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Israelis admit pushing long-term contraceptives on Ethiopian women

Al Akhbar – January 27, 2013

An Israeli official acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian descent with long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera, Haaretz reported Sunday.

The birth-rate of the Israeli Ethiopian community had declined by over 50 percent in the past 10 years.

Sharona Eliahu of the Israeli Association of Civil Rights in January wrote a letter saying an investigation into the practice should be launched and that the injections should cease.

In response, Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu asked translators to volunteer their time so that doctors might communicate with their patients.

He also told four health maintenance organizations to stop the injections if the women do not fully understand the consequences of the drug, according to the Israeli daily.

State agencies and ministries had previously denied knowing of the practice which had been reported for the first time five years ago.

Depo-Provera is administered every three months and clinical trials show a near-zero percent failure rate in preventing pregnancies.

Many of the women experienced abnormal uterine bleeding however, which interferes with sexual intimacy.

It has also been said to decrease women’s sex-drive.

Fifty percent of women on hormonal birth-control are said to stop having their period after a year. Even after discontinuing the medication, it can take a year for a woman’s period to regulate.

Beyond making the woman sterile for as long as they are on the drug, a common side-effect of the contraceptive is significantly decreased bone density.

Depo-Provera has also been used with male sex-offenders as a form of chemical castration, as it greatly reduces the male sex-drive.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 7 Comments

The Nation defends John Brennan, Obama’s nominee for the CIA

By Joseph Kishore  | WSWS | January 26, 2013

The Nation magazine is home to a particularly odious group of journalists. The “left” publication speaks on behalf of a privileged layer of the upper middle class, deeply complacent, lacking political principles and more and more integrated into the military and political establishment.

Even by these standards, a column penned by the Nation ’s Robert Dreyfuss January 22, “Brennan at the CIA Might Surprise Us,” stands out. Dreyfuss is no casual commentator. He is the Nation’s chief foreign policy correspondent. The article thus presents the magazine’s more or less official position in defense of John Brennan, nominated by President Barack Obama to head the CIA.

As Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, Brennan played the principal role in vastly expanding the administration’s drone assassination program. He oversaw the development of the “disposition matrix” to permanently institutionalize the practice of extrajudicial murder—disposing of human beings—in the name of the “war on terror.”

Before serving under Obama, Brennan was the director of the National Counterterrorism Center in the Bush administration, where he was implicated in torture and illegal domestic spying. In sum, this is a man with a great deal of blood on his hands.

This is Obama’s second attempt to nominate Brennan for the top post in America’s spy network. When the president first tried to do so in 2009, the nomination came under criticism from his liberal supporters. Brennan eventually withdrew his nomination.

This time around, there has been much less criticism. The Democratic Party and its milieu have moved even farther to the right over the past four years. Some voices have been raised, however, including from a few liberal commentators cited by Dreyfuss. The Nation responds by offering its services as a lawyer for Brennan and the Obama administration.

“Were you a terrorist or member of Al Qaeda, you wouldn’t want to meet John Brennan in a dark alley,” Dreyfuss begins. “He’s an Irish tough guy, and he doesn’t apologize for wanting to obliterate Al Qaeda. For four years, as Obama’s top adviser on counterterrorism, that’s been his job… Often innocents have died.”

“But Brennan may surprise us.”

In the end, the massacre of thousands of civilians by US drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries is of little concern to Dreyfuss. “Maybe, just maybe, John Brennan won’t be a bad CIA director,” he writes. What, one might ask, is a good CIA director? The notion that the Nation might take a principled stand in opposition to the American government’s chief spying and dirty tricks agency does not cross Dreyfuss’s mind.

The article resorts to lawyerly sophistry. There are “widespread accusations, not necessarily accurate, that he [Brennan] supported torture during the George W. Bush administration.” He “may or may not have objected to the use of waterboarding and other violent techniques.” To claim that he is “a supporter of torture,” is “an accusation without proof.”

Really? Brennan is on record as declaring in 2007, “There has been a lot of information that has come out from these interrogation procedures that the [CIA] has, in fact, used against the real hard-core terrorists. It has saved lives.” We must “take every possible measure” against those “determined to destroy our nation,” he declared in another interview given at that time.

As for drones, Dreyfuss goes on, “it’s a mixed bag.” He boasts that “on several occasions, I met and interviewed Brennan.” In these discussions, the Nation assures its readers, Brennan came off as a principled man, even “left,” animated by a belief that “the military is the wrong instrument in fighting terrorism.” He quotes an article in the Washington Post portraying Brennan as guided by a “moral compass” in his selection of drone targets.

Parroting the line of the Obama administration, Dreyfuss insists that Brennan has sought “to limit, not expand, drone warfare.” This can only be taken as an endorsement of the “disposition matrix.”

Dreyfuss refers to claims that Brennan has lied about the impact of the administration’s drone killing, asserting that it has not killed any civilians. However, Dreyfuss observes, “Brennan made clear that he was talking about a specific stretch of time” of about a year—suggesting by implication that the hundreds of people killed during this period all deserved to die. The administration automatically categorizes any adult-aged male it happens to kill as a “terrorist.”

If this defense does not suffice, Dreyfuss has another one prepared. “To be sure,” he writes, “as the White House’s counterterrorism chief and as a spokesman for the administration, Brennan has no choice but to defend the administration’s policy of carrying out a global drone warfare program.” Brennan, after all, was just following orders.

The attitude of Dreyfuss and the Nation magazine toward basic democratic rights is summed up in the comment’s treatment of the administration’s policy of assassinating US citizens. Mention of this violation of fundamental constitutional principles is confined to the final paragraphs, in which Dreyfuss notes that “Senator Ron Wyden says he wants answers about the administration’s legal justification for killing American citizens via drone attacks.”

The confirmation hearings next month, Dreyfuss assures us, “should be seen as an opportunity to get answers to all these questions, on the record.”

This is an obvious fraud. Dreyfuss is well aware that the administration has adamantly refused to make available its pseudo-legal justifications for assassinating American citizens, successfully blocking in court efforts to force it to do so.

Dreyfuss personifies a social layer that, through the mechanism of the Obama administration, has reconciled itself to imperialism, becoming in fact one of the most adamant supporters of American aggression. There is nothing remotely left-wing about these forces. They are capable of supporting and defending any crime.

  • Brennan (alethonews.wordpress.com)

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | 22 Comments

The most violent settlement in the West Bank encroaches on Asira al Qibliya

International Solidarity Movement | January 27, 2013

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Asira al Qibliya, Occupied Palestine – According to OCHA statistics Yizhar is the most violent settlement in the whole of the West Bank with 70 recorded incidents in 2011 alone. Every week there is at least one attack by Yizhar settlers in the six affected villages.

Four months ago, settlers from Yizhar built a temporary outpost on top of a hill belonging to villagers from Urif. This continued until earlier in the week when Israeli authorities delivered maps to the village which showed that Yizhar had laid claim to 2 dunums of land. This was a massive understatement; they had in-fact seized the entire hill.

The land grab of this hillside seems to be all but complete; a shepherd who was working the land around the Yizhar outpost was recently beaten whilst tending to his sheep: the injuries he sustained were serious but not critical. In another incident, as the Palestinian owners of the land were walking along the road towards the hill this week, they were fired on by Israeli soldiers. Villagers want to challenge this latest land grab, however the law in this country is anything but just. The villagers are all too aware that if they resist they have only stones in the face of tear gas, stun grenades and the very real threat of being fired upon with live ammunition.

Harassment of the residents has also been on the rise. Currently at least once a week soldiers have been invading Asira in the middle of the night. They have been banging on villagers doors with the butts of their assault rifles, making sure people are disturbed in much the same way as has been reported in Urif as well as in Burin.

Yizhar a relatively small but very aggressive settlement in the north of the occupied West Bank. It is situated on a hill surrounded by six Palestinian villages which are all made to live in a state of constant fear.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran engineers capable of building refineries abroad

Press TV – January 27, 2013

A senior Iranian oil industry official says Iranian engineers are capable of building refineries in other countries.

Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company (NIOEC) Farhad Ahmadi said after building the Shazand Oil Refinery near the central city of Arak, Iran has gained necessary experience to build refineries abroad.

He added that NIOEC has been flooded with demands from refining companies in neighboring countries.

“With the implementation of this giant refining project [in Arak], we have acquired the know-how to construct a fully Iranian refinery, and also achieved the capability to export technical and engineering services related to refining projects.”

Shazand’s Imam Khomeini Refinery, due to be inaugurated in the coming days, is to enhance the country’s premium gasoline production by eight million liters per day (lpd).

The treatment facility produces gasoline, liquefied gas, propylene, kerosene, gasoil as well as fuel oil and tar.

The refinery has undergone development with an investment of USD3.3 billion by NIOEC.

Iran plans to inaugurate three mega-projects at Shazand, Lavan and Abadan refineries by the end of the current Persian calendar year (ending March 20, 2013) to enhance production of the country’s premium gasoline from 12 million lpd to 25 million lpd.

The projects will increase Iran’s total gasoline output to 70 million lpd, enabling the country to become a long-term exporter of gasoline.

Iran attained self-sufficiency in fuel production after its international suppliers stopped selling gasoline to Tehran under US pressure.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 2 Comments

Continued harrassment of the Nasser family in Madama

International Solidarity Movement | January 27, 2013

Settler attacks in Madama. Photo by Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images 2012

Madama, Occupied Palestine – A month after unprovoked settler and army attacks, the victim of severe violence Mamun Nasser remains in Israeli prison. The arrest of yet another member of the Nasser family shows Israeli army’s continued harassment in Madama.

On December 18th the notorious security guard charged with the protection of the illegal settlement of Yizhar, Jacob, attacked Mamun Nasser while he was tending to his flock of sheep in a hill outside the settlement. Mamun was handcuffed and beaten in front of his entire family, who desperately tried to intervene.

The Israeli army arrived on the scene, who responded by firing live ammunition on the Nasser family and others who tried to help, quickly ending their attempt to stop the vicious assault.  One round passed through Mamun’s sisters clothing narrowly missing her while another one hit his brother, Amir, in the leg. His mother told us “They wanted to kill him [Amir]. I heard the officer giving that order. He was lucky that he was only shot in his leg.” Severely beaten, Mamun was then arrested and taken away by the Israeli military into custody. One month later he remains detained in Majdou Prison.

On January 23rd at 4 pm, the Israeli army followed up the harassment by raiding the Nasser family home in Madama, arresting Mamun’s brother Amir who was still recovering from the gunshot wound he received only a month prior. This is another episode in the continued harassment of villagers surrounding Yizhar which is described as the West Bank’s most violent settlement by the United Nations.

Video taken by settlers during the incident on December 18th

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inspector General Alleges High-Level Interference in USAID Contract Rigging Investigation

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | January 27, 2013

The second in command at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been accused of interfering with an inspector general’s probe into alleged contract rigging by the agency’s top lawyer.

The investigation was launched after the inspector general (IG) learned that former USAID general counsel Lisa Gomer had helped former chief financial officer David Ostermeyer develop a contract for a “senior government-to-government assistance adviser” that would go to Ostermeyer after he retired. The bidding was later cancelled.

While conducting the probe, the IG’s office was told by Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg, USAID’s No. 2 official, that the investigation was “inappropriate” and that the U.S. Department of Justice should not have been told about the case.

“When people are slapping badges down, reading rights and monitoring who is calling who as it relates to career people, it is a mistake,” an IG memo quoted Steinberg as saying to investigators.

USAID spokesman Kamyl Bazbaz told The Washington Post that none of the agency’s top officials interfered with the inspector general’s probe.

Gomer’s attorney claimed the Justice Department has dropped its own investigation into the alleged contracting rigging. But a Justice spokeswoman declined to confirm this assertion when asked by the newspaper.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , | Leave a comment

China defying sanctions imposed on Iran

By Shabbir Kazmi | January 26, 2013

The recently released data shows Iran’s crude oil exports to China soared to the second highest level in December 2012, despite US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s energy sector.

According to a Reuters report China imported nearly 593,390 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Iran in December last year, up 3.6 per cent from the preceding year and up 39 per cent from November. For the full year 2012, the highest level of China’s crude imports from Iran stood at 633,000 bpd.

Industry officials in China attributed the enhancement in Iran’s crude oil exports to improvement in shipment. The problems that used to cause delays have been overcome recently. The period of delay has become shorter and overall, less frequent.

Iran is currently China’s third largest supplier of crude, providing Beijing with roughly 12 percent of its total annual oil consumption.

At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union had imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

On October 15, 2012, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran.

Iran terms these impositions illegal and insists that US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

According to another news report China will soon start importing polyethylene made in Iran, which became possible after the Islamic Republic partially lifted a ban on the export of petrochemicals late last year.

Lately, China-based market sources said that an estimated 100,000-150,000 metric tons of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) from Iran is expected to arrive in China within a month aboard five vessels. The sources added that the Iranian tanker Touska will shortly discharge HDPE and LDPE at Shanghai port.

On November 6, 2012, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Abdolhossein Bayat announced that the Oil Ministry had lifted the ban on the export of seven petrochemicals; benzene, styrene monomer, caustic soda, linear alkyl benzene (LAB), melamine crystal, premature ventricular contraction (PVC), and polyethylene.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel may rely on US ‘scalpels’ to contain Iran – defense minister

RT | January 27, 2013

Instead of going to a full-scale war with Iran over its nuclear program Israel may be satisfied with a US-led operation, says Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Previously Tel Aviv was determined to resolve the issue on its own, if the US refuses to help.

Apparently after the Knesset election this month left the Netanyahu cabinet weakened, Israeli hawks are toning down their war drumming rhetoric. In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Barak said the Pentagon had prepared a surgical operation that can be used as a last-ditch measure to slow Iranian progress.

“I used to tell them [American friends], you know, when we are talking about surgical operations we think of a scalpel, you think of a chisel with a 10-pound hammer,” Barak joked as cited by The Daily Beast. But that’s not the case with the plan, he noted. “The Pentagon prepared quite sophisticated, fine, extremely fine, scalpels. So it is not an issue of a major war or a failure to block Iran. You could under a certain situation, if worse comes to worst, end up with a surgical operation.”

Such an operation “will delay [the Iranians] by a significant time frame and probably convince them that it won’t work because the world is determined to block them,” Barak said.

“We of course prefer that some morning we wake up and see that the Arab Spring was translated into Farsi and jumped over the Gulf to the streets of Tehran, but you cannot build a plan on it,” he added.

Israel’s right-wing government under PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been trumpeting war drums for months, saying it is prepared to do anything to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon and would launch an attack before its own window of opportunity closes. It called on its American allies to draw a red line after which a military action should follow. The pressure antagonized the Barack Obama administration, which refused to sign up for a new major conflict and called for non-military effort.

Tel-Aviv, Washington and some other countries believe that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon under the guise of its nuclear program. They want Tehran to shut down uranium enrichment facilities. Iran insists that it pursues strictly civilian goals with its nuclear industry, including production of fuel for nuclear reactors and radioactive isotopes for medical and research applications.

In a move aimed at dispersing international fears Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious decree banning nuclear weapons last year. The decree is binding for the Iranian government, Tehran stressed earlier this month ahead of a new round of international talks on the issue.

Earlier the US and Israel reportedly launched several clandestine operations against the Iranian nuclear program. Those include infecting Iranian industrial computer networks at enrichment facilities with a sophisticated virus, which damaged the sensitive equipment. There have also been several assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, which Tehran says were orchestrated by Israel.

The US also championed a set of strict economic sanctions against Iran, which crippled its oil exports.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

US probes Swiss medicine giant for trade with Iran

Press TV – January 27, 2013

Despite its claims of easing the restrictions on the sales of medicine to Iran, Washington has launched an investigation into the transactions of Switzerland’s biggest pharmaceutical company, Novartis, with the Islamic Republic.

In its 2012 annual report, Novartis said its Alcon eye-care unit is being investigated by the United States for exporting medicine to Iran, Wall Street Journal reported.

Alcon received a subpoena in 2012 from the US attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas, seeking documents related to its exports to Iran that date back to 2005, years before the current sanctions were enacted.

This is while the US Treasury Department said in October 2012 that American companies are allowed to sell certain medicines and basic medical supplies to Iran without first seeking a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The move was made amid Iran’s protests that the US-engineered sanctions were hurting ordinary Iranian citizens and over fears that the humanitarian effects of the unilateral sanctions could undermine support for the bans among Washington’s allies.

According to US rules, exporters of medicine and medical supplies to Iran are required to apply for special licenses. Besides, as the aftermath of the sanctions, the impossibility of transferring money through banks has cast its cumbersome shadow upon medicine and healthcare in Iran and has gravely affected the import of medicines to Iran.

On January 26, in a second letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, President of Academy of Medical Sciences Dr. Seyed Alireza Marandi criticized him for his silence and indifference to the threats directed at the health of Iranian people and urged him to show real action.

“As the individual responsible for surveying and monitoring national health related issues, I affirm that this problem is real and the current situation was predictable from the start of the brutal sanctions,” Marandi said in his letter.

At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran. The sanctions entered into force in early summer 2012.

On October 15, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran.

The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment