Tag Archives: czech

Africa: Atrocities Fuelled By Inaction On Arms Trade Treaty Promises

At a Glance

Millions of people around the world will continue to suffer the deadly consequences of the poorly regulated global trade in weapons until many more governments take rapid steps to bring the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) into force, Amnesty International warned a year after the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the treaty.

On 2 April 2013, a total of 155 states voted in the UN General Assembly to adopt the ATT and 118 states have since signed the treaty, indicating their willingness to eventually bring it into their national law. But 43 of the states that supported the adoption of the treaty last year have yet to take any action whatsoever (see list below).

“Too many governments have been dragging their heels. The list of 43 absent signatures is mostly made up of countries where armed conflicts, violent repression and gun violence are more frequent, yet those states have the most to gain from the treaty. This is a major failure of political leadership,” said Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

“Remarkably, Kenya, which was part of a group of states that originally called on the UN to back the ATT, has not even signed the treaty.”

Although 17 of the European Union’s 28 member states will ratify the treaty at the UN on 2 April 2014, the total will still fall far short of the 50 ratifications needed for the treaty to enter into force. Up to now, only 13 states worldwide have ratified the ATT.

The ATT has a number of rules intended to enhance human rights protection for hundreds of millions of people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the proliferation and abuse of conventional arms.

If implemented effectively and robustly, the ATT will stop the flow of weapons to countries when it is known they would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. Implementing the ATT strictly will also require states to assess the risk of transferring arms to another country: states have agreed the transfer will not go forward where there is an overriding risk the weapons could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

Several countries – Spain, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Serbia, Iceland, Costa Rica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Trinidad and Tobago – have declared they will implement the treaty’s human rights provisions even before it enters into force.

However, Amnesty International is concerned that some states, including EU members, appear to be continuing arms transfers to countries where there is a clear risk they will be used for serious human rights violations and abuses. For example, as recently as December 2013, the Czech Republic sent tens of thousands of firearms to Egypt’s security forces, who have killed hundreds of protesters during demonstrations following the military’s ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.

Original post:

Africa: Atrocities Fuelled By Inaction On Arms Trade Treaty Promises

Posted in Israel Crimes Against Humanity | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

NATO, the multiple-choice alliance

As NATO militaries hand over their responsibilities to Afghanistans fledgling security forces and head for home, let the evaluation of the alliances performance begin no matter how disappointing the conclusions might be.

Immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations charter, which obliges member countries to come to the aid of those under attack. This was the first time in NATO history that Article 5 was in the spotlight, and, unfortunately, the holes in its interpretation were large enough to drive a truck through. None of the framers of Article 5 indicated how much military assistance each member country was expected to contribute. In other words, NATO was really a closet multiple-choice alliance where each member country could pick and choose not only how much it would contribute, but how much it would actually do after arriving in theatre.

As it approached the 50th anniversary of its 1949 creation, NATO found itself with no obvious military role. The collapse of the Soviet Union had eliminated its sole enemy and primary reason for existence. The hype and outright propaganda surrounding the deteriorating situation in Kosovo in early 1999 provided the alliance with a questionable mission, at best. Serbia had been heavy-handed with Kosovos Albanian majority for years, but deadly force was not employed. Then, the Kosovo Liberation Army began ambushing and killing Serbian security forces throughout Kosovo. The Serbs reacted and the fighting intensified.

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevics reputation in most NATO countries was already at rock-bottom after the war in Bosnia, and the alliance had now found a role. Absent a United Nations resolution, it bombed a sovereign country not just Serbian military targets, but civilian infrastructure.

Most alliance member countries participated in the bombing campaign, even if some disagreed with the mission. What was not realized at the time was how the degree of risk, despite being virtually non-existent to alliance forces in an air campaign, would play a role in determining which countries would participate and what they would be prepared to undertake in Kosovo, and then in future NATO missions.

The aversion to risk raised its head again as the Afghan mission unfolded. The U.S. mission, Operation Enduring Freedom, laid the ground for the subsequent NATO mission. In late 2005, when Kandahar looked like it would fall to the Taliban, NATO decided that Dutch, British and Canadian combat units would move south to Kandahar under the alliances command. The Canadians moved south on schedule and defeated formed Taliban units. The others were delayed for months as their governments debated. NATOs command of the operation was also postponed and the Canadians operated under U.S. operational control as part of Enduring Freedom.

It had become obvious that while safe air campaigns were one thing, many countries were not prepared to contribute forces for high-risk ground combat. Meanwhile, a number of countries who sent troops to the Afghan theatre insisted on caveats that might have been humorous if the consequences hadnt been so serious: We wont patrol at night and We will only shoot if shot at first and We wont go outside the wire, for example.

The 2011 air campaign in Libya reinforced the theory that risk is the key deciding factor in which countries will show up when NATO calls. Bombing Moammar Gadhafis forces was extremely low risk, and there was no shortage of alliance volunteers.

Despite the steady erosion of NATO combat capabilities since the end of the Cold War, the alliance continued to grow by moving east and welcoming former Soviet satellite countries, such as Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. Pushing right up to the Russian border and bestowing membership on the likes of Estonia and Latvia was extremely unwise, because the alliance no longer has the capability to rush to the rescue with military force in the event a member is threatened. All the Wests rhetoric about Ukraine is meaningless, because Russia knows NATO is incapable of taking on any high-risk intervention anywhere.

In the aftermath of NATOs failures in Afghanistan, there is the possibility of a three-tier alliance emerging once the post-mission evaluation is completed:

Go here to see the original:

NATO, the multiple-choice alliance

Posted in No Nato | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Czech press survey – March 13

Prague – The developments in Ukraine is changing some Czech priorities and even though the Russian army will not occupy the Czech Republic, energy security gains new importance, Zbynek Petracek writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) today. Last year, the Social Democrats (CSSD) and Public Affairs (VV) worked out a bill on the ban on analysing of Czech shale gas supplies, Petracek points out. He says shale gas is unpopular among the population also because of the hydraulic fracturing process as the hydraulic technology was used in the country for uranium mining under the communist regime.

Visit link:

Czech press survey – March 13

Posted in Occupy Greece | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Ukraine crisis brings Europe security back to the fore

STUTTGART, Germany While there is no sign that NATO is girding for a military confrontation, Russias intervention in Ukraine could pull Europe off Americas strategic back burner as Western leaders confront what some are calling Europes biggest crisis in a generation.

Europe is without a doubt in the sharpest crisis since the (Berlin) Wall came down, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters on Monday ahead of meetings in Brussels. Twenty-five years after the end of the confrontation, the danger of a new division of Europe is real. Daily, the situation in Ukraine intensifies further.

Indeed, Russias deployment of troops in Ukraine could prompt the very thing Russian President Vladimir Putin has long wanted to avoid: renewed U.S. focus on the security challenges in Europe.

For two decades the Pentagon has steadily been drawing down its forces on the Continent, arguing that such a strong presence was no longer needed after the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact military alliance.

In eastern Europe, former Warsaw Pact members that now belong to NATO are watching the events in Ukraine unfold with alarm as old Cold War anxieties intensify. Long leery of the Obama administrations reset with Russia, Polish parliamentarian Witold Waszczykowski said on Monday he would like to see NATO deploy military assets to Poland which shares a border with Ukraine in a show of support. Just as NATO now has troops in Turkey to protect its ally from possible missile incursions from Syria, the alliance should bolster support for Poland, Waszczykowski said.

We hope for this kind of support right now, Waszczykowski said by phone. Not because we have an immediate threat, but we are frightened. We at least need some kind of reconnaissance support to monitor what is going on beyond our border.

The Obama administration and its European allies are now facing a host of challenges as they attempt to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to reverse course while also reassuring eastern European allies. Putin has ignored calls from the West to pull out of Ukraine even as he faces potential economic sanctions and other measures aimed at isolating Russia.

But beyond diplomatic and economic penalties, the West sees few options.

Some U.S. lawmakers say the Obama administration should restore a scrapped missile defense plan for Europe that called for long-range interceptors in Poland. In 2013, Obama scaled back U.S. missile defense plans on the continent in a move that critics decried as a capitulation to Russian concerns.

Russia backed Obama down. If I were President Obama, I would re-engage Poland and the Czech Republic regarding missile defense, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Sunday said on CNN.

Read the original here:

Ukraine crisis brings Europe security back to the fore

Posted in No Nato | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Ukraine crisis brings Europe security back to the forefront for US

STUTTGART, Germany While there is no sign that NATO is girding for a military confrontation, Russias intervention in Ukraine could pull Europe off Americas strategic back burner as Western leaders confront what some are calling Europes biggest crisis in a generation.

Europe is without a doubt in the sharpest crisis since the (Berlin) Wall came down, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters on Monday ahead of meetings in Brussels. Twenty-five years after the end of the confrontation, the danger of a new division of Europe is real. Daily, the situation in Ukraine intensifies further.

Indeed, Russias deployment of troops in Ukraine could prompt the very thing Russian President Vladimir Putin has long wanted to avoid: renewed U.S. focus on the security challenges in Europe.

For two decades the Pentagon has steadily been drawing down its forces on the Continent, arguing that such a strong presence was no longer needed after the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact military alliance.

In eastern Europe, former Warsaw Pact members that now belong to NATO are watching the events in Ukraine unfold with alarm as old Cold War anxieties intensify. Long leery of the Obama administrations reset with Russia, Polish parliamentarian Witold Waszczykowski said on Monday he would like to see NATO deploy military assets to Poland which shares a border with Ukraine in a show of support. Just as NATO now has troops in Turkey to protect its ally from possible missile incursions from Syria, the alliance should bolster support for Poland, Waszczykowski said.

We hope for this kind of support right now, Waszczykowski said by phone. Not because we have an immediate threat, but we are frightened. We at least need some kind of reconnaissance support to monitor what is going on beyond our border.

The Obama administration and its European allies are now facing a host of challenges as they attempt to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to reverse course while also reassuring eastern European allies. Putin has ignored calls from the West to pull out of Ukraine even as he faces potential economic sanctions and other measures aimed at isolating Russia.

But beyond diplomatic and economic penalties, the West sees few options.

Some U.S. lawmakers say the Obama administration should restore a scrapped missile defense plan for Europe that called for long-range interceptors in Poland. In 2013, Obama scaled back U.S. missile defense plans on the continent in a move that critics decried as a capitulation to Russian concerns.

Russia backed Obama down. If I were President Obama, I would re-engage Poland and the Czech Republic regarding missile defense, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Sunday said on CNN.

Originally posted here:

Ukraine crisis brings Europe security back to the forefront for US

Posted in No Nato | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Ukraine crisis brings Europe security back to the fore for US

STUTTGART, Germany While there is no sign that NATO is girding for a military confrontation, Russias intervention in Ukraine could pull Europe off Americas strategic back burner as Western leaders confront what some are calling Europes biggest crisis in a generation.

Europe is without a doubt in the sharpest crisis since the (Berlin) Wall came down, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters on Monday ahead of meetings in Brussels. Twenty-five years after the end of the confrontation, the danger of a new division of Europe is real. Daily, the situation in Ukraine intensifies further.

Indeed, Russias deployment of troops in Ukraine could prompt the very thing Russian President Vladimir Putin has long wanted to avoid: renewed U.S. focus on the security challenges in Europe.

For two decades the Pentagon has steadily been drawing down its forces on the Continent, arguing that such a strong presence was no longer needed after the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact military alliance.

In eastern Europe, former Warsaw Pact members that now belong to NATO are watching the events in Ukraine unfold with alarm as old Cold War anxieties intensify. Long leery of the Obama administrations reset with Russia, Polish parliamentarian Witold Waszczykowski said on Monday he would like to see NATO deploy military assets to Poland which shares a border with Ukraine in a show of support. Just as NATO now has troops in Turkey to protect its ally from possible missile incursions from Syria, the alliance should bolster support for Poland, Waszczykowski said.

We hope for this kind of support right now, Waszczykowski said by phone. Not because we have an immediate threat, but we are frightened. We at least need some kind of reconnaissance support to monitor what is going on beyond our border.

The Obama administration and its European allies are now facing a host of challenges as they attempt to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to reverse course while also reassuring eastern European allies. Putin has ignored calls from the West to pull out of Ukraine even as he faces potential economic sanctions and other measures aimed at isolating Russia.

But beyond diplomatic and economic penalties, the West sees few options.

Some U.S. lawmakers say the Obama administration should restore a scrapped missile defense plan for Europe that called for long-range interceptors in Poland. In 2013, Obama scaled back U.S. missile defense plans on the continent in a move that critics decried as a capitulation to Russian concerns.

Russia backed Obama down. If I were President Obama, I would re-engage Poland and the Czech Republic regarding missile defense, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Sunday said on CNN.

Read the original post:

Ukraine crisis brings Europe security back to the fore for US

Posted in No Nato | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Tips On Trips Spots The Hot Trends In Summer Programs For Teens

Baltimore, Maryland (PRWEB) February 28, 2014 Summer programming for teens has become a very competitive industry.

Originally posted here:

Tips On Trips Spots The Hot Trends In Summer Programs For Teens

Posted in Occupy Florida | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Czech it out

By Harrison Leone

Czech Correspondent Lamentably, classes began last week. After more than two months off from school, I had almost forgotten I was still in college. Eight weeks of self-indulgent squalor had softened my academic skills considerably, and my reintroduction into the world of syllabi, plagiarism warnings and strictly regimented time slots was a rude one.

A foreign excursion would be difficult without some prior planning, so I took the opportunity to become better acquainted with the city where Ill be spending the next three-and-a-half months. International travel would have to be put on hold for the time being.

With that said, I was far from disappointed to amble through Pragues medieval alleys and hidden corridors; I feel as though you could spend a lifetime here and still find a hidden gem every day. It was that thought I had in mind as I eagerly set out to see what else the city of a hundred spires had to offer.

My first stop was Petin Hill, a low, scenic mountain positioned on the northwest side of the city. The mountain stands just south of the Prague castle, overlooking the city center. It was a cloudless day soaked in sunshine, hardly like the mid-February days one would expect in Cattaraugus County. There is a funicular that runs from street level to the observation tower at the summit, but, wanting to avoid the 120 crown ($6) fee, and to get a more authentic experience, I set out on the winding switchback trail that cuts a path to the summit. The hike took about 45 minutes, accounting for a pretzel break at a restaurant halfway up, and the views overlooking the valley below are incredible. Nearly the entire city can be seen, couched peacefully along the river, inching its way into the suburbs on the surrounding hills.

Perched on the top of the hill is the Petin Lookout Tower, built in the 1920s and modeled after the Eiffel Tower. This time, I bit on the entrance fee and plodded my way to the top. It was a cramped and crowded affair, with steep steps and throngs of tourists. The view from the top observation deck did, however, provide a vista directly into the castle, which was dwarfed from this height, and allowed me to see parts of the city that I never had before.

Concluding my time at the summit, I walked along the Hunger Wall, a massive middle-aged fortification built when Prague was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire in the 14th century. Legend has it King Charles IV commissioned the wall not only as a defensive structure, but to provide jobs for the poor and starving citizens of his kingdom as a sort of Civilian Conservation Corps.

The next stop on my tour of the lesser-seen sights of Prague was the Vyehrad Castle. This site holds a special significance in Czech mythology and folklore. In the Czechs creation myth, it was from this castle, the oldest in Prague, that the prophetess Libue proclaimed a great city would be founded. Next to a statue depicting this event is the Czech National Cemetery, a small and cramped garden filled with some of the most beautiful tombs, graves and headstones Ive ever seen.

At the conclusion of my local adventure I was sitting outside of a Starbucks across from a Levis and down the street from a Samsung store in a colossal shopping center anachronistically jammed in the middle of Old Town. Sweet Caroline was playing over the loudspeakers. The perils of globalization and cultural homogeny were brutally apparent for all to see.

Before coming to Europe, I had considered globalization an unnecessary synonym for Americanization and, considering the multitude of McDonalds and KFCs around the city, there is some merit to that definition.

Link:

Czech it out

Posted in Stop Globalization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Haunting Panoramas Of Israel And Palestine

The wall that separates Israel from Palestine has many names. The Israeli government refers to it as a security fence or anti-terrorist fence, as its explicit purpose is restricting Palestinian access to Israel. Palestinians, though, call it the racial segregation wall or the apartheid wall. Made of concrete slabs, fences, ditches, razor wire, an electronic monitoring system, and observation towers, this barrier has been the subject of near weekly protests, often countered by Israeli military force, since the beginning of its construction in 2002.

Wall: Israeli and Palestinian Landscapes, a new book published by Aperture, features stark black-and-white panoramic photographs of East Jerusalem, Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and the Israeli settlements along the route of the wall, all taken by the Czech-born Josef Koudelka between 2008 and 2012. Koudelka presents the wall stripped of all the trappings of political language, letting it speak for itself. “I don’t pretend to be an intellectual or a philosopher, Koudelka once said in an interview. I just look.” A chronology, understated captions, and a lexicon defining terms from Intifada to Hebron provide the books sparse verbal context.

In some images, the wall appears like the jagged spine of some buried prehistoric beast. In others, graffitied murals on its concrete bricks make it appear almost accepted, as if those it shuts out are making the best of it, until you spot the gun painted in the hands of a hijab-wearing character. Many of Koudelkas images appear deceptively simple on the surface, composed of architectural lines and geometric shapes, but no amount of abstraction rids them of their harrowing power.

The wall, the plotting of which disregards the internationally recognized Israeli-Palestininian border, is an example of architecture at its most divisive. If completed as planned, it will be about 434 miles long, the biggest infrastructure project the Israeli government has ever undertaken. No studies have been carried out to assess its environmental impact.

Koudelkas work has always been politically charged. In 1968, he photographed the Soviet invasion of Prague–anonymously, under the initials P.P. (Prague Photographer), for fear of reprisal by the government. In 1969, this mysterious P.P. was anonymously awarded the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa Gold Medal for those photographs. The following year, he fled Czechoslovakia for political asylum in England, where he joined Magnum Photos.

Wall is available for $51 here. [All photographs 2013 Josef Koudelka/Magnum Photos]

Follow this link:

Haunting Panoramas Of Israel And Palestine

Posted in Israeli Apartheid | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

In Solidarity with Roma People from OO Dec 2012 – Video


In Solidarity with Roma People from OO Dec 2012 Solidarity statements from members of Occupy Oakland for Roma people resisting forced evictions in at Prednadrazi in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and allied acti… By: Roma – Indian tenth army

See the original post:

In Solidarity with Roma People from OO Dec 2012 – Video

Posted in Occupy Oakland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off