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Number of posts: 10,620
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 10,620
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by Sarah Marusek / March 6th, 2014
Since the US-sponsored peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel recommenced last summer, Israeli forces have: authorised the approval of several thousand illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories; launched the construction of twice as many illegal housing units as in the previous year; forcibly dispersed a peaceful protest camp in the Jordan Valley; violently suppressed the nonviolent demonstrations that happen weekly throughout the occupied West Bank; demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes and structures, with demolitions now at an all time high, leaving entire families homeless and exposed to the cold; arrested hundreds of Palestinian children and thousands of adults to be held without charge or tried in Israeli military courts; and killed dozens of Palestinians in raids in the West Bank and airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, which also injured several thousand.
In addition, Israeli settlers living illegally in the occupied Palestinian territories have carried out countless attacks against Palestinians; for example, uprooting olive trees, burning cars and painting racist graffiti on homes, mosques, churches and schools. According to the Associated Press, UN figures published in January show that the annual rate of Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians has almost quadrupled over the last eight years.
Meanwhile, Palestinians were responsible for the deaths of six Israelis throughout all of last year; and militant groups in Gaza, a territory that the UN has warned may soon become uninhabitable due to the draconian siege imposed by Israel, consistently fired rockets at Israel, none of which caused any significant damage or injuries. In December, militants also planted a bomb on a bus near Tel Aviv, with no injuries reported.
Of course, all suffering is painful, but the systemic nature of Israel’s violence against the Palestinians and the suffering caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine is extreme.
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/03/palestinians-call-for-protests-against-us-military-aid-to-the-israeli-occupation/#more-53244
Posted by polly7 | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 10:21 AM (7 replies)
Otherwise known as Foreign Policy
by John Andrews / March 6th, 2014
....Perhaps it’s deemed acceptable for critics to explain western foreign policy in these terms, but in my view there’s one small problem with it: it isn’t true. The events which become labelled as “mistakes” or “failures” are neither mistaken or failures, they’re intentional and highly successful.
This goes to the heart of the problem: who gets to decide what is success or failure, the 1% or the 99%? It is, of course, a rhetorical question. The 1% decide everything; they always have and until there is significant constitutional reform, they always will; and if western foreign policy were really disastrous as far as the 1% were concerned, it would have been changed a long, long time ago. As far as the 1% is concerned western foreign policy is a stonking success.
The evidence is obvious. All one needs to do is look at the winners and losers. Let’s do the losers first because that’s quickest: the losers are the people, the 99%, in their hundreds of millions – their murdered families, shattered lives and ruined countries.
On the other hand the 1% have made vast fortunes from western foreign policy and secured for themselves power and glory. There are all the arms-makers and dealers for a start, the scum of the earth who have always showered themselves with riches by selling death and destruction to anyone who’ll buy it – and there’s never any shortage of customers. Ideally these subhuman monsters sell their death and destruction to both sides in a conflict. Then there are the bankers who, as a species, are not very much further up the food-chain than arms-makers. Their vast profits come from arranging loans – mainly to puppet governments in the form of “aid”, “aid” which must be spent buying from approved one percenters, obviously. There are a whole multitude of other corporations – the creatures of the 1% – drooling in the wings of western foreign policy initiatives, waiting to sink their fangs into juicy “aid” contracts: the construction companies profiteering by jerrybuilding infrastructures shattered by the products of the arms-makers; energy and utility companies poised like vultures to monopolise control of ruined energy supplies and communications; “security” companies ready to protect all the assorted scavengers; mining companies and agricultural monstrosities ready to loot any natural resources… and so the list goes on.
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/03/mistakes-and-failure/
Posted by polly7 | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 10:11 AM (2 replies)
by Paul Craig Roberts / March 6th, 2014
According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor. It is Greece all over again.
Posted by polly7 | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 10:02 AM (1 replies)
Blood Phones and the Congo
By Kwei Quartey
April 7, 2013
The array of names by which the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been known over the years—the Congo Free State, the Belgian Congo, and Zaire, among others—bespeaks its long history of exploitation and conflict. In the ongoing fallout from the Second Congo War alone, well over 5 million people have been killed—approximately the population of Minnesota and approaching the number of Jews killed in the Holocuast. Even now, a deadly assortment of militias, M23 and Mai Mai prominent among them, continues to fight in the eastern DRC, where reports abound of horrifying acts of murder and rape in towns such as Goma, capital of North Kivu province on the border with Rwanda.
Although most of the developed world has long been unburdened with knowledge of the violence in the DRC, the slaughter is intricately linked to electronic components carried by millions of people in the United States and Europe. The tantalum capacitor is a reliable and stable component of electronic circuitry found in smartphones, DVD players, video game systems, laptops and tablets, hearing aids, pacemakers, and jet engines. Tantalum is extracted from coltan, short for columbite-tantalite, which is a dull, black, metallic ore mined in the DRC. Artisanal and small-scale miners do the work in filthy, dangerous, and taxing conditions. At the bottom of the supply chain, these workers earn a pittance, but the mining is often their sole income source.
In Goma and other eastern Congo towns close to Rwanda, coltan and conflict go hand in hand. Revenue from the mineral trade fuels the war. A 2001 UN Panel of Inquiry stated: “Here lies the vicious circle of the war. Coltan has permitted the Rwandan army to sustain its presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
My Search For A Smartphone That Is Not Soaked In Blood
By George Monbiot
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
If you are too well connected, you stop thinking. The clamour, the immediacy, the tendency to absorb other people's thoughts, interrupt the deep abstraction required to find your own way. This is one of the reasons why I have not yet bought a smartphone. But the technology is becoming ever harder to resist. Perhaps this year I will have to succumb. So I have asked a simple question: can I buy an ethical smartphone?
There are dozens of issues, such as starvation wages, bullying, abuse and 60-hour weeks in the sweatshops manufacturing them, the debt bondage into which some of the workers are pressed, the energy used, the hazardous waste produced. But I will concentrate on just one: are the components soaked in the blood of people from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo? For 17 years, rival armies and militias have been fighting over the region's minerals. Among them are metals critical to the manufacture of electronic gadgets, without which no smartphone would exist: tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold.
While these elements are by no means the only reason for conflict there, they help to fund it, supporting a fragmented war that – through direct killings, displacement, disease and malnutrition – has now killed several million people. Rival armies have forced local people to dig in extremely dangerous conditions, have extorted minerals and money from self-employed miners, have tortured, mutilated and murdered those who don't comply, and have spread terror and violence – including gang rape and child abduction – through the rest of the population. I do not want to participate.
None of the campaigning groups wants companies to stop buying minerals from eastern Congo. Global Witness and FairPhone, for example, point out that mining supports many families in a country where 82% are considered underemployed. But they also insist that the trade can be dissociated from violence: if, and only if, companies ensure they're not buying minerals which have passed through the hands of militias. Given the potential damage to their reputations, you might have expected these firms to take the issue seriously. With a few exceptions, you would be wrong.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/my-search-for-a-smartphone-that-is-not-soaked-in-blood-by-george-monbiot
Congolese Women and Girls Suffering the Insufferable
by Emily Spence and Brian McAfee / January 12th, 2010
While in the eastern Congo last summer, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “With respect to companies that are responsible for what are now being called conflict minerals, I think the international community must start looking at steps we can take to try to prevent the mineral wealth from the DRC ending up in the hands of those who fund the violence here.”
In relation, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s UN supported armed assault against rebels in the eastern Congo has promoted widespread death, rape and other forms of brutality. Indeed, the decade long war has claimed at least 5.4 million lives — the most in any conflict since WWII. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of women and girls, including babies, have suffered rapes and sexual mutilation, often with weapons and tools used in the process. Further, it is thought that, in eastern portions of the Congo, up to seventy percent of Congolese women, along with children of all ages, have been sexually attacked, according to the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, a research center at Harvard University.
Moreover, some relief workers have estimated that up to twenty percent of new rapes have been instigated by police and civilians in urban rather than rural areas in that a culture of violence has set into much of the nation due to the long, drawn out conflict. At the same time, the attacks are so extremely violent that they have been described as sexual terrorism by medical workers at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu at which thousands of survivors have been treated each year.
Overall, it has emerged that all major groups involved in the warfare have committed these and other serious war crimes, including looting peasants, purposefully destroying homes and forcing the mass dislocations of more than a million terrorized people from their neighborhoods. On account, countless families and whole communities have been forced to live with constant fear, repeated migrations and insurmountable social turmoil.
The main reason that these minerals are in such high demand is because they are critical in the fabrication of digital cameras, laptops, cell phones, portable musical devices and video games. Yet, some of these battlefield minerals are not widely found over much of the world. Therefore, there is great competition for them in the Congo and some individuals will stop at nothing to get them.
Posted by polly7 | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:11 PM (1 replies)
Her stories and recollections are horrible, but she's saving lives and providing hope for many. This fund drive has been going for a while now, I hope people write to their legislators and sign petitions as well. There really are things we can do.
Posted by polly7 | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:03 PM (1 replies)
There is more to this video than the idea of "white men raping a white girl". The concept of using Caucasians is to present the everyday horrors people in the Congo suffer due to the blood minerals in a way we (the audience) can really see. By presenting this horrific action in a "white" setting, it helps us "1st world people" to understand how these things can and do happen to everyday people in the Congo, caught in the middle of the trade. War crimes can happen to all people, of all genders and races, and are not limited to one group or another. In this case, they chose to portray it with a white suburban family, in the hopes that people can empathize with the disgusting nature of sexual war crimes. Hope this cleared up any misunderstandings!!
For those of you who haven't picked up on it, or didn't read the details... This is a disambiguation of the acts that are being committed on an hourly basis across Africa, mainly in The Congo. This is a tactic used to instill fear to the surrounding communities so they abide by the guerrilla members. This is a demonstration video of a real problem. A "what if it was happening here in our country?", an eye opener into the subject, to get people's attention and create the ball that needs to get set rolling in order to help these people that need it. You see natural disasters on the news and help gets to them, that's awesome the world needs that. However, how often do you hear about rapes on the news? Now, how often do you hear about rapes in other countries? This is why the world needs videos like this, we have come so accustomed to getting our information over the Internet. Thumbs up to Phillip DeFranco, he lead me here. Hopefully more people are made aware of this, and more reading is done with less "oh it's just another fake video" because reading comments like that make me sick. This is HAPPENING. It is in no way fake.
The east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been engulfed in a brutal war since 1996. This is a war against women, where the most unimaginable violence is being perpetrated against women of all ages.
Masika is a survivor of this unimaginable violence and violation, but despite facing ongoing danger, she is tirelessly working to help others. She has set up a centre where other survivors can come for sanctuary. They have no where else to go, the majority of them have been rejected by their husbands, community, and even their own families.
'Surviving hell on earth'
Even in the dry season eastern Congo is lush. Fields of maize, swaying in the breeze, grow higher than you have ever seen; ferocious electric storms, light up the night sky in pink and blue, quenching the thirst of the land with enormous raindrops. The abundance of everything is extreme, including the violence. Nearly six million people have died since the first war began in 1996. Hundreds of thousands of women, children and men have been raped. And it is still going on.
It is the people who bring me back time after time, people who simply do not give up despite surviving hell on earth. Masika has been raped four times by gangs of soldiers and militia - often because of her work saving other rape survivors. Vivienne is one of them, although she does not know she is the product of rape. After the rape, her mother's family agreed to take her mother back, but refused Vivienne – she is a product of the enemy.
"Most of them, when they come here, have never worked in a field before. But given what they've been through, being stigmatised and neglected ... the field provides ... hope for a better life"
Masika takes me off the main road and down a narrow path, under the glare of the intense sun. An elderly couple squeeze past us. The man holds a multi-coloured umbrella over his wife to shield her from the heat. Masika has no such protector. Her husband, who she calls the "love of her life", was dismembered in front of her.
Out in the open, Masika stops by a field of crops, to catch her breathe and pick some small chilli peppers. Eating them raw she turns to me: "I never know when I may get my next meal," she says.
Posted by polly7 | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:51 PM (0 replies)
Posted by polly7 | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 10:33 AM (1 replies)
From temperatures as low as -32 in Russia to some of the wettest weather in the UK’s history, this map shows the extreme weather events of last month from around the world.
—By John Vidal and George Arnett
This story first appeared on the Guardian as is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Hover over each marker to see which World Meteorological Office station it was recorded at and all the details of the extremity. The data was sourced from the Japanese Meteorological Agency and covers all of January 2014.
Posted by polly7 | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 09:57 AM (1 replies)
6 March 2014 Last updated at 05:47 ET
Five Afghan soldiers killed in Nato strike
At least five soldiers from the Afghan army have been killed in a Nato air strike in eastern Afghanistan.
They were killed in the early hours of Thursday in the Charkh district of Logar province.
Nato confirmed the "unfortunate incident" and said it was investigating the circumstances behind the attack.
Correspondents say it is likely to anger President Hamid Karzai, who has been deeply critical of international air strikes that have killed civilians.
He has previously ordered all coalition air strikes to end unless previously cleared by the Afghan defence ministry.
Full article: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26446269?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AAfPak%20Daily%20Brief&utm_campaign=South%20Asia%20Daily%203-6-14
Posted by polly7 | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 09:51 AM (0 replies)