Tuesday, August 10, 2010

US War Crimes: Cancer Rate in Fallujah Worse than Hiroshima

By Tom Eley, GlobalResearch.ca

The Iraqi city of Fallujah continues to suffer the ghastly consequences of a US military onslaught in late 2004.

According to the authors of a new study, “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,” the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by US atomic bomb strikes in 1945.

The epidemiological study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH), also finds the prevalence of these conditions in Fallujah to be many times greater than in nearby nations.

The assault on Fallujah, a city located 43 miles west of Baghdad, was one of the most horrific war crimes of our time. After the population resisted the US-led occupation of Iraq—a war of neo-colonial plunder launched on the basis of lies—Washington determined to make an example of the largely Sunni city. This is called “exemplary” or “collective” punishment and is, according to the laws of war, illegal.

The new public health study of the city now all but proves what has long been suspected: that a high proportion of the weaponry used in the assault contained depleted uranium, a radioactive substance used in shells to increase their effectiveness.

In a study of 711 houses and 4,843 individuals carried out in January and February 2010, authors Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan, Entesar Ariabi and a team of researchers found that the cancer rate had increased fourfold since before the US attack five years ago, and that the forms of cancer in Fallujah are similar to those found among the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, who were exposed to intense fallout radiation.

In Fallujah the rate of leukemia is 38 times higher, the childhood cancer rate is 12 times higher, and breast cancer is 10 times more common than in populations in Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait. Heightened levels of adult lymphoma and brain tumors were also reported. At 80 deaths out of every 1,000 births, the infant mortality rate in Fallujah is more than five times higher than in Egypt and Jordan, and eight times higher than in Kuwait.

Strikingly, after 2005 the proportion of girls born in Fallujah has increased sharply. In normal populations, 1050 boys are born for every 1000 girls. But among those born in Fallujah in the four years after the US assault, the ratio was reduced to 860 boys for every 1000 female births. This alteration is similar to gender ratios found in Hiroshima after the US atomic attack of 1945.

The most likely reason for the change in the sex ratio, according to the researchers, is the impact of a major mutagenic event—likely the use of depleted uranium in US weapons. While boys have one X-chromosome, girls have a redundant X-chromosome and can therefore absorb the loss of one chromosome through genetic damage.

“This is an extraordinary and alarming result,” said Busby, a professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Ulster and director of scientific research for Green Audit, an independent environmental research group. “To produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened. We need urgently to find out what the agent was. Although many suspect uranium, we cannot be certain without further research and independent analysis of samples from the area.”

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The rich are different from you and me - They are more selfish

Life at the bottom is nasty, brutish and short. For this reason, heartless folk might assume that people in the lower social classes will be more self-interested and less inclined to consider the welfare of others than upper-class individuals, who can afford a certain noblesse oblige. A recent study, however, challenges this idea. Experiments by Paul Piff and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, reported this week in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggest precisely the opposite. It is the poor, not the rich, who are inclined to charity.

In their first experiment, Dr Piff and his team recruited 115 people. To start with, these volunteers were asked to engage in a series of bogus activities, in order to create a misleading impression of the purpose of the research. Eventually, each was told he had been paired with an anonymous partner seated in a different room. Participants were given ten credits and advised that their task was to decide how many of these credits they wanted to keep for themselves and how many (if any) they wished to transfer to their partner. They were also told that the credits they had at the end of the game would be worth real money and that their partners would have no ability to interfere with the outcome.

A week before the game was run, participants were asked their ethnic backgrounds, sex, age, frequency of attendance at religious services and socioeconomic status. During this part of the study, they were presented with a drawing of a ladder with ten rungs on it. Each rung represented people of different levels of education, income and occupational status. They were asked to place an “X” on the rung they felt corresponded to where they stood relative to others in their own community.

The average number of credits people gave away was 4.1. However, an analysis of the results showed that generosity increased as participants' assessment of their own social status fell. Those who rated themselves at the bottom of the ladder gave away 44% more of their credits than those who put their crosses at the top, even when the effects of age, sex, ethnicity and religiousness had been accounted for.

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The dynamics of tax resistance

By D. Vogt

Tax resistance is a citizen's refusal to pay taxes to one or all levels of government, not out of an inability to pay but rather out of principle or out of protest. Particularly in the United States, there are tax protest movements which argue that the federal collection of income tax is unconstitutional. However, tax resistance typically refers to a broader collection of movements which do not necessarily oppose the collection of taxes at all, but do oppose the collection of taxes for uses which they oppose.

- Tax Resistance -

Tax resisters argue that their tax money (or at least a portion of their taxes) will be used by the government for acts they find immoral or unconscionable (or even illegal), and therefore refuse to pay any taxes at all. In most cases, tax resisters accept that taxation in general is a proper or legal behaviour of the government, but are protesting what the government does with those taxes. This separates them from tax protestors, who argue that taxation is illegal regardless of what the revenue is eventually used for.

There are a number of potential reasons for tax resistance, although the most common one today is opposition to the military budget, to a specific ongoing war, or to the production and maintenance of nuclear weapons. For instance, pacifists argue that, because they are opposed to organized violence in all forms, paying taxes to a government which funds a war-fighting military service would be nearly as bad as joining that army themselves. Those who are not necessarily pacifists but do oppose a specific military program, like a war or nuclear weapons in general, can advance a similar argument. In other cases tax resisters oppose specific forms of taxes which they view as oppressive, like Mahatma Gandhi's salt tax protest in India or Amish protests of social security taxes in America.

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Khmer Rouge Torturer 'Duch' to Serve 19 Years for Crimes Against Humanity

Khmer Rouge torturer Kaing Guek Eav, alias “Duch,” one of the most notorious killers under Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, was convicted on Monday of crimes against humanity including extermination, murder, enslavement, and a litany of other “grave breaches of the Geneva Convention.”

He was given a single sentence of 35 years’ imprisonment by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and will serve 19 years of that. The sentence was reduced to account for time already served during eight years of “illegal detention” by the military court, from 1999 through 2007.

While the ECCC described his crimes perpetrated against at least 12,273 victims “shocking and heinous,” the Chamber said the decision on the severity of the sentence took into account the “entirety of the circumstances of the case.”

These circumstances included Duch’s cooperation with the Chamber, his admission of responsibility, and the coercive environment under the communist regime at the time, in addition to his “potential for rehabilitation” and his “limited expression of remorse.”

Duch was convicted on international offenses but not under the Cambodian penal code since the “Chamber was divided on the question of whether responsibility for these crimes had been extinguished before the ECCC investigation of the accused commenced.” In the absence of a majority opinion, the Chamber made no decision regarding violations of domestic law.

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Musical Innerlube: Librarians Do Gaga

Canadian immigration officials told to flag U.S. war resisters

Canadian immigration officials have been told to flag American war resisters who seek asylum or apply for permanent residence for further scrutiny.

In its new operational guide, Citizenship and Immigration Canada said these individuals could be criminally inadmissible because “desertion is an offence in Canada” under the National Defence Act, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Critics say the directive's timing was suspicious, given a July 6 Federal Court of Appeal decision in favour of American soldier Jeremy Hinzman, whose family had been rejected permanent residence under humanitarian and compassionate grounds. The court ordered a reconsideration of Hinzman's application.

Hinzman, an army paratrooper, fled to Canada in 2004 because he was morally opposed to the Iraq invasion and was the first to apply for refugee status, which was ultimately refused. About 50 U.S. war resisters have since applied for permanent residence in Canada, either under spousal sponsorships or on humanitarian grounds.

The directive precedes the second reading, in September, of Bill C-440, a private member's bill that would cease deportation of U.S. Iraq War resisters and create a program to give them landed status if they can get medical and criminal clearances.

Two motions seeking the same thing were adopted by the House of Commons in 2008 and 2009, but have been ignored by the Stephen Harper government.

“The Conservative government is grasping at straws to thwart the will of Canadians and of Parliament,” said Michelle Robidoux, of the War Resisters Support Campaign. “When they don't get their way in Parliament, in public opinion or in the courts, they resort to political interference.”

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A Guide to the G20 Protests for the Not-Yet-Radical

...I've heard quite a few people, in talking about the G20 Protests, make statements that go something like “After the police told people not to come downtown, anybody who did knew what they were getting into.” and “I'm okay with people marching, but once you start breaking windows, then the police have to shut things down and arrest a lot of people.” Once again, I want to take these statements seriously and answer them honestly.

My opinion on this stuff is based on my understanding of the history of government and police reaction to movements demanding change, and also my direct experience – and the experience of people I'm close to – of participating in such movements.

First, my reading of history. It's really pretty simple. Having read a lot of the history of movements for social change, it's clear to me that the institutions that people are demanding change from always resist that change. Always. Not forever. But every single time.

It's not much more controversial than the general idea that powerful institutions and people tend to want to preserve and increase their power, and tend not to want to share it or give it up. From the peasant uprisings throughout history and around the world, to the French or American revolutions, to the end of British colonial rule in India, to the American civil rights movement, the struggle for women's equality everywhere, or the struggles for safety, respect, half-decent pay, some security, and a weekend for workers (and the broader population), the people and institutions in power always resist. And though they are often eventually convinced or overthrown, they always resist with force, and coercion and repression. Sometimes it's less brutal than other times, or less long-lasting, sometimes political accommodations come more quickly and peacefully than others. But the state fights back every time.

Many examples of this fight back, which I'll refer to as the repression of movements for change, are common knowledge. Think about it. The British government didn't just agree with the American Revolutionaries that taxation without representation wasn't fair, and that self-determination is the right of all people. (Those revolutionaries of course said “men”, and most of them meant “white men with property”, underlining the fact that those same revolutionaries were in turn seen as oppressors by yet other people.) The British imprisoned the rebels, legislated against them, and then killed as many of them as they could in a war, in order to resist the movement for change. It is widely known that in resisting the Civil Rights movement in the United States, the authorities used fire-hoses and dogs and imprisonment to repress the freedom riders and lunch-counter sit-ins and other demonstrations, while the unofficial authorities used beating and lynching. It is widely known that the government of South Africa kept Nelson Mandela in prison for 27 years for his work against apartheid.

Less common knowledge is the broad pattern of often unpublicized repression that generally happens away from the spotlight of large protests or boycotts or campaigns. This repression is aimed at the most vocal advocates of change and at the organizations they are a part of. For any change movement you can think of, there is usually a long period in its history when its advocates and participants were being harassed, imprisoned, attacked or even killed. Though Martin Luther King Jr. is now regarded as an American hero, he was the target of a long, covert and hostile campaign by the FBI, designed to neutralize him as a civil rights leader, while he was actually alive and working for change. Movements for change take a long time to build, and the institutions that they are trying to change fight back the whole time, targeting those individuals who are kicking up a fuss and organizing other people to do so.

In talking about repression generally, I'm trying to challenge the idea that protest happens and the authorities are fine with it, until it turns “violent” and then those authorities have to “respond”. My brief sketch of political repression, combined with my thoughts about people fighting back against the violence and other mistreatment they experience daily in their societies, is designed to share my understanding that forces for change and the institutions and people that are hurting them are involved a long-term and often violent process of responding to each other. Before any demonstration or boycott or riot happens on the street, two things have been going on for years: the basic mistreatment and injustice that people are upset about, and the individual targeting of the most vocal advocates to change things.

The reason I'm sketching all this out is to try to influence your perception of the chain of events that happened at the G20 protests in Toronto, which gets simplified to “a protest happened, it got violent, and the police responded…” I'd like to convince you that the chain of events is much longer, that it is normal and has a history, and that police action can be best understood as not trying to curb violence in the moment, but as trying to repress protest generally over the long haul...

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Pilot of DC9 in 5.5 ton cocaine bust escaped custody in three countries

By Daniel Hopsicker

The identity of the pilot of the American-registered DC-9 (N900SA)  from St. Petersburg FL caught carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine in Mexico's Yucatan several years ago, long a mystery, finally saw the light of day recently in Mexico.

Carmelo Vasquez Guerra, a Venezuelan, was the DC9's pilot who was said to have “escaped”  from the airport while his airplane was being seized, and four other members of his crew were arrested.

He was later taken into custody by Mexican authorities, and charged with flying an airplane packed with 128 identical suitcases filled with cocaine.

Getting caught with  5.5 tons of cocaine would seem to call for some serious jail time. Reporters in Mexico assumed he'd been sent to prison for, like... forever.

So imagine reporter Francisco Gomez of Mexico City's El Universal  surprise when he made a startling discovery:  Carmelo Vasquez Guerra—amazingly and inexplicably—had been released from prison less than two years after being arrested.

The shocking news was delivered via an international headline stating that a pilot named Carmelo Vasquez Guerra had been arrested in the West African nation of Guinea Bissau on a twin-engine Gulfstream II carrying... what else? 550 kilos—a half-ton— of cocaine.

An inexhaustible supply of get out of jail free cards

The date of Vasquez's West African arrest was July 13, 2008.

Mexican authorities had nabbed Carmelo Vasquez Guerra, Gomez learned, not long after authorities discovered him missing from the DC9. 

How was it he was out of jail, less than two years later, Reporter Francisco Gomez asked.

Authorities in Mexico refused to discuss Vasquez Guerra's release with reporter Gomez.

But news about Carmelo kept coming, and kept getting worse. Gomez discovered that Mexico was not the only country to arrest Vasquez Guerra for the presumably major offense of flying box-car sized loads of cocaine, only to let him go.

It's happened in three. Caught and released under mysterious and unexplained circumstances. in Mexico, in Guinea Bissau, and in Mali, home of Timbuktu.

Drug pilot Carmelo Vasquez Guerra—or , more likely, the global drug trafficking network to which he belongs, which has, it must be said, a strong and enduring presence in St Petersburg FL, the shuffleboard capital of the world-- has an apparent inexhaustible supply of “get out of jail free” cards.

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Exorcising the ubiquitous necktie

From It's in. It's out. At last, your guide to necktie etiquette:

...In some places (church, restaurants, college) the tie seems to be vanishing alongside the polar ice caps (if you believe Al Gore). Sightings can be especially rare during the hot summer months. But in other places (law offices, stock brokerages, hospitals) ties are reappearing faster than Whac-A-Mole on steroids. "Ties are both coming back and going out at the same time," says Gerald Andersen, executive director of the Men's Dress Furnishings Association in New York. The changes are both real (not imagined) and modified by regional differences (up generally in the Midwest and East; down, for the most part, in the West), he and others say. The personal whims of revolving CEOs can also figure in – no matter what profession.

"Both perceptions are correct," Mr. Andersen says. But with a kind of defiance to those of the now-defunct dotcom era who had all but deep-sixed the necktie in favor of T-shirts, beards, shorts, and sandals, he paraphrases Mark Twain: "The reports of the death of the necktie have been greatly exaggerated."

Of course a guy from the Men's Dress Furnishings Association would say that, some might think. But he's got stats showing where the prediction came from and where it went. The glory days of the tie were in the early '90s, when men, and the women who shop for them, racked up a record $1.3 billion in US necktie sales. But they dipped to half that ($750 million) just a half decade later. That was when "casual Friday" became the mantra, when the nerd-geniuses of Silicon Valley made it a status symbol to thumb their noses at US workplace convention...

From Necktie Down the Ages - History of the most common gift of gratitude to Dad:

Many events in the history of mankind eventually fade into oblivion, but others, leave their indelible marks for the entire world to see. More than 350 years ago, the Croats initiated one such influential occurrence. Although started in the 17th century in a small region on the Adriatic coast, the consequences of this event are still very much evident the world over. 600 million people now wear the ubiquitous symbol of Croatia around their necks, close to their hearts.

Believe it or not Croatia is the mother country of the modern necktie but archaeological evidence of the use of neckties goes back to the Chinese and the Romans almost two millenniums back.

China's First emperor.

The earliest known version of the necktie has been found in the massive mausoleum of China's first emperor, Shih Huang Ti, who was buried in 210 B.C. Desperately afraid of death, the emperor wanted to slaughter an entire to army to accompany him into the next world. His advisers ultimately persuaded him to take life-size replicas of the soldiers instead...

From The Necktie:

...Why have human men for thousands of years (that we can document) gotten into the habit of wearing these highly stylized choke collars?

Since "the rectangular piece of cloth that was tied and hung down till the shoulders was a very important part of an Egyptian's clothing because it was showing his social status." , I wonder... Did the slaves in the fields and mines wear the rope neckties and the "house slaves" wear more adorned choke collars that were more aesthetically pleasing in the master's home? And, to indicate to the other slaves that "I'm special! I'm a house slave!"? Is this why the so-called professional classes wear neckties? Is the necktie an artifact on an earlier time when man was enslaved and groveled for enhanced status? (Sort of like today?) Were the "masters" human... or, were they "YOU-KNOW-WHAT!"?

I was friends with a former policeman who claimed that the clip-on necktie was originally designed for police. That way, if an officer got into a physical altercation with someone and the tie was grabbed, it would just come off in the suspect's hand. But, still the police use the symbol of the necktie rather than just eliminate it for safety's sake. Contemplate for a moment the symbolism of a human "law enforcer" wearing a necktie. Or, a CEO wearing a necktie. Or, the priest class wearing not a necktie, but still a collar.

A necktie/noose/choke collar is a very convenient way of cutting off both the blood to the brain and the air to the lungs to induce panic, and then maybe death. Very effective and immediate discipline! Or, perhaps an efficient way of mass processing human male slaves by attaching them to a chain or tying them to posts for processing or discipline...

From The death of the necktie?:

...As tech sales rep Earl Presley walked in downtown St. Petersburg on his way to a lunch meeting Wednesday, he was the portrait of a modern businessman.

Except around his neck, there hung no tie.

Presley's tie-less look, according to a recent Gallup Poll on workplace attire, has far and away become the most popular way to dress around the office. Nationwide, only 6 percent of men reported wearing a tie to work every day in 2007, down from 10 percent six years ago. Those who reported never wearing a tie to work increased from 59 percent to 67 percent over the same period.

To add injury to insult, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that after 60 years, the Men's Dress Furnishings Association, the trade group that represents American tiemakers, is expected to shut down Thursday. ..

From Iran fights national threat from neckties:

Iran is considering a new campaign to fend off the latest threat it has faced – men's ties.

"Imports of some apparel are not banned but serious action should be taken to stop the import of ties which contradict the nature of Iranian culture," Asghar Hamidi, the nation's customs bureau deputy head, told the Fars news agency.

An English report on the growing controversy was carried by Agence France-Presse.

"We need to change the country's import regulations to this end," the report quoted Hamidi saying. His responsibilities also include work on the Iranian state plan for the "development of culture, chastity and the veil."...

From Wikipedia:

Anti-necktie sentiment

In the early 20th century, the number of office workers began increasing. Many such men and women were required to wear neckties, because it was perceived as improving work attitudes, morale, and sales.

Removing the necktie as a social and sartorial business requirement (and sometimes forbidding it) is a modern trend often attributed to the rise of popular culture. Although it was common as everyday wear as late as 1966, over the years 1967–69, the necktie fell out of fashion almost everywhere, except where required. There was a resurgence in the 1980s, but in the 1990s, ties again fell out of favor, with many technology-based companies having casual dress requirements, including Microsoft, Genentech, Apple Inc., Amazon.com, Monsanto, eBay and in the 2000s, Google.

In North America, a phenomemon known as Casual Friday has arisen, in which employees were not required to wear ties on Fridays, and then — increasingly — on other, announced, special days. Some businesses extended casual-dress days to Thursday, and even Wednesday; others required neckties only on Monday (to start the work week). At the furniture company IKEA, neckties are not allowed.

In Israel casual-dress remains the everyday norm and the necktie is still largely shunned even by professionals like doctors and lawyers.[17] Interestingly, this practice may actually have practical, medical side-effects. A recent study found that tie-less Israeli doctors actually spread fewer germs than their foreign colleagues.[17]

An extreme example of anti-necktie sentiment is found in Iran, whose theocratic rulers have denounced the accessory as a decadent symbol of Western oppression. In the late 1970s (at the time of the Islamic Revolution) members of the US press even metonymized Iran's hardliners as turbans and its moderates as neckties. To date, most Iranian men have retained the Western-style long-sleeved collared shirt and three-piece suit, while excluding the necktie.[18][19]

Neckties are viewed by various sub- and counter-culture movements as being a symbol of submission and slavery (i.e. having a symbolic chain around one's neck) to the corrupt elite of society, as a "wage slave".[20]

From Prince Claus of the Netherlands:

...The public also sympathised with Claus for his efforts to give meaning to his life beyond the restrictions that Dutch law imposed on the Royal Family's freedom of speech and action (lest they get involved in political controversy). Many also believed that these restrictions were at least partly the cause of his severe depression, which lasted many years. As a result, restrictions were loosened; Claus was even appointed as senior staff member at the Department of Developing Aid, albeit in an advisory role.

A fine example of his mildly rebellious attitude toward protocol was the "Declaration of the Tie". In 1998, after presenting the annual Prince Claus Awards to three African fashion designers, Claus told "workers of all nations to unite and cast away the new shackles they have voluntarily cast upon themselves", meaning the necktie, that "snake around my neck," and encouraged the audience to "venture into open-collar paradise". He then removed his tie and threw it on the floor...


With the simple tug of a tie, a Dutch prince has touched off a revolution in the Netherlands.

In a speech opening a show of African fashion, Prince Claus ceremoniously wriggled free of his Windsor knot, yanked off his navy blue necktie and tossed it rather inelegantly at the feet of his wife, Queen Beatrix.

"A snake around my neck,'' the 73-year-old prince snarled to a standing ovation.

Reporting the story that evening, one TV anchorman peeled off his tie. In solidarity, so did the sportscaster who gave the soccer scores. Now, a week later, Claus is a folk hero.

The phenomenon already has a name: "Claustrophilia,'' which celebrates the prince for denouncing ties.

"I also suffer from the prince's tie phobia Wouter van Winden, a businessman in the central city of Delft, was quoted as saying in Monday's De Volkskrant newspaper.

"No piece of clothing combines so little function with so much potential to show bad taste,'' he said. "For me, a necktie is like a dog leash: Both symbolize a limit on freedom. Why else does Nelson Mandela never wear one?''

Amen, says Claus, who proclaimed the South African president "the best-dressed man I know'' during Wednesday's fashion show at the royal palace in Amsterdam...

[ Aside: Exorcism Tie Designs ]

The curious story of Christopher Story

Edward Harle (a.k.a. Christopher Story)

One version of his alleged murder:
'Christopher Story murdered, other journalists targeted in new fascist campaign'
by Benjamin Fulford

A different version and a rebuttal:
'Seduce, Discredit, Separate, Intimidate, Incarcerate, and Assassinate: A Look Into Edward Harle’s Murder, Benjamin Fulford’s Fraud, and Why the Truth Never Reaches The Masses'
by Sherri Kane

Christopher Story on EU corruption


image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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