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Number of injuries in U.S. sponsored Syrian war overpasses 100,000

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 12, 2013

It is not a secret that the U.S. and other Western military forces working for the military industrial complex are aiding terrorists in Syria to create unrest and kill thousands of people. Just yesterday it was confirmed again that the United States is training Syrian rebels in Jordan to then send them to Syria.

The U.S. has also trained terrorists in Turkey, and provided intelligence and weapons to terrorist groups in Syria which are used to attack innocent civilians. All of this amounts to war crimes, but no one in the West has or will call for such a thing.

In the meantime, some 100,000 Syrians have resulted injured in the two-year war between government forces and armed rebel groups, of which a quarter have been disabled for life, says a UN commission of inquiry to that country.

These victims are in addition to the 70,000 people recognized by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a figure that the same entity, however, has calculated conservatively, but that is actually higher.

“As hostilities spread through Syria, fleeing civilians struggle to find safe spaces. The result is a wave of displacement, women and children who bear a tremendous burden, with millions caught up in the crisis, trauma and need psychological support,” said committee chairman, Paulo Pinheiro. However, neither Pinheiro nor anyone else in the UN called for an immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from Syria, which has helped turn the crisis into an even more complicated situation.

The escalation of violence in recent weeks explains how from one million Syrians who in the past two years have fled their country to seek refuge in neighboring countries, some 160,000 have done so “in a period of just twelve days”.

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Imposing Sanctions is a Declaration of War

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 8, 2013

If one looks through the list of events that can unleash military conflict between two or more nations, short of an unexpected military attack, sanctions is probably one of the top triggers for aggression. In a world as interconnected as the one we live today, sanctions are not only ineffective in curbing a country’s intention to achieve a goal, as recent history shows, but it is also a dangerous precedent that directly harms the prospect of international diplomacy.

It does not matter whether it is Diplomatic, Economic, Military, Trade or Sports sanctions, countries will always find a way to move around the limitations imposed by say, the United Nations, to get access to raw materials, money, equipment or to form strategic alliances. The only sure outcome that the imposition of sanctions brings is conflict. If anyone believes that Iran’s or North Korea’s threats to attack neighboring nations or western countries is exaggerated and dangerous, it is necessary to ask why would so-called non-aligned nations threaten with nuclear attacks or other forms of retaliation.

Under international law –something western countries love to cite when their interests are at stake, but now when they intend to harm non-aligned nations– sanctions are not only illegal, but also a provocateur action. As established by a 1996 report issued by the International Progress Organization, sanctions of any type, but especially those of the economic type, are “an illegitimate form of collective punishment of the weakest and poorest members of society, the infants, the children, the chronically ill, and the elderly.”

Governments punished with sanctions do not actually suffer any harm. The oligarchical or political classes in a country that is punished with sanctions do not suffer any harm, either. In fact, despite imposing sanctions, many supporters of such a tool of aggression continue to trade raw materials, military equipment and other products with sanctioned nations.

Although aggressor nations such as the United States, France, Germany, Italy and other that support sanctions on non-aligned countries claim that sanctions are the only way to stop a country from doing something they do not agree with, the truth is that as it is shown with every new round of sanctions, the next step is usually more conflict, more isolation and more suffering for the poorest people. Thus, sanctions are a step towards war, not towards peaceful solutions to bilateral or multilateral conflict.

The first step that needs to be taken to diplomatically solve a bilateral or multilateral problem is to avoid imposing sanctions or to remove all sanctions that already exist. This is so not only because punishment is not a positive incentive to negotiate, but also because no smart leader will seat to debate what to do about any issue with most of his or her people dying of hunger, disease or with an economy that is in the hole due to limitations imposed by aggressors. Of course, it is also possible that dictatorial regimes use sanctions and aggression from outside to manipulate the population in order to amass power, as it happens in North Korea, for example.

So what to make of North Korea’s latest threats towards the United States and its allies, after they met and voted in favor of imposing even more sanctions on that country? North Korea responded to the latest round of sanctions from the U.N. Security Council, which attempts to hurt the regime so it stops working on its nuclear program by directly threatening the United States with a preemptive nuclear attack if it continues to push for more aggression. Pyongyang also threatened South Korea in the last few days by saying it will abolish the armistice agreement that stopped the Korean War in 1953.

The latest round of sanctions imposed on North Korea, the U.N. Security Council says, is a response to Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, which incidentally were a reaction to the joint military drills conducted by the United States and South Korea. These drills occur every year and Kim Jong Un has cataloged them as a direct threat to his country.

An interesting premise for a complete analysis of this situation would be to invert reality and suppose that Cuba agrees to carry out military drills together with Iran or Venezuela somewhere in the Caribbean or a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida. How comfortable would the United States be? How would Washington react if one of its dearest enemies comes by to run drills with nations located close to its coast?

If sanctions imposed on Iraq, Syria and Libya did not yield positive results –the final outcome was war, which is what they are supposed to avoid–, if sanctions have not worked against Iran and certainly have not worked against North Korea, why are imperialist western powers still imposing more sanctions on third world nations? Is it not abundantly clear that sanctions is not one of the best tools to curb a country’s appetite for whatever western powers dislike? The answer is, conflict is everything that those who control western nations want to have, because it furthers their agenda to divide and conquer, to balkanize and bring unrest to nations that, just as they do, have the natural right to defend themselves if directly or indirectly threatened.

Having said that, it is clear that power drunk men such as Kim Jong Un, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Barack Obama should not be simply left alone or much less encouraged to do what they please with their war toys. If dictators are taken down in the East, they should also be removed in the West. Or is that the threat posed by a dictator in the West is less dangerous just because he is a western educated ‘sane’ man?

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Gender-bending compounds in toys, floors, cars and credit cards have ‘serious health implications’

Landmark study by the World Health Organization warns gender bending chemicals in your home, food and car ARE linked to a huge range of diseases

By FIONA MACRAE | UK MAIL | FEBRUARY 20, 2013

Chemicals found in every home may cause breast cancer, asthma, infertility and birth defects, global health chiefs said yesterday.

They warn the gender-bending compounds – used in toys, PVC flooring, car dashboards and credit cards – have ‘serious implications’ for health.

In a landmark report, the World Health Organisation suggested a ban might be needed to protect future generations.

It says it is ‘reasonable to suspect’ chemical substances called phthalates of harming female fertility and linked them with rising rates of childhood illnesses including leukaemia.

Also under suspicion is bisphenol A, which is found in a host of daily items including tin cans and sunglasses.

The man-made compounds are thought to interfere with the natural hormones that are key to our growth, development and overall health.

The WHO said there was ‘very strong evidence’ in animals they can interfere with thyroid hormones – something that can cause brain damage, stunted intelligence, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.

For prostate cancer ‘significant evidence’ exists of a link with agricultural pesticides.

And there was some evidence linking exposure in pregnancy to weight gain in infants and children and potential links to breast cancer.

In the same report ten years ago, the UN agency said there was only ‘weak evidence ’ that gender-bending chemicals were harming human health.

Declaring the chemicals a global threat, the new report’s authors said humans and animals were exposed to hundreds of compounds, many of which have yet to be identified or properly studied.

Some are inhaled in dust, others make their way into our bodies from food or simply licking our fingers.

FULL ARTICLE →

Barack Obama incites the world to declare war on North Korea

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 13, 2013

If anyone doubts whether the nuclear test carried out by North Korea is real, simply look at the reaction from Western nuclear powers, such as the United States and several European nations.

The nuclear test that North Korea conducted on Tuesday resulted in many reactions in the international community, which showed its concern by the new challenge of the Pyongyang regime.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the “provocation” carried out by North Korea needed an immediate international response that was “fast” and “credible” to the North Korean regime. “The United States will continue to take the necessary steps to defend itself and its allies,” he said in a statement. Although this is clear recognition that the test was real and that the United States is worried about it, it is difficult to remember such a weak answer from a U.S. president. Besides inciting conflict, Obama has no idea how to deal with North Korea, Iran or any other non-aligned nation.

China, Pyongyang’s historical ally, expressed its “firm opposition” to the nuclear test. Last week, Beijing warned the regime of Kim Jong-un, through official media, that if it carried out a new test the country would “pay the consequences”, and even managed to utter the taboo word “break” and mentioned a possible reduction in aid to North Korea. The survival of the North Korean nation depends largely on the support of the Asian giant, especially in terms of energy. Strangely enough, the United States and China are commercial partners and many of the goods the U.S. sells to China, end up in the hands of the North Koreans.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, condemned the nuclear test describing it as “very unfortunate”. The defense minister said that Tokyo will review the sanctions imposed on Pyongyang. Besides punitive measures promoted by the UN, Japan, which has no diplomatic relations with North Korea since making its first nuclear test in 2006, applies a full trade embargo on the regime of Kim Jong-un, denying visas to North Koreans and limited financial transfers between his country and its Asian neighbor. As readers may have already noticed, the supposed opposition to North Korea’s tests and the so-called sanctions are simply window-dressing practices.

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon has said it is a “clear and serious violation of Security Council resolutions.” He also said he was confident that its 15 members would take “appropriate action” in the meeting convened for Tuesday. But the U.N. has done nothing about the 2053 nuclear explosions conducted by the United States or the continuous leakage of nuclear radiation in Fukushima. Neither does the U.N. say anything about the tons of nuclear waste dumped in Italy or the thousands of tons of electronic waste dumped in Africa.

Russia has also condemned “firmly” the nuclear test, saying it is a violation of U.N. resolutions. “We condemn these actions and, along with the launch of a ballistic missile performed earlier (December), we believe they are in violation of Security Council resolutions,” said a source at the Ministry of Foreign News Agency Interfax. This is the type of hypocrisy that turns any negotiation sour. It is a violation of U.N. resolutions when North Korea does it, but not when China, Russia and the United States do it.

The British Foreign Minister, William Hague, said that the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea “is a threat to regional and international security” and that “it hinders the prospects for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula “.

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Jewish Settlements Violate Geneva Convention, says United Nations Human Rights Council

The body calls for an immediate withdrawal of all existing settlements occupying Palestinian territory.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JANUARY 31, 2013

A team of researchers from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations warned Thursday that Israel’s settlement policy in the Palestinian territories violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime. The Council said that, being a war crime, Israel’s policy falls within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (TPI), so it has demanded the suspension of such policies “without conditions” and the “immediate withdrawal” of all existing settlements.

“Israel should, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, end all settlement policy without conditions,” reads the report of the research team, led by the French judge Christine Chanet.

“They should immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the statement continued.

The research team was created in March 2012 by the Human Rights Council of the UN to analyze Israel’s settlement policy in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem.

The Israeli government has refused to cooperate with the experts and is shielded itself by claiming that the Council has an unbalanced approach and that its settlement policy in the West Bank is justified by the Bible.

In preparing the report, the experts questioned more than 50 people who came to Jordan last November to testify about the confiscation of land, damage to their livelihoods – including olive trees – and attacks by Jewish settlers , the statement said.

“The mission believes that behind these attacks and the intimidation against Palestinians and their property is hidden an order to expel the local population from their lands and allow the expansion of settlements,” continues the report.

The settlements, according to UN experts, “are enabling progressive annexation preventing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and undermines the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.”

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibits the transfer of civilians to occupy territories and their violation, the report said, could be considered a war crime and enter therefore in the powers of the International Criminal Court.

Therefore, according to the report, the possible ratification of the Rome Statute, which governs the TPI, “could lead to a process of accountability for serious violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law and the right to justice for the victims. ”

About 250 Jewish settlements have been established in the West Bank and East Jerusalem from since the military occupation of Israel in 1967. The settlements now hold an estimated population of 520,000 people, according to the UN report.

These settlements prevent Palestinian access to water resources and agricultural lands, continues the document. This past December, Palestine accused Israel of planning new “war crimes” by expanding settlements.

Following the decision of the General Assembly to recognize Palestine, Israel announced the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, two territories that otherwise would constitute the Gaza Strip, which is seen as part of the future Palestinian state.

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