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The Red Wrath on Ask David

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While fully committed to serious and objective nuclear talks, Iran calls upon 5+1 to reciprocally manifest their commitment

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Exclusive Interview with the Honorable Ambassador of Iran to Norway –

Seyed Hossein Rezvani

First of all we would like to thank you on behalf of The Oslo Times for accepting our invitation to share your candid views on the present situation of Iran’s position on nuclear programme and on the events arising in relation to it.

It is indeed a privilege to have you on The Oslo Times panel of exclusive interviews and we feel truly proud in welcoming you here.


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TOT: Recently the talks between Iran and P5+1 took place in Moscow. Is the outcome of talks was satisfactory to Iran and its interests? 

In the name of God, the Companion-ate, the Merciful

Iran’s Envoy: While fully committed to serious and objective nuclear talks, Iran calls upon 5+1 to reciprocally manifest their commitment.In recent talks between Iran and 5+1 (five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) in Moscow, both sides agreed that a technical group should discuss in detail the proposals by each side and hammer out a framework or a road map for the continuation of the talks. So a technical group is going to have a new round of talks on Tuesday in Istanbul.
It is clear that some members of 5+1 for whatever reasons apparently political ones, are not forthcoming and serious enough for finding a solution. If the talks do not proceed as it should be, another standoff in the talks can be expected. Therefore, this could be considered as a critical point in Iran’s talks with some members of 5+1.

TOT: With worsening Iran’s nuclear case with the international community, especially; with the West and the constant failures of the series of talks has resulted into more energy insecurities in the world. How Iran view these recent developments and escalations in the nuclear policy debate?


Iran’s Envoy:
The USA and certain Europeans have said that they are going to increase their pressure and sanctions against Iran and this by itself indicates that they are not willing to engage with Tehran in a meaningful dialogue.
It is to be reiterated that , oil embargo against Iran leads to further disruptions and insecurities of world energy market and consequently adds up to financial crisis in Europe . The 1+5 non-compliance with guiding principles of nuclear talks established during Istanbul II talks and absence of cooperative approach on their side is the primary cause for unsuccessful Baghdad and Moscow negotiations. Therefore it is necessary to address this issue and shed lights on the latest developments and to analyze the issue from the view point of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

What are the major obstacles or issues faced by Iran during talks with P5+1 group countries?
The main obstacle in Moscow talks as well as in Iran’s previous talks with 5+1 in Baghdad was the issue of Iran’s right to enrich uranium. This right stems from International law and Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). According to NPT developing, research, production and use of nuclear energy and having full national nuclear fuel cycle and enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes are among the inherent and inalienable rights of each sovereign member state.

One major issue during discussions with 5+1 in recent rounds of talks was an attempt to work out a framework for a comprehensive and targeted dialogue. Iran strongly believes that talks should not be for the sake of talks. Rather they should be conducted on good will, mutual respect and in a spirit of cooperation which can lead to tangible results. Therefore attitude and actions that go contrary to good will, spirit of cooperation and mutual respect are counterproductive and should be avoided.
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TOT: How Iran views the consideration or inclusion of NPT in the talks? And the kind of advantages which it brings with it for Iran?

Iran’s Envoy: NPT should also be considered as the benchmark for talks and all parties have to commit themselves to the rights and obligations specified in the NPT. Iran is strongly opposed to any preconditions particularly when they are outside the framework of NPT. Genuine commitment and cooperative approach are essential tools to enable both sides to successfully embark upon a new process of fruitful talks, which are comprehensive, sustainable and constructive. Iran is willing to have a mutually agreed long term solution. This could only come through tangible actions and on the basis of step by step approach, based upon principle of reciprocity. Iran is of the opinion that the legitimate rights as well as concerns of both parties should be fully recognized and addressed in an objective and comprehensive manner.

The main Iranian objective in the negotiations as well as cooperation with the IAEA is removal of any misunderstanding regarding its peaceful, transparent and legal nuclear activities within the framework of NPT. The Fatwa of the Supreme Leader is indeed supporting these facts. Iran believes that confidence building is a two-way street. In this regard Iran wants to normalize its nuclear file at the Board of Governors of IAEA by total termination of politicized and illegitimate Security Council as well as unilateral sanctions.

Iran is entitled to full enjoyment of its inalienable rights to peaceful nuclear technology as stipulated in the NPT and in compliance with regulations of the IAEA. While looking forward to achieve a sustainable nuclear cooperation and transfer of advanced technologies,  Iran also wishes to conclude a comprehensive agreement on collective commitments in the areas of economic, political, security and international cooperation.
Is there any proposal that has been submitted by Iran in the recently conducted talks?
In recent talks, the 5+1 presented a proposal as a road map to bridge differences and fined a diplomatic solution for Iran’s nuclear issue, but they said proposal is suffering from some shortcomings both in context and in the substance. The said deficiencies would be elaborated in following paragraphs.

Iran in turn proposal  “a framework for comprehensive and targeted dialogue for long term cooperation among 7 countries”  which consists of guiding principles, objectives, issues ,  structure of the process and reciprocal steps that would be explained. Furthermore, there will be a review of the right to enrichment in various international treaties and conferences such as NPT, the Special Session of General Assembly devoted to Disarmament in 1978, the Review Conferences of the NPT in 1975 and 2010 and the statement of the Non-aligned Foreign Ministers Meeting in May 2012 in Egypt.

TOT: What are the facts that have remained unheard or which the people are unaware about ‘Iran’s Nuclear Program’ and its policies towards it? 

Iran’s Envoy:               Some Facts on Iran’s Peaceful Nuclear Issue

•The Fatwa of Iran’s Supreme leader on nuclear weapons, 19 February, 2012:
“The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons, because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”
•Under International Law, “to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy, to have full national nuclear fuel cycle, and to enrich Uranium for peaceful purposes” is an inherent and inalienable right of each sovereign State.
•Taking into account the importance of diverse portfolio of energy sources, each State also has the “sovereign right to define its national energy policies, including fuel-cycle policies, without external pressure or interference.”
•These rights are based on the principle of “sovereignty of States” and also have been reaffirmed in particular by the NPT.
•Neither the NPT nor the IAEA Statute or Safeguards agreements and even the Additional Protocol, prohibit enrichment.
•In exercising these rights, NPT Parties have legal “obligation” “to prevent diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons.”
•Iran is firmly determined to exercise its inherent rights in all areas of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and fully committed to its obligations.
•Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA and the Agency’s inspections in Iran are unprecedented in the history of the IAEA.
•Continuous inspections in the most robust and intrusive manner, more than 4000 man-day routine inspections, and over 100 intrusive inspections are only some examples of Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.
•To date, no single evidence of diversion to military purposes has been found.
•Latest IAEA report corroborates Iran’s cooperation with Agency and peaceful nature of its nuclear activities. It states: “the Agency continues to conduct verification activities under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement” and “continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and Locations outside facilities declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement.”
•According to the report, despite sanctions, Iran’s nuclear activities, in particular in the area of enrichment and enrichment related technology are progressing.
•The said report states as well that Iran is not implementing Additional Protocol. The answer is clear: Additional Protocol is voluntary in nature and Iran has no obligation to implement it.
•To accept the Agency’s request to visit Parchin military complex does not fall within Iran’s legal obligations with respect to the NPT.
•Despite this, according to the IAEA’s November 2011 report, “the Agency was permitted to visit the site twice in 2005 and did not uncover anything of relevance.”
•As a confidence-building measure, Iran stands ready to provide access to Parchin, only when the agreement on modality is reached with the IAEA.
•Iran’s Natanz and Fordow facilities have been declared to the IAEA well in advance of the due date and in accordance with the Iranian obligations under IAEA Safeguards Agreement. Their activities continue to be under the IAEA constant monitoring.
•Earlier this year, the IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards visited Natanz and Fordow as well as other Iranian nuclear sites, including Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, Reactor and Heavy Water Production Plant at Arak, and the conversion and fuel fabrication facilities at Esfahan.
•Iran also provided the IAEA Deputy Director General access to an installation where Research & Development on advanced centrifuges was taking place, which is beyond Iranian obligations and also unprecedented in the history of IAEA inspections.
•In spite of the fact that the IAEA did not fulfill its obligations including delivery to Iran of the documents on the “Alleged Studies”, Iran did submit to the Agency its assessment in a 117-page document.
•As during recent talks with P5+1in Moscow demonstrated, Iran is determined to a faithful negotiations on interested issues to both parties based on mutual respect and a win-win solution.
•Iran proposed a road-map for negotiations which includes guiding principles, structure, issues and steps, according to that any step by one party should be responded by a homogeneous and simultaneous step by the other party.
•Iran made it clear that ambiguous and unrealistic proposals are counterproductive and may lead to more uncertainty between the parties.


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A WAR WITHOUT A CLEAR ENEMY – WAR ON DRUGS

In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared drugs as public enemy number one and introduced a war on drugs called “Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act 1970. The act was to set out to reduce or eliminate the production, supply and consumption of illegal drugs. As Nixon made the war official, it was actually Woodrow Wilson who had set a Narcotics Tax in 1914 and Reagan that left a lasting legacy in 1980s. After a year in the office, Reagan stated: “We’re taking down the surrender flag that has flown over so many drug efforts; we’re running up a battle flag.” With this, his administration introduced mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences resulting in an explosive rise in the American prisons that continues today.

Many consider the 1960s as a colorful time and the heyday of drug use where hippies smoked marijuana, children living in the ghettos pushed heroine and Timothy Leary, a Harvard professor urged the world to try LSD. But in fact some data of surveys done then tells another story. In a 1969 Gallup poll, only 4% of American adults said they had tried marijuana and parents would use scare tactics saying that marijuana would cause acne, blindness and sterility.

In the 1970s drugs became glamorous but were still misunderstood. The1981 book The Truth About Drugs — The Body, Mind and You by Gene Chill and John Duff asserted that cocaine wasn’t addictive and Gallup poll in 1973, 12% said they had tried marijuana.

During these 42 years, the U.S Government has spent $2, 5 trillion dollars fighting the “war on drugs”. Despite the ad campaigns, increased incarceration rates and a crackdown on smuggling, the number of illicit drug users in America has risen over the years and now sits at 19.9 million Americans and a large portion of their supply makes its way into the country through Mexico. The U.S. International Narcotics Control Strategy has reports that 90% of cocaine, for example, reaches the United States through its southern border and drug-related violence in Mexico has gotten so bad that it is now spreading over into states such as Arizona, which has suffered a rash of kidnappings and ransoms as well as Arizona’s 370-mile border with Mexico serves as the gateway for nearly half of all smuggled marijuana.

 

In the beginning…

How did this menace hit the continent? Well it started around 30 years ago when hundreds of thousands of Central Americans immigrated to the US, many illegally. While the generation that immigrated to seek a better life for themselves and their family worked hard, unfortunately many of their children grew up to become gang members involved in different criminal activity.

The Latin Kings are said to be the largest and most organized Hispanic street gang in America. This gang can be dated back to the 1940s in Chicago, Illinois when Puerto Ricans on the north side of the city and the Mexicans on the south side organized themselves into a defense group to protect their communities. Their main intention was to unite “all Latinos” into a group against any oppression and to help each other to overcome racism and prejudice.

The next and most vicious and dangerous of them all is MS”, “Mara”, or “MS-13, a criminal gang that originates from Los Angeles and has spread to Central America, Canada and many parts of the United States. The ethnicities vary from Salvadorans, Hondurans, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans.

 

 

 M18

The third largest is called 18th Street gang also known as M18, Calle 18, Barrio 18, La18 or Mara-18 in Central America. It’s a ruthless, multi-ethnic transitional criminal gang that started in Los Angeles, California and has tens of thousands of members in the city alone. Their membership goes from USA, Central America, South America and as far as to Australia.

FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiated in September 2005 a huge raid against suspected gang members making 660 arrests across the country. As many gang members were deported back to Central and South America, the crime and murders rose rapidly across Latin America. By 2005, homicides in Honduras had risen to nearly 2,500 a year for instance and these countries became a route for drug trafficking quite fast. The major findings in a report by the Justice Department’s National Gang Intelligence Center, which has not been publicly released, states that about 900,000 gang members live “within local communities across the country,” and about 147,000 are in U.S. prisons or jails. Same report also concludes that many states will experience an increased gang membership and crime activity as the gang member’s recruits new members from campuses and rural schools. The gang also uses the internet more sending encrypted emails either to recruit or communicate throughout the U.S. and other countries.

MEXICO – A country ravaged by drug

The exotic landscape draws many tourists every year and the financial district houses the Mexican headquarters of major corporations, Hewlett Packard and IBM including Mexico’s top private schools with heavily armed guards but as the fight against the drug cartels escalates, attackers and cartel members have reached into the most guarded districts.

When the United States Coast Guard shut down the Caribbean cocaine route, the trade shifted to Mexico.

This drug war has gone so far that it is threatening the stability of the countries in central and South America. Around 50,000 have died in Mexico including 3,000 public servants, policemen, soldiers, judges, mayors and dozens of federal officials and the violence is getting worse. The corruption and infiltration of cartels has spread to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and some Caribbean nations as well.

The Guatemalan government has lost large areas of the country and including some of its prison as the government has been infiltrated by the mafia. The countries of Central America’s northern triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) are now among the most violent places on earth and has become more deadlier even than most conventional war zones.

When Texas requested more National Guard protection from the Mexican drug cartels, the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair stated that the Mexican government had lost control of its own territory. President Felipe Calderón responded by pointing out that his nation shared a border with “the biggest consumer of drugs and the largest supplier of weapons in the world.”

The Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared a war against the drug cartels just day after being sworn into office in 2006 when he sent 6,500 troops to end the execution style killings between the two rival drug gangs. The following year, Calderón’s public security minister Genaro Garcia Luna removed 284 federal police commissioners; all suspected of corruption and replaced them with a hand-selected group of officers who successfully arrested several drug lords. The drug cartels answer to this was vicious violence where 5,300 people were killed in drug-related crimes in 2008 and over 1,000 have died this year.

The boys are searching for something they can be a part of, and the gang offers them all the things they miss in their life. Money, attention, unity and brotherhood but all this has a price. The boy says that the gang becomes their family and that they look after each other. The young boys who are picked up as members starts working as lookouts or guardians (little drug shops) and then they start getting paid for killing people. In Mexico Juarez, a person can get killed for 1000 pesos equal to $85. On the surface it looks like the perfect thing to join but the membership results in two things and that is either in prison or 6 feet under.

The city of Juarez, Mexico is right next to El Paso, Texas and it is the murder capital of the world and so far this year, more than 2,000 people have been murdered in the city.  Despite the efforts of the Mexicans government to tackle the situation, corruption has spread to all levels of the government that they feel like they are losing the fight. Some have even gone so far to state that it is far safer to travel to Afghanistan and Iraq today rather than to cities like Juarez.

The members of the drug cartels has done their part by guaranteeing that their drug reaches the U.S. this was shown when U.S. officials raided a southern California warehouse and discovered a lighted and ventilated tunnel that was 4 feet (1,21 meters) high and 1,800 feet ( 548,6 meters) long crossing into Mexico. 25 tons of Marijuana was seized during the raid. This tunnel was just one of the 75 tunnels along the Mexican border discovered the last 4 years.

In 2011, there were 1,200 National Guard Troops along the Mexican border while there are deployed more than 28,000 U.S. troops along the South Korean border with North Korea. It is being spent millions of dollars to secure this border and not one single unauthorized entry has happened across the Korean border and at the same time, the U.S. government has said that it cannot secure the U.S. border with Mexico as some in the Obama administration believes it would be “a violation of human rights” to put up a fence or to implement extra security on the border while the drug trafficking and violence continues to cross over the border and into the U.S.

Although Obama and his administration won’t admit it, it is in fact a shared war that they all have to take part in. The cocaine and other drugs smuggled and sold by the cartel is bought and used by Americans making them the largest consumers. The relationship is give and take and in return the cartels purchase weapons. The automatic weapons, from AK-47s to M4’s are almost 90% American made and purchased in the US legally. More than 6,700 licensed gun dealers have set up shop within a short drive of the 2,000-mile border, from Texas to San Diego, California. “Straw Buyers” purchase these weapons for traffickers at small gun shops and large gun shows. One Mexican -American once bought more than 100 assault rifles, 9-mm handguns and other high-powered weapons at multiple shops over several months and the cartel paid him $40 per gun.

According to Mexican government officials, as many as 2,000 weapons enter Mexico from the US daily and fuel an arms race between competing Mexican drug cartels and since 1996, a total of 63,000 guns have been smuggled into Mexico. This has leaded to that the Mexican cartels now control large areas of Mexican territory and dozens of municipalities as well as having influence in the politics.

 

Since 2007, a total of 7,882 drug cartel related deaths have occurred. In Iraq, the number of US soldiers killed since 2003, is less. The Mexican government has spent $7 billion to fight the drug cartels. In some cases, the government has sent 6000 soldiers to a province to fight the cartels.

The U.S. Justice Department has stated in the previous months last that the Mexican gangs are the “biggest organized crime threat to the United States.”

In Phoenix, Arizona, homicides have increased with kidnap and execution style killings. In Southern California, Americans have been abducted by armed groups tied to the Tijuana drug trade. In the past month, the town of Juarez, right across the US border had over 250 deaths and President Calderon ordered 5,000 more troops and federal police to the town but it seems like it hasn’t done any difference.

The drug traffickers working for the drug cartels are recruiting young boys and the younger they are, the better. Texas high schools have reported that cartel members have visited their campuses many times in search for young boys. In 2010, a 14 year old was arrested as he had become a head-chopping cartel assassin with no remorse. “I slit their throats,” he stated and his sister helped him to dump the bodies on the freeways. The boy with the nickname “El Ponchis” (The Cloak) was found guilty of torturing and beheading and was sentenced to three years in Mexico.

In September 2011, a sack of heads was found near an Acapulco elementary school and a blogging reporter’s headless corpse was dumped in front of a major thoroughfare in the Texas border town of Nuevo Laredo. Her head, along with headphones and computer equipment, was found in a street planter.

For decades, the Colombians would have the Mexicans transport cocaine for them unless they sent the cocaine directly into the U.S. on planes or speedboats but this came to an end in 1990 when the United States tightened the Colombians main smuggling point in the Caribbean and Florida and cooperated with the Colombian government to fight the cartels. The Colombians then had to rely on the Mexicans who used to smuggle across areas that was difficult to monitor. The Mexicans saw this as an opportunity and bought out every last single competitor and within few years, they gained dominance in the global illicit drug trade.

The number of people murdered in the drug war inside the United States between 2006 and 2010 exceeds the US-troop death toll in the Iraq War since it was launched in 2003, according to a Narco News analysis of FBI crime statistics.

The US drug-war homicide also is nearly three times greater than the number of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001, the same analysis shows.

Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, had the highest number of violent deaths at 1,206, followed by the beach resort town of Acapulco, with 795. But despite the high numbers of deaths, the Calderon administration takes credit for capturing 22 of 37 most important cartel leaders. Chris Sabatini, policy director for the Americas Society, stated naively that he didn’t expect the violence to spread over into the U.S. He doesn’t care much of it as long as the violence stays south of the border but the facts show that the cartels and violence is consuming the U.S. slowly but surely.

Legalized drugs – Desperate or a clever move?

Presidents from Guatemala and Colombia have raised the possibility of legalization in their countries and the region, with politicians from Costa Rica, Mexico and El Salvador joining the debate and possibility.

Although decriminalization doesn’t guarantee and end to the violence and crime, it could give the government some free space and profit the supporters suggest. This suggestion is supported by many business man as well as the drug war and crimes has caused problems for Latin America’s business and economics by weakening the state institutions, infiltrating judicial systems and the government.

The debate over the legalization was brought by the Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina. When he met with the Salvadorian President Mauricio Funes at the summit, he proposed decriminalizing the drug war in Central America as a way to put an end to the violent cartel activity that is moving through the region leaving many deaths behind them. Funes seemed to like the idea in Guatemala City but by the time he returned home, he had a change of heart. “I am not in agreement with decriminalization of production, trafficking or consumption of drugs,” he said in an attempt to “avoid erroneous interpretations.” This did not come as a surprise as the region is dependent and under a strong influence of the U.S. who is against legalization. To legalize is a bold move and it would most probably not work for the U.S. if the government legalizes the use of marijuana, then that means that people will be able to buy it from other places rather than only from drug dealers leaving other stronger drugs behind. To sell these other drugs will either be easy or hard since people will use more marijuana than other drugs because its legal and drug dealers and cartels will become more violent and aggressive to sell the other drugs as well. For one thing, if marijuana makes up 60 percent of the cartels’ profits, that still leaves another 40 percent, which includes the sale of methamphetamine, cocaine, and brown-powder and black-tar heroin. If marijuana were legalized, the cartels would still make huge profits from the sale of these other drugs as people can buy marijuana from drug dealers who can push stronger drugs on them at the same time.

The positive and negative sides of this issue can be seen in countries and cities that has legalized and liberalized the law are:

Portugal

In 2001, Portugal became the first European country officially to abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs. Those found guilty of possessing small amounts are sent to a panel made up of a psychologist, a social worker and a legal adviser who will advise on appropriate treatment.

Italy

Drug laws were relaxed in 1993 to define very small amounts of drugs (usually less than half a gram) as being for personal use. People found with smaller amounts do not face criminal prosecution, though they are placed on a users’ register.

California

The passing into law of Proposition 215 in November 1996 did not legalise marijuana in California but created a new exemption from criminal penalties for its medical use for those with a doctor’s recommendation, which can be made either in writing or verbally. This November the state will vote on a plan, called Proposition 19, to let adults possess small amounts of marijuana and let local government tax its sale.

The Netherlands

The Dutch classify cannabis in all its forms as a soft drug and the smoking of it, even in public, is not prosecuted. Selling cannabis, although technically illegal, is widely tolerated in coffee shops which, however, must keep to a five gram maximum transaction and sell only to adults. Recent moves have been made to tighten these controls in response to drug tourism.

Switzerland

Zurich’s Platzpitz park needle exchange project in the mid-1980s led to the decision by authorities not to police the park on the grounds that it would focus drug use in one place. The experiment ended after the number of addicts in the park rose from a few hundred in 1987 to more than 20,000 in 1992.

Obama’s failed war

When President Obama head to Colombia last week for the Summit of the Americas, he was going to face some difficult and important questions that no president before him has really had to answer. As the U.S. drug war entered its fourth decade, the leaders of South and Latin America are demanding changes and reforms from the largest importer and consumer of drugs but they failed to come to an agreement as several key leaders failed to show up to the meeting.

 

Since the 1970’s, the U.S. government has pursued a militarized and aggressive policy against illicit substances. Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil have all taken steps towards decriminalization as they have suffered the most from ruthless cartels. Guatemala’s new President, Otto Perez Molina, a former general believes in decriminalizing the narcotic trade saying this would get remove money laundering, smuggling, arms trafficking and corruption not to mention the violence and deaths.

President Obama admitted in January 2004 that the war on drugs was failing:”The war on drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws..We need to rethink how we can operate the drug war”. Since then, he has shown little interest on the war on drugs. He knows that he cannot end the drug war but has urged to focus on increased prevention and treatment over incarcerations after being too much focused on arrests.

 

U.S. authorities say that there are now over 1 million members of criminal gangs operating inside the United States and according to federal statistics; these 1 million gang members are responsible for up to 80% of the violent crimes committed in the U.S. each year. A growing percentage of It is Spanish speaking gangs are becoming a dominant key factor in every city in the United States.

 

The White House on their side defenses their war by presenting some facts:

  • Overall drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past thirty years. The number of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly half what it was in the late 70’s.
  • There has been a 46% drop in current cocaine use among young adults over the past five years, and a 68% drop in the rate of people testing positive for cocaine in the workplace since 2006.
  • The potential production capacity for pure cocaine in Colombia has declined from an estimated 700 metric tons of potential cocaine production in 2001 to only 280 metric tons in 2009 —a 60% drop.
  • Legalization remains a non-starter “because research shows that illegal drug use is associated with voluntary treatment admissions, fatal drugged driving accidents, mental illness, and emergency room admissions.”

 

Statistics

When Nixon announced the war on drugs in 1971, the US kept just 0.2% of its population behind bars but today, it incarcerates close to 0.8% of its population – 2.25 million Americans. A further 5 more million are on parole or probation. In total, more than 7 million people in the US are under correctional supervision. If they were all gathered together they could form the 13th biggest state of the union by population. Most of the prisons are overcrowded and private prisons are increasing as it profits unbelievably. Human rights organizations have long condemned the “inhuman exploitation in the United States” where it is said that the prisons house over 2 million – mostly African-American and Hispanics coming as no surprise. For the tycoons who have invested in the private jails, this is a working goldmine for them. Here the prisoners come to work every single day and work full time without any excuse and vacation, and if they aren’t happy about the 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they just get locked up in isolation cells. Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations. Some of the companies are IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling as warm bread.

Corporate stockholders making money off the prisoner’s do everything they can for longer sentences in order to expand their employment rather than rehabilitate the inmates. A study presented by the Progressive Labor Party accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.” An example of this is the prison in Virginia, Lawrenceville where the CCA has an ultra-modern prison where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for “good behavior,” but for any infraction, they get 30 days added – which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost “good behavior time” at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.

Another helpful thing was the passage of the “three strikes law” (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies). This made the already existing prisons overcrowded and necessary to build 20 more new federal prisons.

According to California Prison Focus, no other society in the world and in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens. From less than 300,000 in 1972, inmates increased to 2 million by the year of 2000, minus those with probation. This is the opposite of what Obama suggested years ago, rehabilitation rather than punishment but it has obviously been failing as notorious gang members who enter prison continues to commit crimes inside and outside when they are released. Other Gang leaders give orders from prison to those on the outside such as selling drugs and committing murder. But it doesn’t stop there, because the drugs reach all the way into the prisons as well. Most of it is smuggled in by visitors or sent in by different techniques or smuggled in and sold by “dirty” prison guards.

The National Survey on Drug Use estimates that almost 23 million Americans are illicit drug users making it 8,9% of its adult population from 2008-2009 when it was only 8%. The number of marijuana users has gone up from 14.4 million in 2007 to 17.4 million in 2010. As illicit drugs, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and some other prescription drugs was used making marijuana the most commonly used drug with more than 17 million users in 2010. This is because marijuana is the most common drug for first-time users, according to the study. Among people who started using drugs in the year before the survey, 62% said they first used marijuana, 26% first used prescription drugs like tranquilizers and stimulants, and 9% first used inhalants.

America is clearly going on the wrong track when it comes to the war on drugs and their imprisonment habits. Instead of focusing on putting drug users behind bars to profit from them, they should focus more on treating this as an illness, not as a crime. People need help to fight the need and urge for drug or to treat the problem that pushes them to use drugs. Those who are guilty are the drug smugglers and sellers who profits from consumers. U.S. should rather target the big fish in the pound and legalizing is not the answer. That would mean going from bad to worse.

 

Hatef Mokhtar

Acid Violence: Consuming Humanity

A form of violent assault, acid attack is formally defined as the act of throwing acid into the body of someone else with the intentions of disfiguring or injuring out of jealousy or revenge. The statistics show that more than eighty percent of the acid attack victims all over the world are women and children. Although quite prevalent even in states of America and other developed nations, acid violence seems to be almost unique to the Africa and South Asia region with most incidents happening in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
These acid attacks happen all over the world but are notably more prevalent in Cambodia and India as well due to the cheap prices and easy availability of acid.A large number of Indian households use concentrated acid to sterilize their kitchens and bathrooms, as Americans use bleach.
The studies carried out across the world have revealed that most of these acid attacks are used as punishing measures towards women who have refused to accede to the commands of the men. These acid attacks are used as tools against the women who have in general stood against the atrocities of men. The effect of these acid attacks on their lives has been destructive and these women are often forced to face social isolation and ostracism from their community. The physical and psychological trauma of such incidents is enormous and long-lasting. A large number of these acid attack victims also develop suicidal tendencies due to the fear of rejection and agony of living forever with these marks.
The results of these acid attacks are heinous. The acid generally eats through the skin and bone of the victims, leaving burn marks which can permanently disfigure, maim and kill them. Apart from personal reasons like family disputes, estranged lovers and domestic violence, these attacks are also widely used to mar the physical attractiveness of women in a lot of cases.
With the world moving towards complete transformation into a technological hub where men and women are given equal rights and opportunities to grow as a career oriented professional, it is gruesome to see that such heinous acts of crime are like a slap on the face of development.
Of the total registered cases of acid attacks, a large percentage is contributed by domestic violence and family disputes. It has been observed that in a lot of cases, men have attacked their wives with acid when they simply refused to succumb to their demands such as throwing themselves into prostitution to fend for money and refusing to give their consent for the second marriage of their husband.

“I screamed in pain. Acid burns immediately. It is like when you light a piece of paper and how fast the flames consume it. That is how the acid works. It moves inside, consuming you.” woman in Uganda who was a victim of acid attack recalled her memories.

In India, a large number of cases of acid attacks have been the result of love relationships gone sour. Often, a large number of rejected lovers tend to take up to this crime when they feel that the girl they love is not responding accordingly or has out rightly rejected their proposal. The fear of seeing the one you desire going up with someone else is something which takes the human out of the person’s mind.
In Afghanistan and Pakistan majority of women faced acid attacks as part of their domestic violence sufferings. Countless women have faced the horror of this in human acts of violence at the hands of their husbands and in laws. These incidents have not only ruined the lives of victim but also affect many others of the same gender psychologically.
The terror of acid in most these victimised regions are such that women now feel insecure to their very life and safety whether they are alone or at home.
This has also been observed that a large number of these cases remain unregistered and therefore a lot of victims fail to receive any help from the concerned agencies. In a large number of such cases, due to acute scarcity of money, these victims don’t even get proper medical treatment and have to live with this agony for the remaining parts of their lives.
Apart from the fear of being burnt and disfigured, perhaps the most dangerous thing about these acid attacks is the fear that is created by these attacks. Some time back, a case was reported in Afghanistan, where some bikers had thrown acid on a group of school going girls to create havoc and to send across a clear message to their parents to keep their daughters at home. Backed by Taliban, this attack was largely condemned all over the world.
It is high time that the people around the world should realise that they are humans and not mere animals who can kill or slaughter anyone else to fulfil their own petty interests or to avenge something which could simply be overlooked as something extremely trivial.
Besides, it needs to understood by men that women, often known as the fairer sex, are not mere toys to seek pleasure and be thrown once used. They are also human, who have equal intellectuality as men. This should now be accepted by people that women can actually contribute a lot to the development of the households and society at large and that they should be given equal opportunities like men. Not merely chopped and burnt when desired!
On behalf of the entire team of The Oslo Times, I strongly criticise these acid attacks that have tarnished the fabric of humanity all over the world and request to the authorities and influential people in various regions to come forward and help these women whose life is being spoilt by this act of tyranny by some inhuman cluster of people.
The governments around the world should banned and regulate the retailing of such harmful and destructive chemicals which are being sale openly in the consumer market and are easily available to any common person without any check or purpose. We should by all means try and make this world a better place to live in, not a hell where nothing good can be expected.

My words and my answer to those who hate me

I am a brave person with a power of confidence and knowledge who have always accepted risk in his life and I have enjoyed standing against extremism. Do what you want to do, do whatever you can do. I am a lion whose nature is to die like a soldier and live like a leader.

Two Faces of One Coin: Extremism and Fascism

The world has known, for centuries, extremism where the norms are breached by those who wish to carry on with their un-adjustable approach in the society. It flourishes where there is no acceptance to the national political system or the existence of suppressive local customs. As the human civilization progresses and develops complexities in terms of territory, race, linguistic, tribe, culture, religion and many such things which were created and formed by man to make his own world of creations and justice.

Extremism has existed in each and every corner of this world since ages. No matter which religion you follow or believe, you will come across a stream of generation which believes in going beyond the defined norms of that sect. Earlier when the world was witnessing revolutions headed by the numerous prophets in every age of the angelic era the extremism was defined on the religious terms and was being termed as the religious extremism whose motive was to just spread their religion on to others. Then as the world moves and various distinct religions established their sphere this divided the entire generations of the human race into world of racism and discrimination. The new forms of once a single meaning word of extremism whose definition used to be just one and on one ground now was on the path of the transformation where the differences in the ideology which the various religions brought with them started to create the fault line between the personal norms and the norms of others who do not follow your norms. The most long serving example of this divide which goes beyond the lines of every norm set by the human society is between the Jews and the other global religions which has given rise to countless forms of extremism along with their own senseless and inhuman reasons. In today’s world which has survived the worst wars, genocides and natural disasters has now come to a point where it faces the threat of extremism in various forms and it kinds.

Modern and Historical forms of Extremism as defined by many scholars:
1.) Racial / Ethnical: This form is one of the forms of extremism which was developed in the era of imperialism when powers from around the world were fighting wars to establish their foothold and when they started to indulge in the slave trade. This form over the years has developed into a much common and wide spread form of extremism where it too has developed many sub categories of its own like: racial extremism against foreign immigrants / developing of gethos or restricted neighborhoods for specific community / organized racial or ethical gangs like Skin Heads of UK specifically in London, Nazis of Russia specifically in Moscow.

2.) Cultural Extremism: Cultural extremism happens when a community / state or a person forces others to accept its culture and its norms without giving or recognizing targeted community / society / group/ person its culture and values. The laws related to Blasphemy sometimes shows and present the picture of forcible and unacceptable behavior of one’s culture and acceptance to it which are mostly designed to curtail it and suppress the rise of others other than the state. Just like the laws related to Blasphemy in Pakistan.

3.) Religious Extremism: When a religious group of fundamentalists supports an ideology which goes beyond the set and accepted norms of religion and when other religions and neutrals within their own society start to feel their unwanted enforcement the modern examples where it has existed throughout in the countries are: Arab Jewish conflict, Pakistan Republic and Fundamentalists, Taliban etc.

4.)  Theological Extremism: When a particular religious faction imposes its belief or tries to suppress another of its kind with a different theological setup nevertheless this kind of large scale wide spread extreme perceptions and unaccepted suppression can be seen in the more organized political and recognizable framework of a new political distinction of extremism which is fascism.

The countries where one can witness these kinds of extremities of distinct theologies. Shiaite Iran suppressing Sunni minority, Alawite Minority regime suppressing and enforcing norms on Sunni majority and Kurds in Syria, Kurds and Shia minorities being suppressed by Sunni majority in Iraq, various ideological factions in Pakistan and Afghanistan suppressing each other’s and enforcing their ideologies in forcible manner by implementing extreme measures to spread their cause and mindsets.

Theological differences in Hinduism and Sikhism in India, Various existing ideologies among Buddhism and Buddhist majority countries like the one among Chinese Han and Tibetans, Mongoloids and Chinese, Differences between and un-acceptance in Indian – Chinese.

5.) Political extremism: It belongs mostly to a much more advanced form of extremism known as fascism where the leader and his regime has national interests at large for the entire country instead of self-satisfying public interests as in democracies. This kind of extremism exists in the societies and flourishes where public is upset with the national form of governmental setup and policies, extreme national isolation in the state, high level of suppression and discrimination among various communities in the state and enforcement of unacceptable laws which hinders and endangers their communal or linguistic or religious identities. The best real life examples of it can be seen in history as well as in today’s world like Nazism in Germany which gone against the existence of Jewish community which faced a horrible holocaust at the hands of state. Syrian Alawite regime of Assad and his son Bashar, Late Col; Gaddafi and his rule of fist in Libya over other tribes and communities, Iranian Shiaite regime in Iran suppressing other minorities like Sunni, Bahai, Zoroastrian. Burmese Military Junta headed government, China’s communist government and its suppressive policies over its people and other communities living in autonomous regions and even sometimes goes beyond the national boundaries of it like affecting Taiwan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, Japan, India, Russian far east, Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang. Serbia – Bosnia crisis, Kosovo crisis, Belarus, Saudi Arabia’s monarchy famous for its beheading convictions and other extreme judicial measures. Suppressive policies of North Korean regime and its Kim family.

6.) Militancy / Terrorism / Revolutionaries: This is the most modern form of extremism which has now evolved as one of the most sophisticated forms of extremism challenging the entire global political, economic, bureaucratic setup of the global community. These kinds of extreme existence and buildup works like a parallel government and system to the national framework where the national domain exists within the purview of the state but has no control and jurisdiction over the social setup and accessibility to the affected region sometimes even the government too gets involved in taking the extreme measures like by implementing draconian laws which provides much larger role to the defense forces and its paramilitaries.

This has now become the most visible and practicable form of extremism which has lured and is attracting millions across the globe to carry out its revolution through destructive means. The examples of this kind can be easily seen and monitored in various countries which too includes some of the most prosperous and developed countries like: Chechnya in Russian Federation, Naxalities / Maoists / North – East Separatist Groups / Khalistanis / Kashmir freedom movement in India, Maoist movement in Nepal, erstwhile LTTE in Sri-Lanka, Separatist movements in Indonesia, Baluchistan freedom movement, Waziristan – FATA regions, Gilgit – Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Sind freedom movement in Pakistan, Kurdistan freedom movement in Iraq, Separatist movement in Yemen, IRA in Northern Ireland – UK, PLO movement in Palestine and Israel, Turkistan freedom movement – Xinjiang, Tibetan movement in China, Militancy affected Northern Burma, Somalia – terrorist ruled state, DRC and ROC in twin Congo’s affected by prolonged civil war, militancy and revolutionaries movements and their buildup can be seen in throughout African continent the countries which are affected are: Liberia, Somalia, DOC, ROC, Central African Republic, Chad, Western Sahara – Morocco, Angola, Uganda, Rwanda who witnessed history’s worst genocide, Sudan – South Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast. ETA armed campaign in Basque province of Spain. FARC, ELN, Para military in Columbia, Chechnya crisis in Russia, Hindu – Sikh – Muslim terror outfits and organization activities in India.

7.) Lingual extremism: This basically reflects the un-identification of other spoken languages in the state over the national lingua-franca chosen or decided by the state. It is also one of the most ancient form of extremism where state forcibly implements the policy of on other lingual communities and their stream of dialects spoken by them are denied the national recognition and importance as an accepted workable script. The state imposes and forces the alien communities to learn and accept officially the national language or other as chosen official by it on the specific community or tribe. The examples of its kind are: republics or communities of central Asian and eastern Europe under Soviet control were forced to adopt Russian as their mother tongue while their local dialects or even practicing of it or studying were banned or in some areas restricted to a confined quarters. Autonomous regions and communities living in these regions in China face the same, many tribal areas and the communities living in these regions in India also witness the extreme enforcement policies or authoritarian behavior by the local authorities to accept Hindi as their language. Most of South Asian Pacific countries too witnessing the same kind of extreme measures taken by their respective governments sometimes in the shape of judicial framework, sometimes through research policies in the national or local language in the name of making it more compatible to outside world. The most extreme behavior was seen during the imperial era or the age of colonialism when European powers took some extreme measures and gone beyond the human norms to force the acceptance of their national languages like English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish etc to be accepted by their slave and the communities living in their captured / invaded colonies as their mother language. The example of European colonial era’s lingual extremism can be seen in the countries of Africa where French is the most widely spoken language of many countries as their national language, Some countries of Asia like India and other South Asian countries where English has become the second official language after their national language, Oceania – Australia and New Zealand where English is treated as the mother tongue even of the natives who have lived there since the early years of human civilization, South and Latin Americas where on one hand Brazil has become the largest country outside Portugal to speak Portuguese as the national language and with the rest of countries in the continent adopted Spanish as their mother tongue hence; shredding their national and cultural identities defined by their extinct lingual patterns, North America where English has become their mother tongue and in some quarters being a French exception like Quebec in Canada.

http://theoslotimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1223:the-inhuman-governance-fascism&catid=127:editorial&Itemid=644

India, the country ruled by a number of colonial powers has seen it happening in its own boundary where in one part Portuguese is still widely spoken and is an official language of many states ruled by Portugal, French also has an official status in some states which were once ruled by and got independence from France and it is the second most widely spoken European language in India after English.

As discussed in these points Fascism also reflects the organized form of self-styled governance by the state where nationalism is of the outmost importance and personal priorities has no space in the national agenda.
These kinds of regimes and ideologies are popular and exist where national spirit is very high and parties gains the support by large national majorities. Its major and sole aim is to live up to its nation and increase the level of national identity in the international arena against the more democratic and public favored policies.

Fascism can never stand against the regimes which support democracy and where demand for values of human rights is more important for the public. Fascist regimes practice the single party form of government where only the ruling party has vested powers for its interest prioritizing the national interests of the country while being expansionist in nature. Fascism introduced no systematic exposition of its ideology or purpose other than a negative reaction against socialist and democratic egalitarianism.

Many says mostly Europeans that Fascism was born during the pre-world War II era but my point is to bring to the notice of all those who have shrunken its definition and its origins. Fascism does not belong or was born during Hitler’s time even though the term got originated by then but if we have look at the history the old form of fascism has always remained in the kingdoms or sometimes we call it more popularly monarchies. Both the systems have many similarities in functioning, in terms of nationalism, rulings, suppression and even in its authoritarian nature like in absolute monarchies there is only a family who rules the nation and its people, which has the vast interests of the supreme national priorities going beyond even the borders of its own kingdom.

Fascism became advanced during WWII when Hitler and Mussolini came to power and gave the new definition of a rule which, though, was directly controlled by a leader and single party but has the reference towards the kind of royal functioning just like in many existing absolute monarchies for example of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain where people have no say or control over their rights and their choice but have the acceptance of the suppressive policies formulated by their direct rulers or the dictators. In the same manner Fascism is a term which gives an organized and sophisticated meaning to its older version of monarchy.

The major difference between the two is that in fascist regimes people are from general background or are revolutionaries who have large national agendas for their people and nations but has no values for human rights as if the people has their rights then the nation cannot be united at one front to serve the common interest of the country for which the leader who is leading a fascist state has much larger role to play for building the nationalism. Fascism though is an umbrella word for most of the direct single party regimes which though have the characteristics of fascism but also differentiate on many grounds with each other as these regimes are mostly based on self-styled rule of their respective leaders where the difference lies in terms of the kind of ideology being followed and the nature of their national interests. However these regimes no matter how much they differentiate with each other’s similar format they have at least some characteristics in them always and these are:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Gender bias-nous – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often is the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police is given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Overall when we say and have a look extremism and fascism no matter how differentiated they look but both these terms are just the two faces of one coin which has only hurt and wounded the human civilization since the time unknown sometimes in the name of religion, sometimes in the name of culture / community and sometimes just for their own personal interests. These terms are not and nothing to do with any religion or community or culture it exists everywhere and in every community or religion no matter whether it is Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or anyone.

The media and the responsible agencies must take the responsibility to come out of their stereotyping nature and vision. & stop propaganda about which has nothing to do with humanity and justice. I request on the behalf of The Oslo Times team and network that media should stop making the villains heroes and the heroes into villain. Media is an eye of the public and ear of its nerve so, if it plays the irresponsible role then who the public would trust and believe.

Major events in 2011.

January

January 1st – Estonia adopts the Euro currency and becomes the 17th Eurozone country.

January 4th – Prince Ali-Reza of Iran, born 1966, commits suicide. Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia dies after burns of self immolation.

January 9th-15th – Southern Sudan holds a referendum on independence. The Sudanese electorate votes in favour of independence for the creation of the new state in July.

Flooding in Brazilian state, Rio de Janeiro kills 903.

January 14th – Arab spring. The Tunisian government falls after a month of violent protests and President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in power.

January 24th – 37 people are killed and more than 180 wounded in a bombing at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia.

February                          

February 11th – Arab spring. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns after unrest and protests calling for his departure. The control is left in the hands of the military until general elections can be held.

February 22nd – March 14th – Uncertainty over Libyan oil output causes crude oil prices to rise over 20% over a 2 week period following the Arab spring causing the 2011 energy crises.

February 27th – 25th Prime Minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan passes away, born 1926.

March

March 4th – Dutch Nobel physicist, Simon van der Meer, born 1925 passes away.

March 11th – A 9.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hits the east of Japan killing 15,840 and leaves 3,926 missing. Tsunami warnings are issued in 50 countries and territories and emergencies are declared at 4 nuclear power plants affected by the quake.

March 15th – Arab spring. Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain declares a 3 month state of emergency as troops from the Gulf Co-operation Council are sent to quell the civil unrest.

March 17th – Arab spring. Arab spring and the Libyan civil war; The United Nations Security Council votes 10-0 to create a no-fly zone over Libya in response to allegations of government aggression against civilians.

March 19th – Arab spring and the Libyan civil war; continuously attacks on Libyan rebels by forces in support of leader Muammar Gaddafi leads to military intervention authorized under UNSCR 1973 begins as French fighter jets make reconnaissance flights over Libya.

April

April 5th – Anna Hazare began his famous faste at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to press for the demand to form a joint committee of the of the representatives of the Government and the civil society to draft a stronger anti-corruption bill with stronger penal actions and more independence to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Ombudsmen in the states), after his demand was rejected by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He said he wanted to fast until the Lokpal bill was passed. The movement attracted attention in the media, and thousands of supporters. Almost 150 people reportedly joined Hazare in his fast. People have shown support in internet social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

April 11th – Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is arrested in his home in Abidjan by supporters of elected President Alassane Ouattara with support from French forces ending the 2010 – 2011 Ivorian crises and civil war.

April 29th – The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.

May

May 1st – May 2nd – U.S. President Barack Obama announces that Osama bin Laden, founder of the militant group Al Qaeda has been killed during an American military operation in Pakistan.

May 14th – 32 year old maid, Nafissatou Diallo, at the Sofitel New York Hotel alleged that Strauss-Kahn had sexually assaulted her after she entered his suite. Strauss-Kahn was formally indicted on 18 May and granted US$1 million bail, plus a US$5 million bond, the following day. He was ordered to remain confined to a New York apartment under guard. After completing a lengthy investigation, prosecutors filed a motion to drop all charges against Strauss-Kahn, stating that they were not convinced of his culpability beyond a reasonable doubt due to serious issues in the complainant’s credibility and inconclusive physical evidence, and therefore could not ask a jury to believe in it.

May 16th – The European Union agree to a € 78 billion rescue deal for Portugal. The bailout loan will be equally split between the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism, The European Financial Stability Facility and the International Monetary Fund.

May 26th – Former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic, wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity is arrested in Serbia.

June

June 4th – Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupts causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate.

June 5th – Arab spring. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh travels to Saudi Arabia for treatment of an injury sustained during an attack on the presidential palace. At the same time, protesters celebrate his transfer of power to his Vice-President.

June 9th – Indian painter, M.F. Hussain, born 1915 passes away.

June 12th – Arab spring. Thousands of Syrians flee to Turkey as Syrian troop’s siege to Jisr ash-Shugur.

July

July 7th – The world’s first artificial organ transplant is achieved, using an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells.

July 9th – South Sudan secedes from Sudan as a result from the independence referendum held in January.

July 20thGoran Hadžić is detained in Serbia, becoming the last of 161 people indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The United Nations declares a famine in southern Somalia, the first in over 30 years.

July

July 21st – Space shuttle Atlantis lands successfully at Kennedy Space Center after completing STS-135, concluding NASA’s space shuttle program.

July 22nd – 76 people are killed in twin terrorist attacks in Norway after a bombing in Regjeringskvartalet, the government center in Oslo and a shooting at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya.

July 31st – September 24th – Arab spring; Because of the uncertainties associated with a clamp-down of the free press. It is believed that at least 121 people were killed in a Syrian Army tank raid on the town of Hama and over 150 people are reportedly killed across the country. The total number of the dead is unknown but estimated to be 3,000 as for September.

August

August 5th – NASA announces that its MARS Reconnaissance Orbiter captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars during warm seasons. Later Juno, the first solar-powered spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter, is launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

August 20th -28th – Arab spring; and the Libyan civil war. In the battle of Tripoli, Libyan rebels took control over the nation’s capital effectively overthrowing the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

September

September 5th – India and Bangladesh signs a pact to end their 40 year old border demarcation dispute.

September 10th – Zanzibar ferry sinking; The MV Spice Islander, carrying at least 800 people sinks off the coast of Zanzibar killing 240 people.

September 12th – Approximately 100 Kenyans dies after a petrol pipeline explodes in Nairobi.

September 14th – German Nobel physicist, Rudolf Mössbauer, born 1929 passes away.

September 19th – With 434 dead, United Nations launches a $357 million appeal for victims of the 2011 Sindh floods in Pakistan.

September 20th – Burhanuddin Rabbani, President of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996 is killed by a suicide bomber.

October

October 4th – 2011 Mogadishu bombing; 100 people are killed in a car bombing in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

In Thailand, 657 people are killed by floods during a severe monsoon season with 58 of the country’s 77 provinces affected.

The death toll from the flooding of Cambodia’s Mekong River and attendant flash floods reaches 207.

October 5th – American computer engineer Steve Jobs, born 1955, passes away.

October 18th – Israel and the Palestinian militant organization Hamas began a major prisoner swap as they released the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,280 prisoners and Israeli-Arab prisoners held in Israel including 280 prisoners serving life sentences for planning and perpetrating terror attacks.

October 20th –Arab spring and the Libyan civil war; Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is killed in Sirte with National Transitional Council forces taking control of the city and ending the war.

Basque separatist militant organization ETA declares and ends to its 43 year campaign of political violence that has killed over 800 people since 1968.

October 23rd – A earthquake with 7,2 magnitude destroyed the city of Van in eastern Turkey, killing 604 people and damaging about 2,200 buildings.

October 27th – After an emergency meeting in Brussels, the European Union announced a agreement to tackle the European sovereign debt crises which includes a writedown of 50% of Greek bonds, a recapitalization of European banks and an increase of the bailout fund of the European Financial Stability Facility totaling to €1 trillion.

October 31st – This date was selected by the UN as the symbolic date when global population reached 7billion.

UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member following a vote in which 107 member states supported and 14 opposed.

November

November 26th – The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity is launched from the Kennedy Space Center. It is planned that it will land on Mars on August 5, 2012.

November 28th – A congressional investigative committee disclosed Monday that it has begun a wide-ranging probe into operations at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary, escalating public scrutiny of the military installation charged with handling America’s war dead. In December, a federal investigation by the United States Office of special counsel found the center had committed “gross mismanagement” of remains, including losing body parts, sawing off the damaged arm bone of a soldier so he would fit in a casket without telling his family, and lax supervision. Three supervisors were disciplined but not removed from duty. The Special Counsel investigation revealed that Air Force officials had attempted to silence whistleblowers by firing them from their jobs, had falsified records, and lied to investigators.

December

December 15th – The United States formally declares an end to the Iraq war.

December 16th – Tropical storm Washi hits the Philippines causing floods, killing more than 957 and 49 are officially listed as missing.

December 17th – Kim Jong-il, Supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea dies.

December 18th – Vaclay Havel, Czech playwright, 10th President of Czechoslovakia and 1st President of the Czech Republic passes away.

December 22nd – Lawmakers in France’s National Assembly – the lower house of parliament, voted overwhelmingly in favour of a draft law outlawing genocide denial, which will be debated next year in the Senate. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan described the bill put forward by members of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling party as “politics based on racism, discrimination, xenophobia.”He said Sarkozy, was sacrificing good ties “for the sake of political calculations,” suggesting the president was trying to win the votes of ethnic Armenians in France in an election next year.

Erdogan said Turkey was cancelling all economic, political and military meetings with its NATO partner and said it would cancel permission for French military planes to land, and warships to dock, in Turkey.

22nd- Several coordinated bombs exploded in Baghdad. At least 16 bombs went of killing over 72 and injuring more than 200 people.

23rd – A earthquake with 5,8 schook Christchurch, New Zealand. Same place was hit with 6,3 in February where 180 people lost their lives.

Nobel Prizes

  • Chemistry – Dan Shechtman
  • Economics – Christopher A. Sims and Thomas J. Sargent.
  • Literature – Tomas Tranströmer
  • Peace – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman
  • Physics – Saul Perlmutter, Adam G. Riess and Brian P. Schmidt.
  • Physiology or Medicine – Bruce A. Beutler, Jules A. Hoffmann and Ralph M. Steinman

 

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