Monday, March 30, 2009

IRA dissidents burn cars, block Belfast roads

DUBLIN – Suspected IRA dissidents and their supporters hijacked cars Monday in working-class Catholic areas of Northern Ireland in a coordinated effort to block roads and threaten police stations, police said.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland said it was receiving a wave of reports of vehicles being hijacked by masked gunmen in several parts of Belfast and in the Kilwilkie district of Lurgan, a power base for Irish Republican Army dissidents southwest of Belfast.
Some vehicles were being set on fire in roads to disrupt traffic at rush hour, while others were abandoned near four Belfast police stations and on Northern Ireland's major motorway near Lurgan.
Police said they were treating all the abandoned vehicles as potential car bombs, although they cautioned this was unlikely. They urged motorists to avoid Kilwilkie and parts of Catholic west Belfast entirely.
Monday's upheaval came at the end of a month in which IRA dissidents shot to death two soldiers and a policeman — the first killings of British security forces since 1998, the year of Northern Ireland's peace accord.
Police said at least two cars were hijacked in Lurgan's Kilwilkie district, the power base of suspected IRA dissident Colin Duffy. Duffy, 41, was charged last week with murdering the two soldiers.
One of the hijacked cars was abandoned on the M1 motorway, which connects Belfast to Dublin, 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the south. Authorities shut part of the motorway as a precaution.
One abandoned vehicle — which police said did not contain a bomb — was left near the Stormont Parliamentary Building, the center of Northern Ireland's power-sharing government between the British Protestant majority and Irish Catholic minority.
The coalition's Protestant leader, First Minister Peter Robinson, said the rising dissident IRA threat would not spur Protestants to sever links with Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party that represents most Catholics today.
"The criminal terrorists responsible for the series of bomb scares and hijackings are beneath contempt and have no support whatsoever in the community," Robinson said.
The hijackings and security alerts also coincided with a widespread breakdown of Belfast's traffic lights system. Police in a statement called that an "unfortunate coincidence."

From Gaza to Sudan, Ban Highlights Crises Confronting Arab World

From Gaza to Sudan, Ban Highlights Crises Confronting Arab World

From The Widening Fallout of The Global Economic Crisis to The Suffering of Victims of Armed Conflict, The Arab World Faces Insecurity Today and The Potential for More Tomorrow, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon <"http://www.Un.Org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/statments_full.Asp?statid=455">told The Summit of The League of Arab States in Doha Today.
"the Toll in Human Lives and Deferred Development Has Been Tragically High," He Said in His Address to The Gathering. "the Region's Large Groups of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons Continue to Live With Their Dignity Under Attack and With Little Ability to Plan for Their Futures."
mr. Ban Said He Remained Gravely Concerned About The Situation is Gaza, Which is Dealing With The Aftermath of The Three-Week Offensive Launched By Israel in Late December 2008.
"the People of Gaza are Suffering, and The Situation At The Crossings is Intolerable," He Stated, Asserting That The Way Forward is a Durable Ceasefire, Open Crossings, and Palestinian Reconciliation.
on Sudan, The Secretary-General Urged The Government Once Again to Reverse Its Decision to Expel Key International Non-Governmental Organizations (ngos), and Suspend The Work of Three National Ngos That Provide Life-Sustaining Services for More Than One Million People.
the Sudanese Government Took That Decision on 4 March, Immediately After The International Criminal Court (<"http://www.Icc-Cpi.Int/menus/icc/home">icc) Issued An Arrest Warrant for President Omar Al-Bashir, Who Was Also Present At Today's Summit in The Qatari Capital.
"despite The Efforts of Sudanese Line Ministries, UN Agencies and The Remaining Ngos, The Gaps Cannot Be Filled With Existing Capacities," Mr. Ban Noted Concerning The Humanitarian Crisis in The Western Darfur Region of The Country. "relief Efforts Should Not Become Politicized. People in Need Must Be Helped Irrespective of Political Differences."
turning to Another Hot-Spot on The Continent, He Said The Present Situation in Somalia Offers a "rare Window of Opportunity," and Urged Immediate Support for The New Government That Was Sworn in Last Month.
"those of US With Influence on The Groups Remaining Outside of The Peace Process Should Call on Them to Join for The Sake of National Reconciliation," Mr. Ban Said, Adding That More Must Also Be Done to Promote Security on The Ground, Including By Supporting The African Union Mission There (<"http://www.Africa-Union.Org/root/au/auc/departments/psc/amisom/amisom.Htm">amisom) and Somali Security Forces At An Upcoming Donor Conference.
the Secretary-General Also Highlighted The Multiple Elections Taking Place This Year in Iraq to Strengthen Democratic Representation, Advance The Political Process and Promote Stability, and Said He Looked Forward to Free and Transparent Polls on 7 June in Lebanon.
while in Doha, Mr. Ban Held Bilateral Talks Today With The Secretary-General of The League of Arab States, Amre Moussa, as Well as With The Secretary-General of The Organization of The Islamic Conference, The Foreign Minister of Norway and The President of The United Arab Emirates.
yesterday, He Held Separate Meetings With The Emir of Qatar and The Presidents of Lebanon, The Palestinian Authority, Somalia and Syria.
tomorrow The Secretary-General Will Open The International Conference on Afghanistan in The Hague, Which Will Assess The Current Political, Security and Development Issues in The South Asian Nation.source: United Nations

URGENT - Stop the killing of kangaroo babies like this.

Australian Government
Sponsored by:
Here is Australia's Dirty is home to the largest wildlife massacre in the world. And Canberra, the nation's capitol, has earned the title, "Kangaroo Killing Capitol of the World". The title is well earned. Last year, the government massacred over 500 kangaroos on a decommissioned military base. They refused all non-lethal solutions, including relocation. This year they plan to kill 5,000 kangaroos including mothers and babies, and they plan to do it in secret because they don't want negative publicity.To learn more: government doesn't protect public land from cattle or horse over-grazing; the only solution the government provides is to first blame and then kill the kangaroo. All information presented to the public is confusing, and conflicting. The Australian government has shown no respect to its own national icon, the gentle kangaroo, and is "managing" Australia's native land and animals to death.Sign this petition to tell Australia's government to immediately stop this kangaroo cull, and to actively research and provide alternative solutions. Your signature and comments will be delivered via email to the Australian government.
Here is Australia's Dirty is home to the largest wildlife massacre in the world. And Canberra, the nation's capitol, has earned the title, "Kangaroo Killing Capitol of the World". The title is well earned. Last year, the government massacred over 500 kangaroos on a decommissioned military base. They refused all non-lethal solutions, including relocation. This year they plan to kill 5,000 kangaroos including mothers and babies, and they plan to do it in secret because they don't want negative publicity.To learn more: government doesn't protect public land from cattle or horse over-grazing; the only solution the government provides is to first blame and then kill the kangaroo. All information presented to the public is confusing, and conflicting. The Australian government has shown no respect to its own national icon, the gentle kangaroo, and is "managing" Australia's native land and animals to death.Sign this petition to tell Australia's government to immediately stop this kangaroo cull, and to actively research and provide alternative solutions. Your signature and comments will be delivered via email to the Australian government.

U.S. deploys anti-missile ships before North Korea launch


SEOUL (Reuters) – The United States deployed a missile-interceptor ship from South Korea on Monday, a military spokesman said, days ahead of a North Korean rocket launch widely seen as a long-range missile test that violates U.N. sanctions.
The launch presents the first significant challenge by the prickly state to U.S. President Barack Obama, who will discuss Pyongyang's intentions with global leaders including Chinese President Hu Jintao this week at the G20 summit in London.
The United States, however, has no plans to shoot down the rocket in a test seen by Washington as part of Pyongyang's goal to eventually develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday.
"I would say we're not prepared to do anything about it," Gates said on "Fox News Sunday" when asked if the Pentagon planned to shoot down the missile.
"If we had an aberrant missile, one that looked like it was headed for Hawaii, we might consider it," he said, adding the Pentagon does not believe North Korea can put a warhead on the missile or reach the U.S. West Coast.
U.S. Forces Korea dispatched one Aegis-equipped destroyer on Monday and plans to send another one later in the day from the South Korean port of Busan, a spokesman said without offering further details.
Local media quoted informed sources as saying the vessels with sophisticated radar will monitor the launch, which Pyongyang has said is planned for April 4-8. South Korea also plans to dispatch one of its missile intercepting destroyers closer to the launch date, officials have said.
Japan deployed two missile-intercepting vessels to waters off its west coast at the weekend and another off its Pacific coast.
The North Korean rocket is supposed to drop booster stages to the east and west of Japan. Government officials said Tokyo is poised to shoot down debris that poses a threat to its public.
North Korea has installed the completed three-stage rocket on a launch pad at its Musudan-ri missile base on the east coast but it was unclear what was at the top of the rocket, the Institute for Science and International Security said at the weekend based on an analysis of satellite imagery.
North Korea has said the launch is for the peaceful purpose of sending a satellite into orbit, while the United States, South Korea and Japan see it as a disguised test of the Taepodong-2 missile and a violation of U.N. sanctions.
The three have said they want the U.N. Security Council to punish the North for the launch but analysts see China, a veto-wielding permanent council member and the closest the North has to a major ally, blocking new sanctions and reluctant to call for tighter enforcement of existing ones.
Japan is considering tightening its unilateral sanctions on North Korea, Kyodo news agency reported. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said he opposes a military response to the launch.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Lee said he also does not want to punish Pyongyang by ending a joint business park located just north of their heavily militarized border or cutting humanitarian aid because that could hurt separate nuclear disarmament talks and Seoul's goal of peaceful unification.
"For us to go the other way, taking a harder stance, I don't think that would necessarily be helpful in achieving this ultimate objective," Lee said.
In July 2006, the only time the North tested the missile designed to carry a warhead as far as Alaska, it exploded just seconds into its flight.
North Korea is expected to start fuelling the rocket this week, starting a process experts said takes three to four days to prepare it for launch. U.S. spy satellites can watch the moves at the Musudan-ri missile base.
Weather forecasts for the area indicate rain on Saturday, the first planned day for the launch, followed by clear skies.
Investors said the impending launch has not cast much of a shadow, for now, over trading this week in Seoul.
"They will worry about that once the rocket is launched," said Kim Joong-hyun, a Goodmorning Shinhan Securities analyst.
Japan's Sankei Shimbun at the weekend said the North may also test-fire a barrage of mid-range ballistic missiles when it shoots off the rocket, as it did in 2006, but experts see that as unlikely because it could undermine Pyongyang's position.
"Such a test would be squarely contradictory to its arguments thus far that the rocket launch is for peaceful space development," said Moon Hong-sik, a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy in Seoul.

SKorea opposes military reaction to NKorean launch

SEOUL, South Korea – President Lee Myung-bak said South Korea opposes any military response to North Korea's planned launch of a rocket, while Washington's defense chief said the U.S. won't try to shoot it down.
The remarks by Lee and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates appear to reflect concerns that any tough reaction could send tensions spiking out of control at a time when the communist regime is warning that even U.N. sanctions would prompt it to quit nuclear disarmament talks.
North Korea says it will launch a communications satellite into orbit between April 4 and 8 as part of its space development program. Regional powers, however, suspect the North is using the launch to test long-range missile technology.
South Korea, the U.S. and Japan have warned the North that if it goes ahead with the launch it could face international sanctions under a 2006 U.N. Security Council resolution prohibiting ballistic activity by Pyongyang.
Pyongyang has said sanctions would violate the spirit of agreements in nuclear disarmament talks, and said it would treat the pacts as null and void if punished for exercising its right to send a satellite into space.
In an interview with the Financial Times published Monday, Lee said all countries, including China and Russia, oppose the North's plans. But Lee stressed that he is against using military means as punishment.
"What I do oppose is to militarily respond to these kind of actions," Lee said, according to a transcript of the interview released by the presidential office.
Lee also ruled out shuttering a joint industrial complex in North Korea — widely seen as a source of hard currency for the impoverished nation — as punishment. He said he does not believe "taking a harder stance" would be helpful in achieving Seoul's ultimate objective of ridding the North of nuclear programs.
In Washington, Gates said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the U.S. has no plans to try to intercept the North Korean rocket but might consider trying if an "aberrant missile" were headed to Hawaii "or something like that."
Still, Gates said the North's launch is a step toward developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could carry a nuclear warhead, and "a mask for the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile."
Commercial satellite imagery taken Sunday by DigitalGlobe clearly shows what appears to be a three-stage launch vehicle on the launch pad in Musudan-ni on North Korea's east coast, said Tim Brown, an analyst for
However, it remains unclear whether the rocket is a long-range Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile or a space launch vehicle designed to carry a satellite, Brown said.
He noted that the service-level swing arms appear to be rotated away from the launch vehicle.
"The loading of liquid fuel from nearby fuel storage buildings and final check-out procedures could take place in the next few days," Brown said.
On Monday, two U.S. destroyers were to depart from South Korea on a mission believed to monitor the North's rocket launch. The ships are equipped with Aegis radar, a system that enables the vessels to locate, track and shoot down missiles.
U.S. military spokesman Kim Yong-kyu said the ships would depart from the South Korean port of Busan, but declined to give details.
South Korea also plans to dispatch an Aegis-equipped destroyer off the east coast to monitor the launch.
In addition to the long-range rocket, North Korea is preparing to launch a short- or medium-range missile, a Japanese newspaper reported Sunday.
The Sankei newspaper, citing several unnamed Japanese government sources, said the North is preparing to test-launch another missile from Wonsan, about 155 miles (250 kilometers) south of Musudan-ni. It said U.S., South Korean and Japanese intelligence analyses said the missile could be short or medium range.
The report said the North may conduct another missile test if the U.N. Security Council approves sanctions against it or if it cannot wrest concessions from the United States.
Japan's Defense Ministry declined to comment on the Sankei report. South Korea's Defense Ministry and National Intelligence Service — its main spy agency — said they couldn't immediately confirm the report.


Is this just all a game NK is playing? They will launch it then will say that future launches can be avoided for more aid, recognition and to bolster their egotistical image of themselves infront of their brainwashed people. NK knows full well that starting a war would be disasterous for them because most of their military hardware is antiquated not to mention that they dont have the resources for a prolonged war.

If the countries around North Korea don’t want to do anything then we need to just leave it alone. Stop spending the tax payer’s dollars on other people’s problems. These guys only have the technology to hurt the countries around them, not us. Also with our missile defense system we could shoot down any missile that would be shot from North Korea. Watch when they piss off the countries that are around them they will be taken care of and we won’t have to lift a finger.

America stands up for those who can't stand up for themselves???? OR do they???? This is why we are watching ( as always pretending to care), to make sure that korean bottle rocket doesn't go nuclear over Japan or some other innocent country!!! Technology just gives us more efficient ways of killing eachother and they call it advances in civilization. What a joke.

Long-delayed Khmer Rouge genocide trial opens

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – A former teacher accused of carrying out the murderous policies of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge went on trial Monday, as prosecutors opened their first case against the hard-core communists who turned the country into a killing field three decades ago.
A U.N.-assisted genocide tribunal has charged Kaing Guek Eav, 66, with committing crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as torture and homicide.
The tribunal is seeking to establish responsibility for the group's brutal 1975-79 misrule of the country under Pol Pot, the group's leader who died in 1998. An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died of starvation, medical neglect, slave-like working conditions and execution under the Khmer Rouge.
"Cambodians have been waiting 30 years for the Khmer Rouge to be tried for the violence and suffering they inflicted upon the population," said Professor Alex Hinton, director of Rutgers University's Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights. "That day has arrived."
Cambodian state television and radio were broadcasting Monday's proceedings live, and 70 percent of the country's 14.3 million people were expected to tune in, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said. The verdict at the end of the trial is also expected to be broadcast live.
The defendant stood when asked to identify himself and gave his name as, "Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch," — his nom de guerre (pronounced "Gang Geck Ee-uu" and "Doik"). He then listed other names he used while in hiding after the regime's fall.
Duch ran the Khmer Rogue's main prison, the notorious torture center known as S-21, or Tuol Sleng, in Phnom Penh. As many as 16,000 men, women and children were brutally tortured there before being sent to their deaths.
According to Duch's lengthy indictment, which was read aloud by court officials, "Every prisoner who arrived at S-21 was destined for execution."
"Interrogators used several forms of torture in order to extract confessions from prisoners," said the indictment, listing the main methods as "beating, electrocution, placing a plastic bag over the head and pouring water into the nose."
Duch has acknowledged there was also a practice of puncturing or removing finger and toenails, it said, and "at least one prisoner was force-fed excrement."
Scores of survivors traveled from around the country to witness the hearing. Among them was Svay Simon, a one-legged, 64-year-old farmer whose limb was blown off by a Khmer Rouge bomb in 1975. He lost 10 relatives, including his sister and brother, to the regime.
"I never thought I would have a chance to see Duch and sit in on this trial," he said, walking with a cane as he entered the courtroom.
Duch holds the distinction of being not only the first member of the Khmer Rouge to face trial for the regime's atrocities, but also the only one to express remorse for his role.
Duch's French lawyer, Francois Roux, said during a procedural hearing that his client wished "to ask forgiveness from the victims, but also from the Cambodian people. He will do so publicly. This is the very least he owes the victims."
Duch disappeared after the group fell from power, living under two other names. He returned to teaching and converted to Christianity before he was discovered by chance by a British journalist in the Cambodian countryside in 1999.
Since then he has been in detention awaiting trial. Technically, Duch's trial opened in February, when the judges ruled on procedural issues such as scheduling and witnesses. But Monday's hearing marks the start of its substantive phase, including the first chance for Duch to publicly tell his story and face the families of victims.
Duch methodically recorded the treatment of each prisoner in thousands of documents that were found in the compound after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in January 1979. One shows Duch's signature on a list of prisoners, with the words "Kill them all."
"It's going to be a painful process but it's a process that we believe will lead to ... a feeling that finally justice is achieved, and it will be worth experiencing this pain," Tribunal spokeswoman Helen Jarvis told The Associated Press.
Human rights groups want the number of defendants increased beyond Duch and the four senior Khmer Rouge leaders being held for trial in the next year or so.
Critics of the tribunal also charge that Cambodia's government has sought to limit its scope because other suspects are now loyal to Prime Minister Hun Sen, and to arrest them could be politically awkward.
Associated Press


"Cambodians have been waiting 30 years for the Khmer Rouge to be tried for the violence and suffering they inflicted upon the population," said Prof. Alex Hinton, director of Rutgers University's Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights. "That day has arrived."What took so long? Most Cambodians don't even have a Memory of this in their Country..some still deny it even ever happened..Why the UN and War Crimes Tribunal dragged its feey for so long in bringing these criminals to just another example of how truely ineffective they are..Would it be that China as a Security counsil member had anything to do with the delay?

For Cambodia to have arrived at the point of being able to put anyone responsible on trial for the Communist period of their past is terrific...Lets trust that the current free government will not allow any of those responsible, regardless of their present status, to save themselves from the consequences of the genocide committed upon the Cambodian people in those "killing fields" of the past

Sunday, March 29, 2009

N. Ireland police re-arm after killings

BELFAST (AFP) – Police in parts of Northern Ireland have begun wearing flak jackets and carrying rifles for the first time in years following three high-profile killings, they said Sunday.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has returned to arming some of its officers after the fatal shootings of two British soldiers and a police officer within 48 hours of each other in early March.
"Regional commanders will decide where it is appropriate to advise patrols to carry Heckler and Koch rifles," a police spokeswoman said.
One member of a PSNI mobile patrol unit on the Foyle Bridge in Londonderry, an area northwest of the province near the border with the Republic of Ireland, said the practice had become common there.
"All patrols carrying out checkpoints like these in the city of Londonderry have at least one officer armed with a rifle and we are wearing flak jackets," he told AFP on condition of anonymity.
He added: "After the killings in Masserene (army barracks) and in Lurgan, we were told to start carrying these weapons."
The PSNI spokeswoman confirmed officers have to undergo "specialist training" to use the rifles, explaining: "No officers passing out (qualifying) in the past two years would have been trained in the use of those weapons."
Police are being re-armed only in certain areas, including Lurgan where constable Stephen Carroll was shot dead on March 9.
After the killings, Northern Ireland assembly member Ian Paisley, the son of former first minister Ian Paisley, expressed concern about a shortage of flak jackets for police officers.
"At this time of increased terrorist criminal threat it is vital that our officers feel safe and secure as they serve the community," he said.
Civil strife between the largely Catholic and Protestant communities in the British-ruled province raged for three decades before 1998 peace accords led to power-sharing.
The recent murders were claimed by dissident republicans who reject the peace process and want a united Ireland.
On Saturday, violent clashes also kicked off between rival fans attending a Northern Ireland-Poland football match in Belfast. Four men have been charged with disorderly behaviour in connection with the disturbances. There is a lot of history on the rival "fans" that many don't know about. They are more like gangs then fans. Enough said for now.
(my post on yahoo)

NKorea launch threatens to undo disarmament talks

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea's plans to launch a rocket as early as this week in defiance of warnings threatens to undo years of fitful negotiations toward dismantling the regime's nuclear program.
The U.S., South Korea and Japan have told the North that any rocket launch — whether it's a satellite or a long-range missile — would violate a 2006 U.N. Security Council Resolution prohibiting Pyongyang from any ballistic activity, and could draw sanctions.
North Korea said sanctions would violate the spirit of disarmament agreements, and said it would treat the pacts as null and void if punished for exercising its sovereign right to send a satellite into space.
"Even a single word critical of the launch" from the Security Council will be regarded as a "blatant hostile act," a spokesman with North Korea's foreign ministry said Thursday, according the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency. "All the processes for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which have been pushed forward so far, will be brought back to what used to be before their start and necessary strong measures will be taken."
That would be a sharp reversal from June 2008 when the North made a promising move toward disarmament, dramatically blowing up a cooling reactor at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex.
But the regime routinely backtracks on agreements, refuses to abide by international rules and wields its nuclear program like a weapon when it needs to win concessions from Washington or Seoul, analysts say.
"History has shown them that the more provocative they are, the more attention they get. The more attention they get, the more they're offered," Peter M. Beck, a Korean affairs expert who teaches at American University in Washington and Yonsei University in Seoul, said Sunday.
Despite years of negotiations and impoverished North Korea's growing need for outside help, it's clear the talks have done little to curb the regime's drive to build — and sell — its atomic arsenal, experts say.
"If this is Kim Jong Il's welcoming present to a new president, launching a missile like this and threatening to have a nuclear test, I think it says a lot about the imperviousness of this regime in North Korea to any kind of diplomatic overtures," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview broadcast on "Fox News Sunday."
North Korea, a notoriously secretive country, has been challenging the international community with its atomic ambitions since 1993, when the regime briefly quit the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty amid suspicions it was secretly developing atomic weapons.
In 1994, North Korea and the U.S. worked out an agreement that promised Pyongyang oil and two light water nuclear reactors if the country would give up its nuclear ambitions. The power-generating reactors cannot be easily used to make bombs.
Four years later, North Korea fired a multistage Taepodong-1 missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean. The North pledged in 1999 to freeze long-range missile tests, but later threatened to restart its nuclear program and resume testing missiles amid delays in construction of the reactors.
In 2002, Pyongyang admitted to a secret nuclear weapons program in violation of the 1994 agreement, prompting the U.S., Japan and South Korea to halt oil supplies promised as part of the pact. The North withdrew again from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 2003, and announced it had reactivated its nuclear power facilities.
That August, six nations — the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. — began negotiations on disarmament now known as the "six-party talks," eventually resulting in a landmark accord on Sept. 19, 2005. The agreement called for North Korea to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid, diplomatic recognition and a security guarantee from Washington.
As the talks continued in fits and starts, the North in 2006 carried out a surprise 5 a.m. test-fire of six missiles, including its Taepodong-2 long-range missile, which U.S. and South Korean officials believe has the potential to strike Alaska.
The rocket fizzled just 42 seconds after takeoff but the launch, denounced as "provocative" by Washington, angered even North Korea's longtime ally and main donor, China, which agreed to a U.S.-sponsored U.N. Resolution 1695 condemning the move.
Later that year, an underground nuclear test prompted U.N. Resolution 1718, which bans the North from any ballistic activity. The U.S., South Korea and Japan say that sending satellites into space since the technology for launching a satellite and a missile are virtually the same.
By February, Pyongyang agreed to concrete steps toward disarmament: disabling its main nuclear facilities in exchange for the equivalent of 1 million tons of energy aid and other concessions. Disablement began that November.
But the North halted the process in 2008 amid a dispute with Washington over how to verify its 18,000-page account of past atomic activities. The last round of talks — in December 2008, weeks before President Barack Obama moved into the White House — made little apparent progress.
Analysts speculated that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was holding out for talks with Obama. But in forming its North Korea policy, the fledgling Obama administration has made it clear it will work through the six-party process.
The rocket launch scheduled for April 4-8, at a time when Pyongyang has custody of two American reporters detained March 17 at North Korea's border with China, could provide the opening North Korea needs to force direct talks with Washington, analysts said.
"The timing couldn't be better for North Korea. It strengthens the North's bargaining position with the U.S. in dealing with the nuclear issue. They can try to link these two issues in some way," said Daniel Pinkston of the International Crisis Group.
Bringing everyone, including North Korea, back to the talks will be "rough going," said Paik Hak-soon, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think tank.
But South Korea's envoy expressed confidence the talks would be back on track soon. "I am looking forward to seeing the talks resume after certain amount of time, and I am not deeply worried or concerned about resumption of the talks," Wi Sung-lac said last week.
Ultimately, the talks may never achieve their aim, Beck said.
"It may very well be that in the end, the North will try to play it both ways: continue to negotiate for goodies while never giving up its nuclear trump card," he said in his House testimony. "After all, that is essentially what it has done for the past 16 years."
(Associated Press)


They have money for missile's but lack money to feed there people, how cruel. Well now Russia, maybe you should wake up before you find yourself sandwiched between two power hungry 3rd world radicals. Not to mention supplying them with fuel for at least a dirty bomb. Good luck Mr. Putin!!!!
"I would say we're not prepared to do anything about it," Gates told "Fox News Sunday."-ie our administration does not have the balls to stop them.This is not a minor matter, if they sucessfully carry this off, they will have a nuclear program capable of hitting the US with an icbm.

I believe the U.S. should shoot any rocket down as soon as it lifts off the launch pad, even if it is just a satellite. If we don't, then Japan or South Korea should. It is foolish for us to concede anything to that despotic regime. We have conceded too much already and it isn't working, plus it sets a bad example to other regimes we are dealing with in that they now know, if they get far enough with their weapons development....need I say more? We need to draw a line in the sand and take the hard line approach.

Picture: March 29th 09' Black and White picture of missile/rocket area.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

3 Part Post about Sudan, UN, US etc. With reply at the end.

I took some time to sit back and watch/read whats been happening feeling much like others -powerless, not knowing what to do, what the right move would be etc.... Well, here it is I have to speak/write. Sitting back is as good as doing nothing. Sure I've started a pledge here and there and sent it to others but there is so much more I could and will be doing.

One thing I'd like to point out at this time is Genocide, Darfur,Bashir, Chad, ICC, UN and many more are misunderstood mostly do to not knowing the history of the truth. Its like watching a movie starting in the middle. To many this can be confusing, misunderstood, not understood at all and etc. If you want a good way to learn about this and more please check out "Not on Our Watch" by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast or " In the Hot Zone" by Kevin Sites. You can even look them up on line Kevin Sites has a web-site that provides a mass amount of information. Although Kevin's book is "One man, One year, 20 Wars" it is insightful and helpful all the way around. There are many other great books out there so please I ask you just pick up one. Thanks.

First Post:

Defying warrant, Sudan's president visits Libya

TRIPOLI, Libya – Sudan's president visited his third country in four days Thursday, this time touching down in Libya, the latest nation to welcome the leader who's wanted by an international court on war crimes charges.
Omar al-Bashir met with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, praising Libya's support for Sudan following the March 4 arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court. His visit Thursday came after a trip Wednesday to key U.S.-ally Egypt and a stop Monday in the isolated African nation, Eritrea.
The Sudanese leader has been emboldened by the decision of the 22-member Arab League to not enforce the warrant even though three of its member countries are signatories to the court's founding treaty.
The court accuses al-Bashir of orchestrating a counterinsurgency against Darfur rebels that has involved rapes, killings and other atrocities against civilians. His government has been accused of unleashing Arab militiamen against Darfur civilians in a drive to put down a revolt by ethnic Africans in the western region.
Up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been driven from their homes since 2003, according to the U.N. Sudan says the U.N.'s figures are exaggerated.
Al-Bashir responded to the arrest warrant by expelling 13 foreign aid groups from Darfur, exposing hundreds of thousands of people already suffering from the six-year conflict to an even greater crisis.
He has been greeted warmly in the countries he's visited.
But as al-Bashir was in Libya, the Libyan ambassador at the United Nations in New York, Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham said his country and the U.N. are urging the Sudanese leader to reconsider the expulsion of the aid organizations from Darfur.
Shalgham, who presides over the Security Council this month, said council members agreed Thursday that al-Bashir "should reconsider the decision on suspending the activities" of the aid groups.
On Wednesday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak received al-Bashir at Cairo's airport in a show of solidarity with the wanted Sudanese leader.
Al-Bashir's visits are designed to challenge the ICC and show that "he doesn't care about the arrest warrant," said Mohammed Aboul Fadl, an analyst with the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram.
"This is the same agenda that Sudan has adopted ever since the indictment became public," Aboul Fadl said. "By visiting those countries, he is saying that his African relations are not being affected by the ICC ... All those messages confirm that Sudan is not retreating, despite all the political pressures being practiced by the West."
Another goal of the visits is to get Arab countries to help Sudan cope with the gap that was left by the departure of the aid groups, Aboul Fadl said.
The Sudanese president is also slated to attend the Arab League summit March 27 in the tiny Gulf nation of Qatar. However, there have been public calls in Sudan for him to stay away over concerns he might be taken into custody while there.
Neither Libya or Egypt are signatories to the ICC's founding treaty, and both countries as well as the Arab League have backed al-Bashir, arguing that the warrant could further destabilize the country.
The United States is also not a signatory to the ICC but has been strongly critical of al-Bashir following the arrest warrant.

Second post:

U.N. council urges Sudan to let back aid groups

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council appealed to Sudan on Thursday to reconsider a decision to expel some aid groups in Darfur after an international court issued an arrest warrant for the country's leader.
Khartoum ordered out 13 foreign groups and shut down three local ones after the International Criminal Court issued the warrant on March 4 against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of war crimes in the conflict-torn Darfur region.
In a statement, the council said its members "stressed the importance of continuing the distribution of humanitarian assistance to all the needy in Darfur."
They urged Sudan's government "to continue cooperating with the United Nations and humanitarian organizations and appeal to it to reconsider the decision on suspending the activities of some non-government organizations in Sudan."
The statement was read to media by Ambassador Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Shalgam of Libya, this month's council president. Diplomats said it had been agreed unanimously by all 15 council members, who include Libya, a neighbor of Sudan.
Bashir, defying the international arrest warrant, traveled to Libya on Thursday for talks with leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's government said.


Third Post:

At least two dead in arson attack on Darfur camp

KHARTOUM (AFP) – At least two people were killed after assailants set fire to a camp for displaced people in Darfur, destroying hundreds of shelters, Sudanese and UN officials said on Wednesday.
"An unknown group burnt Abuzar camp" in the overnight attack, a local government official said, requesting anonymity. "The fire destroyed 600 shelters."
The UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said two people died in the blaze at the camp near the West Darfur state capital of El Geneina. It spread fast because of strong winds, affecting about 1,500 residents.
UNAMID military and police sent to probe the fire were informed that "two armed men in military uniform and two others in civilian clothes were seen entering the camp, starting a fire ... and then fleeing," it said.
A woman died at the scene and a 22-year-old man later died in hospital, UNAMID said in a statement. Three others were seriously hurt and are being treated at El Geneina hospital.
Amy Martin, in charge of a UN aid programme in West Darfur, said the fire destroyed the food distribution centre in the camp.
A spokesman for the Darfur rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) put the toll at three dead and three injured and blamed a pro-government militia for the attack.
Ahmed Hussein accused the Khartoum government of trying to "dismantle the refugee camps."
Abuzar houses more than 12,000 of the estimated 2.7 million people displaced by six years of fighting in Darfur. The camp also came under attack earlier this month, local sources said.
A Sudanese man working for a Canadian aid group was shot dead in West Darfur on Monday night, in the third murder of a member of the embattled relief operation in war-ravaged Darfur since the start of 2009.
The United Nations says 300,000 people have died -- many from disease and hunger -- after ethnic Darfur rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, complaining of discrimination.
Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.


This fills me with anger that can only be reduced when this genocide is halted and justice is served for the perpetrators, or at least those who orchestrated this madness. Until that happens, I will not stop sounding the alarm. In fact, I cannot stop. I hope many feel the same way. Two realities I'd like to share with anyone reading this would be....

1) If conflicts aren't resolved, efforts to support Africa's development will be underminded repatedly.

2) Political will for supporting positive agendas in Africa has a great deal of competition from many other pressing priorities, so unless we become much more vocal, little will change in how we respond to Africa.

So it is absolutely imperative that resolving conflicts and confronting mass human rights abuses be central objectives of U.S. policy of Africa. However, the U.S. government usually does not respond to cases of mass atrocities (particularly in Africa). When American people - or influential subsets of them - do not make noise, then it is highly unlikely that the U.S. government will do much more then express (or pretend to express) concern and call on the parties to lay down their arms. In the case of Darfur this is different. We have expressed great horror and DEMAND more action. So for those of you that have sat back speak up, write the government, tell your friends and family, make calls. Do what it takes!!!! If you don't know how ask, if you don't care then be on your way with your head turned away from the mass genocide that has and is still in full force.



Here's what you can do
Submit a shareholder proposal to companies and funds where you invest, to ensure they are genocide-free. We've made it easy for you to submit a shareholder proposal on genocide-free investing to your mutual fund or investment firm.

Send a message to complicit companies. You can send to all at once, or select the one below where you invest. You don't have to be an investor to object. Financial companies want your business now or in the future, so your voice will matter.

Donate online to the campaign for genocide-free investing and sign up for our email list.
Distribute our campaign materials when you hold Darfur or other events. Click here for materials.

Raise awareness at your workplace, especially if your employer offers Fidelity, TIAA-CREF, or funds from other problem investment firms in its retirement plans. Get your company and co-workers involved.

Contact your company's 401k plan administrator to request genocide-free investment options. Ask the plan administrator to avoid offering Sudan-related stocks and mutual funds, to offer alternatives to using Fidelity funds, and to register a complaint with Fidelity on behalf of the company and its employees. Click here for suggested 401k actions.

Publicize the campaign to your group's members via email to your list, website, internal magazines and bulletins.

Provide a statement of support from your group.

Check your portfolio and move your money to ensure you are not investing in companies in Sudan's oil industry and not investing with the problem investment companies. (Note that if you are going to submit a shareholder proposal, you must maintain an investment of at least $2,000.) Click here for how to divest from Sudan.

Tell your friends what you did and why. If you are an organization, publicize what you did and why.
Get people (and students!) in your community and congregation involved. Speak out to your congregation and other organizations and distribute the information to members. Divest your organization’s endowments from problem investment companies and Sudan oil investments.

Write a letter to the editor of your local or school newspaper. Click here or here for a sample. Most local weekly and campus newspapers (not the large metropolitan dailies) will publish all letters to the editor received from town residents. You can easily find the email address by searching for your paper on the Internet. You will most likely find instructions on submitting a letter to the editor in the "Opinion" section. It's easy to cut and paste from the sample into an email that you can send to your hometown paper.

Contact local radio, and TV media to place articles and write letters to the editor, Public Service Announcements, and op-eds to share your concerns for Darfur and your actions to divest from companies that fund genocide.

Contact us with your ideas and interest in working together on this campaign. Thanks for your help!

Learn more about genocide-free investing and our strategy and plans for shareholder proposals.
Support state and pension fund divestment from Sudan.

Investors Against Genocide Contact us at 617-517-6310 or

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Riverside Humane Society walk draws over 1000 people -- and pets

More than 1,000 people and their pets came out in support of the Riverside Humane Society Pet Adoption Center's 17th annual Walk With The Animals at Riverside's Fairmount Park on Saturday.
That was 200 more than last year, society officials said in a news release.
The event raised more than $30,000 and more money is expected to be coming in, Executive Director Denise Perry said by phone.

The Riverside Humane Society board approved Perry as director at their March 18 meeting, she said.
The money will help the nonprofit "continue to find our animals 'forever' homes," Perry said.
Funds were raised through registration fees, walker sponsors, "paws" sold at various vendors to promote the walk and events at the walk.
The top service organization team was Blindness Support Services Inc. of Riverside, which will be recognized with a commemorative plaque in the Pet Adoption Center at 6165 Industrial Ave.
Among the schools, Ramona Elementary School of Moreno Valley collected the most pledge money.
Ileana Liel, of Riverside, won an art quilt featuring sea turtles in a raffle. The quilt was crafted and donated by Tim Tourtellott.
The event featured a two-mile pledge walk around Lake Evans, Muttley Crew K-9 Entertainment and a search dog demonstration by the Riverside Fire Department, which also brought its month-old rescue unit.
The Riverside Humane Society Pet Adoption Center is a non-profit charitable organization.
It accepts owner turn-ins of cats and dogs and transfers from area animal control shelters.
Visit for more information and to see animals available for adoption.

The Press-Enterprise
Many useful groups, non-profits, careing people etc. Please look into adoption before buying.

Downed Animal Protection - No Downers Campaign

Downed Animal Protection - No Downers Campaign
The USDA closed a loophole and banned downed cattle from being slaughtered and entering the human food supply. While this step is a milestone in efforts to protect those animals too sick and injured to walk, or even stand, protections need to be expanded to all species. Help continue this momentum.Thank you for closing the loophole that allowed downed cattle to be slaughtered and to enter the food supply. This will prevent a lot of cruelty and suffering and demonstrates a commitment to the humane treatment of livestock.
Please take another step forward, and apply this rule to all species of livestock, including pigs, sheep and goats. They too suffer when they are unable to stand and walk on their own and are pushed and prodded to the slaughter line.

Thank you to those that helped closeing the loophole that allowed downed cattle to be slaughtered and to enter the food supply. This will prevent a lot of cruelty and suffering and demonstrates a commitment to the humane treatment of livestock. This will also contribute to better, safer food for everyone.take another step forward, and apply this rule to all species of livestock, including pigs, sheep and goats. They too suffer when they are unable to stand and walk on their own and are pushed and prodded to the slaughter line. There is NO EXCUSE for so many downed animals. It is a sign of gross mis-management of all resources. We still have work to do please keep fighting the good fight and giving a voice to the voiceless.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NKorea reasserts right to satellite launch (AP)

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea warned the United States, Japan and their allies not to interfere with its plan to launch a satellite into space next month, saying Tuesday any intervention could doom already stalled talks on ending its nuclear weapons program.
North Korea has declared its intention to send a communications satellite into space between April 4 and 8, and a defense analyst said recent images of the launch pad indicated preparations were continuing. Regional powers suspect the North will use the launch to test its long-range missile technology, and has warned Pyongyang the launch would trigger international sanctions.
A 2006 U.N. Security Council resolution prohibits North Korea from engaging in ballistic activity, which Washington and its allies say includes firing a long-range missile or using a rocket to send a satellite into space.
On Tuesday, the North's Foreign Ministry reasserted its right to peaceful development of its space program.
"The countries which find fault with (North Korea's) satellite launch, including the U.S. and Japan, launched satellites before it," said the statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. The stance proves their "their hostility toward us," it said.
The impending launch has raised tensions in the region. South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that the country's top nuclear negotiator, Wi Sung-lac said Seoul is working on responses to any rocket launch.
"As the clock ticks, we are placing more weight on countermeasures after a launch," he was quoted by Yonhap as saying on Tuesday.
Satellite images from March 16 indicate that preparations for the launch of a satellite are moving forward, but the rocket was not yet on the launch pad in those photos, analyst Christian Le Miere, an editor at Jane's Intelligence Review, said Tuesday.
It's possible the rocket has been placed on the launch pad since the images were taken, he said from London.
Japan has said it could shoot down debris from a botched missile launch, but the country's foreign minister cast doubt on that assertion on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said "it would be difficult" for Japan to intercept fragments of a missile that might fall into Japanese territory after a launch.
The North warned that the attempts by Washington and Tokyo to deny Pyongyang the right to use space for peaceful purposes was discriminatory and not in keeping with "spirit of mutual respect and equality" of a disarmament pact Pyongyang signed in 2005 with five other nations: China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the U.S.
Under the deal, the North pledged to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees. In 2007, the country agreed on the initial disarmament steps — disabling its main nuclear facilities in return for the equivalent of 1 million tons of energy aid and other benefits.
The disarmament process, however, has been stalled since last year over a disagreement with Washington over how to verify the North's past atomic activities.
The statement warned that sanctions would "deprive the six-party talks of any ground to exist or their meaning."
The North also said it would not abandon its nuclear weapons and had no choice but to strengthen its forces in the face of such hostility. The statement didn't elaborate.
Regional powers are looking to China, North Korea's biggest benefactor and longtime communist ally, to help calm tensions in the region and persuade the North to return to the negotiating table. Both China's president and premier have urged North Korea to come back to the talks in recent days.
Tensions have been running high on the divided Korean peninsula since a pro-U.S., conservative government took office in Seoul one year ago with a tougher policy on Pyongyang. The North cut off ties with South Korea, halted key joint projects and significantly restricted border traffic.
The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops to deter aggression from North Korea, which is still technically at war with South Korea since their 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this story from Tokyo.


"Saying Tuesday any intervention could doom already stalled talks on ending its nuclear weapons program."I am Tired of them playing Games....There is no Stalling anything with This Regime....they will do what they want...They Gain strength from one another and get Bolder as time goes by....They look at us as weak...nowdays......They dont fear anyone anymore....and the strange thing is...that will be their end......because we will respond unmercifully one day...because we wouldn't have a choice....hope it doesn't come to that.

N.Korea cracks me up with it's craziness. That part about basically becoming enemies with six other countries was gold! Warning world super powers? C'mon lol. Some big egos over there. They're like a spoiled bratty kid that doesn't listen. Oh, and isn't too bright either. The sad thing is, they'll eventually force action to be taken against them. Lets hope China no longer has their back by then.

Monday, March 23, 2009

N.Ireland teen charged with killing policeman

DUBLIN – Authorities charged an Irish Catholic teenager Monday with killing a policeman — one of two deadly gun attacks by IRA dissidents this month that rocked Northern Ireland's peace process.
The 17-year-old male suspect was arrested the day after the March 9 death of Constable Stephen Carroll, 48, an attack claimed by a splinter group called the Continuity IRA. The suspect was not further identified pending a court appearance Tuesday in a Belfast suburb.
In a statement the Police Service of Northern Ireland said the teenager faces counts of murder, possession of a firearm, collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists, and membership in the outlawed Continuity IRA.
Nobody has been charged in connection with the other attack, a March 7 ambush outside a British Army base that killed two soldiers as they collected pizzas from delivery men. A rival splinter gang, the Real IRA, admitted responsibility for that attack, which also wounded two other soldiers and both pizza couriers.
The killings were the first of British security forces since 1998, the year that leaders of the British Protestant majority and Irish Catholic minority achieved a peace accord designed to end the three-decade conflict over Northern Ireland.
Both sides of Northern Ireland's unity government, including former IRA commanders from the Catholic-backed Sinn Fein party, demanded that the public tell police about the IRA dissidents sheltering in Catholic areas.
However, Monday's charges come against the backdrop of rising complaints over the police's exceptionally long detentions without charge of suspected IRA dissidents. The detentions come under terms of a 2006 anti-terror law never before used in Northern Ireland.
Two Craigavon men, ages 31 and 27, who were arrested March 16 on suspicion of involvement in the attack on Carroll were released without charge earlier Monday.
But eight others — largely being questioned about their alleged roles in planning or committing the army base shooting — continued to be held.
Northern Ireland's human rights watchdog Monica McWilliams visited the interrogation center Monday and protested afterward that police were abusing their newfound powers to hold terror suspects for up to 28 days without charge. She specifically protested that the 17-year-old, the youngest suspect, had been held for too long.
Six of the eight suspected IRA dissidents still in police custody are pursuing a lawsuit challenging the police's right to hold them under terms of the Terrorism Act of 2006, which introduced the 28-day rule. A Belfast High Court judge is expected to make an initial ruling on their case Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Patrick's Day: Some Hope from Ireland

St. Patty’s day has reminded me of the free market revolution that took place in Ireland in the nineties. Ireland was the poorest economy in Europe then, but by 2006, it had the highest per capita GPD on the continent and economic growth rates of 9 percent or higher. How did they achieve it? They massively reduced the size and role of government in their society. They cut taxes, abolished agencies, cut spending, and stopped inflation. They moved from one of the least free states in Europe to the freest.
Government debt as a percentage of GDP in Ireland in 1990 was 95%. By 2007, it was 25%. In 2008, our debt to GDP ratio was 40%. According to the Obama budget, ours will be 65% in 2010. What debt to GDP ratio do we have to achieve for this country to turn around? If we’re like Ireland, then we might not be far from it.
Let’s hope, on this Saint Patrick’s Day, that we, like Ireland, can have a free market revolution to push this country back toward freedom and prosperity and away from government growth and fascism.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sudan's president: Foreign aid groups must leave

KHARTOUM, Sudan – Sudan's president said Monday he wants all international aid groups out of the country within a year, insisting they can drop off supplies "at airports or seaports" and let Sudanese organizations take care of it.
Government officials later tried to downplay the president's comments, calling his directive a "process" and stressing that U.N. agencies operating in Sudan would not be affected.
President Omar al-Bashir has already expelled 13 large foreign aid agencies, most of them operating in Darfur, accusing them of spying for an international court that issued an arrest warrant against him on March 4 for war crimes in the western Sudanese region.
He also shut down three local aid groups, including one of the largest operating in Darfur. The United Nations said those expulsions would leave millions at risk of a humanitarian crisis.
"We directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to Sudanize voluntary work," al-Bashir told a rally of security forces as thousands shouted their support for the president and waved their guns in the air.
"Within a year, we don't want to see any foreign aid group dealing with a Sudanese citizen," al-Bashir said. "If they want to bring relief, let them drop it at airports or seaports. Let the national organizations deal with our citizens."
But Sudan's humanitarian minister later played down al-Bashir's remarks. When asked if his comments meant all international aid groups would be expelled from Darfur within a year, he said: "Not necessarily."
State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun told The Associated Press that ministers will draw a plan to work out a transition. But it will not apply to U.N. agencies, said Haroun, who is also wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. Sudan refuses to hand him over.
In Washington, the State Department said it was reviewing the latest threat and repeated its demands for Khartoum to reverse its earlier decision to expel relief organizations from Darfur.
"Any responsibility for the humanitarian suffering that flows out of this decision should fall squarely on the shoulders of the Sudanese," said spokesman Robert Wood.
U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said he was seeking urgent clarification of al-Bashir's announcement. He pointed out that the vast majority of relief workers in Darfur were already Sudanese.
"Of course, we're happy for Sudan to take on a larger role looking after these people, but it needs to be done in a practical way and it's not clear that that would be possible on the basis of what president Bashir has said at the moment," Holmes told reporters in New York.
He said foreign aid organizations would not hand over their goods to the Sudanese government because they would want to monitor how they were distributed.
Joel Charny, vice president of the Washington-based advocacy group Refugees International, said al-Bashir was "playing politics" with the new threat.
"If you really push and expel all agencies a year from now, the consequences will be so catastrophic to the point of making Sudan virtually ungovernable," he said.
The Netherlands-based ICC accuses al-Bashir of orchestrating atrocities against civilians in Darfur, where his Arab-led government has been battling ethnic African rebels since 2003. Up to 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million have been driven from their homes.
Sudan denies the charges and says the figures are exaggerated.
The government had warned that issuing the warrant could lead to spontaneous revenge attacks by enraged Sudanese, though it pledged to defend aid workers and diplomats in the country.
Sudanese officials said three foreign aid workers and a Sudanese man kidnapped for three days in Darfur last week were taken by a group in revenge for the court's decision.
At Monday's rally, al-Bashir again railed against foreign aid groups, which he accuses of providing the court with false testimony against him and his government and of profiting from the Darfur conflict.
Sudan, he said, must be cleared of "spies and agents" who "trade" in the Darfur crisis and warned remaining aid groups to respect Sudan's sovereignty or "pay the price."
Al-Bashir said his government is ready to fill the gap. Late Sunday, he attended a fundraising conference by private businesses and civil groups in Sudan that raised some $115 million in pledges for Darfur aid.
The price tag for the U.N.'s current activities there, described as the largest aid operation in the world, exceeds $1 billion.
Associated Press Writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations in New York.


Drop off aid and let the Sudanes government handle the distribution? Funny. That Aid will never get to the people it is intended for.More support for the Darfur genocide. Haven't we already failed enough? HA let the wonderful, kind, caring and compasionate goverment handle the distrobution to the ppl that need it??? Who the H.. is actually going to believe THAT ????

Idea....Tanks and troops, we have lots. Instead of shipping all that stuff from Iraq, back to the states, how about a pit stop in this nearby country?? Im sure our troops would enjoy the target practicve???? Heck we could even ask who wants to go I'm sure many would raise a hand. Pick this guy up for the world court!!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

U.N. takes over Chad force amid growing Darfur fears

ABECHE, Chad (Reuters) – The United Nations took over command of an EU protection force in eastern Chad on Sunday, and there were growing fears of more rebel violence and the possible arrival of tens of thousands more refugees from Sudan's Darfur.
The European Union formally handed over command to the U.N. mission in Chad and Central African Republic (MINURCAT) at a ceremony in Chad's eastern city of Abeche on Sunday morning after Eufor's year-long mandate expired at midnight.
The handover, which sees around 5,000 U.N.-commanded troops replace an EU force of close to 3,500, takes place at a time of heightened tension after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant this month against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Soon afterwards, four peacekeepers from the joint African Union-U.N. force in Darfur were injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen, and four aid workers including three foreigners were held hostage for much of last week by captors who North Darfur's governor said were protesting at the warrant.
"This transfer of authority comes at a delicate moment when tensions in the region are crystallizing," said Alain Le Roy, U.N. head of peacekeeping.
Bashir's government expelled 13 aid organizations last week, hamstringing U.N. aid and raising fears that tens of thousands of refugees could abandon camps where they have been looked after and cross to Chad, where 250,000 Darfuris live in camps.
At the same time, fears are growing of a resurgence of Chad's interlinked eastern rebellion, which after causing the besieging of the capital N'Djamena for two days a year ago had been largely quiet until rebel groups announced a new broad alliance in January.
Sudan and Chad, both oil producers, frequently accuse each other of backing rebel groups based around the border area.
Rumors abound of movements of rebels and arms in the border area, said Roland Marchal, senior research fellow and Chad-Sudan expert at France's CERI international research institute.
"It is not impossible that in the coming days or weeks there will be an offensive by ... Chadian rebels based in Darfur, near el-Geneina, back into their country, to Chad," he told Reuters.
El-Geneina is the capital of West Darfur and an aid hub in Darfur region, where 4.7 million people receive aid.
So far Sudan has expelled mostly non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in North Darfur, from where refugees are less likely to cross to Chad, but further expulsions or insecurity could trigger a mass movement of refugees to Chad.
"It's really speculative to even guess how many might come at this point," one aid worker in Chad said.
"We are looking at what may happen -- we're looking at 50,000 to 100,000 -- but I don't think it will happen for a couple of months unless insecurity increases."
The protection force in Chad, meant to secure humanitarian operations and camps in eastern Chad and patrol part of Central African Republic to the south, acknowledges the danger.
"If the Sudanese regime continues to expel humanitarian workers and NGOs, clearly there will be less aid for refugees ... and they may move on again into Chad. That's a possibility we could expect," MINURCAT spokesman Penangnini Toure said.
Under Sunday's transfer, many troops from European countries such as France and Ireland will simply exchange their national berets for blue U.N. headgear, but others are leaving, to be replaced by troops from elsewhere, including Ghana and Togo.
But the uncertainty of changing command can be a risky time for peacekeeping operations. A U.N. force taking over from West African peacekeepers in Sierra Leone in 2000 was caught off guard when rebels took several hundred peacekeepers hostage.
(Additional reporting by Emma Batha in London and Alistair Thomson in Dakar; writing by Alistair Thomson)


What can I say that I already haven't???? Each day my heart sinks more for these poor people.

Sinn Fein, IRA dissidents vie for Catholic support

LURGAN, Northern Ireland – Graffiti on the Catholic side of town condemn Sinn Fein politicians as British stooges. Alongside black-stenciled images of masked gunmen, slogans proclaim allegiance to IRA dissidents who fatally shot a policeman a few miles away.
On Saturday, teenage boys here blocked roads and threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at police who arrested a local man wanted for the killing of two off-duty British soldiers.
Sinn Fein has persuaded most of Northern Ireland's Irish Catholics to accept peace through compromise. But the Irish nationalist party still struggles for the loyalty of job-hungry, lawless Catholic neighborhoods like Kilwilkie, on the wrong side of the tracks in this mostly Protestant town.
If Sinn Fein cannot win over such pockets of bitterness and alienation, the dissidents could grow in numbers and strength — and eventually mount far deadlier attacks than this month's shootings of soldiers and a policeman. Analysts say power-sharing — the central achievement of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace deal — could not survive a sustained campaign of paramilitary bloodshed.
Sinn Fein pleasantly surprised its Protestant partners in government this month by calling on its backers to help police track down and imprison the gunmen. But the move means Sinn Fein has finally put itself on a collision course with dangerous die-hards in its own working-class base — people who still inspire a potent mixture of fear and reverence.
"You wouldn't want to be seen by certain neighbors calling the police, let's leave it at that," said Marie, a Catholic mother of four pushing her two youngest children in a stroller uphill from Kilwilkie, past the railway line, to the Protestant center of Lurgan.
Like several other residents interviewed before and after Saturday's riots, Marie would talk only if her last name and other details of her identity were concealed.
"The fear is back," she said. "When the `troubles' were on, you were always afraid of what the other side might do to you up in town. Now you're much more afraid to speak your mind for fear of what your own people might do to you back home."
The fear in Kilwilkie centers on supporters of Colin Duffy, whom police and locals alike regard as the IRA godfather figure of the neighborhood. He was repeatedly charged with IRA murders and other crimes in the 1990s — including for shooting two policemen through the back of the head in what was the IRA's last fatal attack — but was never successfully prosecuted.
Duffy publicly broke away from Sinn Fein last year and joined a new group fronted by IRA veterans called Eirigi, "Rise up" in Gaelic. The group said it wasn't promoting dissident violence but understood why people might want to keep attacking security forces in a state that remains firmly British territory.
Police arrested Duffy on Saturday on suspicion of involvement in the first deadly dissident attack March 7, when a splinter group called the Real IRA opened fire on off-duty soldiers collecting pizzas from two delivery men. Two soldiers were killed and four others, including both civilians, were badly wounded.
Duffy's mostly teenage acolytes covered their faces with masks, scarves and hoods — and bombarded police for hours. Because of their heavy protective equipment, officers reported only one minor injury. Sinn Fein, which often deploys officials to calm crowds and prevent riots in Belfast, was nowhere to be seen.
The area's Sinn Fein representative in the Northern Ireland Assembly, John O'Dowd, lives in the neighboring town of Craigavon. It was there that the Continuity IRA shot to death a policeman March 9 as his unit responded to an emergency call near the hard-line Catholic Drumbeg housing project.
O'Dowd called that killing "murder," a word that Sinn Fein never used when describing the IRA's killings of nearly 300 police from 1970 to 1997.
He said he has been trying to talk sense to dissident leaders in the area for more than a year, but they rejected his overtures.
"There is no point in building a power-sharing agreement, a new society and a new policing service just for people to take shots at them and kill people who are part of that new creation," said O'Dowd, 41, who unlike the previous generation of Sinn Fein leaders never spent time in prison for IRA convictions.
O'Dowd conceded that Sinn Fein's call for its supporters to tell police about the dissidents in their midst "is placing myself and others in my party in great personal difficulty. But we're prepared for that."
He said some of the dissident leaders "were never with us. Some may have been in the past, and they went away. And I'm glad they went away."
Just as police officers are having to increase their personal security precautions across Northern Ireland, so are Sinn Fein activists. They have learned from the fratricidal history of Irish republicanism — when splits lead to bloody feuds — that it could just be a matter of time before the Real IRA, Continuity IRA or another band of alienated militants turns its guns on republican peaceniks.
Some analysts even openly wonder whether Martin McGuinness — the former IRA commander who is Sinn Fein's top official in the power-sharing government — might face a dissident assassin's bomb or bullet someday. McGuinness infuriated the dissidents last week, before leaving on his current United States trip, by calling them "traitors to the island of Ireland."
Belfast commentator and author Malachi O'Doherty said McGuinness was taking the same blunt-spoken road as Michael Collins, the key figure in the old IRA's 1919-21 war of independence against Britain. When Collins signed a treaty that accepted the partition of Ireland and created a new southern state still symbolically tied to Britain, he was assassinated by the anti-treaty IRA faction within the year.
"I am not concerned about my safety and my security," McGuinness said during a public appearance Sunday in New York City. "I am not going to be intimidated."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Aid groups in Darfur weigh future after kidnapping

KHARTOUM, Sudan – Three foreign aid workers abducted in Sudan's lawless Darfur region were released unharmed on Saturday, three days after their capture at gunpoint led international aid groups to question how they can continue to work in the area.
Sudanese television showed the Doctors Without Borders workers — a Canadian nurse, an Italian doctor and a French project coordinator — stepping off a military helicopter at El Fasher airport in North Darfur with the local governor.
"I would like to say to everybody we are safe, we are here, we are in good health," said Raphael Meunier, the French coordinator, speaking on Sudanese television. "We will be more talkative a bit later on, now our first thoughts are for our families."
The governor, Osman Kebir, said Wednesday's kidnapping was carried out by a group seeking to retaliate for the International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued against President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes in Darfur.
Kebir said no ransom was paid to the group, which he said called itself the Eagles of al-Bashir.
"They said they released them for the country's sake and they kidnapped them for the sake of the country," he added.
Sudan's government threw 13 international aid agencies out of the country after the March 4 warrant, accusing them of being the court's spies. The government says it had nothing to do with the abduction and condemned it.
The Netherlands-based court accuses al-Bashir of orchestrating atrocities against civilians in Darfur, where his Arab-led government has been battling ethnic African rebels since 2003. Up to 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million have been driven from their homes.
Sudan denies the charges and says the figures are exaggerated.
The government warned that issuing the warrant could lead to spontaneous revenge attacks by enraged Sudanese, though it pledged to defend aid workers and diplomats in the country.
The freed aid workers were from the Belgian branch of Doctors Without Borders, also known as Medicins Sans Frontieres. The branch was not among the agencies Sudan ordered out of the country, though two other MSF operations were.
The director of the group's Belgian section said the workers' release was a relief, but he called the kidnapping a "gross violation."
"Our independent medical work must be respected if we are to continue working in conflict areas to save the lives of those who suffer most," Christopher Stokes said.
Erwin Van't Land, also of MSF in Brussels, said Wednesday's kidnapping was a "major last blow" to the Darfur aid community. "It is a very serious issue," he said, anticipating that "every aid agency is reviewing whether they can continue to work."
The group has pulled out its remaining 35 international workers, leaving behind only two staff to help with negotiations to release the hostages.
Sudanese officials said Saturday they will increase protection for aid groups operating in Darfur. Aid groups generally resist such armed protection, viewing it as a violation of their impartiality.
An officer with the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission said they have advised aid groups to centralize their operations in secure cities. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
Other groups remaining in Darfur have voiced concern following the latest events — none have said they are pulling out, though there is concern individual employees could opt to leave.
"It is becoming more complicated, more uncertain, more volatile, and, for the people, more difficult to work," said Gerog Nothelle, the Africa director for the Germany-based aid group Malteser International, which operates in north Darfur.
Aid groups already had to struggle with difficult working conditions. Banditry, break-ins and carjackings against aid organizations and security harassment have long been common in Darfur, usually blamed on the many armed groups fighting in the region.
By expelling so many aid workers_ 40 percent of those working in Darfur, according to the U.N. — and accusing them of being spies, experts say the Sudanese government has created a negative environment for the aid groups in hopes they will eventually be forced out.
"It is a signal that the field is open for confrontation," which encouraged the kidnapping, said Fouad Hikmat, a Sudan expert with the International Crisis Group. "You create a push factor" to drive away the remaining groups.
Senior Foreign Ministry official Ali Youssef, however, has dismissed such speculation, maintaining that "the government is determined to follow a responsible pattern of behavior."
Security considerations would mean scaling back in the remote areas of Darfur where nearly half of the 4.7 million people receiving aid reside. The aid group expulsion has already left a number of refugee camps without a single aid group to provide services.
"We are now in the business of surviving," said one aid worker speaking from Darfur. "It is hard to get much work done in this environment."
Already, some refugee camp residents are reporting deteriorating water services and the spread of infectious diseases. U.N. officials say the capacity of existing aid groups is not enough to fill the gap created by the departing groups. The government argues it can fill the gaps.
Meanwhile aid agencies across the border in Chad are bracing for an influx of hundreds of thousands of new refugees fleeing the breakdown of aid services in Darfur or possible outbreak of violence, said David Cibonga, a U.N. relief official in Chad.

Women in Congo speak out about rape despite taboo

DOSHU, Congo – Zamuda Sikujuwa shuffles to a bench in the sunshine, pushes apart her thighs with a grimace of pain and pumps her fist up and down in a lewd-looking gesture to show how the militiamen shoved an automatic rifle inside her.
The brutish act tore apart her insides after seven of the men had taken turns raping her. She lost consciousness and wishes now that her life also had ended on that day.
The rebels from the Tutsi tribe had come demanding U.S. dollars. But when her husband could not even produce local currency, they put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. When her two children started crying, the rebels killed them too. Then they attacked Sikujuwa and left her for dead.
The 53-year-old still has difficulty walking after two operations. Yet she wants to tell the world her story, even though repeating it brings back the nightmares.
"It's hard, hard, hard," she says. "I'm alone in this world. My body is partly mended but I don't know if my heart will ever heal. ... I want this violence to stop. I don't want other women to have to suffer what I am suffering."
Rape has been used as a brutal weapon of war in Congo, where conflicts based on tribal lines have spawned dozens of armed groups amid back-to-back civil wars that drew in several African nations. More than 5 million people have died since 1994. Women have become even more vulnerable since a rebel advance at the end of last year drove a quarter-million people from their homes and fighting this year left another 100,000 others homeless, according to aid workers.
Now some of the women are fighting back the only way they know how — by talking about what happened.
A campaign spearheaded by the U.N. Children's Fund is working with local groups to break traditional taboos around talking about the violence. They're using radio stations broadcasting in local languages, and more activists are getting to remote areas.
"Many more victims are coming forward. We receive a lot of SMS text messages and cell phone calls from women who have been raped and need help," says campaign leader Esther Ntoto.
Five months ago, U.N. officials began bringing together women to tell their stories to rooms full of local officials, community leaders, even children. One sign of success is that more men than women have volunteered for training to encourage victims to come forward and their communities to confront the issues.
Video footage of the campaign Women Breaking the Silence shows officials startled by the atrocities recounted. A provincial minister interrupted to ask reporters not to film a woman's face. But she took the microphone to declare: "I am not ashamed to show my face and publish my identity. The shame lies with those who broke me open and with the authorities who failed to protect me.
"If you don't hear me, see me, you will not understand why it is so important that we fight this together."
That woman, Honorata Kizende, described how her life as a school teacher and the mother of seven children ended when she was kidnapped in 2001. She was held as a sex slave for 18 months and passed around from one Hutu fighter to another until she escaped. She is now a counselor and trains others to help survivors of sexual violence.
One of the difficulties is the "huge problem of impunity," said Mireille Kahatwa Amani, a lawyer working at an office at HEAL Africa Hospital opened a year ago by the Chicago-based American Bar Association.
"It's difficult to prosecute perpetrators because they can buy off the police or a judge. There's no guarantee of justice," she says.
Still, with funding from the U.S. State Department, lawyers have interviewed more than 250 victims and pursued more than 100 cases. In 11 months, they have received 30 judgments with only two acquittals. Those found guilty have been punished with sentences of five to 20 years in jail, Kahatwa says.
Her big success this year was against a man who has been condemned to 20 years in jail for raping a 6-year-old neighbor and infecting her with the AIDS virus. Kahatwa says the judgment came just a month after the complaint was filed, a record.
Kasongo Manyema takes small, careful steps, fearful of unwrapping the cloth tied like a baby's diaper to catch the blood, urine and feces that has been dribbling from her body for 2 1/2 years.
She was 19 then, when men in military uniform attacked her as she weeded her family's cassava field.
A U.N. helicopter has brought her to HEAL Africa Hospital in Goma, where reconstructive surgery could help her incontinence and the stench that follows her and thousands of other Congolese women suffering from fistulas.
Fistulas usually result from giving birth in poor conditions. In Congo, they are caused by violent rapes that tear apart the flesh separating the bladder and rectum from the vagina.
Dr. Christophe Kinoma, one of only two surgeons who perform the reconstructive operations in east Congo, says there's a 50-50 chance that surgery can mend Manyema and others like her.
"Yesterday I did five fistula operations and we have more than 100 women waiting here and who knows how many out in the bush who never ever get to a hospital."
Kinoma says it has become the norm for armed men to use guns, knives and bayonets to rupture their victims' bodies. Sometimes they shoot bullets up women's vaginas. Victims often are rejected by their families, contract HIV, and are left to live in pain and shame.
In December, he operated on an 11-month-old baby raped by a 22-year-old neighbor. During one week in February, it was a 12-year-old girl who had been savagely raped by five soldiers. They stuffed a maize cob inside her.
Also treated last week was a 4-year-old whose mother sent her across the road to get something from a neighbor. She was kidnapped by soldiers and gang-raped.
"An American doctor who was here just burst into tears and collapsed. She couldn't believe what the soldiers had done to this child, just torn her body apart," he says.
Kinoma says he may be able to mend the physical damage, "but the psychological trauma never goes away for some." The hospital offers counseling but has no psychologists.
"The 11-month-old I operated on, every time she sees a man, including me, she starts screaming," he says.
The 4-year-old was infected with HIV, and they await results from a test on the 12-year-old. "If three, four, five soldiers rape you, you are almost assured of contracting AIDS," Kinoma says.
The trauma that haunts these children and women also affects those who help them.
Hortense Tshomba, who has been counseling victims for three years, says she hopes to give them the courage to return to their homes. Many are rejected by husbands and fathers who say the attacks have left them "unclean."
"We try to counsel them as couples. For girls rejected by their parents, we try to intervene. Some families accept them back; others don't."
When counseling does not help, HEAL Africa offers lessons in sewing and handicrafts to teach them to survive financially. She says rejected women who don't get help often are forced from communities and become beggars.
"Sometimes I have nightmares," Tshomba says. "When I leave after hearing all these horror stories, really it's like my brain is on fire. I have to listen to some jazz to ease my soul."
But there are successes like 13-year-old Harriet, who came to HEAL Africa four years ago. Harriet's parents were killed by the rebels who attacked her and then burned down their home in Rutshuru, north of Goma. She nows lives with a woman who counseled her at the hospital.
On this day, Harriet is so delighted she cannot stop grinning, a wide beam that's infectious in its joy. Her fingernails are black with dirt, but she is wearing lip gloss and eyeliner.
"Today, I got my results and I am top of my class," she announces, flaunting a report that shows she averaged 88.5 percent in math, French and English exams.
"When I came to HEAL Africa, I had never been to school. I was 9 years old. Now I'm beating students who have been to school all their lives," she says. "My teacher says I'm very intelligent, that I should go to school in the United States."
As for the future: "I think I want to be a doctor, so that I can help people the way these doctors helped me."
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This reminds me off the three blind men trying to figure out the elephant. At one time no one understood fully the inner workings of the regime - how they operated; how the party controlled the county; how the police, rebels, hate crimes worked; that torture, rape, extermination and much more were going on and to the degree of that; the depth of misery and death.... We had the tail, the ears, the feet of the monster but no idea of it's overall shape. Now more and more things are coming to light. More are willling to speak up and out. We are still left not knowing what to do....