Bahrain dictatorship’s doctors show trial continues, November 2011


This video says about itself:

Bahrain doctors .. jailed for treatment

30 September 2011

Doctors in the Gulf state of Bahrain have been jailed for treating pro-democracy demonstrators.

November 2011: The Bahrain Justice and Development Movement reports on the continuing persecution of doctors and nurses in the absolute Gulf monarchy, arrested for helping patients.

See also here.

Two reports denounce Bahrain for violating academic freedom: here.

A recently published report admits state violence and torture in the Gulf absolute monarchy. Human Rights Watch reaction to the report: here.

Caribbean lionfish toxic


Lionfish

November 2011: Research on invasive lionfish in the Caribbean sea around St Maarten island has revealed many of these fish are toxic, so they should not be eaten: here.

British government used civilians as chemical, biological warfare ‘guinea pigs’


This video says about itself:

National GeographicCIA Secret Experiments (Documentary)

26 June 2013

It’s the height of the Cold War and the United States government is desperate to combat the spread of communism. The CIA launches a highly classified, top secret research program into the covert use of biological and chemical agents. In simulated attacks on enemy populations, entire cities in America are contaminated with bacteria, exposing millions of Americans to germ warfare.

British protesters demand an end to germ warfare in 1963 at Porton Down (photo: Getty)

From daily The Independent in Britain:

How the British Government subjected thousands of people to chemical and biological warfare trials during Cold War

Exclusive: Historians had previously thought that such operations were much less extensive

David Keys, Archaeology correspondent

Thursday 09 July 2015

During the Cold War, the British Government used the general public as unwitting biological and chemical warfare guinea pigs on a much greater scale than previously thought, according to new historical research.

In more than 750 secret operations, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Britons were subjected to ‘mock’ biological and chemical warfare attacks launched from aircraft, ships and road vehicles.

Up until now historians had thought that such operations had been much less extensive. The new research, carried out by Ulf Schmidt, Professor of Modern History at the University of Kent, has revealed that British military aircraft dropped thousands of kilos of a chemical of ‘largely unknown toxic potential’ on British civilian populations in and around Salisbury in Wiltshire, Cardington in Bedfordshire and Norwich in Norfolk.

Substantial quantities were also dispersed across parts of the English Channel and the North Sea. It’s not known the extent to which coastal towns in England and France were affected.

The research reveals, for the first time, that around 4600 kilos of the chemical, zinc cadmium sulphide (now thought to be potentially carcinogenic, on account of its cadmium content) were dispersed from ships, aircraft and moving lorries between 1953 and 1964.

Professor Schmidt’s investigation – published on 9 July as a book, Secret Science – has revealed that commuters on the London underground were also used as guinea pigs on a substantially larger scale than previously thought.

The new research has discovered that a hitherto unknown biological warfare field trial was carried out in the capital’s tube system in May 1964.

The secret operation – carried out by scientists from the government’s chemical and biological warfare research centre at Porton Down, Wiltshire – involved the release of large quantities of bacteria called Bacillus globigii. The scientists were keen to discover whether ‘long distance travel of aerosols’ in the tube network ‘was due to transportation within trains’ or through the tube’s air ventilation systems.

At the time, the government thought that Bacillus globigii bacteria were harmless – but they are today regarded as a cause of food poisoning, eye infections, and even septicaemia. It is not known whether the authorities attempted to properly test the bacterium before releasing it into the tube system. An earlier series of tube field trials, in July 1963, has been known to historians for many years.

However, the new research has now revealed that some of the British scientists involved had grave misgivings about the field trials that had been carried out. Indeed some had long felt that it was not politically advisable to conduct large-scale trials in Britain with live bacterial agents.

One particular test – involving live plague bacteria – was carried out off the west coast of Scotland in 1952. It’s long been known that a fishing vessel inadvertently passed through the cloud of bacteria and that the authorities were very worried that the fishermen might contract the disease.

The plague bacteria field trials, though at sea, took place only a few miles from the Isle of Lewis which had a population of several thousand.

The government scientists, carrying out the trials, banked on the fact that the prevailing wind normally blew away from the coast. If, however, the wind had changed direction, thousands of Hebrideans would have been at risk from plague infection, says Professor Schmidt.

Following the fishing vessel incident, the scientists were eager to carry out any further potentially very hazardous field trials outside the UK. Prime Minister Churchill therefore approved a plan to carry out tests in a British overseas territory, the Bahamas.

New research shows that the government scientists took the view that the Bahamas was the best place “on the surface of the globe” to carry out tests “without restrictions”.

In 1954, the British government sent Cold War biological warfare scientists to an area of sea near an uninhabited island in the Bahamas to release clouds of dangerous Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis viruses. These organisms were capable of causing, in humans, high fever, long term fatigue, headaches and occasionally death.

The new research reveals, for the first time, that in another British imperial possession, Nigeria, a location was found for chemical warfare field trials. In an area called Obanaghoro in southern Nigeria, four British Cold War scientific missions spent a total of around 15 months dispersing, and assessing the effects of, large quantities of experimental nerve gas weapons. The advantage of the location was that it permitted field trials to be carried out in a tropical environment – and, of course, that it was not in Britain or Australia.

The extent that local people (including locally employed field trial personnel) were affected by the nerve agents is not known.

Historians have so far been unable to find out who did the particularly hazardous work of ‘hand-charging’ the nerve agent artillery shells, mortar bombs and aircraft cluster bombs. Likewise they have not been able to discover the extent to which local Nigerian soils were contaminated or whether nearby villages and schools were affected by any of the toxic clouds that would have been blown across the countryside.

“The government records I’ve been looking at are conspicuously silent on all this,” said Ulf Schmidt.

“Officials had clearly good reasons as to why the kind of experiments undertaken in Nigeria were strictly prohibited on the British mainland, which is why the files and photographic records surrounding Britain’s post-war nerve agent testing in Africa were regarded as particularly sensitive,” he said.

Professor Schmidt’s research has also revealed the vast scale of Cold War chemical warfare tests carried out on ‘volunteer’ British service personnel here in the UK – involving numbers of people much greater than previously thought.

His investigation now suggests that up to 30,000 secret chemical warfare substance experiments were carried out, mainly at Porton Down, on more than 14,000 British soldiers between 1945 and 1989. He believes that, in most cases, the servicemen were not given sufficient information to allow them to give properly informed consent.

Ulf Schmidt’s book, Secret Science, is published today on 9 July, by Oxford University Press.

Spreading diseases: ‘Harmless’ proxies

Zinc Cadmium Sulfide ultra-fine particles. This inorganic compound was used by Cold War scientists in the UK and the US as a supposedly harmless proxy to simulate the behaviour, in the lower atmosphere and on the ground, of biological warfare substances. However it is still not known whether particles of ZCS that may have become embedded in people’s lungs for decades could ultimately cause disease.

Bacillus globigii. This bacterium was used as a supposedly harmless proxy to simulate the behaviour, in terms of dispersal and penetration, of biological warfare aerosols. Although not considered harmful when it was used in Cold War field trials, it is now known to be capable of causing fevers, food poisoning (occasionally resulting in death), peritonitis and septicaemia.

Pasteurella pestis (now known as Yersina pestis). Clouds of this highly infections bacterium were dispersed only over areas of sea – but nevertheless very near to Lewis, a Scottish Island with thousands of inhabitants. In order not to infect the islands, it appears that the scientists relied entirely on the wind not changing direction and speed. This bacterium is the one that has caused plague epidemics worldwide in the past (including those of the medieval world’s Black Death).

Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis. Clouds of this virus were dispersed over an area of sea close to an uninhabited island in the Bahamas. The virus debilitates or kills horses and donkeys and can also cause severe fever and even death in humans. Mosquitos spread the virus further by biting equines.

G-series nerve agents. Clouds of this chemical warfare weapon were dispersed during field trials in a small part of southern Nigeria, some miles north of the town of Warri. G-series nerve agents were first developed by the Nazis before and during World War Two. The group includes substances like sarin and attacks the human nervous system, causing loss of bodily function and normally death. Survivors are likely to suffer long-term neurological damage and psychiatric disorders.

Saudi bombs killing civilians at markets all over Yemen


This 5 May 2015 video from the USA is called Human Rights Watch: Saudi-Led Coalition Bombing Yemen with Banned U.S.-Made Cluster Munitions.

From Doctors Without Borders:

Yemen: Hundreds Wounded in Attacks on Markets and Residential Areas

July 06, 2015

SANA’A, YEMEN/NEW YORK—Medical facilities supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have received hundreds of people wounded in airstrikes and ground shelling across Yemen in recent days, and MSF teams have treated scores of people in several locations, including victims of a July 4 attack on a crowded marketplace in Harad District.

An MSF team treated more than 67 injured persons in Beni Hassan, in northwestern Yemen’s Harad District, following a series of airstrikes targeting a busy marketplace after people broke Ramadan’s fast on the night of July 4. An estimated 20 people were killed in the attack in the market, and the MSF team recovered nine dead bodies among the debris the following day. An elderly injured man was also rescued and transferred to Beni Hassan health center, where MSF has provided support since May 2015.

“It is unacceptable that airstrikes take place in highly concentrated civilian areas where people are gathering and going about their daily lives, especially at a time such as Ramadan,” said Colette Gadenne, MSF head of mission in Yemen.

The attack on the market in Beni Hassan, called Aahem triangle, first hit a cooking-gas station at about 8:30 p.m. At about 9:00 p.m., a second attack hit the heart of the crowded market, as well as two restaurants and a hotel.

The MSF team was called to Beni Hassan an hour later, when private cars and public transport vehicles were already taking dozens of injured people to the health center. The team stabilized the wounded patients and referred three to the main hospitals of the region, al Jumhuri (Hajjah City) and al Olafi and al Thawara hospitals (Hodeida City).

MSF donated war-wounded kits for 100 persons to al Jumhuri hospital, which received over 40 referrals in total, and also provided fuel and ambulances.

Medical teams were quickly overwhelmed by the number of wounded persons and the severity of their injuries. “It has been terrible. We could never have imagined that we could receive so many severely injured people at one time in a small health center like Beni Hassan,” said one member of the MSF team, Dr. Ammar. “The whole team is shocked by what they have seen, especially since it happened to people enjoying an evening in Ramadan.”

Elsewhere in Yemen there have been several attacks with mass civilian casualties. In southern Yemen, MSF teams assisted 23 injured civilians due to an airstrike that took place in Alfayush market, in Lahj Governorate. In the nearby city of Aden, more than 80 injured people, including women and children, were treated by MSF staff members on July 1 as a result of heavy shelling on a residential area in Al-Mansoora district.

Ground shelling and clashes in Aden cause MSF teams to continuously receive wounded patients in the Emergency Surgical Hospital. In the last four months, more than 2,800 injured people, including women and children, have been treated there.

On July 5, in Amran governorate, in the east of the country, an MSF-supported hospital received seven injured people, including three children under 13 years old, due to airstrikes targeting Harf Sufian District.

Translated from an interview today by Dutch NOS TV with (Dutch) Ms Karline Kleijer, of Doctors Without Borders in Sanaa, capital of Yemen:

“Millions of Yemenis have nowhere to go because of the bombing

Today, 17:55

The bombing in Yemen is causing more victims. Yesterday, 176 people died. Among the victims were combatants, but also many civilians. …

“We have a clinic in Beni Hassan in the northwest of the country. There the coalition of Saudi Arabia are also bombing. …

What happened yesterday she calls an extreme example. “A very busy market is just bombed by a jet. There at one stroke nearly thirty people were killed. As far as we know, there was not even one military person among the victims.”

‘Unacceptable’

MSF/doctors Without Borders says that they do not really understand what is happening in Yemen. Kleijer: “Dropping a bomb there has nothing to do with eliminating the warriors of the other side. Then you are deliberately murdering people and one should not do that.”

She calls on the Saudi coalition and their Western partners like the US, Britain and France to accept their responsibility and ensure that this will no longer occur. “We consider this to be irresponsible and totally unacceptable.”

A Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a suburb of the southern port city of Aden killed more than 45 civilians on Monday. The deadly attack on a livestock market in the town of Foyoush also injured 50 civilians: here.

Jihadis likely winners of Saudi Arabia’s futile war on Yemen’s Houthi rebels: here.

British government imprisons raped refugee women, causing self-harm


This video from England says about itself:

Yarl’s Wood: Undercover in the secretive immigration detention centre | Channel 4 News

2 March 2015

The treatment of detainees inside the notorious Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre is revealed in exclusive footage obtained by a Channel 4 News investigation.

Warning: this film contains offensive language from the start.

[Quote from Serco mercenary guard at Yarl’s Wood prison]: ‘They’re all animals. Caged animals. Right? Take a stick in with you and beat them up.’

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Yarl’s Wood medics out weekly to treat self-harm

Saturday 4th July 2015

Attended cases feared to be ‘tip of the iceberg’ for imprisoned immigrant victims of torture and rape

SELF-HARM has become so prevalent at the infamous Yarl’s Wood immigrant removal facility that medics have to be called in at least once a week, the Home Office revealed yesterday.

Newly published figures show that in 2014 there were 61 incidents of self-harm which required medical treatment, while in 2013 there were 74.

However, the figures only cover those incidents in which medical attention was given, leading to concerns that they may only be the tip of the iceberg.

The revelation prompted warnings that immigration detention can cause mental illness and could lead to instances of self-harm among vulnerable inmates, many of whom have suffered torture or rape.

“What you have heard is true,” Ugandan detainee Juliette Akao told the Star by phone from Yarl’s Wood.

“The women here are very depressed and have many problems. Things like this happen every day. There is no proper healthcare or concern about what’s happening. The ladies have to help each other. The situation is very bad.”

Ms Akao, herself a victim of torture, rape and sexual abuse, said that a culture of disbelief that permeates the immigration system was a major problem.

“No-one believes you,” she said. “If you have gone through torture in your own life you think you are coming to a country that respects human rights. But this is an inhuman culture and people need to know what is happening.

“It is very sad that a country like this, which says it respects human rights and criticises others for abusing them, is doing exactly the same thing here.”

The removal centre, near Bedford, is run by profiteer Serco and houses nearly 400 people awaiting deportation, most of whom are women.

In March, Serco suspended two members of staff after a Channel 4 News investigation raised questions about standards of care at the centre, with one officer recorded saying: “Let them slash their wrists” and several others referring to detainees as “animals.”

Medical Justice sends volunteer doctors to see detainees and claims to have seen hundreds of cases of seriously inadequate healthcare.

“In many cases immigration detention exacerbates existing medical conditions and in some cases has been the cause of mental illness,” said co-ordinator Emma Ginn.

“There have been a number of fatalities including self-inflicted deaths and we fear that, with no improvement in conditions, there could be more.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said that women who had been sexually abused, tortured or were pregnant should not be detained and called for an “urgent review” of Yarl’s Wood.

“The government is overseeing the worst of all worlds in the asylum system — more people detained, and for longer, with fewer deportations,” she said.

“Too many women are left in a hellish limbo in detention centres.”