Egyptian bloggers and activists have called for a fresh million man march on Friday, 1 April.
The new protest will take place in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the 25 January Revolution that lasted 18 days and resulted in the overthrow of ex-president Hosni Mubarak on 11 February.
Through Facebook and Twitter the organisers of the new rallies cited ‘unfulfilled demands’ as the reason for the need for a massive demonstration.
Bringing to justice Mubarak and his family members, who were allegedly involved in major embezzlement and many other infringements, is on top of the ‘neglected’ demands.
The protesters also stressed the importance of prosecuting Zakaria Azmi, Safwat Al-Sherif and Fathi Sorour. The trio are widely branded as ‘corrupt’ figures of the previous regime and ‘disciples’ of Mubarak, as well as being held responsible for the counter-revolution, which resulted in over 600 dead and several thousand injured.
Furthermore, they are demanding that all media figures associated with the old regime be removed from their positions effective immediately.
Around 500 journalists protested on Sunday in front of the national radio and TV headquarters known as the Maspero building before supporters of the 25 January Revolution joined them.
Dismantling the National Democratic Party, formerly headed by Mubarak, is also among the demands.
The latest million man march has been called by many names, including the “new Friday of rage” and “Friday of cleansing.”
The text is simple and quite short, and it merits being quoted in full: “The Netanya Magistrate’s Court has decided to extend by 24 hours the detention of three Palestinians, without holding a hearing about their alleged crimes. The reason for the absence of such a hearing is that the suspects speak only Arabic, and could not communicate with the public defender appointed for them.”
The abstract form of this masterpiece of news briefs deserves a few words of attention. Reporter Ra’anan Ben Zur successfully conveys the fully Kafkaesque nature of the situation in two little sentences. We have three defendants, about whom we know nothing except for their nationality; the fact that a public defender has been appointed for them; that they cannot communicate with said defender; and that they are consigned to detention due to this lack of communication. We do not know their names, and most importantly, the crime of which they are suspected is missing from the report. Is this a serious crime, where the suspect must be detained? Or maybe it is a minor, negligible crime, and the suspects were only arrested for their ethnicity? The truth is — and the newsflash expressed it well — that it does not really matter. What matters is that three people were denied their liberty, without having the opportunity to defend themselves from this arbitrary decision.
In defense of the court, it is very likely that it would have come to the same decision even if it had to hear the case of three migrant laborers from China, who also would not have been able to converse with their public defender because he did not happen to speak Chinese and their Hebrew was not sufficient. It is, of course, significantly easier to find a speaker of Arabic than of Chinese, so you could accuse the court of having taken the easy way out here, but the principle stands.
Denial of liberty is the most severe sanction that we permit our courts. We do not permit corporal punishment and we do not have a death penalty (it exists, and rears its head occasionally, when it becomes necessary to make a ritual human sacrifice — of the three cases of death penalty, two involved Nazi criminals and the third was suspected of treason — but it generally lies dormant), and after financial penalties, only the denial of liberty remains.
The Supreme Court has written exhaustively about the fact that denial of liberty should not be used without appropriate cause, but in practice detentions are extended at Magistrates’ Courts by overloaded judges, and the Israeli courts tend to work in favor of the prosecution in any case. Frequently the police motion to extend detention is granted automatically. Once a person has been detained, the police has plenty of time to apply pressure and extract a confession, and once a confession has been produced, the case is pretty much closed.
And here comes the court and denies the liberty of people without the police even taking the trouble to make a case for such action. The three men have not even been accused, no evidence against them has been put forth: this is a classic case of the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”. Even the argument that their release could be risky is irrelevant here, because no one made that argument. The court has simply punished the three men for the lack of competence by the judiciary authorities themselves, who did not discharge their basic obligation, which is to provide the defendants with an attorney. And no, sending an attorney who is incapable of conversing with his clients does not count as “providing counsel”.
The court could have delayed the hearing and called in an interpreter. It could have — in fact, it should have — released the three defendants, because they were not able to put up a defense against whatever it was that the police argued against them. But the decision taken was to arrest them. Next time the judges ask themselves why people have been losing faith in the system of justice, they should look at this sort of decision and the lower steps of the hall of justices – the ones that trip up most citizens who are unfortunate enough to run into the system.
(The original is here, translation courtesy of Dena Bugel-Shunra.)
Almost 300 people have been detained or have gone missing during the Bahraini government’s crackdown on protesters, a former opposition lawmaker says.
“We have around 250 confirmed arrested and 44 who are missing, though that number fluctuates when people reappear after hiding from police,” Ibrahim Mattar told Reuters on Monday.
Mattar, who is from the largest opposition group al-Wefaq, added that many Bahrainis are being arrested at checkpoints or in house raids.
Most of those who were detained or went missing were not activists, he noted.
Meanwhile, leader of another opposition group told Press TV that protesters would continue with their rallies until their demands are met.
On Sunday, protesters once again poured into the streets of the capital city, Manama, despite the state of emergency imposed by King Hamad bin Al Khalifa on March 15.
Bahraini forces along with troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have stepped up their attacks against protesters.
The protests against the government began in mid-February. At least 24 people have been killed and about 1,000 others have been injured so far.
In response to the youth of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank rising up on March 14 and 15 to call for Palestinian political unity, both the leaders of Fatah and Hamas pledged to enter into talks aimed at reconciliation. Most recently, President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah “met with senior Hamas officials to discuss a proposed trip to Gaza and efforts to mend internal Palestinian division by forming a unity government,” the Ma’an News Agency reported.
With those talks came a spate of articles in the U.S. corporate media about the efforts at reconciliation. But in providing background on why these talks are happening, and the roots of the split between Hamas and Fatah, media outlets have deleted the crucial role the U.S. played in fomenting that split.
The New York Times explained that:
[Abbas had] not set foot in Gaza in the four years since a brief, bloody civil war there sent him and his Fatah colleagues fleeing to the West Bank…Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections in early 2006, and, for a brief time, Fatah and Hamas had a national unity government. But tensions between them led to the fighting and a break in communications.
Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Fatah party that governs the West Bank, has accepted an invitation from rival Hamas to travel to the Gaza Strip. The visit would be the first since Hamas drove Fatah operatives out of Gaza in 2007 — throwing some off from the tops of buildings — in the turmoil that followed Hamas’ surprise victory in elections months earlier.
All of these accounts don’t mention where the “turmoil” and the breakup of the short-lived national unity government between Hamas and Fatah following the 2006 elections came from. The expose of the Bush administration’s role in the split by David Rose in Vanity Fair remains essential reading for those wanting to understand the roots of the split.
Some crucial excerpts:
Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America’s behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)
But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza…
Within the Bush administration, the Palestinian policy set off a furious debate. One of its critics is David Wurmser, the avowed neoconservative, who resigned as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief Middle East adviser in July 2007, a month after the Gaza coup.
Wurmser accuses the Bush administration of “engaging in a dirty war in an effort to provide a corrupt dictatorship [led by Abbas] with victory.” He believes that Hamas had no intention of taking Gaza until Fatah forced its hand. “It looks to me that what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen,” Wurmser says…
Without this back story, why there is a bitter Hamas-Fatah split remains obscured. The least the U.S. media could do is provide a sentence explaining these facts.
At least two Palestinians have been killed and three others wounded in an Israeli airstrike on the impoverished Gaza Strip.
The airstrike hit a car carrying five members of the Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, on Sunday, a Press TV correspondent reported.
“We call on the international community, the Arab League and all the people in the world to stand by Palestinians against Israeli crimes,” said a brother of one of the victims.
The attack came a day after several Palestinian factions, including the Hamas resistance movement, expressed commitment to a national agreement to restore calm with Tel Aviv.
However, the Islamic Jihad Movement says Palestinians always reserve the right to respond if one of its members is killed.
“The enemy insists on fighting, and is not interested in calming tensions. The Islamic Jihad Movement is committed to defending the Palestinian people, and has the right to respond to Israeli crimes. Israel bears full responsibility for the repercussions of this crime,” said Daoud Shehab, spokesman of the Islamic Jihad Movement.
The Israeli military claims it targeted a group of Palestinians who had attempted to fire rockets.
The Islamic Jihad Movement, however, said it would not allow Israel to use the coastal sliver for “target practice.”
“We will not accept the situation that Gaza be used for target practice by Israeli forces to show the military skills. We have stated it clearly that any attack will be met with strong response from the Islamic Jihad,” said a prominent Islamic Jihad official Khalid al-Batsh.
One of the basic flaws of the arguments of critics of Euro-US wars is their resort to clichés, generalizations and arguments without any factual bases.
The most common line on the US-Euro war on Libya is that it’s “all about oil” – the seizure of oil wells.
On the other hand Euro –US, government spokespeople have defended the war by claiming it is about “saving civilian lives facing genocide”, an act of “humanitarian intervention”.
Following the lead of their imperial powers, most of what passes for the Left in the US and Europe, ranging from social democrats, Marxists, Trotskyists and other assorted progressives claim to see and support a revolutionary mass uprising and not a few call for active intervention by the imperial powers, or the same thing, the UN, to presumably help the “social revolution” defeat the Gaddafi dictatorship.
These claims and variations of these arguments are totally without substance and belie the true nature of US-UK-French imperial power, based on rising militarism as evidenced in all the ongoing wars over the past decade (Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.). What is revealing in the context of militarist intervention in Libya is that all the major countries which refused to engage in the war are motivated by a different type of global expansion: economic and market forces. China, India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Germany, the most dynamic capitalist countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are, in part, all opposed to the self-styled “allied” military response because they see (with solid reasons) no threat to their security, an open door for access to oil, a favorable investment climate and no signs of any progressive democratic outcome among the disparate elites competing for power and Western favor among the media labeled “rebels”.
(1) The Six Myths about Libya: Right and Left
The principle imperial powers and their mass media mouthpieces claim they are militarily assaulting Libya for “humanitarian reasons”. Their recent past and present history argues the contrary. Interventions in Iraq resulted in over a million killings, four million displaced civilians and the mass destruction of an entire civilization including water, electricity, research centers, museums…
Similar outcomes resulted from the invasion of Afghanistan. What was dubbed a humanitarian intervention resulted in a human catastrophe. In the case of Iraq the road to imperial barbarism began with ‘sanctions’, progressed to ‘no fly zones’, then to partition, then to invasion and occupation and the unleashing of sectarian tribal warfare among the ‘liberated’ rebel para-military death squads. Equally telling, the imperial assault against Yugoslavia, also justified as a “humanitarian war” against a “genocidal regime”, led to the 40 day massive bombing and destruction of Belgrade and other major cities, the imposition of a gangster terrorist regime (KLA) in the separatist province of Kosova and a huge US military base in the latter.
The bombing of Libya has destroyed major civilian infrastructure, airports, roads, seaports, communication centers as well as military targets. The sanctions and military attacks have driven out scores of multi-national corporations and exodus of hundreds of thousands of African, Middle Eastern and North African immigrant workers and technicians, devastating the economy and creating mass long-term unemployment. Moreover, following the logic of previous imperial military interventions, the seemingly ‘moderate’ call to patrol the skies via “no fly zone”, leads directly to bombing terrestrial civilian as well as military targets, onward to overthrowing the government. The imperial warmongers attacking Libya, like their predecessors, are not engaged in anything remotely resembling a humanitarian gesture: they are destroying the civilian lives they purport to be saving – as was the case in Vietnam earlier.
(2) War for Oil or Oil for Sale?
One of the most often repeated clichés by leftists is that the imperial invasion is about “seizing control of Libya’s oil and turning it over to their multi-nationals”.
The facts on the ground tell us a different story: the multi-national oil companies of Europe, Asia, the US and elsewhere have already “taken over” millions of acres of Libyan oil fields, some are already pumping and exporting oil and gas and are reaping hefty profits for almost the better part of a decade. Multi-national corporate (MNC) “exploitation by invitation” – from Gaddafi to the biggest oil companies- is an ongoing process from the early 1990’s to the present day. The list of foreign oil majors engaged in Libya exceeds that of most oil producing countries in the entire world. They include; British Petroleum with a seven year license on two concessions with one billion dollars in planned investments. Each concession involves BP exploiting enormous areas of Libya, one the size of Kuwait, the other the size of Belgium (Libyonline.com). Five Japanese firms, including Mitsubishi and Nippon Petroleum, Italy’s Eni Gas, British Gas and Exxon Mobil secured exploration and exploitation contracts in October 2010. In January 2010, Libya’s oil concessions mainly benefited US oil companies, especially Occidental Petroleum. Foreign multi-nationals gaining contracts also include Royal Dutch Shell, Total (France), Oil India, CNBC (China), Indonesia’s Pertamina and Norway’s Norsk Hydro (BBC News, 10/03/2005).
Despite sanctions imposed by Reagan in 1986, Halliburton has worked on billion dollar gas and oil projects since the 1980’s. During former Defense Secretary Cheney’s tenure as CEO of Halliburton, he led the fight against sanctions, arguing that “as a nation (there is) enormous value having American businesses engaged around the world” (Halliburtonwatch.com). Sanctions against Libya were lifted under Bush in 2004. During the current decade Gaddafi invited more foreign companies to invest in Libya than any other regime in the world. Clearly, with all the European and US imperial countries already exploiting Libya’s oil on a massive scale the argument that the “war is about oil” doesn’t hold water or oil!
(3) Gaddafi is a Terrorist
In the run-up to the US military assault, Treasury led by Israeli super-agent Stuart Levey, authored a sanctions policy freezing $30 billion dollars in Libyan assets claiming Gaddafi was a murderous tyrant (Washington Post, 3/24/11). Yet precisely seven years earlier, Cheney, Bush and Condoleezza Rice took Libya off the list of terrorist regimes and told Levey and his minions to lift sanctions. Every major European power followed suite: Gaddafi was welcomed in European capitals, prime ministers visited Tripoli and Gaddafi reciprocated by unilaterally dismantling his nuclear and chemical weapons programs (BBC, 9/5/2008). Gaddafi bent over backwards in co-operating with Washington’s campaign against groups, movements and individuals on Washington’s arbitrary “terror list” – arresting, torturing and killing Al Qaeda suspects; expelling Palestinian militants and criticizing Hezbollah, Hamas and other Israeli adversaries. The United Nations Human Rights Committee gave Gadaffi a clean bill of health. Western elites welcomed Gaddafi’s political turnabout but it did not save him from a massive military assault. Neo-liberal reforms, political apostasy, anti-terrorism, eliminating weapons of massive destruction, all weakened the regime, increased its vulnerability and isolated it from any consequential anti-imperialist allies. Gaddafi’s concessions made his regime an easy target for militarists in Washington, London and Paris.
(4) The Myth of the revolutionary Masses
The Left, including the principle social democratic, green and even left socialist parties of Europe and the US, tail-ending their imperial mentors, and susceptible to the massive media propaganda campaign demonizing Gaddafi, justified their support for military intervention, in the name of the “revolutionary people”, the peace-loving masses “fighting tyranny” and organizing popular militias to “liberate the country”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The root base of the armed uprising is Benghazi, a hotbed of tribal backers and clients of the deposed King Idris who ruled with an iron fist over a semi-feudal backward state, who gave the US one of its biggest air bases (Wheeler) in the Mediterranean basin. Among the feuding leaders of the “transitional council” (who purport to lead but have few organized followers) are neo-liberal expats who promoted the Euro-US military invasion and can only envision coming to power on the bases of Western missiles .They look forward to dismantling the public oil companies engaged in joint ventures with foreign MNC. All independent observers report the lack of any clear reformist set along revolutionary organization or social-political democratic movement.
The armed militias in Benghazi are reportedly more active in rounding up, arresting and executing any members of Gaddafi’s national network of civilians active in his “revolutionary committees”, arbitrarily labeling them “fifth columnists” than in engaging the regimes armed forces. The top leaders of the “revolutionary” masses in Benghazi are two recent defectors of what the Left dubs Gaddafi’s “murderous regime”, Mustafa Abdul Jalil a former Justice minister (who prosecuted dissenters up to the day before the armed uprising), Mahmoud Jebril a top Gaddafite neo-liberal prominent in inviting multi-nationals to take over the oil fields (FT, March 23, 2011, p. 7) and Ali Aziz al-Eisawa, Gaddafi’s former ambassador to India who jumped ship when it looked like the uprising would succeed. These self-appointed leaders of the “rebels” are staunch backers of Euro-US military intervention just as they previously were long-term backers of Gaddafi’s dictatorship and promoters of MNC takeovers of oil and gas fields. The heads of the “rebels” military council is Omar Hariri and General Abdul Fattah Younis former head of the Ministry of Interior, both with long histories (since 1969) of repressing any democratic movements. It is not surprising that these top level military defectors have been totally incapable of arousing their troops, conscripts, to engage the loyalist forces backing Gaddafi and all look forward to riding the coattails of the Anglo-US-French armed forces.
The absence of the minimum of democratic credentials among the leaders of the anti-Gaddafi rag tag forces is matched by their abject dependence and subservience to the imperial armed forces to bring them to power. Their abuse and persecution of immigrant workers from Asia, Turkey and especially sub-Sahara Africans, their false accusations that they are suspected “mercenaries”, augurs ill for any possible new democratic order, or the revival of an economy dependent on immigrant labor, any vestige of a unified country and anything resembling a national economy.
The composition of the self-appointed leadership of the “National Transitional Council” is neither democratic, nationalist nor capable of uniting the country. Least of all are they capable of creating jobs lost by their armed power grab and sustaining the paternalistic welfare program and the highest per-capita income in Africa.
(5) Al Qaeda
The greatest geographical concentration of Al Qaeda terrorists is precisely in the areas dominated by the “rebels” (Cockburn: Counterpunch, March 24, 2011). For over a decade Gaddafi, in line with his embrace of the Bush-Obama “anti-terrorist” agenda, has been in the forefront of the fight against Al Qaeda. They have now enlisted in the ranks of the “rebels” fighting the Gaddafi regime. Likewise, the tribal chiefs, fundamentalist clerics and monarchists in the East have been active in fighting a “holy war” against Gaddafi and welcome arms and air cover from the Anglo-French-US “crusaders”, just as the Taliban and the Islamic fundamentalists welcomed military support from the Carter-Reagan White House to overthrow a secular regime in Afghanistan. The imperial intervention is based on ‘alliances’ with the most retrograde forces in Libya, with uncertain outcomes as to the future composition of the regime, and the prospects for political stability allowing Big Oil to return and exploit energy resources.
(6) “Genocide” or Armed Civil War
Unlike all ongoing mass popular Arab uprisings, the Libyan conflict began as an armed insurrection, directed at the violent seizure of power. Unlike other autocratic rulers, Gaddafi had secured a mass regional base among a substantial sector of the population on the bases of a well-financed welfare and housing program. Violence is inherent in any armed uprising and once one picks up the gun and tries to seize power, there is no basis for claiming one’s “civil rights” are being violated. The rules of warfare come into play, including the protection of non-combatants-civilians-as well as respect for the rights and protection of prisoners of war.
The unsubstantiated Euro-US claims of “genocide” amplified by the Western mass media and parroted by “left” spokespersons are contradicted by the daily reports of single and double digit deaths and injuries, resulting from urban violence on both sides, as control of cities and towns shifts between one side and the other.
Truth is the first casualty of civil war and both sides have resorted to monstrous fabrications of victories, casualties, demons and angels.
The fact of the matter is that this conflict began as a civil war between two sets of elites: an established paternalistic burgeoning neo-liberal autocracy with substantial popular backing and the other, a western imperialist financed and trained elite backed by an amorphous group of regional tribal, clerical and neo-liberal professionals lacking democratic and nationalist credentials
If not humanitarianism, oil or democratic values, what is the driving force of Euro-US imperial intervention?
A clue is in the selective bases of armed intervention. In Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, ruling autocrats allied with and backed by Euro-US imperial rulers’ arrest and murder peaceful protestors, with impunity. In Egypt and Tunisia, the US financially backs a conservative self-appointed civil-military junta, to block a profound democratic, nationalist, social transformation in order to facilitate neo-liberal economic “reforms” run by pro-imperial electoral officials. While liberal critics accuse the West of “hypocrisy” and “double standards” in bombing Libya but not the Gulf butchers, in reality the imperial rulers are using the same imperial standards in each region. They defend autocratic strategic client regimes where they possess air force and naval bases, run intelligence operations and logistic platforms to pursue ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to threaten Iran. They attack Libya because it still refuses to collaborate with Western military operations in Africa and the Middle East.
The key point is that while Libya allows most of the big US-European oil multi-nationals to plunder its oil wealth, it is not yet, a strategic geo-political imperial asset. As we have written in many previous essays the driving force of US empire building is military not economic. In fact billion dollar economic interests were sacrificed in setting up sanctions against Iraq and Iran; the Iraq war shut down most oil exploitation for over a decade.
The Washington led assault on Libya – the majority of air sorties and missiles are carried out by US warplanes and submarines – is part of a general counter-attack against the most recent Arab popular pro-democracy movements. The West is backing the repression of pro-democracy movements throughout the Gulf; it is financing the pro-imperial, pro-Israel Egyptian junta; it is intervening in Tunisia to ensure that any new regime is “correctly aligned”. It backs Algerian despotism and Israel’s daily assaults on Gaza. And now, in Libya, it backs an uprising of ex-Gaddafites and right-wing monarchists who promise to militarily align with the US-European empire builders.
Dynamic market driven global and regional powers refuse to join in this conflict which jeopardizes their access to oil, including current large scale exploitation of energy sources under Gaddafi. Germany, China, Russia, Turkey, India and Brazil are growing at fast rates by exploiting new markets and natural resources, while the US, English and French spend billions in wars that de-stabilize markets and foment long-term wars of resistance. They recognize that the “rebels” are not capable of a quick victory, or of creating a stable environment for long-term investments. The “rebels” in power would become political clients of their militarist imperial mentors. Moreover, the military thrust of the imperial invaders has serious consequences for the emerging market economies. The US supports holy-roller rebels in China’s Tibetan province and Uyghur separatist “rebels” elsewhere. Washington and London back separatists in the Russian Caucasus. India is wary of US military support for Pakistan and its claims on Kashmir. Turkey opposes Kurdish separatists backed by US supplied arms to their Iraqi counterparts.
The Libyan precedent of imperial armed invasion on behalf of separatist clients bodes trouble for the market driven emerging powers. It is an ongoing threat to the burgeoning Arab freedom movement. And the death knell to the US economy; three wars can break the budget sooner rather than later. Most of all, the invasion undermines efforts by Libya’s democrats, socialists and nationalists to free the country from dictatorship and imperial backed reactionaries.
Iranian Journalist Kourosh Ziabari speaks with journalist and activist Stuart Littlewood about the enormous influence of Israeli lobby in the West.
Kourosh Ziabari: Zionists have always claimed that the Land of Israel historically belongs to them and this verdict is clearly emphasized in the Hebrew Bible. They say that according to the Book of Genesis, the land was promised by God to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. So, what’s your response to them? Do they have the right to cite claims over what is called the Land of Israel? Is there any historical evidence to demonstrate that Palestinians are the true possessors of this land?
Stuart Littlewood: Using mythical scripture to make out that God is a racist who favors one tribe above all others, is bizarre to say the least. Some Zionists don’t believe it, so why should anyone else? In a booklet called “Zionism: A Jewish Communal Response” recently launched by The Board of Deputies of British Jews, Rabbi Tony Bayfield writes: “I am horrified by some strands of Zionism which treat the Bible as an exclusive title deed written by God. I do not regard the Torah as an extra-historical document written by the Divine hand… It is not Judaism’s title deed to the land.”
But it provides cover for the Zionists’ criminal scheme to dispossess the Palestinians-Arabs and Christians – so its importance is pumped up to bursting point. But why any non-Jews should take it seriously is beyond me.
The Jews were expelled by the Roman occupation. These days the right of return must be exercised as soon as the reason for expulsion, for example, foreign occupation, ceases. The Jews had their chance when the Roman Empire collapsed. They didn’t take it. It’s ridiculous to lay claim 16 centuries later at gun-point and eject the people whose homeland it now is. Most of today’s Jews, I’m told, have no ancestral links to the Holy Land anyway.
The Jerusalem Declaration of 2006 by the Latin Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches sums it up for me: “We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation… We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war…”
As for Jerusalem itself, it was already 2000 years old and belonged to the Canaanites when King David captured it. Historians say that before the present-day conflict the Jews controlled Jerusalem for some 500 years, whereas it was subsequently ruled by Muslims for more than twice that long. And for nearly 90 years it was a Christian kingdom. Lots of people, besides the Jews, conquered Jerusalem, so there are many competing claims, which is probably why the UN declared it should be independently administered as an international city.
Matters weren’t helped when Obama opened his big mouth and declared to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that Jerusalem “will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided”. Realizing it was a stupid thing to say, he added: “Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations… And I think that it is smart for us to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem, but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city.” A legitimate claim? As everyone knows, the Old City officially belongs to Palestinian East Jerusalem.
I don’t think it’s a question of the Palestinians proving ownership, though I imagine most families can produce Ottoman-era land deeds – if the Israelis haven’t confiscated and forged them.
Hamas chief Khalid Misha’al has said: “We shall never recognize the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognize the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else’s sins or solve somebody else’s problem.” That doesn’t sound unreasonable.
KZ: As you mentioned in one of your recent articles, the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has categorically condemned the atrocities committed by the regime of Moammar Gaddafi and the mass killing of Libyan citizens by his mercenaries. The UK government revoked Gaddafi’s and his family members’ political immunity in an action aimed at threatening the interests of the Libyan dictator worldwide; however, we haven’t seen any action against or condemnation of the brutal massacre of the defenseless Palestinians by the Israeli regime in the December 2008 and January 2009. What does this exercise of double standards imply? Is it possible to justify it?
SL: It’s no use looking to the British government for fair play. The political scene here is heavily infiltrated by the pro-Israel lobby, and money talks. The Friends of Israel movement claims 80 per cent of Conservative Party MPs including of course its leader, David Cameron. Membership, I hear, is a necessary stepping stone to high office. Cameron calls himself a Zionist and our foreign secretary, William Hague, has been a Friend of Israel since his schooldays. His side-kick, Liam Fox, the defense secretary, thinks that “we must remember that in the battle for the values that we stand for, for democracy against theocracy, for democratic liberal values against repression – Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together or we will all fall divided”. The minister for Middle East affairs was an officer of Conservative Friends of Israel. It’s all sewn up.
David Cameron recently told Jewish dinner guests: “With me you have a prime minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible… I will always be a strong defender of the Jewish people. I will always be an advocate for the State of Israel.” Cameron, and Brown and Blair before him, are patrons of the Jewish National Fund. Quite simply, Israel is never punished. It is allowed to get away scot-free.
A body called the Committee on Standards in Public Life is supposed to call to account MPs who place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organizations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties, but it too has been infiltrated.
It’s interesting to see how the British Government rushed to press for a UN mandate to take whatever steps might be necessary to protect Libyan civilians from their bully-boy dictator and wasted no time establishing a no-fly zone and annihilating Qaddafi’s air defenses. But it stood idly by and watched the Israeli slaughter of Gazan civilians and showed no sign of wanting it stopped.
Headlines this week quoted Hague saying, “There can be no hiding place for tyrants”, referring to Qaddafi, but he’s leading the rush to change our Universal Jurisdiction laws to protect Israel’s war crimes suspects from arrest. These double standards are the hallmark of a corrupted political class. It can never be justified, but for the moment we’re stuck with these people.
Hague condemned the recent Jerusalem bomb blast as “a callous and disgusting act of terrorism” but he’s careful not to condemn the almost daily air-strikes by Israel on Gaza’s civilians. I’m reading a report now on just one day’s horror inflicted by the Zionist military on the Occupied Territories that says:
24 hours to 8 am, 23 March 2011
3 air strikes – 7 attacks – 28 raids including home invasions – 8 dead – 15 injured – 1 curfew – 15 taken prisoner – 14 detained – 79 restrictions of movement
Child, teenager and 3 adults killed in Israeli shelling – homes damaged
Injury and 4 deaths in Israeli air strikes
Agricultural sabotage: farms and homes under Israeli fire in 3 Gaza areas – crops bulldozed
Israeli Navy opens fire on Palestinian fishing boats
Zionist mob smashes on-duty ambulance windscreen
Zionist militants cut down Palestinian olive trees
Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in 8 towns and villages
Source of statistics: Palestinian Monitoring Group
The Fourth Geneva Convention puts Contracting Parties under a solemn obligation to act. They don’t seem to have grasped that.
KZ: It’s widely believed that the Zionist lobby has an enormous influence over the mass media in the U.S. and European countries. AIPAC and other influential Zionist circles usually block the publication of materials critical of Israel and its policies, and vilify as anti-Semitist whoever dares question the barbaric conducts of this illegitimate regime. What’s your idea about the dominance of Zionist lobby over the mainstream media in the West?
SL: You are right to focus on this question. The Zionists wield their influence by winning the ongoing propaganda war. The Arabs, after being on the losing end for decades, still haven’t learned how to fight it and don’t show any sign of wishing to. I have put forward proposals for media skills training but it’s hopeless. Even allowing for the PA being dominated by Israel’s stooges their failure to address this is not only ignorant but a major strategic blunder.
Last year The Israel Project, a US media advocacy group, produced a revised training manual to help the worldwide Zionist movement maintain its control over the propaganda war, keep their ill-gotten territorial gains and persuade international audiences to accept that their crimes are not only necessary but conform to “shared values” between Israel and the civilized West.
It’s a clever document. It teaches how to ‘justify’ the slaughter, the ethnic cleansing, the land-grabbing, the cruelty and the blatant disregard for international law and UN resolutions, and give it a sweeter smell. It is designed to have us gullible Americans and Europeans believing that we actually share values with the psychopaths of Israel’s racist regime and that their abominable behavior deserves our support.
The strategy from the start is to isolate Hamas and rob the resistance movement and the Palestinian population of their human rights…. It drums into them nonsense like, “The language of Israel is the language of America: ‘democracy,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘security,’ and ‘peace.’ These four words are at the core of the American political, economic, social, and cultural systems, and they should be repeated as often as possible because they resonate with virtually every American.”
Most mainstream media in the UK are under pro-Israel influence, if not Zionist ownership. The BBC also is heavily biased and too often broadcasts Israel’s definition of the situation. However, a small number of outlets, such as Channel 4 News, take an independent line.
Then there’s the over-representation of Jews in Parliament. If Muslims were over-represented to the same extent they’d have 200 MPs. And there’d be a big fuss.
These are not the only issues. It has to be admitted that Israel’s propaganda people do a good job of cultivating the news media, providing timely briefings and making sure spokesmen with good English are available whenever needed. The Palestinians on the other hand are lazy, disorganised and their embassy here in London is worse than useless. They fail to take media relations seriously so they and their countrymen pay a heavy price.
Nor is it enough to be the crushed victim. Having labels like “extremist”, “militant” and “terrorist” pinned on them, no matter how unjustly, is deeply damaging. The Palestinians must shake off these slurs, but before they can do so Hamas must re-write its objectionable charter and ‘re-brand’ itself.
Hamas and Hezbollah are only regarded as terrorists by the White House and Tel Aviv and by US-Israeli stooges and flag-wavers at Westminster and elsewhere. The definition they use describes the antics of the US and Israel perfectly, and the whole situation needs reframing to reflect this.
The resistance movements have work to do on this. The propaganda battle can’t be won without a properly planned communications strategy skillfully executed.
KZ: The 13 May 2010 incursion of IDF commandos into the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was followed by the astounding silence of the international community, United Nations and the United States. No credible investigation was carried out to shed light on the atrocious attack of Israel on the international peace activists and Tel Aviv never heeded the call of Turkey to officially apologize for its criminal action against the peace activist. Let’s imagine that a third country, for example Iran, had attacked the flotilla of Israeli activists in international waters, killing 9 and injuring tens of others. What would the reaction of international community, UN and the U.S. have been? Would they assume the same passive stance and remain silent deafeningly?
SL: Former British MP George Galloway, a mainspring behind the Free Gaza movement, called the assault “a murderous act of piracy” on innocent humanitarian aid workers and demanded a wholesale review of the international community’s relationship with “the criminal pirate state of Israel”.
But Israel’s Mark Regev told BBC TV. “We did everything we could to avoid violence. They [the aid workers] chose the path of confrontation… This is elementary, we have to defend ourselves.” He claimed the Israeli boarding party was attacked! The BBC failed to question Israel’s act of piracy in international waters and its blatant violation of maritime law.
As it turns out, the Israelis did themselves immense damage by attacking the Mavi. They were too stupid to understand how it would be seen as an ‘own goal’.
It’s funny how HMS Cumberland and York magically appeared in the Mediterranean when Hague or prime minister David Cameron snapped their fingers during the Libyan crisis. Where were these ships when British nationals on the Mavi Marmara and the Dignity and other vessels were being assaulted in international waters and terrorized by Israeli pirates, abducted and thrown in their stinking jails? Why weren’t they bringing life-saving aid to innocent Palestinians after Israel’s indiscriminate ‘Cast Lead’ blitzkrieg?
Our ships have been protecting victims of Qaddafi, and HMS York unloaded tons of medical supplies and other humanitarian aid for the Benghazi Medical Centre. Israel is still bombing and strafing Palestinian civilians in Gaza with impunity on a daily basis, so when the Libyan crisis dies down I see no reason why York shouldn’t be loaded up with more supplies and sail for Gaza, along with the rest of the NATO fleet, where the humanitarian crisis continues unabated.
On the Libya situation Hague has been sounding off with loud threats of retribution. “Crimes will not go unpunished and will not be forgotten; there will be a day of reckoning and the reach of international justice is long,” he says.
Let’s not imagine Iran attacking the humanitarian flotilla. If Britain and the so-called civilized countries of the West won’t call Israel’s bluff and break the blockade let’s imagine Iran doing so.
KZ: In its resolutions, the United Nations Security Council has always called Israel the occupying power, implicitly attesting to the occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli regime; however, no practical steps were ever taken to end the occupation of Palestinian lands by Tel Aviv. Do you know of any effective solution to bring an end to this occupation and hold Israel accountable for the crimes it has committed against the Palestinian nation?
SL: Israel is violating over 30 Security Council resolutions that require action by it and it alone. If any other state in the world were to defy the will of the international community so persistently, it would be subjected to economic and/or military sanctions.
UN resolutions must be implemented and international law enforced. If the international community won’t act to rein in the delinquent, all hopes of global peace will remain in shreds. UN Security Council Resolution 242 (fully binding) affirms among other things the necessity for guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area. The blockade must be broken, if necessary by vessels with an armed escort.
The Israeli regime relies heavily on the EU for its exports and enjoys preferential treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement of 1995. An obvious part of the solution would be the suspension of this agreement. Its terms require compliance with the principles of the United Nations Charter placing emphasis on peace, security and regional co-operation, and on the need to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the Mediterranean region and promote understanding and tolerance.
Article 2 says that “respect for human rights and democratic principle constitute an essential element of this agreement”. Israel has never complied but continues to reap the benefits. In April 2002 the European parliament, with a large majority, requested the European Commission and the Council of Europe to suspend the agreement, without success. The EU has all the leverage needed but is afraid to use it.
We are maybe halfway through the process of educating and informing Western citizens. There will come a point, I feel sure, when civil societies will be savvy enough to clean up their Zionist-infested politics and force the necessary action. In the meantime the Palestinians need to be heard in Western Europe and the United States. A proper on-the-ball communications and media centre and a radio station should have been established years ago. Iran too needs to improve its image to counter the barrage of smears.
Israel is always trying to upgrade its image, but no amount of marketing gloss can hide the evil beneath.
KZ: What in your view, is the reason behind the unconditional support of Israel by the United States? Why does the White House endanger its interests to pay for the atrocities and brutalities of Tel Aviv? Why does it distort its global image in compensation for the suicidal mistakes of Israel?
SL: The ignorance of your average American citizen plus Jewish domination of major business, media and financial institutions and the whole political fabric. Another reason why Americans are soft in the head about Israel is the Scofield Bible, which became the standard fodder of fervent Christians. Cyrus Scofield, a sleazy character and convicted criminal, was commissioned to re-write the King James Version of the Bible by inserting Zionist-friendly notes. The aim was to change the Christian view of Zionism by creating and promoting a pro-Zionist subculture within Christianity. The Oxford University Press used Scofield as the editor, and the Scofield Reference Bible, as it was called, has been a best-seller in America for over 90 years.
It introduced a new worship icon, the modern State of Israel, which did not exist at the time but was already on the drawing board of the World Zionist movement.
KZ: A report which is attributed to the CIA indicates that the political entity of Israel will decline within 20 years. Do you agree with this prediction? Will Israel survive, should the United States lift its support and backing for it? Is Israel capable of standing on its own feet without the assistance and endorsement of the United States?
SL: Israel has an attitude problem. I suppose it might survive without US support if it mended its manners drastically. But I doubt if it will ever be able to throw off its pariah status or stop shooting itself in the foot. It will become isolated and slowly crumble. Thanks to its selfish fanaticism and unhinged leadership it will do a great deal of damage in the process.
Fortunately, a good many Jews across the world are not Zionists and are disgusted by Israel’s conduct, and their number seems to be growing. And the worldwide boycott and disinvestment movement is making good progress and the effect is hurting Tel Aviv. So the tide is turning.
US government aid to Israel runs at around $3 billion annually and Israel is not required to account for how it is spent. The money helps pay for Israel’s costly occupation and the high-tech paraphernalia of military oppression. Most of it violates the US’s own laws, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the brainwashed Washington administration. Israel usually gets another $2 to 3 billion in indirect aid – military support, loan write-offs and special grants. The US has also been paying Egypt and Jordan to buy their co-operation with Israel.
If Americans wake up to what’s going on and aid is withheld until Israel complied with UN resolutions and international law there would probably be peace. But hostilities would soon flare up again if aid resumed. The tap has to be turned off permanently.
KZ: Israel’s illegal nuclear activities are known to almost everyone. Under the pretext of not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel has deposited more than 200 atomic warheads in its arsenal and the Federation of American Scientists has admitted that Israel is the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. However, in violation of the UNSC resolutions that demand that Israel bring its nuclear program under the safeguards of IAEA, Tel Aviv is secretly continuing to develop atomic bombs. How should this concern be tackled? Who is responsible for disarming Israel?
SL: The responsibility is America’s, because it has encouraged Israel to duck its international obligations. In October 2009 the Washington Times ran a report, by Eli Lake, that Obama had agreed to keep Israel’s nukes secret by reaffirming a decades-old understanding that allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections. Under this understanding the US has not pressured Israel to disclose its nuclear weapons or sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which could require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs.
Israel is never required to honor what it signs up to. Back in 1995 it agreed, with the other parties to the Barcelona Declaration, to “pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems” and “consider practical steps to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as excessive accumulation of conventional arms.”
There has been no progress, either, on the Security Council’s demand in resolution 487, passed in 1981, that “Israel urgently … place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards”.
KZ: Considering the Zionist regime’s notorious lack of restraint, it is obvious that Israel’s 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads pose a massive threat not only to the Middle East but the rest of the world.
As you say, it is the only state in the region that possesses nuclear weapons (and probably the only one that possesses chemical and biological weapons) while not being a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. Israel has not signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. Why not? Because being a menace is necessary to its ambitions.
Israel is capable of wiping Iran, and every Arab state, off the map at the touch of a button. Its warheads can also be targeted on European cities and, some say, already are.
SL: Despite all this, in the words of Israel’s chief spin-doctor Mark Regev, “Israel is very concerned about the Iranian nuclear program. And for good reason. Iran’s President openly talks about wiping Israel off the map. We see them racing ahead on nuclear enrichment so they can have enough fissile material to build a bomb. We see them working on their ballistic missiles… The Iranian nuclear program is a threat, not just to my country, but to the entire region. And it’s incumbent upon us all to do what needs to be done to keep from proliferating.”
Iran’s nuclear facilities, including its uranium enrichment facilities, are under IAEA supervision. Strange, isn’t it, that the West is putting such immense pressure on Iran about its nuclear activities, but not Israel.
Kourosh Ziabari can be reached at email@example.com
New peer reviewed analysis: “worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years”
The paper is currently in press at the Journal of Coastal Research and is provided with open access to the full publication. The results are stunning for their contradiction to AGW theories which suggest global warming would accelerate sea level rise during the last century.
“Our first analysis determined the acceleration, a2, for each of the 57 records with results tabulated in Table 1 and shown in Figure 4. There is almost a balance with 30 gauge records showing deceleration and 27 showing acceleration, clustering around 0.0 mm/y2.”
The near balance of accelerations and decelerations is mirrored in worldwidegauge records as shown in Miller and Douglas (2006)
Sea-Level Acceleration Based on U.S. Tide Gauges and Extensions of Previous Global-Gauge Analyses
‡Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Coastal Civil Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, U.S.A. firstname.lastname@example.org
Without sea-level acceleration, the 20th-century sea-level trend of 1.7 mm/y would produce a rise of only approximately 0.15 m from 2010 to 2100; therefore, sea-level acceleration is a critical component of projected sea-level rise. To determine this acceleration, we analyze monthly-averaged records for 57 U.S. tide gauges in the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) data base that have lengths of 60–156 years. Least-squares quadratic analysis of each of the 57 records are performed to quantify accelerations, and 25 gauge records having data spanning from 1930 to 2010 are analyzed. In both cases we obtain small average sea-level decelerations. To compare these results with worldwide data, we extend the analysis of Douglas (1992) by an additional 25 years and analyze revised data of Church and White (2006) from 1930 to 2007 and also obtain small sea-level decelerations similar to those we obtain from U.S. gauge records.
Received: October 5, 2010; Accepted: November 26, 2010; Published Online: February 23, 2011
Sea-Level Acceleration Based on U.S. Tide Gauges and Extensions of Previous Global-Gauge Analyses, J. R. Houston and R. G. Dean
We analyzed the complete records of 57 U.S. tide gauges that had average record lengths of 82 years and records from1930 to 2010 for 25 gauges, and we obtained small decelerations of 20.0014 and20.0123 mm/y2, respectively. We obtained similar decelerations using worldwide-gauge records in the original data set of Church andWhite (2006) and a 2009 revision (for the periods of 1930–2001 and 1930–2007) and by extending Douglas’s (1992) analyses of worldwide gauges by 25 years.
The extension of the Douglas (1992) data from 1905 to 1985 for 25 years to 2010 included the period from 1993 to 2010 when satellite altimeters recorded a sea-level trend greater than that of the 20th century, yet the addition of the 25 years resulted in a slightly greater deceleration.
Our analyses do not indicate acceleration in sea level in U.S. tide gauge records during the 20th century. Instead, for each time period we consider, the records show small decelerations that are consistent with a number of earlier studies of worldwide-gauge records. The decelerations that we obtain are opposite in sign and one to two orders of magnitude less than the +0.07 to +0.28 mm/y2 accelerations that are required to reach sea levels predicted for 2100 by Vermeer and Rahmsdorf (2009), Jevrejeva, Moore, and Grinsted (2010), and Grinsted, Moore, and Jevrejeva (2010). Bindoff et al. (2007) note an increase in worldwide temperature from 1906 to 2005 of 0.74uC.
It is essential that investigations continue to address why this worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years, and indeed why global sea level has possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.
Full paper available online here
Some May be More Dangerous Than Radiation
Since the Fukushima accident we have seen a stream of experts on radiation telling us not to worry, that the doses are too low, that the accident is nothing like Chernobyl and so forth. They appear on television and we read their articles in the newspapers and online. Fortunately the majority of the public don’t believe them. I myself have appeared on television and radio with these people; one example was Ian Fells of the University of Newcastle who, after telling us all on BBC News that the accident was nothing like Chernobyl (wrong), and the radiation levels of no consequence (wrong), that the main problem was that there was no electricity and that the lifts didn’t work. “ If you have been in a situation when the lifts don’t work, as I have” he burbled on, “you will know what I mean.”
What these people have in common is ignorance. You may think a professor at a university must actually know something about their subject. But this is not so. Nearly all of these experts who appear and pontificate have not actually done any research on the issue of radiation and health. Or if they have, they seem to have missed all the key studies and references. I leave out the real baddies, who are closely attached to the nuclear industry, like Richard Wakeford, or Richard D as he calls himself on the anonymous website he has set up to attack me, “chrisbusbyexposed”.
I saw him a few times talking down the accident on the television, labelled in the stripe as Professor Richard Wakeford, University of Manchester. Incidentally, Wakeford is a physicist, his PhD was in particle physics at Liverpool. But he was not presented as ex- Principle Scientist, British Nuclear Fuels, Sellafield. That might have given the viewers the wrong idea. Early on we saw another baddy, Malcolm Grimston, talking about radiation and health, described as Professor, Imperial College. Grimston is a psychologist, not a scientist, and his expertise was in examining why the public was frightened of radiation, and how their (emotional) views could be changed. But his lack of scientific training didn’t stop him explaining on TV and radio how the Fukushima accident was nothing to worry about. The doses were too low, nothing like Chernobyl, not as bad as 3-Mile Island, only 4 on the scale, all the usual blather. Most recently we have seen George Monbiot, who I know, and who also knows nothing about radiation and health, writing in The Guardian how this accident has actually changed his mind about nuclear power (can this be his Kierkegaard moment? Has he cracked? ) since he now understands (and reproduces a criminally misleading graphic to back up his new understanding) that radiation is actually OK and we shoudn’t worry about it. George does at least know better, or has been told better, since he asked me a few years ago to explain why internal and external radiation exposure cannot be considered to have the same health outcomes. He ignored what I said and wrote for him (with references) and promptly came out in favour of nuclear energy in his next article.
So what about Wade Allison? Wade is a medical physics person and a professor at Oxford. I have chosen to pitch into him since he epitomises and crystallises for us the arguments of the stupid physicist. In this he has done us a favour, since he is really easy to shoot down. All the arguments are in one place. Stupid physicists? Make no mistake, physicists are stupid. They make themselves stupid by a kind of religious belief in mathematical modelling. The old Bertie Russell logical positivist trap. And whilst this may be appropriate for examining the stresses in metals, or looking at the Universe (note that they seem to have lost 90% of the matter in the Universe, so-called “dark matter”) it is not appropriate for, and is even scarily incorrect when, examining stresses in humans or other lifeforms. Mary Midgley, the philosopher has written about Science as Religion. Health physicists are the priests. I have been reading Wade Allison’s article for the BBC but also looked at his book some months ago. He starts in the same way as all the others by comparing the accidents. He writes:
More than 10,000 people have died in the Japanese tsunami and the survivors are cold and hungry. But the media concentrate on nuclear radiation from which no-one has died – and is unlikely to.
Then we move to 3-Mile Island: There were no known deaths there.
The latest UN report published on 28 February confirms the known death toll – 28 fatalities among emergency workers, plus 15 fatal cases of child thyroid cancer – which would have been avoided if iodine tablets had been taken (as they have now in Japan).
This is breathtaking ignorance of the scientific literature. Prof. Steve Wing in the USA has carried out epidemiological studies of the effects of 3-Mile Island, with results published in the peer-review literature. Court cases are regularly settled on the basis of cancers produced by the 3-Mile Island contamination. But let us move to Chernobyl. The health effects of the Chernobyl accident are massive and demonstrable. They have been studied by many research groups in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine, in the USA, Greece, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan. The scientific peer reviewed literature is enormous. Hundreds of papers report the effects, increases in cancer and a range of other diseases. My colleague Alexey Yablokov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, published a review of these studies in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2009). Earlier in 2006 he and I collected together reviews of the Russian literature by a group of eminent radiation scientists and published these in the book Chernobyl, 20 Years After. The result: more than a million people have died between 1986 and 2004 as a direct result of Chernobyl.
I will briefly refer to two Chernobyl studies in the west which falsify Wade Allison’s assertions. The first is a study of cancer in Northern Sweden by Martin Tondel and his colleagues at Lynkoping University. Tondel examined cancer rates by radiation contamination level and showed that in the 10 years after the Chernobyl contamination of Sweden, there was an 11% increase in cancer for every 100kBq/sq metre of contamination. Since the official International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) figures for the Fukushima contamination are from 200 to 900kBq.sq metre out to 78km from the site, we can expect between 22% and 90% increases in cancer in people living in these places in the next 10 years. The other study I want to refer to is one I carried out myself. After Chernobyl, infant leukaemia was reported in 6 countries by 6 different groups, from Scotland, Greece, Wales, Germany, Belarus and the USA. The increases were only in children who had been in the womb at the time of the contamination: this specificity is rare in epidemiology. There is no other explanation than Chernobyl. The leukemias could not be blamed on some as-yet undiscovered virus and population mixing, which is the favourite explanation for the nuclear site child leukemia clusters. There is no population mixing in the womb. Yet the “doses” were very small, much lower than “natural background”. I published this unequivocal proof that the current risk model is wrong for internal exposures in two separate peer-reviewed journals in 2000 and 2009. This finding actually resulted in the formation in 2001 by UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher of a new Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters CERRIE. Richard Wakeford was on this committee representing BNFL and he introduced himself to me as “BNFL’s Rottweiler”. No difference there.
Wade then turns to a comparison of contamination:
So what of the radioactivity released at Fukushima? How does it compare with that at Chernobyl? Let’s look at the measured count rates. The highest rate reported, at 1900 on 22 March, for any Japanese prefecture was 12 kBq per sq m (for the radioactive isotope of caesium, caesium-137).
A map of Chernobyl in the UN report shows regions shaded according to rate, up to 3,700 kBq per sq m – areas with less than 37 kBq per sq m are not shaded at all. In round terms, this suggests that the radioactive fallout at Fukushima is less than 1% of that at Chernobyl
But the IAEA themselves, not known for their independence from the nuclear industry, report that contamination levels out to 78km were between 200 and 900kBq/sq metre. And Wade has been rather selective with his data, to put it kindly. The UN definition of radioactively contaminated land is 37kBq/sq metre just as he writes, but actually, in all the maps published, the inner 30km Chernobyl contamination exclusion zone is defined as 555kBq/sq metre and above. This is just a fact. Why has he misled us? In passing, this means that there are 555,000 radioactive disintegrations per second on one square metre of surface. Can you believe this is not harmful? No. And you would be correct. And another calculation can be made. Since the IAEA data show that these levels of contamination, from 200,000 to 900,000 disintegrations per second per square metre, exist up to 78km from Fukushima, we can already calculate that the contamination is actually worse than Chernobyl, not 1% of Chernobyl as Wade states. For the area defined by a 78km radius is 19113 sq km compared to the Chernobyl exclusion zone of 2827 sq km. About seven times greater.
Now I turn to the health effects. Wade trots out most of the usual stupid physicist arguments. We are all exposed to natural background, the dose is 2mSv a year and the doses from the accident are not significantly above this. For example, the Japanese government are apparently making a mistake in telling people not to give tap water containing 200Bq/litre radioactive Iodine-131 to their children as there is naturally 50Bq/l of radiation in the human body and 200 will not do much harm. The mistake is made because of fears of the public which apparently forced the International Commission on Radiological Protection, ICRP, to set the annual dose limits at 1mSv. Wade knows better: he would set the limits at 100mSv. He is a tough guy. He shoots from the hip:
Patients receiving a course of radiotherapy usually get a dose of more than 20,000 mSv to vital healthy tissue close to the treated tumour. This tissue survives only because the treatment is spread over many days giving healthy cells time for repair or replacement. A sea-change is needed in our attitude to radiation, starting with education and public information.
But Wade, dear, these people are usually old, and usually die anyway before they can develop a second tumour. They often develop other cancers even so because of the radiation. There are hundreds of studies showing this. And in any case, this external irradiation is not the problem. The problem is internal irradiation. The Iodine-131 is not in the whole body, it is in the thyroid gland and attached to the blood cells: hence the thyroid cancer and the leukaemia. And there is a whole list of internal radioactive elements that bind chemically to DNA, from Strontium-90 to Uranium. These give massive local doses to the DNA and to the tissues where they end up. The human body is not a piece of wire that you can apply physics to. The concept of dose which Wade uses cannot be used for internal exposures. This has been conceded by the ICRP itself in its publications. And in an interview with me in Stockholm in 2009, Dr Jack Valentin, the ex-Scientific Secretary of the ICRP conceded this, and also made the statement that the ICRP risk model, the one used by all governments to assess the outcome of accidents like Fukushima, was unsafe and could not be used. You can see this interview on the internet, on www.vimeo.com.
Why is the ICRP model unsafe? Because it is based on “absorbed dose”. This is average radiation energy in Joules divided by the mass of living tissue into which it is diluted. A milliSievert is one milliJoule of energy diluted into one kilogram of tissue. As such it would not distinguish between warming yourself in front of a fire and eating a red hot coal. It is the local distribution of energy that is the problem. The dose from a single internal alpha particle track to a single cell is 500mSv! The dose to the whole body from the same alpha track is 5 x 10-11 mSv. That is 0.000000000005mSv. But it is the dose to the cell that causes the genetic damage and the ultimate cancer. The cancer yield per unit dose employed by ICRP is based entirely on external acute high dose radiation at Hiroshima, where the average dose to a cell was the same for all cells.
And what of the UN and their bonkers statement about the effects of the Chernobyl accident referred to by Wade Allison? What you have to know, is that the UN organisations on radiation and health are compromised in favour of the nuclear military complex, which was busy testing hydrogen bombs in the atmosphere at the time of the agreement and releasing all the Strontium, Caesium, Uranium and plutonium and other stuff that was to become the cause of the current and increasing cancer epidemic. The last thing they wanted was the doctors and epidemiologists stopping their fun. The IAEA and the World Health Organisation (WHO) signed an agreement in 1959 to remove all research into the issue from the doctors of the WHO, to the atom scientists, the physicists of the IAEA: this agreement is still in force. The UN organisations do not refer to, or cite any scientific study, which shows their statements on Chernobyl to be false. There is a huge gap between the picture painted by the UN, the IAEA, the ICRP and the real world. And the real world is increasingly being studied and reports are being published in the scientific literature: but none of the authorities responsible for looking after the public take any notice of this evidence.
As they say on the Underground trains in London: Mind the Gap. Wade Allison and the other experts I refer to need to do just this for their own sake. The one place that this gap is being closed rapidly and savagely is in the courts. I have acted as an expert witness in over 40 cases involving radiation and health. These include cases where Nuclear Test veterans are suing the UK government for exposures at the test sites that have caused cancer, they include cases involving nuclear pollution, work exposures and exposures to depleted uranium weapons fallout. And these cases are all being won. All of them. Because in court with a judge and a jury, people like Wade Allison and George Monbiot would not last 2 minutes. Because in court you rely on evidence. Not bullshitting.
Joseph Conrad wrote: “after all the shouting is over, the grim silence of facts remain”. I believe that these phoney experts like Wade Allison and George Monbiot are criminally irresponsible, since their advice will lead to millions of deaths. I would hope that some time in the future, I can be involved as an expert in another legal case, one where Wade Allison, or George or my favourite baddy, Richard Wakeford (who actually knows better) are accused in a court of law of scientific dishonesty leading to the cancer in some poor victim who followed their advice. When they are found guilty, I hope they are sent to jail where they can have plenty of time to read the scientific proofs that their advice was based on the mathematical analysis of thin air.
In the meantime, I challenge each of them to debate this issue with me in public on television face to face, so that the people can figure out who is right. For the late Professor John Gofman, a senior figure in the US Atomic Energy Commission until he saw what was happening and resigned, famously said: “the nuclear industry is waging a war against humanity.” This war has now entered an endgame which will decide the survival of the human race. Not from sudden nuclear war. But from the on-going and incremental nuclear war which began with the releases to the biosphere in the 60′s of all the atmospheric test fallout, and which has continued inexorably since then through Windscale, Kyshtym, 3-Mile Island, Chernobyl, Hanford, Sellafield, La Hague, Iraq and now Fukushima, accompanied by parallel increases in cancer rates and fertility loss to the human race.
There is a gap between them and us. Between the phoney scientists and the public who don’t believe what they say. Between those who are employed and paid to protect us from radioactive pollution and those who die from its consequences. Between those who talk down what is arguably the greatest public health scandal in human history, and the facts that they ignore.
Mind the Gap indeed.
Chris Busby is Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk. He is visiting Professor at the University of Ulster and also Guest Researcher at the Julius Kuehn Institute of the German Federal Agricultural Institute in Braunschweig, Germany. He was a member of the UK Committee Examining Radiation Risk on Internal Emitters CERRIE and the UK MoD Depleted Uranium Oversight Board. He was Science and Policy Interface leader of the Policy Information network on Child Health and Environment based in the Netherlands. He was Science and Technology Speaker for the Green Party of England and Wales. He has conducted fundamental research on the health effects of internal radiation both at the theoretical and epidemiological level, including recently on the genotoxic effects of the element uranium.
GENEVA — More than 20 human rights groups in Switzerland will gather in Geneva on Monday to protest a visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres to the country.
They have been working to prosecute Peres over war crimes he committed in the 2008-2009 war on Gaza.
”More than twenty pro-Palestinian rights organizations and popular organizations have called for demonstrations and a sit-in Monday in front of the Swiss government building in Geneva to protest Peres’s visit,” said Anwar al-Gharbi, who heads the Swiss-based Rights for All organization.
Switzerland must refrain from receiving Peres, as the UN Goldstone report regarding the war on the Gaza Strip has accused Israeli leaders of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the wake of the killing of more than a 1,450 Palestinians, most of them children and women, within 22 days, Gharbi said.
The announcement of Peres’s planned visit came on Saturday when courts and government departments were closed for the weekend, so legal measures against Peres had not been taken, Gharbi explained, adding that the rights groups will put forth ”every effort” to prosecute Peres as a war criminal.
Former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and his family have been reportedly placed under house arrest by the country’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
The council made the announcement through a statement posted on its website on Monday.
The statement refuted reports that Mubarak had sought refuge in Saudi Arabia.
Following a popular revolution in the country, Mubarak handed over power to Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is headed by Defense Minister Gen. Mohammed Tantawi.
The remarks come after local news reports said that Mubarak had traveled to Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for pancreatic cancer at a hospital in Tabuk.
The Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz was the first Arab leader to express full support for Mubarak and to describe the Egyptian revolutionary forces as a handful of ‘infiltrators.’
The developments come as Mubarak and his former petroleum minister Sameh Fahmy are under investigation for selling natural gas to Israel and several Western countries for artificially low prices.
In December, Israel signed 20-year contracts with Egypt worth more than USD 10 billion (EUR 7.4 billion) — much cheaper than global prices — to import Egyptian natural gas.