US going from Police State, To Military State

Every America needs to know this.

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

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State

February 11, 2013 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Via Truth-Dig Source

Chris Hedges: NDAA Lawsuit Update

Bad enough Americans already have people being Entrapped.

Inside the FBI’s ‘Terror factory’

You could be sent to anyone of these Countries.

CIA used 54 countries for detaining prisoners for toture

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

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

Now the Military can help with all of this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changing the way we do business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons from Israel to Auschwitz

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

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

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

Fighting “crimiterror”

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

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

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

The Demographic Unit

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

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

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

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

Shop ‘til you’re stopped

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

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

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

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

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

“Occupy” meets the Occupation

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

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

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

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

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

Source

 

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Turkey: Jailing is the Agenda to silence critical Journalists

Stop the presses: Turkey tops list of jailed journalists

October 23, 2012

As the situation in Syria intensifies, its neighbor Turkey, which is at the frontline of the offensive against President Assad’s government, is being dubbed as the world’s leading jailer of journalists by a New York–based media watchdog.

­The latest investigation says that 76 journalists were detained in Turkey as of August 1, 80 per cent of which were imprisoned as a direct result of their work. The remaining 20 per cent of the cases are still being investigated by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) workers. The report also claims that three-quarters of jailed journalists have not yet been convicted of any crime but are held while they await “resolution of their cases.”

The findings claim that “the Turkish government is engaging in a broad offensive to silence critical journalists through imprisonment, legal prosecution and official intimidation,” as 70 per cent of those in jail were Kurdish and the rest being accused of participating in plots against the government, or membership of outlawed organizations.

Press freedom in Turkey according to the 53 page report has suffered as “as tensions between Turkey and Syria escalate a choke on information and climate of fear could deter important, probing news coverage.”

The watchdog believes that “according to the government’s theory, journalists were using news coverage to create the kind of societal chaos conducive to a coup.” In fact most have been charged with aiding terrorism by covering activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK).

CPJ’s report also criticized the 2007 Internet law which allows website filtering by the Turkish authorities against opposition.

Furthermore at least 5,000 criminal cases were pending against journalists by the end of 2011 the report says.

According to the CPJ, the number of journalists in Turkish jails surpasses figures in Iran, China, or Eritrea, making Turkey the world’s leading jailer of journalists.

“Turkey’s current prison tally far surpasses that of the next most repressive nations, including Iran, which was imprisoning 42 journalists when CPJ conducted its December 2011 prison census; Eritrea, which was holding 28; and China, which was jailing 27,” the report says. CPJ’s analysis of imprisonments in Turkey also found that the crackdown has accelerated in the last two years as two-thirds of imprisoned journalists were detained in 2011 or 2012.

JCP says that Ankara’s relationship with Washington makes Turkey “promote itself as a regional leader in freedom… Yet such claims are contradicted by the persecution of journalists at levels that place Turkey alongside global outliers.”

The watchdog recommends Prime Minister Erdogan and his government to “exert the political will to abandon the systemic suppression of critical views and dismantle the country’s vast system of media repression. Source

 

Judicial harassment of Turkey’s media – latest

October 22, 2012.

Reporters Without Borders has decided to start a news feed with regular updates in order to follow the many prosecutions of journalists and news media in Turkey. Despite Law 6352’s adoption in July, the media continue to be the target of constant judicial harassment, in which the KCK and Ergenekon trials are just the most visible cases.


22.10.2012 – Four journalists given jail terms in space of three days

Four Turkish journalists were given prison sentences in the space of three days this week while four others were given conditional releases pending the outcome of their trials.

Kurdish media still at centre of storm

A court in the southern city of Adana sentenced Seyithan Akyüz, a reporter for the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat (Free Country), and Kenan Karavil, the former manager of local Radyo Dünya (Radio World), to twelve years and thirteen and a half years in prison respectively on 16 October.

Convicted of belonging to the outlawed Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), regarded as the urban wing of the armed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), they were among the 45 defendants in a mass trial who received a total of 419 years and two months in prison. Two other defendants were acquitted.

The next day, a court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir sentenced Murat Ciftçi, a reporter for the Kurdish news agency Diha, to eight years and nine months in prison on a charge of collaborating with the KCK. After five months in pre-trial detention, he had been released in April 2012 pending the outcome of his trial.

Reporters Without Borders has learned that another Diha reporter, Gülsen Aslan, was given a conditional release in Diyarbakir on 17 October. Arrested on 4 February, she had been released and then re-arrested at the request of the local prosecutor’s office.

Diha said Safak Celen, who works for Azadiya Welat, was also released. Aslan and Celen were among 34 suspected KCK members who were arrested in Batman province. Aslan is facing up to 15 years in prison. Their trial is to resume on 26 December.

The trial of Diha journalist Özlem Agus will begin in Adana on 26 December. Held since 6 March, she is accused of having links with the KCK’s “Media Committee”, as are Diha editor Ali Bulus and Azadiya Welat reporter Ferit Köylüoglu.

Agus, Bulus and Köylüoglu will be among a total of 54 defendants in the next mass trial in Adana, of whom 20 are in preventive detention. The 300-page indictment accuses Agus of covering demonstrations in a way “that respects the ideology” of the PKK and of “sending information to Roj TV liable to serve as PKK propaganda.”

The work phone calls between Agus and Bulus, and those between Köylüoglu and Azadiya Welat’s distributors are regarded as prosecution evidence in the indictment, which also cites the fact that Köylüoglu himself distributed copies of the newspaper and asked about sales, as if this constituted criminal activity although Azadiya Welat is not banned.

Provisional outcome in Atilim case

The fourth journalist to get a jail sentence this week was Hatice Duman, the editor of the leftist newspaper Atilim, whose life sentence on a charge of being one of the leaders of the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) was upheld by the supreme court on 15 October, according to her lawyers.

The supreme court overturned the conviction of fellow Atilim journalist Necati Abay, the spokesman of the Solidarity Platform with Imprisoned Journalists, who had been sentenced to 18 years and nine months in prison by an Istanbul criminal court on the same charge.

However, although the supreme court ruled that he was not one of the MLKP’s leaders, it determined that he was still a member. So he is still facing up to 15 years in prison.

Zero tolerance for torture coverage

An Istanbul criminal court forced Taraf (Camps), a daily critical of the government and armed forces, to publish a retraction in its 13 October issue at the request of Sedat Selim Ay, the deputy head of the Istanbul police anti-terrorism section, who is accused of torturing suspects in the 1990s (see below).

Citing the presumption of innocence, the court overturned an earlier court ruling that the allegations Taraf had published about Ay were “in the general interest.” Eight members of the newspaper’s staff still face criminal charges in connection with the 12 articles it ran from 22 July to 2 August quoting victims identifying Ay as their torturer.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted strongly at the time to media criticism of the protection his government has given to Ay, which contradicts its declared policy of “zero tolerance” for torture.

Ay’s promotion to his current position triggered an outcry this summer. A few years ago, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey had failed in its obligation to “conduct an effective investigation and trial” in connection with the torture allegations.


12.10.2012 – No let-up in judicial harassment of journalists since July reform

Three months after Law 6352’s adoption, Reporters Without Borders has evaluated the impact so far of this reform, which is supposed to reduce the frequency with which Turkey’s media are the targets of lawsuits and prosecutions.

“We welcome the release of several journalists who were held without trial for months or years but the judicial climate for the media has not improved. Dozens of journalists continue to be detained and, regardless of Law 6352’s requirements, decisions are being taken to keep them in provisional detention with hardly any more justifying grounds being presented than in the past. As we had feared, ’terrorism’ charges are being used as a pretext for not applying the reform to many cases and new prosecutions are being brought against people for the opinions they express because Law 6352 is limited to ’offences’ committed before 31 December 2011,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“Law 6352 was a step forward but, as we said already, marginal reforms will not suffice, any more than another general amnesty like the ones Turkey has had in the past. Civil liberties will not be guaranteed in any sustainable manner until the Anti-Terrorism Law, the criminal code and the criminal procedure code are purged of the repressive attitudes that permeate them,” the organisation concluded.

Adopted on 5 July, Law 6352 provides for a three-year suspension of all prosecutions and convictions for “press and opinion crimes” with a maximum sentence of five years in prison that were committed before the end of 2011. If the person concerned refrains from committing an offence of the same kind during the three years, the case is dropped for good. Otherwise it resumes.

As Reporters Without Borders said at the time, this leaves journalists with a threat hanging over them for three years, during which they are forced to remain silent or to censor themselves.

It is this provision that has just been applied to Cüneyt Özdemir, the well-known columnist of the daily Radikal and host of a popular programme on CNN Türk, who was facing a sentence of three months to two years in prison for “insulting an official in the course of his duties” under article 125 of the criminal code.

On 16 October, an Istanbul magistrate court ordered a three-year suspension of the prosecution brought against him over Tweets criticizing the president of the 14th Chamber of the Court of Cassation, Fevzi Elmas. Özdemir denies being the author of the Tweets and says the authorities brought the case on the sole basis of an article on the conservative website Star Medya accusing him of sending them.

The Tweets criticized the Court of Cassation for upholding decisions taken in the alleged gang-rape of a 13-year-old minor by 26 men in the eastern city of Mardin in 2002. After lower courts ruled that the victim had consented and that other attenuating circumstances existed, the short jail sentences were not implemented on the grounds that the statute of limitations applied.

Released journalists still being harassed

Reporters Without Borders has learned that Mehmet Günes, the publisher of the periodical Türkiye Gerçegi (Turkey’s Reality), was released by an Istanbul court on 5 October because of “the length of the time spent in preventive detention” but his trial is to continue on 28 December.

He had been held since December 2011 for alleged membership of a small underground group called “Revolutionary Headquarters.”

Another journalist held on the same charge since October 2011, Hakan Soytemiz, the publisher of the periodical Red (No), was released on 9 July. Like the alleged Ergenekon network, Revolutionary Headquarters is accused of organizing armed attacks on government offices and the ruling AKP party with the aim of destabilising the government.

Sedat Senoglu, the editor of the leftist weekly Atilim (Momentum), was finally released on 6 September after being held for six years without trial on a charge of membership of the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). The Istanbul court that freed him said it took account of a “possible change in the charge” and the years he spent in prison.

Eleven of the 26 people who are charged in the same case are still held. The include Füsun Erdogan, the former editor of an Özgür Radio publication, and Atilim columnist Bayram Namaz. Both have also been held without trial since 2006.

A court in the eastern city of Van that is trying Murat Aydin, a reporter for the Kurdish news agency Diha (Tiger), decided at the end of a hearing on 18 September to grant him a conditional release. He had been held for 11 months. His trial on a charge of cooperating with the outlawed Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), regarded as the urban wing of the armed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), will continue on 27 November.

Cagdas Ulus, a reporter for the daily Vatan (Homeland) who is also accused of KCK links, and Cihat Ablay, an employee of the newspaper distribution company Firat, were granted conditional releases on 13 September by an Istanbul court, which said “the nature of the charges could change.”

They were arrested in December 2011 along with 42 other journalists and media workers, of whom 34 are still held. The next hearing in this mass trial is set for 12 November. Hasan Özgünes, a journalist held for the past year in a related anti-KCK investigation, is also to remain in prison. He is a columnist for the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat and member of BDP, a legal Kurdish party.

New prosecutions

A court in the southern city of Adana jailed Diha reporter Ferhat Arslan on 5 October in response to an appeal by the prosecutor’s office against his release a week earlier after four days in police custody.

He is one of 25 individuals being investigated on suspicion of KCK membership. They include members of the (legal) BDP and the Human Rights Association (IHD) and an employee of Radyo Ses (Voice), a station based in the southeastern city of Mersin, Mahir Ögretmen.

Journalist accused of blasphemy

Representatives of the Islamist political party Saadet (Happiness), filed a complaint on 5 October accusing Sevan Nisanyan, a writer and journalist of Armenian origin, of blaspheming and insulting the Prophet Mohammed in comments on Twitter about the US-produced anti-Islamic video “Innocence of Muslims.”

The complaint demanded his trial on charges of criminal insult or “inciting hatred on the basis of religious differences.”

More disturbingly, the Islamist daily Milli Gazete (National Gazette) has been urging prosecutors to react, claiming in a barely veiled threat against Nisanyan that “judicial inertia is straining patience.” On its front page on 7 October, a photograph of Nisanyan was switched with the photograph of a cow that illustrated another article.

Workers Party complaint against journalist

The Workers Party (IP) has filed a suit against Robert Koptas, a journalist of Armenian origin who edits the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, over a 24 August column headlined “Shameful visit to IP.” It criticized a decision by the head of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) to visit the IP and its newspaper Ulusal Kanal after they were searched as part of the Ergenekon investigation.

Koptas, who regarded the visit as a misplaced show of solidarity, is being sued for 10,000 Turkish lira (4,350 euros) for comments that were allegedly “insulting” and “contrary to the truth.”

Judicial intimidation of the daily Taraf

Sedat Selim Ay, a senior official said to have tortured prisoners during the 1990s, has filed a complaint against eight journalists with the daily Taraf (Camps) who criticized his appointment as deputy director of the Istanbul anti-terrorist department.

Ay previously accused Taraf of exposing him to possible terrorist attacks by identifying him, and he is now accusing the newspaper of again exposing him and his subordinates by interviewing the victims of torture.

The Istanbul prosecutor’s office has reacted to the complaint by opening an investigation into Taraf editors Tuncer Köseoglu and Burhan Ekinci, columnists Mehmet Baransu and Melih Altinok, and reporters Sümeyra Tansel, Adnan Keskin, Tugba Tekerek and Hüseyin Özkaya.

Taraf’s two managing editors and three other Taraf journalists have meanwhile received summonses from the prosecutor’s office on libel and insult charges in connection with columns published in July on the same subject.

Journalists sued by armed forces chief of staff

Gen. Necdet Özel, the armed forces chief of staff, is suing Fatih Altayli, the editor of the daily HaberTürk, for 50,000 lira in damages for “insulting” him in a 9 September column about an accidental explosion at an arms depot in the western city of Afyonkarahisar that cost the lives of 25 conscripts.

Headlined “Schopenhauer was right,” Altayli’s column criticized Özel’s management of the armed forces and quoted German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s phrase, “The notion of honour does not exist in eastern societies.” The case is expected to be heard in the next few months.

Gen. Özel has also filed a complaint against the journalist Cüneyt Ülsever under article 95 of the military penal code concerning “the humiliation of a representative of the state in the exercise of his duty.”


07.08.2012 – Editor of Kurdish newspaper released after two years in custody

The Diyarbakir criminal court today approved the release on parole of the journalist Ozan Kilinç, imprisoned since 22 July 2010 on charges of criminal propaganda.

The court granted a request by his lawyer under Law 6352, introduced on 5 July, which is intended to limit pre-trial detention.

Kilinç, the forrmer owner and editor of the country’s only Kurdish-language daily, Azadiya Welat (Independence Homeland), was sentenced in April 2011 to six years and nine months in prison after being found guilty of publishing propaganda in support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and of committing a crime on behalf of the organization,

He was originally sentenced to 21 years in prison in February 2010 but this was reduced on appeal.


31.07.2012 – Court refuses to release three journalists under reform package

An Istanbul court refused on 27 July to release three journalists who have been held for nearly three years as part of the investigation into the alleged clandestine ultranationalist network called Ergenekon.

They are Mustafa Balbay, a columnist for the secularist and nationalist newspaper Cumhurriyet (Republic), Tuncay Özkan, the owner of Biz TV (We TV) and Mehmet Haberal, owner of Ankara-based BTV.

They could have been released under the newly-introduced Law 6352, which is intended to limit pre-trial detention. More than 200 court hearings in their case have so far been held since their arrest.


27.07.2012 – Courts start to free journalists under reform package

Vedat Kursun, the former editor of the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat (Free People), has finally been freed after three years and seven months in jail on a charge of propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK). His release was ordered by a court in the eastern city of Diyarbakir on 23 July.

“We take note of this release,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The rate at which journalists are being freed is still too slow and should be accelerated by the newly-adopted package of reforms,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We call for the conditional release of all journalists held in connection with their work or because of alleged cooperation with banned organizations.”

As a result of the Diyarbakir court’s ruling, Kursun was freed from the Type E prison in Giresum where he had been held since 30 January 2009 and where he was serving a sentence of 16 and a half years in jail for articles about Kurdish issues and human rights violations in Kurdistan that were deemed to constitute pro-PKK propaganda.

He was released under Law 6352, adopted on 5 July, under which prosecutions of journalists accused of propaganda on behalf of terrorist organizations may be suspended or abandoned. This law also provides for the release of media personnel accused of belonging to or “collaborating” with outlawed organizations.

Around 90 journalists working for Kurdish, secularist or left-wing opposition media remain in jail pending an upcoming series of hearings. Some of them have already been tried and convicted but most have not.

Ragip Zarakolu’s high profile trial

The trial of the famous journalist, publisher and human rights activist Ragip Zarakolu began on 13 July and continued until 21 July when, after two specially-invited Turkish TV presenters had finished reading the indictment (2,400 pages) in turn, the court adjourned until after the summer break.

Few journalists have so far been released since Law 6352 took effect. Bedri Adanir, the editor of the Kurdish-language periodical Hawar (Solution) and Ozan Kilinç, one of his journalists, are hoping that the possibility of their release will be examined in the coming days or weeks.

Local newspaper publisher convicted

A court in the southeastern city of Malatya sentenced local newspaper publisher Haci Bogatekin in absentia on 27 June to a year in prison on charges of relaying PKK propaganda and “praising a crime or a criminal” under article 215 of the criminal code over a January 2008 editorial in his newspaper, Gerger Firat, a weekly based in the nearby town of Gerger.

Headlined “Feto and Apo,” the editorial contrasted the government’s failure to combat the threat posed by Fethullah “Feto” Gülen’s influential religious community, the target of much criticism by Turkey’s secularists, with the government’s repeated police and military offensives against the PKK armed separatists led Abdullah “Apo” Öcalan.

In another article shortly after the “Feto and Apo” one, Bogatekin reported that Gerger prosecutor Sadullah Ovacikli has ordered him to apologize for insulting Gülen. This resulted in his being immediately detained for 109 days on charges of insult, libel and trying to pervert the course of justice.

Bogatekin told Reporters Without Borders he would appeal against his conviction to Turkey’s highest court.

Abandoned prosecution

Oda TV case

An Istanbul court ruled in mid-July that the prosecution of Baris Terkoglu, the editor of the Oda TV news website, should be abandoned. He had been held since 14 February 2011 for supposedly collaborating with Ergenekon, an alleged terrorist network made up secularists and ultranationalists.

Terkoglu was accused of endangering intelligence officers, judges and prosecutors in charge of the Ergenekon investigation by publishing photos of them under the headline “These photos will cause a stir.” They were shown fasting together during Ramadan. Prosecutors claimed that the photos could expose these senior officials to reprisals by terrorist groups. Terkoglu had been facing a possible three-year jail term under Article 6-1 of the Anti-Terrorism Law 3713.

The court did not wait for the Oda TV hearing scheduled for 19 July to release Terkoglu provisionally. However, three years will have to elapse before the case against him is closed for good, and then only if he has not been arrested in the meantime on similar charges.

The prosecution of Güray Öz, the editor of the republican daily Cumhuriyet, who had helped circulate the photos taken by Terkoglu, has also been suspended. Although not detained, he had been investigated and was being prosecuted.

The other detained Oda TV journalists – Soner Yalçin, Baris Pehlivan and Yalçin Küçük – have not been amnestied but the possibility of their release could be examined at the next hearing, scheduled for mid-September.

Journalists freed

Yürüyüs – another part of the reform package

Halit Güdenoglu, the editor of the far-left weekly Yürüyüs (March), and four of her journalists who like her had been held since 24 December 2010 – Cihan Gün, Naciye Yavuz, Kaan Ünsal and Musa Kurt – were released on 20 July under Law 6352, which instructs the police and judicial authorities to place suspects under judicial control rather than systematically detain them.

They were released at the behest of an Ankara court which said it had taken account of the “time spent in detention” and the “prosecution evidence.” The court also ordered prosecutors to prepare their indictment and to hand over recordings made during the investigation. The five newly-released journalists have been forbidden to leave the country.

Woman journalist freed after three months

Gülnaz Yildirim Yildiz, the former editor of the far-left periodical Yeni Evrede Mücadele Birligi (Combat in the New Period), was released from Istanbul’s Bakirköy prison on 23 July. She had been held since 27 April, when the Court of Cassation upheld her sentence of three years and nine months in prison for propaganda on behalf for the Turkish Communist Party of Labour/ Leninist (TKEP/L).

Journalist freed one month before completing sentence

A court in the southeastern city of Adana released Mehmet Karaaslan, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish news agency Diha, from Birecik prison in the nearby city of Şanlıurfa under Law 6352 on 13 July, a month before he would have completed his sentence of six years and three months for alleged membership of the PKK. He was arrested during a demonstration on 19 April 2007 for allegedly shouting slogans in support of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

In the same country » Turkey

Source

“There is no real Democracy or real Justice system in Turkey”.

If I said that in a news outlet in Turkey I would be throw in Jail, even though it is the truth.

Turkey also imprisoned many military people a while back on fabricated information. This targeting of Journalist seems to be following the same type of mass condemnation.

If they say you did it your guilty whether you are or not.

That is the way their justice system seems to work.You can not enter eve to prove your innocence. The only evidence that is entered is that provided by the Government or Justice system itself. Anything else can and is denied entry into the trials. So even if the defense has proof you are innocent it will not be used in the courts. The evidence will be denied entry by the Judge if they feel like it so to speak.

That is not real Justice that is a kangaroo court.

This report is a bit bias, but the finding of the defense investigators should have been  followed up by the Court if true Justice was to prevail. The evidence was ignored.

Dani Rodrik: Did Microsoft steal its fonts from the Turkish army?

The Turkish court that sentenced more than 300 officers on coup plotting charges in September apparently thinks so.

The Turkish military has long set the ground rules for Turkish politics, and this was hailed as a landmark trial. Many saw it as the centerpiece of a democratic, mildly Islamist government’s long overdue reckoning with the army’s misdeeds.

If the charges in the case are to be believed, misdeeds there were aplenty. Prosecutors had in hand CDs, apparently from 2003 that contained detailed military plans to destabilize the country and dislodge the newly-elected AKP government from power.  According to the documents in the CDs, General Cetin Dogan, then commander of the Istanbul-based 1st Army commander, and his collaborators had prepared horrific operations, including the downing of a Turkish military, the bombing of two mosques, and the targeting of Armenian intellectuals, in order to lay the groundwork for the coup. They had drawn up lists of journalists and politicians to be arrested, selected a new cabinet, and even prepared an economic program for the new government.

The trial was marred by irregularities from the very beginning.  The CDs were never properly authenticated beyond the date and author information in the metadata.  A report that found the documents could not be traced to military computers vanished.  Exonerating evidence uncovered by the prosecutors was placed under seal and hid from the defense.  The presiding judge, who had ruled previously in favor of some of the defendants’ requests, was replaced two days before the trial opened. The pleas of defendants who proved they were out of the country on the dates they supposedly authored the documents met no response. A growing list of anachronisms and other inconsistencies in the documents was passed over.  Meanwhile pro-government and Gulenist media had a field day, spreading rampant disinformation about the case and the defendants.

But the real shocker came when the court finally provided digital copies of the incriminating CDs to the defense, nearly two years after they had been delivered to the prosecutors.  American, German, and Turkish forensic experts hired by the defense were able to establish conclusively that the CDs had been forged.

And here is where Microsoft enters the picture.

The centerpiece of the prosecution’s case is a MS Word document, titled “Operation Sledgehammer.”  This document, which gives the case its name, describes the rationale for the military takeover and the broad contours of the plan.  It carries the date December 2002 and is has General Dogan’s name underneath. On the face of it, there is nothing in the digital file that would contradict this information.  The metadata shows a last-saved date of December 2002 and the putative author to be General Dogan’s chief of staff. (Dogan retired from the army in late 2003.) The CD on which it is found was apparently burned in a single session on March 2003. The document is written using the Arial font and was saved in MS Word 1997, both of which were widely in use in 2003.

Yet when forensic experts looked more closely at the document with a Hex editor, which shows all the binary information on the file, they made a discovery that revealed that the metadata had been tampered with.  In plain sight on the raw file was a reference to “Calibri,” a font that Microsoft introduced with Office 2007 as the new default font for Word, and was first released to the public in mid-2006.  The only explanation for this anachronistic reference was that the file had been worked on with Office 2007 before it was ultimately saved in an earlier version of Word.  It was clear that “Operation Sledgehammer” could not have been produced and burned onto a CD in 2003.

Sledgehammer Action Plan

Digital fingerprints of MS Office 2007 are in fact all over the documents on the incriminating CDs.  In addition to Calibri, there are references to the font Cambria and various XML schemas first introduced with Office 2007.  In one egregious instance, an Excel file was saved in Calibri so that the font is visible to the naked eye. The forgers apparently forgot to save the document in an earlier font.

All these documents carry last-saved dates from 2002-2003, appear to have been authored by officers on duty at the time, and were burned on CDs that were apparently finalized in March 2003.  But the references to Office 2007 leave room for only one conclusion: these documents were in fact prepared years later on backdated computers, with the intention of framing the officers on trial.

Not surprisingly, when these findings were presented to the court, they met the same stony silence that had met earlier indications of forgery.  Turkish law allows courts to disregard forensic evidence presented by the defense.  Only forensic reports obtained by the court itself carry weight.  And the court pointedly refused to assign its own experts on the matter.

By now, even hard-core supporters of the prosecution have had to accept that the evidence in this case is deeply flawed.  They no longer talk about the obviously fabricated mosque-bombing, jet-downing, or assassination plans. They have shifted their accusations instead to the contents of a contingency planning seminar held under General Dogan’s supervision in March 2003.

The anonymous informant who passed on the forged CDs bundled them with authentic material, including voice recordings from the seminar.  The seminar focused on the army’s response to what was called a “worst-case scenario:” rising tensions with Greece compounded by domestic disturbances in the forms of an Islamist uprising.  The proceedings reveal an open secret, namely that there was a strong undercurrent of antipathy among the military towards Tayyip Erdogan and his party.

Many now use snippets of those conversations to argue that they constitute ample evidence of a coup plot on their own — even if the digital Sledgehammer documents themselves are set aside. Never mind that there was no reference to Sledgehammer or any coup in the seminar; that the seminar was attended by observers from the high command in Ankara; that the prosecutors did not attribute any criminal activity to the seminar itself; that the bulk of those found guilty had nothing to do with the seminar; or that most seminar participants were not even indicted.

General Dogan’s two superiors at the time, the commander of the land forces and the chief of general staff, were two key witnesses who could have provided useful testimony.  The prosecutors claimed that the former had thwarted the Sledgehammer coup, without even bothering to question him. In public, both denied any knowledge of Sledgehammer, but said there had been irregularities in the way the seminar was carried out.  The defense repeatedly asked that they be called in as witnesses. The court refused. Did I say this was a kangaroo court?

My wife Pinar Dogan and I have been detailing the Sledgehammer fraud since the CDs first surfaced at the beginning of 2010. Cetin Dogan is my father-in-law, and we obviously have a personal stake in the matter. But our concern extends beyond this specific case and the 300-plus innocent individuals who have been found guilty in a sham trial. The evident framing and massive judicial misconduct on which the Sledgehammer case rests shines a bright light on the kind of country Turkey has become under Tayyip Erdogan and his Gulenist allies. Reminiscent of periods of military rule, the judiciary has turned into a tool for settling scores and remaking Turkish society and politics. The wave of entrapment has so far ensnared military officers, journalists, politicians, Kurdish activists – indeed opponents of all stripes. In a system that can put you behind bars because of a Word document with your name on it, no-one is safe.

The defendants in the Sledgehammer travesty have at least one thing to look forward to. Their guilty verdict means they must have developed Calibri, Microsoft Office 2007’s default font, years before Microsoft says it did. Sorry, Microsoft, you have been caught out. You owe these officers billions of dollars. Source

One has to wonder?

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Published in: on October 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm  Comments Off on Turkey: Jailing is the Agenda to silence critical Journalists  
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Innocence of Muslims, Protesters are telling the US to get out of their country

September 17 2012

Innocence of Muslims – The big lie told about and shown to the world.

I have been attempting to keep a running record of all the protests.

To Date

Protests have happened  in Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kashmir, Pakistan, Iraq, Gaza, Morocco, Syria, Kuwait, Nigeria, Kenya, UK, India, Turkey, Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Afghanistan, Jordan, Mauritanian, Israel,  Oman, Australia, Belgium, France, Philippines, Thailand, Copenhagen and of course Libya- 35 Countries so far.

‘It Makes Me Sick’: Actress in Muhammed Movie Says She Was Deceived, Had No Idea It Was About Islam

Adrian Chen

The story of the Muhammed movie which sparked deadly protests in Libya and Egypt gets weirder. The actors who appeared in it had no idea they were starring in anti-Islam propaganda which depicts Muhammed as a child molester and thug. They were deceived by the film’s director, believing they were appearing in a film about the life of a generic Egyptian 2,000 years ago.

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., has a small role in the Muhammed movie as a woman whose young daughter is given to Muhammed to marry. But in a phone interview this afternoon, Garcia told us she had no idea she was participating in an offensive spoof on the life of Muhammed when she answered a casting call through an agency last summer and got the part.

The script she was given was titled simply Desert Warriors.

“It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn’t anything about Muhammed or Muslims or anything.”

In the script and during the shooting, nothing indicated the controversial nature of the final product, now called Muslim Innocence. Muhammed wasn’t even called Muhammed; he was “Master George,” Garcia said. The word “Muhammed” was dubbed over in post-production, as were essentially all other offensive references to Islam and Muhammed.

For example, at 9:03 in the trailer, Garcia berates her husband, who wants to send their daughter to Muhammed: “Is your Muhammed a child molester?” she says in the final product. But the words are dubbed over what she actually said. The line in the script—and the line Garcia gave during filming—was, “is your God a child molester,” Garcia told us today.

Garcia was horrified when she saw the end product, and when protesters in Libya killed four U.S. Embassy employees.

“I had nothing to do really with anything,” she said today. “Now we have people dead because of a movie I was in. It makes me sick.”

According to Garcia, her three days on set last July were unremarkable. The film’s mysterious pseudonymous writer and director, “Sam Bacile,” has claimed to be an Israeli real estate mogul. But Garcia said Bacile told her he was Egyptian on set. Bacile had white hair and spoke Arabic to a number of “dark-skinned” men who hung around the set, she said. (A Bacile associate also told The Atlantic he wasn’t Israeli or Jewish.)

“He was just really mellow. He was just sitting there and he wanted certain points to be made.”

Once, Garcia said, Bacile wanted a girl that “Master George” (aka Muhammed) was to sleep with to look seven years old, instead of 10, to heighten the outrage. But his Assistant Directors protested, saying that was too young.

After the protests erupted and Bacile appeared in the media, Garcia called him up today to express her outrage at his deception.

“I called Sam and said, ‘Why did you do this?’ and he said, ‘I’m tired of radical Islamists killing each other. Let other actors know it’s not their fault.'”

Garcia isn’t satisfied simply knowing it wasn’t her fault.

“I’m going to sue his butt off.”

Update: The entire 80-member cast and crew of the film have released a statement saying they were misled. Via CNN:

The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.

Update II: Here’s what appears to be the posted in July 2011 on craigslist:

(Casting call cast audition MOONCASTING USA CA)

CASTING feature: Desert Warrior (Los Angeles)

Category audition: Mode & Fashion — 3:46 am
NOW CASTING SAG and NON SAG ACTORS for “DESERT WARRIOR.” Director Alan Roberts.
Historical desert drama set in Middle East. Indie Feature film shoots 18 days in L.A. in August. Studio and backlot locations.
Male Roles: DR. MATTHEW (Lead): Middle Eastern Pharmacist, 40-50, intelligent, family man; GEORGE (Lead); 40-50, Middle Eastern warrior leader, romantic, charismatic; YOUNG GEORGE (featured) 18-22; PRIEST (featured): 60-70, bearded; ABDO (featured), 60-70, Elder tribe leader; ISRAELI MEN 30-50 (featured); WARRIORS (featured) 18-50, Various Middle Eastern types, bearded.
Female Roles: CONDALISA (featured) 40, attractive, successful, strong willed; HILLARY (featured) 18 but must look younger, petite; innocent; YOUSTINA (featured) 16-18, Daughter of doctor; MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN (Various Featured Roles) 18-40, attractive, exotic; OLDER WOMAN (featured) 60-70, feisty.
Please place Role desired in SUBJECT: line of email.
Indicate SAG or NON-SAG
Require phone contact for immediate interview in Beverly/LaCienega area.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • it’s ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
  • Compensation: no pay
  • OK to contact me about appearing in CL documentary series

http://www.mooncasting.com/us/casting-feature-desert-warrior-los-angeles/

Source for above information

So all that was bogus. Then it turns out Sam old boy is not his real name. Now it seems he might be Egyptian maybe, but definitely from the US and definitely from California. He has a previous Criminal Record for Bank Fraud. He as a condition of his probation is not to use a bogus name, which he did, he is not to use the internet, which he did.

The filmmaker, who identified himself in a telephone interview with The Associated Press as Sam Bacile, said he is an Israeli-born, Jewish writer and director of Innocence of Muslims. Bacile was the name used to publish excerpts of the movie online as early as July 2 2012.

Filmmaker Sam Bacile in hiding after anti-Muslim film sparks violence in which American diplomat was killed so they tell the world.

(Sam Bacile/Nakoula Basseley) Nakoula, who was originally believed to have directed the controversial ‘Innocence of Muslims’ movie, has turned out to be producer, not the director.

The film’s original casting call lists softcore porn director Alan Roberts as the movie-maker.

The filmmaker allegedly responsible for the anti-Muslim film ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ which sparked anti-US protests around world, was called in by police for questioning in Los Angeles.

CBC Report on Libya killing of Ambassador

Yemen protesters attempt to storm US embassy, repelled by police

In Kuwait, the US embassy staff were evacuated.

Iranian students protest anti-Islam movie outside Swiss Embassy

US-made anti-Islam film insults all divine religions: Jewish lawmaker

Yemenis storm US embassy in Sana’a, 4 killed, 34 injured

US-made anti-Islam movie sparks protests in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

US dispatches destroyers, marine unit to Libya

Egypt protests: Сars torched, police firebombed at US Embassy Lebanon protesters burn US, Israeli flags

Pakistan police clash with angry protesters outside US Embassy

86 anti-US protesters arrested in India

US sends troops to Yemen over film

Tunisian protesters storm US Embassy

Protesters expelled from US Embassy

3 Killed in Tunisia US Embassy attack

Nigerian troops attack protesters

Protesters storm US Embassy in London

One killed in Yemen anti-US protest

Police in Sydney, Australia, use tear gas on protesters

Istanbul sees peaceful protest over anti-Islam film – Hürriyet Daily

US to shut embassy in Bankok  Thailand during anti-Islam film protest

 I think everyone should read this Report.

This is about some of the people who promote hate against Muslims in the US. Not only do they promote Hate they also feed the public misinformation, in other wards they lie to the public about Muslims.
They lie about anything and everything. Millions and millions of dollars are spent to promote the hate and misinformation each year.

Read it and find out if they lied to you.

http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2011/08/pdf/islamophobia.pdf

A very interesting read.
Maybe they even have a connection to the movie makers.

Americans may be able to use this against those who incited the riots.

The makers of the film knew for a fact it would cause riots or protests for sure. Just like when pastor Jones, burned the Holy Quran.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2101?quicktabs_8=1#quicktabs-8

Germany bans US pastor Jones

The Canadian Government and the decision of the closure of the Embassies-Tehran-Ottawa

If you are Canadian please do go and sign the petition at Link below.

  • Author:
    Iranian Canadian Community Council
  • Send To:
    Canadian Government

We, the undersigned, deplore and condemn the Canadian government’s abrupt and unjustified decision to unilaterally close all diplomatic channels with Iran, while effectively leaving the path of hostility and military confrontation as the only available option on the table. We deplore the fact that Canada, in spite of its long tradition in multilateralism and its unmatched expertise in peaceful conflict resolution, has opted to forgo all its potentials as a peace-broker, to espouse a hawkish policy that is only conducive to escalate international tension and pave the ground for war. We deplore the fact that the Canadian government has chosen to substitute a tradition of “rational and reasoned” diplomacy with an uncharacteristic foreign-policy that is predicated on soundbites, sensationalist rhetoric and intimidation. We regret that such outlook completely disregards the noble humanitarian considerations that Canada was once known to take to heart. We , the undersigned, caution the Government and all civil rights associations that the closure of the Iranian Embassy directly intervenes with Iranian-Canadians’ “freedom of movement” by unreservedly depriving them of all indispensable consular services required to travel to and visit their native land. The Canadian government has yet to convincingly demonstrate that such a drastic limit on a fundamental legal and moral right affecting thousands of its citizens and residents, is reasonably justified in a free and democratic society. We also call on the Canadian government to fully recognize the moral and financial prejudice suffered by an entire ethnic community that was abruptly and arbitrarily cut off from its roots without as much as a genuine consultation, notice or convincing explanation. We strongly condemn the Canadian government’s condescending and discourteous manners toward Iranian-Canadians and expect the Prime Minister to immediately take actions to reverse this worrying pattern that is founded upon discrimination, hostility and collective punishment.

http://www.petitiononline.com/petitions/CanEmb/signatures?page=1

Also for all Canadians if you are in Iran and need help go to the Italian Embassy.

Italy to represent Canada in Iran after pullout 

3 Reasons the US and Israel are Lying About Iran

Repeated Lies Call for Repeated Truth Regarding Iran.

By Tony Cartalucci

September 17, 2012

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu callsfor the US to establish a firm “red line” that Iran’s nuclear program can’t cross without risking a military response,” and the West is marched ever closer to war with the Islamic Republic based on tired and repeated lies, three important points must be kept in mind.

 Israeli Prime Minister has been granted air-time to dictate US foreign policy to American viewers in the latest indication that interests other than those of the American people drive American destiny. Make no mistake however, Netanyahu is not in America to represent the Israeli people, but rather the same corporate-financier interests of Wall Street and London that created and sustain him politically.
….


1. The US and Israel admit in their own policy papers that Iran threatens Western hegemony, not Western security (let alone survival):

The very engineers of US-Israeli policy to subvert and destroy Iran, detailed in the 156 page Which Path to Persia? report out of the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution, admit that Iran threatens not the security of Israel or the United States, but the hegemonic geopolitical order the West maintains over the Middle East.

In March 2012’s Israel & US: Partners in International Crime,” direct quotes from the “Which Path to Persia?” report, as well as excerpts from RAND Corporation documents and else where illustrate these admissions in their entirety.

2. The US and Israel already struck first: 

By using US State Department-listed foreign terror organization (#30) Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) , the US and Israel have been waging years of covert war against the Iranian people.

In March 2012’s US State Department Hands Terror-Cult US Base in Iraq,” the history of MEK as well as advocacy for supporting its terrorist activities inside of Iran is exposed through a series of Western-media reports, government testimony, and US foreign policy papers.

In February 2012’s US Implausibly Denies Role in Israeli Terror Squads,” reports of both US officials admitting Israel’s backing of MEK terrorists to carry out assassinations inside of Iran, as well as evidence of US support for MEK are exposed.

It should be remembered that political and military subversion of Iran by the West stretches back to Operation Ajax” in 1953, where the United States and the British overthrew the democratically elected nationalist government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.

This violent subversion played out long before the current political order in Iran came to power. Iran has been the subject of sovereignty-violating foreign intervention for over half a century – with the West long ago drawing first blood, and continuing to do so up to present day through admitted campaigns of political, economic, and military subversion.

3. Israel’s current leaders have Wall Street-London hegemony, not Israel’s self-preservation, at heart: 

Perhaps the greatest myth in regards to US-Israeli policy toward Iran is that it is driven by concerns for national security and the survival of the “Jewish State” of Israel. In reality, the overall foreign policy pursued by Israel’s government has demonstrably run contra to both the Israeli people’s survival and their own prosperity. The Israeli government’s posture toward Iran is perhaps the most dangerous and unhinged manifestation of this.

In August 2012’s Israel’s Netanyahu Attempts to Shame UN,” it was reported that, “the Israeli government is the greatest enemy of the Israeli people,” because:
Western corporate-financier oligarchs have done more to send both Americans and Israelis to their deaths than any combination of suicide belt-wearing, Kalashnikov-waving “terrorists.” The “War on Terror” is indeed a fraud, and Israel’s government has masterfully played a pivotal role – maintaining a strategy of tension to keep its own people in perpetual fear, while keeping their perceived enemies in perpetual and absolute rage.  When enemies are difficult to find, the government of Israel and its corporate-financier backers upon Wall Street and in the city of London create them, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas (and here), and Al Qaeda.

The result is a nation at constant war, with an inexhaustible supply of enemies in an unending conflict giving the interests of Wall Street and London – the very interests that created the modern state of Israel to begin with – an excuse to remain perpetually engaged in the Middle East with a military encampment the size of a nation at their constant disposal.

Augmenting this camp are the Israeli people themselves, just as lied to, manipulated, and kept in constant fear as their counterparts in the West to keep the rank and file of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as full as Wall Street’s American Armed Forces or Europe’s NATO foot soldiers.

The Israeli people are no less well-intentioned, talented, or full of potential as any other people on Earth, but they are likewise just as susceptible to being indoctrinated, misled, and terrorized into taking a course of action in no way beneficial to themselves or their nation. The Israeli government does not pursue a foreign or domestic policy conducive to its own self-preservation, let alone its prosperity as a nation.

Its constant warmongering, meddling geopolitically beyond its borders, and the creation and perpetuation of its alleged “enemies” have indeed killed more Israelis than any “terrorist.” The Israeli government and the corporate-financier interests they represent are the Israeli people’s worst enemy. It would be wise for both the Israeli people, and those who perceive themselves to be “enemies of Israel” to remember that and make a clear distinction when moving forward.

Israel should be enjoying standards of living and prosperity amongst the highest on Earth considering Israel’s extensive human resources, but is instead facing austerity and economic hardship as the collective talent and potential of the Israeli people are squandered in the pursuit of armed corporate-financier hegemony instead of peaceful progress. The same could be easily said of the United States, whose vast military supremacy and geographic location makes its narrative of “Iran, the imminent threat” all the more tenuous.
….
To depict Iran as an irrational enemy of Judaism, rather than simply a rational nation-state responding to and defending against the decades of provocations carried out by the West and its Israeli proxies, does not hold historical or social water. Iran hosts the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel itself, with an ancient and proud Jewish community that has both refused to leave Iran, as well as condemn it for the benefit of Western propaganda campaigns.

Conclusion

PM Netanyahu’s latest propaganda tour of the US is nothing less than a blatant conspiracy against world peace – the premeditated fabrication of a war that puts at risk hundreds of millions of people and the survival of both Israel and Iran itself.  Netanyahu and his corporate-financier compatriots hope that fear, terror, and ignorance prevail long before all the myths, lies, and propaganda wear off and the populations of the respective nations involved, Iran, America, and Israel, come to their senses and identify their real enemy – the corporate-financier elite who have driven half a century of conflict with the Iranian people.

When these myths wear off, it will not be wars and the pursuit of hegemony that guide the hands of each nation’s respective people, but a drive to both free themselves from the monopolies of these corporate-financier interests, and the pursuit of progress on their own terms, for their own benefit rather than for a manipulative elite.

This article was originally published at landdestroyer.blogspot

Source

 Warships in the Persian Gulf

September 17 2012

The US has mustered three carrier battle fleets and the British have several supporting ships including minesweepers, a new  Type 45 destroyer, and they have a second fleet ready in the Eastern Mediterranean that can arrive to support the Gulf fleets within a matter of days. That second fleet contains the French aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle and the British HMS Illustrious.

Each of the three Nimitz class carriers has more airplanes than the entire Iranian Airforce.

Ostensibly, the concentration of firepower is to conduct the largest wargames yet, as a show of force against a defiant Iranian Republic that western intelligence forces say is on the brink of developing a working nuclear weapon.

Thousands of marines and special forces troops are also on hand.

The wargames include cooperation and contributions from more than 25 nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and France. Source

They want us to believe the ships are there for war games. Why is it I don’t believe them?

What is their real purpose and of course no one would notice with all the protests going on.

Waiting for the false flag!

WW3: US Warships In The Persian Gulf! Jan 4, 2012

September 18 2012

Egypt seeks arrest of Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones

Egypt’s general prosecutor has issued arrest warrants for Florida-based Pastor Terry Jones and seven other Egyptian Coptic Christians on charges linked to the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” which incited riots across the Middle East.

The prosecutor’s office says the Jones and the seven Egyptians – all of whom are believed to be residing outside of Egypt – are charged with harming national unity, publicly insulting and attacking Islam and spreading false information, AP reported Tuesday.

On the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, controversial pastor Terry Jones released a video promoting the film, which portrays the Prophet in what he described as a “satirical” manner. Source

Germany’s Foreign Ministry condemns plans by a far-right group to show a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad. “Those perpetrating the violence in Arab countries represent their people as little as these far-right activists represent Germany,” says Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

At the Arab Fall link below they update things as they happen to the best of their ability. It is rather hard to keep track of it all however.  They seem to be doing rather well however.

‘Arab Fall’: Anti-US rage LIVE timeline (PHOTOS)

If you know of any protests that have happened that I have missed do leave a comment and link to the protest article.

Thank You.

Will be adding more as I find it.

Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

JAKARTA,
July 12, 2010

Lawyers from 60 countries, including Indonesia, will gather in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 15-16, to prepare a legal suit against Israel for its attack on the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla on May 31, Antara news agency reported.

“There are a number of lawyers from 60 countries who will take legal steps to sue the attackers of Mavi Marmara,” Mahendradatta, patron chief of the Indonesian Muslims’ Lawyer Team (TPM) said here, Monday.
Mahendradatta said he would represent six Indonesians who became victims of the Israeli soldiers’ attack, where two Indonesians namely Surya Fachrizal and Oktavianto were injured.
The lawyers, among others from Turkey, Britain and other European countries, will sue Israel in international legal forum as well as bilateral forums.
TPM, he said would consistently fight the Israeli arrogance.
Meanwhile, Jose Rizal Jurnalis, presidium chairman of MER-C (Medical Emergency Rescue – Committee) Indonesia hoped that the legal suit against Israel could be brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Source

Netanyahu to appear before inquiry

July 13 2010

MATTHEW KALMAN in Jerusalem

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will testify next month before the government-appointed inquiry into the raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine civilians dead, it was confirmed today.

Committee spokesman Ofer Lefler said Mr Netanyahu’s appearance on August 9th will be followed the next day by testimony from defence minister Ehud Barak.

Chief of Staff Lieutenant- General Gabi Ashkenazi will testify on August 11th.

All three appearances will be open to the public, Mr Lefler said.

Peace campaigners in Israel claimed victory yesterday in a legal tussle with the Israeli government to increase the powers of the commission

A compromise decision of the Israeli supreme court opened the door for the Turkel Commission, which includes David Trimble as one of two international observers, to subpoena soldiers and military commanders – a move the Israeli government had fought to prevent.

Meanwhile, the military’s own operational inquiry into the pre-dawn commando raid on the Mavi Marmara on May 31st levelled scathing criticism at the higher echelons of the Israeli navy, citing a series of intelligence and planning failures that led to the deaths of the vessel’s passengers and international embarrassment for Israel.

As a direct result, Israel has been forced to ease its blockade on the Gaza Strip after a four-year siege failed in its declared aims of bringing down the Hamas government and securing the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

The “Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010” was created under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court justice Yaakov Turkel in June, but no sooner had hearings begun than Turkel demanded his powers be increased. At the same time, the Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) movement petitioned the Supreme Court demanding that the commission either be reconstituted as a full state commission of inquiry or scrapped.

On July 4th, the Israeli government bowed to Judge Turkel’s demands and reconstituted his inquiry into a government inquiry commission, which under Israeli law has powers to subpoena witnesses and compel them to testify under oath. But it excluded military personnel.

Veteran Israeli peace campaigner Uri Avnery told The Irish Times the government’s decision was illegal, since the newly empowered commission had the right under law to summon any witness, including soldiers. He said yesterday’s Supreme Court hearing was “a double victory” for Gush Shalom.

“It was the first time in the history of Israel that the court agreed to intervene in a matter concerning boards of inquiry. There have been many petitions before and they all have been refused,” said Mr Avnery.

“Second, the court actually said that if Turkel wants to interrogate soldiers he can do so. If the government does not accede to this demand, then we all go to the court again and the court will do what it deems fit. There’s a strong hint that then they will compel the government to agree,” he said.

The government had argued that the parallel military inquiry that reported yesterday made it redundant for Judge Turkel’s commission to also question soldiers, but they agreed to the compromise suggested by the court.

The findings of the military inquiry headed by reserve Brig Gen Giora Eiland appeared to raise more questions than they answered.

“The team concluded that not all possible intelligence-gathering methods were fully implemented and that the co-ordination between navy intelligence and the Israel defence intelligence was insufficient,” the committee said in a statement.

“The anticipated level of violence used against the forces was underestimated . . . The operation relied excessively on a single course of action, albeit a probable one, while no alternative courses of action were prepared for the event of more dangerous scenarios.”  Source

More information on the Gaza Flotilla

Related

Gaza Freedom Flotilla Eyewitness Accounts

Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

Recent

Hospitals in Haiti to be shut down due to lack of funds

Published in: on July 13, 2010 at 1:55 am  Comments Off on Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel  
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Mossad hit men targeted Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related

‘Situation in Gaza must change’

Gaza Freedom Flotilla Eyewitness Accounts

Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

Recent

Interpol Fugitive “Maksim Bakiyev” arrested in UK

Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

June 4, 2010 updates added at bottom. Updates of upcoming protests and a petition to the United Nations have been added. Will be adding more as I find them.

Israel is violating international law.  UN Security Council resolution 1860, passed in January 2009,  calls for an end to the Gaza blockade and to allow the unimpeded flow of aid into the region.

Reports on deaths of victims of the Israeli attack varies from 9 to 19 depending on which reports you read.

Israelis opened fire before boarding Gaza flotilla, say released activists:

First eyewitness accounts of raid contradict version put out by Israeli officials

By Dorian Jones in Istanbul and Helena Smith

June 01, 2010

Survivors of the Israeli assault on a flotilla carrying relief supplies to Gaza returned to Greece and Turkey today, giving the first eyewitness accounts of the raid in which at least 10 people died.

Arriving at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport with her one-year-old baby, Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin said Israeli troops opened fire before boarding the Turkish-flagged ferry Mavi Marmara, which was the scene of the worst clashes and all the fatalities. Israeli officials have said that the use of armed force began when its boarding party was attacked.

“It was extremely bad and very tough clashes took place. The Mavi Marmara is filled with blood,” said Cetin, whose husband is the Mavi Marmara’s chief engineer.

She told reporters that she and her child hid in the bathroom of their cabin during the confrontation. “The operation started immediately with firing. First it was warning shots, but when the Mavi Marmara wouldn’t stop these warnings turned into an attack,” she said.

“There were sound and smoke bombs and later they used gas bombs. Following the bombings they started to come on board from helicopters.”

Cetin is among a handful of Turkish activists to be released; more than 300 remain in Israeli custody. She said she agreed to extradition from Israel after she was warned that conditions in jail would be too harsh for her child.

“I am one of the first passengers to be sent home, just because I have baby. When we arrived at the Israeli port of Ashdod we were met by the Israeli interior and foreign ministry officials and police; there were no soldiers. They asked me only a few questions. But they took everything – cameras, laptops, cellphones, personal belongings including our clothes,” she said.

Kutlu Tiryaki was a captain of another vessel in the flotilla. “We continuously told them we did not have weapons, we came here to bring humanitarian help and not to fight,” he said.

“The attack on the Mavi Marmara came in an instant: they attacked it with 12 or 13 attack boats and also with commandos from helicopters. We heard the gunshots over our portable radio handsets, which we used to communicate with the Mavi Marmara, because our ship communication system was disrupted. There were three or four helicopters also used in the attack. We were told by Mavi Marmara their crew and civilians were being shot at and windows and doors were being broken by Israelis.”

Six Greek activists who returned to Athens accused Israeli commandos of using electric shocks during the raid.

Dimitris Gielalis, who had been aboard the Sfendoni, told reporters: “Suddenly from everywhere we saw inflatables coming at us, and within seconds fully equipped commandos came up on the boat. They came up and used plastic bullets, we had beatings, we had electric shocks, any method we can think of, they used.”

Michalis Grigoropoulos, who was at the wheel of the Free Mediterranean, said: “We were in international waters. The Israelis acted like pirates, completely out of the normal way that they conduct nautical exercises, and seized our ship. They took us hostage, pointing guns at our heads; they descended from helicopters and fired tear gas and bullets. There was absolutely nothing we could do … Those who tried to resist forming a human ring on the bridge were given electric shocks.”

Grigoropoulos, who insisted the ship was full of humanitarian aid bound for Gaza “and nothing more”, said that, once detained, the human rights activists were not allowed to contact a lawyer or the Greek embassy in Tel Aviv. “They didn’t let us go to the toilet, eat or drink water and throughout they videoed us. They confiscated everything, mobile phones, laptops, cameras and personal effects. They only allowed us to keep our papers.”

Turkey said it was sending three ambulance planes to Israel to pick up 20 more Turkish activists injured in the operation.

Three Turkish Airlines planes were on standby, waiting to fly back other activists, the prime minister’s office said. “Source

Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan

By Craig Murray

June 02, 2010

I was in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 20 years and a member of its senior management structure for six years, I served in five countries and took part in 13 formal international negotiations, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and a whole series of maritime boundary treaties. I headed the FCO section of a multidepartmental organisation monitoring the arms embargo on Iraq.

I am an instinctively friendly, open but unassuming person who always found it easy to get on with people, I think because I make fun of myself a lot. I have in consequence a great many friends among ex-colleagues in both British and foregin diplomatic services, security services and militaries.

I lost very few friends when I left the FCO over torture and rendition. In fact I seemed to gain several degrees of warmth with a great many acquantances still on the inside. And I have become known as a reliable outlet for grumbles, who as an ex-insider knows how to handle a discreet and unintercepted conversation.

What I was being told last night was very interesting indeed. NATO HQ in Brussels is today a very unhappy place. There is a strong understanding among the various national militaries that an attack by Israel on a NATO member flagged ship in international waters is an event to which NATO is obliged – legally obliged, as a matter of treaty – to react.

I must be plain – nobody wants or expects military action against Israel. But there is an uneasy recognition that in theory that ought to be on the table, and that NATO is obliged to do something robust to defend Turkey.

Mutual military support of each other is the entire raison d’etre of NATO. You must also remember that to the NATO military the freedom of the high seas guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a vital alliance interest which officers have been conditioned to uphold their whole career.

That is why Turkey was extremely shrewd in reacting immediately to the Israeli attack by calling an emergency NATO meeting. It is why, after the appalling US reaction to the attack with its refusal to name Israel, President Obama has now made a point of phoning President Erdogan to condole.

But the unhappiness in NATO HQ runs much deeper than that, I spoke separately to two friends there, from two different nations. One of them said NATO HQ was “a very unhappy place”. The other described the situation as “Tense – much more strained than at the invasion of Iraq”.

Why? There is a tendency of outsiders to regard the senior workings of governments and international organisations as monolithic. In fact there are plenty of highly intelligent – and competitive – people and diverse interests involved.

There are already deep misgivings, especially amongst the military, over the Afghan mission. There is no sign of a diminution in Afghan resistance attacks and no evidence of a clear gameplan. The military are not stupid and they can see that the Karzai government is deeply corrupt and the Afghan “national” army comprised almost exclusively of tribal enemies of the Pashtuns.

You might be surprised by just how high in Nato scepticism runs at the line that in some way occupying Afghanistan helps protect the west, as opposed to stoking dangerous Islamic anger worldwide.

So this is what is causing frost and stress inside NATO. The organisation is tied up in a massive, expensive and ill-defined mission in Afghanistan that many whisper is counter-productive in terms of the alliance aim of mutual defence. Every European military is facing financial problems as a public deficit financing crisis sweeps the continent. The only glue holding the Afghan mission together is loyalty to and support for the United States.

But what kind of mutual support organisation is NATO when members must make decades long commitments, at huge expense and some loss of life, to support the Unted States, but cannot make even a gesture to support Turkey when Turkey is attacked by a non-member?

Even the Eastern Europeans have not been backing the US line on the Israeli attack. The atmosphere in NATO on the issue has been very much the US against the rest, with the US attitude inside NATO described to me by a senior NATO officer as “amazingly arrogant – they don’t seem to think it matters what anybody else thinks”.

Therefore what is troubling the hearts and souls of non-Americans in NATO HQ is this fundamental question. Is NATO genuinely a mutual defence organisation, or is it just an instrument to carry out US foreign policy? With its unthinking defence of Israel and military occupation of Afghanistan, is US foreign policy really defending Europe, or is it making the World less safe by causing Islamic militancy?

I leave the last word to one of the senior NATO officers – who incidentally is not British:
“Nobody but the Americans doubts the US position on the Gaza attack is wrong and insensitve. But everyone already quietly thought the same about wider American policy. This incident has allowed people to start saying that now privately to each other.”

Craig Murray is a human rights activist, writer, former British Ambassador, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law. Visit his blog http://www.craigmurray.org.uk

Source

Israel‘s Moral Superiority?
Netanyahu: World ‘Hypocritical’ for Condemning Gaza Flotilla Raid

In first address to nation, Netanyahu says had Turkish-flagged ship breached blockade, so could hundreds of vessels carrying weapons.

By Barak Ravid

June 02, 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday defended the Israel Navy’s raid of a pro-Palestinian convoy en route to the Gaza Strip earlier this week, in his first address to the nation regarding the botched operation which left nine people dead and several more wounded.

Netanyahu accused international critics of “hypocrisy” and declared that Israel would continue to blockade the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave, saying that to lift the embargo would turn it into a base for Iranian missiles that would threaten both Israel and Europe.

“Iran is continuing to smuggle weapons into Gaza,” said Netanyahu in a televised address. “It is our obligation to prevent these weapons from being brought in by land and sea. The previous government understood this and imposed a closure.”

“The goal of the flotilla was to breach [the closure] and not to bring goods, as we would have allowed them to do,” said Netanyahu. “If the blockade had been broken, dozens and hundreds more ships carrying weapons could have come.”

Netanyahu, who canceled his trip to Washington and a meeting with President Barack Obama due to the raid, declared that Israel had no opposition to seeing humanitarian aid brought into the Gaza Strip.

But Hamas’ growing armament was a cause for concern and a crucial reason to leave the blockade in place, said the prime minister. Without a blockade and intense inspection of every ship nearing the area, said Netanyahu, “Gaza will turn into an Iranian port.”

Nanyahu told his political-security cabinet during a special session on Tuesday that international condemnation would not stop Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The raid of the Turkish-flagged ship awakened a storm of criticism among Israel’s friends and foes alike, leading many members of the United Nations Security Council – including Britain – to call on Israel to lift its years-long siege of the Hamas-ruled coastal territory.

At a special meeting convened in the wake of the raid, Netanyahu told his ministers that the blockade was still necessary to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

“We know from the experience of Operation Cast Lead that the weapons entering Gaza are being turned against our civilians,” Netanyahu said, referring to Israel’s three-week offensive on the Gaza Strip that ended in January 2009.

“Gaza is a terror state funded by the Iranians, and therefore we must try to prevent any weapons from being brought into Gaza by air, sea and land,” he said.

Netanyahu acknowledged that militants were still capable of smuggling weapons in via tunnels from Egypt, but emphasized that the large amounts of weapons that could be brought by sea made the threat a completely different affair.

“On the Francop ship alone we confiscated some 200 tons of weapons being smuggled to Hezbollah,” the prime minister said, in reference to the Antiguan-flagged ship Israel intercepted off the coast of Cyprus in November 2009.

“Opening a naval route to Gaza will present an enormous danger to the security of our citizens,” said Netanyahu. “Therefore, we will stand firm on our policy of a naval blockade and of inspecting incoming ships.”

“It’s true that there is international pressure and criticism of this policy, but [the world] must understand that it is crucial to preserving Israel’s security and the right of the State of Israel to defend itself.”

Source
The Flotilla was not a threat to anyone in Israel.
What a BS. If anyone believes the Flotilla was a threat quick go find a Psychiatrist. You need one obviously.
Self defense against defenseless people delivering Humanitarian Aid??? Who is Netanyahu trying to kid?
Does he think everyone on the planet has “Complete Idiot” written across their foreheads. He is really pushing the Gullibility factor.

I for one am completely and utterly insulted, if thinks I am that stupid.

Israel is the perpetrator of the crimes in this case.

Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country’s siege on Gaza.

At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65 km (or just over 35 Nautical miles) off the Gaza coast.

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: “This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves.”

Footage from the flotilla’s lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.

Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, on board the Mavi Marmara, said Israeli troops had used live ammunition during the operation.

The Israeli military said four soldiers had been wounded and claimed troops opened fire after “demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs”.

Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the flotilla, however, said the troops opened fire as soon as they stormed the convoy.

Our correspondent said that a white surrender flag was raised from the ship and there was no live fire coming from the passengers.

Before losing communication with our correspondent, a voice in Hebrew was clearly heard saying: “Everyone shut up”.

Israeli intervention

Earlier, the Israeli navy had contacted the captain of the Mavi Marmara, asking him to identify himself and say where the ship was headed.

Shortly after, two Israeli naval vessels had flanked the flotilla on either side, but at a distance.

Organisers of the flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid then diverted their ships and slowed down to avoid a confrontation during the night.

They also issued all passengers life jackets and asked them to remain below deck.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli action was surprising.

“All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli police have been put on a heightened state of alert across the country to prevent any civil disturbances.

Sheikh Raed Salah, a leading member of the Islamic Movement who was on board the ship, was reported to have been seriously injured. He was being treated in Israel’s Tal Hasharon hospital.

In Um Al Faham, the stronghold of the Islamic movement in Israel and the birth place of Salah, preparations for mass demonstrations were under way.

Protests

Condemnation has been quick to pour in after the Israeli action.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, officially declared a three-day state of mourning over Monday’s deaths.

Turkey, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Sweden have all summoned the Israeli ambassador’s in their respective countries to protest against the deadly assault.

Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news of the operation broke. The protesters shouted “Damn Israel” as police blocked them.

“(The interception on the convoy) is unacceptable … Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behaviour,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, has also dubbed the Israeli action as “barbaric”.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists, including a Nobel laureate and several European legislators, were with the flotilla, aiming to reach Gaza in defiance of an Israeli embargo.

The convoy came from the UK, Ireland, Algeria, Kuwait, Greece and Turkey, and was comprised of about 700 people from 50 nationalities.

But Israel had said it would not allow the flotilla to reach the Gaza Strip and vowed to stop the six ships from reaching the coastal Palestinian territory.

The flotilla had set sail from a port in Cyprus on Sunday and aimed to reach Gaza by Monday morning.

Israel said the boats were embarking on “an act of provocation” against the Israeli military, rather than providing aid, and that it had issued warrants to prohibit their entrance to Gaza.

It asserted that the flotilla would be breaking international law by landing in Gaza, a claim the organisers rejected. Source

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

SECTION 2. LIMITS OF THE TERRITORIAL SEA

Article 3

Breadth of the territorial sea

Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65 km = over 35 nautical miles off the Gaza coast.

For all the Israeli’s knew the Flotilla could have been headed to Egypt to dock and have the goods transported to Gaza via the Egyptian boarder as well.

Either way what Israel did was a violation of International Law of the Sea. The Flotilla was under no obligation to stop for the Israelis as they were over the 12 Nautical miles out to sea at the time Israel attacked them..

Israel has no legal right to arrest anyone or hold any ships hostage. Israel committed an act of deliberate, premeditated, murder and piracy. Other crimes also include assault and battery, kidnapping and imprisonment of innocent civilians, and theft.

The people in the Flotilla  had committed absolutely no crime what so ever.

If I thought about it for a while I could come up with a few more charges that should be laid against the Israelis.

It could be a long list of violations. Murder, kidnapping, assault and battery,theft on land or sea are crimes and those responsible should be charged and imprisoned for their crimes, as any of us would be, if we committed these crimes.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allowed this and he did, he is as guilty of these crimes as those who committed them. He is responsible and should be tried for these crimes as well, as any other Government Representative or other Official who ordered or allowed  these crimes to be committed.

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 86

Application of the provisions of this Part

The provisions of this Part apply to all parts of the sea that are not included in the exclusive economic zone, in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a State, or in the archipelagic waters of an archipelagic State. This article does not entail any abridgement of the freedoms enjoyed by all States in the exclusive economic zone in accordance with article 58.

Article 87

Freedom of the high seas

1. The high seas are open to all States, whether coastal or land-locked. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law. It comprises, inter alia, both for coastal and land-locked States:

(a) freedom of navigation;

(b) freedom of overflight;

(c) freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines, subject to Part VI;

(d) freedom to construct artificial islands and other installations permitted under international law, subject to Part VI;

(e) freedom of fishing, subject to the conditions laid down in section 2;

(f) freedom of scientific research, subject to Parts VI and XIII.

2. These freedoms shall be exercised by all States with due regard for the interests of other States in their exercise of the freedom of the high seas, and also with due regard for the rights under this Convention with respect to activities in the Area.

Article 88

Reservation of the high seas for peaceful purposes

The high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes.

Article 89

Invalidity of claims of sovereignty over the high seas

No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.

Article 90

Right of navigation

Every State, whether coastal or land-locked, has the right to sail ships flying its flag on the high seas.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm

Article 101

Definition of piracy

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

Article 102

Piracy by a warship, government ship or government aircraft

whose crew has mutinied

The acts of piracy, as defined in article 101, committed by a warship, government ship or government aircraft whose crew has mutinied and taken control of the ship or aircraft are assimilated to acts committed by a private ship or aircraft.

Article 103

Definition of a pirate ship or aircraft

A ship or aircraft is considered a pirate ship or aircraft if it is intended by the persons in dominant control to be used for the purpose of committing one of the acts referred to in article 101. The same applies if the ship or aircraft has been used to commit any such act, so long as it remains under the control of the persons guilty of that act.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm

Egypt opened its border with the Gaza Strip for an unlimited amount of time. Seems Egypt is not pleased with Israel over this attack.

Turkey is calling for Israel to be severely punished for it’s acts of violence against innocent civilians.

Protests have broken out in many countries over the incident.

Jordanians protest Israeli raid on Gaza-bound flotilla

Jordanians took to the streets in Amman on Monday, protesting the Israeli raid on a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza Strip.

During a march from the Jordanian professional associations’ headquarters to the Prime Ministry, the demonstrators chanted slogans against Israel, calling for closing the Israeli embassy in Amman.

The demonstrators urged the government to expel the Israeli ambassador in Amman and annul the Wadi Arabia peace treaty Jordan and Israel signed in 1994. Source

Thousands in Istanbul protest against Israeli attack on flotilla


East Bay Citizens Condemn Israel Attack on Gaza Aid Flotilla

Minneapolis Demonstration Against Israeli Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla

US citizen Emily Henochowicz was shot directly in the face with a tear gas canister as she non-violently demonstrated against the Flotilla massacre she lost her left eye. Source

Photos of Protests from: Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Greece, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, Cyprus, Britain, West Bank,  France, Indonesia, US, Lebanon

America Complicit In Israel’s Crimes

As I write at 5pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from President Obama except to say that he needed to learn “all the facts about this morning’s tragic events” and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House.

Obama’s 12-hour silence in the face of extreme barbarity is his signal to the controlled corporate media to remain on the sidelines until Israeli propaganda sets the story. Source

Related

Gaza Flotilla Drives Israel Into a Sea of Stupidity

Remember  to add this when you protests or write to a Government officials.

Israel is violating international law.  UN Security Council resolution 1860, passed in January 2009,  calls for an end to the Gaza blockade and to allow the unimpeded flow of aid into the region. The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65 km (or just over 35 Nautical miles) off the Gaza coast. Israel had no legal right to stop them.

Keep up the pressure – End the siege of Gaza
Call on Canadian politicians to condemn the murder of the Gaza flotilla activists.
Global Day of Action – Saturday, June 5

International pressure is growing to end the siege of Gaza. The murder of the flotilla activists has thrust the issue into the mainstream, forcing governments around the world to speak out against the blockade.

Not surprisingly, Stephen Harper has not condemned the attacks and supported the U.S. initiative to water down the UN security council resolution on an investigation into the crimes. Both the U.S. and Canada have said that, rather than have the UN hold an independent investigation, Israel should investigate itself. This self-examination will be a smokescreen designed to hide the truth.

We in Canada have to speak out and demand that Harper stop being silent on war crimes, whether in Afghanistan or Palestine.

What can you do?

  • Join the events this week. Events are posed on the CPA website.

Palestinian groups are urging people to organize a global day of protest this Saturday, June 5. Many CPA members groups are already organizing events on Saturday and we are calling on peace activists to either join events already organized or, where there is no event, to try and organize one in your city. If you are organizing an event send the details to cpa@web.ca so we can post the information. Please feel free to contact the CPA for materials and information about the day of action.
To read the global call for action check the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) website.

There are also events each day in Canada condemning the attacks. Please keep checking the CPA website for the most up-to-date events listings for Canada. For global event listings check out the Gaza Freedom March website.

  • Send a letter to your MP

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East have put out a call for you to write letters to Canadian MP’s urging them to condemn the attacks. Click here to go to the website and send your letter.

Event Listings
Halifax
Israeli Attack on Humanitarian Aid Shipment
No to Israeli War Crimes! Support Gaza and the Palestinian People!
Join the Daily Mass Informational Pickets and Vigil

4 – 5 p.m. Wednesday (June 2), Thursday (June 3), Friday (June 4)

Maritime Mall (Aliant Bldg., where the passport office is)
Barrington Street and foot of Spring Garden Road

We call on everyone to join the people of the world in condemning the murderous attack on the Freedom Flotilla

Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Palestine
e-mail: shunpike@shunpiking.com
Hamilton
Bring this Message to Harper:
Lift the Siege of Gaza NOW!
Stop the killing of innocents!
Demand the release of Canadian prisoners!

Friday, June 4th
Federal Government Building in Hamilton – 55 Bay St. North
Across the Street from Copps Colosseum – 5:00 p.m.

Ample parking is available

NO TO PIRACY!!!
NO TO WAR CRIMES!!
Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War

Montreal
Samedi 5 Juin 13h30
coin Peel et St-Catherine
Place Dorchester
métro Peel

Apportez vos drapeaux, vos pancartes originales, vos instruments de musique!

http://www.tadamon.ca/post/6961

Appel pour une action de solidarité à Montréal avec les victimes du massacre de la flottille humanitaire “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” et le peuple palestinien. Manifestons au centre-ville de Montréal pour appeler à la fin du siège israélien sur Gaza et la fin de la complicité du Canada dans l’apartheid israélien. Cette manifestation sera coordonnée avec plusieurs d’autres à travers le monde ce samedi, en réponse à l’appel de la société civile palestinien pour des manifestations globales.

Ottawa:
Gaza Freedom Flotilla Global Day of Action in Ottawa – Rally and March
3:00pm.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Human Rights Monument
Organized by the Ottawa Palestine Solidarity Network
http://notowarcrimes.blogspot.com | ottawa.palestine@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122130111158157

Penticton, BC
Rally at Stockwell Day’s Office

The Penticton Peace Groups believes that the Israeli government has committed new war crimes in an act of piracy and murder against the flotilla of small ships delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.

We are calling on the people of the south Okanagan to take this message to MP Stockwell Day’s office, this Saturday, June 5, 2010 at noon, meeting at Nanaimo Square.
For more information contact: Brigid Kemp at: bridiekemp@gmail.com

Toronto:
Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Global Day of Action: Saturday, June 5

Rally and March
Date: Saturday, June 5
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Israeli Consulate, 180 Bloor Street West

June 5 also marks the 43rd anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Our action aims to draw the world’s attention to Israel’s continuing illegal occupation, its refusal to abide by international law, and its massacre of innocent humanitarian workers.

Organized by:
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Palestine House Community Centre, Canadian Arab Federation, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, Canadian Peace Alliance

Find us on Facebook: http://bit.ly/dBPiGY
To endorse, please email endapartheid@riseup.net.

Waterloo
Protest: Israel`s Flotilla Raid, Tuesday June 8

We would like to invite you to join us at 1pm on Tuesday, June 8th in the SLC courtyard for a march around campus to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis involving Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla. We feel is is extremely important to bring as much awareness of this issue at this time and express our deepest disapproval of the actions committed by the Israeli Defense Forces. We hope to see you there! Should you have any questions, comments,or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information please see: Students for Palestinian Rights

Winnipeg
Peace Alliance Winnipeg, Independent Jewish Voices and CanPalNet, will be holding a demonstration to show our solidarity with the people of Gaza, to express our sorrow at the murder of peaceful activists, and to join hands with people around the world in expressing our outrage at Israel’s actions.

Please join us.

Friday, June 4, 2010
4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Broadway Avenue and Osborne Street in Winnipeg. For more information please see: Peace Alliance Winnipeg

From the Jewish Voice for Peace

When I got the news about Israel’s armed attack on the Gaza Flotilla at 2:30 am on the morning of May 31, I felt sick. I immediately called a dear friend in Jerusalem, one of the most committed activists I know.  Across the ocean, I could hear in her voice that she was in tears. “The worst part about it, ” she said, “is that nothing will change.”

“No,” I replied. “I can’t believe that can be true.  Things have to change.””Well,” she said, “then it is up to you, the internationals.”

She’s right. It is up to us, the internationals both here in the United States and abroad.

That is why I want you to send a message to US President Obama if you live outside of the United States, and to Obama and the US Congress if you are a U.S. resident, demanding the immediate release of the detained human rights activists, an end to the siege on Gaza, an impartial investigation of the attack on the flotilla, and a suspension of US aid until Israel abides by international law.We still don’t know a lot about what happened to the flotilla of boats carrying some 700 human rights activists from around the world and over 10 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza– Israel has kept the activists under a near total media blackout while sharing only its implausible narrative of events. What we do know is that Israeli commandos boarded a ship in international waters and killed at least ten activists, injuring dozens of others.

Israel insists that highly trained commandos were forced to lethally fire on activists, creating a new definition of self-defense. In the first alternative accounts to appear, an Israeli Knesset member and an Al Jazeera cameraman who were on board the ship at the time each described something different, a scene of chaos with civilians waving white flags and commandos using stun guns, rubber bullets and tear gas. Regardless of what actually happened when armed soldiers landed, Israel’s wanton killing of civilians is unacceptable.

We still don’t know th
e names of those who were killed or injured, or where they are from. And we don’t know the whereabouts or well-being of more than 400 activists still being held by Israel.

These deaths, and the attacks on the boats, have hit all of us around the world particularly hard. There were people from 40 different countries on board the ships, including Israelis and Palestinians. Israel sent armed commandos onto a civilian ship in international waters, a brazenly illegal act to enforce Israel’s nearly 3-year illegal siege of Gaza – a siege that has left 1.5 million men, women and children living like prisoners on substandard diets, deprived of the simplest things like potato chips, musical instruments, and toys. The flotilla wasn’t just about this one delivery of aid. It was about the right of Palestinians to have sea, land and air routes to the rest of the world and for the need to end the blockade.

I know that there comes a point in one’s life when you simply have to take a stand. You cannot sit by silently and watch ongoing and wholly unjustified destruction of life, tacitly supported by governments around the world, and simply do nothing.

The flotilla was filled with people just like you and me who finally decided it was time to risk life and limb to take a stand, to break through those prison walls, and we thank them for it.

Now, as citizens of the world, we owe it to the people of Palestine, and the people of Israel who want to live in peace, and the brave people on that flotilla, to build the movement to make Israel accountable to international law and standards of simple human decency – especially because our governments have failed us.

he response of the U.S. government thus far has been wholly inadequate, with a mild statement “regretting the loss of life,” without assigning any blame for the fiasco, let alone applying any sanctions for Israel’s acts.  Please, join me in telling President Obama and Congress enough is enough

. US taxpayer dollars fund Israel’s occupation, and together with wall to wall uncritical diplomatic support have sent the message that any Israeli action, no matter how foolhardy, will be backed by the full might of the United States.

It’s time for that to stop.

We must also continue to build the already massive global people’s movement for justice, which has undeniably found its greatest impact in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. This is about all of the ways, big and small, people can bypass their often ineffective governments to use economic pressure to make the Israeli government accountable to international law. After launching our energetic support for campus efforts to divest from the occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace will let you know soon about our own divestment campaign to help bring pressure on Israel to reach a just solution.It is time for the United States, as Israel’s closest ally and most powerful nation in the world, to stop unconditional support for the Israeli government.Doing so will protect Israelis and Palestinians, American citizens, and internationals alike.

Click here to demand that President Obama and Congress call for an immediate lifting of the siege of Gaza,

An international and impartial investigation into the tragic killing of civilians in a humanitarian mission, and the suspension of military aid to Israel until he can assure the American public that our aid is not used to commit similar abuses.
Rebecca Vilkomerson,
Executive Director,
Jewish Voice for Peace

PS, We’ve prepared posters in PDF format that you can use at protests, in your car window or on bulletin boards. Download them here.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Also a Petition to the UN

Israel’s deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world.

Israel, like any other state, has the right to self-defence, but this was an outrageous use of lethal force to defend an outrageous and lethal policy — Israel’s blockade of Gaza, where two thirds of families don’t know where they’ll find their next meal.

The UN, EU, and nearly every other government and multilateral organization have called on Israel to lift the blockade and, now, launch a full investigation of the flotilla raid. But without massive pressure from their citizens, world leaders might limit their response to mere words — as they have so many times before.

Let’s make the world’s outcry too loud to ignore. Join the petition for an independent investigation into the raid, accountability for those responsible, and an immediate end to the blockade in Gaza — click to sign the petition, and then forward this message to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_flotilla_1/?vl

The petition will be delivered to the UN and world leaders, as soon as it reaches 200,000 names — and again at every opportunity as it grows and leaders choose their responses. A massive petition at a moment of crisis like this one can demonstrate to those in power that sound bites and press releases aren’t enough — that citizens are paying attention and demanding action.

As the EU decides whether to expand its special trade relationship with Israel, as Obama and the US Congress set next year’s budget for Israeli military aid, and as neighbours like Turkey and Egypt decide their next diplomatic steps — let’s make the world’s voice unignorable: it’s time for truth and accountability on the flotilla raid, and it’s time for Israel to comply with international law and end the siege of Gaza. Sign now and pass this message along:

Recent

Most Jerusalem Palestinians Live in Poverty

Why won’t Israel allow Gazan’s to import coriander?

What I Learned in Afghanistan – About the United States

Total number of suspected Mossad agents involved in Dubai assassination reaches 32

May Day protests draw millions worldwide

May Day Protests around the World
May 1 2010
Trade union members march in May Day celebrations in downtown Kiev  on Saturday. About 4,000 people rallied in Ukraine's capital.Trade union members march in May Day celebrations in downtown Kiev on Saturday. About 4,000 people rallied in Ukraine’s capital. (Sergei Chuzavkov/Associated Press)

Demonstrators poured into the streets from Hong Kong to Moscow to Santiago, Chile, waving flags, beating drums and dancing to music.

About 140,000 jubilant workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since dozens of people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.

The Istanbul demonstrations marked a special victory for Turkish unions, which had been denied access to Taksim Square since 1977, when 34 people died after a shooting triggered a stampede. The culprits were never found and workers on Saturday demanded an inquiry into the demonstrators’ deaths.

'I reject the five per cent increase,' says a La Paz  demonstrator's sign denouncing the size of Bolivia's proposed  minimum-wage increase.

‘I reject the five per cent increase,’ says a La Paz demonstrator’s sign denouncing the size of Bolivia’s proposed minimum-wage increase. (Juan Karita/Associated Press)

Thousands joined peaceful May Day marches in Stockholm, where opposition leader Mona Sahlin blamed the centre-right government for failing to stem rising unemployment and eroding the nation’s cherished welfare system. Sahlin is hoping to become Sweden’s first female prime minister after national elections in September.

In Manila, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced she had ordered the labour secretary to speed up negotiations between unions and employers on a $1.70 increase in the daily minimum wage.

In Toronto, a few thousand demonstrators pressed for reforms to make it easier for refugees to seek haven in Canada and for immigrants to come to the country.

In Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!” Rally organizer Bayu Ajie said a free-trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to create safer working conditions and improve job prospects if the workers maintained political and economic stability.

Kasparov leads rally

France saw rallies that drew hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Paris, Marseille, Lille and other cities, but the turnout nevertheless disappointed labour unions that had been hoping for crowds in the millions to provide a show of force against a planned pension overhaul.

A rare opposition march took place in Moscow, where former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, now an opposition politician, led activists calling for the ouster of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of stifling democracy.

In La Paz, the Bolivian capital, marchers carried signs denouncing the government’s proposed five per cent hike in the minimum wage as too paltry.

About 1,000 protesters — among them bus drivers and janitors — took to the streets in Hong Kong to demand that the government enact a minimum wage of the equivalent of $4.35 an hour. Though the Chinese territory has some of the richest residents in the world, its wealth is too unevenly distributed, advocates say.

People participate in a May Day protest in San Salvador, El  Salvador.

People participate in a May Day protest in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Edgar Romero/Associated Press)

Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in Santiago, clashes broke out with police, who launched tear gas and deployed a water cannon against demonstrators.

Athens also witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large rally against austerity measures imposed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece.

In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.

German police detained 250 neo-Nazis who attempted to attack them in downtown Berlin.

The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities asserted the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s Communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights. A smiling President Raul Castro watched the rally go past from a high podium.  Source

May Day turns violent in Berlin

May 2 2010

Riot police made targeted arrests during clashes on May Day demonstrations in Berlin.

May Day demonstrations have turned violent after police battle rioters in two German cities, using water cannons to drive back crowds of protestors.

In the capital Berlin, police tried to disperse hundreds of left-wing protesters in the west of the German capital late Saturday, as they set cars on fire and demolished police vehicles.

The eastern side of the city also saw clashes between anti-Nazi demonstrators and right-wingers.

In the port city of Hamburg, some 1,500 leftist radicals held a parade that continued into the early hours of Sunday. Police said the protestors vandalized banks, overturned parked cars and set them on fire.

It has become a ritual for leftists and rightists to engage in violent clashes with police and storm banks and shops on the May Day for more than a decade in Berlin and Hamburg.

Some 7,000 riot police were deployed to keep the two groups apart. Nearly 20 people were injured in those clashes. Police said they have made more than 250 arrests.

Last year’s May Day in Berlin was the most violent in a decade with hundreds of arrests and dozens of police officers injured. More than 400 cars were set ablaze in Berlin and Hamburg.

May Days have traditionally been an opportunity for workers and the left in general, to let off steam.

In many countries, it is synonymous with International Workers’ Day or Labor Day, a day of political demonstrations and celebrations organized by unions and other groups. Source


May Day marked with global protests

Turks mark first May Day in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in 33 years  [AFP]

Tens of thousands of people have marched in cities from Hong Kong to Istanbul to mark International Worker’s Day, demanding more jobs, better work conditions and higher wages.

In Turkey, about 140,000 workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since 34 people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.

The demonstration was a special victory for Turkish labour unions, which had been denied access to the site since 1977, after a shooting triggered a stampede.

Aydin Demir, a 44-year-old kiosk owner, said labourers had won a 33-year-long struggle for their right to rally at the square.

“We paid a heavy price to be here today. Thousands of comrades have been arrested, but now we get the result of our struggle,” he said.

‘Rights crushed’

Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught, reporting from Taksim Square, said that in the past, trade unions who tried to hold rallies there in defiance of the ban met with a heavy police crackdown which left dozens injured and hundreds in detention.

“Then human rights and especially workers rights were crushed for years in Turkey,” McNaught said.

“Over a series of years, particularly the last three, the unions have steadily pushed and pushed to be reallowed access to back to this square.

“They have said there is no good reason not to allow them back and this year, the government agreed.”

More than 22,000 police officers were deployed for the rally and demonstrators went through security checks before entering the square.

Zafer Yoruk, a professor of political science at Izmir University, said the number of workers organised in Turkish unions has fallen dramatically since the 1970s.

“Regarding unionisation and economic rights, I think we’re far behind the 1970s,” he told Al Jazeera.

“The right to strike, for rights, or solidarity strikes, are totally gone.”

Rowdy protesters

Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in the Chinese territory of Macau police used water cannon and pepper spray against rowdy protesters, injuring at least eight people, including a photographer.

Clashes broke out in a number of countries as workers staged rallies [AFP]

Hundreds of thousands of people joined rallies in Europe, many protesting against government austerity policies in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Athens, the Greek capital, witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large May Day rally against austerity measures needed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece.

In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannon in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.

In Germany, police said 17 officers had been injured when they clashed with 150 demonstrators who threw paving stones and set garbage cans ablaze in the northern port city of Hamburg.

At least nine demonstrators were detained after the confrontations with police on the eve of Saturday’s May Day holiday, the German news agency DDP reported.

Several hundred officers were deployed in the capital, Berlin, ahead of a planned neo-Nazi march and other demonstrations.

‘Workers unite’

The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities claimed the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights.

In Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!”

Workers took to the streets to protest labour conditions and demand better pay [Reuters]

Bayu Ajie, a rally organiser, said a free-trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption.

In Russia almost two million people turned out to mark international worker’s day.

Demonstrators carrying red balloons, red Soviet flags and portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, called for the Russian government’s resignation over rising prices and unemployment in Moscow.

Thousands of Cambodian workers marked May Day by marching through the capital to demand better work conditions and the establishment of a labour court.

Thousands of workers in the Philippines also took to the streets to reiterate their call to the government to protect jobs and to safeguard the interests of workers.

In the South Korean capital, Seoul, about 20,000 people gathered to demand better working conditions for labourers and farmers.

In Tokyo and Taiwan, thousands marched for better working conditions and permanent jobs.

In Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, several hundred workers protested a proposed four per cent goods and services tax. While, in Hong Kong, about 1,000 protesters, including janitors, construction workers and bus drivers, demanded the government introduce a minimum wage of $4.30.

“A lunch box at a fast-food restaurant costs about $4. It’s an insult if you can’t afford a lunch box after working for an hour,” Leung Yiu-chung, a pro-democracy legislator, said on the sidelines of Saturday’s protests. Source

Workers demand better jobs, pay on May Day

Indonesian workers shout slogans  during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday (AP photo by  Dita Alangkara)Indonesian workers shout slogans during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday (AP photo by Dita Alangkara)

I

STANBUL (AP) – Tens of thousands of workers marched in cities from Hong Kong to Istanbul Saturday to mark international worker’s day, demanding more jobs, better work conditions and higher wages.

About 140,000 jubilant workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since dozens of people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.

The demonstrations in Istanbul, which sits on both European and Asian continents, marked a special victory for the Turkish unions, which had been denied access to the Taksim Square since 1977, when 34 people died after shooting triggered a stampede. The culprits were never found and workers demanded Saturday an inquiry into the deaths of the demonstrators.

Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in the Chinese territory of Macau police used water cannons and pepper spray against rowdy protesters who tried to break away from the approved route. Hong Kong radio RTHK reported at least eight people injured, including a photographer.

Athens also witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large May Day rally against austerity measures needed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece. In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.

German police detained 250 neo-Nazis who attempted to attack them in downtown Berlin, while they braced for further clashes after sundown.

Nadine Pusch, a spokeswoman for Berlin police, said 7,000 officers were scattered throughout the city in an effort to ensure peaceful demonstrations.

Overnight in Hamburg, 17 officers were injured in clashes on the eve of May 1 and at least nine demonstrators were detained, the German news agency ddp reported Saturday.

The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities claimed the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights.

Thousands joined peaceful May Day marches in Stockholm, where opposition leader Mona Sahlin blamed the centre-right government for failing to stem rising unemployment and eroding the nation’s cherished welfare system. Sahlin is hoping to become Sweden’s first female prime minister after national elections in September.

Several thousand demonstrators in Paris also took to the streets amid concerns about conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to overhaul the pension system.

In Manila, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced she had ordered the labour secretary to speed up negotiations between unions and employers on a 75-peso ($1.67) increase in daily minimum wage.

In Indonesia’s capital, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!”. Rally organiser Bayu Ajie said a free trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to create safer working conditions and improve job prospects if the workers maintained political and economic stability.

Thousands of Communist demonstrators, carrying red balloons, red Soviet flags and portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, called for the Russian government’s resignation over rising prices and unemployment in Moscow. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov led hundreds of opposition activists in a separate rally. They also called for the ouster of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of stamping out democracy. A few thousands also rallied in Ukraine’s capital.

In Seoul, South Korea, Tokyo and Taiwan, thousands marched for better working conditions and permanent jobs. Jeong Ho-hee, spokesman of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union, vowed to fight against long working hours and high death rate related to industrial accidents.

In the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, several hundred workers protested a proposed 4 per cent goods and services tax while about 1,000 protesters, including janitors, construction workers and bus drivers, demanded the government in Hong Kong to introduce a minimum wage of 33 Hong Kong dollars ($4.30).

This freewheeling capitalist Chinese enclave is one of the world’s wealthiest cities, but critics say its wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few.

“A lunch box at a fast-food restaurant costs about HK$30 ($4). It’s an insult if you can’t afford a lunch box after working for an hour,” pro-democracy legislator Leung Yiu-chung said on the sidelines of Saturday’s protests.  Source

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Turkey, Lebanon lash out at Israeli Violation of airspace

Turkish PM lashes out at Israel for threatening peace in the region
By Selcan Hacaoglu
January 12 2010

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s prime minister accused Israel on Monday of threatening peace in the region and using disproportionate force against Palestinians.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Israel to stop violating Lebanon’s airspace and territorial waters. He also called on the U.N. Security Council to put the same pressure on Israel regarding nuclear arms as it does on Iran.

“We can never remain silent in the face of Israel’s attitude. … It has disproportionate power and it is using that at will while refusing to abide by U.N. resolutions. We can never accept this picture,” Erdogan said. “These steps threaten global peace.”

He spoke a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Hariri described Israel as an enemy that threatens Lebanon’s security.

“Today, Israel continues its violation of our airspace and waters,” Hariri said.

Erdogan promised to support Lebanon’s case against Israel at the United Nations. Turkey is a temporary member of the Security Council.

Discussing the possibility of war to make Iran drop its nuclear program, Erdogan said, “The region cannot accept a new Iraq syndrome.” Turkey has long defended Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful use.

“Those who are warning Iran over nuclear weapons are not making the same warnings to Israel,” Erdogan said. “Five permanent members of the Security Council must be just. Israel has not denied the existence of its nuclear arsenal; on the contrary it has admitted it.”

Erdogan also criticized Israel for an airstrike in Gaza on Sunday.

“What is your excuse this time?” he asked.

On Sunday, three members of the militant group Islamic Jihad were killed in an Israeli strike.

Cross-border exchanges have escalated in recent days. The Israeli military said there have been 15 rocket attacks from Gaza this month, compared to eight in December. No Israeli casualties have been reported.

Erdogan accused Israel of using of white phosphorus shells in its offensive in Gaza last year. “No one can claim that phosphorus shells are not weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

Turkey’s ties with Israel have been strained by Erdogan’s frequent criticism of the Jewish state’s use of force against Palestinians, as well as during the 2006 war against Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

On Monday, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, summoned the Turkish ambassador for clarification over a new Turkish TV show where actors pretending to be Israeli intelligence agents kidnap children and shoot old men. A diplomatic spat occurred a few months ago between Israel and Turkey after a different Turkish show depicted Israeli troops killing Palestinian children.

Associated Press Writer Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Source

Turkey, Lebanon lash out at Israel

January 12 2010

ANKARA — The prime ministers of Turkey and Lebanon on Monday lashed out at Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace and air strikes in Gaza, warning they were undermining prospects for peace in the region.

“Attacks on Lebanon is terrorism itself… We have to stand shoulder by shoulder against the enemy’s plans… We have to stop Israel,” visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri told a press conference.

Lebanese anti-aircraft guns opened fire on four Israeli warplanes which were violating its airspace at low altitude on Monday, the military said.

Israel argues that the overflights are necessary to monitor what it says is massive arms smuggling by Hezbollah.

Hariri’s counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country’s once-flourishing ties with Israel took a sharp downturn last year, said that Turkey “will never stay silent” on Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace.

He slammed the Israeli overflights as “unacceptable action that threatens global peace.”

Erdogan also questioned a deadly Israeli air raid on the Gaza Strip Sunday, which, the Israeli army said, targeted militants who were preparing attacks.

“Is the Israeli government in favour of peace or not?… Gaza was bombed again yesterday. Why?… There were no rocket attacks,” Erdogan said.

“They (the Israelis) have disproportional capabilities and power and they use them… They do not abide by UN resolutions… They say they will do what they like. We can in no way approve of such an attitude,” he said.

Israel’s ties with Turkey, a key regional ally, were poisoned by its massive offensive on Gaza last year, which prompted an unprecedented barrage of criticism from Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted government.

In October, Turkey excluded Israel from joint military drills and said ties would continue to suffer unless Israel ends “the humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza and revives peace talks with the Palestinians.

Erdogan also renewed criticism of Western powers on Monday for pressuring Iran on its nuclear activities while tolerating Israel, considered the region’s sole if undeclared nuclear power.

“We are against the development of nuclear weapons by any country in the region,” he said.

“Israel has nuclear weapons… Those who are cautioning Iran must also caution Israel,” he said, referring to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

“If we fail to display a fair attitude in this region, the problems will hit not only the region, but will spread elsewhere as well. The unrest of the Middle East is the unrest of the world,” he said.

Hariri hailed Turkey’s improving ties with Arab countries and increased activism in peace efforts in the Middle East.

“We hope and expect Turkey to continue playing a positive role in trying to bring peace,” he said.

The two premiers witnessed the signing of an accord on visa-free travel between their countries and other deals envisaging cooperation in the military, agriculture and transport realms.

Erdogan said Turkey would supply natural gas and electricity to help meet Lebanon’s energy needs and that the two countries planned a ferry service between their Mediterranean coasts.

Hariri was to wrap up his three-day visit Tuesday after attending a meeting of business people from the two countries in Istanbul.

Source

Israeli security forces arrested a foreign activist in a raid in the West Bank town of Ramallah overnight, her lawyer said on Monday.

“Her visa had expired, but that’s not a reason for them to arrest her,” he said, adding that the Israeli interior ministry has no authority to operate in the Palestinian territories.

“The ministry of the interior was acting outside of the sovereign territory of Israel… They wouldn’t invade Poland to arrest someone.” Source

They have gone into other countries and assassinated people.

Israel has gone into other countries and kidnapped people.

Israel also violates Egypt’s air space as well.

Israel the walking violation.

Sanctions are needed against Israel.  There needs to be an Arms embargo as well.

There will be no peace if Israel continues on this path of violating International Laws, Human rights and UN Resolutions.  They violate those on a daily basis.

Israel orders new fence to keep out African migrants. Critics accuse Netanyahu of exaggerating the dangers posed by refugees

But critics of the government believe that it is contriving the threat. They note that the government itself issues visas each year to 120,000 non-Jewish migrant workers who arrive at Israel’s borders legally and that hundreds of thousands among the wave of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to reach the country during the 1990s were not Jewish.

Of course
Migrant workers are also abused and exploited

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Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 3:53 am  Comments Off on Turkey, Lebanon lash out at Israeli Violation of airspace  
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‘Shocking the World believes same Iraq-style lies about Iran’

RT interviews German journalist Jurgen Elsaesser, author of the book “Iran: facts against Western propaganda”. He thinks Tehran has every right to produce nuclear energy. And fears that “extremist Israeli government could provoke war with Iran at any time”.

Seems Germany also does not have freedom of the press either.

Israeli Lobby is a problem even in Britian

Are we all going to sit Idily by and allow this to happen in Iran.

Pictures included. This is what the US has in mind for Iran,  with Israel pushing for war all the way. Be sure to check it out. These are the things the US does not want you to know. The horror of war is real.

Iran has done nothing wrong.  The comply with International Laws.

The US and Israel do not.

Both countries have committed War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.

Iraq: I Should have called the link below ” Iraq a Picture is worth a Thousand words”.

Doctors report “unprecedented” rise in deformities, cancers in Iraq

The propeganda machine is hard at  work. The media is spewing out the same type of things used against Iraq. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction but they do have a lot of oil as does Iran.

Gaza (4): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

(Afghanistan 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel is a terrorist state. They cannot be trusted.

Why do people around the world believe anything the US or Israel says?

Both have a long history of lieing.

Why is everyone so gullible?

Why do we tolerate it?

Published in: on November 27, 2009 at 8:43 pm  Comments Off on ‘Shocking the World believes same Iraq-style lies about Iran’  
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Egypt floats truce plan after 42 killed in Gaza School and Bars Doctors from Gaza

January 6 2009

By Nidal al-Mughrab

GAZA

Israel and Hamas studied a proposal by Egypt for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday that won immediate backing from the United States and Europe, hours after Israeli shells killed 42 Palestinians at a U.N. school.

However, Israeli officials also said ministers would discuss a major escalation of their 12-day-old offensive that would push troops deep inside Gaza’s cities and refugee camps in their bid to end rocket fire into Israel by Islamist militant groups.

A Palestinian official said Hamas leaders, who want an end to Israel’s blockade of the coastal enclave, had been briefed in Egypt on the proposals by President Hosni Mubarak and were debating them internally.

Israeli officials have said they too are willing to look seriously at plans that would satisfy their demand that Egypt cut off Hamas’s supplies of smuggled weapons.

Mubarak made his cease-fire call at a joint news conference in Egypt with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He gave little detail, but diplomats have described a process that would focus on bringing in foreign forces to seal the Egypt-Gaza border to Hamas arms smugglers while easing other trade routes.

Sarkozy, winding up a two-day tour of the Middle East, said: “I am confident the Israeli authorities’ reaction will make it possible to consider putting an end to the operation in Gaza.”

With Washington hamstrung by the transition period ahead of the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, France and its European partners, with backing from U.S. allies in the Arab world, have been pushing hard for Israel to cease fire.

But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking at the United Nations, quickly endorsed the Mubarak proposal and said a “sustainable” cease-fire should involve both closing off Hamas’s ability to rearm through tunnels from Egypt and easing the lives of the 1.5 million people of Gaza by reopening its trade routes.

“We need urgently to conclude a cease-fire that can endure and that can bring real security,” Rice told the Security Council.

She also welcomed an offer by Israel to open what it called a “humanitarian corridor” that would let aid agencies more easily distribute food and medicine around Gaza while it continues its military operation, which has killed over 600 people and carved the 40-km (25-mile) strip into several zones.

ISRAEL’S “THIRD PHASE”?

For all the talk of cease-fire, however, Israel continues to insist that it wants all rocket fire to stop — over 30 missiles hit Israel on Tuesday — and guarantees that Hamas cannot rearm.

And Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s security cabinet, convening on Wednesday morning, will discuss a third — and final — stage of the offensive, two senior political sources said, though the ministers may defer a vote on approving the plan.

“The plan is to enter the urban centres,” a source said, noting the first phase was an air campaign launched on December 27 and the second a ground invasion that began on January 3.

Olmert spokesman Mark Regev declined comment, saying: “We do not generally discuss the agendas of the security cabinet.”

CARNAGE AT SCHOOL

After nightfall, fighting eased to a sporadic rhythm of explosions and gunfire across the enclave. On Tuesday, 77 civilians were killed taking the total Palestinian death toll to 631, compared to 10 Israelis, seven of them soldiers.

Israel says it has killed dozens of militants this week in intensive close-quarter combat. Arab and widespread international anger mounted on Tuesday, however, when Israel admitted mortaring a United Nations school where hundreds of people were taking refuge. Medics said 42 people were killed.

The Israeli army accused Hamas militants of using civilians as “human shields” and said its troops had been returning mortar fire from the school.

An aide said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a bitter foe of Hamas, had ordered officials to look into taking Israel to international courts over the incident. A U.N. spokesman said it wanted an inquiry into both the incident and the Israeli allegations about militants firing from its schools.

The school killing could intensify pressure on Israel for a cease-fire. During Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah, the deaths of 28 unarmed Lebanese in shelling at the village of Qana intensified international pressure on the Jewish state to negotiate a cease-fire.

The deaths in the school prompted Obama to break his silence on the Gaza offensive, to say the loss of life among civilians was “a source of deep concern” for him. Obama said he would not engage in policy until he was in office but vowed to work rapidly thereafter to secure peace in the Middle East.

Some commentators have said the U.S. presidential transition has exposed the United States to greater risks from Israel’s action in Gaza. Al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri called on the Internet for Muslims to “hit the interests of the Zionists and Crusaders wherever and in whichever way you can.”

Washington’s allies in Arab governments have condemned the Israeli assault, which has contributed to rising oil prices, and the always vocally anti-American Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, another OPEC member, called it a “holocaust.”

Venezuela also expelled the Israeli ambassador.

Hamas, which has rebuffed Western demands to recognise Israel, end violence and accept existing interim peace deals, has demanded a lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip in any future cease-fire. It seized the territory in 2007, 18 months after it won a Palestinian parliamentary.

That created a schism with Abbas’s Fatah faction that helped kill off the outgoing U.S. administration’s efforts to broker a peace with Israel that would have created a Palestinian state. The violence in Gaza this month has raised questions over Obama’s ability to do better.

(Additional reporting by Dan Williams and Adam Entous in Jerusalem, Aziz el-Kaissouni in Sharm el-Sheikh and Claudia Parsons at the United Nations; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Myra MacDonald)

Source

France and Turkey willing to give monitors for Gaza

January 6 2009

UNITED NATIONS

France and Turkey said on Tuesday they were willing to contribute to an international monitoring team for a cease-fire in Gaza, where Israel launched a ground offensive last weekend.

“International monitoring mechanisms might prove necessary and we are willing to contribute to this,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told a session of the U.N. Security Council.

Kouchner said France was awaiting Israel’s response to a cease-fire proposal announced by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and “we harbour hope that it will be a positive one.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan also said his country, which has been active in trying to end the violence in Gaza, would be prepared to contribute monitors.

“If Turkey is asked to be in such an international monitoring team, we are going to be of course willing to be there,” Babacan told reporters before the special U.N. session.

(Reporting by Sue Pleming and Claudia Parsons; Editing by John O’Callaghan)

Source

Egypt bars doctors from entering Gaza Strip

January 6 2009

RAFAH

Frustration is mounting at Egypt’s border with the Gaza
Strip, where many local and foreign doctors are stuck after Egyptian
authorities denied them entry into the coastal area now under an Israeli
ground invasion.

Anesthesiologist Dimitrios Mognie from Greece idles his time at a cafe near the border, drinking tea and chatting with other doctors, aid workers and curious Egyptians.

“This is a shame,” said Mognie, who decided to use his vacation time to try help Gazans. He thought entering through Egypt, which has a narrow border with the Hamas-ruled strip, was his best bet.

“That in 2009 they have people in need of help from a doctor and we can go to help and they won’t let us; this is crazy,” he added.

Gaza’s few hospitals have been swamped by the numbers of injured; health officials there reported more than 550 Palestinians dead and 2,500 wounded,  since Israel embarked upon its military campaign designed to stop Gaza’s Islamic Hamas from launching rockets at Israel on December 27.

Mognie and a colleague, both part of the Greek organization Doctors for Peace, came to Rafah four days ago, loaded with instruments and medical supplies. Egyptian border guards turn them back daily.

Mognie, who said he has worked in conflict zones such as Iraq, Angola and Somalia, added that he understood worries over security but that he was willing to take the risk to help the people in Gaza.

Along with Israel, Egypt has maintained the closure of the Gaza border,
imposed after Hamas took control of the area in June 2007. However, the Egyptian closure has been seen by some as abetting Israel’s siege of the crowded strip, home to 1.4 million people.

Since Israel’s offensive, Egypt has taken in a trickle of wounded Palestinians from Gaza through the crossing in the border town of Rafah. Cairo, the main mediator between Israel and Hamas, has said it would only open Rafah if moderate Palestinian forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are in charge of the crossing.

Calls to Egypt to ease the border bottleneck – where aid convoys first have to have their cargo unloaded from Egyptian trucks before it’s loaded onto Palestinian ones and taken into the strip – have increased, including from Hamas allies such as Iran.

Although Egypt allowed two Norwegian doctors into Gaza on Dec. 31, the majority of physicians are frustrated at their inability to get in.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi said Monday the his government submitted a formal request to Egypt to set up a desert hospital on Egyptian territory near the Gaza Strip to receive wounded Gazans.

Palestinian doctor Abed el-Qader Lubbad, who works in the intensive care at Shifa Hospital in Gaza, arrived in one of the ambulances transporting patients to Egypt on Monday. Out of the eight patients he ferried, one seriously wounded died on the way to the border, Lubbad said.

The Palestinian ambulances are not allowed to continue driving through Egypt. At the crossing, patients are taken out of the often poorly equipped Palestinian ambulances and transferred on gurneys to Egyptian ambulances.

On Monday, at least 18 Palestinian patients were brought to Egypt, according to Mohammad Arafat, a Palestinian representative in Rafah. The wounded included a man missing both legs and another who lost his eye and fractured his skull.

Another physician at Rafah was obstetrician Jemilah Mahmood from Mercy Malaysia. She said her group worked with the Egyptian Red Crescent to bring around $100,000 worth of medical supplies to the border for transport to Gaza. And while equipment eventually got through, Mahmoud said neither she nor her colleagues are allowed to cross.

“Can you imagine how many women are hurt and how few women doctors there are?” she asked. “All of us are sitting at the border.”

Source

The cost of the Damage in Gaza at this point, I would imagine is in the Billions of Dollars. No one has yet to mention anything about that, to this point. However are they going to be able to rebuild. The damage to the infrastructure is overwhelming,  schools, hospitals, police stations, government buildings, media building, roads, and homes to name a few have been destroyed.  I think Israel should pay for it however. Considering they choose to drop the massive amounts of bombs. They are responsible for the damage. They had bloody well not hire the likes of Haliburton either.

Latest Report Stated.: As of  Tuesday January 6 2009, 77 civilians were killed taking the total Palestinian death toll to 631. Over 2,500 Palestinians wounded, according to Gaza health officials and UN estimates.
10 Israelis have died, seven of them soldiers. Of the 7 soldiers who died, 4 were killed by friendly fire.

The International Press is still banned from Gaza and the Doctors that want to help are also Banned. Israel isn’t to keen on stopping the devastating attacks.

Israeli officials also said ministers would discuss a major escalation of their 12-day-old offensive that would push troops deep inside Gaza’s cities and refugee camps in their bid to end rocket fire into Israel by Islamist militant groups.

They want to escalate it to what? They want all of Gaza. They want total control. They don’t want to compromise. They are not being truthful.

I don’t trust them. They have done to much damage to be trusted. They have  lied.

They are using weapons that are illegal.

They are attempting to hide the truth from the rest of the world.

They starved Palestinians and then devastated them with bombs that do horrendous damage.

There will be long term health problems for  Palestinians in the years to follow, Israels cruel and unnecessary attacks.

This could have been resolved without an all out war.  Instead of putting the Palestinians in a prison camp which is what Gaze really is they could have treated them with kindness and respect. Israel choose to commits crimes against humanity and war crimes.

They choose Ethnic Cleansing, , Genocide, and Murder.

They put Palestinians behind a wall just like the Berlin wall.

If anyone should have their “Weapons of Mass Destruction” removed is should be Israels. They have weapons and equipment that is far more deadly then anything Hamas has.

I am certainly doubtful, they will ever compromise on anything.

Pictures from Israel.

People look at the site where a rocket landed in the southern ...

People look at the site where a Hamas rocket landed in the southern town of Sderot, Israel January 6, 2009. (Nikola Solic/Reuters)

A municipality worker surveys the scene after a rocket landed ...

A municipality worker surveys the scene after a rocket landed on an empty kindergarten in the port city of Ashdod, Israel January 5, 2009. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

An Israeli man surveys damage to a house after a rocket landed ...

An Israeli man surveys damage to a house after a rocket landed in the southern city of Ashkelon January 5, 2009. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

An Israeli mourner attends the funeral for soldier Dagan Vertman ...

An Israeli mourner attends the funeral for soldier Dagan Vertman at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem January 6, 2009.(Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

Israeli soldiers mourn beside the grave of their comrade Nitai ...

Israeli soldiers mourn beside the grave of their comrade Nitai Stern during his funeral at Mount Herzl miltary cemetery in Jerusalem January 6, 2009. (Eliana Aponte/Reuters)

Israeli soldiers carry the flag-draped coffin of their comrade ...

Israeli soldiers carry the flag-draped coffin of their comrade Dagan Vertman during his funeral at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem January 6, 2009. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

Israel's President Shimon Peres stands beside the bed of a soldier, ...

Israel’s President Shimon Peres stands beside the bed of a soldier, wounded during Israel’s offensive in Gaza, at a hospital in the southern city of Beersheba January 5, 2009. (Eliana Aponte/Reuters)

Two pages of Pictures from Gaza:

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

Gaza (2): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Reports From Gaza:

Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family

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

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

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

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

Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances

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

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

Israel pounds Gaza strip, vows to continue attacks


Published in: on January 7, 2009 at 11:07 am  Comments Off on Egypt floats truce plan after 42 killed in Gaza School and Bars Doctors from Gaza  
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Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault

New Reports of Saturday and Sundays Protests at the bottom of the page

Iranian protestors attend an anti-Israel rally, after Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. Iran is warning Israel not to launch a ground offensive into Gaza as protests against the Israeli bombings of the Hamas-run area continue. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Egyptian security face protestors , who attempted to take to the streets after Friday prayers in Cairo, Egypt, Friday Jan. 2, 2009. Riot police and security vehicles peppered the surrounding streets preventing many worshippers and journalists from getting to Al Azhar mosque. At least two were injured during a scuffle. (AP Photo)

Kenyan Muslim protesters in Nairobi, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, burn a representation of Israel’s national flag during a rally against Israeli military strikes on Gaza. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

Indian paramilitary soldiers and policemen beat Kashmiri Muslim protesters during a protest against the ongoing bombing raids in Gaza, in Srinagar, India, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A Tanzanian Muslim demonstrator shout slogans, during a protest, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to protest against the Israeli military strikes in the Gaza strip. The Muslims said they will not rest until Israel stops striking to the Gaza strip. (AP Photo/Khalfan Said)

Palestinian woman protest against Israel’s military operation in Gaza, in the center of the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. About 3,000 Hamas supporters protested in Nablus against the Israeli offensive, singing songs and calling for an attack against Israelis in Jerusalem. Thousands demonstrated throughout the West Bank in solidarity with the people of Gaza.(AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

Nicaragua born human rights activist Bianca Jagger, right, reacts with singer Annie Lennox, left, before the start of the press conference in London to announce the mass demonstration in central London on Saturday to demonstrate against the ongoing Israeli military action against Gaza, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. British comedian Alexei Sayle is seen at centre. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

January 2 2008

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Thousands protested Friday against Israel’s air offensive targeting Hamas at demonstrations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.

Similar protests have been held daily across the Middle East since Israel launched the bombing campaign last Saturday. But these gatherings held mostly after Friday prayers were larger — mainly because Friday prayers are a traditional gathering opportunity for Muslims — and seemed to be more far-reaching in the number of countries where protests occurred.

The Israeli offensive has killed more than 400 Palestinians and sparked outrage among the Arab public. Israel says its offensive is aimed at silencing Hamas rockets.

In Tehran, a crowd of about 6,000 stretching for a half-mile (kilometer) marched from prayers at Tehran University to Palestine Square, chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and burning Israeli flags.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned Israel that entering Gaza “by land will be the biggest mistake of the Zionist regime.”

Iran is a major backer of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, giving it millions of dollars. The U.S. and Israel accuse Iran of giving weapons and rockets to Hamas, though Tehran denies arming Hamas.

In Egypt, authorities clamped down hard to prevent protests Friday. Hundreds of riot police surrounded Cairo’s main Al-Azhar Mosque, where a rally had been called, and scuffled with would-be protesters, keeping most from approaching.

Police also arrested 40 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood that called for protests.

More than 3,000 people marched in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish.

Many governments in the Arab world such as Egypt have been wary about protests at home over Israel’s Gaza assault lest the protests spiral out of control.

In Jordan, police fired volleys of tear gas and scuffled with protesters who tried to reach the Israeli Embassy in Amman. A few of the protesters threw stones at police, but the security forces dispersed the group, arresting several.

About 30,000 Jordanians gathered at a stadium in Amman shouting their support for Gaza and calling for the abolition of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty signed in 1994.

More than 10,000 Muslims marched through Indonesia’s capital Jakarta to protest the ongoing bombing raids in Gaza, aiming fake missiles labeled “Target: Tel Aviv, Israel” at the U.S. Embassy.

Protests were also held after Friday prayers in other cities in the world’s most populous Muslim country, in what was the largest turnout since Israel began the operation.

In the Afghan capital of Kabul, about 3,000 people gathered outside a prominent mosque, according to police estimates. Men in the crowd threw stones and shoes at an effigy of President George W. Bush.

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in the Philippines capital Manila, carrying placards saying Israel is a “butcher of children.”

In Turkey, Israel’s closest ally in the region, some 5,000 people denounced the Israeli raids outside a mosque in Istanbul, burning Israeli and U.S. flags and reciting funeral prayers for the victims.

In Syria, some 2,000 marched in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting “jihad will unite us.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad talked with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday and called on the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution forcing Israel to immediately halt its Gaza offensive, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

In Sudan, thousands marched in downtown Khartoum, urging Muslims to jihad and denouncing Israel and America.

Protests erupted as well in the Palestinian territories.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, thousands demonstrated in solidarity with Gazans, calling for Palestinian unity and accusing Arab leaders of silence over Israel’s bombardment.

Ex-Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox and other celebrities, including activist Bianca Jagger, comedian Alexei Sayle and former London mayor Ken Livingstone, held a news conference in London demanding Israel halt the onslaught.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil almost 200 people led by local Muslim leaders gathered outside the Sao Paulo Art Museum to protest the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Several demonstrators carried Palestinian flags, and banners reading “End the Genocide in Gaza.”

In Bern, Switzerland, hundreds of people marched, calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and demanding the international community impose sanctions against Israel.

Russian authorities detained about 37 people after a small protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Moscow demanding an end to attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of Muslims held a rally at the main mosque in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, hoisting banners that said “Palestinian Blood Is Human Blood” and shouting for Kenya to sever ties with Israel.

Meanwhile, Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the leader of al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, an offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, has issued a message urging Muslims to attack Jews everywhere, according to the SITE Intelligence, a group which monitors extremist Web sites.

Source

Just Added January 5 2009

Sunday Report: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Reports: Protests around the World Against Gaza assault

Saturday Jan 4  Reports on protests

Saturday Reports:Canadian Protesters march in support of Palestinians

SaturdayJan 3 Reports: US protests against Israels attacks on Gaza

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

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

***********************************************************

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

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 blocks foreign media from Gaza

Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 1:28 am  Comments Off on Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault  
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141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Sign Petition to Ban DU

What is DU?

  • Depleted Uranium is a waste product of the nuclear enrichment process.
  • After natural uranium has been ‘enriched’ to concentrate the isotope U235 for use in nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons, what remains is DU.
  • The process produces about 7 times more DU than enriched uranium.

Despite claims that DU is much less radioactive than natural uranium, it actually emits about 75% as much radioactivity. It is very dense and when it strikes armour it burns (it is ‘pyrophoric’). As a waste product, it is stockpiled by nuclear states, which then have an interest in finding uses for it.

DU is used as the ‘penetrator’ – a long dart at the core of the weapon – in armour piercing tank rounds and bullets. It is usually alloyed with another metal. When DU munitions strike a hard target the penetrator sheds around 20% of its mass, creating a fine dust of DU, burning at extremely high temperatures.

This dust can spread 400 metres from the site immediately after an impact. It can be resuspended by human activity, or by the wind, and has been reported to have travelled twenty-five miles on air currents. The heat of the DU impact and secondary fires means that much of the dust produced is ceramic, and can remain in the lungs for years if inhaled.

Who uses it?
At least 18 countries are known to have DU in their arsenals:

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

Most of these countries were sold DU by the US, although the UK, France and Pakistan developed it independently.

Only the US and the UK are known to have fired it in warfare. It was used in the 1991 Gulf War, in the 2003 Iraq War, and also in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s and during the NATO war with Serbia in 1999. While its use has been claimed in a number of other conflicts, this has not been confirmed.

Health Problems

  • DU is both chemically toxic and radioactive. In laboratory tests it damages human cells, causing DNA mutations and other carcinogenic effects.
  • Reports of increased rates of cancer and birth defects have consistently followed DU usage.
  • Representatives from both the Serbian and Iraqi governments have linked its use with health problems amongst civilians.
  • Many veterans remain convinced DU is responsible for health problems they have experienced since combat

Information from animal studies suggests DU may cause several different kinds of cancer. In rats, DU in the blood-stream builds up in the kidneys, bone, muscles, liver, spleen, and brain. In other studies it has been shown to cross both the blood-brain barrier and the placenta, with obvious implications for the health of the foetus. In general, the effects of DU will be more severe for women and children than for healthy men.

In 2008 a study by the Institute of Medicine in the US listed medical conditions that were a high priority to study for possible links with DU exposure: cancers of the lung, testes and kidney; lung disease; nervous system disorders; and reproductive and developmental problems.


Epidemiology

What is missing from the picture is large-scale epidemiological studies on the effects of DU – where negative health effects match individuals with exposure to DU. None of the studies done on the effects on soldiers have been large enough to make meaningful conclusions. No large scale studies have been done on civilian populations.

In the case of Iraq, where the largest volume of DU has been fired, the UK and US governments are largely responsible for the conditions which have made studies of the type required impossible. Despite this, these same governments use the scientific uncertainties to maintain that it is safe, and that concerns about it are misplaced.

However, in cases where human health is in jeopardy, a precautionary approach should prevail. Scientific scepticism should prevent a hazardous course of action from being taken until safety is assured. To allow it to continue until the danger has been proved beyond dispute is an abuse of the principle of scientific caution.

Environmental Impacts
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has studied some of the sites contaminated by DU in the Balkans, but it has only been able to produce a desk study on Iraq. Bullets and penetrators made of DU that do not hit armour become embedded in the ground and corrode away, releasing material into the environment.

It is not known what will happen to DU in the long term in such circumstances. The UNEP mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina found DU in drinking water, and could still detect it in the air after seven years – the longest period of time a study has been done after the end of a conflict.

Uranium has a half life of 4.5 billion years, so DU released into the environment will be a hazard for unimaginable timescales.

Decontaminating sites where DU has been used requires detailed scrutiny and monitoring, followed by the removal and reburial of large amounts of soil and other materials. Monitoring of groundwater for contamination is also advised by UNEP. CADU calls for the cost of cleaning up and decontaminating DU affected sites to be met by the countries responsible for the contamination.

The Campaign
CADU is a founder member of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) – now comprising over 102 member organisations in 27 countries.

CADU and ICBUW campaign for a precautionary approach: there is significant evidence that DU is dangerous, and faced with scientific uncertainty the responsible course of action is for it not to be used. To this end CADU and ICBUW are working towards an international treaty that bans the use of uranium in weapons akin to those banning cluster bombs and landmines.

Through the efforts of campaigners worldwide the use of DU has been condemned by four resolutions in the European Parliament, been the subject of an outright ban in Belgium, and brought onto the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly.

Source

Sign Petition to Ban DU

International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

141 states support second uranium weapons resolution in UN General Assembly vote

The United Nations General Assembly has passed, by a huge majority, a resolution requesting its agencies to update their positions on the health and environmental effects of uranium weapons.
December 2 2008

The resolution, which had passed the First Committee stage on October 31st by 127 states to four, calls on three UN agencies – the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update their positions on uranium weapons. The overwhelming support for the text reflects increasing international concern over the long-term impact of uranium contamination in post-conflict environments and military ranges.

In the 17 years since uranium weapons were first used on a large scale in the 1991 Gulf War, a huge volume of peer-reviewed research has highlighted previously unknown pathways through which exposure to uranium’s heavy metal toxicity and radioactivity may damage human health.
Throughout the world, parliamentarians have responded by supporting calls for a moratorium and ban, urging governments and the military to take a precautionary approach. However the WHO and IAEA have been slow to react to this wealth of new evidence and it is hoped that this resolution will go some way to resolving this situation.

In a welcome move, the text requests that all three agencies work closely with countries affected by the use of uranium weapons in compiling their research. Until now, most research by UN member states has focused on exposure in veterans and not on the civilian populations living in contaminated areas. Furthermore, recent investigations into US veteran studies have found them to be wholly incapable of producing useful data.

The text also repeats the request for states to submit reports and opinions on uranium weapons to the UN Secretary General in the process that was started by last year’s resolution. Thus far, 19 states have submitted reports to the Secretary General; many of them call for action on uranium weapons and back a precautionary approach. It also places the issue on the agenda of the General Assembly’s 65th Session; this will begin in September 2010.

The First Committee vote saw significant voting changes in comparison to the previous year’s resolution, with key EU and NATO members such as the Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Iceland changing position to support calls for further action on the issue. These changes were echoed at the General Assembly vote. Once again Japan, which has been under considerable pressure from campaigners, supported the resolution.

Of the permanent five Security Council members, the US, UK and France voted against. They were joined by Israel. Russia abstained and China refused to vote.

The list of states abstaining from the vote, while shorter than in 2007, still contains Belgium, the only state to have implemented a domestic ban on uranium weapons, a fact that continues to anger Belgian campaigners. It is suspected that the Belgian government is wary of becoming isolated on the issue internationally. Two Nordic states, Denmark and Sweden continue to blow cold, elsewhere in Europe Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain are also dragging their feet, in spite of a call for a moratorium and ban by 94% of MEPs earlier this year. Many of the abstainers are recent EU/NATO accession states or ex-Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan.

Australia and Canada, both of whom have extensive uranium mining interests and close ties to US foreign policy also abstained.

The resolution was submitted by Cuba and Indonesia on behalf of the League of Non-Aligned States.

Voting results in full

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine.

Absent: Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Monaco, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia.

Source

Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

November 11, 2008

by Barbara Bellows

As Europe mourns in Verdun today for those lost in “The War to End All Wars”, World War I, we could look to another moment in European history to shed light on the most aggressively silenced story of the Bush administration.

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

But history shows that the United Nations and the World Health Organization could be intimidated. The report from the WHO – that detailed how the DU vaporized upon impact into tiny particles that were breathed in, or consumed through the mouth or entered through open wounds, where the irradiating bits attacked cells all the way through the body, causing mutations along the way – was shelved under pressure from the U.S.

Even now, the major U.S. news organizations do not touch the subject, though the international press cannot ignore it. Even last month, a Middle Eastern Reuters reporter discussed the health damages because of the contaminated environment with Iraqi En Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman,

“When we talk about it, people may think we are overreacting. But in fact the environmental catastrophe that we inherited in Iraq is even worse than it sounds.”

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

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

But we evolve, and the United Nations First Committee has overwhelmingly passed a resolution, on October 31st, calling for “relevant UN agencies, in this case the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update and complete their research into the possible health and environmental impact of the use of uranium weapons by 2010.” The only countries that voted against it were the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and France.

Meanwhile, to help the reader get to the point, I’ve put together the following.  Although the facts, for the most part, do not contain links, there is a list of the references at the end.

Ten Essential Facts:

1. Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually “depleted” of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.

2. Depleted uranium is plentiful – there are 7 pounds remaining for every pound of enriched uranium – and requires expensive and often politically-contentious hazardous waste storage.

3. Depleted uranium is less of a problem for the nuclear industry when it is cheaply passed on to U.S. weapons manufacturers for warheads, penetrators, bunker-busters, missiles, armor and other ammunition used by the U.S. military in the Middle East and elsewhere, and sold to other countries and political factions.

4. Depleted uranium is “pyrophoric”, which makes it uniquely effective at piercing hard targets, because upon impact, it immediately burns, vaporizing the majority of its bulk and leaving a hard, thin, sharpened tip – and large amounts of radioactive particles suspended in the atmosphere.

5. Depleted uranium weaponry was first used in the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1991, under President George H. W. Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

6. Depleted uranium weaponry was later used by President Bill Clinton in the NATO “peace-keeping” bombing missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. By January 2001, as the 2nd President Bush and Dick Cheney were moving in to the White House, there was a furor in Europe over the news of an alarming increase in leukemia and other cancers amongst the NATO troops who’d served in the Balkans.

7. The World Health Organization suppressed a November 2001 report on the health hazards of depleted uranium by Dr. Keith Baverstock, Head of the WHO’s Radiation Protection Division and his team, commissioned by the United Nations. Baverstock’s report, “Radiological Toxicity of Depleted Uranium”, detailed the significant danger of airborne vaporized depleted uranium particles, already considerably more prevalent in Iraq than the Balkans due to the difference in military tactics, because they are taken into the body by inhaling and ingesting, and then their size and solubility determines how quickly they move through the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, attacking and poisoning from within as they travel, and where the damages occur. In addition, the report warns that the particles tend to settle in the soft tissue of the testes, and may cause mutations in sperm. In 2004 Dr. Baverstock, no longer at the WHO, released the report through Rob Edwards at Scotland’s Sunday Herald.

8. The George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration twisted the meaning of the failure of the World Health Organization to produce evidence of depleted uranium’s health hazards, turning it into evidence that there was no link between exposure to depleted uranium and the increases in cancer in Europe and Iraq; instead, as presented in the January 20, 2003 report by the new Office of Global Communications, ironically titled Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990 – 2003, the depleted uranium uproar was only an exploitation of fear and suffering. Two months later, Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Rice began to “Shock and Awe” Baghdad by again dropping tons of depleted uranium bombs on densely populated areas.

9. On March 27, 2003, significant increases in depleted uranium particles in the atmosphere were detected by the air sampler filter systems of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at 8 different sites near Aldermaston Berkshire, Great Britain, and continued at 4-5 times the previous norm until the end of April 2003, after the Coalition forces declared the war over. This information only came to light in a report on January 6, 2006 by Dr. Chris Busby, due to his diligent fight for access to the data through Britain’s Freedom of Information law.

10. We have a new, intelligent President, who is willing to listen.  It is up to us to bring this to his attention.  THIS IS HOW WE CAN HONOR VETERANS.

VALUABLE REFERENCES:

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

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

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

January 2003 White House Report – Apparatus of Lies:

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

Source

Depleated Uranium Information

Or Google it there is tons of information out there.

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

This is an extremely dangerous form of Pollution.

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

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

The life you save may be your own.

Sign Petition to Ban DU

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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Landmine Treaty Ignored, 5,400 killed or injured in 2007

November 21 2008
15 countries including Britain will miss their 2009 landmine clearance targets
Greece, Turkey and Belarus continue to violate an international treaty by not destroying their stock of landmines, according to a report that says more than 5,400 people were killed or maimed by landmines last year.

The Landmine Monitor Report released by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) says that 15 other countries including Britain will miss their 2009 clearance targets.

According to Stuart Casey-Maslen, editor of the Landmine Monitor, “It is not acceptable that [these] countries have failed to clear a single mined area in the last nine years and expect to be granted extensions,” he told reporters ahead of a meeting of the treaty’s 156 signatory states to be held in Geneva next week.

The ICBL report says that anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and other ordnance can lie dormant for decades before exploding.

While trade in landmines is now virtually non-existent, many countries are moving too slowly to get rid of the crippling weapons, the 1,155-page report said.

The ICBL, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, said that while Denmark, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, Britain and Venezuela, are seeking more time to clear their mined areas, de-mining operations should have been finished by now.

But Britain has not even begun mine-sweeping in the Falkland Islands, where it fought a war with Argentina in 1982, while Venezuela has said it gains some benefit from mines that keep Colombian guerrillas off its territory, Casey-Maslen said.

Greece and Turkey have a combined stockpile of 4.2 million anti-personnel mines, and Belarus has 3.4 million yet to be destroyed under the Ottawa Convention, which regulates the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and monitors their destruction.

Source

A lesson in landmines

IN DEPTH: Landmines


Sad Plight of Landmine Blast Survivors

Uganda, Africa

November 21 2008

Government pledging to help victims, often shunned by friends, families and employers.

By Gloria Laker Aciro in Gulu (AR No. 193, 20-Nov-08)

Irene Laker said she’d had a restless night because her village near Gulu had just been attacked by members of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA.

In the morning, she walked out the back of her house. “As I moved, [there was] a big bang. I had stepped on a landmine the rebels had planted at night,” she said, recalling the incident in May 2001 that wrecked her life.

Laker was taken to the local Lacor Hospital, where her leg was amputated. After two months, she was fitted with an artificial limb donated by an Italian organisation.

Over the years, thousands of people in northern Uganda have either been maimed or killed by landmines and other forms of unexploded ordnance such as hand grenades and mortars.

Laker, now 29, said her life was devastated by her injury. The man she was set to marry called off the wedding when he saw her condition in hospital.

Then she said all her good friends deserted her and finally she lost her job.

“Before the accident, I had got a job as secretary in the office of the resident district commissioner. But when I reported for work one day, I was told to leave because I had become disabled,” she said.

Women have been particularly hard hit by the landmine problem, say experts, because they generally are the ones who gather firewood and cultivate gardens.

William Odong, a Gulu district councillor who represents people with disabilities, said women constitute 70 per cent of landmine cases in the north.

“The fact that … women are more engaged in agricultural work, collecting fire wood, and fetching water [puts] them [more] at risk of being hurt,” he told IWPR.

Women with amputated limbs are often shunned by family and friends.

“Most of the women who are victims of landmines have been abandoned by their husbands, who either marry another woman or send them away,” he said.

Small children are also victims of landmines, says Odong, because they accompany their mothers to collect firewood, work in gardens or go to fetch water.

He adds that landmine survivors can also face workplace discrimination because some jobs can’t be performed by the disabled, and some are disqualified simply because of discrimination against amputees.

“People see landmine survivors as a [undesirables] and try not to get close or give them support,” continued Odong. “Unless we move away from this kind of behaviour, the survivors will never be happy.”

Odong was also critical of demining operations which he said wait for people to report suspected landmines rather than go out searching for them.

He says it’s risky to have villagers look for landmines and other unexploded devices – something that should only be handled by experts.

Mark Livingstone, a landmine expert with a Danish de-mining group, said progress has been made to remove these hazards from northern Uganda during the past couple of years.

“We have deployed more men on the ground lately in smaller teams so that they can identify, respond and clear larger areas a lot faster,” he said.

“However, the main threat in northern Uganda is unexploded ordnance, [as] people move back to their villages and start to clear the ground for agriculture.”

More is being done to warn locals of the dangers of landmines and other unexploded devices, he says, through school programmes and local radio.

“We teach them that if they see an object like a landmine, they should mark the area … and quickly report [it], [so we can] move to verify and detonate,” he said.

But, said Livingston, the de-miners fear that in the next year more casualties are likely as people clear more land for cultivation.

Despite the setbacks, life has begun to improve for some landmine victims.

Laker, for example, joined the Gulu-Amuru Association of Landmine Survivors and now works with the organisation as a secretary, helping to set up support projects for victims.

One such project provides small solar panels to victims who live in villages where there is no electricity. The survivors earn money by using the panels to recharge mobile phone batteries.

Association coordinator Stephen Okello, who is also a landmine victim, said others are engaged in bricklaying, pig-raising and poultry projects.

In addition, homes are being built for some victims in Gulu and Amuru – and the first 15 are almost complete, says Okello.

More help may also be coming from the Ugandan government.

Gulu resident district commissioner Walter Ochora says documentation of victims of war who have lost limbs or been mutilated began last year.

“Victims of war including landmine survivors are faced with a number of challenges,” said Ochora. “They are categorised as persons with special needs, and soon all will be compensated by government of Uganda.”

Gloria Laker Aciro is an IWPR-trained reporter.

Source

The Ottawa Treaty (also known as the Convention On The Prohibition Of The Use, Stockpiling, Production And Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines And On Their Destruction) bans the use of anti-personnel mines around the world.

In 1992, Handicap International and five other NGOs, completely appalled by the suffering and the horrifying consequences of the use of anti-personnel mines on civilians, decided to create the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). For Handicap International, the decision to take part in the creation of ICBL was motivated by the fact that our staff saw daily victims of landmines in countries such as Cambodia or Kosovo.

Three years later, in March 1995, Belgium became the first country to ban anti-personnel landmines. This brave move bya small country was the result of a fruitful cooperation between Handicap International and two visionary members of the Parliament.

By March 1997, 53 countries had announced their support for a total ban on landmines, 28 countries had renounced of suspended the use of mines, and 16 began destroying some of their stockpiles.

By September 16, 1998, the Treaty to Ban Landmines, which had been opened for signature in December 1997, had been ratified by the 40 countries required to make it a binding international convention. The treaty entered into force on 1st March 1999, faster than any international treaty in history. The Treaty:

  • prohibits the manufacture, trade and use of anti-personnel mines
  • obliges countries to destroy stockpiles within 4 years and clear their own territory within 10 years
  • urges governments to help poorer countries clear land and assist landmine victims

The Treaty to Ban Landmines has already had some tangible effects on the production and trade of landmines, even among countries that have not yet signed the treaty. By 1999, only 16 of the original 54 mine-producing countries continued to manufacture anti-personnel landmines or their components, and all traditional exporters of mines, except Iraq, have officially ceased their activities.

As of 20 March 2006, there are 154 signatories/accessions to the Treaty more than two-thirds of the world’s nations. Those who have still not signed include the US, Russia, China, Pakistan, Finland and India.

Map of the countries that signed the Treaty to Ban Landmines


A landmine victim every hour in the world

  1. • Indiscriminate: landmines kill and maim civilians, soldiers, peacekeepers and aid workers alike. Landmines lie dormant in the ground and become a permanent threat to civilians in peacetime.
  2. • Inhumane: It is estimated that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 new casualties every year. Many people die in the fields from lack of emergency care. Those who survive will most likely suffer from amputations, will face long hospital stays and require extensive rehabilitation. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed or injured in the last decades.
  3. • Development disaster: landmines deprive people in some of the poorest countries of land and infrastructure. Landmines also hold up the return of refugees and displaced people. They hamper reconstruction and the delivery of aid, whilst killing livestock and wrecking the environment.
  4. • Landmines are everywhere: 84 countries and 8 territories are affected in the world. Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Chechnya and Iraq are some of the worst affected countries.
  5. • Still work to be done: Landmines are still being planted today and minefields dating back decades continue to lie in wait of innocent victims. Over 10 countries are still producing landmines.


Source

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 1:44 am  Comments Off on Landmine Treaty Ignored, 5,400 killed or injured in 2007  
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Iran accepts mediator for Obama talks

Qashqavi says an Obama administration would face a difficult job in undoing 30 years of White House’s wrongdoings toward Iranians.

Iran says it would not oppose an initiative by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to mediate between Tehran and an Obama White House.

November 17 2008

The Turkish Premier suggested on Friday Ankara could play a positive role in mediating between Tehran and Washington — which have had no diplomatic ties for three decades and are now at loggerheads over Iran’s nuclear program.

“If Turkey plays such a role, it could have a positive impact on the process,” Erdogan told a press conference in Washington.

The Erdogan administration enjoys good relations with Tehran.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday that Tehran would not hinder any Turkish bid to mediate nuclear talks with the West.

“We think the comments stem from Turkish goodwill and the flourishing neighborly ties between Iran and Turkey. We will certainly not create any obstacles in the way of such moves,” said Hassan Qashqavi at a press conference in the ministry.

“But the reality is that the issue and problems between Iran and the United States go beyond the usual political problems between two states,” Qashqavi added.

Erdogan says Ankara could play a positive part in mediating between Tehran and Washington.

US President-elect Barack Obama has expressed desire to engage the government in Tehran with direct negotiations over its nuclear program.

He, however, has not stopped short of declaring that toughening already-existing sanctions against Iran is not off the table.

Obama’s proposed policy has been met with stark opposition in Tel Aviv, where Israeli echelons have described potential talks between Tehran and Washington as a form of ‘weakness’ for their allies in the White House.

Introduced and advocated by the Bush administration, the US has long pursued a carrot-and-stick policy toward Tehran regarding its nuclear program.

Qashqavi, meanwhile, raised the question whether a new US administration would change the policies of its predecessor.

“Some 30 years after the Islamic Revolution, the US still has a negative stance towards Iranians,” the Iranian spokesman said.

“Mr. Obama has come forward with slogans of change. We now have to wait and see whether the change in orientation [of Washington] is serious or not,” he concluded.

Analysts believe the Obama White House could be forced into talks with Iran over its nuclear program as Russia and China, two veto-wielding Security Council members, have expressed their opposition to the adoption of any new UNSC sanction against Tehran.

MD/HGH

Source

US President-elect Barack Obama has expressed desire to engage the government in Tehran with direct negotiations over its nuclear program. This is a good thing, they should talk.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday that Tehran would not hinder any Turkish bid to mediate nuclear talks with the West. This is a good thing help is always welcome.

Obama’s proposed policy has been met with stark opposition in Tel Aviv, where Israeli echelons have described potential talks between Tehran and Washington as a form of ‘weakness’ for their allies in the White House. This a foolish attitude. Why would they be so afraid of the US and Iran talking, as opposed to fighting. Maybe the “ Israeli echelons” should just be silent and let the diplomacy begin. If some one is opposed to two nations speaking then, those who oppose it are the problem.  Talking is not a weakness, it is a strength.

For too long have we had to listen to, the rhetoric, fear mongering, war chants and propaganda. Anyone who against war prevention, should be ignored.

It is time to find a road to Peace.

It could save millions of lives. I am all for that.

Considering how many have died in Iraq over the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that never exsisted.

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 8:02 am  Comments Off on Iran accepts mediator for Obama talks  
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Big deficits may force Turkey towards IMF

By Selcuk Gokoluk

ANKARA

Turkey will face a balance of
payments problem next year that could snuff out growth if the
government does not overcome its reticence to join the queue of
emerging countries seeking International Monetary Fund help.

Politicians are loath to ask for IMF help before municipal
elections next year given the public backlash against the six
years of fiscal austerity demanded by the IMF in return for
helping Turkey through a financial and economic crisis in 2001.

However, economists say its $70 billion foreign exchange
reserve is not a large enough buffer given the current account
deficit is seen rising to $50.4 billion in 2009 and the funding
need of the private sector is estimated at around $90 billion.

Turkey’s business community has therefore been calling for
an IMF loan deal to limit the fallout from a global financial
crisis which has already forced Ukraine, Hungary, Iceland and Serbia to seek IMF help.

Such aid comes with strings attached and while the
government is reluctant to accept big spending curbs and other
painful steps that might exacerbate the economic slowdown,
economists say IMF credit may be the only source of credit if
Turkey finds itself in a balance of payments difficulties.

“Turkey is not an EU member with access to the European
Central Bank credit lines that have been made available, nor
does it have a swap line with the (United States’) Fed as do a
few other emerging markets now to boost dollar liquidity,”
Kristin Lindow, Moody’s Investors lead sovereign analyst for
Turkey, told Reuters.

Turkey is carrying out accession negotiations with the
European Union, but is not expected to join the 27-members bloc
for several years at the earliest.

FINANCING NEEDS
Turkey’ economy is in much better shape than it was in 2001,
when it had a severe crisis and signed one of the biggest ever
IMF bailouts but some economists say the Treasury may not be
able to maintain its current cash holding.

Government spending is expected to pick up in coming months
and appetite for Turkish bonds has faded as investors favour
safe-heaven U.S. dollar assets.

Analysts say Ankara needs $15-$20 billion IMF credit to meet
its short-term financing needs, even if such help is made
contingent on measures such as cutting spending, raising taxes,
accelerating privatisation, and increasing interest rates to
correct fiscal and external imbalances and control inflation.

“For the first time in a couple of years, the balance of
payment will be a binding concern for Turkey in the sense that
Turkish corporates might have to cut back their borrowing from
international markets,” said Reinhard Cluse, economist at UBS.

It is estimated the non-bank corporate sector will roll over
roughly $20 billion in debt in the coming months.

Curbs on firms’ ability to borrow will dampen economic
activity, which has already weakened.

The economy expanded by 1.9 percent in the second quarter, a
a sharp slowdown from 6.7 percent in the first quarter, and some
economists expect it will grow by only 2-3 percent next year.

Turkish banks have strong loan/deposit and capital adequacy
ratios compared with their western peers and are tightly
regulated, but this is not the case for manufacturing firms.

“I don’t think banks will have a problem rolling over their
debt. The unknown factors are more in the non-financial sectors.
The non-financial sector firms borrowed $18 billion in the first
eight months. This is a very high figure,” said JP Morgan Chase
senior economist Yarkin Cebeci said.

“An IMF deal will cut the size of the shock waves even if it
can’t stop the financial volatility. More importantly is that an
IMF deal will comfort both the financial and non-bank corporate
sectors,” Cebeci added.

An IMF deal would also help shore up financial market
sentiment, economists said. Global financial turmoil has hit
Turkish markets in the last two months, with the lira losing one
third of its value and stocks halving in value.

“An IMF deal will ensure a gradual and softer fall. If the
market attempts to make a correction on their own, the fall will
be sharper and faster…I mean further slowdown of growth and
more lira weakening,” Merrill Lynch EMEA economist Turker
Hamzaoglu said.

(Editing by Swaha Pattanaik)

Source

Iceland had to raise their interest rates up to 18 per cent to get their loan from the
IMF

Published in: on November 6, 2008 at 11:27 am  Comments Off on Big deficits may force Turkey towards IMF  
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Prime Minister’s plea on oil prices as he tours the Middle East to secure IMF funding

By Nigel Morris

November 1 2008

Gordon Brown flies out to the Gulf today on a mission to persuade the region’s oil-rich states to help combat the global economic meltdown.

He is expected to meet the leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and ask them to pump billions of pounds into the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is struggling to cope with pleas for help from countries facing collapse in their financial system.

The Prime Minister will also urge them not to cut production in an effort to reverse the slide in oil prices over the past month. The size of the challenge facing the British economy was underlined on the eve of the tour, as Mr Brown was warned that levels of debt and borrowing will climb higher than during the last recession in the early 1990s.

A report by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies concluded that the Government was going into the recession with a “significantly higher” level of debt than in 1990. Even excluding the cost of nationalising Northern Rock, public sector net debt is due to reach 39.7 per cent of gross domestic product this year and is “very likely” to rise above 46.2 per cent within the next couple of years.

The Prime Minister has sought to emphasise the “global” nature of the economic downturn. Ahead of his latest trip abroad he signalled fears that the $250bn (£155bn) fund available to the IMF to help fragile economies might not be enough to cope with the extent of global downturn. Hungary, Iceland and Ukraine have already agreed emergency loans, while other countries queuing up for help include Belarus, Turkey and – critically for regional security – Pakistan.

Mr Brown believes the IMF’s coffers should be topped up by the rapidly-growing economies of the Gulf region, whose revenues have soared as fuel prices leapt this year. He is also targeting China, which is sitting on large reserves of capital.

The extra cash required by the IMF to counter the international turbulence could amount to hundreds of billions of dollars. But Mr Brown will probably run into opposition in the region, whose leaders have already expressed dismay that they are being asked to tackle a problem that has its roots in the turmoil in the American sub-prime mortgage market.

The Prime Minister will also express his opposition to the decision of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output from today by 1.5 million barrels a day.

The Gulf nations, which produce more than half of the world’s oil, have seen the price of a barrel fall from a high of $147 (£91) in July to below $65 yesterday. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said yesterday: “We recognise over that over the long-term global demand for oil is increasing, so over the long-term price is likely to increase. But what we want to avoid is the sharp increases we have seen in recent months.” Mr Brown is also planning to renew his call on the Gulf states to invest in renewable energy technology.

He is being accompanied by Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, and Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and more than 20 business leaders.

During a visit to Edinburgh yesterday, Mr Brown said low interest rates and falling inflation, along with lower national debt than other countries, would help Britain survive the turbulence. “It is the first global crisis that we are having to deal with in this new industrial age where so much is global. I am confident that the opportunities for our economy are great in the years to come.”

The shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, yesterday accused the Prime Minister of trying to “spend his way out of recession” at the risk of exacerbating the downturn and saddling future generations with huge tax increases to combat rising national debt.

In a speech drawing dividing lines between Conservative and Labour approaches to the economic crisis, he denounced Mr Brown as irresponsible for suggesting that the Government can “borrow without limit” to stave off recession.

He said the policy of borrowing more to pay for a state “spending splurge” was “a cruise missile aimed at the heart of the economy”, which could require tax rises equivalent to 4p on income tax. But he was attacked by Labour and Liberal Democrat opponents for being “confused” and “out of his depth” in his analysis.

The credit crisis: Latest developments

*PM to urge Gulf states not to cut oil production as Opec reduces output by 1.5 million barrels a day

*Osborne accuses Brown of trying to ‘spend his way out of a recession’

*Barclays to take £7.3bn from investors in Abu Dhabi and Qatar in bid to maintain bonus packages

*Investors in the Middle East could end up owning as much as one-third of banking giant’s shares

Source

Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm  Comments Off on Prime Minister’s plea on oil prices as he tours the Middle East to secure IMF funding  
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Who profits from WAR?

Who profited from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Not only do Contractors profit of course but, someone else profits quit splendidly form their contracts.

A little History lesson just in case anyone has forgotten.

When you got to Vote make sure the one you are voting for isn’t like Dick Cheney.

Ask questions, Demand answers. There are already to many profiteers in the White House.


Halliburton Makes a Killing on Iraq War

Cheney’s Former Company Profits from Supporting Troops
by Pratap Chatterjee,
March 20th, 2003

As the first bombs rain down on Baghdad, CorpWatch has learned that thousands of employees of Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former

company, are working alongside US troops in Kuwait and Turkey under a package deal worth close to a billion dollars. According to US Army sources, they are building tent cities and providing logistical support for the war in Iraq in addition to other hot spots in the “war on terrorism.”

While recent news coverage has speculated on the post-war reconstruction gravy train that corporations like Halliburton stand to gain from, this latest information indicates that Halliburton is already profiting from war time contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Cheney served as chief executive of Halliburton until he stepped down to become George W. Bush’s running mate in the 2000 presidential race. Today he still draws compensation of up to a million dollars a year from the company, although his spokesperson denies that the White House helped the company win the contract.

In December 2001, Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, secured a 10-year deal known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), from the Pentagon. The contract is a “cost-plus-award-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity service” which basically means that the federal government has an open-ended mandate and budget to send Brown and Root anywhere in the world to run military operations for a profit.

Linda Theis, a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Field Support Command in Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, confirmed for Corpwatch that Brown and Root is also supporting operations in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Georgia, Jordan and Uzbekistan.

“Specific locations along with military units, number of personnel assigned, and dates of duration are considered classified,” she said. “The overall anticipated cost of task orders awarded since contract award in December 2001 is approximately $830 million.”

Kuwait

The current contract in Kuwait began in September 2002 when Joyce Taylor of the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Program Management Office, arrived to supervise approximately 1,800 Brown and Root employees to set up tent cities that would provide accommodation for tens of thousands of soldiers and officials.

Army officials working with Brown and Root says the collaboration is helping cut costs by hiring local labor at a fraction of regular Army salaries. “We can quickly purchase building materials and hire third-country nationals to perform the work. This means a small number of combat-service-support soldiers are needed to support this logistic aspect of building up an area,” says Lt. Col. Rod Cutright, the senior LOGCAP planner for all of Southwest Asia.

During the past few weeks, these Brown and Root employees have helped transform Kuwait into an armed camp, to support some 80,000 foreign troops, roughly the equivalent of 10% of Kuwait’s native born population.

Most of these troops are now living in the tent cities in the rugged desert north of Kuwait City, poised to invade Iraq. Some of the encampments are named after the states associated with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — Camp New York, Camp Virginia and Camp Pennsylvania.

The headquarters for this effort is Camp Arifjan, where civilian and military employees have built a gravel terrace with plastic picnic tables and chairs, surrounded by a gymnasium in a tent, a PX and newly arrived fast food outlets such as Burger King, Subway and Baskin-Robbins, set up in trailers or shipping containers. Basketball hoops and volleyball nets are set up outside the mess hall.

Turkey

North of Iraq approximately 1,500 civilians are working for Brown and Root and the United States military near the city of Adana, about an hour’s drive inland from the Mediterranean coast of central Turkey, where they support approximately 1,400 US soldiers staffing Operation Northern Watch’s Air Force F-15 Strike Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons monitoring the no-fly zone above the 36th parallel in Iraq.

The jet pilots are catered and housed at the Incirlik military base seven miles outside the city by a company named Vinnell, Brown and Root (VBR), a joint venture between Brown and Root and Vinnell corporation of Fairfax, Virginia, under a contract that was signed on October 1, 1988, which also includes two more minor military sites in Turkey: Ankara and Izmir.

The joint venture’s latest contract, which started July 1, 1999 and will expire in September 2003, was initially valued at $118 million. US Army officials confirm that Brown and Root has been awarded new and additional contracts in Turkey in the last year to support the “war on terrorism” although they refused to give any details.

“We provide support services for the United States Air Force in areas of civil engineering, motor vehicles transportation, in the services arena here – that includes food service operations, lodging, and maintenance of a golf course. We also do US customs inspection,” explained VBR site manager Alex Daniels, who has worked at Incirlik for almost 15 years.

Cheap labor is also the primary reason for outsourcing services, says Major Toni Kemper, head of public affairs at the base. “The reason that the military goes to contracting is largely because it’s more cost effective in certain areas. I mean there was a lot of studies years ago as to what services can be provided via contractor versus military personnel. Because when we go contract, we don’t have to pay health care and all the another things for the employees, that’s up to the employer.”

Soon after the contract was signed Incirlik provided a major staging post for thousands of sorties flown against Iraq and occupied Kuwait during the Gulf war in January 1991 dropping over 3,000 tons of bombs on military and civilian targets.

Central Asian Contracts

Still ongoing is the first LOGCAP contract in the “war on terrorism” which began in June 2002, when Brown and Root was awarded a $22 million deal to run support services at Camp Stronghold Freedom, located at the Khanabad air base in central Uzbekistan. Khanabade is one of the main US bases in the Afghanistan war that houses some 1,000 US soldiers from the Green Berets and the 10th Mountain Division.

In November 2002 Brown and Root began a one-year contract, estimated at $42.5 million, to cover services for troops at bases in both Bagram and Khandahar. Brown and Root employees were first set to work running laundry services, showers, mess halls and installing heaters in soldiers’ tents.

Future Contracts in Iraq

Halliburton is also one of five large US corporations invited to bid for contracts in what may turn out to be the biggest reconstruction project since the Second World War. The others are the Bechtel Group, Fluor Corp, Parsons Corp, and the Louis Berger Group.

The Iraq reconstruction plan will require contractors to fulfill various tasks, including reopening at least half of the “economically important roads and bridges” — about 1,500 miles of roadway within 18 months, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The contractors will also be asked to repair 15% of high-voltage electricity grid, renovate several thousand schools and deliver 550 emergency generators within two months. The contract is estimated to be worth up to $900 million for the preliminary work alone.

The Pentagon has also awarded a contract to Brown and Root to control oil fires if Saddam Hussein sets the well heads ablaze. Iraq has oil reserves second only to those of Saudi Arabia. This makes Brown and Root a leading candidate to win the role of top contractor in any petroleum field rehabilitation effort in Iraq that industry analysts say could be as much as $1.5 billion in contracts to jump start Iraq’s petroleum sector following a war.

Wartime Profiteering

Meanwhile Dick Cheney’s 2001 financial disclosure statement, states that the Halliburton is paying him a “deferred compensation” of up to $1million a year following his resignation as chief executive in 2000. At the time Cheney opted not to receive his severance package in a lump sum, but instead to have it paid to him over five years, possibly for tax reasons.

The company would not say how much the payments are. The obligatory disclosure statement filled by all top government officials says only that they are in the range of $100,000 and $1million. Nor is it clear how they are calculated.

Critics say that the apparent conflict of interest is deplorable. “The Bush-Cheney team have turned the United States into a family business,” says Harvey Wasserman, author of The Last Energy War (Seven Stories Press, 2000). “That’s why we haven’t seen Cheney – he’s cutting deals with his old buddies who gave him a multimillion-dollar golden handshake. Have they no grace, no shame, no common sense? Why don’t they just have Enron run America? Or have Zapata Petroleum (George W. Bush’s failed oil-exploration venture) build a pipeline across Afghanistan?”

Army officials disagree. Major Bill Bigelow, public relations officer for the US Army in Western Europe, says: “If you’re going to ask a specific question – like, do you think it’s right that contractors profit in wartime – I would think that they might be better [asked] at a higher level, to people who set the policy. We don’t set the policy, we work within the framework that’s been established.”

“Those questions have been asked forever, because they go back to World War Two when Chrysler and Ford and Chevy stopped making cars and started making guns and tanks. Obviously it’s a question that’s been around for quite some time. But it’s true that nowadays there are very few defense contractors, but go back sixty years to the World War Two era almost everybody was manufacturing something that either directly or indirectly had something to do with defense,” he added.

Sasha Lilley and Aaron Glantz helped conduct interviews for this article.

For further reading on Brown and Root’s military contracts, see The War on Terrorism’s Gravy Train by Pratap Chatterjee.

Pratap Chatterjee is an investigative journalist based in Berkeley, California. He traveled to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan in January 2002 and to Incirlik, Turkey, in January 2003 to research this article.

Halliburton given $30m to expand Guantanamo Bay London Independent | June 18 2005 A subsidiary of Halliburton, the oil services group once led by the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has won a $30m (£16m) contract to help build a new permanent prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Dick Cheney of course makes money to this Day From Haliburton.

Talk about a conflict of interest

Cheney served as chief executive of Halliburton until he stepped down to become George W. Bush’s running mate in the 2000 presidential race. Today he still draws compensation of up to a million dollars or more a year from the company, although his spokesperson denies that the White House helped the company win the contracts .

He isn’t alone however

151 Congressmen Profit From War

More than a quarter of senators and congressmen have invested at least $196 million or more of their own money in companies doing business with the Department of Defense (DOD) that profit from the death and destruction in Iraq.

Now maybe it’s just me but is that not a bit of conflict of interest?

Why would they ever vote to stop a war? No profit in that is there?

Even Bushes Father, apparently has invested a great deal in companies that work for the DOD.

The practice of investing in such things should be forbidden.

Let me tell you they didn’t get themselves elected to serve the people. They are self serving, money hungry, power seeking, well you get the idea.

Haliburton also wasted a lot of money. Your Tax dollars were hard at work.

Whistleblowers Describe Halliburton’s “Free Fraud Zone”

June 27, 2005

Halliburton Iraq

“I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career.”

— Bunnatine Greenhouse, top Army Corps of Engineers contract oversight official, turned whistleblower

Today’s Democratic Policy Committee Hearing was another jawdropper.

The witnesses included:

1) Greenhouse — the highest ranking civilian at the Army Corps of Engineers whose job it is to ensure openness and honesty in contracting. Greenhouse said that “essentially every aspect of the RIO contract remained under the control of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.” In other words, Rumsfeld should be held responsible for giving his old pal Dick Cheney’s firm Halliburton the no-bid contract before the war, under its global logistics contract, a violation of competitive contracting requirements (as Greenhouse testified and 60 Minutes reported, other contractors were itching to bid on the work but were never given a chance).

2) Rory Mayberry, a former manager of Halliburton’s mess halls in Iraq, who testified that KBR fed U.S. troops expired food on a daily basis, and fed Turkish and Filipino workers “leftover food in boxes and garbage bags after the troops ate,” while using beef, chicken, salads and sodas intended for the troops to cater parties and barbeques for KBR management and employees. He also said he was informed that “if we talked, we would be rotated out to other camps that were under fire.”

3) Alan Waller and Gary Butters — two top executives from Lloyd-Owen International, a transportation contractor who testified that one of their convoys was ambushed 2 kilometers from a U.S. base while bringing materials under a Halliburton contract. Not only were they not told by KBR that other contractors had been hit recently in the same area (they lost 3 individuals in the ambush), but upon arriving at the base were denied help by KBR (later learning from emails they obtained that KBR management had instructed its on site staff to offer no assistance).

Could this have anything to do with the fact that the company has a fuel supply contract with the Iraqi government that KBR would have had, if it hadn’t been caught defrauding U.S. taxpayers for fuel shipments?

KBR still controls the military checkpoint along the Kuwait/Iraq border, where Lloyd-Owen has to bring over 100 fuel tankers across on a daily basis. They testified that KBR has hampered the company’s ability to cross the border, using the fact that Lloyd-Owen does not have a U.S. Military contract as a technicality.

Meanwhile, they testified that Halliburton’s incompetence in restoring fuel pumping and refinery equipment has also slowed fuel deliveries down, leading to the kind of festering resentments that are certain to fuel the resistance.

A joint report was also released at the hearing by Senator Dorgan and Rep. Henry Waxman, which estimates that Halliburton’s questioned and unsupported costs in Iraq now exceed $1.4 billion, more than three times the previous estimate.

The 10 Most Brazen War Profiteers 2006
Inside the world of war profiteers From prostitutes to Super bowl tickets, a federal probe reveals how contractors in Iraq cheated the U.S.

Banking on Bloodshed: UK high street banks’ complicity in the arms trade
This of course is a microscopic tid bit of what really happens.

Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Who profits from WAR?  
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