In Memory of those who perished in Lac-Mégantic

This page is dedicated to those who perished on that fateful  night in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. 

93-year-old Elianne Parenteau 1st victim id

93-year-old Elianne Parenteau

She was the first victim to be identified. 


Kathy Clusiault
Kathy Clusiault, age 24

Elodie Turcotte
Elodie Turcotte, age 18


Karine Lafontaine
Karine Lafontaine, age 35

Maxime Dubois
Maxime Dubois,  age 27

Mélissa Roy
Melissa Roy, age 29

Gaétan Lafontaine

Gaétan Lafontaine, age 33

yves-boulet

Yves Boulet, age 51

Frédéric Boutin

Frédéric Boutin, 19

Karine Champagne
Karine Champagne, age 36

Yannick Bouchard
Yannick Bouchard, age 36

Joanie Turmel 

Joanie Turmel, age 29

Roger Paquet

Roger Paquet, age 61

Jo-Annie Lapointe

 Jo-Annie Lapointe, age 20

Andrée-Anne Sévigny

Andrée-Anne Sévigny, age 26

Diane Bizier

 Diane Bizier, age 46

Stéphane Bolduc

 Stéphane Bolduc, age 37

Guy Bolduc

Guy Bolduc, age 43

David Lacroix-Beaudoin

David Lacroix-Beaudoin, age 27

Marianne Poulin

Marianne Poulin, age 23

Geneviève Breton,

Geneviève Breton, age 28

Mathieu Pelletier

Mathieu Pelletier, age 29

Sylvie Charron

Sylvie Charron, age 50

Henriette Latulippe

Henriette Latulippe, age 61

David Martin

David Martin, age 36

Jean-Pierre Roy

Jean-Pierre Roy, age 56

Jean-Guy Veilleux

Jean-Guy Veilleux, age 32

Lucie Vadnais

Lucie Vadnais, age 49

Michel Guertin

Michel Guertin, age 33

Natachat Gaudreau

Natachat Gaudreau, age 41

Kevin Roy

Kevin Roy, age 29

Éric Pépin-Lajeunesse

Éric Pépin-Lajeunesse, age 28

Talitha Coumi Begnoche

Talitha Coumi Begnoche, age 30

Stéphane Lapierre

Stéphane Lapierre, age 45

To all the families and friends, who lost loved ones, may you some how, find peace and comfort in the days to come. You have so much to overcome.

For the rest of us, may we work to get all Governments, to improve safety standards, so this never happens again.

As each victims is identified, I will add their Photo if possible, so we never forget them.

Map of Lac-Mégantic

Other photos of those missing and presumed dead are HERE and HERE

Related

Canada: Railway Disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec

New page for updates

Canada: Railway Disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec Part 2

Published in: on July 12, 2013 at 11:47 am  Comments Off on In Memory of those who perished in Lac-Mégantic  
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Two Missing Samoyed’s believed to be Stolen from Alberta Flood area

Update on dogs.

They have been returned to the owner as of June 24 2013

Thank You to all who helped find Murphy and Stella.

Both are back home, where they belong.

Dogs found

 

Update Posted on June 23 2013

Two new stories about the flood are at the bottom of the page.

The flood has now entered two other provinces.

————————————————————————————–
Was posted on the twitter by Alana Baker

It was on the feed at CBC at the link below.

Calling the Police immediately, would also be a good call to make. If the two in question did steal the animals they should be charged with theft. Anytime you think your dog may have been stolen contact Police and report it. Even if you think your dog is just missing, it does not hurt to let Police know. They are always out and about and may see your pet.

Missing Dogs

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2013/06/22/alberta-floods-evacuations.html

Some pictures of the devastation in Alberta

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/pictures-and-videos-of-flooding-in-canmore-and-calgary-alberta-1.1334613

Donations to flood Victims can also be made through the Red Cross.

http://www.redcross.ca/donate/donate-online/donate-to-the-alberta-floods

June 24 2013

Severe flooding has forced around 1,000 Siksika people from their homes on the Alberta reserve, a large portion of which hugs a stretch of the Bow River about 100 kilometres east of Calgary. The disaster has been unfolding there since Friday, when the river poured over its banks and covered some areas with over a metre of floodwater.

“How are we going to recover from all of this is what went through my thoughts,” Chief Rabbit Carrier told CBC News on Sunday.

“There’s a sense of hopelessness… as a leader you have to overcome that and put emotions aside and start working toward the recovery.”

Chief Rabbit Carrier said the community is still in a state of emergency. The reserve’s recreation centre has been turned into a shelter where a list of items — baby formula, diapers, towels, blankets and non-perishable food — are in high demand. The phone in the centre’s main office rings constantly.

“We’ve been very fortunate that we have not lost anybody,” Chief Rabbit Carrier said.

In the lobby, a group of volunteers hoping to rescue animals trapped in the flood gets organized. They’ve already saved several animals, but plenty of barn animals and pets alike have perished. “If it has a pulse, we’ll save it,” one volunteer said.

For Pictures and the entire story Go HERE

Update on flood waters

Alberta water headed to Saskatchewan

The city warned residents, along with their pets, to stay away from the South Saskatchewan River as it prepared for an influx of water not seen in more than 100 years.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/story/2013/06/23/sk-saskatoon-prepares-flooding.html

A rancher in the Estuary area, close to the South Saskatchewan River, is surrounded by water from the swollen river.

Ian Ferguson has already moved his cattle to higher ground, but water has inundated his barn and corrals.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/story/2013/06/24/sk-ranch-flooding-estuary130624.html

It is also headed to Manitoba

States of emergency have been issued for some Manitoba communities as levels of local rivers rise as a result of heavy rain and floodwaters from Alberta.

The Pas along with the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and the Rural Municipality of Kelsey were under a state of emergency on Monday because the levels of the Saskatchewan and Carrot rivers continue to increase.

Meanwhile, at least three other Manitoba municipalities have declared states of emergency as they deal with flash flooding caused by heavy rainfall over the weekend.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2013/06/24/mb-flood-emergency-winnipegosis-pipestone.html

Published in: on June 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm  Comments Off on Two Missing Samoyed’s believed to be Stolen from Alberta Flood area  
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Who Is Behind the 25,000 Deaths In Mexico?

By Charles Bowden and Molly Molloy

July 28, 2010

With at least 25,000 people slaughtered in Mexico since President Felipe Calderón hurled the Mexican Army into the anti-cartel battle, three questions remain unanswered: Who is being killed, who is doing the killing and why are people being killed? This is apparently considered a small matter to US leaders in the discussions about failed states, narco-states and the false claim that violence is spilling across the border.

President Calderón has stated repeatedly that 90 percent of the dead are connected to drug organizations. The United States has silently endorsed this statement and is bankrolling it with $1.4 billion through Plan Mérida, the three-year assistance plan passed by the Bush administration in 2008. Yet the daily torrent of local press accounts from Ciudad Juárez makes it clear that most of the murder victims are ordinary Mexicans who magically morph into drug cartel members before their blood dries on the streets, sidewalks, vacant lots, pool halls and barrooms where they fall dead, riddled with bullets. Juárez is ground zero in this war: more than one-fourth of the 25,000 dead that the Mexican government admits to since December 2006 have occurred in this one border city of slightly over 1.5 million people, nearly 6,300 as of July 21, 2010. When three people attached to the US Consulate in Ciudad Juárez were killed in March this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the murders “the latest horrible reminder of how much work we have to do together.”

Just what is this work?

No one seems to know, but on the ground it is death. Calderón’s war, assisted by the United States, terrorizes the Mexican people, generates thousands of documented human rights abuses by the police and Mexican Army and inspires lies told by American politicians that violence is spilling across the border (in fact, it has been declining on the US side of the border for years).

We are told of a War on Drugs that has no observable effect on drug distribution, price or sales in the United States. We are told the Mexican Army is incorruptible, when the Mexican government’s own human rights office has collected thousands of complaints that the army robs, kidnaps, steals, tortures, rapes and kills innocent citizens. We are told repeatedly that it is a war between cartels or that it is a war by the Mexican government against cartels, yet no evidence is presented to back up these claims. The evidence we do have is that the killings are not investigated, that the military suffers almost no casualties and that thousands of Mexicans have filed affidavits claiming abuse, often lethal, by the Mexican army.

Here is the US policy in a nutshell: we pay Mexicans to kill Mexicans, and this slaughter has no effect on drug shipments or prices.

This war gets personal. A friend calls late at night from Juárez and says if he is murdered before morning, be sure to tell his wife. It never occurs to him to call the police, nor does it occur to you.

A friend who is a Mexican reporter flees to the United States because the Mexican Army has come to his house and plans to kill him for writing a news story that displeases the generals. He is promptly thrown into prison by the Department of Homeland Security because he is considered a menace to American society.

On the Mexican side, a mother, stepfather and pregnant daughter are chased down on a highway in the Valle de Juárez, and shot in their car, while two toddlers watch. On the US side, a man receives a phone call and his father tells him, “I’m dying, I’m dying, I’m dead.” He hears his sister pleading for her life, “Don’t kill me. No don’t kill me.” He thinks his niece and nephew are dead also, but they are taken to a hospital, sprayed with shattered glass. The little boy watched his mother die, her head blown apart by the bullets. A cousin waits in a parking lot surrounded by chainlink and razor-wire on the US side of the bridge for the bodies to be delivered so that he can bring them home. The next day, the family takes to the parking lots of two fast-food outlets in their hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico, for a carwash. Young girls in pink shorts and T-shirts wave hand-lettered signs. They will wash your car and accept donations to help bury their parents and sister, to buy clothes for two small orphans. “This was just a family,” says cousin Cristina, collecting donations in a zippered bag. She says they are in shock, the full impact of what happened has yet to sink in. So for now, they will raise the money they need to take care of the children. An American family.

Or, you visit the room where nine people were shot to death in August 2008 as they raised their arms to praise God during a prayer meeting. Forty hours later, flies buzz over what lingers in cracks in the tile floor and bloody handprints mark the wall. This was the scene of the first of several mass killings at drug rehab centers where at least fifty people have been massacred over the past two years in Juárez and Chihuahua City. An evangelical preacher who survived the slaughter that night said she saw a truckload of soldiers parked at the end of the street a hundred yards from the building and that the automatic rifle fire went on for fifteen minutes.

Or you talk with a former member of the Juárez cartel who is shocked to learn of a new cabinet appointment by President Calderón because he says he used to deliver suitcases of money to the man as payment from the Juárez cartel.

The claim that ninety percent of the dead are criminals seems at best to be self-delusion. In June 2010, El Universal, a major daily in Mexico City, noted that the federal government had investigated only 5 percent of the first 22,000 executions, according to confidential material turned over to the Mexican Senate by the Mexican Attorney General. What constituted an investigation was not explained.

On June 21, Cronica, another Mexico City paper, presented a National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) study that examined more than 5,000 complaints filed by Mexican citizens against the army. Besides incidents of rape, murder, torture, kidnapping and robbery, the report described scenes like the following: “June 1, 2007, in the community of La Joya de los Martinez, Sinaloa de Leyva: Members of the Army were camped at the edge of the highway, drinking alcoholic beverages. Two of them were inebriated and probably under the influence of some drug. They opened fire against a truck that drove along the road carrying eight members of the Esparza Galaviz family. One adult and two minors died…The soldiers arranged sacks of decomposing marijuana on the vehicle that had been attacked and killed one of their own soldiers, whose body was arranged at the crime scene to indicate that the civilian drivers had been the aggressors and had killed the soldier.”

The CNDH also names the army as responsible for the shooting deaths of Martin and Brayan Almanza Salazar, aged 9 and 5, on April 3, 2010, as they traveled to the beach in Matamoros with their family. The only thing noteworthy about these cases is that they ever became public knowledge. Many more victims and survivors remain silent—afraid to report what has happened to them to any Mexican official or news reporter.

Such incidents pass unnoticed in the US press and apparently do not capture the attention of our government. Nor does the fact that in the midst of what is repeatedly called a war against drug cartels by both the American and Mexican governments and press, Mexican soldiers seem immune to bullets. With over 8,000 Mexicans killed in 2009 alone, the army reported losses of thirty-five that year. According to Reporters Without Borders, a total of sixty-seven journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, while eleven others have gone missing since 2003. Mexico is now one of the most dangerous places in the world to be reporter. And possibly the safest place in the world to be a soldier.

When there is a noteworthy massacre, the Mexican government says it proves the drug industry is crumbling. When there is a period of relative peace, the Mexican government says it shows their policy is winning. On the night of July 15, a remote-controlled car bomb exploded in downtown Juárez, killing at least three people—a federal policeman, a kidnap victim dressed in a police uniform and used as a decoy and a physician who rushed to the scene from his private office to help dozens of people injured in the blast. A graffiti message attributed the blast to the Juárez cartel and claimed it as a warning to police who work for the Sinaloa cartel.

On July 20, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, minimized the Juárez bombing, saying that it was not aimed indiscriminately at civilians and that it did not indicate any escalation in violence. He parroted the declaration of Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chávez that the motivation for the bombing is economic, not ideological, and that “we have no evidence in the country of narco-terrorism.” US Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual also indicated that this violence in Mexico, which also included a grenade attack on the US Consulate in Nuevo Laredo a few months ago, “is disturbing but has not reached the level of terrorism.” We are supposed to believe in their evidence that 90 percent of the dead are criminals, but that they have no evidence at all of narco-terrorism? This, despite numerous incidents of grenades and other explosives being used in recent attacks in the states of Michoacan, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Sonora and many other places in Mexico. And that “armed commandos” dressed like soldiers and wielding high-powered machine guns are witnessed at the scenes of hundreds of massacres documented since 2008.

No one asks or answers this question: How does such an escalation benefit the drug smuggling business which has not been diminished at all during the past three years of hyper-violence in Mexico? Each year, the death toll rises, each year there is no evidence of any disruption in the delivery of drugs to American consumers, each year the United States asserts its renewed support for this war. And each year, the basic claims about the war go unquestioned.

Let us make this simple: no one knows how many are dying, no one knows who is killing them and no one knows what role the drug industry has in these killings. There has been no investigation of the dead and so no one really knows whether they were criminals or why they died. There have been no interviews with heads of drug organizations and so no one really knows what they are thinking or what they are trying to accomplish.

It is difficult to have a useful discussion without facts, but it seems to be very easy to make policy without facts. We can look forward to fewer facts and more unquestioned and unsubstantiated government claims. Such as the response by General Felipe de Jesús Espitia, commander of the Joint Operation Chihuahua, to a 2008 report by El Diario de Juárez that one out of three Juárez citizens believed the army occupation of the city had accomplished little or nothing. “Those who feel this way, it is because their interests are affected or because they are paid by the narco-traffickers,” he said. “Who are these citizens?”

General Jorge Juárez Loera, the first commander of the Joint Operation Chihuahua, put it this way: “I would like to see reporters change their articles and instead of writing about one more murder victim, they should say, ‘one less criminal.’ ” Source

So who is behind the murder of these people the US and Mexican Governments. This is just a way to terrorize the Mexican people. There is no war on Drugs it is just a fabricated bunch of crap used to kill people.  If there was a real war on drugs do you think the US soldiers would be guarding the poppy field in Afghanistan.  People, drugs on the streets are good for governments, drugged up people are easier to manipulate. It also gives the governments scape goats to use to steal more tax dollars for scrupulous purposes.  The money is then used for well obviously the Military, in other words war. Profits are made from the sale of weapons etc etc.

The so called drug war is a scam. Always was and always will be. How much you want to bet a lot or all of the money used for the Mexican Military is spent in the US. Weapons manufacturers benefit from Mexico’s fake drug war.  US tax dollars again making Americas rich, richer.

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The attack on the Gaza relief flotilla jeopardizes Israel itself

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US House Vote on Afghan War Funding a Disgrace

Fourteen Examples of Systemic Racism in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

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Republicans in the US House of Representatives want Israel to attack Iran

Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 3:23 am  Comments Off on Who Is Behind the 25,000 Deaths In Mexico?  
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Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

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

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

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

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

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

By Dorian Jones in Istanbul and Helena Smith

June 01, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan

By Craig Murray

June 02, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

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

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

By Barak Ravid

June 02, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israel is the perpetrator of the crimes in this case.

Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israeli intervention

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Protests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

SECTION 2. LIMITS OF THE TERRITORIAL SEA

Article 3

Breadth of the territorial sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 86

Application of the provisions of this Part

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

Article 87

Freedom of the high seas

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

(a) freedom of navigation;

(b) freedom of overflight;

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

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

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

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

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

Article 88

Reservation of the high seas for peaceful purposes

The high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes.

Article 89

Invalidity of claims of sovereignty over the high seas

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

Article 90

Right of navigation

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

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

Article 101

Definition of piracy

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

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

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

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

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

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

Article 102

Piracy by a warship, government ship or government aircraft

whose crew has mutinied

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

Article 103

Definition of a pirate ship or aircraft

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

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

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

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

Protests have broken out in many countries over the incident.

Jordanians protest Israeli raid on Gaza-bound flotilla

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

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

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

Thousands in Istanbul protest against Israeli attack on flotilla


East Bay Citizens Condemn Israel Attack on Gaza Aid Flotilla

Minneapolis Demonstration Against Israeli Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla

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

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

America Complicit In Israel’s Crimes

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

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

Related

Gaza Flotilla Drives Israel Into a Sea of Stupidity

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can you do?

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

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

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

  • Send a letter to your MP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ample parking is available

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

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

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

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

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

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

Penticton, BC
Rally at Stockwell Day’s Office

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information please see: Students for Palestinian Rights

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

Please join us.

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

From the Jewish Voice for Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time for that to stop.

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

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

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

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

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Also a Petition to the UN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kyrgyzstan: The nepotism that sparked a revolution

Sons were catapulted into key positions by Kyrgyz leader forced to flee office

By Shaun Walker

April 10 2010

Residents of Bishkek yesterday flocked to the city’s main square to remember the dozens of people who died in Wednesday’s violence. But grief was tinged with anger at ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who authorised troops to shoot on demonstrating civilians.

Mr Bakiyev fled to the south of the country as his government fell. Many in Bishkek hope that he, and his hated sons, will not return. The ousted president has denounced the revolution, which led to government offices being torched and looted, as a foreign-backed coup and told The Independent after fleeing that he still has the support of the majority of the country.

However, the mood on the streets yesterday suggests that he is out of touch with a people furious at his authoritarianism, corruption and nepotism. More than anything, it was the catapulting of his sons and brothers into senior state positions that angered ordinary Kyrgyz. It is telling that while interim leader Roza Otunbayeva has said Mr Bakiyev will be guaranteed safe passage out of the country if he capitulates, no such offer has been extended to his family members.

The country’s new prosecutor-general yesterday announced that a case was being prepared against Maxim Bakiyev, the president’s son and the most reviled man in the country.

Aged 32, he was, many suspect, being groomed to succeed his father. He headed a specially created agency to manage the hundreds of millions of dollars of Russian loan money, called the Central Agency for the Development of Investment and Innovation.

Critics noted that the Russian abbreviation for the agency sounded remarkably like “Tsar” – which is exactly what many in the country thought Mr Bakiyev behaved like.

“Even in the name of this agency, the ambitions of the Bakiyev sons for power were clear,” said Daniil Kislov, the editor-in-chief of the respected Fergana.ru website.

“They helped their father usurp power, and also seized various different businesses.

“They directly gave orders to put pressure on journalists, politicians, oppositionists and even members of parliament who opposed them. Many of these people had to leave Kyrgyzstan, and some of them were killed.”

Last December, Gennady Pavlyuk, a prominent Kyrgyz journalist who had often criticised the authorities, died after falling from an upper-storey apartment window on a trip to neighbouring Kazakhstan. Earlier last year, Medet Sardykulov, a former head of Mr Bakiyev’s administration, who had gone into opposition, was found dead in his car on the outskirts of Bishkek.

One of Mr Bakiyev’s key platforms when he came to power in the so-called Tulip Revolution in 2005 was that he would end the nepotism with which the ousted Askar Akayev had ruled. But politics came full circle, and in recent months his opponents have accused his regime of being even more corrupt and authoritarian. In addition to Maxim, Mr Bakiyev’s other son, Marat, and three of his brothers all held senior positions in the government.

After the uprising, Mr Bakiyev defended his family and insisted that he had put them in senior positions because of their experience.

“Maxim has an excellent knowledge of business, finance, and foreign languages, and was highly qualified to do the job he was doing,” he told The Independent. “Many of my relatives have had positions in the government for years, even before I came to power. They are highly qualified people.”

This is unlikely to placate his opponents. Prosecutors say they have testimony showing that it was he who ordered troops to fire on the protesters. Whether they will have the chance to prove this in court is unclear. Maxim Bakiyev is said to have departed for the United States shortly after the demonstrations started.

There were rumours spreading yesterday that in the southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad, Mr Bakiyev was readying supporters to stir further violence. Ms Otunbayeva insisted that the country would not spiral into civil war. “We have enough resources and capabilities and all the people’s support that we need,” she said.  Source

The Death toll apparently has reached 79. Approximately 1,400 have been injured.

April 09, 2010 — Kyrgyzstan is holding a day of national mourning for the victims of bloody protests which ousted the government.

The first funerals are being held for those who died in the unrest which forced President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee the capital.

Mr Bakiyev has refused to resign but has offered to talk to the opposition, which has set up an interim government.

But interim leader Roza Otunbayeva has said she has no plans to negotiate with Mr Bakiyev and demanded he stand down.

Both the US and Russia have key military bases in Kyrgyzstan, and are watching the situation there closely.

The US says it has now resumed normal operations at its Manas base after military flights were suspended on Wednesday.

The deputy head of the interim government, Almazbek Atambayev, has gone to Moscow “for talks on economic aid”, the government said in a statement.

‘Never forgive’

Thousands of mourners gathered in the main square of the capital, Bishkek, on Friday to remember those killed in Wednesday’s violence

Kyrgyz pray as they gather to mourn revolt victims on central square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Friday, April 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Kyrgyz people mourn revolt victims on central square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Friday, April 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Sergey Grits)

Related

Kyrgyzstan: Thousands of protesters furious over corruption 40 deaths over 400 injured/Updated April 9 2010

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Update on Haiti Earthquake January 19 2010

January 19 2010

It’s believed the Haiti earthquake may claim as many as 200,000 lives – and leave 3 million homeless. This video is at one of the hospitals.

There could be as many as 2 million orphans

Haiti’s Orphan Airlift Takes 53 Kids to Pittsburgh

The tykes were taken to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where 53 beds were waiting for them, each with a teddy bear on it.

Rendell said that of the 53 children, 47 already have agreements for adoption and the other six children were in the process of adoption.

Haitian adoptions in limbo for Canadian families

A Regina couple says their plan to adopt two Haitian teenagers is shrouded in doubt after last week’s devastating earthquake, which damaged the youngsters’ orphanage and cut off the couple’s ability to communicate with the lawyer who was working on their case.

A List of  Options for donating to the Haiti quake relief Many have links to your country of origin. Please choose one and donate today.

They have become the most vulnerable victims of Haiti’s devastating earthquake. Before the catastrophic events almost half of the population was under 18-years-old.

Many now have been left bewildered, bruised and lonely.

In these ruins of a school the children had come to learn. It was here too they were fed their main meal of the day. Now they are hungry and abandoned.

A woman explains: “I have nothing for them my pocket, not even plain rice to help these children to live, there is nothing, nothing.” “I have nothing I am going to boil up mint tea with some salt.”

In the fog of figures emerging from Haiti it is reckoned that before the quake there were 380,000 children living in orphanages. Such scenes suggest there will be a dramatic rise in those numbers. A woman holding a child says: “Her parents are dead. I will look after her.”

Protection is critical. The UN is setting up a mission on the ground to do just that, protection against trafficking, kidnapping and sex abuse.

Julie Bergeron, UNICEF: “It would be very easy for certain people to be involved, trafficking these children, especially as they do not have birth certificates. There are many children who will go from here as their parents will always believe they are dead.”

In a field hospital in Port-au-Prince the medical team have saved the life of a five-month-old baby. He has no name, just a number. No one knows who the boys family is or if they are alive. What will happen to him when he has been treated. Such are the now daily dilemmas for the children of this quake. Source

// Haiti earthquake

One in a million: the girl in a tartan dress who symbolises the orphan crisis facing Haiti

Wyclef and Evry, two-year-old orphans at the Foyer de Sion home in Pétionville Photo Independent

9-year-old Wideline Fils Amie lost both her parents in the Haiti earthquake Photo Independent

By Guy Adams in Port-au-Prince

January 20 2010

Her name is Wideline Fils Amie. She is nine years old. Both her parents are dead, and her only possession is the red tartan dress on her back. For the past week, she’s been living and sleeping in the indescribably filthy back-yard of the Foyer de Sion orphanage in Pétionville. When you ask how she is feeling, Wideline whispers two words, through her broken teeth: “hungry” and “scared”.

Eighteen boys and girls, aged two to 15, are holed-up behind the tattered two-storey building in the hills just outside Port-au-Prince. Their food reserves consist of three bags of rice, three bags of beans, a few yams, and half a bottle of orange cordial. As of yesterday morning, they hadn’t a single drop of drinking water left. And a week after the earthquake that flattened their city, the orphanage has not received a single batch of aid.

“I don’t know why,” says Pascale Mardy, the orphanage’s manager. “We have almost nothing left. When the earthquake happened, I had $100 in my pocket to buy food. Now I have spent the last dollar, so we are down to one meal a day. We are in trouble.”

It’s the same story across Port-au-Prince, where a dysfunctional aid effort is still only slowly creaking into action. Huge reserves of supplies sit on the runway of the city’s airport. For the entire story go HERE

Israel’s compassion in Haiti can’t hide our ugly face in Gaza
By Akiva Eldar
January 18 2010

Who said we are shut up inside our Tel Aviv bubble? How many small nations surrounded by enemies set up field hospitals on the other side of the world? Give us an earthquake in Haiti, a tsunami in Thailand or a terror attack in Kenya, and the IDF Spokesman’s Office will triumph. A cargo plane can always be found to fly in military journalists to report on our fine young men from the Home Front Command.

Everyone is truly doing a wonderful job: the rescuers, searching for survivors; the physicians, saving lives; and the reporters, too, who are rightfully patting them all on the back. After Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon became the face we show the world, the entire international community can now see Israel’s good side.

But the remarkable identification with the victims of the terrible tragedy in distant Haiti only underscores the indifference to the ongoing suffering of the people of Gaza. Only a little more than an hour’s drive from the offices of Israel’s major newspapers, 1.5 million people have been besieged on a desert island for two and a half years. Who cares that 80 percent of the men, women and children living in such proximity to us have fallen under the poverty line? How many Israelis know that half of all Gazans are dependent on charity, that Operation Cast Lead created hundreds of amputees, that raw sewage flows from the streets into the sea?

The Israeli newspaper reader knows about the baby pulled from the wreckage in Port-au-Prince. Few have heard about the infants who sleep in the ruins of their families’ homes in Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces prohibition of reporters entering the Gaza Strip is an excellent excuse for burying our heads in the sand of Tel Aviv’s beaches; on a good day, the sobering reports compiled by human rights organizations such as B’Tselem, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel on the situation in Gaza are pushed to the newspapers’ back pages. To get an idea of what life is like in the world’s largest prison, one must forgo “Big Brother” and switch to one of the foreign networks.

The disaster in Haiti is a natural one; the one in Gaza is the unproud handiwork of man. Our handiwork. The IDF does not send cargo planes stuffed with medicines and medical equipment to Gaza. The missiles that Israel Air Force combat aircraft fired there a year ago hit nearly 60,000 homes and factories, turning 3,500 of them into rubble. Since then, 10,000 people have been living without running water, 40,000 without electricity. Ninety-seven percent of Gaza’s factories are idle due to Israeli government restrictions on the import of raw materials for industry. Soon it will be one year since the international community pledged, at the emergency conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, to donate $4.5 billion for Gaza’s reconstruction. Israel’s ban on bringing in building materials is causing that money to lose its value.

A few days before Israeli physicians rushed to save the lives of injured Haitians, the authorities at the Erez checkpoint prevented 17 people from passing through in order to get to a Ramallah hospital for urgent corneal transplant surgery. Perhaps they voted for Hamas. At the same time that Israeli psychologists are treating Haiti’s orphans with devotion, Israeli inspectors are making sure no one is attempting to plant a doll, a notebook or a bar of chocolate in a container bringing essential goods into Gaza. So what if the Goldstone Commission demanded that Israel lift the blockade on the Strip and end the collective punishment of its inhabitants? Only those who hate Israel could use frontier justice against the first country to set up a field hospital in Haiti.

True, Haiti’s militias are not firing rockets at Israel. But the siege on Gaza has not stopped the Qassams from coming. The prohibition of cilantro, vinegar and ginger being brought into the Strip since June 2007 was intended to expedite the release of Gilad Shalit and facilitate the fall of the Hamas regime. As everyone knows, even though neither mission has been particularly successful, and despite international criticism, Israel continues to keep the gates of Gaza locked. Even the images of our excellent doctors in Haiti cannot blur our ugly face in the Strip. Source

Related

Update on Haiti Earthquake January 18 2010

Haiti’s dead are being buried in Mass Graves

How Haiti’s Quarter Million Slaves Will Survive The Quake

Recent

Israel floods Gaza villages, displacing a hundred families

US/Israeli Charity uses little Palestinian Childs photo to raise money for Israel’s Hungry

Spanish lawmaker’s photo used for bin Laden poster

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 9:11 pm  Comments Off on Update on Haiti Earthquake January 19 2010  
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Muntazer al-Zaidi tells us why he Threw the Shoe

Why I Threw the Shoe

I am no hero. I just acted as an Iraqi who witnessed the pain and bloodshed of too many innocents

By Muntazer al-Zaidi

September 19, 2009

I am free. But my country is still a prisoner of war. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act. But, simply, I answer: what compelled me to act is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.

Over recent years, more than a million martyrs have fallen by the bullets of the occupation and Iraq is now filled with more than five million orphans, a million widows and hundreds of thousands of maimed. Many millions are homeless inside and outside the country.

We used to be a nation in which the Arab would share with the Turkman and the Kurd and the Assyrian and the Sabean and the Yazid his daily bread. And the Shia would pray with the Sunni in one line. And the Muslim would celebrate with the Christian the birthday of Christ. This despite the fact that we shared hunger under sanctions for more than a decade.

Our patience and our solidarity did not make us forget the oppression. But the invasion divided brother from brother, neighbour from neighbour. It turned our homes into funeral tents.

I am not a hero. But I have a point of view. I have a stance. It humiliated me to see my country humiliated; and to see my Baghdad burned, my people killed. Thousands of tragic pictures remained in my head, pushing me towards the path of confrontation. The scandal of Abu Ghraib. The massacre of Falluja, Najaf, Haditha, Sadr City, Basra, Diyala, Mosul, Tal Afar, and every inch of our wounded land. I travelled through my burning land and saw with my own eyes the pain of the victims, and heard with my own ears the screams of the orphans and the bereaved. And a feeling of shame haunted me like an ugly name because I was powerless.

As soon as I finished my professional duties in reporting the daily tragedies, while I washed away the remains of the debris of the ruined Iraqi houses, or the blood that stained my clothes, I would clench my teeth and make a pledge to our victims, a pledge of vengeance.

The opportunity came, and I took it.

I took it out of loyalty to every drop of innocent blood that has been shed through the occupation or because of it, every scream of a bereaved mother, every moan of an orphan, the sorrow of a rape victim, the teardrop of an orphan.

I say to those who reproach me: do you know how many broken homes that shoe which I threw had entered? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.

When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, George Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.

If I have wronged journalism without intention, because of the professional embarrassment I caused the establishment, I apologise. All that I meant to do was express with a living conscience the feelings of a citizen who sees his homeland desecrated every day. The professionalism mourned by some under the auspices of the occupation should not have a voice louder than the voice of patriotism. And if patriotism needs to speak out, then professionalism should be allied with it.

I didn’t do this so my name would enter history or for material gains. All I wanted was to defend my country.

Source

Population of Iraq in 2008  28,221,181

Year Unemployment rate (%)
2005 25
2006 25
2007 25
2008 18
Year Oil – proved reserves (bbl)
2003 113800000000
2004 113800000000
2005 112500000000
2006 112500000000
2007 112500000000
2008 115000000000
Year Natural gas – proved reserves (cubic meters)
2003 3149000000000
2004 3149000000000
2005 3149000000000
2006 3115000000000
2007 3115000000000
2008 3170000000000

No one can say  Bush and company wanted a war for any reason other then oil and gas.

The US should pay retribution to Iraq for all the damage that has been done in the name of theft, greed, control and profiteering.

The homeless need homes, the orphans need care. The maimed need support. The list goes on and on.

For the million who have died. And those who were tortured.

Prison is where Bush and company should be.

Over a million have died, that is a Crime against humanity.

That is genocide.

That is a war crime.

The war is illegal based on lies, propaganda and fraud. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

Just the WMD the US used on the Iraqis.  They used things like White Phosphorus, Napalm, 240,000 cluster bombs, 10,000  unguided munitions, 20.000  precision bombs and missiles were dropped and I am pretty sure they also used Bunker Busters (type of nuclear bomb),  all by May 1, 2003.

That is definitely overkill. Excessive use of force against a country that had been under sanctions for about a decade. The US loves to attack the defenseless and weak.

Since then the killing has continued. The war wasn’t over as Bush declared, again he lied.  Bush is a criminal.

For that the criminals should be held responsible, to do less would be a crime against all of us.

  • Genocide
  • War crimes
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Crimes of aggression

The rest of the world cannot sit by and allow anything this horrendous to go unpunished.

It’s time for the US and other forces to get the hell out of their country.

Spanish judge resumes torture case against six senior Bush lawyers

Victims’ families tell their stories following Nato airstrike in Afghanistan

By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Kunduz
September 11 2009

Fazel-Muhamad

Fazel Muhamad, 48, holding pictures of family members who were killed in the attack. Photograph: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

At first light last Friday, in the Chardarah district of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan, the villagers gathered around the twisted wreckage of two fuel tankers that had been hit by a Nato airstrike. They picked their way through a heap of almost a hundred charred bodies and mangled limbs which were mixed with ash, mud and the melted plastic of jerry cans, looking for their brothers, sons and cousins. They called out their names but received no answers. By this time, everyone was dead.

What followed is one of the more macabre scenes of this or any war. The grief-stricken relatives began to argue and fight over the remains of the men and boys who a few hours earlier had greedily sought the tanker’s fuel. Poor people in one of the world’s poorest countries, they had been trying to hoard as much as they could for the coming winter.

“We didn’t recognise any of the dead when we arrived,” said Omar Khan, the turbaned village chief of Eissa Khail. “It was like a chemical bomb had gone off, everything was burned. The bodies were like this,” he brought his two hands together, his fingers curling like claws. “There were like burned tree logs, like charcoal.

“The villagers were fighting over the corpses. People were saying this is my brother, this is my cousin, and no one could identify anyone.”

So the elders stepped in. They collected all the bodies they could and asked the people to tell them how many relatives each family had lost.

A queue formed. One by one the bereaved gave the names of missing brothers, cousins, sons and nephews, and each in turn received their quota of corpses. It didn’t matter who was who, everyone was mangled beyond recognition anyway. All that mattered was that they had a body to bury and perform prayers upon.

“A man comes and says, ‘I lost my brother and cousin’, so we gave him two bodies,” said Omar Khan. “Another says I lost five relatives, so we gave him five bodies to take home and bury. When we had run out of bodies we started giving them limbs, legs, arms, torsos.” In the end only five families went away without anything. “Their sons are still missing.”

Omar Khan’s small eyes narrowed and his mouth formed a disgusted circle. “The smell was so bad. For three days I smelled of burned meat and fuel.”

Omar Khan was one of 11 villagers the Guardian interviewed about the airstrike. We arrived in the region early this week with the intention of visiting the site of the attack, but the kidnapping of a New York Times journalist and the firefight that preceded his rescue, leaving four people dead, meant the journey there was too difficult. Instead the villagers came into the city to tell us their stories.

We sat around a table in the basement of a hotel, and one by one their accounts of the airstrike – which killed 70-100 people, making it one of the most devastating of the war – spilled out. The villagers said the Taliban had hijacked the fuel tankers at 7pm on Thursday evening and driven them off the main road to Kabul, through Ali Abad district, into their stronghold of Chardarah, to the south-west of Kunduz.

To reach Chardarah they had to ford a shallow river to avoid a bridge garrisoned by the Afghan army. But when they drove the trucks into the water they became stuck, so the Taliban summoned the people in the nearby villages to help.

Jamaludin, a 45-year-old farmer, had been praying in the mosque when he heard the sound of a tractor. “I went home and found that three of my brothers and my nephew had left with my tractor,” he said. “I called my brother to ask him where they had gone. He said the Taliban had asked him to bring the tractor and help them pull a tanker.” Jamaluddin was alarmed. “I asked him what tanker? It wasn’t our business, let the Taliban bring their own tractors. I called him back an hour later. He said they couldn’t get the trucks out and the Taiban wouldn’t let him leave, so I went back to sleep.”

Realising the tankers were stuck, the Taliban decided to siphon off the fuel and asked people to come and help themselves to the ghanima, the spoils of war. There would be free fuel for everyone.

Assadullah, a thin 19-year-old with a wisp of black hair falling on his forehead, got a call from a friend who said the Taliban were distributing free fuel.

“I took two fuel cans with me, I called my brother and a friend and we went. There was a full moon and we could see very clearly. There were a lot of people already there. They were pushing and shoving, trying to reach the tap to fill their jerry cans. We are poor people, and we all wanted to get some fuel for the winter.

“I filled my cans and moved away while my brother was pushing to fill his. I walked for a hundred, maybe two hundred metres.”

It was about 1am on Friday that the aircraft attacked and incinerated the stolen fuel tankers. “There was a big light in the sky and then an explosion,” Assadullah said. “I fell on my face. When I came to, there was thick smoke and I couldn’t see anything. I called, I shouted for my brother but he didn’t answer. I couldn’t see him. There was fire everywhere and silence and bodies were burning.”

He pulled up his long shirt to show me four small shrapnel bruises and two burns on his neck.

Jamaludin woke up at about 1am to start making food. It was Ramadan, and he had to prepare Sehur, the last meal before sunrise. “I called my brother again and told him I could hear lots of aeroplanes in the sky, why wasn’t he back? He said he was bringing some fuel and would be home soon. I hung up and went into the courtyard, and then there was a big fire, like a big lamp in the middle of the sky. I called my brother again and his phone was off. I left home and ran towards the river. The smell of smoke was coming from there.

“When I got there I couldn’t see my brother.I shouted for him. I saw some people carrying injured on their shoulders, then I went back home to pray and wait for the light.”

Jan Mohammad, an old man with a white beard and green eyes, said angrily: “I ran, I ran to find my son because nobody would give me a lift. I couldn’t find him.”

He dropped his head on his palm that was resting on the table, and started banging his head against his white mottled hand. When he raised his head his eyes were red and tears were rolling down his cheek: “I couldn’t find my son, so I took a piece of flesh with me home and I called it my son. I told my wife we had him, but I didn’t let his children or anyone see. We buried the flesh as it if was my son.”

He broke off, then shouted at the young Assadullah, who had knocked at the old man’s house and told his son to come with them there was free fuel for everyone, “You destroyed my home”, Assadu-llah turned his head and looked at the wall. “You destroyed my home,” he shouted again. Jan Mohammad dropped his head again on his palm and rolled it left and right, his big gray turban moving like a huge pendulum, “Taouba [forgiveness],” he hissed. “People lost their fathers and sons for a little bit of fuel. Forgiveness.”

Omar Khan, the village chief, was crying now and looking at the ceiling.

Fazel Muhamad a 48-year-old farmer with seven deep lines creasing his forehead and a white prayers cap, threw two colour passport pictures in front of me, one of a thickly bearded man and the other a young boy. “My cousin and his son,” he said. “Around 10pm, my cousin told me the Taliban were distributing fuel to the people and he was going to get some for the winter. I asked him to stay and not go, there were planes and it was dangerous at night, but he went anyway.

“At one or two in the morning we heard a big explosion and I saw fire coming form the sky. My cousin’s wife came running, she said go look for your cousin, but I waited until I had finished my dawn prayers, no one could eat anything.

“I arrived there and I saw dead bodies, some were in the middle of the river, I walked around looking for him and his son but I couldn’t find him. I went back home and his wife asked me did you see him, is he dead, where is he? I said I couldn’t find him. She was wailing and crying.

“I went again looking for him. There was light now, I picked through the bodies, the Arbabs [village elders] were distributing the flesh, but I didn’t go there. I looked through the ground and I could only see his two feet and his son’s feet. I recognised them because he and his son had henna on their toes.”

Islamu-ldin, a 20-year-old from Issa khail village with tufts of hair sprouting from his cheek, took his turn to speak. He said he ran for three hours to get to the riverbed to look for his brother.

“Our village is far from the river, I searched a lot through the dead, and I found my brother. I recognized him from his clothes. But we only found his upper body, maybe someone took the legs, maybe it just burned to ashes.”

Omar Khan was weeping openly now. A few other men resisted, but their eyes were as red as those of Jan Muhamad, who was babbling and shouting at the young Assadullah again and again.

Saleh Muhamad, a 25-year-old man with thick beard, wanted to get some fuel but no one would give him a lift. His brother and brother-in-law went and he went to sleep, then he heard the explosion. “I waited till darkness ended, then went there. I didn’t find anyone I knew, so I waited for the elders. They gave me two bodies, they looked like my relatives and I came back with them.”

Another village elder said that at least a dozen of the dead were from the Taliban. Although most of them had already left when the explosion happened, the rest stayed trying to keep some order while the villagers shoved and pushed.

“At midnight my brother and nephew went to get fuel. I also wanted to go but I didn’t have a car,” said Saleh Muhamad.

“At one in the morning I went to bed. When I heard the explosion I called my brother but his phone was off … when I arrived at 3am there were dead everywhereI was searching for my brother and nephew but I couldn’t find anyone.

“I had a torch with me and I could see well, but I still couldn’t recognise anyone.” His eyes looked straight through me as he said: “I found one body and took it home and we buried it. It was a full body, with arms and legs. We buried it well.”

Source

There are few words to describe how these people must feel.

They are the innocent  who must suffer the deaths of those they love.

The despair they feel is unimaginable.

So this how the so called, civilized, world helps them?

Below are pictures of some of the injured.

(Afghanistan 5) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Has Usama Bin Ladin been dead for seven years – and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror?

Published in: on September 15, 2009 at 8:03 am  Comments Off on Victims’ families tell their stories following Nato airstrike in Afghanistan  
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Iraq: Merc Contractor above the law says US Judges

Justice as Usual for Iraqis Suing Merc Contractor

by Sherwood Ross

September 13, 2009

The federal Appeals Court decision to toss a lawsuit claiming contractors tortured detainees in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison is what you’d expect from a tyranny.

The new ruling brushes off the charges by 212 Iraqis who said they or their late husbands were abused by U.S. personnel at Abu Ghraib. The suit charged private security firm CACI International Inc., of Arlington, Va., of crimes inside the Baghdad hellhole. But in a 2-1 ruling, the D.C. Court of Appeals said CACI “is protected by laws barring suits filed as the result of military activities during a time of war,” the Associated Press reported. This opinion was written by Judge Laurence Silberman, a Reagan appointee,  and supported by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a Bush appointee.

“During wartime, where a private service contractor is integrated into combatant activities over which the military retains command authority, a tort claim arising out of the contractor’s engagement in such activities shall be pre-empted,” Silberman wrote. If so, with about as many U.S.-led contract mercenaries as regular army involved in the Iraq conflict, this decision preposterously exempts some 150,000 fighters from legal action for any crimes they commit. It gives a shoot-to-kill pass to privateers such as Blackwater, whose operatives on one occasion are said to have gunned down 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

“This abuse and torture of these prisoners detained during war time constituted war crimes and torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the U.S. War Crimes Act, the Convention against Torture, and the U.S. Federal Anti-torture Statute—felonies, punishable by death if death results as a violation thereof,” said Francis Boyle, an international law authority at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

“Judges Silberman and Kavanaugh have now become Accessories After the Fact to torture, war crimes and felonies in violation of United States federal law and international criminal law,” Boyle asserted. (See if they are ever prosecuted!)

Dissenter Judge Merrick Garland, appointed by President Bill Clinton, argued the law does not protect independent contractors, particularly when they are accused of acting outside the rules or instructions of their military overseers. But where Silberman said most of the claims were limited to “abuse” or “harm,” not war crimes or torture, according to Courthouse News Service, Garland “found the claims much more alarming.”

“The plaintiffs in these cases allege they were beaten, electrocuted, raped, subjected to attacks by dogs, and otherwise abused by private contractors working as interpreters and interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison,” Garland said.

“No act of Congress and no judicial precedent bars the plaintiffs from suing the private contractors—who were neither soldiers nor civilian government employees,” he wrote.

“Neither President Obama nor President Bush nor any other Executive Branch official has suggested that subjecting the contractors to tort liability for the conduct at issue here would interfere with the nation’s foreign policy or the Executive’s
ability to wage war,” Garland pointed out.

“To the contrary, the Department of Defense has repeatedly stated that employees of private contractors accompanying the Armed Forces in the field are not within the military’s chain of command, and that such contractors are subject to civil liability,” he wrote.

Judge Silberman was named to the Federal bench in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan and in 2008 received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, from (surprise!) President George W. Bush, the man who launched the Afghan and Iraq aggressions.

Silverman was supported in his opinion by Kavanaugh, a former legal aide to President Bush who was later appointed by Bush
to the Federal bench. In July, 2007, Senators Patrick Leahy(D-Vt.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) accused Kavanaugh of “misleading” the Senate during his nomination.

In a statement issued at the time opposing the appointment, Sen. Durbin prophesied, “By every indication, Brett Kavanaugh will make this judgeship a gift that keeps on giving to his political patrons who have rewarded him richly with a nomination coveted by lawyers all over America.” And that, of course, is exactly what happened. Here’s what aroused Durbin’s concern:

“For example, he (Kavanaugh) would not tell us his views on some of the most controversial policy decisions of the Bush administration — like the issues of torture and warrantless wiretapping. He would not comment. He would not tell us whether he regretted the role he played in supporting the nomination of some judicial nominees who wanted to permit torture as part of American foreign policy… It would have been so refreshing and reassuring if Brett Kavanaugh could have distanced himself from their extreme views. But a loyal White House counsel is not going to do that. And that is how he came to this nomination.” And that is how he came to dismiss the torture charges against contractor CACI. Surely, Kavanaugh’s decision in the CACI case is proof he misled the Senate and merits impeachment.

In Jan., 2005, The New York Times reported testimony suggesting that guards and/or interrogators at Abu Ghraib were urinating on detainees, pouring phosphoric acid on them, sodomizing them with a baton, tying ropes to their penises and dragging them across the floor, and jumping on their wounds. Some prisoners were hung with their hands tied behind their back until they died. It should be remembered that the Abu Ghraib inmates were suspects, imprisoned without due process or trials. Abu Ghraib’s commanding officer Brig. General Janis Karpinski estimated that 90 percent of them were innocent.

According to an article by Jeffrey Toobin in the September 21 issue of The New Yorker, President Obama already has the chance to
nominate judges for 21 seats on the federal appellate bench—more than 10 percent of the 179 judges on those courts, and at least half a dozen more seats should open in the next few months.

In a Detroit speech, Obama said the role of our courts “is to protect people who don’t have a voice…the vulnerable, the minority, the outcast, the person with the unpopular idea, the journalist who is shaking things up…And if somebody doesn’t appreciate that role, then I don’t think they are going to make a very good justice.”

Surely, hundreds of foreign prisoners tortured in an illegal war made by the U.S., or their survivors, are supplicants entitled to a fair hearing, not non-persons to be brushed aside as judges Silberman and Kavanaugh have done this past week. Their ruling that, essentially, injured parties cannot sue the Warfare State and its contractors, drives a tank through the Constitution. Americans had better pray Obama’s judicial choices will aspire to a higher standard.

Source

No one should be above the law.

War crimes with no consequences, is just wrong.

How sick is that?

Laws are suppose to protect people, not give anyone license to torture or kill.

All War Criminals should be punished. No exceptions.

Has Usama Bin Ladin been dead for seven years – and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror?

Report: Blackwater Guard Saw Iraqi Killings as 9/11 Revenge

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on September 14, 2009 at 7:47 am  Comments Off on Iraq: Merc Contractor above the law says US Judges  
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Public gives £600,000 to Gaza appeal before broadcasts are aired/Information, If you want to Donate

This is the best news I have heard in a long time.

Yesterday, the DEC described the £600,000 pledged through the website prior to the broadcasts as an “unprecedented” response.

They need much more then that to rebuild.

Iran has also said they are willing to help rebuild 1000 homes.

By Jerome Taylor
January 27 2009

The Gaza appeal which the BBC is refusing to broadcast raised £600,000 before it was shown. Donations flooded in to the Disasters Emergency Committee website before the initial transmission of the two-minute appeal on ITV1 last night.

On previous occasions the DEC has not accepted donations until an appeal has gone out live but members of the public have been able to donate to the Gaza appeal since Thursday. Charity chiefs will be hoping that the controversy over the broadcast has increased public awareness that a way of donating to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is available.

Yesterday, Sky News sided with its main newsgathering rival in refusing to broadcast the appeal for aid for Gaza as the head of the BBC ruled out any last-minute policy change over its own decision.

The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, said the public broadcaster had a duty to cover the Middle East in a “balanced, objective way” and reiterated the corporation’s belief that broadcasting the appeal could undermine its journalistic impartiality. The BBC has received more than 15,000 complaints since the weekend and has been publicly criticised by more than 50 MPs and two archbishops.

Dame Suzi Leather, head of the Charity Commission, adding her voice to the criticism yesterday, said she was “disappointed” that Sky had joined the BBC in not broadcasting the appeal. Along with ITV, Channel 4 and Five also agreed to show the two-minute appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, a group of 13 charities including the Red Cross, Oxfam, Save the Children and Islamic Relief, before their main evening news bulletins.

Yesterday, the DEC described the £600,000 pledged through the website prior to the broadcasts as an “unprecedented” response.

Ian Bray, a senior officer at Oxfam, said the media coverage had generated a huge amount of interest among the general public and added: “We hope that level of interest continues.”

Previous appeals to aid victims of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and cyclone victims in Burma raised £9.7m and £18m respectively.

Source

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Member Agencies
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is made up of 13 member agencies which provide humanitarian aid in times of disaster.

The 13 member agencies are:

  • ActionAid
  • British Red Cross
  • CAFOD
  • Care International
  • Christian Aid
  • Concern
  • Help the Aged
  • Islamic Relief
  • Merlin
  • Oxfam
  • Save the Children
  • Tearfund
  • World Vision

To Donate to those in need in Gaza

Be part of the Solution.

Donations to Doctors without Boarders are also needed. Just add a notation, you wish the donation to go to Gaza victims.

Gaza Report: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Doctors without Boarders/MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES (MSF) Canada

Lets help those, who are helping victims in Gaza.

“Save the Children Canada” has also been helping those in Gaza.

Reports from: “Save the Children Canada” Charity in Gaza


Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 6:47 pm  Comments Off on Public gives £600,000 to Gaza appeal before broadcasts are aired/Information, If you want to Donate  
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White Phosphorus Victims in Gaza

Gaza phosphorus casualties relive Israel’s three-week war
Special Report: By Tim Butcher in Gaza City argues why the true story about Israel’s use of phosphorus shells may never emerge.

PD*26421157

Sabbah Abu Halima, 45, suffered burns in the shelling of the village of Atatra on the northern edge of Gaza. She saw her husband and baby daughter killed. Photo: REUTERS

January 23 2009

John Stuart Mill described war as an ugly thing and it does not come much uglier than the digital photograph Mahmoud Abu Halima has on his mobile phone. It was taken this week and shows the body of his 15-month-old sister, Shahed, burned by white phosphorus, bloated through decomposition and without any feet or legs.

Mr Halima explained what happened to the lower limbs.

“There were about 12 bodies from the village that had to be left out in the open when the Israeli soldiers came. By the time we got back she had been partially eaten by wild dogs,” he said.

After Israel ended its ban on foreign journalists in Gaza it was a week of piecing together such stories, trying to clarify exactly what happened during the three-week military assault by Israel’s armed forces.

The Israeli government has accused people like the Halima family of being coached by Hamas to spout fiction.

Investigation of the Halima family began in the burns unit at Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza. During its military operations Israel had denied using white phosphorus shells improperly, meaning it was not used against civilians or in civilian areas. But the case of Sabbah Abu Halima, 45, suggested otherwise.

She had been brought into the hospital with what appeared to be mild burns to her right forearm, left lower leg and feet. Without experience of white phosphorus, the staff, led by the unit’s director, Nafiz Abu Shabaan, wiped the wounds, bound them and sent her on her way. “But two days later she came back, complaining of pain and when we opened the bandages we found her wounds still smoking and much, much bigger. Her arm was down to the bone and tendons, that is all that is left,” he said.

Sitting on her hospital bed and wincing with pain when her bandages pinched, Mrs Halima gave an initial account of what happened. She described how her family had gathered to eat in a first-storey room at the family home in the village of Atatra. It lies on the northern edge of Gaza and while it was never likely to be a target during the air assault phase of Israel’s operation Cast Lead, its proximity to the fence with Israel meant it was in the front line for the ground offensive.

“The first shells landed outside and we all stood up and went into the hall and a bedroom because we thought it was safe. That was when a shell came through the roof and exploded. My husband, Saadallah, was holding some of the children but his head was cut off. There was fire and smoke everywhere and the baby Shahed fell to the ground. I heard her cry ‘mama, mama, mama’, and then she stopped,” Mrs Halima said. The house should be a 20-minute drive from Shifa but the conflict has turned roads into slow obstacle courses with cars having to slalom round craters, heaps of rubble and bloated carcasses of livestock. The Halima house lies just off a main road in Atatra up a muddy alley leading to fields of hothouses.

Outside the house lay evidence of the shelling Mrs Halima described. Two white phosphorus shell cases, originally painted light green but burnt by detonations with the metal bent back like tulip petals, were on the ground.

One still had the four tell-tale angle-irons inside to indicate a 155mm white phosphorus shell and was packed with unburned chemical. A poke with a stick to expose the chemical to oxygen was enough to set it burning again, sending out white smoke.

Mr Halima, 20, was next door in the house of his uncle, Hikmat, 42, when the barrage struck and he remembered the smell of the smoke as he rushed up the open stairwell at his home.

“It was a bad smell, a smell that made you choke,” he said. “I came upstairs but there was smoke everywhere. I ran to get water from the bathroom but when I put the water on them the water did not stop the fire.”

White phosphorus fires are resistant to water.

As well as his infant sister and father, Mr Halima lost two brothers – Zaid, 10, and Hamza, eight – in the blast and subsequent fire.

Mr Halima explained how the killing did not end there. As the wounded, including his mother, were dragged down the stairwell, his cousin, Mohammed, 16, the son of Hikmat, ran to the fields to fetch a tractor and trailer to take the injured to safety. According to witnesses, Mohammed was shot dead by Israeli soldiers.

The Atatra case is one of many in Gaza for which human rights activists have demanded an investigation. Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, has suggested that there is at least one case with “the appearance of war crimes”. But Israel does not have a good record of co-operating with those investigating atrocities in Gaza. In 2006 after Israeli artillery killed 18 members of the Athamneh family in Gaza, Israel cleared itself of wrongdoing in an internal inquiry and blocked Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel peace prize laureate, from reaching Gaza to investigate the incident for the UN.

This time round, after denying any improper use of white phosphorus, Israel has launched an internal inquiry. In some ways full-scale investigations of alleged atrocities by the Israeli army are academic.

With the two sides in the conflict so far apart, Israeli hard-liners will not shift from their faith in the probity of its armed forces, nor will Palestinians budge from the view that their people were innocent victims. But unless they are dealt with, the cycle of enmity that has fueled this conflict for decades will continue and the loss of life – 13 Israelis and over 1,300 Palestinians – will have been for nothing.

When Israel launched its attack its stated aim was to reduce Hamas rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. At one level the mission has been successful: the militants’ rockets have all but stopped. But before the Israeli government unfurls a Mission Accomplished banner there remains one important point of business: the smuggling tunnels are open again.

Much of the tunneling under the Egyptian border is surprisingly visible, taking place out in the open in the south Gazan town of Rafah clearly within sight of nearby Egyptian watchtowers. The area was pitted with craters from Israeli air strikes but during a visit I saw several of the tunnels open or being repaired.

Further north in the town of Beit Hanoun was the house of Angham al Masri, a 10-year-old girl who was killed in an Israeli air strike after it began its ceasefire in the early hours last Sunday. Her father, Rafat, 44, explained how his daughter thought the ceasefire made it safe to venture out of the house for the first time in days to check on the family farm that had been evacuated during the fighting. “She had only gone a few hundred metres when the missile struck,” he said. “I ran to her and picked her up but she died in an hour.” Israel said it attacked a rocket firing position.

Amid claim and counter-claim about Israel’s war aims and achievements, Mr Masri then indicated how operation Cast Lead has done nothing but harden Palestinian resolve against Israel.

“Israel said this was a war on Hamas but when they kill people like my daughter it becomes clear it is a war on the Palestinian people,” he said. “Until they change this war will never end.”

Source

Israeli’s have committed many crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity, they have also broken International Laws.

Those responsible, should be prosecuted. They should be charged with all crimes they have committed past and present.

Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’

Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 5:42 am  Comments Off on White Phosphorus Victims in Gaza  
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Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’/Israels Latin America “Trail of Terror”

Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’
Israel has warned military officers and senior officials that a threat of prosecution for alleged war crimes in Gaza could hinder future travel abroad.

By Damien McElroy in Jerusalem
January 24 2009

Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza 'war crimes'
Daniel Friedman, Israel’s justice minister, was appointed to head a special task force to defend individuals detained abroad and the military censor declared that names of officers from lieutenant to colonel must not be published Photo: AFP

At least four human rights groups are believed to be compiling suits alleging that Israelis perpetrated war crimes in planning or carrying out the three-week operation Cast Lead.

Daniel Friedman, Israel’s justice minister, was appointed to head a special task force to defend individuals detained abroad and the military censor declared that names of officers from lieutenant to colonel must not be published.

More than 1,300 Palestinian deaths were reported during the offensive in Gaza and the United Nations has led demands that Israel investigate high-profile incidents including the shelling of its facilities.

Private prosecutions are already being prepared. “We are building files on war crimes throughout the chain of command from the top to the local level,” said Raji Sourani of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “We are convinced these have been the most bloody days for Gaza since the occupation and that war crimes were perpetrated against Palestinian civilians.”

Courts in six countries, including Britain, have accepted petitions to prosecute alleged war crimes in previous wars. Most notoriously, activists in Belgium used a clause, since removed from the statute, to target the former prime minister, Ariel Sharon.

Accusations of war crimes strike an especially sensitive chord in Israel, a nation founded in the wake of the Holocaust. Comparisons between the long siege of Gaza and the Jewish ghettoes of central Europe draw a vociferous denunciation from the government. Israel insists troops did their best to limit civilian casualties in heavily populated areas where Hamas gunmen were attacking from tunnels and had booby-trapped civilian homes.

While senior politicians travel with diplomatic immunity, retired officials have already faced problems travelling abroad.

A retired major general, Doron Almog, was forced to remain on an El Al plane at Heathrow in 2005 after the Israeli military attaché warned he would be arrested if he disembarked. Gen Almog commanded Israeli forces in Gaza when a bombing raid on an apartment block that killed a Hamas commander, Salah Shehadeh, resulted in the deaths of 14 others. The magistrates’ warrant was later quashed.

An unknown number of officials have been notified that they should submit future travel plans to the military for review. Avigdor Feldman, an Israeli lawyer, said that thousands of serving officers could be affected. “I would highly recommend any soldier or officer contemplating going to the UK to reconsider,” he told an Israeli newspaper.

According to Lt Col David Benjamin of the Military Advocate Corps, lawyers were deployed at divisional commands in operation Cast Lead. He said: “Approval of targets which can be attacked, methods of warfare – it all has gone through us.”

But ensuring that those involved in the Gaza Campaign are never sentenced is set to be a long-term challenge for Israel. “The government will stand like a fortified wall to protect each and every one of you from allegations,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, at a military gathering after a ceasefire was called last week.

Source

How dare they scream  Holocaust, when in fact they have helped in the murder of millions.

Screaming Holocaust is there favorite pass time, but it doens’t cut it,  when you look at their history.

Israel was on the road, long before the Holocaust transpired at any rate anyway. Anyone who knows the history of the Jewish Community would know that.

Seems they always use that as a tactic. The rest of the world is suppose to feel guilty and forgive them for their terrorizing innocent people.

Well there have been numerous Holocausts. Like all the Aboriginal Indians in North and South America. In Africa  and other countries. There has even been a Holocaust in Palestine.  Perpetrated by the Israelis them selves. That being said lets move on.

Here are a few Facts about Israel, I had tucked away for prosperity.

They are not the sweet wonderful country, they pretend to be.

Israel’s Latin American trail of terror
By Jeremy Bigwood
June 5, 2003

“I learned an infinite amount of things in Israel, and to that country I owe part of my essence, my human and military achievements” said Colombian paramilitary leader and indicted drug trafficker Carlos Castao in his ghostwritten autobiography, Mi Confesin.

Castao, who leads the Colombian paramilitaries, known by their Spanish acronym AUC, the largest right-wing paramilitary force to ever exist in the western hemisphere reveals that he was trained in the arts of war in Israel as a young man of 18 in the 1980s.

He glowingly adds: “I copied the concept of paramilitary forces from the Israelis,” in his chapter-long account of his Israel experiences.

Castao’s right-wing Phalange-like AUC force is now by far the worst human rights violator in all of the Americas, and ties between that organisation and Israel are continually surfacing in the press.

Outside the law

The AUC paramilitaries are a fighting force that originally grew out of killers hired to protect drug-running operations and large landowners. They were organised into a cohesive force by Castao in 1997. It exists outside the law but often coordinates its actions with the Colombian military, in a way similar to the relationship of the Lebanese Phalange to the Israeli army throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

According to a 1989 Colombian Secret Police intelligence report, apart from training Carlos Castao in 1983, Israeli trainers arrived in Colombia in 1987 to train him and other paramilitaries who would later make up the AUC.

Fifty of the paramilitaries’ “best” students were then sent on scholarships to Israel for further training according to a Colombian police intelligence report, and the AUC became the most prominent paramilitary force in the hemisphere, with some 10,000-12,000 men in arms.

The Colombian AUC paramilitaries are always in need of arms, and it should come as no surprise that some of their major suppliers are Israeli. Israeli arms dealers have long had a presence in next-door Panama and especially in Guatemala.

In May of last year, GIRSA, an Israeli company associated with the Israeli Defence Forces and based in Guatemala was able to buy 3000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition that were then handed over to AUC paramilitaries in Colombia.

Links with the continent

Israel’s military relations with right-wing groups and regimes spans Latin America from Mexico to the southernmost tip of Chile, starting just a few years after the Israeli state came into existence.

Since then, the list of countries Israel has supplied, trained and advised includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
But it isn’t only the sales of planes, guns and weapons system deals that characterises the Israeli presence in Latin America.
Where Israel has excelled is in advising, training and running intelligence and counter-insurgency operations in the Latin American “dirty war” civil conflicts of Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and now Colombia.

In the case of the Salvadoran conflict – a civil war between the right-wing landowning class supported by a particularly violent military pitted against left-wing popular organisations – the Israelis were present from the beginning. Besides arms sales, they helped train ANSESAL, the secret police who were later to form the framework of the infamous death squads that would kill tens of thousands of mostly civilian activists.

From 1975 to 1979, 83% of El Salvador’s military imports came from Israel, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. By 1981, many of those in the civilian popular political movements who had survived the death squads headed for the hills to become guerrillas.

By 1981 there was an open civil war in El Salvador which took over a decade to resolve through negotiations.

Even though the US was openly backing the Salvadoran Army by 1981, as late as November 1983 it was asking for more Israeli “practical assistance” there, according to a declassified secret document obtained recently by Aljazeera.

Among the assistance asked for were helicopters, trucks, rifles, ammunition, and combat infantry advisors to work at both the “company and battalion level of the Salvadoran Army”.

One notable Salvadoran officer trained by the Israelis was Major Roberto D’Aubuisson, who always held a high opinion of the Israelis. It was Major D’Aubuisson who ordered the assassination of El Salvador’s archbishop amongst thousands of other murders.
Later he would organise the right-wing National Republican Alliance Party (ARENA) and send his son to study abroad in the relative safety of Israel.

Dirty war

Amazingly, while the Israelis were training the El Salvadoran “death squads” they were also supporting the anti-semitic Argentine military government of the late 1970s and early 1980s – at a time when that government was involved_in another “dirty war” of death squads and disappearances.

In 1978, Nicaragua’s dictator Somoza was making his last stand against a general uprising of the Sandinista-led population who were sick of his family’s dynasty which had ruled and monopolised the county for half a century. The Israelis and the US had been supplying Somoza with weapons for years. But when President Jimmy Carter came into office in 1976 he ordered a cessation of all US military assistance to Nicaragua.
Filling the void, the Israelis immediately increased their weapons supplies to Somoza until he fled the country when the Sandinistas took power.

Israeli operatives then helped train right-wing Nicaraguan Contras in Honduran and Costa Rican camps to fight the Sandinista government, according to Colombian police intelligence reports Aljazeera_has obtained.

At least some of the same Israeli operatives had also previously trained the nucleus of the paramilitary organisations that would become the AUC in Colombia.

But by far the bloodiest case of Israeli involvement in Latin America was its involvement in Guatemala from the 1970s to the 1990s. As in El Salvador, a civil war pitted a populist but, in this case, mainly Indian left against a mainly European oligarchy protected by a brutal Mestizo Army.

As Guatemalan President Carlos Arana said in 1971, “If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.”

Active involvement

The Israelis supplied Guatemala with Galil rifles, and built an ammunition factory for them, as well as supplying armoured personnel carriers and Arava planes. Behind the scenes, they were actively involved in the bloodiest counter-insurgency campaign the hemisphere has known since the European conquest, in which at least 200,000 (mostly Indians) were killed.
Like Israel’s original occupation of Palestine, several entire Guatemalan Indian villages were razed and a million people displaced. “The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea. If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea,” said Guatemalan President Rios Montt in 1982.

Guatemalan army officers credit Israeli support with turning the tide against the uprising, not only in the countryside where Israeli counter-insurgency techniques and assistance set up strategic-hamlet-like “development poles” along the lines of the Israeli kibbutz, but also in the cities where “Israeli communication technicians and instructors” working through then-sophisticated computers were able to locate and then decimate guerrillas and their supporters in Guatemala City in 1981.

From the late 1970s until the 1990s, the US could not overtly support the Guatemalan army because of its horrendous human rights record (although there was some covert support), but many in the US government, especially in the CIA, supported Israel in taking up the slack.

Wrong

But the US grew to regret its actions. On 10 March 1999, US President Bill Clinton issued an apology for US involvement in the war: The “United States… support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression…was wrong.” No similar statement has ever been forthcoming from the Israelis.

At the present time, the only major insurgency war in Latin America is in Colombia, where Israel has an overt involvement.
Besides the dozen or so Kfir IAI C-7 jet fighters they have sold the Colombian government, and the Galil rifles produced in Bogota under licence, most of the Israeli ties to the government’s counter-insurgency war are closely-guarded secrets.

Aljazeera’s attempts to obtain clarification on these and other issues for this story were stonewalled by the Israeli embassy in Washington.

Why does Israel continue to provide arms and expertise to the pariahs of the world? Clearly, part of the reason is the revenues produced by arms sales, and part of it has do with keeping up with trends in counter-insurgent war across the globe.
But another factor is what is demanded of Israel by the world’s only superpower, the US, in partial exchange for the superpower’s continued support for Israeli dominance in the Middle East.

Assistance

This relationship can be best illustrated by recently declassified 1983 US government documents obtained by the Washington, DC-based National Security Archives through the Freedom of Information Act.

One such declassified document is a 1983 memo from the notorious Colonel Oliver North of the Reagan Administration’s National Security Council and reads: “As discussed with you yesterday, I asked CIA, Defense, and State to suggest practical assistance which the Israelis might offer in Guatemala and El Salvador.”

Another document, this time a 1983 cable from the US Ambassador in Guatemala to Washington Frederic Chapin shows the money trail.

He says that at a time when the US did not want to be seen directly assisting Guatemala, “we have reason to believe that our good friends the Israelis are prepared, or already have, offered substantial amounts of military equipment to the GOG (Government of Guatemala) on credit terms up to 20 years…(I pass over the importance of making huge concessionary loans to Israel so that it can make term loans in our own backyard).”
In other words, during civil wars in which the US does not want to be seen getting its hands dirty in Latin America, the superpower loans Israel money at a very good rate, and then Israel uses these funds to do the “dirty work”. In this regard, in Latin America at least, Israel has become the “hit-man” for the US.

Wars funded by American Tax Dollars.

Wars and funding to prop up Brutal governments or regimes.

Israel the, Money Laundering, “Funnel Tunnel” for the US.

They love extermination pure and simple. They were more, then willing to help other regimes exterminate innocent people.

Of course it doesn’t end there, they also supplied weapons etc to other countries as well. Africa is also on my list as well. It’s a pretty long list.

What has changed over the years, not much.

Why would anything change.

We will in the future find out who and how many.

The trail of cookie crumbs, is not all that hard to follow.

Have a cruel bloodthirsty regime and you will find both the US or Israeli involvement.

Most time they work together. All in the name of profit, power, control and death.

They call it Self Defense or I am rescuing you.

Iran is evil because thy want to help innocent victims rebuild.

Hamas is pure evil are they?  The Hamas they helped create.

Haitian’s are pure evil are they?

Indians are pure evil are they?

All the innocent people they had a hand, in murdering are all evil are they?

Death Squads are a good thing are they?

I can almost bet, the “Death Squads” in the Philippines, were trained by Israelis.

The Israeli Gov. and the US Gov. should mind their own business and clean up their, own moral bankruptcy.

They both should clean up their own Weapons of Mass Destruction.

They are two the most corrupt, countries in the world.

They blame everyone else of crimes, they themselves are actually committing.

Well like all criminals they will plead not guilty. They are no different from any other criminal.

Both countries lied to their people.

Both oppressed their own people.

Both are warmongering countries.

They could pass as twins, in their sins against humanity.

Those who are corrupt past and present should be rooted out and charged.

There is no statute of limitation on murder or war crimes.

They should be held responsible for the millions, they have murdered or helped murder. Directly or indirectly they are responsible.

Can or will Obama be able to clean up the US.

Maybe:  We will have to wait and see.

Will the corruption in Israel, get cleaned up, not flippin likely.

Will the corruption in the International Agency’s get cleaned up, we will have to wait and see.

The less they do to stop those in the US Gov. and Israeli Gov. the more obvious it is, they are corrupted.

Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children

White Phosphorus Victims in Gaza

What Types of Gruesome Weapons Did Israel Use in Lebanon?

UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed

Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

Outrage as Israel bombs UN and Hospital

Israel Navy ships turn back “Spirit of Humanity” carrying Gaza humanitarian aid

President of the United Nations General Assembly: Israel violating International Law

Israel Hits another “United Nations” Building in Gaza

Israel Violating Egyptian Airspace to attack Gaza

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

Red Cross slams Israel over 4 day wait to access wounded

The making of Israel’s Apartheid in Palestine

Samouni family recounts Gaza horror

79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

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

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Shoot Then Ask, Israeli Soldiers Told

Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Gaza Families Eat Grass as Israel Blocks Food Aid

Will the world do nothing to stop Genocide in Gaza?

Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

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

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Bombs rain down in Gaza as peace deal accepted ‘in principle’

January 8 2009

The first tentative hope of an end to the war in Gaza came yesterday when Israel said it accepted “the principles” of a French-backed Egyptian peace plan providing for international action to stop Hamas militants smuggling arms.

Israel, nevertheless, resumed its 12-day-old offensive against Hamas last night, which Palestinian medics say has killed 688 Palestinians, after halting it for three hours to allow humanitarian and medical aid into Gaza. The military said it may halt ground operations for three hours a day.

As witnesses reported tanks on the move close to the border parallel to the southern town of Khan Yunis, Israel began new air strikes against smuggling tunnels in Rafah after warning local residents to leave their homes. It was claimed that an Israeli airstrike destroyed a mosque in Gaza City, injuring at least 15 worshippers.

Amos Gilad, the top official in the Israeli Defence Ministry, flies to Cairo today for negotiations. It is clear Israel is seeking tough assurances on the strength and practicalities of any future international force on the Egypt/Gaza border before agreeing to end the war.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to jump ahead of events by announcing his “delight” that Israel and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, had accepted a new peace plan.

Israel’s security cabinet opted to continue pursuing its offensive, which yesterday resulted in the deaths of an estimated 29 Palestinians.

The UN said civilians continued to “bear the brunt” of the ground operation which started on Saturday night. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza said 130 children aged under 16 had been killed. Seven Israeli soldiers have died during the offensive. (4 were from Friendly Fire)

With Cabinet ministers reportedly deferring a decision on whether to deepen the offensive by moving further into inner-city areas to engage with the Hamas militants, Maj-Gen Gilad told Israel’s Army Radio the Gaza operation was “at a crossroads”.

The Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit , attending a deadlocked UN Security Council New said that the plan in Cairo was to forge a “temporary ceasefire that would lead to a consolidated, permanent ceasefire”. He said he was unable to confirm whether Hamas intended to send a team to Cairo today.

Amid reports a Turkish force was being considered to bolster border security as part of the peace plan, Mark Regev, the spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said the plan’s success depended on the international community as well as Israel.

With 800,000 Gazans now without running water, the World Bank called on Israel to allow emergency fuel distribution to 170 halted water and sewage pumps and warned that 10,000 residents could be at risk of drowning if a combination of explosions and heavy rain resulted in the failure of Beit Lahiya sewage lake.

The exact details of what appears to have been one of the worst attacks of the war – the shelling on Monday of a compound in the Zeitoun district of northern Gaza City in which about 100 members of the Al Samoun family had taken shelter – are yet to emerge.

The Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem said a paramedic who had reached the compound during the ceasefire reported the removal of three bodies and 14 injured people but that about 16 bodies remained inside.

About 12 bodies were removed on the day of the day of the attack, making the paramedic’s report broadly consistent with reports that more than 30 people were killed. However B’Tselem said some family members were now saying the death toll was lower. Others have suggested that it is even higher.

From a hilltop half a mile from the northern Gaza border, near Sderot, the resumption of the bombardment could be seen and heard about 15 minutes after the designated 4pm end to the ceasefire. Helicopters hovered in the air above the Strip, plumes of heavy smoke rose from some of the areas under attack and the trails left by two rockets fired by militants could be seen against the sky as the sun sank.

At the UN, diplomats manoeuvred to avoid the tabling of a Libyan-drafted ceasefire resolution that would be almost certain to provoke a veto by the United States for failing to mention the Hamas arms smuggling.

British officials suggested the the 15 Security Council members may agree a compromise text just short of a resolution to avert a public split. They said this would not preclude negotiations on a full-blown resolution, with the ceasefire initiative put forward by Egypt as its likely basis.

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, delayed her return to Washington to stay in New York and meet with counterparts from the Middle East and Europe, including Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Mr Miliband said: “I’ve seen the first glimmerings of the possibilities of a ceasefire… we’ve got to try and make sure the action on the ground led by President Mubarak and the diplomatic work here in New York come together.”

Army admits there was no firing from school

The Israeli army has admitted privately to the UN that no firing came from a Gaza school where 42 people died on Tuesday after being hit by Israeli mortars, officials of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) disclosed last night.

Publicly, the Israeli army claims that the school, which was providing shelter for around 350 people, was being used by Hamas fighters to carry out attacks. Unrwa officials said they were fully confident this was not the case.

More than 20,000 mourners attended the funerals of the victims yesterday. The attack was the single biggest loss of civilian life since the Israeli onslaught began. Mourners chanted slogans against “aggressors” and “murderers” and called for Israeli government leaders to be tried for war crimes. The procession went from the Kamal Adwan Hospital, where the casualties were taken, to the Al-Fakhora school.

Source

20000-morners-jan-7-gaza

More than 20,000 mourners attended the funerals of the victims yesterday Photo:  AFP/Getty

Egypt floats truce plan after 42 killed in Gaza School and Bars Doctors from Gaza

Gaza (3): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

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

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

Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family

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

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

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

Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances

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

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 6:54 am  Comments Off on Bombs rain down in Gaza as peace deal accepted ‘in principle’  
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Motorcycle thieves stalk victims online, warn police

By Steve Farrell
12 December 2008

Motorcycle thieves are using social networking websites and classified ad sites to find their next victims, police have warned.

They say riders too often give away enough clues to lead thieves to their bikes, and have issued tips to avoid the trap.

Crime prevention officer Colin Brough said riders selling bikes online sometimes include their home address with directions. He said some ads even include photos giving away where bikes are kept and how they are secured, so thieves know what tools to bring.

Brough said: ‘‘We have clear indications that motorbike thieves are looking at classified ad sites to target bikes to steal. Unfortunately, some people put too much information on their posting, including photos of the bike that also show the shed or garage door behind and whether there is much in the way of security.

‘‘Some of the postings quite literally put out the welcome mat by including a mapping system that provides directions virtually straight to the door of the seller.

‘‘The thieves can then look up the exact location of the bike and we believe they are turning up, with tools if necessary, to break in to the garage or shed and steal the bike.’’

Riders who use social networking sites are also at risk if the post too may details, according to the police warning.

Brough, of Tayside Police, said: “‘Many bikers have blogs on these sites that include a lot of information about them, often with photographs showing them on their motorcycles. A lot of these photos give strong clues as to the location of where these bikes are being stored and where they can potentially be stolen from.

‘‘I must stress that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the sites themselves, or with anyone using them – all include good information on how to keep safe when using them. But it is the amount of personal information that individuals are giving out that can be used by thieves and which is giving us real cause for concern.’’

The force said in a statement: ‘Tayside Police recommends that people look again at their postings and take all possible steps to ensure that there is nothing there to alert the eagle-eyed thief to the location of their vehicles.

‘Those who are selling a motorbike via a classified ads site are advised not to give out a home phone number, or use a mapping system showing the way to their door.
‘At the same time check out the tips that such websites give out themselves in respect of safety, security and any scams.’

Brough added: “We are targeting those responsible in an effort to bring them to justice but we need assistance from motorcycle owners. By reducing the amount of information that they make widely and readily available, they can reduce the chances of being a victim of crime.’’

Source

Published in: on December 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm  Comments Off on Motorcycle thieves stalk victims online, warn police  
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Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims Demand Accountability from US, Chemical Companies in Suit

December 4 2008

The Second National Congress of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange just concluded in Hanoi Wednesday. Vietnamese victims continue to demand accountability and compensation from the US government as well as the largest makers of Agent Orange, Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Earlier this year, a delegation of women victims of Agent Orange toured the United States. We speak with two of them: 71-year old Dang Hong Nhut, who has had several miscarriages and now has cancer, and 21-year-old Tran Thi Hoan, a second-generation victim of Agent Orange who was born without two legs and with one hand seriously atrophied.

Dang Hong Nhut, 71-year-old victim of Agent Orange. She was a part of the Vietnamese resistance for five years between 1961 and 1966 and was heavily sprayed with Agent Orange during that time. Since then, she has had several miscarriages and now has cancer. Her husband, who was also sprayed with Agent Orange, died of cancer in 1999.

Tran Thi Hoan, a 21-year-old university student from Vietnam and a second-generation victim of Agent Orange. Her mother was sprayed during the war.

AMY GOODMAN: We continue on this lawsuit that has just been filed against the former Halliburton subsidiary, now its own company, KBR. It’s based in Houston. Michael Doyle joins us from Houston, lead counsel for the Indiana Guardsmen who have filed the lawsuit. Jody Aistrop is one of those Indiana National Guard who are suing KBR.

The lawsuit, Michael Doyle, talks about KBR seeking to conceal the contamination and, once discovered, limiting exposed individuals’ knowledge about the level of poisoning they suffered. First of all, how did the chemical get there? And how do you know all of this?

MICHAEL DOYLE: Well, we know the chemical was there, because the Iraqis apparently were using it. It was being used as an anti-corrosive. This is a huge water plant that’s used to pump water down into oil wells so the oil keeps coming up. And this is basically—was used. It had been banned pretty much everywhere in the world for a number of years, but they were using it to keep the pipes clean. And it contained an extremely high amount, almost pure hexavalent chromium.

There are some indications, and it’s really just speculation, but there are some indications from the Iraqis that they gave to some of the civilian workers on site, that as part of the sabotage by the Baathist Party, Saddam Hussein’s folks, before the Americans got there, they had spread it around even more than it had been before. And that’s why, as a result, it was all over the place, not just in one limited area in this very large industrial site where these people were doing all this work and the Guardsmen were providing security on a daily basis.

The reason why we know a lot of this stuff is, a number—ten of the American civilian workers out there filed an arbitration claim, which is one of the things that Halliburton required all their employees, including of these Cayman Island subsidiaries of KBR, to sign an arbitration agreement to go work over there. Ten of these folks, including the medic on site, who is a fellow named Ed Black, who I think you could call him almost a whistleblower here, filed a claim. It’s pending in arbitration, and there has been testimony taken and documents produced in that arbitration that have kind of shed a lot of light about what the managers at the KBR level and the safety folks and the other managers involved knew about it.

And one of the important issues that came out in that was that as it became more and more clear—in other words, they kept getting reports of sodium dichromate out there, deadly carcinogen—their plant workers were getting sick, those people out there. The Cayman Island subsidiary folks were actually experiencing these blood clots, which unfortunately is the most acute sign of poisoning from hexavalent chromium. And that’s kind of the characteristic. They actually call it “chrome nose.” Even as they’re getting these reports, they put off doing any testing until after the windy season had ended. The very first—at least what they’ve owned up to—testing was done not when they were hired to do it, when they were supposed to do it back in April and May, but not until August, after these folks had been out there for three to four months.

And not only was the testing inadequate, they basically were very selective about how they did it, and it didn’t line up—the air testing didn’t line up with the soil testing. But when they actually did some blood testing on the civilian workers there, and almost all of them had elevated chromium, which just basically measures all the chromium in your blood, but when you’ve got these guys exposed, that’s a big red flag. There was actually a meeting here with the medical director of Halliburton/KBR and a number of the managers, where they discussed the need—or if you’re really going to test and see whether or not hexavalent chromium is in these guys, the incredibly dangerous substance, there’s a test you’re supposed to do, and they decided not to do that test. And unfortunately, not just for the civilians but also for the National Guardsmen, if that test isn’t done fairly shortly after the exposure—and they knew that—there’s no real way to document the level of exposure, so tracking these guys health-wise forward is going to be that much more difficult.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Michael Doyle, we asked KBR to join us today, but they declined our request. And we did receive a statement from their director of corporate communications, Heather Browne. She said the company intends to vigorously defend—and I want—defend against the suit, and I want to read to you part of the statement. It says, quote, “We deny the assertion that KBR harmed troops and was responsible for an unsafe condition. KBR appropriately notified the Army Corps of Engineers upon discovery of the existence of the substance on the site and the Corps of Engineers concluded that KBR’s efforts to remediate the situation were effective. Further the company in no way condones any action that would compromise the safety of those we serve or employ.” I’d like to ask you to respond to that and also to what the military did, if they were informed by KBR, of the existence of this problem.

MICHAEL DOYLE: Well, thanks, Juan. I think that there’s really two things in there. One of them is that their indication that they informed the military in a timely manner—one of the things that has been provided to these soldiers by the National Guard was a timeline that was actually—we were able to attach to the complaint—that was apparently provided based on information the Army got from KBR. And one of the most glaring kind of issues in there is that when you look at it, it claims KBR didn’t know about this sodium dichromate on site until almost the end of July and then immediately notified the military. We know that’s not true.

Likewise, the issue about their remediation, they finally admitted that this was a problem. The actual top manager of KBR in Iraq did a site inspection in the middle of August in full protective gear. It still took him about three weeks before they finally said, “OK, we’ve got these blood tests now. Let’s go ahead and shut down the plant.” And they did eventually seal off the entire plant, seal off the sodium dichromate, more or less encase it all, and ensure that folks finally were given protective equipment that they should have had three months earlier and told about what was out there. But that’s a little bit late for the folks that had been working there for three to four months.

AMY GOODMAN: Jody Aistrop, what about the KBR workers inside? You were guarding outside, and you got sick. What happened to them?

JODY AISTROP: From the beginning, we were guarding inside. We didn’t actually pull outside until they deemed the site unsafe. So from the beginning of going into the plant for KBR to work on it, we were inside right with them. We would follow them around like we were attached to them.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you know what happened to any of them? Any of them suffering like you did the nose bleed, for example?

JODY AISTROP: The only thing that I know is I did some research on the net, and that’s where I found out about the lawsuit from Mr. Ed Black. I actually know Mr. Black. I protected him over there.

AMY GOODMAN: The medic?

JODY AISTROP: Yes, yes. And that’s how I know KBR, they were suffering the same symptoms that we were. And then, you know, I received a letter about the town hall meeting, and then the Guard informed us what was going on.

AMY GOODMAN: And when you all got these nosebleeds, again, what KBR told you, how they explained those nosebleeds away?

JODY AISTROP: We were basically told that it was due to dry air, the sand blowing, you know, it’s not that big a deal.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Michael Doyle, you filed the lawsuit now. In what court will it be heard? And when do you expect to begin taking—having discovery or depositions?

MICHAEL DOYLE: Well, it’s filed in federal court in Evansville, Indiana in the southern division—or Southern District of Indiana. The hope is, as soon as possible. We’ve been told by the folks we’re working with in Indiana that normal timetable is a year, year and a half for trial. We obviously intend to try and get to the bottom of it as soon as we can, as soon as the court will let us.

AMY GOODMAN: And the secret KBR memos that you got a hold of, can you talk about them?

MICHAEL DOYLE: No. I mean, there is some documents. Ed Black was actually able to obtain when he was there in Iraq, in Kuwait, some documents that, when he saw these, that made it real clear who knew and how long they knew it. Those documents aren’t protected. But as part of this arbitration deal, at least at this point, KBR has taken the position that every single document related to this is secret and can’t be released. So I really can’t talk about the documents. I can talk about the testimony, but the documents at this point are subject to a protective order.

AMY GOODMAN: The KBR memo from 2003 that shows the KBR managers talking about, acknowledging the presence of sodium dichromate?

MICHAEL DOYLE: Well, there is one that Ed Black actually obtained back in 2003 that we were able to file with the papers of the Guardsmen suit. But the great mass of documents, the really documentation of the timeline and all that stuff, I really am not at liberty to talk about, at least at this point.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both very much for being with us, Jody Aistrop, former member of the Indiana National Guard—they were based in Tell City—one of sixteen soldiers who are suing KBR, which was owned by Halliburton, which was headed by Dick Cheney before he was Vice President; and Michael Doyle, lead counsel for the National Guardsmen. He is based in Houston, where KBR is based.

AMY GOODMAN: In our last segment, we’re going to go back to the Persian Gulf War, as we continue this special on poisons of war. But now we’ll go back even further. Juan?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, to another US war, the Vietnam War. And we hear from the victims of the chemical poisoning caused by the deadly dioxin known as Agent Orange.

Between 1962 and 1971, US warplanes dumped about 18 million gallons of the poisonous dioxin over Vietnam. The Vietnamese government says this has left more than three million people disabled. Today, more than three decades after the end of the war, the effects of Agent Orange remain.

The Second National Congress of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange just concluded in Hanoi Wednesday. Vietnamese victims continue to demand accountability and compensation from the US government as well as the largest makers of Agent Orange, Dow Chemical and Monsanto.

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier this year, a delegation of women victims of Agent Orange toured the United States. Dang Hong Nhut is seventy-one years old, a victim of Agent Orange, part of the Vietnamese resistance for five years between ’61 and 1966. She was heavily sprayed with Agent Orange during that time. Since then, she has had several miscarriages, now has cancer. Her husband, who was also sprayed with Agent Orange, died of cancer in 1999.

    DANG HONG NHUT: [translated] In 1965, I visited my husband in Tay Ninh, Cu Chi. And when I was there, one day I heard the airplanes flying over there, and I hid in an underground shelter. And after the airplane flew away, I went out of the shelter, and I saw that the sky looked like very foggy, and I could see the white dust on the leaves of the trees over there. And I smelled something very irritating, and I felt very sick after that. I lived there for more than one month.

    After that, I suffer from skin problems and diarrhea. And then, after that, each time I was pregnant, I had a miscarriage. So, continuously, I had five pregnancies and five miscarriages. And at one time, I was pregnant, and it was found out that it was a deformed fetus. In 2002, that was thirty-seven years after that, I had a tumor in my intestine, and I had to have an operation to have it taken out. And in 2003, I had another problem in my thyroid, and I had an operation in my thyroid.

    I could not imagine how serious, how harmful and how poisonous this Agent Orange was. It is going with all my life. And that is why I am together with other Vietnamese plaintiffs. We filed our lawsuit in the US courts, and we would like to ask the US government as well as the US chemical companies to do something for us. Even though our lawsuit was turned down, was dismissed twice by the US courts, we continued to present our petition. We want to ask for justice for us. We want to ask for compensation for us, all the victims of Agent Orange. Agent Orange does not avoid anyone. We Vietnamese are victims. And also, there are victims from the US allied countries. And we all are victims, so we want to ask for justice, for compensation for us all, the victims.

    AMY GOODMAN: Mrs. Dang Hong Nhut, do you know that one of our presidential candidates, John McCain, was a Vietnam vet? Do you have anything you would like to say to him?

    DANG HONG NHUT: [translated] Who ever would be the president of the United States would have to pay attention to solve the consequences left behind by the war. Also, he should do something to help the victims, and he should be responsible and accountable for what the American troops caused in Vietnam. And he must have moral and legal responsibility to make compensations for the victims.

    AMY GOODMAN: What message do you have for Monsanto, Dow, the other chemical companies who produced Agent Orange?

    DANG HONG NHUT: [translated] Dow and Monsanto chemical companies, they are the ones that manufactured the Agent Orange that caused sufferings to the human beings and environment in Vietnam. They must be held accountable for what they did, and they must be accountable to make compensation for the victims and to clean up all the environment in Vietnam.

    AMY GOODMAN: And what would you say to those who would say you were fighting a war with the United States, this is the cost of war?

    DANG HONG NHUT: [translated] The war ends long time ago. However, still the Vietnamese victims, they are still suffering. This is something unacceptable, because during the war, someone might get killed. That’s understandable. When the war is over for a long time, but the Vietnamese victims, they are suffering, and nobody here makes any—has any responsibility towards them.

AMY GOODMAN: Dang Hong Nhut, a victim of Agent Orange poisoning. I also spoke to Tran Thi Hoan, a twenty-one-year-old university student from Vietnam. She had just come to the United States as part of this tour. She’s a second-generation victim of Agent Orange. Her mother was sprayed during the Vietnam War.

    TRAN THI HOAN: I was born without two legs and one hand. Now I live in Peace Village in Tu Du Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City. Peace Village is the place to take care of the victim of Agent Orange very well. And now my Peace Village have sixty children. All of them are victims of Agent Orange.

    AMY GOODMAN: Peace Village has sixty children?

    TRAN THI HOAN: Yes.

    AMY GOODMAN: What has it meant to you, Tran Thi Hoan, to be with other victims of Agent Orange?

    TRAN THI HOAN: First time, I was scared, because I saw many defects. For example, they have a big head, and they cannot walk, they cannot see, and they only lie in the bed. Some of them can walk and can do something. You know, before when I come to Tu Du Hospital, I couldn’t go to school, because everybody thinks I will make their children will be sick and children scare me. So when I come to Peace Village, I can go to school, and I can do something, and I feel I am lucky.

    AMY GOODMAN: You’re now a college student studying computers?

    TRAN THI HOAN: Yes.

    AMY GOODMAN: Why have you come to America, to the United States?

    TRAN THI HOAN: I come here. I want to tell everybody about my story and the suffering of victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. And I hope the US government will not make the war in other countries, because if they make the war, maybe have many, many children and many, many people will be look like me. And I hope when everybody can understand the suffering of victims of Agent Orange. And after that, many people, all people, will come with us to ask the US government and the chemical companies, will we have justice for us?

AMY GOODMAN: Tran Thi Hoan, twenty-one years old, university student from Vietnam, a second-generation victim of Agent Orange. I spoke to her several months ago, when she was here in the United States as part of this tour.

Last year, we also spoke to those who came to this country as part of the tour to let people know about the lawsuit against over three dozen chemical companies that manufactured the toxin, Nguyen Van Quy and Nguyen Thi Hong. Unfortunately, one of them has died since that time.

This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, the War and Peace Report. Before we go to break, Juan, you’ve been looking at Agent Orange. We haven’t even talked about the tens of thousands of US soldiers who were affected, not to mention the millions of Vietnamese, effects of Agent Orange. You were looking at this decades ago.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yeah. Well, you know, this is one of the great war crimes in American history that the media in this country, unfortunately, and our government continue to ignore. I remember almost thirty years ago, as a young reporter in Philadelphia, in about 1979, 1980, just after the war, I was covering the returning veterans from that war who were complaining about their exposures and their illnesses, and they thought it was related to Agent Orange. At the time, the government was denying it. Now the government gives compensation to some American soldiers for rashes or chloracne related to Agent Orange exposure.

But at the time, I noticed that there had been—there was a report—I think it was in Time magazine—that the Minister of Health of North Vietnam was conducting their own study of the effects of Agent Orange on these soldiers who had fought, the Vietnamese soldiers who had fought, and their families. So, by chance, I wrote a letter to the minister of North Vietnam and asked him, “When you finish your study, could you send me a copy?” I never expected to get an answer.

About four or five months later, I get a letter at the Philadelphia Daily News from the Minister of Health of North Vietnam, and it is in French, a typewritten—there were typewriters still in those days—a typewritten report, where the government had compared North Vietnamese soldiers who had gone into the south to fight and who had been exposed to Agent Orange and North Vietnamese soldiers who had stayed in the north and had never been exposed to Agent Orange. And they traced what was happening to their families. And they found enormous—much higher degrees of birth defects, miscarriages and sterility problems with the wives and also in the children, the birth defects in the children, of those who had gone south.

So, I go to my editor at the time at the paper, and I say, “Look, this study just came out, and nobody knows about it. And it’s clear proof that Agent Orange is causing major, major problems in the Vietnamese population.” My editor looked at it and said, “This is communist propaganda. It’s coming from an enemy of the United States. We’re not going to run it.” And they never published the article that I started to write on it. And here we are, thirty years later now, when you see these horrific pictures of what the impact has been on the Vietnamese population, and it’s amazing that the media in this country is still not providing sufficient coverage to the issue.

AMY GOODMAN: And just to clarify, this delegation that has come to the United States, well, this year and last year, last year two members of the delegation, this in 2007, Nguyen Van Quy and Nguyen Thi Hong, weeks after they left the United States after visiting, they died. We had interviewed Nguyen Thi Hong. And you can go to our website, democracynow.org, to see and watch and read that interview.

Source

U.S. warplanes dumped about 18 million gallons of the poisonous dioxin during the Vietnam War.  This has left more than three million people disabled.

Agent Orange Health Effects

During the Vietnam War Agent Orange, a chemical used to kill acres of jungle foliage to make it easier for U.S. troops to have visibility, was used. Between 1962 and 1971, an estimated 20 million gallons of herbicides like Agent Orange were used in Vietnam. A recent study stated two million more gallons of Agent Orange and other defoliants were sprayed over Vietnam than earlier estimates. Despite reports of serious Agent Orange health effects, the government continued to insist the chemical was not problematic.

Since the 1970s, veterans suffering Agent Orange health effects have been trying to recover damages. According to documents, U.S. leaders knew the dangers of Agent Orange health effects since at least 1972, or even earlier. Officials continued to insist Agent Orange was not harmful and the herbicide continued to be used.

Some dioxins are highly toxic, and the most hazardous dioxin is tetrachlorodibenzoparadioxin, an ingredient of Agent Orange. Even today, adverse Agent Orange health effects continue to be suffered. Third generation of grandchildren of the war and its victims are still being born with birth defects because of Agent Orange exposure.

Scientists involved in Operation Ranch Hand, the unit responsible for the aerial spraying of herbicides, as well as in the findings of documents uncovered, indicate military officials were aware of the potential long-term Agent Orange health effects of spraying the herbicide. An Air Force scientist in Vietnam, Dr. James Clary, said the Air Force knew Agent Orange was much more hazardous to the health of humans than anyone would admit at the time.

In a 1988 letter to a member of Congress investigating Agent Orange health effects, Clary wrote, “When we (military scientists) initiated the herbicide program in the 1960s, we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin contamination in the herbicide.” In January 2004, military researchers reported Air Force veterans exposed to Agent Orange had a higher than average risk of prostate and melanoma cancer, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Earlier studies have found increased risk for Agent Orange health effects include prostate cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and diabetes.

The January 2004 study included Ranch Hand veterans that were being regularly examined because medical experts say they got the highest exposure to Agent Orange. Veterans continue to suffer Agent Orange health effects because dioxin builds up in the body. Many of the diseases that have been associated to Agent Orange exposure can take years to develop, so veterans today are still being diagnosed with illnesses.

Agent Orange health effects suffered have included multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, respiratory cancer, type II diabetes, Hodgkin”s disease, non-Hodgkin”s lymphoma, chlorance, porphyria cutanea tarda, soft tissue sarcoma, peripheral neuropathy, as well as other illnesses. The government started to investigate Agent Orange health effects systematically in the 1970s after veterans continued to complain for years about a variety of illnesses.

Source

Agent Orange continues to contaminate food supplies and local people in Vietnam, over 30 years after it was dropped, a new study has found.

From

August 15 2003
The finding, published in the Journal of Occupation and Environmental Medicine, found that six out of sixteen food samples had levels of the TCDD-dioxin (1) from Agent Orange as high as those during the Vietnam war. It concludes that food is the main source of intake for the dioxin, and, consequently, the reason that approximately 95% of blood samples taken in the area were found to have elevated TCDD levels.

Typical blood TCDD levels are 2 parts per trillion (ppt) in Vietnamese people, but levels as high as 413ppt were found in some. This is the highest level ever recorded. Elevated levels of the dioxin were found even in those born many years after the spraying ended.

Agent Orange was sprayed from US aircraft during the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1972, primarily for use as a defoliant, destroying both tree cover and crops.

Dr Arnold Schecter, lead researcher of the study, said: “This study is one of many that shows Agent Orange is not history. Dioxin contamination is still found in high levels in some Vietnamese, as high as when spraying was going on.”

The study was conducted in Bien Hoa City, near Ho Chi Minh City, an area heavily sprayed with Agent Orange during the war. It was also the site of a substantial leak of over 5,000 gallons of Agent Orange approximately 30 years before the study took place.

Sixteen food samples were collected of chicken, duck, pork, beef, fish, and a toad. Duck meat had the highest levels of the dioxin, followed by the Channa Striata, or snakehead, fish and the toad.

In addition, soil and sediment samples from the Bien Hung Lake also contained elevated TCDD levels.

Dr Schecter told edie that dioxins are only soluble in fat, so only meat samples were chosen. He said that public health measures should now include not eating food from contaminated areas and removing fat from food before cooking. He also urged further studies of the potential health effects of dioxins and other toxic chemicals among veterans of the Vietnam War.

Exposure to Agent Orange has been linked to birth defects and a variety of illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and spina bifida.

Dr Schecter stressed that most of Vietnam’s food supply was not affected as only a relatively small area in the south was sprayed during the war. (1) TCDD = 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

3,000 dead from cholera in Zimbabwe

November 26 2008

By Basildon Peta

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

Getty

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

where victims of cholera are being treated in Harare, Zimbabwe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The disease: Deadly, but preventable

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

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

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

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

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

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Half of the Zimbabwe population faces starvation

In Zimbabwe Doctors and Nurses beaten by police during peaceful protest

Sanctions=Zimbabwe kids ‘eating rats’

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

November 14, 2008

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

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

Medical Teams are Overwhelmed

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

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

A New Urgency

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

Source

In Zimbabwe Doctors and Nurses beaten by police during peaceful protest

By Tichaona Sibanda

November 18 2008

About one hundred health workers were injured on Tuesday, some of them seriously, after heavily armed riot police baton-charged their peaceful protest march in central Harare.

The health workers from Harare, Parirenyatwa and Chitungwiza hospitals had just embarked on a peaceful procession towards the Ministry of Health offices, to express concern against the total collapse of the health delivery system.

Dr Simba Ndoda, one of the protest organizers and a victim of the police brutality, told us the authorities went to extremes in dealing with the unarmed health workers. He said over one thousand health workers, including doctors, nurses, radiographers, administrators and pharmacists, had gathered at Parirenyatwa hospital for the protest march.

However hundreds of police in riot gear deployed outside the hospital and cordoned off all link roads. They stopped the health workers and unleashed a baton charge, which left dozens of members of the health fraternity injured.

The police flushed out leaders of the protest march and manhandled them before dragging some of them to waiting police vehicles. Unconfirmed reports say a number of protesters were hauled off to different police stations.

‘This was supposed to be a peacful demonstration. We were unarmed. We only had our uniforms and stethoscopes. We tried to reason with the police so that we could proceed with the march but like a lightining bolt they just set upon us, without warning and savagely beat us, inflicting serious injuries on many of our compatriots,’ Dr Ndoda said.

The strike action comes amid the failure of the government to contain the spread of cholera, which has so far killed hundreds of people, due to lack of medicines and drugs. The protesters were also demanding that the government review their salaries, which are not enough to even provide food for a family. ‘Enough is enough’ and ‘Pay health workers properly’ were some of the banners carried.

The country’s health system, once among the best in Africa, collapsed under the weight of the world’s highest inflation rate, officially estimated at 231 million percent, but believed to be over 5 quintillion percent. Most hospitals are now unable to provide even basic medicines.

Dr Ndoda said conditions at state hospitals were ‘traumatising,’ explaining that he had personally seen some of his patients ‘die unnecessarily’ because of lack of drugs, medicines and basic equipment.

‘It is very disturbing. There are no drugs, no equipment and now there is no manpower. The country’s three major referral hospitals have been closed and the government has still not said a word about it.

So how are the ordinary citizens without money going to survive? Asked Dr Ndoda. He said the protest was also meant to show their outrage at the lack of political will by the government to resolve the health crisis.

The Zimbabwe Doctors for Human rights strongly condemned the manhandling and ruthless thrashing of health workers at the hands of the police.A doctor who asked not to be named said it was strange the government had resources to deal with a peaceful march, but was doing nothing about the cholera pandemic that threatened the lives of up to 1.4 million people.

A statement from Doctors without Borders said the whole country is at risk if cholera continues to spread unchecked. Officially state media reports that only 73 people have died of the disease, but independent estimates put the figure closer to one thousand. Many tens of thousands have fallen ill.
In Beitbridge, cholera has killed 36 and 431 have been hospitalised at the border town since last week. Beitbridge medical officer Taikaitei Kanongara said they expected the number of victims to rise.

Source

Police violently disrupt  Protest

November 18, 2008

The police before they charged.

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE – Anti-riot police on Tuesday violently disrupted a protest march by hundreds of disgruntled workers from Harare hospitals as they sought to register with the authorities  their mounting concern over the collapse of Zimbabwe’s health delivery system.

The police blocked a peaceful march by more than 700 hospital workers who attempted to leave Parirenyatwa Hospital to present a petition to the Minister of Health, Dr David Parirenyatwa at his offices at Mukwati Building in the city.

The marchers comprised doctors, nurses, nurse aids and general workers from Harare, Parirenyatwa and Chitungwiza hospitals.

According to Dr Simba Ndoda, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, there were representatives from Chinhoyi and Kadoma hospitals, which have also been forced to close down due to the crisis.

Relating the incident over the phone, Dr Ndoda said the police descended on the marchers in the hospital grounds and assaulted them.

“The police beat us thoroughly,” he said, “They stopped us as we were about to exit the grounds of Parirenyatwa and they beat us up and followed right into the nurses’ homes.

“As I am speaking, we are in hiding at Harare Hospital. We hear police are looking for us.”

He said police had initially informed the protestors not to proceed with the march “for political reasons” as they feared it had potential to grow into fully blown riots by disgruntled Zimbabweans.

Said Dr Ndoda, “We had asked for approval to go ahead with the march but the police denied us permission, citing political reasons. The police said they feared some people would join the march and the situation would become uncontrollable.

“We wanted people to now the real reasons why doctors are on strike. The State media is quick to misinform the public that doctors are insensitive to the plight of ordinary people who are dying in their thousands in hospitals because of the strike by doctors.

“We wanted people to know that while we have genuine reasons to go on strike because of perennially poor working conditions, it is still not possible for us to perform our duties as there is nothing to use.”

According to Dr Ndoda, almost 99 percent of Zimbabweans rely on government hospitals.

Primrose Matambanadzo, Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights co-coordinator said Tuesday’s march was more than a strike by hospital workers.

“This was more than a strike,” she said.

“A strike is where you stop going to work for one simple reason. This time we are decrying the total collapse of the whole health system.

“This is an issue where we have all reasons to be concerned. We cannot continue to watch helplessly while patients die in thousands.

“Doctors have been on strike for weeks but nothing is being done to address the situation.”

She said an earlier meeting with the permanent secretary of health to register their concerns did not bear any fruit as nothing was done to address the situation.”

By the time of going to press, there were no official reports of any arrests or casualties.

But baton-wielding anti-riot policemen continued to cordon off the whole Parirenyatwa hospital premises late into the afternoon. Police trucks were patrolling the grounds.

Zimbabwe’s government hospitals stopped operating nearly three weeks ago due to a strike by doctors over poor working conditions.

Critically ill patients have been turned away ever since. An emergency room is in operation at Parirenyatwa hospital.

Mpilo hospital, Bulawayo’s biggest hospital also closed last Wednesday, citing similar reasons.

Thousands of patients are being referred to private hospitals which charge for their services in US dollars.

Efforts to obtain comment from the Minister of Health Dr Parirenyatwa were fruitless.

But government still maintains the health situation in the country is still under control as the country’s central bank is being tasked to procure scarce drugs from abroad.

Source

Half of the Zimbabwe population faces starvation

Sierra Leone: A mission for MSF(Doctors Without Borders)

Censoring victims makes them victims again

November 4 2008

By Kimberly Tsao

Movie theaters cut out the racy scenes from the “Sex and the City” movie. Radio stations change James Blunt’s “Beautiful” song lyrics from “I’m fucking high” to “I’m flying high.” Theme parks blur pictures taken during rides because someone gave the camera the finger. Censorship has even infested courtrooms.

Nebraska Judge Jeffre Cheuvront prohibited prosecutors and witnesses from using the words, “rape,” “sexual assault,” “assailant” and “victim” during Tory Bowen’s alleged rape trial, according to 2008 People magazine and Associated Press articles.

Censorship isn’t a power given to judges – it’s an abuse of power in itself.

Bowen’s alleged rapist got off on a mistrial – twice. Perhaps it was because juries at censored trials aren’t notified of judges’ restrictions.

Or perhaps it was because Bowen had to take long pauses so she didn’t violate the judge’s order, thus appearing unsure of herself during her 13-hour testimony. In the end, Bowen took her fight to the Supreme Court, but the justices refused to hear her case last week.

Unfortunately, Bowen’s trial isn’t an isolated case. According to the People magazine article, every state has similar legal principles. In California and Utah, prosecutors aren’t allowed to say “victim” during criminal trials.

What else are they suppose to call them?

According to Merriam-Webster, a “victim” is “one that is subjected to oppression, hardship or mistreatment.” People who’ve been raped undeniably fall under that definition.

Insert “alleged” here. Did those countless years at law school teach defense attorneys nothing? They can say “alleged victim.” Duh.

Censorship is a slippery slope. If the prosecutors can’t say “assailant,” what about “aggressor,” “assaulter,” “goon” or “bushwhacker”? The aforementioned words are all synonyms, so shouldn’t judges ban those terms as well?

If you’re ever raped, forget the law – study the thesaurus. It’ll be your best weapon if you decide to go to court.

In Bowen’s case, Cheuvront permitted the accused and the defense attorneys to call the alleged rape “sex” and “intercourse.”

Perhaps “sex” and “intercourse” aren’t complete opposites of “rape” and “sexual assault,” but they are definitely not synonymous with each other. So why are defense lawyers allowed to substitute the terminologies?

Say “alleged rape” if you want, but call it what it is and in most cases, that isn’t “sex.”

Besides, if we strictly adhere to the law’s so-called rationale, then we could say that thieves only take what they need and that murderers send the dead to a better place. Murderers are population controllers and thieves are Goodwill employees – minus the tax write-offs.

Even if you could disregard the fact that this, like all censorship, is a First Amendment violation, it’s a clearly unfair legal practice.

In a 2007 Slate magazine article, Dahlia Lithwick wrote, “It’s precisely because language is so powerful in a courtroom that we treat it so reverently.” Reverently, yes. Justly, no.

The question of fairness should apply to both the accused and the accuser in all criminal trials.

This could be on a Snapple bottle cap: Did you know that most societies still don’t understand rapes?

If they did, they would deal with rapes the same way they deal with robberies and homicides. The fact that most courts don’t even give the words equal treatment speaks volumes about modern societies’ outdated perception of rapes.

However, the argument for censored trials is that words, such as “rape kit,” are “unfairly prejudicial to a defendant,” according to the same articles.

Following that reasoning, judges should censor the defendants from saying “sex” and “intercourse” because those words are unfairly prejudicial to the victim.

“Sex” and “intercourse” imply consent, which isn’t always the case and is often tricky to determine, especially if the victim was intoxicated.

That’s why we have jurors – all 12 of them. They’re smart enough to be registered voters, so they can certainly sift through evidence. If the judge has trust issues, then a viable alternative to censorship would be jury instruction.

Censorship is blind. It has crossed the line without even realizing it.

To the enforcers of censorship, draw a line. It doesn’t need to be straight.

On behalf of Tory Bowen and other women like her, I cry, “Rape.”

To the judges who rape the victims all over again, take a good look at my middle finger.

Source

I think what was done by the judge is to say the very least appalling. Rape  is an act of violence nothing less and should not be censored especially in a court room. If they want to censor anything how about the on line porn sites, there are thousands upon thousands of them and many actually promote rape. Tory deserved a fair trial and obviously didn’t receive it. Rape is Rape. It is a horrid crime. She is a victim. “Victim” isn’t a dirty word.

What about Free Speech?  I guess that only applies to criminals or hate groups like the KKK or Skinheads. The rest of Americans especially victims are not granted the same right obviously.  Rape victims have been  re victimized for years and this practice should be stopped. Justice should be for all, including “VICTIMS”.

How sad that anyone like Tory, should have to censor her testimony to suit the judge or the state.

They should be able to tell the truth as it happened.
Rape reported on campus; sixth of semester
November 4 2008

By Matthew Kimel and Andrea Frainier
The sixth reported rape case at San Jose State University of the Fall semester was filed on Oct. 24, according to the University Police Department media log.

The latest report occurred on the sixth floor of Campus Village Building C, according to two of the reported victim’s roommates.

“She brought up two guys, and she didn’t know them,” said one of the reported victim’s freshman roommates.

The roommates said the two men were first brought into their suite by the reported victim around 9 or 10 p.m. on Oct. 22, and the incident occurred around midnight or 1 a.m. Oct. 23.

“We were (present) but we didn’t hear anything,” said one of the roommates who was informed of the incident at the UPD station the next day.

UPD Sgt. Mike Santos said there have been no found links to any of the six reports this semester.

“The main connection,” he said, “is that all but one are alcohol-related and have occurred in the dorms.”

Santos said the case is still under investigation and no arrests have been made.

Meeghan Harrington, resident life coordinator in Campus Village Building C, said she was not allowed to comment on the situation that occurred in her building. She said University Housing Community Relations Coordinator Kevina Brown was the spokesperson for the situation.

Brown said she could not comment on the situation and anything that “regards to sexual assault should be deferred to University Police.”

Brown, however, said efforts are being made to make sure the assaults don’t continue.

“I would suggest (students) use a buddy system and have someone with them at all times,” Brown said. “We’re really trying to get the word out that students should protect themselves.”

Santos said a safety alert was sent to housing after the third or fourth report was taken for students to become “aware of what’s going on around them.”

Students in Building C were not given a direct notice of the safety alert.

The alert has been posted on a bulletin board and within the elevators.

“I saw some in the elevators,” said one of the reported victim’s roommates, “but there’s not any in the dorm’s hallways or stuff like that.”

Brown said the recent assaults are not “far out of the ordinary from what we have seen in the past.”

“It’s an unusually high number,” she said. “I don’t know if I would say it alarms me, but we want to do anything we can do to make sure it doesn’t continue.”

Julianne Aiello, an undeclared freshman and resident of Building C, said she didn’t see the safety alert, but she said she feels safe on campus, especially in the building.

Dan Shively, a junior psychology major, said he wasn’t aware of the Oct. 24 incident.

“I’m pretty sure most people heard about it though,” he said. “It’s being talked about a lot, being safe and whatnot.”

Even though Building C is a dry building, where alcohol is prohibited, Shively said there have been incidents of people abusing this policy. He said he doesn’t think the situation is out of control.

Shively said students from Campus Village are thinking about starting an escort program in which students could call resident advisers to walk them to and from the dorms.

Source