Study changes Canadian Province’s Flu Vaccine plan

Unpublished study influences Ont.’s vaccine plan

September 24 2009

Ontario says it is changing its approach to seasonal flu vaccine administration this year in part because of unpublished data that suggest the seasonal shot might raise the risk of catching swine flu.

Dr. Arlene King, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says people 65 and older, who aren’t at great risk of catching swine flu, will be offered seasonal flu vaccine in October.

But the seasonal flu won’t be offered to younger people in Canada’s most populous province until after they are first offered the vaccine for swine flu, which is likely to happen in November.

King says the unpublished study was clearly a factor in the decision to change the sequence of the vaccination program.

That study, based on research ongoing in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, suggests that people who have received seasonal flu shots last year may be at greater risk of catching H1N1 flu this year.

While the study is still being peer-reviewed in an unnamed journal, King said it had a direct influence on the policy for this year’s flu vaccination program in Ontario.

“There is emerging unpublished evidence that suggests an association between prior seasonal flu vaccination and getting the H1N1 flu. The nature of the association is unclear at this time, so we want people under 65 to wait to get the seasonal flu shot until after the H1N1 flu vaccine until we learn more about this,” she told reporters.

The other factors influencing the plan are evidence from the southern hemisphere that shows that H1N1 is dominating other seasonal flu strains.

The vaccines are also being phased in because of the difficulties of trying to provide both types of shots at the same time. That’s because the seasonal flu vaccine will be ready in October but swine flu vaccine won’t be ready until mid-November.

She added that there is still no scientific data that giving both swine flu and seasonal flu shots at the same time is either safe or effective. So Ontario will take a cautious approach and phase in both flu vaccine programs over three phases:

In October, the seasonal flu vaccine will be offered to Ontarians 65 years and over and residents of long-term care homes

H1N1 vaccine will be offered to the general population in November, following the vaccine sequencing guidelines issues by the Public Health Agency of Canada. That means high-priority groups first, and then the rest of the population

The seasonal flu vaccine will be then offered to all other residents six months of age and older who still want it.

“It’s a different flu season this year and rolling out two flu vaccine programs is a great example of how different it is,” Dr. King said.

Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization addressed the worries raised in the unpublished Canadian study in a telephone news briefing.

In a response to a question on the study from CTV’s Avis Favaro, Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the WHO’s initiative for vaccine research, said researchers in no other countries have made similar findings.

“We are in contact with other countries and having them look at their own data to see if they could have similar observations and none have been able to find anything like that,” Kieny told the teleconference from WHO headquarters.

“So the reason why this may be different in Canada and in this particular study is not yet identified. It may be study bias; it may be that something is real.

“But the WHO is looking forward to be able to see the data and to study data and to come to a better understanding of whether this has any chance of indeed putting people are risk, the fact that they’ve received the seasonal vaccination,” Kieny said.

Other provinces mull vaccine plan changes

Meanwhile, a number of Canadian provinces are considering suspending their seasonal flu vaccination programs, in part because of the worries.

Saskatchewan Health Minister Don McMorris said Thursday seasonal flu shots will likely be suspended for everyone in his province except seniors and those in long-term care.

Seniors are more susceptible to the seasonal flu, but their age group seems to be mostly immune from swine flu because of presumed exposure to similar viruses in their lifetimes.

McMorris said he was also worried about the reports that seasonal flu vaccine might make people more susceptible to swine flu. He added that other factors influencing their decision were expectation from flu officials that H1N1 would dominate this winter and crowd out seasonal flu strains.

In Quebec, health officials said earlier this week they’re putting the seasonal flu shot program on standby. They too are considering either delaying seasonal flu vaccination until after swine flu vaccine programs are complete, or scrapping seasonal flu vaccination altogether.

“For the moment, it’s on hold,” Karine White, a media relations liaison with the Ministry of Health and Social Services in Quebec told The Canadian Press.

Swine flu vaccination programs likely wouldn’t begin until mid-November, the earliest that the vaccine manufacturer will have it ready, tested and approved

Source

What do we know about the vaccines’ safety? Not enough

Globe and Mail
August 06, 2009
Alan Cassels and Arthur Schafer

In the headlong rush to do good, we need to be sure we don’t end up doing harm. Who should be at the top of the list to receive the H1N1 vaccine or antiviral drugs if, as feared, they are in short supply? Bio-ethicists debate the niceties of how society should ration scarce medical resources, while public-health officials spend their days debating who should be first in line – pregnant women, health-care personnel or perhaps government leaders and corporate CEOs?

The majority of Canadians, listening to this rationing debate, would be forgiven for assuming that the H1N1 vaccine, when it becomes available in the autumn, will be a life saver. The unfortunate reality, however, is that we don’t know and, indeed, can’t know if that is the case.

Like most governments around the world, eager to appear to be “doing something,” the government of Canada has promised to stockpile enough of the vaccine so that most Canadians will be protected.

But, speaking of stockpiles, Canada already owns one of the world’s largest supplies of antiviral drugs, mostly Tamiflu and Relenza, two drugs designed to reduce the severity and length of the flu.

And yet the scientific evidence testing the preventive benefits of either Tamiflu or its near cousin, Relenza, shows that both are pathetically weak. People who take either of these “prophylactically,” i.e. before they become sick, hoping to prevent the flu, will get about as much effect as if they’d taken a placebo. That’s not a very impressive result.

Equally unimpressive: When the drugs are given within 48 hours
to someone who already has flu symptoms, with the goal of ameliorating the severity of the disease, it makes only a slight difference.

The “lucky ones” who take Tamiflu may reduce the average length of a five-day flu by about half a day. Not worth getting out of bed for, you might think. So perhaps it doesn’t matter all that much who is at the top of the list to receive the drugs and who is at the bottom.

Consider also that a recent international study reveals that about 50 per cent of children who have taken Tamiflu experienced side effects. Most have been minor (gut problems, diarrhea) but some have been more serious, including neuropsychiatric problems.

Why are public-health officials glossing over the fact there is a great deal of uncertainty and doubt surrounding the effectiveness, safety and side effects of flu drugs?

The same could be said for the H1N1 vaccine, currently in production and ramped up for Canada’s fall flu season. What do we know about its effectiveness or its safety?

The answer is, not enough. If one takes past flu campaigns as any indication, it is likely the effectiveness of the vaccine is going to be exaggerated, while the potential harms will either be ignored, understated or simply unknown. In that scenario, the rush to vaccinate yourself and your children might not turn out to be such a grand idea.

Public-health officials around the world seem to be suggesting there is a possibility this flu pandemic could get much worse, that is, become more lethal. If that were to happen, it seems “obvious” that wise people should seek to have a preventive flu shot or access to a pill. Many people will say to themselves:

Why not get the shot, just to be sure?

Part of the answer to that question is that until a million people
roll up their sleeves to get the vaccine, no one can be sure how safe it will be. This is also a decisive answer to those who favour making vaccination mandatory.
Some public-health officials have described flu vaccines as “highly effective,” but the internationally recognized Cochrane Collaboration (which accepts no money from the pharmaceutical industry) did a systematic review of all high-quality randomized trials (25 in all) studying influenza vaccination.

They concluded that “the evidence does
not support universal immunization of healthy adults.” Period.
So how does this information help us to think clearly about the current flu pandemic in which we’re mired?

Well, it seems that despite its spread, this flu virus is a bit of a
dud for the fear-mongers. If, as seems not unlikely, the H1N1 virus mutates, our government will have purchased enormous quantities of a flu vaccine around which we will have virtually no safety or effectiveness data, and an already existing and very costly stockpile of probably useless drugs.

In short, a big bust all around.

Governments and public-health officials are sensitive to the
exhortation: Don’t just stand there, do something. But it’s sometimes wise to reverse that dictum: Don’t just do something, stand there (and think a bit about what might actually produce more good than harm).

Alan Cassels is a drug policy researcher at the University of
Victoria. Arthur Schafer is director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba.

SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK:

1. Why did WHO raise the pandemic alert to highest level when less than one thousand people WORLDWIDE have died from causes “associated with h1n1″?
Pandemic alert level 6 allows martial law and mandatory vaccination. Many if not most of the people who have died had “underlying health problems.”

*Worldwide, the number of deaths attributed to the flu each year is between 250,000 and 500,000? (Thomas Walkom, The Toronto Star, May 1, 2009).”

*”…Only 700 people have died from the swine flu world wide in the last year. In the same period, half a million people died of the regular flu, but that isn’t called a pandemic. We are being lied to.” [other reports put the numbers at even less. and then there’s the epidemic of cancer, heart disease and diabetes…]

2. Poor quality testing to identify the specific flu strain. Some say it’s only accurate 1/2 the time, others say even less. How are tests made up? How quickly can you make up a test for something supposedly just discovered in May?

2a Where did this h1n1 come from. Some suggest it is made in a lab.
“This virus continues to be an enigma for virologists. In the April 30, 2009 issue of Nature, a virologist was quoted as saying,“Where the hell it got all these genes from we don’t know.” Extensive analysis of the virus found that it contained the original 1918 H1N1 flu virus, the avian flu virus (bird flu), and two new H3N2 virus genes from Eurasia. Debate continues over the possibility that swine flu is a genetically engineered virus. “

2b Hasty testing and preparation of the vaccine. Baxter Intl applied for the patent in 2008, long before the outbreak. How does that work?
“The Baxter vaccine, called Celvapan, has had fast track approval. It uses a new vero cell technology, which utilizes cultured cells from the African green monkey. This same animal tissue transmits a number of vaccine-contaminating
viruses, including the HIV virus.
“The Baxter company has been associated with two deadly scandals. The first event occurred in 2006 when hemophiliac components were contaminated with HIV
virus and injected in tens of thousands of people, including thousands of children. Baxter continued to release the HIV contaminated vaccine even after the contamination was known.

“The second event occurred recently when it was discovered that Baxter had released a seasonal flu vaccine containing the bird flu virus, which would have produced a real world pandemic, to 18 countries. Fortunately, astute lab workers in the Czech Republic discovered the deadly combination and blew the whistle before a worldwide disaster was unleashed.

*”GSK is one of several companies, including Novartis (NVS),
Sanofi-Aventis (SNY), and Baxter International (BAX), racing to
develop a swine flu vaccine. ” ie $$$$$$$$

3. Additives to vaccines are already a concern. Why the mercury, ie “thimerosal”? And now why this adjuvant called squalene which appears to mess with the immune system.

4. Historical precedent of the 1918 flu epidemic which killed about 40 million worldwide. There was a spring outbreak, then Rockefeller financed vaccination FOLLOWED by the major outbreak in the fall.

5. If you check the various provincial health web sites, they are no longer testing for the h1n1 and are lumping into their figures ALL cases of “influenza-like illness”. what kind of shoddy science is that??? why are they padding the numbers??

6. Pharma companies who are now making a killing already on sales of vaccines and antivirals like tamiflu, are NOT LIABLE for any damage caused by or as a result of these products.

7. Tamiflu has been considered useless by some doctors, in particular a Korean doctor. Others are playing down this information.

Government’s Tamiflu advice is wrong, says WHO

By Lewis Smith

August 22 2009

Only seriously ill and vulnerable patients should be prescribed antiviral drugs to help them to get over swine flu, the World Health Organisation said yesterday, in advice which conflicts with the decision taken by the British Government to prescribe Tamiflu to everyone with swine flu.

Most people will recover from swine flu within a week, just as they would from seasonal forms of influenza, the WHO said.
“Healthy patients with uncomplicated illness need not be treated with antivirals,” the WHO concluded in guidance issued on the internet. “Worldwide, most patients infected with the pandemic virus continue to experience typical influenza symptoms and fully recover within a week, even without any form of medical treatment.”

Swine flu, now present in 177 countries, has been blamed for 1,799 deaths, and it is feared that over-use of Tamiflu will lead to the virus becoming resistant to it. The WHO has been formally notified of 12 cases where the H1N1 virus has already been found to have developed resistance after mutating.

The WHO issued its advice after a panel of international experts reviewed the effectiveness and safety of antivirals in tackling the pandemic.

It agreed, however, that antivirals are appropriate in cases where patients suffer a severe bout of swine flu or have an underlying medical condition. In these cases the drugs have proved effective at reducing the risk of pneumonia setting in.

The Department of Health responded to the WHO guidance by saying that the decision to offer Tamiflu remained right and sensible.

“We believe a safety-first approach of offering antivirals, when required, to everyone remains a sensible and responsible way forward. However, we will keep this policy under review as we learn more about the virus and its effects,” a spokesman said.

Andrew Lansley, the shadow Health Secretary, has backed the Government’s approach, especially in the early stages of the outbreak when the severity of the disease was unclear.

He added: “In the light of this latest expert advice, it may be appropriate for GPs and the fluline to make clear to otherwise healthy patients that there may be little benefit in taking anti-virals. But I do not think it would be appropriate for us to not offer treatment to those who request it.”

The number of courses of antivirals issued in England by the National Pandemic Flu Service has almost halved since the beginning of the month. In the seven days up to 18 August there were 45,986 courses prescribed, compared to 90,363 the previous week. Last week there were 11,000 new cases of swine flu reported, down from 25,000 the week before.

In its advice the WHO included pregnant women as one of the at-risk groups that should continue to receive antivirals.

“As pregnant women are included among groups at increased risk, WHO recommends that pregnant women receive antiviral treatment as soon as possible after symptom onset,” it said.

The WHO recommended that children under five be regarded as being a high-risk group and should therefore be treated with antivirals as soon as possible once symptoms began.

Children over five years, however, should only be given the drugs if their condition becomes serious or if they have an underlying health problem.

Earlier this month a team of researchers from Oxford University said children with mild symptoms should not be given the antiviral to combat swine flu and urged the Department of Health to urgently rethink its [url]policy.
Source

What’s the Danger of Swine Flu Vaccinations?

By Dr. Anders Bruun Laursen

August 20, 2009

There seems to be quite a lot of uncertainty about the technical nature of Swine Flu (H1N1) vaccines.

As a medical doctor, I wish to clarify a number of important issues: First, we should talk about vaccines instead of vaccine, since the vaccines vary as for their compositions and even their ways of being dispensed: some by injection, another by the nose.

I think the fears as for the vaccines can be referred to:

1. The adjuvants – in particular squalene which was in all probability responsible for the Gulf War syndrome,

2. The virus antigen´s condition (dead, attenuated, live)

3. A deeply rooted mistrust in our politicians and the vaccine producers´ motives and morals: e.g. Baxter´s live bird flu virus last Winter (12), the Bayer AIDS haemophiliac product scandal.

First it is necessary to understand, that pandemic vaccines are made according to two procedures:

1. The Developement of a totally new vaccine from scratch. This takes more time, administration and testing than mock up vaccines (see below).

2. A Mock-up vaccine is a vaccine with all the adjuvants of the pandemic vaccine – but without the killed or attenuated pandemic virus. This virus is – until the pandemic virus is known – a different, attenuated known potentially pandemic virus, in the case of the Pandemrix vaccine for the EU it is an attenuated H5N1 bird flu virus. This is the mock-up vaccine. When the nature of the pandemic swine flu virus (H1N1) is known, it replaces the H5N1 virus in an attenuated form, the adjuvants being left unchanged.

Until now mock-up vaccine test-vaccinations have been going on on voluntary ”human guinea pigs.” Since most of the contents of the vaccine has already been approved, the approval of the pandemic vaccine is easier to implement.

After the exchange of virus in the vaccine, the company will have to apply for a ”variation”. However, this is just a matter of form, since such a variation approval is given by the EU within 5 days – which means that there is no objective testing of the vaccine requiring official approval. The safety is entirely left to the vaccine producer, who has been granted immunity to actions of damages due to expected side effects.

So, as you see, there is no confusion with regard to swine flu and bird flu viruses. But there is another important consideration: the role of squalene.

The average quantity of squalene injected into the US soldiers abroad and at home in the anthrax vaccine during and after the Gulf War was 34.2 micrograms per billion micrograms of water. According to one study, this was the other cause of Gulf War syndrom in 25% of 697.000 US personnel at home and abroad. You can find this table of FDA analyses from the Gulf War lots on The Military Vaccine Resource Directory website.

a.. AVA 020 – 11 ppb squalene (parts per billion)

> b.. AVA 030 – 10 ppb squalene

> c.. AVA 038 – 27 ppb squalene

> d.. AVA 043 – 40 ppb squalene

> e.. AVA 047 – 83 ppb squalene

These values were confirmed by Prof. R. F. Garry  before the House of Representatives. Prof Garry was the man to discover the connection between the Gulf War syndrome and squalene.

According to his findings, the Gulf War syndrome was caused by squalene, which was banned by a Federal Court Judge in 2004 from the Pentagon´s use.

As seen on p. 6 of this EMEA document , the Pandremix vaccine contains 10,68 mg of squalene per 0,5 ml. This corresponds to 2.136.0000 microgrammes pr. billion microgrammes of water, i.e. one million times more squalene per dose than in . There is any reason to believe that this will make people sick to a much higher extent than in 1990/91. This appears murderous to me.

I have contacted the Danish National Health Service: They are to decree mass vaccinations in Denmark – and yet they knew nothing about the composition of the Pandremix vaccine.

Then I addressed the Danish Medicinal Agency. They admitted that the Pandremix vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline does contain squalene and thimerosal. They have not rejected my remark that the squalene concentration is dangerous. In contrast, the AstraZeneca MedImmune nasal vaccination  avoids squalene side effects.

So far the use of squalene has been banned by the FDA in the US according to Der Spiegel . However, this may not last long .

“Clearly bypassing the FDA requirements for safety testing of these new adjuvants and the vaccines which contain them puts the entire population at risk for serious, possibly life threatening side effects, particularly any of the 12,000 paid trial participants (6,000 children) who are unfortunate enough to be randomized into the adjuvant containing groups.”

Still, on July 23, 2009, the FDA announced, “Currently, no U.S. licensed vaccine contains the adjuvants MF-59 or ASO3 (squalene). It is expected that a novel influenza A (H1N1) vaccine manufactured using the same process as U.S. licensed seasonal inactivated influenza vaccine but administered with MF-59 or ASO3 will be authorized for emergency use only.”

Furthermore, “Two of the manufacturers (Novartis and GSK) have proprietary oil-in-water adjuvants (MF-59 and ASO3, respectively) which have been evaluated in a number of clinical studies including studies with influenza vaccines. These manufacturers will include an evaluation of the utility of the adjuvant for dose sparing and higher effect in their clinical studies.“

“The same document indicates that vaccines containing the un-approved adjuvants will be given to 100 children 6 months to 3 years old, 100 children 3 years old to 8 years, 100 individuals 18 to 64 years old and 100 individuals 65 and older in each of the multiple clinical trials. In addition, 700 individuals in each trial will be given non-adjuvanted vaccine”.

Now for the immunological side effects of squalene to occur takes months to years – and cannot be evaluated after up to 6 weeks of observation. Der Spiegel calls the mass vaccinations on Europeans a gigantic cost free experiment to provide the FDA with mass vaccination experience to clear the track for sale in the US.

EMEA admits that side effects can only be found through extensive vaccination campaigns! .

Here is what EMEA  has to say about risks of GSK Pandemrix:

EMEAs Pandemrix is commonly or very commonly associated with a range of local and systemic adverse reactions but these are not often of severe intensity and the safety profile would not preclude the use of the vaccine in healthy adults aged 18-60 years or > 60 years.

However, there are some adverse reactions known to be very rarely associated with influenza vaccines and it is currently not possible to predict if higher rates might be observed with Pandemrix compared with, for example, seasonal influenza vaccines.

Dr Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s flu chief, today warned about the potential dangers of the untested vaccine : “There are certain areas where you simply do not try to make any economies. One of the things which cannot be compromised is the safety of vaccines.”

Which is exactly what is going on!

What I do not know is, if they are going to leave the attenuated (or live – Baxter  bird flu vaccine – or to totally replace it by the H1N1 virus.

Other severe, but rare side effects are autism in children due to thimerosal and the Guillan-Barré syndrome seen with 400-500 Americans after the 1976 unnecessary mass vaccinations against swine flu  – videos. As for additional severe side effects of squalene – see Stephen Lendman .

My advice: If you are forced to be vaccinated against the harmless swine flu (H1N1) – demand a vaccination with the AstraZeneca nasal vaccine MedImmune– thereby avoiding squalene side effects.
Source

Tamiflu: Swine flu drug increases stroke risk
While Tamiflu is one of the most effective drugs in treating swine flu infection, a new report warns that the drug may increase the risk of stroke.

Previously, researchers had urged parents to avoid using the drug in their offspring as its risks outweighed the benefits. Nausea and nightmares were among the most frequent side effects reported in children.

According to the report recently released by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Tamiflu may interact with the blood-thinning medication warfarin, placing the individual at an increased risk of uncontrolled bleeding (INR rate).

A significant increase in the INR rate could consequently lead to the development of a hemorrhagic stroke.

Despite the fact that such a complication was never reported in performed clinical testing, the MHRA has received 418 reports of suspected adverse reactions including two deaths because of Tamiflu.

Some 12 of these reactions were related to warfarin interactions.

Warfarin is known to interact with a wide range of drugs and even some foods and drinks. Many of the consumers, therefore, are hospitalized due to increased INR rates while many others die.

“We have seen indications that INR rates could possibly rise due to interactions between warfarin and Tamiflu. However, flu-like illnesses have also been known to cause this, so at this stage it is difficult to know whether it is the interaction with Tamiflu or the underlying flu,” said a MHRA spokesman.

The government watchdog therefore warned physicians of the high risk of stroke in Tamiflu users, adding that they should ask the patients regarding the use of the blood-thinning drug before prescribing the anti-swine flu medicine.
Source

Doctors told to watch for Guillain-Barre syndrome during Swine flu vaccination programme.
Doctors are being urged to watch for cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare nerve disorder, as the new swine flu vaccine is introduced in October.

Guillain-Barre syndrome which attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis and death is linked to infections like flu but it has also been suggested a previous swine flu vaccine had caused cases of the disease in America in the 1970s.

American officials rushed out a vaccine in 1976 following an outbreak of swine flu in military barracks. Around 40million people received the vaccine but doctors reported an increase Guillain-Barre and 25 people had died before the immunisation programme was stopped.
It is not known for sure whether the vaccine or the flu was responsible and the current H1N1 swine flu jabs due to be introduced in Britain in October are very different to the version used thirty years ago, Government scientists have said.

However specialist doctors here are being urged to report every case of Guillain-Barre syndrome to the Health Protection Agency so the circumstances of each patient can be investigated.

Sources told the Daily Telegraph that experts are not expecting to spot any cases linked to the vaccinations.

They added that because Guillain-Barre can be caused by infections like flu, the new programme may in fact establish that vaccinations actually protect against the syndrome.

The syndrome affects around 1,500 people a year in the Britain.

A Health Protection Agency spokesman said enhanced surveillance was “routine” when introducing a new vaccine and all manner of potential side effects are monitored.

More than 13 million people in Britain, including people with severe asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or with a compromised immune system will get the jab from October. Pregnant women and frontline health and social care workers will also be offered the jab.

The seasonal flu vaccination programme will continue as normal.

The spokesman said: “Guillain-Barre syndrome has long been identified as a potential adverse event that would require enhanced surveillance following the introduction of a pandemic vaccine but there is no evidence to suggest there is an increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome from this vaccine.”

He said there was also no increased risk of the syndrome associated with the seasonal flu vaccine.

“Establishing enhanced surveillance on Guillain-Barre syndrome has always been part of our pandemic plan because there is an increased risk of this disease after a flu-like illness.

“HPA is working in collaboration with the Association of British Neurologists Surveillance Unit (BNSU) and the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) who will ask clinicians to report each month whether they have seen any cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome.”

However critics have said the fact doctors are being told to report cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome is evidence that the authorities are concerned.

Jackie Fletcher of the campaign group, Jabs, added: “What we’ve got is a massive guinea-pig trial.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The European Medicines Agency has strict processes in place for licensing pandemic vaccines.

“In preparing for a pandemic, appropriate trials to assess safety and the immune responses have been carried out on vaccines very similar to the swine flu vaccine. The vaccines have been shown to have a good safety profile.

“It is extremely irresponsible to suggest that the UK would use a vaccine without careful consideration of safety issues. The UK has one of the most successful immunisation programmes in the world.”

Source

Swine flu jab link to killer nerve disease: Leaked letter reveals concern of neurologists over 25 deaths in America

By Jo Macfarlane
August 15 2009

Prevention: Is the swine flu jab safe?

A warning that the new swine flu jab is linked to a deadly nerve disease has been sent by the Government to senior neurologists in a confidential letter.

The letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, has been leaked to The Mail on Sunday, leading to demands to know why the information has not been given to the public before the vaccination of millions of people, including children, begins.

It tells the neurologists that they must be alert for an increase in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine.

GBS attacks the lining of the nerves, causing paralysis and inability to breathe, and can be fatal.

The letter, sent to about 600 neurologists on July 29, is the first sign that there is concern at the highest levels that the vaccine itself could cause serious complications.

It refers to the use of a similar swine flu vaccine in the United States in 1976 when:

* More people died from the vaccination than from swine flu.
* 500 cases of GBS were detected.
* The vaccine may have increased the risk of contracting GBS by eight times.
* The vaccine was withdrawn after just ten weeks when the link with GBS became clear.
* The US Government was forced to pay out millions of dollars to those affected.

Concerns have already been raised that the new vaccine has not been sufficiently tested and that the effects, especially on children, are unknown.

It is being developed by pharmaceutical companies and will be given to about 13million people during the first wave of immunisation, expected to start in October.

Top priority will be given to everyone aged six months to 65 with an underlying health problem, pregnant women and health professionals.

The British Neurological Surveillance Unit (BNSU), part of the British Association of Neurologists, has been asked to monitor closely any cases of GBS as the vaccine is rolled out.

One senior neurologist said last night: ‘I would not have the swine
flu jab because of the GBS risk.’

There are concerns that there could be a repeat of what became known as the ‘1976 debacle’ in the US, where a swine flu vaccine killed 25 people – more than the virus itself.

A mass vaccination was given the go-ahead by President Gerald Ford because scientists believed that the swine flu strain was similar to the one responsible for the 1918-19 pandemic, which killed half a million Americans and 20million people worldwide.

Swine flu vaccines being prepared

The swine flu vaccine being offered to children has not been tested on infants

Within days, symptoms of GBS were reported among those who had been immunised and 25 people died from respiratory failure after severe paralysis. One in 80,000 people came down with the condition. In contrast, just one person died of swine flu.

More than 40million Americans had received the vaccine by the time the programme was stopped after ten weeks. The US Government paid out millions of dollars in compensation to those affected.

The swine flu virus in the new vaccine is a slightly different strain from the 1976 virus, but the possibility of an increased incidence of GBS remains a concern.

Shadow health spokesman Mike Penning said last night: ‘The last thing we want is secret letters handed around experts within the NHS. We need a vaccine but we also need to know about potential risks.

‘Our job is to make sure that the public knows what’s going on. Why
is the Government not being open about this? It’s also very worrying if GPs, who will be administering the vaccine, aren’t being warned.’

Two letters were posted together to neurologists advising them of the concerns. The first, dated July 29, was written by Professor Elizabeth Miller, head of the HPA’s Immunisation Department.

It says: ‘The vaccines used to combat an expected swine influenza pandemic in 1976 were shown to be associated with GBS and were withdrawn from use.

‘GBS has been identified as a condition needing enhanced surveillance when the swine flu vaccines are rolled out.

‘Reporting every case of GBS irrespective of vaccination or disease history is essential for conducting robust epidemiological analyses capable of identifying whether there is an increased risk of GBS in defined time periods after vaccination, or after influenza itself, compared with the background risk.’

The second letter, dated July 27, is from the Association of British Neurologists and is written by Dr Rustam Al-Shahi Salman, chair of its surveillance unit, and Professor Patrick Chinnery, chair of its clinical research committee.
America swine flu 1976

Halted: The 1976 US swine flu campaign

It says: ‘Traditionally, the BNSU has monitored rare diseases for long periods of time. However, the swine influenza (H1N1) pandemic has overtaken us and we need every member’s involvement with a new BNSU survey of Guillain-Barre Syndrome that will start on August 1 and run for approximately nine months.

‘Following the 1976 programme of vaccination against swine influenza in the US, a retrospective study found a possible eight-fold increase in the incidence of GBS.

‘Active prospective ascertainment of every case of GBS in the UK is required. Please tell BNSU about every case.

‘You will have seen Press coverage describing the Government’s concern about releasing a vaccine of unknown safety.’

If there are signs of a rise in GBS after the vaccination programme begins, the Government could decide to halt it.

GBS attacks the lining of the nerves, leaving them unable to transmit signals to muscles effectively.

It can cause partial paralysis and mostly affects the hands and feet. In serious cases, patients need to be kept on a ventilator, but it can be fatal.

Death is caused by paralysis of the respiratory system, causing the victim to suffocate.
It is not known exactly what causes GBS and research on the subject has been inconclusive.

However, it is thought that one in a million people who have a seasonal flu vaccination could be at risk and it has also been linked to people recovering from a bout of flu of any sort.

The HPA said it was part of the Government’s pandemic plan to monitor GBS cases in the event of a mass vaccination campaign, regardless of the strain of flu involved.
But vaccine experts warned that the letters proved the programme was a ‘guinea-pig trial’.

Dr Tom Jefferson, co-ordinator of the vaccines section of the influential Cochrane Collaboration, an independent group that reviews research, said: ‘New vaccines never behave in the way you expect them to. It may be that there is a link to GBS, which is certainly not something I would wish on anybody.

‘But it could end up being anything because one of the additives in one of the vaccines is a substance called squalene, and none of the studies we’ve extracted have any research on it at all.’

He said squalene, a naturally occurring enzyme, could potentially cause so-far-undiscovered side effects.

Jackie Fletcher, founder of vaccine support group Jabs, said: ‘The Government would not be anticipating this if they didn’t think there was a connection. What we’ve got is a massive guinea-pig trial.’

Professor Chinnery said: ‘During the last swine flu pandemic, it was observed that there was an increased frequency of cases of GBS. No one knows whether it was the virus or the vaccine that caused this.

‘The purpose of the survey is for us to assess rapidly whether there is an increase in the frequency of GBS when the vaccine is released in the UK. It also increases consultants’ awareness of the condition.

Panic over? The number of swine flu cases has fallen sharply in the past few weeks.

‘This is a belt-and-braces approach to safety and is not something people should be substantially worried about as it’s a rare condition.’

If neurologists do identify a case of GBS, it will be logged on a central database.

Details about patients, including blood samples, will be collected and monitored by the HPA.

It is hoped this will help scientists establish why some people develop the condition and whether it is directly related to the vaccine.

But some question why there needs to be a vaccine, given the risks. Dr Richard Halvorsen, author of The Truth About Vaccines, said: ‘For people with serious underlying health problems, the risk of dying from swine flu is probably greater than the risk of side effects from the vaccine.

‘But it would be tragic if we repeated the US example and ended up with more casualties from the jabs.

‘I applaud the Government for recognising the risk but in most cases this is a mild virus which needs a few days in bed. I’d question why we need a vaccine at all.’

Professor Miller at the HPA said: ‘This monitoring system activates pandemic plans that have been in place for a number of years. We’ll be able to get information on whether a patient has had a prior influenza illness and will look at whether influenza itself is linked to GBS.

‘We are not expecting a link to the vaccine but a link to disease, which would make having the vaccine even more important.’

The UK’s medicines watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, is already monitoring reported side effects from Tamiflu and Relenza and it is set to extend that surveillance to the vaccine.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘The European Medicines Agency has strict processes in place for licensing pandemic vaccines.

‘In preparing for a pandemic, appropriate trials to assess safety and the immune responses have been carried out on vaccines very similar to the swine flu vaccine. The vaccines have been shown to have a good safety profile.

‘It is extremely irresponsible to suggest that the UK would use a vaccine without careful consideration of safety issues. The UK has one of the most successful immunisation programmes in the world.’

I COULDN”T EAT OR SPEAK… IT WAS HORRENDOUS
Hilary Wilkinson

Victim: Hilary Wilkinson spent three months in hospital after she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome
When Hilary Wilkinson woke up with muscle weakness in her left arm and difficulty breathing, doctors initially put it down to a stroke.

But within hours, she was on a ventilator in intensive care after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

She spent three months in hospital and had to learn how to talk and walk again. But at times, when she was being fed through a drip and needed a tracheotomy just to breathe, she doubted whether she would survive.

The mother of two, 57, from Maryport, Cumbria, had been in good health until she developed a chest infection in March 2006. She gradually became so weak she could not walk downstairs.

Doctors did not diagnose Guillain-Barre until her condition worsened in hospital and tests showed her reflexes slowing down. It is impossible for doctors to know how she contracted the disorder, although it is thought to be linked to some infections.

Mrs Wilkinson said: ‘It was very scary. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t speak. My arms and feet had no strength and breathing was hard.

I was treated with immunoglobulin, which are proteins found in blood, to stop damage to my nerves. After ten days, I still couldn’t speak and had to mime to nurses or my family.

‘It was absolutely horrendous and I had no idea whether I would get through it. You reach very dark moments at such times and wonder how long it can last.

But I’m a very determined person and I had lots of support.’

After three weeks, she was transferred to a neurological ward, where she had an MRI scan and nerve tests to assess the extent of the damage.

Still unable to speak and in a wheelchair, Mrs Wilkinson eventually began gruelling physiotherapy to improve her muscle strength and movement but it was exhausting and painful.

Three years later, she is almost fully recovered. She can now walk for several miles at a time, has been abroad and carries out voluntary work for a GBS Support Group helpline.

She said: ‘It makes me feel wary that the Government is rolling out this vaccine without any clear idea of the GBS risk, if any. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and it certainly changed my life.

‘I’m frightened to have the swine flu vaccine if this might happen again – it’s a frightening illness and I think more research needs to be done on the effect of the vaccine.’

Hotline staff given access to confidential records

Confidential NHS staff records and disciplinary complaints could be accessed by hundreds of workers manning the Government’s special swine flu hotline.

They were able to browse through a database of emails containing doctors’ and nurses’ National Insurance numbers, home addresses, dates of birth, mobile phone numbers and scanned passport pages – all details that could be used fraudulently.

And private and confidential complaints sent by hospitals about temporary medical staff – some of whom were named – were also made available to the call-centre workers, who were given a special password to log in to an internal NHS website.

It could be a breach of the Data Protection Act.

The hotline staff work for NHS Professionals, which was set up using taxpayers’ money to employ temporary medical and administrative staff for the health service.

The not-for-profit company runs two of the Government’s swine flu call centres – with 300 staff in Farnborough, Hampshire, and 900 in Watford, Hertfordshire.

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley described the revelations as ‘disturbing’.

Anne Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Unison, said: ‘There’s no excuse for such a fundamental breach of personal security. Action needs to be taken as soon as possible to make sure this does not happen again.’

A spokeswoman for NHS Professionals would not confirm whether access to the confidential files had been granted.
Source

Swine Flu Vaccine Makers to Profit $50 Billion a Year!! Or more. Some drug companies to date have been selling it at 6 times what it costs to make. So if it cost $5 to make they sell it for $30.

Gaza cancer patients have only painkillers, due to Israeli Blockade

Gaza_cancer_patient

And Israel’s appeasers continue to turn a blind eye…

Israeli-besieged Gaza cancer patients have only painkillers

Palestinians dying as Israel prevents 500 tons of donations of medical equipment to enter Gaza.
GAZA CITY – Arafat Hamdona, 20, has been confined to the cancer unit of As-Shifa, Gaza’s primary hospital, since he was diagnosed with maxillary skin tumours in June 2008. Red lesions protrude from his face, his features are distorted and his eyes swollen shut.

In April, Arafat was permitted to travel to Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem where he received three series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. He was scheduled to return for further treatment, but has not been granted permission by the Israeli authorities to leave Gaza.
“He is only given pain killers,” said Arafat’s father, Faraj Hamdona, explaining that that is all As-Shifa has to offer.

According to a July 2009 report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jerusalem, Gaza doctors and nurses do not have the medical equipment to respond to the health needs of the 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip.
Medical equipment is often broken, lacking spare parts, or outdated.

WHO attributes the dismal state of Gaza’s healthcare system to the Israeli blockade of the territory, tightened in June 2007 after Hamas seized control. The poor organization of maintenance services in Gaza compounds the problem, reports WHO.

Medical equipment sits idle

Some 500 tons of donations of medical equipment which flooded the Strip after Israel’s military offensive ended on 18 January sits idle in warehouses. Few donors consulted the health ministry or aid agencies working in Gaza to find out what provisions were needed. According to the health ministry, 20 percent of the donated medications had expired. WHO said much of the equipment sent was old and unusable due to a lack of spare parts.
WHO also said suppliers were unable to access medical equipment for repairs and maintenance and “since 2000, maintenance staff and clinical workers have not been able to leave the Strip for training in the use of medical devices”.

The Israeli Defence Ministry says it is not obliged to allow into Gaza anything other than basic humanitarian supplies necessary for survival, and is concerned certain medical technology could be used for other more sinister means. Gaza’s only other connection to the outside world is its border crossing with Egypt, which is closed most of the time.

The lack of proper medical care in Gaza can have dire consequences.

“The largest number of deaths due to the siege is among cancer patients,” Gaza deputy health minister Hassan Halifa said. “Radiotherapy for cancer patients is not available due to the lack of equipment, and chemotherapy is generally not available due to the lack of drugs.”

Lack of drugs, medical supplies

In July, 77 out of 480 essential drugs and 140 out of 700 essential medical supplies in Gaza’s health ministry were out of stock, according to WHO.

Ismail Ahmed, a 66-year-old from Shujayah, also lies in the cancer unit of As-Shifa, with a catheter for urination flowing into a wastebasket.

“We lack necessary equipment for the patients,” Abdullah Farajullah, a nurse at the unit, said.

Suffering from bladder cancer, Ismail requires blood transfusions.
“There are not enough IV [intravenous] bags. The nurses put blood into plastic water bottles to transfer into my IV bag,” Ismail said.

Due to a lack of equipment, he has been on a waiting list for over a month to have a CT (computed tomography) scan, and requires an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – although Gaza lacks a single working MRI scanner, according to WHO.

As-Shifa lacks equipment for basic blood tests. Patients rely on family members to take their blood to certain clinics for testing.

Limited electricity

Another problem for medics in Gaza is the irregular electricity supply, which affects sensitive medical equipment such as incubators and kidney dialysis machines.

Hospitals in Gaza use uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems as backups, but they require batteries which are often not available due to border closures with Israel and Egypt, according to WHO.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is funding and supplying 30 percent of medications and medical supplies in Gaza, said communications officer Mustafa Abu-Hassanain in Gaza.

“Most of the other 70 percent comes from the health ministry in Ramallah, paid for by the Palestinian Authority budget,” said Tony Laurance, head of WHO’s West Bank and Gaza Office in Jerusalem.

There is a dialogue between the health ministry in Gaza and the ministry in Ramallah (under Fatah’s control). Deliveries must be approved by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a unit of the Israeli Ministry of Defence, before being allowed into Gaza, explained Laurance.

Source

No one can say this isn’t Genocide.

Swedish newspaper reveals Israeli army murders Palestinians for their organs

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

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Interview: Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the ISM/UN Reports Gaza/ US Aid to Israel

January 29, 2009
By Kourosh Ziabari

Adam Shapiro, the symbol of a courageous, pure peace advocate, has long been under fire for his unconditional and categorical criticism of Israeli occupying state.

Photo from Palestine Think Tank

Photo from Palestine Think Tank

Born in 1972, the perseverant and steadfast anti-Zionist campaigner and co-founder of International Solidarity Movement vigorously makes efforts to broadcast the voice of subjugated and downtrodden nation of Palestine.

Following his meeting with Yasser Arafat in his Mukataa (government center) in Ramallah while it was besieged during the March 2002 Israeli military operation in the West Bank and Gaza, Adam Shapiro attained an international popularity and was put under the spotlight of Zionist media thereafter.

Despite enduring a stack of insults and invectives from the side of Zionist campaign in the past years, Adam Shapiro neither has relinquished nor alleviated his stance so far; rather intensified his anti-Zionist statements in the particular situations such as the horrendous 22 days of Israeli incursion into Gaza.

This interview has been done in the midst of Israeli genocide in Gaza as it’s apparent in some points of the conversation; nevertheless, it contains some informative and revealing information which are prone to be read and reflected thoughtfully.

Would you please elucidate about the salient and prominent activities which you usually carry out in the International Solidarity Movement? What are your agenda, modus operandi and plans to help the survivors of recent offensive in Gaza?

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) started off in 2001 as an effort to join international solidarity to the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation and oppression. This was through the joining of foreign activists with Palestinian activists in civilian-based non-violent active resistance in the west bank and Gaza. this kind of popular resistance has always been part of the Palestinian movement, and we felt that adding the international component would force the world to recognize that the conflict was not about Jew vs. Arab or Jew vs. Muslim, but rather a situation of oppression and discrimination based on ethnicity and religion in a sense similar to the anti-apartheid movement in south Africa.

Nowadays, the ISM role continues in this way, but is also more and more involved with being an eyewitness and reporting on the atrocities of what is happening to the Palestinian people. ISM volunteers spend longer periods of time in the territories and get to know the situation in depth.

Currently ISM has 5 volunteers in the Gaza Strip, who are responding during this assault on the people of Gaza – they are escorting ambulances and medical personnel who are responding to emergency calls; they are documenting what is happening and reporting out to the world, even as the Zionist government bars foreign journalists; they are assisting in the distribution of food and water as they can and to areas that are under major threat; and they are documenting evidence of war crimes, such as the use of white phosphorous artillery shells.

According to what you said, one effective and impressive choice that could help the progressive flow of Palestinians’ extrication and release from the harsh situation is to promote the notion of imposing sanctions, embargo on Israel. How is it possible to boycott and isolate the terrorist regime in the international stage?

There is a call from Palestinian civil society to boycott Israel, and it is for this reason that we are compelled to adhere to this call. That said, sanctions will most likely be symbolic at best, given the penetration of businesses in Israel and the difficulty to render such an impact. Symbolically, however the boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) campaign is very useful, particularly in the west, where it enables us to alter the debate away from spurious charges of anti-Semitism towards pointing out specifically why such measures are necessary. Additionally, the academic and cultural boycott can have tangible results, forcing Israeli academics, artists and intellectuals to confront the reality of their own position and force them to take a stand. There are very credible and valuable efforts in this regard, including a recent determination by a UK-based teachers union. However, in a sense, we need to remember that far more dramatic action is required, given that this situation for the Palestinians has been going on for 60 years, and the scale of the devastation and oppression of the entire Palestinian people is at such a level that symbolic actions – while good – do not meet the urgency of the situation.

Nevertheless, US and its European allies flagrantly veto any anti-Israeli resolution which comes on the top of UNSC agenda and don’t allow the international community to express its unequivocal and clear condemnation of Israeli massacre freely. What’s the reason, in your view, and how can that be opposed?

The reason has to do with domestic factors for the US more than anything else. I think for the European nations it is connected to the lingering guilt over the holocaust, a situation that is exploited by Israel and some of the Jewish organizations in those countries to maintain a code of silence when it comes to clearly calling out Israel for what has been a 60-year effort of crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. For the US, there really is no organized constituency willing to vote or donate to politicians campaigns based on this issue. Those who would are small in number and largely ineffective. the pro-Israel lobby in the US is not only among the organized Jewish community, but includes Christian Zionists, the military-industrial complex in the US, the information technology industry, the biotech industry, the medical community and others, all of which have significant relationships with Israel from a business perspective. This all has repercussions in the US political system and set the parameters of the debate in the US around us support for Israel.

That said, I also think the Palestinian leadership has missed opportunities over the years, but most importantly it accepted the framework of peace as a means of addressing the conflict, which helped set up a false sense of parity between the two parties. Instead of maintaining a position of national liberation, or creating a movement based on equal rights or ending oppression/discrimination, the choice for 2 states in the framework of peacemaking has helped allow the us and others to ‘blame both sides’.

All of these inconsistencies aside, neither the American double standards about the Israel’s nuclear case are bearable. They are folding their arms and sitting back relaxed while everybody, even ex-President Carter has confessed that Israel deposits 200 nuclear warheads!

Indeed, on this point in particular the hypocrisy reaches the level of absurd. Add to the points you raise in the question to the fact that Israel has been at war more than any other state in the region and almost always as the initiator and aggressor; not only in the formal wars, but also in the cross-border skirmishes, as occurred with Egypt and Lebanon in the past. If any regime in the region was volatile and prone to use military force it is Israel. A s such, there should be great world concern about its weapons of mass destruction, also since we have seen that Israel is willing to use dubious weapons and disproportionate force such as we witnessed in Lebanon in 2006 (cluster bombs) and Gaza today (white phosphorous artillery).

Accordingly, it seems that the mainstream media are pusillanimously afraid of the Israeli tyrannical lobby which rules the global corporate media. They censor any kind of news reflecting demonstrations, condemnations and anti-Israeli remarks by the world’s statesmen. How can they justify this unilateral and hostile approach in conveying the information?

I think many of the same factors that influence how the US and European governments act also influence the media’s role. But there is also an element of having a media strategy that requires examination. Israel and its allies around the world have a clear, organized and effective media strategy to promote the messaging and images that they want. Sure, there is media bias, but it would be false to think that that bias is the beginning and the end. After all, I know many journalists who cover the conflict and who seek to promote different perspectives in their newspapers and broadcasts. On the Palestinian side, there really is not an effective media strategy, and certainly not one that is organized. Some of these very practical details can make a very big difference in the coverage of the issue. While I don’t think this can fully overcome the bias that does exist, it can start making changes in the overall system.

I also think with the advent of new media, including Al-Jazeera and Press TV in particular, mainstream western media outlets are being challenged and being forced to change. Even the BBC’s own Arabic service has forced a certain change in BBC’s English service, which while subtle, nonetheless has important consequences.

Finally, I think it is also somewhat easy to overcount the media, in that worldwide, the Palestinian position of justice and ending occupation and oppression is the majority opinion, despite the media coverage. It is not world opinion that necessarily needs to change; it is the actions of governments.

So what actions are needed to administer justice about Israel? How could the world’s countries prevent it from committing further, predictable atrocities and seeking adventurous war-games in the region?

There needs to be unequivocal action in the international community to force Israel to end is aggression in Gaza. This should entail full suspension of diplomatic relations (as we have seen in Venezuela and Bolivia); full arms embargo on Israel; and the establishment of a criminal court under the ICC (mandated by the Security Council) to bring forward war crimes charges. while these maybe long-shots, we have to remember that the Palestinian people, unlike virtually any other people in the world, are wholly dependent on the international community to act to help, both because it is the international community that is responsible for the original partitioning and displacement of the Palestinians and because Palestinians do not have a state, an army or any means of self-defense. The UN General Assembly can also act and take dramatic action, and it should – and this would be a way to overcome a us veto.

And what about an international investigation on the illegal employment of unconventional weapons, mass killing of women and children, beleaguering the densely-populated strip for a long time and killing journalists, media correspondents and representatives of international communities?

There needs to be a tribunal established to try these crimes committed in Gaza. But this is truly not sufficient. The crimes of 60 years need to be addressed. Because of the impunity Israel has enjoyed since 1948, the lesson it learned is that there are no consequences for its actions and no limits. The Palestinians have borne the brunt of that ‘freedom to act’ for 60 years. It is not enough to say what Israel is doing in Gaza today is too much. What was done in Deir Yassin, in Tantoura, in Lid, in the Jenin refugee camp, in Israeli prisons, and hundreds of other places and over the course of years, has been beyond the limit of international law and human rights. Of course, I would welcome justice for the crimes committed in Gaza, but this should just be the beginning.

Source

Roughly every second Palestinian in the world is a recipient of UNRWA services.

Around 47% of Palestine refugees are under 20 years of age, and 64% of Palestine refugees are under 30 years of age.

In 1948

British Mandate ends on  May 15. Israel proclaims independence one day before.

Between April and August, more than 700,000 people flee their homes in Palestine and become refugees.

By 1966

Registered refugee population surpasses 1.3 million. UNRWA schools accommodate 175,900 pupils and health centres register 4.5 million patient visits during the year.

By 1981

Registered refugee population reaches 1.9 million, with 321,000 pupils enrolled in UNRWA schools and 4.5 million patient visits at UNRWA clinics.

By 1986

Heavy fighting in and around Beirut camps. Israeli air raids on camps in south Lebanon.

Refugee population surpasses 2 million, enrolment at UNRWA’s 635 schools reaches 349,200 pupils, training centres accommodate 4,808 students, and clinics handle over 4 million patient visits during the year.

By 1992

Refugee population reaches 2.7 million with UNRWA providing education to 392,000 pupils and vocational and technical training to 5,100 students; Agency health centres handle 6.1 million patient visits.

By 1995

UNRWA marks 45 years of service to Palestine refugees. Number of Palestine refugees reaches 3.2 million.
As of June 30 2008 Total number of Refugees 4,618,141
As Israel Bulldozes and takes their homes the numbers grow. . Every Red Dot is an Israeli Settlement.

israeli-settlements-ocupation-1967-on

west-bank-fragmentation-checkpoints-etc

International Humanitarian Law requires all medical personnel and facilities be protected at all times, even during armed conflict. Attacks on them are grave violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights laws. Access to heath is a fundamental human right.

CASUALTIES and AFFECTED
According to the MoH on 19 January at 16:00, the number of people killed in the Gaza Strip since 27 December was approximately 1300, including 410 children and 104 women. Approximately 5300 people have been injured, including 1855 children and 795 women*.
(*The reason for the high increase in the death count is the identification of many bodies that were previously not identified or found under the rubble or in areas previously not accessible.)

UNRWA reports that 44 out of the 50 emergency shelters established to accommodate the displaced people are still in place for 46 000 displaced people.
HEALTH PERSONNEL
Since 27 December 2008, 16 health personnel have been killed and 22 injured while on duty, according to the MoH health information centre in Gaza.

Since the cease-fire, most health personnel have been reporting to work regularly and working for one ore two continuous shifts, each shift for 12 hours.
DAMAGE TO HEALTH FACILITIES
Since 27 December, 34 health facilities (8 hospitals and 26 PHC clinics) have been damaged or destroyed in direct or indirect shelling.

Of the 8 damaged hospitals, two were not functioning as of January 20. The 8 are:

  • Al Dorah Hospital – damaged on 3 occasions – 3, 12, 13 January (functioning only for emergency cases)
  • Gaza Pediatrics Hospital – damaged 3 January
  • Al Awda Hospital – damaged 5 January
  • Gaza European Hospital – damaged 10 January
  • El Nasser Pediatrics Hospital – damaged 10 January
  • Al-Quds PRCS Hospital – damaged twice 4, 15 January (not functioning)
  • Al Wafa Hospital – damaged 15 January
  • Al-Fata Hospital – damaged 15 January (not functioning)
  • Of the damaged PHC clinics, 20 were identified between 17 and 19 January after staff were able to inspect areas previously inaccessible due to insecurity. The number may increase as all sites are visited.

    WHO is investigating the extent of damages to these health facilities.

    Map of Damages to Gaza Jan 2009

    The Terror that begot Israel

    By Khalid Amayreh

    “We committed Nazi acts.” Aharon Zisling, Israel’s first Agriculture Minister


    “There is no doubt that many sexual atrocities were committed by the attacking Jews. Many young (Arab) girls were raped and later slaughtered. Old women were also molested.”
    General Richard Catling, British Army Assistant Inspector after interrogating several female survivors (The Palestinian Catastrophe, Michael Palumbo, 1987)

    As the state of Israel is celebrating sixty years of ethnic cleansing and atrocities against the native Palestinians, many people around the world, especially  young generations,  will not be fully aware of the manner in which Israel came into existence. Similarly,  the younger Zionist generations who don’t stop calling their Palestinian victims “terrorists” should have a clearer idea about Israel’s manifestly criminal past which Zionist school textbooks  shamelessly glamorize and glorify

    Prior to “Jewish” statehood, three main Jewish terror organizations operated in Palestine, primarily against Palestinian civilians and British mandate targets. The three were: The Haganah, the Zvei Leumi or Irgun and the Stern Gang. The Haganah (Defence) had a field army of up to 160,000 well-trained and well-armed men and a unit called the Palmach, with more than 6,000 terrorists. The Irgun included as many as 5,000 terrorists, while the Stern Gang included 200-300 dangerous terrorists.

    The following are merely some  examples of Zionist terrorism prior to the creation of the Zionist state in 1948:  The list doesn’t include the bigger massacres such as Dir Yasin, Dawaymeh, Tantura and others.

    1937-1939

    During this period, Zionist terrorists carried out a series of terror attacks against Palestinian buses resulting in the death of 24 persons and the wounding of 25 others.

    1939

    Haganah blew up the Iraqi oil pipeline near Haifa/Palestine. Moshe Dayan was one of the participants in this act. The technique was used in 1947 at least four times.

    1940

    On 6 November, 1940 , Zionist terrorists of the Stern Gang assassinated the British Minister resident in the Middle East , Lord Moyne, in Cairo .

    1940

    On  25 November, S.S. Patria was blown up by Jewish terrorists in Haifa harbour, killing 268 illegal Jewish immigrants. The explosion, carried out by the Haganah terrorist group, was only meant to prevent the ship from sailing. However, it seemed that the terrorists had miscalculated the amount of explosives needed to disable the vessel.  Other sources reported that this was no miscalculation and was a deliberate  mass murder of Jews by Jews aimed at drawing sympathy and influencing British immigration policy to Palestine .

    1946

    Zionist terrorists blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which housed the civilian administration of the government of Palestine, killing and injuring more than 200 persons. The Irgun gang claimed responsibility for this criminal act, but subsequent evidence indicated that both the Haganah and the Jewish Agency were involved.

    1946

    On 1 October, the British Embassy in Rome was badly damaged by a bomb explosion for which Irgun claimed responsibility.

    1947

    In June 1947, a postal bomb addressed to the British war office exploded in the post office sorting room in London, injuring 2 persons. It was attributed to Irgun or Stern Gangs (The Sunday Times, Sept. 24, 1972), p. 8.

    1947

    In December 1947, six Palestinians were killed and 30 wounded when bombs were thrown from Jewish trucks at Arab houses in Haifa; 12 Palestinians were killed and another injured in an attack by armed Zionists at an Arab coastal village near Haifa.

    1947

    On 13 December 1947 , Zionist terrorists believed to be members of Irgun Zevi Leumi murdered 18 Palestinian civilians and wounded 60 others in Jerusalem , Jaffa and Lud areas. In Jerusalem , bombs were thrown in an Arab market-place near the Damascus Gate; in Jaffa bombs were thrown into an Arab café; and in the Arab village near Lud, 12 Arabs were killed in an attack with mortars and automatic weapons.

    1947

    On 9 December, Haganah terrorists attacked an Arab village near Safad, blowing up two houses, in the ruins of which were found the bodies of 10 Arabs, including 5 children. Haganah admitted responsibility for the attack.

    December 13, 1947- February 10, 1948

    Seven bombing attacks by Jewish terrorists took place and the targets were innocent Arab civilians in cafés and markets, killing 138 and wounding 271 others. During this period, there were 9 attacks on Arab buses. Moreover, Jewish terrorists attacked passenger trains on at least four occasions, killing 93 persons and wounding 161 others.

    1947

    On 29 December, two British constables and 11 Palestinians were killed and 32 others were injured at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem when Irgun terrorists threw a bomb from a taxi.

    1948

    On 1 January,  Haganah terrorists attacked a village on the slope of Mount Carmel , killing 17 Palestinian civilians and wounding 33 others.

    1948

    On 4 January, Haganah terrorists wearing British Army uniforms penetrated into the centre of Jaffa and blew up the Sarai, which was used as headquarters of the Arab National Committee, killing more than 40 persons and wounding 98 others.

    1948

    On 5 January, the Arab-owned Semiramis Hotel in Jerusalem was blown up, killing 20 civilians, among them Viscount De Tapia, the Spanish Consul. Haganah admitted responsibility for this outrage.

    1948

    On 7 January , seventeen Arab civilians were killed by a bomb at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem , 3 of them while trying to escape. Further casualties, including the murder of a British officer near Hebron, were reported from different parts of the country.
    1948

    On 16 January, Jewish terrorists blew up three Arab buildings, killing 8 children between the age of 18 months and 12 years.

    1948

    On 15 February , Haganah terrorists attacked an Arab village near Safad and blew up several houses, killing 11 civilians, including four children.

    1948

    On  3 March, heavy damage was done to the Arab-owned Salam building in Haifa (a seven-story block of flats and shops) by Jewish terrorists who drove an army truck to the building and escaped before detonation of 400 pounds of explosives, killing 11 Arab civilians and 3 Americans. The Stern Gang claimed responsibility.

    1948

    On 22 March, Jewish terrorists from the Stern Gang blew up a housing block in Iraq Street in Haifa , killing 17 and injuring 100 others. Four members of the Stern Gang drove two truckloads of explosives into the street and abandoned the vehicles before the explosives went off.

    1948

    On 31 March, Jewish terrorists mined the Cairo-Haifa Express, killing 40 people and wounding 60 others.

    1948

    On 16 April, Jewish terrorists attacked the former British army camp at Tel Litvvinsky, killing 90 Palestinians.

    1948

    On 19 April, fourteen Palestinian civilians were killed in a house in Tiberias, which was blown up by Zionist terrorists.

    April 25, 1948- May 13, 1948

    Wholesale looting of Jaffa was carried out following armed attacks by Irgun and Haganah terrorists. They plundered and carried away everything they could, destroying what they could not take with them.

    1948

    On  11 May, a letter bomb addressed to Evelyn Baker, former commanding officer in Palestine , was detected in the nick of time by his wife.

    1948

    On 17 September, Count Folke Berndadotte, UN Mediator in Palestine was assassinated by members of the Stern Gang in the Zionist-controlled sector of Jerusalem . Bernadotte’s aide Col. Serot was also killed and murdered by Jewish terrorists.

    1948

    In November, the Christian Arab villages of Igrit and Birim were attacked and destroyed, killing and injuring many unarmed civilians, including women and children. All the Christian Arab inhabitants were forcibly expelled from their homes. The State of Israel still refuses to allow them to return to their villages despite several court orders.

    1948-1949

    The greatest acts of Jewish terror took place when Jewish terrorists, now called Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), uprooted 700,000 Palestinians from their ancestral homeland in Palestine . Since then the refugees have consistently been denied the right to return home. After the expulsion, the Zionist terrorist army razed to the ground hundreds of Arab towns, villages and hamlets and obliterated their remains. Eventually, Israeli villages, Kibbutzim and towns were built on the remaining rubble.

    Source

    1945 Land ownership

    land-ownership-1945

    The question of Palestine was brought before the United Nations shortly after the end of the Second World War.

    The origins of the Palestine problem as an international issue, however, lie in events occurring towards the end of the First World War. These events led to a League of Nations decision to place Palestine under the administration of Great Britain as the Mandatory Power under the Mandates System adopted by the League. In principle, the Mandate was meant to be in the nature of a transitory phase until Palestine attained the status of a fully independent nation, a status provisionally recognized in the League’s Covenant, but in fact the Mandate’s historical evolution did not result in the emergence of Palestine as an independent nation.

    The decision on the Mandate did not take into account the wishes of the people of Palestine, despite the Covenant’s requirements that “the wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory”. This assumed special significance because, almost five years before receiving the mandate from the League of Nations, the British Government had given commitments to the Zionist Organization regarding the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, for which Zionist leaders had pressed a claim of “historical connection” since their ancestors had lived in Palestine two thousand years earlier before dispersing in the “Diaspora”.

    During the period of the Mandate, the Zionist Organization worked to secure the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The indigenous people of Palestine, whose forefathers had inhabited the land for virtually the two preceding millennia felt this design to be a violation of their natural and inalienable rights. They also viewed it as an infringement of assurances of independence given by the Allied Powers to Arab leaders in return for their support during the war. The result was mounting resistance to the Mandate by Palestinian Arabs, followed by resort to violence by the Jewish community as the Second World War drew to a close.

    After a quarter of a century of the Mandate, Great Britain submitted what had become “the Palestine problem” to the United Nations on the ground that the Mandatory Power was faced with conflicting obligations that had proved irreconcilable. At this point, when the United Nations itself was hardly two years old, violence ravaged Palestine. After investigating various alternatives the United Nations proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized. The partition plan did not bring peace to Palestine, and the prevailing violence spread into a Middle East war halted only by United Nations action. One of the two States envisaged in the partition plan proclaimed its independence as Israel and, in a series of successive wars, its territorial control expanded to occupy all of Palestine. The Palestinian Arab State envisaged in the partition plan never appeared on the world’s map and, over the following 30 years, the Palestinian people have struggled for their lost rights.

    The Palestine problem quickly widened into the Middle East dispute between the Arab States and Israel. From 1948 there have been wars and destruction, forcing millions of Palestinians into exile, and engaging the United Nations in a continuing search for a solution to a problem which came to possess the potential of a major source of danger for world peace.

    In the course of this search, a large majority of States Members of the United Nations have recognized that the Palestine issue continues to lie at the heart of the Middle East problem, the most serious threat to peace with which the United Nations must contend. Recognition is spreading in world opinion that the Palestinian people must be assured its inherent inalienable right of national self-determination for peace to be restored.

    In 1947 the United Nations accepted the responsibility of finding a just solution for the Palestine issue, and still grapples with this task today. Decades of strife and politico-legal arguments have clouded the basic issues and have obscured the origins and evolution of the Palestine problem, which this study attempts to clarify.

    The US took over by providing Israel, with billions in Aid.

    A Conservative Estimate of Total Direct U.S. Aid to Israel: Almost $114 Billion

    By Shirl McArthur

    November 2008

    TABLE 1: Direct U.S. Aid to Israel (millions of dollars)

    Year
    (Total
    (Military
    Grant
    (Economic
    Grant
    (Immigrant
    (ASHA
    (All Other
    1949-1996
    ***
    (68,030.9
    (29,014.9
    (23,122.4
    (868.9
    (121.4
    (14,903.3
    1997
    (3,132.1
    (1,800.0
    (1,200.0
    (80.0
    (2.1
    (50.0
    1998
    (3,080.0
    (1,800.0
    (1,200.0
    (80.0
    (?
    (?
    1999
    (3,010.0
    (1,860.0
    (1,080.0
    (70.0
    (?
    (?
    2000
    (4,131.85
    (3,120.0
    (949.1
    (60.0
    (2.75
    (?
    2001
    (2,876.05
    (1,975.6
    (838.2
    (60.0
    (2.25
    (?
    2002
    (2,850.65
    (2,040.0
    (720.0
    (60.0
    (2.65
    (28.0
    2003
    (3,745.15
    (3,086.4
    (596.1
    (59.6
    (3.05
    (?
    2004
    (2,687.25
    (2,147.3
    (477.2
    (49.7
    (3.15
    (9.9
    2005
    (2,612.15
    (2,202.2
    (357.0
    (50.0
    (2.95
    (?
    2006
    (2,534.53
    (2,257.0
    (237.0
    (40.0
    (?
    (.53
    2007
    (2,500.24
    (2,340.0
    (120.0
    (40.0
    (?
    (.24
    2008
    (2,423.8
    (2,380.6
    (0.0
    (39.7
    (3.0
    (.5
    Total
    (103,614.67
    (56,024.0
    (30,897.0
    (1,557.9
    (143.3
    (14,992.47
    Notes: FY 2000 military grants include $1.2 billion for the Wye agreement and $1.92 billion in annual military aid. FY 2003 military aid included $1 billion from the supplemental appropriations bill. The economic grant was earmarked for $960 million for FY 2000 but was reduced to meet the 0.38% rescission. Final amounts for FY 2003 are reduced by 0.65% mandated rescission, the amounts for FY 2004 are reduced by 0.59%, and the amounts for FY 2008 are reduced by .81%.
    Sources: CRS Report RL33222: U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, updated Jan. 2, 2008, plus the FY ’08 omnibus appropriations bill, H.R. 2764.

    Shirl McArthur, a retired U.S. foreign service officer, is a consultant based in the Washington, DC area.

    This estimate of total U.S. direct aid to Israel updates the estimate given in the July 2006 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. It is an estimate because arriving at an exact figure is not possible, since parts of U.S. aid to Israel are a) buried in the budgets of various U.S. agencies, mostly that of the Defense Department (DOD), or b) in a form not easily quantifiable, such as the early disbursement of aid, giving Israel a direct benefit in interest income and the U.S. Treasury a corresponding loss. Given these caveats, our current estimate of cumulative total direct aid to Israel is $113.8554 billion.

    It must be emphasized that this analysis is a conservative, defensible accounting of U.S. direct aid to Israel, NOT of Israel’s cost to the U.S. or the American taxpayer, nor of the benefits to Israel of U.S. aid. The distinction is important, because the indirect or consequential costs suffered by the U.S. as a result of its blind support for Israel exceed by many times the substantial amount of direct aid to Israel. (See, for example, the late Thomas R. Stauffer’s article in the June 2003 Washington Report, “The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion.”)

    Especially, this computation does not include the costs resulting from the invasion and occupation of Iraq—hundreds of billions of dollars, 4,000-plus U.S. and allied fatalities, untold tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and many thousands of other U.S., allied, and Iraqi casualties—which is almost universally believed in the Arab world to have been undertaken for the benefit of Israel. Among other “indirect or consequential” costs would be the costs of U.S. unilateral economic sanctions on Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria, the costs to U.S. manufacturers of the Arab boycott, and the costs to U.S. companies and consumers of the 1973 Arab oil embargo and consequent and subsequent soaring oil prices partially as a result of U.S. support for Israel.

    Among the real benefits to Israel that are not direct costs to the U.S. taxpayer are the early cash transfer of economic and military aid, in-country spending of a portion of military aid, and loan guarantees. The U.S. gives Israel all of its economic and military aid directly in cash during the first month of the fiscal year, with no accounting required of how the funds are used. Also, in contrast with other countries receiving military aid, who must purchase through the DOD, Israel deals directly with the U.S. companies, with no DOD review. Furthermore, Israel is allowed to spend 26.3 percent of each year’s military aid in Israel (no other recipient of U.S. military aid gets this benefit), which has resulted in an increasingly sophisticated Israeli defense industry. As a result, Israel has become a major world arms exporter; the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that in 2006 Israel was the world’s ninth leading supplier of arms worldwide, earning $4.4 billion from defense sales.

    Another benefit to Israel are U.S. government loan guarantees. The major loan guarantees have been $600 million for housing between 1972 and 1990; $9.2 billion for Soviet Jewish resettlement between 1992 and 1997; about $5 billion for refinancing military loans commercially; and $9 billion in loan guarantees authorized in FY ’03 and extended to FY ’10. Of that $9 billion, CRS reports that Israel has drawn $4.1 billion through FY ’07. These loans have not—yet—cost the U.S. any money; they are listed on the Treasury Department’s books as “contingent liabilities,” which would be liabilities to the U.S. should Israel default. However, they have been of substantial, tangible benefit to Israel, because they enable Israel to borrow commercially at special terms and favorable interest rates.
    Components of Israel Aid

    Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. aid since World War II (not counting the huge sums being spent in Iraq). The $3 billion or so per year that Israel receives from the U.S. amounts to about $500 per Israeli. Most of this money is earmarked in the annual Foreign Operations (foreign aid) appropriations bills, with the three major items being military grants (Foreign Military Financing, or FMF), economic grants (Economic Support Funds, or ESF), and “migration and refugee assistance.” (Refugee assistance originally was intended to help Israel absorb Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union, but this was expanded in 1985 to include all refugees resettling in Israel. In fact, Israel doesn’t differentiate between refugees and other immigrants, so this money is used for all immigrants to Israel.)

    Not earmarked but also included in congressional appropriations bills is Israel’s portion of grants for American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) and monies buried in the appropriations for other departments or agencies. These are mostly for so-called “U.S.-Israeli cooperative programs” in defense, agriculture, science, and hi-tech industries.

    Before 1998, Israel received annually $1.8 billion in military grants and $1.2 billion in economic grants. Then, beginning in FY ‘99, the two countries agreed to reduce economic grants to Israel by $120 million and increase military grants by $60 million annually over 10 years. FY ’08 is the last year of that agreement, with military grants reaching $2.4 billion (reduced by an across-the-board rescission), and zero economic grants. Then, in August 2007, U.S. and Israeli officials signed a memorandum of understanding for a new 10-year, $30 billion aid package whereby FMF will gradually increase, beginning with $2.55 billion in FY ’09, and average $3 billion per year over the 10-year period.
    Methodology
    TABLE 2: Foreign Aid and DOD Appropriations
    Legislation Since FY 2004

    Basic Documents Conference Report Public Law
    FY ’04 Defense H.R. 2658 H.Rept. 108-283 P.L. 108-87
    Omnibus H.R. 2673 H.Rept. 108-401 P.L. 108-199
    FY ’05 Defense H.R. 4613 H.Rept. 108-662 P.L. 108-287
    Omnibus H.R. 4818 H.Rept. 108-792 P.L. 108-447
    FY ’06 Defense H.R. 2863 H.Rept. 109-359 P.L. 109-148
    Foreign Aid H.R. 3057 H.Rept. 109-265 P.L. 109-102
    FY ’07 Defense H.R. 5631 H.Rept. 109-676 P.L. 109-289
    Foreign Aid H.J.Res. 20 P.L. 110-5
    FY ’08 Defense H.R. 3222 H.Rept. 110-434 P.L. 110-116
    Omnibus H.R. 2764 H.Rept. 110-497 P.L. 110-161
    Notes: H.R.=House Resolution; S.=Senate Resolution; H.Rept.=House Report; the “public law” is the final, binding version, as signed by the president. In FY ’04, ’05, and ’08 defense was passed separately and foreign aid was included in the consolidated or “omnibus” bill. In FY ’07 defense was passed separately and foreign aid was included in the continuing resolution, H.J. Res. 20, which continued ’07 appropriations at the ’06 level with some exceptions—including, of course, for Israel.

    As with previous Washington Report estimates of U.S. aid to Israel, this analysis is based on the annual CRS report, U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, which uses available and verifiable numbers, primarily from the foreign operations appropriations bills. Although the CRS report does include such things as the old food for peace program, the $1.2 billion from the Wye agreement, the $1 billion in FMF included in the FY ’03 Emergency Supplemental appropriations bill, the subsidy for “refugee resettlement,” and money from the ASHA account, it does not include money from the DOD and other agencies. Nor does it include estimated interest on the early disbursement of aid.

    The January 2008 CRS report on aid to Israel shows a total of $101.1908 billion through FY ’07. Table 1, on the previous page, is drawn from the summary table of that report, plus $2.4238 billion from the FY ’08 omnibus appropriations bill and estimates for ASHA and “other” amounts in FY ’08, for a total of $103.6147 billion through FY ’08.

    To that has been added $10.2407 billion, as detailed below, for a grand total of $113.8554 billion.

    Estimated Amounts Not Included in Table 1:
    $10.2407 Billion

    Defense Department Funds: $7.694 Billion. For previous estimates, a search going back several years was able to identify $6.794 billion from the DOD to Israel through FY ‘06. Adding $450 million from the FY ’07 DOD appropriations and $450 million from the ’08 appropriations gives a total of $7.694 billion. (The FY ’08 appropriations bill earmarks $155.6 million for Israel. However, AIPAC’s Web site reported that the total for earmarked and non-earmarked programs was $450 million—and who would know better than the Israel lobby itself?)

    The military aid from the DOD budget is mostly for specific projects. The largest items have been the canceled Lavi attack fighter project, the completed Merkava tank, the ongoing Arrow anti-missile missile project, and several other anti-missile systems, most recently the “David’s Sling” short-range missile defense system. Haaretz reported in June that a senior U.S. defense official has said the U.S. will support and help Israel’s development of the advanced Arrow 3 designed to intercept advanced ballistic missiles. The fact that the U.S. military was not interested in the Lavi or the Merkava for its own use and has said the same thing about the Arrow and the other anti-missile projects would seem to jettison the argument that these are “joint defense projects.” The FY ‘01 appropriations bill also gave Israel a grant of $700 million worth of military equipment, to be drawn down from stocks in Western Europe, and the FY ’05 defense appropriations bill includes a provision authorizing the DOD to transfer an unspecified amount of “surplus” military items from inventory to Israel. In addition, since 1988 Israel has been designated a “major non-NATO ally,” giving it access to U.S. weapons systems at lower prices, and preferential treatment in bidding for U.S. defense contracts.

    Interest: $2.089 Billion. Israel receives its U.S. economic and military aid in a lump sum within one month of the new fiscal year or the passage of the appropriations act. Applying one-half of the prevailing interest rate to the aid for each year (on the assumption that the aid monies are drawn down over the course of the year), the July 2006 estimate arrived at a total of $1.991 billion through FY ’06. To that, using an interest rate of 4 percent, is added $50 million for FY ’07 and $48 million for FY ’08, for a cumulative total of $2.089 billion through FY ’08.

    Other Grants and Endowments: $457.7 Million. The July 2006 report included $456.7 million in U.S. grants and endowments to U.S.-Israeli scientific and business cooperation organizations. The two largest are the BIRD (Israel-U.S. Binational Research & Development) Foundation and the BARD (Binational Agriculture and Research and Development) Fund. While these are mostly self-sustaining, the BARD Fund gets about $500,000 a year from the Agriculture Department. Adding $0.5 million for each of FY ’07 and ‘08 to the ’06 total gives a new total of $0.457.7 billion.

    For the convenience of those who wish to look up more details, citations for the foreign aid and DOD appropriations bills for the past five years are given in Table 2 above.

    Source

    On average Israel got or gets about “6.5 million dollars a day” from the US. The tax payers are however the ones who pay for it.

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    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives


    Published in: on January 31, 2009 at 12:58 pm  Comments Off on Interview: Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the ISM/UN Reports Gaza/ US Aid to Israel  
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    141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

    Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

    Sign Petition to Ban DU

    What is DU?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Health Problems

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

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

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


    Epidemiology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Source

    Sign Petition to Ban DU

    International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Voting results in full

    In favour:

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

    Against:

    France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstain:

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

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

    Source

    Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

    November 11, 2008

    by Barbara Bellows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ten Essential Facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    VALUABLE REFERENCES:

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

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

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

    January 2003 White House Report – Apparatus of Lies:

    January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

    Source

    Depleated Uranium Information

    Or Google it there is tons of information out there.

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

    This is an extremely dangerous form of Pollution.

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

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

    The life you save may be your own.

    Sign Petition to Ban DU

    Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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    Help For Zimbabwe with Cholera Epidemic is on the Way

    The Zimbabwe Government finally reached out for some help.

    China has pledged vaccines worth $500 000 to fight cholera in Zimbabwe, the country’s Herald newspaper reported today.

    China’s deputy head of mission in Zimbabwe He Meng said his government would bring the vaccines as soon as talks with the ministry of foreign affairs had been concluded.

    “We are sympathising with the Zimbabwean people and we want to help as best as we can to stop the spread of the cholera disease that has killed many people in this country,” he was quoted as saying.

    China would also give Zimbabwe food to help ease shortages.

    World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative Dr Custodia Mandlhate said containing the outbreaks with the prevailing poor water supply and sanitation was difficult.

    The WHO – a United Nations agency – was helping the government co-ordinate partner contribution, support case investigation and manage and set up cholera treatment centres.

    Cholera kits worth more than $900 000 were handed to the ministry of health and child welfare before the outbreak as strategic stocks.

    Mandlhate said the WHO would procure different items valued at $400 000 to replace the stocks that were running out.

    The latest report from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated that so far 366 people had died of cholera in Zimbabwe, 108 of them in Harare.

    A further 8,887 cases were attended to countrywide, with Harare topping the list with 4,697 cases.

    Cholera cases in South Africa and Botswana had also been reported.

    Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs president, Chief Fortune Charumbira, has called on the government to embark on “spirited” cholera awareness campaigns in the rural areas.

    He said most rural people remained vulnerable to the disease because of lack of knowledge, the Herald reported.

    Source

    I did note that on just about every story I read the number of those who have died has varied from one to another. Seems the truth on that may never be known for sure.

    The number of those infected also varied from one to another.

    There are about 9,000 people infected give or take a few hundred one way or the other.

    Those number can grow rapidly and those who are infected can die quickly if not treated.

    The bacteria Vibrio cholerae is excreted by an infected person in the stools and vomit. It can then be spread directly to other people if they touch the patient and then fail to wash their hands before eating. The germ can also contaminate food or water supplies. In the latter case this will cause an explosive outbreak because many people will ingest the vibrion in a short period of time.

    Once inside the intestine, the organism multiplies and produces a toxin. This toxin causes the cells lining the intestine to secrete massive volumes of fluid and leads to diarrhea and vomiting. A patient under treatment can lose more than 50 liters of fluid during a bout of cholera.

    A person who is not treated will die of dehydration well before this. In fact, death usually occurs when 10 to 15 per cent of the total body weight is lost. In severe cases this may take only a couple of hours. From  Doctors Without Borders

    SOUTH AFRICA, China and the United Nations and concerned Non-Governmental Organisations sympathetic to the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe are at the forefront of fighting cholera.

    Yesterday the South African Limpopo Health Services Department — in partnership with Gift of the Givers Foundation, a non-governmental organisation — yesterday donated equipment worth R1,2 million to Beitbridge District Hospital for use in combating the cholera outbreak.

    Gift of Givers Foundation is an independent African NGO established in August 1992. Since it was founded the NGO has delivered 200 Million Rand of aid in a 14 year period to 23 countries, and millions of people have benefited.It currently operates in over 15 countries including Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan.

    The NGO is involved in disaster relief, primary health care clinics, feeding schemes, water purification and waterwell provision, distribution of new blankets, new clothing and food parcels, bursaries, educational support, toy story, agricultural self help schemes, job creation, counselling services, a drug rehab, HIV/AIDS workshops, skills development and life altering workshops.

    The equipment donated to Zimbabwe by Gift of the Givers Foundation spokesperson Mr Allauddin Sayed comprised 25 water tanks (each with a capacity of 10 000 litres), water treatment tablets, a generator and a consignment of medical and food supplies.

    “We had to come in with this kind of assistance following appeals by the South African government on the problems faced by our brothers in Zimbabwe dealing with the cholera outbreak,” said Sayed.

    “As an organisation, we are passionate about Africa, especially Zimbabwe being our neighbours and therefore we will continue to assist in whatever way so that we complement the efforts being made by their Government,” he added.

    South Africa’s Department of Health and Social Development is also heavily involved in the fight against cholera in Zimbabwe after concerns raised during Sunday’s stakeholders meeting involving health officials from Zimbabwe and South Africa in Beitbridge.

    The department will assist the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) in water purification and sewer treatment. Te two authorities say they will target water supply and sewer reticulation, particularly where effluent is flowing into the Limpopo River, which is the main source of water for both Beitbridge and Musina residents.

    South Africa entered into an agreement with the Musina Municipality to help in transporting adequate clean water to Beitbridge.

    Once the water treatment starts functioning properly, the water tanks would be connected to the Zinwa purification plant through the main pipeline.

    This week the United Nations launched the consolidated appeal for 2009 for a total of $550 million, the highest appeal ever for Zimbabwe. Last year’s appeal was under $400 million and according to the U.N. had been “very well subscribed”, and was, at this point, 75 per cent funded.

    Together with South Africa, the United Nations is part of a task force within Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health set up to coordinate the response to the cholera situation.

    The U.N. World Food Program appealed in October for $140 million to help 4 million Zimbabweans. The agency said earlier this month that international donors had not responded, forcing it to start rationing cereal and beans. It warned that food aid will run out by January unless it gets new funds.

    So far only China and South Africa have made pledges for food aid beyond 2008.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged all donors to disregard their political views on Zimbabwe and provide money for critically needed food and to help battle the cholera outbreak.

    U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said on Tuesday “The secretary-general urges all parties (NGOs) to support and provide humanitarian assistance leaving political considerations aside.”

    Food aid and humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe has been heavily politicized.

    The Zimbabwean government in June this year temporarily banned all NGOs from carrying out relief work in the country accusing them of helping the opposition MDC to carry out political activities in remote areas.

    The ban was lifted a month later. Very few NGOs, many of whom were calling for the lifting of the ban, have resumed work in the country.

    A government official told the Zimbabwe Guardian that many of these NGOs had not been forthcoming during the outbreak of cholera and quietly waited for the crisis to deepen.

    “Many NGOs that were at the forefront of calling for a lifting of the ban have not been forthcoming. Their statements were not altruistic but were meant to discredit the Government of Zimbabwe,” said the official adding that “our true friends, China and South Africa have been at the forefront of fighting the cholera outbreak”.

    While South Africa, China and the U.N. are helping Zimbabwe to battle the cholera outbreak, Botswana on Wednesday called for neighbouring countries to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe to drive President Robert Mugabe out of power.

    Speaking on BBC’s HardTalk programme, Botswana’s foreign minister called on neighbouring African nations to bring down the government of President Mugabe.

    Phando Skelemani said mediation has failed to remove President Mugabe and African nations should impose sanctions to force that removal.

    “If no petrol went in for a week, he can’t last,” Skelemani said on Wednesday.

    CHOLERA OUTBREAKS

    In less than a year Monrovia (Liberia), Conakry (Guinea), Bissau (Guinea Bissau), Nouakchott (Mauritania), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Lusaka (Zambia) and now Luanda in Angola are dealing with cholera outbreaks.

    Source
    Sanctions however I think are a problem, sanctions can do as much human damage as war.
    They do more harm to civilians then most realize. A point of interest. Zimbabwe is already being Sanctioned by the US and the EU.
    Fortunately in spite of it all, finally they may get the help they so desperately need.
    They need all the help they can get.

    3,000 dead from cholera in Zimbabwe

    Economic sanctions are a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”

    Who profits from WAR?

    Who profited from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Not only do Contractors profit of course but, someone else profits quit splendidly form their contracts.

    A little History lesson just in case anyone has forgotten.

    When you got to Vote make sure the one you are voting for isn’t like Dick Cheney.

    Ask questions, Demand answers. There are already to many profiteers in the White House.


    Halliburton Makes a Killing on Iraq War

    Cheney’s Former Company Profits from Supporting Troops
    by Pratap Chatterjee,
    March 20th, 2003

    As the first bombs rain down on Baghdad, CorpWatch has learned that thousands of employees of Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former

    company, are working alongside US troops in Kuwait and Turkey under a package deal worth close to a billion dollars. According to US Army sources, they are building tent cities and providing logistical support for the war in Iraq in addition to other hot spots in the “war on terrorism.”

    While recent news coverage has speculated on the post-war reconstruction gravy train that corporations like Halliburton stand to gain from, this latest information indicates that Halliburton is already profiting from war time contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Cheney served as chief executive of Halliburton until he stepped down to become George W. Bush’s running mate in the 2000 presidential race. Today he still draws compensation of up to a million dollars a year from the company, although his spokesperson denies that the White House helped the company win the contract.

    In December 2001, Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, secured a 10-year deal known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), from the Pentagon. The contract is a “cost-plus-award-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity service” which basically means that the federal government has an open-ended mandate and budget to send Brown and Root anywhere in the world to run military operations for a profit.

    Linda Theis, a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Field Support Command in Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, confirmed for Corpwatch that Brown and Root is also supporting operations in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Georgia, Jordan and Uzbekistan.

    “Specific locations along with military units, number of personnel assigned, and dates of duration are considered classified,” she said. “The overall anticipated cost of task orders awarded since contract award in December 2001 is approximately $830 million.”

    Kuwait

    The current contract in Kuwait began in September 2002 when Joyce Taylor of the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Program Management Office, arrived to supervise approximately 1,800 Brown and Root employees to set up tent cities that would provide accommodation for tens of thousands of soldiers and officials.

    Army officials working with Brown and Root says the collaboration is helping cut costs by hiring local labor at a fraction of regular Army salaries. “We can quickly purchase building materials and hire third-country nationals to perform the work. This means a small number of combat-service-support soldiers are needed to support this logistic aspect of building up an area,” says Lt. Col. Rod Cutright, the senior LOGCAP planner for all of Southwest Asia.

    During the past few weeks, these Brown and Root employees have helped transform Kuwait into an armed camp, to support some 80,000 foreign troops, roughly the equivalent of 10% of Kuwait’s native born population.

    Most of these troops are now living in the tent cities in the rugged desert north of Kuwait City, poised to invade Iraq. Some of the encampments are named after the states associated with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — Camp New York, Camp Virginia and Camp Pennsylvania.

    The headquarters for this effort is Camp Arifjan, where civilian and military employees have built a gravel terrace with plastic picnic tables and chairs, surrounded by a gymnasium in a tent, a PX and newly arrived fast food outlets such as Burger King, Subway and Baskin-Robbins, set up in trailers or shipping containers. Basketball hoops and volleyball nets are set up outside the mess hall.

    Turkey

    North of Iraq approximately 1,500 civilians are working for Brown and Root and the United States military near the city of Adana, about an hour’s drive inland from the Mediterranean coast of central Turkey, where they support approximately 1,400 US soldiers staffing Operation Northern Watch’s Air Force F-15 Strike Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons monitoring the no-fly zone above the 36th parallel in Iraq.

    The jet pilots are catered and housed at the Incirlik military base seven miles outside the city by a company named Vinnell, Brown and Root (VBR), a joint venture between Brown and Root and Vinnell corporation of Fairfax, Virginia, under a contract that was signed on October 1, 1988, which also includes two more minor military sites in Turkey: Ankara and Izmir.

    The joint venture’s latest contract, which started July 1, 1999 and will expire in September 2003, was initially valued at $118 million. US Army officials confirm that Brown and Root has been awarded new and additional contracts in Turkey in the last year to support the “war on terrorism” although they refused to give any details.

    “We provide support services for the United States Air Force in areas of civil engineering, motor vehicles transportation, in the services arena here – that includes food service operations, lodging, and maintenance of a golf course. We also do US customs inspection,” explained VBR site manager Alex Daniels, who has worked at Incirlik for almost 15 years.

    Cheap labor is also the primary reason for outsourcing services, says Major Toni Kemper, head of public affairs at the base. “The reason that the military goes to contracting is largely because it’s more cost effective in certain areas. I mean there was a lot of studies years ago as to what services can be provided via contractor versus military personnel. Because when we go contract, we don’t have to pay health care and all the another things for the employees, that’s up to the employer.”

    Soon after the contract was signed Incirlik provided a major staging post for thousands of sorties flown against Iraq and occupied Kuwait during the Gulf war in January 1991 dropping over 3,000 tons of bombs on military and civilian targets.

    Central Asian Contracts

    Still ongoing is the first LOGCAP contract in the “war on terrorism” which began in June 2002, when Brown and Root was awarded a $22 million deal to run support services at Camp Stronghold Freedom, located at the Khanabad air base in central Uzbekistan. Khanabade is one of the main US bases in the Afghanistan war that houses some 1,000 US soldiers from the Green Berets and the 10th Mountain Division.

    In November 2002 Brown and Root began a one-year contract, estimated at $42.5 million, to cover services for troops at bases in both Bagram and Khandahar. Brown and Root employees were first set to work running laundry services, showers, mess halls and installing heaters in soldiers’ tents.

    Future Contracts in Iraq

    Halliburton is also one of five large US corporations invited to bid for contracts in what may turn out to be the biggest reconstruction project since the Second World War. The others are the Bechtel Group, Fluor Corp, Parsons Corp, and the Louis Berger Group.

    The Iraq reconstruction plan will require contractors to fulfill various tasks, including reopening at least half of the “economically important roads and bridges” — about 1,500 miles of roadway within 18 months, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    The contractors will also be asked to repair 15% of high-voltage electricity grid, renovate several thousand schools and deliver 550 emergency generators within two months. The contract is estimated to be worth up to $900 million for the preliminary work alone.

    The Pentagon has also awarded a contract to Brown and Root to control oil fires if Saddam Hussein sets the well heads ablaze. Iraq has oil reserves second only to those of Saudi Arabia. This makes Brown and Root a leading candidate to win the role of top contractor in any petroleum field rehabilitation effort in Iraq that industry analysts say could be as much as $1.5 billion in contracts to jump start Iraq’s petroleum sector following a war.

    Wartime Profiteering

    Meanwhile Dick Cheney’s 2001 financial disclosure statement, states that the Halliburton is paying him a “deferred compensation” of up to $1million a year following his resignation as chief executive in 2000. At the time Cheney opted not to receive his severance package in a lump sum, but instead to have it paid to him over five years, possibly for tax reasons.

    The company would not say how much the payments are. The obligatory disclosure statement filled by all top government officials says only that they are in the range of $100,000 and $1million. Nor is it clear how they are calculated.

    Critics say that the apparent conflict of interest is deplorable. “The Bush-Cheney team have turned the United States into a family business,” says Harvey Wasserman, author of The Last Energy War (Seven Stories Press, 2000). “That’s why we haven’t seen Cheney – he’s cutting deals with his old buddies who gave him a multimillion-dollar golden handshake. Have they no grace, no shame, no common sense? Why don’t they just have Enron run America? Or have Zapata Petroleum (George W. Bush’s failed oil-exploration venture) build a pipeline across Afghanistan?”

    Army officials disagree. Major Bill Bigelow, public relations officer for the US Army in Western Europe, says: “If you’re going to ask a specific question – like, do you think it’s right that contractors profit in wartime – I would think that they might be better [asked] at a higher level, to people who set the policy. We don’t set the policy, we work within the framework that’s been established.”

    “Those questions have been asked forever, because they go back to World War Two when Chrysler and Ford and Chevy stopped making cars and started making guns and tanks. Obviously it’s a question that’s been around for quite some time. But it’s true that nowadays there are very few defense contractors, but go back sixty years to the World War Two era almost everybody was manufacturing something that either directly or indirectly had something to do with defense,” he added.

    Sasha Lilley and Aaron Glantz helped conduct interviews for this article.

    For further reading on Brown and Root’s military contracts, see The War on Terrorism’s Gravy Train by Pratap Chatterjee.

    Pratap Chatterjee is an investigative journalist based in Berkeley, California. He traveled to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan in January 2002 and to Incirlik, Turkey, in January 2003 to research this article.

    Halliburton given $30m to expand Guantanamo Bay London Independent | June 18 2005 A subsidiary of Halliburton, the oil services group once led by the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has won a $30m (£16m) contract to help build a new permanent prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Dick Cheney of course makes money to this Day From Haliburton.

    Talk about a conflict of interest

    Cheney served as chief executive of Halliburton until he stepped down to become George W. Bush’s running mate in the 2000 presidential race. Today he still draws compensation of up to a million dollars or more a year from the company, although his spokesperson denies that the White House helped the company win the contracts .

    He isn’t alone however

    151 Congressmen Profit From War

    More than a quarter of senators and congressmen have invested at least $196 million or more of their own money in companies doing business with the Department of Defense (DOD) that profit from the death and destruction in Iraq.

    Now maybe it’s just me but is that not a bit of conflict of interest?

    Why would they ever vote to stop a war? No profit in that is there?

    Even Bushes Father, apparently has invested a great deal in companies that work for the DOD.

    The practice of investing in such things should be forbidden.

    Let me tell you they didn’t get themselves elected to serve the people. They are self serving, money hungry, power seeking, well you get the idea.

    Haliburton also wasted a lot of money. Your Tax dollars were hard at work.

    Whistleblowers Describe Halliburton’s “Free Fraud Zone”

    June 27, 2005

    Halliburton Iraq

    “I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career.”

    — Bunnatine Greenhouse, top Army Corps of Engineers contract oversight official, turned whistleblower

    Today’s Democratic Policy Committee Hearing was another jawdropper.

    The witnesses included:

    1) Greenhouse — the highest ranking civilian at the Army Corps of Engineers whose job it is to ensure openness and honesty in contracting. Greenhouse said that “essentially every aspect of the RIO contract remained under the control of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.” In other words, Rumsfeld should be held responsible for giving his old pal Dick Cheney’s firm Halliburton the no-bid contract before the war, under its global logistics contract, a violation of competitive contracting requirements (as Greenhouse testified and 60 Minutes reported, other contractors were itching to bid on the work but were never given a chance).

    2) Rory Mayberry, a former manager of Halliburton’s mess halls in Iraq, who testified that KBR fed U.S. troops expired food on a daily basis, and fed Turkish and Filipino workers “leftover food in boxes and garbage bags after the troops ate,” while using beef, chicken, salads and sodas intended for the troops to cater parties and barbeques for KBR management and employees. He also said he was informed that “if we talked, we would be rotated out to other camps that were under fire.”

    3) Alan Waller and Gary Butters — two top executives from Lloyd-Owen International, a transportation contractor who testified that one of their convoys was ambushed 2 kilometers from a U.S. base while bringing materials under a Halliburton contract. Not only were they not told by KBR that other contractors had been hit recently in the same area (they lost 3 individuals in the ambush), but upon arriving at the base were denied help by KBR (later learning from emails they obtained that KBR management had instructed its on site staff to offer no assistance).

    Could this have anything to do with the fact that the company has a fuel supply contract with the Iraqi government that KBR would have had, if it hadn’t been caught defrauding U.S. taxpayers for fuel shipments?

    KBR still controls the military checkpoint along the Kuwait/Iraq border, where Lloyd-Owen has to bring over 100 fuel tankers across on a daily basis. They testified that KBR has hampered the company’s ability to cross the border, using the fact that Lloyd-Owen does not have a U.S. Military contract as a technicality.

    Meanwhile, they testified that Halliburton’s incompetence in restoring fuel pumping and refinery equipment has also slowed fuel deliveries down, leading to the kind of festering resentments that are certain to fuel the resistance.

    A joint report was also released at the hearing by Senator Dorgan and Rep. Henry Waxman, which estimates that Halliburton’s questioned and unsupported costs in Iraq now exceed $1.4 billion, more than three times the previous estimate.

    The 10 Most Brazen War Profiteers 2006
    Inside the world of war profiteers From prostitutes to Super bowl tickets, a federal probe reveals how contractors in Iraq cheated the U.S.

    Banking on Bloodshed: UK high street banks’ complicity in the arms trade
    This of course is a microscopic tid bit of what really happens.

    Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Who profits from WAR?  
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Stock Market, History,Causes and Affects

    History of U.S. Stock Market Crashes


    The Crash of 2000

    From 1992-2000, the markets and the economy experienced a period of record expansion. On September 1, 2000, the NASDAQ traded at 4234.33. From September 2000 to January 2, 2001, the NASDAQ dropped 45.9%. In October 2002, the NASDAQ dropped to as low as 1,108.49 – a 78.4% decline from its all-time high of 5,132.52, the level it had established in March 2000.

    Causes of the Crash:

    1. Corporate Corruption. Many companies fraudulently inflated their profits and used accounting loopholes to hide debt. Corporate officers enjoyed outrageous stock options that diluted company stock;
    2. Overvalued Stocks. There were numerous examples of companies making significant operating losses with no hope of turning a profit for years to come, yet sporting a market capitalization of over a billion dollars;
    3. Daytraders and Momentum Investors. The advent of the Internet enabled online trading –a new, quick, and inexpensive way to trade the markets. This revolution led to millions of new investors and traders entering the markets with little or no experience;
    4. Conflict of Interest between Research Firm Analysts and Investment Bankers. It was common practice for the research arms of investment banks to issue favorable ratings on stocks for which their client companies sought to raise capital. In some cases, companies received highly favorable ratings, even though they were actually in serious financial trouble.

    A total of 8 trillion dollars of wealth was lost in the crash of 2000.

    Following the Crash:

    1. New Rules for Daytraders. Under the new rules that were introduced, investors need at least $25,000 in their account to actively trade the markets. In addition, new restrictions were also placed on the marketing methods daytrading firms are allowed to use;
    2. CEO and CFO Accountability. Under the new regulations, CEOs and CFOs are required to sign-off on their statements (balance sheets). In addition, fraud prosecution was stepped up, resulting in significantly higher penalties;
    3. Accounting Reforms. Reforms include better disclosure of corporate balance sheet information. Items such as stock options and offshore investments are to be disclosed so that investors may better judge if a company is actually profitable;4. Separation between Investment Banking and Brokerage Research. A major reform was introduced to avoid conflicts of interest in the financial services industry. A clear split between the research and investment banking arms of brokerage houses was mandated.

    The Crash of 1987

    The markets hit a new high on August 25, 1987 when the Dow hit a record 2722.44 points. Then, the Dow started to head down. On October 19, 1987, the stock market crashed. The Dow dropped 508 points or 22.6% in a single trading day. This was a drop of 36.7% from its high on August 25, 1987.

    Causes of the Crash:

    1. No Liquidity. During the crash, the markets were not able to handle the imbalance of sell orders;
    2. Overvalued Stocks;
    3. Program Trading and the Use of Derivative Securities Software. Large institutional investment companies used computers to execute large stock trades automatically when certain market conditions prevailed. Some analysts claim that the program trading of index futures and derivatives securities was also to blame.

    During this crash, 1/2 trillion dollars of wealth were erased.

    Following the Crash:

    1. Uniform Margin Requirements. New margin requirements were introduced to reduce the volatility for stocks, index futures, and stock options;
    2. New Computer Systems. Stock exchanges changed to new computer systems that increase data management effectiveness, accuracy, efficiency, and productivity;
    3. Circuit Breakers. The New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange instituted a circuit breaker mechanism, which halts trading on both exchanges for one hour should the Dow fall more than 250 points in a day, and for two hours, should it fall more than 400 points.

    The Crash of 1929

    On September 4, 1929, the stock market hit an all-time high. Banks were heavily invested in stocks, and individual investors borrowed on margin to invest in stocks. On October 29, 1929, the stock market dropped 11.5%, bringing the Dow 39.6% off its high.

    After the crash, the stock market mounted a slow comeback. By the summer of 1930, the market was up 30% from the crash low. But by July 1932, the stock market hit a low that made the 1929 crash. By the summer of 1932, the Dow had lost almost 89% of its value and traded more than 50% below the low it had reached on October 29, 1929.

    Causes of the Crash:

    1. Overvalued Stocks. Some analysts also maintain stocks were heavily overbought;
    2. Low Margin Requirements. At the time of the crash, you needed to put down only 10% cash in order to buy stocks. If you wanted to invest $10,000 in stocks, only $1,000 in cash was required;
    3. Interest Rate Hikes. The Fed aggressively raised interest rates on broker loans;
    4. Poor Banking Structures. There were few federal restrictions on start-up capital requirements for new banks. As a result, many banks were highly insolvent. When these banks started to invest heavily in the stock market, the results proved to be devastating, once the market started to crash. By 1932, 40% of all banks in the U.S. had gone out of business.

    In total, 14 billion dollars of wealth were lost during the market crash.

    Following the Crash:

    1. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was established;.
    2. The Glass-Stegall Act was passed. It separated commercial and investment banking activities. Over the past decade though, the Fed and banking regulators have softened some of the provisions of the Glass-Stegall Act;
    3. 3. In 1933, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was established to insure individual bank accounts for up to $100,000.

    Source


    Have Plunging Stocks Killed Private Accounts in Social Security?

    By Dean Baker

    Until the recent fall in stock prices, many people viewed the stock market as a money tree that created wealth out of nothing. This was the atmosphere in which the idea of private accounts within Social Security gained popularity. The crash has helped to clear people’s thoughts.

    In reality, the stock market does not create wealth. Wealth is created when we are better able to produce goods and services. Putting Social Security dollars in the stock market through individual accounts does not increase the nation’s productive capacity by one iota, compared with putting the same dollars into the Social Security trust funds. As the crash shows, individual accounts only add risk.

    Many proponents of private accounts actually want to cut benefits. Since Social Security is fully solvent until 2041, and the shortfalls projected for later years are comparable to past shortfalls, benefit cuts seem hard to justify. But if politicians want to advocate cuts in benefits, they should be forced to do so explicitly, and not hide behind the Enron-like accounting of private accounts.

    The market crash also clarified which part of the retirement system needs fixing. Millions of workers who saw much of their retirement savings disappear in the crash are now very glad that they can still count on their “Social Security“. On the other hand, we now recognize that the system of private pensions is in disarray.

    Pensions have been manipulated to their administrators’ benefit and are subject to high fees, and many workers lack pension coverage altogether. If the Bush commission’s individual accounts were offered as a voluntary add-on to Social Security—instead of taking money from Social Security revenues and cutting benefits to make up for the lost revenues—they could be very useful. Such accounts would instantly make a low-cost, fully portable, defined contribution pension plan available to every worker in the country.

    Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and co-author of Social Security: The Phony Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 1999).

    Source


    Stock Market History

    History of stock market trading in the United States can be traced back to over 200 years ago. Historically, The colonial government decided to finance the war by selling bonds, government notes promising to pay out at profit at a later date. Around the same time private banks began to raise money by issuing stocks, or shares of the company to raise their own money. This was a new market, and a new form of investing money, and a great scheme for the rich to get richer. A little futher on the history tumeline, more specifically in 1792, a meeting of twenty four large merchants resulted into a creation of a market known as the New York Stock Exchange(NYSE). At the meeting, the merchants agreed to meet daily on Wall Street to daily trade stocks and bonds.

    Further in history, in the mid-1800s, United States was experiencing rapid growth. Companies needed funds to assist in expansion required to meet the new demand. Companies also realized that investors would be interested in buying stock, partial ownership in the company. History has shown that stocks have facilitated the expansion of the companies and the great potential of the recently founded stock market was becoming increasingly apparent to both the investors and the companies.

    By 1900, millions of dollars worth of stocks were traded on the street market. In 1921, after twenty years of street trading, the stock market moved indoors.

    History brought us the Industrial Revolution, which also played a role in changing the face of the stock market. New form of investing began to emerge when people started to realize that profits could be made by re-selling the stock to others who saw value in a company. This was the beginning of the secondary market, known also as the speculators market. This market was more volatile than before, because it was now fueled by highly subjective speculation about the company’s future.

    This was the pretext for appearance of such stock market giants as NYSE. History books tell us that the reason the NYSE is so highly regarded among stock markets was primarily because they only trade in the very large and well-established companies. It acted as a more stable investment alternative, for people interested in throwing their capital into the stock market arena. The smaller companies making up the stock market formed into what eventually became the American Stock Exchange (AMEX). Contrary to the 80-year old history, today the NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ and hundreds of other exchange markets make a significant contribution to the national and global economy.

    The growth in the number of market participants led the government to decide that more regulation of the stock market was needed to protect those investing in stock. History was made in 1934, when following the Great Crash, Congress passed the Securities and Exchange Act. This act formed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which, through the rules set out by the act and succeeding amendments, regulates American stock market trading with the help of the exchanges. It also includes overseeing the requirements for a company to issue stock shares to the public and ensures that the company offers relevant information to potential investors. The SEC also oversees the daily actions of market exchanges and how they trade the securities offered.

    Although historically, investing in stocks was a “hobby” for the rich, an average person too soon came to realize the value of the investing in stocks vs. traditional assets like land or a house.

    Source

    Panic Affect

    Various explanations for large price movements have been promulgated. For instance, some research has shown that changes in estimated risk, and the use of certain strategies, such as stop-loss limits and Value at Risk limits, theoretically could cause financial markets to overreact.

    Other research has shown that psychological factors may result in exaggerated stock price movements. Psychological research has demonstrated that people are predisposed to ‘seeing’ patterns, and often will perceive a pattern in what is, in fact, just noise. (Something like seeing familiar shapes in clouds or ink blots.) In the present context this means that a succession of good news items about a company may lead investors to overreact positively (unjustifiably driving the price up). A period of good returns also boosts the investor’s self-confidence, reducing his (psychological) risk threshold.

    Another phenomenon—also from psychology—that works against an objective assessment is group thinking. As social animals, it is not easy to stick to an opinion that differs markedly from that of a majority of the group. An example with which one may be familiar is the reluctance to enter a restaurant that is empty; people generally prefer to have their opinion validated by those of others in the group.

    In one paper the authors draw an analogy with gambling. In normal times the market behaves like a game of roulette; the probabilities are known and largely independent of the investment decisions of the different players. In times of market stress, however, the game becomes more like poker (herding behavior takes over). The players now must give heavy weight to the psychology of other investors and how they are likely to react psychologically.

    The stock market, as any other business, is quite unforgiving of amateurs. Inexperienced investors rarely get the assistance and support they need. In the period running up to the recent Nasdaq crash, less than 1 percent of the analyst’s recommendations had been to sell (and even during the 2000 – 2002 crash, the average did not rise above 5%). The media amplified the general euphoria, with reports of rapidly rising share prices and the notion that large sums of money could be quickly earned in the so-called new economy stock market. (And later amplified the gloom which descended during the 2000 – 2002 crash, so that by summer of 2002, predictions of a DOW average below 5000 were quite common.)

    Irrational behavior

    Sometimes the market tends to react irrationally to economic news, even if that news has no real effect on the technical value of securities itself. Therefore, the stock market can be swayed tremendously in either direction by press releases, rumors, euphoria and mass panic.

    Over the short-term, stocks and other securities can be battered or buoyed by any number of fast market-changing events, making the stock market difficult to predict.

    A stock market crash is often defined as a sharp dip in share prices of equities listed on the stock exchanges. In parallel with various economic factors, a reason for stock market crashes is also due to panic. Often, stock market crashes end speculative economic bubbles.

    There have been famous stock market crashes that have ended in the loss of billions of dollars and wealth destruction on a massive scale. An increasing number of people are involved in the stock market, especially since the social security and retirement plans are being increasingly privatized and linked to stocks and bonds and other elements of the market.

    Source



    Greed Is Fine. It’s Stupidity That Hurts.

    By Steven Pearlstein

    During financial crises like this one, after people have had their fill of discussions about margin calls and credit-default swaps, they experience a strong desire to have the whole thing put in some larger and more human context. Invariably they come around to some variation of, “Isn’t this really just a story about excessive greed?”

    I’ve never really figured out how to answer that question. In a capitalist economy like ours, the basic premise is that everyone is motivated by a healthy dose of economic self-interest — the shopper looking for the best bargain on tomatoes and the farmer looking to get the highest price for his produce, the grocery clerk looking to earn the highest wages for restocking shelves and the investor looking to earn the biggest profit from Safeway stock. Without some measure of greed and the tension it brings to most economic transactions, capitalism wouldn’t be as good as it is in allocating resources and spurring innovation.

    Perhaps that’s why most definitions of greed refer to an excessive desire for wealth that is beyond what anyone really needs or deserves. The obvious problem with that, of course, is that those are terribly subjective criteria. Do you draw the greed line at two cars, a three-bedroom house, two weeks at the beach in the summer and college tuition for the kids? Or is it at seven houses, 50 pairs of designer shoes, a yacht, two Bentleys and a Renoir?

    Others suggest that for greed to really be greed, the money or goods that are desired have to be denied to somebody else who might want, need or deserve them. A landowner who gets rich by overcharging tenant farmers who can barely feed and clothe their families — he’s obviously greedy. But somehow the owner of a restaurant in the Hamptons who overcharges his millionaire patrons for lobster salad and foie gras is a lot less greedy.

    In many minds, greed may have less to do with the amount of wealth or possessions someone has, or aspires to have, than it does with the way in which it is earned. Even before they decided to give away most of their money, nobody seemed to begrudge Bill Gates or Warren Buffett their billions or criticize them for their “unbridled” greed. That seems to have a lot to do with the fact that Gates and Buffett made their money on the basis of their own ingenuity, skill and hard work. On the other hand, when people line up to buy tickets to a Powerball lottery with a $10 million payout, we don’t consider them particularly greedy just because they want to get rich through dumb luck.

    If the person who wins that lottery, however, doesn’t send some of that money to his struggling Aunt Mildred or offer to fix up the local Little League field, most people would call him greedy. But no matter how many millions the overpaid corporate chief executive gives away to charity, in the minds of many, greed will always be his middle name.

    Which brings us to the now widespread belief that the cause of the current financial crisis has been “the greed on Wall Street.” Both John McCain and Barack Obama believe that. So do Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. A clip search of major publications over the past month turns up about 2,700 stories that contained the words “Wall Street” and “greed.” The month before, there were less than 200.

    If there is a surprise here, it is that anyone should be surprised by the level of greed on Wall Street. Wall Street is nothing if not an organized system of greed, a high-stakes game in which the object is to take advantage of customers and counterparties by buying pieces of paper from them at less than they are really worth and selling them to others for more than they are worth. And while it’s hard to see a grand social purpose in all that, it has proven a relatively efficient process for connecting people who have money with the households and businesses that want to borrow it.

    The big problem with Wall Street isn’t that it’s greedy– it’s that it keeps making the same mistakes over and over. Each cycle, the masters of finance start out with reasonably good products and good intentions, only to get swept away by their success. They become arrogant, take too many risks and begin to believe their own marketing spiels. Then, when the cycle turns against them and the risks turn sour, they try to cover it up and begin lying to their customers, to regulators and to each other. Trust erodes, and the whole thing collapses.

    In the populist “greed” fantasy, it is ordinary people who are the losers while the Wall Street bigwigs walk off with all the loot. But in the real life version, most of the bigwigs lose as well. They lose their jobs, their stock becomes worthless, their reputations are ruined. They spend the next several years shelling out $700 an hour to lawyers to defend themselves against lawsuits and regulatory inquiries and $250 to psychiatrists to help figure out where they went wrong. Bottom line: They wind up worse off than they would have been if they had simply done their jobs well, put their customers first and managed their companies for the long term.

    To some, that may be a story of greed. To me, it looks more like old-fashioned incompetence.

    Source


    Privatization of Social Security can leave you without any retirement savings.

    Investing in the Stock market is like gambling. If you can’t afford to loose it you don’t want to invest. The markets can crash anytime.

    Who profits?

    There are some who do profit from market crashes. I would assume those who probably created the panic, in the first place.

    Profit certainly can be made from a stock market crash. Maybe one of these days someone will take the time to find out Who?

    When you find out who, then you have the criminals.

    Why do they do it?

    For profit of course.

    When will they be stopped?

    Well when the power hungry, rich, greedy manipulative, liers are caught and when Governments around the world, finally do something to stop them.

    Until then they will let you win for a while and then steal your hard earned money.

    Personally it seems they manipulate a bunch of innocent folks into investing in the market, then after they have invested a whole lot of money, it crashes.

    Those who manipulated the innocent investors into buying into the market, make the profits from it.

    There seems to be a growing pattern emerging.

    The stock market is somewhat like a Casino.

    The owners, operators and the very wealthy are the House.

    You are the gambler hoping, to make a fortune.

    Like a Casino let you win for a little while.

    Then they take all your money.

    That is the pattern that seems to be emerging.

    Just an observation.

    The Stock Market was created by the wealthy, for the wealthy and controlled by the wealthy.

    So what has changed since it’s creation other then nothing?

    Published in: on October 8, 2008 at 9:52 pm  Comments Off on Stock Market, History,Causes and Affects  
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