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

 

Did being part of the EU protect them from the Financial Crisis

Turmoil Spurs US Plant Closures, EU Layoffs At ArcelorMittal

December 10th, 2008

By Alex MacDonald

In a sign of the severity of the economic downturn, ArcelorMittal (MT), the world’s largest steelmaker, announced plans to close two U.S. steel processing plants and lay off several hundred workers in the European Union.

ArcelorMittal plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Lackawanna, N.Y., by the end of April and plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Hennepin, Ill., sometime in the future, although no date was disclosed. The two closures will result in 545 job losses, 260 of which are located at the N.Y. plant and 285 of which are located at the Illinois plant.

Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal rolled out voluntary redundancy programs in Europe over the past week or so that would eliminate 3,550 mostly white-collar jobs through voluntary layoffs. The company is eyeing 6,000 job cuts in Europe out of 9,000 job cuts globally.

The closures and layoffs are in line with the company’s plans to cut 35% of its global steel production capacity during the fourth quarter and saving $1 billion annually by cutting 3% of its global workforce.

Both steel plants supply the auto market, where demand has slumped so dramatically that the U.S.’s three largest car manufacturers are now seeking federal government funds to avert bankruptcy.

The closures are part of ArcelorMittal’s global restructuring program to weather the economic downturn.

The decision to close ArcelorMittal Lackawanna was “purely an economic business decision based on the extraordinary economic conditions we face today,” the company said in a statement.

The Lackawanna plant has inherent disadvantages due to its location that lead to higher costs, longer customer lead times, and higher inventory levels than other ArcelorMittal finishing facilities in the US, the company said.

Meanwhile, at Hennepin, “the company had to make the tough decision to close the…facility, consolidate operations and move production to other ArcelorMittal facilities in the U.S.” in order to remain competitive.

ArcelorMittal now has announced plans to lay off 19% of its U.S. salaried workforce of 15,543 people and has announced more than half of its planned job cuts in Europe.

The United Steelworkers union and other relevant stakeholders were notified about the plant closures and job layoffs. They are now negotiating with the Luxembourg-based company to arrive at a compromise.

Jim Robinson, the director of USW’s District 7 said the union was aware that ArcelorMittal faced operational issues at the two plants but was surprised by the company’s decision to close the plants.

“They called us before they announced but we did not know this specifically” beforehand, he said.

Robinson dismissed views that ArcelorMittal has underinvested in the plants. “I don’t think the issue is lack of investment over time, I think it’s an issue of the company’s overall strategy.” He declined to elaborate further.

ArcelorMittal is one of many steelmakers globally that have announced production cuts and layoffs. U.S. Steel Corporation (X), the world’s tenth-largest steelmaker by volume, announced last week it would temporarily idle an iron ore mining facility and two steel works. The move will affect 3,500 employees.

Corus, Europe’s second largest steelmaker by volume and the European arm of India-based Tata Steel Ltd (500470.BY) has cut production by 30% and has shed about 500 jobs from the U.K.

In Europe, ArcelorMittal is seeking voluntary redundancies equal to 1,400 jobs in France, 800 in Belgium, 750 in Germany, and 600 in Spain. Most of them are white collar jobs. ArcelorMittal’s American depositary shares recently traded up 8.9% to $25.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Company Web site: http://www.arcelormittal.com

Source

EU businesses expect 1 million job losses in 2009

Brussels – European Union businesses called Monday for a cut in interest rates amid predictions that the bloc’s economic slowdown could lead to more than 1 million jobs being lost in 2009.

BusinessEurope, which groups national business federations from 34 European countries, also called on governments to ensure a continued flow of credit and to approve structural reforms aimed at improving the continent’s competitiveness.

According to its latest Economic Outlook, EU gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to grow by just 0.4 per cent in 2009, compared to 1.4 per cent this year, with exports, imports and private consumption levels all slowing.

Unemployment is predicted to increase from 7 per cent to 7.8 per cent, with the loss of 1.1 million jobs, compared to a net job creation of more than 2 million in 2008.

“The most fundamental preoccupation of the business community is obviously the way in which the impact of the financial market turmoil will play out,” the paper said.

“Even though a fully-fledged credit crunch has not yet appeared in Europe, uncertainty about the impact for companies and consumer markets has increased tremendously.”

Source

SEMI Europe calls for investment to avoid mass job losses in semiconductor industry

December 10 2008

During the third SEMI Brussels forum, SEMI Europe declared that the decline in the European semiconductor industry could potentially put half a million European jobs at risk. SEMI Europe presented its White Paper to EU officials and urgently appealed for the EU and national policymakers to invest to support the European semiconductor industry citing the industries importance to the health and global competitiveness of the EU economy.

The equipment/materials producers and the semiconductor device manufacturers contribute around €29 billion to the EU economy and provide around 215,000 jobs. The European semiconductor industry is also a significant contributor to the GDP in EU countries such as France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

“If semiconductor manufacturers leave Europe, indigenous equipment & materials producers will face an uncertain future”, said Franz Richter, Chairman of the SEMI European Advisory Board. “The current economic crisis and rising unemployment underscore the urgent need to safeguard jobs in the European semiconductor industry. Supporting a robust and competitive semiconductor industry in Europe is critical to keeping jobs in Europe across all industries and supporting key European economies.”

The decline of the market share even during the increase in total volumes sold reflects that manufacturing is changing and moving away from Europe because of the unfavourable global level playing field conditions. The European equipment and materials manufacturers that supply the semiconductor industry with machinery and parts are for the most part small or medium-sized European businesses that heavily rely on the future European semiconductor industry to guarantee their own future and the 105,000 jobs they embody.

Further information on the Brussels forum is available here.

Source

Spanish auto sector highly exposed to global crisis

December 11 2008

By Robert Hetz

MADRID,

Spain’s car industry, which became Europe’s third largest, thanks to a cheap workforce, has lost cost advantage and could shrink as companies slash costs at foreign plants and save politically-sensitive jobs at home.

As executives at multinational manufacturers weigh up Spain’s ageing factories, relatively high wage costs and weak competitiveness against their own domestic markets and cheaper alternatives, the country’s plants are clear targets as the credit crunch saps demand all over the world.

“The big decisions are being taken abroad, not here, and managers in London, Paris and Detroit prefer to close a plant here and not in their home market,” said the director of one Spanish parts plant, who asked not to be named.

Unlike Germany, France or Italy, Spain’s auto industry has no nationally-owned car maker and little control over decisions on the future of its 18 foreign-owned plants, which employ around 70,000 people.

And unlike the case of Britain, Spain’s plants are older and less productive, and the country lacks a more skilled workforce or much tradition of home-grown research and development.

Global car makers, also including Peugeot, Opel and Volkswagen, built most of their Spanish plants in the 1970s when Spain was a low-cost backwater, well placed to serve Northern European markets.

Since the 70s, Spain has lost its price advantage as living standards have caught up with the European average. In 2007, per capita income overtook that of Italy. At the same time, new competitors have emerged as low-cost manufacturing centres.

Spain’s auto-sector salaries averaged 22.83 euros ($29.64) an hour last year, above the European average and around three times the 6.93 euros in Poland and 8.83 euros in the Czech Republic, Europe’s new manufacturing hubs, alongside North Africa.

NORTH AFRICA PASSES SPAIN FOR RENAULT

Renault plans to make 200,000 cars at its plants in North Africa in 2010 and double that within a couple of years, overtaking production from its Spanish operations.

The global credit crunch has hurt demand for new cars across Europe, with new car registrations in November falling 36.8 percent in the UK, 18 percent in Germany, 30 percent in Italy and 50 percent in Spain.

With some 84 percent of cars built in Spanish plants for export, manufacturers are finding fewer financial or political reasons for remaining in the country as international competition rises.

Spanish plants are ideal candidates for the inevitable cuts across Europe, head of Ford Espana Jose Manuel Machado said, as salaries rise and productivity fails to rise at a similar rate.

Machado’s comments came before the U.S. company announced production cuts of 120,000 units at its Almussafes plant in Valencia, and the temporary layoff of 5,200 workers.

Job cuts are expected from most of the major manufacturers, with more than 60 filings listing potential layoffs by private companies made to the government, which may affect up to 40,000 workers, Spain’s main union UGT said.

As Spain’s unemployment rate soars to the highest in the European Union and the economy nears recession, the government is keen to keep the industry, which accounts for around 5 percent of gross domestic product, in the country.

Spain has earmarked 800 million euros for the sector as part of measures worth a total of around 50 billion euros to stimulate the economy.

But this aid may not be enough.

“It’s a good gesture from the government, but obviously the amount of money is insufficient. It would be less than 80 million euros per manufacturer,” said Jose Antonio Bueno of consultancy Europraxis.

The sharp fall in new car sales in Spain has also affected the manufacturers’ showrooms and spare parts centres throughout the country.

Concessions for new and second-hand cars and garages employ around 278,000 people in Spain, and 16,000 of those jobs are at risk, the association for the sector, Ganvam, estimates.

“Four years ago we sold two or three cars a day, but now its not even two a week,” said Adela Benito, who has worked in a Madrid-based Renault showroom for 20 years. (Reporting by Robert Hetz; Additional reporting by Tomas Gonzalez; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

Source

Swedes want government bailout for Volvo

In a new survey just released, 68 percent of Swedes want to see the Swedish government bail out its beleaguered carmaker Volvo. Although Volvo is owned by US carmaker Ford, Swedes would like its government to temporarily take control of the nation’s iconic firm, as many residents fear Volvo may disappear entirely from Sweden in the near future.

The Local newspaper reports that support for government intervention is piling in from all sides of the political arena. Some 65 percent of those polled who support the bailout side with one of the governing Alliance parties, and 73 percent of all left bloc voters approve of a government bailout.

Peter Larsson of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers points out that Volvo’s current crisis is not minor. “One thing is certain, there are no dollars on their way over the Atlantic,” Larsson said, referring to the massive problems currently faced by the “Big Three” US carmakers – Ford, Chrysler, and (Saab-owner) General Motors.

Rolf Wolff, dean of the school of business at Gothenburg University, told The Local: “If Volvo Cars disappears as a base for industrial knowledge and skills, then Sweden will never again be a part of the auto industry. All the knowledge and skills would be lost, and with it all future associated development potential would be gone.”

Maud Olofsson, Sweden’s minister of trade and industry, has expressed doubts whether the government would be able to better manage Volvo than the car firm itself. For now, the issue has been placed on the political back burner, but the crisis at Volvo and Ford goes on.

Source

This is just the tip of the iceburg.  Seems no one is safe from the Financial Crisis. Not even EU members.

There are 27 member of the European Union.

austria 1. Austria
belgium 2. Belgium
UK 3. UK
denmark 4. Denmark
germany 5. Germany
greece 6. Greece
ireland 7. Ireland
spain 8. Spain
italy 9. Italy
luxembourg 10. Luxembourg
netherlands 11. Netherlands
portugal 12. Portugal
finland 13. Finland
france 14. France
sweden 15. Sweden
cyprus 16. Cyprus
czech 17. Czech Republic
estonia 18. Estonia
hungary 19. Hungary
latvia 20. Latvia
lithuania 21. Lithuania
malta 22. Malta
poland 23. Poland
slovakia 24. Slovakia
slovenia 25. Slovenia
bulgaria 26. Bulgaria
romania 27. Romania

EU members and when they joined.

1952 Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands

1973 Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom

1981 Greece

1986 Portugal, Spain

1995 Austria, Finland, Sweden

2004 Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

2007 Bulgaria, Romania

Source

Hungary’s Letter of Intent to the IMF

World Bank lends to Bulgaria to tackle poverty, jobless

Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region

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

Europeans Angry at their Money being Used for Bailouts

The £2trillion question for British economy

Europe catches America’s financial disease

How Britain’s banks will never be the same again

Economist, deregulation and loose fiscal policies lead to Meltdown

World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation

Ryanair to appeal EU’s ‘corrupt’ support of Alitalia takeover

Ashley Mote Revealing European Union Corruption

The EU budget is necessarily corrupt

EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone

Starting to remind me of the Corruption in the US where the Crisis started.

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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Billions here, billions there: A look at where it’s going

Billions here, billions there: A look at where it’s going

November 24 2008

Wars. Bailouts. Unemployment aid. Automakers. Washington has opened the tap on big spending and money is gushing down the pipeline.

The national debt now stands at $10.6 trillion, compared with about $5.7 trillion in 2000 before George W. Bush took office. Buckle up, because that figure is going to climb.

Here’s where some of the big bucks are going:

Iraq war Various estimates put the total cost of the military operation since 2003 at about $600 billion.

Bailout — The Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), signed on Oct. 3, provides $700 billion in financial relief. Of that amount, the Treasury Department has committed about $270 billion in cash injections for banks and another $40 billion for the insurer American International Group.

Economic stimulusEarlier this year, Bush signed into law a $168 billion stimulus package that included rebates for households and tax breaks for businesses. President-elect Barack Obama is preparing another stimulus plan, and Democratic lawmakers say they expect the package could total between $500 billion and $700 billion.

Detroit General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and their suppliers have been authorized $25 billion by Congress to retool their assembly lines for making more fuel-efficient cars. Now, the Big Three want an additional $25 billion to ensure they will have the funds to operate through spring. Congress could act on it in December.

Housing In July, Bush signed a housing bill that included $300 billion in new loan authority for the government to guarantee cheaper mortgages for troubled homeowners. In September, the Treasury took over mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, pledging up to $200 billion to back their assets.

Jobless aid Congress last week approved an extension of up to three months for expiring unemployment benefits. The cost is nearly $6 billion.

Federal Reserve In the past year the Fed has increased its lending and purchases of debt by $900 billion, to almost $2.2 trillion.

The federal deficitIt’s the difference between what the government received from taxes and other revenue and what it spent. In fiscal 2008, which ended Sept. 30, the budget deficit was $455 billion, quite a difference from 2007’s $161.5 billion. Just one month into fiscal 2009, the budget deficit had already reached $232 billion, including $115 billion going directly on the deficit ledger for bank stock purchases as part of the financial bailout. The deficit for fiscal 2009 could reach $1 trillion.

Source

Millionaires reap farm payments; Nobody checking incomes

Investigators say the problem will get worse

By LARRY MARGASAK
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — A sports team owner, a financial firm executive and residents of Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia were among 2,702 millionaire recipients of farm payments from 2003 to 2006 — and it’s not even clear they were legitimate farmers, congressional investigators reported Monday.

They probably were ineligible, but the Agriculture Department can’t confirm that, since officials never checked their incomes, the Government Accountability Office said.

The Agriculture Department cried foul: It said the investigators had access to Internal Revenue Service information on individuals that the department is not permitted to see.

John Johnson, deputy administrator in the department’s Farm Service Agency, said officials there are in touch with the IRS to devise a system for including tax information in its sampling program to determine eligibility.

He added that 2,702 recipients cited by the GAO was a small percentage of the 1.8 million recipients of farm payments from 2003 through 2006.

The investigators said the problem will only get worse, because the payments they cited covered only the 2002 farm bill subsidies.

The 2008 farm legislation has provisions that could allow even more people to receive improper payments without effective checks, they said.

There are three main types of payments: direct subsidies based on a farmer’s production history; countercyclical payments that kick in when prices are low and disappear when they recover; and a loan program that allows repayment in money or crops.

The 2002 farm bill required an income test for the first time.

An individual or farm entity was ineligible if average adjusted gross income exceeded $2.5 million over three years — unless 75 percent or more of that income came from farming, ranching and forestry.

According to the report, the 2,702 recipients exceeded the $2.5 million and got less than 75 percent of their income from these activities.

The payments to them totaled more than $49 million.

“USDA has relied principally on individuals’ one-time self-certifications that they do not exceed income eligibility caps, and their commitment that they will notify USDA of any changes that cause them to exceed these caps,” the GAO said.

The report said Agriculture field offices have been able to request that recipients submit tax returns for review.

But the administrator in charge of the payment programs, Teresa Lasseter, told the GAO, “Requiring three years of tax returns initially from over 2 million program participants was not a viable option or cost-effective alternative.”

The GAO said 78 percent of the recipients resided in or near a metropolitan area, while the remaining 22 percent resided in large towns, small towns and rural areas.

Further, the investigators said the Agriculture Department should have known that 87 of the 2,702 recipients were ineligible because it had noted in its own databases that they exceeded the income caps.

The GAO said it was prevented by law from identifying individuals cited in its report, but the investigators offered these examples of likely improper payments:

A founder and former executive of an insurance company received more than $300,000 in farm program payments in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 that should have been subject to the income limits.

An individual with ownership interest in a professional sports franchise received more than $200,000 for those same years that should have been barred by the income limits.

A person residing outside the United States received more than $80,000 for 2003, 2005 and 2006 on the basis of the individual’s ownership interest in two farming entities.

A top executive of a major financial services firm received more than $60,000 in farm program payments in 2003.

A former executive of a technology company received about $20,000 in years 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 that were covered by the income limits.

This individual also received more than $900,000 in farm program payments that were not subject to those limitations.

The investigators also found nine recipients resided outside the United States — in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, for example.

The remainder resided in 49 of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

Five states — Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois and Texas — accounted for 36 percent of the recipients and 43 percent of the $49.4 million in farm program payments.

Source

We must also remember that $2.3 Trillion they admitted to losing on September 10, the day before 9/11 still hasn’t been found either.

One has to wonder how much money, has been lost in other areas as well?

“Accountability” is not something the Bush Administration took to seriously.

Bush accountability is gone: just a reminder

June 7, 2007

Somebody owes me a Diet Coke.

That’s what was at stake in a wager a gentleman and I made over dinner at a restaurant in Baton Rouge. He had asked if I didn’t agree that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, then, as now, under fire in the scandal over the alleged politically motivated firing of nine U.S. attorneys, would soon be forced to step down. I said no. He said Gonzales would not last six weeks. We made a bet on it.

This was 11 weeks ago. Gonzales, of course, is still in office. In fact, President Bush last month reiterated his support for his embattled friend, who faces a possible Senate no-confidence vote later this month.

I wish I could say that in wagering on Gonzales’ political survival, I relied upon some insider knowledge, some astute reading of the tea leaves based on long years of watching the political scene. Truth is, what I relied on is a belief in the utter shamelessness of George W. Bush’s administration.

No, Team Bush does not own the patent on shamelessness. Some of us thought it bespoke an alarming imperviousness to embarrassment when Bill Clinton, caught lying about being serviced by a young intern in the Oval Office, chose to brazen his way through the resulting furor rather than resign.

But if the Bush people did not invent shamelessness, they have refined it to a level that once seemed impossible. So much so that this shamelessness, this indifference to perception, this abysmal lack of what Thomas Jefferson called “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” may prove to be the administration’s defining characteristic, its calling card in matters both grand and small. Granted, shamelessness will have to battle hubris and incompetence to earn that distinction, but still …

No administration in living memory has shown Team Bush’s ability to reverse itself so blithely, to deny the obvious so serenely, to ignore precedent, propriety and responsibility with such placid unconcern for consequences or public perception.

Weapons of mass destruction not found where you once guaranteed they would be? Pretend you invaded Iraq for other reasons.

“Stay the course” proving an ever more threadbare strategy? Deny it was ever your strategy at all.

FEMA director presides over a botched disaster relief effort that costs hundreds of American lives? Praise him for doing “a heckuva job.”

CIA director presides over intelligence gathering failures that cost thousands of American lives? Give him a Medal of Freedom.

And so on.

If you’re looking for accountability, you’re looking in the wrong White House. Or as Bush once put it, “We had an accountability moment, and that’s called the 2004 elections.” In other words, if you win the election you can do whatever you want and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

So I am not surprised that, despite growing evidence he allowed the Justice Department to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party, Alberto Gonzales still has a job with the federal government. To be honest, I am more surprised that Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and former FEMA chief Michael Brown do not.

And ain’t that a kick in the head? We have reached a pass where one is almost shocked to see people held to answer for scandal and ineptitude. Where one is taken aback at the notion that failure carries a price. And where tough talk and a “What, me worry?” smugness now routinely pass for iron resolve and moral clarity.

If you had told me in 2001 that this would be the state of things six years later, I’d have laughed in your face.

I’d have lost a lot of Diet Cokes on that.

Source

GAO: Labor Dept. Misled Congress

By Carol D. Leonnig

November 25, 2008

The Labor Department gave Congress inaccurate and unreliable numbers that understated the expense of contracting out its employees’ work to private firms, according to a Government Accountability Office report released yesterday.

The department’s decisions in allowing contractors to compete for bureaucrats’ work — known as “competitive sourcing” — also demoralized workers, according to most of the 60 agency employees interviewed by the GAO.

“DOL’s savings reports are not reliable: a sample of three reports contained inaccuracies, and others used projections when actual numbers were available, which sometimes resulted in overstated savings,” the GAO report said. “Because of these and other weaknesses, DOL is hindered in its ability to determine if services are being provided more efficiently as a result of competitive sourcing.”

Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao began having some agency workers compete for their jobs in 2004, but since then few employees have actually lost their jobs and had their pay cut as a result of the privatizing effort, GAO found. Of the 314 federal workers who had a job change as a result of competitions with private firms, 263, or 84 percent, were either reassigned to positions with the same title and pay or were promoted. Of the 16 workers who were demoted, 14 kept their same professional grade or pay.

Twenty-two employees were demoted or laid off, and all were African American. An additional 29 employees left voluntarily.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), chairmen of their chambers’ appropriations subcommittees with jurisdiction over the Labor Department, asked for the report and urged Congress not to fund the competition program until the GAO provided the answers. They issued a statement yesterday saying the review documented “the negative impact the Bush Administration’s failed policies have had” on the agency.

“Under the direction of this White House, the Department of Labor has increasingly attempted to move work performed by Federal employees to private contractors” and, in so doing, hurt workers’ morale and “grossly overstated savings,” they wrote. “We look forward to working with the Obama Administration to strengthen the Department of Labor as it undertakes the critical missions of making sure our workplaces are safe; protecting employee pensions, health benefits and rights; and providing workers with the skills they need to compete successfully in the 21st century economy.”

Patrick Pizzella, an assistant secretary who oversees competitive sourcing, told the GAO in a letter last month that the department agrees tracking costs and performance more systematically would give the agency a more accurate picture of the usefulness of competitive sourcing. “As the GAO report indicates, DOL has made progress developing a system to assess the performance of winning service providers in our competitive sourcing program, and DOL’s competitions rarely resulted in lost jobs or salary reductions for DOL employees,” he said yesterday.

Pizzella said the Office of Management and Budget does not require that fuller counting; the GAO urged the OMB to require agencies to do so.
Source

Will the lies ever end?

World Bank Promotes Fossil Fuel Pollution

One thing leads to another and yet another. One story can lead to some valuable information.

Anyone who has been reading “Did You Know” has noticed there are many things on the IMF and the World Bank. Their policies have contributed to Social problems and Corporations being allowed to go into countries and do some rather devastating damage, to countries who receive the loans.

Monsanto has devastated Indian cotton farmers for example. Of course they have also been involved in many other  problems as well.

There are other corporations that are equally as bad but, for the moment I will just use them as an example.

The World Bank and IMF in many cases, as a part of the agreement to get a loan,  stipulate the markets in the recipient country must open their markets up to some of these not so wonderful corporations, among other stipulations which can vary from one recipient country to another.

In Iceland they had to raise their interest rates to 18%. Of course this I found rather odd, considering during the Financial Crisis of late every other country is lowering them.

After reading the story below I of course went for a wander and found a few things.

So I am sharing my findings with you.

I love to share especially when it comes our planet and our environment.
Time to see green in the red
By James Blunt
November 17, 2008

This year, I have visited more than 180 cities on my world tour, and wherever I went — from Aberdeen to Auckland — one thing never failed to amaze me: air conditioning. It was blasting at sub-arctic levels in nearly every hotel I stayed, when most times it would have been just as easy — and better for the environment — to open a window.

To me, hotel air conditioning is a small but telling reminder of the luxuries we have grown so accustomed to in an age of prosperity but could often do without. They are things — like SUVs, or fish caught half a world away or even disposable hand wipes — that barely improve our daily lives but, altogether, are taking a terrible toll on our planet.

So, as we read  in newspapers like Metro about the economic slowdown, I wonder if there might be a silver lining in such grim news: The possibility that after a period of so much consumption, we might cut back a bit on extravagances we don’t need, and give our over-worked planet a bit of a breather?

I realize that many people roll their eyes when a celebrity preaches about the environment — or rescuing baby seals, or any other worthy cause. (I don’t like preaching, either, and — contrary to what you might have read in the tabloids — I don’t think of myself as a celebrity).
As an army officer and a musician, I have had the privilege of seeing some of the planet’s natural treasures. Sadly, I have also seen the way that we abuse it by dropping bombs and building shopping malls.

I don’t pretend to be an environmental expert, but I am learning. Before my concerts, we screen a preview of An Inconvenient Truth, the remarkable documentary by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore

I am installing solar panels at home, and for every ticket to one of my concerts sold online, we plant a tree.

I’m a supporter of The Big Ask.

It is a campaign by Friends of the Earth to get govern­ments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions — the main cause of global warming. Thanks to them, the European Union is now debating laws that would force members to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. If approved, it would be the most ambitious plan in the world, and just might convince the U.S., China and others to come aboard.

Unfortunately, some politicians are pointing to the economy and saying that now is not the time to fight global warming. I think they have it backwards: We cannot afford to wait any longer. Global warming is a problem that is only going to get worse, and more costly to fix, the longer we delay. By joining The Big Ask, you can remind our leaders that the environment should not depend on the stock market.

And one more thing: next time you switch on the air conditioning, think about cracking a window open instead.

Source


Well I had to go and see what the “The Big Ask” was all about. Curiosity you know.

Seems the Friends of the Earth do numerous things.
Fuel Poverty being one of them.
November 13

Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged have lodged an appeal today (13 November 2008) against last month’s High Court ruling that the Government has not broken the law over its failure to tackle fuel poverty.

The High Court gave Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged permission to appeal because the case raised difficult and novel legal questions.  The organisations have asked the Court of Appeal to reconsider the issues and order that the Government release previously secret fuel poverty documents.
Friends of the Earth’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said:

“We believe the Government has acted unlawfully by failing in its legal commitment to end the suffering of fuel poverty. The Government must introduce a massive programme to cut energy waste, slash fuel bills and ensure that people heat their homes and not the planet.”

Mervyn Kohler, Special Adviser for Help the Aged, said:

“The intention of Parliament to end fuel poverty was very clear in legislation – it must happen.  The Government has to come up with a fresh fuel poverty strategy immediately to end the suffering of millions of vulnerable people.  Low income households need crisis payments simply to get through the coming winter, but in the longer term, the energy efficiency of our homes must be improved.”

Although the Government is legally bound to do all that is reasonably possible to eradicate fuel poverty for vulnerable households by 2010 and for all households by 2016, five million households in the United Kingdom will struggle to heat and power their homes this winter. The number of households in fuel poverty has now reached the highest level in ten years.
Help the Aged and Friends of the Earth and are calling on the Government to develop a far more effective and comprehensive programme of domestic energy efficiency to simultaneously end suffering from fuel poverty and tackle climate change.

Unfortunately this problem is not limited to just the UK.  It is a problem in many other countries as well.

This I found to very interesting.

Brown urged to U-turn on $1.6bn contribution to disastrous climate funds

April 11 2008

Civil society groups from around the world are today (Friday 11 April 2008) calling on the World Bank to withdraw its proposal to establish climate investment funds ahead of this weekend’s spring meetings in Washington, due to concerns the fund will be used for carbon offsetting schemes including industrial-scale tree plantations, coal projects and other polluting, energy-intensive industries and could undermine international efforts to tackle climate change.

The World Bank this week detailed its plans for the funds, which are being set up outside the United Nations Frame Convention on Climate Change [1] and into which the UK will channel its $1.6 billion Environmental Transformation Fund.

Friends of the Earth International climate campaigner Joseph Zacune said: “Gordon Brown’s decision to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money on the World Bank’s disastrous climate funds is set to do much more harm than good by undermining UN, developing country and community-based efforts to address climate change.

“The World Bank is responsible for major emissions through its financing of dirty fuel projects around the world – putting it in charge of multi-billion dollar climate funds is like putting a mafia don in charge of law and order.”

The World Bank Group is the largest multilateral lender for fossil fuel projects, spending around $1 billion per year in financing for the oil and gas industry. This week the Bank approved a $450 million loan for the 4,000 megawatt Tata Mundra coal project in Gujarat, India which is expected to emit 23 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

The World Bank’s climate investment funds are expected to be worth between $7 and $12 billion. The US, UK, and Japan originally proposed the funds with a view toward their approval at the G8 summit in Japan in July 2008.

The Bank’s funds are also earmarked for tropical rainforest countries taking part in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. This global offsetting scheme would allow rich countries and their corporations to buy up carbon locked in developing country forests in order to pollute as usual at home. The proposals have been opposed by Indigenous Peoples who would have their land rights undermined.

The Group of 77 and China criticised the proposed funds at UN climate talks in Bangkok last week.

The World Bank’s own Extractive Industries Review (EIR) in 2004 recommended that the Bank “phase out investments in oil production by 2008”.

Notes

[1] Details on these new climate funds became available this week on the World’s Bank website

[2] Bernaditas Muller, chief negotiator for the Group of 77 and China, stated, “The governance of these funds is also donor-driven. There is clearly money for climate actions, which is the good news, but the bad news is it is in the hands of institutions that do not necessarily serve the objectives of the Convention.”

[3] A new report “World Bank: Climate Profiteer” from the Institute for Policy Studies, shows how the World Bank’s growing engagement in carbon markets is dangerously counter-productive. The Bank’s $2 billion, and growing, carbon finance portfolio is forging a path through the $60 billion international carbon market toward a dirty energy future. While the World Bank continues to fund greenhouse gas-emitting coal, oil and gas projects, it skims an average 13% off the top of carbon deals. The report is available on the IPS website

(There are a number of reports at the IPS website , about the World bank worth reading. ( Challenging Corporate Investor Rule ) is one of them. There are about 5 or 6  reports on the World Bank . They do help pollution increase. There are other reports on pollution like (Radiation) as well.

Do be sure to check it out. There is a wealth of information there.

[4] More information is available including Third World Network’s critique on these funds.

See also Bretton Woods Project “World Bank climate funds: a huge leap backwards” .

Source

The Environment belongs to all of us and we must protect it.

Then we also have this type of pollution as well. War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

New stories are added as I find them.

All new links are at the bottom of the page.

Iraq War Pollution Equals 25 Million Cars

Burning Oil in Iraq

Photo: Burning oil fields in Iraq by Shawn Baldwin

The greenhouse gases released by the Iraq war thus far equals the pollution from adding 25 million cars to the road for one year says a study released by Oil Change International, an anti petroleum watchdog.  The group’s main concerns are the environmental and human rights impacts of a petroleum based economy.

The study, released last March on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, states that total US spending on the war so far equals the global investment needed through 2030 to halt global warming.

Of course skeptics and oil companies will be right to ask how these numbers were calculated.  The group claims Iraq war emissions estimates come from combat, oil well fires, increaesd gas flaring, increased cement manufacturing for reconstruction, and explosives.

The Report: A Climate of War

Source


“Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.” – 1992 Rio Declaration

The application of weapons, the destruction of structures and oil fields, fires, military transport movements and chemical spraying are all examples of the destroying impact war may have on the environment. Air, water and soil are polluted, man and animal are killed, and numerous health affects occur among those still living. This page is about the environmental effects of wars and incidents leading to war that have occurred in the 20th and 21st century.

Timeline of wars

Africa

“My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can’t deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars” – Guns ‘n Roses (Civil War)

In Africa many civil wars and wars between countries occurred in the past century, some of which are still continuing. Most wars are a result of the liberation of countries after decades of colonialization. Countries fight over artificial borders drawn by former colonial rulers. Wars mainly occur in densely populated regions, over the division of scarce resources such as fertile farmland. It is very hard to estimate the exact environmental impact of each of these wars. Here, a summary of some of the most striking environmental effects, including biodiversity loss, famine, sanitation problems at refugee camps and over fishing is given for different countries.

Congo war (II) – Since August 1998 a civil war is fought in former Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The war eventually ended in 2003 when a Transitional Government took power. A number of reasons are given for the conflict, including access and control of water resources and rich minerals and political agendas. Currently over 3 million people have died in the war, mostly from disease and starvation. More than 2 million people have become refugees. Only 45% of the people had access to safe drinking water. Many women were raped as a tool of intimidation, resulting in a rapid spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV-AIDS. The war has a devastating effect on the environment. National parks housing endangered species are often affected for exploitation of minerals and other resources. Refugees hunt wildlife for bush meat, either to consume or sell it. Elephant populations in Africa have seriously declined as a result of ivory poaching. Farmers burn parts of the forest to apply as farmland, and corporate logging contributes to the access of poachers to bush meat. A survey by the WWF showed that the hippopotamus population in one national park decreased from 29,000 thirty years previously, to only 900 in 2005. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed all five parks as ‘world heritage in danger’.

Ethiopia & Eritrea – Before 1952, Eritrea was a colony of Italy. When it was liberated, Ethiopia annexed the country. Thirty years of war over the liberation of Eritrea followed, starting in 1961 and eventually ending with the independence of Eritrea in 1993. However, war commenced a year after the country introduced its own currency in 1997. Over a minor border dispute, differences in ethnicity and economic progress, Ethiopia again attacked Eritrea. The war lasted until June 2000 and resulted in the death of over 150,000 Eritrean, and of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians. During the war severe drought resulted in famine, particularly because most government funds were spend on weapons and other war instrumentation. The government estimated that after the war only 60% of the country received adequate food supplies. The war resulted in over 750,000 refugees. It basically destroyed the entire infrastructure. Efforts to disrupt agricultural production in Eritrea resulted in changes in habitat. The placing of landmines has caused farming or herding to be very dangerous in most parts of the country. If floods occur landmines may be washed into cities. This has occurred earlier in Mozambique.

Rwanda civil war – Between April and July 1994 extremist military Hutu groups murdered about 80,000-1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda. Over 2,000,000 people lost their homes and became refugees. Rwanda has a very rich environment, however, it has a particularly limited resource base. About 95% of the population lives on the countryside and relies on agriculture. Some scientists believe that competition for scarce land and resources led to violence prior to and particularly after the 1994 genocide. It is however stated that resource scarcity only contributed limitedly to the conflict under discussion. The main cause of the genocide was the death of the president from a plane-crash caused by missiles fires from a camp.

The many refugees from the 1994 combat caused a biodiversity problem. When they returned to the already overpopulated country after the war, they inhabited forest reserves in the mountains where endangered gorillas lived. Conservation of gorilla populations was no longer effective, and refuges destroyed part of the habitat. Despite the difficulties still present in Rwanda particularly concerning security and resource provision, an international gorilla protection group is now working on better conditions for the gorillas in Rwanda.

Somalia civil war – A civil war was fought in Somalia 1991. One of the most striking effects of the war was over fishing. The International Red Cross was encouraging the consumption of seawater fish to improve diets of civilians. For self-sufficiency they provided training and fishing equipment. However, as a consequence of war Somali people ignored international fishing protocols, thereby seriously harming ecology in the region. Fishing soon became an unsustainable practise, and fishermen are hard to stop because they started carrying arms. They perceive over fishing as a property right and can therefore hardly be stopped.

Sudan (Darfur & Chad) – In Sudan civil war and extreme droughts caused a widespread famine, beginning in 1983. Productive farmland in the southern region was abandoned during the war. Thousands of people became refugees that left behind their land, possibly never to return. Attempts of remaining farmers to cultivate new land to grow crops despite the drought led to desertification and soil erosion. The government failed to act for fear of losing its administrative image abroad, causing the famine to kill an estimated 95,000 of the total 3,1 million residents of the province Darfur. As farmers started claiming more and more land, routes applied by herders were closed off. This resulted in conflicts between farmers and rebels groups. In 2003, a conflict was fought in Darfur between Arab Sudanese farmers and non-Arab Muslims. The Muslim group is called Janjaweed, a tribe mainly consisting of nomadic sheep and cattle herders. Originally the Janjaweed were part of the Sudanese and Darfurian militia, and were armed by the Sudanese government to counter rebellion. However, they started utilizing the weapons against non-Muslim civilians. The tribe became notorious for massacre in 2003-2004. In December 2005 the conflict continued across the border, now involving governmental army troops from Chad, and the rebel groups Janjaweed and United Front for Democratic Change from Sudan. In February 2006 the governments of Chad and Sudan signed a peace treaty called the Tripoli Agreement. Unfortunately a new rebel assault of the capital of Chad in April made Chad break all ties with Sudan. The Darfur Conflict so far caused the death of between 50,000 and 450,000 civilians. It caused over 45,000 people to flea the countries of Sudan and Central Africa, into north and east Chad. Most refugees claim they fled civilian attacks from rebel forces, looting food and recruiting young men to join their troops.

America

Pearl Harbor (WWII) – When World War II began, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Consequentially, the United States closed the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping, and initiated a complete oil embargo. Japan, being dependent on US oil, responded to the embargo violently. On December 1941, Japanese troops carried out a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, aimed at the US Navy stationed there. Despite the awareness that Japan might attack, the US was surprisingly unprepared for the Japanese aggression. There were no aircraft patrols, and anti-aircraft weapons were not manned.

For the attack five Japanese submarines were present in the harbor to launch torpedos. One was discovered immediately, and attacked by the USS Ward. All five submarines sank, and at least three of them have not been located since. As Japanese bombers arrived they began firing at US marine airbases across Hawaii, and subsequently battle ships in Pearl Harbor. Eighteen ships sank, including five battleships, and a total of more than 2,000 Americans were killed in action. The explosion of the USS Arizona caused half of the casualties. The ship was hit by a bomb, burned for two days in a row, and subsequently sank to the bottom. The cloud of black smoke over the boat was mainly caused by burning black powder from the magazine for aircraft catapults aboard the ship.

Leaking fuel from the Arizona and other ships caught fire, and caused more ships to catch fire. Of the 350 Japanese planes taking part in the attack, 29 were lost. Over sixty Japanese were killed in actions, most of them airmen.

Today, three battle ships are still at the bottom of the harbor. Four others were raised and reused. The USS Arizona, being the most heavily damaged ship during the attack, continues to leak oil from the hulk into the harbor. However, the wreck is maintained, because it now serves as part of a war memorial.

World Trade Centre explosion – The so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ the United States are fighting in Asia currently all started with the event we recall so well from the shocking images projected on news bulletins. On September 11, 2001, terrorists flew airplanes into the buildings of the World Trade Centre. It is now claimed that the attack and simultaneous collapse of the Twin Towers caused a serious and acute environmental disaster.

We will live in the death smog for a while,
breathing the dust of the dead,
the 3 thousand or so who turn to smoke,
as the giant ashtray in Lower Manhattan
continues to give up ghosts.
The dead are in us now,
locked in our chests,
staining our lungs,
polluting our bloodstreams.
And though we cover our faces with flags
and other pieces of cloth to filter the air,
the spirits of the dead aren’t fooled
by our masks
.” Lawrence Swan, 05-10-2001

As the planes hit the Twin Towers more than 90.000 litres of jet fuel burned at temperatures above 1000oC. An atmospheric plume formed, consisting of toxic materials such as metals, furans, asbestos, dioxins, PAH, PCB and hydrochloric acid. Most of the materials were fibres from the structure of the building. Asbestos levels ranged from 0.8-3.0% of the total mass. PAH comprised more than 0.1% of the total mass, and PCBs less than 0.001% of total mass. At the site now called Ground Zero, a large pile of smoking rubble burned intermittently for more than 3 months. Gaseous and particulate particles kept forming long after the towers had collapsed.


Aerial photograph of the plume

The day of the attacks dust particles of various sizes spread over lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, for many miles. Fire fighters and medics working at the WTC were exposed, but also men and women on the streets and in nearby buildings, and children in nearby schools. In vivo inhalation studies and epidemiological studies pointed out the impact of the dust cloud. Health effects from inhaling dust included bronchial hyper reactivity, because of the high alkalinity of dust particles. Other possible health effects include coughs, an increased risk of asthma and a two-fold increase in the number of small-for-gestational-age baby’s among pregnant women present in or nearby the Twin Towers at the time of the attack. After September, airborne pollutant concentrations in nearby communities declined.

Many people present at the WTC at the time of the attacks are still checked regularly, because long-term effects may eventually show. It is thought there may be an increased risk of development of mesothelioma, consequential to exposure to asbestos. This is a disease where malignant cells develop in the protective cover of the body’s organs. Airborne dioxins in the days and weeks after the attack may increase the risk of cancer and diabetes. Infants of women that were pregnant on September 11 and had been in the vicinity of the WTC at the time of the attack are also checked for growth or developmental problems.

Asia

Afghanistan war – In October 2001, the United States attacked Afghanistan as a starting chapter of the ‘War on terrorism’, which still continues today. The ultimate goal was to replace the Taliban government, and to find apparent 9/11 mastermind and Al-Qaeda member Osama Bin Laden. Many European countries assisted the US in what was called ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’.

During the war, extensive damage was done to the environment, and many people suffered health effects from weapons applied to destroy enemy targets. It is estimated that ten thousand villages, and their surrounding environments were destroyed. Safe drinking water declined, because of a destruction of water infrastructure and resulting leaks, bacterial contamination and water theft. Rivers and groundwater were contaminated by poorly constructed landfills located near the sources.

Afghanistan once consisted of major forests watered by monsoons. During the war, Taliban members illegally trading timber in Pakistan destroyed much of the forest cover. US bombings and refugees in need of firewood destroyed much of what remained. Less than 2% of the country still contains a forest cover today.

Bombs threaten much of the country’s wildlife. One the world’s important migratory thoroughfare leads through Afghanistan. The number of birds now flying this route has dropped by 85%. In the mountains many large animals such as leopards found refuge, but much of the habitat is applied as refuge for military forces now. Additionally, refugees capture leopards and other large animals are and trade them for safe passage across the border.

Pollution from application of explosives entered air, soil and water. One example is cyclonite, a toxic substance that may cause cancer. Rocket propellants deposited perchlorates, which damage the thyroid gland. Numerous landmines left behind in Afghan soils still cause the deaths of men, women and children today.

Cambodia civil war – In 1966 the Prince of Cambodia began to lose the faith of many for failure to come to grips with the deteriorating economic situation. In 1967 rebellion started in a wealthy province where many large landowners lives. Villagers began attacking the tax collection brigade, because taxes were invested in building large factories, causing land to be taken. This led to a bloody civil war. Before the conflict could be repressed 10,000 people had died.

The rebellion caused the up rise of the Khmer Rouge, a Maoist-extremist organization that wanted to introduce communism in the country. In 1975 the organization, led by Pol Pot, officially seized power in Cambodia. The Khmer considered farmers (proletarians) to be the working class, as did Mao in China earlier. Schools, hospitals and banks were closed, the country was isolated from all foreign influence, and people were moved to the countryside for forced labor. People were obligated to work up to 12 hours a day, growing three times as many crops, as was usually the case. Many people died there from exhaustion, illness and starvation, or where shot by the Khmer on what was known as ‘The Killing Fields’.

The Khmer Rouge regime resulted in deforestation, caused by extensive timber logging to finance war efforts, agricultural clearance, construction, logging concessions and collection of wood fuels. A total 35% of the Cambodian forest cover was lost under the Maoist regime. Deforestation resulted in severe floods, damaging rice crops and causing food shortages. In 1993, a ban on logging exports was introduced to prevent further flooding damage.

In 1979 the Khmer Rouge regime ended with an invasion by Vietnam, and the installation of a pro-Vietnamese puppet government. Subsequently, Thai and Chinese forces attempted to liberate the country from Vietnamese dominance. Many landmines were placed in the 1980’s, and are still present in the countryside. They deny agricultural use of the land where they are placed. In 1992 free elections were introduced, but the Khmer Rouge resumed fighting. Eventually, half of the Khmer soldiers left in 1996, and many officials were captured. Under the Khmer regime, a total of 1.7 million people died, and the Khmer was directly responsible for about 750,000 of those casualties.

Hiroshima & Nagasaki nuclear explosions – Atomic bombs are based on the principle of nuclear fission, which was discovered in Nazi Germany in 1938 by two radio chemists. During the process, atoms are split and energy is released in the form of heat. Controlled reactions are applied in nuclear power plants for production of electricity, whereas unchecked reactions occur during nuclear bombings. The invention in Germany alarmed people in the United States, because the Nazi’s in possession of atomics bombs would be much more dangerous than they already where. When America became involved in WWII, the development of atomic bombs started there in what was called the ‘Manhattan Project’. In July 1945 an atomic bomb was tested in the New Mexico desert. The tests were considered a success, and America was now in possession of one of the world’s deadliest weapons.

In 1945, at the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, nuclear weapons were applied to kill for the first time in Japan. On August 6, a uranium bomb by the name of Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima, followed by a plutonium bomb by the name of Fat Man on Nagasaki on August 9. The reason Hiroshima was picked was that it was a major military centre. The bomb detonated at 8.15 p.m. over a Japanese Army parade field, where soldiers were already present. Nagasaki was picked because it was an industrial centre. The bomb, which was much larger than that used on Hiroshima, exploded at 11.02 a.m. at an industrial site. However, the hills on and the geographical location of the bombing site caused the eventual impact to be smaller than days earlier in Hiroshima.

The first impact of the atomic bombings was a blinding light, accompanied by a giant wave of heat. Dry flammable materials caught fire, and all men and animals within half a mile from the explosion sites died instantly. Many structures collapsed, in Nagasaki even the structures designed to survive earthquakes were blasted away. Many water lines broke. Fires could not be extinguished because of the water shortage, and six weeks after the blast the city still suffered from a lack of water. In Hiroshima a number of small fires combined with wind formed a firestorm, killing those who did not die before but were left immobile for some reason. Within days after the blasts, radiation sickness started rearing its ugly head, and many more people would die from it within the next 5 years.

The total estimated death toll:
In Hiroshima 100,000 were killed instantly, and between 100,000 and 200,000 died eventually.
In Nagasaki about 40,000 were killed instantly, and between 70,000 and 150,000 died eventually.

The events of August 6 and August 9 can be translated into environmental effects more literally. The blasts caused air pollution from dust particles and radioactive debris flying around, and from the fires burning everywhere. Many plants and animals were killed in the blast, or died moments to months later from radioactive precipitation. Radioactive sand clogged wells used for drinking water winning, thereby causing a drinking water problem that could not easily be solved. Surface water sources were polluted, particularly by radioactive waste. Agricultural production was damaged; dead stalks of rice could be found up to seven miles from ground zero. In Hiroshima the impact of the bombing was noticeable within a 10 km radius around the city, and in Nagasaki within a 1 km radius.

Iraq & Kuwait – The Gulf War was fought between Iraq, Kuwait and a number of western countries in 1991. Kuwait had been part of Iraq in the past, but was liberated by British imperialism, as the Iraqi government described it. In August 1990, Iraqi forces claimed that the country was illegally extracting oil from Iraqi territory, and attacked. The United Nations attempted to liberate Kuwait. Starting January 1991, Operation Desert Storm began, with the purpose of destroying Iraqi air force and anti-aircraft facilities, and command and control facilities. The battle was fought in Iraq, Kuwait and the Saudi-Arabian border region. Both aerial and ground artillery was applied. Late January, Iraqi aircraft were flown to Iran, and Iraqi forces began to flee.

The Gulf War was one of the most environmentally devastating wars ever fought. Iraq dumped approximately one million tons of crude oil into the Persian Gulf, thereby causing the largest oil spill in history (see environmental disasters). Approximately 25,000 migratory birds were killed. The impact on marine life was not as severe as expected, because warm water sped up the natural breakdown of oil. Local prawn fisheries did experience problems after the war. Crude oil was also spilled into the desert, forming oil lakes covering 50 square kilometres. In due time the oil percolated into groundwater aquifers.

Fleeing Iraqi troops ignited Kuwaiti oil sources, releasing half a ton of air pollutants into the atmosphere. Environmental problems caused by the oil fires include smog formation and acid rain. Toxic fumes originating from the burning oil wells compromised human health, and threatened wildlife. A soot layer was deposited on the desert, covering plants, and thereby preventing them from breathing. Seawater was applied to extinguish the oil fires, resulting in increased salinity in areas close to oil wells. It took about nine months to extinguish the fires.

During the war, many dams and sewage water treatment plants were targeted and destroyed. A lack of possibilities for water treatment resulting from the attacks caused sewage to flow directly into the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Additionally, pollutants seeped from bombed chemical plants into the rivers. Drinking water extracted from the river was polluted, resulting in widespread disease. For example, cases of typhoid fever have increased tenfold since 1991.

Movement of heavy machinery such as tanks through the desert damaged the brittle surface, causing soil erosion. Sand was uncovered that formed gradually moving sand dunes. These dunes may one day cause problems for Kuwait City. Tanks fired Depleted Uranium (DU) missiles, which can puncture heavy artillery structures. DU is a heavy metal that causes kidney damage and is suspected to be teratogenic and carcinogenic. Post-Gulf War reports state an increase in birth defects for children born to veterans. The impact of Depleted Uranium could not be thoroughly investigated after the Gulf War, because Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate. Its true properties were revealed after the Kosovo War in 2001 (description below). DU has now been identified as a neurotoxin, and birth defects and cancers are attributed to other chemical and nerve agents. However, it is stated that DU oxides deposited in the lungs of veterans have not been thoroughly researched yet. It was later found that this may cause kidney and lung infections for highly exposed persons.

After the Gulf War many veterans suffered from a condition now known as the Gulf War Syndrome. The causes of the illness are subject to widespread speculation. Examples of possible causes are exposure to DU (see above), chemical weapons (nerve gas and mustard gas), an anthrax vaccine given to 41% of US soldiers and 60-75% of UK soldiers, smoke from burning oil wells and parasites. Symptoms of the GWS included chronic fatigue, muscle problems, diarrhoea, migraine, memory loss, skin problems and shortness of breath. Many Gulf War veterans have died of illnesses such as brain cancer, now acknowledged as potentially connected to service during the war.

Iraq & the United States – The war in Iraq started by the United States in 2003 as part of the War on Terrorism causes poverty, resulting in environmental problems. Long-term environmental effects of the war remain unclear, but short-term problems have been identified for every environmental compartment. For example, some weapons are applied that may be extremely damaging to the environment, such as white phosphorus ammunition. People around the world protest the application of such armoury.

Water
Damage to sanitation structures by frequent bombing, and damage to sewage treatment systems by power blackouts cause pollution of the River Tigris. Two hundred blue plastic containers containing uranium were stolen from a nuclear power plant located south of Baghdad. The radioactive content of the barrels was dumped in rivers and the barrels were rinsed out. Poor people applied the containers as storage facility for water, oil and tomatoes, or sold them to others. Milk was transported to other regions in the barrels, making it almost impossible to relocate them.

Air
Oil trenches are burning, as was the case in the Gulf War of 1991, resulting in air pollution. In Northern Iraq, a sulphur plant burned for one month, contributing to air pollution. As fires continue burning, groundwater applied as a drinking water source may be polluted.

Soil
Military movements and weapon application result in land degradation. The destruction of military and industrial machinery releases heavy metals and other harmful substances.

Read more on restoring water systems in Iraq

Israel & Lebanon – In July 2006, Hezbollah initiated a rocket attack on Israeli borders. A ground patrol killed and captured Israeli soldiers. This resulted in open war between Israel and Lebanon.

The war caused environmental problems as Israelis bombed a power station south of Beirut. Damaged storage tanks leaked an estimated 20,000 tons of oil into the Mediterranean Sea. The oil spill spread rapidly, covering over 90 km of the coastline, killing fish and affecting the habitat of the endangered green sea turtle. A sludge layer covers Beaches across Lebanon, and the same problem may occur in Syria as the spill continues to spread. Part of the oil spill burned, causing widespread air pollution. Smog affects the health of people living in the city of Beirut. So far problems limiting the clean-up operation of oil spills have occurred, because of ongoing violence in the region.

Another major problem were forest fires in Northern Israel caused by Hezbollah bombings. A total of 9,000 acres of forest burned to the ground, and fires threaten tree reserves and bird sanctuaries.

Russia & Chechnya – In 1994 the First Chechen War of independence started, between Russian troops, Chechen guerrilla fighters and civilians. Chechnya has been a province of Russia for a very long time and now desires independence. The First War ended in 1996, but in 1999 Russia again attacked Chechnya for purposes of oil distribution.

The war between the country and its province continues today. It has devastating effects on the region of Chechnya. An estimated 30% of Chechen territory is contaminated, and 40% of the territory does not meet environmental standards for life. Major environmental problems include radioactive waste and radiation, oil leaks into the ground from bombarded plants and refineries, and pollution of soil and surface water. Russia has buried radioactive waste in Chechnya. Radiation at some sites is ten times its normal level. Radiation risks increase as Russia bombs the locations, particularly because after 1999 the severeness of weaponry increased. A major part of agricultural land is polluted to the extent that it can no longer meet food supplies. This was mainly caused by unprofessional mini-refineries of oil poachers in their backyards, not meeting official standards and causing over 50% of the product to be lost as waste. Groundwater pollution flows into the rivers Sunzha and Terek on a daily basis. On some locations the rivers are totally devoid of fish. Flora and fauna are destroyed by oil leaks and bombings.

Vietnam war – The Vietnam War started in 1945 and ended in 1975. It is now entitled a proxy war, fought during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union to prevent the necessity for the nations to fight each other directly. North Vietnam fought side by side with the Soviet Union and China, and South Vietnam with the United States, New Zealand and South Korea. It must be noted that the United States only started to be actively involved in the battle after 1963. Between 1965 and 1968 North Vietnam was bombed under Operation Rolling Thunder, in order to force the enemy to negotiate. Bombs destroyed over two million acres of land. North Vietnam forces began to strike back, and the Soviet Union delivered anti-aircraft missiles to North Vietnam. The ground war of US troops against the Viet Cong began. The United States would not retreat from Vietnam until 1973, and during those years extremely environmentally damaging weapons and war tactics were applied.

A massive herbicidal programme was carried out, in order to break the forest cover sheltering Viet Cong guerrillas, and deprive Vietnamese peasants of food. The spraying destroyed 14% of Vietnam’s forests, diminished agricultural yield, and made seeds unfit for replanting. If agricultural yield was not damaged by herbicides, it was often lost because military on the ground set fire to haystacks, and soaked land with aviation fuel en burned it. A total of 15,000 square kilometres of land were eventually destroyed. Livestock was often shot, to deprive peasant of their entire food supply. A total of 13,000 livestock were killed during the war.

The application of 72 million litres of chemical spray resulted in the death of many animals, and caused health effects with humans. One chemical that was applied between 1962 and 1971, called Agent Orange, was particularly harmful. Its main constituent is dioxin, which was present in soil, water and vegetation during and after the war. Dioxin is carcinogenic and teratogenic, and has resulted in spontaneous abortions, chloracne, skin and lung cancers, lower intelligence and emotional problems among children. Children fathered by men exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War often have congenital abnormalities. An estimated half a million children were born with dioxin-related abnormalities. Agent Orange continues to threaten the health of the Vietnamese today.

“Drafted to go to Vietnam
To fight communism in a foreign land.
To preserve democracy is my plight
Which is a God…Given…Right.
Greenery so thick with hidden enemies
Agent Orange is sprayed on the trees.
Covering me from head to toe
Irate my eyes, burns through my clothes.
Returned home when my tour was done
To be told “You have cancer, son”.
Agent Orange is to blame
Government caused your suffering and pain.
Fight for compensation is frustrating and slow
Brass cover-up, not wanting anyone to know.
From cancer many comrades have died
Medical Insurance have been denied.
Compensation I now receive
My health I hope to retrieve.
In Vietnam , I was spared my life
Just to be stabbed with an Agent Orange knife” Yvonne Legge, 2001

Today, agriculture in Vietnam continues to suffer problems from six million unexploded bombs still present. Several organisations are attempting to remove these bombs. Landmines left in Vietnam are not removed, because the Vietnamese government refuses to accept responsibility.

Europe

Kosovo war – The Kosovo war can be divided up in two separate parts: a conflict between Serbia and Kosovo, and a conflict between Kosovo and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The first conflict originated in 1996 from the statement of Slobodan Milocevic that Kosovo was to remain a part of Serbia, and from the resulting violent response of Albanian residents. When Serbian troops slaughtered 45 Albanians in the village of Racak in Kosovo in 1999, the NATO intervened. NATO launched a 4-month bombing campaign upon Serbia as a reply to the massacre at Racak.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) investigated the environmental impact of the Kosovo war. It was concluded that the war did not result in an environmental disaster affecting the entire Balkan region. Nevertheless, some environmental hot spots were identified, namely Belgrade, Pancevo, Kragujevac, Novi Sad and Bor.

Bombings carried out by the United States resulted in leakages in oil refineries and oil storage depots. Industrial sites containing other industries were also targeted. EDC (1,2-dichloroethane), PCBs en mercury escaped to the environment. Burning of Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) resulted in the formation of dioxin, hydrochloric acid, carbon monoxide and PAHs, and oil burning released sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead and PAHs into the air. Heavy clouds of black smoke forming over burning industrial targets caused black rain to fall on the area around Pancevo. Some damage was done to National Parks in Serbia by bombings, and therefore to biodiversity. EDC, mercury and petroleum products (e.g. PCBs) polluted the Danube River. These are present in the sediments and may resurface in due time. EDC is toxic to both terrestrial and aquatic life. Mercury may be converted into methyl mercury, which is very toxic and bio accumulates. As a measure to prevent the consequences of bombing, a fertilizer plant in Pancevo released liquid ammonia into the Danube River. This caused fish kills up to 30 kilometres downstream.

In 1999 when NATO bombed Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, the resulting environmental damage was enormous. Petrochemical plants in suburbs started leaking all kinds of hazardous chemicals into air, water and soil. Factories producing ammonia and plastics released chlorine, hydrochloric acid, vinyl chloride and other chlorine substances, resulting in local air pollution and health problems. Water sources were polluted by oil leaking from refineries. The Danube River was polluted by oil more severely, but this time hydrochloric acid and mercury compounds also ended up there. These remained in the water for a considering period of time and consequently ended up in neighbouring countries Rumania and Bulgaria.

Clean drinking water supplies and waste treatment plants were damaged by NATO bombings. Many people fled their houses and were moved to refugee camps, where the number of people grew rapidly. A lack of clean drinking water and sanitation problems occurred.

Like in the Gulf War, Depleted Uranium (DU) was applied in the Kosovo War to puncture tanks and other artillery. After the war, the United Kingdom assisted in the removal of DU residues from the environment. Veterans complained of health effects. It was acknowledged by the UK and the US that dusts from DU can be dangerous if inhaled. Inhalation of dust most likely results in chemical poisoning.

World War I: Trench Warfare – In 1914, the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary resulted in the First World War, otherwise known as The Great War, or WWI. It started with Austria-Hungary invading Serbia, where the assassin came from, and Germany invading Belgium. The war was mostly in Europe, between the Allies and the Central Powers.

Allies: France, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro, Rumania, Albania, Greece, Portugal, Finland, United States, Canada, Brazil, Armenia, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Liberia, China, Japan, Thailand, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
Central Powers: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Turkish Empire, and Bulgaria

The war was fought from trenches, dug from the North Sea to the border of Switzerland. In 1918 when the war was over, empires disintegrated into smaller countries, marking the division of Europe today. Over 9 million people had died, most of which perished from influenza after the outbreak of the Spanish Flu (see environmental disasters). The war did not directly cause the influenza outbreak, but it was amplified. Mass movement of troops and close quarters caused the Spanish Flu to spread quickly. Furthermore, stresses of war may have increased the susceptibility of soldiers to the disease.

In terms of environmental impact, World War I was most damaging, because of landscape changes caused by trench warfare. Digging trenches caused trampling of grassland, crushing of plants and animals, and churning of soil. Erosion resulted from forest logging to expand the network of trenches. Soil structures were altered severely, and if the war was never fought, in all likelihood the landscape would have looked very differently today.

Another damaging impact was the application of poison gas. Gases were spread throughout the trenches to kill soldiers of the opposite front. Examples of gases applied during WWI are tear gas (aerosols causing eye irritation), mustard gas (cell toxic gas causing blistering and bleeding), and carbonyl chloride (carcinogenic gas). The gases caused a total of 100,000 deaths, most caused by carbonyl chloride (phosgene). Battlefields were polluted, and most of the gas evaporates into the atmosphere. After the war, unexploded ammunition caused major problems in former battle areas. Environmental legislation prohibits detonation or dumping chemical weapons at sea, therefore the cleanup was and still remains a costly operation. In 1925, most WWI participants signed a treaty banning the application of gaseous chemical weapons. Chemical disarmament plants are planned in France and Belgium.

World War II: – World War II was a worldwide conflict, fought between the Allies (Britain, France and the United States as its core countries) and the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan as its core countries). It started with the German invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1939, and ended with the liberation of Western Europe by the allies in 1945.

Estimates for the total casualties of the war vary, but most suggest that some 60 million people died in the war, including about 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians.

World War II: Hunger winter – In late 1944, the allied troops attempted to liberate Western Europe. As they reached The Netherlands, German resistance caused the liberation to be halted in Arnhem, as allied troops failed to occupy a bridge over the River Rhine. As the Dutch government in exile in Britain called for railway strikes, the Germans responded by putting embargo on food transport to the west. This resulted in what is now known as the Hunger Winter, causing an estimated 20,000-25,000 Dutch to starve to death. A number of factors caused the starvation: a harsh winter, fuel shortages, the ruin of agricultural land by bombings, floods, and the food transport embargo. Most people in the west lived off tulip bulbs and sugar beet. Official food rations were below 1000 cal per person per day. In May 1945 the Hunger Winter ended with the official liberation of the west of The Netherlands.

Source

The there is this.  So what do they do with weapons of mass destruction?  Coming to an Ocean Near YOU! The cost in dollars for the pollution caused by war is staggering. The cost to human life is horrendous. The price of war to the Environment is deadly.  This is of course a Global problem.  What you don’t see can hurt you.  If you don’t know it is only because they don’t want you too. They will never tell you the true unless we as a Global community force them to. This will affect our children for many years to come. War is probably one of the worst polluters on the planet.  Stopping the WAR MACHINE is in everyone’s best interest.

Here you find tons of weapons that were dumped into the oceans among other things.

Depleated Uranium Information

The US Dumps staggering amounts of Chemical weapons in the oceans.

THE DEADLINESS BELOW

The US  still air testing bombs in the US.
US Air Testing Bombs

This to is a form of pollution a very deadly one.

Injuries and Deaths From Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance in Afghanistan, 2002-2006

This is part of the war pollution as well.
Uranium Mining, Grand Canyon now at Risk, Dangers, Pollution, History

Plague of bioweapons accidents afflicts the US

US Nuclear Weapons accidents – 1981 report

Added January 9 2009

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

Added November 18 2009

Doctors report “unprecedented” rise in deformities, cancers in Iraq (Photos)

Added January 9 2010

Cancer and Deformities – The Deadly Legacy of the Invasion of Iraq

NATO bombings: Aftermath takes toll on Serbia, now left with DU Poisoning (Radiation and DU fallout maps included.)

Addiction is also part of war pollution. Because of the NATO and US invasion in Afghanistan, Heroin addiction has grown like wildfire around the world. Millions are now addicted to Heroin.

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Hush’ over Afghan mission must end

Switzerland’s explosive war effort threatens environmental disaster

Pentagon’s Role in Global Catastrophe: Add Climate Havoc to War Crimes and War Pollution

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

Added January 3 2010

Gaza sees more newborns of malformation

Added January 24 2010

Study finds: Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination

Added March 1 2010

2.5 million Iraqi women were widowed by Iraq war

Added March 17 2010

Another Gulf War Syndrome? Burn Pits

Added March 18 2010

More Toxic waste for Veterans to deal with.

Erroneous Reports Deny our Veterans Benefits

Added July 22 2013

Najaf: A toxic “health catastrophe” – US weapons blamed for Iraq’s birth defects

Europe catches America’s financial disease

October 7 2008

Iceland and Russia launched major efforts Tuesday to keep important banks afloat as the American financial tsunami crashed onto European shores.

Tuesday morning, the Reykjavik-based government of Prime Minister Geir Haarde dumped the directors of Landsbanki and took over the country’s second-largest bank.

Landsbanki, whose chair owns the West Ham United English football club, had stopped depositors from withdrawing their own money, a sure sign of a bank in financial difficulty.

Iceland also lent the country’s biggest bank, Kaupthing, $745 million to help the bank stay afloat.

In addition, the national financial authority stopped trading in the nation’s six biggest banks in a bid to prevent the further erosion of their share prices.

Finally, the government received a $5.95-billion US loan from Russia to bolster its foreign currency reserves, a necessary commodity for trade and international investment.

Iceland’s moves signal that a financial crisis economy watchers believed was largely contained to U.S. lending institutions is spreading as fast as a bottle of spilt ink.

“Over this period the Icelandic banks have grown hugely and their liabilities are now equivalent to many times Iceland’s GNP. Under all normal circumstances larger banks would be more likely to survive temporary difficulties, but the disaster which is now engulfing the world is of a different nature, and the size of the banks in comparison with the Icelandic economy is today their main weakness,” Haarde said in an address to his countrymen on Monday.

Europe’s financial pains

Russia has had troubles of its own since the beginning of September.

The country’s main stock indices have lost substantial value, including the RTS, which is down 60 per cent since May, as investors reacted badly to the ongoing global financial dislocation and slumping oil prices, a factor that hits crude producing countries such as Russia especially hard.

As well, banks in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ireland have in recent weeks been taken over or otherwise bailed out by national governments.

These institutions, which often have lower amounts of cash on hand than their American counterparts, have been unable to write off large amounts of now-worthless asset-backed commercial borrowing without destroying their financial balance sheets.

Europe’s financial paralysis has forced governments to come up with huge amounts of fiscal aid.

On Monday, for example, the German government stepped in with a $75 billion plan to help the country’s largest mortgage lender.

Deposit deal

In a bit of good news Tuesday, European governments agreed to $75,000 as the maximum financial deposit they would guarantee.

The deal eased complaints after a series of countries — Ireland, Greece, Germany, Austria and Denmark — essentially said they would make good most monies deposited in their banks.

Other nations griped that the move placed pressure on their lenders since customers now had an incentive to give their cash to financial institutions domiciled in those five countries.

Source

Published in: on October 8, 2008 at 2:38 am  Comments Off on Europe catches America’s financial disease  
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