten this vision: they would require Israel to give up more than it wants to. But an imposed peace will be no peace at all: it will not stop the rockets or the rage. For real safety, Israel will have to talk to the people it is blockading and bombing today, and compromise with them.

The sound of Gaza burning should be drowned out by the words of the Israeli writer Larry Derfner. He says: “Israel’s war with Gaza has to be the most one-sided on earth… If the point is to end it, or at least begin to end it, the ball is not in Hamas’s court – it is in ours.”

Source

The video also states that Israel planned the attacks over six months ago.

Live Video Coverage Of Israel’s Attack On Gaza.

If anyone thinks the US cares about Gaza you are wrong.
US gives Israel free rein on whether to invade Gaza

WASHINGTON

January 3 2008

US President George W. Bush, in remarks to be broadcast Saturday, urged all able parties to press Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel and secure a lasting ceasefire, after a week of heavy Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

His administration meanwhile gave Israel free rein over whether to send ground troops into Gaza, despite growing criticism over its handling of a conflict that has killed at least 436 Palestinians and left 2,290 others wounded.

At least 75 of those killed have been children, according to emergency services inside Gaza.

“The United States is leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful ceasefire that is fully respected,” Bush said in his weekly radio address, the text of which was released by the White House in advance.

These were his first remarks since the conflict erupted a week ago.

He said “I urge all parties to pressure Hamas to turn away from terror, and to support legitimate Palestinian leaders working for peace,” including Mahmud Abbas, president of the US-backed Palestinian Authority.

He said he has been in contact with Abbas as well as King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel.

Bush, who hands the White House to his successor Barack Obama in just 18 days, blamed Hamas for the latest violence and rejected a unilateral ceasefire that would allow Hamas to continue to attack Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Hamas shared power with the Palestinian Authority for a period after winning parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza in 2006 but the arrangement collapsed and Hamas seized power outright in Gaza in June 2007.

“This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas — a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel’s destruction,” Bush said.

Bush said the Israeli strikes were in self-defense after Hamas let a six-month ceasefire lapse on December 19 and fired rockets at Israel.

He also accused Hamas of putting Palestinian lives at risk by hiding among them.

White House deputy press secretary Gordon Johndroe earlier said the United States has urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties in their military operations, whether they involve continued air assaults or a ground incursion.

“Those will be decisions made by the Israelis,” he said when asked if Israel would be justified in launching a ground assault.

Israel has thousands of troops massed for a ground offensive on Gaza that would aim to deal a hammer blow to Hamas and re-establish Israel’s military credentials with its other foes, experts said.

After briefing Bush earlier, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington sought a “ceasefire that would not allow a re-establishment of the status quo ante where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza.”

She added: “It is obvious that ceasefire should take place as soon as possible, but we need a ceasefire that is durable and sustainable.”

Rice has had a flurry of consultations with her counterparts from Israel, Arab countries as well as Russia, Britain and the European Union, officials said. Johndroe added that Rice has also spoken to Obama in the last week.

Asked if she planned to travel to the Middle East to broker an end to the crisis, Rice replied: “I have no plans at this point.”

The Israeli offensive has prompted condemnation from around the world, but particularly from Arab and Muslim countries.

In New York, Amnesty International sent a letter to Rice berating the administration for its “lopsided” support for the Israeli assault and urged it to suspend weapons deliveries to Israel.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser for US president Jimmy Carter, told CNN television that Rice’s remarks “clearly show that the US policy right now is completely bankrupt” and the Israeli offensive “will further radicalize the Palestinians.”

He said Obama, whom he supports, will have to make a “fresh start” when he succeeds Bush on January 20.

But the US president-elect has kept silent on the latest phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with his aides saying their boss was “monitoring” the situation.

Source

The bottom line is Israel wants all of “What use to be Palestine”.

That has been the plan from the beginning. The US has been helping them do this.
Don’t be fooled by Israel or the US pretending to negotiate anything. They lie. Both have been lieing for years.
This will also lead to the destabilization of the Middle East in general. The on going war is for power and profiteering.
Just a pitty Israel leaders are so blind to the fact, they are being used by the US for their own self serving agenda.
When a county like the US give billions of dollars to a country for weapons, be  suspicious very suspicious. Israel is just doing the dirty work for the US as did Saddam way back when the US helped Iraq, only to attack Iran of course. Somethings are so obvious if you know a bit about history.

U.S. Government Uses Al-Qaeda To Attack Iran
Bush authorizes group formerly headed by alleged 9/11 mastermind to be bankrolled & armed by CIA for covert regime change

May 28, 2007
Paul Joseph Watson & Steve Watson

Recent revelations illustrating the fact that the U.S. government is using a Sunni Al-Qaeda terrorist group formerly headed by the alleged mastermind of 9/11 to carry out bombings in Iran undermines the entire war on terror as a monumental hoax that is being exploited purely to realize a geopolitical agenda.

“President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert “black” operations to achieve regime change in Iran, intelligence sources have revealed. Mr Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilise, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.””The CIA is giving arms-length support, supplying money and weapons, to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan,” the London Telegraph reported yesterday.

Jundullah is a Sunni Al-Qaeda offshoot organization that was formerly headed by alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Even if you believe the official story of 9/11 to the letter, the fact that Bush has personally authorized U.S. support for this group completely dismantles the facade of the war on terror.

The group has been blamed for a number of bombings inside Iran aimed at destabilizing Ahmadinejad’s government and is also active in Pakistan , having been fingered for its involvement in attacks on police stations and car bombings at the Pakistan-US Cultural Center in 2004.

The U.S. government is arming and directing a Sunni Al-Qaeda group to carry out bombings in Iran and yet Bush has the temerity to grandstand during his Rose Garden speech last week and wave the Al-Qaeda bogeyman to strike the fear of God into American citizens.

“As to al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda is going to fight us wherever we are. That’s their strategy. Their strategy is to drive us out of the Middle East. They have made it abundantly clear what they want. They want to establish a caliphate. They want to spread their ideology. They want safe haven from which to launch attacks. They’re willing to kill the innocent to achieve their objectives, and they will fight us. And the fundamental question is, will we fight them? I have made the decision to do so. I believe that the best way to protect us in this war on terror is to fight them,” Bush said on Thursday.


Arms cache belonging to Jundullah – the Sunni Al-Qaeda terrorist group being funded by the CIA with President Bush’s approval.Bush’s definition of fighting Al-Qaeda is apparently to lend them all the funds, weapons and tactical know how they need to carry out attacks against innocent civilians in Iran, and let us not forget that America’s allies the British have also been caught training insurgents in Iraq to carry out hi-tech bombings that are later blamed on Iran – just as the SAS worked with U.S. special forces to train the KLA in Kosovo , which was also an Al-Qaeda chapter having been financed directly by Bin Laden himself.

But in the world of newspeak and the lowest common denominator propaganda that cloaks the real agenda of the “war on terror”, anyone who rises up against occupation, be it a kid who throws a rock in Baghdad or a car bombing on behalf of an increasingly Shiite-led insurgency, the natural enemies of the Sunni “Al-Qaeda,” are terrorists and are Al-Qaeda members.

A cruel irony exists whereby anyone and everyone who opposes military occupation is smeared as an Al-Qaeda terrorist and yet the only real Al-Qaeda terrorists are being bankrolled, armed and directed by the CIA itself, with Bush’s explicit approval.

Since President Bush didn’t know the difference between Sunni & Shiite Muslims until two months before the invasion of Iraq and the incoming chairman of a congressional intelligence committee said Al Qaeda prominently came from the Shia branch of Islam, we can’t hold out much hope for Joe Public and this is why the simplest propaganda is always the most effective.

They’re the bad guys, we’re the good guys – black and white with no shades of gray.

In reality, Al-Qaeda only exists within intelligence circles coordinated by the highest echelons of the U.S. government, and is being used yet again as a tool for destabilization in nations targeted for regime change by the Neo-Cons.

Jundullah is not the only anti-Iranian terror group that US government has been accused of funding in an attempt to pressure the Iranian government.

Multiple credible individuals including US intelligence whistleblowers and former military personnel have asserted that the government is conducting covert military operations inside Iran using guerilla groups to carry out attacks on Iranian Revolution Guard units.

It is widely suspected that the well known right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), once run by Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence services, is now working exclusively for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations and carrying out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq.

After a bombing inside Iran in March, the London Telegraph also reported on how a high ranking CIA official has blown the whistle on the fact that America is secretly funding terrorist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear program.

Source

Could it be that the US is using Israel to get a war going with Iran yet again as they did with Saddam in 1980. Are they really telling  Israel they can secure all of what was known as Palestine? Yes to both I would guess.

Never underestimate the nasty deeds of the US.  Gaza is being used to anger everyone and it is to date working very well.

The US wants Iran to help those in Gaza just so Israel will be able to attack them as well.  How much you want to bet I am right?

When Israel rammed the boat going into Gaza with medical supplies, I am guessing they thought it was the one from Iran.  Israel has been itching for a war with Iran as much as the US is and has been for some time.

Gaza is part of a bigger picture I think.

Would I trust either the US or the Israeli Government at this point.

NO absolutely not.

The US has vetoed every resolution brought forth by the UN to resolve the the Israel- Gaza situation.  They have vetoed over 40 anti-Israeli resolutions sought by the council since 1972. Anything the US says at this point is  pure propaganda, lies and BS.

If Hamas Did Not Exist

Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Gaza Families Eat Grass as Israel Blocks Food Aid

Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty

Saturday Jan 3 Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009

New Reports on Sundays protests at bottom of the page

Demonstrators hurl shoes at Downing Street in day of global protest against Israeli attacks
January 3 2009

Demonstrators demanding an end to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza hurled their shoes at the gates of Downing Street today during a wave of global protests.

Around 12,000 people took to the streets of the London, including singer Annie Lennox, former model Bianca Jagger and former mayor Ken Livingstone.

Elsewhere in Britain, 2,000 demonstrators marched through Manchester and 500 braved the cold in Edinburgh.

London protest

London: 1,000 pairs of shoes litter the protest route near Downing Street

Paris held the world’s biggest protest, with 25,000 people showing up to condemn the Israeli offensive, which has killed at least 436 Palestinians since December 27th.

The death toll includes 75 children, according to Gaza medics. And almost 2,300 people have been wounded inside the territory.

Four Israelis have been killed by rocket attacks by Hamas, Islamist militants who took over Gaza three years ago.

In Britain, many people were angry at Gordon Brown refusal to condemn Israel’s attacks.

Hundreds of protesters threw shoes at the iron gates of Downing Street residence, in the spirit of an Iraqi journalist who hurled his footware President George Bush with his shoes last year.

Protest

Crowds: at least 12,000 people marched up Whitehall

Around 1,000 pairs littered the streets outside Number 10 with demonstrating singing: ‘Shame on you, have my shoe.’

Zac Sommer, an 18-year-old British-Palestinian student from Essex, said: ‘Britain is quick to condemn Robert Mugabe, but where is the condemnation of Israel? Israel is killing hundreds of people.’

Also outside Downing Street, a firework exploded yards from the gates.

The Metropolitan Police later said they had been forced to contain one group of around 5,000 protesters who left the agreed route between protest between Embankment and Trafalgar Square to the march to head for the Israeli Embassy in Kensington.

Many clashed with officers wearing riot hear and armed with truncheons and gas canisters.

London

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

London

Focus point: Around 5,000 people went to the embassy after the march

The demonstrators were kept at a distance of about 20 yards from the entrance of the Embassy but several hurdled the barriers and attempted to make for the entrance.

The atmosphere as darkness fell was noticeably more heated, vocal, and aggressive than the earlier march through central London.

The demonstration in the capital was the biggest of at least 18 organised across the country.

Other rallies were taking place in Glasgow, Exeter, Bristol, Liverpool, Norwich, Hull, Tunbridge Wells, Leeds, Newcastle, Swansea, York, Caernarfon, Bradford and Sheffield.

London

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

London

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

Brian Eno

Condemnation: Musician Brian Eno speaks out against the Israeli attacks

Former model Bianca Jagger and singer Lennox have backed the protests, calling on American president-elect Barack Obama to speak up against the bombardment.

Speaking at a press conference in central London, Ms Jagger said: ‘I would like to make an appeal to president-elect Obama to speak up.

‘People throughout the world were hopeful when he was elected and we must appeal to him to ask for the immediate cessation of the bombardment of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.’

Lennox spoke of her shock at watching scenes of the bombing on television.

She said: ‘A few days after Christmas I came downstairs, put the television on, and saw smoke pyres coming from buildings and I was shocked to the core because I was thinking as a mother and as a human being.

Madrid

Madrid: Protesters burn an Israeli flag in the Spanish capital

Paris

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

Berlin

Berlin: Some 7000 Palestinian supporters outside the city’s cathedral

‘How was this going to be the solution to peace?’

She said the intervention from Bush blaming Hamas for starting the violence, had not helped the situation.

‘The problem is, from my perspective, they are pouring petrol onto the fire,’ she said.

‘They have to sit down. This is a small window of opportunity just before things kick off.

‘For every one person killed in Gaza, they are creating 100 suicide bombers. It’s not just about Gaza, it’s about all of us.’

Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather said Israel’s military response to the firing of Hamas rockets had been ‘disproportionate’.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam: A man holds up a blood smeared doll

Milan

Milan: Demonstrators carry a simulated body of a Palestinian

‘Anyway, what Israel is doing is counter-productive. No terrorist organisation has ever been bombed into submission,’ the Liberal Democrat MP said.

Police said 8,000 people demonstrated in the central French city of Lyon, 3,000 people protested in the southern city of Nice and 3,800 in Mulhouse in the east.

Two people were arrested as more than 1,000 marched through Amsterdam, condemning the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and calling for a boycott of Israeli goods, police said.

Hundreds protested in Madrid, carrying signs saying ‘This is not a war but a genocide’.

More than 2,000 people also demonstrated in the Austrian city of Salzburg.

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

Source
Photos: ‘Britain – Gaza Siege Demoonstation’
By James Wray
January 3, 2009,

Singer Annie Lennox (C), social and human rights advocate Bianca Jagger (formerly married to Mick Jagger) (2nd R) and British politician George Galloway (L) march through London with thousands of protestors in London, Britain, 03 January 2009. A series of demonstrations took place across Britain against the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow.  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Singer Annie Lennox (C), social and human rights advocate Bianca Jagger (formerly married to Mick Jagger) (2nd R) and British politician George Galloway (L) march through London with thousands of protestors in London, Britain, 03 January 2009. A series of demonstrations took place across Britain against the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. EPA/ANDY RAIN
epa01589872 Under the shadow of famous city landmark Big Ben, pro-Palestinian protestors pass through Parliament Square as they participate in a rally  in central London,   03 January 2009. It was one of a series of manifestations across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza,.  EPA/ANDY RAIN  EPA/ANDY RAIN

epa01589872 Under the shadow of famous city landmark Big Ben, pro-Palestinian protestors pass through Parliament Square as they participate in a rally in central London, 03 January 2009. It was one of a series of manifestations across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza,. EPA/ANDY RAIN EPA/ANDY RAIN
Under the shadow of famous city landmark Big Ben, pro-Palestinian protestors pass through Parliament Square as they participate in a rally  in central London,   03 January 2009. It was one of a series of manifestations across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza,.  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Under the shadow of famous city landmark Big Ben, pro-Palestinian protestors pass through Parliament Square as they participate in a rally in central London, 03 January 2009. It was one of a series of manifestations across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza,. EPA/ANDY RAIN
Pro-Palestinian protestors demonstrate in central London, Britain, 03 January 2009. A series of demonstrations took place across Britain against the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow.  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Pro-Palestinian protestors demonstrate in central London, Britain, 03 January 2009. A series of demonstrations took place across Britain against the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. EPA/ANDY RAIN
Thousands of protestors march along Whitehall, central London, Britain, 03 January 2009 as part of a series of rally across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza.  The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. In the background is seen the capital landmark Big Ben  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Thousands of protestors march along Whitehall, central London, Britain, 03 January 2009 as part of a series of rally across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. In the background is seen the capital landmark Big Ben EPA/ANDY RAIN
Thousands of protestors march along Whitehall, central London, Britain, 03 January 2009 as part of a series of rally across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza.  The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. In the background is seen the capital landmark Big Ben  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Thousands of protestors march along Whitehall, central London, Britain, 03 January 2009 as part of a series of rally across the country to protest the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. In the background is seen the capital landmark Big Ben EPA/ANDY RAIN
Thousands of protestors bathed in bright sunshine, march through central London,   03 January 2009 as part of a series of demonstrations across the country to protest against  Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow.  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Thousands of protestors bathed in bright sunshine, march through central London, 03 January 2009 as part of a series of demonstrations across the country to protest against Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The protests are being held at 18 locations including Portsmouth, Manchester, Hull, London and Glasgow. EPA/ANDY RAIN

Thousands in Europe Protest Gaza Offensive

January 3 2008

LONDON—Thousands of chanting, banner-waving demonstrators marched in cities across Europe on Saturday to demand a halt to Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip.

Protests were held in Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain as the Israeli offensive entered its second week.

Israeli Arabs held a protest march and Kuwaitis also took to the streets, a day after bigger Middle East rallies.

In Paris, police said more than 20,000 demonstrators, many wearing Palestinian keffiyeh headscarves, marched through the city centre chanting slogans like “Israel murderer!” and waving banners demanding an end to the air attacks.

Similar protests were planned in some 30 other towns.

London police said more than 10,000 people staged a noisy march and rally to urge an end to an Israeli offensive against Hamas militants that has killed at least 435 Palestinians.

In many European cities people waved shoes—recalling the action of an Iraqi journalist who hurled footwear at U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad last month in a symbolic insult.

British demonstrators threw dozens of shoes into the street as they passed the gated entrance to Downing Street, where Prime Minister Gordon Brown lives, and shouted angrily at a line of 40 police officers on guard there.

“Come to get your shoes Gordon,” one woman shouted as other marchers directed chants of “Shame on you” at Brown.

A spokesman said Brown had spoken again to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Saturday and was pressing hard for an immediate ceasefire.

Leading the march were singer Annie Lennox, politicians Tony Benn and George Galloway and comic Alexei Sayle. Demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and placards with slogans such as “End the siege on Gaza” and “Stop the massacre”.

Israel says rocket attacks from Gaza by Hamas Islamists must stop before it halts operations, but the attacks continued on Saturday. Four Israelis have been killed by Hamas rockets since the offensive began.

Anger at Western Reaction

Paul Mukerji, 42, from Birmingham, acknowledged Israel had security reasons but called its action disproportionate.

“The best way for peace for Palestinians and Israelis is to end the occupation,” said Mukerji, who said he had spent six months working with Jewish and Palestinian peace groups.

Ali Saeed, 24, from Luton, said Western governments had failed to condemn Israel’s actions.

“What’s going on in Gaza is not right … It’s not a coincidence that it’s going on Iraq, in Chechnya, in Kashmir. It’s just about going on everywhere. It’s almost a direct insult to every single Muslim,” he said.

Protests were scheduled in a score of other British cities.

Greek police said they fired teargas at protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Athens. Protesters burnt flags and effigies, hurled stones at the embassy and clashed with police during a march by about 5,000 people, they said.

Tens of thousands of people marched in the town of Sakhnin, northern Israel, on Saturday in one of the biggest rallies held by Israeli Arabs in recent years, Israeli media reported. Calling Israeli leaders “war criminals”, the demonstrators demanded an end to the onslaught on Gaza, they said.

Around 3,500 people marched in Berlin and 4,000 in the western city of Duesseldorf, police said.

In the German capital, demonstrators carried pictures of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and one small girl cradled a doll smeared in blood.

Hundreds joined a protest in central Dublin.

“I just thought the fact that 300-400 people would’ve been bombed, would’ve been killed, was extremely wrong,” said Andy Defaoite, a 27-year-old teacher in the Irish capital.

More than 1,000 demonstrators marched through Kuwait City, with banners reading “Gaza will not die” and “We want a free Gaza”.

Another 1,000 marched in Madrid, some calling for sanctions against Israel, equating Zionism with Nazism and chanting slogans like “Israel kills, the world just stands by”.

Police said about 1,500 people marched through Amsterdam.

About 1,000 demonstrators marched through the Italian city of Milan on Saturday, some burning Israeli flags, with a smaller rally in Turin.

People destroy a French policeman’s car, during a demonstration against the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip on January 3, 2009, in Paris. (Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images)

Protestors stand behind an over-turned car during a demonstration against the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip on January 3, 2009, in Paris. (Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images)

Some of the thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters fight to get to the Israeli embassy in Athens as Greek riot police stand guard on January 3, 2009, during a demonstration against the Israeli attacks in Gaza. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters opposed to Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip gather near the Israeli Embassy following a demonstration in Trafalgar Square in London, on January 3, 2009. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Source

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

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

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

The World Demonstrated in protest against the war in Iraq and the politicians did not listen.  The War in Iraq is in fact illegal, based on lies.  Will they listen to us now as we say NO AGAIN to Israel killing innocent people in Gaza?

Israel is committing many crimes and we Say NO MORE.

Are they still deaf?

Defending the criminals in the US and Israel who kill innocent people has gone on far to long.

We are fed up with war mongering,  murdering, power hungry, profiteers.

There are a large number of Demonstrations in the US and I will post them if they magically appear anywhere. I can only hope to have a busy evening.
Reports on protests

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

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

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

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

Just added Jan 4th 2009

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

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

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

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza


Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 10:13 pm  Comments Off on Saturday Jan 3 Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009  
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Toronto: January 3, demonstrating against Israeli assault In Gaza

Added Jan 5

Reports on protests

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

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

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

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

Added Jan 4th 2009

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

Saturday Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009 London Paris etc

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

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

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

Posted Jan 2 2008

DEMONSTRATE AGAINST THE ISRAELI ASSAULT ON GAZA!

WHEN: 2pm on Saturday January 3rd, 2009

WHERE: Yonge-Dundas Square (buses leave Palestine House 1:15pm sharp)
Meet under the OCAP banner.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON  M5A 1R6
416-925-6939  ocap@tao.ca http://www.ocap.ca

Join in demonstrating against the latest Israeli assault on the people of
Gaza.
At least 400 Palestinians have been killed and at least 1600 have been
injured in the on-going assault on the Gaza Strip that began on Saturday.

This is the single largest massacre in Gaza since Israel illegally
occupied the area in 1967. The numbers of dead are mounting, especially as the already limited medical supplies are running out due to the brutal siege of Gaza since 2005.

While the Western media reports that the raids targeted Hamas ‘operatives,’ the dead include women, children and men in all areas of life in Gaza. “Operation  Cast Lead” has echoes of previous Israeli raids into Gaza that have been characterized by indiscriminate attacks on civilian population centers, mass detentions, violent house demolitions and other forms of collective punishment.

Such actions need to be strongly and unconditionally condemned.

This attack comes just days after the so-called ‘ceasefire’ between Hamas
and Israel expired. During this alleged ceasefire, Israel continued to
impose its brutal siege on Gaza, restricting the flow of aid, medical
supplies, fuel and other necessities of life into the territory. For the
past two years Gaza has been undergoing the daily violence of a
wide-ranging humanitarian catastrophe triggered by severely reduced
access to energy, food, and medicines. In effect, Gaza is the world’s
largest open air prison. The UN and others in the international community condemned the humanitarian disaster created by Israel’s siege during the time of this ‘ceasefire’. Israel now claims that this operation is in response to Hamas refusing to renew this sham of a ceasefire. Once again, Israel is imposing collective punishment on the people of Gaza for electing a Hamas government.

Organizers are particularly angered by the Canadian government’s on-going support for the Israeli apartheid regime – including the intensification of bilateral military, political and economic links between Canada and Israel.
These latest war crimes occur in the context of official Canadian complicity with and support for Israel’s illegal siege and starvation of the civilian population in Gaza.

At this moment, we can only reaffirm our commitment in the strongest
possible terms to continue mobilizing to respond to the call by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations for a comprehensive campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to end Israeli Apartheid. As H.E. Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockman, President of the United Nations General Assembly state in a recent speech: “More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations.”

CONTACT:
Palestine House
info@palestinehouse.com

Demonstration Organized By:

Palestine House
Canadian Arab Federation
Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WSP)
Not In Our Name (NION): Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism
Muslim Association of Hamilton
International Jewish anti-Zionist Network – Toronto
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
Muslim Unity
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
Canadian Druze Society
Canadian Syrian Social Club
Al Huda
Islamic Relief
Steel Workers Union
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Ontario)
Educators for Peace and Justice

Please send further organizational endorsements to: info@palestinehouse.com

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

Pro-Gaza protest, march set for Saturday Jan 3, in St. Petersburg

Sat, Jan 3rd, NYC GAZA ACTIONS CONTINUE – MARCH & RALLY

Other Protests across the US

Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 3:03 am  Comments Off on Toronto: January 3, demonstrating against Israeli assault In Gaza  
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Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza

Nehad Al-Hajsale, the London, Ont. man who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, is seen with his daughter in this undated family handout photo.

Nehad Al-Hajsale, the London, Ont. man who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, is seen with his daughter in this undated family handout photo.

Dalia Salim, the wife of Nehad Al-Hajsale, who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, appears on CTV's Canada AM from 'A' studios in London, Ont., Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008.

Dalia Salim, the wife of Nehad Al-Hajsale, who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, appears on CTV’s Canada AM from ‘A’ studios in London, Ont., Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008.

Nehad Al-Hajsale, the London, Ont. man who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, is seen with his wife, Dalia Salim, and their daughter in this undated family handout photo.

Nehad Al-Hajsale, the London, Ont. man who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, is seen with his wife, Dalia Salim, and their daughter in this undated family handout photo.


Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare

December 31 2008

A London, Ont. man’s trip to the Gaza Strip to visit his ailing father has turned into an extended nightmare.

Nehad Al-Hajsalem has been trapped in Gaza since early November, and his family is growing increasingly desperate to bring him home safely.

An Israeli aerial bombing campaign on Gaza is now in its fifth day, with close to 400 people killed in the attacks.

Al-Hajsalem’s wife, Dalia Salim, told CTV’s Canada AM she worries for her husband’s safety, saying just getting through by phone is a challenge.

“It’s quite hard,” Salim said. “You have to call at least 10 times for the phone to pick up. But I do talk to him and it’s pretty scary. I can hear all the bombs, I can hear emergency sirens going by, I can hear helicopters, the loud zooming sound of them. It’s all so frightening.”

Al-Hajsalem, a permanent resident of Canada, travelled to Gaza when he learned the border with Egypt would be opened for several days in early November.

He had planned to visit his father who was dying from liver cancer, then return to Canada.

Al-Hajsalem’s father died on Nov. 23, but the Gaza border has once again been closed and Al-Hajsalem hasn’t been allowed to leave the territory.

Salim said her husband’s status as a permanent resident means Foreign Affairs can do little to help him.

Her final hope — of securing passage for Al-Hajsalem aboard an aid ship making trips from Cyprus to Gaza — fell apart yesterday.

The ship, which had made several recent trips to Gaza, had agreed to take Al-Hajsalem as a passenger back to Cyprus.

However, the ship wasn’t allowed to land in Gaza.

“That was basically our last hope, but that boat never made it to Gaza. Israeli navy ships hit it from the side and made it go back to Lebanon, so basically my only hope is gone,” Salim said.

According to a report from The Associated Press, the SS Dignity, a ship carrying international peace activists and medical supplies, was damaged by the Israeli navy Tuesday, and forced to head to Lebanon.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the ship ignored an Israeli radio order to turn back as it approached Gaza early Tuesday.

According to Palmor, the vessel tried to outmaneuver the Israeli navy ship and crashed into it, lightly damaging both vessels, before the Dignity was turned back.

Crew and passengers aboard the ship dispute the account, however, claiming it was rammed by the navy ship.

The ship was carrying close to four tons of medical supplies organized by Free Gaza, a group that has made five aid trips to Gaza, despite a blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza.

Source

The entire population is being held hostage by Israel.

Nothing can get in and no one can get out. Israel has everyone trapped and is killing them systematically.  What is wrong with this picture?

These people have nothing to fight back with. They just wait until they are killed. Death is the only way out of Gaza.

Don’t be fooled by reports that the US is asking for a halt in the bombing that is pure BS. Then again most Americans will believe the propaganda they usually do. The Bush Administration as par usual are lieing. They actually blocked the UN plan to stop the bombing.  So that in it self tells me they are full of #%$@.

Seems Israel is having an election soon and they want to win so killing hundreds of innocent people is the way to get “Re-Elected”.  How sick can a bunch of murderers get?

This much like What Hitler did except instead of using the Gas Chambers they are just bombing them. These people are trapped. They can’t escape. So the difference is what?

Palestinians  have been cut off food and supplies for weeks. Anyone who thinks Israel has justification is dead wrong. They have done everything imaginable to kill Palestinians in the past and now it’s just Genocide as Hitler did.

This blockade is nothing new it is old and it is cruelty beyond comprehension.

Even the UN seems to un- able to do anything. So what the hell good are they if they can’t stop the murders?  Meanwhile the US who is pretending to do something are in fact the ones who are stopping them.

Well the US needs a good slap up the side of the head as does Israel.

  1. Both are guilty of war crimes.
  2. Both are guilty of Genocide.
  3. Both are guilty of crimes against humanity.
  4. Both are  guilty of murder.
  5. Both are liers.
  6. Both are Terrorist nations as far as I am concerned.

They terrorize everyone in their path.

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

Israel and the US have lied  many times this is just one example of it. Anything that will create a good war is what they both do? The profiteers love the Warmongers.

‘The USS Liberty’: America’s Most Shameful Secret
by Eric S. Margolis

May 2, 2001

NEW YORK – On the fourth day of the 1967 Arab Israeli War, the intelligence ship ‘USS Liberty’ was steaming slowly in international waters, 14 miles off the Sinai Peninsula. Israeli armored forces were racing deep into Sinai in hot pursuit of the retreating Egyptian army.

‘Liberty,’ a World War II freighter, had been converted into an intelligence vessel by the top-secret US National Security Agency, and packed with the latest signals and electronic interception equipment. The ship bristled with antennas and electronic ‘ears’ including TRSSCOMM, a system that delivered real-time intercepts to Washington by bouncing a stream of microwaves off the moon.

‘Liberty’ had been rushed to Sinai to monitor communications of the belligerents in the Third Arab Israeli War: Israel and her foes, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

At 0800 hrs, 8 June, 1967, eight Israeli recon flights flew over ‘Liberty,’ which was flying a large American flag. At 1400 hrs, waves of low-flying Israeli Mystere and Mirage-III fighter-bombers repeatedly attacked the American vessel with rockets, napalm, and cannon. The air attacks lasted 20 minutes, concentrating on the ship’s electronic antennas and dishes. The ‘Liberty’ was left afire, listing sharply. Eight of her crew lay dead, a hundred seriously wounded, including the captain, Commander William McGonagle.

At 1424 hrs, three Israeli torpedo boats attacked, raking the burning ‘Liberty’ with 20mm and 40mm shells. At 1431hrs an Israeli torpedo hit the ‘Liberty’ midship, precisely where the signals intelligence systems were located. Twenty-five more Americans died.

Israeli gunboats circled the wounded ‘Liberty,’ firing at crewmen trying to fight the fires. At 1515, the crew were ordered to abandon ship. The Israeli warships closed and poured machine gun fire into the crowded life rafts, sinking two. As American sailors were being massacred in cold blood, a rescue mission by US Sixth Fleet carrier aircraft was mysteriously aborted on orders from the White House.

An hour after the attack, Israeli warships and planes returned. Commander McGonagle gave the order. ‘prepare to repel borders.’ But the Israelis, probably fearful of intervention by the US Sixth Fleet, departed. ‘Liberty’ was left shattered but still defiant, her flag flying.

The Israeli attacks killed 34 US seamen and wounded 171 out of a crew of 297, the worst loss of American naval personnel from hostile action since World War II.

Less than an hour after the attack, Israel told Washington its forces had committed a ‘tragic error.’ Later, Israel claimed it had mistaken ‘Liberty’ for an ancient Egyptian horse transport. US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, and Joint Chiefs of Staff head, Admiral Thomas Moorer, insisted the Israeli attack was deliberate and designed to sink ‘Liberty.’ So did three CIA reports; one asserted Israel’s Defense Minister, Gen. Moshe Dayan, had personally ordered the attack.

In contrast to American outrage over North Korea’s assault on the intelligence ship ‘Pueblo,’ Iraq’s mistaken missile strike on the USS ‘Stark,’ last fall’s bombing of the USS ‘Cole’ in Aden, and the recent US-China air incident, the savaging of ‘Liberty’ was quickly hushed up by President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

The White House and Congress immediately accepted Israel’s explanation and let the matter drop. Israel later paid a token reparation of US $6 million. There were reports two Israeli pilots who had refused to attack ‘Liberty’ were jailed for 18 years.

Surviving ‘Liberty’ crew members would not be silenced. They kept demanding an open inquiry and tried to tell their story of deliberate attack to the media. Israel’s government worked behind the scenes to thwart these efforts, going so far as having American pro-Israel groups accuse ‘Liberty’s’ survivors of being ‘anti-Semites’ and ‘Israel-haters.’ Major TV networks cancelled interviews with the crew. A book about the ‘Liberty’ by crewman James Ennes’ was dropped from distribution. The Israel lobby branded him ‘an Arab propagandist.’

The attack on ‘Liberty’ was fading into obscurity until last week, when intelligence expert James Bamford came out with Body of Secrets, his latest book about the National Security Agency. In a stunning revelation, Bamford writes that unknown to Israel, a US Navy EC-121 intelligence aircraft was flying high overhead the ‘Liberty,’ electronically recorded the attack. The US aircraft crew provides evidence that the Israeli pilots knew full well that they were attacking a US Navy ship flying the American flag.

Why did Israel try to sink a naval vessel of its benefactor and ally? Most likely because ‘Liberty’s’ intercepts flatly contradicted Israel’s claim, made at the war’s beginning on 5 June, that Egypt had attacked Israel, and that Israel’s massive air assault on three Arab nations was in retaliation. In fact, Israel began the war by a devastating, Pearl-Harbor style surprise attack that caught the Arabs in bed and destroyed their entire air forces.

Israel was also preparing to attack Syria to seize its strategic Golan Heights. Washington warned Israel not to invade Syria, which had remained inactive while Israel fought Egypt. Bamford says Israel’s offensive against Syria was abruptly postponed when ‘Liberty’ appeared off Sinai, then launched once it was knocked out of action. Israel’s claim that Syria had attacked it could have been disproved by ‘Liberty.’

Most significant, ‘Liberty’s’ intercepts may have shown that Israel seized upon sharply rising Arab-Israeli tensions in May-June 1967 to launch a long-planned war to invade and annex the West Bank, Jerusalem, Golan and Sinai.

Far more shocking was Washington’s response. Writes Bamford: ‘Despite the overwhelming evidence that Israel attacked the ship and killed American servicemen deliberately, the Johnson Administration and Congress covered up the entire incident.’ Why?

Domestic politics. Johnson, a man never noted for high moral values, preferred to cover up the attack rather than anger a key constituency and major financial backer of the Democratic Party. Congress was even less eager to touch this ‘third rail’ issue.

Commander McGonagle was quietly awarded the Medal of Honor for his and his men’s heroism – not in the White House, as is usual, but in an obscure ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard. Crew member’s graves were inscribed, ‘died in the Eastern Mediterranean..’ as if they had be killed by disease, rather than hostile action.

A member of President Johnson’s staff believed there was a more complex reason for the cover-up: Johnson offered Jewish liberals unconditional backing of Israel, and a cover-up of the ‘Liberty’ attack, in exchange for the liberal toning down their strident criticism of his policies in the then raging Vietnam War.

Israel, which claims it fought a war of self defense in 1967 and had no prior territorial ambitions, will be much displeased by Bamford’s revelations. Those who believe Israel illegally occupies the West Bank and Golan will be emboldened.

Much more important, the US government’s long, disgraceful cover-up of the premeditated attack on ‘Liberty’ has now burst into the open and demands full-scale investigation. After 34 years, the voices of ‘Liberty’s’ dead and wounded seamen must finally be heard.

Source

Many years ago thing were much different then they are now.

palistine-19461

First List Releast Of Palestinian Victims In “Cast Lead Massacre”
December 31 2008

By Hiyam Noir

GAZA – On Wednesday the Palestinian Health Ministry released a list of 187 Palestinians killed during the first two days of the Israelis Cast Lead Massacre across Gaza Strip

The director of the Health Ministry’s Public Relations department in Gaza,Dr Omar Nasr, reveal that the death toll through out Wednesday after noon,have exceeded 390 including 31 children,the health ministry are collecting all the names of the slain and the many wounded.

In the coming days details of how many civilians were killed and injured ,will be presented to international humanitarian organizations,these files are evidence when judical legal proceedings will begin against the Israelis.

The following list identified the first 187 victims of the Israeli onslaught as:

Ibrahim Al-Jamaj
Isma’il Al-Husari
Isma’il Salem
Isma’il Ghneim
Eyman Natour
Eyhab Ash-Shaer
Ibrahim Mahfoudh
Abu Ali Ar-Rahhal
Ahmad Al-Halabi
Ahmad Al-Kurd
Ahmad Al-Lahham
Ahmad Al-Hums
Ahmad At-Talouli
Ahmad Zu’rub
Ahmad Abu Jazar
Ahmad Radwan
Ahmad ‘Udah
Ahmad Abu Mousa
Ahmad Tbeil
Adham Al-Areini
Osama Abu Ar-Rus
Osama Abu Ar-Reish
Osama Darweish
Ashraf Ash-Sharabasi
Ashraf Abu Suhweil
Amjad Abu Jazar
Ameen Az-Zarbatli
Anas Hamad
Anwar Al-Bardini
Anwar Al-Kurd
Ayman Abu Ammouna
Ayman An-Nahhal
Ibrahim Abu Ar-Rus
Basil Dababish
Bassam Makkawi
Bilal Omar
Bahaa Abu Zuhri
Tamir Qreinawi
Tamir Abu Afsha
Tawfiq Al-Fallit
Tawfiq Jabir
Thaer Madi
Jabir Jarbu’
Hatim Abu Sha’ira
Hamid Yasin
Husam Ayyash
Hasan Baraka
Hasan Abid Rabbo
Hasan Al-Majayda
Hussein Al-A’raj
Hussein Dawood
Hussein ‘Uroq
Hakam Abu Mansi
Hamada Abu Duqqa
Hamada Safi
Hamdan Abu Nu’eira
Haydar Hassuna
Khalid Zu’rub
Khalid Abu Hasna
Khalid An-Nashasi
Khalid Shaheen
Raed Dughmush
Rami Ash-Sheikh
Raafat Shamiyya
Riziq Salman
Rif’at Sa’da
Rafiq Na’im
Ramzi Al-Haddad
Ziyad Abu ‘Ubada
Sarah Al-Hawajiri
Salim Abu Shamla
Salim Qreinawi
Sa’id Hamada
Salim Al-Gharir
Suheil Tambura
Shadi Sbakhi
Shahada Quffa
Shahada Abd ar-Rahman
Sabir Al-Mabhouh
Suhayb Abu ‘Iffat
Suhayb Abd al-‘aal
Tal’at Salman
Tal’at Basal
‘Aasim Ash-Shaer
‘Aasim Abu Kamil
Abid Ad-Dahshan
Abd ar-Raziq Shahtu
Abd as-Sami’ An-Nashar
Abdul-Fattah Abu ‘Uteiwi
Abdul-Fattah Fadil
Abdullah Juneid
Abdullah Al-Ghafari
Abdullah Rantisi
Abdullah Wahbi
Arafat Farajallah
Azmi Abu Dalal
Isam Al-Ghirbawi
‘Alaa Al-Qatrawi
‘Alaa Al-Kahlout
‘Alaa ‘Uqeilan
‘Alaa Nasr Ar-Ra’i
Ali Awad
Imab Abu Al-Hajj
Omar Darawsha
Omran Ar-ran
Anan Ghaliya
Gharib Al-Assar
Fayiz Riyad Al-Madhoun
Fayiz Ayada Al-Madhoun
Fayiz Abu Al-Qumsan
Camellia Al-Bardini
Ma’moun Sleim
Mazin ‘Ulayyan
Muhammad Al-Ghimri
Muhammad Al-Halabi
Muhammad Asaliyya
Muhammad Az-Zatma
Muhammad Az-ahra
Muhammad Gaza
Muhammad An-Nuri
Muhammad Abu Sabra
Muhammad Abu ‘Amir
Muhammad Abu Libda
Muhammad Hboush
Muhammad Al-Mabhouh
Muhammad Sha’ban
Muhammad Abu ‘Abdo
Muhammad Salih
Muhammad Tabasha
Muhammad Al-Habeil
Muhammad Abdullah Aziz
Muhammad Abdul-Wahhab Aziz
Muhammad Awad
Muhammad Abd An-Nabi
Muhammad Salih
Muhammad An-Najari
Muhammad Hamad
Muhammad Barakat
Muhammad Muhanna
Mahmoud Al-Khalidi
Mahmoud Abu Harbeid
Mahmoud Abu Matar
Mahmoud Abu Tabour
Mahmoud Abu Nahla
Mustafa Al-Khateib
Mustafa As-Sabbak
Mu’ein Hamada
Mu’ein Al-Hasan
Mumtaz An- Najjar
Mansour Al-Gharra
Nasser Al-Gharra
Nahidh Abu Namous
Nabil Al-Breim
Nathir Al-Louqa
Ni’ma Al-Maghari
Na’im Kheit
Na’im Al-Kafarna
Na’im Al-Anzi
Nimir Amoum
Hisham Rantisi
Hisham Al-Masdar
Hisham Abu ‘Uda
Hisham ‘Uweida
Humam An-Najjar
Hanaa Al-Mabhouh
Haytham Hamdan
Haytham Ash-Sher
Wadei’ Al-Muzayyin
Wasim Azaza
Walid Abu Hein
Walid Jabir Abu Hein
Yasser Ash-Shaer
Yasser Al-Lahham
Yahya Al-Hayik
Yahya Sheikha
Yahya Mahmoud Sheikha
Yousif Thabit
Yousif Al-Jallad
Yousif Sha’ban
Yousif Diab
Yousif Al-Anani
Yousif An-Najjar
Younis Ad-Deiri

Source

Palestinian History, A Chronology

In 1882 Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Paris starts financial backing for Jewish settlement in Palestine.

They even had a Rothschild involved in it. Same with the Federal Reserve in the US. How special is that? And of course Britain was in it up to their ears, as is the US now.

There is along history behind the take over of Palestine.

Published in: on December 31, 2008 at 8:01 pm  Comments Off on Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza  
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IoS Christmas Appeal: In Zimbabwe, porridge once a day makes you a lucky girl

At an early childhood centre children play, learn and, most importantly, eat. But for many, this will be their only meal

Children eat at the centre supported by Save the Children in north-western Zimbabwe

Children eat at the centre supported by Save the Children in
north-western Zimbabwe

December 21 2008

The 36 children attending an early childhood centre in north-west Zimbabwe were lucky, and they knew it. They were wearing their best clothes – even if, as in the case of three-year-old Milesh, this meant a shirt that, while clean, was shredded at the back.

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean children the same age are on the brink of starvation, and millions are losing their education as the collapse in government services closes school after school. All are at risk from the cholera epidemic. But Milesh and friends were looking forward not only to playing and learning together, but to getting what for many of them would be their only meal of the day – a plate of porridge.

The children waited patiently under a tree, clapping and singing while the food was prepared. They could not have been more orderly as they came forward, were given a plate and carried it carefully back into the shade. As soon as they were sitting down, the porridge – a special formula called corn-soya blend, or CSB, fortified with minerals and sweetened with sugar – disappeared in seconds.

Save the Children is helping more than 1,000 pre-school children in Zimbabwe in this way, but such is the chaos in the country that it is having to feed the centre’s helpers, too. “It would be very difficult for me to travel here on an empty stomach,” said one. She was scanning the pupils to see who was missing, and was not surprised that Godgave, four, was absent.

“Godgave is an orphan, and lives with his widowed grandmother,” said the helper. “They are very poor. He is often too weak from hunger – he comes for one or two days, then he is away sick. We go and check on him, but we have no food to carry to him.” In such a state any childhood disease, let alone cholera, could take his life.

Some of the children at the centre showed signs of malnutrition. While most rushed around once they had eaten, playing on the slide and the climbing frame, Milesh’s six-year-old sister Zineth hovered near those with food, until an adult gave her a half-eaten portion of CSB. She made instant work of it. When workers later checked the children’s weight-to-height ratio, Zineth was one of seven who fell into the red zone on the chart, showing she was malnourished. Milesh and 12 others were in the green zone, indicating normal development. Another 16 came up yellow, which meant that of the 36 children at the centre that day, 23 were either suffering from malnutrition or were close to it.

It is not uncommon in Africa for boys in a family to be favoured over girls at times of hardship, but when we accompanied Zineth and Milesh home, their grandfather Mathias denied it was intentional. “We want to treat the children the same,” he said. “But when we have very little food, we give it to the youngest. It’s not because he is a boy.”

Mathias and his wife Mary have brought up their daughter’s three children since she died five years ago and her husband deserted them soon afterwards. “We haven’t had sadza [a mash, made from maize meal, that is Zimbabwe’s staple food] for three days,” he said. “We’ve been eating wild fruits and begging a little maize meal from our neighbours. We got a few cupfuls, which we gave to the children to eat. We had nothing for ourselves.”

The United Nations estimates that more than five million Zimbabweans, roughly half of them children, urgently need food aid. Save the Children is preparing to set up emergency feeding centres for children under five, where even the severely malnourished can be rescued with a special food called Plumpynut. Neither of these programmes will benefit Mathias and his family, however, because they have livestock, and others are worse off.

“We have three donkeys, which we use to plough our field,” he said. “We didn’t get any seeds when they were given out, but we managed to barter some with a neighbour, in exchange for ploughing his field. We’re living each day as it comes. It’s hard for the children – they see others getting food and toys at Christmas, but we have nothing.” His wife added: “When they ask us about the situation, we have no answers. We feel very helpless.”

This story is being repeated across Zimbabwe. Millions are suffering, through no fault of their own, as the nation falls into chaos. Unless we help them, they have no cause for hope.

Source

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE IoS APPEAL

Death toll tops 1,100 from Zimbabwe cholera

Zimbabwe Appeal: First cholera. Now it’s malaria and anthrax

Zimbabwe declares national health emergency

Zimbabwe: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Save the Children Donates To Zimbabwe Crisis

Zimbabwe runs out of water-Public desperation is increasing

Now anthrax takes toll on the starving in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic hits 10,000 to 11,000 and rising

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 7:38 pm  Comments Off on IoS Christmas Appeal: In Zimbabwe, porridge once a day makes you a lucky girl  
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IDB helps, ICE hurts Haiti:Mr. President, are you listening?

IDB helps, ICE hurts Haiti KUDOS TO IDB

The decision by the Inter American Development Bank to offer Haiti an additional $50 million in assistance next year may be the best news that beleaguered Caribbean country has received in a long time. In a nation as poor as Haiti, that extra aid should make a difference in the lives of some of the neediest people.

”Haiti is the most fragile of our member countries,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno when he announced the grant last weekend. “No other nation in Latin America and the Caribbean is as vulnerable to economic shocks and natural disasters. As such, it requires extraordinary assistance from the international community.”

He’s right. Simply giving Haiti more money won’t put it on a stable footing, but the level of destitution is such that the country can’t even begin to think about stability or rebuilding until it can improve its ability to feed and house its people and restart the economy.

That requires foreign aid. Other nations and international organizations should follow the IDB’s example.

ICE: THUMBS DOWN

If the IDB is part of the solution for Haiti, the U.S. government agency that enforces immigration is part of the problem. By any measure, Haiti is ill-prepared to care for more destitute people, yet Immigration and Customs Enforcement — ICE — has resumed deportations after a brief respite because of the devastation wreaked by this year’s storms.

This wrongheaded decision makes no sense at all. The country remains in dire straits, a nation suffering from hunger, misery and a host of associated ills, yet ICE cited ”the circumstances in Haiti” as the basis for resuming deportations.

Six South Florida members of Congress — three Democrats and three Republicans — have appealed to the White House to adopt a more compassionate position. ”Sending Haitian nationals back to Haiti is both inhumane and unsafe,” Republican lawmakers Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in their joint letter.

Mr. President, are you listening?

Source

Poverty crushing the People of Haiti

Haitian children died from severe malnutrition

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

Haiti’s road to ruin

The Rebirth of Konbit in Haiti

Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 6:25 am  Comments Off on IDB helps, ICE hurts Haiti:Mr. President, are you listening?  
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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

Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza

By Omar Karmi,

November 19 2008

AMALLAH, WEST BANK

Israel rebuffed a plea by the UN to open crossings into Gaza for humanitarian supplies yesterday and continued barring international media from reaching the impoverished strip of land.

Asked yesterday whether Israel intended to reopen crossings, Ehud Barak, the defence minister, told Israel Army Radio: “No. There needs to be calm in order for the crossings to be opened.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, telephoned Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister on Tuesday, urging him to facilitate the movement of urgently needed humanitarian supplies into Gaza, where relief agencies have had to halt food distribution and the only power station is running out of fuel.

Israel closed the crossings two weeks ago when Palestinians responded with a salvo of rockets to a Nov 4 Israeli army raid into Gaza that resulted in the killings of six Gazans.

The tit-for-tat violence has continued since, with Israeli air raids causing at least a dozen Palestinian fatalities and one Israeli wounded by a Palestinian mortar.

Hamas is understood to be trying to persuade some of the smaller Palestinian factions, including the Popular Resistance Committees and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine who have claimed responsibility for firing rockets in the past two weeks, to desist.

Nevertheless, Hamas’s military wing yesterday also warned that it was prepared to end a five-month-old ceasefire should crossings remain closed.

It would appear to be in neither Israel’s nor Hamas’s interests to end the ceasefire, however. Israeli politicians are facing general elections in early February and although taking a tough posture with Palestinians is an oft-tried campaign strategy, barring a full-scale – and unpredictable – invasion of the Strip, Israel would seem unable to ensure calm around Gaza without the ceasefire in place.

Hamas, for its part, will be eager for the ceasefire, which officially runs out on Dec 19, to be extended to continue to consolidate its rule over Gaza and strengthen its hand in internal Palestinian negotiations over reconciliation. Nevertheless, Hamas cannot afford to be seen to have abandoned the option of armed struggle and will probably enter the fray should crossings into Gaza remain shut.

Several international relief agencies have warned of a full-scale humanitarian disaster should food and medicine continue being blocked from entering the strip. On Sunday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency announced that it had to stop distributing food to the about 750,000 Palestinians who rely on it for their immediate needs.

On Monday, Israel allowed a limited shipment of food and medicine to reach the strip, but the army shut the border again after three rockets were fired across the border on Tuesday, and yesterday it was reported that Gaza’s biggest mill had closed because of a lack of wheat. Gazans are also suffering regular electricity blackouts as a result of the scarcity of fuel.

Foreign journalists, meanwhile, are protesting against a ban on international media entering the Gaza Strip, also in effect since Nov 4.

The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists working for international media in the region, has slammed the decision by the Israeli government as a “serious violation” of press freedom.

In an open letter published on Tuesday, the FPA said the decision to bar journalists from Gaza was an “unprecedented restriction of press freedom” and said its protests to the Israeli government had gone unheeded.

“Never before have journalists been prevented from doing their work in this way. We believe it is vital that journalists be allowed to find out for themselves what is going on in Gaza. Israel controls access to Gaza. Israel must allow professional journalists access to this important story.”

In spite of repeated requests, the Israeli ministry of defence was not available for comment. Israeli officials had said no official decision has been made to stop journalists from reaching Gaza, but that preventing them from doing so in the past two weeks was consistent with army policy only to allow passage for essential humanitarian staff.

In Gaza, officials and human rights activists said Israel was trying to prevent foreign journalists from revealing the reality there.

“Israel doesn’t want journalists to report on the conditions in Gaza that have resulted from the Israeli siege,” said Eyad Sarraj, a psychiatrist with the Gaza Community Mental Health Project and a human-rights activist. “Israel doesn’t want journalists from all over the world to bear evidence to what they are doing here.”

Mr Sarraj also suggested that Israel was preparing a major military operation, a suspicion echoed by Ahmad Yousef, a senior Hamas official.

“Israel might be planning something. For this, they don’t want any journalists here to cover their brutality against Palestinians… Journalists are those that can open the eyes of the world by showing them what is really going on in Gaza.”

Source

The Real Goal of Israel’s Blockade

By Jonathan Cook

November 17, 2008

The latest tightening of Israel’s chokehold on Gaza – ending all supplies into the Strip for more than a week – has produced immediate and shocking consequences for Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants.

The refusal to allow in fuel has forced the shutting down of Gaza’s only power station, creating a blackout that pushed Palestinians bearing candles on to the streets in protest last week. A water and sanitation crisis are expected to follow.

And on Thursday, the United Nations announced it had run out of the food essentials it supplies to 750,000 desperately needy Gazans. “This has become a blockade against the United Nations itself,” a spokesman said.

In a further blow, Israel’s large Bank Hapoalim said it would refuse all transactions with Gaza by the end of the month, effectively imposing a financial blockade on an economy dependent on the Israeli shekel. Other banks are planning to follow suit, forced into a corner by Israel’s declaration in Sept 2007 of Gaza as an “enemy entity”.

There are likely to be few witnesses to Gaza’s descent into a dark and hungry winter. In the past week, all journalists were refused access to Gaza, as were a group of senior European diplomats. Days earlier, dozens of academics and doctors due to attend a conference to assess the damage done to Gazans’ mental health were also turned back.

Israel has blamed the latest restrictions of aid and fuel to Gaza on Hamas’s violation of a five-month ceasefire by launching rockets out of the Strip. But Israel had a hand in shattering the agreement: as the world was distracted by the US presidential elections, the army invaded Gaza, killing six Palestinians and provoking the rocket fire.

The humanitarian catastrophe gripping Gaza is largely unrelated to the latest tit-for-tat strikes between Hamas and Israel. Nearly a year ago, Karen Koning AbuZayd, commissioner-general of the UN’s refugee agency, warned: “Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution”.

She blamed Gaza’s strangulation directly on Israel, but also cited the international community as accomplice. Together they began blocking aid in early 2006, following the election of Hamas to head the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The US and Europe agreed to the measure on the principle that it would force the people of Gaza to rethink their support for Hamas. The logic was supposedly similar to the one that drove the sanctions applied to Iraq under Saddam Hussein through the 1990s: if Gaza’s civilians suffered enough, they would rise up against Hamas and install new leaders acceptable to Israel and the West.

As Ms AbuZayd said, that moment marked the beginning of the international community’s complicity in a policy of collective punishment of Gaza, despite the fact that the Fourth Geneva Convention classifies such treatment of civilians as a war crime.

The blockade has been pursued relentlessly since, even if the desired outcome has been no more achieved in Gaza than it was in Iraq. Instead, Hamas entrenched its control and cemented the Strip’s physical separation from the Fatah-dominated West Bank.

Far from reconsidering its policy, Israel’s leadership has responded by turning the screw ever tighter – to the point where Gazan society is now on the verge of collapse.

In truth, however, the growing catastrophe being unleashed on Gaza is only indirectly related to Hamas’s rise to power and the rocket attacks.

Of more concern to Israel is what each of these developments represents: a refusal on the part of Gazans to abandon their resistance to Israel’s continuing occupation. Both provide Israel with a pretext for casting aside the protections offered to Gaza’s civilians under international law to make them submit.

With embarrassing timing, the Israeli media revealed at the weekend that one of the first acts of Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister elected in 2006, was to send a message to the Bush White House offering a long-term truce in return for an end to Israeli occupation. His offer was not even acknowledged.

Instead, according to the daily Jerusalem Post, Israeli policymakers have sought to reinforce the impression that “it would be pointless for Israel to topple Hamas because the population [of Gaza] is Hamas”. On this thinking, collective punishment is warranted because there are no true civilians in Gaza. Israel is at war with every single man, woman and child.

In an indication of how widely this view is shared, the cabinet discussed last week a new strategy to obliterate Gazan villages in an attempt to stop the rocket launches, in an echo of discredited Israeli tactics used in south Lebanon in its war of 2006. The inhabitants would be given warning before indiscriminate shelling began.

In fact, Israel’s desire to seal off Gaza and terrorise its civilian population predates even Hamas’s election victory. It can be dated to Ariel Sharon’s disengagement of summer 2005, when Fatah’s rule of the PA was unchallenged.

An indication of the kind of isolation Mr Sharon preferred for Gaza was revealed shortly after the pull-out, in Dec 2005, when his officials first proposed cutting off electricity to the Strip.

The policy was not implemented, the local media pointed out at the time, both because officials suspected the violation of international law would be rejected by other nations and because it was feared that such a move would damage Fatah’s chances of winning the elections the following month.

With the vote over, however, Israel had the excuse it needed to begin severing its responsibility for the civilian population. It recast its relationship with Gaza from one of occupation to one of hostile parties at war. A policy of collective punishment that was considered transparently illegal in late 2005 has today become Israel’s standard operating procedure.

Increasingly strident talk from officials, culminating in February in the deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai’s infamous remark about creating a “shoah”, or Holocaust, in Gaza, has been matched by Israeli measures. The military bombed Gaza’s electricity plant in June 2006, and has been incrementally cutting fuel supplies ever since. In January, Mr Vilnai argued that Israel should cut off “all responsibility” for Gaza and two months later Israel signed a deal with Egypt for it to build a power station for Gaza in Sinai.

All of these moves are designed with the same purpose in mind: persuading the world that Israel’s occupation of Gaza is over and that Israel can therefore ignore the laws of occupation and use unremitting force against Gaza.

Cabinet ministers have been queuing up to express such sentiments. Ehud Olmert, for example, has declared that Gazans should not be allowed to “live normal lives”; Avi Dichter believes punishment should be inflicted “irrespective of the cost to the Palestinians”; Meir Sheetrit has urged that Israel should “decide on a neighbourhood in Gaza and level it” – the policy discussed by ministers last week. (Criminals they are)

In concert, Israel has turned a relative blind eye to the growing smuggling trade through Gaza’s tunnels to Egypt. Gazans’ material welfare is falling more heavily on Egyptian shoulders by the day.

The question remains: what does Israel expect the response of Gazans to be to their immiseration and ever greater insecurity in the face of Israeli military reprisals?

Eyal Sarraj, the head of Gaza’s Community Mental Health Programme, said this year that Israel’s long-term goal was to force Egypt to end the controls along its short border with the Strip. Once the border was open, he warned, “Wait for the exodus.”

Source

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza


U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

These are War Crimes.

Innocent Civilians are being murdered by Starvation.

This includes Children just in case we have forgotten.

What Israel is doing is in fact Illegal.

They are murdering innocent people.

That is a crime.

All “Aid” should be cut off, that is going to Israel and no one should be selling them “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

The US does both.  American tax dollars hard at work.
Israel is not to be trusted with any “Weapon of Mass Destruction”.

US Aid: The Lifeblood of Occupation

US Aid to Israel  January 2008

Israel is one of the 50 richest countries in the World. They don’t need any more aid.

Petition to End Israel’s Restrictions on Freedom of Movement and the Press

To: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

We, the undersigned, condemn Israel’s appalling treatment of Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Gaza correspondent and author of the magazine’s regular feature, “Gaza on the Ground.” The 24-year-old Palestinian journalist was brutally assaulted by Israeli Shin Bet security officials at the Allenby Bridge border crossing on his way home to Gaza on June 26. He had just received the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, which he shared with independent American journalist Dahr Jamail. Omer’s award citation reads, “Every day, he reports from a war zone, where he is also a prisoner. His homeland, Gaza, is surrounded, starved, attacked, forgotten. He is a profoundly humane witness to one of the great injustices of our time. He is the voice of the voiceless.” (see John Pilger’s July 2 article, “From Triumph to Torture,” in the Guardian:

This is not an isolated incident, Pilger points out, but part of a terrible pattern. Israel gives its border guards and Shin Bet agents free rein to regularly harass Palestinians (as well as Palestinian Americans and American peace activists and academics) traveling to and from the occupied territories. Israel randomly abuses, searches, interrogates and humiliates travelers of every age—men and women—and frequently refuses to let them pass through Israeli-controlled borders to their homes in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. We just don’t hear their voices.

Israel simply doesn’t want Palestinian voices to be heard abroad. Palestinians are routinely prevented from accepting invitations to speak in Europe or North America. Students with scholarships to study overseas are not permitted to leave. Israel is now preventing Palestinians from returning home, even for a visit, once they have left to work or study abroad. (Israel recently revoked Zeina Ashrawi Hutchison’s travel documents, and will not renew her Jerusalem ID card. She is not allowed to return home to visit her father and mother, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi.)

We, the undersigned, also urge the Israeli government to end its efforts to censor international reports from the occupied territories. The government prefers stories to be filed from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, where they are subject to censorship, and allows few, if any, international journalists to enter the West Bank and Gaza. Israel censors, harasses and even kills Palestinian journalists who are trying to report on conditions in the occupied territories.

We call on the Israeli government to protect journalists who are trying to work in the occupied territories. At least eight journalists have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza since 2001, seven of them in attacks by Israel Defense Forces, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists research.*

We call on the Israeli government to end its harassment of travelers and journalists. When Israel targets journalists it infringes on a basic pillar of democracy, freedom of the press. Human beings, even those ruled for decades by an occupying power, have the right to leave home and return safely, without interference, and the right to freedom of speech.

To Sign Petition

Published in: on November 19, 2008 at 11:28 pm  Comments Off on Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza  
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Congo ‘worst place’ to be woman or child

An displaced woman receive a bucket from the Red Cross as they distribute non food items  in Kibati, just north of Goma, in eastern Congo, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. (AP / Karel Prinsloo)

An displaced woman receive a bucket from the Red Cross

as they distribute non food items in Kibati, just north of Goma,

in eastern Congo, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. (AP / Karel Prinsloo)

People carrying their belongings flee fighting in Kiwanja, 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Goma, eastern Congo, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)

People carrying their belongings flee fighting in Kiwanja,

90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Goma, eastern Congo,

Friday, Nov. 7, 2008. (AP / Karel Prinsloo)

November 12 2008

Government officials in Angola say they’re mobilizing troops to send to Congo, a country one aid worker is calling “the worst place” in the world to be a woman or child.

The mobilization is raising fears that violence in that country would spread through the region.

Angolan Deputy Foreign Minister Georges Chicoty said the troops will support the Congo government in its fight against rebels led by a former Tutsi general. Congo had asked Angola for political and military assistance last month.

However, there are concerns that neighbouring Rwanda may see the presence of Angolan troops, which will not act as a peacekeeping force, as a provocation.

There are also worries that tensions between Tutsis and Hutus — who escaped to the Congo from Rwanda during an ethnic genocide in the 1990s — will increase. The current conflict is fuelled by concerns by Tutsi leaders in Congo that they’ll be targeted by Hutus who participated in the genocide and then fled to the country.

Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 3,000 more UN peacekeeping soldiers were needed in Congo to bolster a 17,000-member UN force.

Ban also called for a ceasefire so aid workers could get help to at “at least 100,000 refugees” cut off in rebel-controlled areas.

“The conditions in (the refugee camps) are as bad as I have seen them anywhere in Africa,” World Vision spokesperson Kevin Cook told CTV’s Canada AM on Wednesday morning.

Displaced people are in urgent need of water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and other supplies and protection from escalating violence.”

Cook said aid workers are also concerned about the spread of diseases such as malaria, cholera, measles and diarrhea. He also noted that he is not sure how long relief workers would be able to stay in the country if the situation worsens.

UN officials have noted that both sides in the dispute have committed crimes against civilians, including rapes.

“This is probably the worst place in the world to be a woman or a child,” Cook said.

Source


open cast mining in the DR Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most volatile parts of the world and also one of the most mineral-rich.

That provides an explosive combination.

The United Nations says illegal mining operations are providing funding for the rebel groups behind the renewed conflict, including the forces of the rebel general Laurent Nkunda.

Many people have died in the latest eruption of violence, and over 250,000 people have fled their homes.

Blessing or curse

International efforts to bring peace to the region are increasingly focussed on the way that factions in the region have been using its mineral wealth to buy arms.

Workers toil to extract diamonds, gold, copper and cassiterite in the thousands of open mines which litter the contested eastern region.

The untapped wealth of the forested landscape is worth billions of dollars but only a tiny fraction of that reaches the pockets of ordinary citizens.

The recent battles in the eastern Kivu region partly stem from the same Hutu-Tutsi rivalry which prompted the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s but crucially, the fighting is financed by Kivu’s buried treasure.

Many people complain that the natural riches of the region are the main cause of their misery.

Blood money

Rebel groups, as well as the Congolese army, trade in the minerals and that provides the money to enable them to keep fighting.

For some armed groups the war has become little more than a private racket with the minerals themselves providing the motive for carrying on the fighting, according to Carina Tertsakian of the international campaign organisation Global Witness.

The region accounts for 5% of the global supply of cassiterite, the primary ore of tin and a crucial element of all kinds of electronic circuitry, and is worth $70 million a year.

“To reach the world market the ore is flown to the regional capital of Goma and then, via Rwanda and Uganda, it reaches to east African ports of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania,” says Harrison Mitchell of the Resource Consulting Service.

The ore is then shipped to smelters who buy tin on the open market.

Located predominantly in India, China, Malaysia and Thailand, these smelters sell tin to component manufacturers.

Provenance required

Public pressure has forced the diamond trade to monitor sources and Mr Mitchell says the same should now apply to the trade in cassiterite.

“We talked to some high profile electronic companies and we found that the final end-users of tin were generally unaware of where the product was coming from,” he says.

There are many legal mining operations within the Democratic Republic of Congo but in the contested Eastern region, there are now proposals to limit the illegal trade.

These range from calls for a total ban, to the idea of chemically identifying the varieties of tin coming out of each area, which would allow exporters to filter out the worst sources.

Campaigners say that any indiscriminate ban will severely hurt the long-suffering and impoverished local population.

Source

Also see

Search for peace ‘doomed’ by scramble for minerals in Congo

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 11:47 pm  Comments Off on Congo ‘worst place’ to be woman or child  
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Half of the Zimbabwe population faces starvation

By Barry Mason
November 5 2008
Aid charities and the United Nations estimate that 5 million people in Zimbabwe, half the population, face starvation.

A USAID Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) alert issued September 24 warned of insufficient cereal imports. It stated, “Zimbabwe could face a critical shortage or exhaustion of cereals as early as the first week of November… The current in-country supply of agricultural inputs for the upcoming planting season is insufficient… Late planting could aggravate the impact of forecast below-normal rainfall in the second half of the season (January-March 2009) in the country’s main crop producing regions, increasing the potential for a poor harvest and the continued need for imports in 2009.”

A Christian Aid press release on October 14 emphasised the stark social conditions facing millions in Zimbabwe. The dire statistics indicate that “over 85 percent of the population is unemployed, 90 percent are living on less than £1 a day and 15 percent of adults are living with HIV with some 3,500 dying every week of related diseases… (Zimbabwe) has the lowest life expectancy in the world: 34 years for men and 32 years for women.”

Speaking to the BBC News web site at the beginning of October, John Holmes, the United Nations humanitarian chief, described the situation as grave and deteriorating:

“Planting season for the next harvest starts in five or six weeks’ time, at least for maize, and there is a massive shortage of seeds and fertilizers in the country because of the economic situation…

“We’re looking to see whether we can accelerate even at this late stage and get some of those seeds and fertilizers and other imports into the hands of small farmers.”

An October 17 Africa Confidential newsletter quoted a senior UN World Food Programme (WFP) official describing the situation as “very, very bad,” noting that the next harvest was six months away. Africa Confidential continued, “The WFP reckons that 28 percent of children under five are malnourished and vulnerable to disease. Many rural families get one meal a day—typically sadza, maize-meal with no protein… The hungriest fill their stomachs with umtopi, baobab (tree) roots pounded into a paste.”

The article noted research by Professor Ian Scoones of Sussex University who showed that whilst it is small farmers on communal land who provide most of the food in rural areas, their productivity has been greatly reduced following several successive droughts and their inability to afford fertilizer, etc., to improve their land.

An October 24 article in the Times of London reported on the eastern province of Manicaland. The reporter said she found “a country whose reserves of food are exhausted and where the diseases of hunger—kwashiorkor, marasmus and pellagra—are appearing to a degree never seen in the country before.”

The Times described emaciated children dying in hospital. Greg Powell, chairman of the Zimbabwe Child Protection Society, said, “In the 32 years I have worked in Zimbabwe as a paediatrician I have never known a more serious situation. We can predict an exponential increase in cases of kwashiorkor and malnutrition over the next six months.”

Geoff Foster, a paediatrician at Mutare hospital, said, “Malnutrition is a silent emergency that affects young children… There is a famine situation prevailing and it is desperate.”

The threat of a cholera epidemic is also mounting. A UN IRIN news report carried by Reuters on October 20 stated there have been 120 deaths so far due to cholera, with most being in the Mashonaland Central province. The report blamed the collapse of health and municipal services, lack of potable water and no rubbish collection or proper sanitation system. People had to resort to digging shallow wells to obtain water, but these often became polluted by sewerage spills.

The report added: “The state-owned Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has pumped raw sewerage into Lake Chivero, one of the reservoirs providing Harare with water; residents with access to piped water often have to contend with a smelly greenish discharge from their taps.”

An Inter Press Service article carried on AllAfrica.com October 16 quoted a statement released by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA). It said: “The water and sewer management problems have seen some residential areas going for years, months and weeks without water and unattended sewer bursts respectively. The shortage of water dictates that residents fetch water from unprotected sources, thus diseases like cholera breed easily. CHRA has so far received countless cases of cholera and diarrhoea.”

A US GMA television news report of October 30 reported one person in Harare has died from cholera and 20 other people had succumbed to the disease. It quoted one resident of Eastern Harare who said that his neighbourhood had been without piped water for a year and described how the smell and smoke from the burning of uncollected rubbish was making people ill. People had to resort to digging their own wells, but he was concerned that “When the rains come all the filth will flow into our well.”

The dire social and economic situation is being exacerbated by the ongoing deadlock over the power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change. Mugabe is intent on controlling the important ministries, thus sidelining the MDC. The talks have been brokered by Thabo Mbeki, but his loss of the South African presidency has rendered him politically impotent.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called for a larger regional summit to try to reach a deal.

Source

A little problem with Capitalism

The financial crisis gripping the U.S. isn’t an anomaly. We just have short memories

By Thomas Walkom

What’s happening now on Wall Street is seen as a new story. It is not. It is a very old one.

Karl Marx wrote about it; so did John Maynard Keynes. More recently, tycoon George Soros has pronounced on it, as has the redoubtable Economist, a decidedly pro-free market financial magazine.

This old story is quite simple: Capitalism is unstable. It is an economic system that can be ruthlessly productive. But is also one of wheels within wheels – internal contradictions Marx called them – that can, and regularly do, spin out of control.

Marx, a German philosopher suffering from boils, saw these contradictions as opportunities; he figured that capitalism’s self-destruction would lead to a better world.

Keynes, a British economist who liked to speculate in foreign currency over his morning tea and toast, saw them as problems that could destroy a world he rather liked. The welfare state edifice that bears his name was designed in the post-1945 period to, literally, save capitalism from itself.

Banks would be regulated to keep financiers from scamming the economy into the ground. Labour unions would be encouraged, in order to give workers a stake in the status quo and inoculate them against radical politics.

The rich would agree to government tax-and-spend policies, knowing that – in the end – it’s always better to feed the poor than have them slit your throat.

It was a giant, unspoken bargain – forced by the Depression of the `30s, tempered by war and hammered into shape under the threat of Communism.

For a long time, it worked.

But the great bargain could never resolve those inconsistencies inherent in the world economy. Over time, new forces came into play.

The very foreign investment that allowed U.S.-based firms to prosper in the post-1945 world encouraged rivals to develop: first West Germany and Japan, latterly China and the European Union.

Throughout the industrial West, unionized workers cushioned by the full-employment policies of the welfare state demanded and won pay hikes that exceeded their productivity gains. Which is why, in the `70s, inflation took off.

Meanwhile, the collapse of Communism and the discrediting of revolutionary politics removed pressure from employers. Why bother forging a great bargain with your workers if they don’t pose a threat?

And so came phase one of the retrenchment – the destruction of the welfare state. In England, it began as Thatcherism, in the U.S. Reaganomics. Both leaders set out to limit trade union power in their respective countries. Both did so, Thatcher by facing down the miners, Reagan by firing unionized air controllers.

Their aim was not traditional fiscal conservatism. Indeed, under Reagan, U.S. federal finances spiralled into deficit.

Rather it was to alter the balance of forces within society. Reagan’s tax cuts were designed to help the rich; Thatcher’s monetarism focused on squeezing wages.

In Canada, we had Paul Martin and Mike Harris – similar policies but on a different scale.

As a result, the income gap widened throughout much of the industrial world. The rich got richer; the middling classes lagged; the poor got poorer.

Phase two involved the dismantling of the very financial safeguards erected after the debacle of the `30s. The specifics varied from country to country, but the aim was the same: Deregulate financial industries so they would centralize and focus their tremendous resources into new, more profitable areas.

In the U.S., financial deregulation involved scrapping laws that had protected small depositors – which led in the late `80s to the collapse of so-called savings and loans banks.

This in turn caused the U.S. government to engineer its first big post-1945 bailout.

In Canada, deregulation led to the scrapping of a system that had kept various portions of the financial industry isolated from one another. Under the new regime, insurers, trust companies and investment dealers merged and melded. Lending restrictions were eased.

Phase three was sparked, ironically, by the industrial world’s very success in fighting inflation. As inflation went down so did returns offered through standard investment channels. Investors seeking higher returns began to search out riskier – and better-paying – options.

And so came the fascination with so-called new financial instruments. Many households were satisfied with nothing more exotic than mutual funds. But for well-heeled individuals and firms, the new frontier was far more exotic: derivatives, hedge funds, index funds, collateralized debt obligations.

All worked on the venerable principle of leverage: Putting in a little in order to earn a lot. Alas, as we should have remembered from the `30s, leverage only works when the economy is going up. When things start to falter, a leveraged asset can become an intolerable millstone.

In the end, the private equity companies and sub-prime mortgage buyers were doing much the same thing: borrowing money they couldn’t afford to repay, in the hope that whatever assets they purchased would keep rising in value.

It was a gigantic ponzi scheme that couldn’t possibly last. And it didn’t.

So, now we’re back at square one. The system is near collapse. U.S. Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke may remember his history (he’s an authority on the depression of the `30s). But few others do.

On television, a baffled U.S. President George W. Bush resembles the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. Here in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper insists that this country’s fundamentals are fine, a sentiment that, while true, is largely irrelevant in the context of a potential world collapse.

American taxpayers are understandably miffed at being asked to bail out the entire global capitalist system. Right now, their ire is aimed at Wall Street tycoons. But in their hearts, they recognize that this isn’t much of a deal.

The $700-billion (U.S.) bailout may save the financial system. But after ordinary people have anted up the cash, will their reward be nothing more than a return to the way things were? Even politicians are beginning to recognize that any lasting solution must deal with more than the barebones economics of the crisis.

Ironically, what they are groping for is the kind of solution that we’ve spent the past 40 years dismantling. It’s time for another grand bargain – not necessarily the one that gave us the post-war welfare state, but one that delivers a similar quid pro quo. And it will go something like this: We’ll save your damned old capitalism; we’ll let you have the big houses and big salaries (although not necessarily quite as big as they were). But in return, you’ll have to give us something back – on jobs, on wages, on the things that we need to live a civilized life. Nor will we let you destroy everything we hold dear just so you can make a buck.

And don’t give us all that free-market guff. Because we know, just as you know, that at times of great stress, the free market doesn’t work. This crisis has reminded us of that.

Source


We haven’t reached bottom yet

Think the current financial crisis is bad? A first-hand account reminds us just what `Depression’ meant

Serious people – economists and historians and investment analysts – say the U.S. financial crisis has parallels to the crisis that precipitated the Great Depression.

Many other serious people, of course, reject the comparison. And even the pessimists do not claim that bread lines and mass destitution are imminent. But even if only for the sake of education, it is instructive to remember what the 1930s were like.

In this partial excerpt from the January 1932 edition of The New Masses, a Marxist publication, writer Meridel Le Sueur describes the wretchedness of the existences of women in Minneapolis.

I am sitting in the city free employment bureau. It’s the woman’s section. We have been sitting here now for four hours. We sit here every day, waiting for a job. There are no jobs. Most of us have had no breakfast. Some have had scant rations for over a year. Hunger makes a human being lapse into a state of lethargy, especially city hunger. Is there any place else in the world where a human being is supposed to go amidst plenty without an outcry, without protest, where the boldest steal or kill for bread, and the timid crawl the streets, hunger like the beak of a terrible bird at the vitals?

We sit looking at the floor. No one dares think of the coming winter. There are only a few more days of summer. Everyone is anxious to get work to lay up something for that long siege of bitter cold. But there is no work. Sitting in the room we all know it. That is why we don’t talk much. We look at the floor dreading to see that knowledge in each other’s eyes. There is a kind of humiliation in it. We look away from each other. We look at the floor. It’s too terrible to see this animal terror in each other’s eyes …

Most of the women who come here are middle-aged, some have families, some have raised their families and are now alone, some have men who are out of work. Hard times and the man leaves to hunt for work. He doesn’t find it. He drifts on. The woman probably doesn’t hear from him for a long time. She expects it. She isn’t surprised. She struggles alone to feed the many mouths. Sometimes she gets help from the charities. If she’s clever she can get herself a good living from the charities … if she’s proud then she starves silently, leaving her children to find work, coming home after a day’s searching to wrestle with her house, her children …

She has lost all her furniture now along with the dream. A married friend whose husband is gone gives her a bed for which she pays by doing a great deal of work for the woman. She comes here every day now sitting bewildered, her pudgy hands folded in her lap. She is hungry. Her great flesh has begun to hang in folds. She has been living on crackers. Sometimes a box of crackers lasts a week. She has a friend who’s a baker and he sometimes steals the stale loaves and brings them to her.

A girl we have seen every day all summer went crazy yesterday at the YW. She went into hysterics, stamping her feet and screaming.

She hadn’t had work for eight months. “You’ve got to give me something,” she kept saying. The woman in charge flew into a rage that probably came from days and days of suffering on her part, because she is unable to give jobs, having none …

“We can’t recommend you like that,” the harnessed YWCA woman said, knowing she was starving, unable to do anything …

A scrub woman whose hips are bent forward from stooping with hands gnarled like water-soaked branches clicks her tongue in disgust. No one saves their money, she says, a little money and these foolish young things buy a hat, a dollar for breakfast, a bright scarf. And they do. If you’ve ever been without money, or food, something very strange happens when you get a bit of money, a kind of madness. You don’t care. You can’t remember that you had no money before, that the money will be gone. You can remember nothing but that there is the money for which you have been suffering. Now here it is. A lust takes hold of you. You see food in the windows. In imagination you eat hugely; you taste a thousand meals. You look in windows. Colours are brighter; you buy something to dress up in. An excitement takes hold of you. You know it is suicide but you can’t help it. You must have food, dainty, splendid food and a bright hat so once again you feel blithe, rid of that ratty gnawing shame.

“I guess she’ll go on the street now,” a thin woman says faintly and no one takes the trouble to comment further. Like every commodity now the body is difficult to sell and the girls say you’re lucky if you get 50 cents.

It’s very difficult and humiliating to sell one’s body …

I’ve lived in cities for many months broke, without help, too timid to get in bread lines. I’ve known many women to live like this until they simply faint on the street from privations, without saying a word to anyone. A woman will shut herself up in a room until it is taken away from her, and eat a cracker a day and be as quiet as a mouse so there are no social statistics concerning her.

I don’t know why it is, but a woman will do this unless she has dependents, will go for weeks verging on starvation, crawling in some hole, going through the streets ashamed, sitting in libraries, parks, going for days without speaking to a living soul like some exiled beast, keeping the runs mended in her stockings, shut up in terror in her own misery, until she becomes too supersensitive and timid to even ask for a job …

Not one of them but looks forward to starvation, for the coming winter. We are in a jungle and know it. We are beaten, entrapped. There is no way out. Even if there were a job, even if that thin acrid woman came and gave everyone in the room a job for a few days, a few hours, at 30 cents an hour, this would all be repeated tomorrow, the next day and the next. Not one of these women but knows, that despite years of labour there is only starvation, humiliation in front of them.

Source

Published in: on October 4, 2008 at 10:00 am  Comments Off on A little problem with Capitalism  
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Sanctions=Zimbabwe kids ‘eating rats’

Zimbabwe kids ‘eating rats’


September 26, 2008

London – Children in Zimbabwe are eating rats and inedible roots riddled with toxic parasites to stave off hunger because of chronic food shortages, an aid agency said on Thursday.

Save the Children said the most vulnerable faced starvation unless they get food aid in the next couple of weeks.

“The rising malnutrition and the rise in diseases are going to mean that children will die and we have to act very fast,” said Sarah Jacobs, a spokesperson for the relief group.

The United Nations had said previously that more than five million people in Zimbabwe would need food aid by early next year after a poor harvest compounded by economic turmoil.

Jacobs said many people in the Zambezi Valley, the poorest and driest area, were now surviving on a vile-tasting, fibrous root called makuri.

“It’s got no nutritional value whatsoever. It tastes disgusting and it also has a parasite which attaches to it which is toxic,” said Jacobs, who has just returned from the region.

“This is all they have to eat. You see babies eating it and toddlers eating it, and it’s not digestible. It creates terrible stomach pains.”

People were eating anything to survive, she said. She had come across one child who had died after eating a poisonous root and young children eating tiny rats they caught in their huts.

Save the Children and other agencies are resuming work after Zimbabwe’s government lifted a ban on their operations at the end of August.

President Robert Mugabe imposed the ban before a run-off presidential election in June, accusing the agencies of supporting the opposition. But Save the Children said in reality many agencies had not been able to work in the field since the first election round in March.

The agency, which has launched a £5m appeal for emergency operations in Zimbabwe, said the situation had got much worse in the past few months and that rampant inflation meant even people with jobs would need food aid.

“People’s ways of coping have been completely exhausted. People are saying they’re scared they’re going to die within weeks if food doesn’t come,” Jacobs said.

“We really are playing catch up. It’s a huge humanitarian job now and there has to be much more money than there has ever been before.”

Jacobs said many children had diarrhoea after eating makuri, which was particularly dangerous in a situation where there was no proper clean water or sanitation.

The lack of nutrition had also weakened people’s immune systems and left them vulnerable to illness just before the rainy season when cases of malaria and cholera increase.

There have already been suspected cases of cholera even though the disease does not usually appear until the rains arrive in October.

Save the Children said proper nutrition was particularly vital for those with HIV/Aids, which effects one in five adults in Zimbabwe.

The food crisis has also caused many children to drop out of school either because they could not afford to go, needed to work or look for food, or because their teachers could not afford the journey to work.

Mugabe wants sanctions lifted

September 28, 2008

New York – Zimbabwe’s president said on Wednesday he sees no obstacles to carrying out a power-sharing agreement with rivals and hopes it will lead the West to ease sanctions, which he blamed for devastating the country’s economy.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the 84-year-old Robert Mugabe was sharp, quick and animated – and made clear he is determined to remain president despite what he said were efforts by Britain and the US to oust him.

“They are waiting for a day when this man, this evil man, called Robert Mugabe is no longer in control,” he said. “And I don’t know when that day is coming.”

Mugabe, who is to address the UN General Assembly on Thursday, dismissed Western reports that the September 15 power-sharing deal could fall apart “because I don’t know of any hitch”.

Under the agreement, Mugabe remains president, but is supposed to cede some of the powers he has wielded for nearly three decades in the southern African country.

Mugabe said on Wednesday the only outstanding issue is deciding on four of the 31 Cabinet posts, and the negotiations are continuing in Harare while he is in New York. He declined to say which posts are still being discussed.

The agreement provides for 15 nominated by Mugabe’s party, 13 by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and three by the leader of a smaller opposition faction, Arthur Mutambara.

But Mugabe made clear on Wednesday that he was willing to share power with Tsvangirai, who would become prime minister under the agreement, leading a council of ministers responsible for government policies and reporting to a Cabinet headed by Mugabe.

Truth and reconciliation

Tsvangirai has repeatedly said he does not want a legal witch hunt in Zimbabwe, but that he believes some kind of truth and reconciliation process is necessary to allow healing after years of violence and repression. Mugabe disagreed.

“At the moment, the fight between us has been one between Britain and ourselves – Britain, of course, using as their front the opposition,” Mugabe said. “So the British and the Americans, they’ve got to be reconciled to us.”

Western nations, who have shunned Mugabe’s government and whose aid and investment are sorely needed, have reacted cautiously to the coalition agreement. Millions of dollars in aid are expected to flow in if Mugabe actually shares power.

Mugabe said on Wednesday the West should now begin removing “demonic” sanctions, which have targeted individuals and companies seen to be supporting his regime.

“We don’t expect investment from countries that are hostile,” Mugabe said. “They can keep their investment, but we would hope in the first place that sanctions would be lifted. There is no reason for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe at all. There has never been any reason for it, you see, except hostility.”

EU foreign ministers have welcomed the power-sharing deal but have said that Mugabe must prove he is willing to restore democratic rule before EU sanctions can be lifted.

Mugabe said on Wednesday that Zimbabwe can return to its former economic status, saying “if only the West can leave us alone, you will certainly see us come up.”

“It will take us time because we have lost some time because of sanctions,” he said.

Mugabe accuses West of genocide

September 26, 2008

New York – Zimbabwe’s president lashed out at Western powers in a speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, accusing them of genocide and calling for the removal of US sanctions.

Robert Mugabe also slammed Western-led efforts earlier this year at the UN to step up punitive measures against his regime, and he praised Russia and China for blocking them.

“By the way, those who falsely accuse us of these violations are themselves international perpetrators of genocide, acts of aggression and mass destruction,” Mugabe said in his speech.

“The masses of innocent men, women and children who have perished in their thousands in Iraq surely demand retribution and vengeance. Who shall heed their cry?” Mugabe asked.

The United States only sent a low-ranking diplomat to take notes at Mugabe’s speech.

Mugabe praised Russia and China, saying the two ensured Zimbabwe “did not fall prey to a cocktail of lies which had been designed by our detractors to call for UN sanctions”.

Not able to agree

He did not specifically mention Zimbabwe’s disputed election earlier this year, but he thanked South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki for his mediation efforts that led to a power-sharing deal.

Mugabe lauded Mbeki, “whose patience, fortitude, sensitivity, diplomatic skills and painstaking work made it possible for the Zimbabwean parties to overcome what had appeared to be insurmountable and intractable difficulties to reaching agreement”.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the most votes in March presidential polling, but not enough to avoid a run-off against Mugabe. An onslaught of violence against Tsvangirai’s supporters led him to drop out of the presidential run-off and Mugabe was declared the overwhelming winner of the second vote, which was widely denounced as a sham.

Under the power-sharing deal signed September 15 with his rivals, Mugabe is supposed to cede some of the powers he has wielded for nearly three decades.

However, Mugabe’s party and his political rivals have not been able to agree on who will get four of the Cabinet posts.

Western sanctions have targeted individuals and companies seen to be supporting Mugabe’s regime and were tightened after elections this spring.

“Once again, I appeal to the world’s collective conscience to apply pressure for the immediate removal of these sanctions by Britain, the United States and their allies, which have brought untold suffering to our people,” Mugabe told world leaders.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, blames the sanctions for the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy. But critics point to his 2000 order that commercial farms be seized from whites.

‘Masters of their own destiny’

On Thursday, Mugabe praised his land reform programme, saying “the majority of our rural people have been empowered to contribute to household and national food security and, indeed, to be masters of their own destiny”.

“However, the effects of climate change that have included recurrent droughts and floods in the past seven years, and the illegal, unilaterally-imposed sanctions on my country have hindered Zimbabwe’s efforts to increase food production.”

Mugabe claimed his land reform was to benefit poor blacks, but many of the farms ended up in the hands of Mugabe loyalists and the once-thriving economy’s agricultural base collapsed.

Now for a little history about what Sanctions do.
Sanctions against Iraq cause death of 6,000 persons per month
Iraq, Politics, 1/27/1999

A former U.N humanitarian official in Iraq, Irish Dennis Halliday, said sanctions against this country cause up to 6,000 deaths per month.

In an interview with British Daily “The Guardian” that was reproduced by French News agency “AFP,” halliday said that after 8 years, the sanctions should be considered as a kind of war as they cause the death of 5,000 to 6,000 persons per month. “We must find another solution,” he pleaded.

The former Irish diplomat, 67, resigned last September from his post of coordinator of the oil-for-food program to protest the maintaining of sanctions against Iraq. Dennis Halliday, who occupied several U.N posts for 30 years, remained in Baghdad only for 13 months.

Halliday accused last week during a visit to France the U.N of practicing “genocide against the Iraqi people.” He voiced appreciation for the latest French proposal to come out of the crisis saying the proposal to lift the embargo on Iraq’s oil exports while maintaining monitoring on armaments was “viable.”

He told “The Guardian” that the US and Great Britain were sharing responsibility in the death of thousands of Iraqis, victim of the misery created by the sanctions.

He said he was convinced that the sanctions as a pressure means do not work and that sanctions always affect the population.

Halliday is the recipient of the 1999 North-South cooperation prize set up in 1991 by Moroccan intellectual Mehdi El Mandjra.

Halliday also rejected the accusations of London and Washington claiming that Baghdad hampers the distribution of foodstuffs to the needy populations. The U.N, he said, monitors every rice bag. We know where it goes.

He added that the oil-for-food program is actually a failure. Any program that generates malnutrition for 30 % of the population and that entails the death of thousands of persons can only be a failure, he said.

Iraqi minister of trade, Mohamed Mehdi Saleh, said last Sunday that the losses incurred by Iraq because of the embargo imposed on the country in 1991 amount to nearly $ 140 billion.

The oil-for-food program enables Iraq to sell $ 5.2 billion worth of crude oil every six months to purchase basic products. Iraq does not reach this ceiling because of the collapse of oil prices and of delays in receiving the spare parts, required to rehabilitate oil infrastructures.

Squeezed to death

Half a million children have died in Iraq since UN sanctions were imposed – most enthusiastically by Britain and the US. Three UN officials have resigned in despair. Meanwhile, bombing of Iraq continues almost daily. John Pilger investigates


guardian.co.uk,
March 04 2000
Wherever you go in Iraq’s southern city of Basra, there is dust. It gets in your eyes and nose and throat. It swirls in school playgrounds and consumes children kicking a plastic ball. “It carries death,” said Dr Jawad Al-Ali, a cancer specialist and member of Britain’s Royal College of Physicians. “Our own studies indicate that more than 40 per cent of the population in this area will get cancer: in five years’ time to begin with, then long afterwards. Most of my own family now have cancer, and we have no history of the disease. It has spread to the medical staff of this hospital. We don’t know the precise source of the contamination, because we are not allowed to get the equipment to conduct a proper scientific survey, or even to test the excess level of radiation in our bodies. We suspect depleted uranium, which was used by the Americans and British in the Gulf War right across the southern battlefields.”
Under economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council almost 10 years ago, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to clean up its contaminated battle-fields, as Kuwait was cleaned up. At the same time, the Sanctions Committee in New York, dominated by the Americans and British, has blocked or delayed a range of vital equipment, chemotherapy drugs and even pain-killers. “For us doctors,” said Dr Al-Ali, “it is like torture. We see children die from the kind of cancers from which, given the right treatment, there is a good recovery rate.” Three children died while I was there.

Six other children died not far away on January 25, last year. An American missile hit Al Jumohria, a street in a poor residential area. Sixty-three people were injured, a number of them badly burned. “Collateral damage,” said the Department of Defence in Washington. Britain and the United States are still bombing Iraq almost every day: it is the longest Anglo-American bombing campaign since the second world war, yet, with honourable exceptions, very little appears about it in the British media. Conducted under the cover of “no fly zones”, which have no basis in international law, the aircraft, according to Tony Blair, are “performing vital humanitarian tasks”. The ministry of defence in London has a line about “taking robust action to protect pilots” from Iraqi attacks – yet an internal UN Security Sector report says that, in one five-month period, 41 per cent of the victims were civilians in civilian targets: villages, fishing jetties, farmland and vast, treeless valleys where sheep graze. A shepherd, his father, his four children and his sheep were killed by a British or American aircraft, which made two passes at them. I stood in the cemetery where the children are buried and their mother shouted, “I want to speak to the pilot who did this.”

This is a war against the children of Iraq on two fronts: bombing, which in the last year cost the British taxpayer £60 million. And the most ruthless embargo in modern history. According to Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the death rate of children under five is more than 4,000 a month – that is 4,000 more than would have died before sanctions. That is half a million children dead in eight years. If this statistic is difficult to grasp, consider, on the day you read this, up to 200 Iraqi children may die needlessly. “Even if not all the suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors,” says Unicef, “the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivation in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war.”

Through the glass doors of the Unicef offices in Baghdad, you can read the following mission statement: “Above all, survival, hope, development, respect, dignity, equality and justice for women and children.” A black sense of irony will be useful if you are a young Iraqi. As it is, the children hawking in the street outside, with their pencil limbs and eyes too big for their long thin faces, cannot read English, and perhaps cannot read at all.

“The change in 10 years is unparalleled, in my experience,” Anupama Rao Singh, Unicef’s senior representative in Iraq, told me. “In 1989, the literacy rate was 95%; and 93% of the population had free access to modern health facilities. Parents were fined for failing to send their children to school. The phenomenon of street children or children begging was unheard of. Iraq had reached a stage where the basic indicators we use to measure the overall well-being of human beings, including children, were some of the best in the world. Now it is among the bottom 20%. In 10 years, child mortality has gone from one of the lowest in the world, to the highest.”

Anupama Rao Singh, originally a teacher in India, has spent most of her working life with Unicef. Helping children is her vocation, but now, in charge of a humanitarian programme that can never succeed, she says, “I am grieving.” She took me to a typical primary school in Saddam City, where Baghdad’s poorest live. We approached along a flooded street: the city’s drainage and water distribution system have collapsed. The head, Ali Hassoon, wore the melancholia that marks Iraqi teachers and doctors and other carers: those who know they can do little “until you, in the outside world, decide”. Guiding us around the puddles of raw sewage in the playground, he pointed to the high water mark on a wall. “In the winter it comes up to here. That’s when we evacuate. We stay as long as possible, but without desks, the children have to sit on bricks. I am worried about the buildings coming down.”

The school is on the edge of a vast industrial cemetery. The pumps in the sewage treatment plants and the reservoirs of water are silent, save for a few wheezing at a fraction of their capacity. Many were targets in the American-led blitz in January 1991; most have since disintegrated without spare parts from their British, French and German builders. These are mostly delayed by the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee; the term used is “placed on hold”. Ten years ago, 92% of the population had safe water, according to Unicef. Today, drawn untreated from the Tigris, it is lethal. Touching two brothers on the head, the head said, “These children are recovering from dysentery, but it will attack them again, and again, until they are too weak.” Chlorine, that universal guardian of safe water, has been blocked by the Sanctions Committee. In 1990, an Iraqi infant with dysentery stood a one in 600 chance of dying. This is now one in 50.

Just before Christmas, the department of trade and industry in London blocked a shipment of vaccines meant to protect Iraqi children against diphtheria and yellow fever. Dr Kim Howells told parliament why. His title of under secretary of state for competition and consumer affairs, eminently suited his Orwellian reply. The children’s vaccines were banned, he said, “because they are capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction”. That his finger was on the trigger of a proven weapon of mass destruction – sanctions – seemed not to occur to him. A courtly, eloquent Irishman, Denis Halliday resigned as co-ordinator of humanitarian relief to Iraq in 1998, after 34 years with the UN; he was then Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, one of the elite of senior officials. He had made his career in development, “attempting to help people, not harm them”. His was the first public expression of an unprecedented rebellion within the UN bureaucracy. “I am resigning,” he wrote, “because the policy of economic sanctions is totally bankrupt. We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that . . . Five thousand children are dying every month . . . I don’t want to administer a programme that results in figures like these.”

When I first met Halliday, I was struck by the care with which he chose uncompromising words. “I had been instructed,” he said, “to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults. We all know that the regime, Saddam Hussein, is not paying the price for economic sanctions; on the contrary, he has been strengthened by them. It is the little people who are losing their children or their parents for lack of untreated water. What is clear is that the Security Council is now out of control, for its actions here undermine its own Charter, and the Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention. History will slaughter those responsible.”

Inside the UN, Halliday broke a long collective silence. Then on February 13 this year, Hans von Sponeck, who had succeeded him as humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq, resigned. “How long,” he asked, “should the civilian population of Iraq be exposed to such punishment for something they have never done?” Two days later, Jutta Burghardt, head of the World Food Programme in Iraq, resigned, saying privately she, too, could not tolerate what was being done to the Iraqi people. Another resignation is expected.

When I met von Sponeck in Baghdad last October, the anger building behind his measured, self-effacing exterior was evident. Like Halliday before him, his job was to administer the Oil for Food Programme, which since 1996 has allowed Iraq to sell a fraction of its oil for money that goes straight to the Security Council. Almost a third pays the UN’s “expenses”, reparations to Kuwait and compensation claims. Iraq then tenders on the international market for food and medical supplies and other humanitarian supplies. Every contract must be approved by the Sanctions Committee in New York. “What it comes down to,” he said, “is that we can spend only $180 per person over six months. It is a pitiful picture. Whatever the arguments about Iraq, they should not be conducted on the backs of the civilian population.”

Denis Halliday and I travelled to Iraq together. It was his first trip back. Washington and London make much of the influence of Iraqi propaganda when their own, unchallenged, is by far the most potent. With this in mind, I wanted an independent assessment from some of the 550 UN people, who are Iraq’s lifeline. Among them, Halliday and von Sponeck are heroes. I have reported the UN at work in many countries; I have never known such dissent and anger, directed at the manipulation of the Security Council, and the corruption of what some of them still refer to as the UN “ideal”.

Our journey from Amman in Jordan took 16 anxious hours on the road. This is the only authorised way in and out of Iraq: a ribbon of wrecked cars and burnt-out oil tankers. Baghdad was just visible beneath a white pall of pollution, largely the consequence of the US Air Force strategy of targeting the industrial infrastructure in January 1991. Young arms reached up to the window of our van: a boy offering an over-ripe banana, a girl a single stem flower. Before 1990, such a scene was rare and frowned upon.

Baghdad is an urban version of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. The birds have gone as avenues of palms have died, and this was the land of dates. The splashes of colour, on fruit stalls, are surreal. A bunch of Dole bananas and a bag of apples from Beirut cost a teacher’s salary for a month; only foreigners and the rich eat fruit. A currency that once was worth two dollars to the dinar is now worthless. The rich, the black marketeers, the regime’s cronies and favourites, are not visible, except for an occasional tinted-glass late-model Mercedes navigating its way through the rustbuckets. Having been ordered to keep their heads down, they keep to their network of clubs and restaurants and well-stocked clinics, which make nonsense of the propaganda that the sanctions are hurting them, not ordinary Iraqis.

In the centre of Baghdad is a monument to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, which Saddam Hussein started, with encouragement from the Americans, who wanted him to destroy their great foe, the Ayatollah Khomeini. When it was over, at least a million lives had been lost in the cause of nothing, fuelled by the arms industries of Britain and the rest of Europe, the Soviet Union and the United States: the principal members of the Security Council. The monument’s two huge forearms, modelled on Saddam’s arms (and cast in Basingstoke), hold triumphant crossed sabres. Cars are allowed to drive over the helmets of dead Iranian soldiers embedded in the concourse. I cannot think of a sight anywhere in the world that better expresses the crime of sacrificial war.

We stayed at the Hotel Palestine, once claiming five stars. The smell of petrol was constant. As disinfectant is often “on hold”, petrol, more plentiful than water, has replaced it. There is an Iraqi Airways office, which is open every day, with an employee sitting behind a desk, smiling and saying good morning to passing guests. She has no clients, because there is no Iraqi Airways – it died with sanctions. The pilots drive taxis and sweep the forecourt and sell used clothes. In my room, the water ran gravy brown. The one frayed towel was borne by the maid like an heirloom. When I asked for coffee to be brought up, the waiter hovered outside until I was finished; cups are at a premium. His young face was streaked with sadness. “I am always sad,” he agreed matter-of-factly. In a month, he will have earned enough to buy tablets for his brother’s epilepsy.

The same sadness is on the faces of people in the evening auctions, where intimate possessions are sold for food and medicines. Television sets are the most common items; a woman with two toddlers watched their pushchairs go for pennies. A man who had collected doves since he was 15 came with his last bird; the cage would go next. Although we had come to pry, my film crew and I were made welcome. Only once, was I the brunt of the hurt that is almost tangible in a society more westernised than any other Arab country. “Why are you killing the children?” shouted a man from behind his bookstall. “Why are you bombing us? What have we done to you?” Passers-by moved quickly to calm him; one man placed an affectionate arm on his shoulder, another, a teacher, materialised at my side. “We do not connect the people of Britain with the actions of the government,” he said. Laith Kubba, a leading member of the exiled Iraqi opposition, later told me in Washington, “The Iraqi people and Saddam Hussein are not the same, which is why those of us who have dedicated our lives to fighting him, regard the sanctions as immoral.”

In an Edwardian colonnade of Doric and Corinthian columns, people come to sell their books, not as in a flea market, but out of desperate need. Art books, leather bound in Baghdad in the 30s, obstetrics and radiology texts, copies of British Medical Journals, first and second editions of Waiting For Godot, The Sun Also Rises and, no less, British Housing Policy 1958 were on sale for the price of a few cigarettes. A man in a clipped grey moustache, an Iraqi Bertie Wooster, said, “I need to go south to see my sister, who is ill. Please be kind and give me 25 dinars.” (About a penny). He took it, nodded and walked smartly away.

Mohamed Ghani’s studio is dominated by a huge crucifix he is sculpting for the Church of Assumption in Baghdad. As Iraq’s most famous sculptor, he is proud that the Vatican has commissioned him, a Muslim, to sculpt the Stations of the Cross in Rome – a romantic metaphor of his country as Mesopotamia, the “cradle of Western civilisation”. His latest work is a 20-foot figure of a woman, her child gripping her legs, pleading for food. “Every morning, I see her,” he said, “waiting, with others just like her, in a long line at the hospital at the end of my road. They are what we have been forced to become.” He has produced a line of figurines that depict their waiting; all the heads are bowed before a door that is permanently closed. “The door is the dispensary,” he said, “but it is also the world, kept shut by those who run the world.” The next day, I saw a similar line of women and children, and fathers and children, in the cancer ward at the Al Mansour children’s hospital. It is not unlike St Thomas’s in London. Drugs arrived, they said, but intermittently, so that children with leukaemia, who can be saved with a full course of three anti-biotics, pass a point beyond which they cannot be saved, because one is missing. Children with meningitis can also survive with the precise dosage of antibiotics; here they die. “Four milligrams save a life,” said Dr Mohamed Mahmud, “but so often we are allowed no more than one milligram.” This is a teaching hospital, yet children die because there are no blood-collecting bags and no machines that separate blood platelets: basic equipment in any British hospital. Replacements and spare parts have been “on hold” in New York, together with incubators, X-ray machines, and heart and lung machines.

I sat in a clinic as doctors received parents and their children, some of them dying. After every other examination, Dr Lekaa Fasseh Ozeer, the oncologist, wrote in English: “No drugs available.” I asked her to jot down in my notebook a list of the drugs the hospital had ordered, but rarely saw. In London, I showed this to Professor Karol Sikora who, as chief of the cancer programme of the World Health Organisation (WHO), wrote in the British Medical Journal last year: “Requested radiotherapy equipment, chemotherapy drugs and analgesics are consistently blocked by United States and British advisers [to the Sanctions Committee in New York]. There seems to be a rather ludicrous notion that such agents could be converted into chemical or other weapons.”

He told me, “Nearly all these drugs are available in every British hospital. They’re very standard. When I came back from Iraq last year, with a group of experts I drew up a list of 17 drugs that are deemed essential for cancer treatment. We informed the UN that there was no possibility of converting these drugs into chemical warfare agents. We heard nothing more. The saddest thing I saw in Iraq was children dying because there was no chemotherapy and no pain control. It seemed crazy they couldn’t have morphine, because for everybody with cancer pain, it is the best drug. When I was there, they had a little bottle of aspirin pills to go round 200 patients in pain. They would receive a particular anti-cancer drug, but then get only little bits of drugs here and there, and so you can’t have any planning. It is bizarre.”

In January, last year, George Robertson, then defence secretary, said, “Saddam Hussein has in warehouses $275 million worth of medicines and medical supplies which he refuses to distribute.” The British government knew this was false, because UN humanitarian officials had made clear the problem of drugs and equipment coming sporadically into Iraq – such as machines without a crucial part, IV fluids and syringes arriving separately – as well as the difficulties of transport and the need for a substantial buffer stock. “The goods that come into this country are distributed to where they belong,” said Hans von Sponeck. “Our most recent stock analysis shows that 88.8% of all humanitarian supplies have been distributed.” The representatives of Unicef, the World Food Programme and the Food and Agricultural Organisation confirmed this. If Saddam Hussein believed he could draw an advantage from obstructing humanitarian aid, he would no doubt do so. However, according to a FAO study: “The government of Iraq introduced a public food rationing system with effect from within a month of the imposition of the embargo. It provides basic foods at 1990 prices, which means they are now virtually free. This has a life-saving nutritional benefit . . . and has prevented catastrophe for the Iraqi people.”

The rebellion in the UN reaches up to Kofi Annan, once thought to be the most compliant of secretary-generals. Appointed after Madeleine Albright, then the US representative at the UN, had waged a campaign to get rid of his predecessor, Boutros-Boutros Ghali, he pointedly renewed Hans von Sponeck’s contract in the face of a similar campaign by the Americans. He shocked them last October when he accused the US of “using its muscle on the Sanctions Committee to put indefinite ‘holds’ on more than $700 million worth of humanitarian goods that Iraq would like to buy.” When I met Kofi Annan, I asked if sanctions had all but destroyed the credibility of the UN as a benign body. “Please don’t judge us by Iraq,” he said.

On January 7, the UN’s Office of Iraq Programme reported that shipments valued at almost a billion and a half dollars were “on hold”. They covered food, health, water and sanitation, agriculture, education. On February 7, its executive director attacked the Security Council for holding up spares for Iraq’s crumbling oil industry. “We would appeal to all members of the Security Council,” he wrote, “to reflect on the argument that unless key items of oil industry are made available within a short time, the production of oil will drop . . . This is a clear warning.” In other words, the less oil Iraq is allowed to pump, the less money will be available to buy food and medicine. According to the Iraqis at the UN, it was US representative on the Sanctions Committee who vetoed shipments the Security Council had authorised. Last year, a senior US official told the Washington Post, “The longer we can fool around in the [Security] Council and keep things static, the better.” There is a pettiness in sanctions that borders on vindictiveness. In Britain, Customs and Excise stops parcels going to relatives, containing children’s clothes and toys. Last year, the chairman of the British Library, John Ashworth, wrote to Harry Cohen MP that, “after consultation with the foreign office”, it was decided that books could no longer be sent to Iraqi students.

In Washington, I interviewed James Rubin, an under secretary of state who speaks for Madeleine Albright. When asked on US television if she thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children was a price worth paying, Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.” When I questioned Rubin about this, he claimed Albright’s words were taken out of context. He then questioned the “methodology” of a report by the UN’s World Health Organisation, which had estimated half a million deaths. Advising me against being “too idealistic”, he said: “In making policy, one has to choose between two bad choices . . . and unfortunately the effect of sanctions has been more than we would have hoped.” He referred me to the “real world” where “real choices have to be made”. In mitigation, he said, “Our sense is that prior to sanctions, there was serious poverty and health problems in Iraq.” The opposite was true, as Unicef’s data on Iraq before 1990, makes clear.

The irony is that the US helped bring Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq, and that the US (and Britain) in the 1980s conspired to break their own laws in order, in the words of a Congressional inquiry, to “secretly court Saddam Hussein with reckless abandon”, giving him almost everything he wanted, including the means of making biological weapons. Rubin failed to see the irony in the US supplying Saddam with seed stock for anthrax and botulism, that he could use in weapons, and claimed that the Maryland company responsible was prosecuted. It was not: the company was given Commerce Department approval.

Denial is easy, for Iraqis are a nation of unpeople in the West, their panoramic suffering of minimal media interest; and when they are news, care is always taken to minimise Western culpability. I can think of no other human rights issue about which the governments have been allowed to sustain such deception and tell so many bare-faced lies. Western governments have had a gift in the “butcher of Baghdad”, who can be safely blamed for everything. Unlike the be-headers of Saudi Arabia, the torturers of Turkey and the prince of mass murderers, Suharto, only Saddam Hussein is so loathsome that his captive population can be punished for his crimes. British obsequiousness to Washington’s designs over Iraq has a certain craven quality, as the Blair government pursues what Simon Jenkins calls a “low-cost, low-risk machismo, doing something relatively easy, but obscenely cruel”. The statements of Tony Blair and Robin Cook and assorted sidekick ministers would, in other circumstances, be laughable. Cook: “We must nail the absurd claim that sanctions are responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people”, Cook: “We must uphold the sanctity of international law and the United Nations . . .” ad nauseam. The British boast about their “initiative” in promoting the latest Security Council resolution, which merely offers the prospect of more Kafkaesque semantics and prevarication in the guise of a “solution” and changes nothing.

What are sanctions for? Eradicating Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, says the Security Council resolution. Scott Ritter, a chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq for five years, told me: “By 1998, the chemical weapons infrastructure had been completely dismantled or destroyed by UNSCOM (the UN inspections body) or by Iraq in compliance with our mandate. The biological weapons programme was gone, all the major facilities eliminated. The nuclear weapons programme was completely eliminated. The long range ballistic missile programme was completely eliminated. If I had to quantify Iraq’s threat, I would say [it is] zero.” Ritter resigned in protest at US interference; he and his American colleagues were expelled when American spy equipment was found by the Iraqis. To counter the risk of Iraq reconstituting its arsenal, he says the weapons inspectors should go back to Iraq after the immediate lifting of all non-military sanctions; the inspectors of the international Atomic Energy Agency are already back. At the very least, the two issues of sanctions and weapons inspection should be entirely separate. Madeleine Albright has said: “We do not agree that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted.” If this means that Saddam Hussein is the target, then the embargo will go on indefinitely, holding Iraqis hostage to their tyrant’s compliance with his own demise. Or is there another agenda? In January 1991, the Americans had an opportunity to press on to Baghdad and remove Saddam, but pointedly stopped short. A few weeks later, they not only failed to support the Kurdish and Shi’a uprising, which President Bush had called for, but even prevented the rebelling troops in the south from reaching captured arms depots and allowed Saddam Hussein’s helicopters to slaughter them while US aircraft circled overhead. At they same time, Washington refused to support Iraqi opposition groups and Kurdish claims for independence.

“Containing” Iraq with sanctions destroys Iraq’s capacity to threaten US control of the Middle East’s oil while allowing Saddam to maintain internal order. As long as he stays within present limits, he is allowed to rule over a crippled nation. “What the West would ideally like,” says Said Aburish, the author, “is another Saddam Hussein.” Sanctions also justify the huge US military presence in the Gulf, as Nato expands east, viewing a vast new oil protectorate stretching from Turkey to the Caucasus. Bombing and sanctions are ideal for policing this new order: a strategy the president of the American Physicians for Human Rights calls “Bomb Now, Die Later”. The perpetrators ought not be allowed to get away with this in our name: for the sake of the children of Iraq, and all the Iraqs to come


UN sanctions cause death of patients: Afghanistan
December 2000

ISLAMABAD (NNI): The United Nations economic and aviation sanctions on the war-shattered Afghanistan have resulted in the death of patients, President Afghan Preventive Medicine Dept. Ministry of Public Health Maulavi Abdul Hakim Hakimi has said. He however did not mention as to how many people have died.

“The sanctions have caused spread of epidemics in Afghanistan. Diseases like malaria, T.B. and laxmania have multiplied owing to lack of medicine,” Maulvi Hakimi said.

The United Nations Security Council slapped sanctions on Afghanistan last year after Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden for trial in American embassiesí bombing in Africa, which had killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Since the slapping of sanctions on Ariana flights by UN, the Ministry of Public Health of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is unable to send patients with critical conditions abroad. As a result, many have died. Similarly, various life-saving drugs can not be imported due to the embargo on Ariana flights.

Ariana was being used for medicine and medical supplies and equipment imports. According to the staff of Indra Ghandi Hospital in Kabul, 50% of medicines and medical equipment in Kabulís hospitals were being shipped by Ariana.

The main supplier of eye-care in Afghanistan the International Assistance Missionís Noor Eye Hospital previously source all its imported eye medicines in India and imported them via Ariana. They have been unable to do this since the imposition of the sanctions. Other health eugenics previously imported drugs through Dubai via Ariana. The ban on Ariana has also disrupted the activities of the Afghan Postal Services, which had been gradually restored and extended over the post three years.

It is noteworthy that an elaborate smuggling network has emerged as a result of the sanctions and has resulted in 100% increase in the prices of some essential commodities, he said. The impact of the sanctions on the Afghan people is undoubtedly clear.

“The Washington/Moscow collaboration to impose more sanctions on the Islamic Emirate is in no way justified because the Islamic Emirate has shown its readiness to solve all outstanding issues through talks,” Afghan ambassador Mulla Abdul Salam Zaeef has said. About Osama, he said the government of the Islamic Emirate has recently proposed a fourth option to resolve Osama issue.

“However, the UN on the behest of Washington and Moscow resort to starvation tactics in order to obtain political goals. This is a new trend in politics that the common man has to face suffering, starvation, destitute and penury because a certain government is not palatable to a certain super power and organization,” Mulla Zaeef said.

“This will only prolong the suffering of the people of Afghanistan without achieving her politically motivated goals,” he said.

Study Says Haiti Sanctions Kill Up to 1,000 Children a Month


November 9, 1993


An oil embargo and other sanctions intended to help restore democracy to Haiti are killing as many as 1,000 children each month, according to a study to be released this week by international public health experts at Harvard University.

The study, titled “Sanctions in Haiti: Crisis in Humanitarian Action,” reports that although international attention has focused largely on killings and political terrorism in Haiti since the September 1991 coup that deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, “the human toll from the silent tragedy of humanitarian neglect has been far greater than either the violence or human rights abuses.”

Normally, nearly 3,000 children aged 5 or younger die in Haiti every month. According to the study, that figure has increased by about a 1,000 each month. There are about a million children under the age of 5 in Haiti, which has a population of about 7 million. More Malnutrition Seen

The study also found that the embargo had contributed to as many as 100,000 new cases of moderate to severe malnutrition.

The Harvard report, like the assessments of relief organizations here, found that the international embargoes that have been imposed, relaxed, then reimposed since the military coup have ravaged this country, the hemisphere’s poorest.

Although all of the embargoes against Haiti since the coup have made exceptions for relief supplies, the Harvard study found that from food production to the availability of drugs and vaccines, the impact of sanctions has been severe. Food ‘Practically Impeded’

“Food and medicines are exempted from embargoes, so everyone assumes that everything will be all right,” said Lincoln C. Chen, director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. “But what we have found is that even when they are not legally impeded, these kinds of things are practically impeded.”

[ A State Department spokesman, David Johnson, declined to comment on the Harvard report, saying he had not seen it. But he said the Administration was well aware that the sanctions have had a painful effect on the people of Haiti. “Sanctions are by their very nature a blunt instrument, but they remain the best tool we have at our disposal to bring about the return of democracy in Haiti,” he said. ]

President Clinton, in an interview on Sunday, cited the potential for increased suffering as the reason for his reluctance to back Father Aristide’s call for a near-total embargo. “We can in effect have a total embargo and try to shut the country down,” he said. “That will be more painful in the near term to the average Haitians who are already suffering.”

Instead, the Administration is trying to persuade other nations to follow its lead in freezing the overseas assets of leaders and supporters of the government.

In the three weeks that Haiti has been cut off from foreign oil deliveries, this country’s economy has come to a near halt. In the capital, Port-au-Prince, litter-strewn streets are empty of most traffic by early afternoon. Unemployment is soaring, and the prices of ordinary goods are climbing beyond the reach of many.

The report says that Haiti’s gross domestic product decreased by 5.2 percent in 1991 and 10 percent in 1992 and that exports in 1992 were about half of what they were the previous year and less than a third of what they were in the early 1980’s.

In provincial towns and rural areas, the situation is far worse. According to radio reports here, Port de Paix, a small city in Haiti’s grindingly poor northwest, has gone without electricity for three weeks. Transportation to many rural areas has been almost completely cut off.

In the small town of Ganthier, an hour east of the capital along the highway to the Dominican Republic, Haiti’s suffering is evident everywhere.

At the town’s small medical clinic, the only health care center within miles, a white ambulance sits idle for lack of gasoline. The clinic’s pharmacy is almost bare.

“We don’t have any money for medicine, and life has become very hard,” said Solieus Fenelon, three of whose six children are seriously ill with diseases including malaria and typhoid.

“The little money I had has dried up,” said Mrs. Fenelon, who made her living as a shoe peddler in the capital until public transportation became unavailable for lack of gas. “It’s hard for me to watch my children like this and not be able to do anything for them. They are in the hands of God now.”

Public health experts say broadening the current embargo, which President Clinton says he is loath to do, would threaten even more Haitians with severe malnutrition and disease. Effect on Aristide’s Future

On the other hand, easing up on sanctions, which now cover oil and arms, would send a signal to Haiti’s de facto military rulers that after two years of diplomacy on Father Aristide’s behalf, the United Nations and Washington are backing away from the goal of restoring him to power.

The current oil embargo is much like another round of sanctions imposed on Haiti in June that quickly brought the military to the negotiating table. This time, however, the army, which has refused to comply with the terms of the United Nations-brokered settlement of Haiti’s political crisis, seems to have prepared for sanctions. It has stockpiled more fuel and rushed the completion of a new road to the Dominican Republic, a source of limited amounts of imported fuel.

Because of transportation problems, hoarding and profiteering, the prices of many basic medicines, when they are available at all, have gone up as much as fivefold. Immunization programs have been paralyzed in many areas because of a lack of supplies, the failure of refrigeration and large-scale movements of people as they flee violence or joblessness.

Haiti’s children have been particularly hard hit by a measles epidemic that has swept the country in the last two years. The Harvard study found that vaccination programs in Port-au-Prince and in some rural areas have reached as little as 4 percent of their target populations because of factors related to the embargo. Relief Corridor Urged

Mr. Chen said the United States and other donors should set up what he called a “humanitarian corridor” into Haiti, to insure delivery of vital supplies stem the growing death toll.

“Our message is that it is fine to intervene for democracy, but at the same time you must accept some of these responsibilities,” he said.

The study’s findings on child mortality were based in large part on projections made from what researchers said was the only high quality, long-term tracking of births and deaths in rural Haiti. The Harvard researchers leaned heavily on that study, conducted by the Save the Children project in the town of Maissade in Haiti’s Central Plateau region. Mr. Chen said the study of the individual community was representative enough to serve as a base for a national projection.

The Save the Children study monitors the fortunes of the town’s population of 44,900. Malnutrition data was collected from the Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as from studies by organizations like CARE. 7 Visit From Harvard

Six members of the Harvard team visited Haiti this summer shortly after the first of two oil embargoes imposed on the country. Mr. Chen said another member repeatedly visited the country since then to update the researchers’ information.

With some of the hemisphere’s worst public health indicators, Haiti’s child mortality rate of 133 deaths per 1,000 live births was already far higher than that of most of its neighbors even before the current political crisis. In the neighboring Dominican Republic, for instance, that figure stood at 54 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1992.

Jorimene Simeon of Ganthier, who is 36, said she has had tuberculosis for two and a half years, but has been forced to interrupt her treatment for lack of medicine.

“I could have been cured,” Miss Simeon said bitterly. “They prescribed me the medicine, but the papers have just stayed in my hand. I can’t afford to buy it.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UN Document Series Symbol: ST/HR/

UN Issuing Body: Secretariat Centre for Human Rights

© United Nations

Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A(III) of 10 Dec.1948.

PREAMBLE

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore,

The General Assembly,

Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11

1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.

2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14

1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15

1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.

2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16

1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17

1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21

1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

2. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.

3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23

1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25

1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26

1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27

1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29

1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

It seems the United Nations have been breaking a few of their own laws, as have many countries who are members.

But hell what do I know? I am just a citizen who took the time to read the stupid stuff they wrote. Just a pity they really don’t do what they say in their laws.

The planet is suffering from a Human Rights Embargo. Seems we have no rights at all. I call them as I see them.

Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 10:20 pm  Comments (2)  
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