On the morning of Friday, December 14, 2012, media in the United States began non-stop reporting of a mass shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School near Newtown, Connecticut. Although there were numerous inconsistent reports surrounding the incident, plenty of which were inherently contradictory, unconfirmed, or implausible, a particular narrative of what was supposed to have occurred that day was soon anchored in the minds of the general public by the large network news media and thus, through repetition and other mechanisms of reinforcement, became firmly entrenched as working premises for a follow-up press announcement, on Monday, December 17, by the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has been notorious for her zealous yet outspoken efforts over the course of decades, to effectively abolish the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and disarm the American public.
The press release from her office announcing her intention to introduce strict gun control legislation explicitly pointed out in bold-type letters, that the proposed regulations had been carefully prepared by her legal team for months in advance (“I have been working with my staff for over a year on this legislation,”) as though she were merely waiting for the right opportunity to present them, given that these issues would be deemed far too draconian by fellow legislators to support unless they were tactically publicized in the wake of a cathartic event that galvanized the public.
Nonetheless, the media conveniently chose to present Feinstein’s new proposals, and similar ones that followed, for instance in the New York State legislature, as though they had been genuinely motivated by general outrage over the cruelty of the massacre of first grade school children at Sandy Hook rather than being a calculated maneuver to follow through with a long sought after agenda while the resolve to resist such measures appeared to be softened by the manipulation of public emotions. It practically appeared to be a well orchestrated campaign promoting public gun control.
One might recall the manner in which the ominous provisions in the voluminous PATRIOT Act were quickly passed in the wake of the staged false-flag operation on September 11, 2001. The staff of Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain had prepared that legislation over many months, and shortly after the major terror incident it was “ready to go”. It would not be too surprising if political cynics are getting the impression, that a totalitarian agenda was being served in this case as well, facilitating the introduction and quick passage of controversial gun control legislation.
Indeed, this past November 27th, fewer than three weeks prior to the Sandy Hook shooting, the Governor of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy, US Attorney General Eric Holder and David Fein, the state’s chief prosecutor, jointly announced “Project Longevity” at an event in New Haven. This project is intended to identify and target groups or individuals deemed to be potentially responsible for gun violence. Shortly after the massacre, Governor Malloy even stated openly at a press conference:
“The Lt. Governor and I have been spoken to, in an attempt that we might be prepared for something like this playing itself out in our state”
Surely people were generally aware of the strong likelihood, that at some point in the future there would be another mass shooting somewhere by a young adult, if only because of the well-known yet intentionally under-reported link between the adverse affects of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs and such shootings. SSRI drugs, which can cause individuals who are taking them to become both violent and suicidal, continue to be widely prescribed in cases of mental depression, and this trend continues because it is very profitable for the pharmaceutical producers. Hence critics point to such SSRI drugs, perhaps also in conjunction with violent video games, as root causes of mass shooting incidents rather than the availability of guns, which have been part of American culture for over a century, whereas the abundance of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs is a comparatively new phenomenon.
However, the hallmark of recent mass shooting incidents in the US and Europe has been that they involved the use of semi-automatic handguns at close range, but not so-called assault rifles. Since getting these popular assault rifles banned has been the top priority in the context of future gun control legislation by such advocates as Senators Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer, the terror event that politicians would need to be awaiting, to then exploit the resulting crisis opportunity for their agenda, would almost have to be an extremely gruesome mass shooting, involving innocent children, and carried out with an assault rifle. Yet, given the modus operandi pattern of mass shootings in America, how likely could the probability of such an ad hoc scenario actually be? How many years would agenda-driven politicians be ready to wait to introduce already prepared legislation?
Seen in the context of what has quickly followed legislatively, the unusual Sand Hook massacre certainly came very conveniently, and this in itself arouses caution regarding the official narrative and details.
Leaving aside aforementioned expressions of advance preparation from top politicians, a careful analysis of the accumulated reports on that day – police scanner audio, network television news footage as events were unfolding, helicopter shots of the scene, witness testimony, police reports, an announcement by the chief coroner, photographs from the scene, etc. – clearly reveals, that the Sandy Hook massacre did not play itself out in the manner subsequently described in the common and ultimately unsustainable media narrative, which partially draws upon imagery of drills conducted elsewhere. Events that day were not as simplistic as is now presented, so it is very important to investigate and find out what actually happened.
The well established fact is, that children are routinely killed in US drone attacks, in such countries as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen, in the pursuit of some nebulous policy of “combating terrorism”; there have also been numerous instances of children having been explicitly targeted for annihilation in the illegally occupied West Bank and Gaza, by soldiers and settlers who enjoy the wide support of both the US Administration and its Congress. According to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, a policy vis-à-vis Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of children was “worth it”, as she once stated in a televised interview.
During recent decades Operation Gladio conducted mass casualty events in Western countries for the purpose of a “strategy of tension” in which the public is made to seek the government’s protection from an ubiquitous threat. The powerful authors of these crimes have never been brought into check.
Consequently, at this time one cannot categorically preclude the possibility of the Connecticut event having been a carefully planned operation, utilizing a hit-team of assassins, decoys, helpers, handlers and trained disinformation agents.
If people in power have no qualms about killing children incidentally, in their pursuit of political agendas, why should one imagine them to have hesitations now, in a different instance closer to home, where the political agenda, to enact a policy of gun control, is far more critical to retaining state authority than an ideological foreign policy objective?
If the carefully staged mass slaughter of children appears to be a threshold prerequisite for generating sufficient public outrage in an already jaded and violent society – just so long as the operators are effective at placing the blame onto a “mentally deranged lone gunman” patsy, under some seemingly plausible scenario, and the general public never notices – will that price have been “worth it” in retrospect, when politicians may invoke the many hundreds of hypothetical lives that they will assert “were saved” because of the legislation they would otherwise have not been able to implement?
Will the proposed legislative actions actually enhance public safety or mostly the state’s monopoly on violence?
In looking at the incident at Sandy Hook analytically, it is helpful to detach oneself from the distorted narrative set by the media and see the event from a more contextual and logical perspective, while taking into account past experience of incidents that turned out to be different from the manner they were initially presented. One must not be influenced, for example, by the fact that the alleged lone gunman, Adam Lanza, who is unable to tell his side of the story, has already been publicly vilified. Subliminally, a biased perspective can already arise simply from the publication of an undated mug shot photo of him with manipulated eyeball imagery, to make him appear as a lunatic.
Since the possibility of a sophisticated operation cannot be excluded one may then consider such a scenario, however inconvenient this alternative version may be.
As is the case in complicated operations intended to create the false public impression of having been carried out by a different party, careful planning, execution, and follow-up are necessary. Since this is usually difficult to pull off successfully, tell-tale mistakes will occur along the way, and these flaws will subsequently stand out and arouse suspicion.
What appears particularly odd in the case of the Sandy Hook event is the paucity of people who reported hearing loud gunshots. Since gun reports from fired .223 Remington or 5.56 x 45 mm cartridges are exceedingly loud, a hundred rounds being fired – for “overkill”, to make the scene appear more gruesome and ensure that there are no surviving witnesses – must certainly have alerted a much larger number of people, even hundreds of yards away outside the school premises. Instead, however, one witness, a young boy, later reported on camera, that what must have been the rifle shots sounded to him like the custodian knocking things over. A young girl reported hearing a racket. Another boy, who was apparently close enough to have seen and smelled smoke, reported that he “heard something like a person was kicking on a door”. Where are the many accounts of children and neighbors providing scary accounts of many rounds of gunfire? If the media could have presented them, they would have had a sensationalistic field day, full of such ear witness stories. Furthermore, the police radio would have noted the multiple callers, and consequently there would have been a much greater sense of urgency. In light of this noteworthy absence, it is reasonable to assume that the shootings may have been carried out with sound suppressors screwed onto the barrels of the rifles, commando style. Only a few shots, including that of the semi-automatic pistol that killed Adam Lanza, would not have entailed sound suppression. Unlike in some Hollywood movies, sound suppressors are not “silencers”, so that rifle gunfire noise would have still been audible as such nearby, at least to the woman who reported having called the 911 emergency services from underneath her desk.
We should remain alert for further irregularities that may become evident. We should also cautiously examine the proposed solutions.
A Rohingya man sits at his burnt home at a village in Minpyar in Rakhine state, Myanmar, on October 28, 2012.
An Iranian MP says the Islamic Republic plans to set up a camp in Myanmar to help the efforts to provide relief to the country’s Rohingya Muslims.
On Saturday, Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Deputy Chairman Mansour Haqiqatpour said agreements have been reached with senior Myanmar officials to set up a camp in Rakhine state that can accommodate thousands of Rohingya refugees and where food can be provided for them.
He stated that Tehran will soon put forward its own plan for the cessation of violence against Rohingya Muslims and the restoration of the social rights of the Muslim community.
Earlier this month, an Iranian parliamentary delegation visited Myanmar to examine the situation of the Rohingya Muslims and find ways to help them.
Officials of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the country’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS), and the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee accompanied the Iranian lawmakers during their visit to Myanmar.
Some 800,000 Rohingyas are deprived of citizenship rights due to the policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of citizenship and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion, and displacement.
The Myanmar government has so far refused to extricate the stateless Rohingyas in the western state of Rakhine from their citizenship limbo, despite international pressure to give them a legal status.
Rohingya Muslims have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar since it achieved independence in 1948.
Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in recent attacks by extremists who call themselves Buddhists.
The extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and have set fire to their homes in several villages in Rakhine. Myanmar Army forces allegedly provided the fanatics containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers, who are then forced to flee.
Myanmar’s government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also come under fire for her stance on the violence. The Nobel Peace laureate has refused to censure the Myanmarese military for its persecution of the Rohingyas.
Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.
- Thai Military warns against setting up Rohingya camp (thesail.wordpress.com)
- At least 600 Rohingya Muslims detained in Thailand (worldbulletin.net)
Insurance companies make a simple wager with you each time you sign a policy. They are betting that, over the life of the policy, they will pay out less to you and your beneficiaries than you will pay them.
Insurance companies of all kinds make tidy profits on this simple wager. If they don’t, sometimes the government will bail them out.
Either way, insurance is still just a bet. And in America, we do not have a healthcare system. We have a health insurance industry.
That industry has been one of the most profitable sectors of the economy for well over a decade. But costs skyrocketed and care suffered. We heard horror stories about rationed care, denied procedures and corporate bureaucracies run amok. Ironically, these were the horror stories we were supposed to hear if the government took the reigns of the “best healthcare system in the world.”
So, instead of a single-payer healthcare system, we got The Affordable Care Act—aka Obamacare. Instead of retiring the health insurance industry and its actuarial tables and profit margins and wagers, Obama “saved” the health insurance industry and enshrined it in perpetuity as the “Health Insurance-Industrial Complex.”
As the Affordable Care Act’s provisions begin to take effect, the folks in the Complex are wasting no time doing what they can to keep their profits tidy. Leading insurers in California are seeking increases in premiums ranging from 20% to 26%. Regulators in Florida and Ohio have already approved increasing premiums as much as 20%, and, since the ACA doesn’t set federal standards, insurance companies are moving in a number of states to force these spikes in premiums.
Remember, if you can “afford” health insurance, you have to buy it. If you refuse, you’ll pay a penalty to the government at tax time. Some are exempt from this mandate. But, in effect, the ACA has guaranteed the health insurance industry a captive market.
Meanwhile, they continue to change the terms of all those bets they’ve placed against millions of Americans and the cost of the “best healthcare in the world” continues to rise. When compared to other nations with some form of single-payer system, the difference is so stark that it’s almost obscene. It’s not just the $800 difference between an MRI in France versus the U.S., it’s almost every part of a system that has at its heart the relentless desire to turn a profit.
Even worse, a much-ballyhooed part of the promised “21st Century transformation” into greater “affordability” has turned out be little more than a profiteering scheme.
Remember the “streamlining” and “cost savings” guaranteed from the conversion to electronic medical records? Well, it hasn’t quite panned out. In fact, the only real beneficiaries of the conversion are companies like General Electric that sell electronic medical records systems. Not coincidentally, GE and other interested parties funded the key RAND study in 2005 that both predicted $81 billion in savings for America’s health care system and also became the driving rationale for the profitable conversion.
This type of closed system is par for the course in Washington, D.C.
Every door revolves in the nation’s only recession-proof city. Is it any surprise that the woman who wrote the Affordable Care Act is now leaving the White House for a job with health care giant Johnson & Johnson? Liz Fowler worked for Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) during the drafting of the ACA and had the primary responsibility for authoring the legislation. After its passage, she migrated to the White House to help with implementation. Seems reasonable enough. However, it is important to note where she was before joining the staff of Senator Baucus. Yup, you guessed it…she was a bigwig at WellPoint, the nation’s second leading health insurance company with nearly 54 million policyholders.
All of this makes you wonder who knew whom in the breast milk-pump industry, which is seeing a huge spike in its profits thanks to a new coverage requirement written into the ACA.
It may be too early to render judgment on a law that hasn’t yet been fully implemented, but it is not too early to determine that the profit motive might simply be incompatible with the equitable delivery of healthcare. As matter of course, businesses try to lower costs and increase revenue. That may be okay when they sell scissors or candlesticks, but it seems ill-suited to deliver labor-intensive care for those who are most vulnerable.
And as far as the health of the insurance industry, it’s a safe bet that they’ll keep coming out on top as the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.
JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, published historian, radio co-host and documentary filmmaker (The Warning, 2008). His credits include a stint on the Newshour news desk, C-SPAN, and as newsmagazine producer for ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington. His weekly show, Inside the Headlines w/ The Newsvandal, co-hosted by James Moore, airs every Friday on KRUU-FM in Fairfield, Iowa. He blogs under the pseudonym “the Newsvandal.”
People in Spain have staged demonstrations in several cities across the country to voice their anger at the corruption in the eurozone member state which is in the grip of a sharp economic downturn, Press TV reports.
On Friday, angry protesters assembled near the headquarters of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s centre-right Popular Party in the capital Madrid, chanting slogans. The building was protected by riot police and metal barriers.
The demonstrations were sparked by a recent report by the centre-right newspaper El Mundo disclosing that senior members of Popular Party collected undeclared salaries, largely from private companies.
The paper added that former Popular Party treasurer Luis Barcenas gave envelopes which contained 5,000-15,000 euros (USD 6,500 -20,000) to party officials in addition to their official salaries during two decades.
The newspaper, however, highlighted that Rajoy did not receive such kind of payments and he ordered Popular Party secretary general Maria Dolores de Cospedal to end the practice in 2009.
“The Popular Party’s accounts are clear, transparent and inspected by the Court of Auditors,” Cospedal said, denying allegations that party members got undisclosed payments under her supervision.
This comes as on January 16, Spanish media reported that Barcenas along with several others held a Swiss bank account with some 22 million euros.
“The thieves… are taking all the money. Undoubtedly who is going to suffer the consequences are the poor people,” a protester told Press TV.
As the fourth largest eurozone economy, Spain must lower its deficit to 4.5 percent in 2013 and 2.8 percent in 2014.
Economists, however, say those targets will be difficult to meet amid poor prospects for the country’s economic recovery.
Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking with it millions of jobs.
How was Abdulrahman’s targeted assassination initially reported in the media? Some quotes that sound very familiar with the usual semantics of all media coverage on drones and suspects:
“Yemeni officials told reporters that nine members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killed in the strike near the town of Azzan in southeastern Yemen, including Awlaki’s 21-year-old son…” – LA Times, October 15, 2011
“Report: Al-Awlaki’s son among dead in U.S. airstrike on Yemen al-Qaida militants” – headline from Haaretz, October 15, 2011
“Official: Drone attack kills Al-Awlaki’s son in Yemen… The attacks, carried out in the Shabwa district, killed seven suspected militants, the defense ministry said.” – CNN, October 15, 2011
“Awlaki’s son is also among the 24 militants killed in air strikes targeting al-Qaeda in Yemen, local officials said.” – Al Arabiya News, October 15, 2011
“Three drone attacks in Yemen Friday night killed seven suspected militants including Anwar Al-Awlaki’s son, a security official said. Carried out in the Shabwa district, where the younger Awlaki had been holed up for more than eight months” – Business Insider, October 15, 2011
“U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills nine jihadis, including Awlaki’s son” – Hot Air, October 15, 2011
Lie #1: Abdulrahman is a 16 year old American teenager, not a 21 year old militant.
Lie #2: U.S. claimed al-Banna was the actual target. The problem with that excuse is that al-Banna is alive and well, and was never at that site. Since that revelation, the Obama Admin. simply states there is no official record of the death of Abdulrahman, and sweeps the story under the carpet so it doesn’t even have to take accountability that the crime even happened.
Lie #3: The media says Abdulrahman was hiding in the mountains for months. Actually, he left his home a couple weeks before to find out about his father, and even during that time he was living and moving around in the open, far from hiding.
It seems that being a suspected militant is enough to make you a viable target. And the criteria for determining what makes you a suspect is easily adjustable to their convenience it seems.
Barack Obama: the first U.S. president to use targeted assassination against a child.
Paris – Within the next few days, France will have deployed some 2,500 troops to Mali. That’s as large a commitment as France made to what became a profoundly unpopular war in Afghanistan. No one knows how long the troops will be there, but the price tag will surely be tens if not hundreds of millions [or billions rather] of Euros, this to born by a French economy already in woeful shape.
The danger is that President Francois Holland and the French state, may shortly find themselves in the disastrous situation of the hapless coyote in the cartoon, Roadrunner, so intent on chasing his prey that he scurries right over a cliff and suddenly finds himself flailing in mid air, about to plunge to the desert below.
President Holland said the menace of a radical Islamic takeover was so imminent that he had no choice but to intervene—to save not just Mali, but all of Western Africa, and, the French now imply, Europe as well.
Strange thing though, despite the supposed urgency of the situation, France has had precious little luck so far in convincing its European partners to contribute their own troops to the intervention. Indeed, the last thing those countries want, after the traumatic experience of Iraq, Libya and the Afghan crusade, is to become enmeshed in what risks to be an open-ended conflict, on behalf of an unelected Malian government, against a vague assortment of ethnic rebels and jihadis in the desert wilds of North Africa. Thus, so far there have been a lot of pats on the back from France’s allies, offers of logistic support, intelligence, a few troop transports, drones, but that’s it.
“You say, ‘We’ll give you nurses and you go get yourselves killed,’” said French deputy Daniel Cohn-Bendit, railing at his fellow deputies in the European Parliament. “We [Europe] will only be credible if French soldiers are not the only ones getting killed.”
Actually, it was surprising to learn that France, still considered a major military power, doesn’t have the capability to transport a couple of thousand troops and their equipment to North Africa. France even had to rely on an offer from the Italians for tankers to handle in-flight refueling of French fighter jets.
Despite the tepid response from France’s allies, French government spokesman are still reassuring the public that French troops are not going to play the major combat role in the coming ground battles.
The fact is, that even if they wanted to play a major role, there are nowhere near enough French boots on the ground. It’s instructive to speculate on France’s combat strength, using what is known as the “tooth to tail” ratio, that is, the number of support troops in the rear needed to support each combat soldier at the front. For the U.S. military that ratio is about three to one. If we use the same figure for France, that means that out of 2500 French troops deployed to Mali, probably about 600-700—a thousand at best–would actually see front-line combat.
And Mali, don’t forget, is twice the size of France, or Afghanistan or Texas.
The actual down-and-dirty fighting, we are told, is to be done by troops from West Africa, some of whom have finally begun arriving in Mali. But all the reports about those contingents indicate a woeful lack of equipment, morale, and training, particularly in being able to fight a guerrilla war in the desert reaches of the Sahel.
After months of discussion, this week—in the wake of the hostage crisis in Algeria– France’s European allies finally agreed to dispatch 250 troops to help train the Malian army and perhaps other African units. But—unless the fallout from the Algerian disaster changes things–it’s already determined that those European trainers are to be non- combatants. They will not even be advising the Malian soldiers in battle. As one senior EU official made very clear. “We will not go north. We will stay in the training areas,”
By the way, one thing I can never figure out—whether it be Mali or Afghanistan–we‘re always hearing about how the forces being backed by the U.S. and its allies, like France in this case, invariably seem to be poorly trained and equipped and demoralized, despite hundreds of millions of dollars and years of training. [Think Afghanistan where only one out of 23 battalions is able to function independently of U.S. support.]
Meanwhile, the ragtag rebels they’re combating, usually from those same third world countries, like the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Tuareg in Mali are portrayed as dedicated, fierce, battle-hardened warriors, who wreak havoc on their opponents with often the most primitive improvised weapons or suicide bombs. Reports are that it will take many weeks, probably months, before the various African troops will be ready to do any serious fighting. And there are other problems to deal with apart from training and equipment: the danger, for instance, of unleashing Christian soldiers from Nigeria to suppress Islamic rebels in Northern Mali.
Ironically, as I’ve pointed out in a previous blog, while France’s allies are hanging back, the Chinese, who have huge economic interests and construction projects underway in every one of Mali’s neighbors, continue to go about their business, apparently still content to leave the police work to France and Europe and the West African states.
The French, for the record, insist that the groups they are battling in Mali –and now in Algeria–are all lumped together as “terrorists”, linked to al-Qaeda. There is no recognition of the fact that most of the different rebel groups, are mostly driven by strong ethnic and nationalist aspirations, as much as by religion–not that different perhaps, from the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In that case, it’s obvious that the only way this conflict will ultimately be settled is not by somehow eradicating the “terrorists”, but by sitting down to negotiate a deal, as will probably be the case in Afghanistan.
In Mali, such a deal may not be that different from the kind of settlement that was offered the Tuareg years ago after a series of rebellions, but which the Malian government ultimately reneged on.
So, how do the French feel about this?
Estimates are that anywhere from 400,000 to one million French took to the streets of Paris last weekend. A counter-protest, expected to draw hundreds of thousands of other militant French, is now being organized. Tempers are flaring.
What’s the issue?
Well, actually, no. It’s whether the French government should legalize gay marriage.
As for the intervention in Mali, at first the French, from all ends of the political spectrum, seemed to be solidly behind their government and their fighting men.
That consensus is already unraveling, and it’s certain that as the intervention drags on, the casualties and costs mount, and France’s European allies still drag their heels, the patriotic surge will flag
Which bring us back to the Roadrunner. At some point the French may suddenly look down to find that their president has taken them over a precipice, and they’re suspended there, gazing in horror at the chasm below.
- France Formally Requests US Military Aid for Mali Invasion (economicpolicyjournal.com)
A fish containing over 2,500 times Japan’s legal limit for radiation in seafood has been caught in the vicinity of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the facility’s operator reported.
A ‘murasoi’ fish, similar to a rockfish, was caught at a port inside the plant, according to AFP. Plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) indicated that the amount of cesium measured 254,000 becquerels per kilogram – 2,540 times Japan’s legal limit for radiation in seafood.
In October, TEPCO admitted that radiation leaks at the plant had not fully stopped.
In 2011, after a March earthquake and tsunami devastated the region, Japan barred beef, vegetables, milk, seafood and mushrooms grown near the affected area from both domestic markets and exports over safety concerns.
Science magazine published an article revealing that the levels of cesium in seafood around the disaster-battered area had not decreased since 2011. In October 2012, around 40 percent of bottom-dwelling marine species demonstrated elevated radiation levels, with cesium-134 and 137 levels above Japan’s legal limit. August samples collected by author Ken Buesseler had cesium levels 250 times what Japanese authorities consider safe.
Seafood from the area near Fukushima has turned out to be a health hazard abroad, as well as within the country.
In July, Russia expressed concern over fish caught off its coast near Japan. In May, a contaminated tuna was found near the California coastline. Japan stressed that they understood the numbers of contaminated seafood are “extremely high,” but also pointed out that radiation was detected only in the kinds of fish found closest to the plant.
In October 2012, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, announced that it would relax regulations on imports of Japanese food starting on November 1. The restrictions were introduced after the quake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, with many countries such as the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and the UK either halting food imports or starting additional inspections of Japanese imports.
- National › Record high radiation level found in fish caught near Fukushima plant (japantoday.com)
- Fukushima deception confirmed by UN (alethonews.wordpress.com)
British Prime Minister David Cameron called off his long-awaited speech on the relations with the European Union on Friday to deal with the hostage-taking in Algeria as his country actively assisted France in its military intervention in Algeria’s neighbor Mali.
Cameron was outraged by, what he described in an address to the MPs on Thursday, as the Algerian government’s “all guns blazing” tactic against the “terrorist” kidnappers at BP’s In Amenas gas plant because it could endanger British and other western lives.
“I won’t hide, of course I was… we were disappointed not to be informed of the assault in advance,” Cameron told the MPs.
In effect, Cameron was telling Algeria that they are not supposed to be fighting “terrorists” at the cost of British lives while he and his French allies were – and are — exactly killing innocent Malians for the alleged ‘greater good’ they tend to name fighting terrorism.
There are no precise figures on the number of Malian civilians killed in the French Britain-assisted airstrikes near the country’s borders with Algeria but Human Rights Watch said on the second day of the attacks last Sunday that 10 civilians including three children, were killed during airstrikes.
The situation has also been grave enough for international organizations to call for restraint.
“Forces involved in armed attacks should avoid indiscriminate shelling at all costs, and do their utmost to prevent civilian casualties,” said Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International’s Africa deputy director.
However, there has been no such restr aint to the point that United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Melissa Fleming warned on Friday “that in the near future there could be up to 300,000 people additionally displaced inside Mali, and over 400,000 additionally displaced in the neighboring countries” many of them escaping indiscriminate attacks on Malian rebels and civilians.
Nor has Cameron advised French president Francois Hollande to hold back attacks to avoid collateral damage to women and children probably because their skins are not as white as the British hostages in Algeria.
This comes as Hollande said on Friday that the attack and hostage crisis in the remote desert gas plant show the French military intervention in Mali was justified.
However, one comes to think that matters are exactly the other way round, especially after the hostage-takers said their move was in response to the French intervention in Mali.
One should also note a report by Amnesty International on brutality on the part of the ally of Britain and France, the Malian government, against the Tuareg ethnic minority where rebels are rooted.
When the conflict originally exploded, Tuaregs were arrested, tortured, bombed and killed by the security forces, “apparently only on ethnic grounds”, Amnesty said in a report on December 21.
Meanwhile, last July, 80 inmates arrested by the Malian army were stripped to their underwear, jammed into a 5 sqm cell and cigarettes were burnt into their bodies.
Also, back in September 2012, 16 Muslim clerics were rounded up at a checkpoint and summarily executed by the Malian army, which is now Britain’s ally.
Indeed, Britain could apparently pat itself on the back for setting the stage for the kidnapping of its own nationals in Algeria by helping the Malian government.
Britain should also answer whether the “botched” Algerian operation to free hundreds of hostages that left a few western hostages killed would have been also botched if the hostages were not white westerners, or if the scenario was one of British forces and its allies pounding Malian targets with huge civilians casualties on people with darker skins.