The Acts of the Democracies

Search Results

Years : ALL

Topic : Trade

108 Items Selected

Generated : 24th October 2017


SiteMeter


1945

End of World War II

The Second World War ends. The USA, and Soviet Union (and to a lesser extent, the UK) divide Europe into spheres of influence.

The following USA companies had supplied arms and equipment to the regime of Nazi Germany:

Many German companies benefited under the Nazis: Bertelsmann (the world's largest publisher - published Nazi propaganda used Jewish slave labour), Deutsche Bank (expropriated Jewish owned property and built the death camp at Auschwitz in Poland where 1,500,000 people died), Degussa (a precious metals company which admitted melting down gold taken from concentration camp victims), Siemens (the electronic company that used over 50,000 slave workers), Daimler (slave labour - paid out nearly $10,000,000 in compensation in the 1980s), Volkswagon (slave labour).

The Nazi regime had discriminated against and killed Jews and other ethnic groups because it had considered northern Europeans to be a superior race. The USA Chargé d'Affairs in Berlin had stated that hope for Germany lay in "the more moderate section of the [Nazi] party which appeals to all civilised and reasonable people".

The USA had also supported and funded the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini in Italy saying that "all patriotic Italians hunger for strong leadership and enjoy being dramatically governed". The USA State Department had said that "Fascism is becoming the soul of Italy, [having] brought order out of chaos, discipline out of licence, and solvency out of bankruptcy. To accomplish so much in a short time severe measures have been necessary".

At the end of the War, many European Fascists are supported and re-instated by the USA and its West European allies. Many prominent Nazis are taken to the USA to work for the Americans: Reinhard Gehlen (spymaster), Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (SS officers implicated in the massacre of Jews), Klaus Barbie (killer of many in the French city of Lyon), Otto von Bolschwing (mastermind of the holocaust against the Jews), and Otto Skorzeny (SS leader and friend of Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler).


1947

Germany (Nurenberg War Trials)

At the Western controlled Nuremberg War Trials in Germany, German companies that worked Jews to death are not forced to pay compensation. These include Siemens, Volkswagen, and I G Farben.

Nazi scientists and businessmen are given immunity and soon end up working for the West.


1949

Saudi Arabia

An American oil company gains 60 year oil concession in Saudi Arabia from un-elected and authoritarian government. The al-Saud family had been placed in power by the UK in 1932.

Multi-national companies will spread around the world with environmental and political consequences. USA and UK influence in this country's affairs will lead to resentment by dissident forces.

South Africa (Establishment of Apartheid)

Apartheid (separation of races) is implemented in South Africa by a government elected by the people who benefit from apartheid (30%) and not by its victims (70%).

Apartheid laws segregate the races (who are classified by the state), ban inter-racial sex or marriage and define where people are allowed to live. Even beaches and park benches are segregated. The USA and Western Europe continue to trade and support this government even though it oppresses a large number of people.

Laos, Cambodia

Former French colonies, Laos and Cambodia are set up as "independent" countries linked to France.


1950

USA and Colombia

The USA sends free wheat to Colombia under an aid program called Food for Peace. This is paid for by USA taxpayers.

This policy has the effect of destroying Colombia's wheat growing industry which is a rival to that of the USA. The country has to concentrate on coffee which is more volatile in price. Many small holdings go out of business. This will eventually lead to cocaine cultivation.


1955

Coup in Argentina (The Fall of Peron)

The military remove the popular president of Argentina, Juan Peron. Europe and the USA continue trading.


1958

Iraq (Abdul Karim Kassem)

General Abdul Karim Kassem overthrows the Western backed monarchy in Iraq and establishes a republic that is neutral in the Cold War.

The USA makes plans to invade Iraq with Turkey. The USA CIA director, Allen Dulles, states that the situation in Iraq is "the most dangerous in the world today".

The UK have oil interests in the nearby semi-dependency of Kuwait and fear an independently minded Iraq. The UK Foreign Secretary, Selwyn Lloyd, sends a secret telegram (number 1979, dated 19 July 1958) to the UK Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, saying "The advantage of [immediate British occupation] would be that we could get our hands firmly on Kuwait oil [however] the effect upon international opinion and the rest of the Arab world would not be good." He goes on to say that it would be better to set up "a kind of Kuwaiti Switzerland where the British do not exercise physical control" but must be prepared to "take firm action to maintain our position in Kuwait" as well as the other Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar) and that the USA agrees with the UK "that at all costs these oil fields must be kept in Western hands".

Six months earlier, when considering partial independence for Kuwait, Lloyd had stated that "The major British and indeed Western interests in the Persian Gulf were:


1964

Congo

The pro-Western government in Congo fights rural rebellion with the aid of European mercenaries. Congo's economy is geared towards Western companies and not the local people.


1965

Elections in Nigeria

Fraudulent elections in Nigeria cause civil unrest. Western oil companies continue to profit and the events are unreported by the media of the USA or UK.


1967

Nigeria (Biafra)

The Igbu people break away from the Hausa dominated Nigeria as Biafra.

Nigeria refuses to let aid reach Biafra, causing a dreadful famine. This diverse country had been artificially created by the UK, which continues to sell it arms and benefit from oil concessions.

Between 1967 and 1970, the UK supplies the government of Nigeria with 36 million rounds of ammunition, 60,000 mortar bombs, 42,000 Howitzer rounds, thousands of rifles, as well as helicopters and armoured cars. According to the UK Foreign Secretary, Michael Stewart, the armoured cars "have undoubtedly been the most effective weapons in the ground war..."

The oil company, Shell / BP, which was partially owned by the UK government, had $ 350 million worth of investments in the country. The UK Commonwealth Minister, George Thomas, confirms that "the sole immediate British interest in Nigeria is that the Nigerian economy should be brought back to a condition in which our trade and investment in the country can be further developed, and particularly so we can regain access to important oil installations".

Over a million people are killed in the resulting conflict.


1969

Indonesia and West Papua

With the collusion of the United Nations, Indonesia annexes West Papua, renaming it as Irian Jaya. Indonesia encourages migrants from other parts of the country to colonise the area which has a diverse and unique culture and peoples. Any resistance is brutally crushed.

West Papua has a copper mining industry worth $1,400 million per year which is part owned by UK company Rio Tinto Zinc. The company is responsible for pollution and the dispossession of local communities.


1971

USA and China

The USA begins trading with China, a country ruled by an unelected government that violates human rights.


1973

USA and Arab Oil

In the USA publication, New York Times Magazine (16 December), Walter Laqueur suggests that Arab oil "should be internationalised... for the benefit of the rest of mankind". If force was used "all that is at stake is the fate of some desert sheikdoms."


1975

Indonesia and East Timor

East Timor gains its independence from Portugal.

A few months later, Indonesia invades and occupies the tiny state, committing many atrocities. The Western countries remain silent during the invasion.

The USA president and Henry Kissinger (USA Secretary of State) visit Indonesia a few days before the invasion. The CIA reports that Indonesia is attempting to "provoke incidents that would provide [them] with an excuse to invade."

Over the next few years, up to 200,000 people are killed, a third of the population. Many villages are wiped off the map. Churches are destroyed or desicrated. The USA, Australia and the UK support the annexation.

The UK ambassador informs his government that "the peoples of Portuguese Timor are in no condition to exercise the right to self-determination."

Henry Kissinger affirms that "the United States understands Indonesia's position on the question [of East Timor]".

The Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, agrees that "the best and most realistic future for Timor was association with Indonesia".

The West continues to sell arms to Indonesia. Western companies, Woodside-Burmah, RTZ, BP, Britsh Gas and Britoil benefit from what they describe as a "favourable political climate".

After being tipped off about the invasion, Richard Woolcott, the Australian ambassador to Indonesia, decides that Australia should "leave events to take their course... and act in a way which would be designed to minimise the public impact in Australia and show private understanding to Indonesia and their problems..."

A radio transmission picked up in Darwin (Australia) describes the invasion:

"The Indonesian soldiers are killing indiscriminately. Women and children are being shot in the streets. We are all going to be killed... This is an appeal for international help. This is an SOS. We appeal to the Australian people... and to all the people of the world. Please help us..."

Philip Liechty, a retired desk officer of the USA's CIA in Indoinesia's capital, Jakarta, describes the events to Australian journalist, John Pilger:

"I saw intelligence that came from hard, firm sources in East Timor. There were people being herded into school buildings and the buildings set on fire. There were people herded into fields and machine gunned, and hunted in the mountains simply because they were there. We knew the place was a free fire zone and that Suharto was given the green light by the United States to do what he did. We sent the Indonesian generals everything that you need to fight a major war against somebody who doesn't have any guns. We sent them rifles, ammunition, mortars, grenades, food, helicopters. You name it, they got it. And they got it direct. Without continued, heavy US logistical military support, the Indonesians might not have been able to pull it off. None of that got out in the media. No one cared. No one gave a damn. It is something that I will be forever ashamed of."

After the invasion, Australia and Indonesia sign the Timor Gap Treaty splitting up East Timor's estimated 7,000 million barells of oil between them.

In the buildup to the invasion, five journalists and cameramen, are killed by Indonesian forces in Balibo. They are Greg Shackleton and Tony Stewart (both Australian), Malcolm Renee and Brian Peters (UK), and Gary Cunningham (New Zealand). Another journalist, Roger East, is killed while investigating the murders. The Australian and UK governments issue no formal protest to Indonesia and there is no enquiry into the deaths until 1996.


1977

Panama

After over 70 years, Panama regains control of its canal from the USA.


1980

South Africa and Angola

South Africa attacks dissidents in Angola. American oil companies work in an enclave and fund one of the warring factions.

Chile Elections

Chile votes to keep the dictator Agusto Pinochet as president. The election is run in the absence of political parties and an electoral register after members of the opposition had been imprisoned or exiled.

The UK government of Margaret Thatcher supports and trades with this regime. In 1999, the arrest of Pinochet in the UK (after an extradition request from Spain) would be opposed by Thatcher.


1982

Rhodesia

lan Smith is re-elected Prime Minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) by the minority white electorate by promising to keep Rhodesia's government white at any cost.

Smith rations food for the black population whom he believes are feeding black resistance fighters. This measure serves to starve the already undernourished black population. 90% of Rhodesia's black children are malnourished and nutritional deficiencies are the major cause of infant death. Smith rounds up black people into concentration camps he calls "protective" villages.

The government's spending on education is dependent on skin colour: $5 on each black child compared to $80 on each white child.

Many European, UK and USA companies trade secretly with the country.


1984

USA Company in India

A gas explosion in a plant owned by the USA company Union Carbide kills 14,419 people (by 2002) in the city of Bhopal, India. The explosion sent 23,000 kg of poisonous gas over the nearby slums of the city. Over 4,000 die on the night in agony, water pouring from their burning eyes, lungs in intense pain, defacating and urinating in the clothes.

Hundreds of thousands more are injured, suffering from wheezing, breathlessness, damaged sight, joint pains, loss of memory, sterility and other ailments. Many are still in pain twnty years later.

Union Carbide persuades the USA judge hearing the case to refer it back to India so that far less compensation would have to be paid.

The plant manufactured the pesticide, Sevin, which contains the poison, methyl isocyanate. Similar plants in the USA stored this highly poisonous chemical in small concentrations to minimise risk; in India it was stored in bulk.

In addition because of cost cutting, safety was lax:

In 1999, Greenpeace would describe the site of the plant as a "global toxic hot spot". The ground water in the vicinity contains levels of Mercury between 20,000 and 6 million times the normal levels. No attempt is made by Union Carbide to rehabilitate the site.

India attempts to extradite Warren Anderson, the chief executive of the company, without success. Anderson had been behind the company cost cutting drive prior to the accident and had accepted "moral responsibility" for the disaster. The USA declares that there is no case to answer and no liability.

By 2004, the average compensation paid was less than $ 600. The government of India had accepted $ 470 million from Union Carbide without consulting the victims. Most of the money remains in Indian government bank accounts. Over 100,000 people suffer from chronic or debilitating illnesses as a result of the accident.

Argentina

The military dictatorship in Argentina ends after an abortive attempt to invade the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas in Spanish).

Most of the perpetrators of the Dirty War are pardoned. Over 30,000 people died or disappeared during the military rule. Hundreds of live prisoners were thrown from helicopters and planes. The Families of the Disappeared Commission estimates that $70,000,000 was made from selling the property - and even the children - of the people killed by the regime.

Julian Simon (known as The Turk), identified with 58 cases of torture but suspected of many more, says:

"I don't regret torturing and killing. If I was given a cause I believed in I would torture again. It is my profession. That is where my experience lies. I am not a dangerous man to normal people. I don't kill without a contract. But there are still too many leftist influences, too many intellectuals and too much scum in the country. If someone told me to take them out, I'd do it."

Under the military government, subsidiaries of Western multinational companies had borrowed billions of dollars from western banks. These debts were then conveniently nationalised by the compliant government. This means that Argentina took on the debt. As a result, the public debt rose from $ 7,800 million in 1975 to $ 46,000 million in 1984.


1986

South Africa

30 demonstrators are killed in South Africa. South Africa attacks targets in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The USA Congress imposes economic sanctions on South Africa in spite of a veto by President Reagan. Only 25% of the trade between the two countries is affected. Iron, steel and uranium continue to be exported from South Africa. In the next two years, USA exports to South Africa increase from $ 1,280 million to $ 1,710 million.


1988

Kurds in Iraq (Halabja)

Iraq uses poison gas on Halabja, a Kurdish village, killing 6,000 men, women and children. Nicholas Beeston, of the UK newspaper, The Times writes:

"There was the plump baby whose face, frozen in a scream, stuck out from under the protective arm of a man, away from the open door of a house that he never reached. Nearby a family of five who had been sitting in their garden eating lunch were cut down - the killer gas not even sparing the family cat or the birds in the tree, which littered the well kept lawn."

The UK and USA have been arming and supporting Iraq during its war with Iran. Between 1985 and 1989, private companies from the USA had exported the following biological agents to Iraq after obtaining licenses from the USA Department of Commerce:

Other exports had included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, production facilities and equipment for filling warheads with chemicals. During the 1990s United Nations inspectors would find and remove these substances from Iraq while USA president Bill Clinton would criticise Iraq for "developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons".

Shortly after the gas attack, the USA increases its economic ties to Iraq.

One month after the attack, the UK offers Iraq over $400 million in export credits (underwritten by UK tax payers) to buy machine tools. The machine tools are sent secretly to Iraq via Jordan by the UK company, Matrix Churchill. Another company, Astra, supplies $150 million worth of propellant. These deals had been negotiated with the full knowledge of the UK government which had not informed the UK Parliament. Some deals had been negotiated personally by the UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. An enquiry by Lord Justice Scott concludes that "ministers had deliberately misled Parliament, but had not intended to mislead Parliament."

The gassing of the Kurds is hardly reported in Western media. In 2003, when the USA and UK want to change the Iraqi regime, photographs of the gassed Kurds are published in several newspapers in the UK and the event is discussed in the USA without mentioning USA involvement.

Kurdish Victims in Halabja
Iraq uses poison gas on Halabja, a Kurdish village, killing 6,000 men, women and children. At the time Iraq was a USA client state. Between 1985 and 1989, private companies from the USA had exported biological agents to Iraq after obtaining licenses from the USA Department of Commerce (including Bacillus anthracis, the cause of the often fatal disease, anthrax and Histoplasma capsulatum, a disease that attacks lungs, brain, heart and spinal chord). Other exports had included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, production facilities and equipment for filling warheads with chemicals.

Burma

Student demonstrations against the military government in Burma are brutally suppressed by troops. 10,000 people are killed, including many students and Buddhist monks. Thousands are arrested and tortured. Many female students are gang raped by riot police. Protesters are drowned at Inya Lake in Rangoon. 41 students die of suffocation after being crammed into a police van. Troops fire at the hospital killing doctors, nurses and the injured. Journalists are shot while filming.

Many bodies are thrown into the crematorium; some still alive. Many more bodies are buried in mass graves; some still alive.

Europe and the UK have special trade agreements with the regime.

The USA oil company, Unocal and the French oil company Total are both involved with the military government, especially in areas inhabited by the Karen, many of which are being dispossessed and killed.

The USA company Pepsi continues to trade in the country.

Western Companies in Asia

In a report for the magazine Far Eastern Review, Charles Gray, the executive director of the Asian-American Free Labor Institute observes that multi-national companies setting up in foreign countries "generally insist the host government surpress the right of workers to organise and join unions, even when the right is guaranteed in the country's own constitution and laws".

He writes that in Malaysia, "US and other foreign corporations forced the Labour Ministry in 1988 to continue the government's long standing prohibition of unions in the electronics industry by threatening to shift their jobs and investments to another country".

He adds that in Bangladesh, multi-national companies "discriminate against women and girls by paying them starvation wages as low as [$0.09] an hour".

In China, the managers of multi-national companies were asked to respect labour laws. "The managers refused, and said that if they were unable to operate the way they wanted they would close their Chinese factories and move to Thailand".


1989

China

A few weeks after the massacre of thousands of dissidents in Tienanmen Square in China, the USA approves business deals worth $ 300 million with the government. These include agricultural sales and a grant to build an underground railway in Shanghai. Two Chinese scholars invited by universities in the USA are denied entry after pressure from the Chinese government.

Children and World Poverty

The World Health Organisation (WHO) publishes a report that receives minimal attention from the Western media.

The report states that 11 million children die every year in the poorer countries from easilly preventiable causes like diarrhea (4 million, most of which could be saved by salt and sugar tablets costing less than $1) and infectious diseases (3 million, which could be vaccinated at a cost of $10 each).

The USA opposes an increase in aid to poorer countries to 0.2% of Gross National Product (GNP).

In 1989, poorer countries pay the rich countries $ 42,900 million more in debt repayments than they recieve in aid. This is an increase of $ 5,000 million from the previous year. Many of these debts were incurred by unelected governments supported, armed and sometimes put in place by the West. The people of these countries end up paying the debt with their lives.

Dominican Republic

A report in the UK magazine The Economist, describes conditions in the Dominican Republic 25 years after the USA invaded the country and imposed its preferred government and economic system. The report says:

Poverty and the "Free Market"

The journal South and the United Nations publication Report on Human Development describe the effect on people of the "free-market" as imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on several countries in South America as a condition for loans.

Brazil has the world's 8th largest economy, enormous natural wealth, no security concerns, a favourable climate and a reasonably homogenous population. According to the reports:

These events are happening 25 years after the Brazilian military took power in a coup described at the time by the USA Ambassador, Lincoln Gordon, as "the single most decisive victory of freedom in the mid-twentieth century". Once the democratic government had been removed the USA supported and financed the new regime and praised its economic policies, saying that they created "a greatly improved climate for private investment".

At one time, Argentina was one of the ten richest countries in the world. It has abundant resources, a rich coast line, and a homogenous population. According to reports:

In oil rich Venezuela, reports say:

Chile had its democratically elected governmnet removed by General Augusto Pinochet in 1973. The reports say:

Antonio Garza Morales writing in the magazine, Excelsior, remarks that "the social cost which has been paid by the Chilean people is the highest in Latin America".


1990

Philippines

Survival International reports that tribal people in the Philippines are being attacked by the private army of a logging company. During a six month period the army kills and tortures villagers, destroys rice stores, burns down houses and drives thousands from their homes.

Elections in Burma

In elections in Burma, 82% of the eligible population vote for The National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi who is under house arrest.

The military rulers refuse to hand over power and put the winning candidates in prison. Thousands of government opponents are killed. Europe continues its special trade arrangements with Burma. The UK company BMARC sends bullets to Burma via Singapore.

The regime uses slave labour (including children) to build up the country's infrastructure. The military are involved in the sexual trafficking of women and children as well as drug trafficking.

In the ancient city of Pagan, more than 4000 villagers are expelled to make way for tourism facilities.

Thailand

According to an Urgent Action Bulletin published in May 1990 by Survival International, Thailand planned to expel 6 million people from forests where it wanted to establish softwood plantations.


1991

Pollution and the World Bank

Lawrence Summers, the chief economist of the World Bank sends a memo stating that the industrialised countries should migrate polluting industries to the less developed countries with lower wages:

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."

The memo forms part of an article in the UK magazine, The Economist (8 February) titled "Let Them Eat Pollution".

Other quotes from Summers include:

In 1999, Summers would be appointed as USA Undersecretary for the Treasury for International Affairs.


1993

Brazil

Indigenous tribes are massacred by mineral prospectors in Brazil.


1994

Western Companies and Torture

Electric shock torture is widely used in a number of totalitarian countries. According to Amnesty International:

"The torture includes insertion of a metal stick into the anus and electric shocks. Victims are left bleeding and unable to walk, and are denied any medical attention. Victims have been tortured, often repeatedly, with shocks applied to armpits, necks, faces, chests, abdomens, the inside of the legs, soles of the feet, inside mouths and ears, on genitals and inside the vagina and rectum. Immediate effects include severe pain, loss of muscle control, convulsions, fainting, and involuntary defecation and urination. Longer-term effects can include muscle stiffness, impotence, scarring, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder."

Although most European countries have stopped that trade in these implements, the USA government approves the export of electric shock weapons to Saudi Arabia, electro-shock shields to Mexico and stun guns to Venezuela and China. A French company admits to having supplied to countries in North Africa, while a major German supplier publishes its catalogue in Russian and Arabic.

Elections in Nigeria

During elections in Nigeria, Chief Moshood Abiola, considered to be the likely winner, is arrested and placed in prison before the rigged results are announced; General Sani Abacha retains control.

More than 100 government executions occur, and numerous pro-democracy demonstrators are killed by police. The UK and Dutch company, Shell Oil, provides most of the country's wealth by extracting oil from the Ogoniland region, while in the process causing severe environmental destruction and devastating the local economy. More than 700 Ogoni environmentalists protesting the destruction of their way of life, have been executed in recent years.

Shell supports Abacha's policies by its silence. Despite appeals that Nigerian oil be boycotted, the USA government refuses.

Debt

UNESCO publishes a report which estimates that about 500,000 children die every year from Debt Repayment. Debt Repayment is due to commercial banks in the richer Western countries having made loans to poorer countries (often with unelected dictatorial governments). The interest paid on the loans does not allow the debtor countries to provide public services for their populations.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 11,000,000 children die every year from easily treatable diseases. The WHO has called this "a silent genocide."

UK "Aid" to Malaysia

The UK attempts to give Malaysia an "aid" package.

This package (which had been kept secret) involves financial aid to build a dam at Pergau by UK companies like Balfour Beatty. In return, Malaysia would buy $1,900 million worth of jets from British Aerospace.

The aid package would benefit UK companies and the ruling elite in Malaysia but would not benefit the people of Malaysia (for whom the aid is said to be intended) or the UK people (who would be underwriting the building of the dam).

A court action in London (UK) declares the deal illegal.

The World Bank and Dams

The World Bank finances the Pak Mun Dam in Thailand.

The dam blocks fish migration for the entire Mun-Chi river system and leads to the submergence of rapids important for fish breeding. As a result, 169 fish species are no longer found upstream of the dam, and fish catches have decreased by approximately 70% from previous levels, affecting 25,000 people who depend on fisheries for their livelihood.

The World Bank has provided more than $60,000 million for over 500 large dams in over 90 countries, including many of the world's largest and most controversial projects. Many cause environmental and cultural damage, line the pockets of the host government, and displace thousands of people. The World Bank rarely compensates people for their losses.

World Bank funded large dams have turned more than 10 million men, women and children into refugees in their own land, including 180,000 people displaced by the Xiaolangdi Dam in China, 24,000 Indonesian villagers, some of whom clung to their rooftops as the waters rose behind Kedung Ombo Dam, and the 80,000 farmers of the Volta River Valley in Ghana, forced from their homes by the Akosombo Dam. These refugees have, in the great majority of cases, been economically, culturally and emotionally devastated. In many cases, once self sufficient farming families have been reduced to eking out a living as migrant labourers or slum dwellers.

People who live downstream of dams are often forced to abandon their homes because of loss of fisheries, changes to hydrology which eliminate seasonal floodplain agriculture, or of other benefits previously provided by the undammed river. In Mali, 11,000 people were flooded out by the Manantali Dam, but 500,000 farmers downstream are suffering the consequences of the changed flow regime of the Senegal River.

World Bank funded dams are responsible for the submergence of tens of thousands of square kilometers of forests, the decimation of countless fisheries, the opening of remote areas for resource extraction, and the loss of floodplain, wetland and estuarine habitat. Tucurui Dam and Balbina Dam together drowned 6,400 square kilometers of rain forest in the Brazilian Amazon. Akosombo Dam flooded more land than any other dam in the world, 8,500 square kilometers, around four percent of the area of Ghana. World Bank funded dams and irrigation schemes have also led to explosions in the incidence of waterborne diseases, especially schistosomiasis and malaria.


1995

World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is founded by 134 countries to negotiate and enforce trade agreements between nations.

Up to this time the West (the richer countries) had forced low wages and high pollution onto Third World countries (the poorer countries) which had weak or bought-off governments.

The real agenda of the WTO is to weaken all governments and agencies that might defend workers, consumers, or the environment, not only in the Third World, but everywhere; to remove any efforts to limit trade due to its labour implications, ecology implications, social or cultural implications, or development implications, leaving as the only criteria whether there are immediate, short term profits to be made.

If regional, national or local laws impede trade (e.g. an environmental, health law, or a labour law) the WTO adjudicates, and its verdict is binding.

The net effect is that the WTO over-rules governments and populations on behalf of corporate profits.

Another WTO agenda is the privatisation of education, health, social security (welfare), council (public or social) housing, and transport. This will eventually lead to the long tradition of European welfare states based on solidarity through community risk-pooling and publicly accountable services being slowly dismantled.

The USA trade delegation states:

"The United States is of the view that commercial opportunities exist along the entire spectrum of health and social care facilities, including hospitals, outpatient facilities, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living arrangements, and services provided in the home."

Five of the richest countries have the most votes in the WTO: USA, UK, France, Germany, and Japan.

WTO delegates are drawn from trade ministries and confer regularly with corporate lobbyists and advisors. As a result, the WTO has become, as an anonymous delegate told the UK newspaper, the Financial Times: "a place where governments can collude against their citizens." Large multinational companies use governments to bring cases before the WTO. This way they can win battles they have lost in the domestic political arena.

Cases are heard before a tribunal of trade lawyers, who, under WTO rules, are required to make their ruling with a presumption in favour of free trade. The WTO puts the burden on governments to justify any trade restrictions. There are no observers, and no public record of the deliberations, which are held behind closed doors.

The WTO has ruled against Europe for banning beef treated with hormones and against Japan for banning pesticide laden apples.

Afghanistan

The Taliban take power in Afghanistan. They impose an extreme form of Islamic law on the country: closing schools for girls and requiring women to remain at home and only come out if completely covered. Men are imprisoned if their beards are not long enough. Television, photography and music are banned.

The USA oil company Unocal, invites some of the leaders of the Taliban to Houston, where they are royally entertained. The company offers the new regime payment for oil and gas transported through Afganistan via a pipeline. A figure of 15% is mentioned.

Unocal had been seeking since 1995 to build oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan and into Pakistani ports on the Arabian Sea. The company's scheme requires a single administration in Afghanistan, which would guarantee safe passage for its goods.

Initially, the USA supports the Taliban. A couple of years later, a USA diplomat would state:

"the Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did. There will be Aramco [a US oil consortium which worked in Saudi Arabia], pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that."

Mexico

The USA gives Mexico millions of dollars of military aid to suppress the Zapatistas, a group demanding economic and social rights for the country's indigenous people. The West's media report that the aid is to fight drug trafficking.

In violation of USA law, helicopters paid for by the aid, attack local communities with machine guns, rockets and bombs. Paramilitaries trained by the USA CIA carry out massacres and torture opponents.

American companies, under North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) plans, want indigenous peoples' land to grow cash crops for export rather than food and access to oil and minerals. Riordan Roett, a consultant for Chase Manhatten Bank in New York (USA) writes:

"[The Mexican government] will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their effective control of the national territory and of security policy... [and] will need to consider carefully whether or not to allow opposition victories if fairly won at the ballot box".


1996

Brazil

The government in Brazil decrees that land belonging to indigenous peoples is opened up to multinational companies.

Global Climate Coalition

The Global Climate Coalition, GCC, (set up in 1989) is a public relations (PR) company created and financed by a group of Western multinational corporations including: Arco, Dow Hydrocarbons, Exxon, Philips, Texaco, General Motors, BP, DuPont, Ford, Chrysler, Daimler, and Shell.

The GCC attempts to discredit scientific research on global warming even resorting to personally attacking some of the scientists themselves.

In the run up to the Kyoto Summit (about climate change) the GCC spends $13 million to oppose any reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. A series of damaging stories against one of the leading scientists working on global warming (Ben Santer) are released by the GCC and published by the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal in the USA.

John Grasser of the GCC would later assert at the Kyoto Summit:

"We think we have raised enough questions among the American public to prevent any numbers, targets or timetables to achieve reductions in gas emissions being achieved here. What we are doing, and we think successfully, is buying time for our industries by holding up these talks."

The USA (which emits 25% of the world's carbon dioxide) states that it would like to see more action by "developing nations".

USA Companies in Haiti

The Superior Baseball Plant in Haiti, pays its workers $0.38 for every 12 baseballs sown. These are made for the USA. By subcontracting, American companies can evade responsibility for local conditions. The journalist, John Pilger described the conditions:

"...girls stooped in front of whirring, hissing, binding machines. Many had swollen eyes and lacerated arms. There was no protection and a large man barked orders at them."

Workers making Micky Mouse and Pocahontas pyjamas for Disney are paid $0.12 per hour.

In addition to being a cheap manufacturing base for the USA, Haiti's sugar, bauxite (an ore of Aluminium), sisal (a fibre from a leaf) are all controlled by USA companies. This is the main reason behind the 1994 USA invasion of Haiti although the American president, Bill Clinton, said it was because of "unacceptable human rights violations that shame our hemisphere."

Western Companies and Child Labour

The UK imports $12 million worth of sporting goods made mainly by child labour in India.

Children can stitch two footballs (soccer balls) every day for which they are paid a daily wage of $0.25, barely enough to buy a litre of milk. Many of these footballs end up at large football clubs where they are signed by the players and sold for large profits.

Countries such as the UK (as well as Australia, the USA and Japan) have all moved their manufacturing industries to poor countries with low wages and lax safety conditions.

In Thailand, hundreds of workers making Bart Simpson and Cabage Patch Dolls, have died in factory fires. Workers in China (making Barbie and Sindy dolls, Power Rangers and Fisher-Price toys for infants) have also died in fires.

Thousands of workers use glues, plastics and paints without protection or ventilation leading to illness and disability.

Slave Labour in Burma

The military government of Burma declares 1996 as Visit Burma Year in an attempt to encourage tourism.

1000 Shan people are expelled from their village to make way for a golf course. Since 1988, some 5 million people have been forcibly removed from their homes and exiled in "satellite towns" as part of the drive to make the country a haven for tourism. A million of these have been moved from the capital, Rangoon.

The United Nations Commission for Human Rights reports that the following violations were common in Burma:

"Torture, summary and arbitrary executions, forced labour, abuse of women, politically motivated arrests and detention, forced displacement, important restrictions on the freedoms of expression and association, and oppression of ethnic and religious minorities."

Amnesty International states:

"Conditions in labour camps are so harsh that hundreds of prisoners have died as a result. In the largest detention facility at least 800 political prisoners are being held. Military... personnel regularly interrogate prisoners to the point of unconsciousness. Even the possession of almost any reading material is punishable... Elderly and sick people and even handicapped people are placed in leg irons and forced to work."

Slave and forced labour is used to restore the Burma's infrastructure. The moat around the royal palace in Mandalay is excavated by chain gangs of labourers guarded by troops. Many of the criminals in the gangs are political prisoners, sentenced to long terms for "crimes" such as being elected to parliament, calling for democracy, speaking to foreign journalists, or communicating with the United Nations.

Various UK companies, like British Airways and Orient Express, organise expensive tours to Burma describing the country as "unspoilt" and "the ultimate in luxury".

Joe Cummings, the writer of the Australian guide books, Lonely Planet, considers that "human rights abuses have decreased in the face of increased tourism".

70% of the profits from Burma's tourist industry leave the country.

UK "Aid" and Arms Sales

The National Audit Office in the UK finds a link between aid for Indonesia (paid for by the UK tax payer) and arms sales to the undemocratic and brutal regime. The items sold include police installations and airports as well as military infrastructure. The Minister for Overseas Development, Linda Chalker states that the aid would be "helping the poor in Indonesia".

The countries receiving aid from the UK are not the poorest or neediest: Malaysia (far richer than Bangladesh), Oman (an oil rich sultanate) and Ecuador (richer than many countries in the Caribbean) all receive large amounts of aid. They are all also major buyers of UK arms.

East Timor

In Australia, an enquiry occurs into the deaths of six Australian, UK, and New Zealand journalists and cameramen during the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia in 1975. Both the UK and Australian governments had kept quiet about the killings until persistent campaigning from the widow of one of the journalists, Greg Shackleton.

After the enquiry concludes (against eye witness testimony) that the journalists were killed in "cross fire", the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, states that "you can't always expect countries with whom you want to have good relations to have the same value system as we have."

Indonesia's annexation of East Timor had resulted in 200,000 deaths, a third of the population. This figure had been verified by Amnesty International, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Australian Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Timor Gap Treaty, signed in 1989, had allowed Australia and Indonesia to exploit East Timor's huge oil reserves, estimated at 7000 million barells.

The two countries upgrade this treaty to allow the plunder of East Timor's fishing grounds. Another deal on infrastructure projects benefits the Indonesian president (Suharto) and his family to the tune of $53,000 million. The Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fisher, describes Suharto as "perhaps the world's greatest figure in the latter half of the 20th century".


1997

International Monetary Fund

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organisation heavily influenced by the richer countries, recommends an increase in the privatisation of schools in Haiti as a condition for loans.

The IMF admits that privatization of schools has seen extreme deterioration in school quality and attendance that will likely hamper the country's human capacity for many years to come. Only 8% of teachers in private (fee paying) schools (now 89% of all schools) have professional qualifications, compared to 47% in public (state) schools. Since school privatisation began in 1985, secondary (high) school enrollment dropped from 28% to 15%.

The IMF favours large, expensive projects regardless of their appropriateness to local conditions. The IMF pays little heed to the social and environmental impact of the projects it finances, and that it often works through unelected dictatorships that channel benefits to themselves rather than those who need them, leaving their populations to foot the bill later.

The IMF lends money to countries on the condition that they implement a Structural Adjustment Program (SAP - also known as an Austerity Plan). Typically, a government is told to eliminate price controls or subsidies, devalue its currency or eliminate labour regulations like minimum wage laws. These are all actions whose costs are born by the poorer sections of a population whose usable incomes are cut.

Indonesia and East Timor

The 32 year dictatorship of General Suharto ends in Indonesia.

During fraudulent elections, the army attacks the headquarters of the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party, lead by Megawati Sukarnoputri. 50 supporters are killed (stabbed and shot by soldiers) and many buildings are burned down.

The USA had supported the regime with over $1,000 million worth of weaponry. F-16 fighter planes, attack helicopters and M-16 combat rifles were used in the suppression of dissent and the occupation of East Timor.

Over 1,000,000 people have died under his brutal regime from 1965 as well as 200,000 in East Timor (out of a population of 700,000). In spite of this record, most media in the USA fail to report his activities accurately. In the final months of his rule, he is referred to as Indonesia's "soft-spoken, enigmatic president" (USA Today, 15 May), a "profoundly spiritual man" (New York Times, 17 May), a "reforming autocrat" (New York Times, 22 May).

His motives are made benign: "It was not simply personal ambition that led Mr. Suharto to clamp down so hard for so long; it was a fear, shared by many in this country of 210 million people, of chaos" (New York Times, 2 June); and finally, he "failed to comprehend the intensity of his people's discontent" (New York Times, 21 May).

In the mineral rich regions of Aceh and Irian Jaya, American companies (mainly Exxon Mobil) collude with the Indonesian military in keeping dissent suppressed.

Robin Cook, the new UK Foreign Secretary promises an "ethical foreign policy" but continues arms sales to Indonesia to the tune of $1,000 million per year.

The Bank of Scotland in the UK finances a paper mill in Indonesia. During the project thousands of villagers are forcibly removed from their land.

Procurement Services International (PSI) sells Tactica riot control vehicles to Indonesia which are used by Kopussus (an elite unit) in the genocide in East Timor. The managing director of PSI, Nick Oliver, had visited East Timor and compared it to Northern Ireland: "The difference is that in East Timor they do it in blocks of 200, and in Northern Ireland they do one or two a day."

Amnesty International reports that the military in Indonesia is:

"organised to deal with domestic rather than international threats. Troops are deployed throughout the country, down to village level. At each level, the military has wide ranging authority over political, social and economic matters. [These] are complemented by a range of elite unites... All are responsible for grave human rights violations. The most powerful are Kopussus units which have been responsible for grave human rights violations."

UK Companies in South America, Africa and Asia

The UK company British Petroleum (BP) is involved with evicting people from their land in Colombia. The company donates money to the Colombian military and provides them with video footage of local campaigners. The Colombian army has been implicated in the kidnapping, torture, rape and killing of thousands of people, including trade unionists and oil industry protesters.

Another UK company, Rio Tinto, exploits mineral deposits in countries with undemocratic regimes (Indonesia, apartheid South Africa).

Lord Simon of Highbury, a minister in the UK government, is chairman of BP and director of Rio Tinto.

Child Labour in China

The USA burger company McDonald's is revealed to be using child labourers in China, working between 7am and midnight producing toys to be sold with meals in Hong Kong.


1998

Biopiracy

The large biotechnology USA company Monsanto (worth $38,000 million) develops genetically engineered plants whose seeds will not germinate to produce the next crop. Furthermore the plant will not grow without chemicals that can only be bought from Monsanto.

Using World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations, an attempt is made to force Asian countries like India and Bangladesh to use these plants. This would make the farmers dependent on having to buy the seeds every year. Public pressure rejects the biotechnology.

Monsanto is one of a group of companies that pushes the WTO to legislate for Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). These would allow the patenting of products from the natural world. The provisions would make it illegal for farmers to plant seeds that they have used for hundreds of years unless they pay royalties to the patent holders. Even human DNA has been considered for patenting. Many countries fear TRIPs because they see it as biopiracy or biocolonialism.

UK biologist, Mae Won Ho, has stated that Western companies want to use poorer countries: "as resevoirs of biological and genetic resources to develop new crops, drugs, biopesticides, oils and cosmetics."

The Neem tree in India (Azadirachta Indica) has been used for centuries as a medicine and biopesticide. The Indian Patents Act of 1970 forbids the patenting of inventions relating to agricultural processes. USA companies (like W R Grace) are pressing for a WTO ruling to over-ride Indian law and allow patents of substances derived from the Neem tree.

Monsanto's attempts to sell genetically modified (GM) soya to Europe meets public resistance even after USA threats of WTO action against Europe. The Europeans want to segregate and label GM foods; the USA opposes this. Consumers International notes:

"One of the ironies of this issue is the contrast between the enthusiasm of food producers to claim that their biologically engineered products are different and unique when they seek to patent them and their similar enthusiasm for claiming that they are just the same as other foods when asked to label them."

Monsanto was responsible for producing Agent Orange which contained the carcinogen (cancer producer), dioxin. This was used by the USA in Vietnam. Since the 1960s, 500,000 Vietnamese children have been born with dioxin-related deformaties; no compensation has ever been paid.

The USA Vice President, Al Gore, puts pressure on South Africa not to use cheap generic AIDS drugs. Their use would have eaten into the profits of USA companies. South Africa has 3 million people who are HIV Positive and the population is impoverished. Al Gore has links to the drug industry.

Ecology

The World Wide Fund for Nature publish a report stating that in the previous 25 years, 30% of the natural world has been destroyed by human activity. The damage to the environment as well as pollution and global warming begins to affect peoples' lives.

In 1991, floods in the Philippines killed 7,000 people and were attributed to deforestation. In 1997, forest fires in Indonesia sent poisonous smog over Malaysia and Singapore and were attributed to drought caused by global warming.

Canada

The USA company, Ethyl Corporation forces Canada (via the World Trade Organisation - WTO) to reverse a ban on a petrol additive called MMT. There is evidence that the manganese in MMT causes problems with the human nervous system.

This is an example of how the WTO can adjudicate behind close doors and over-ride national laws on safety.

Debt

The World Health Organisation (WHO) publishes a report about poverty.

It states that poverty is the leading cause of premature death and sickness in the world. The gap between rich and poor is the widest it has been since records began. 30% of the world's children suffer from hunger; 50% of the world's population is denied access to medical care. Countries with debt are forced to export food and other cash crops while their population starve.

The USA threatens to withdraw funding from the WHO if it monitors the effects of trade conditions on health.

A report from UNICEF says that 500,000 children die every year because of debt repayment.

In the Philippines this amounts to a child dying every hour. Half of the country's budget is used to pay interest on loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Many of these loans were taken out by unelected authoritarian regimes supported by the West.

The Arms Trade

Jose Ramos-Horta estimates that since the end of the Second World War, over 20 million people have been killed worldwide as a result of the arms trade. This trade is dominated by Western countries and is often with brutal unelected regimes.

In 1993 nearly 70% of USA arms were sold to Saudi Arabia, a country rules by an absolute monarchy with no elections.

Burma

In the Tavoy region of Burma, the military government uses slave and forced labour to build roads and railways. Even pregnant women and children are used. Villages are destroyed if the people refuse to work.

The country is being opened up for an oil pipeline to be built by the French company Total Oil in a deal worth $400 million a year for 30 years. The Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi (who won the annulled elections of 1990) has supplied Total Oil with evidence of the use of slave labour in Burma which has been ignored.

Other companies trading with Burma include Unocal, Texaco, Johnson & Johnson, and Federal Express (USA), Premier Oil (UK), Nippon Oil, Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Honda and Nippon Steel (Japan), Fritz Werner and Siemens (Germany), Phillips (Netherlands), Dragon Oil (Ireland). The Australian beer company Fosters has advertising posters that hide military watch towers provided by Australian company Intrepid.

Nearly 70% of the finances received by the Burmese military have been from Western oil companies. Over 5000 troops guard Total Oil's personnel. Some 60,000 people are forced into slave labour working on Burma's roads and railways every day.

The UK is the largest investor in Burma with an annual total of $634 million.


1999

USA and Europe

The USA puts economic pressure on Europe over sales of bananas.

Many European countries have quotas for buying bananas from their ex-colonies in Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean. The quotas are meant to protect the fragile economies of these countries. The bananas are grown in small family run plantations using environmentally friendly methods.

The USA puts pressure on Europe (via the World Trade Organisation - WTO) to buy more bananas from Central and South America. These bananas are grown by American companies in enormous chemical-intensive plantations using cheap labour. The workers face dangers from at least 8 poisonous pesticides and violence from their bosses. Three American companies (Chiquita, Del Monte and Dole) already have 66% of all banana sales in Europe.

During the 1990's Del Monte was linked to violence against banana workers in Guatemala and accused of union busting.

Banana workers in the banana plantations in Central America are being paid as little as $0.63 an hour or $28 a week. Some have been affected by chemicals in packing plants, making them ill, and giving them sores. Workers in the field have been subjected to aerial fumigation of the crops without protective clothing. The foul-smelling chemicals (reported to be chlorophrifos that attack the nervous system) make them feel nauseous, causing nosebleeds, sore eyes, and breathing difficulties.


2000

Drugs

The government and media in the UK begin a debate on drugs after some young people die after taking a drug called ecstasy. This debate deliberately avoids the major drugs causing death as these sources are legal, very profitable and raise taxes for the government.

 Type of Drug 
 Number of Deaths 
 in UK in 1999 
Cannabis 7
Ecstacy 26
Cocaine 87
Diazepam 112
Paracetamol 267
Methadone 298
Heroin 754
Alcohol 33,000
Tobacco 120,000

Deaths from alcohol include violence and vehicle accidents.

The biggest drug killer is tobacco. 20% of all deaths in the UK are from tobacco related diseases. Indeed, more people die by breathing other peoples' tobacco smoke (passive smoking) than die from all illegal drugs.

In 1998 the UK tobacco industry generated over $16,000 million in tax revenue.

The UK tobacco company, British American Tobacco (BAT), sells cheap, highly addictive cigarettes to Africa with higher levels of tar and nicotine than those permitted in the West. In a letter to its offices in Uganda, BAT declares that it "does not believe that cigarette smoking is harmful to health" and that the company "should not wish to endanger our potential to export to those countries which do not have a health warning on the packs".

A documentary on the UK television station BBC states: "We cannot police the world. We cannot stop [heroin] supplies. We can only limit the demand for it by producing a decent society that people want to live in, not escape from."

In the USA, over 300,000 people are killed by tobacco every year; worldwide the figure is 4 million (5% of all deaths). Tobacco is a carcinogen (causes cancer) and is responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths.

The annual USA death rate for alcohol is 200,000.

In 1985, 3562 deaths were recorded from all illegal drugs combined. 99% of deaths from substance abuse are due to alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol is a factor in 40% of the 50,000 annual traffic deaths.

In 1989 the tobacco industry in the USA asked their government to impose sanctions on Thailand unless the country removed restrictions on import of USA grown tobacco. They declared that the restrictions were a bar on free trade. Thailand had seen a decline in tobacco smoking after a fifteen year campaign. During the hearing, the USA declared that their tobacco was the best in the world. Thailand responded that "in the Golden Triangle we have some of the best products, but we never ask the principle of free trade to govern such products. In fact we supressed them".

Japan, South Korea and Taiwan had already been coerced in a similar way. Taiwan had managed to cut smoking until the threat of sanctions. The smoking rate went up by 10% after American tobacco was imported.

In the USA, exports of tobacco go up by 20% (making the country $ 5,000 million every year) while smoking goes down by 5%.

The Singapore newspaper, The Straits Times notes that it finds it "hard to reconcile the fact that the Americans are threatening trade sanctions against countries that try to keep out [USA] tobacco products" with their efforts to reduce smoking at home.

According to Peter Bourne (director of the Office of Drug Abuse Policy in the USA): "...the number of Colombians dying each year from subsidised North American tobacco products is significantly larger than the number of North Americans felled by Colombian cocaine".

Everett Koop, the USA Surgeon General states: "When we are pleading with foreign governments to stop the flow of cocaine, it is the height of hypocrisy for the United States to export tobacco".


2001

Pollution in India

UK and Netherlands company, Unilever, dumps several tonnes of mercury waste in the densely populated tourist resort of Kodaikanal and the surrounding protected nature reserve of Pambar Shola in India. The company makes clinical thermometers which are sold to Germany, UK, Spain, USA, Australia and Canada. Workers and ex-workers have since expressed outrage at the callousness of Unilever for keeping them in the dark about the toxic nature of mercury.

Colombia

In the Valle del Cauca region of Colombia, government backed paramilitaries enter two villages and force several families out of their homes. They separate the men from the women and children, make them lie face-down on the ground and shoot them dead. 18 people are killed, 9 of them children. The Colombian government is a recipient of massive military aid from the USA.

An enquiry links this massacre (and another massacre in Santo Domingo in 1998) to security forces protecting oil operations of the USA company, Occidental Petroleum (OXY). Three American pilots working for AirScan, a USA security firm contracted by OXY to protect oil operations, provide key strategic information to the security forces.

OXY is drilling on the ancestral homeland of the U'wa - an indigenous community of 5000. OXY call on the military and riot police to break up a non-violent road blockade of the road leading to OXY's drill site. Three indigenous children die in the attack and scores were seriously injured. The U'wa continue to call for the end of USA military aid to Colombia and the cancellation of OXY's project.

OXY pays $1 for every barrel of oil produced, which goes directly to the military. 25% of Colombian soldiers are devoted to protecting foreign oil installations.

China

China begins an "anti-crime" campaign called Strike Hard, partially aimed at those suspected of supporting independence in ethnic regions. The campaign involves arbitrary arrest and summary executions, with little or no due process. China routinely arrests peaceful activists and imposes tight restrictions on Muslim religious activities.

Because the West wants to trade with China, little is of this is reported.

Sudan

In Sudan, several oil companies from Canada, Sweden, France, Holland, Italy, Austria (as well as Qatar, China and Malaysia) continue to be involved in the systematic depopulation of large areas of the south and atrocities against civilians, tens of thousands of whom have been killed and displaced from the areas around the oil fields.

The companies are protected by government forces and allow their airstrips and roads to be used by the military, while the revenues from oil are funding expansion of the war. The news agency, Reuters, has reported that some local security forces used as private contractors by the oil companies use child soldiers.

According to Amnesty International, government forces have used ground attacks, helicopter gunship and indiscriminate high-altitude bombardment to clear the local population from oil-rich areas. Many atrocities have been committed. Male villagers are killed in mass executions; women and children have been nailed to trees with iron spikes. In the villages of Bentiu, Guk and Rik soldiers slit the throats of children and kill male prisoners who had been interrogated by hammering nails into their foreheads. In Panyejier, people are crushed by tanks and shot at by helicopter gunship. Many women are raped and abducted while houses are burned and destroyed.

Since 1983 nearly 2 million people are estimated to have been killed. More than 4.5 million people are internal refugees while a million are in exile.

Western Companies in Asia and Africa

The Canadian oil company, Ivanhoe proceeds with a $280 million expansion of the Monywa Mine in Burma. The USA company, Halliburton helps to construct the Yadana oil pipeline in Burma, providing the regime with millions of dollars. The military regime in Burma uses slave labour for construction work, traffics drugs and people, and ignored the election results of 1991.

The USA mining company, Freeport McMoRan, has been extracting minerals from Irian Jaya (now Indonesia, formerly West Papua) without cleaning up its pollution.

The Canadian mining company, Tiomin Resources, uses farmers' land in Kenya for mining titanium without paying adequate compensation.

The World Bank approves a $15 million loan in support of Nigerian companies working for Shell Oil. The presence of Western oil companies facilitates human rights violations and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta. The African Environmental and Human Development Agency (AFRIDA) states:

"Shell Nigeria and its contractors continue to operate in a reckless and irresponsible manner leading to continuing devastation of the natural environment, destruction of community livelihood and communal conflicts in the Niger Delta."

A large explosion rocks the Yorla Oil Field in Ogoniland (Nigeria) raining crude oil sporadically for days into adjacent farmlands, settlements, steams, swamps, lakes and rivers. Health problems in local communities such as respiratory problems, rashes on the bodies and other unidentifiable ailments have increased since the incident. Ogoniland has been ravaged by nine major oil spills and explosions since 1970.

World Trade Organisation

Public pressure forces the World Trade Organisation to make a declaration clarifying rules on when and how poor countries facing public health crises can override patents for expensive Western drugs. Ellen 't Hoen of the humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres states that "countries can ensure access to medicines without fear of being dragged into a legal battle".

The World Trade Organisation also fails in its attempt to set up the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). This would have allowed corporations to force countries to repeal any laws that impeded free trade. Countries would have no equivalent right to challenge corporations.

Under these changes Colombia would have to repeal laws against toxic and radioactive waste, Brunei, Pakistan and Brazil would have to repeal laws against foreign ownership of agricultural lands, Venezuela would have to repeal laws protecting its publishing industry, the UK would have to repeal labour safety laws and France would have to repeal laws protecting its film industry.

UK Arms Trade

Since 1996, the UK arms industry has been the second largest in the world (after the USA). More than 25% of the world's arms are supplied by the UK. In spite of the government's claim of an "ethical foreign policy", arms, spare parts and training are sold to several brutal and undemocratic regimes around the world.

Indonesia receives most of its arms from the UK including ground attack aircraft, surface to air missiles, Tribal class frigates, communications equipment (from Marconi), armoured vehicles, riot control vehicles, automatic weapons (from British Aerospace) and military training for pilots. Amnesty International has described the Indonesian military as "organised to deal with domestic rather than international threats". Since 1965, over 1,000,000 people have died from government suppression.

The UK company Mil-Tac armed the Hutu militia in Zaire. The weapons were used in the genocide of the Tutsis.

In Turkey, Land Rover vehicles, missiles and guns used against the Kurdish population are supplied by the UK. These weapons have claimed over 20,000 lives.

The UK also supplies arms to Nigeria which is using them against the Ogoni people in their oil rich region, and military training to forces from Guatemala which has used death squads against its own people for 40 years.

The UK (along with the USA) supplied arms to both sides of the war between Iraq and Iran in which 1,000,000 people died. Having supplied India with helicopters, aircraft and anti-ship missiles the UK supplied Pakistan with the same items.

The people of the UK pay for military development and research as 50% of all government development funds are allocated to "defence". Much of UK "aid" to countries is in the form of Export Credits (which the UK tax payer underwrites) to allow these countries to buy arms. The risks are taken by the UK public while the profits go to the large corporations. Arms have been sold to Iraq and Malaysia under these conditions.

Aid agencies criticise the UK for a $40 million aid deal to supply a military air traffic control system by BAE Systems to Tanzania. Some government ministers have expressed concern that the deal will push one of Africa's poorest countries further into debt. UK defence experts and the World Bank argue that an air traffic control system worth $11 million would be more appropriate for a country with only 8 military aircraft. The UK aid agency, Oxfam, declares that this aid money would pay for 3,500,000 children to go to school or provide health care for 2 million people. The deal is being financed by a loan of $60 million by Barclays Bank.

Chad Elections

In Chad, the president, Idriss Deby, wins fraudulent elections.

During the election campaign four opposition activists, including Brahim Selguet, are detained and shot. Radio stations are banned from airing debates or "programs of a political nature" and from adding commentary to news items. The government closes two private newspapers, and Radio Liberte operates under threat of suspension. The government bans political gatherings of more than 20 people. The leading opposition candidate, Ngarledjy Yorongar, is detained and the tortured.

After the election, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) announce increased monetary support for the building of a $3,700 million, 900km long oil pipeline and extraction plant in the Doba region. The project is a joint venture of USA companies ExxonMobil and Chevron and Malaysian company, Petronas.

International Monetary Fund

A report in the UK newspaper The Guardian, states that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is causing increased hardship and inequality amongst poorer countries. Loans are made to countries under an average of 114 conditions. Countries are forced to remove trade barriers, sell national assets to foreign investors, slash social spending and crush trade unions.

USA Companies in Asia

Workers for the USA company, Nike, in Vietnam earn an average of $0.20 per hour. The cost of three meals per day in Cu Chi is about $2. The $37 per month received is below the minimum wage of $45 per month in Vietnam. Most workers are forced to work 600+ hours of overtime per year. This is above the legal limit of 200 hours per year. If they do not accept the forced overtime, they will get a warning and after three warnings they will lose their jobs.

Workers cannot go to the toilet more than once per 8 hour shift and they cannot drink water more than twice per shift. Workers commonly faint from exhaustion, heat, fumes and poor nutrition during their shifts. Health care is inadequate. At the Sam Yang factory, with 6000 employees, one doctor works only two hours a day but the factory operates 20 hours a day. Night shift employees do not have any on-site medical emergency services.

Abuse of workers is rife: 15 Vietnamese women tell CBS News (USA television) that they were hit over the head by their supervisor for poor sewing, two were hospitalised. Another 45 women are forced by their supervisors to kneel down with their hands up in the air for 25 minutes.

100 workers at the Pouchen factory, a Nike site in Dong Nai, are forced to stand in the sun for half an hour for spilling a tray of fruit on an altar with which three Taiwanese supervisors were using. One employee (Nguyen Minh Tri) walks out after 18 minutes, and is dismissed. 56 women at the same factory are forced to run around the factory grounds. 12 of them faint and are taken to hospital.

A Nike plant supervisor from Korea flees Vietnam after being accused of sexually molesting several women workers. Many women workers have complained to Vietnam Labour Watch about frequent sexual harassment from foreign supervisors. Even in broad daylight, in front of other workers, these supervisors try to touch, rub or grab their buttocks or chests. One supervisor told a female factory worker that it is a common custom for men in his country to greet women they like by grabbing their behinds.

Nike uses subcontractors in Vietnam so that it can legally evade responsibility for local conditions. However, the company dictates the price of shoes and also the cost of operation to its subcontractors. This forces them to set high quotas for their workers and to pay low wages. It has been estimated that the labour cost involved in making one pair of Nike shoes is only $3. These may then sell for over $100 in the USA and Europe.

Other plants utilising cheap labour are in China, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea. Nike, admits to its shareholders that it has used child labour in Vietnam as well as in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Cambodia.

Philip Knight, the founder of Nike, is reputed to be worth $5,400 million. The 1992 promotional fee to basketball player, Michael Jordan was $20 million, more than was paid to the workforce in Indonesia making Nike products.

Child labour in India
Ginni, an 8 year old girl in the Punjab region of India making footballs (soccer balls) for export to Italy.
She earns $20 per month.

2002

Botswana's Kalahari Bushmen

The government of Botswana decides to cut the water supply to the traditional lands of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen of the Kalahari.

The Bushmen have lived in the area for 20,000 years and are one of the oldest cultures on Earth. Only 700 are left; another 2,000 have been settled in camps away from the lands of their ancestors.

The South African company, De Beers (owned by UK and USA company, Anglo-American), have diamond surveying rights in the region. This business is worth $3,000 million per year.

Survival International have criticised the lack of consultation between the Bushmen and the government.

Spying on China

The USA company, Boeing, refurbishes the presidential plane of China at a cost of $10 million. On delivery the aircraft is found to contain 27 satellite controlled listening devices. One is found in the headboard of the president's bed and another in the shower room. The plane is never used.

Pollution in China

A report is published by a coalition of environmental groups led by the Basle Action Network (BAN). The report (Exporting Harm, The Hi-Tech Trashing of Asia) describes how between 50% and 80% of electronic goods collected for recycling in Western countries are sent to Asia where there are weaker environmental laws and lower waste handling costs.

In southern China, 100,000 migrant workers strip computers of valuable parts and dump poisonous waste products containing lead, barium, phosphorus and mercury into fields and rivers where they seep into the water supply poisoning local wells. In some areas water has to be trucked in from up to 30km away. Workers use rudimentary tools to extract tin, aluminium and copper parts for resale.

BAN estimates that the world's 500 million computers contain 2,870 thousand million kg of plastic, 716,700,000kg of lead and 286,700kg of mercury.

These actions violate the Basle Convention of 1994 which attempts to control the shipment of hazardous waste across international borders. The Convention has been signed by 149 countries including all 15 members of the European Union. The USA has refused to sign the Convention.

Western Companies and Human Rights

A study is published listing Western companies that invest and collaborate in countries with human rights violations. The study, Business and Human Rights: A Geography of Corporate Risk, concentrates on 35 countries where murder, torture, child and bonded labour are used.

Country Human Rights Violations Companies
Brazil Torture, Hostage Taking, Extra-Judicial Killings, Harassment of Human Rights Defenders, Forced Labour, Forcible Relocation, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention Anglo-American, BHP Billiton, British Petroleum, Chevron Texaco, Rio Tinto, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Allied Domecq, Associated British Foods, Diageo, Groupe Danone, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Unilever, Enron, National Grid, Daimler Chrysler, Ford, GKN, Invensys, Rolls-Royce, Smiths Group, Amersham, Astra Zeneca, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, Johnson & Johnson, British Telecommunications, Dell, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Marconi, Motorola, Nokia, Spirent
China Torture, Disappearances, Extra-Judicial Killings, Harassment of Human Rights Defenders, Denial of Freedom of Assembly, Forced Labour, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention, Denial of Freedom of Expression BHP Billiton, British Petroleum, Chevron Texaco, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Allied Domecq, Associated British Foods, Cadbury Schweppes, Groupe Danone, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Scottish & Newcastle, South African Breweries, Coca Cola, Unilever, Enron, International Power, Ford, BMW, GKN, General Electric, Rolls-Royce, Siemens, Smiths Group, Amersham, Astra Zeneca, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Marconi, Motorola, Nokia, Spirent, Vodafone
Colombia Torture, Disappearances, Extra-Judicial Killings, Hostage Taking, Harassment of Human Rights Defenders, Forcible Relocation, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention Anglo-American, BHP Billiton, British Petroleum, Chevron Texaco, Shell, Diageo, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Unilever, Enron, GKN, Astra Zeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Ericsson, IBM, Motorola
India Torture, Extra-Judicial Killings, Harassment of Human Rights Defenders, Bonded Labour, Bonded Child Labour, Denial of Women's Rights, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention BG, British Petroleum, Chevron Texaco, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Allied Domecq, Cadbury Schweppes, Diageo, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, South African Breweries, Coca Cola, Unilever, Enron, Powergen, Ford, GKN, Invensys, Rolls-Royce, Smiths Group, Amersham, Astra Zeneca, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, British Telecommunications, Johnson & Johnson, Cable & Wireless, Dell, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Marconi, Motorola, Nokia, Spirent, Vodafone
Indonesia Torture, Disappearances, Extra-Judicial Killings, Denial of Freedom of Assembly, Forced Labour, Bonded Labour, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention Adidas, Nike, BG, BHP Billiton, British Petroleum, Chevron Texaco, Rio Tinto, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Allied Domecq, Associated British Foods, Cadbury Schweppes, Diageo, Groupe Danone, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Unilever, Powergen, Invensys, Rolls-Royce, Smiths Group, Astra Zeneca, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, British Telecommunications, Johnson & Johnson, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Marconi, Motorola, Spirent
Mexico Disappearances, Extra-Judicial Killings, Denial of Freedom of Assembly, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention, Denial of Freedom of Expression BG, Chevron Texaco, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Allied Domecq, Cadbury Schweppes, Diageo, Groupe Danone, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Unilever, Enron, BMW, Ford, GKN, Smiths Group, Astra Zeneca, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Marconi, Motorola, Nokia, Vodafone
Nigeria Extra-Judicial Killings, Forced Labour, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention, Forced Child Labour Chevron Texaco, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Cadbury Schweppes, Diageo, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Ford, GlaxoSmithKline, Ericsson
Philippines Torture, Disappearances, Extra-Judicial Killings, Bonded Child Labour, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention, Forced Child Labour BG, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Allied Domecq, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Unilever, Enron, United Utilities, Ford, Invensys, Astra Zeneca, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Marconi, Motorola
Russia Torture, Extra-Judicial Killings, Harassment of Human Rights Defenders, Denial of Freedom of Assembly, Forced Labour, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention, Denial of Freedom of Expression Anglo-American, British Petroleum, Chevron Texaco, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Cadbury Schweppes, Diageo, Groupe Danone, Interbrew, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, South African Breweries, Coca Cola, Unilever, Enron, BMW, Ford, Invensys, Rolls-Royce, Siemens, Astra Zeneca, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, British Telecommunications, Cable & Wireless, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Marconi, Motorola, Nokia
Saudi Arabia Torture, Denial of Freedom of Assembly, Bonded Labour, Denial of Women's Rights, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention, Denial of Freedom of Expression Chevron Texaco, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Unilever, Daimler Chrysler, Smiths Group, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, British Telecommunications, Ericsson, Marconi
Turkey Torture, Extra-Judicial Killings, Harassment of Human Rights Defenders, Denial of Freedom of Assembly, Forcible Relocation, Arbitrary Arrest and Detention, Denial of Freedom of Expression British Petroleum, Chevron Texaco, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Diageo, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Unilever, Enron, International Power, Smiths Group, Astra Zeneca, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Nokia

Switzerland and Scientific Information

Syngenta, a company from Switzerland, refuses to publish the complete DNA genetic sequence of rice, the developing world's most important crop. A group of scientists state that this is against the open nature of scientific research and an attempt to make the DNA sequence a trade secret.

In the previous year, Celera stored elements of the human genetic sequence in a private database rather than publish it in the scientific literature.

Health for Rich and Poor Countries

The differences between rich and poor countries is highlighted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Development Movement. The main points of concern are:

European Fishing Near Africa

According to a United Nations report, high technology fishing boats from the European Union, Japan and other countries are destroying fish stocks off the coast of West Africa. This causes depletion of fish stocks and loss of employment to local economies.

In Mauritania the number of people employed in octopus fishing has dropped from 5,000 in 1996 to 1,800 in 2002. The Irish fishing vessel, Atlantic Dawn, processes 7000 tons of fish in a single voyage: this is more than a single fishing community might catch in a year. This boat is too large for European Union regulations.

In Senegal local fish supplies have fallen to dangerously low levels.

UK Bank and Ecology

The UK bank HSBC donates $50 million to the World Wildlife Fund. This causes unease as the bank is criticised for its funding of many environmentally unfriendly projects:

USA Trade Barriers

The USA imposes trade tariffs on steel from Europe and increases farm subsidies by $70,000 million. Both acts are in breach of trade rules set up by the USA.

The USA had been criticising the farming subsidies of the European Union as well as putting pressure for more open markets to USA goods. The European Union commissioner for agriculture complains: "We cannot negotiate on the basis of 'Do as I say, not as I do'."

Between 1945 and 2002, there have been 116 cases of economic sanctions against countries. 80% of these have been initiated by the USA alone, often against the wishes of the international community and the trade agreements that the USA has signed. The United Nations estimates that more than 50% of the world's population is subject to unilateral coercive sanctions by the USA. These sanctions "were not authorised by the relevant organs of the UN".

The USA threatens trade sanctions against 27 countries that produce cheap medicines for diseases like AIDS for their own people. This is a violation of the Doha Declaration which allows countries to put the health of their people before compliance with patent rules. According to Oxfam, "unduly restrictive patent protection raises prices and therefore reduces access for poor people".

The farming subsidies in Europe total over $40,000 million. The subsidies favour large farms using fertilisers and pesticides, raise food prices in Europe by 44% and cause poverty in poorer countries by making local produce more expensive than European produce.

The European Union and the USA thus spend billions of dollars of tax payers' money each year subsidising their farmers and protecting them from more efficient producers in the poorer countries. The surplus cheap produce is then exported to developing countries, wiping out local farmers' livelihoods.

The European Union and (to a lesser extent) the USA protect their own markets while preaching free trade to poorer countries. As Oxfam puts it: "Governments of rich countries constantly stress their commitment to poverty reduction. Yet the same governments use their trade policy to conduct what amounts to robbery against the world's poor. Rich countries are fierce advocates of liberalisation in developing countries, while retaining high trade barriers against exports from the same countries."

Burma

In Burma, the winner of the 1990 elections, Aung San Suu Kyi, is released from house arrest by the military government. The government continues to imprison hundreds of political prisoners.

The company, British American Tobacco has a factory in Burma which is jointly owned by the country's military government. The factory pays workers $0.35 per day which is below the United Nations definition of extreme poverty.

Independence of East Timor

East Timor becomes independent after 450 years of foreign rule.

The country had been invaded by Indonesia in 1975 while the Western powers remained silent. Over 200,000 people, a quarter of East Timor's population, were killed between 1975 and 1999 by Indonesian military forces. Although this fact is reported by the Western media, there is little mention that the arms used in the genocide had been supplied by the UK and USA.

Sudan

A report in Sudan states that the government (controlled by the Arabic speaking Islamic north) has attacked the Christian south 34 times in 18 months killing 190 civilians. Thousands of people have been violently removed from land containing oil which is being exploited by Western oil companies.

UK Arms Trade

After declaring an "ethical foreign policy", the UK continues to sell arms to over 50 countries with civil wars and ethnic conflicts.

Arms worth $550 million are sold to Israel (occupying Palestine), India (oppression in Kashmir), Russia (in Chechnya), Sri Lanka (against the Tamil north), Nigeria (a military government), Indonesia (against its minorities), Philippines (against the Muslim south), Algeria (a military government) and Pakistan (a military government).

$179 million goes to Turkey while it is oppressing government opponents and its Kurdish population. Saudi Arabia (an absolute monarchy with no elections) receives arms worth $33 million. Non-democratic China receives $50 million worth of arms.

The UK sells arms to 130 countries in a trade worth $8,000 million.

Coffee Trade (Africa)

A report by the charity, Oxfam and published in the UK newspaper, The Independent, shows how trading favours multi-national companies over the populations of both developing (meaning poor) and developed (meaning rich) countries.

The example commodity is coffee; the example developing country is Uganda; the example developed country is the UK.

Details
Price in $
per kilogram
Peter and Salome Kafuluzi sell 1kg of green coffee beans to a middleman in the village of Kintuntu. 0.14
The middleman takes the coffee beans to a mill and transports it to Kampala where it is sold to an exporter. 0.26
The exporter transports the coffee beans to an Indian Ocean port (either Mombassa in Kenya or Dar es Salaam in Tanzania). The cost now includes transport, quality sorting and taxes. 0.45
The coffee is transported to a UK port (Southampton) and is sold to an importer. The price now includes insurance and freight. 0.52
The coffee is transported to the roasting plant of multi-national company. An example is the Kraft plant at Banbury in the county of Oxfordshire. This is the price the company pays. 0.63
The green coffee beans are roasted and processed into instant coffee. This causes a loss of weight. The kilogram coffee beans that were bought by the company have been converted to 0.385kg of coffee powder or granules. 1.64
The instant coffee is packaged, distributed, marketed and sold to the UK public. 26.40

Most of the enormous price increase from $1.64 to $26.40 makes up the profit of the multi-national company. The UK public loses because it pays a very high cost for a product that should cost less than 10% of what it is sold for. The original price paid to the growers in Uganda ($0.14) keeps them in poverty.

It would be better for both Ugandan and UK populations if the source country could grow, roast, process, package, export and sell its own coffee to the UK. The coffee could easily be sold for around $2.00 per kilo (saving the UK buyer money) while more was paid to the Ugandan grower.

However, if Uganda attempted this, the UK government would put tariffs on its instant coffee. A tariff is a special tax used by governments to keep out other countries' exports. These tariffs would make the cost of Ugandan coffee artificially high so that it would not be cheaper than the multi-national coffee. The tariffs have the effect that Uganda cannot sell instant coffee on the open world market. All it can sell is the green beans, its raw materials. These are sold at a low cost partially because the multi-national roasting companies collude to keep the price low.

There are four major multi-national roasting companies as can be seen from the following table.

Company Owner
Country
Annual Global Sales Annual Profits Coffee Brands
Kraft USA $33,900,000,000 $4,880,000,000 Maxwell House, Jacobs, Café Hag, Carte Noire.
Nestle Switzerland $50,200,000,000 $3,960,000,000 Nescafé, Gold Blend.
Procter & Gamble USA $39,200,000,000 $2,920,000,000 Folgers, Milstone among 250 brands.
Sara Lee USA $17,700,000,000 $2,270,000,000 Douwe Egberts, Maison du Café, União.

Much of the world's trade is run along these lines.

Poor countries are forced to sell their raw materials to Western multi-national companies for low prices. The companies develop a product which is sold to consumers in the developed world (and also back to the source country) for a much higher price. The profits go to the multi-nationals, most of which are from the USA.

Some countries have attempted to move outside this trading system by using their raw materials for their own markets. These countries have been demonised or have faced sanctions imposed by the West. Examples are Cuba, Nicaragua (during the 1980s), Angola (before 2000), and India (before 1990).

Dam in Turkey

French company, Spie (partially owned by UK company, Amec), applies to government of France for help to build a dam in Turkey.

The dam (called Ilisu II) would displace 15,000 people (mainly Georgians) and destroy habitats of endangered species (including brown bears) near the town of Yusufeli). 15,000 others will be affected by losing their economic and cultural centre. 17 villages would be flooded and the water supply to Georgia would be affected.

UK bank, Barclays, and French bank BNP Paribas have offered to finance the project.

Local people have been consulted only to a limited degree.


2003

Buildup to War in Iraq

The USA and UK talk openly of flouting the will of the United Nations to invade Iraq. Instead of the United Nations making a decision that is then implemented by member states, the USA threatens the United Nations that if it does not approve action against Iraq, it will be discredited.

While United Nations weapons inspectors are in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of USA and UK troops are sent into the region surrounding the country. Many are based in non-democratic countries in the Gulf of Persia. These countries are part of the so-called "international coalition" or the "coalition of the willing". The USA and UK and their media vilify France and Germany for daring to show dissent against an invasion of Iraq even though these views are shared by a majority of European citizens and 50% of USA citizens.

The USA holds back information from the United Nations weapons inspectors. George Tenet, the director of the USA CIA, admits to a Senate committee that there were a "handful" of locations not passed on to the inspectors. Senator Carl Levin later tells the USA newspaper, The Washington Post that the USA has "undermined the inspectors".

In February 2003, the USA gives a presentation to the United Nations attempting to show that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was a threat. The evidence included a dossier (Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation) supplied by the intelligence services of the UK government. A few days later, this document was shown to have been copied from a 10 year old student PhD thesis on the internet complete with the original spelling and grammatical mistakes. One passage had been altered from "aiding opposition groups" to "supporting terrorist organisations".

In March 2003, one of the weapons inspectors, Dr Mohamed Al-Baredi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reports to the United Nations Security Council that several UK and USA reports about Iraq's nuclear capabilities were fake. Very little of this is reported in the Western media.

Hundreds of bombing raids over Iraq are made by USA and UK war planes under cover of patrolling no-fly zones. The USA and UK declare that the no-fly zones are supported by United Nations Security Council Resolution 688. Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali was Secretary General of the United Nations when this resolution was passed in 1992:

"The issue of no fly zones was not raised and therefore not debated: not a word. They offer no legitimacy to countries sending their aircraft to attack Iraq. They are illegal".

The bombings have been occurring since 1992. Between July 1998 and January 2000, the USA flew 36,000 missions over Iraq. In 1999 alone, USA and UK aircraft dropped over 1,800 bombs hitting 450 targets. This is the longest Anglo-American bombing campaign since World War II with bombing occurring on a daily basis. Yet it is mostly ignored by the media in the West.

Iraq gives the United Nations a large document detailing their weapons. Over 60% of this document is taken away by the USA without permission. The document lists various companies that helped arm Iraq:

UK journalist, John Pilger, writing in the UK newspaper, The Independent on Sunday, investigates the under-reported effects of Depleted Uranium used by the USA and UK in Iraq and Kuwait during the Gulf War of 1991.

Dr Al-Ali, a cancer specialist and a member of the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, is based at Basra hospital:

"Before the Gulf War, we had only three or four deaths in a month from cancer. Now it's 30 to 35 patients dying every month, and that's just in my department. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48 per cent of the population in [the Basra] area will get cancer. That's almost half the population. Most of my family now have cancer, and we have no history of the disease. ...It is like Chernobyl here..."

Under a United Nations embargo, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to decontaminate its 1991 battlefields. The sanctions committee is dominated by the USA and UK.

Professor Doug Rokke is a USA army physicist who was responsible for decontaminating Kuwait:

"I am like many people in southern Iraq. I have 5000 times the recommended level of radiation in my body. Most of my team are now dead. We face an issue to be confronted by people in the West, those with a sense of right and wrong: first, the decision by [the USA] and [UK] to use a weapon of mass destruction: depleted Uranium. When a tank fired its shells, each round carried over 4.5kg of solid uranium. What happened in the Gulf was a form of nuclear warfare."

The USA offers Turkey an aid package worth $ 6,000 million in grants and $ 20,000 million in loan guarantees to allow 60,000 American troops to use the country to invade Iraq. Turkey says it will only accept the deal after the USA agrees that 40,000 Turkish troops be allowed to enter Kurdish regions in northern Iraq. Turkey has been oppressing its own large Kurdish population and over 20,000 Kurds have died. Turkish officials say that the USA has assured them that Iraqi Kurds will not be given autonomy in a post-Saddam Iraq.

Senior Kurdish leaders state that they fear Turkey more than Saddam. The Kurdish Interior Minister, Karim Sanjari, reveals that "Only a week ago the main topic in the streets among Kurds was Saddam and the fear of a chemical attack. Now the only thing people talk about is Turkey and the Turkish advance".

In February, the USA special envoy to Iraq, Zalmay Khalizad admits that after the removal of the Iraqi leadership, the infrastructure of the ruling Baath party would remain intact with the top two officials in each ministry replaced by USA military officers. Sami Abdul-Rahman, the Deputy Prime Minister of the northern Kurdish region of Iraq, states: "If the USA wants to impose its own government, regardless of the ethnic and religious composition of Iraq, there is going to be a backlash".

Kuwait and Qatar, two Gulf states, agree to allow the USA to use military bases on their territory to invade Iraq in return for both regimes to be guaranteed by USA power. Neither country is a full democracy. For allowing USA air, search and rescue teams to operate near its Iraqi border, Jordan is promised $150 million in extra aid, protection against Iraq and compensation for loss of trade.

Russia is offered a free hand in Chechnya and oil concessions if they support the USA invasion of Iraq.

In order to guarantee votes in the United Nations, the USA puts diplomatic and economic pressure on several countries:

The UK are the USA's biggest supporters. In a statement to the European Union, UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, warns "I say to France and Germany and all the other EU colleagues to take care. We will reap a whirlwind if we push Americans into a unilateralist position in which they are at the centre of this unipolar world". In other words, let us not upset the Americans otherwise we'll all be in trouble.

The USA announces that contracts worth $ 900 million to reconstruct Iraq after a war will be awarded only to USA companies. Colin Adams of the British Consultants and Construction Bureau is angered by this "Our own view is, given what the UK is doing in terms of supporting the USA, it would not be unreasonable if the USA were to enable UK companies to bid for work". No mention is made by the USA or the UK of the Iraqis making their own decisions about who they would like to reconstruct their country.

United Nations Security Council members are disconcerted by reports of USA spying on countries whose votes the USA requires. One country, Chile, angrily requests an explanation from the UK government. Pakistan states that: "given the level of intelligence sharing with the United States that's going on right now, it means they don't trust what we say behind closed doors."

In mid-March, the USA, UK and Spain order the leader of Iraq, Saddam Husein, to leave his country or have it bombed. The three countries blame France for the coming war even though it is the USA and UK that have 200,000 troops on the borders of Iraq. The president of France, Jacques Chirac counters "We are told by Washington that the UN Security Council will lose all meaning unless it takes a decision on Iraq but that the UN can only take one decision and that is the decision - for war - taken in Washington months ago".

France is blamed for threatening to use its United Nations veto. Between 1945 and 2002, France used its veto 18 times while the UK has used its veto 32 times. During the same period, the USA used its veto 76 times.

The USA expels two United Nations Iraqi diplomats from the USA and identifies 300 Iraqi diplomats in 60 countries that it wants expelled.

In Kuwait, USA General Buford Blount admits that Depleted Uranium will be used in any conflict in Iraq: "If we receive the order to attack, final preparations will only take a few days. We have already begun to unwrap our depleted uranium anti-tank shells". These remarks are ignored by Western media.

Lieutenant-General Jay Garner is named by the USA as co-ordinator of the civilian administration in post-War Iraq. In October 2000, he had put his name to a statement blaming the Palestinians for the Israel-Palestine conflict and declaring that "a strong Israel is an asset that American military planners and political leaders can rely on".

KryssTal Opinion: See Iraq - Why The USA Wanted Regime Change.

Algeria

Human Rights Watch reports that the government of Algeria has been responsible for the "disappearances" of over 7000 people between 1992 and 2003. It asserts that the government has "utterly failed" to investigate these and other human rights abuses.

Amnesty International accuses Algeria of systematic and widespread torture of civilians.

In 1992, the military in Algeria cancelled elections once it became obvious that Islamic parties were about to win. The president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika was installed by the military in 1999. The resulting conflict has caused the deaths of at least 100,000 people. Very little about the nature of the conflict and the cancelled elections is reported in the Western media.

The USA announces that sales of military equipment to Algeria (stopped in 1992) are to be resumed to help the government "combat Islamic militants". The European Union obtains natural gas from Algeria after a trade deal concluded in 2001.

In July, the government releases Ali Belhadj and Abassi Madani of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) that won the first round of elections in 1991. The men have been banned from all political activity or from even voting in future elections.

UK Arms Trade

The UK holds an arms fair in London inviting one third of the world's governments. Countries present include:

A few weeks later, the USA appointed Iraq Survey Team would report the complete lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, even though this had been the main reason for the USA-UK invasion.

In 2002, the UK has sold arms to the following regimes:

In September, the UK Minister of Defence, Geoff Hoon, attempts to hide a $50 million joint "Star Wars" research program with the USA without telling parliament.

Three human rights groups (Amnesty International, Oxfam and International Action Network on Small Arms) call for a treaty banning arms sales to oppressive regimes by 2006. Their report highlights many disturbing facts:

USA-UK War in Iraq

The USA (with help from the UK) invades Iraq without United Nations authority.

After months of talking about disarming Iraq, the USA and UK governments now talk openly about regime change. After months of talking about the need to remove terrorism by attacking Iraq, the USA and UK give out world wide terrorist warnings to their citizens. After months of saying the the war will be short and quick, the USA and UK begin saying that it might take time and be difficult.

The USA president, George W Bush talks about a "coalition" of nations "disarming" or "liberating" Iraq. The "coalition" consists of:

World opinion is overwhelmingly against the war. Huge demonstrations erupt around the world even in the 30 countries whose governments support the war. UK and USA flags are burnt in streets.

Both the USA and UK attempt to allay public fears of civilian casualties by asserting that they will use "surgical strikes" of great accuracy and attempt to keep civilian casualties low. One of the bombs being used is called a Massive Ordinance Air Burst (MOAB). This bomb weighs 9,800kg (21,500 lbs) and is larger than a London bus. It devastates an area within a 1.5km (1 mile) radius. Another bomb used is the JDAM: everyone within a 120 meter radius is killed; to be safe from serious shrapnel damage, a person must be at least 365 meters away; to be really safe from all effects of fragmentation, a person must be 1000 meters away, according to Admiral Stufflebeem. The B-52 bombers (responsible for "carpet bombing" Vietnam during the 1960s and 1970s) are also being used (many from UK bases).

In addition, the USA and UK refuse to rule out the use of Cluster Bombs (which spread into hundreds of bomblets and are deadly to civilians) or cancer causing Depleted Uranium (DU). The UK Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, declares "Specifically, as far as DU and cluster bombs are concerned, they have a particular military purpose. If that purpose is necessary, they will be used." In the 1991 Gulf War, over 2000 Kuwaitis were killed by unexploded cluster bombs.

Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, warns the USA and UK of their responsibilities as belligerent and occupying powers.

The head of the United Nations weapons inspectors, Hans Blix expresses regret over USA "impatience" to go to war with Iraq - and suggests that the USA had little interest in peaceful disarmament from the outset.

The response of Iraq to the high technology weapons of the USA and UK is to fire short range missiles at UK and USA troops in Kuwait.

In the first two days over 320 missiles are fired at Baghdad. This is more than during the entire 1991 conflict.

The first civilian victim is Ahmed Rahal, a taxi driver in his 20s. He is making a phone call in a police station when a missile hits - he is blown to bits. In the first few days all UK military casualties are as a result of accidents or fire from their own or USA forces.

Baghdad
The bombing of Baghdad. "Shock and awe".
Bombing Victim
Young girl - victim of the bombing. 42% of Iraq's population is under 15.

© 2003: Reuters

Turkey moves 1500 troops into northern Iraq "for humanitarian reasons" and "to combat terrorism". Turkey fears that any independence of Iraq's Kurds will encourage its own Kurdish population.

Iran complains to the United Nations that its airspace has been violated by USA and UK forces. One of its oil refineries is bombed.

USA Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, states that television pictures showing captured USA soldiers violate the Geneva Convention. This story is the main lead on UK and USA television stations which do not show Iraqi civilian casualties. Very little comment is made about the denial of Prisoner of War status to fighters captured in Afghanistan whom the USA refers to as "battlefield detainees".

The Qatar based television station, Al-Jazeera, and some European television stations, beam pictures of Iraqi civilian casualties around the Arab world as well as UK and USA prisoners of war. After the first week of the war, Al-Jazeera is accused by UK forces of "bad taste". UK television channels and some newspapers had previously shown images of the gassing of the Kurds, not when it occurred during the period that Iraq was supported by the West, but during the run-up to the USA-UK invasion of Iraq.

Bombing Victim 2
Child - another bombing victim.
Bombing Victim 3
A frightened child in hospital.

Dead Iraqi Soldiers 2
Dead Iraqi soldiers at Umm Qasr.
Note the white flag of surrender.
Dead Iraqi Soldiers
Dead Iraqi soldiers.
Soldiers are fathers, sons and brothers of Iraqi civilians.

Civilians
Injured and frightened civilians plead for help.
Civilian Victim
Injured man with burns in hospital.

USA Flag
Soldier raising USA flag at Umm Qasr.
This was quickly taken down for propaganda reasons.

© 2003: Reuters

After a week, USA and UK forces bomb Iraqi television. Amnesty International declares that this breaches the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilian infrastructure. Reporters Sans Frontières, the international journalists' group, comment on double standards: "The Americans invoke the Geneva Convention when their prisoners are shown on Iraqi TV and just as soon forget it when it comes to bombarding a civil building that is protected by the same convention".

Bombed House
Bomb damage in residential district of Baghdad.


© 2003: Reuters

USA and UK media choose their language of war carefully:

Bombing raids by A-10 warplanes are mentioned by the Western media without the information that these use Depleted Uranium which cause cancers.

A USA missile hits a bus carrying Syrians to Damascus from Iraq, killing 5 people. UK forces destroy the Baath Party headquarters in Basra. The Baath Party is a secular, socialist and pan-Arabic political movement. Over 50 people are killed in Basra by a bombardment that includes cluster bombs. 57 Kurds are killed by missiles in Khormal.

The USA and UK consider themselves "liberators of Iraq" and are shocked at the resistance being put up by the people of Iraq. Vincent Cannistraro, a retired USA CIA counter-terrorism expert states: "People thought the Iraqis would be waving little American flags like it was occupied France in World War Two. This is not an occupied country. It is Iraq and it is run by Iraqis, and for better or worse they are not welcoming Americans as liberators".

The USA forces are shocked and surprised by Iraqi tactics. Lieutenant-General William Wallace admits to the USA newspaper, Washington Post: "The enemy we're fighting is different from the one we'd wargamed against".

Two cruise missiles hit a market in the residential district of Shaab in Baghdad killing at least 15 people. On UK television, a BBC correspondent asks a UK military commander if the Iraqis could have bombed themselves.

UK journalist Robert Fisk describes the aftermath:

"It's a dirt poor neighbourhood of Shia Muslims, the same people Bush and Blair still fondly hope will rise up against Saddam Husein. Everyone I spoke to heard the plane. Abu Hassan and Malek Hammoud were preparing lunch for customers at the Nasser restaurant on the north side of Abu Taleb Street. The missile that killed them landed next to the westbound carriageway, its blast tearing away the front of the cafe and cutting the two men - the first 48, the second only 18 - to pieces. A fellow worker led me through the rubble. 'This is all that is left of them now', he said, holding out before me an oven pan dripping with blood."

"At least 15 cars burst into flames, burning many of their occupants to death. Several men tore desperately at the doors of another flame shrouded car in the centre of the street that had been flipped upside down by the same missile. They were forced to watch helplessly as the woman and her three children inside were cremated alive in front of them".

"The second missile hit...the eastbound carriageway, sending shards of metal into three men standing outside a concrete apartment block... The building's manager, Hishem Danoon, ran to the doorway... 'I found Ta'ar in pieces over there', he told me. His head was blown off. 'That's his hand'. A group of young men and a woman took me into the street and there, a scene from any horror film, was Ta'ar's hand, cut off at the wrist, his four fingers and thumb grasping a piece of iron roofing. His young colleague, Sermed, died the same instant. His brains lay piled a few feet away, a pale red and grey mess behind a burnt car".


The bombed Museum in Tikrit.
Tikrit is the birthplace of Saddam Husein
It is also a historical city as the birthplace of Saladin.
Anti War Demo
Anti war demonstration in Jordan.
This pro-West "moderate regime" has banned all
demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq.

Baghdad Bombing
Results of a missile attack on a Baghdad residential area (Sha'ab).
Baghdad Bombing 2
Results of a missile attack on a Baghdad residential area (Sha'ab).

Iraqi Prisoners
Boy giving cigarettes to Iraqi prisoners of war near Basra.
Basra Woman
Woman outside her destroyed house in Basra.

Baghdad
Worried men watching B-52s flying over Baghdad.

Hilla Hospital
Bahjat Abid, an injured 28 year old man at Hilla hospital.
Ayd Sami
Ayad Sami. His entire family has just been killed in a bombing raid in Hindia.
Leiali Kobar
Leiali Kobar, 24, mourns four sons killed in bombing.

© 2003: Reuters and Los Angeles Times

The UBS Bank from Switzerland declares it will hand over Iraqi assets frozen in 1990 by the United Nations to the USA. Even before the war began, the USA company, Halliburton, is given the contract to repair Iraqi oil installations. The USA vice president, Dick Cheney, is a former head of the company, which has made large donations to the Bush campaign. This comes after repeated assurances by the USA and UK governments that "Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqi people".

The USA Congress passes a law banning reconstruction contracts being given to companies from France, Germany or Russia. Contracts are awarded to USA companies with links to the Bush government. These include:

In the port city of Umm Qasr, the USA awards the contract for managing the port to a USA company called Syevedoring Services of America. The UK military reinstall the Iraqi man who directed the port before the invasion in order to be seen to be involving local people in the running of the country. Rodney Chase of British Petroleum and Phillip Carroll (formerly of Shell) are put forward by the USA as people who could run Iraq's oil industry after the war.

KryssTal Opinion: One wonders what the Iraqi people think of these contract awards made without their say. This point is rarely made in the Western media.

The USA Pentagon confirms that it authorised the use of "non-lethal" gases in the conflict. Similar gases had been used by Russia to end a siege in a cinema in 2002 with over 100 deaths. This leads to many accusations of hypocrisy by a country that has claimed to be at war to prevent the use of chemical weapons.

The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, justifies the invasion of Iraq by alleging that two UK soldiers (Simon Cullingworth and Luke Allsopp) had been executed by Iraq. A day later this claim is retracted. The UK Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, claims that Iraqi chemical suits found proves that Iraq has chemical weapons. A day later this claim is also retracted.

The Al-Jazeera television continues to show scenes that the more sanitised Western media refuse to show. In the hospital in Basra scenes include an Arab correspondent for a Western news agency lying on a morgue with blood pouring from his head; a partially decapitated body of a little girl still wearing a red scarf around her neck; another small girl with half her head missing; a child with no feet.

Felah Hassan Mirza
Felah Hassan Mirza lost his right hand in Kefal.
He used to play football in goal.
Baghdad
Bomb damage in Baghdad.
Human Hand
A human hand lies in the bomb damage in Baghdad.

Baghdad
Searching for a woman's body after bombing in the
Radiha Khatoun district of Baghdad.
El Numan
Weeping for 5 dead relatives in El Numan Hospital in Baghdad.
Aqeel Khalil
Aqeel Khalil weeps over the death of his sister
after his house was flattended by a bomb.

Zina Sabah
Zina Sabah, 24, with her injured son, Ahmad Mounir.
Refugees
A family fleeing the fighting near Baghdad.
Shahid Halid
9 year old Shahid Halid lies injured
after the bombing that killed her mother.

Ali Ismail Abbas
12 year old Ali Ismail Abbas lies injured and without arms
in a Baghdad hospital after airstrikes.

© 2003: Reuters and Los Angeles Times

The USA Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, accuses Syria of supplying weapons to Iraq. He states: "We consider such trafficking as a hostile act and will hold the Syrian government responsible". Syria responds by stating that the USA / UK invasion of Iraq is "a clear occupation and a flagrant aggression against a United Nations member state". Syria is one of the countries described by the USA as part of the "axis of evil", a country like Iraq where USA influence is minimal. A few days later, USA Secretary of State, Colin Powell, threatens both Syria and Iran in a speech to the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

At least 62 civilians are killed by a missile strike at a market in the Shu'ale neighbourhood of Baghdad. David Chater of Sky News reports: "I think whole families have been wiped out, judging by the bodies in the morgue". The USA attempts to blame Iraqi anti-aircraft fire but one doctor treating the injured responds: "Even if that were true, we would not be using anti-aircraft guns if we were not being invaded".

UK journalist, Robert Fisk, writes about a piece of the missile having a Western serial number which he quotes as 30003-704ASB 7492 B (or H) with a lot number of MFR 96214 09. The numbers prove that the missile was manufactured by a company called Raytheon, who are based in the city of McKinney in Texas (USA).

He goes on to describe the suffering of some of the victims in the Al-Noor hospital: 2 year old Saida Jaffar, swaddled in bandages and with a tube through her stomach; 3 year old Mohamad Amaid, also completely covered in bandages. Dr Ahmed, an anaesthetist describes the injuries caused by the missile: "These people have been punctured by dozens of bits of metal". One old man has 24 holes in the back of his legs and buttocks, some 2cm wide.

At a USA checkpoint outside Najaf, Sergent Ali Jaffar Moussa Hamadi al-Nomani, a 50 year old Shia Muslim who had fought in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War and a father of five children, detonates a bomb in the car he is driving killing four USA soldiers. Even though the target is military, and the soldier was fighting in his own country against invading forces, the USA describes the attack as terrorism. The Iraqi Vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, states "The USA administration is going to turn the whole world into people prepared to die for their nations".

During the invasion, the military or politicians of the UK and USA put out a number stories that are later shown to be untrue.

UK and USA journalists are "embedded" with the Anglo-American forces. To be accepted, a 12 page document had to be signed for the USA Pentagon. Many UK journalists refuse to sign and are left reporting the war from the north of Iraq or nearby countries. Independent journalists not under the USA control are discouraged and refused protection by the USA military. One such group of journalists is told by an army spokesman: "My job is to make your lives as difficult as possible. You will get no help whatsoever". Four journalists (from Israel and Portugal) are detained by USA and UK soldiers 160km south of Baghdad at gunpoint, deprived of food for two days and expelled from Iraq. One of the Israeli correspondents, Dan Semama (55), is forced to lie on the ground in the sun. He describes one of the Portuguese journalists being beaten up by five soldiers: "he was crying like a child". A group of journalists from Australia are threatened with their Iraqi visas to be taken from them by UK troops. Non-embedded journalists are refused entry to a hotel compound in Umm-Qasar.

150 members of a group called Ansar al-Islam (in the northern part of Iraq controlled by the Kurds) are killed by USA special forces. The presence of their camp in Iraq had been used by the USA and UK as proof of a link between the president of Iraq, Saddam Husein, and the terrorist group, Al-Qa'ida. Ansar al-Islam controlled a number of villages and had set up an Islamic regime similar to that of the Taliban in Afghanistan and was actually fiercely anti-Saddam.

USA Brigadier General Vincent Brooks refuses to discuss Iraqi civilian casualties: "The casualty figures, that's not something I'm going to engage in".

Up to 10 women and children (five under the age of 5) are killed by USA soldiers at a checkpoint at Najaf when their vehicle fails to stop. None of the USA or UK media asks what language the stop sign is in, or name the victims. The UK BBC describes the deaths as an "unhelpful incident". USA sources say that the vehicle ignored warning shots.

William Branigin, a correspondent from the USA newspaper, Washington Post, who was near the scene, suggests troops had fired without giving enough warning. The shots had included 25mm high explosive cannon shells. He quotes Captain Ronnie Johnson of the USA 3rd Infantry Division shouting at a platoon leader: "You just ****ing killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough".

The soldiers are then reported to have given the survivors body bags and offered them money in compensation. According to William Branigin: "It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen and I hope I never see it again". Another unarmed driver is shot and killed in the same area.

The USA state that some Iraqi prisoners would be sent to a military prison in Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba.

USA bombing kills over 250 people and injures over 1000, mainly civilians, according to doctors in the hospital in Nasariya. A typical injury: a student called Haider Mohammed loses the lower part of both his legs and his fingers. Armed looters roam the city after a breakdown in law and order, even attacking the hospital.

33 people, many of them children, are killed by USA bombing in the city of Kerbala.

According to the news agencies, Reuters and Associated Press, over 33 civilians are killed (most of them children and baby) after USA bombing in Hilla, a suburb of Babylon and the nearby village of Mazarak. Video film taken by the first Western news agencies allowed on the Iraqi side of hostilities shows babies cut in half, children with amputated limbs, a father holding out pieces of his baby and shouting "cowards", two lorryloads of bodies. Alia Mukhtaff is seen lying on a bed - her husband and six of her children have been killed in the attacks; Majeed Djelil is sitting next to his child who has a foot missing - his wife and two other children had been killed.

According to UK-trained Dr Nazem el-Adali, the victims had been attacked with cluster bombs. The use of cluster bombs in civilian areas is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, a fact not mentioned very much in the Western media. Only a few minutes of the 21 minute video is shown by Western television broadcasters.

83 people, mainly civilians are killed in the Baghdad suburb of Furat. 200 people are injured, many by cluster bombs.

Mansour
Wreckage of buildings bombed in an attempt to kill Saddam Husein. 14 Christian civilians died.
Al Kindi
Taking a wounded relative to Al Kindi hospital.
Journalists
Journalists remember two collegues killed when their hotel was shelled by a USA tank.

Saddam Statue
Baghdadis pulling down a statue of Saddam Husein.

Looting Mosul
Looting in Mosul.
Looting Basra
Looting in Basra.
Looting Baghdad
Arms looted from a police station in Baghdad.

Dead Child
Dead 2 year old boy in Basra as shown on Al-Jazeera TV.
Injured Soldier
Injured Iraqi soldier.

© 2003: Reuters, New Zealand Scoop, al-Jazeera TV and Los Angeles Times

The UK Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, attacks the independent and award winning journalist, Robert Fisk, who has been reporting on Iraqi civilian casualties. Fisk counters:

"I cannot help remembering an Iranian hospital train on which I travelled back from the Iran-Iraq war front in the early 1980s. The carriages were packed with young Iranian soldiers, coughing mucus and blood into handkerchiefs while reading Korans. They had been gassed and looked as if they would die. Most did. After a few hours, I had to go around and open the windows of the compartments, because the gas coughed back from their lungs was beginning to poison the air in the carriage. At the time I worked for the [London] Times. My story ran in full. Then an official of the [UK] Foreign Office lunched my editor and told him my report was 'not helpful'. Because, of course, we supported President Saddam at the time and wanted revolutionary Iran to suffer and destroy itself. President Saddam was the good guy then. I wasn't supposed to report his human rights abuses. And now I'm not supposed to report the slaughter of the innocents by [USA] and [UK] pilots because the [UK] government has changed sides."

The Russian foreign ministry complains to the USA after a convoy of embassy staff is shot at by USA forces while leaving Baghdad. The convoy had previously been cleared with the USA.

BBC journalist, John Simpson, is part of a USA-Kurdish convoy that is bombed in a friendly fire incident:

"I've counted 10 or 12 bodies around us. It was an American plane that dropped the bomb right beside us. I saw it land about 12ft [4m] away I think. This is a scene from hell here. All the vehicles on fire. There are bodies burning around me, there are bodies lying around, there are bits of bodies. I am bleeding through the ear. [The bomb] took the lower legs off Kamaran our translator. I got shrapnel. Our producer had a piece of shrapnel an inch long [2.5cm] taken out of his foot. But apart from that and ruptured eardrums which is painful but not serious, and a few punctures from shrapnel, the rest of us were all right. But our translator was killed and he was a fine man."

Thousand of Iraqis have had this experience without the media being present to describe their suffering.

USA forces in Baghdad fire tank shells on the Palestine Hotel killing Taras Protsyuk, a Reuters cameraman, and Jose Couso, a Spanish cameraman, and injuring two journalists. A USA military spokesman talks of sustaining "significant fire" from the hotel, a fact denied by BBC and other journalists based there. The Palestine Hotel is the base of about 200 non-embedded journalists. David Chater, the Sky News correspondent asks "How are we supposed to carry on if American shells are targeting Western journalists?"

In a jet attack on the Al-Jazeera offices in Baghdad, Tariq Ayoub, a Palestinian-Jordanian journalist, is killed. Al-Jazeera had given the USA its office co-ordinates several months previously and had received two assurances that its offices would not be attacked. Al-Jazeera has its licence to report from the New York Stock Exchange removed. American opponents hack into its English language web site and close it down. During the bombing of Afghanistan, the offices of Al-Jazeera were destroyed in Kabul after threats from the USA.

The offices of Abu Dhabi television are razed trapping 29 journalists and support staff in the basement. The offices of the Palestinian Authority are also bombed.

Taras Protsyk
Taras Protsyk, a Ukrainian cameraman killed by
a USA shell at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.

© 2003: Reuters

The International Red Cross warns that hospitals in Baghdad are being overwhelmed with casualties. They state that 100 patients are admitted per hour in one hospital (Yarmouk), one of five in the city. It is estimated that there have been 2000 military deaths in the city. Another hospital (Kindi) reports 14 people killed and 75 injured by a missile hitting a residential area.

One of the injured is 12 year old Ali Ismail Abbas, who was asleep when the missile destroyed his home in the village of Zafaraniya, killing his parents (Ismail and Azhar, who was pregnant) and 9 family members. The blast blew both his arms off. He has 60% burns over his body. A photograph of the boy, biting his lips in pain, becomes one of the images of the war.

The USA drop four large bombs from a jet on a restaurant in the Baghdad suburb of Mansur in an attempt to assassinate Saddam Husein. 14 (mainly Christian) Iraqi civilians are killed. The pilot is quoted to have said "It's a good feeling".

Widespread looting breaks out in Baghdad; some rapes are reported. Several hospitals are attacked and looted. After a week, only 3 hospitals out of over 40 stay open. The Rasheed psychiatric hospital is attacked, some patients being raped.

Several embassies are attacked - Germany and Slovakia among them - as well as United Nations offices. Three quarters of all Baghdad banks are raided.

Protecting medical facilities and embassies as well as their staff is the responsibility of the occupying powers under the Geneva Convention. The United Nations calls on the USA to assert control and stop the looting.

Edgy USA soldiers kill dozens of civilians including a 6 year old girl.

Kurdish forces take over the city of Kirkuk - the government of Turkey threatens action if the Kurds remain. During the 1990s, the Kurdish population in Kirkuk had been ethnically cleansed by the Iraqi government.

The USA Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) begins planning for Iraq's future. One official is quoted in the USA newspaper, New York Times as saying "To the victor the spoils, and in this case the spoils are choosing who governs". The USA reaffirms that the USA and not the United Nations will select the interim government. Jay Garner, a retired USA general, is to take over the running of Iraq. Former director of the CIA, James Woosley is lined up to run the information ministry. Paul Wolfowitz (USA deputy defence secretary) calls Russia, France and Germany "the axis of weasels" and suggests they contribute to the reconstruction by writing off Iraq's debts. These are estimated to be over $200,000 million.

Ahmed Chalabi, in exile since 1958, is flown to Nasariya by the USA. He begins gathering a private army around him with the support of the USA. Chalabi had been convicted in Jordan of financial irregularities. Another exile, Said Abdul Al-Qui is assassinated in Najaf. The USA trained Iraqi Coalition of National Unity is reported by residents of Najaf to be looting homes and businesses.

The museums in Baghdad and Mosul, full of ancient artifacts of Mesopotamia (some up to 7000 years old), are ransacked. What is not taken is smashed. Mosul University is sacked; Baghdad Library is set on fire. Both had priceless and rare manuscripts and documents. Over 170,000 artifacts are lost. USA forces had promptly deployed troops to secure the oil fields and to protect the oil ministry but had failed to protect museums or libraries (or indeed hospitals). The importance and location of these establishments had been indicated to the USA by archeologists worldwide. An outcry occurs around the world; the USA media shows limited interest in this cultural disaster. Martin Sullivan and Gary Vikan resign from the President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property saying: "we certainly know the value of oil, but certainly don't know the value of historical artifacts". Cutural sites are protected under the 1907 Hague Convention.

The chief weapons inspector of the United Nations, Hans Blix, accuses the USA and UK of planning the invasion of Iraq in advance and of fabricating evidence against Iraq. The USA set up their own weapons inspection teams after attempting to recruit some of Blix's staff.

10 people are shot dead and over 100 wounded in Mosul after USA troops open fire after a crowd turned against an American-installed local governor, Mashaan al-Juburi. The crowd began chanting: "The only democracy is to make the Americans leave". In Baghdad and Basra thousands of Iraqis demonstrate against the USA and UK occupation; denouncing the lack of water and electricity, and looting.

The USA admits that intelligence material "proving" that Iraq attempted to buy fissile material from Niger was forged by a Western intelligence agency, either MI6 (UK) or Mossad (Israel). Around 50% of USA citizens are shown by a poll to believe that Iraq was responsible for the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 even though no link has ever been proven.

The USA awards a $680 million rebuilding contract to USA company Bechtel. The company had made $1,300,000 donations to USA political parties, 60% going to the Republicans. Another USA company, Creative Associates International, is awarded a contract worth up to $62 million to prepare Iraq's schools system for a new academic year.

Several USA charities, openly hostile to Islam, prepare to distribute food, water and medicines to Iraq. One charity, Samaritan's Purse, is run Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham and friend to the USA president. Graham has described Islam as "a very evil and wicked religion". Another charity (the Southern Baptist Convention) has described Mohammad as "a demon-possessed paedophile".

USA military officials admit to the USA newspaper, New York Times, that they want "access" to four military bases in Iraq. These bases are at Baghdad International Airport, Tallil (near Nasariya), an isolated airstrip called H-1 in the western desert, and Bashur in the Kurdish north.

The USA begins talks with the USA-backed Iraq National Congress to build an oil pipeline between Iraq and Israel. James Atkins (a former USA ambassador to Saudi Arabia) admits "There would be a fee for transit rights through Jordan, just as there would be fees for those using what would be the Haifa terminal. After all this is the new world order now. This is what things look like particularly if we wipe out Syria. It just goes to show that this is all about oil, for the United States and its allies." The plan was first put forward by Henry Kissinger in 1975 and has been revived by Donald Rumsfeld. The favoured company to build the pipeline is Bechtel.

Donald Rumsfeld, the USA Secretary of State, declares that "Iranian style [Islamic government] is not going to happen in Iraq". This prompts the comment from Kassem al-Sa'adi, a 41 year old merchant, "I thought the Americans said they wanted a democracy in Iraq. [If so,] why are they allowed to make the rules?"

USA President, George W Bush, attacks the president of France and the French people for opposing the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. This prompts the following editorial in the UK newspaper, The Independent which says that President Bush "believes in multilateralism so long as it consists of other countries doing what the US wants". It continues:

"Worse than that, is the growing evidence that the Bush administration intends to punish those countries that 'weakened' international bodies by refusing to do as they were told. This is a disastrous course for a country that sincerely believes itself to be acting for the good of the whole world. There is in American culture a dangerous streak of intolerance, at odds with the rhetoric of free speech..."

The USA president, George W Bush declares the end of "combat operations" in Iraq on 1 May.

Belize Dam

Fortis, a power company from Canada, is awarded a contract to build the Chalillo Dam across the Macal River in Belize.

This dam will threaten a unique environment designated as a biogem. Rare animals like the tapir and birds like the Belizean scarlet macaw will be threatened if the project goes ahead. More than 1000 hectares of rain forest used by jaguars will be flooded.

Congo

The USA aid agency, the International Rescue Committee, announces that 4,700,000 people have died in the civil war in Congo between 1999 and 2003. Rape, murder, torture and other human rights abuses have been commonplace during this war.

Rwanda and Uganda both have troops involved in the conflict. Both countries receive more than half their budgets in aid from the UK. Other countries involved in the conflict (Angola, Namibia, Burundi) have been sold $16 million worth of weapons by the UK.

The under-reported war is being fought over the control of the country's resources: diamonds, gold and oil. Many Western companies are profiting from the conflict including: Barclays Bank, Anglo American, De Beers (both mining companies), Avient, Das Air, and Oryx Natural Resources.

A United Nations report detailing the plunder of wealth from the Congo was censored after pressure from several Western governments.

USA and Tobacco

The USA seeks special exemptions from a World Health Organisation treaty to curb tobacco use and to restrict cigarette advertising. The treaty had been signed by 171 countries.

The Occupation of Iraq

The USA (with the UK and Spain) sponsor a United Nations resolution to remove sanctions from Iraq after the USA and UK military victory. The terms of the resolution break a number of promises and pledges made by the USA and UK before the invasion of Iraq.

Topic
Quote USA Proposal
Aid
"The UN should have a key role in administering the delivery of humanitarian aid."
Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister, in the House of Commons: 18 March 2003
The resolution states that the USA and UK will oversee all aid efforts with the UN reduced to a co-ordinating role.
Government
"Military action is to uphold the authority of the UN and to make sure Saddam is disarmed."
Tony Blair, MTV: 7 March 2003
The USA and UK will rule Iraq as an "occupying power".
Oil
"We don't touch it, and the US doesn't touch it."
Tony Blair, MTV: 7 March 2003
The resolution will give total control of Iraq's oil revenues to the USA and UK governments until and Iraqi government is established.
The UN
"The UN will have a vital role to play."
George W Bush, USA President, in Belfast, Northern Ireland: 8 April 2003
All operational decisions will be taken by USA and UK officials with the UN acting in an "advisory role".
Weapons
"Should the UN have a vital role to play in respect of weapons inspections? The answer to that is Yes."
Jack Straw, UK Foreign Secretary in an interview: 25 April 2003
There will be no role for UN weapons inspectors "in the forseeable future".

The reaction in Iraq was negative. Bassen al-Khoja:

"This is very, very bad. We are in the same situation as we were with Saddam. They stole the oil money from the people and we got nothing and now the Americans and the British are doing exactly the same. We are not going to see any benefit from it. The United Nations should control the oil money, not the Americans".

The European Commissioner for Development, Poul Nielson warns: "The unwillingness to give the UN a legal, well-defined role speaks a language that is quite clear."

The resolution is passed even though it effectively rewrites some of the provisions of the Geneva Convention, which forbid occupying powers from creating a new government. It also allows the occupying powers to sell Iraq's resources as they see fit.

A panel of international lawyers declare that the invasion of Iraq by the USA and UK was a illegal: "There was no threat. There was no [UN] resolution".

In a televised address on 18 March 2003, USA President, George W Bush had stated: "Intelligence leaves no doubt that Iraq continues to possess and conceal lethal weapons." The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair concurred: "Our choice is clear: back down and leave Saddam hugely strengthened or proceed and disarm him by force".

On 28 May 2003, USA Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, admits: "It is possible Iraqi leaders decided they would destroy them prior to the conflict."

As concern grows in the USA and UK, USA senator, Jane Harman, states "This could conceivably be the greatest intelligence hoax of all time".

Finally, in an interview in the July 2003 issue of magazine Vanity Fair, the USA Deputy Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, admits "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on".

The USA Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, defends the lack of weapons of mass destruction in post-invasion Iraq with the following smug statement: "We haven't found Saddam Hussein either, but that doesn't mean he doesn't exist".

Hans Blix, the chief United Nations weapons inspector accuses the USA of giving him bad information during the inspections in Iraq. After being given four places to look "only in three of those cases did we find anything at all, and in none of these cases were there any weapons of mass destruction ... I thought 'My God, if this is the best intelligence they have and we find nothing, what about the rest?'"

Blix condemns the lack of patience by the USA and notes that "when the American inspectors do not find anything, then it is suggested we should have patience."

Another former United Nations inspector, Bernd Birkicht, accuses the USA CIA of making up information: "We received information about a site, giving the exact geographical co-ordinates, and when we got there we found nothing. Nothing on the ground. Nothing under the ground. Just desert". He added that a "decontamination truck" pictured on a satellite photograph was actually a fire engine.

A report by the USA Defence Intelligence Agency called Iraq: Key Weapons Facilities - An Operational Support Study, is leaked. The 2002 report states that "there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons..."

USA soldiers open fire on a crowd of protesters in Fallujah, killing 17 and injuring up to 70. The USA alleges that the school it was using as a base had been fired on. Human Rights Watch refute this when they fail to find any bullet holes on the school despite Western media reports that the school was "pocked with bullet holes". In contrast, the buildings opposite the school where the demonstrators had been standing "had extensive evidence of multi-calibre bullet impacts that were wider and more sustained than would have been caused by the 'precision fire' with which the soldiers maintained they had responded... Witness testimony and ballistic evidence suggest USA troops responded with excessive force to a perceived threat". Two days later, 3 more Iraqis are shot dead.

In May, mass graves are found in the south of the country. These contain thousands of victims of the Iraqi regime. The Western media extensively cover this story as justification for the invasion. However, most reports fail to mention that the victims resulted from an uprising against Saddam Husein in 1991 that was encouraged by the USA president George Bush. The USA then abandonded the people to their fate preferring to leave the dictator in place rather than risk the breakup of Iraq.

USA forces kill three farmers in June. The men were trying to put out a fire started by flares used by USA forces.

Two months after the end of the invasion, the USA continues to hold over 3000 prisoners at Baghdad airport without charge. The former Iraqi, deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, is arrested by the USA but remains hidden. Little coverage of this appears in the Western media.

In July, USA forces kill the two sons of former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein. Two other people including a 14 year old are also killed. The USA broadcasts photographs of the dead bodies. USA soldiers drawn from the Florida National Guard shoot dead two Iraqis celebrating the deaths by firing guns into the air.

In a street in Hay al-Gailani (a suburb of Baghdad) two Iraqis are killed when their car is shot at by USA troops. The car bursts into flames and the troops leave; local people take the remains to Kindi hospital. No USA official attempts to enquire about the identities of the victims.

The USA stops Batelco, a mobile phone company from Bahrain, from setting up a mobile phone service in Iraq. The system used was one that is compatible with Europe and the Middle East. The USA wants to set up its own system, only compatible with the USA. No Iraqi is involved in this decision.

The Arabic TV station Al-Jazeera is harassed by USA soldiers by being shot at, having news material confiscated and arrests and detentions of its staff. The station had previously been harassed by the regime of Saddam Hussein and was previously praised by the USA for its services to free speech in the region.

11 Iraqis are killed in Baghdad in an attempt to capture Saddam Hussein. The raid is by USA soldiers and armed USA citizens in civilian clothes. Three wounded Iraqis are taken away and not seen again even after appeals to the International Red Cross. One of the wounded, Thamir Elyas, worked for the USA as a translator. The dead include women and children. Bullet-shattered cars were taken away in trucks while soldiers attempt to stop filming. No USA official visits the hospitals to enquire about the dead and injured.

In Karbala, three Iraqis are shot dead by USA soldiers during a demonstration.

In Baghdad, an average of 20 Iraqis are killed by USA forces daily. In one incident, a family car is fired on by USA soldiers at 9:30pm (before the 11pm curfew). The vehicle had stopped at a checkpoint. The father and three children of the abd al-Kerim family are killed - one child was only 8. The heavily pregnant mother and a daughter are the only survivors. The father and two of the children would have lived had they been given prompt medical aid but bled to death as USA forces refuse access to the wounded. On the same day, the USA president, George W Bush, makes a radio speech saying that "life is returning to normal for the Iraqi people".

In August, USA forces admit using napalm around Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq in March and April 2003. In 1980, a United Nations convention had banned its use against civilian targets. The USA (which did not sign the treaty) is one of the few countries to use the weapon. Napalm is a mixture of jet fuel and polystyrene which sticks to skin as it burns.

Dozens of napalm bombs were dropped near bridges over the Saddam Canal and River Tigris south of the capital. Colonel James Alles, commander of the Marine Air Group 11 commented "unfortunately there were people there... you could see them in the [cockpit] video. They were Iraqi soldiers. It's no great way to die. The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect".

A reporter from the Australia newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, witnessed an attack at Safwan Hill close to Kuwait. He wrote: "Safwan Hill went up in a huge fireball". At the time the USA military authorities in the Pentagon denied using napalm stating "We completed destruction of our last batch of napalm on 4 April 2001".

Robert Musil, director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, describes napalm is a "horrible" weapon. The napalm bombs used by the USA are called Mark 77 Firebombs and weigh 510lbs (230kg) and consist of 44lbs (20kg) of polystyrene-like gel and 63 USA gallons (200 litres) of jet fuel.

In a UK enquiry, government emails indicate that dossiers about Iraq's weapons threats were exaggerated to prepare public opinion for the invasion. The version of the dossier dated 19 September 2002 was entitled Iraq's Programme for Weapons of Mass Destruction. The published title was Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction.

USA forces shoot dead a Reuters cameraman, Mazen Dana in Baghdad. The USA claims that their forces mistook the camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Other journalists reject this claim as they were all in the area for half an hour before the killing. Stephen Breitner (of France 2 Television) states: "After they shot Mazen, they aimed their guns at us. I don't think it was an accident...". Dana's driver Munzer Abbas confirmed "There were many journalists around. They knew we were journalists. This was not an accident".

By September, 20 Iraqis are being killed and hundreds injured every day in Baghdad. The USA authorities respond to this by requiring journalists to seek permission before visiting hospitals and morgues.

In Falujah, 10 policemen are killed and 5 wounded by USA solders. The men were chasing a BMW car that had fired on the mayor's office after midnight. A USA checkpoint let the BMW through and then began firing on the police. A doctor at the Jordanian Hospital is killed during the gun fight which lasts for 90 minutes. The USA authorities take away the dead and wounded leaving relatives with no information. A USA tank fires on a palm grove outside the town badly injuring several children. This goes unreported in the mainstream Western press.

USA troops raid a building in Mansour killing 8 civilians including a 14 year old boy.

Two USA jets bomb a house in Fallujah killing a family.

Five months after the official end of the war, the Iraq Survey Group, a 1200-strong USA-appointed group of weapons inspectors, admit that they have failed to find any evidence of nuclear, chemical or biological material and concludes that weapons are unlikely to have been shipped out of Iraq.

Baha Mousa, a 26 year old hotel receptionist and father of two young children, is arrested from his work place by UK troops, taken to Darul Dhyafa military base, hooded and beaten. Two days later he is dead. The man's father, Daoud Mousa, was told of the death three days later. He states that his son had seen UK soldiers looting the hotel safe. 14 months later, a UK court rules that an independent enquiry should examine the incident. No UK soldier is convicted for this incident.

On 19th September, the USA governor of Iraq, Paul Bremer, enacts a new law called Order 39. This allows the privatisation of 200 state industries including electricity, telecommunications, engineering and pharmaceuticals. The law would allow foreign companies 100% ownership of banks, mines and factories. All the profits could be taken out of Iraq. Trade tariffs are removed; the tax rate is reduced from 45% to 15%. Companies or individuals will be allowed to lease land for 40 years.

All these changes are in violation of Iraq's constitution. Under the 1907 Hague Convention (signed by the USA), an occupying country must respect "the laws in force in the country" It also states that the occupying power "shall be regarded only as an administrator". Order 39 and its implications are not publicised by the Western media.

According to the UK newspaper, The Scotsman (22 May 2003), The UK attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, informed UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair in a leaked memo that "the imposition of major structural economic reforms would not be authorised by international law".

The USA military continue killing and humiliating Iraqis:

Trade and Apartheid

In the USA city of New York a court case looks at allegations that multi-national companies profited from the apartheid system in South Africa before 1994. Under apartheid, most of the country's population were denied the vote and civil rights because of the colour of their skin.

The companies involved include: National Westminster Bank, Barclay's Bank, Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, UBS, Credit Suisse, Credit Lyonnais, Banque Indo-Suez, IBM, Ford, Isuzu, Daimler-Chrysler, Citygroup, De Beers, Anglo-American. The financial institutions are accused of giving loans at favourable rates in defiance of international sanctions. The car making companies made armoured vehicles for the regime that were used against dissidents. The mining companies are accused of using the low-wage labour force provided by the system.

Indonesia (Aceh)

The army in Indonesia sends 45,000 troops to the province of Aceh (Sumatra) in a crackdown against separatists. The military is accused of committing atrocities against the population. Children as young as 12 are executed by the army. Some of the military involved in the campaign had presided over the violence in East Timor. Over 23,000 people have been forced from their homes.

Aceh is a resource rich region. It used to be an independent sultanate before the arrival of the colonial Netherlands. It was incorporated in the independent Indonesia after World War II but has always rejected rule from Jakarta.

Between 1976 and 2003, 12,000 people died in the region. The war began when the government of Indonesia refused to give Aceh autonomy as promised at independence.

The governments of USA, UK, Japan, Australia and the European Union express support for the actions of the government of Indonesia. The UK supplies the Hawk jet fighters used to bomb the region. The conflict receives little media coverage in these countries.

In June the Red Cross states that it has taken 151 civilian bodies to hospitals and mortuaries since the beginning of the conflict.

Genetically Modified Crops

Action Aid publishes a report about Genetically Modified (GM) crops. The report states that GM crops will not tackle hunger in poorer countries but could put farmers in the poorer countries out of business.

The findings of the report indicate that GM seeds are more suited to the needs of large scale commercial farmers rather than small farmers. Only 1% of GM research is on crops used by poor farmers.

Four multi-nationals stand to make huge profits from the technology since it is non-sustainable by producing sterile seeds: Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer Crop Science and DuPont. Their combined profits in 2001 were $21,600 million.

The Economy in Africa

In May a meeting occurs between the world's 8 richest countries (the so-called G8 Nations) to discuss the plight of poorer countries, especially Africa. The table below indicates some of the problems to be addressed in Africa.

Mesurement Africa The G8 Nations
Life Expectancy48 years77 years
Access to clean water45% (Congo)100% (UK)
Annual spending on health per person$1 (Mali)$2,534 (Canada)
Number of people per doctor50,000 (Malawi)169 (Italy)
People with HIV28 million1.5 million
Number of people living on less than $1 per day291 millionNone
Deaths of children under 5 per 1,0001746
Cars per 1,000 people14561 (USA)
Average annual income$1,690$27,854
Chance of death in pregnancy1 in 131 in 4,085

The above figures mean that 4,500,000 children under 5 years old die every year in Africa.

The G8 Nations spend $13,000 million on aid to Africa. However, the G8 Nations also spend $311,000 million subsidising their farmers (24 times the aid budget). This subsidy allows the rich countries to flood the poorer countries with cheap food that puts local farmers out of business. The USA has flooded Nigeria, Peru, Taiwan, Colombia, South Korea and Indonesia with subsidised grain, bankrupting local farmers and creating a captive audience. In 2003, the Philippines, a fertile country capable of growing its own food, receives more food aid from the USA that the starving desert regions of North-East Africa (like Ethiopia).

As an example, the USA gives a subsidy of $400 million to the rich "cotton belt" of the USA - this destroys the livelihood of millions of small cotton farmers in several African countries. It costs three times more to produce a kilo of cotton in the USA than in Mali. But Mali is being swamped with cheap subsidised cotton. Mali's pleas to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have gone unanswered. In 2001, Mali lost $43 million in export earnings due to this USA policy. USA aid to Mali in 2001 was $37 million. The Western media only publicise the aid packages and not the unfair trade. Celine Charvariat of Oxfam says "American taxpayers are financing the destruction of the livelihoods of millions of cotton farmers in Africa. The cotton barons of Texas and Alabama are getting huge subsidies and driving more efficient African farmers out of business".

In Senegal, the national dish is thieboudienne, made from fish, rice, groundnut oil, tomatoes and onions. Each of these ingredients is abundant in the country but each is under threat. European Union fishing boats frequently fish within Senegal's six mile (10km) limit diminishing the stock of fish. The jobs of 600,000 fishermen are under threat. Dumping of subsidised rice from the USA and Asia is putting rice farmers out of business.

Senegal's farmers used to get free fertiliser but this was stopped after pressure from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Only 4% of the country's rice land is being used because of the loss of local subsidies. The price of groundnut oil used to be fixed and guaranteed by the state. After pressure from the World Bank, the industry was privatised and cheaper imports from France undercut the local producers. Tomato growers are being forced out of business by imports from Italy which receive subsidies of $400 million per year. Good quality local onions are being flooded by cheaper imports from the Netherlands which are often rejects from European supermarkets.

According to Oxfam, for every $1 in aid given to Senegal, $2 are lost from unfair trade. Flooding countries with cheap subsidised goods while denying these same countries the right to subsidise their own goods is a cause of much of the poverty in Africa.

In an apparent attempt to help, the USA has set up a series of trade preferences for countries in Africa. However, these are often tied with conditions like having to import yarn from the USA and enforcing USA business laws. These arrangements have been described by the International Monetary Fund as "unequal" and cost Africa up to $500 million per year.

Much poverty in poorer countries is caused by import tariffs imposed on their manufactured or processed goods. The poorer countries are forced to sell just the raw materials to the richer countries rather than processed goods. In addition, many countries have enormous debts incurred by unelected dictators supported by the West and unelected by the populations who are now having to pay off the debt. The cost for the rich countries to write off the entire sub-Saharan debt has been estimated at $6,400 million (over five years). In comparison, the rich countries subsidise their farmers with $350,000 million every year.

The European Union undercuts African farmers through its Common Agricultural Policy. Europe dumps subsidised sugar on Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, surplus fruit and vegetables on Sengal, and subsidised milk and wheat on Kenya and Senegal. At the same time, African imports are restricted. In 2003, punitive duties on cut flowers from Kenya were imposed at the instigation of the Netherlands.

The president of France, Jacques Chirac, proposes that subsidies on goods sold to Africa should be suspended. The USA refuses.

In the poorer countries, 30,000 children die every day from HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, and malaria. Tuberculosis is a curable disease but kills 2 million children every year. Malaria (which can be prevented by the use of bed netting costing a few dollars) kills 1 million children every year.

Multinational companies (mainly from the G8 Nations) that make anti-AIDS drugs keep the prices artificially high, making it too expensive for the peoples of the poorer countries. The use of cheaper generic drugs is discouraged by threats of sanctions, especially from the USA. In 2001, the rich countries agreed that a waiver could be obtained to use generic drugs to fight medical emergencies. The USA insists that the waiver must be applied for to the World Trade Organisation for each case. Most poorer countries cannot afford to fight the might of the multi-national companies (like USA company GlaxoSmith Kline). In 2001 when there was an anthrax scare in the USA, the USA government forced the German company Bayer to half its prices for anthrax antidote. In contrast, the USA ignores the plight of 28 million Africans who are HIV positive to protect the profits of its own companies.

Only $25,000 million would pay for cutting child deaths by three quarters as well as universal education for the poorer countries.

According to Water Aid, in the next 25 years, two thirds of the world's people will face water shortages. In Africa, a child dies from a water related disease every 15 seconds. It requires an average of 2 hours per day to collect water in the rural areas of Africa. Each person in Africa consumes 10 litres of water per day for all uses. The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 50 litres per day. In the UK, average consumption is 135 litres per day. The $1.50 spent on a bottle of water in the UK would provide fresh drinking water for a person in Africa for 6 months. Children miss school because of having diarrhoea, scabies and bilharzia due to contaminated water.

Non-Ethical Products

In the UK, a report is published (Good Shopping Guide) detailing the worst brands of various products. The list includes major polluters, companies owned by arms dealers or companies whose practices are environmentally or socially detrimental.

Products Worst Brands Notes
Washing machines Bosch, Creda, Zanussi High use of electricity; pollutants when disposed of.
Fridges, Freezers AEG, Electrolux High use of electricity; Ozone destroying pollutants on older models.
Television, Video Aiwa, Sony, JVC Waste materials difficult to recycle.
Computers Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Siemens Contain lead and mercury which are toxic.
Toys Disney, Fisher-Price Produced in Asian sweatshops; hazardous waste products.
Laundry detergents Persil, Surf Bad for the environment.
Household cleaners Ajax, Cif, Domestos Pollute rivers.
Batteries Boots, Panasonic, Sony Contain cadmium which is toxic.
Bottled water Malvern, Perrier, Vittel Questions about purity and transport.
Soft drinks Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Ribena Too much sugar, caffeine and acids.
Bananas Chiquita Unfair trade practices, poor wages and conditions for workers.
Chocolate Kit-Kat, Mars, Galaxy Poor nutrition, unfair trade, use of sprays.
Potato Crisps
Chips (in USA)
KP, Pringles, Smiths Poor nutrition, high levels of GM ingredients.
Yoghurt Danone, St Ivel Shape, Ski Animal welfare issues.
Bread Granary, Hovis Fertilisers, pesticides, bleaches.
Perfumes Anais Anais, CK One Animal testing and exploitation.
Pain killers Anadin, Hedex, Panadol Animal testing; brands sell at high prices.
Sanitary products Allday, Always, Carefree Pollution of rivers.
Sports shoes Fila, Nike, Umbro Use of child labour.
Soup Heinz, Knorr Too much sugar, salt and additives. Some ethical issues.
Cooking oil Flora, Crisp & Dry, Olivio Non GM purity issues.
Breakfast cereals Quaker Oats, Shreaded Wheat Pesticides. Too much salt.
Jams, Spreads Chivers, Frank Cooper, Robertsons Animal issues; frozen fruits used.

Pipeline in Peru

The USA government approves the funding of a gas pipeline through the Paracas Reserve, an important biological region in Peru. The companies that have been given the contract are Hunt Oil and Kellog Brown & Root, both with close links to the government of USA president George W Bush.

The Paracas Reserve is home to many rare and unique species including the Humbold Penguins. The environmental group, Friends of the Earth, states that the area is home to several indigenous peoples: Nahua, Kirineri, Nanti, Machiguenga and Yine. Past contacts between these people and loggers has resulted in their deaths by diseases and violence.

Pharmaceutical Companies

In the UK the British Medical Journal publishes a report showing that pharmaceutical companies now sponsor research previously funded by governments. This leads to a conflict of interest as a company's products are four times more likely to be given a favourable scientific report if that company is paying for the research.

In some studies, the company's new drug was given in a higher dose than the control drug; in other cases inappropriate drugs were used as controls. Companies often submitted favourable trial results more than once and failed to submit trials that highlighted problems. The scientific establishments colluded as they depend on the companies for their finances. Medical journals, which depend on advertising for their revenue, are also pressurised not to publish less favourable reports by the pharmaceutical companies.

Pharmaceutical companies also give lavish hospitality to doctors to encourage them to use their products.

World Trade

In September, the world's trade ministers meet in Mexico. Most trade problems are left unsolved as the richer countries refuse to recognise the concerns of the poorer countries. The UK newspaper, The Independent, publishes a report on the unfair state of world trade.

According to this report, the poorer countries have 40% of the world's population but receive only 3% of the world's trade income. Richer countries make up 14% of the world's population but take 75% of the profits from world trade.

Import taxes and tariffs imposed on goods from the poorer countries are, on average, 4 to 5 times higher than the taxes imposed on the goods traded between the richer countries. They can be even higher; an example given is a shirt from Bangladesh being taxed 20 times more by the USA than a similar item from the UK. Clothes from India are taxed at 19% by the USA. Similar clothes from France, Japan and Germany are taxed between 0% and 1%.

The average tax on goods from Vietnam (a poor country) to the USA is 8% compared to 1% for goods from the Netherlands (a rich country).

In addition, the more value that is added to goods, the higher the tariffs. Raw cocoa beans can be exported into the European Union with no tax. If the raw beans are converted to cocoa butter, this is taxed at 10%. Cocoa powder is taxed at 15%. Chocolate is taxed at more than 20%. This means that the poorer countries are encouraged to sell their raw materials to the richer countries rather than process them and add value to them. Germany processes more cocoa than the Ivory Coast (the largest producer). The UK grinds more cocoa than Ghana (another large producer). Poorer countries produce 90% of the world's cocoa but less than 5% of the world's (more valuable) chocolate.

Trade tariffs cost poorer countries a lot of money and help keep them in poverty. Brazil loses $ 10,000 million in trade because of agricultural tariffs. Mozambique loses $ 100 million a year because of European trade tariffs - nearly as much as it receives in aid from Europe.

Poor countries end up paying 15 times more in trade taxes than the rich countries.

In addition, rich countries spend $ 1,000 million per day on subsidising agriculture. Six times what these countries give in aid to poor countries. The subsidies generate surpluses of items like sugar and cotton that are then dumped on poorer countries. By selling these products at less than the cost it takes to produce them, farmers in the poorer countries go out of business, adding to poverty and destitution. Rich countries spend more on farm subsidies than the combined Gross National Product of all the countries of Africa.

The effects are also felt in the richer countries. Families in Europe pay on average $ 1000 per year to the continent's farmers. Of this, half goes to just 5% of the largest and richest agricultural companies. In France, 25% of the smaller, poorer farms receive nothing while the larger, richer farms receive the bulk of the subsidy. In the UK, large sugar farms receive $ 90,000 each. Milk and cereals are similarly subsidised. These subsidies are part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP has the effect of taking money from Europeans and giving it to large companies that use it to impoverish the poorer countries of the world. Smaller farms in the richer countries are impoverished because they too cannot compete against the favoured giants.

In the USA, $ 13,000 million per year is given to cotton farmers. As in Europe, the poorest cotton farmers receive the smallest amount of subsidy: 50% of the farms receive 5% of the subsidy money while the richest 7% receive half of the payments. $ 10,000 per year is paid to corn farmers. Acording to Oxfam, corn farmers in Mexico "are competing not against US farmers but against US taxpayers and the world's most powerful treasury. It is difficult to think of a starker illustration of unfair trade in practice".

UK journalist, Paul Valley, summarises the unfair nature of world trade: "Behind the complexity lies a stark moral issue. The West preaches free trade and, under the threat of cutting off aid and loans, we force Third World countries to open their markets to our goods. And yet at the same time we slap taxes and tariffs on what they sell to us."


2004

UK Arms Trade

Capaign Against the Arms Trade publishes a report that indicates that arms sales from the UK have doubled in 2003.

Many of the arms go to undemocratic regimes or governments with poor human rights records. The countries being sold arms by the UK include:


2005

The Arms Trade

A report in the UK newspaper, The Independent, describes the state of the global arms trade.

In 2003, countries of the world spent just under $ 1 million million on arms. Each year, 8 million small arms and 14,000 million rounds of ammunition are manufactured. Of the 639 million small arms that exist, 60% are held by civilians. As a result, one person dies every minute from fire arms.

The world's poorer countries spend around $ 22,000 million per year on arms. This is enough to send every child in these countries to primary school.

The top five countries selling arms are the five countries who are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. These five nations account for 88% of global arms sales. Four of them are democracies.

The UK sells arms to several undemocratic countries. These include Saudi Arabia (the UK's biggest customer, spending $ 380 million in 2003), United Arab Emirates and Oman (both absolute monarchies with no elections), China (a one party dictatorship). Other UK customers include Turkey (which oppresses its Kurdish minority), Israel (which has occupied Palestinian and Syrian land since 1967) and Indonesia (which oppresses minorities like the Acehnese).

World Trade

Farmers in the USA receive $ 3,900 million of tax payers' money per year to grow cotton. This allows them to produce cotton for $1.06 per kg.

The low cost of this cotton puts cotton growers in Africa out of business. The unsubsidised cost of cotton is $1.72. The West African country Benin loses 1.4% of its annual income every year due to the USA subsidies. This leads to 33% of its population having a life expectancy of only 48 years. The USA subsidy is three times the amount of aid given by the USA to the whole of Africa.

The contrast is shown by the story of two farmers:

USA cotton is converted into clothes by workers in China earning less than $1 per day and sold for less than $3 in developed countries like the UK.

European agricultural subsidies also help keep countries in Africa in poverty by denying them equal trade.

Chicken farmers in Europe benefit from subsidised grain. This puts countries like Senegal and Ghana at a disadvantage. European countries receive subsidies for growing tomatoes. Countries in West Africa have been forced to dismantle their tariffs against European tomatoes by pressure from the World Trade Organisation. The result is that many African tomato growers go out of business.

Europe subsidises fishing boats that ply the waters of the African coast where royalties of less than 1% are paid. The local fishing industry cannot compete and fishermen go out of business.

Kenya can export pineapples to Europe without incurring tariffs. If the pineapples are made into chunks and tinned, they face a tariff of 27%.

Sugar prices in Europe are three times the world average. However, subsidies mean that sugar can be exported to Africa at 40% of the cost of production. South African sugar producers cannot compete.


2006

War in Congo

By the middle of 2006, over 4 million people had died in a war raging in the Congo. The main causes of this mainly unreported war are access and control of minerals like gold, diamonds, cassiterite and coltan. Coltan is used to manufacture electronic gadgets like remote controls, laptop computers and mobile phones. 80% of the world's supply of coltan is in Congo.

Congo is a diverse country created by Belgium at the beginning of the 20th century in a colonial war that killed 13 million people. the country was looted to the detriment of the indigenous people and society. When Congo became independent in 1960 the first elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, was killed by Belgium and the USA. A pro-West tyrant, Mobutu Sese Soko, was installed. The country's resources continued to flow to the richer countries.

In 1998, Sese Soko waa deposed by another warlord at which point surrounding countries attempted to seize the mineral wealth of the country. Apart from local militia, armies from Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola are fighting in the conflict. Each is backed and armed by Western countries who continue to buy the looted minerals.

Many Western companies are involved in this illegal trade including Anglo-American PLC, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and De Beers. One UK company, AngloGold Ashanti was found to have links with militias involved with attrocities. The UK government has ignored reports from the United Nations concerning the activities of their companies in the conflict.

The mining of coltan is done by mainly slave labour including children. People are forced to work in dangerous conditions at gunpoint by militias. The ores make their way to the richer countries via Rwanda and other neighbouring countries. The use of coltan in Sony PlayStations drove up the price of the mineral and intensified the war. According the UK MP, Oona King, "kids in Congo are being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms".

Apart from the people killed and enslaved, there are reports of thousands women and girls being raped. Some 10% of the rape victims are then mutilated by having their legs or vaginas shot. According to Dr Dennis Mukwege of Panzi Hospital "It destroys the morale of the men to rape their women. Crippling their women cripples their society". The United Nations estimates that 45,000 females have been raped in one small province called South Kivu.

Water

Activities of rich countries and their companies are affecting the world's water supplies, often to the detriment of local people.

One thousand million people in the world have no access to clean and safe water. Each day, 4,000 children die from preventable water-bourne diseases.

Chad

Chad expels two oil companies for not paying taxes.

The companies are Chevron (owned by the USA) and Petronas (Malaysia). Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor, a government spokesman says that the country wants to have more of a say in the running of its oil facilities and to use more of the profits for the people of Chad.

Between October 2003 and December 2005, 133 million barrels of oil were exported from Chad earning the country $ 307 million, or about 12.5% on each barrel exported.

© 2017, KryssTal


[Top]