Aletho News


Nuclear Savages

By BARBARA ROSE JOHNSTON | CounterPunch | June 1, 2012

Are you wondering about the disconcerting contradictions in the nuclear news in recent weeks?

Following the release of a May 2012 report, newspapers around the world posted headlines announcing that the World Health Organization concludes that Fukushima radiation emissions pose minimal health risk. Based on an assessment of reported emissions of radioiodine and cesium up through September 2011, Japan’s nuclear meltdown poses no serious cancer risk, except for localized exposures around Fukushima prefecture, which may result in increased risk of thyroid cancer.

In the same week, Japanese press reported the alarming news that TEPCO’s assessments of total radioiodine releases were some 1.6 times greater than the Japanese Government’s assessment while, on the same day, the Japanese government issued a reassuring statement that “while gross releases of iodine-131 and cesium-137 are actually far greater than originally estimated, the public can rest assured, as  releases to the sea have not resulted in contamination beyond the plant’s immediate area because the mixing power of ocean currents has dispersed the substances beyond the limits of detection in seawater samples”

Meanwhile, the US press reported findings from a study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrating that by August 2011, cesium-134 and cesium-137 from Fukushima was present in the tissue of Pacific blue fin tuna, as evidenced samples taken off the coast of San Diego, in Southern California. In the media storm that followed this report, government experts with the US Food and Drug Administration proclaimed no need for public panic, as radiation levels were detectable but simply too low to be hazardous and independent scientists explained why the presence, even at small levels, was so alarming and noted the need for additional monitoring.

As has been the norm in this most recent nuclear disaster, contradictory information abounds, with alarming news countered or contradicted by reassurances that muddy the water, yet achieve the goal of containing and controlling an impotent public.

We have been here before, in a world blanketed with nuclear fallout, where massive amounts of iodine, cesium, strontium and other radioactive isotopes moved through the marine and terrestrial food chain and the human body, in well-documented ways, with degenerative and at times deadly outcomes.  Yet, for many reasons, while the environmental and biomedical trajectory of such exposures are well documented, the human experience and associated public health risks are largely suppressed, classified, or simply and persistently denied.

Sometimes clarity is best achieved by stepping back, taking pause, and considering the historical antecedents and experiences that have brought us to these chaotic times.  A new documentary film by Adam Horowitz offers an opportunity to do just that.

Premiering June 2, at 6:30 pm at the Lincoln Center in New York City, Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1  is a poignant, provocative, and deeply troubling look at lingering and lasting effects of nuclear disaster and the human consequences of US government efforts to define, contain, and control public awareness and concern. Nuclear Savage recounts the experiences of the Marshallese nation in the years following World War II, as they played host to the US’s Pacific Proving Grounds and served as human subjects in the classified, abusive pseudoscience that characterized the US government medical response to civilian exposures from the 1954 Bravo Test, the largest and dirtiest hydrogen bomb detonated by the United States. Detonated in the populated nation of the Marshall Islands.

Here is the story: Following World War II, the Marshall Islands became part of the Trusteeship of the Pacific, and in 1946 after the detonation of two atomic bombs in the Bikini lagoon, the United States was given the authority to administer the islands as a Strategic Trusteeship. The terms of this agreement included the US obligation to “Protect the inhabitants against the loss of their lands and resources” and “Protect the health of the inhabitants of the Trust Territory.”

Between 1946 and 1958 the United States tested 66 nuclear weapons on or near Bikini and Enewetok atolls, atomizing entire islands and, according to records declassified in 1994, blanketing the entire Marshallese nation with measurable levels of radioactive fallout from 20 of these tests. To consider the gravity of this history: the total explosive yield of nuclear militarism in the Marshall Islands was 93 times that of all US atmospheric tests in Nevada, and more than 7,000 Hiroshima bombs. Hydrogen bomb tests were especially destructive, generating intense fallout containing an array of isotopes, including radioactive iodine, which concentrates in the thyroid and can cause both cancer and other medical conditions.

All told, by US estimates, some 6.3 BILLION curies of radioactive Iodine‐131 were released to the atmosphere as a result of the nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands: 42 times greater than the 150 million curies released as a result of the testing in Nevada, 150 times greater than the 40 million curies released as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. And, while comparison to the ongoing Fukushima meltdown is difficult as emissions continue, estimates to date have ranged from 2.4 to 24 million curies. Simply put, radioactive contamination in the Marshall Islands was, and is, immense.

Radioactive fallout from the 1954 Bravo Test not only blanketed a populated nation, but also severely harmed the 23 Japanese crew members of Daigo Fukuryu Maru (No. 5 Lucky Dragon) who were in Marshallese waters harvesting a school of tuna when fallout blanketed their vessel. The US provided antibiotics to treating doctors at the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Japan. One of the crew members,  Kuboyama Aikichi, died a few weeks later. In the Marshall Islands, residents of Rongelap and Rongerik Atolls who were evacuated in earlier weapons test but not informed nor moved before this largest of all detonations, experienced near fatal exposures.

News of the disastrous exposure of Japanese fishermen and Marshallese island residents fueled international outrage, prompting demands in the United Nations for a nuclear weapons test ban, a series of pacifying news releases from the US about the rapid return to health of exposed civilians.

What was not reported to an interested world public, is the news that the heavily exposed people of Rongelap, once evacuated, were immediately enrolled as human subjects in a top-secret study, Project 4.1, which documented the array of health outcomes from their acute exposures, but did not treat the pain or discomfort of radiation burns, nor utilize antibiotics to offset any potential infection.

Nor did the US make public the full array of findings from their extensive documentation of the character and extent of radioactive fallout during the 1954 and other nuclear weapons tests, which demonstrated the deposition, movement, and accumulation of radioisotopes in the marine and terrestrial environment of Rongelap and other northern atolls.

In 1957, the people of Rongelap were returned to their homelands with great fanfare, moving into newly built homes on islands still dangerously contaminated from prior nuclear weapons tests and clearly vulnerable to the fallout from the 33 bombs detonated in 1958. This repatriation of the Rongelap community was both planned and celebrated by scientists and officials at the US Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission, who saw a significant opportunity to place a human population in a controlled setting to document how radiation moves through the food chain and human body. Annually, and then as the years progressed and degenerative health symptoms increased, biannually, the US medical teams visited by ship to examine, with x-ray, photos, blood, urine and tissue samples, the relative health of the community.

It is this story of human subject experimentation with unwitting subjects that forms the core of the Nuclear Savage film, illustrating both the abusive disregard and human consequences of experiments that violate US law, the Nuremburg Code, and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that “no one shall be subject without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.”

Research conducted for the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal and recently submitted to a UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights adds more detail to narrative played out in Horowitz’s Nuclear Savage film.

The long term study of the human health effects of exposure to fallout and remaining nuclear waste in the Marshallese environment extended over four decades with a total of 72 research excursions to the Marshall Islands involving Marshallese citizens from Rongelap, Utrik, Likiep, Enewetak and Majuro Atolls. Some 539 men, women, and children were subject to studies documenting and monitoring the varied late effects of radiation. In addition to the purposeful exposure of humans to the toxic and radioactive waste from nuclear weapons, some Marshallese received radioisotope injections, underwent experimental surgery, and were subject to other procedures in experiments addressing scientific questions which, at times, had little or no relevance to medical treatment needs and in some instances involved procedures that were detrimental to their health. The United States Department of Energy acknowledged in 1994 administration of Cr-51 and tritiated water, and in at least three instances, Cr-51 was injected in three young women of child-bearing age. A 2004 review of declassified research proposals, exam reports, and published articles in support of a Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal proceeding found that a broader array of radioisotopes were used — radioactive iodine, iron, zinc, carbon-14 — for a wide array of experiments including research demonstrating the linkages between radiation exposure, metabolic disorders, and the onset of type-2 diabetes.

Arguably, while these experiences were abusive, a broader public health interest was being served, as the results of such science could potentially influence government policy and actions to protect humanity from the adverse health outcomes of nuclear fallout. And indeed, significant scientific knowledge was accumulated. However, the bulk of these findings demonstrated varied degenerative health effects resulting from chronic exposure to low-level radiation in the environment, findings which threatened political (nuclear proliferation) and economic (nuclear energy) agendas. Such findings were buried in the classified files.

For example, the presence and bioaccumulation of radioiron (Fe-55) in fallout from the 1958 detonations of nuclear bombs was documented in terrestrial and marine environments, including lagoon sediments, coral reefs, and reef fish, with alarming levels in goat fish liver, but this knowledge was not shared with the larger scientific world until 1972, nor shared with Marshallese until the declassification process supporting an Advisory Commission on Human Radiation investigation forced bilateral disclosure to the Marshall Islands Government in the 1990s. The movement of cesium through the soils, and bioaccumulation in coconut crabs, trees, and fruit – primary sources of food and liquid in the Marshallese diet — was also documented, with restrictions on the consumption of coconut crab periodically issued, without explanation. The movement through the food chain, bioaccumulation, and biological behavior of radioiodine in the human body was documented, and when thyroid nodules, cancers, and disease resulted, these conditions were studied and treated through various experimental means, though the relationship between nuclear weapons testing, fallout, contamination of the environment, and human subsistence in that environment was not explained until decades had passed.

In short, a wide array of other degenerative health outcomes were documented, including changes in red blood cell production and subsequent anemia, metabolic and related disorders; immune system vulnerabilities; muscoskeletal degeneration; cataracts; cancers and leukemia; miscarriages, congenital defects, and infertility…

However, when Marshallese residents suggested to US scientists that these and other unusual health problems were linked to the environmental contamination from nuclear fallout, their concerns were repeatedly and, because of the classified nature of the science, easily dismissed then. And, because time and the US power over the radiation health effects narrative is so immense and entrenched, they continue to be dismissed now.

The experiences of the Marshallese are particularly relevant to a world still coming to terms with the ulcerating disaster that is Fukushima, a point that is not lost to the members of United Nations Human Rights Council, which has been engaged in an effort over the past number of years to explore the varied means by which humans are unable to enjoy their right to a healthy environment, including the human rights abuses associated with movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes.

Mr. Calin Georgescu (Romania), the UN Special Rapporteur for toxics and human rights, has a mandate that includes, among other directives, a country-specific mission to investigate these concerns in the Marshall Islands, especially the human rights consequences of environmental contamination pertains from nuclear weapons testing and other US military activities.  In March 2012, Mr. Georgescu visited the RMI, interviewing displaced members of the Bikini, Enewetak, and Rongelap Atolls and other Marshallese citizens whose health and other rights have been severely impacted by living in a contaminated environment.

In April he traveled to Washington DC where he interviewed US government officials, met with independent experts such as myself, and discussed his investigation with the Marshall Islands Ambassador and the RMI UN representative. The Special Rapporteur is now preparing a report that will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva during their September 2012 meeting.

Why should a world community care about Cold War nuclear militarism in the Marshall Islands and its varied ulcerating consequences, especially given the many urgent and all to current crises we now face?

The US knowingly and willfully exposed a vulnerable population to toxic radioactive waste as a means to document the movement and degenerative health outcomes of radiation as it moves through the food chain and human body. This human subject experiment extended over the decades with profound consequences for individual subjects and the Marshallese nation as a whole. The Marshallese have become a nation whose experience as nuclear nomads, medical subjects, citizen advocates and innovators is shared by many citizens, communities and indigenous peoples around the world. Their experiences, consequential damages, and their struggles to  restore cultural ways of life, quality of life, inter-generational health, and long term sustainability, are especially salient to a nation and to a world concerned with the lingering, persistent, and invasive dangers of a nuclear world.

With both the US and RMI participating in the UN Special Rapporteur’s investigation, there is an obligation for both governments to receive and respond to the report recommendations in a timely fashion, and in subsequent reviews, to demonstrate truly meaningful remediation and reparation for their nuclear legacies in the Marshall Islands.

Furthermore, given the timing of the Human Rights Council review – when the US Presidential election cycle is in full swing – international scrutiny of Marshallese nuclear legacy issues may provide further fuel for the fires now raging over such questions as the effects of chronic exposure to low-level radiation, radiation monitoring, permissibility levels, who pays for the long term public health costs of nuclear energy, and the absurd notion that a tactical strategic nuclear military is a sustainable and viable option.

And, finally, given the historical role of the United Nations in designating the Marshall Islands as a strategic trust, there is a moral and legal obligation for the United Nations community to assist in the remediation, restoration and reparation due to the environment, health, and dignity of the Marshallese nation. International attention to this history and experience is long overdue, and sadly and sorely relevant to a post-Fukushima world.

BARBARA ROSE JOHNSTON is an anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Center for Political Ecology. She is the co-author of The Consequential Dangers of Nuclear War: the Rongelap Report. Her most recent book, Water, Cultural Diversity and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures? was copublished by UNESCO/Springer in 2012.  She is currently assisting the Special Rapporteur’s efforts to document the human rights consequences of nuclear militarism in the Marshall Islands, and supporting advocacy efforts to bring Marshallese citizens to Geneva so their own voices can be heard. Contact her at:

June 3, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli forces detain Hebron journalist

Ma’an – 03/06/2012

Sharif Rajoub works as a reporter for al-Aqsa radio station.

HEBRON – Israeli forces detained a local journalist in Hebron early Sunday, relatives said.

Soldiers raided the home of Sharif Rajoub in the village of Dura and took him to an unknown destination, his brother Mahmoud told Ma’an.

Rajoub works as a reporter for Al-Aqsa radio station. He was preparing for his wedding, which was set to take place next week, his brother added.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a man had been arrested in Dura overnight Saturday, but could not provide further details about his identity.

Another man was arrested in Ramallah overnight, she added.

Israeli forces have raided several Palestinian news outlets in recent months.

In late February, Israeli forces raided the university institute’s Al-Quds Educational TV in Ramallah-district Al-Bireh and confiscated its broadcasting equipment, claiming it was interrupting legal broadcasting.

The same day, Israeli forces also raided Watan TV’s newsroom in Ramallah and seized transmitters.

In May, Israeli forces arrested the director of a Jenin-based satellite channel after raiding his home. Soldiers confiscated Al-Asir TV station’s broadcasting equipment, the director told Ma’an.

June 3, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Comments Off on Israeli forces detain Hebron journalist

The Palestinians Must Just Be

The Palestinians must not ‘negotiate’

By Issa Khalaf | Palestine Chronicle | June 2, 2012

Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that Israel deliberately undermines peace and is single-mindedly pursuing the Palestinians’ socio-political extinction and national erasure, liberal supporters of Israel, who may acknowledge that Zionism’s historical and legal claims to Palestine do not hold up, insist on the “existential threat” rationale—the murderous historical persecution of Jews and its potential recurrence. This to them encapsulates Zionism’s and Israel’s justification.

This argument constitutes a variation of what one might call “saving a drowning man” analogy. That is, the ethical justification that European Jews, drowning in raging water (Nazi genocide), are not acting unethically in grasping to and taking possession of the Palestinian house unaffected by the currents. Force is ethically justified, an existential necessity, even if the goal of that force, as it was with Zionism, is not sharing the house, but replacing its occupants for the “good” of a moral imperative against which Palestinian injustice pales. To object that the Palestinians are not morally obligated to give away their house or even parts of it, much less die (drown), leave, and suffer to save others, more so because they are an innocent party, does not morally deter the existential threat argument.

I can understand the emotion, but the empirical and historical evidence and logic for all such contentions whose purpose is to support Zionism’s core argument are not borne out. For a number of reasons, which I will not detail here, the survival of the Jewish people in the mid-20th century hardly depended on or required a sovereign “Jewish state” in others’ land. To argue that Israel was inevitable by 1948 in light of the Holocaust does not constitute a moral justification for its creation. Actually, the supreme guarantor against anti-Semitism and persecution is living in liberal democratic, pluralist societies, which the West constructed. It certainly does not require Zionism’s vicious brutalization of the Palestinians.

One can also understand Israeli fear and trauma as cause for their irrationality. While this explanation—and the psychological need to neatly separate between a good pre-1967 Israel and an Israel corrupted by occupation—reassures well-meaning Israeli and American Jews, the nagging reality is of a proto-state Zionism and post-1948 Israel clearly aware of its military superiority and driven to colonize all of historic Palestine. It’s not clear at all that Zionism is compatible with a citizenship-based liberal democracy.

Israel’s behavior, like that of Washington’s, is neither accidental nor reluctant. Palestinian oppression and disappearance is Zionism’s precondition for its existence. Their displacement, dispossession, and the theft of their land—even their culture—continue remorselessly unabated. This, colonization, is a century’s long process, the remainder of historic Palestine, the occupied territories, cut and swallowed in whole swaths, given impetus since the early 1990s under cover of Oslo, Camp David, and the Quartet’s fictitious two-state “roadmap.” True sovereignty in the 1967 frontiers, coexistence, governance sharing of Jerusalem, refugee return will not be. Neither one state nor two, neither bi-national nor unitary secular democratic; instead, deliberate strangulation. The Zionists by ideological design have made living together in any form impossible.

The Palestinians’ current situation is in shambles. Their spatial fragmentation by Israel hardly leaves room (literally) for rebellions or Intifadas, not to mention the nationally exhausted West Bank Palestinians seem to want only to live their mundane lives, while those in refugee camps in surrounding states seem lost, leaderless, forgotten, isolated and unwanted, without national compass. Yet their self-appointed leaders, at least those in the occupied territories, continue to pretend they’re engaged in something worthwhile, even while Israel takes and takes and atomizes and walls, eventually annexing between 60 and 70 percent of the West Bank, leaving the Palestinians their few cities and towns in which to live and govern.

Jeff Halper, reminding us that Israel is in the process of annexing “Area C,” some 60 percent of the West Bank, dubs the Palestinians’ current situation as “warehousing,” a condition beyond occupation, beyond apartheid.

“…we’re finished. Israel is now from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, the Palestinians have been confined in areas A and B or in small enclaves in East Jerusalem, and that’s it. …

“Warehousing is permanent. Apartheid recognizes that there is another side. With warehousing it’s like prison. There is no other side. There is us, and then there are these people that we control, they have no rights, they have no identity, they’re inmates. It’s not political, it’s permanent, static. Apartheid you can resist. The whole brilliance of warehousing is that you can’t resist because you’re a prisoner.”

Anthropologist and lawyer, Darryl Li, looking at Gaza, offers a more illuminating and contextualized conceptualization. He argues that Israel’s historic strategy of “managing” the Palestinians evolved from Bantustan to internment camp to animal pen (“whose denizens cannot be domesticated and so must be quarantined”), under an overarching policy of what he terms “controlled abandonment.” Writing in 2008, he says:

“Since its beginnings over a century ago, the Zionist project of creating a state for the Jewish people in the eastern Mediterranean has faced an intractable challenge: how to deal with indigenous non-Jews—who today comprise half of the population living under Israeli rule—when practical realities dictate that they cannot be removed and ideology demands that they must not be granted political equality. From these starting points, the general contours of Israeli policy from left to right over the generations have been clear: First, maximize the number of Arabs on the minimal amount of land, and second, maximize control over the Arabs while minimizing any apparent responsibility for them.

“As Israel has experimented with various models for controlling Gaza over the decades, the fundamental refusal of political equality that undergirds them all has taken on different names, both to justify itself and to provide a logic for moderating its own excesses. During the bantustan period, inequality was called coexistence; during the Oslo period, separation; and during disengagement [from Gaza in 2005], it is reframed as avoiding “humanitarian crises,” or survival. These slogans were not outright lies, but they disregarded the unwelcome truth that coexistence is not freedom, separation is not independence and survival is not living.

“Disengagement, however, is not merely the latest stage in a historical process; it is also the lowest rung in a territorially segregated hierarchy of subjugation that encompasses Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and within the Green Line. Half of the people between the Mediterranean and the Jordan live under a state that excludes them from the community of political subjects, denies them true equality and thus discriminates against them in varying domains of rights. Israel has impressively managed to keep this half of the population divided against itself—as well as against foreign workers and non-Ashkenazi Jews—through careful distribution of differential privileges and punishments and may continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Of course there is always the possibility of occasional, dramatic acts of resistance…But…the inexorable governing logic of controlled abandonment seems likely to remain intact.”

There is another, lower rung to “controlled abandonment,” and that is genocide, which is happening on many levels anyway. The Israeli state has no plan, no vision of coexistence, certainly no intention of recognizing Palestine’s politico-moral equality or making peace other than to manage a population that it desperately wishes to make vanish. Israel’s apparent brilliance in implementing its will and getting its way is not about brilliance at all—it’s really self-destructive and stupid—but about the sheer, conscience-devoid application of violence against defenseless people, in all its forms, supported by unconditional imperial American power and disgusting self-righteous Western hypocrisy.

Mindful of the differences, the American Indian encounter with European settler colonists essentially offers the closest historical comparison to what is happening to the dispersed Palestinians, including the denuding of their national cohesion and identity.

Despite the persistently lamentable trajectory of their history, the abject failure, autocracy, corruption, rapacity, and incompetence of their leadership and the Arab regimes, the hopeless socio-cultural divisions of Arab societies, including the factionalized Palestinians, the unremitting hostility of Washington, the Israeli state’s prime directive of sustaining mayhem, division, and demoralization among them, the Palestinians, if nothing else, must merely be. Their reality, their existence in their homeland, forever an uncomfortable, unnerving reminder to their ethnic cleansers of their fact; they will not recede or vanish or be erased from history.

In historic Palestine and in exile, in the Arab world and farther afield, the Palestinians are in many ways a unique people. They never enjoyed an independent state or a constituted legitimate government, have no such reference, many of their educated segments perhaps even incapable of great love of country, construed in its menacing nationalist, hidebound, insular sense, for their condition is precisely that of the rootless, world wise, and transnational.

These powerless and forsaken people must insist on telling and retelling their story, despite being pushed aside, their authentic history denied and suppressed, by the Israeli-Zionist historical narrative, for that is the thin thread holding together their existence and identity. Jews understand this well.

At the same time, they must always reject violence and persist in engaging the Israeli opposition: the dissidents, humanist thinkers, leftists, human rights activists. The Palestinians must not “negotiate,” for there is nothing for which to do so. Their role is that of reminders to Zionist Israelis of their own humanity, despite the latter’s fear, hatred, and greed. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian people will disappear, the resolution of whose claims can only be based on democratic citizenship and human rights, on recognition of sins and suffering.

Zionism, unlike the Palestinians, of course is nowhere near this moral space, the eventual cause of its undoing. Nothing is finished, as nothing is permanent.

Issa Khalaf has a Ph.D. in political science and Middle East Studies from Oxford University.

June 3, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Italy may also launch drone attacks on Pak-Afghan border area

By Akhtar Jamal | Pakistan Observer | June 3, 2012

Islamabad—According to the United States is now planning to arm Italy’s fleet of MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with missiles and bombs, in a bid to “protect Italian armed forces from enemy threats” in Afghanistan.

Until now the United States and Britain had been using drones against “enemy elements” but almost all drone attacks carried out along Pak-Afghan borders areas had been carried out by American CIA.

The website claimed that the Obama administration was likely to announce the deal within two weeks, following which the US-built drones, operated by Italian air forces, will be equipped with weapons such as laser-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles.

The publication quoted Pentagon spokesman, George Little, as saying: “Italy is one of our strongest partners and Nato allies, and it’s important for us, for a variety of reasons, to share technologies and capabilities with them for purposes of burden sharing and to enable them to better protect themselves and, by extension, to protect the United States and our other allies.”

The American CIA carries out drone attacks citing “threats from unidentified enemies” and there are fears that if armed with missiles the Italian drones may also hit “possible enemies” considered a “threat to NATO forces”.

The report added that “Italy currently operates surveillance drones to protect its troops deployed to Afghanistan and it is likely that around six of them will be armed.”

The proposed sale may also assist the US in reallocating the global military operations burden, especially at a time when the Pentagon’s budget is facing deficit-reduction by requirements, report added.

According to the report the MQ-9 Reaper is a medium-to-high altitude UAV primarily designed for reconnaissance and surveillance and uses several kinds of sensors, including a thermal camera, and has six stores pylons that can carry a maximum of 4,600lb of weapons and external fuel tanks.

June 3, 2012 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MSNBC: No Time for Obama’s Kill List?

By Peter Hart | FAIR | June 1, 2012

The New York Times lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama’s drone “kill list” should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama’s criticism of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” policies? What does it tell us about how the administration identifies “militants” who are targeted for assassination?

But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts–and are basically absent from the liberal cable news channel MSNBC. In fact, a far more interesting discussion of these questions can be heard on Fox News Channel.

It’s not all good on Fox, naturally. Host Bill O’Reilly and guest Dennis Miller (5/29/12) joked about  whether they were on the kill lists . Geraldo Rivera defended the program on Fox & Friends (6/1/12). Fox “liberal” Bob Beckel did the same on Fox‘s The Five (5/29/12):

To even suggest that somehow there is something wrong with a kill list, for you to suggest that shows you how rabidly anti-Obama you are.

Part of that discussion focused on what the reaction would be if we were reading about George W. Bush’s drone kill list–a contrast that was raised on other Fox shows, and a legitimate one.

It wasn’t just that angle that Fox covered, though. On Special Report (5/30/12), James Rosen looked at the White House’s “fuzzy math” at counting civilian deaths from drone strikes. A Special Report panel (5/29/12) used a soundbite from the ACLU to illustrate criticism from the left.

But what about the channel that would seem the natural place for some of that left-leaning analysis? MSNBC has been mostly quiet. A search of the Nexis news database turns up nothing on Obama’s kill list. The program Morning Joe had one discussion (5/29/12) where the panelists mostly supported the program, though host Joe Scarborough expressed some reservations.

What was more newsworthy? MSNBC‘s prime time shows seemed to have plenty of coverage of “birther” Donald Trump.

And it is worth noting one left-leaning TV host who did present a critical take on the Obama drone program was Current host Cenk Uygur (5/29/12). Some might remember that he briefly hosted a show on MSNBC but left amidst disputes over whether management wanted him to tone it down. Draw your own conclusions.

*Also: Kevin Gosztola has a good piece about drones and media coverage at FireDogLake (6/1/12). And it should be noted that ABC correspondent Jake Tapper (5/29/12) asked some strong questions to White House press secretary Jay Carney, particularly about civilian deaths and how the administration was defining “militants.” As best I can tell, Tapper’s exchange with Carney was not included in any ABC broadcasts, but can be viewed at the link above (starting around the 13:00 mark)

June 3, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Comments Off on MSNBC: No Time for Obama’s Kill List?

Jewish teens ‘tied up and beat’ man shot by settlers

Ma’an – 03/06/2012

TEL AVIV, Israel – Initial findings from an Israeli army inquiry into a Nablus settler attack in May have found that teenagers tied up and assaulted a man shot during clashes, Israeli media reported Sunday.

Najeh al-Safadi, 22, was shot in the stomach by a guard from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar, relatives said, after wheat fields and an olive grove belonging to the village of Orif were set on fire by settlers on May 26.

The Israeli army said at the time of the attack that it would investigate the incident.

On Saturday, a senior army official told Haaretz that a group of teenage settlers rushed towards al-Safadi after seeing he had been shot, tied his hands together, and began beating him, the officer added.

Members of the Yitzhar settlement security team “operated against orders and regulations,” the officer added.

No arrests have been made.

The Israeli military said it is also investigating a similar incident from early May in which a video distributed by a peace group showed a settler shooting and wounding a Palestinian during a confrontation with rock-throwing Palestinians, as soldiers stood by.

June 3, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | | 1 Comment