Study finds that rise of cancer incidents in Basra is related to US and British militaries use of depleted uranium shells during the first and second Gulf Wars.

October 25, 2010 (Hamsayeh.Net) – Cases of child cancer soar in war torn Iraqi cities particularly in the border town of Basra near Iran, a newly released study revealed.

Iran’s Press TV reported due to increasing numbers of children suffering from leukemia and other forms of cancers, the Iraqi government needed to open a specialist clinic in Basra to deal with this issue.

The report says since 1993,Basra province has witnessed a sharp rise in child cancer cases. ‘Leukemia (a type of blood cancer) among children under 15 has increased by about four times,’ specialist Dr. Janan Hassan at the newly inaugurated centre told reporters. He added, ‘most [of the affected children] are high-risk cases, which means that they do not have a high survival rate.’

Specialists closely familiar with this issue believe the rise in cancer incidents is related to US and British militaries use of depleted uranium shells during the first and second Gulf Wars.

Depleted uranium is known to cause leukemia and other types of cancers in newborn babies and children. ‘We observed 698 cases of childhood leukemia between 1993 and 2007, ranging between 15 cases in the first year and 56 cases in the final year, reaching a peak of 97 cases in 2006,’ the study says.

The same study also discovers that number of cancer cases in Basra does not match the ones in neighboring Kuwait, Oman or other regions which would represent an acceptable norm.


Bnei Brak battles African ‘infiltrators’

Whistleblower hotline invites neighbors to report, ‘shame’ homeowners who rent to migrants

Renting a home to a non-Jew in Bnei Brak? Watch out for tattletale neighbors. A call center for whistleblowers has begun operating in recent days in the ultra-Orthodox city in central Israel. The hotline invites residents to report neighbors who rent property to migrants.

A massive campaign has been launched by the city council to battle the influx of illegal African immigrants, thousands of whom have come to live in Bnei Brak. As part of this campaign, a proclamation was circulated citing a halachic ruling against renting property to non-Jews, and informing the public that the city council will prosecute homeowners who split apartments in order rent them to migrants or refugees.

As part of this plan, the whistleblower hotline aims to shame homeowners into submission by revealing the names of those who provide housing to refugees to the public.

“Since some of the renters are ultra-Orthodox or traditional, the embarrassment may cause them to change their mind,” explained one haredi politico. “We are sick of living this way, so we decided take initiative to protect our children and preserve our way of life.”

“These days the Bnei Brak City Council is collaborating with other establishments to return the Jewish way of life to our neighborhoods – more specifically, to take care of the problem of infiltrators,” the advertisement for the hotline reads.

“Anyone who knows of apartments where infiltrators are found or the names of the homeowner is requested to call the number and leave a detailed messages stating the apartment’s address.”

Members of the Bnei Brak City Council, headed by Deputy Mayor Hanoch Zeibert, convened Sunday with top activists in the struggle in order to find ways to deal with the phenomenon.

Authors of the ad, dubbed the ‘action committee,’ also demand callers specify whether the homeowner is ultra-Orthodox. Campaign organizers plan to publish the growing list of so-called offenders in a local newspaper.

“This phone number added 50 addresses in its first days, and that helps us to make it difficult for homeowners,” said Rabbi Menashe Zelicha of the Pardes Katz neighborhood in Bnei Brak, where many of the refugees reside.

“The Sudanese and the infiltrators escape the areas where they are killed, but living with us just doesn’t fit, and we don’t have to take care of them,” he added. 

“Our war is against those who rent apartments to them but not those who employ them, because we don’t want to harm their livelihood.”

Bnei Brak City Council said in response, “This is a private initiative of residents who are suffering, and for whom it is difficult to deal with the situation….it’s their right. If lists are forwarded to us, we will address them and look into them, just like complaints voiced by any resident.”


Police: Haredi ID fraud spanned years

Following raid on yeshivot offices which revealed that three haredi organizations embezzled millions from government through ID fraud, police reveal that 40 other foundations were in on deal for years

(ynet) After a raid uncovered that three ultra-Orthodox organizations have embezzled millions from the government, police revealed Monday that 40 other establishments were involved in the case.

Six men were arrested on Sunday when police found more than a thousand fake ID cards at the offices of three nonprofit organizations that operate yeshivot in the Jerusalem area. The suspects allegedly falsified the records in order to receive monthly stipends from the Education Ministry for students who did not exist.

Each of the suspects had a unique role in the forgery, an operation the police said was worthy of a “crime ring.”

“The investigation shows that dozens of organizations were founded and transferred fake names to the Education Ministry in order to illegally receive funds,” a police official said.

The police began to covertly monitor the illegal activity a few months ago, when members of the Neturei Karta sect found out their names were being used to receive stipends from the State, and informed law enforcement officials.


Suspects in court (Photo: Noam Moskovitz)

During a preliminary hearing Monday a police official presented to the judge a photo album from which photos were taken for the fake IDs. One of the photos was featured on no less than three different cards.

The official stated that every fake name that the organizations listed brought in 880 NIS (about $240) a month on average. Since there were more than 40 foundations, each reporting hundreds of fake names, the suspects embezzled hundreds of thousands of NIS a month for each organization, which amounted to tens of millions of NIS a year.

“This system has been in place for many years,” she said. “During yesterday’s raid millions of NIS were found, some in cash, while some went directly to the pockets of the suspects and to other sources.”

Following the hearing, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court decided to extend the remand of the arrested men by four days, even though the police requested a 15-day extension to avoid a disruption in the investigation.

Attorney Yair Nehorai, who represents the suspects, responded by saying that since the police decided to release all the details of the case, including the names of the suspects and the way they operated, his clients should be released.

“Every potential suspect knows exactly what he is accused of and who is involved, so we think the police’s claim that the suspects should not be released to avoid disrupting the investigation procedure is inappropriate,” he said.


Racism in Bnei Brak: Worker curses boy at entrance to ritual bath, calling him ‘stinking black person,’ then follows him home and physically attacks his family. ‘I slapped him but good,’ he tells police

The discrimination and deprivation felt by the Ethiopian community has reached ritual baths: A Bnei Brak resident barred a 13 year old Ethiopian teen from going into the mikveh recenty, claiming the boy was a “stinking kushi” (a derogatory Hebrew term for black people). He then hit the boy, his brother and his aunt.

(ynet) Three women of Ethiopian descent murdered by their partners in past year. Many others suffer extreme violence every day. Experts try to explain phenomenon

The boy arrived at the mikveh two weeks ago to undergo the ritual purification ceremony, but was met by an employee who would not let him pass.

The worker verbally attacked him, saying “don’t come in, you stink, you’re a stinking kushi”. When the teen refused to back down, the man took hold of him and punched him in the face.

During his interrogation, the worker did not deny that he hit the teen. He told police officers: “I slapped him but good”.

The injured teen ran away in the direction of his home as the man ran after him. The teen’s 15-year-old brother was waiting at the entrance to their home, and tried to prevent the man from continuing his attack on the teen. But then the man started hitting the big brother, and even threw a brick at him.

When the boys’ aunt arrived at the scene to help them, after hearing them cry for help, the man hit her in the head and kicked her.

After police were called to the scene, the attacker claimed in his defense at the Dan Region police headquarters, that he was the one who was attacked by “a bunch of Ethiopians”. His version of events wasn’t accepted, and an indictment request was filed with the Tel Aviv Magistrate Court.


GAZANS FIRED this phosphorus shell


Palestinian MP rejects allegations of phosphorus use

Ismail al-Ashqar says any claims substance was used in recent rocket attacks into Israel from Gaza are “baseless and nonsense.”

( A Palestinian member of Parliament denied on Monday that phosphorus had been used in any rocket attacks on Israel in recent days, Fars News Agency reported.

Ismail al-Ashqar, chairman of the Palestinian parliament’s Security Committee, told the FNA that  “The Zionist Regime’s claim that resistant forces in Gaza possess phosphorus bombs is baseless and nonsense,” and added that Israel is “covering its crimes through such claims.”

According to the report, Ashqar also expressed confidence in his views being shared by the UN Security Council before calling on the body to put IDF commanders on trial for “war crimes.”

Over the weekend, the IDF reported that the four mortar shells that landed near Ashkelon on Friday contained white phosphorous. The Salah a-Din Brigade claimed responsibility for the mortar attack, which the group said came in response to the IDF’s targeted killing of a top al- Qaida-affiliated terrorist and his brother.

Under international law, white phosphorus is banned for use near civilians.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman directed acting ambassador to the United Nations Meron Reuben to file a complaint to UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon over the barrage of rockets and mortar shells fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday.

Lebanon PM to visit Iran amid tensions over UN Hariri report

Canadian media says UN tribunal investigating the killing of former PM, and current premier’s father, has implicated Iran-backed Hezbollah in the assassination.

( Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is due to pay an official visit to Tehran on Saturday, amid tension in the country regarding an investigation into his father’s 2005 assassination, a Lebanese government source said Monday.

The visit comes after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon on October 13, where he received a hero’s welcome from his allies, the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah – Hariri’s rivals on the Lebanese political arena.

Hariri is due to head a large delegation in his two-day visit to Iran.

Iran, along with Syria, provides Hezbollah with finances, weaponry and training.

News of Hariri’s visit coincided with speculation in Beirut that the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is probing the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri, is due to issue its indictment next month.

An investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp published Sunday claimed that UN investigators and a Lebanese police officer have unearthed evidence implicating Iran-backed Hezbollah in the 2005 assassination.

The report by CBC News details a months-long investigation which links Hezbollah to the Hariri murder, and faults the United Nations for having key information on the case which it failed to pursue further.

According to the report, the UN International Independent Investigation Commission’s findings are based on an extensive examination of Lebanese phone records.

According to a phone analysis by Lebanese and UN investigators, the records suggest that Hezbollah officials were in frequent contact with the owners of the cell phones that were allegedly used to coordinate the bomb detonation that killed Hariri.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Saad Hariri AP October 14, 2010

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri welcoming Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Presidential Palace east of Beirut on October 13, 2010.

Photo by: AP


Poll: Israeli Jews still don’t forgive Germany for the Holocaust

Asked ‘is it time to forgive the German people and Germany for crimes committed in the Holocaust’, most disagreed.

An overwhelming majority of Israelis still find it impossible to forgive Germany for the Holocaust, according to a poll.

Asked “is it time to forgive the German people and Germany for crimes committed in the Holocaust,” some 51 percent said they totally disagreed with the sentiment.

Holocaust survivor - Reuters - 09/11/2010

Polish-born Holocaust survivor from Auschwitz wipes his eye at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

Photo by: Reuters

Nineteen percent disagreed somewhat. Only 23 percent were willing to forgive, and 7 percent had no opinion.

In the survey, conducted by the Geocartography Institute on behalf of the Center for Academic Studies, 500 men and women over 18 were interviewed, a representative sample of the Jewish population.

Ex-AIPAC official threatens to uncover mass spying at Israel lobby

Top AIPAC officials visited prostitutes, regularly watched porn at work: claim

( Is US’s most influential advocate for Israel about to implode?

A former foreign policy chief for the largest Israeli lobby in the US is threatening to provide evidence members of the organization regularly trafficked in classified US government information.

The claim comes in the midst of an increasingly ugly lawsuit in which parties have alleged or admitted to mass viewing of pornography among senior staffers at AIPAC as well as extra-marital affairs.

Steve Rosen, who was in charge of foreign policy issues at AIPAC until 2005, is suing his former employer for $20 million, alleging that AIPAC defamed him when they fired him. Rosen and colleague Keith Weissman were charged in 2004 with espionage for allegedly pressuring a Washington Post reporter into running classified US government information they had obtained about Iran. The charges were dropped last year, evidently due to lack of evidence 

But AIPAC fired Rosen years before the charges were dropped, on the grounds that Rosen’s “conduct did not comport with what AIPAC would expect of its employees.”

But Rosen disputes this, and his lawsuit aims to prove that what he allegedly did was standard practice at AIPAC. The Washington Post‘s Jeff Stein reports:

Rosen says his actions were common practice at the organization. He said his next move is to show that AIPAC, Washington’s major pro-Israeli lobbying group by far, regularly traffics in sensitive U.S. government information, especially material related to the Middle East.

“I will introduce documentary evidence that AIPAC approved of the receipt of classified information,” he said by e-mail. “Most instances of actual receipt are hard to document, because orally received information rarely comes with classified stamps on it nor records alerts that the information is classified.”

But Rosen said he would produce “statements of AIPAC employees to the FBI, internal documents, deposition statements, public statements and other evidence showing that [the] receipt of classified information by employees other than [himself] … was condoned … for months prior to being condemned in March 2005 after threats from the prosecutors.”

“Unfortunately for AIPAC, Rosen has 180 documents which could prove that Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s executive director, and probably the AIPAC board as well, knew exactly what Rosen was doing,” reports M.J. Rosenberg at Al-Jazeera.

He suggests that Rosen’s threat to reveal AIPAC trafficking of data is meant to intimidate the lobby group into settling out of court. Making the lawsuit go away “will not be easy – even if Steve Rosen ultimately accepts a payoff from the organization and refrains from telling what he knows,” Rosenberg writes.

Other elements of the lawsuit could prove embarrassing, if not politically toxic. Lawyers for AIPAC got Rosen to admit he viewed pornography on work computers, but Rosen has countered that the head of AIPAC and his closest colleagues openly watched porn at work. The Jewish Daily Forward reports:

“I witnessed [AIPAC executive director] Howard Kohr viewing pornographic material, [Kohr’s secretary] Annette Franzen viewing pornographic material, probably a dozen other members of the staff,” Rosen said in his deposition. He added that, according to a Nielsen survey, more than a quarter of Americans regularly view pornographic websites at their workplace.

Later in his deposition, the former lobbyist also said he had heard from directors at AIPAC about their visits to prostitutes and he claimed Kohr had routinely used “locker room language” at the AIPAC offices.

Rosenberg posits that the lawsuit “could well destroy the lobby without ever making its way on to the front page. AIPAC is under siege, and is spending millions to stay alive.”

Netanyahu Promises: No Third Settlement Freeze

Facing Growing Protests, 90-Day Freeze Remains in Doubt

by Jason Ditz,

Few people seem to have any serious hope for the 90 day settlement freeze salvaging the peace process, but whether it does or not, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns, it will be the absolute last freeze.

But even this freeze remains very questionable, with public protests in Israel against it and Netanyahu emphasizing that he won’t even allow the question to come to a vote in the cabinet unless the US steps up with written pledges beyond the $3 billion already promised. The US is said to have already promised that East Jerusalem doesn’t have to be included.

Which, according to the Palestinian Authority, means they won’t return to the talks. The Obama Administration has taken it upon themselves to negotiate the terms of the limited freeze to “save the talks,” but Palestinian officials say they have largely been out of the loop regarding the talks.

US officials have said they believe it will take more than a year of additional talks to reach a peace deal, but if the efforts for the 90 day freeze come with a US pledge never to ask for another freeze and promises to block Palestinian statehood outside in any circumstance outside of Israeli approval, both of which seem a given, it seem the deal is going to abstruct a peace settlement more than kick start it.


As NATO Rubber-Stamps Prolonged War, Afghans Losing Patience

Anti-NATO Sentiment Grows as Officials Vow War in 2014 and Beyond

by Jason Ditz,

Afghanistan is a nation in which the term “war weariness” doesn’t quite cover it. The nation spent a decade under a failed Soviet occupation in the 1980s which gave way to a decade of indecisive internal war, which itself has given way to an open-ended NATO occupation.

This weekend NATO’s Lisbon Summit centered around extending the current Afghan War through 2014 and likely long beyond. After almost a decade, it never seemed to occur to officials to even consider anything else. Domestic opinion in NATO nations has turned decisively against the war, but this is even more true in Afghanistan, where locals are just plain sick of watching other nations’ troops fail to occupy them.

I don’t think NATO has done much good,” noted one Afghan contractor, “they are spending millions of dollars over here but I don’t see many signs of prosperity or anything that can change the people’s standard of life.”

And it doesn’t seem like that is likely to change any time soon. Officials see four or five more years of war as a “best case” scenario, and even then they don’t expect the situation to have considerably improved. For many Afghans the hope is that NATO is just going to get sick of failing and go, but NATO’s cheerful Lisbon Summit policy review and their new 10 year strategy suggest an almost bottomless appetite for spinning their wheels in Afghanistan, and points to many more years to come.


Mullen Predicts ‘Very Difficult’ 2011 for Afghan War

As With 2010, Grim Near-Term Predictions Expected to Give Way to ‘Shift’

by Jason Ditz,

Starting about this time in 2009, a number of officials began making grim predictions for the year to come, insisting 2010 would be a violent year in Afghanistan. These predictions invariably came with claims that the momentum was starting to shift in favor of NATO.

Fast forward 12 months and NATO is reeling after the deadliest year yet for the nearly decade long occupation and Admiral Michael Mullen is the first out of the gate with a prediction for a “very difficult” 2011.

Mullen’s prediction, given today on ABC’s “This Week,” came, as they often do, with the claim that “it has started to get better” in Afghanistan. The improvements, of course, don’t come with any decline in death toll among troops or civilians.

Mullen also insisted that the end of 2014 transition date was achieveable, though he stopped far short of defining exactly what would happen then. Pentagon officials have warned that the date is not set in stone.


US defense chiefs warns LatAm nations on Iran cooperation

(AFP) – SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia — Latin American nations need to be cautious with Iran and its motives when negotiating development of their nuclear capacities, the US defense chief warned here Sunday.

“I think that countries that are dealing with Iran in this arena need to be very cautious and very careful about how they interact with the Iranians in terms of what the Iranians motives might be and what they’re really trying to do,” US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told journalists ahead of a pan-American defense meeting.

Host nation Bolivia is among countries interested in developing nuclear abilities with Tehran. The United States and some western powers believe Iran’s nuclear program is military; Tehran insists it is civilian in nature.

“I don’t really know what the Iranians are up to, to really tell you the truth,” Gates said.

“If they are talking about civil nuclear power, then all can be safeguarded under IAEA (and) we would have nothing to object” to, he said.

But “I’m not sure the Iranians have an independent capability to help somebody build a civil nuclear capability. Their own capability has been under contract with the Russians” for 20 years, Gates stressed.


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