Outrage grows over ‘Stop Kony’ campaign

Update March 17 2012

From Uganda’s Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi at bottom of page.

—————————————————————————————-

By Angela Mulholland,

Mar. 9 2012

A group aimed at bringing elusive African rebel leader Joseph Kony to justice is being praised for its ability to spread its message so quickly and effectively, but it’s also being harshly criticized for misleading the public.

The Kony 2012 campaign, orchestrated by non-profit group Invisible Children, calls for the arrest of Joseph Kony, the head of Lord’s Resistance Army, a small but infamous militia that has terrorized northern Uganda for years with killings, torture and the kidnappings of child soldiers.

The group released a 30-minute, slickly produced documentary online this week that quickly racked up more than 50 million views in two days, thanks to a highly successful social media campaign.

The video says it “aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”

But the campaign has also spurred a debate about whether Invisible Children is dangerously oversimplifying the situation in Uganda, using outdated information, and possibly worsening the conflict.

Human Rights Watch was just one of many groups with experience in Uganda that came out this week to note that Kony hasn’t been operating in Uganda for years and that his army has withered to just several hundred members. These are two key points that the documentary left out, they say.

Mark Kersten, a Canadian at the London School of Economics who is working on his doctoral thesis about the International Criminal Court, notes that another issue that’s not shown in the video is that northern Uganda has been at peace for six years and there has not been a major LRA attack there during that time.

Kersten doesn’t believe the film gives an accurate portrayal of the actual conflict in Uganda.

“It paints the crisis in Uganda and LRA-affected areas as one in which the major problem – perhaps the only problem – is Joseph Kony, and therefore, that stopping Joseph Kony is the proper solution. The problem is much more complicated,” Kersten told CTV’s Canada AM Friday.

Ugandan writer Angelo Izama wrote on his blog: “To call the campaign a misrepresentation is an understatement.”

He said while it draws attention to the fact that Kony is still on the loose, “its portrayal of his alleged crimes in Northern Uganda are from a bygone era.”

Many, like Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire, point out that since Kony and the LRA was pushed out of Uganda six years ago, life there has been stabilizing.

“This paints a picture of Uganda six or seven years ago, that is totally not how it is today. It’s highly irresponsible,” Kagumire said this week.

She says Ugandans are now more focused on rebuilding their country. Inciting more conflict in the area will only set back the efforts of Ugandans who just want to return to normal life, she suggested.

Others have questioned what going after Kony now will achieve. The rebel leader has already been indicted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, such as rape, mutilation and murder; some worry that seeking to arrest or kill him now might only incite his sympathizers.

“Suggesting that the answer is more military action is just wrong,” Javie Ssozi, an influential Ugandan blogger, said this week on his blog.

“Have they thought of the consequences? Making Kony ‘famous’ could make him stronger. Arguing for more U.S. troops could make him scared, and make him abduct more children, or go on the offensive.”

Ssozi also tweeted Thursday that “the #KONY2012 approach is wrong approach because what does awareness of Kony specifically do? Leads to peace or accelerate war?”

Freelance journalist Michael Wilkerson worries in a blog for Foreign Policy that in the rush to capture Kony, the problems with Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, are being overlooked.

“Museveni ushered himself to a fourth term last year, taking him to more than 25 years in power. Corruption is rampant, social services are minimal and human rights abuses well documented,” Wilkerson wrote.

“Stopping Kony won’t change any of these things, and if more hardware and money flow to Museveni’s military, Invisible Children’s campaign may even worsen some problems.”

Canadian Kersten notes that the Ugandan government has not been free of guilt for its part in the conflict either.

“When you go to northern Uganda and speak to people, they will be clear that atrocities have been committed by the government of Uganda as well,” Kersten said.

Invisible Children released a statement on Thursday to respond to the criticism, including that it has oversimplified the conflict in Uganda.

“In a 30-minute film… many nuances of the 26-year conflict are admittedly lost or overlooked,” the statement reads.

The film is a first entry point to this conflict for many, and the organization provides several ways for our supporters to go deeper in learning about the make-up of the LRA and the history of the conflict.”

The group says while it supports the deployment of U.S. advisers and soldiers to help locate and bring Kony to justice, it also supports increased diplomacy.

“Importantly, the campaign also advocates for broader measures to help communities being affected by LRA attacks, such as increased funding for programs to help Kony’s abductees escape and return to their homes and families,” the group says. Source

There are some pretty angry people out there.  I actually do not blame them. They feel like they have been lied to.

The Charity is not well liked at this point in time. With good reason.

Check it out for your self. Invisible Children

They certainly do make a great deal of money. So how much actually makes it the people who are in need. Apparently not very much.

Seems to me someone should be checking.

You can bet they made a lot in the first while as this video went viral.

Some may be regretting donating to them, at this point in time.

Always check to make sure the Charities you donate to are on the up and up. I even noticed today Amnesty was looking for donations pertaining to this. They of all, should be more careful. Seems they didn’t check thing carefully either.

Uganda says Kony 2012 campaign misinforms

March 17 2012

The Ugandan government has launched an online response to the Kony 2012 viral video, seeking to correct “false impressions” created by the film.

­Uganda’s Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi released a nine-minute video addressing those who had watched Kony 2012 video and back the subsequent campaign.

He said the fact that Jozeph Kony is a criminal is undeniable – but the film misses a key point.

“The Kony 2012 campaign fails to make one point clear: Joseph Kony is not in Uganda,” Mbabazi stated.

The minister said Kony has not been in the country since 2006, when the national troops forced the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) out of Uganda. He added that the LRA now consists of just a couple hundred fighters, who are based in Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and the Republic of South Sudan.

“Uganda is not in conflict. Uganda is a modern, developing country which enjoys peace, stability and security,” Mbabazi assured viewers, inviting anyone who doubts it to come and see for themselves.

He also said that he had sent a personal invitation via Twitter to twenty international celebrities who back the Kony 2012 campaign.

Kony 2012 was created by Invisible Children, an organization aiming to raise awareness about the activities of the LRA in Uganda and to seek the arrest of Kony.

The video has gone viral, getting over 80 million views on YouTube with millions of people reposting it on Facebook and Twitter.

While awareness was definitely raised, the question now is: what was the actual motive behind the video reporting six-year-old events?

Some say simple greed, as skyrocketing YouTube figures resulted in skyrocketing donation figures. Others think big politics and recently-discovered Ugandan oil reserves might be involved.

Last October, the US deployed troops to Uganda to provide military assistance in capturing Kony.

Coincidentally, the mission came after Uganda had announced discovering some 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil.

The troops are still in the region and have no intention of leaving, the US State Department says. Source

Right Honourable Amama Mbabazi, Prime Minister of Uganda

Then we have really dumb. This tells me that a few in the US Government are not to bright.

They should be introducing a bill to Check on Charities/Non Profits to make sure they are above board.

Joseph Kony resolution introduced in House

By Stephanie Condon

March 13 2012

Two House lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a resolution supporting efforts to counter the Lord’s Resistance Army, hoping to build on the momentum created by a viral YouTube video spotlighting the atrocities of LRA leader Joseph Kony.

The resolution, introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. and Ed Royce, R-Calif., calls for, among other things, expanding the number of regional forces in Africa to protect civilians and placing restrictions on individuals or governments found to be supporting Kony.

Kony gained notoriety in the U.S. this month when a 30-minute video produced by the group Invisible Children went viral, picking up more than 50 million views in just four days. The video spotlighted how the Ugandan warlord has been accused of kidnapping up to 30,000 children in the past 26 years, using girls as sex slaves and boys as child soldiers.

Invisible Children has since taken heat for how much of its budget it spends on aid to Africa versus marketing. Additionally, some Ugandans have complained the video misrepresents and over-simplifies the issue.

Still, McGovern said in a statement that the new attention the African conflict is receiving is a good thing.

“I am hopeful that we can use this momentum as a force for change,” he said. “We must do all that we can to protect innocent civilians — especially children — and end LRA violence once and for all.”

Last year, McGovern and Royce introduced and helped pass into law “The Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.” Subsequently, President Obama sent 100 U.S. troops to Central Africa to serve as advisers in efforts to hunt down Kony. Source

It has to be the oil. Vultures.

Kony 2012/Invisible Children Leader Detained for Public Masturbation, Vandalizing Cars

March 16, 2012

A co-founder for Invisible Children was detained in Pacific Beach Thursday night for being drunk in public and masturbating, according to San Diego Police Department.

Jason Russell, 33, was allegedly found masturbating in public, vandalizing cars and possibly under the influence of something, according to Lt. Andra Brown. He was detained at the intersection of Ingraham Street and Riviera Road. Source

Charlie Brooker on Kony 2012 / Invisible Children

KONY 2012: Making The Invisible Visible

One of their partners and donators is Chase Community Giving who awarded them $1million as a prize for winning a contest that was mired in controversy and accusations of fraud. This organisation is part of JP Morgan Chase Foundation who are also listed as one of Invisible Children’s network of supporters. For the rest of the story  Check it out it certainly is interesting

Kony 2012? Critics Alarmed by Aid Group’s Call for Foreign Intervention

Slick viral documentary calls for US forces in Uganda

March 10 2012
Aid group Invisible Children released a slick and emotive campaign video last week titled Kony 2012. The video went viral in a short amount of time reaching 70m hits in one week helping the organization to raise $5m within 48 hours. For the rest of the Story
I wonder what the total Grand Prize was? Considering only about one third goes to anyone in need really needs to be investigated.

Jason Russell THE NAKED MELTDOWN Video and story.

JOSEPH KONY, AMERICA’S PRETEXT TO INVADE AFRICA: US Marines Dispatched to Five African Countries

The hidden agenda in Uganda, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa is the conquest of oil and strategic mineral resources. Going after Joseph Kony and protecting Ugandan children is a cynical smokescreen, a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention” in a region where US sponsored  “civil wars” (Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia) have in the course of the last 20 years resulted in more than eight million deaths: 

“Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in the DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony.” (Nile Bowie,  Merchandising and Branding Support for US Military Intervention in Central Africa, Global research, March 14, 2012) 

In a recent decision, the Pentagon confirms the sending in of Marine Special Forces to train Ugandan troops in the fight not only against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) but also against Al Shabab in Somalia. Joseph Kony is being used as a pretext for outright military intervention in five African countries.

“So far, the task force has deployed small teams to five African nations, including some threatened by the terror group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, according to a Marine news release” (Stars and Stripes, March 15, 2012 ).

Officially, the underlying framework is “peacekeeping” to be achieved through US sponsored “counterterrorism operations”. The stated objective is to transform Ugandan soldiers into “counterterrorism engineers”, namely Special Forces under US supervision,  “who will then deploy to Somalia in support of infantry battalions.”(Ibid) 

The sending in of US Marines to Africa is  upheld as “part of a new Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-12 based out of Sigonella, Sicily” which will dispatch small teams of Marine forces throughout the African continent. The initiative was launched in 2011 “as part of an effort to prepare African militaries to conduct counterterrorism operations” under US guidance.

What this initiative also implies is the direct involvement of Ugandan troops and special forces in the civil war in Somalia:

“The genesis of this mission was operations in Mogadishu, Somalia, where African Union peacekeepers experienced IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and other complex obstacles, which exposed them to ambushes by al Shabaab,” said Maj.Charles Baker, a spokesman for the Marine mission, in a news release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Kampala.

“The soldiers on training will use the acquired knowledge in war-torn Somalia and in the hunt down of fugitive LRA commander Joseph Kony, wherever he is,” said Ugandan People’s Defense Force Lt. Col. Richard C. Wakayinja, in a separate Marine news release. (Stars and Stripes, March 15, 2012)

Recent

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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.

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Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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Coping with global financial crisis

By Patrick Kagenda

October 31 2008

As the American economy struggles to recover from the credit crunch and European economies jostle with rescuing their financial institutions, subsidiary of American companies operating in Uganda are maintaining an upbeat facade, claiming they are not affected by the American economic woes.

Mr. Erick Rakama, Business development manager at DHL an American courier service provider, told The Independent that despite DHL cutting operations in USA, the action will have no effect on DHL Uganda operations. “Each country operates autonomously,” said Rakama.

Ms Poonam, the operations manager at UPS Uganda, another American courier company said the effects are strictly on the American market and not on the local markets like the Ugandan market. “We are not affected at all”, she said.

At AIG Uganda, Alex Wanjohi, AIG Uganda Managing Director said AIG Inc has decided to refocus the company on its core property and casualty insurance businesses which includes AIG Uganda Limited. This means it is business as usual for AIG South African operations where AIG Uganda falls.

“We operate autonomously and throughout the challenges faced by AIG Inc, AIG Uganda’s financial position has not been affected at all,” he said, “We have retained a very strong financial position and we continue to pay claims and write new business as usual”.

The Chief Executive of the Uganda Securities exchange, Mr Simon Rutega, said the lack of confidence in financial markets poses a potential for turmoil.

“In the short run the global credit crunch may not affect Uganda because our securities, our companies and our economies have no direct correlation,” he said, “We are not entangled with those markets despite the remittances coming from those economies, however the effect would be in the long run if this problem progresses.”

Uganda exports mainly primary commodities.

He said there could be a reduction in donor aid and support to social services.

“We have also learned that we have to be careful with these derivatives so, we have to verify whether those instruments are effective or not,” he said.

Experts continue to echo Rutega’s claim that African stock exchanges are insulated from the financial turmoil because of their limited links to the global economy.

“All of Africa represents only one percent of global trade,” Willy Ontsia, head of the Central Africa Stock and Shares Market (BVMAC) in Libreville said;

“If the crisis is short, its impact on Africa and emerging market economies will be relatively weak.”

“But if the crisis is prolonged, that will have an impact on several indicators that affect growth in developing countries,” he said, noting that a global slowdown would affect trade in raw materials — the backbone of many of the continent’s economies.

“Africa is less exposed because of its limited links to the international financial community… but I have reason to worry about the economic effects of the financial crisis on the continent,” said Donald Kaberuka, head of the African Development Bank (ADB).

“It’s the long-term effects that cause us great worry,” he told a press conference in Tunis.

But World Bank President Robert Zoellick last week said that developing nations may be at “a tipping point”.

“We have seen the dark side of global connectedness,” he said as the turmoil battered markets from Cairo to Johannesburg, posing risks to foreign investment and trade that could threaten Africa’s recent economic gains.

Some economists insist that the financial crisis will hit poor and rich countries the same “because there is no decoupling between their performances”.

Due to differences in their starting situations, the outcome will be different and growth in developing economies will slow but not so much as in advanced countries as their trade and capital accounts suffer.

Egypt’s main index plunged more than 16 percent at one point last week, mirroring spectacular losses around the world amid worries about European banks and doubts about the 700 billion dollar US bailout package.

The main index in South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, fell by seven percent but stabilised with trading in marginally positive territory.

Other key markets, including oil-exporter Nigeria and Morocco, suffered far less dramatic declines, while some bourses in countries like Ivory Coast have actually posted small gains.

Economies like South Africa, which are more connected to international finance, are more easily affected by the global turmoil, seen in the volatility on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, said Razia Khan of Standard Charter Bank in London.

“For the rest of Africa, the global financial market rout is likely to mean a rise in risk aversion,” she said, warning that international investors were likely to seek stability rather than the risks posed by emerging markets.

Daniel Makina, a risk management expert at the University of South Africa, said those indirect effects could prove just as damaging for African economies, especially if exports to the rest of the world slow down.

“South Africa does a lot of trade with US and Europe especially,” Makina told AFP. “A recession in the US and Europe will impact on South Africa exports.”

Crude oil accounts for more than 50 percent of Africa’s exports, with Angola and Nigeria the biggest producers, according to the World Bank.

Worries that weak global growth will reduce demand for fuel have already sent oil prices tumbling to eight-month lows.

“All these things have ripple effects that could hurt growth,” Ontsia said. “Our fear is that this crisis will continue.”

  • Due to a general shortage of credit, poor countries will increasingly find it difficult to access finance.
  • Inflation, which is the main problem for the poor, could be reduced.
  • General re-pricing of risk due to the crisis will increase the cost of borrowing
  • Economies that depend on exports will be most impacted, especially due to a softening in commodity prices

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Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 5:51 am  Comments Off on Coping with global financial crisis  
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