An article on Electronic Intifada alleges Israel is burying nuclear waste from its Dimona research reactor at a location on the occupied West Bank. The Dimona facility is at a remote location in the Negev desert, but evidence is emerging that the waste is being dumped at a Palestinian village south of Hebron, where the population suffers from a variety of mysterious health problems. Issa Samandar writes May 19:
There have been reports that Dimona's nuclear waste is dumped in El Dahriya, a Palestinian village, South of El-Khalil or commonly known as Hebron. First, big holes are dug in the ground, then the waste is dumped followed by a cement cover up, on which fake rocks are placed that are sealed with screws. The surrounding villages were not informed about these hazardous practices. Instead they learned about it through an increase of their communities' alarming health problems, which are solely caused by being exposed to nuclear radioactivity.
In February, eight civilians, including community leader Luis Eduardo Guerra and three children, were massacred in the Colombian Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. Witnesses identified the killers as members of the Colombian military, and peace community members saw the army’s 17th and 11th Brigades in the area around the time of the murders. SOA Watch, the group that monitors the U.S. Army's School of the Americas (now officially the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), reports that the commander of the 17th Brigade of the Colombian army received training at the SOA. Gen. Héctor Jaime Fandiño Rincón attended the "Small-Unit Infantry Tactics" course in 1976. In December of 2004 he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.
The US defended itself May 20 against charges from states without nuclear weapons that it is failing to fulfill its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). At a month-long conference reviewing the NPT, non-nuclear states dismissed U.S. diplomats' recitation of warhead and missile reductions. "Most of these measures date from before 2000," Mexico's Luis Alfonso de Alba complained to delegates, referring to the 2000 NPT conference, when the U.S. and other nuclear powers committed to "13 practical steps" to meet the treaty's goal of eliminating atomic arms. Those steps included activation of the 1996 treaty banning all nuclear tests—a pact since rejected by the Bush administration. U.S. delegate Jackie Sanders pointed to current "alarming examples" of proliferation, referring to North Korea's declared weapons program and U.S. allegations that Iran also plans to build atomic arms. Confronting such threats—not focusing on US—"must be the primary objective of the 2005 Review Conference," the ambassador said.
Pressure is growing on the U.S. to respond to allegations that its agents were involved in spiriting terrorist suspects out of three European countries and sending them to nations where they may have been tortured. In Italy, a judge said this week that foreign intelligence officials "kidnapped" an Egyptian suspect in Milan two years ago and took him to a U.S. base from where he was flown home. In Germany, a Munich prosecutor is preparing questions to U.S. authorities on the case of a Lebanese-born German who says he was arrested in Macedonia on New Year's Eve 2003 and flown by US agents to a jail in Afghanistan. And in Sweden, a parliamentary ombudsman has criticized the security services over the expulsion of two Egyptian terrorism suspects who were handed over to US agents and flown home aboard a US government-leased plane in 2001. Human Rights Watch said there was credible evidence the pair had been tortured while being held incommunicado for five weeks after their return. One was later convicted in a "patently unfair" trial.
The retraction of Newsweek's allegations of Koran-abuse at Guantanamo, which had sparked violent protests in Afghanistan, may not win the U.S. peace in that country for very long. A vivid report in the NY Times May 20 depicts horrendous details of the torture-death of two detainees at the Bagram Collection Point in December 2002, based on a 2,000-page confidential file of the Army's criminal investigation into the case, a copy of which was obtained by the Times. Seven soldiers are now facing criminal charges in the case.
During the Turkish National Day celebration in the eastern city of Siirt this week, helicopter gunships circled over the stadium and sharpshooters stood watch on rooftops--signs of the rising tension in southeast Turkey as Kurdish separatists rekindle an insurgency after a five-year lull.
The head of Iraq's largest Christian community has denounced U.S. evangelical missionaries in his country for what he said were attempts to convert poor Muslims by flashing money and smart cars, al-Jazeera reported May 20. Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, said that many Protestant activists had come to Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and set up what he called "boutiques" to attract converts. Delly accused the evangelicals of attracting poor youths with displays of money and taking them "out riding in cars to have fun."
We have a new winner for the dubious honor of most cynical exploitation of 9-11: Newsday columnist Ellis Henican has it right when he writes that New York development mogul Donald Trump "towers in tackiness." He used the final episode of his sick reality-TV series "The Apprentice" to show off his model of a rebuilt Twin Towers (identical to the original but for armor plating) and assail the "Freedom Tower" now planned for Ground Zero as "the worst pile-of-crap architecture I've ever seen in my life." Now, we agree the proposed Freedom Tower is indeed hideous--but no more so than the unimaginitive dual monster-blocks the Rockefellers built and Trump would rebuild. And this criticism can only be considered pathetic coming from the man who has (as Henican puts it) "littered the skyline with his garish Trump Tower, Trump Place, Trump World Tower, Trump International Hotel and Trump-Almost-Everything-Else-He-Can-Think-to-Slap-His-Name-On."