Iraqi boy lost family, arms to Pentagon, now facing racism in Britain


This video says about itself:

Exclusive: Ali Abbas blames Britain and the US for troubles in Iraq

23 June 2014

12 year old Ali Abbas lost both of his arms and was severely burnt in a US missile strike on Baghdad. His mother and father and other members of his family were killed.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

‘Why don’t you go back to your country?’ UK border official allegedly asks man orphaned in the UK-US invasion of Iraq

Ali Abbas, who as a 12-year-old lost both arms and 16 family members in a US airstrike, says he was brought close to tears by a UK official

Adam Lusher

The orphan whose family was killed and who was himself maimed by a missile fired by Western forces in the Iraq War has said he was brought close to tears by a British border official who told him to “Go back to your country”.

On the eve of the Chilcot report into Britain’s role in Iraq, Ali Abbas who as a 12-year-old became a symbol of the war’s victims, said a border force security guard at London St Pancras station questioned his right to live in the UK after he returned on the Eurostar from a trip to Belgium.

Mr Abbas, now 25 and a British citizen, lost his mother, father, younger brother and 13 other family members when an American missile struck his home on the southern edge of Baghdad on 30 March 2013.

Both his arms had to be amputated and he suffered burns to 60 per cent of his body. Photographed in an Iraqi hospital, he became the face of victims of the UK and US-led invasion.

Thanks to money donated by the British public, he was able to come to England for treatment. With no sign of the death and destruction in his home country abating, he took British citizenship in 2010.

He has a younger half-brother who is now in the Iraqi army fighting on the front line against Isis.

But he told The Independent that when he returned on the Eurostar at about 6.30pm on 18 April, the only people stopped by security were him and his Iraqi-born friend Ahmed Hamza, who like him had grown up in England after losing limbs – a lower leg and a hand – in a coalition attack.

He said: “I was telling my friend I was so happy to come back home. Because Britain is my home now.  And then the security man stopped only us – because we were the ones who looked not British.

“This person brought tears into my eyes. He didn’t give me any chance to say anything. He took our British passports and said ‘Why don’t you go back to your country?  Why are you living here?”

“I told him this is what happened to us and Britain brought us here.”

“He could clearly see I had no arms,” Mr Abbas added. “This is what happened to me because of the war. It is only because of the war that I am in Britain.

“But he was shaking his head as he looked at my passport. He said: ‘It’s a British Government decision, but I’m not happy with it.’

“I was so upset, so shocked.”

Mr Abbas insisted that the vast majority of British people had been kind to him.

He said: “Of course, you will find bad people everywhere, but the British are really good people.”

Mr Abbas added, however: “Britain has changed in the last couple of years, because of what they hear about Isis. They are always thinking Muslims when they speak about Isis. But 99 per cent of Isis’ victims are Muslim. People here need to know that Isis are not Muslims. They have nothing to do with my religion.”

As he awaited Sir John Chilcot’s report into the Iraq war, Mr Abbas also told The Independent that he would like to ask Tony Blair “whether he regrets what he has done”.

He said: “Of course I am angry. I have to blame them [Bush and Blair]. They should not have gone to war. They should have done a better job with the reconstruction. I have lost my arms, my parents, my brother.  And you can see what is happening to my country.”

He added: “They took away one Saddam Hussein and gave us many, many Saddam Husseins: killers, and also the corruption, because Iraq is so corrupt now.

“I didn’t like Saddam. He was a dictator. But now the situation is probably worse. Lots and lots of people are still being killed. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t lost a member of their family. My country is gone, destroyed.”

The Independent has asked the Home Office for comment on the incident at the Eurostar terminal.

Chilcot report: How Tony Blair and George W Bush’s ‘liberation’ of Iraq backfired

Chilcot report: Tony Blair planned to go to war before UN resolution, says former naval chief. ‘They’d bloody decided. That’s the reality,’ says Admiral Lord West: here.

Fukushima, Japan young woman about cancer


This video says about itself:

Young woman from Fukushima speaks out

This interview was filmed on February 12, 2016, in Fukushima Prefecture. The young woman was 15 at the time of the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, and we are releasing this interview with her permission. She is one of the 166 Fukushima residents aged 18 or younger at the time of the nuclear disaster who has been diagnosed with or suspected of having thyroid cancer (as of February 2016).

Fukushima residents who were 18 years old or younger at the time of the nuclear accident have been asked to participate in the free and voluntary thyroid ultrasound examination which is part of the Fukushima Health Management Survey. However, 18.8% of this age group were not tested in the 1st round of testing. While the final results for the 2nd round of testing are not yet complete, every year the number of children participating in the official thyroid examinations is decreasing; the number of children who have not participated in the 2nd round of testing is currently 50.7%. For those young people aged 18-21 (as of April 1, 2014) and who were living in Fukushima at the time of the nuclear accident, 74.5% have not yet taken part in the official thyroid ultrasound examination.

This young woman’s reason for speaking out is to motivate the families of children who have not yet received the thyroid ultrasound examination to have their children tested. However, in sharing her story about a topic which has become increasingly difficult to talk publicly about in Japan, she faces inherent risks which may include those to her work, community life and personal relationships. I therefore ask that her privacy is respected.

From Associated Press:

Woman breaks silence among Fukushima thyroid cancer patients

Originally published June 7, 2016 at 12:01 am. Updated June 7, 2016 at 6:29 am

By YURI KAGEYAMA

KORIYAMA, Japan — She’s 21, has thyroid cancer, and wants people in her prefecture in northeastern Japan to get screened for it. That statement might not seem provocative, but her prefecture is Fukushima, and of the 173 young people with confirmed or suspected cases since the 2011 nuclear meltdowns there, she is the first to speak out.

That near-silence highlights the fear Fukushima thyroid-cancer patients have about being the “nail that sticks out,” and thus gets hammered.

The thyroid-cancer rate in the northern Japanese prefecture is many times higher than what is generally found, particularly among children, but the Japanese government says more cases are popping up because of rigorous screening, not the radiation that spewed from Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

To be seen as challenging that view carries consequences in this rigidly harmony-oriented society. Even just having cancer that might be related to radiation carries a stigma in the only country to be hit with atomic bombs.

“There aren’t many people like me who will openly speak out,” said the young woman, who requested anonymity because of fears about harassment. “That’s why I’m speaking out so others can feel the same. I can speak out because I’m the kind of person who believes things will be OK.”

She has a quick disarming smile and silky black hair. She wears flip-flops. She speaks passionately about her new job as a nursery school teacher. But she also has deep fears: Will she be able to get married? Will her children be healthy?

She suffers from the only disease that the medical community, including the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, has acknowledged is clearly related to the radioactive iodine that spewed into the surrounding areas after the only nuclear disaster worse than Fukushima’s, the 1986 explosion and fire at Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Though international reviews of Fukushima have predicted that cancer rates will not rise as a result of the meltdowns there, some researchers believe the prefecture’s high thyroid-cancer rate is related to the accident.

The government has ordered medical testing of the 380,000 people who were 18 years or under and in Fukushima prefecture at the time of the March 2011 tsunami and quake that sank three reactors into meltdowns. About 38 percent have yet to be screened, and the number is a whopping 75 percent for those who are now between the ages of 18 and 21.

The young woman said she came forward because she wants to help other patients, especially children, who may be afraid and confused. She doesn’t know whether her sickness was caused by the nuclear accident, but plans to get checked for other possible sicknesses, such as uterine cancer, just to be safe.

“I want everyone, all the children, to go to the hospital and get screened. They think it’s too much trouble, and there are no risks, and they don’t go,” the woman said in a recent interview in Fukushima. “My cancer was detected early, and I learned that was important.”

Thyroid cancer is among the most curable cancers, though some patients need medication for the rest of their lives, and all need regular checkups.

The young woman had one cancerous thyroid removed, and does not need medication except for painkillers. But she has become prone to hormonal imbalance and gets tired more easily. She used to be a star athlete, and snowboarding remains a hobby.

A barely discernible tiny scar is on her neck, like a pale kiss mark or scratch. She was hospitalized for nearly two weeks, but she was itching to get out. It really hurt then, but there is no pain now, she said with a smile.

“My ability to bounce right back is my trademark,” she said. “I’m always able to keep going.”

She was mainly worried about her parents, especially her mother, who cried when she found out her daughter had cancer. Her two older siblings also were screened but were fine.

Many Japanese have deep fears about genetic abnormalities caused by radiation. Many, especially older people, assume all cancers are fatal, and even the young woman did herself until her doctors explained her sickness to her.

The young woman said her former boyfriend’s family had expressed reservations about their relationship because of her sickness. She has a new boyfriend now, a member of Japan’s military, and he understands about her sickness, she said happily.

A support group for thyroid cancer patients was set up earlier this year. The group, which includes lawyers and medical doctors, has refused all media requests for interviews with the handful of families that have joined, saying that kind of attention may be dangerous.

When the group held a news conference in Tokyo in March, it connected by live video feed with two fathers with children with thyroid cancer, but their faces were not shown, to disguise their identities. They criticized the treatment their children received and said they’re not certain the government is right in saying the cancer and the nuclear meltdowns are unrelated.

Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer who also advises the group, believes patients should file Japan’s equivalent of a class-action lawsuit, demanding compensation, but he acknowledged more time will be needed for any legal action.

“The patients are divided. They need to unite, and they need to talk with each other,” he told AP in a recent interview.

The committee of doctors and other experts carrying out the screening of youngsters in Fukushima for thyroid cancer periodically update the numbers of cases found, and they have been steadily climbing.

In a news conference this week, they stuck to the view the cases weren’t related to radiation. Most disturbing was a cancer found in a child who was just 5 years old in 2011, the youngest case found so far. But the experts brushed it off, saying one wasn’t a significant number.

“It is hard to think there is any relationship,” with radiation, said Hokuto Hoshi, a medical doctor who heads the committee.

Shinsyuu Hida, a photographer from Fukushima and an adviser to the patients’ group, said fears are great not only about speaking out but also about cancer and radiation.

He said that when a little girl who lives in Fukushima once asked him if she would ever be able to get married, because of the stigma attached to radiation, he was lost for an answer and wept afterward.

“They feel alone. They can’t even tell their relatives,” Hida said of the patients. “They feel they can’t tell anyone. They felt they were not allowed to ask questions.”

The woman who spoke to AP also expressed her views on video for a film in the works by independent American filmmaker Ian Thomas Ash [see top of this blog post].

She counts herself lucky. About 18,000 people were killed in the tsunami, and many more lost their homes to the natural disaster and the subsequent nuclear accident, but her family’s home was unscathed.

When asked how she feels about nuclear power, she replied quietly that Japan doesn’t need nuclear plants. Without them, she added, maybe she would not have gotten sick.

Radioactive soil turns up at Fukushima high school — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Avoiding poison ivy and poison oak in North America


This 2015 video from North Anmerica says about itself:

Poison IvyToxicodendron radicans – Poison Ivy vs Virginia Creeper – How to identify poison ivy.

From eNatureBlog in the USA:

How Can You Avoid Poison Ivy and Poison Oak— And Treat Them If Disaster Strikes?

Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 by eNature

Knowing how to avoid poison ivy is a good skill—but you should also know what to do if you happen to encounter it.

As we move into the summer season, people across the country will celebrate and enjoy it by taking weekend hikes through places scenic and undisturbed. Most of folks will return from their hikes revived, but some will find themselves itchy afterwards.

It’s inevitable. And it’s unfortunate, too, because there are ways to avoid the adverse effects of Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.

Actually, five species of rash-inducing plants flourish in North America: two species of Poison Ivy, two species of Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac. The last is a wetland plant and not nearly as common or commonly encountered as the others. One or more of these species is pretty common throughout the country, particularly along the edges of woodlands.

And all contain the same essential oil that irritates human skin.

Urushiol is its name, and it exists in the roots, stems, leaves, and even the berries of these plants. Roughly 85 percent of the population is allergic to Urushiol, which can cause a rash in sensitive people who come into contact with as little as one millionth of a gram of the stuff. And all of these plants are more than willing to share their Urushiol if they are bruised, crushed, or opened up in any way.

Thus it’s important for people to know how to identify these plants. Most field guides, including eNature’s online version, provide concise descriptions and photos. But even the most attentive hiker can inadvertently brush against a Poison Ivy or Poison Oak leaf.

When that happens, there are two ways to rid the skin of Urushiol.

The first involves washing the affected area with great amounts of water. Plain water is best, since soap has no effect on Urushiol and when used with only a little water it can actually spread the offending oil. So use room-temperature water and lots of it.

To be clear, we’re not saying here to avoid using soap! Just be sure to use lots of water if you do— the object here is to get the oil off, not redistribute to other parts of your skin.

The second way to rid the skin of Urushiol is to swab with rubbing alcohol. The alcohol counteracts the oil and can even draw oil from the skin four or five hours after exposure. Waiting any longer than that, though, is inadvisable.

Whether cleaning with water or alcohol, use care. Don’t scrub violently—it does no good and can actually do harm. Similarly, don’t use very hot water or harsh soaps and chemicals. The point is to remove the oil, not to annihilate it.

There’s no shortage of folk remedies as well— some of which are more effective than others.

We’ve received several reports from folks in the Eastern US saying that they’ve encountered more Poison Ivy this year than past years— perhaps because of the mild winter and spring large parts of the country experienced.

Pentagon tested poison gas on veterans, denied them health care


This video from the USA says about itself:

Government Tested Mustard Gas On Vets, Denied Health Care

4 June 2016

The US government tested mustard gas on American troops during World War 2. Decades later they’re denying those vets health care. Ana Kasparian and Hasan Piker (Pop Trigger) of The Young Turks discuss.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs has rejected the vast majority of claims filed by veterans who were exposed to mustard gas as part of secret experiments during World War II, according to a report released Tuesday by Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

About 60,000 military service members were used as human guinea pigs in a military research program to test protective equipment. Roughly 4,000 of them received high levels of full-body exposure to mustard gas or Lewisite, another toxic agent.

But the VA has rejected the claims of 85 percent of the veterans who applied for benefits related to the secret testing, according to the report.

From 2005 to 2015, the VA identified 1,213 disability claims related to mustard agent exposure from 792 World War II veterans. Of those claims, 1,028 were denied, the report found.”

Read more here.

Drinking water in the USA, poison and cover-up


This video from the USA says about itself:

Dozens Of US Cities Caught Cheating On Drinking Water Tests

2 June 2016

Even after the Flint, Michigan water crisis it took a publication in the UK to investigate the drinking water of major American cities. What The Guardian found in their investigation of drinking water is shocking. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks discuss.

The results of an investigation by British newspaper the Guardian reveal that, in the last decade, 33 major US cities have employed water testing “cheats” deliberately aimed at hiding dangerous levels of lead in their water supply: here.