15-06-13

China calls for objective probe on Syrian chemical weapons claim

Ban-Obama.jpg

Ban.ki.moon.Pentagon.jpg

'China calls for objective probe on Syrian chemical weapons claim'

6-15-2013

China says it hopes that the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria will be fair and objective in investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

A spokesperson from China’s Foreign Ministry made the statement after allegations from the White House on Thursday said that the US intelligence community found the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on a small scale against the opposition several times in the last year.

She said, "The Chinese side is firmly opposed to the use of chemical weapons no matter who uses them. We hope the UN working group investigating the chemical weapon’s claim in Syria can investigate it objectively and fairly on the premise of following international laws and the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. We always think a political solution is the only realistic and correct way out for the Syrian issue."

http://english.cntv.cn/program/newsupdate/20130615/100668.shtml

Photos: UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and his personal friend Barack Obama - Ban Ki-moon visits the Pentagon

(China: 'We hope the UN working group investigating the chemical weapon’s claim in Syria can investigate it objectively'...)

Google Alert - latest news Syria SANA - chemical weapons

obama-google.jpg

Google Alert - latest news Syria SANA - 14 June 2013

3 new results for latest news Syria SANA:

Assad crosses 'red line'; U.S. confirms chemical weapon use
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
WASHINGTON » The United States has conclusive evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons against opposition forces seeking to overthrow the government, crossing what President Barack Obama has called a "red line ...
See all stories on this topic »

US Prepares Military Options for Syria as 20K Assad Troops Advance on Aleppo

Sunni Cleric In Mecca Urges Support Of Syrian Rebels; Sheikh Saoud al ...

===

Image

‘US Begins Agent Orange Cleanup in Vietnam’

August 9, 2012

DANANG, Vietnam—Vo Duoc fights back tears while sharing the news that broke his heart: A few days ago he received test results confirming he and 11 family members have elevated levels of dioxin lingering in their blood.

The family lives in a two-story house near a former US military base in Danang where the defoliant Agent Orange was stored during the Vietnam War, which ended nearly four decades ago. Duoc, 58, sells steel for a living and has diabetes, while his wife battles breast cancer and their daughter has remained childless after suffering repeated miscarriages.

For years, Duoc thought the ailments were unrelated, but after seeing the blood tests he now suspects his family unwittingly ingested dioxin from Agent Orange-contaminated fish, vegetables and well water.

Dioxin, a persistent chemical linked to cancer, birth defects and other disabilities, has seeped into Vietnam’s soils and watersheds, creating a lasting war legacy that remains a thorny issue between the former foes. Washington has been slow to respond, but on Thursday the US for the first time will begin cleaning up dioxin from Agent Orange that was stored at the former military base, now part of Danang’s airport.

“It’s better late than never that the US government is cleaning up the environment for our children,” Duoc said in Danang, surrounded by family members sitting on plastic stools. “They have to do as much as possible and as quickly as possible.”

The US $43 million project begins as Vietnam and the US forge closer ties to boost trade and counter China’s rising influence in the disputed South China Sea.

Although the countries’ economic and military ties are blossoming, progress on addressing the dioxin legacy has been slow. Washington still disputes a claim by Hanoi that from three million to four million Vietnamese were affected by toxic chemicals sprayed by US planes during the war to eliminate jungle cover for guerrilla fighters, arguing that the actual number is far lower and other environmental factors are to blame for the health issues.

That position irks the Vietnamese, who say the United States maintains a double standard in acknowledging the consequences of Agent Orange. The US has given billions of dollars in disability payments to American servicemen who developed illnesses associated with dioxin after exposure to the defoliant during the Vietnam War.

In 2004, a group of Vietnamese citizens filed suit in a US court against companies that produced the chemical, but the case was dismissed and the Supreme Court declined to take it up.

Until a few years ago, Washington took a defensive position whenever Agent Orange was raised because no one had determined how much dioxin remained in Vietnam’s soil and watersheds, and the US worried about potential liabilities, said Susan Hammond, director of the War Legacies Project, a US nonprofit organization that mainly focuses on the Agent Orange legacy from the Vietnam War.

“There was a lot of the blame game going on, and it led nowhere,” Hammond said by telephone from Vermont. “But now at least progress is being made.”

Over the past five years, Congress has appropriated about US $49 million for environmental remediation and about $11 million to help people living with disabilities in Vietnam regardless of cause. Experts have identified three former US air bases—in Danang in central Vietnam and the southern locations of Bien Hoa and Phu Cat—as hotspots where Agent Orange was mixed, stored and loaded onto planes.

The US military dumped some 20 million gallons (75 million liters) of Agent Orange and other herbicides on about a quarter of former South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971.

The defoliant decimated about five million acres (two million hectares) of forest—roughly the size of Massachusetts—and another 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of crops.

The war ended on April 30, 1975, when northern communist forces seized control of Saigon, the US-backed former capital of South Vietnam. The country was then reunified under a one-party communist government. Following years of poverty and isolation, Vietnam shook hands with the US in 1995 and normalized diplomatic relations.

Since then, the relationship has flourished and the two countries have become important trading partners. Military ties have also strengthened, with Vietnam looking to the US amid rising tensions with China in the disputed South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves and is crossed by vital shipping lanes.

Although Washington remains a vocal critic of Vietnam’s human rights record, it also views the country as a key ally in its push to re-engage militarily in the Asia-Pacific region. The US says maintaining peace and freedom of navigation in the sea is in its national interest.

The Agent Orange issue has continued to blight the US-Vietnam relationship because dioxin can linger in soils and at the bottom of lakes and rivers for generations, entering the food supply through the fat of fish and other animals.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense and the US now plan to excavate 73,000 cubic meters (2.5 million cubic feet) of soil from the airport and heat it to a high temperature in storage tanks until the dioxin is removed. The project is expected to be completed in four years.

Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Washington-based Aspen Institute, said Thursday’s start “marks the coming together of our two countries to achieve a practical solution to dioxin contamination.”

His organization coordinates the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin, which connects prominent American and Vietnamese scientists, health experts and former officials.

The group in May said that $450 million is needed to clean up dioxin hot spots, provide services to people with disabilities, and repair damaged landscapes across Vietnam over the next five years.

The US is rolling out a $9 million project to address disabilities in Vietnam through 2015, but it continues to dispute Vietnam’s claim that dioxin has caused health problems there. It remains unclear whether the US will clean up all of Vietnam’s dioxin, and how much it will allocate in the long term for people who claim to be Agent Orange victims.

A national action plan that Vietnam’s government released in June lays out goals for dealing with Agent Orange, but does not give a price tag.

Every penny counts for Nguyen Thi Hien, who directs three rehabilitation and vocational training centers for 150 children and young adults with disabilities in Danang on a budget of roughly 100 million dong ($5,000) per month.

The children, busy drawing and making plastic flowers that are sold to raise funds, suffer from a range of physical and mental ailments that Hien says are linked to dioxin.

Vo Duoc, the steel salesman, will travel to the capital, Hanoi, next month to receive treatment for his diabetes. But he says he’s more concerned about what will happen to his six grandchildren, who haven’t yet been tested for dioxin.

“They had nothing to do with the war,” Duoc said. “But I live in fear that they’ll test positive like me.”

Photo: Professor Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, at Tu Du Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, is pictured with a group of handicapped children, most of them victims of Agent Orange

http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/11178

15-05-13

Israel National News: Turkey used chemical weapons

Chemical.weapons.Turkey used chemical weapons against Kurds.jpg

Report: Turkey Used Chemical Weapons Against Kurds

Der Spiegel magazine reports that photographs have proven that PKK fighters in Turkey were killed by chemical weapons.

By Elad Benari

First Publish: 8/13/2010, 1:08 AM / Last Update: 8/13/2010, 

According to a report that was published on Thursday in the German magazine Der Spiegel, German experts have confirmed the authenticity of photographs that show that PKK fighters in Turkey were killed by chemical weapons.

The photographs in question were given in March by activists to a German human rights delegation, comprised of experts, journalists and politicians from Turkey’s Left Party. The photos feature burned, maimed and scorched body parts, so much so that he victims are scarcely even recognizable as human beings. Hans Baumann, a German expert on photo forgeries has confirmed the authenticity of the photos, which according to Turkish-Kurdish human rights activists show eight members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) underground movement, considered a terrorist movement by the UN, EU and NATO. They are believed to have been killed in September 2009.

A forensics report released by the Hamburg University Hospital has said that it is highly probable that the eight Kurds died "due to the use of chemical substances."

Turkey has long been suspected of using chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels, and the evidence puts increasing pressure on the Turkish government to come up with answers. German politicians and human rights experts are now demanding an investigation into the incident.

Claudia Roth, co-chair of Germany's Green Party, told Der Spiegel: "The latest findings are so spectacular that the Turkish side urgently needs to explain things. It is impossible to understand why an autopsy of the PKK fighters was ordered but the results kept under seal."

Roth also demanded that Turkey issue an official statement on the possible use of chemical weapons.

Die Tageszeitung, a daily newspaper in Berlin, reported on Thursday that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has rejected the accusations. The Ministry said that Turkey is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and as such its armed forces do not possess any biological or chemical weapons.

The newspaper also reported that it has obtained additional pictures from the autopsies of six other killed Kurds. These images have also been submitted to the experts for examination.

Human rights activists in Turkey have also demanded an investigation, but the Turkish army has refused to comment.

Recently, there has been an increase in acts of PKK rebels against Turkish military targets. A PKK rocket killed six Turkish soldiers in the Mediterranean port at the end of May. At the end of June, Turkish security forces shot dead two villagers gathering herbs in northern Kurdistan after mistaking them for Kurdish resistance fighters.

In response, the Kurds attacked foreign military positions in the portions of what they consider their homeland  occupied by Turkey and on a bus carrying military personnel in Istanbul. The Kurds believe that their country should include the adjoining parts of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria that have large Kurdish populations and that once also had a Jewish community. The Kurdish Jews emigrated to Israel in the early days of the Jewish state.

Since 1984, more than 45,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed in the conflict to achieve goals that were defined as self determination, independence and later as, cultural recognition. The United States recently announced that it sides with Turkey in the conflict and regards the PKK as a terrorist group. Ambassador James Jeffrey said in a statement at the end of June: "We stand ready to review urgently any new requests from the Turkish military or government regarding the PKK. The PKK is a common enemy of both Turkey and the U.S. and we actively support the efforts of our Turkish allies to defeat this terrorist threat.”

Tags: Turkey, chemical warfare, PKK - Main > News > Defense/Middle East

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/139097#....