An alliance of private contractors will take over the role of looking after UK’s nuclear weapons in Scotland, local media report.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the agreements, saying that a 15-year contract has been clinched with ABL Alliance to look after the Trident weapons system at HM Naval Base Clyde.
Almost 190 jobs in the civilian and military sectors will be transferred to the alliance as part of the contract, the Daily Telegraph reported.
ABL Alliance will provide support to the Trident Strategic Weapon System at the Royal Naval Armament Depot (RNAD) Coulport and the Strategic Weapon Support Building (SWSB) Faslane.
“HM Naval Base Clyde has an excellent safety record and we are determined to maintain the highest standards of safety”, the MoD said.
“The MoD will continue to own the Naval Base sites, including Coulport, and Naval Base Commander Clyde will retain overall responsibility for security and for the activities carried out at Coulport and the SWSB.
“The site will also continue to be a MoD nuclear authorised site, so will be subject to regulation by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator, the Office of Nuclear Regulation and other regulatory bodies”, it added.
- Scotland against London’s plan to upgrade nuclear weapons (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Nuclear weapon safety hindered by cuts, says MoD report (guardian.co.uk)
- Scottish independence: Dilemma over future of Faslane (scotsman.com)
- SNP anger over ‘obscenity’ of new £1bn nuclear submarine order (scotsman.com)
- Plan to privatise equipment agency could endanger troops, report warns (guardian.co.uk)
Just below the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, situated on the the eastern outskirts of Al Khalil (Hebron) is the Palestinian area of ar-Ras.
A quick online search of the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba provides general knowledge on the founding history and how it has been subject to Palestinian resistance since 1981 but fails to inform the reader of the consequences for the indigenous Palestinians living nearby the relatively large (ca. 7000 inhabitants) settlement. Nor will one find written that such colonies are considered illegal by international law as confirmed by the International Court of Justice. Nor of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994 which was committed against Palestinians by an Israeli settler from the same area.
Hebron residents regularly speak with the International Solidarity Movement about constant violent attacks by the settlers, land expropriation by Israeli policies, lack of freedom of movement and the requirement of special permits for car use, lack of running water, and demolitions.
In 2006, Palestinian landlord Fayiz Arajar began the construction of a large building intended to house a dozen shops and several families. The building is formidably situated, overlooking the olive grove of the ar-Ras area and the distant white houses of Al Khalil, flickering in the heat.
In 2007, as the project was nearly completed, Israeli settlers occupied the building. Subsequent to a high court decision to evict them, settlers from across the West Bank gathered in the house ready to defend their illegal takeover of the building. The eviction deadline was set to December 4, 2007 by the high court.
The week leading to the deadline was tense. Israeli settlers vandalized the Palestinian cemetery, burned Palestinian cars, and attacked Palestinian houses. The escalation in such attacks came due to the arrival of thousands of illegal settlers in support of the squatters. They succeeded in fighting the eviction force. Israeli authorities simply refrained from further attempts to remove them and, as seen before, allowed the story to twist from that of property theft to a question of security (of the settlers). In recent years, Israel has even decided to erect a military checkpoint for Palestinian pedestrians in the interest of ‘protecting’ the settlers.
Muhammed Al-Jabari ‘Abu Naim’ and his family live in a house about 100 metres from the occupied building. On May 28 of this year, they began to build an extra floor ontop of their house. The family of 15 members needed more space.
Settlers from a nearby recently occupied house repeatedly attacked the building project underway by Abu Naim. Subsequently, Abu Naim was banned by Israeli authorities from continuing construction.
With reference to the Oslo accords (Annex 1, article XII) Palestinians are not allowed to build within 50 metres of security roads. In Abu Naim’s case, a security road was announced with the construction of a new military checkpoint in the area. The legal value of Abu Naim’s construction permit was overruled although his house is far from the 50 meter no-construction zone. The land on which the house was built 14 years ago has belonged to the Al-Jabari family since before the Israeli occupation in 1967.
For now, the mid-construction upper floor is left as an empty shell without windows or doors. Israeli bulldozers are on stand by to demolish the entire house should Abu Naim continue construction.
Prevention and annexation of resources
Across the olive grove and by Kiryat Arba’s barbed wire fence lives Kayid Dana and his brothers. Another stunning view embraces you from just outside their house, disrupted only by a looming Israeli watchtower. Most of the occupied West Bank is spotted with these grey towers. Watching from their windows, the ever present occupation, reminding Palestinians that privacy is a luxury that few, if any, enjoy.
The Dana family has been living on the same land for over 50 years. In 1958, the Israeli authorities repetitively offered them money to leave the house and make room for the growing illegal settlement. The family refused and nonetheless Israeli forces bulldozed half of their garden.
As of June 24, the Dana family has been without water. Israeli authorities prevented water trucks from entering the area to refill their water tanks. As a result, Kavid and his family are relegated to pump water from an unsanitary well outside their home. This is where they encounter the next problem: water is only available for a couple of hours each day. This is not enough to supply their 4 camels (100 liters/day) and the most basic household needs.
North of the Dana family home, through the olive groves, lives the Abdul Hay family (Abu Hossni). Their windows are fenced to prevent Israeli settlers from shattering the glass with the stones they throw. On December 4, the family was subject to a vicious attack that left 3 with dumdum (expanding bullet) wounds. Dumdum bullets are a type of live ammunition that enter the body, expand, and cause permanent injuries or death. Although dumdum bullets have been known to be used by Israeli settlers, they are illegal according to international law.
Jamal Abu Saifan, who lives in the area, captured the incident on his camera and explains how a lightly injured Israeli settler was choppered away 15 minutes after his injury, whereas the 3 Palestinians wounded by gunfire, one critically, waited 3 hours for an ambulance.
The ambulance attempting to reach them was stopped and denied entry to the area by Israeli forces.
Unfortunately, settler attacks are far from rare and have been occurring since Kiryat Arba was established in 1968. The purpose of these violent attacks, and the army violence and policies that accompany them, are not only to injure people and destroy their lands. That is only a strategic measure to reach an ultimate goal: the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
The next step by Kiryat Arba is the construction of a new road which will divide the vital Palestinian olive groves down the middle. The road will be inaccessible to Palestinians, not only preventing Palestinians from tending to their trees on the other side, but annexing further land, expropriating an economic necessity, and making life more difficult for the indigenous Palestinians.
Despite the collection of circumstances to make life difficult, all the families in the area have made the choice to remain on their land despite the uncertainty and pressures of their everyday life under Israeli occupation.
- Hebron: Over 30 detained (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- French activist injured as Israeli troops attack Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Renegade Jewish Settlers (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Palestinian stabbed, shot in settler attack near Nablus (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Hebron: Israeli settlers occupy Palestinian home (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Twenty years after it helped establish a United Nations arms embargo on war-torn Somalia, the United States is now violating this international effort by helping local militias fighting “Al-Qaeda.”
According to the UN’s Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group, the U.S. is carrying out three covert programs to assist Somali fighters in their battles with Al-Shabab.
The Central Intelligence Agency has reportedly sent officers to the government of Puntland, a semi-autonomous region not recognized by the UN. Also, American special forces are fighting alongside Puntland soldiers.
The Obama administration has not notified the UN of these activities, which is required under the embargo established in 1992 after the Somalia civil war broke out.
The U.S. is not the only country violating the embargo. At least 11 other governments have failed to inform the UN of cargo flights to supply various parties in the Somalia conflict.
- Obama’s Not-So-Secret Terror War – The Daily Beast (aboriginalpress.wordpress.com)
- Drone operations over Somalia pose danger to air traffic -UN (rt.com)
- Far from a Humanitarian Savior, the U.S. Causes Vast Misery In Africa (alethonews.wordpress.com)
NAZARETH — The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank has almost doubled in 12 years, increasing obstacles to the two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reported the Guardian newspaper.
According to the newspaper, “the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank grew by more than 15,000 in the past year to reach a total that exceeds 350,000 for the first time and has almost doubled in the past 12 years.”
Figures from Israel’s population registry show a 4.5% increase in the past 12 months. Most of the newcomers moved into settlements that many observers expect to be evacuated in any peace deal leading to a Palestinian state.
There are an additional 300,000 Jews living in settlements across the pre-1967 border in East Jerusalem, as reported by the pro-government newspaper Israel Hayom.
The populations of the big settlement blocs of Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel were stable over the past year. Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion are expected by most diplomats and negotiators to become part of Israel under an agreement on borders, but the future of Ariel, which juts deep into the West Bank, is uncertain.
One Israeli politician predicted that the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would reach one million within four years.
- Population of Jewish settlements in West Bank up 15,000 in a year (guardian.co.uk)
- Renegade Jewish Settlers (alethonews.wordpress.com)
QALQILIYA – Israeli authorities have started to install a fence around the southern side of Azzun Atma in Qalaqiliya in the northern West Bank.
A two-meter high spiral fence was installed on about 1,500 meters running from the settlement of Oranit to the crossroads of Kafr Qasim and route 505, according to Abdul-Karim Ayyoub, the secretary of the local council.
“With this fence, Israel is isolating the area known as Beer al-Shilla, the artisan well, and about 800-1000 donums (over 8,000 meters squared) of different groves. Farmers will not be able to access their fields even after they pass the gate on the northern side of the road,” he added.
Hani Amer, who is in charge of the artisan well in al-Shilla said that neither the well nor the groves could be accessed anymore, as the Israelis have not left openings or gates leading to the well or to the dirt roads.
- Israeli forces detain 9 from Qalqiliya village (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)