Archive for the ‘Child Soldiers’ Category

The Sandy Hook School Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information

Inconsistencies and anomalies abound when one turns an analytical eye to news of the Newtown school massacre.

Global Research, December 25, 2012
school

“[My staff] and I hope the people of Newtown don’t have it crash on their head later.” –Connecticut Medical Examiner D. Wayne Carver II, MD, December 15, 2012

Inconsistencies and anomalies abound when one turns an analytical eye to news of the Newtown school massacre. The public’s general acceptance of the event’s validity and faith in its resolution suggests a deepened credulousness borne from a world where almost all news and information is electronically mediated and controlled. The condition is reinforced through the corporate media’s unwillingness to push hard questions vis-à-vis Connecticut and federal authorities who together bottlenecked information while invoking prior restraint through threats of prosecutorial action against journalists and the broader citizenry seeking to interpret the event on social media.

Along these lines on December 19 the Connecticut State Police assigned individual personnel to each of the 26 families who lost a loved one at Sandy Hook Elementary. “The families have requested no press interviews,” State Police assert on their behalf, “and we are asking that this request be honored.[1] The de facto gag order will be in effect until the investigation concludes—now forecast to be “several months away” even though lone gunman Adam Lanza has been confirmed as the sole culprit.[2]

With the exception of an unusual and apparently contrived appearance by Emilie Parker’s alleged father, victims’ family members have been almost wholly absent from public scrutiny.[3] What can be gleaned from this and similar coverage raises many more questions and glaring inconsistencies than answers. While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place—at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation’s news media have described.

The Accidental Medical Examiner

An especially important yet greatly undereported feature of the Sandy Hook affair is the wholly bizarre performance of Connecticut’s top medical examiner H. Wayne Carver II at a December 15 press conference. Carver’s unusual remarks and behavior warrant close consideration because in light of his professional notoriety they appear remarkably amateurish and out of character.

H. Wayne Carver II has an extremely self-assured, almost swaggering presence in Connecticut state administration. In early 2012 Carver threatened to vacate his position because of state budget cuts and streamlining measures that threatened his professional autonomy over the projects and personnel he oversaw.

Along these lines the pathologist has gone to excessive lengths to demonstrate his findings and expert opinion in court proceedings. For example, in a famous criminal case Carver “put a euthanized pig through a wood chipper so jurors could match striations on the bone fragments with the few ounces of evidence that prosecutors said were on the remains of the victim.”[4] One would therefore expect Carver to be in his element while identifying and verifying the exact ways in which Sandy Hook’s children and teachers met their violent demise.

Yet the H. Wayne Carver who showed up to the December 15 press conference is an almost entirely different man, appearing apprehensive and uncertain, as if he is at a significant remove from the postmortem operation he had overseen. The multiple gaffes, discrepancies, and hedges in response to reporters’ astute questions suggest that he is either under coercion or an imposter. While the latter sounds untenable it would go a long way in explaining his sub-pedestrian grasp of medical procedures and terminology.

With this in mind extended excerpts from this exchange are worthy of recounting here in print. Carver is accompanied by Connecticut State Police Lieutenant H. Paul Vance and additional Connecticut State Police personnel. The reporters are off-screen and thus unidentified so I have assigned them simple numerical identification based on what can be discerned of their voices.

Reporter #1: So the rifle was the primary weapon?

H. Wayne Carver: Yes.

Reporter #1: [Inaudible]

Carver: Uh (pause). Question was what caliber were these bullets. And I know—I probably know more about firearms than most pathologists but if I say it in court they yell at me and don’t make me answer [sic]—so [nervous laughter]. I’ll let the police do that for you.

Reporter #2: Doctor can you tell us about the nature of the wounds. Were they at very close range? Were the children shot at from across the room?

Carver: Uhm, I only did seven of the autopsies. The victims I had ranged from three to eleven wounds apiece and I only saw two of them with close range shooting. Uh, but that’s, uh y’know, a sample. Uh, I really don’t have detailed information on the rest of the injuries.

[Given that Carver is Connecticut’s top coroner and in charge of the entire postmortem this is a startling admission.-JT]

Reporter #3: But you said that the long rifle was used?

Carver: Yes.

Reporter #3: But the long rifle was discovered in the car.

State Police Lieutenant Vance: That’s not correct, sir.

Unidentified reporter #4: How many bullets or bullet fragments did you find in the autopsy. Can you tell us that?

Carver: Oh. I’m lucky I can tell you how many I found. I don’t know. There were lots of them, OK? This type of weapon is not, uh … the bullets are designed in such a fashion that the energy—this is very clinical. I shouldn’t be saying this. But the energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullet stays in [the tissue].

[In fact, the Bushmaster .223 Connecticut police finally claimed was used in the shooting is designed for long range field use and utilizes high velocity bullets averaging 3,000 feet-per-second, the energy of which even at considerable distance would penetrate several bodies before finally coming to rest in tissue.]

Reporter #5: How close were the injuries?

Carver: Uh, all the ones (pause). I believe say, yes [sic].

Reporter #6: In what shape were the bodies when the families were brought to check [inaudible].

Carver: Uh, we did not bring the bodies and the families into contact. We took pictures of them, uhm, of their facial features. We have, uh, uh—it’s easier on the families when you do that. Un, there is, uh, a time and place for the up close and personal in the grieving process, but to accomplish this we thought it would be best to do it this way and, uh, you can sort of, uh … You can control a situation depending on the photographer, and I have very good photographers. Uh, but uh—

Reporter #7: Do you know the difference of the time of death between the mother in the house and the bodies recovered [in the school].

Carver: Uh, no, I don’t. Sorry [shakes head excitedly] I don’t! [embarrassed laugh]

Reporter #8: Did the gunman kill himself with the rifle?

Carver: No. I—I don’t know yet. I’ll-I’ll examine him tomorrow morning. But, but I don’t think so.

[Why has Carver left arguably the most important specimen for last? And why doesn’t he think Lanza didn’t commit suicide with the rifle?]

Reporter #9: In terms of the children, were they all found in one classroom or—

Carver: Uhm … [inaudible] [Turns to Lieutenant Vance] Paul and company will deal with that.

Reporter #9: What?

Carver: Paul and company will deal with that. Lieutenant Vance is going to handle that one.

Reporter #10: Was there any evidence of a struggle? Any bruises?

Carver: No.

Reporter #11: The nature of the shooting; is there any sense that there was a lot of care taken with precision [inaudible] or randomly?

Carver: [Exhales while glancing upward, as if frustrated] Both. It’s a very difficult question to answer … You’d think after thousands of people I’ve seen shot but I … It’s … If I attempted to answer it in court there’d be an objection and then they’d win—[nervous laughter].

[Who would win? Why does an expert whose routine job as a public employee is to provide impartial medical opinion concerned with winning and losing in court? Further, Carver is not in court but rather at a press conference.]

Reporter #12: Doctor, can you discuss the fatal injuries to the adults?

Carver: Ah, they were similar to those of the children.

Reporter #13: Doctor, the children you had autopsied, where in the bodies were they hit?

Carver: Uhm [pause]. All over. All over.

Reporter #14: Were [the students] sitting at their desks or were they running away when this happened?

Carver: I’ll let the guys who—the scene guys talk—address that issue. I, uh, obviously I was at the scene. Obviously I’m very experienced in that. But there are people who are, uh, the number one professionals in that. I’ll let them—let that [voice trails off].

Reporter [#15]: How many boys and how many girls [were killed]?

Carver: [Slowly shaking his head] I don’t know.

More Unanswered Questions and Inconsistencies

In addition to Carver’s remarks several additional chronological and evidentiary contradictions in the official version of the Sandy Hook shooting are cause for serious consideration and leave doubt in terms of how the event transpired vis-à-vis the way authorities and major media outlets have presented it. It is now well known that early on journalists reported that Adam Lanza’s brother Ryan Lanza was reported to be the gunman, and that pistols were used in the shooting rather than a rifle. Yet these are merely the tip of the iceberg.

  • When Did the Gunman Arrive?

After Adam Lanza fatally shot and killed his mother at his residence, he drove himself to the elementary school campus, arriving one half hour after classes had commenced. Dressed in black, Lanza proceeds completely unnoticed through an oddly vacant parking lot with a military style rifle and shoots his way through double glass doors and a brand new yet apparently poorly engineered security system.

Further, initial press accounts suggest how no school personnel or students heard gunshots and no 911 calls are made until after Lanza begins firing inside the facility. “It was a lovely day,” Sandy Hook fourth grade teacher Theodore Varga said. And then, suddenly and unfathomably, gunshots rang out. “I can’t even remember how many,” Varga said.[5]

The recollection contrasts sharply with an updated version of Lanza’s arrival where at 9:30AM he

walked up to the front entrance and fired at least a half dozen rounds into the glass doors. The thunderous sound of Lanza blowing an opening big enough to walk through the locked school door caused Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Scherlach to bolt from a nearby meeting room to investigate. He shot and killed them both as they ran toward him.

Breaching the school’s security system in such a way would have likely triggered some automatic alert of school personnel. Further, why would the school’s administrators run toward an armed man who has just noisily blasted his way into the building?

Two other staff members attending the meeting with Hocksprung and Scherlach sustained injuries “in the hail of bullets” but returned to the aforementioned meeting room and managed a call to 911.[6] This contrasted with earlier reports where the first 911 call claimed students “were trapped in a classroom with the adult shooter who had two guns.”[7] Recordings of the first police dispatch following the 911 call at 9:35:50 indicate that someone “thinks there’s someone shooting in the building.”[8] There is a clear distinction between potentially hearing shots somewhere in the building and being almost mortally caught in a “hail of bullets.”

  • How did the gunman fire so many shots in such little time?

According to Dr. Carver and State Police, Lanza shot each victim between 3 and 11 times during a 5 to 7 minute span. If one is to average this out to 7 bullets per individual—excluding misses—Lanza shot 182 times, or once every two seconds. Yet according to the official story Lanza was the sole assassin and armed with only one weapon. Thus if misses and changing the gun’s 30-shot magazine at least 6 times are added to the equation Lanza must have been averaging about one shot per second—extremely skilled use of a single firearm for a young man with absolutely no military training and who was on the verge of being institutionalized. Still, an accurate rendering of the event is even more difficult to arrive at because the chief medical examiner admittedly has no idea exactly how the children were shot or whether a struggle ensued.

  • Where is the Photo and Video Evidence?

Photographic and video evidence is at once profuse yet lacking in terms of its capacity to demonstrate that a mass shooting took place on the scale described by authorities. For example, in an era of ubiquitous video surveillance of public buildings especially no visual evidence of Lanza’s violent entry has emerged. And while studio snapshots of the Sandy Hook victims abound there is little if any eyewitness testimony of anyone who’s observed the corpses except for Carver and his staff, and they appear almost as confused about the conditions of the deceased as any layperson watching televised coverage of the event. Nor are there any routine eyewitness, photo or video evidence of the crime scene’s aftermath—broken glass, blasted security locks and doors, bullet casings and holes, bloodied walls and floors—all of which are common in such investigations and reportage.

  • Why Were Medical Personnel Turned Away From the Crime Scene?

Oddly enough medical personnel are forced to set up their operation not at the school where the dead and injured lay, but rather at the fire station several hundred feet away. This flies in the face of standard medical operating procedure where personnel are situated as close to the scene as possible. There is no doubt that the school had ample room to accommodate such personnel. Yet medical responders who rushed to Sandy Hook Elementary upon receiving word of the tragedy were denied entry to the school and forced to set up primary and secondary triages off school grounds and wait for the injured to be brought to them.

Shortly after the shooting “as other ambulances from neighboring communities rolled up, sirens blaring, the first responders slowly realized that their training would be tragically underutilized on this horrible day. ‘You may not be able to save everybody, but you damn well try,’” 44 year old emergency medical technician James Wolff told NBC News. “’And when (we) didn’t have the opportunity to put our skills into action, it’s difficult.’”[9]

In light of this, who were the qualified medical practitioners pronounced the 20 children and 7 adults dead? Who decided that none could be revived? Carver and his staff are apparently the only medical personnel to have attended to the victims—yet this was in the postmortem conducted several hours later. Such slipshod handling of the crime scene leaves the State of Connecticut open to a potential array of hefty civil claims by families of the slain.

  • Did a mass evacuation of the school take place?

Sandy Hook Elementary is attended by 600 students. Yet there is no photographic or video evidence of an evacuation on this scale. Instead, limited video and photographic imagery suggest that a limited evacuation of perhaps at most several dozen students occurred.

A highly circulated photo depicts students walking in a single file formation with their hands on each others’ shoulders and eyes shut. Yet this was the image of a drill that took place prior to the event itself.[10] Most other photos are portraits of individual children. Despite aerial video footage of the event documenting law enforcement scouring the scene and apprehending one or more suspects in the wooded area nearby the school,[11] there is no such evidence that a mass exodus of children from the school transpired once law enforcement pronounced Sandy Hook secure. Nor are there videos or photos of several hundred students and their parents at the oft-referenced fire station nearby where students were routed for parent pick up.

Sound Bite Prism and the Will to Believe

Outside of a handful of citizen journalists and alternative media commentators Sandy Hook’s  dramatically shifting factual and circumstantial terrain has escaped serious critique because it is presented through major media’s carefully constructed prism of select sound bites alongside a widespread and longstanding cultural impulse to accept the pronouncements of experts, be they bemused physicians, high ranking law enforcement officers, or political leaders demonstrating emotionally-grounded concern.

Political scientist W. Lance Bennett calls this the news media’s “authority-disorder bias.” “Whether the world is returned to a safe, normal place,” Bennett writes, “or whether the very idea of a normal world is called into question, the news is preoccupied with order, along with related questions of whether authorities are capable of establishing or restoring it.”[12]

Despite Carver’s bizarre performance and law enforcement authorities’ inability to settle on and relay simple facts, media management’s impulse to assure audiences and readerships of the Newtown community’s inevitable adjustment to its trauma and loss with the aid of the government’s protective oversight—however incompetent that may be—far surpasses a willingness to undermine this now almost universal news media narrative with messy questions and suggestions of intrigue. This well-worn script is one the public has been conditioned to accept. If few people relied on such media to develop their world view this would hardly be a concern. Yet this is regrettably not the case.

The Sandy Hook tragedy was on a far larger scale than the past year’s numerous slaughters, including the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting and the Batman theater shooting in Colorado. It also included glaringly illogical exercises and pronouncements by authorities alongside remarkably unusual evidentiary fissures indistinguishable by an American political imagination cultivated to believe that the corporate, government and military’s sophisticated system of organized crime is largely confined to Hollywood-style storylines while really existing malfeasance and crises are without exception returned to normalcy.

If recent history is a prelude the likelihood of citizens collectively assessing and questioning Sandy Hook is limited even given the event’s overtly superficial trappings. While the incident is ostensibly being handled by Connecticut law enforcement, early reports indicate how federal authorities were on the scene as the 911 call was received. Regardless of where one stands on the Second Amendment and gun control, it is not unreasonable to suggest the Obama administration complicity or direct oversight of an incident that has in very short order sparked a national debate on the very topic—and not coincidentally remains a key piece of Obama’s political platform.

The move to railroad this program through with the aid of major media and an irrefutable barrage of children’s portraits, “heartfelt” platitudes and ostensible tears neutralizes a quest for genuine evidence, reasoned observation and in the case of Newtown honest and responsible law enforcement. Moreover, to suggest that Obama is not capable of deploying such techniques to achieve political ends is to similarly place ones faith in image and interpretation above substance and established fact, the exact inclination that in sum has brought America to such an impasse.

Notes


[1] State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, ”State Police Investigate Newtown School Shooting” [Press Release] December 15, 2012.

[2] State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, “Update: Newtown School Shooting” [Press Release], December 19, 2012.

[3] CNN, “Family of 6 Year Old Victim,” December 14, 2012, “Sandy Hook School Shooting Hoax Fraud,” Youtube, December 17, 2012.

[4] Hartford Courant, “Finally ‘Enough’ For Chief Medical Examiner” [Editorial], January 30, 2012.

[5] John Christofferson and Jocelyn Noveck, “Sandy Hook School Shooting: Adam Lanza Kills 26 and Himself at Connecticut School,” Huffington Post, December 15, 2012.

[6] Edmund H. Mahoney, Dave Altmari, and Jon Lender, “Sandy Hook Shooter’s Pause May Have Aided Escape,” Hartford Courant, December 23, 2012.

[8] RadioMan911TV, “Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Newtown Police / Fire and CT State Police,” Youtube, December 14, 2012. At several points in this recording audio is scrambled, particularly following apprehension of a second shooting suspect outside the school, suggesting a purposeful attempt to withhold vital information.

[9] Miranda Leitsinger, “You Feel Helpless: First Responders Rushed to School After Shooting, Only to Wait,” US News on NBC, December 20.

[10] http://thenetng.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Sandy-Hook-Elementary-School-600×400.jpg. 12/25/12
Update/Correction
: Note that this photo of approximately fifteen children allegedly being evacuated from Sandy Hook Elementary
was reportedly produced on December 14. See Connor Simpson, Alexander Abad-Santos et al, “Newtown School Shooting: Live Updates,” The Atlantic Wire, December 19, 2012. Still, the paltry number of children confirms the claim that little photographic evidence exists of Sandy Hook’s 600 students being moved from the facility on December 14. This photo was purportedly from a Tweet of a Sandy Hook drill published by the school’s slain principal Dawn Hochsprung titled, “Safety First.” Re: Source of  photo, see  Julia La Rouche, “Principal Killed in Sandy Hook Tweeted Picture of Students Practicing an Evacuation Drill,” Business Insider, December 16, 2012.

[11] Rob Dew, “Evidence of 2nd and 3rd Shooter at Sandy Hook,” Infowars Nightly News, December 18, 2012,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nCFHImNeRw. A more detailed yet less polished analysis was developed by citizen journalist Idahopicker, “Sandy Hook Elem: 3 Shooters,” December 16, 2012. See also James F. Tracy, “Analyzing the Newtown Narrative: Sandy Hook’s Disappearing Shooter Suspects,” Memoryholeblog.com, December 20, 2012.

[12] W. Lance Bennett, News: The Politics of Illusion 9th Edition, Boston: Longman, 2012, 47.

Andrew Whooley provided suggestions and research for this article.

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By Dr. Mercola

african child Poor African Countries Get Vaccines but No Food or Clean Water

As one of the world’s most well-known and respected voices, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has a unique opportunity to call attention to important social issues and make a huge impact worldwide.

Unfortunately Gates, through his foundation, has been partnering with not only biotech giant Monsanto to hoist genetically modified seeds on third-world countries, but also with Big Pharma, to whom he pledged $10 billion to provide vaccinations to children around the world.

This is billed as a humanitarian effort to save lives, but what children in developing countries need is healthy food, clean water and better sanitation.

These are the keys to preventing the spread of infectious disease, and they are being wholly ignored by the likes of Bill Gates and other vaccine proponents – at the children’s expense!

The Aftermath of a Bill Gates Vaccine Campaign …

An American family, the Gianelloni’s, visited a village in Uganda shortly after a Bill Gates vaccine campaign swept through and discovered what Bill Gates’ money does for hungry, sick children – essentially nothing.

The family found that the children were starving, living on one meager meal a day. Their only water source was the same stagnant stream that they bathed in. They had no sewage or sanitation. But, thanks to Gates, they were now vaccinated against measles and polio. Never mind that the most pressing epidemics in the area were actually Yellow Fever, malaria, HIV/AIDs and diarrhea …

Worse yet, one little girl who had received a measles vaccine two weeks earlier was now suffering with the measles as a result! After this blogger left, thanks to her and the mission group that arrived with her, the village had a water tank and clean water system, a cow, and a year’s worth of rice and beans. You can probably understand why the blogger made this comment about Gates’ “philanthropy”:

“I don’t care who you are or what side of the vaccine philosophy you fall under, there is no logic in the world that can explain that going into a remote village and giving children who only eat one meal a day and have never had clean drinking water, a vaccine. 

Seriously? Think about it. Can you imagine walking up to this precious little girl and saying ”I know you are starving, but here is a measles vaccine instead. I promise this will make you much healthier than food or water”. It’s a scary day when simple logic no longer exists.

Food & Water, nope. Vaccines, yep. And innocent children suffer the consequences. It’s absurd.

Food, Water, Sanitation is What’s Needed to Help Prevent Disease

The most vulnerable of the world’s children are those in the poorest countries where death and disease are often a result of malnutrition and lack of adequate sanitation and clean drinking water. In many third-world countries, children are often battling some sort of infection 200 days out of the year. Vaccines can be devastating to these already immunosuppressed children, as well as to adults, because vaccines often weaken and confuse the immune system, which ultimately increases the recipient’s susceptibility to the very infectious diseases vaccines are designed to prevent.

Nonetheless, emerging vaccine markets like third-world countries will soon outgrow developed markets by hundreds of billions of dollars. Emerging markets are areas of the world that are beginning to show promise as a profitable venture for many products, including vaccines. And emerging markets – primarily in developing countries in Southeast and Central Asia, and Africa – have been on vaccine makers’ radar for quite some time.

One reason that vaccine makers are interested in these parts of the world is that that’s where most of the world’s deaths from major infectious diseases occur. The only problem has been that, until recently, making vaccines for undeveloped countries with no money to pay for them was not exactly a profitable goal for vaccine makers.

Concerned that developed countries would have little or no resources for addressing serious infectious diseases if vaccine makers continued their pull-out, the World Health Organization and the G8 – the top developed countries in the world – responded with a plan for enticing vaccine companies to stay in the business. That plan was called Advance Market Commitments (AMCs).

AMCs Guarantee Drug Company Profits

Under AMCs, developed countries make legal, binding agreements to purchase vaccines that are needed in low-income countries. The purchase guarantees a bottom line for the manufacturers. In return, the manufacturers promise to sell those vaccines at reduced prices in the countries where they are most needed.

The idea is simple: “rich” nations sign legally binding commitments to purchase and/or finance an AMC vaccine once it’s ready for market. In return for the guaranteed market and income, drug companies promise to sell the new vaccine to “poor” countries at vastly reduced prices.

To speed up the process, the World Health Organization “prequalifies” AMC vaccines in an approval process that slices years off the time it normally takes a vaccine to make it to market.

Unfortunately, legally binding, advance market commitments to purchase vaccines that are mostly needed in third-world countries could backfire on developed countries that don’t need – or want – certain vaccines.

For instance, HPV (human papillomavirus) statistics show that HPV causes 4,000 deaths from cervical cancer per year in the United States, compared to 274,000 worldwide, 88 percent of which are in developing countries. So why were the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix — which have known safety issues — introduced in the U.S. and Europe, first, instead of going straight to where they’re needed most, if not to help sell huge quantities of the vaccine at premium prices, in anticipation of it becoming an AMC?

Even Gates and a Leading Vaccine Maker Admit Clean Water is Key

Malaria is another one of the top neglected diseases that world health leaders want to address with AMCs, but the ability to resist diseases like malaria requires a strong immune system, and for that, you require good nutrition, clean drinking water, and sanitation. If we want to help people in other countries to lower their malaria rates, and rates of other infectious diseases (like infection-associated diarrhea, which is one of the most common, and most preventable causes of death among children in the developing world) it would be wise to focus on these basics first.

Infectious organisms are more likely to penetrate the bodies of malnourished children due to inadequate vitamin C, which causes their skin to break down more easily and facilitates the entry of bacteria and other pathogens. The same is true for vitamin A deficiency, another common third-world problem, which results in increased susceptibility to infection and which could be rectified in individuals for pennies a day. Also, the living conditions of third-world children are often so poor that they are exposed to inordinately large numbers of pathogens, from which they have little defense.

In order to eradicate infectious disease from a nation, you also have to first address compromised immune systems. If you hit immune suppressed children with a potent, adjuvant-loaded vaccine, you’re far more likely to create new disease, not eradicate it.

With all of the billions being poured into vaccines to “save” the children, how many water purification systems could have been built? How many sanitation facilities? How many rations of meat and fresh produce?

Even Bill Gates himself has admitted that vaccines alone don’t eradicate disease. In a Wall Street Journal article about the resurgence of polio in African countries, Gates said that’s why he is revamping his disease fight to incorporate health, hygiene, and clean drinking water programs into vaccination programs.1 Polio spreads, after all, largely through feces-contaminated water, so ignoring that major risk factor while trying to eradicate the disease is ignorant, to put it nicely.

What’s really interesting is that at least one major vaccine maker has also echoed these sentiments, as evidenced on the front page of GlaxoSmithKline’s presentation to shareholders in June 2010:2

“With the exception of clean drinking water, vaccines are the most cost-effective public health measure,” GSK said.

What if, just what if, the same amount of money that has been spent on vaccines over the past decade had been spent on sanitation facilities, toilets, healthy food and clean water instead?

What You Can Do to Make a Difference

Increasing numbers of vaccines are being introduced not only in third-world countries but also in the developed world, and it’s simply not wise to blindly depend on the information coming directly from the vaccine makers’ PR departments, or from federal health officials, agencies or foundations that are mired in conflicts of interest with industry …

No matter what vaccination choices you make for yourself or your family, it is a basic human right to be fully informed about all the risks of medical interventions and pharmaceutical products, like vaccines, and have the freedom to refuse if you conclude the benefits do not outweigh the risks for you or your child.

Unfortunately, the business partnership between government health agencies and vaccine manufacturers is too close and is getting out of hand. There is a lot of discrimination against Americans, who want to be free to exercise their human right to informed consent when it comes to making voluntary decisions about which vaccines they and their children use.

We cannot allow that to continue.

While it seems “old-fashioned,” the only truly effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and expand your rights under the law to make voluntary vaccine choices, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.

Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights will have the greatest impact.

Signing up to be a user of NVIC’s free online Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. You will get real-time Action Alerts about what you can do if there are threats to vaccine exemptions in your state. With the click of a mouse or one touch on a Smartphone screen you will be put in touch with YOUR elected representatives so you can let them know how you feel and what you want them to do. Plus, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have all the information you need to make sure your voice is heard. So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Right now, in California, the personal belief exemption is under attack by Pharma-funded medical trade organizations and public health officials trying to get a bill (AB 2109) passed that would require parents to get a medical doctor’s signature to file an exemption for personal religious and conscientious beliefs. Watch NVIC’s 90-second public service message and learn more about what you can do if you are a California resident.

Internet Resources

To learn more about vaccines, I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors or state officials for making independent vaccine choices.
  • Vaccine Ingredient Calculator (VIC): Find out just how much aluminum, mercury and other ingredients are in the vaccines your doctor is recommending for you or your child.
  • Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) on MedAlerts. Search the government’s VAERS database to find out what kinds of vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths have been reported by patients and heath care workers giving vaccines.

Find a Doctor Who Will Listen to Your Concerns

Last but not least, if your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to punish those patients and parents, who become truly educated about health and vaccination and want to make vaccine choices instead of being forced to follow risky one-size-fits-all vaccine policies.

If you are treated with disrespect or are harassed in any way by a doctor (or government official), do not engage in an unproductive argument. You may want to contact an attorney, your elected state representatives or local media, if you or your child are threatened.

That said, there is hope.

At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.

So take the time to locate and connect with a doctor who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child, and isn’t just competing for government incentives designed to increase vaccination rates at any cost.

Read the entire article here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/06/healthy-foods-not-vaccines.aspx

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Australian Independent News

CLick on the link above to be taken to my Online Newspaper.

I’d like to just let you all know that we have a great selection of Invisible Children T-Shirts and DVD’s and Journals available here in Australia. Whilst our Aussie Dollar is high against the US we are reflecting our prices to match the US Prices. SOOOOO for the next 2 weeks (possibly longer as long as the $$ stays high) we will keep the price accordingly!

TO PURCHASE THESE ITEMS FROM AUSTRALIA IC SIMPLY EMAIL US

Rough Cut DVD is $20
Go DVD is $15
Bracelet Dvd’s are $20
The Rescue DVD is $20
2010 Organic Logo Tee is $25 – 100% Grown & Sewn in Uganda!
Standard Logo Tee is $20
I “Heart” LRA – Rescue Event Tee is $20
AK-47 Rescue Event Tee is $20 (1 only left in Australia)
Legacy Journal (with Rescue DVD) $10


To Check out what these items are Visit INVISIBLE CHILDREN US Store

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STATEMENT: Lord’s Resistance Army Finds Safe Haven in Darfur

KAMPALA, Uganda, JUBA, Sudan and WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Enough Project at the Center for American Progress today released the following statement:

The Enough Project confirms that a contingent of the deadly Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has taken refuge in areas of south Darfur, Sudan, controlled by the Government of Sudan. The possibility of rekindled collaboration between LRA leader Joseph Kony and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – both wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, or ICC – should alarm policymakers and demands urgent international investigation and response.

The LRA originated in northern Uganda during the late 1980s. In addition to committing widespread atrocities in Uganda, throughout the 1990s and early 2000s the LRA served as a proxy for the Sudanese government in its war with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA, in southern Sudan. In 2005, Kony publicly stated that the Bashir government supported the LRA as a proxy force to destabilize the south, a charge that Khartoum continues to deny despite considerable evidence to the contrary.

“The Khartoum regime’s principal tool of war during its 21-year reign has been support for marauding militias such as the Janjaweed, the Murahaliin, and the Lord’s Resistance Army,” said Enough Co-founder John Prendergast. “Facing no consequences for this destructive method of governing, it is unsurprising that the regime is again providing safe haven for the LRA. Absent a cost for this, we will likely see the LRA unleashed again later this year to destabilize the referendum in southern Sudan.”

With material support from Khartoum, the LRA quickly became one of the deadliest militias in Africa, known for gruesome mutilations of civilians and abduction of children to serve as fighters and sex slaves. Following failed peace talks from 2006 to 2008, the LRA morphed into a full blown regional insurgency with fighters in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, or CAR, and southern Sudan.

In late 2009, Enough received credible information that an LRA reconnaissance team was seeking to make contact with the Sudanese army at their base in Kafia Kingi, near south Darfur‘s border with CAR. In recent months, Ugandan forces have pursued the LRA into Congo, CAR, and southern Sudan, but are restricted from crossing Sudan‘s disputed north-south border.

Now, based on months of field research and interviews with government and United Nations officials in several countries, Enough can confirm that LRA units have reached south Darfur.

“This is a very disturbing development. The move by the Government of Sudan to provide the LRA with safe haven demands a firm, rapid, and well-coordinated response from the United States and its partners in the international community,” said John Norris, Enough’s Executive Director. “A failure to bring clear and consistent pressure on President Bashir and his allies for this latest outrage will only encourage the Sudanese government to commit further abuses, with a terrible cost for civilians on the ground.”

Also today, Enough released a strategy paper by field researcher Ledio Cakaj detailing the continuing threat posed by the LRA to civilians in northeastern Congo. The report, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: LRA Attacks and Congolese Army Abuses in Northeastern Congo,” argues that much greater efforts must be made to protect civilians from a resurgent LRA and the predatory Congolese army.

Read the report at: http://www.enoughproject.org/publications/lra-army-abuses-congo

Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.

SOURCE Center for American Progress

RELATED LINKS
http://www.enoughproject.org
http://www.americanprogress.org

via STATEMENT: Lord’s Resistance Army Finds Safe Haven in Darfur — KAMPALA, Uganda, JUBA, Sudan and WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —.

YouTube – Koh Reports – Embracing Evaline.

The story of a beautiful young Ugandan lady. I am honored to be a friend of her’s on Facebook and one day hope to meet with Evaline. God bless those still trapped in the bush, may this war have an end soon.  With International pressure we call all lend a hand in ending this war. Visit Invisible Children and see how you can help.

Sheila Velez

6 January 2010

The defence in the trial of alleged Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo – the first war crimes trial to be conducted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) – is scheduled to begin on Thursday. Ahead of the resumption of the case, Sheila Velez sketches the background.

The silence of the public gallery is interrupted only by the slow rise of the blinds. We are about to watch history in the making. Behind bulletproof glass a courtroom appears – the heart of the International Criminal Court. On the right, the prosecution. On the left, the defence, their sombre robes contrasting starkly with the courtroom’s pale wood furnishings. In their midst – dapper, calm, attentive – sits the eye of this storm: Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the first person ever to face trial at the ICC.

Who is this man, and what has he done to earn his dubious distinction? Now quietly jotting notes, now leaning over to consult with one of his lawyers, take away the setting and he could be a businessman as unremarkable as any you encounter on the streets of London, Brussels or New York every day of the week. Hardly a Radovan Karadzic or a Pol Pot. Hardly a Josef Mengele, whose experiments on children left the few survivors scarred for life.

When the Second World War ended, nobody expected that we would ever again allow destruction on such a scale. Five decades later, so inured had we become to wholesale slaughter that five million people could die in a new Great War, the Second Congo War, and their untold sufferings would remain just that.

Until now. Because in the course of this landmark trial, not just experts but children who became the victims of this war are taking the stand to speak to the charges that as president of the Union des Patriots Congolais (UPC), between September 2002 and August 2003 Thomas Lubanga recruited, trained and used hundreds of young children to pillage, rape and kill.

Lubanga is a member of the Hema ethnic group from Ituri, a district in the northeast corner of the Congo which has about the same land area and population size as the Republic of Ireland. Born in 1960, he secured a degree in psychology from the University of Kisangani. Married, with seven children, by the late 1990s there was no particular indication that this family man would ever become a feared warlord. In fact well into the Second Congo War he was still working as a trader, selling beans in the market of Bunia, Ituri’s capital.

However, the war would set him on a path to power and notoriety, not so much for any personal military feats as for his dedication to an inherently ethnic view of politics in which the Hema as a group must either eliminate all threats or be eliminated.

From the late 1990s Ituri had become a particular focal point for violence as different factions involved in the wider war battled for control of its mineral wealth. Decades of mistrust between Ituri’s ethnic groups, particularly between the Hema and Lendu, were manipulated for political ends with deadly consequences.

In June 2000, hundreds of Hema soldiers in the Rassemblement Congolais, the movement then in control of Ituri, went to Uganda for two months’ military training. When they returned, tradesman Lubanga became their spokesman. It didn’t matter to them that he had no previous political experience. He was educated, an intellectual, and he would speak on behalf of his ethnic group. The seeds of the UPC had been planted.

In January 2001, Lubanga joined the Rassemblement Congolais government as commissioner for youth and sports. Later becoming defence commissioner, he recruited even more Hema troops. Sidelined by the Rassemblement Congolais from involvement in an April 2002 peace deal designed to end the war in the Congo, Lubanga broke away, taking his Hema soldiers with him.

Turning on his old masters, in August 2002 his forces chased the Rassemblement Congolais out of Bunia, launching attacks on the Lendu and anyone they identified as “Jajambu” (outsiders). Almost total anarchy ensued as the UPC and rival ethnic militias not only fought each other but killed civilians from opposing ethnic groups with indiscriminate barbarity. And all sides were using child soldiers.

Now, as evidence is led in an ICC courtroom at The Hague in the Netherlands, figures in green military fatigues, clapping and singing, fill screens in the public gallery. In the midst of the figures is a slightly slimmer version of the man now in the dock. The frame freezes. The deputy prosecutor’s voice cuts in.

“Witness, do you know the person who is on the screen?” The girl in the witness stand – identified only as “Witness Ten” and who even now can barely be out of her teens – confirms: “It’s Thomas Lubanga.” She adds, “There was one song. When we sang it, some people cried, like me, because I knew I didn’t have a family anymore and that I was all alone. I couldn’t really express the sadness I felt, and I couldn’t really say that I was afraid.”

By  September 2002, Thomas Lubanga had been appointed president of the UPC.  From then on he would brook no opposition. He would be not merely the president but the “Rais” – a king-like leader invested with permanent and sacred authority by his community; the protector of the Hema, in an existential war demanding the participation and contribution of every Hema man, woman and child.

Children were enticed, abducted, even given up by their parents for military training, the parents acting to protect themselves and their ethnic group. Many of the children were aged 10 to 15, some allegedly as young as five.

But why? What does a war machine gain from being fed with children?

Militias around the world in recent years have made a cynical calculation: that children can be exploited without payment; that they are loyal, obedient and unlikely to mutiny; that they show less fear in battle, are less capable of assessing risks and consequences than adults. And if they are girls, they are likely also to be useful as domestic servants and sex slaves.

“I used to be a virgin before I entered the UPC, but they took away my virginity. I saw the blood that completely destroyed my life,” Witness Ten tells the court. Murmured conversation in the public gallery falls silent. “I cry every day, for I have no mother or father. I’m alone and it’s hurting… When I think about it, I feel like killing myself.”

Elisabeth Schauer, a doctor in clinical psychology, and head of an NGO working on rehabilitation after trauma, addresses the court.

“Any experience where the perpetrator is physically close with a knife, with a gun, raping you, assaulting you; such experiences are more likely to cause us to develop psychiatric disorders,” she says. “Traumatic or emotionally important memories for us are burned into memory, right? Trauma doesn’t subside. Trauma doesn’t go away. You can be traumatised at age 11 and die with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder when you’re 70 years old.”

If the UPC was using child soldiers, it was doing nothing new. Hundreds of thousands of children are in service in armed conflicts around the world. Whatever its outcome for Thomas Lubanga, the message this trial sends is new: Use children as soldiers, even in a war as lawless as that in the Congo, and one day you may forfeit your liberty.  So for anyone who values children, the future of our world, this trial matters.

Sheila Velez is a freelance journalist and author of the “Lubanga Chronicles” which document the ICC trial.

via allAfrica.com: Congo-Kinshasa: Lubanga Trial Highlights Plight of Child Soldiers.

Army in CAR to fight Kony
Sunday, 3rd January, 2010

E-mail article E-mail article Print article Print article
By Chris Ocowun

THE UPDF 4th Division commander, Brig. Charles Otema Awany, has camped at Obbo village in the Central African Republic to coordinate operations against the LRA remnants headed by Joseph Kony.

The regional army spokesman, Capt. Ronald Kakurungu, said Otema took over the command against the LRA rebels from Brig. Patrick Kankiriho.

“The hardcore LRA criminals are in the Central African Republic. The issue now is when to put the final nails on them since they are already defeated,” Kakurungu told journalists at his office on Monday.

He said the situation in the north was calm with more troops deployed in the DR Congo, the Central African Republic and at all the borders to pursue the LRA rebels and ensure that they do not return to Uganda.

“We have not lost focus in these operations and our mission is to ensure that the problem of LRA rebels does not spill over to the north again,” Kakurungu noted.

Kakurungu said the army had killed 305 rebels since it launched a joint military offensive, Operation Lightning Thunder, on December 14, 2008, under the command of Kankiriho.

He said the UPDF jointly attacked the LRA hideouts with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army and the Congolese army in an operation backed by the air force, paratroopers and infantry.

The forces withdrew from Congo early last year when the time granted by the Congolese government for the operations elapsed. However, the army maintained intelligence units to help the SPLA and Congolese army clear LRA remnants, Kakurungu added.

He also explained that the army with the Police have been conducting a national de-mining programme in the north.

“There was a big concern by the IDPs about the mines in return areas. Most of these areas were battlefields and, not yet safe for settlement,”

Kakurungu stated that the UPDF and the Police recovered ammunition in the return areas in Gulu, Amuru, Pader and Kitgum.

Some of the weapons recovered included 23 land mines, 277 grenades and 154 rocket- propelled grenades.

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New Vision Online : Army in CAR to fight Kony.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) , led by Joseph Kony, operated in the north from bases in southern Sudan. The LRA committed numerous abuses and atrocities, including the abduction, rape, maiming, and killing of civilians, including children. In addition to destabilising northern Uganda from bases in Sudan, the LRA congregated in the Bunia area in eastern Congo. They linked up with the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) and other rebel groups battling with forces from the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD)

Some accused the Sudan of supporting the LRA and Uganda of allegedly supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the rebel movement that fought against the Sudanese government. Although both governments denied the accusations, they severed diplomatic relations with eachother on April 22, 1995. However, relations between the two countries improved. In 1999, Sudan and Uganda signed an agreement under which Sudan said it would stop aiding the LRA and Uganda would stop aiding the SPLA.

The LRA continued to kill, torture, maim, rape, and abduct large numbers of civilians, virtually enslaving numerous children. Although its levels of activity diminished somewhat compared with 1997, the area that the LRA targeted grew. The LRA sought to overthrow the Ugandan Government and inflicted brutal violence on the population in northern Uganda. LRA forces also targeted local government officials and employees. The LRA also targeted international humanitarian convoys and local NGO workers.

The LRA has abducted large numbers of civilians for training as guerrillas; most victims were children and young adults. The LRA abducted young girls as sex and labor slaves. Other children, mainly girls, were reported to have been sold, traded, or given as gifts by the LRA to arms dealers in Sudan. While some later escaped or were rescued, the whereabouts of many children remain unknown.

In particular, the LRA abducted numerous children and, at clandestine bases, terrorized them into virtual slavery as guards, concubines, and soldiers. In addition to being beaten, raped, and forced to march until exhausted, abducted children were forced to participate in the killing of other children who had attempted to escape. Amnesty International reported that without child abductions, the LRA would have few combatants. More than 6,000 children were abducted during 1998, although many of those abducted later escaped or were released. Most human rights NGOs place the number of abducted children still held captive by the LRA at around 3,000, although estimates vary substantially.

Civil strife in the north has led to the violation of the rights of many members of the Acholi tribe, which is largely resident in the northern districts of Gulu and Kitgum. Both government forces and the LRA rebels–who themselves largely are Acholi–committed violations. LRA fighters in particular were implicated in the killing, maiming, and kidnaping of Alcholi tribe members, although the number and severity of their attacks decreased somewhat compared with 1997.

The LRA rebels say they are fighting for the establishment of a government based on the biblical Ten Commandments. They are notorious for kidnapping children and forcing them to become rebel fighters or concubines. More than one-half-million people in Uganda’s Gulu and Kitgum districts have been displaced by the fighting and are living in temporary camps, protected by the army.

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The Ugandan army says that it has killed a senior commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army militant group in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Bok Abudema was killed on Friday along with one of his fighters, while two women found with them were freed, an army spokesman told the BBC.

The army said LRA leader Joseph Kony was moving between the CAR and Sudan.

Ugandan forces have been operating outside the country’s borders for a year in a campaign to destroy the LRA.

They have been deployed in northern Democratic Republic Congo and southern Sudan as well as the CAR to track down the LRA, which once operated in northern Uganda.

BBC map

Army spokesman Lt Col Felix Kulayigye said that Mr Kony was moving between the CAR and Darfur in southern Sudan in order to escape Ugandan army patrols.

Bok Abudema is only one of a number of senior LRA commanders who have been cornered and killed, says the BBC’s Africa editor, Martin Plaut.

Others have surrendered but the LRA is scattered across a remote region of dense forests and swamps, savannah and deserts – ideal territory for guerrilla operations, our editor says.

Last month the UN human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, demanded the capture of LRA leaders for crimes against humanity and gave details of the killings, torture and rape of hundreds of civilians by the rebels.

She accused the movement of killing at least 1,200 civilians between September 2008 and June 2009.

BBC News – Uganda reports killing LRA commander Abudema in CAR.

” Lets hope that 2010 is the year that Joseph Kony is bought to justice for all the innocent victims of this atrocious war. for him to be skipping back and forth between CAR and Sudan is an eerie thought, so ok some of his rebels have been caught, killed or defected, yet it only takes a handful of rebels to go back out and attack another village and abduct another lot of children for the atrocities to re-start again. Don’t close your eyes to this war…to do so could take a life” Rebecca Fowler

YouTube – “Northern Uganda: A History of Suffering” pt. 1.

By Didier Munsala

KINSHASA, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Congo hailed on Tuesday the U.N. decision to extend the mandate of its peacekeeping forces in the country by five months instead of a year as a step towards a full withdrawal.

The shortened extension will allow the United Nations to work with Kinshasa on a revised mandate for the forces, known as MONUC, that will focus on training the Congolese army to replace them ahead of withdrawal, a spokesman said.

“It conforms with the wishes clearly expressed by President Joseph Kabila to see the United Nations submit to our country a progressive schedule for withdrawing MONUC forces by June 30, 2010, at the latest,” Information Minister Lambert Mende said.

MONUC, which has grown into the biggest U.N. force in the world with approximately 20,000 uniformed personnel, has been in the mineral-rich central African nation since a 1998-2003 civil war in which millions of people are believed to have died.

Despite continued reports of murders and rapes by armed groups funded by illegal mineral exports in the country’s remote eastern provinces, Congo’s government wants an exit strategy for MONUC forces ahead of the 50th anniversary of its independence from former colonial master Belgium at the end of June.

The U.N. resolution, approved unanimously by the 15-member Security Council Dec. 23, asked U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to submit a “strategic review of the situation” by April 1 to enable the body to decide the future of the force.

Human rights groups have accused MONUC of lending too much support to units of the Congolese army known to have committed abuses, and the United Nations last month suspended support for a brigade accused of killing more the 60 civilians.

U.N. Security Council diplomats have said that while Congo has made progress, MONUC is necessary to maintain peace and build up the army.

While Congo’s perennial violence in the rebel-infused eastern Kivu provinces remains the biggest concern, the country is also struggling to put down a flare-up in violence in the northern Equateur province.

That conflict, which erupted in October reportedly over tribal fishing access, has killed more than 187 civilians along with at least 28 anti-riot police and 10 Congolese soldiers, Mende said.

The army is receiving logistical support from MONUC to put down the insurrection, he said. (Writing by Richard Valdmanis)

Congo welcomes extension of UN peacekeeper mandate | News by Country | Reuters.

“will the exiting of MONUC be a good thing though? With violence still ongoing and areas still very unstable, to me its a lil “strange”.” Rebecca Fowler

Lira: about 1,300 civilians have died in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 10 Months following Human Rights abuses allegedly committed by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, according to latest periodic reports by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

One report on southern Sudan reveals attacks on civilians in Western and Central Equatoria States, between December 15 2008 and March 10 2009.

The report on the DRC states that at least 1,200 civilians were killed, including women who were raped before execution. According to the report, more than 100 people were wounded by gunshots and stabbing and about 1,400 people were abducted and some executed or are missing.

Sexual slavery”During their captivity, abductees were subjected to forced labour in fields, forced to carry looted goods or personal effects or recruited into the LRA. Women were forced to marry LRA members, subjected to sexual slavery, or both,” the report released last week said.

It adds: “Thousands of homes, dozens of shops and businesses, as well as public buildings, including at least 30 schools, health centres, hospitals, churches, markets, and traditional seats of chiefdoms, were looted, set on fire and over 200,000 people were also displaced.”

Describing harrowing experience from victims, the report called on the international community to co-operate with the ICC in investigating, arresting, and transferring all LRA leaders accused of international crimes.

The report also accused the DRC army, FARDC, of human rights violation of the displaced persons instead of protecting them.

“Soldiers of the Congolese armed forces, supposed to protect civilians, also committed human rights violations, including executions, rape, arbitrary arrests and detentions and illegal, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and extortion,” the report said.

The report stated that attacks, systematic and widespread human rights violations carried out since mid-September 2008 against Congolese civilians may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Sudan report on the other hand based on 27 confirmed attacks, reveals that at least 81 civilians were killed in attacks and many others injured.

“The evidence presented in this report suggests that LRA actions may amount to crimes against humanity,” the report says. The reports recommended that the United Nation Mission in Sudan should exercise its protection of civilians since its mandated to prevent further loss of life.

“The international community, including governments, should cooperate with the ICC to search for, arrest and surrender the LRA leaders accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The international community should support meaningful peace efforts between governments in the region and the LRA,” the report recommends.

Issues in report

Women were forced to marry LRA members, subjected to sexual slavery or both.

Thirty schools, health centres, hospitals, churches, markets, and traditional seats of chiefdoms, were looted, set on fire. Over 200,000 people were displaced.

The report describes the report as systematic and widespread human rights violations carried out since mid-September 2008 against Congolese civilians may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

DRC army accused of violating rights displaced persons instead of protecting them.

As reported: allAfrica.com: Uganda: LRA Kill 1,300 in Sudan, DRC.

Orientale Province

Since late 2008, the civilian population of Haut and Bas-Uélé has been caught up in a dramatic cycle of violence linked to attacks perpetrated by the Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and the Ugandan and Congolese offensive against the LRA. As the situation deteriorates, civilians also find themselves facing increasing banditry.

One year after violence erupted in Haut-Uélé district, in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), attacks and clashes have now expanded to new areas, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee. MSF is working in five locations of Haut-Uélé and Bas-Uélé to bring free health care, emergency aid, and psychological support to the displaced and resident populations.

Haut-Uélé

From June to September, MSF conducted 2,800 outpatient consultations in the two health centres it supports in Namboli and Lipay, in the Dungu area. Most patients were treated for malaria, diarrhoea, and respiratory infections.

In Dungu hospital, MSF medical teams performed 452 surgeries, cared for 100 severely malnourished children, and for another 220 children with a variety of other health problems.

Since August, MSF has also worked in reproductive health and supports the hospital’s maternity department, where sexually transmitted infections are common.

Teams provided psychological support for 88 patients who had suffered as a result of the violence.

Doruma, a town on the border with Sudan, is at the heart of a very insecure area. The population of Doruma and the 12,000 people who have fled there are at risk of hunger – it is too dangerous for them to go to their fields and tend their crops.

MSF supports three health centres where 2,500 outpatient consultations have been carried out this year. MSF also supports the hospital in Doruma, where 94 patients were hospitalised in September. In October, MSF began providing mental health support and treatment for sleeping sickness, in addition to supporting the surgical and maternity wards.

Niangara is the main town at the crossroads leading to the Central African Republic and Southern Sudan. Around 11,000 displaced people have arrived in the town, fleeing violence. MSF is supporting the main referral hospital in Niangara and the nearby Wawé health centre.

Since the start of MSF activities there seven months ago, medical teams have carried out up to 1,000consultations per week at the general hospital and the Wawé health centre.

Each month, around 100 new patients are admitted to Niangara hospital. MSF is mainly treating malaria, respiratory infections, sexually transmitted infections and stress-related diseases.

MSF teams put a psychosocial programme in place to help the local population cope with the trauma and stress of continuous violence and displacement. Between June and early November, 80 patients received treatment.

Following attacks in December 2008, MSF started to provide medical and psychological care in Faradje. Teams cared for more than 100 children, both boys and girls, who had been abducted by armed men and then escaped or were released. They were given a place to sleep, a space to play, and individual support from an MSF psychologist. This programme has been handed over to another organisation.

MSF continues to support Faradje hospital, where some 11,000 patients have received consultations and 900 were treated in the maternity, paediatric, surgical or internal medicine departments. The main diseases treated here are malaria, intestinal parasites and skin infections.

MSF Activities | Condition: Critical.

Kampala — ANOTHER LRA rebel commander has surrendered in eastern Congo, the Ugandan army has said.

‘Captain’ Ocen turned himself in to the Congolese army in Paika two days before Christmas, according to Capt. Peter Mugisa, the UPDF spokesman for West Nile region.

Ocen was one of the LRA officers under the command of Okello Kalalang who committed horrendous atrocities in northern Uganda and eastern Congo.

“Kalalang was one of Kony’s most notorious commanders who burnt down houses after killing and abducting hundreds of Congolese,” said Mugisa.

The LRA carried out reprisal attacks after the armies of Congo, Southern Sudan and Uganda launched a joint military offensive on the rebel bases in Garamba National Park.

The offensive, dubbed ‘Operation Lightning Thunder’, was launched after LRA leader Joseph Kony refused to sign the final peace agreement after two years of protracted talks in Juba, Sudan.

Mugisa said Ocen surrendered with a gun and 30 rounds of ammunition, as well as four fighters under his command. They were transferred to the battalion headquarters in Duru.

This brings to 56 the number of fighters who have defected since the joint operation started a year ago.

According to figures released by the UPDF on Monday, another 305 rebels were killed, 41 captured and 513 abductees rescued since December 2008.

Mugisa noted that the continued surrender of LRA fighters signals the end of the insurgency.

“This trend implies that the UPDF have dealt the LRA bandits a decisive blow through comprehensive combat engagement,” he said.

“The remaining LRA fugitives no longer deserve to be called rebels. They are bandits because they are scattered in four countries with no clear central command structure.”

Ocen is expected to be flown to Entebbe or Gulu army headquarters.

Samuel Obali, who surrendered in November, said they were also forced to surrender because of the constant pursuit by the UPDF forces in the CAR, DR-Congo and Southern Sudan.

“We had no food, water, medicine and lacked communication with the central command. We had to organise ourselves and surrender to the Congolese Armed Forces in order to survive.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday released a damning report, saying at least 1,200 people were killed, 1,400 abducted, and 230,000 displaced in eastern Congo during 10 months of LRA rampage.

“These attacks and systematic and widespread human rights violations carried out by the LRA may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the report said.

A second report, issued the same day, described a similar pattern of LRA attacks in neighbouring Southern Sudan.

It documented 30 LRA attacks between December 2008 and March 2009 in Western and Central Equatoria states in which at least 81 civilians were killed, 74 abducted and 11 villages pillaged.

As reported: allAfrica.com: Uganda: Notorious LRA Rebel Surrenders.

allAfrica.com: Uganda: Army Lists Gains Against LRA in 2009.

Over 513 abductees were rescued in the operation that was jointly conducted with the armies of Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The army pointed out that several commanders were either killed or captured, while others defected to UPDF reception points in the war zone. Those killed include ‘Lt Col’ Okello Yapee and ‘Lt Col’ Okuti, while ‘Col’ Thomas Kwoyelo was captured, the statement said.

Among those who defected were ‘Lt Col’ Charles Arop, ‘Maj’ Joseph Okot Atiak, ‘Capt’ Obali, ‘Lieutenants’ Michael Ojok and Francis Opira, and Second Lieutenants Geoffrey Okwera, Onen Quinto and Christopher Ochora.

Under Operation Lightning Thunder, the UPDF and its allies attacked the LRA hideouts with helicopter gun-ships and Mig23 jet-fighters.

In fact LRA is re-grouping and gaining intensive training in Sudan. They are training in Dimo in southern Darfur. This fact is known to the intelligence community,” Maj. Gen. Kuol stated in the Sudan Tribune on December 23.

Last month, former LRA director of operations Charles Arop told The New Vision that LRA leader Joseph Kony had ordered his troops to move to Darfur and report to the first Sudanese army detachment to get protection and logistical support.

The Sudan Government through its Kampala embassy, however, denied it continues to assist the LRA.

–  Its good to see action has been taken. it is a hard one with respect to military action as child soldiers are the main fighters for the LRA, however i do understand there comes a point when its a war situation and hard decisions must be made. God bless the survivors and victims, the innocent children especially.  I hope that through Invisible children the USA will support the Disarmament of the LRA bill of 2009 check it out here *Rebecca-Anne

Enough, the anti-genocide project at the Center for  American Progress, released the following statement today regarding incursions by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group against civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

Recent interviews conducted by Enough Project researchers traveling in Haut Uele and Bas Uele in Province Orientale, in northern Congo, suggest that the Lord’s Resistance Army–a transnational terrorist group with a 20-year record of atrocities–is threatening to repeat the massacres it committed during Christmas 2008, in which over 800 Congolese civilians were brutally murdered. Meanwhile, Congolese army units deployed to protect local populations from the LRA continue to commit grave abuses against Congolese civilians. // The LRA have killed nearly 1,500 Congolese civilians and abducted 3,000 more (including at least 700 children) since the Ugandan army launched an offensive against the LRA in December 2008. The presence of 6,000 Congolese soldiers in Province Orientale–many of them integrated brigades of former rebels and local militia from the troubled Kivu provinces in eastern Congo–has actually made matters worse. The U.N. Mission in the Congo, or MONUC, has deployed to the affected region, but peacekeepers conduct only limited patrols in some LRA-affected area that provide little deterrent against LRA attacks and Congolese army abuses. A battalion of Tunisian reinforcements that was supposed to deploy in June 2009 has yet to arrive.

Read the full report Below

allAfrica.com: Congo-Kinshasa: Lord’s Resistance Army’s Sends Chilling Threat to Congolese Civilians – We Will Celebrate Christmas With You Page 1 of 1.

Hi Everyone. I am seeking sponsors to help send me go on my Volunteer Trip to Northern Uganda. CLICK HERE to visit my Sponsorship Page

During my time in Uganda i will be visiting what is left of the Displacement Camps in Northern Uganda as well as spending some volunteer time in the Invisible Children office in Gulu. and the Compassion centre in Kaboywa and visiting the Northern Ugandan Villages that are currently being rebuilt.

Northern Uganda has been rocked by a raging war over the last 23 years and peace is only now starting to return to Northern Uganda. These people have been in displacement camps since approx 1996 and require help, councelling, food and much more to re-start their lives in their old villages. visit www.invisiblechildren.com to watch the documentary and see what they are doing for the people of Uganda.

Travelling Between June – December 2011 and staying for 3/6 weeks.

I am currently a volunteer for Invisible Children Australia and sponsor 6 children Uganda as well. I am aiming to spend 3-6 weeks in Uganda doing volunteer work and expanding my knowledge on the area and affected persons so that i can fully understand the needs of these people to help continue to commit myself to the Invisible children cause as Company Secretary for IC AUS – All Australian positions are volunteer only and we are not employed by Invisible Children or receive any monetary goods or cash for our actions.

As a mother of 3 children myself i am currently unable to cover all the costs associated with getting the tickets and travel arrangements covered as well as the associated costs with the camera’s and such to be able to document this journey for my sponsors. I have been a volunteer my whole life with my parents through Lions Club International but have found my own calling in invisible children.

I will be documenting my journey through Uganda through video and pictures. I have created the website FreeUganda and currently run this as well as the twitter page @freeuganda and a blog as well as run the offical Invisible Children OZ Twitter @InvisibleOZ and i also run ALL FOR CHARITY store with 100% of profits are donated.

Each sponsorship amount is greatly appreciated and i urge you all to join up to FreeUganda to check out what is going on in Uganda and the status of sponsorship etc.

I Thank you kindly for your sponsorship as without your support i will not be able to fulfill this mission in my life.

Thats right!! Until 10/12 you can get FREE SHIPPING to AU when you purchase over $45 worth of products from our store.

All For Charity

Remember! 100% of the royalties on each item made is donated to either: Invisible Children, The Coalition (to stop the use of) Child Soldiers and to a Child Headed Family in Uganda of 5 Children – You can view more details here re: betty and her family.

All these items have been created to raise awareness whilst the royalties go to great non-profits or direct to betty (via joy for children uganda) to help where needed.

If you go through our webstore via the link above and purchase something from someone else’s store, we ill be paid a referral fee for this and in turn any and all referral fee’s we receive we will pass onto Betty in Uganda/Invisible Children.

So far we have made in Royalties $45 and this will be donated at the end of December 2009. To give you an idea we make between 0.40c and $7.50 royalties depending on the item.

I want to thank everyone who has purchased items from this store, your helping to bring awareness to those around you and also helping those who are far away.

THANK YOU

(An Article i wrote for Female2Female.co.za)

Not many know, but northern Uganda has been terrorised by war since approx 1986, those most affected by this war are the Acholi women and children.

In 1994 the Museveni Government of Uganda, forced the Acholi people out of their villages and into displacement camps, in what they say were camps designed to protect the Acholi against the Lords Resistance Army rebel attacks, however the camps were largely unprotected, and approx 35,000 children have been abducted since this war started.

In the Camps, Women face on a daily basis, violence, poverty, hunger and complete hopelessness. There is no room to grow crops and farm within the camps so the women and children need to leave the relative safety of the camps and farm elsewhere, leaving them open to be raped, abducted or murdered by the rebels. Starting their day to find the food they need to use for the days meal, a womans day in the camps is basically spent, securing, cooking and providing the days meal.

Children are faced each day with a struggle to survive, at the height of the disaster in approx 2003 2005, thousands of children used to commute from the IDP camps and villages to the main towns to seek safety and refuge from the rebels, their homes were no longer safe for them to be at night. The rebels used to come during the night and kidnap the children, slaughtering families and leaving hundreds fleeing for safety. These children were known as the Night Commuters. Since approx 06/07 most night commuting has now ceased due to the rebels leaving the northern Uganda area.

Over the last few years the rebel group has moved from northern Ugandan area and into Southern Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic, abducting more children and women, and leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

Due to being in IDP camps there are no real concrete statistics as to the number of those abducted/missing but estimates are between 35,000 and 66,000 Children have been abducted, missing, or killed due to this war.

Today, relative calm in Northern Uganda has seen around 600,000 IDP 217s return home to their villages in Kitgum/Pader and Gulu Region. The daily struggles are still high for those in these areas. Poverty and Famine are everyday killers of children, education is limited, primary education is free but secondary is not, most of the returning IDPS have no income and cannot simply afford to educate their children so once primary education has finished so has the education for most Northern Ugandan Children.

Undetonated landmines are still highly dangerous in the fields nearby to the war zones and corpses/bones are still being found in fields along with abandoned artillery. HIV/AIDS is prevalent among northern Ugandans as they have no way or means for contraception. Rape is used as weapon of war and fear and many women in the north have been abused in some way.

Hepatitis E had a major outbreak recently in Northern Uganda due to the IDPs returning home to villages left unmanned since 1996/1996 and are forced to drink unsanitary water thus spreading water borne diseases such as Hepatitis E, stomach bugs including Diarrhoea and nodding disease.

In recent months, child sacrifices have been on the increase in Northern Uganda with up to 10 children so far in the last few months having fallen victim to child sacrifice.

The conditions of life for the Women and Children of Northern Uganda at this point in time is one of extreme poverty, famine and suffering.

Invisible Children a Non Profit organisation is working closely with the Acholi in Northern Uganda, creating micro-economic programs to help support the IDPs as well as educating over 750 children and re-building the schools of Northern Uganda. For more information or to see video’s of the IDP Camps visit Invisible Children and discover the unseen.

by: Rebecca Fowler