Depleted uranium found in Gaza victims

Medics tell Press TV they have found traces of depleted uranium in some Gaza residents wounded in Israel’s ground offensive on the strip. 

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Norwegian medics told Press TV correspondent Akram al-Sattari that some of the victims who have been wounded since Israel began its attacks on the Gaza Strip on December 27 have traces of depleted uranium in their bodies. 


The report comes after Israeli tanks and troops swept across the border into Gaza on Saturday night, opening a ground operation after eight days of intensive attacks by Israeli air and naval forces on the impoverished region. 

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned on Sunday that the wide-ranging ground offensive in the Gaza Strip would be “full of surprises.” 

A ground offensive in the densely-populated Gaza is expected to drastically increase the death toll of the civilian population. 

The latest assaults bring the number of Palestinians killed to over 488 with 2790 others wounded. The UN says that about 25 percent of the casualties were civilian deaths – including at least 34 children. 

According to Israeli army officials, at least 30 of its soldiers have been wounded since the start of the ground campaign. 

Amid global condemnation of the ongoing violence in the region, the UN Security Council failed to agree on a united approach to resolve the crisis. 

” Once again, the world is watching in dismay the dysfunctionality of the Security Council,” UN General Assembly chief Miguel d’Escoto said Sunday. 

According to diplomatic sources, the US blocked a Security Council resolution, with US Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff arguing that an official statement that criticizes both Israel and Hamas would not be helpful. 

The White House has so far declined to comment on whether an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza is a justified measure.

US veto blocks UN anti-Israel resolution

The UN Security Council has been unable to force an end to Israeli attacks against Gaza due to the intervention of the United States.


bageri_d20081228113347218Washington once again used its veto powers on Sunday to block a resolution calling for an end to the massive ongoing Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip. 

The council has only been able to issue a ‘non-binding’ statement that calls on Israel to voluntarily bring all its military activities in the besieged region to an immediate end. 

The statement comes as Israel has begun a fresh wave of air strikes on Gaza on Sunday, killing at least six people. At least 230 people were killed and 800 wounded in similar attacks on Saturday. The number of Palestinians deaths has so far risen to 271. 

The council called on the parties to address the humanitarian crisis in the territory but has not criticized the Israeli air attacks. 

Croatian UN Ambassador Neven Jurica read out the non-binding statement on behalf of the 15-member body that “called for an immediate halt to all violence” and on the parties “to stop immediately all military activities.” 

“The members of the Security Council expressed serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza,” he said, as the president of the council. 

The council also requested the opening of border crossings into Gaza to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to ensure medical treatment and a continuous supply of food and fuel. 

US representative to the UNSC, Zalmay Khalilzad, defended the Israeli move, saying Tel Aviv has the right to self-defense. 

“I regret the loss of any of all innocent life,” he said, adding that Hamas rockets precipitated this situation. 

Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip fire rockets into Israel in retaliation for the daily Israeli attacks against them. Unlike the state-of-the-art Israeli weapons and ammunition, the home-made Qassam rockets rarely cause casualties. 

The US, a staunch ally to Israel, has so far vetoed over 40 anti-Israeli resolutions sought by the council since 1972. 

Since 2004, Washington has prevented the adoption of four other resolutions that called for Tel Aviv to halt its operations in the Gaza Strip. 

My expulsion from Israel

When I arrived in Israel as a UN representative I knew there might be problems at the airport. And there were – Richard Falk.

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On December 14, I arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, in Tel Aviv, Israel to carry out my UN role as special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.

I was leading a mission that had intended to visit the West Bank and Gaza to prepare a report on Israel’s compliance with human rights standards and international humanitarian law. Meetings had been scheduled on an hourly basis during the six days, starting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, the following day.

I knew that there might be problems at the airport. Israel had strongly opposed my appointment a few months earlier and its foreign ministry had issued a statement that it would bar my entry if I came to Israel in my capacity as a UN representative.

At the same time, I would not have made the long journey from California, where I live, had I not been reasonably optimistic about my chances of getting in. Israel was informed that I would lead the mission and given a copy of my itinerary, and issued visas to the two people assisting me: a staff security person and an assistant, both of whom work at the office of the high commissioner of human rights in Geneva.

To avoid an incident at the airport, Israel could have either refused to grant visas or communicated to the UN that I would not be allowed to enter, but neither step was taken. It seemed that Israel wanted to teach me, and more significantly, the UN a lesson: there will be no cooperation with those who make strong criticisms of Israel’s occupation policy.

After being denied entry, I was put in a holding room with about 20 others experiencing entry problems. At this point, I was treated not as a UN representative, but as some sort of security threat, subjected to an inch-by-inch body search and the most meticulous luggage inspection I have ever witnessed.

I was separated from my two UN companions who were allowed to enter Israel and taken to the airport detention facility a mile or so away. I was required to put all my bags and cell phone in a room and taken to a locked tiny room that smelled of urine and filth. It contained five other detainees and was an unwelcome invitation to claustrophobia. I spent the next 15 hours so confined, which amounted to a cram course on the miseries of prison life, including dirty sheets, inedible food and lights that were too bright or darkness controlled from the guard office.

Of course, my disappointment and harsh confinement were trivial matters, not by themselves worthy of notice, given the sorts of serious hardships that millions around the world daily endure. Their importance is largely symbolic. I am an individual who had done nothing wrong beyond express strong disapproval of policies of a sovereign state. More importantly, the obvious intention was to humble me as a UN representative and thereby send a message of defiance to the United Nations.

Israel had all along accused me of bias and of making inflammatory charges relating to the occupation of Palestinian territories. I deny that I am biased, but rather insist that I have tried to be truthful in assessing the facts and relevant law. It is the character of the occupation that gives rise to sharp criticism of Israel’s approach, especially its harsh blockade of Gaza, resulting in the collective punishment of the 1.5 million inhabitants. By attacking the observer rather than what is observed, Israel plays a clever mind game. It directs attention away from the realities of the occupation, practising effectively a politics of distraction.

The blockade of Gaza serves no legitimate Israeli function. It is supposedly imposed in retaliation for some Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets that have been fired across the border at the Israeli town of Sderot. The wrongfulness of firing such rockets is unquestionable, yet this in no way justifies indiscriminate Israeli retaliation against the entire civilian population of Gaza.

The purpose of my reports is to document on behalf of the UN the urgency of the situation in Gaza and elsewhere in occupied Palestine. Such work is particularly important now as there are signs of a renewed escalation of violence and even of a threatened Israeli reoccupation.

Before such a catastrophe happens, it is important to make the situation as transparent as possible, and that is what I had hoped to do in carrying out my mission. Although denied entry, my effort will continue to use all available means to document the realities of the Israeli occupation as truthfully as possible.

• Richard Falk is professor of international law at Princeton University and the UN’s special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories

Israel deports American academic

Israel has refused entry to the controversial Jewish American academic and UN envoy, Richard Falk who once compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews.

Falk flew into Tel Aviv on Sunday night and spent the night at Ben Gurion airport before he was deported this morning.

Earlier this year, when the Princeton University professor of international law was appointed as the UN’s special rapporteur in the Palestinian territories, Israel said it would deny him entry because in 2007 he said the Jewish nation’s blockade on the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza was a “Holocaust in the making”.

In June this year, Israel allowed Falk to enter in a personal capacity to attend a conference in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Israel defended its decision to deport Falk, saying he had used his personal visit in June to write an official UN report and because of his “shameful comparisons to the Holocaust”.

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Israel also objects to the UN’s special rapporteur mandate which aims to document only the Jewish state’s abuses of Palestinian human rights. It does not include Palestinian abuses of Israeli human rights.

It’s the third time this year that Israel has barred a high-profile critic from entering.

In May, it deported Norman Finkelstein, a controversial Jewish American academic who has accused Israel of using the Holocaust to justify its actions against the Palestinians. Israel also refused Nobel peace laureate the Archbishop Desmond Tutu entry while on a UN fact-finding mission in Gaza the same month.

Toni O’Loughlin in Jerusalem –  guardian.co.uk

Russia: US gave nod to Georgia

 

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 09:25:19 GMT  

Russia says that Georgia’s attack on the independence-seeking region of South Ossetia was likely executed with the United States’ approval.

“It is hard to imagine that (Georgian President Mikheil) Saakashvili embarked on this risky venture without some sort of approval from the side of the United States,” Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told Russia’s NTV television on Wednesday.

Meanwhile on the same day, an official in the delegation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Georgia’s president was “mad” to try to crush separatists in South Ossetia, and he fell into a “vulgar” trap that led to war.

“Saakashvili was mad enough to go in the middle of the night and bomb a city,” the official told reporters overnight on condition of anonymity. The result is “a Georgia attacked, pulverized, through its own fault,” he added.

“The Georgians fell into a vulgar trap. They thought that (Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin would not retaliate in the middle of the Olympic Games,” the official said.

Contrary to Tbilisi’s expectations, Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s reaction was too heavy-handed. “They sent in the Russian army and liquidated the opposing army,” the official added.

France’s Sarkozy — whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union — brokered an outline peace deal on Tuesday and the early hours of Wednesday to end fighting sparked by Tbilisi’s decision to regain control of South Ossetia by force.

Russia’s troops overran their Georgian enemy, forcing them out of South Ossetia and helping the separatists drive out Georgian forces in another independence-seeking region, Abkhazia, before moving further into Georgian territory.

Bolton: U.S. should help Israel hit Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. (JTA) — Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton said the United States should assist Israel in any strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The ex-U.S. envoy in an op-ed in the July 15 Wall Street Journal said the United States must consider what assistance to extend to Israel before and after an airstrike. “We will be blamed for the strike anyway, and certainly feel whatever negative consequences result, so there is compelling logic to make it as successful as possible,” wrote Bolton, who was known for his hawkish foreign policy views. “At a minimum, we should place no obstacles in Israel’s path, and facilitate its efforts where we can.” Bolton said the efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions through sanctions had failed, and even if they could still be enacted, the time for their effectiveness has passed. He also lashed out at presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama for advocating the threat of sanctions and incentives for changed behavior to divert Tehran from its present course. Bolton had only a slightly milder appraisal of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain’s approach, describing the Arizona senator’s call for a workable missile defense system to protect the United States from the Iranian threat “only a component of a post-failure policy.”

The incredible story of Youssef Nada

Under the cover of the ” war against terror “, the United States and the European Union have granted unlimited powers to secret services and police. Emergency measures which were introduced on a provisional basis in 2001, outside any judiciary control, have become permanent. Since September 2001, at least 80,000 people, mainly Muslim, would have been kidnapped, kept in secret prisons, and tortured by CIA and FBI agents. Hundreds of others have been put on the UN « black list ». That’s what happened to the businessman Youssef Nada, 77 years old, an Italian citizen of Egyptian origin, accused by U.S. President, G.W Bush of financing Al-Qaeda. Two judiciary investigations resulted in a non-suit, but Mr. Nada didn’t get his name deleted from the UN « black list » (*). His assets remain frozen; he is barred from travelling to or transiting in any country. He can’t go outside the tiny enclave of Campione – an Italian enclave inside Swiss territory – where Silvia Cattori went to meet him.

Silvia Cattori : Once he knew, in detail, your incredible story, Mr. Dick Marty denounced the injustice which is inflicted on you. He reported on your case, 19th March 2007 to the Council of Europe. Despite his report, you remain on the « black list » of people suspected of assisting terrorism, deprived of freedom because my country continues to uphold the UN sanctions against you. You are living in Italy, yet being kept as hostage by Switzerland?! I want to tell you that many of us are outraged by the martyrdom that Switzerland continues to inflict on you.

Youssef Nada : You can’t say that it is “the country, Switzerland”. The citizens are one thing, and politics is another. It is true that, in Switzerland, the people here are tolerant and peaceful, and neutral. Not only is the Government neutral, but the people themselves are neutral. But Mr. Dick Marty proved that he is one of the best Swiss citizens. Really, you feel when you read and hear what he says, that he is a humanitarian. The risk he took when he followed the “Extraordinary Renditions” case, nobody took before him. All the politicians know what is going on, but no one has the courage to speak. He was the only one who had the courage. Although I respect all the Swiss people, I respect Mr. Marty more, and not only because of the attitude he had towards me. His courage when he talks about people who are helpless in front of the biggest power is unique.

Silvia Cattori : Mr. Marty’s behaviour was exemplary; but unfortunately not the behaviour of the media. You implicate them on your personal website [3]. Does that mean that the journalists are apologists in support of this war?

Youssef Nada : Some journalists do have a special agenda, which they just mix up. They take part from me, part from their preconceived ideas, and make their own story. However, most journalists and media are honest. You can’t generalise. There are a lot of honest people within the media, doing their job and looking for the facts and for the interest of the public. Every month, I speak to about 15 to 20 journalists. TV journalists came: two from France, two from England, one from Austria, two from Germany, two from Italy, one from Spain, others from the Middle East and from the Far East. Some of these journalists are very honest. In fact, some of them, even without seeing me, defended my case in a correct way.

Silvia Cattori : It must have been a terrible hardship for you. Every day, you were confronted by new accusations, all more unlikely and overwhelming than the last, without being able to answer them!

Full article: www.insight-info.com

 

US confession: Weapons were not made in Iran after all

Nice to see that they are starting to confess to thier failures!

 

Iranian weapons

 

In a sharp reversal of its longstanding accusations against Iran
arming militants in Iraq , the US military has made an unprecedented albeit quiet confession: the weapons they had recently found in Iraq were not made in Iran at all.

According to a report by the LA Times correspondent Tina Susman in Baghdad: “A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. A U.S. military spokesman attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin. When U.S. explosives experts went to investigate, they discovered they were not Iranian after all.”

The US , which until two weeks ago had never provided any proof for its allegations, finally handed over its “evidence” of the Iranian
origin of these weapons to the Iraqi government. Last week, an Iraqi
delegation to Iran presented the US “evidence” to Iranian officials.
According to Al-Abadi, a parliament member from the ruling United
Iraqi Alliance who was on the delegation, the Iranian officials
totally refuted “training, financing and arming” militant groups in
Iraq . Consequently the Iraqi government announced that there is no hard evidence against Iran.

In another extraordinary event this week, the US spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, for the first time did not blame Iran for the
violence in Iraq and in fact did not make any reference to Iran at all
in his introductory remarks to the world media on Wednesday when he described the large arsenal of weapons found by Iraqi forces in Karbala.

In contrast, the Pentagon in August 2007 admitted that it had lost
track of a third of the weapons distributed to the Iraqi security
forces in 2004/2005. The 190,000 assault rifles and pistols roam free in Iraqi streets today.

In the past year, the US leaders have been relentless in propagating their charges of Iranian meddling and fomenting violence in Iraq and since the release of the key judgments of the US National Intelligence Estimate in December that Iran does not have a nuclear weaponisation programme, these accusations have sharply intensified.

The US charges of Iranian interference in Iraq too have now collapsed. Any threat of military strike against Iran is in violation of the UN charter and the IAEA’s continued supervision on Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities means there is no justification for sanctions.

CASMII calls on the US to change course and enter into comprehensive and unconditional negotiations with Iran.

Source