Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Revelations 4-27-2011

27, April 2011                        Revelations

The latest WikiLeaks whistleblowing website has exposed the appalling abuse of prisoners at Guantánamo. The documents show that the vast majority of prisoners are innocent or very-low operatives - not the high level detainees that the Pentagon has repeatedly asserted As an example of the complete absence of any meaningful justice, it turns out that a single informer was granted his freedom by incriminating at least 123 others – which makes his ‘testimony’ highly suspect.

The trove of documents also shows how an Al Jazeera employee was abducted and imprisoned for six long years merely because his employer had broadcast embarrassing video clips showing US forces abusing civilians and prisoners. This is the same Al Jazeera that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of in glowing terms as a trend setter in journalism, in contrast with the US networks repetitious 24 news cycle babble. Other examples of egregious misconduct, was the arrest of an 89-year old Afghan villager suffering from dementia and the arrest of a 14-year old boy who was kidnapped and subsequently dumped by pro-Taliban forces. Others prisoners were turned in by ransom seekers.

It is time for President Obama to follow through on his campaign promise and close this hell-hole. Its continuing existence is a blot on America’s claim to be a law abiding nation.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nuclear Power in India 4-11-2011

11, April 2011                        Nuclear Power in India

The unprecedented nuclear disaster in Japan is a dire warning to India’s increased vulnerability to suffer a similar fate. It is ironic, that in spite of strong domestic opposition to the development of nuclear power, the US is willing to sell its technology to India. The disposal of nuclear wastes in the US continues to provoke a ‘not in my back yard’ response from the general public. In contrast, India is so intoxicated becoming a member of the exclusive nuclear club that it has all but ignored this important ‘red flag’. The storage of these wastes in the bowels of Yucca Mountain in Utah is like a ticking time bomb – a long term health hazard. The only source of uranium in India, the raw ingredient for nuclear energy production, is Jadugoda, a small tribal village in mineral-rich Jharkband (formerly Bihar). The health of the indigenous people of that area has been devastated and the environment destroyed by ongoing mining operations.  I urge readers to Google “Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda", a ground-breaking documentary, which shows the grotesque health hazards of uranium mining. The film depicts the casual attention applied to the transportation of the refined uranium ore or yellow cake, in leaky barrels which spewed large amounts of lethal radiation.

The nuclear industry is so capital intensive and risky that it cannot be privately financed but must survive on taxpayer guarantees – with limited liabilities for any nuclear mishaps.

We cannot afford to play Russian roulette with current and future generations of Indians. Government and quasi-government officials are notoriously inept in matters of safety. It seems like the human tragedy which accompanied the Bhopal disaster more than 25 years ago has been forgotten. A nuclear mishap would be an unmitigated disaster to India’s densely populated people. Indians should demand action to reverse support for this dangerous and inherently unnecessary steam generation

Thursday, April 7, 2011

ISRAEL’s Stranglehold 4-7-2011

7, April 2011              ISRAEL’s Stranglehold

As undemocratic regimes in the Arab world collapse under the weight of authentic grassroots democratic movements, Israel's stranglehold over the Palestinians appears increasingly tenuous. It continues to ignore international law with its announced plans to build 942 new housing units in Gila on the outskirts of Jerusalem. By doing so, it has turned a deaf ear to the Obama administration’s vigorous opposition to these illegal settlements which are a major obstacle to peace, stability and a viable Palestinian state. It seems likely that the new emerging Arab states will adopt a far more hostile attitude towards Israel once they have successfully ousted their tyrannical rulers.

The US influence in the Middle East has also plummeted with the growing realization that successive US administrations have propped up these corrupt and dictatorial Arab regimes for decades. It would behoove Israel to launch an aggressive and far reaching peace agreement with the Palestinians. Failure to do so will lead to its further isolation with the impending UN vote to grant statehood to Palestine which will include all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister, expressed his concern stating that “Israel is facing a diplomatic and political tsunami which will deepen its isolation.” In the meantime the US should withhold further military and economic aid to Israel making it conditional on reaching a peaceful accommodation with its Palestinian neighbors.