Carter says Israel has arsenal of 150 nuclear weapons

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has said Israel holds at least 150 nuclear weapons, the first time a U.S. president has publicly acknowledged Israel’s atomic arsenal.

Asked at a news conference at Wales’s Hay literary festival on Sunday how a future U.S. president should deal with the Iranian nuclear threat, Carter put the risk in context by listing atomic weapons held globally.

“The U.S. has more more than 12,000 nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union (Russia) has about the same, Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more. We have a phalanx of enormous weaponry … not only of enormous weaponry but of rockets to deliver those missiles on a pinpoint accuracy target,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Carter also condemned Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as “one of the greatest human rights crimes now existing on Earth,” according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Carter said in reference to the situation of Palestinians in Gaza that, “There is no reason to treat these people this way.”

The 83-year-old was subjected to criticism on a recent visit to Israel for his meetings with officials from Palestinian militant group Hamas as well as his trip to Syria where he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.

He has also in the past branded a “crime and an atrocity” the Israeli blockade of Gaza, imposed in response to ongoing rocket attacks launched from the territory.

Related articles:

  • Our debt to Jimmy Carter
  • Ex-U.S. President Carter answers questions from Haaretz Editor-in-Chief
  • Jimmy Carter: Israel’s ‘apartheid’ policies worse than South Africa’s
  • Last update – 21:23 26/05/2008

    Source: Haaretz.com

    China: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

    Excerpts from the long but excellent article:

    “Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts.”

    “The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China as “Golden Shield.” The end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology — thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric — to create an airtight consumer cocoon:”

    “Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.”

    “This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the “Great Firewall.” Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder’s personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.”

    “Here is a small sample of what the company (L-1) does: produces passports and passport cards for American citizens; takes finger scans of visitors to the U.S. under the Department of Homeland Security’s massive U.S.-Visit program; equips U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with “mobile iris and multimodal devices” so they can collect biometric data in the field; maintains the State Department’s “largest facial-recognition database system”; and produces driver’s licenses in Illinois, Montana and North Carolina. In addition, L-1 has an even more secretive intelligence unit called SpecTal. Asked by a Wall Street analyst to discuss, in “extremely general” terms, what the division was doing with contracts worth roughly $100 million, the company’s CEO would only say, “Stay tuned.””

    “It is L-1’s deep integration with multiple U.S. government agencies that makes its dealings in China so interesting: It isn’t just L-1 that is potentially helping the Chinese police to nab political dissidents, it’s U.S. taxpayers. The technology that Yao purchased for just a few thousand dollars is the result of Defense Department research grants and contracts going as far back as 1994, when a young academic named Joseph Atick (the research director Fordyce consulted on L-1’s China dealings) taught a computer at Rockefeller University to recognize his face.”
    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Thirty years ago, the city of Shenzhen didn’t exist. Back in those days, it was a string of small fishing villages and collectively run rice paddies, a place of rutted dirt roads and traditional temples. That was before the Communist Party chose it – thanks to its location close to Hong Kong’s port – to be China’s first “special economic zone,” one of only four areas where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis.

    The theory behind the experiment was that the “real” China would keep its socialist soul intact while profiting from the private-sector jobs and industrial development created in Shenzhen. The result was a city of pure commerce, undiluted by history or rooted culture – the crack cocaine of capitalism. It was a force so addictive to investors that the Shenzhen experiment quickly expanded, swallowing not just the surrounding Pearl River Delta, which now houses roughly 100,000 factories, but much of the rest of the country as well.

    Read moreChina: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

    Detainees drugged against their will

    The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.

    The government’s forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the “pre-flight cocktail,” as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.

    “Unsteady gait. Fell onto tarmac,” says a medical note on the deportation of a 38-year-old woman to Costa Rica in late spring 2005. Another detainee was “dragged down the aisle in handcuffs, semi-comatose,” according to an airline crew member’s written account. Repeatedly, documents describe immigration guards “taking down” a reluctant deportee to be tranquilized before heading to an airport.

    In a Chicago holding cell early one evening in February 2006, five guards piled on top of a 49-year-old man who was angry he was going back to Ecuador, according to a nurse’s account in his deportation file. As they pinned him down so the nurse could punch a needle through his coveralls into his right buttock, one officer stood over him menacingly and taunted, “Nighty-night.”

    Such episodes are among more than 250 cases The Washington Post has identified in which the government has, without medical reason, given drugs meant to treat serious psychiatric disorders to people it has shipped out of the United States since 2003 — the year the Bush administration handed the job of deportation to the Department of Homeland Security’s new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE.

    Involuntary chemical restraint of detainees, unless there is a medical justification, is a violation of some international human rights codes. The practice is banned by several countries where, confidential documents make clear, U.S. escorts have been unable to inject deportees with extra doses of drugs during layovers en route to faraway places.

    Related Article: Vaccines and Medical Experiments on Children, Minorities, Woman and Inmates (1845 – 2007)

    Read moreDetainees drugged against their will

    Carter says U.S. tortures prisoners

    WASHINGTON (CNN)The United States tortures prisoners in violation of international law, former President Carter said Wednesday.

    “I don’t think it. I know it,” Carter told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

    “Our country for the first time in my life time has abandoned the basic principle of human rights,” Carter said. “We’ve said that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to those people in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo, and we’ve said we can torture prisoners and deprive them of an accusation of a crime to which they are accused.”

    Carter also said President Bush creates his own definition of human rights.

    Carter’s comments come on the heels of an October 4 article in The New York Times disclosing the existence of secret Justice Department memorandums supporting the use of “harsh interrogation techniques.” These include “head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures,” according to the Times.

    Read moreCarter says U.S. tortures prisoners

    Amnesty International: Ethiopian troops commit atrocities in Somalia

    Amnesty Internationall: Ethiopian troops in Somalia slit throats of civilians, gouged eyes, gang raped

    A leading human rights group on Tuesday accused Ethiopian troops in Somalia of killing civilians and committing atrocities, including slitting people’s throats, gouging out eyes and gang-raping women.

    In a new report, Amnesty International detailed chilling witness accounts of indiscriminate killings in the Horn of Africa country and called on the international community to stop the bloodshed.

    Ethiopia’s government said the report was unbalanced and “categorically wrong.”

    The London-based rights group said testimony it received suggested all parties to Somalia’s conflict have committed war crimes. But it singled out Ethiopian troops, who are in the country to back Somalia’s U.N.-sponsored government, for some of the worst violations.

    Somalia’s shaky transitional government invited Ethiopian forces into the country to help it battle Islamic insurgents. Somalia has been torn apart by years of violence between the militias of rival clan warlords.

    The rights group said it obtained scores of reports of killings by Ethiopian troops that Somalis have described as “slaughtering like goats.” In one case, “a young child’s throat was slit by Ethiopian soldiers in front of the child’s mother,” the report says.

    Read moreAmnesty International: Ethiopian troops commit atrocities in Somalia

    CIA has 7,000 documents relating to rendition, detention, and torture programs

    Documents suggest CIA stonewalled Congress

    The Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged having 7,000 pages of documents pertaining to President George W. Bush’s secret rendition and detention programs, according to three international human rights groups.

    Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law made the claim following a summary judgment motion by the agency this week to avoid a lawsuit that seeks to force the nation’s top spy outfit to make the documents public under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

    “Among other assertions, the CIA claimed that it did not have to release the documents because many consist of correspondence with the White House or top Bush administration officials, or because they are between parties seeking legal advice on the programs, including guidance on the legality of certain interrogation procedures,” the groups wrote in a release. “The CIA confirmed that it requested-and received-legal advice from attorneys at the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel concerning these procedures.”

    “For the first time, the CIA has acknowledged that extensive records exist relating to its use of enforced disappearances and secret prisons,” Curt Goering, AIUSA senior deputy executive director, said in a statement. “Given what we already know about documents written by Bush administration officials trying to justify torture and other human rights crimes, one does not need a fertile imagination to conclude that the real reason for refusing to disclose these documents has more to do with avoiding disclosure of criminal activity than national security.”

    RAW STORY was the first news outlet to identify the exact location of one of the sites in the CIA’s secret prison network, which was revealed first by the Washington Post. Raw Story identified a prison in northeastern Poland, Stare Kiejkuty, that was used as a transit point for terror suspects.

    Read moreCIA has 7,000 documents relating to rendition, detention, and torture programs

    PENTAGON CAMPAIGN: Retired officers have been used to shape terrorism coverage from inside the TV and radio networks


    A PENTAGON CAMPAIGN
    Retired officers have been used to shape terrorism coverage
    from inside the TV and radio networks.

    Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand

    Correction Appended

    In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure.

    The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.

    To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

    Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

    Read morePENTAGON CAMPAIGN: Retired officers have been used to shape terrorism coverage
    from inside the TV and radio networks

    China executes 9 people a week, says Amnesty

    China is executing at least nine prisoners a week and sentencing a further 35 to death, according to Amnesty International.

    In a report published today, the human rights group says that while China tries to keep the figures a state secret, the country put to death at least 470 people last year, making it the world’s most prolific executioner,

    At least 1,252 people were executed in 24 different countries last year, while 3,347 were sentenced to death in 51 countries. Amnesty adds that some 27,500 people are now on death row around the world.

    Second to China was Iran with 317 executions, followed by Saudi Arabia on 143, Pakistan on 135 and the United States on 42.

    Read moreChina executes 9 people a week, says Amnesty

    Food riots to worsen without global action: U.N.

    ROME (Reuters) – Food riots in developing countries will spread unless world leaders take major steps to reduce prices for the poor, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Friday.

    Despite a forecast 2.6 percent hike (This is disinformation.) in global cereal output this year, record prices are unlikely to fall, forcing poorer countries’ food import bills up 56 percent and hungry people on to the streets, FAO Director General Jacques Diouf said.

    “The reality is that people are dying already in the riots,” Diouf told a news conference.

    “They are dying because of their reaction to the situation and if we don’t take the necessary action there is certainly the possibility that they might die of starvation. Naturally people won’t be sitting dying of starvation, they will react.”

    The FAO said food riots had broken out in several African countries, Indonesia, the Philippines and Haiti. Thirty-seven countries face food crises, it said in its latest World Food Situation report.

    Read moreFood riots to worsen without global action: U.N.

    They knew: Bush, Cheney authorized ‘harsh interrogations’

    WASHINGTON — President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney both signed off on using harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists after asking the Justice Department to endorse their legality, news agencies have learned.

    The Associated Press reported earlier that senior Bush administration officials took care to insulate President Bush from a series of meetings where CIA interrogation methods, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning, were discussed and ultimately approved.

    However, ABC News is now reporting that President Bush himself was aware of the discussions and approved the controversial interrogation tactics himself.

    “Well, we started to connect the dots, in order to protect the American people.” Bush told ABC News. “And, yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

    Read moreThey knew: Bush, Cheney authorized ‘harsh interrogations’