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By Helen Jaccard, WarIsACrime.org
Need to test some new weapons? Bomb paradise!
The sound of bombs, missiles, and other explosions; massive attacks from the sea onto the beach; an epidemic of cancers and birth defects; soil, air, food and water contaminated with heavy metals, jet fuel and other poisons; and national and company secrets that prevent the residents from learning the truth: Is this a modern war zone? No – Sardinia is the victim of weapons manufacturers, polluting military activities and a political system that cares about power and money over the health of people and the environment.
Sardinia and it’s People
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea – a paradise with diverse wildlife and beautiful beaches. Alice Scanu, a Sardinian environmental engineer and activist said, “We are peaceful people, poor ones maybe, but very welcoming. That's how I'd like Sardinians to be remembered, not as people involved in wars and power games.” In the rural areas are shepherds and farmers who make magnificent wine, honey, and cheese.
Military Use of Sardinia
For over 50 years Sardinia has been used by militaries and arms manufacturers to:
· test new bullets, bombs, missiles and drones
· train soldiers and pilots
· practice war scenarios
· explode, burn and bury old weapons and dangerous chemicals
· launch bombing sorties
Seventy percent of Italian military bases are located here, and Italian, NATO, and U.S. bases occupy about 1/3 of the area of the island’s land and sea. During military practice drills, the area closed to navigation and fishing increases to about 7200 square miles, almost 2 times the island surface.
Quirra, Teulada and Capo Frasca testing and firing ranges
The worst of the pollution, cancer, and birth deformities is in the firing ranges. In these huge areas in Southern Sardinia, militaries and weapons manufacturers:
· test-fire artillery rockets, drones, and laser-guided precision bombs, including at least one depleted uranium weapon and missiles that release asbestos and white phosphorus
· test the effects of explosions and fires on armor and pipelines
· dispose of tons of old weapons and chemicals, by explosion or burial
· perform air and naval “exercises”, holding mock attacks of the coast
· large quantities of buried waste containing cadmium, lead, antimony, and napalm
· high levels of lead on several beaches and in the water
· explosions of waste and weapons from past wars affecting areas up to 2000 square meters each that no longer support vegetation – each explosion produces as much pollution as an incinerator of municipal solid waste during one year - exposing communities, shepherds, base personnel and animals to toxic dust containing thorium, lead, cerium and cadmium
· Thorium, a radioactive and highly carcinogenic heavy metal used in military targeting systems has been found in Sardinian honey, milk, and other areas of the food chain.
· Pieces of bombs, missiles, and bullets are lying on the ground and in the sea.
· Unexploded ordnance lies in and around the restricted areas, including both land and sea.
· Birth Defects: Between 1988 and 2002 fourteen children were born with severe malformations in Escalaplano, a small village of 2400 people bordering the Quirra base.
· Malformed animals: two-headed lambs, calves with deformed legs, a pig with one huge grotesque eye – problems not normally seen here. A tissue sample from a malformed lamb was found to contain depleted uranium.
· Cancer: In a village with 150 inhabitants, 12 people died from leukemia in 2002, with 63 in the past decade. In the previous decade (1990 – 2000), there had been no cases of leukemia or lymphoma among this same population. 65% of workers on seven of twelve farms located near the Quirra base are suffering from serious cancer. Rates of lymphoma, thyroid cancerand autoimmune diseases are also unexpectedly high.
John Madeddu worked in the Capo Frasca base from 1968 to 1987. He has diffuse large cell lymphoma. He remembers an area where a large number of bullets accumulated in a clearing. When it rained it created a marsh and the
water seeped into the ground. The artesian wells provide water for both the base and the nearby farms. This kind of contamination has continued to build over the years with no clean-up effort undertaken. Animal deformities are common near the bases. Cattle still graze here and even if directly hit and killed by weapons containing heavy metals these animals are being butchered and eaten.
Francesco Piras died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 27 in 2007 after serving for 10 months at Capo Teulada. At the hospital, doctors asked him if he had been in contact with radioactive materials. Dr. Antonietta Gatti, Experimental Physicist at the University of Bologna, took biopsies of Francesco’s tissues and discovered high quantities of nanoparticles of industrial heavy metals.
A shepherd analyzed the situation with clear, shocking realism: "I have leukemia, I have only a few months or years of life, I accepted it. Nobody cares about us, and we just do not count for anything. They are powerful; it is better for them if there are fewer of us.”
The sheep are still grazing on contaminated land and the local people sell sheep cheese and grapes for a living.
Investigation and Prosecution:
On May 12, 2011, State Prosecutor Domenico Fiordalisi opened a court case to stop all military use of the Quirra base. Hundreds of shepherds and farmers demonstrated against the case because they might lose use of their land. They do not want a handout for unemployment; they just want their land to be uncontaminated and available.
The nuclear physicist Evandro Lodi Rizzini of Brescia University and CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) found elevated levels of radioactive thorium 232 and cerium (proving that the thorium was man-made) in the tissues of 15 of 18 bodies of Quirra-area shepherds who died of cancer between 1995 and 2000.
On March 24, 2012 Fiordalisi indicted twenty people on charges of "willful omission of precautions against injury and aggravated disasters or because they falsely certified the absence of pollution with the aim to "hide the environmental disaster.” The documents from Fiordalisi’s investigation have now been turned over to a tribunal for prosecution.
Decimomannu, the largest NATO air base contaminating the water supply
Decimomannu in Southwest Sardinia has the largest NATO air base in the world, used since 1954 as collaboration between Italy, Germany, Canada, the United States and NATO. From here they support transport aircraft of the Military Airlift Command from the United States to the Middle East and Africa. A total of 4 F-18s, along with a single Boeing 707 refueling aircraft was deployed to Decimomannu Air Base on the island of Sardinia for operations over Libya.
The military base of Decimomannu has been contaminating the environment with jet fuel and other poisons. Jet fuel contains xylene, benzene and lead, highly dangerous and carcinogenic substances. Mayor Louis Porceddu in February 2011 prohibited the use of the local wells. The authorities deny responsibility and expertise. An alleged reclamation has already cost 900,000 Euros, although no problem has been solved. Monica Pisano of the Decimomannu Civic Committee “Su Sentidu” said, “It is absolutely ineffective, since it is useless to reclaim the territory if the spill continues!”
La Maddalena / Santo Stefano islands
La Maddalena is an archipelago located 2 km Northeast of Sardinia. The population of 17,000 swells to 75,000 during the summer, when the tourists come to enjoy the campgrounds, beautiful beaches and lovely hiking trails.
From 1972 to 2008 a U.S. / NATO base on Santo Stefano Island served as the home port for nuclear submarines. In 2003 the nuclear powered submarine U.S.S. Hartford struck a rock and damaged its rudders, sonar and electronics. However, residents suspect that even greater damage was done.
Massimo Zucchetti, Professor at the Department of Energy at the Torino Polytechnic and his team analyzed algae in the archipelago. The presence of radioactive alpha particles and plutonium traces were found, sometimes in high concentrations. This contamination is due to either a continuous loss of pollutant from the submarine base, or to environmental releases that took place during the USS Hartford accident.On January 20, 2004, the “schwäbische Zeitung”newspaper reported that there was an alarming high amount of radioactivity in the waternear La Maddalena Island.
Cause of Cancers
Dr. Antonietta Gatti, Experimental Physicist at the University of Bologna, found nano-particles of iron, lead, tungsten, and copper in the tissues of citizens and sheep. She said, “Rain leads to the contamination of the soil. Through air pollution, other areas that are not involved in the testing are contaminated as well… The sea is polluted. Local governments do not warn people when there are testing activities; they do testing even at night.”
Fernando Codenesu, Professor at the Department of Energy at the Torino Polytechnic, explained that Sardinia has rocks that are very fragile and contain heavy metals. An explosion breaks the rocks into micro and nano-particles containing these heavy metals. These in turn are blown in the wind, contaminate the groundwater; people and animals breathe them into their bodies.
Health Effects of Depleted Uranium and Thorium
What are effects of depleted uranium and thorium - elements that emit alpha particles on the body?
Dr. Rizzini said, “One micro-gram, that is, one millionth of a gram is sufficient to kill a person. It causes a rise in atomic disintegrations; with a production of 2000 alpha rays a day, nuclear radiation is most damaging.”
Demands of the people
· Transparency and truth – reveal what chemicals and metals have been used.
· Close all of the bases and radar facilities – completely de-militarize the island.
· Clean and decontaminate the bases and land, aquifers and sea around them.
· Provide health care to all people affected by military activity on the island
· Provide financial assistance and clean land and sea to farmers and fishers
Cagliari – Monthly Rally with Cancer Victims and their Families
There is a monthly rally against the bases on the 15th of each month in Cagliari. It is organized by victims of cancer and their families and those opposed to military use of Sardinia.
Committee of Parents of Fallen Soldiers in Times of Peace
Parents of deceased children (who had done their military service in Sardinia and in the Balkans) founded the organization “Comitato Genitori Vittime uranio impoverito” (Committee of Parents of Fallen soldiers in times of peace). Giancarlo Piras (father of Francesco) says, “Here in Sardinia, we are confronted with war victims but in a peaceful area. We like to call this area the zone for preparing new wars”. He points out that existing law is that the government needs to know what kind of weapons/materials have been tested in the bases. The reality is that none of the armies give information about the tests and hide under the umbrella of ‘military secrecy’.
Protests Prevent New Radar Installations
There are about 15 radar stations on the island, on the top of the mountains surrounding the bases. Many fear that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by them is dangerous and want their use stopped.
People are now demonstrating against construction of several more radar sites. Local officials and the Italian Party Partito Democratico have now spoken against some of the proposed radar sites as well. As a result, plans for four of them have been abandoned.
Fishermen Bring Naval Exercises to a Halt
Since the 1990s fishermen have been pushed out of their profession by NATO naval exercises and have become activists for their right to use the sea. There were acts of civil disobedience at the port, the base entrances, and at sea. Stubbornly, daily, when the wind allowed it, the fishermen challenged the restrictions and the bombs, directing up to 42 boats into the heart of the war game area and threw their fishing nets in a prohibited sea saturated by war ships. Fortunately, it only takes one civilian boat to stop a naval exercise.
Their demands are simple: the right to safe work, to have the stolen sea back, and to have a clean sea and environment.
2005 was the last year of protest. The fishermen are now paid to stay out of the water and many have abandoned their profession.
Italian Democratic Party (Partito Democratico) calls for closure or conversion of bases
In an encouraging new development in March 2012, Senator Gian Piero Scanu called for closing the bases in Capo Frasca and Capo Teulada, and for changing the Quirra base back to its previous designation as a technical-scientific research center. This letter was signed by over 100 Senators of many political parties.
The Sardinian newspapers have published articles about the deformities and high rates of cancer, so everyone on the island is aware of this problem. L’Union Sardo has been particularly good about publishing articles regarding the cancer, birth defects, contamination, and military use of Sardinia.
What can you do?
· Spread the word about Sardinia. More information is available here where the original 7500-word research document is stored. Also here as a PDF.
· Contact your congressional representatives and demand the closure of the Sardinia NATO bases.
· Carry signs or flyers at demonstrations demanding that NATO stop bombing Sardinia.
· Contact Helen Jaccard at Helen.Jaccard@gmail.com to discuss ideas.
At about 2:00 am, the Israeli Air Force struck:
- an inhabited house in Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip. The house was struck by 4 missiles. Seven people were injured including 4 children;
- an uninhabited area to the west of Nuseirat, in this case the missile has remained unexploded;
- an uninhabited area between a mosque and a house, always in Nuseirat;
- a farm in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip;
- a farm in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip;
- an uninhabited house in Deir el Balah, in the central Gaza Strip;
The following night, June 4, 2012, the Israeli Air Force struck again several areas in the Gaza Strip:
- a farm that produces cheese in the Zaitoun, east of Gaza City;
- an uninhabited area in El Kashif mountain, north of Gaza City.
On June 4, in the morning, I went to visit the house in Nuseirat. The house is completely destroyed. Two missiles have left two deep holes in the ground. Inside the house, two missiles punctured the ceiling of the bedroom, one of which also went through a wall. Debris and glass were scattered everywhere.
Another home nearby was heavily damaged. Part of the ceiling collapsed on a cot where a little girl of 3 months named Deema was sleeping.
Video I shot on the spot:
Ibrahim Khalil Alfiqi, 23, was alone in the home hit by four missiles.
The house was destroyed where he was soon to be living with his wife. In a month they were to hold a party for their wedding. Ibrahim had prepared everything. The bedroom was ready.
He had put a mattress in a room of the house where he was sleeping every night, next to the bedroom. At about 2:00 am, Ibrahim was awakened by a huge explosion. The door of the bedroom fell on him and he was hit by fragments of the ceiling. When he started to move the door to go outside he heard another explosion. He tried to open the outer door but did not succeed. Then he heard another explosion. He pushed the door with force and escaped. He went to the home of his brother Mohammed, next to his, and asked him how he was. He saw the ceiling of the house of his brother damaged.
Deema, the baby girl on whom part of the ceiling collapsed was injured. Ibrahim also saw some cousins wounded. Ibrahim had a bleeding leg. He was transported by ambulance to the hospital together with Deema. Deema, 3 months, was subjected to X-rays and has reported several cuts because of the ceiling collapsed on her body, and a concussion to head due to the impact of the ceiling.
Alive by a miracle.
Ibrahim was wounded by shrapnel from a missile on the leg and bruising due to the impact of the door that fell on him.
Ibrahim then immediately wanted to leave the hospital because his mother was very worried and thought that the little girl was dead.
"I ran away not knowing what had happened in my house - says Ibrahim - then on my return from the hospital I saw that the bedroom was destroyed. Alhamdulilah I said, having survived, but looking at the room I wondered how I would rebuild it again."
Ibrahim has to buy replacements for every thing. He has to buy windows, to replace the ceiling. Ibrahim earns only between 700 and 800 shekels a month, he can not now buy what the house needs.
His brother Mohammed Khalil Alfiqi, 26, was asleep in the home next door with his wife and two children, Deema, 3 months, and Leen, 3 years.
"It was about 2:00 in the morning - said Mohammed - we were sleeping. Suddenly we heard an explosion near the home of my brother Ibrahim. My brother works as a mechanic, not working for any political party, is a civilian. The celebration of his wedding is set for July 6. He does not have much money, he went into debt to buy everything for his apartment. "
The explosions also damaged the house of Mohammed. His daughter Deema, three months, was sleeping in the crib when the ceiling collapsed on her body. His wife and eldest daughter, Leen, have received medical assistance on site. Deema was instead transported to 'Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir El Balah. Deema reported bruising to the skull, cuts to the arms, stomach, close to one eye and a leg.
Mohammed earns about 1700 shekels a month, and pays university tuition for his wife, claims his father who does not work, and her sisters who are studying at university. Their family is from Swafet.
In total, people injured in this attack are seven: Alfiqi Ibrahim, 23 years; Deema Alfiqi, 3 months; Alfiqui Tareq, 23 years; Jebreel Mohammed, 4 years; Feras Jebreel, 5 years; Jebreel Hussien, 16 years; Wesam Jebreel , 3 years. The last four in that list reported cuts caused by glass and rubble.
The family of Mohammed invites me to sit down in the courtyard of the house of Ibrahim, among the rubble.
A relative asks the small Leen, 3 years old, "Who woke you up this morning?", "A bomb," says Leen.
Some families invite me to stay for lunch ... as if it were a normal day.
As if the missiles had not just destroyed their home. As if we were not among the rubble. I remain amazed once again at the power of these people, and they are fascinated and enamored of their reception among the rubble of their eyes, which, despite everything, I smile.
On June 4, I went to the farm destroyed overnight by an Israeli bombardment. The farm is located in an inhabited area in Zaytoun, eastern Gaza city.
The farm is completely destroyed. The roof, shattered on the ground, still has a huge hole caused by the bomb dropped from an F-16. There was an unbearable smell of chlorine mixed with milk and cheese. One of the owners of the farm told us that the bombing occurred at 1 .15 at night. There was no one inside the farm, but a passerby was injured. The farm produces milk and cheese, and is the fifth time that was bombed. The last attack took place a year ago. Six families depend on this farm, every family is composed of eight persons. One family sold their house to be able to rebuild and now lives at another house to rent. "It is a new distastro - said one of the owners - we do not know how to begin again." Some owners are opposed to re-build the farm, fearing to be destroyed again.
Israeli spokesmen have announced that they had hit military targets. Many international media have reported the statements of Israeli spokesmen. The truth is otherwise.
The truth is made up of civilian homes reduced to rubble, collapsed ceilings at night, families of impoverished, frightened eyes of children, were wounded.
The Gazawi rebuild their lives from the rubble once again.
Stop the War Convenor Lindsey German talks with Kate Hudson about all things NATO in this episode of the Political Week. Through discussing the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, the role of NATO in civilian casualties in Libya, and Europe's relationship with the organisation, they explain the importance of Stop the War's NO TO NATO protest on 19 May in London.
Category:The Political Week -- posted at: 12:23 PM
There will be a protest outside the Prime Minister's office at 10 Downing Street at 4.00 pm Friday 11th May 2012.
Supporters of Bahraini people will protest against the invitation forwarded to Bahrain's dictator, Hamad Al Khalifa, to attend the Queen's Diamond Jubilee starting 18th May.
It is outragous to invite this vicious dictator who is a prolific killer, torturer and absolute despot. The Queen's celebrations must not include this criminal as it will be seen as rewarding his crimes. The three most prominent human rights activists in Bahrain are now languishing in his torture dungeons. International human rights bodies have been banned from visiting the country. Hundreds of activists including leaders of the people are in jail.
Please show your support to the Bahraini people by attending.
UK Has Submitted Its Entry in the Stupidest Move of the Year Contest: Hiring Haliburton to Run the Police
Yes, the competition will be stiff this year. But who would swear this entry was out of the running?
From Andy Worthington:
Let's protest NATO on May 20th in Chicago but celebrate France!
After his election to the French presidency on Sunday, Francois Hollande wasted no time in following through on one of his highest-profile campaign pledges.
Hollande's communications director, Manuel Valls, confirmed to the Telegraph on Monday that France will "announce the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan between now and the end of the year." The announcement will take place at the NATO summit being held in Chicago on May 20 and 21.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No. 1243 03 May 2012 Email: email@example.com Tel: 020 7561 9311 Web: http://www.stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition IN THIS NEWSLETTER: 1) NO TO NATO: PROTEST MAY 19 2) LONDON ACTIVISTS MEETING: MAY 10 3) STRENGTHEN STOP THE WAR 4) NO MISSILES IN EAST LONDON ************************************* 1) NO TO NATO: PROTEST MAY 19 Protest: Troops out of Afghanistan - Don't Attack Iran - No intervention in the
1. The United States has lost the moral authority and destroyed the legal authority to oppose threats of preemptive strikes
2. Unlike U.S. threats of preemptive strikes against Iraq or Libya or Iran, this is a threat to preempt something that does actually pose a danger to Russia
3. So-called missile defense does not work as and is not intended as defense, but as part of a first-strike assault
4. Antagonizing Russia (part of why the G8 has fled to Camp David) serves NATO's interest in finding a reason to exist, and serves the financial interests of weapons makers, but does not serve the interests of the United States or humanity
5. When the U.S. threatened Russia over missiles in Cuba, Russia took them out. Now the tables are turned. We're putting missiles on Russia's borders. Russia is asking us to take them out. --DS
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's top military officer has threatened to carry out a pre-emptive strike on U.S.-led NATO missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe if Washington goes ahead with its controversial plan to build a missile shield.
President Dmitry Medvedev said last year that Russia will retaliate militarily if it does not reach an agreement with the United States and NATO on the missile defense system.
Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov went even further Thursday. "A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens," he said at an international conference attended by senior U.S. and NATO officials.
Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov also warned on Thursday that talks between Moscow and Washington on the topic are "close to a dead end."
Institutions rarely vote themselves out of existence. Not if they still have money in their budgets. Large institutions in particular have an almost genetic propensity to cling to life even after their reasons for being have vanished.
“It is we who win”
Tens of thousands of Norwegians marched beneath pouring rain in Oslo today, converging at Central Square to sing together a Norwegian version of American folk music singer Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Race" in a moving protest against mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 77 Norwegians last year in the name of eliminating "multiculturalism" and leftist ideologies.
The song -- the Norwegian version translates as "Children of the Rainbow" -- extols the type of multicultural society Breivik has said he despised and one that he specifically mentioned during his trial last week as "Marxist propaganda", triggering a Facebook initiative for today's protest.
Norwegian folk singer Lillebjørn Nilsen guided the song with his ukulele as the rose-carrying and umbrella-laden crowd of an estimated 40,000 sang along.
"Shocked by Breivik's lack of remorse for his massacre," writes the Associated Press, "Norwegians by and large have decided the best way to confront him is by demonstrating their commitment to everything he loathes. Instead of raging against the gunman, they have manifested their support for tolerance and democracy."
One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It's too soon to die.
Some folks want to be like an ostrich,
Bury their heads in the sand.
Some hope that plastic dreams
Can unclench all those greedy hands.
Some hope to take the easy way:
Poisons, bombs. They think we need 'em.
Don't you know you can't kill all the unbelievers?
There's no shortcut to freedom.
Go tell, go tell all the little children.
Tell all the mothers and fathers too.
Now's our last chance to learn to share
What's been given to me and you.
* * *
Agence France-Presse: Thousands of Norwegians gather to sing song Breivik hates
Protesters ranging from elderly in wheelchairs to young school children streamed into Youngstorget Square wearing colorful raincoats and carrying Norwegian flags and roses, which have come to represent Norway's peaceful response to the horrifying attacks.
The culture ministers of the Nordic countries were also at the square to participate, while other similar events were to take place across Norway.
Norwegian Culture Minister Anniken Huitfeldt admitted she had wept as Nilsen led the chorus and the crowd sang along, waving roses in the air.
Afterwards they walked slowly together, still singing the song, to the courthouse to add their roses to the piles of flowers already lining the security barriers outside in memory of Breivik's victims.
* * *
Christian Science Monitor: Breivik slam on 'Rainbow' song an insult too far for Norwegians
The man behind last summer’s twin terror attacks said in court testimony last week that the Norwegian song by Lillebjørn Nilsen, based on US folksinger Pete Seeger’s original version “My Rainbow Race” in 1967, was an example of how Norwegian schools function as an “indoctrination camp” for “cultural Marxism and multiculturalism.”
“We stand together as a people, fellow human beings. Let us sing because we really MEAN that this song describes how the world SHOULD be.”
Mr. Breivik, a self-described militant nationalist, blames his bombing of government buildings in Oslo and shooting rampage at Utøya island on the ruling Labor party for promoting multiculturalism with its lenient immigration policies and allowing mass immigration to undermine Norwegian society.
“The curriculum is stripped of knowledge relating to the codes of honor that have been so important for Europe for thousands of years,” Breivik told his defense attorney Vibeke Hein Baera on April 20. “They put up these songs and propaganda films to get students to despise their forefathers,” he added, referring to the US television series Roots depicting the history of African-American slaves.
Breivik’s comments prompted Norwegians Christine Bar and Lill Hjønnevåg to organize via Facebook a gathering at Youngstorget, the square in front of the Labor party headquarters. It is adjacent to Breivik's bombing target and just blocks from Oslo District Court, where Breivik is currently on trial for killing 77 people total in the two July 2011 attacks.
'How the world SHOULD be'
“Let us stand together,” the two initiators wrote on the event’s Facebook page, which listed more than a dozen parallel events around the country. “We stand together as a people, fellow human beings. Let us sing because we really MEAN that this song describes how the world SHOULD be.”
The text in the Norwegian version of the song begins with “A sky full of stars, blue ocean far as you see, an earth where flowers grow. Can you wish for more? Together we shall live, every sister, every brother. Small children of the rainbow, and a fertile soil.”
“It is we who win,” said Nilsen, after singing with his ukelele in both Norwegian and English for rain-drenched supporters, which included five cultural ministers from Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands.
# # #
The Emergence of a Truly Worldwide Military Alliance
The military leaders of 50 nations, more than a quarter of those in the world, opened a two-day conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on April 25 to discuss, as the Pentagon’s website described it, “the present and future of the effort in Afghanistan” and other topics.
Afghanistan being the main subject of discussion, the military chiefs of NATO’s 28 member states, collectively the Military Committee, presumably met with the chiefs of defense staff of the 22 non-NATO nations supplying the alliance with troops for the war in Afghanistan.
In January top military leaders of 67 countries, over a third of those in the world, met at NATO Headquarters to discuss operations in Afghanistan in what is the largest-ever meeting of chiefs of defense staff in history.
The recently concluded expanded meeting of the NATO Military Committee was the last before next month’s summit in Chicago and was largely focused on that impending event.
Participants in the conference included General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; General John R. Allen (in teleconference), commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, in charge of the largest foreign military force ever to be stationed in that nation; NATO’s two top military commanders, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Stéphane Abrial; U.S. military chief Dempsey’s equivalents from 49 nations in Europe, North America, Central America, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Northeast Asia, South East Asia and the South Pacific supplying troops for NATO’s Afghan War. (Armenia, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia, El Salvador, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Jordan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Tonga, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.)
In short, NATO’s 21st century global expeditionary force and its top commanders. An international military coalition never authorized by the United Nations or discussed at any conference or other fora except at NATO Headquarters and at the bloc’s summits.
On the second day of the Military Committee conference in Brussels, NATO’s Allied Command Operations reported on a training course underway at the Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters in Brunssum, the Netherlands where staff officers from NATO’s Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnerships are being instructed to “work as augmentees in a Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJF HQ) environment.
NATO added, “DJF HQ serves as an example of a Joint HQ for non-NATO nations to contribute to the Alliance’s missions.”
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1242 23 April 2012 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0207 561 9311 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition IN THIS NEWSLETTER: 1) HOW YOU CAN HELP MAKE THE WORLD A SAFER PLACE 2) MESSAGE FROM JEREMY CORBYN MP & LINDSEY GERMAN 3) NO TO NATO PROTEST US EMBASSY 19 MAY 4) DON'T IRAQ IRAN CULTURAL EVENT 25 MAY ************************************* 1) HOW YOU CAN HELP MAKE THE WORLD A SAFER PLACE The astonishing comments by two UK army majors serving in
"Self-purification through suffering is easier, I tell you: easier -- than that destiny which you are paving for many of them by wholesale acquittals in court. You are merely planting cynicism in their souls." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The United States Congress is outraged. Russia, it seems, may have wrongly imprisoned, tortured, and murdered a whistleblower. In the land of the free, our good representatives are outraged, I tell you. And not just I. NPR will tell you. This calls for action. There's a bill in the Senate and a bill in the House. The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act.
Who wouldn't support the rule of law and accountability?
Well, let me think.
Oh, I know. The United States Congress.
Bush and Cheney are selling books confessing to the crime of war and all that comes with it, including lawless imprisonment and torture. They have openly confessed in their books and on television, repeatedly, to a form of torture that the current Attorney General of the United States admits is torture. Bush's torture program tortured numerous people to death. And what has Congress wrought?
No enforcement of subpoenas.
No defunding of operations.
No criminalizing of secrecy.
No protection of whistleblowers.
No mandating of diplomacy, reparations, foreign aid, or commitments to international standards.
In other words, we have no Congress with the right to talk about the Rule of Law or Accountability without being mocked.
But keep hope alive.
Change is on the way.
Up in the sky!
It's Captain Peace Prize!
Obama launches wars without bothering to lie to Congress or the United Nations, has formalized the powers of lawless imprisonment, rendition, and murder, and places the protection of Bush and Cheney above almost anything else -- certainly above the rule of law or accountability.
Obama has badgered Spain, Italy, Germany, and the U.K. to leave the Bush gang in peace, publicly instructed the U.S. Department of Justice not to prosecute, and expanded claims of "State Secrets" beyond anything previously imagined in order to shut down legal accountability. Italy has convicted CIA agents in absentia, and Obama has not shipped them over to do their time. Poland is prosecuting its bit players in U.S. crimes. Former top British official Jack Straw is being hauled into court for his tangential role. But Obama has chosen a path to success in Washington, or thinks he has, and that path is immunity for anyone with power.
The trouble is that Obama now wants to apply that same standard to Russia, and Congress won't stand for it. Obama is opposed to the Hold Russia Accountable Act because he prefers to kiss up to the government of Russia. It's a policy that has worked beautifully for him at home. Why not apply it abroad?
Of course, the United States has no moral standing to speak against imprisonment, torture, or murder. The United States imprisons more of its people than any other country, keeps hundreds of thousands of them in supermaxes or long-term isolation, tolerates prison rape and violence, openly treats torture as a policy option, facilitates torture in what may be the two countries torturing the greatest number of people today: Iraq and Afghanistan, and kills with capital punishment, special forces, and drones.
The United States has no moral standing to speak against the punishment of whistleblowers, Obama having prosecuted seven of them under the Espionage Act of 1917, fittingly enough for the offense of having made U.S. war-making look bad by revealing facts about it.
But the answer cannot be to support Russian crimes just because there are U.S. crimes. Congress, revolting as it is to say, is right: the Russian government should be held to a decent rule of law. And it should be held to it through the language that speaks louder than words: action. U.S. immunity for torturers is one of the greatest factors in the current spread of acceptability for torture around the world.
Congress should impeach Bush and Obama, enforce its subpoenas, ship convicted CIA criminals to Italy, strengthen the War Powers Act, criminalize war profiteering, ban private mercenaries, ban unconstitutional detentions, ban secret budgets and laws and agencies, ban rendition, and ratify and enforce the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Congress should also cease encircling Russia with missiles, and end its wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.
Or, short of moving in a useful direction, sad to say, the best thing the United States Congress could do for the rule of law in Russia at the moment would be to shut the hell up.
Jack Straw Faces Legal Action for Playing Bit Part in U.S. Torture Program, the Architects of Which Have Books to Sell You
A Libyan military commander is taking legal action against Jack Straw, to find out if the ex-foreign secretary signed papers allowing his rendition.
Abdel Hakim Belhadj claims CIA agents took him from Thailand to Gaddafi-led Libya, via UK-controlled Diego Garcia.
His lawyers have served papers on Mr Straw after the Sunday Times reported claims that he allowed this to happen.
UK ministers have denied any complicity in rendition or torture and Mr Straw did not comment further.
He said he could not do so because of the ongoing police investigation into the UK's alleged role in illegal rendition.
Earlier this month, the BBC revealed that the UK government had approved the rendition of Mr Belhadj and his wife - Fatima Bouchar - to Col Muammar Gaddafi's regime, though it was unclear at what level.
On 15 April, the Sunday Times published an article, which quoted sources as alleging Mr Straw had personally authorised Mr Belhadj's rendition to Libya.
On Tuesday, Mr Belhadj's lawyers - Leigh Day & Co - served papers on Mr Straw, referencing the article and seeking his response to allegations that he was complicit in torture and misfeasance in public office.
The civil action is against Mr Straw personally - Mr Belhadj's lawyers believe it is the first time legal action of this kind has been taken against a former foreign secretary.
Mr Belhadj and his wife allege Mr Straw was complicit in the "torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, batteries and assaults" which they say were perpetrated on them by Thai and US agents, as well as the Libyan authorities.
They are seeking damages from Mr Straw for the trauma involved.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1241 13 April 2012 Email email@example.com Tel: 0207 561 9311 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) MAKE YOUR MP WORK TO STOP IRAN WAR 2) REPLY TO CALL FOR NATO INTERVENTION IN SYRIA 3) PROTEST NO TO NATO: US EMBASSY 19 MAY 4) DON'T IRAQ IRAN - A NIGHT TO REMEMBER 5) THREE VIDEOS RECOMMENDED BY STOP THE WAR ******************************** 1) MAKE YOUR MP WORK TO STOP IRAN WAR We are asking all our supporters to lobby MPs to help stop another war. Today
As we mark the 100-year anniversary of the unsinkable Titanic sinking, we should recall both the good and bad of that long-forgotten world of 1912. Were an unbelievably expensive means of luxury travel between the United States and Europe invented today, there would be no reason to expect peace activists to be found among the passengers. But it is not at all surprising that among the first-class passengers on the world's largest ship in 1912 was a well-known advocate of peace. This is what Wikipedia has to say about him:
"William Thomas Stead (5 July 1849 – 15 April 1912) was an English journalist and editor who, as one of the early pioneers of investigative journalism, became one of the most controversial figures of the Victorian era. . . .
By Rick Rozoff
On April 7 Fox News Chicago reported on Occupy Chicago’s march through the city’s downtown, the Loop, recording that hundreds of protesters chanted “End the war, tax the rich” during part of the group’s Chicago Spring actions throughout the city “as the movement prepares for NATO.”
U.S. Military Bases in Germany and a Brief History of Protests Against Them
By Elsa Rassbach
On September 25, 2009, U.S. and NATO commanders emblematically chose Ramstein Air Base
in Germany to announce the request of General Stanley McChrystal for 40,000 or more
additional U.S. troops for Afghanistan -- even before they presented this request to lawmakers in Washington. Roughly halfway between Washington and General McChrystal’s headquarters in Kabul, Ramstein is the largest U.S. overseas military airbase and also a NATO installation. The war in Afghanistan is partly a NATO war, but if NATO partners such as Germany were to oppose escalation, the U.S. could still use Ramstein and other bases in Europe for waging a functionally unilateral war , not unlike the Iraq war.
FINALLY Someone's Prosecuted (and not in absentia) for U.S. Torture -- And It's Poland That Comes Through
Poland Charges Ex-Spy Chief over Involvement in Bush Torture Program
From ALL GOV .COM
Obama Justice Dept. Refuses to Help Polish Torture Probe (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1240 3 April 2012 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0207 561 9311 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST NATO 2) CONGRATULATIONS TO GEORGE GALLOWAY MP 3) IMPORTANT UPCOMING EVENTS 4) DON'T IRAQ IRAN MERCHANDISE ************ 1) DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST NATO Saturday May 19th Troops out of Afghanistan, Don't Attack Iran, no intervention in the Middle East The occupation of Afghanistan has passed crisis point. Afghan soldiers are
1 April 2012. Around 2am 800 peace activists from more than ten European countries gathered near NATO headquarters in Evere, Brussels. 500 people tried nonviolently to enter the NATO compound. About 20 activists succeeded to enter the military site, 483 people were arrested. At the main entrance of the NATO headquarters 300 supporters cheered the intervention teams.
When peace is at stake, nonviolent intervention is necessary. NATO is a select club of countries that globally wages war, deploys nuclear weapons and is prepared to use them in a first strike. This military alliance is a danger for world peace. On May 20th and 21st, the heads of government of NATO member states will gather in Chicago. Today’s nonviolent intervention sends them a clear message: NATO creates more problems than it solves.
NATO Game Over – international action of civil disobedience
NATO GAME OVER is an action of civil disobedience. Nonviolent intervention teams tried to enter the NATO area in order to prevent a more serious crime, the preparation of war crimes.
Delegations from Germany, the Netherlands, France, UK, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Spain participated in the action alongside Belgian activists.
They all have a clear message for the government leaders who are meeting in Chicago for the NATO Summit on May 20th and 21st: “We do not want a missile defence shield, We do not want NATO soldiers in Libya or Afghanistan, We do not want dangerous, useless and illegal nuclear weapons”.
Remove nuclear weapons
NATO's deterrence and defense strategy will prove to be a difficult issue. Since the last NATO summit in November 2010, the alliance has been looking for “the appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional and missile defense forces”, under the NATO Deterrence and Defence Posture Review. NATO member states will need to agree on the future role of the approximately 200 American tactical nuclear weapons that are still deployed in five European countries. NATO bureaucracy is keen on maintaining the status quo.
However, nuclear weapons cannot be used without violating international humanitarian law and their deployment is a preparation of war crimes. These weapons do not serve any military purpose, and a majority of European citizens want them removed. NATO must overcome Cold War thinking, re-adjust its nuclear policy and withdraw these nuclear weapons. A failure to do so will be an obstacle for further nuclear disarmament.
Stop military intervention
In Chicago, NATO-secretary general Rasmussen wants to decide on the priorities for the further expansion of NATO’s military intervention apparatus. The war in Afghanistan proves the failure of military intervention. Under the pretext of ‘Responsibility to Protect’, NATO attacked Libya to force a profitable regime change. The war left Libya a fragmented country, where armed militias struggle for power.
Press contact: Hans Lammerant, +32 479 682 443
(AFP) BRUSSELS — Hundreds of peace activists on Sunday tried in vain to break into the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Brussels, with 483 of them arrested by police.
The demonstration, organised by the Belgian association Action for Peace two months before a NATO summit in Chicago, was called to protest the alliance's intervention in Afghanistan and Libya, and nuclear arming.
"No demonstrator was able to enter NATO headquarters," spokesman for Brussels police, Christian De Coninck, told AFP. "We detained 483 people for questioning and all of them should be free in the evening."
De Coninck said no one was hurt and no damage was reported.
A Russia-NATO summit, which was scheduled in May, is cancelled. According to the official version, the summit was cancelled over “an intensive domestic political calendar in Russia.” However, the experts believe that this step is caused by disagreements of the parties concerned over the European missile defence system.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1239 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) DAY OF PROTEST, SAT 24TH MARCH 2) ONLINE PETITION 3) NEW MATERIALS *************** 1) DAY OF PROTEST, SAT 24TH MARCH: DON'T IRAQ IRAN, TROOPS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN The unravelling of the war in Afghanistan has been apparent in recent weeks. The shooting of 16 Afghans, mostly women and children, by a US soldier, surely marked a turning point in the war as Afghans reacted with anger to the latest in a long line of outrages by demanding the soldier was put on trial in their country. The Americans responded by flying him to Kansas. This week both their ally President Karzai and their enemy the Taliban have underlined just how much the western powers are losing the war. Karzai demanded that ISAF troops should be confined to barracks while the Taliban broke off talks. You would hardly know this from the summit in Washington last week which saw Cameron and Obama feting each other in the White House. Instead they said the war was on course and would continue till 2014 (although they are privately bringing the dates forward as they know it is unlikely to hold for that long). Even worse they made clear their determination to attack Iran. The recent visit by Israeli prime minister Netanyahu to the US piled on the pressure to back an attack. This week the Israeli deputy prime minister is visiting London to drum up support for an attack on Iran and is clearly confident of winning the backing of the US and British governments. We have held successful protests and meetings over both issues in recent weeks, particularly attracting young people. This Saturday we have a national day of protest based around 'Don't Iraq Iran' - see http://bit.ly/x67PUk. On the 9th anniversary of the attack on Iraq, and the first anniversary of the bombing of Libya, the interest in anti war activity is being heightened. Protests can bring in these issues, plus the threats to Syria. This is the chance to get out on the streets and build a campaign against the next main threat. See http://bit.ly/x67PUk for more details on the day of protest. *************** 2) ONLINE PETITION Our letter to the Guardian against an attack on Iran, which was signed by a number of celebrities, will go live in the next few days as an online petition. We want as many signatories on it as possible. Check the website and add your name. *************** 3) NEW MATERIALS We have a range of new materials available now or soon, to spread the message about the don't attack Iran campaign: '10 reasons' leaflets, 'don't Iraq Iran' badges, special tote bags, 'Who's threatening who' maps of the region and posters. Contact 0207 561 9311 or email@example.com to order or for more information.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Urgent Stop the War Bulletin http://stopwar.org.uk Vigil 6-7 pm, Monday 12 March, Trafalgar Square, London SW1 Called by Afghans for Peace, supported by Stop the War. The cold blooded killing of fifteen Afghan civilians, including young children, by a US soldier in Kandahar Province earlier today is an outrage that encapsulates the brutality of the occupation of Afghanistan. It comes at a time of widespread anger against NATO forces, and growing calls for the occupation to end. The Stop the War Coalition is supporting a vigil called tomorrow night, Monday 12th, by Afghans for Peace in Trafalgar Square at 6pm. We are urging anyone who can to attend the event to protest at today's atrocity and to demand all NATO troops are withdrawn from the country immediately.