Israeli soldiers have shot teargas and sound grenades at children who cross checkpoints 29 and 209 on their way to school in the morning on seven of the last eight school days.
International observers and human rights workers in Hebron have witnessed Israeli soldiers repeatedly firing grenades and sound bombs into the streets near these checkpoints while children are walking to school. The children attend several schools located both in the Old City and in the area of Hebron designated as H2, on the other side of the checkpoints, and include preschool students as young as four. Depending on where they live and which school they attend, children must cross these checkpoints in both directions to reach schools both inside the old city and in H2.
Because the Israeli military does not allow buses that transport younger children to preschool and kindergarten classes in H2 to cross the checkpoints, very young children living in the Old City must walk through these checkpoint areas in order to reach their school buses.
At times, the use of teargas by soldiers has been in response to several children throwing stones, but internationals have also witnessed soldiers firing teargas canisters without provocation. In any event, because so many children pass through the same area to reach school at the same time, hundreds of children, many of them in primary grades, suffer the effects of gas on an almost daily basis. Additionally, because the agents used to manufacture teargas are actually solids, they remain inside shops, on clothing, and in the streets where children walk and play throughout the day.
Although the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) prohibits the use of teargas and pepper spray in warfare, domestic police and state forces are allowed to use these weapons on people as “riot control” agents.
Tear gas is a non-lethal chemical weapon that stimulates the corneal nerves in the eyes to cause tears, pain—which can be extreme, immediate and severe nausea, and even blindness. Longer term effects include persistent coughing, shortness of breath, and other lung-related problems (heightened in people who already have lung problems), heart and liver damage, delayed menstruation, and an increase in miscarriages and stillbirths in women exposed to the gas. The NGO Physicians for Human Rights believes that “‘tear gas’ is a misnomer for a group of poisonous gases which, far from being innocuous, have serious acute and longer-term adverse effects on the health of significant numbers of those exposed.”
In addition to the effects of the gas, the teargas cartridges fired by soldiers can cause serious injury and even death if they strike people, especially if soldiers fire the cartridges straight into crowds rather than into the air. Internationals and Palestinians report having seen soldiers fire teargas straight into the roads near these checkpoints.
The teargas used on school children in Hebron comes primarily from the United States and is manufactured primarily by Combined Systems Inc. of Jamestown, Pennsylvania and Defense Technology of Casper, Wyoming. Combined Systems Inc. (CSI)—often manufacturing under the brand name Combined Tactical Systems (CTS) are owned by Point Lookout Capital and the Carlyle Group. CSI is the primary supplier of tear gas to the Israeli military as well as a provider to Israel’s police (and border police) for use in occupied Palestine.
Defense Technology is headquartered in Casper, Wyoming. Along with U.S. company Federal Laboratories, with which it shares a product line, it has links to the U.K. arms giant BAE Systems through BAE’s ownership of U.S. arms company Armor Holdings.
The War Resisters League has launched a campaign to abolish teargas, and to encourage people who have been impacted by its use to tell their stories. The campaign seeks “the global ban of tear gas by first ending the sale, manufacture, and shipment of tear gas made in the US through organizing and applying grassroots pressure on
- companies that produce the gas,
- the US government agencies that approve the export licenses for the sale of tear gas,
- US government officials who allow for the sale and transfer of tear gas to repressive regimes abroad,
- the prison and police forces within in the US who use tear gas and similar chemical weapons such as pepper spray to threaten, injure, and torture people.”
To learn more about teargas in Palestine and throughout the world, or to add your story to the campaign, visit facingteargas.org
Press TV – December 10, 2012
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) has signed a £1.2 billion contract with the arms-producer BAE Systems to build the navy a new nuclear submarine.
The submarine dubbed HMS Audacious is the fourth of seven Astute Class vessels that the MoD has ordered for the Royal Navy.
The ministry has also allocated another £1.5 billion for the rest of the Astute-class submarines.
The Royal Navy has touted the submarines as the most advanced at their service yet recent tests have raised serious questions about their applicability.
The first of the seven submarines named HMS Astute failed its sea trials last month after it was forced to resurface due to flooding problems that let tens of liters of water in.
The submarine also faced problems with its electrical instruments while its nuclear reactor monitoring systems also raised accuracy concerns.
- Troubled Astute submarine programme to get another £2.7bn (guardian.co.uk)
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond is to announce a multi-million pound contract for a new generation of nuclear missile submarines indicating Britain’s resolve to push ahead with its disputed Trident nuclear system replacement program.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the £350 million contract makes “clear the government’s firm commitment to maintaining continuous at-sea deterrence for future decades.”
The announcement comes as the British government’s study into a like-for-like Trident replacement is not even complete.
Those opposing the nukes replacement, including junior coalition partners in the Liberal Democrat camp, argue that a like-for-like replacement will be hugely expensive.
The Cabinet Office study, which apparently seeks to find a cheaper and scaled-down replacement for Trident, is now running under the supervision of the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and is expected to report results early next year.
The planned new fleet of Trident submarines is officially estimated to cost up to £25 billion but anti-nukes campaign group Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has put the real cost of a full replacement at more than £100 billion.
The £350 million contract is part of the £3 billion awarded last year to BAE Systems to pursue work on a new Trident fleet.
The Conservative Defense Secretary has already said that the government is committed to keeping “our continuous submarine-based deterrence.”
Lib Dems have formerly attacked the talks of a nuclear “deterrence” based on Trident or a like-for-like system saying Trident was designed to counter the threats of the Soviet Union, which has long perished.
- Is a like-for-like Trident replacement a good idea? | Poll (guardian.co.uk)
- Con-Dems put extra £350m into Trident (morningstaronline.co.uk)
Highly secret documents related to the Anglo-French project aimed at building Europe’s assassination drones have been stolen at the Gare du Nord station in Paris.
A briefcase containing highly confidential documents relating to the Anglo-French assassination drone project has been stolen from a senior French executive.
The senior executive from Dassault Aviation, a French manufacturer of military jets, was on his way to London when two people, possibly linked to “a highly-sophisticated operation by a spy agency” as described by the French police, stole the documents.
Britain and France agreed to carry out a joint project aimed at building a new generation of assassination drones, known as Male (medium altitude long endurance) drones, by 2020.
British arms giant BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation are to launch the joint venture so that the new assassination drones will fly over Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the US and Britain’s so-called “War on Terror.”
British anti-arms campaigners have severely criticized the Anglo-French project as they describe the assassination drones as “the latest ‘must have’ weapon system” that Britain is “desperate” to build.
“Drones are the latest ‘must have’ weapon system and it is important they say, that the UK keeps up with the US and Israel in this key market,” said Drone Wars UK in a statement.
- UK to complement US ‘Drone Wars’ (nation.com.pk)