Archive | February 3rd, 2016

Introduction: About this project

NOVANEWS
Fatal Extraction is an international collaboration combining corporate data and extensive field reporting to reveal deaths, injuries and community conflicts linked to Australian mining companies across Africa. Australia has more mining companies in Africa than other mining giants such as Canada and China.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) worked with 13 reporters from 13 countries in Africa. The African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) provided important logistical, data and editorial support.

It is one of the largest ever collaborations of African journalists. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Some stories that are in French will appear in the French edition of Pambazuka News.)

ICIJ reviewed financial reports, announcements and news articles reporting fatalities directly or indirectly connected to mining activities in Africa. We were able to document more than 380 deaths in 13 African countries since 2004.

ICIJ also reviewed more than 1,000 annual or quarterly reports and company announcements to investors to identify all mining companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that were actively exploring or producing minerals on the African continent as of December 31, 2014. We found 152 companies active in 33 countries.

This database was released on July 10, 2015, the day the stories based on this investigation began to be published. You can download the raw data here.

COUNTING FATALITIES SINCE 2004

The first part of ICIJ’s analysis consisted in counting and documenting all fatalities that occurred on African mining sites operated by Australian publicly traded companies starting from the beginning of 2004 up to June 11, 2015. We relied on automated processes supplemented by manual searches for the most recent months.

Most of the deaths ICIJ found were recorded in company reports posted on the ASX website or in announcements to investors. ICIJ combed through documents searching for specific keywords that would identify fatalities in connection with mining activities. In order to identify the mining companies listed since 2004, we purchased historical listings from Investogain Australia

As ICIJ used automated processes for identifying potential fatalities in mining company reports, there is a chance that some may have been missed and our analysis may be undercounting the overall number of deaths recorded by the companies. All fatalities identified by the automated process were manually checked and re-checked to ensure accuracy.

We also sifted through the news media archival databases LexisNexis and Arachnys to find all fatalities reported in the media. We cross-referenced the media reports with our findings from the mining company documents to ensure we did not double-count any deaths.

ICIJ included fatalities directly related to the mining activity (such as deaths from a landslide or onsite vehicle incidents) as well as fatalities indirectly related to the mining company’s presence in Africa (including deaths resulting from protests, assaults or other violence) that were reported in company filings, legal submissions and media reports.

Inclusion of fatalities on mine sites or in connection with a mining company does not suggest or otherwise imply that the company is liable or legally responsible for the death.

COMPANIES ACTIVE IN AFRICA IN 2014

ICIJ looked at all the last quarterly reports of 2014 published on the ASX website by companies belonging to the “Energy” and “Materials” sectors. Within this pile of documents, we ran a text-matching script to identify those listing “mining tenements,” a type of license that indicates a company is active in a particular location, and/or the name of an African country to identify countries that were active in mining on the continent as of the end of the year.

We also looked at annual reports of companies in the same sectors for any mention of African countries, and then manually identified any additional companies active in Africa that hadn’t turned up in our search through the quarterly reports. The combination of searches allowed us to more comprehensively identify companies that were active in Africa as of December 31, 2014.

EXPLORERS AND PRODUCERS, LICENSES AND AGREEMENTS

The idea was that we would identify explorers by looking at the quarterly reports – where companies list their exploration licenses to comply with ASX listing rule 5.3.3– and producers by looking at annual reports where they list operations.

Our list includes all companies that reported exploration tenement licenses and mining licenses with any ownership interest as of December 31, 2014. This means that we excluded “options to acquire” as well as licenses under application or relinquished by the end of 2014. We also excluded companies that were suspended or delisted by December 31, 2014 and companies that did not hold licenses themselves but had an interest in a company that owned a mining license in Africa.

We double-checked that we were not missing any company by crossing our results with a list provided to us by the company SNL Metals & Mining. We were also able to download a list of all ASX companies active in Africa, thanks to the mining database InfoMine, and we crossed their results with ours to identify companies our other processes might have missed.

We then logged the number of mining operations, licenses and farm-in agreements for each company/country combination. Farm-in agreements allow another company to join an existing licensee on a piece of land in drilling or exploration. ICIJ counted them in the “licenses” category. For every company, we also listed the minerals they reported exploring or extracting in each African country in which they were active.

CREDITS

Data Journalist
Cécile Schilis-Gallego

Data Contributors and Fact-Checking
Friedrich Lindenberg, Karrie Kehoe, Emilia Díaz-Struck, Rigoberto Carvajal and Delphine Reuter

Lead Reporter
Will Fitzgibbon

Data Editor
Mar Cabra

News Application Design and Development
Fernando Blat and Álvaro Ortiz (Populate)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Website:
http://fatalextraction.investigativecenters.org/#

Data: http://fatalextraction.investigativecenters.org/data.html

Podcasts: https://iono.fm/e/244662 & https://iono.fm/e/232698

Team: http://fatalextraction.investigativecenters.org/about.html#team

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Inside Discovery Metals’ troubled Botswana stay

NOVANEWS

Mbongeni Mguni

Image result for President Ian Khama PHOTO
Discovery Metals built Boseto Mine at a cost of $175 million and Cupric Canyon bought it for $35 million. Workers put in their sweat and tears and were driven out in buses.

With scores in attendance under white tents pitched on dusty sands on September 7, 2012, President Ian Khama officially launched the first of many mines on Botswana’s section of the 800-kilometre-long Kalahari Copperbelt.

“I wish to commend Discovery Metals that amidst the global economic ills, you forged ahead without wavering. You remained firmly focused to deliver the mine which employs about 500 people, 96 percent being citizens,” Khama told the motley audience of business suits and geologists’ khakis.

The event, held to mark the official commissioning of Boseto Copper Mine, was historic for several reasons. Firstly, it marked the first time the resources of the Kalahari Copperbelt in Botswana were commercially exploited.

That the areas around the western regions encompassing Ngamiland and North West districts, have been known to be rich in copper and silver since the early 1970s.

According to MOD Resources, a Perth-based copper developer also on the Kalahari Copperbelt, the first documented reconnaissance and grassroots exploration of the area was done in the early 1960s.

“Since then, the area has been subject to extensive exploration on nearby property. This has included thousands of metres of drilling, airborne and ground geophysical surveys, soil geochemistry and preliminary metallurgical investigations,” MOD Resources researchers note on their website.

HISTORICAL EXPLORATION

According to a report by globally renowned geologist, Tom Eadie, geological prospecting within the area later held by Discovery Metals began in 1962. In 1970 Anglo-Vaal located quartz veins rich in copper, silver and lead in the area of Northern Ghanziland before US Steel International Inc. took over exploration work in 1971 and in 1978 produced a detailed report on the discovery of copper-silver mineralisation at Ngwako Pan.

Anglo American got in on the act in the mid-1980s until 1993, completing soil sampling, electromagnetic geophysical surveys (both ground and airborne), a significant amount of drilling and metallurgical test work on the copper ore.

Even with the tomes of available geological data on the Kalahari Copperbelt, it was not until Discovery Metal’s arrival on the scene in 2005 that exploitation began.

Prior to this, the vagaries of capital, market prices and investor interest had stymied commercial development of the Copperbelt, with more focus on minerals such as diamonds and coal.

Discovery Metals’ arrival in Botswana dates back to transactions concluded between mining powerhouses in Australia in early 2003. According to available research, Discovery Metals was initially known as Discovery Nickel, a company born May 2003 when AIM Resources Limited divested its Australian nickel interests into the new firm.

The divestment was backed by exploration titan, Falconbridge Australia, which committed to not only ceding certain prospecting licences in that country, but also put its full technical weight to count.

Falconbridge has a rich history in Botswana, where it has been involved in several landmark mineral discoveries as well as milestones, including a processing agreement for BCL Mine, the country’s first copper mine.

Falconbridge also ranks among pioneering mineral explorers in Botswana and was key in discovering the kimberlite pipe under 70 metres of sand in central Botswana. Gem Diamonds is presently tapping into that discovery via Ghaghoo Diamonds and held an inaugural tender of 10,167 carats in February 2015, securing an average price of $210 per carat.

Backed by the robust explorer, Discovery Nickel made its debut outside Australia on July 1, 2004, announcing that it had secured an 80 percent interest in four nickel prospecting licences in northeastern Botswana.

BOSETO’S BIRTH

On October 4, 2005, Discovery Nickel – then led by Jeremy Read – announced that its “strategy of focusing on base metal resource opportunities in Botswana”, had reaped dividends in the form of successfully securing seven prospecting licences covering 6,333 square kilometres.

Known as the Maun Copper Project, the area was the subject of intense bidding among explorers, according to Read.

“Several other companies recognised the potential of the Maun Copper Project and competed for the tenements, but I am delighted to say that Discovery Nickel won through,” he told shareholders in an announcement.

“Being able to add the Maun Copper Project to our existing portfolio of nickel projects is another positive result to come from our strategy of focusing on base metal resource opportunities in Botswana.”

The awarding of the prospecting licences marked one of the earliest examples of the Department of Geological Survey’s competitive bidding process for mineral rights. Today, the same ‘auction’ system is used for diamonds and coal, particularly where a wealth of data from previous exploration is available.

For Discovery Nickel, the planning for Boseto took place at a time when copper prices were soaring, with the base metal first breaking through the $4.00 per pound barrier in 2006.

Australian Securities Exchange investors – where Discovery Nickel listed in 2004 – were merrily on board, fuelled by rising copper prices and early encouraging results from the drilling at the Maun project.

In June 2006, Discovery Nickel issued its first official resource estimate for the Maun project, indicating an inferred mineral resource of 20 million tonnes of copper at a cut off grade of 0.6 percent.

Discovery Nickel listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange as Discovery Metals’ Limited on December 8, 2006 with Read saying the move would open up access for local investors.

“We are very pleased to have completed our successful listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange and we look forward to developing a significant shareholder base in Botswana based upon ongoing success on both the Maun Copper and the nickel projects,” Read said.

The Boseto Copper Project was fast becoming a reality and with the listing, investors in Botswana had been given access to a mineral wealth success story on their own shores.

FINICKY FIGURES

A study released in July 2007 by mining consultants Snowden, showed that the Boseto Copper Project had the potential to be economically viable at copper prices of $1.50/lb and above.

“The current copper price is $3.58/lb and is forecast to remain significantly above $1.50/lb for the next several years, which has the potential to further increase the value of the project,” Discovery Metals announced, saying it was moving to a prefeasibility study.

“The Snowden study considered a range of different mining scenarios, which showed that for copper prices of $2.00/lb the range of potential project net present values was $60 million to $120 million and that range increases from $120 million to $210 million for copper prices of $2.50/lb.”

However, the pace of developments at Boseto took a massive knock in the third quarter of 2008, when the financial crunch came to bear on local mining developments.

Where Discovery Metals could previously use the robust copper price and its illustrious confirmed mineral resources to fundraise, the credit crunch meant investors paid greater scrutiny to where they put their money and in general were risk averse.

Copper in particular, being a metal who’s price is directly linked to global growth, took a beating and by December 2008, had collapsed to $1.4 per pound, or below the Snowden study’s break even point. The projection that copper would “remain significantly above $1.50/lb for the next several years”, had been incorrect and the impact was visible on Discovery Metals’ share price.

Copper prices did firm between 2009 and 2010 running counter to the global economy – due partly to world governments’ efforts to prop up their economies – with the brown metal reaching an all time high of $4.41 per ounce in December 2011.

However, prices weakened from that point forward and the debt and momentum gathered at Boseto meant its developers ploughed ahead towards commissioning despite unfavourable conditions.

Upgrades to the mineral resource (up to 45 million tonnes), a favourable Bankable Feasibility Study showing “significantly lower operating costs” and improved project economics as at December 2008, all helped project momentum.

In addition, in June 2008, the Government of Botswana had granted Discovery Metals an additional seven prospecting licences making the company the largest landholder on the Kalahari Copperbelt with 10,100 square kilometres.

THE END BECOMES NIGH

However, throughout 2009, there were signs of unease in the project, with several high-ranking shareholders such as Bank of America reducing their portfolios in Discovery Metals.

Discovery Metals pressed on, securing an offtake agreement and an Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractor and approval of its Environmental Impact Assessment all in 2010.

On September 2, 2010, Discovery Metals gave its EPC contractor, Sedgman, the greenlight to go ahead with construction, based on cash reserves of $33 million at the end of August 2010.

“Final Botswana government approvals, licences, debt and equity funding of the Boseto Project,” new MD, Brad Sampson told investors.

Up to this point, Discovery Metals’ technocrats said the numbers still balanced and the project would be viable. All eyes were fixed on the start of commercial production, the grades to be produced and the copper prices prevailing at that point.

In 2012, a fresh downturn in the copper price brought pressure on Discovery Metals and resulted in a flood of takeover offers, which were all rejected.

A SUITOR’S PROPHECY

One such suitor, Cathay Fortune told Discovery Metals’ shareholders that the risks to the Boseto project could be summarised as: single mine risk, commissioning risk, operational and technical risk, exploration risk and commodity price risk.

“There is a risk that the cash costs for the Boseto project will be significantly higher than as previously disclosed by Discovery. Discovery has not updated its estimate of projected cash costs for the open cut operation since 2010 and there has been significant inflation in African mining costs in the last two years.

“Discovery has only provided incomplete and limited information in relation to the cash costs of the open cut operation for production to date and has not released updated cash cost guidance since 2010,” Cathay Fortune said in a letter sent directly to shareholders on November 8, 2012.

“You forged ahead without wavering, amidst global ills.” Khama’s words at the commissioning earlier that year must have sounded portentous to Discovery Metals shareholders towards the end of 2012.

By the time Khama officially launched the mine in September, the company’s shares in Australia were valued at 1.66 Australian Dollars, its market capitalisation was AU$807 million (P6.4 billion) and its cash holdings were $86 million.

By the time of the half-year financials in 2013 – the first year of full production – Discovery’s share price had fallen to 74 Australian cents, its market capitalisation was AU$360 million (P2.83 billion) and its cash holdings were $37 million.

The last report the company filed before closing in February 2015 Boseto shows cash holdings of $3.1 million while the share price of 15 Australian cents is from February 27 when a trading halt was effected ahead of the suspension of operations.

WINDING DOWN

From the time Boseto commenced commercial production, higher than projected operating costs set against lower than expected copper prices kept the pressure up on the fledgling mine. While the company resisted several more takeover attempts, it slowly began to open up to suitors and narrowly missed a deal in November 2014 with Cupric Canyon, the Barclays Natural Resources-backed copper junior. By December 2014, the troubles at Boseto were all too clear. Management announced that Boseto would be mothballed for the next six months due to:

“The current and continuing soft market outlook for copper on world commodity markets, where copper prices have deteriorated by approximately $1,000 per tonne (approximately $0.5 per pound) during calendar year 2014 to their current four year lows and the prevailing high stripping ratio/restricted geometric nature of the Boseto open pits”.

Eerily, the reasons eventually cited for the closure of the mine late February echo Cathay Fortune’s own risk assessment made nearly three years earlier.

Cupric Canyon finalised the takeover of Boseto Mine for $35 million, which included repayment of creditors such as the Government of Botswana, Standard Chartered Botswana, Credit Suisse, Caterpillar Finance.

BOARDING BUSES

While the creditors received varying levels of repayment, the 422 workers at the mine boarded buses 0230hrs on February 27, 2015 as officials announced the end of a decade-long effort to extract value from the Kalahari Copperbelt.

According to unionists who were present on that frosty winter morning, the workers were ‘escorted’ by armed police into a fleet of buses and shipped to the nearby major village of Maun.

Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) president, Jack Tlhagale, says the scenes of that night were only the beginning of a litany of indignities for former Boseto workers.

Returning from the mid-morning chaos, Tlhagale and BMWU rushed to the High Court to secure a liquidation order, only to realise that the events of the night had been the result of one creditor securing a liquidation order. “There were no retrenchment negotiations or packages. The company was liquidated and when that happens, you cannot negotiate anything.

“You are merely given what’s due to you by the liquidator according to your employment contract, meaning pro rata salary, leave and allowances outstanding.

“The assumption is that the company is being liquidated and does not have money.”

Standard Chartered Bank Botswana beat other creditors to the punch and secured the liquidation order from the High Court in Lobatse. The preferred liquidator promptly tiered creditors in order of legal liability, with the workers pegged third after secured creditors such as government. The union aired radio and newspaper advertisements urging former workers to come forward for the compilation of a claim for the liquidator.

Tlhagale recalls that Cupric Canyon’s announced that it was prepared to make an offer to creditors as part of a bid to takeover Boseto. Workers and their union quickly found out that not all creditors are equal before the law.

When Cupric called a creditors meeting for June 12 to table their offer, one major creditor would not make it to that meeting – the workers.

“Workers found their accounts credited with their dues meaning the salaries, leave days and allowances before that meeting,” Tlhagale says.

“By sheer headcount, the workers would have outnumbered any other creditor at the creditors meeting and someone decided to pay them before that. “In any case, it would have been difficult for us to again locate the workers for that creditors meeting and they would also not have had the funds to travel from the various places across the country to where they were scattered after the mine’s closure.

“It could have put them into unnecessary difficulties.”

For the union, former Boseto workers’ problems are anchored in mining laws that favour investors over workers when mines run into trouble. According to Tlhagale, the law allows mine owners to pull off surprise closures and pay the legal bare minimum to affected workers, regardless of whether a recognition agreement with a union has been signed or not.

“At present, their former employer does not exist. There’s no Discovery Copper Botswana and no workers associated with it in the eyes of the law. The law should say, “before this many days, you have to meet with your workers and their union,” Tlhagale said. Under the Mines and Minerals Act, mines are only required to notify the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources of their intention to close. If the mine intends to shutdown production, it is required to give a year’s notice to the minister, failing which such notice should be made within 14 days of the closure.

“On receiving notification or if he otherwise becomes aware of any cessation, the minister may cause the matter to be investigated and may either approve cessation or order the resumption of production if this is in line with good mining practice,” the act reads, putting the ball firmly in the mine’s court.

GLIMMER OF HOPE

Scattered across the country in their ‘home villages’ the sole glimmer of hope for the 422 Boseto workers is a commitment made this week by Cupric Canyon, Boseto’s new owner.

The High Court lifted Boseto out of judicial management earlier in the month, following approval of the offer at the June 12 creditors meeting. Cupric Canyon on Monday outlined its plans for Boseto, which it says will transform into an underground mine from the current open pit and reopen by 2018.The priority, however, is on expanding and improving the processing plant at Boseto with a view to use it for the Cupric’s flagship project, a mine at the adjacent Zone 5, where construction is scheduled for next year.

Khoemacau Copper Mining, the Cupric Canyon subsidiary developing the Zone 5 mine, has so far taken on board 30 workers who were formerly employed by Discovery Metals.

“We have an undertaking to employ some of the redundant workers when Boseto reopens in 2018, but it would be unrealistic to have expectations of reemploying all the workers,” Cupric Africa Head of Human Resources and Communications, Clare Calver, told journalists.

Discovery Metals built Boseto Mine at a cost of $175 million and Cupric Canyon bought it for $35 million. Workers put in their sweat and tears and were driven out in buses.

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Aussies in toxic trail

NOVANEWS
Shinovene Immanuel, Ndanki Kahiurika
Image result for Namibia, a mining PHOTO
Namibia, a mining frontier for decades, continues to struggle with mining companies which subject workers to dangerous working conditions. Among the alleged culprits are Australian multinationals. Well-established Australian companies face allegations of treating Namibian workers differently by subjecting workers to health risks which would be deemed unacceptable back home.

An International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) investigation, in collaboration with The Namibian, found that Australian mining companies have been implicated in instances of death, disfigurement, and the displacement of people across Africa. They have also been responsible for environmental destruction.

That mining in Africa provokes controversy, even violence, is not new. Chinese companies receive regular criticism. Canada, too, has been forced to confront allegations of violence and even slavery linked to its mining companies.

The ICIJ investigation looked at Australia’s increasing role in exploring and developing mining projects on the African continent because it has been less examined.

TROUBLING

What ICIJ uncovered and pieced together suggests a troubling track record on the part of Australian companies in the rush for Africa’s minerals, including practices that would be impermissible, even unthinkable, in Australia and other parts of the developed world.

ICIJ found that, at the end of 2014, there were more than 150 Australian-listed active mining companies with recorded properties in Africa. Other estimates, using different criteria, put the number even higher.

Australian companies have 49 mining licences in Namibia; two of those companies are operational.

Even though Australian firms run successful mining companies which contribute to Namibia’s economy and workplace conditions have improved compared to two decades ago, there are still questions about the safety of workers.

Thousands of people, including village chiefs, former employees, human rights defenders and government agencies across Africa have taken Australian companies, their subsidiaries and their contractors to court for alleged negligence, unfair dismissal and eviction or pollution, according to court submissions and judgements unearthed from more than a dozen countries.

LANGER HEINRICH

Examples include Langer Heinrich Uranium mine, which was investigated in 2013 after a leading trade union, the Mine Workers Union (MUN), called for a probe into claims that pregnant employees were required to work in radiation-exposed areas.

The Langer Heinrich is owned by Paladin Energy. The Chinese state-owned nuclear firm bought shares in the company last year.

Workers’ concerns centre on the safety and health of expectant mothers and the conditions under which they work. According to them, there were cases of women going into premature labour, pregnant mothers having to travel long distances, as well as the alleged disregard of orders issued by doctors.

Even though the medical records of three women who lost unborn babies concluded that two were abortions, a recent report by the office of the Prime Minister also pointed fingers at the Australian mine.

The Prime Minister’s report, obtained last month, said there is a lack of safety at Langer Heinrich and that the workers are not aware of policies, rules and procedures as outlined in the radiation management plan.

It was also found that the company has been tardy when it comes to submitting reports to government. The 2011 annual report was submitted only in April 2013 and the 2012 exposure result provided in July 2013.

The 2011 dose results reviewed by the investigators found some discrepancies that needed to be explained.

“By implication, if it becomes known that a female worker is expecting, the working conditions must be adapted to avoid occupational exposure to ensure that the annual dose remains below ,” said the report.

The report also said that there is minimal information exchange with the workers and their representatives.

According to the investigators, the mine should have a radiation safety officer and assistant dedicated to radiation-related work only. They should be assisted by an appropriate number of assistants based on the work load and the extent of the activities related to radiation safety.

“This is a matter of concern which must be addressed with urgency,” the report said.

Spokesperson of the company Ratonda Katjivikua said the alleged “lack of safety culture” cited in the report mainly related to policies, rules and procedures concerning radiation management, while the section on general safety makes it clear that safety should be the concern of all involved – individual employees, their immediate supervisors, the company, trade unions and indeed the regulatory authorities.

She said LHU started a voluntary onsite pregnancy testing programme.

LHU said a radiation monitoring programme has been operating for some time to determine radiation characteristics around the mine site.

“This monitoring programme also generates data for the annual radiation report, enabling LHU to meet its reporting obligations in a timely manner,” she said.

CRATON MINING

Exploration company Craton Mining and Exploration is a subsidiary of Australian-based International Base Metals. Last year, Craton received a 20-year mining licence to explore the proposed Mitiomire copper mine 140km north-east of Namibia’s capital city Windhoek.

Daily newspaper Namibian Sun reported in 2013 that farmers living close to the mine accused the company of not consulting them over the environmental risks of the project.

Craton Mining’s country representative Karl Hartmann said they held public meetings about the project at which farmers made suggestions on mitigating the social and environmental impacts to their community.

“These suggestions have been considered and many of these have been incorporated into the development and planning of the project as well as the updated social and environmental impact assessment,” he said.

Hartmann said the proposed mining methods have a relatively low impact on the environment and, together with mitigating measures, the aim is to minimise the effect on the daily lives of the local community.

RÖSSING

Rio Tinto owns Rössing Uranium Mine. An investigation found that some employees who worked at Rössing in the 1970s are dying of cancer.

This is included in a report released last year by Earthlife Namibia and the Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRi). It said ex-Rössing miners who dug uranium ore to supply raw material for bombs and civil nuclear power to the British and US military in the 1970s are reported to be dying of cancer and unexplained illnesses.

“These workers started working in the mine in the 70s and early 80s when safety conditions were non-existent or very poor,” the report said. The researchers recommended a large-scale epidemiology study by independent medical experts to examine workers who started working in the 1970s or early 1980s.

The Namibian government holds a 3% stake in the mine, which produces around 7% of the world’s uranium. The Iranian government has a 15% shareholding.

A year after that report, Earthlife Namibia said Rössing had not allowed them to inspect the mine as requested. “We tried a couple of times but they did not want,” said Bertchen Kohrs, the director of Earthlife Namibia. Instead, they were referred to another ministry for an environmental assessment of the mine, she said.

Rössing managing director Werner Duvenhage said they commissioned a study to understand the potential impact, if any, of occupational radiation exposure at the mine on workers’ health by using their medical and radiation exposure records that date back to when mining operations began.

“The process of identifying a suitable external service provider with the required credentials for the execution of the study started early this year and the University of Manchester has been identified as the provider to conduct this epidemiological study which is expected to be completed in 2016,” he said.

Duvenhage said safety remains their priority.

“Our goal remains zero harm- the solid establishment and maintenance of an illness and injury-free workplace, where everyone goes home safely each day,” he said.

NOMADS THREATENED

Australian company Deep Yellow Limited (DYL) has been in the news for environment – related concerns in their development of the Aussinanis uranium project.

The deposit is about five kilometres from the Gobabeb research centre, and about one kilometre from the Topnaar village. The Topnaars, located on the fringes of the Namib Desert, are one of the oldest Namibian tribes. The area also accommodates a research and conservation centre, Gobabeb.

Environmentalists fear that constructing a mine in the area will affect the centre as well as conservation in the Namib Naukluft Park – the largest nature reserve in Namibia, spanning an area larger than Switzerland.

Since 1997 Gobabeb has been a regional centre of promoting management of natural resources in arid environments.

DYL’s operations in Namibia are run by a subsidiary, Reptile Uranium Namibia. Its country manager, Peter Christian, insisted that any possible future mine development at Aussinanis will have to undergo environmental scrutiny.

He said the community was consulted prior to exploration. “Relations with both Gobabeb and the Topnaar community remains amiable and transparent,” he said.

NUMBERS

According to accessible records, more than 380 people have died in on-site accidents or off-site skirmishes linked to Australian Securities Exchange-listed mining companies since the beginning of 2004.

ICIJ included people killed away from mine sites in incidents, protests and military interventions linked to these companies, even in cases where companies deny liability.

“Mining is a risky and dangerous business, but in Australia we have the protection of trade unions and robust laws to prevent the risk of fatalities, violence and conflict,” says Serena Lilywhite, mining advocacy coordinator at Oxfam Australia. “This is not the case in many African countries.”

Exact comparisons are difficult. Factors such as the type of mineral produced and the level of mechanisation in different countries influence fatality numbers.

The mining industry has treated the continents very differently. Starting salaries for Australian mine workers is around US$60 000 (N$750 000), while the median minimum mining wage in South Africa, the best-paid jurisdiction on the continent, is about US$5 500 (N$68 000).

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CRITICAL ADVANCES BY SYRIAN ARMY EVERYWHERE

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

GENEVA TALKS FLOPPED; SAUDIS AND TURKS ENRAGED BY FAILURE

image: http://albaathmedia.sy/wp-

عمليات-الجيش-العربي-السوري-في-ريف-دير-الزورALEPPO:  Other than publishing the names of the Syrian government’s delegation to the Geneva-3 talks, we haven’t really paid much attention to what many sites in the Alternative Media call “farcical”.  I don’t agree that the talks in Geneva are “farcical”.  I just disagree with the word.  A farce is usually something funny, often a light comedy with characters who bungle their way through some challenge which, in itself, is absurd.  I often leave theatres in a jovial mood after sitting through an elegant, and well-scripted farce.  But, the talks in Geneva are, actually, just “useless” or “pathetic”.

Without a Kurdish delegation, the talks are doomed.  And, as long as the Saudis cast a simian shadow over the meeting, you can be assured nothing can come of it.  The Turks don’t want the Kurds involved.  The Saudis want their favorite internationally recognized terrorists to be involved.  Does anybody wonder why Dr. Bashaar Al-Ja’fari declared the entire opposition delegation to be a “bunch of amateurs with no experience in politics”?

The Syrian opposition, besides always asking for Dr. Assad to step down as president of the republic, are now insisting frenetically on a “cease-fire”, for one; a “cessation to all sieges laid by the government”, for two; and “a release of all detainees”, for three; “humanitarian aid to deprived areas even though it is the terrorists who prevent the aid from arriving, for four.  The real meaty issue now, however, is getting the Syrian Army to stop defeating the terrorists, most importantly in Aleppo.  They are watching in Geneva the unfolding of a catastrophic debacle because of which the SAA is now able to completely cut off all supply lines from Turkey.  (See our Al-Manar article in the News section below).  The Turks, in the meanwhile, are testing Russia’s patience by massing forces and even entering Syria in violation of international law.  By doing so, the Turks have taken themselves out of the NATO alliance’s mutual-defense protocols because they are instigating conflict.

There are critical developments taking place today and the Syrian opposition, which is mostly made up of mercenaries hired by Saudi Arabia, is receiving daily and hourly reports about the cesspool in which their terrorist heroes are finding themselves.

I have written substantially about the significance of ‘Anadaan before.  It is the northern gateway into Aleppo and is crucial for control over the northern capital.  Only a few hours ago, the SAA established unchallenged control over the Maayir-‘Anadaan Road.  This is the most important single supply route for the terrorists inside Aleppo.  No more.  Add to that the sudden, unexpected SAA assault on all rat positions on the Aleppo-A’zaaz Road to Turkey.  That route is now also completely controlled by the SAA.   As I write, I can confirm to all readers that the terrorist defenses, all their fortifications and revetments are now a thing of the past in the northern rural area of Aleppo as testified to by hundreds of intercepted communications between them and their Turk/Saudi/British handlers.  And now, for even more tartness, the SAAF has dropped thousands of leaflets over all areas controlled by rodents.  The gist of the leaflet is that residents had better start evicting their unwanted pests because a dome of fire is going to descend on their neighborhoods very soon.  The alternative in the leaflet is that residents should leave their areas temporarily in order to allow the army to blast the rodents out.  Residents are asked to turn in foreign terrorists to the security services, the NDF or the SAA.

All the while, the 4th Mechanized Armored Division is taking position around the besieged towns of Nibbul and Al-Zahraa`.  The assault will start any hour now.  Already, reports are coming in to us indicating large-scale defections and desertions among the Nusra/Alqaeda rodents with many being shot on sight while driving away.  I am predicting an easier-than-normal breaking of the siege and I expect an announcement during the next 48 hours.  I can’t wait to see the throngs of long-suffering Syrian citizens emerge from their hovels to greet the victorious army of Syria, of the Ba’ath, of the people.  I would not want to be a captured foreign rodent when HZB or the PDC comes in for the Day of Judgment.

There are vague reports in several reliable media sites declaring a “mass defection” to the Syrian Army by northern former rodent terrorists.  I am watching this development carefully and will bring detailed information upon receipt.  In the meantime, rodents are calling for “general mobilization” in the north Aleppo area and for reinforcements from Idlib – which we believe will never come.

Anadaan Town:  An unnamed Nusra/Alqaeda leader has been killed here by SAA artillery.

Maayer-Ma’rasat Al-Khaan Road:  This is another major supply artery to the rodents who have escaped from other areas.  It is now under the control of the Syrian Army.  This road is important for the lifting of the siege at Nibbul and Al-Zahraa`.

Ma’arasat Al-Khaan Hamlet:  This is the only obstacle before the SAA reaches Nibbul and Al-Zahraa`.  Yesterday, the SAA destroyed 4 pickups with 23mm cannons and undefined weapons and ammunition.  This area has a high concentration of rodents belonging to Nusra/Alqaeda and Ahraar Al-Shaam.

Rutyaan:  Syrian Army now has complete artillery control over this town.  It is south of the recently liberated village of Hardatneen.  Artillery purportedly killed 5 rodents there last night.

Heavy fighting in Tal Rif’at and Maari’ with no details.  The SAAF has flown 150+ sorties over this area during the last 24 hours.

Al-‘Uwaynaat Village:  Just liberated by the SAA in ISIS-controlled area of rural east Aleppo.

Bayaanoon Hatchery:  The SAA has destroyed a rat position.  No other details.

Terrorist rodent web sites have acknowledged these dear departed:

‘Umar Qateesh (Var: Qutaysh) Leader of Kataa`ib Rijaal-Ullaah (The Brigades of the Men of God, yawn)

Abu Hamza Al-Halabi   (His deputy)

Muhammad Hamdu Al-Haayik

Muhammad Haytham Qinti

image: http://www.sana.sy/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/sana-army1-660×330.jpg

sana-army NEWS AND COMMENT:

Enjoy this appeal from trapped rats in Aleppo monitored by the SAA-MI and given to HZB for publication with Al-Manar.  In Arabic with subtitles:

http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=253295&cid=23&fromval=1

Read more at http://syrianperspective.com/2016/02/critical-advances-by-syrian-army-everywhere-geneva-talks-flopped-saudis-and-turks-enraged-by-failure.html#Xc8yipOppiyudkEg.99

Posted in SyriaComments Off on CRITICAL ADVANCES BY SYRIAN ARMY EVERYWHERE

Solidarity with Administrative Detainee Mohammed al-Qeeq

NOVANEWS

In Cooperation with Prisoners’ Committee of Islamic and National Factions, PCHR Organizes Activity in Solidarity with Administrative Detainee Mohammed al-Qeeq

الوصف: DSC_0099

On Wednesday morning, 03 February 2016, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) organized an activity in solidarity with journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq, the administrative detainee on hunger strike, at the Commodore Hotel in Gaza City. The activity was held while al-Qeeq has been enduring his open hunger strike for 70 consecutive days and the resultant health deterioration amidst Israeli relentless attempts to force-feed him again. It should be noted that Nazi forces force-fed al-Qeeq in the past days in violation of his right not to be tortured or degradingly treated, and in a manner jeopardizing his life.

The activity was opened by Dr. Riyadh al-Za’noun, Chairman of PCHR’s Board of Directors, who highlighted that al-Qeeq had started this open hunger strike because he experienced unbearable oppression and injustice during the administrative detention period. Al-Za’noun pointed out that the administrative detention under which al-Qeeq is placed is in itself a war crime and a detention of the freedom of speech that is legalized by the Nazi courts although al-Qeeq’s life is at stake. All of this happens while the whole world is watching but doing nothing.

الوصف: DSC_0076

Mr. Yasser Saleh, representative of the Prisoners’ Committee of Islamic and National Factions, delivered a speech in which he stressed that al-Qeeq is a free person, who pledged himself to expose the daily violations committed against the Palestinian people to the world. Saleh added that Nazi forces by detaining al-Qeeq aimed at targeting and silencing media personnel and confronting the freedom of expression. He further said that al-Qeeq was resisting the Nazi occupation when he was outside prison by performing his duties as a journalist, while he is resisting the occupation inside with his hunger and empty stomach. Saleh underscored is also trying to put an end to the administrative detention policy that can be applied against any of those practicing the freedom of opinion and expression in spite of his deteriorating health condition that resulted in speaking and hearing loss and a blurry vision.

الوصف: DSC_0085

Mr. Emad al-Efranji, Director of the Palestinian Journalists’ Forum, said that Nazi occupation is the reason behind the suffering of the Palestinian people for tens of years; the Nazi occupation that uprooted the Palestinian people and occupied their land. Al-Efranji further said that Nazi forces arrest journalists to conceal the truth by killing and arresting them or confiscating their equipment. He added that the Nazi forces always accuse journalists of “media incitement”. Al-Efranji highlighted that the Palestinian journalists are known for their devotion at work and annoying the Nazi occupation with pens and cameras, therefore, they are accused of such an accusation.

الوصف: DSC_0094

Moreover, lawyer Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR, confirmed that we cannot talk about Justice and law under the Nazi occupation, and everyone who thinks that Nazi respects human and public rights is misguided, because Israel is the opposite of justice, human rights and freedom of expression. Al-Sourani pointed out that the Nazi military courts from the beginning of the occupation have never been applied Justice or law; they rather practice the law of the jungle because all the military orders violate the law, justice and human rights. Furthermore, Sourani added that al-Qeeq won his battle from the first moment of his hunger strike, clarifying that freedom and dignity reflect a state of moral, humanitarian and cultural superiority towards the barbaric practices of the Nazi occupation. In addition, he underscored that everyone who was involved in the force-feeding crime against al-Qeeq, including legislators and doctors, who were directly involved in this crime, will be prosecuted.

الوصف: DSC_0117

Journalist Fayhaa Shalash, al-Qeeq’s wife, emphasized via phone from Ramallah that her husband has been on hunger strike drinking only water but without any dietary supplements. In addition, she said that Nazi forces prevent family visits to him and he is still handcuffed in spite of his presence at the hospital. She pointed out that she and his family do not know anything about his heath; they only know about him from the news. Moreover, Shalash underscored that her husband refuses any deals with the Nazi occupation and his only demand is freedom.

At the end of the activity, the participants delivered speeches in which they called for conjugating efforts to support al-Qeeq and all Palestinian prisoners in the Nazi camp.

 

 

 

Public Document

**************************************

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Solidarity with Administrative Detainee Mohammed al-Qeeq

Kashmir Day: The Struggle Continues

NOVANEWS

Image result for Kashmir FLAG

By Sajjad Shaukat

Since 1990, the 5th of February is being celebrated by Pakistanis and Kashmiris as ‘Kashmir

Solidarity Day’ to pay homage to Kahsmiri martyrs and to show solidarity with the freedom

fighters who are demanding their legitimate right of self-determination, as recognized by the UN

During the partition of the Sub-continent, the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)

which comprised Muslim majority decided to join Pakistan according to the British-led formula.

But, Dogra Raja, Sir Hari Singh, a Hindu who was ruling over the State of Jammu and Kashmir,

in connivance with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor General Lord

The design to forcibly wrest Kashmir began to unfold on August 16, 1947, with the

announcement of the Radcliffe Boundary Award. It gave the Gurdaspur District—a majority

Muslim area to India to provide a land route to the Indian armed forces to move into Kashmir.

There was a rebellion in the state forces, which revolted against the Maharaja and were joined by

Pathan tribesmen. Lord Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar.

When Pakistan responded militarily against the Indian aggression, on December 31, 1947, India

made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into

effect on January 01, 1949, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir to

enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine whether they wish to join Pakistan or

India. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise of holding plebiscite. Instead, in

March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India-an

integral part of the Indian union.

The very tragedy of Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied their genuine right

of self-determination. They organized themselves against the injustices of India and launched a

war of liberation which New Delhi tried to crush through various forms of brutalities.

It is notable that since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its

repressive regime in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) through various machinations.

Nevertheless, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the

Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has

been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted

killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation

of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter.

According to a report on human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, since 1989,

there have been deaths of 1,00000 innocent Kashmiris, 7,023 custodial killings, 1,22,771 arrests,

1,05,996 destruction of houses or buildings, 22,776 women widowed, 1,07,466 children

orphaned and 10,086 women gang-raped/molested. Indian brutal securities forces have continue

In fact, Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir

Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and

Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for the arbitrarily arrest of any individual

Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out

grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim

majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security

In its report on July 2, 2015, the Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of

the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian Held Kashmir. The

report points out, “Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered

Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows troops to shoot to kill suspected

militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been

tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir…this lack of accountability has in

turn facilitated other serious abuses…India has martyred one 100,000 people. More than 8,000

disappeared (while) in the custody of army and state police.”

In this respect, European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by

Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.

It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages

across the northern regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups

reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. In this respect, in August, 2011,

Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission officially acknowledged in its

report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked

Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have revealed that unnamed graves

include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake

encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.

And, as part of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach, leader of the BJP and Prime Minister of

India Narendra Modi who is giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism not only accelerated

unprovoked firing at the Line of Control in Kashmir including Working Boundary in Sialkot, but

also suspended the Secretary level talks with Islamabad. Now, he has been raising baseless issue

like Pathonkot terror attack, (which was orchestrated by India), Mumbai mayhem and terrorism

as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue. But, he ignored the fact that on July 19,

2013, the Indian ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in

November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the

Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

It is noteworthy that Modi regime hurriedly decided to forcibly annex disputed territory of the

State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), uncovering its intentions to wrap up the article 370 of the

Indian constitution which ensures a special status to J&K. Therefore, United Nations Military

Observer Group India and Pakistan in New Delhi was asked to vacate official accommodation.

In fact, BJP government‘s long term strategy is to affect demographic changes in the Indian

occupied Kashmir by composition of the region—predominately with Hindu population.

During one year of People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-BJP alliance government in the Indian

Occupied Kashmir, BJP in aid of RSS has furthered its agenda of complete integration of

Kashmir into India. Though legal experts of India and IOK High Court have clarified the

permanent status of Article 370 of Indian Constitution, BJP’s agenda of trifurcations is still on

table. In this regard, BJP is in hot pursuit of Mission 44+in IOK Assembly elections 2020.

However, short of that, BJP and RSS are busy in changing religious identity of the State. For

example, special concessions were given to expand the horizon of Amarnath Yatra to project that

Hindus have greater stakes in IOK than Muslims.

Special efforts are being made for demographic engineering in the State. For instance, West

Pakistan Refugees have been recruited in the Indian Armed Forces from IOK quota. Allocation

of lands for separate cities for repatriating Hindu Pundits and allocation of INR 2 million for

rehabilitation of each Pundit family in the Valley are aimed at creating Hindu constituencies in a

thorough Muslim region of Valley through delimitations.

On the other hand, the sectors of health, education, local infrastructure, social support and rural

development are being controlled by BJP MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly). Major

projects of the State are being announced and are implemented in Hindu dominant-BJP

constituencies to give a message that only BJP’s voters are entitled to a standard living. Through

these tactics, BJP is longing for Mission 44+ in next IOK Assembly elections.

Kashmiri Hurriyat leadership has been suppressed by the PDP-BJP government by not allowing

them to organize rallies for demanding freedom and expressing love for Pakistan. Their leaders

were detained in Police Stations or kept under house arrests during all important events.

Detention of Masarat Alam, even after acceptance of bail by IOK High Court, exhibits coercive

mechanics of Indian forces/police in the State.

Indian malicious intent is evident from the blame game against Pakistan for every internal

security issue, merely to avoid serious dialogue on bilateral issues as well as the humanitarian

crisis in Kashmir. Pakistan is committed to the just and democratic solution of the Kashmir issue,

which is plebiscite, however, India has never been serious in resolution of the dispute, neither

through bilateral dialogue nor involving third party mediation nor by abiding by the UN

In the wake of changing regional and global dynamics, resolution of the issue has become a top

most priority, but unsensitized international community is perhaps waiting for emergence of a

regional crises out of Kashmir dispute. As global players do not find any interest in resolution of

the dispute, it has become a humanitarian issue in the region.

As matter of fact, Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political

grounds. New Delhi reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with

Kashmiris, demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive

governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the

But, New Delhi is still showing its intransigence in order to resolve Kashmir dispute with

Pakistan by neglecting the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s serious and sincere effort at the annual session of the United Nations in

December 2015—the speech of Pakistan’s prime minister and his meeting with the American

president, highlighting the Kashmir dispute and demanding its solution has infused a new spirit

among the Kashmiri people.

Nonetheless, by exposing the double standard of the US-led western countries which still remain

silent over the Indian injustices, Kashmiris, living both sides of the LoC observe the Kashmir

Day on February 5 to protest against the Indian illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. On

this very day, Pakistanis and Kashmiris across the globe express solidarity with the freedom

fighters of Kashmir, demanding their legitimate right of self-determination from India which

continues various forms of state terrorism in order to suppress their popular struggle which

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Kashmir Day: The Struggle Continues

The Last Option: Who Can Use Weapons of Mass Destructions?

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat

With the acceleration of the different war between the sovereign and non-sovereign entities,

dangers are looming that by availing the vicious phenomena of global terrorism, any entity can

use Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) inside the US and Europe or any western country to

obtain its selfish interests. This is the area of very sensitive nature. Therefore, we need caution to

reach the conclusion. But, we should keep in mind that despite having collective aims, some

countries are playing double game against one another.

Since the 9/11 tragedy, while waging global war on terror, the US-led western high officials and

their media have been propagating in the world that Pakistan-based Islamic militants can use

WMDs or ‘dirty nuclear bombs’ inside the US and Europe. And a plot in this respect would be

prepared in Pakistan’s tribal areas. In this context, in connivance with Israeli secret agency,

Mossad, Indian secret agency, RAW intensified its propaganda campaign against Pakistan. But,

Islamabad took a temporary relief of sigh, because now, almost every plot regarding terrorism is

attributed to Syria where illegitimate interests of Israel are at risk.

It is notable that Indian nuclear weapons and their related-material are unprotected, as various

cases of smuggling and theft have verified.

In July 1998, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation seized eight kg. of nuclear material from

Arun, an engineer in Chennai, including two other engineers. It was reported that the uranium

was stolen from an atomic research center. On November 7, 2000, the International Atomic

Energy Agency (IAEA) indicated that Indian police had seized 57 pounds of uranium and

arrested two men for illicit trafficking of radioactive material. IAEA said that Indian civil nuclear

facilities were vulnerable to thefts. On January 26, 2003, CNN disclosed that Indian company,

NEC Engineers Private Ltd. shipped 10 consignments to Iraq, containing highly sensitive

equipment including titanium vessels and centrifugal pumps. Indian investigators acknowledged

that the company falsified customs documents to get its shipments out of India.

On June 12, 2004, Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation, an American company was fined US $

300,000 for exporting a nuclear component to the Bhaba Atomic Research Center in India.

In December 2005, United States imposed sanctions on two Indian firms for selling missile

goods and chemical arms material to a Muslim country in violation of India’s commitment to

prevent proliferation. In the same year, Indian scientists, Dr. Surendar and Y S R Prasad had

been blacklisted by the US due to their involvement in nuclear theft. In December, 2006, a

container packed with radioactive material had been stolen from an Indian fortified research

atomic facility near Mumbai.

However, in collaboration with the officials, proliferation of nuclear components and their

related-material has continued from time to time by the Indians.

Surprisingly, despite nuclear proliferation by India in violation of various international

agreements and its refusal to sign Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban

Treaty (CTBT) and Additional Protocol with the IAEA, Washington signed a pact of nuclear

civil technology with New Delhi.

As regards Israel, many authors, writers, officials, doctors, experts and reports have proved with

evidence that from the very beginning Israel have not only stockpiled the WMDs, but used them

on various occasions.

Israeli military historian Urin Milstein and author Yeruham Cohen write, “In May 1948 the

Zionist gangs besieged the well-fortified Palestinian city of Acre…to enter the city, the Zionist

gangs injected typhoid in the aqueduct. Many Palestinians and some 55 British soldiers, who

were in the city, got infected…the ICRC delegate Mr. De Meuron, sent a series of

reports…describing the conditions of the city population as struck by a sudden typhoid

epidemic…the infection was water borne…the Zionist crimes did not stop then, but targeted

Egypt and Syria, using inhumane weapons.”

In his paper, published in the Non-Proliferation Review in autumn of 2001, Avner Cohen pointed

out, “Israel’s chemical weapon started with David Ben Gurion’s doctrine…the destruction of the

Palestinian society in Palestine…to accomplish this…Ben Gurion wrote a letter to Ehud Avriel; a

member in the Jewish Agency in Europe, ordering him to recruit European Jewish

scientists…experts in microbiology…were recruited to form the Science Corps in the Haganah

which later was called HEMED BEIT….publically known as Israel Institute for Biological

Research (IIBR)…was developing chemical and biological weapons in secret…when in 1992, El

Al Flight 1862 crashed….on its way to Tel Aviv…in Dutch history killing at least 47 and

destroying the health of 3000 Dutch residents….plane was carrying a shipment from Sokatronic

Chemicals of Morrisville, Pennsylvania to IIBR, under the US Department of Commerce license,

in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)…140 biological weapon scientists

from the IIBR have strong links” with various related-research centers of the US and some

European countries.

During various phases of the Palestinian Intifada, Israel used these fatal weapons against the

unarmed Palestinians. In this respect, a number of investigative reports, after lab-verification,

have indicated severe convulsions, the burning sensation, the difficulty to breathe, the vomiting

and pain found in relation to the victims—mostly women and children.

In March 2003, BBC presented the documentary, investigating Tel Aviv’s development of

chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

In 2006, during the war against Lebanon, Israel used banned chemical weapons like phosphorous

bombs in Lebanon and Gaza, which killed 286 Palestinians and injured 4,200, In this regard, an

Italian television documentary programme (Channel, RAI News 24) have revealed that in the

2006 war, Israel employed dense inert metal missiles, which are highly carcinogenic. The

documentary elaborated that the doctors observed, “Dozens of victims had completely burned

bodies and shrapnel type injuries that X-ray machines had been unable to detect.”

In this connection, American leading media suppressed the real details of the 2009 United

Nations (UN) fact-finding report which disclosed as to how Israel’s military used chemical

weapons against Palestinians.

In 2013, the US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using

chemical weapons in relation to the Syrian civil war. In order to protect the interests of Israel, in

the pretext, America was determined to attack Syria like the invasion of Iraq where no weapons

of mass destructions were discovered. But, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned western

powers against any airstrike. For face-saving, John Kerry withdrew from American stand, as he

could not prove it. In fact, CIA-Mossad-supported rebels which have been fighting to oust

President Assad’s government had used chemical weapons in Syria.

In fact, brushing aside the dangers, covertly, America and its related-industries which are mostly

under the control of Zionist Jews have supplied Tel Aviv WMDs. Concealing these fatal

weapons, Israel has flatly refused to sign the NPT, and to ratify the CWC which obligates states

to submit to international oversight and destroy chemical agents in their possession. While in

2013, Damascus ratified the CWC.

As regards Israeli nuclear arsenal, it contains variety of atomic bombs. It also possesses small

nuclear weapons.

In 1983, the former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon suggested India to join with Israel to

attack Pakistani nuclear facilities, and in 1982 he called for expanding Israel’s security influence

from Mauritania to Afghanistan.

Since 9/11, by availing that golden opportunity, both India and Israel have perennially been

manipulating the world phenomena of terrorism and anti-Muslim approach of the US-led west so

as to obtain their secret designs. Both Tel Aviv and New Delhi have been equating the ‘wars of

liberation’ in Palestine and Kashmir with terrorism, and under the cover, accelerated state

terrorism on these controlled territories. Their main purpose is to divert the attention of the west

from their own atrocities, while employing delaying tactics in the solution of these issues.

With the support of their lobbies and in connivance with the US neoconservatives, India and

Israel have been exaggerating the threat of Islamophobia.

However, Tel Aviv and New Delhi have been acting upon a secret diplomacy in targeting the

whole Islamic World in general and Pakistan, China, Iran, Libya and Syria in particular. In this

respect, by manipulating President Barack Obama’s ambivalent strategy, both India and Israel

have also been propagating that a ‘nuclearized’ Pakistan, having close ties with China is

sponsoring cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan and Kashmir. And Iran and Syria are doing the

same act in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Israel. Particularly, New Delhi considers Pakistan as its

enemy number one. America and Israel are also against Pakistan, as it is the only nuclear country

in the Muslim world.

Nevertheless, similarity of interests has brought Israel and India to follow a common secret

strategy with the help of those Americans who are present in the US Administration. In this

context, Indian RAW, Israeli Mossad and some American CIA agents are in collusion at the cost

of the US global and regional interests.

It is mentionable that ideology of Hindu nationalism prevails in every field at the cost of other

minority groups. It is even supported by Indian defence forces secretly. This could be judged

from the incident, when on April 6, 2008 in a house of the fundamentalist outfit Bajrang Dal in

Nanded, a bomb went off. The investigation proved that the militants were found in bomb-

making. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra arrested a serving Lt. Col. Srikant

Purohit along with other army officials, indicating that they were helping in training the Hindu

terrorists, providing them with the military-grade explosive RDX, used in terrorist attacks in

various Indian cities. ATS further disclosed that Lt. Col. Purohit confessed that in 2007, he was

involved in bombing of Samjhota express (Train between Pakistan and India in which a majority

of Pakistanis travel), which burnt alive 70 Pakistanis.

It is noteworthy that in one of his tapes, LT. Col Purohit said, “One of our own captain had

visited Israel”, and demanded “continuous supply of arms, training, an office with a saffron flag

in Tel Aviv, political asylum and support for our cause of a Hindu Nation in the UN.” The

Israelis, he added, gave “a very positive response.”

Regarding Hindu terrorism, Indian Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde disclosed on January 20,

2013 that organised training camps run by the fundamentalist parties, RSS and BJP (Ruling party

of India) were promoting Hindu Terrorism. He also explained that these extremist parties were

behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts.

Since the leader of the ruling party BJP Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, various

developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of minorities, creation of

war-like situation with Pakistan etc. clearly show that encouraged by the fundamentalist rulers,

Hindu extremist parties such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena have been promoting

religious and ethnic chauvinism in India. Especially, assaults on Christians and Muslims

including their places of warships and property have been intensified by the fanatic Hindu mobs.

It is of particular attention that on January 7, 2015, two Islamic militants attacked the office of

French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and killed 13 people on January 9,

2015. Two brothers namely Said and Cherif Kouachi suspected for the incident were killed in a

shootout with Police—in a hostage-taking situation. Thus, the gunmen killed total 17 persons.

Afterwards, Mossad connections with Charlie Hebdo incident had been exposed by many senior

analysts and social media bloggers, as the Zionist groups and Mossad used the episode to punish

France on recognizing Palestinian state and to desist other EU countries to avoid such approach

on Palestinians.

Similarly, on July 22, 2011, the twin terror-attacks in Oslo, Norway, killed 80 persons. The

Norwegian man Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, who admitted

these attacks was obsessed with what he saw as the Muslim immigration—left behind a detailed

online manifesto, calling for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim

domination. In this context, Kevin Barrett disclosed on October 14, 2015 through Veterans

Today, “The official story claims that Anders Breivik acted alone…but survivors of the massacre

on Utoya Island, which annihilated the anti-Zionist leadership of the youth wing of the

Norwegian Labor Party, reported there were multiple gunmen…as in dozens of other false flag

terror operations. The purpose was to punish Norway and its Labor Party for two policy

breaches: Refusing to join NATO’s war on Libya, and moving toward a full boycott of Israel.”

In his message, Breivik also favoured the ‘Hindu nationalism (Hindutva)—the anti-Muslim

movement of the Hindu fanatic parties.

Although these lethal poisons (WMDs) seem to be mysterious, yet still could be within the reach

of some Hindu terrorists with the help of RAW which could also got these destructive weapons

from Mossad. Such chemical and radiological materials could have also been smuggled inside

India by the Hindu fundamentalists with the covert backing of RAW.

Frustrated in isolating Islamabad, RAW in connivance with Mossad might have prepare a most

dangerous plan to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons inside the US homeland or any

major European country to implicate Pakistan for having allegedly used these weapons through

some Taliban militants. Particularly, RAW-Mossad may also employ these fatal weapons against

NATO forces in Afghanistan, as India and Israel want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO

troops in Afghanistan which have become the center of their covert activities against Pakistan,

China and Iran. ISIS (Daesh) terrorists which are strategic assets of the CIA may be used by

RAW and Mossad for employment of these unconventional weapons. While, India, Israel and the

US are also playing double game against one another, hence, by utilizing the vicious circle of

terrorism, New Delhi can alone use these weapons through Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-

Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which have been supported by India, and has claimed responsibility for

several terror attacks inside Pakistan, including the recent one at Charsadda’s university.

RAW’s sole aim will be to provoke Americans and its allies against Pakistan which is

threatening Indian hegemony in the region. Thus, Indian RAW could create a dangerous

misunderstanding in which US could use small nuclear weapons against Pakistan. Otherwise,

Islamabad could be asked to rollback its atomic programme.

Meanwhile, various developments such as Russian airstrikes on the ISIS targets in the northern

Syria, its coalition with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon-based Hezbollah in support of President

Assad, exposure of the US-Israeli assistance to the terrorists of the ISIS and Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra

Front) to oust the Syrian president, reluctance of Europe and the NATO countries to join

America against Russia in relation to Syrian war, acceptance of Syrian refugees by the European

countries, especially Germany, the EU rule to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlements on

the West Bank etc. culminated in terror attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 as part of the

Zionist-Israeli conspiracy against the Muslims, Christians and loyal Americans—the west and

particularly Europe. In this respect, arrest of Israeli Col. Shahak in Iraq, his admission, proving

links of Al-Qaeda and ISIS with America and Mossad and medical treatment of the ISIS warriors

in the Israeli hospitals proved that Mossad was behind the Paris attacks.

In the post-Paris attacks, by producing anti-Muslim phenomena like the propaganda of the so-

called threat of Islamophobia, persecution of the Muslims in the US, Europe and some other

western countries, Israel has succeeded in its designs. Israel-led America also got the assistance

of its western allies (NATO) against Russia. Now, as part of the ambivalent approach, American

jet fighters and those of its western coalition are targeting the ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

Although Tel Aviv has succeeded in its clandestine aims after the Paris attacks, yet some recent

developments have depressed the Zionists and Israelis. The Russia-led coalition which have been

successfully achieving its objectives have broken the backbone of the ISIS terrorists, Al-Qaeda’s

Al-Nusra Front and the rebels who have fled most of the areas in Syria and Iraq. Besides, though

President Obama is acting upon contradictory policy, but, in wake of the presidential election-

campaign, ordinary Americans are focusing on internal problems which are the result of

prolonged war on terror. Patriot Americans are openly criticizing the Zionist-protected policies

of the US. Taking cognizance, Obama has asked Turkey to withdraw its forces from Iraq’s

territories. In the recent past, John Kerry gave ultimatum to the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

to agree for the two-state solution of the Palestinian dispute.

Most significantly, on January 17, this year, US-led western sanctions against Tehran have been

officially lifted in accordance with the agreement, signed between six world powers and Iran, last

year, whom Israeli prime minister has called a ‘historical blunder.’ In these circumstances, Tel

Aviv may think that perhaps America is playing double game with Israel.

Notably, the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s statement, hours after the Paris

attacks caused a stir in Jerusalem, as she said that “to counteract the radicalization, we must go

back to the situation in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is no

future: we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”

At present, a debate has started between the Zionists and non-Zionist Jews for the two-state

solution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Even, a majority of the western intellectuals have also

been emphasizing upon the settlement of this dispute. Very soon, Tel Aviv will have no other

option. Therefore, to avoid the solution of this old crisis, as the last option, most probably,

Mossad with the help of Zionist Jews can supply weapons of mass destructions to the ISIS

terrorists, and to use them inside the US and Europe or any major western country with the aim

of implicating Syria—and to cause a major war between Russia and the US-led NATO, while

turning the world to clash of civilizations, especially between the Muslim and the Christian

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
Email: sajjad_logic_pak@hotmail.com

Posted in USA, EuropeComments Off on The Last Option: Who Can Use Weapons of Mass Destructions?

Climate Change: Post-Paris Challenges and Concerns

NOVANEWS

by Richard Falk

Hilal Elver and Richard Falk

[Prefatory Note: This jointly written post was previously published in Truthout on January 20, 2016 in slightly modified form, and with the title “Will Countries Follow Through on the Climate Pledges Made in Paris?” Our title here tries to broaden the scope of inquiry to encompass the problems with the agreement that extend beyond fulfilling the pledges. We focus especially on the insufficiency of the pledges given the goals with respect to average earth temperature, how to address climate change in a manner sensitive to the concerns of climate justice, especially the harm being imposed by global warming on various categories of vulnerable people.]

It is time to move on from the aura of good feelings of accomplishment created by the Paris Climate Change Conference of last December, and begin asking some hard questions. Above all we need to assess whether an agreement that consists of voluntary pledges that gained the participation of every country on the planet is workable and sufficient, and whether its contribution to slowing global warming should be celebrated or lamented at this stage.

Does the agreement really provide a realistic hope that the international community is going to regulate adequately human caused (anthropogenic) climate change? Or, should the Paris Agreement be dismissed as a ‘fraud’ as James Hansen, the renowned climate scientist turned activist, advises? Is every one of the 195 signatories at Paris genuinely committed to and capable of upholding the agreement? Are their pledges realistic and appropriate? The answers to such questions vary depends on who is giving the answers. Fossil fuel (oil, gas, coal) producer countries, along with most energy companies, are not happy with the agreement as it strongly anticipates shifts to renewables that threaten to eliminate fossil fuels altogether by the end of the century. At the same time, clean energy companies (wind, solar, and even nuclear) are understandably enthusiastic, expecting a surge in governmental and market support for their technologies and dramatic increases in demand for their products.

It is strange that the agreement never explicitly mentions that ‘fossil fuels, or coal and oil are going to be phased out.’ Yet everyone in Paris realized that fossil fuels were the elephant in the room. Drafters of the Paris Agreement were crafty enough not to use provocative language, while still sending clear signals to energy investors that the future belongs to the renewables. We should appreciate the fact that developing countries will continue to rely on traditional energy resources for a long time, and take into account the reality that the developed world has been relying on fossil fuels without restriction since the industrial revolution. It is not fair to insist that developing countries stop using fossil fuels because it is bad for the climate, without these richer countries shouldering the financial burden of the costly switch to clean energy, which would impose burdens on their development and poverty reduction plans. Ideally, this kind of transfer payment would be financed by a tax on transnational financial transactions, hedge fund profits, or international airline flights, but this seems highly unlikely to happen so long as the neoliberal ideologues of global capital continue to pull most of the strings that determine economic policy. The Paris Agreement is suspiciously silent about how such transfer payments will be financed, leaving it to individual states to decide.

Although the agreement lowered the threshold of tolerable warming by half a degree centigrade (from 2 to 1.5 degrees Celsius), the means to reach the goal is far from adequate. Even in the unlikely event that every country keeps its promises, the average earth temperature will rise at least 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and this will cause havoc in many parts of the planet. With this in mind, skepticism about the Paris outcome seems justified. The existence of this wide gap between the predicted average temperature rise expected by a consensus among climate scientists and the insufficiency of even full compliance with the Paris targets is a core dispiriting reality. There is a reset feature contained in the agreement that would allows parties to make an upward adjustment in their emissions commitments that would be more in keeping with what the scientific consensus on global warming. But how likely is this to happen? As with other aspects of the agreement this possibility is voluntary and vague, and so its value in enhancing the climate ambition of governments will depend on their increased dedication to ensuring a prudent future for the planet and upon the degree to which civil society pressures makes such action seem politically expedient as well as socially responsible.

 

Reducing Emissions Voluntarily

The climate change regime has a unique structure to differentiate responsibilities among the developing and developed parties by taking account of the needs and situation of developing countries, and assesses the historic responsibility of developed countries to explain the imposition of unequal obligations. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries and accumulates over time, making activities in developed countries responsible for current levels of global warming. Despite this, the Paris Agreement avoids mentioning ‘historical responsibility’ as this would be ‘a red flag’ that might agitate the Republican-controlled United States Congress, and maybe make some other governments as well so nervous as to repudiate the entire Paris arrangement. Excluding any reference to historical responsibilities was definitely a psychological victory for developed countries, but whether it also has substantive relevance only time will tell.

These richer countries led by the United States also achieved some big victories that were substantive as well as symbolic. They succeeded in weakening the ‘loss and damage’ principle, which was intended to make the developed countries financially responsible for addressing some of the adverse impacts that developing countries are experiencing due to climate change. Financial responsibility to repair the damage caused by extreme weather events could be extremely expensive. Such damage could be particularly catastrophic for acutely vulnerable low-lying coastal countries and several small island states. Their economic viability and even physical survival is at grave risk in the near future.

Without doubt, the biggest, and most disturbing, diplomatic success at Paris for the developed countries was to make the agreement formally voluntary in all of its aspects. Even the central pledges (‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ or INDCs ) of countries with respect to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are presented as voluntary. The language of the agreement is worded in ways that allow multiple interpretations, and its behavioral consequences are uncertain at this stage even if we grant good faith participation by all governments. Parts of the agreement are inflected with a tone of Orwellian doublespeak apparently intended to disguise any differences between agreeing to do something and not being obliged to do what was agreed upon.

There are many reasons why this feature of the Paris approach is most troublesome. Its presence mainly reflects America’s diplomatic muscle exerting a downward pressure on the negotiating process that produced a kind of linguistic race to the bottom. The Obama presidency if it were acting on its own would definitely be supportive of a stronger commitment process. It is rather the intimidating expectation that any international agreement of this magnitude would be considered as a treaty if it imposed financial and behavioral responsibilities in obligatory language and included dispute settlement procedures. Such an approach would constitutionally required the agreement to be submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification by a two-thirds vote, which would be unobtainable, meaning that the treaty would die in the legislative chamber, and likely that kind of more robust Paris undertaking would quickly become irrelevant. It should also be noted that several pivotal developing countries, including Brazil, China, and India also favored this kind of voluntary framing of national commitments, and seemed content to let America do most of the dirty work of watering down the language of what was agreed upon.

The good news is that the agreement will make all national commitments transparent, reviewable, and even expandable. The pledges do not become operative until 2020, and then starting in 2025, after each interval of five years, there will be a review of performances with respect to the fulfillment of pledges and an opportunity to reset the earlier emissions reductions commitment. If a signatory fails to live up to its pledge, it is presumed that it will be asked for an explanation. Will it then face any negative consequences? The preliminary unnerving answer is that ‘none at all’ are likely to follow– at least nothing is prescribed. At most, a process of ‘naming and shaming’ may be forthcoming that could conceivably tarnish the reputation of a state that inexcusably fails to meet its pledge. Of course, if such a non-complying state is the victim of extreme weather events or is in the midst of war, civil strife, or economic crisis, its disappointing performance will be overlooked. Even when the excuses for failing to meet the pledges are not credible, the etiquette of diplomacy makes most states reluctant to be critical of one another in public spaces unless the target of criticism happens to be an adversary.

 

Parallels with Human Rights Commitments

The coming struggle for climate compliance will no doubt resemble the long story of success and failure associated with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1950), perhaps the most influential ‘voluntary’ set of commitments ever made. The very reliance on the word ‘declaration’ was meant to reassure governments that states were not any way obligated to uphold what was set forth as ‘rights’ in the text. When the UDHR was drafted and approved after World War II there was little expectation that the standards set would be met in practice, but what was created, and proved surprisingly effective, was a normative architecture that bestowed on the human rights community in civil society a powerful tool for the exertion of pressure that did create compliance incentives outside the international instrument itself. It turned out that most governments, although not all, cared sufficiently about their international reputations that they bent policy to satisfy many of the demands of human rights NGOs. In their turn the NGOs were discreet and deferential, doing their best to avoid embarrassing a government if it cooperated in ending an abusive pattern and appeared to be acting in good faith.

We believe the Paris Agreement creates a similar tool that can be used to great advantage by civil society. At this point it is far from clear whether a soft law, or voluntarism of this character even if effective within its term will prove nearly sufficient to curtail the menace of global warming. As with human rights the prospects for implementation will depend on whether NGOs and social activists exert sufficient pressure where it is most needed. We cannot be too hopeful about this. Climate activism varies greatly from country to country, and sometimes where needed most, it is absent or weak. But, there are also some positive developments. It is encouraging that the climate movement is becoming transnational and will be able to highlight the failure of some governments to make INDCs at appropriate levels and to offer criticisms of those that inexcusably fail to fulfill their pledges. If such activism is effective, it will also encourage governments and international institutions to be more vigilant with respect to their own implementation efforts, inducing ‘virtuous circles’ of compliant behavior, and even reset pledges that increase emission reductions.

Settling for a voluntary framework was the biggest departure from the approach taken by the Kyoto Protocol, the earlier climate change regime that had also been greeted with great fanfare when negotiated in 1997. In some respects the comparison is misleading. At Kyoto only developed countries were made responsible for greenhouse gas emission reductions. As a result the US and several other important countries gave this one-sidedness as their reason for refusing to adhere to the emissions reduction agreement. Therefore, Kyoto was virtually stillborn, engaging a group of countries that were responsible for only 12% of global emissions, and making almost no impact on the dangerous continuing overall buildup of GHGs despite the positive attention the agreement initially received in environmental circles.

From this point of view, the Paris Agreement is very different from Kyoto. As mentioned it makes all commitments voluntary, but participation is extended to all countries, rich or poor, developed or developing. ‘Differentiated responsibilities’ as imposing concrete duties on developed countries and leaving developing countries free to act as they wish has been replaced by a state-by-state approach in which each government indicates what it is prepared to do to cut emissions. Countries make these promises based on national assessments of their specific capabilities and circumstances. It will be important to examine objectively whether some countries submit unreasonably low INDC pledges, as well as to monitor whether the promises made are being kept in good faith.

The Paris approach is also reminiscent of the relationship between the UN and its predecessor organization, the League of Nations. The League had treated all countries as having an equal sovereign status, while the UN deferred to geopolitical realities by giving the five winners after World War II a right of veto and permanent membership in the Security Council. In effect, ‘a Faustian bargain’ was struck in which universality of participation was achieved at the price of giving geopolitical actors the discretion to disobey the Charter whenever their interests or those of their friends so dictated and to make respect for the authority of the UN essentially voluntary. Paris makes an equivalent tradeoff. In exchange for getting all states to participate, the content of what was agreed upon is seriously compromised, and prospects for compliance diminished, leaving the underlying challenge inadequately addressed.

This is not just a conceptual issue. The grossly different material circumstances of states, together with their great disparities in vulnerability and capacity to withstand climate change damage, makes it more problematic to achieve the collective good of climate stability. In this context, the free rider problem seems seriously to weaken incentives to comply, with countries standing to gain if others act conscientiously while they do less than is expected, either by making their INDC unreasonably small or by cheating and falling short. This vital concern is nowhere addressed in the Paris Agreement, and awaits future efforts to set standards, create a stronger sense of collective responsibility, and establish responses in the event of non-compliance. It is to be hoped that civil society will be especially vigilant in assessing whether the free rider aspects of the Paris Agreement are undermining compliance and the raising of the commitment level by important emitter countries.

In sum, the United States government, at least the White House, most Democrats, and the majority of citizens, are pleased for the present about what emerged from Paris. After all the agreement embodies the American-led insistence on a voluntary approach that is long on rhetoric while being short on commitments, yet rhetorically responsive to the asserted urgency of curtailing global warming. The large American delegation provided influential leadership on drafting issues before and during the conference using its good offices to foster a constructive atmosphere of compromise and accommodation among the assembled governmental representatives. Even the energy companies were not too disappointed. They succeeded in avoiding being openly targeted in the agreement. Beyond this, they were given enough adjustment time to accommodate major changes in the way energy was supplied.

 

Delays and Abstractions

Parties are not asked to start fulfilling their emission pledges until 2020. That is when the Paris agreement goes into effect. After this there is another five-year period until assessments of performances are made. This gives energy companies ample time to bring petroleum resources under their control to market and at the same time, making large investments in clean energy technology to ensure future returns on capital for their shareholders. Taking an even longer view, these companies have until the end of the century to become clean technology suppliers, and will be benefitted in the process by government subsidies and a downward trend in production costs for renewables.

Transparency and monitoring for the fulfillment of the INDC s are important. China was reluctant, at first, to accept even this limited form of oversight, but in the end went along. It appears that its cooperative posture was induced by Obama’s skillful courtship. The United States shared with China the informal status of being dual leader in the shaping of a voluntary approach the broad contours of which had been agreed upon even before the Paris conference began. China seemed satisfied with the agreement, apparently relishing its own prominent role, and in the end promising to make a large financial contribution to Green Fund established to support the adaptation efforts of developing countries. China is also looking forward to selling their cheap and efficient solar technology around the world. At the same time the severity of China’s domestic air pollution problem reached emergency levels during the conference, making urban pollution in the country an urgent priority. The direct link between China’s polluted cities and reducing carbon emissions for the sake of climate change undoubtedly also encouraged Chinese support of the Paris proceedings. At the same time, it is important to understand that polluted cities are distinct from the sort of atmospheric blockage that GHG emissions have caused. In effect, the global warming dangers could be just as great or even greater than at present, while the cities of the world enjoyed healthy and clean air.

It may seem strange that climate change negotiations often seem to be more about finance, development, and energy policies than about preventing global warming. If you were in the great halls and back rooms where governments were trying to overcome their disagreements, you might well conclude that the conference was about money not emissions. There was a tug of war involving decisions about how much assistance a particular country will receive, and which countries would accept responsibility for contributing specific amounts of funds.

There are also voiceless communities that were essentially unrepresented in Paris, including one billion persons struggling with extreme poverty and hunger, 350 million indigenous people that constitute ‘nations’ that often exist as captive communities within sovereign states, and the plight of future generations faced with the prospects of rising temperatures and sea levels. Only states that were members of the UN participate directly with voice and vote in international lawmaking conferences. A recent Oxfam report on Extreme Carbon Inequality confirms that the poorest half of the global population of about 3.5 billion are responsible for only around 10% of total global emissions attributed to individual consumption, yet live disproportionately in the countries that are suffering most from climate change.

For those at these margins, the concern is less about the abstractions of money, than the concrete issues of daily subsistence, quality of life, and even survival. Human rights activists were conscious of the plight of those excluded from real representation at Paris, and did manage to insinuate these social concerns in the text of the agreement, but only in its Preamble (rather than among the operational articles). Mention in the Preamble gives civil society activists ‘a hook’ with which to raise such issues of climate justice, and provides an ethical context that is relevant to future interpretations of what was agreed upon if issues are brought before an adjudicating institution.

The Paris Agreement is awkwardly abstract and indefinite about how it will fund its central undertaking to limit global warming. There is an estimated need for $16 trillion over the next 15 years if the average global increase in temperature is to be kept under 1.5 C. The developed world has so far agreed to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 to cover both the costs of emission reductions and to defray the adaptation expenses of measures adopted by developing countries to adjust to rising temperatures. This pledge is as voluntary as it gets, and doesn’t even take effect until 2025. One consequence is that any loss or damage experienced will not provide the victim society with any entitled basis of recovery assistance. It must rely on charity and the efficacy of its begging bowl. Judging from past experience the financial goals set are highly unlikely ever to be reached. From all that we know from the past there has been created a dangerous shortfall between what will be needed and what has been pledged, and thus the financial dimension of the Paris Agreement is as susceptible to disappointment as is the emissions dimension.

 

What Can We Expect Post-Paris?

After this closer scrutiny of the Paris outcome we need to ask ourselves ‘what can we reasonably expect from post-Paris?’ With the coolness of retrospective eyes, the Paris Agreement failed to ensure that the necessary concrete steps will be taken to avoid future climate change harms, yet still pretended to the world that finally the challenge of climate change had been successfully met by the collective energies of multilateral diplomacy under UN auspices. This could have the debilitating effect of complacency, leading many to think that Paris overcame the challenge of climate change, that was what the cheering at the end of the conference was about.

At the same time, there are some bright silver linings. The outcome in Paris did bear witness to a consensus among governments that strong collective action was needed to reduce carbon emissions in coming years to avoid catastrophe. Furthermore, the experiment of making the agreement an evolutionary process, with opportunities for correction every five years, does enable a heightening of commitments if public pressures about climate change grow in the future as the planet continues to warm.

Beyond this, the very obvious shortcomings of the Paris Agreement should encourage vigilant and militant transnational activism, and hopefully give rise to a robust climate justice movement that could exert a benign influence by inducing countries to revise their emission pledges upward at the periodic reset five year intervals, which start at 2025, and to spread burdens equitably. To confine issues of human rights and climate justice to the Preamble of the Paris Agreement, and to exclude considerations of equity and food security altogether is to reinforce the misleading impression that addressing climate change effectively is only a matter of climate science and economics. In our view, without adding climate justice to the policy equation, unacceptable climate suffering will accompany even good faith efforts to slow down further overheating of the planet. In this respect, the woeful saga of desperate waves of refugees perishing at sea or clinging for life in overcrowded boats is a telling metaphor of an inhumane world order, and a warning of worse to come as pressures mount to leave overheated and impoverished societies.

Now that the Paris Agreement exists, our attention needs to shift to whether countries are fulfilling their pledges and what can be done to make up for the deficiencies in this supposedly historic approach to climate change. It is particularly opportune to focus on the reset opportunity for closing the gap between what was agreed upon in Paris and what climate experts agree is needed. This would seem to be a logical next step. What has become crystal clear is that our human future will depend more than ever on the transnational mobilization of civil society in support of both sufficient emission reductions and climate justice. Governments unless pushed hard lack the political will to do what is needed to ensure a sustainable and just future for the peoples of the planet, and we need to remember that will be pushed in regressive directions by well financed lobbies and special interest groups.

Posted in HealthComments Off on Climate Change: Post-Paris Challenges and Concerns

Morgan Freeman Explains What’s Wrong With Black History Month ‘VIDEO’

NOVANEWS

Image result for Black History Month LOGO

Matt Agorist 

In a past interview with Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes, Morgan Freeman dropped a bombshell that sent ripples through the race-focused crowd everywhere.

As Wallace attempted to paint him as a radical for his views, in only a few brief moments, Morgan Freeman laid waste to stereotypes, and worked wonders for bridging the racial divide in America.

Posted in LiteratureComments Off on Morgan Freeman Explains What’s Wrong With Black History Month ‘VIDEO’

Halt Zio-Wahhabi arms sales immediately

NOVANEWS

Halt Zio-Wahhabi arms sales immediately, probe civilian attacks in Yemen

David Cameron and the Saudi Kingdom, with the Saudi emblem in the background

A group of MPs have called on the British government to immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi Zio-Wahhabi family and have demanded an independent inquiry into the war in Yemen, where British arms are thought to have been used against civilians.

In a letter to Development Secretary Justine Greening, the International Development Select Committee urged the UK to cease opposing an inquiry which aims to examine potential breaches of humanitarian law by the Zio-Wahhabi bombing campaign in Yemen.

It comes after human rights charities and anti-war groups criticized Saudi Zio-Wahhabi family for allegedly bombing civilian targets.

The British government has sold £1 billion (US$1.45 billion) worth of arms to the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime in the past year.

Last week a leaked UN report found Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime guilty of breaking humanitarian law. In response the Saudi government set up an internal inquiry.

British MPs say the UK should back an independent inquiry. Members of the committee were shocked to hear the UK had hindered efforts to launch such an investigation in September 2015 when it was proposed by the UN.

“We need an independent, international fact-finding mission to uncover the truth. Until then we should cease selling arms to Saudi Arabia,” wrote committee chair Stephen Twigg.

“All parties to this conflict should review their obligations under international law and undertake to put civilians and humanitarian work above other interests.”

MPs said they had been presented with evidence from the head of UNICEF Yemen, who said the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led coalition had been involved in bombing campaigns which endangered the lives of civilians.

The committee’s letter was welcomed by activist group Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), which condemned the British government’s actions.

“The humanitarian situation is getting worse and the UK government has been complicit in it. We agree that arms sales need to stop, but they should never have been allowed in the first place.

“Saudi Arabia has a terrible human rights record and has been supported by governments of all political colors for far too long,” said CAAT’s Andrew Smith.

The leaked UN report, obtained by the Guardian last week, found that Saudi air strikes are breaching international law by hitting civilian targets, including refugee camps, civilian weddings, vehicles, medical facilities and schools.

The UN panel of experts on Yemen used satellite imagery to look at areas before and after bombings, which also targeted an Oxfam warehouse storing equipment for a water project funded by the EU.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, UK, YemenComments Off on Halt Zio-Wahhabi arms sales immediately

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