Category: Irrational Violence

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Islamic State threatens attack on Washington, other countries

isis fighter

An ISIS operative holds
a shoulder-fired anti-aircr
aft missile on the background of a black ISIS flag
(Picture sent by ISIS via Twitter)

slamic State warned in a new video on Monday that countries taking part in air strikes against Syria would suffer the same fate as France, and threatened to attack in Washington.

The video, which appeared on a website used by Islamic State to post its messages, begins with news footage of the aftermath of Friday’s Paris shootings in which at least 129 people were killed.

The message to countries involved in what it called the “crusader campaign” was delivered by a man dressed in fatigues and a turban, and identified in subtitles as Al Ghareeb the Algerian.

“We say to the states that take part in the crusader campaign that, by God, you will have a day, God willing, like France’s and by God, as we struck France in the center of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its center in Washington,” the man said.

It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the video, which purports to be the work of Islamic State fighters in the Iraqi province of Salahuddine, north of Baghdad.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security would not comment on the video but said it has not received information indicating a potential attack.



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100 said killed in Paris theater alone as attackers tossed explosives at hostages; police kill at least 2 gunmen in raid; gunman said to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’; French capital terrorized by attacks in 7 locales

November 14, 2015, 12:13 am 36
  • Victims lay on the pavement outside a Paris restaurant, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Police officials in France on Friday reported multiple terror incidents, leaving many dead. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
    Victims lay on the pavement outside a Paris restaurant, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Police officials in France on Friday reported multiple terror incidents, leaving many dead. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
  • France's President Hollande declares a state of emergency amid multiple attacks in Paris, November 13, 2015 (France 24 screenshot)
    France’s President Hollande declares a state of emergency amid multiple attacks in Paris, November 13, 2015 (France 24 screenshot)
  • Fans leave the Stade de France amid a stream of fatal attacks in Paris, including explosions near the stadium, November 13, 2015. (Foto AP/Michel Euler)

The Times of Israel is live blogging events as they unfold late Friday and into Saturday.

1,500 extra soldiers deployed to Paris after attacks

The office of the French President Francois Hollande says that at least 1,500 extra soldiers have been deployed to Paris after the deadly attacks tonight.

Hollande heads to Paris theater where 100 killed

A French police official says top government officials including President Francois Hollande were headed to the Bataclan concert hall where hostages were taken.

According to police, at least 100 people were killed in the theater. A police assault on the venue finished earlier tonight, leaving at least two attackers dead, officials say.

Facebook activates ‘safety check’ feature after Paris attacks

Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature — allowing users to alert friends and others that they are safe — following the deadly terror attacks in Paris which have claimed the lives of at least 140 people tonight.


Screenshot from Facebook's 'Safety Check' feature allowing users to report that they are safe.

Screenshot from Facebook’s ‘Safety Check’ feature allowing users to report that they are safe.

Netanyahu: Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with France against terror

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder” with France in the “war against terrorism” after a deadly string of attacks in Paris left at least 140 dead tonight.

“Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with President Francois Hollande and with the French people in the war against terrorism,” Netanyahu said as he offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

Police say 100 dead inside Paris theater; total death toll up to 140

French police say that about 100 people were killed inside the Bataclan theater in Paris tonight, bringing the total death toll from the multiple terror attacks across the French capital to 140.

‘Dozens’ killed in Paris theater as attackers tossed explosives at hostages

Dozens of people are dead inside Paris’ famous Bataclan theater where a terrorist attack took place earlier tonight, and some 100 people were taken hostage. The death toll is expected to rise as the situation becomes clearer.

Police launched a raid and killed two attackers a short while ago.

One Paris official described “carnage” inside the building, saying the attackers had tossed explosives at the hostages.

— AP contributed


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Terrifying final moments of doomed Russian jet: Flight data reveals plane lurched up and down then passengers were sucked out in their seats – as US satellite detects heat flash suggesting a bomb

  • Doomed Russian holiday jet lurched up and down before plunging 31,000ft after being blown apart, bosses claim
  • Travellers still strapped in seats sucked from stricken Airbus A321 through hole at back of jet when the tail blew off
  • Plane crashed into Sinai peninsula killing all 224 passengers and crew just 23 minutes after leaving Sharm El Sheikh
  • PM said security officials are ‘looking very carefully’ at whether there is a safety risk to Britons travelling to Egypt

A doomed Russian passenger jet lurched up and down before plunging 31,000 feet after being blown apart by an ‘external impact’, airline bosses have revealed.

Travellers still strapped in their seats were sucked from the stricken Airbus A321 through a hole at the back of the jet when the tail blew off 23 minutes after leaving the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, it was claimed.

The plane twice abruptly climbed nearly 3,000 feet in three seconds before falling 3,000 feet moments later in the final minutes before disappearing from radar, crashing in the Sinai peninsula with the loss of all 224 passengers and crew.

The news comes as US officials claim an American infra-red satellite detected a heat flash on the route the aircraft was taking seconds before the plane fell from the sky, suggesting there was some sort of explosion on board.

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Egyptian military approach a plane's tail at the wreckage of a passenger jet bound for St Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana

Egyptian military approach a plane’s tail at the wreckage of a passenger jet bound for St Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana


Passenger jets leaving Britain routinely fly over areas of the world where conflict on the ground could put them at risk.

The risk was brought into tragic focus in July last year when a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight was shot down in eastern Ukraine by a missile launcher allegedly operated by pro-Russian separatists. All 298 people aboard Flight MH17 were killed.

Since then, with the exception of direct flights into Kiev, most airlines have avoided Ukrainian airspace.

However, MH17 is thought to have been destroyed by a sophisticated long-range missile – not the shoulder-launched devices obtained by IS gunmen and other rebel groups. These normally have maximum vertical range of 15,000 to 20,000ft, much less than the cruising height of commercial airliners.

Aviation authorities issue ‘Notices to Airman’ that place restrictions on commercial flights operated by carriers crossing hazardous airspace. For the world’s most dangerous areas – including Syria and Libya – all flights are banned.

But in others restrictions only apply to flights below a certain altitude, usually around 26,000ft, depending on the perceived range of anti-aircraft weapons available to gunmen in those countries. Warnings issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration cover global hotspots including Libya, Iraq, Yemen and parts of the Sinai Peninsular in Egypt. They are regarded as an international standard.

The Department for Transport’s list of flying restrictions for nine countries issued to British carriers is almost the same but also includes Pakistan.

Planes flying over such areas are warned not to go beneath 26,000ft because of the risk from terrorist or rebel fighters. In many cases – such as the Ukrainian capital Kiev – the no-fly rule does not include direct flights in and out.

Many terror groups around the world have access to the shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADS – or Man-portable air-defence systems. They were developed by the US and Russia in the Cold War.

They are a threat to low-flying aircraft, especially helicopters, and it is possible they could be used to attack an aircraft taking off or landing.

In February 2003, then Prime Minister Tony Blair sent armoured vehicles to Heathrow in response to intelligence warning of an ‘extremely probable’ terrorist attack. While it did not happen, it is likely that such an attack could have involved the use of MANPADS.

The data does not show the heat flash travelling at any time, as would be the case had a ground-to-air missile been launched in the plane’s direction.

Instead, the satellite evidence illustrates that there was just a single burst of ferocious heat on the jet’s path.

That has now opened up the possibility that a bomb on board, or an explosion in a fuel tank or engine as the result of a mechanical failure, caused the plane to come down.

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Yahoo News

Turkey sacks top police brass after Ankara attacks


Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd L), Finland's President Sauli Niinisto (2nd R), and their wives Emine Erdogan (L) and Jenni Haukio attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the site of the bombings in Ankara on October 14, 2015

Ankara (AFP) – Turkey on Wednesday sacked Ankara’s top police chief and two other officials as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted security shortcomings over a double suicide bombing in the capital that killed 99.

There has been growing anger against Erdogan and the government for alleged security lapses over the worst attack in modern Turkey’s history in which two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of peace activists on Saturday.

Announcing the first dismissals in the wake of the disaster, the interior ministry said Ankara police chief Kadri Kartal as well the head of the city’s police intelligence and security departments had been removed from their posts.

It said they had been sacked on the suggestion of investigators “to allow for a healthy investigation” into the atrocity.

In his first public remarks on the bombings late Tuesday, Erdogan admitted there were security shortcomings and ordered the State Supervisory Council (DDK), an inspection body attached to the presidency, to undertake a special investigation.

On Wednesday, Erdogan made his first visit to the site of the bombings outside Ankara’s main railway station, laying flowers for the victims alongside visiting Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu meanwhile announced that the toll from the bombings had risen from 97 to 99 dead, and that one Palestinian man was among those killed.

“Ninety-four corpses have been returned to the families and four corpses are to be given to families who have been informed,” Davutoglu told Show TV in an interview.

– ‘Bombers identified’ –


Explosions kill at least 95 at Turkish peace rally

The Associated Press

Posted:   10/11/2015 12:01:00 AM MDT


ANKARA, Turkey —Nearly simultaneous explosions targeted a Turkish peace rally Saturday in Ankara, killing at least 95 people and wounding hundreds in Turkey’s deadliest attack in years — one that threatens to inflame the nation’s ethnic tensions.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were “strong signs” that the two explosions — which struck 50 yards apart just after 10 a.m. — were suicide bombings. He suggested that Kurdish rebels or Islamic State group terrorists were to blame.

The two explosions occurred seconds apart outside the capital’s main train station as hundreds of opposition supporters and Kurdish activists gathered for the peace rally organized by Turkey’s public workers union and other groups. The protesters planned to call for increased democracy in Turkey and an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces.

Saturday’s attacks came at a tense time for Turkey, a NATO member that borders war-torn Syria, hosts more refugees than any other nation in the world and has seen renewed fighting with Kurdish rebels that has left hundreds dead in the last few months.

Many people at the rally had been anticipating that the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, would declare a temporary cease-fire — which it did hours after the bombing — to ensure that Turkey’s Nov. 1 election would be held in a safe environment.

Television footage from Turkey’s Dogan news agency showed a line of protesters Saturday near Ankara’s train station, chanting and performing a traditional dance with their hands locked when a large explosion went off behind them. An Associated Press photographer saw several bodies covered with bloodied flags and banners that demonstrators had brought for the rally.


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3 October 10 2015 09:49 AM Explosion Turkey Capital City, Ankara Damage level Details


Terror Attack in Turkey on Saturday, 10 October, 2015 at 09:49 (09:49 AM) UTC.

Thirtly people have reportedly been killed and more than 100 wounded after a suspected terrorist bomb attack in the centre of Turkish capital Ankara. Two explosions shook a road junction in the centre of the city on Saturday as people were gathered for a “peace” march to protest against the conflict between the state and Kurdish militants in southeast Turkey. The Turkish government put the death toll at 30 and said 126 people were injuried. Images of the chaos showed dreadful scenes inculding bodies lying in the road, many draped in flags and banners, and marchers desperately trying to help the wounded. Witnesses said the ground was covered in bloodstains. Authorities were investigating claims the attacks were carried out by a suicide bomber. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was due to hold an emergency meeting with the heads of the police and intelligence agencies and other senior officials. Witnesses said the two explosions happened seconds apart shortly after 10am local time (7am GMT) as hundreds gathered for the planned rally. Violence between the state and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants has flared since July, when Turkey launched air strikes on militant camps in response to what it said were rising attacks on the security forces. Hundreds have since died. The attacks come three weeks ahead of a parliamentary election in Turkey and at a time of multiple security threats, not only in the restive southeast but also from Islamic State militants in neighbouring Syria and home-grown militants.


Evening Standard

Turkey bombings: 86 killed and hundreds injured after terrorist attack on ‘peace’ march in capital Ankara

Dozens wounded: People carry an injured man after the explosion Reuters/Tumay Berkin

At least 86 people have been killed and nearly 200 wounded after the suspected double sucide bombing of a “peace” march in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Two explosions went off within seconds in the centre of the city on Saturday as hundreds of people were gathered for the rally protesting against the conflict between the state and Kurdish militants in southeast Turkey.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the deadliest attacks in Turkey in years.

Prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were “strong signs” that the attacks – which struck 50 metres apart and left 186 people wounded – were suicide bombings.


Tragedy: Bodies of victims are covered with flags and banners as police officers secure the area after an explosion in Ankara

Busloads of activists had travelled to Ankara from other cities to attend the peace rally. Health minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said 62 of the blast victims in Ankara died at the scene, while 24 others died after being taken to the hospital.

Images of the chaos showed dreadful scenes including bodies lying in the road, many draped in flags and banners, and marchers desperately trying to help the wounded.


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Updated: Saturday, 10 October, 2015 at 10:35 UTC
At least thirty people are dead and 126 wounded in a terror attack that targeted a peace rally in the Turkish capital Ankara. Two explosions rocked the main train station in the city, were thousands had gathered to protest against the long-running conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish separatist group, the PKK. Government officials say the blasts were a terrorist attack and are investigating reports that a suicide bomber was behind at least one of the explosions. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is being briefed by the interior and health ministers, state news agency Anadolu says. The wounded are being treated in various hospitals after the explosions, which occurred at 10:05 am local time (7:04 GMT). The country’s interior ministry confirmed that at least 30 people were killed in the blasts. Those killed and injured had gathered for a rally organised by unions and civil society groups, the ministry said in a written statement. A Reuters reporter at the scene saw at least 20 bodies covered by flags, with bloodstains and body parts scattered on the road. “Bodies lay in two circles around 20 metres apart where the explosions had taken place,” they reported. Witnesses said the blasts were seconds apart shortly after 10am and were so powerful they rocked nearby high-rise buildings. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blasts, which come three weeks ahead of a parliamentary election. A rally for the pro-Kurdish HDP party was bombed in June, ahead of last year’s general election. The country has been in a heightened state of alert since starting a “synchronised war on terror” in July, including airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and PKK bases in northern Iraq. Designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, the PKK launched a separatist insurgency in 1984 in the south-eastern part of the country. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict to date.


Updated: Saturday, 10 October, 2015 at 14:35 UTC
Two bomb explosions targeting a peace rally by leftist and Kurdish activists in Turkey’s capital on Saturday killed at least 86 people and wounded 186 others, Turkey’s Interior Ministry says. The explosions occurred minutes apart near Ankara’s main train station as people were gathering for the rally, organized by the country’s public sector workers’ trade union and other civic society groups. The rally aimed to call for an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces. It was not clear if the attacks, which came weeks before Turkey’s Nov. 1 elections, were suicide bombings. “There was a massacre in the middle of Ankara,” says the head of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions. “Two bombs exploded in very short intervals.” Television footage from Turkey’s Dogan news agency showed a line of protesters fanned out on the street near the train station, chanting and performing a traditional dance with their hands locked, when a large explosion hit behind them. An Interior Ministry statement condemned the attack, which it said “targets Turkey’s democracy and peace.” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called an emergency security meeting to discuss the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. In July, a suicide bombing blamed on ISIS killed 33 people in a town near Turkey’s border with Syria, and a leftist militant group has also carried out suicide bombings in Turkey.


Updated: Monday, 12 October, 2015 at 02:35 UTC
Nearly simultaneous explosions targeted a Turkish peace rally Saturday in Ankara, killing at least 95 people and wounding hundreds in Turkey’s deadliest attack in years – one that threatens to inflame the nation’s ethnic tensions. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were “strong signs” that the two explosions – which struck 50 meters (yards) apart – were suicide bombings. He suggested that Kurdish rebels or Islamic State group militants could be behind the attacks. The two explosions occurred seconds apart outside the capital’s main train station as hundreds of opposition supporters and Kurdish activists gathered for the peace rally organized by Turkey’s public workers’ union and other civic society groups. The groups planned to call for increased democracy in Turkey and an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces. The attacks Saturday came at a tense time for Turkey, a NATO member that borders war-torn Syria, hosts more refugees than any other nation in the world and has seen renewed fighting with Kurdish rebels that has left hundreds dead in the last few months. Many people at the rally had been anticipating that the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, would declare a temporary cease-fire – which the group did hours after the bombing – to ensure that Turkey’s Nov. 1 election would be held in a safe environment. Television footage from Turkey’s Dogan news agency showed a line of protesters Saturday near Ankara’s train station, chanting and performing a traditional dance with their hands locked when a large explosion went off behind them. An Associated Press photographer saw several bodies covered with bloodied flags and banners that demonstrators had brought for the rally. “There was a massacre in the middle of Ankara,” said Lami Ozgen, head of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, or KESK. Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said 62 of the blast victims died at the scene, while 24 others died after being taken to the hospital. “This massacre targeting a pro-Kurdish but mostly Turkish crowd could flame ethnic tensions in Turkey,” said Soner Cagaptay, an analyst at the Washington Institute. Cagaptay said the attack could be the work of groups “hoping to induce the PKK, or its more radical youth elements, to continue fighting Turkey,” adding that the Islamic State group would benefit most from the full-blown Turkey-PKK conflict. “(That) development could make ISIS a secondary concern in the eyes of many Turks to the PKK,” Cagaptay said in emailed comments, using another acronym for IS militants. The Turkish government imposed a temporary news blackout covering images that showed the moment of the blasts, gruesome or bloody pictures or “images that create a feeling of panic.” A spokesman warned media organizations they could face a “full blackout” if they did not comply. Many people in Ankara reported being unable to access Twitter and other social media websites after the blasts. It was not clear if authorities had blocked access to the websites, but Turkey often does impose blackouts following attacks. At a news conference, Davutoglu declared a three-day official mourning period for the blast victims and said Turkey had been warned about groups aiming to destabilize the country.




 Published time: 25 Sep, 2015 12:20
© Seven LE DUC
The French animal rights group, Cause Animal Nord, has come under fire after a video emerged of the activists taking away a puppy from a crying homeless man in central Paris.

The video shows the man fighting for his dog, but eventually losing out as three members of the group, including the organization’s president, seized the puppy and ran away. The homeless man was left in tears.

The cruel act has been condemned by the media and internet users. A number took to social networks to express their disgust, while others left highly critical messages on the organization’s Facebook page.

View image on Twitter

3 French animal rights activists steal puppy from homeless man, and put it up for adoption under the name “Vegan”:h…

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United Nations Farce: Saudi Arabia to Head UN Human Rights Council

The United Nations Security Council: An Organization for Injustice

All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action. (Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, 12 March 2007, Opening of the 4th Human Rights Council Session.)

Article 55 of United Nations Charter includes: “Universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

In diametrical opposition to these fine founding aspirations, the UN has appointed Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the United Nations Human Rights Council to head (or should that be “behead”) an influential human rights panel. The appointment was seemingly made in June, but only came to light on 17th September, due to documents obtained by UN Watch (1.)

… Mr Faisal Bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was elected as Chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.

As head of a five-strong group of diplomats, the influential role would give Mr Trad the power to select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.

Such experts are often described as the “crown jewels” of the HRC, according to UN Watch.

The “crown jewels” have been handed to a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. Saudi Arabia will head a Consultative Group of five Ambassadors empowered to select applicants globally for more than seventy seven positions to deal with human rights violations and mandates.

In a spectacular new low for even a UN whose former Secretary General, Kofi Annan, took eighteen months to admit publicly that the 2003 invasion of, bombardment and near destruction of Iraq was illegal, UN Watch points out that the UN has chosen: “a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key Human Rights panel …” (2)

In May, just prior to the appointment, the Saudi government advertised for eight extra executioners to: “ … carry out an increasing number of death sentences, which are usually beheadings, carried out in public” (3.)

Seemingly: “no special qualifications are needed.” The main function would be executing, but job description: “also involves performing amputations …”

The advert was posted on the website of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of the Civil Service.

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1987 photo of Mark 149 Mod 2 20mm depleted uranium ammunition for the Phalanx CIWS aboard USS Missouri (BB-63).

1987 photo of Mark 149 Mod 2 20mm depleted uranium ammunition for the Phalanx CIWS aboard USS Missouri (BB-63).

Gunner’s mates inspect linked belts of Mark 149 Mod 2 20mm ammunition before loading it into the magazine of a Mark 16 Phalanx close-in weapons system aboard the battleship USS MISSOURI (BB-63). (Uploader’s note, those are probably Firecontrolman, the maintainers of Phalanx, not Gunners mates.)


Service Depicted: Navy
Camera Operator: PHAN BRAD DILLON

Depleted Environment, Depleted Lives

Uranium Weapons Still Making Money, Wreaking Havoc


The US Army has awarded General Dynamics a $12 million contract to deconstruct and dispose of 78,000 depleted uranium anti-tank shells. The Pentagon’s May 6 announcement calls for “demilitarization” of the aging shells, as newer depleted uranium rounds are added to the US arsenal.

In the perpetually profitable business of war production, General Dynamics originally produced and sold some of the 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds to the Army. One of the richest weapons builders on earth, General Dynamics has 95,000 employees and sells its wares in 40 countries on six continents.

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons in Manchester, England, reports the armor-piercing shells to be disassembled are thought to be the large 105-millimeter and 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds.

Depleted uranium, or DU, weapons are made of extremely dense uranium-238. More than 700,000 tons of DU has been left as waste in the US alone from the production of nuclear weapons and nuclear reactor fuel rods. The urankum-238 is left when fissionable uranium-235 is separated for H-bombs and reactor fuel. DU is only ‘depleted’ of this U-235. It is still a radioactive and toxic heavy metal. A tax and ecological liability, DU is given away free to weapons builders.


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Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the enriching of natural uranium for use in nuclear reactors. When most of the fissile radioactive isotopes of uranium are removed from natural uranium, the residue is called depleted uranium. A less common source of the material is reprocessed spent reactor fuel. The origin can be distinguished by the content of uranium-236,[1] produced by neutron capture from uranium-235 in nuclear reactors.

As a toxic and radioactive waste product that requires long term storage as low level nuclear waste, depleted uranium is costly to keep but relatively inexpensive to obtain. Generally the only real costs are those associated with conversion of UF6 to metal. It is extremely dense, 67% denser than lead, only slightly less than tungsten and gold, and just 16% less dense than osmium or iridium, the densest naturally occurring substances known. Its low cost makes it attractive for a variety of uses. However, the material is prone to corrosion and small particles are pyrophoric. [2]


Depleted uranium was first stored in stockpiles in the 1940s when the U.S. and USSR began their nuclear weapons and nuclear power programs. While it is possible to design civilian power reactors with unenriched fuel, only about 10% of reactors ever built utilize that technology, and both nuclear weapons production and naval reactors require the concentrated isotope. Originally, DU was conserved in the hope that more efficient enrichment techniques would allow further extraction of the fissile isotope; however, those hopes have not materialized.

In the 1970s, The Pentagon reported that the Soviet military had developed armor plating for Warsaw Pact tanks that NATO ammunition couldn’t penetrate. The Pentagon began searching for material to make denser bullets. After testing various metals, ordnance researchers settled on depleted uranium. DU was useful in ammunition not only because of its unique physical properties and effectiveness, but also because it was cheap and readily available. Tungsten, the only other candidate, had to be sourced from China. With DU stockpiles estimated to be more than 500,000 tons, the financial burden of housing this amount of low-level radioactive waste was very apparent. It was therefore more economical to use depleted uranium rather than storing it. Thus, from the late 1970s, the U.S., the Soviet Union, Britain and France, began converting their stockpiles of depleted uranium into kinetic energy penetrators.

Photographic evidence of destroyed equipment suggests that DU was first used during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Various written reports cite information that was obtained as a consequence of that use.[1]

However, while clearing the decades-old Hawaii Stryker firing range, workers have found chemical weapons from World War I era and depleted uranium ammunition from the 1960s [3].

The U.S. military used DU shells in the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War (Associated Press, August 12, 2006, free archived copy at: most recently visited November 1, 2006).

Production and availability

Natural uranium metal contains about 0.71% U-235, 99.28% U-238, and about 0.0054% U-234. In order to produce enriched uranium, the process of isotope separation removes a substantial portion of the U-235 for use in nuclear power, weapons, or other uses. The remainder, depleted uranium, contains only 0.2% to 0.4% U-235. Because natural uranium begins with such a low percentage of U-235, the enrichment process produces large quantities of depleted uranium. For example, producing 1 kg of 5% enriched uranium requires 11.8 kg of natural uranium, and leaves about 10.8 kg of depleted uranium with only 0.3% U-235 remaining.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) defines depleted uranium as uranium with a percentage of the 235U isotope that is less than 0.711% by weight (See 10 CFR 40.4.) The military specifications designate that the DU used by DoD contain less than 0.3% 235U (AEPI, 1995). In actuality, DoD uses only DU that contains approximately 0.2% 235U (AEPI, 1995).


Depleted Uranium Stocks as of end of 1999
Holder Country Approximate DU Stocks [t U]
as UF6 as U3O8 as metal TOTAL
DOE external link, USEC external link USA a) 470,000 10,000 480,000
Russia b) 450,000 10,000 460,000
COGEMA external link, EURODIF France 50,000 140,000 190,000
BNFL external link United Kingdom 30,000 30,000
Urenco external link Germany, Netherlands, UK 16,000 16,000
JNC external link, JNFL external link Japan c) 10,000 10,000
CNNC external link China d) 2,000 2,000
KAERI external link Rep. of Korea 200 200
South Africa 4 69 73
TOTAL 1,028,204 160,069 1,188,273

t = metric tonne
a) As of mid-2000. See also: Compostion of the U.S. DOE Depleted Uranium Inventory (70k PDF).
For more recent and detailed data, download Inventory of depleted uranium tails, Oct. 2, 2007 external link (PDF – U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce)
b) Estimate based on: Depleted Uranium from Enrichment, Uranium Institute, London 1996
c) As of February 2001
d) As of end of 2000
Source: OECD NEA 2001

Source: WISE Uranium Project


 P R O G R E S S I V E  R E V I E W

Depleted uranium
Recycling death




Parrish’s team has found that DU contamination, which remains radioactive for millions of years, is in effect impossible to eradicate, not only from the environment but also from the bodies of humans. Twenty-three years after production ceased they tested the urine of five former workers. All are still contaminated with DU. So were 20 per cent of people tested who had spent at least 10 years living near the factory when it was still working. . .


GUARDIAN, UK – Depleted uranium, which is used in armor-piercing ammunition, causes widespread damage to DNA which could lead to lung cancer, according to a study of the metal’s effects on human lung cells. The study adds to growing evidence that DU causes health problems on battlefields long after hostilities have ceased.0508 05 1DU is a byproduct of uranium refinement for nuclear power. It is much less radioactive than other uranium isotopes, and its high density – twice that of lead – makes it useful for armor and armor piercing shells. It has been used in conflicts including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and there have been increasing concerns about the health effects of DU dust left on the battlefield. In November, the Ministry of Defense was forced to counteract claims that apparent increases in cancers and birth defects among Iraqis in southern Iraq were due to DU in weapons.

Now researchers at the University of Southern Maine have shown that DU damages DNA in human lung cells. The team, led by John Pierce Wise, exposed cultures of the cells to uranium compounds at different concentrations. The compounds caused breaks in the chromosomes within cells and stopped them from growing and dividing healthily. “These data suggest that exposure to particulate DU may pose a significant [DNA damage] risk and could possibly result in lung cancer,” the team wrote in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. . . Prof Wise said it is too early to say whether DU causes lung cancer in people exposed on the battlefield because the disease takes several decades to develop.
“Our data suggest that it should be monitored as the potential risk is there,” he said.


AUDREY PARENTE, DAYTONA BEACH HERALD, FL – Lori Brim cradled her son in her arms for three months before he died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Dustin Brim, a 22-year-old Army specialist had collapsed three years ago in Iraq from a very aggressive cancer that attacked his kidney, caused a mass to grow over his esophagus and collapsed a lung. The problems she saw during her time at Walter Reed, including her son screaming in pain while doctors argued over medications, had nothing to do with mold and shabby conditions documented in recent news reports. What this mother saw was an unexplainable illness consuming her son.

And what she has learned since her son’s death is that his was not an isolated case. Lori Brim has joined other parents, hundreds of other sick soldiers, legislators, research scientists and environmental activists who say the cause of their problems results from exposure to depleted uranium, a radioactive metal used in the manufacture of U.S. tank armor and weapon casings.

Health and environmental effects of depleted uranium are at the heart of scientific studies, a lawsuit in the New York courts and legislative bills in more than a dozen states (although not in Florida). . .

Despite a 1996 U.N. resolution opposing its use because of discovery of health problems after the first Gulf War, the military studies have concluded there was no evidence that exposure to the metal caused illnesses. . .

To the military, the effectiveness of weapons and armor made with depleted uranium outweighs any residual effects. Their bottom line: Depleted uranium saves soldiers’ lives in combat. . .

But Brim and others think there will not be enough known until soldiers are tested for exposure. They compare the debate over depleted uranium to the controversy surrounding Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam. Speculation over its effects continued for more than two decades before the Defense Department agreed to compensate veterans who suffered from ailments linked to its use. . .


MNA – Canadian research centers have reported that during the war against Iraq the U.S. military used depleted uranium weapons which caused the radiation level to rise at least 300 times above normal, and the weapons caused similar effects in Afghanistan.

U.S. troops have recently begun removing contaminated topsoil in Iraq, taking it to an unknown location. Scientists believe the next generation of children of citizens of both countries exposed to DU will suffer from higher rates of birth defects and cancer.

The Uranium Medical Research Center issued a report based on a 13-day survey throughout the primary conflict zones in urban and rural areas of central and southern Iraq on October 2003, according to Risq News. . .

The most disturbing circumstance was observed in the U.S. occupied base in southwestern Baghdad in the Auweirj district. It is close to the international airport and hosts one of the largest coalition bases around Baghdad, occupying the operational headquarters of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard. . . Departing the coalition-occupied base was a long, a steady stream of tandem-axle dump trucks carrying full loads of sand, heading south away from the city. Returning from the south was a second stream of fully loaded dump trucks waiting to enter the base. As the team passed the base’s main entrance, the gates were opened to reveal bulldozers spreading soil while front-end loaders were filling the trucks that had just emptied their loads of soil (silt and sand). The arriving trucks were delivering loads of sand into the base while the departing trucks were hauling away the base’s topsoil.


JUAN GONZALEZ, NY DAILY NEWS – Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from depleted uranium shells fired by U.S. troops, a Daily News investigation has found. They are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah. . . A nuclear medicine expert who examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four “almost certainly” inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with depleted uranium. Laboratory tests conducted at the request of The News revealed traces of two manmade forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers.








ROB EDWARDS, SUNDAY HERALD, UK – An expert report warning that the long-term health of Iraq’s civilian population would be endangered by British and US depleted uranium weapons has been kept secret. The study by three leading radiation scientists cautioned that children and adults could contract cancer after breathing in dust containing DU, which is radioactive and chemically toxic. But it was blocked from publication by the World Health Organisation, which employed the main author, Dr Keith Baverstock, as a senior radiation advisor. He alleges that it was deliberately suppressed, though this is denied by WHO.

Baverstock also believes that if the study had been published when it was completed in 2001, there would have been more pressure on the US and UK to limit their use of DU weapons in last year’s war, and to clean up afterwards. Hundreds of thousands of DU shells were fired by coalition tanks and planes during the conflict, and there has been no comprehensive decontamination. Experts from the United Nations Environment Program have so far not been allowed into Iraq to assess the pollution.


U.S. FORCES UNLEASHED at least 75 tons of toxic depleted uranium on Iraq during the war, reports the Christian Science Monitor. An unnamed U.S. Central Command spokesman disclosed to the Monitor last week that coalition forces fired 300,000 bullets coated with armored-piercing depleted uranium during the war. “The normal combat mix for these 30-mm rounds is five DU bullets to 1 — a mix that would have left about 75 tons of DU in Iraq,” wrote correspondent Scott Peterson. Peterson measured four sites around Baghdad struck with depleted uranium munitions and found high levels of radioactive contamination, but few warnings to this effect issued among the populace at large. While the Pentagon maintains that spent weapons coated with the low-level, radioactive nuclear-waste are relatively harmless, Peterson notes that U.S. soldiers have taken it among themselves to print leaflets or post signs warning of DU contamination. “After we shoot something with DU, we’re not supposed to go around it, due to the fact that it could cause cancer,” said one sergeant requesting anonymity.


PAUL KRASSNER, NY METRO – The officer came around a row of missiles, and Ethan asked him the question he had for him about his TAD request, and then asked him, “What the hell kind of missiles are these?”

“Those aren’t missiles; they’re cobalt jackets.”

“What are they for?”

“Well, this is ‘need to know,’ so keep your mouth shut, but they are designed to slide on over most of our conventional ordinance. They’re made out of radioactive cobalt, and when the bomb they’re wrapped around detonates, they contaminate everything in the blast zone and quite a bit beyond.”

“So they turn regular ordinance into nukes?”

“No, not exactly. The cobalt doesn’t detonate itself. It just scatters everywhere.”

“Well, what? Does the radiation kill people?”

“Not immediately. Cobalt jackets will not likely ever be used. They’re for a situation where the U.S. government is crumbling during a time of war, and foreign takeover is imminent. We won’t capitulate. We basically have a scorched earth policy. If we are going to lose, we arm everything with cobalt ­ and I mean everything; we have jackets at nearly every missile magazine in the world, on land or at sea ­ and contaminate the world. If we can’t have it, nobody can. . .

I emailed the anecdote to no-nukes activist Harvey Wasserman, author of The Last Energy War and co-author of The Superpower of Peace. I asked him to comment in a couple of hundred words:

“This nightmare has now essentially come true with the use of depleted uranium on anti-tank and other shells in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The military rationale is that the super-hard depleted uranium helps shells penetrate tanks and other hard structures. But the long-term effect is that the uranium vaporizes upon explosion and contaminates everything for hundreds of yards, if not miles.”



SARA FLOUNDERS, COASTAL POST, CA – In hot spots in downtown Baghdad, reporters have measured radiation levels that are 1,000 to 1,900 times higher than normal background radiation levels. It has also opened a debate in the Netherlands parliament and media as 1,100 Dutch troops in Kuwait prepare to enter Iraq as part of the U.S./British-led occupation forces. The Dutch are concerned about the danger of radioactive poisoning and radiation sickness in Iraq. Washington has assured the Dutch government that it used no DU weapons near Al-Samawah, the town where Dutch troops will be stationed. But Dutch journalists and anti-war forces have already found holes in the U.S. stories, according to an article on the Radio Free Europe website. . .

In this year’s war on Iraq, the Pentagon used its radioactive arsenal mainly in the urban centers, rather than in desert battlefields as in 1991. Many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and U.S. soldiers, along with British, Polish, Japanese and Dutch soldiers sent to join the occupation, will suffer the consequences. The real extent of injuries, chronic illness, long-term disabilities and genetic birth defects won’t be apparent for five to 10 years.

By now, half of all the 697,000 U.S. soldiers involved in the 1991 war have reported serious illnesses. According to the American Gulf War Veterans Association, more than 30 percent of these soldiers are chronically ill and are receiving disability benefits from the Veterans Administration. Such a high occurrence of various symptoms has led to the illnesses being named Gulf War Syndrome.


JAY SHAFT, COALITION FOR FREE THOUGHT IN MEDIA – In three separate interviews a U.S. Special Operations Command Colonel admitted that the U.S. and Great Britain fired 500 tons of DU munitions into Iraq. He has also informed me that the GBU-28 BLU 113 Penetrator Bunker Buster 5000 pound bomb contains DU in the warhead. Until now, as far as I know, the materials used to make the warhead of the GBU-28 have remained shrouded in mystery. He admitted that privately the Pentagon has acknowledged the health hazards of DU for years. . .

J.S.: What about the cities? Did you deliberately use DU on them?

U.S.C.: Let’s just say that we didn’t do anything to avoid using DU in cities or heavily populated areas. I know that I selected some DU bunker busters because of the fact that they have a high penetration factor. I used DU weapons exclusively on some targets so as to ensure maximum damage on those targets. You don’t want to just halfway destroy some targets, you want maximum damage. . .

J.S.: What about the health risks that are associated with DU? Or do you deny there are any?

U.S.C.: You are determined to get me to make a statement about the health risks aren’t you?

J.S.: If you will, I want to see what the behind the scenes view of DU is in the Pentagon.

U.S.C.: Well. . . (long pause, followed by heavy profanity). . . Okay, I’ll give you some dirt if that’s what you’re looking for. The Pentagon knows there are huge health risks associated with DU They know from years of monitoring our own test ranges and manufacturing facilities.

There were parts of Iraq designated as high contamination areas before we ever placed any troops on the ground. The areas around Basra, Jalibah, Talil, most of the southern desert, and various other hot spots were all identified as contaminated before the war. Some of the areas in the southern desert region along the Kuwaiti border are especially radioactive on scans and tests.
One of our test ranges in Saudi Arabia shows over 1000 times the normal background level for radiation. We have test ranges in the U.S. that are extremely contaminated; hell, they have been since the 80’s and nothing is ever said publicly. Don’t ask don’t tell is not only applied to gays, it is applied to this matter very heavily.

I know at one time the theory was developed that any soldier exposed to DU shells should have to wear full MOP gear (the chemical protective suit). But they realized that just wouldn’t be practical and it was never openly discussed again.

J.S.: So the stories that they know DU is harmful are true?

U.S.C.: Yes, there is no doubt that most high level commanders who were around during the 80’s know about it.

J.S.: So how do you feel about the fact that you exposed your own men to DU?

U.S.C.: F…k you!! What do you know about my job? I did what I had to do to take out the targets I was given. If it was necessary to use DU, than I put it in my target analysis reports. I didn’t actually fire the rounds myself; I work in a remote office.

J.S.: So you’ll never have to worry about being exposed to DU huh? Very brave.

U.S.C.: (lot’s of profanity) this interview is over with (more profanity, followed by the phone slamming down)


BBC – A United States defense official has said moves to ban depleted uranium ammunition are just an attempt by America’s enemies to blunt its military might. Colonel James Naughton of US Army Materiel Command said Iraqi complaints about depleted uranium shells had no medical basis. “They want it to go away because we kicked the crap out of them,” he told a Pentagon briefing.

If war starts, tons of depleted uranium weapons are likely to be used by British and American tanks and by ground attack aircraft. Some believe people are still suffering ill health from ammunition used in the Gulf War 12 years ago, and other conflicts. In the House of Commons in London on Monday, Labor MP Joan Ruddock said a test of the UK Government’s pledge to keep civilian casualties to a minimum in an attack on Iraq would include not using depleted uranium weapons.

Apparently anticipating complaints, the US defense department briefed journalists about DU – making it plain it would continue to be used. . .

Cancer surgeons in the southern Iraqi port of Basra report a marked increase in cancers which they suspect were caused by DU contamination from tank battles on the farmland to the west of the city. . . Depleted uranium is mildly radioactive but the main health concern is that it is a heavy metal, potentially poisonous. The likelihood of absorbing it is increased significantly if a weapon has struck a target and exploded because the DU vaporizes into a fine dust and can be inhaled. . .

A 1995 report from the US Army Environmental Policy Institute, for example, said: “If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences.”


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Ukrainian military simulate gunfight near Kramatorsk — self-defense militia

May 15, 21:35 UTC+4
The man who witnessed the events said “they were shooting at nowhere, in the sky and into the open field as there aren’t any woods nearby”


KRAMATORSK, May 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian military “simulated armed clashes” against a self-defense group on the outskirts of the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region, a representative of voluntary guard of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.


“A ten-vehicle-strong armored column under the cover of six helicopters entered the township of Solntsevo” and the entry was followed by brisk fire involving large-caliber automatic weapons,” he said. 

The man who witnessed the events said “they were shooting at nowhere, in the sky and into the open field as there aren’t any woods nearby.” Upon hearing the shooting, locals “took shelter in cellars.”

“There were no self-defense fighters in this area, to say nothing of bases,” he said.


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Ukrainian military storm Kramatorsk, 1 dead, 9 injured


Published time: May 02, 2014 20:05
Edited time: May 03, 2014 03:58

The Ukrainian army’s assault on Kramatorsk has finished, witnesses say, adding that the military did not enter the town. Preliminary reports say that one self-defense activist was killed and nine were injured.

It is unclear whether there are any casualties on the army’s side.

Meanwhile coup-appointed interior minister Arsen Avakov has said on his Facebook page that Kiev is not planning to stop the special military operation in Kramatorsk, adding that the military assault will continue at sunrise. He added that the military took control of a TV tower in Kramatorsk overnight.

“The military attacked the barricade on the road to Yasnogorka (town adjacent to Kramatorsk),” an eye-witness in Kramatorsk told RT when the assault started late on Friday. “The lights have been turned off on the nearby street. Shots are being heard across the city, signal rockets light up the sky from time to time. People are saying the Ukrainian army is shooting at everything that moves right now.”

Medics told RIA Novosti that 10 people sustained wounds, one of whom died in hospital. At least one of the injured is a woman. It was earlier reported that dozens had been killed or injured.

Meanwhile, the army has resumed its special operation in Slavyansk on Friday evening. The headquarters of the people’s self-defense is under snipers’ fire, according to Itar-Tass. There are reports of injuries among protesters.


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Three injured as Ukrainian military take control of Kramatorsk military airfield in Donetsk Oblast

The poster reads “Don’t shoot the citizens of Kramatorsk.”
© Anastasia Vlasova

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — For 30-year old Oleksiy, April 15 wasn’t a good day. He was one of 300 or so Russian-backed militants from Kramatorsk who attempted to take over the Ukrainian military airfield in Donetsk Oblast’s Kramatorsk.

But Ukraine’s army repelled them, in one of the first — and Ukrainians hope not the last — battlefield victories since April 6, when Kremlin-supported and heavily armed insurgents started taking over key government buildings and installations throughout Ukraine’s most populous oblast.

But contrary to Russian media reports that 11 people were killed, the Ukrainian military operation left only three wounded — including Oleksiy, who refused to give his full name. He was lucky to get away with a grazed hip when Ukrainian officers shot him. Two others weren’t so lucky and were hospitalized with more serious gunshot wounds. They are expected to live, however.

“Our guys only had three machine guns with them, and they weren’t the first to shoot. The soldiers started shooting at us when we just tried to enter the base,” said Oleksiy, who sounded surprised that he couldn’t enter a Ukrainian military base with a machine gun. His side got off some gunshots, but all missed their targets.

However, the crowd was ready for more violent attacks: They prepared dozens of Molotov cocktails, but never used them — just left them there, near the airfield gates.

The military airfield near Kramatorsk, a city of some 250,000 people, has been out of use for years.

However, when pro-Russian separatist protests escalated in Donetsk Oblast over the weekend, the old airfield sparkled suspicion among the local protesters. They expected the Ukrainian army to put it to use to bring troops to suppress the uprising, so they kept watch over it since April 12 and tried to gain entry on April 15 — which turned out to be a poor decision.


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Response to Ukraine’s use of UN symbols near Ukraine’s Kramatorsk matter of UN secretariat

May 15, 14:09 UTC+4

“This (use of UN symbols) is inadmissible according to UN rules,” Russian deputy minister of foreign affairs said
A helicopter seen in the background of a UN flag (archive)

A helicopter seen in the background of a UN flag (archive)




ST. PETERSBURG, May 15. /ITAR-TASS/. A response to Ukraine’s use of UN symbols on helicopter gunships which Ukrainian military forces use in a punitive operation near the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk is a matter of the international organization’s secretariat, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters on Thursday.


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Fighting in Slavyansk on Monday, chaos in Odessa, and entrenchment on all elevates talk of open war

– Jon Queally, staff writer

Pro-Russia gunmen on armored personal carriers passing by barricades on a road leading into Slavyansk. (Photograph: Darko Vojinovic/AP)


Interim president Oleksandr Turchynov on Monday was the latest to indicate that the spiraling violence in an increasingly divided Ukraine looks more and more like civil war as efforts to contain uprisings in the east against Kiev’s authority have only elevated the violence in recent days.

“War is in effect being waged against us, and we must be ready to repel this aggression,” said Turchynov in a televised address from Kiev and referring to violence in the cities of Odessa, Slavyansk, and elsewhere over the weekend.

According to Agence France-Presse, the latest high-level warning from Kiev comes as Ukraine spirals “further into a chaos that many fear could result in open civil war.”

Turchynov has called up additional forces and reintroduced conscription for military-aged Ukrainians citing fear of a Russian invasion on the eastern border.

This AFP video report shows how some regular Ukrainians are preparing for “civil war”:

Report: civilians in Ukraine ready for civil war

Meanwhile, in and around the city of Slavyansk on Monday, journalists reported that opposing factions were exchanging heavy gunfire and that loud explosions could be heard throughout the area.

And in Donetsk, militias opposed to Kiev’s rule and calling for a referendum vote on their autonomy have now taken full control of the city despite continued threats from the Ukraine army.

“What is happening in the east is not a short-term action,” said Vasyl Krutov, who heads the Kiev government’s military operations in the east. “This is essentially a war.”

As the following map by AFP shows, the number of cities in open revolt against the Kiev government is growing:

The Associated Press reports:

Ukraine is facing its worst crisis in decades as the polarised nation of 46 million tries to decide whether to look towards Europe, as its western regions want to do, or improve ties with Russia, which is favoured by the many Russian-speakers in the east.

In the last few weeks, anti-government forces have stormed and seized government buildings and police stations in a dozen eastern Ukrainian cities. Authorities in Kiev – who blame Russia for backing the insurgents – have up to now been largely powerless to react.

And since Russia has kept tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s eastern border – and annexed its key Black Sea peninsula of Crimea last month – Ukraine’s central government fears Russia could try to invade and grab more territory.

Since the government began trying to take back the buildings late last week, Slavyansk has been under a tight security cordon. Movement in and out of the city has ground almost to a halt, causing shortages in basic supplies. Lines have been seen at grocery stores.

The goals of the insurgency are ostensibly geared towards pushing for broader powers of autonomy for the region, but some insurgents favour separatism, and the annexation of Crimea looms over the entire political and military discussion.

Following Friday’s violence in Odessa and the growing number of revolts in the east, former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, spoke with Time magazine and made this warning: “The last 24 hours was a major escalation,” told TIME. “This is real. This is war.”


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President calls Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti ‘critical’

– Lauren McCauley, staff writer

In a deal penned Monday, President Obama cemented the U.S. military’s foothold in the drone war by signing a new long-term lease for Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. (Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense/ Creative Commons /Flickr))

The United States has agreed to sign a long-term lease agreement with the government of Djibouti, President Obama announced Monday, cementing the U.S. military’s presence at Camp Lemonnier, home to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and key foothold for the killer drone program.

In a statement announcing the agreement with Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, Obama hailed Camp Lemonnier’s “critical role as an operational headquarters for regional security,” emphasizing “the importance the base plays in protecting Americans and Djiboutians alike from violent extremist individuals and organizations.”

The only “official” U.S. base in Africa, Camp Lemonnier is known as the “busiest Predator drone base outside the Afghan war zone,” according to The Washington Post, and is central to drone operations in Somalia and Yemen. The base primarily serves the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and currently houses more than 2,000 U.S. personnel.

Human rights groups have accused Djibouti of being a “knowing participant” in the CIA’s rendition program and of housing CIA “black sites,” where prisoners of the U.S. military have been held and tortured.

According to an administration official, the $63 million per year lease permits to U.S. to keep personnel and equipment at the camp for an additional 10 years with options to renew, the Associated Press reports.

According to recent reporting by Nick Turse, investigative journalist with TomDispatch, the U.S. military has been working towards establishing a “permanent footprint” in Djibouti, awarding over $320 million in construction projects in 2013, including a $220 million Special Operations compound at the base.

During the meeting, Guelleh thanked Obama for U.S.’s development assistance to the poverty-stricken nation and said the base agreement would “reinforce our partnership and our relationship.”

Though largely undisclosed, the U.S. military’s presence in Africa extends far beyond the “official” base Lemonnier. As TomDispatch investigations have revealed, U.S. forces “average far more than a mission a day on the continent, conducting operations with almost every African military force, in almost every African country, while building or building up camps, compounds, and ‘contingency security locations.'”


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