cheap oil

Links: 1) http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/c… 2) http://www.oil-price.net/ 3) http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-cons… 4) Thumbnail imaage – Alberta Oil Sands – by Howl Arts Collective https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi… 5) Music – Youtube Audio Library “Ambient Ambulance” https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/…




Links:
1) http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/c…
2) http://www.oil-price.net/
3) http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-cons…
4) Thumbnail imaage – Alberta Oil Sands – by Howl Arts Collective
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi…
5) Music – Youtube Audio Library
“Ambient Ambulance”
https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/…


oil prices plunge

Published on Dec 14, 2015 The Russian economy, which is heavily reliant on oil prices, is bearing the brunt of the low oil prices. For more on the falling oil and what it means for the Russian and Saudi economies … Continue reading

Published on Dec 14, 2015
The Russian economy, which is heavily reliant on oil prices, is bearing the brunt of the low oil prices. For more on the falling oil and what it means for the Russian and Saudi economies – RT is joined by Michael Klare, an expert on natural resources, and author of ‘Resource Wars, Blood and Oil’

Teasing WW III

18:56 15.12.2015(updated 19:37 15.12.2015) Get short URL Pepe Escobar Read more: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151215/1031786484/russia-ready-war.html#ixzz3uqHoNk2f “Tense” does not even begin to describe the current Russia-Turkey geopolitical tension, which shows no sign of abating. The Empire of Chaos lavishly profits from it as a … Continue reading





18:56 15.12.2015(updated 19:37 15.12.2015) Get short URL
Pepe Escobar

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151215/1031786484/russia-ready-war.html#ixzz3uqHoNk2f

“Tense” does not even begin to describe the current Russia-Turkey geopolitical tension, which shows no sign of abating. The Empire of Chaos lavishly profits from it as a privileged spectator; as long as the tension lasts, prospects of Eurasia integration are hampered.
Russian intel has certainly played all possible scenarios involving a NATO Turkish army on the Turkish-Syrian border as well as the possibility of Ankara closing the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles for the Russian “Syria Express”. Erdogan may not be foolish enough to offer Russia yet another casus belli. But Moscow is taking no chances.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151215/1031786484/russia-ready-war.html#ixzz3uqHOMLDW


Continuar leyendo “Teasing WW III”

ISIS conspiracy theory

Published on Aug 9, 2014 President Barack Obama’s authorization of air strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq serves as an opportunity to remind ourselves which countries are bankrolling the deadly terror group. http://www.infowars.com/hundreds-repo… http://www.infowars.com/obama-flashba… http://www.infowars.com/trust-in-gove… http://www.infowars.com/isis-threaten… http://www.infowars.com/the-united-st… Friday 19 September … Continue reading




Continuar leyendo “ISIS conspiracy theory”

the Garden of Eden was situated at the head of the Persian Gulf

Juris Zarins From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Juris Zarins (Zariņš) (b. Germany 1945) is an American-Latvian archaeologist and professor at Missouri State University, who specializes in the Middle East. Zarins is ethnically Latvian, but was born in Germany at the end of the Second World War. His parents emigrated to the United States soon after […]

Juris Zarins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Juris Zarins (Zari?š) (b. Germany 1945) is an American-Latvian archaeologist and professor at Missouri State University, who specializes in the Middle East.

Zarins is ethnically Latvian, but was born in Germany at the end of the Second World War. His parents emigrated to the United States soon after he was born. He graduated from high school in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1963 and earned a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Nebraska in 1967. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam before completing his Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Archaeology at the University of Chicago in 1974. He then served as archaeological adviser to the Department of Antiquities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia before coming to Missouri State in 1978.

Zarins has extensive experience in archaeological fieldwork in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Oman, and is now involved in a new project in Yemen. He was chief archaeologist for the Transarabia Expedition which made the famous discovery of the ancient city of Ubar in 1992. This made the headline of the New York Times, and it was also named one of the ten most important discoveries of the year by Discover, Time, and Newsweek magazines. The expedition was featured in a NOVA program called “In Search of the Lost City,” which was first broadcast in 1996.[1]

Zarins has published many articles on a number of topics concerning the archaeology of the Near East, which include the domestication of the horse, early pastoral nomadism, and the obsidian, indigo, and frankincense trades. He received an Excellence in Research Award from Missouri State in 1988. He has proposed that the Semitic languages arose as a result of a circum Arabian nomadic pastoral complex, which developed in the period of the desiccation of climates at the end of the pre-pottery phase in the Ancient Near East.

Zarins argued that the Garden of Eden was situated at the head of the Persian Gulf, where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run into the sea, from his research on this area using information from many different sources, including LANDSAT images from space. In this theory, the Bible’s Gihon River would correspond with the Karun River in Iran, and the Pishon River would correspond to the Wadi Batin river system that once drained the now dry, but once quite fertile central part of the Arabian Peninsula. His suggestion about the Pishon River is supported by James. A Sauer (1945-1999) formerly of the American Center of Oriental Research [2] although strongly criticized by the archaeological community

ISIS – The Known or Unknown Enemy?

Originally posted on Lex Solo’s Political Rantings:
A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue…

 

Saudi Arabia forms alliance of 34 Muslim nations to fight ISIS and tackle ‘the Islamic world’s problem with terrorism’

  • Coalition to include members from across the Middle East, Africa and Asia
  • Saudi Arabia has called it a bid to ‘save international peace and security’
  • The group includes powerful gulf states Egypt and Turkey – but not Iran

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3360422/Saudi-Arabia-forms-34-nation-anti-terrorist-coalition.html#ixzz3uOsJbJAd
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


Pentagon report predicted West’s support for Islamist rebels would create ISIS

Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion’

by Nafeez Ahmed


Lex Solo's Political Rantings

A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue happening in the Middle East. The world’s biggest deception: ISIS.

I remember when I first heard of ISIS. I was listening to the news when a Syrian man came on and was sharing his story.  He spoke of a time he called his sister who lived in Idlib, a town in Syria that was very harshly affected by the conflict. He said they were laughing when all of a sudden she looked outside of the window and started to scream. “They’re here, they’re here…AHHH! AND THEY ARE CHOPPING PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF! We are going to die, we are going to die…”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Who are these people that are not too far away…

View original post 1,121 more words

The Islamic State

By Washington’s Blog Global Research, August 16, 2014 Washington’s Blog Christians are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Syria. The “ISIS” Islamic terrorists have literally CRUCIFIED people in Iraq recently, and have marked the houses of Christians … … Continue reading

Christians are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

The “ISIS” Islamic terrorists have literally CRUCIFIED people in Iraq recently, and have marked the houses of Christians … presumably for execution.

They have told Christians in Mosel, “convert to Islam or die“. They have pulled down crosses at churches in Iraq.   Thousands of residents of Iraq’s biggest Christian town have been forced to flee their homes as the ISIS killers overran their town and said: “leave, convert or die“.

The ISIS terrorists are not only beheading adult Christians, but they are systematically beheading CHILDREN.

In Syria, rebels fighting against the Syrian government told Christians, “Either you convert to Islam or you will be beheaded.”   Syrian rebels slit the throat of Christian man who refused to convert to Islam, taunting his fiance by yelling: “Jesus didn’t come to save him!”  And – like the Islamic terrorists in Iraq – they’ve  CRUCIFIED Christians.

United States Is BACKING Islamic Terrorists

ABC News reports:

The Sunni rebels [inside Syria] are supported by the Islamist rulers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, as well as the U.S., France, Britain and others.

So the U.S. is directly supporting the terrorists … and close U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey France and Britain are also supporting them.

World Net Daily reports that the U.S. trained Islamic jihadis – who would later join ISIS – in Jordan.

Der Spiegel and the Guardian confirmed that the U.S., France and England trained hundreds if not thousands of Islamic fighters in Jordan.

The Jerusalem Post and Breitbart report that an ISIS fighter says that Turkey funds the terrorist group.

The Times of Israel reported Wednesday:

A Free Syrian Army commander, arrested last month by the Islamist militia Al-Nusra Front, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support, in a video released this week.Read more: Syrian rebel commander says he collaborated with Israel.

In a video uploaded to YouTube Monday … Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms. Safouri was abducted by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in the Quneitra area, near the Israeli border, on July 22.

In June, investment adviser Jim Willie alleged:

The [Isis] troops that are working there [in Syria and Iraq] are Langley [i.e. CIA] troops. They’re trained, funded, and armed by Langley.

What I’m hearing… the U.S. military (Pentagon regulars), and you have to be careful when you refer to U.S. military anymore. What kind of U.S. military? Is it the Pentagon U.S. Army, or is it the Langley military, which has unmarked uniforms and 10?s of thousands of mercenaries?

They’re about to encounter each other in Iraq. The U.S. military Pentagon regulars evacuated Iraq, and what filled the vacuum was the Langley mercenaries, trained for Syria, that migrated South and announced their new agenda.

If and when the Pentagon regulars encounter the Langley mercenaries in Iraq, Obama’s going to get a house call, because U.S. military will be fighting U.S. military. Pentagon vs. Langley.

While we don’t know which of the above-described allegations are true, two things are certain:

  • The U.S. armed Islamic jihadis in Syria, and their weapons ended up in the hands of ISIS; and
  • Close allies of the U.S. have supported and trained the ISIS terrorists

Published on Aug 14, 2014

Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News

The Islamic State, a hardline Sunni jihadist group that formerly had ties to al Qaeda, has conquered large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group has announced its intention to reestablish the caliphate and has declared its leader, the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph.

The lightning advances the Islamic State made across Syria and Iraq in June shocked the world. But it’s not just the group’s military victories that have garnered attention — it’s also the pace with which its members have begun to carve out a viable state.

Flush with cash and US weapons seized during its advances in Iraq, the Islamic State’s expansion shows no sign of slowing down. In the first week of August alone, Islamic State fighters have taken over new areas in northern Iraq, encroaching on Kurdish territory and sending Christians and other minorities fleeing as reports of massacres emerged.

VICE News reporter Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining unprecedented access to the group in Iraq and Syria as the first and only journalist to document its inner workings.

women in Islam

The Iraqi Council of Representatives will vote to legalise Forced Child Marriage1.
The specifics of the legislation (part of the Jaafari Personal Status Law) are terrifying:

  • There will no longer be a minimum age to legally marry (it’s currently 18) but the law provides policies for divorcing a 9-year-old girl;
  • A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal on her behalf; and
  • The girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and leaving the home without his permission.

It’s a recipe for a life in domestic and sexual slavery.

The law was sent to the Council of Representatives yesterday, and the vote could happen any time now. To prevent Iraq’s girls from becoming vulnerable to forced child marriage it is crucial that we act now.

Currently, Iraq has one of the most progressive policies on women’s rights in the Middle East — setting the legal marriage age at 18 and prohibiting forced marriage2.

Any minute now, the Iraqi Council of Representatives will vote to legalise forced child marriage. 1
The specifics of the legislation (part of the Jaafari Personal Status Law) are terrifying:
  • There will no longer be a minimum age to legally marry (it’s currently 18) but the law provides policies for divorcing a 9-year-old;
  • A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal; and
  • The girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and leaving the home without his permission.
It’s a recipe for a life in domestic and sexual slavery.
Currently, Iraq has one of the most progressive policies on women’s rights in the Middle East — setting the legal marriage age at 18 and prohibiting forced marriage.2
Brave Iraqi women have been fighting against removing the minimum age for marriage, for their sake and for the sake of their daughters. Last month on International Women’s Day, countless women attended demonstrations in Baghdad protesting the Jaafari Personal Status Law. They called it the “Day of Mourning”.3
We may not have much time to stop Iraq from legalising forced child marriage and a lifetime of domestic and sexual slavery for girls and women. Call on the the Iraqi Council of Representatives to vote “no” to the Jaafari Personal Status Law today.


PUBLISHED: 14:41 GMT, 24 January 2013 | UPDATED: 14:42 GMT, 24 January 2013

Saudi Arabia’s feared morality police say they will not punish men who walk around in their underwear – but women still face harsh punishments if they violate strict laws on women’s dress codes.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has denied reports of a ban to counter the controversial trend of young men frequenting shopping malls in their undershirts and long pyjamas.

Women, however, are still expected to cover their body with a cloak, head covering and a veil according to the country’s strict Islamic laws.


Friday, 15 March, 2002, 12:19 GMT  

Saudi police ‘stopped’ fire rescue
 
Saudi Arabia’s religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers.

In a rare criticism of the kingdom’s powerful “mutaween” police, the Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls who died in the fire on Monday.

An inquiry was launched by the Saudi government in wake of the deaths. The investigation was led by Abdul Majeed, the governor of Makkah. The Interior Minister, Prince Nayef, promised that those responsible for the deaths would be held accountable.[7] Nayef, at the time, stated that the deaths didn’t happen as a result of the fire, but rather the stampede caused by the panic. He acknowledged the presence of two mutaween and that they went there to prevent “mistreatment” of the girls. He asserted that they didn’t interfere with the rescue efforts and only arrived after everyone had left the building.[7]
On March 25, the inquiry concluded that while the fire had been caused by a stray cigarette, the religious educational authorities responsible for the school had neglected the safety of the pupils.[3] The inquiry found that the clerics had ignored warnings that overcrowding of the school could cause a fatal stampede. It also found that there was a lack of fire extinguishers and alarms in the building. Accordingly, the cleric in charge of the school was fired, and his office was merged with the Ministry of Education. The report dismissed allegations that the mutaween (of CPVPV) had prevented the girls from fleeing or made the death toll worse.[3]
Many newspapers welcomed the merger of the agency responsible for girls’ education with the Ministry of Education. Previously, the agencies had been separate and girls’ education had been in the hands of the religious establishment. The newspapers saw the merger as a step towards “reform”.


Elham Asghari is an Iranian swimmer who began swimming at the age of five. She holds several national open-water swimming records. Elham swims wearing a full-body swimsuit she designed that fully adheres to Iran’s Islamic dress code for women. She says the suit hinders her performance and causes her pain, adding a hefty six kilograms to her weight in water. Still she wears it in order to pursue her lifelong dream of being an open-water swimmer.
Achieving that dream has not been without its challenges for Elham. In Iran women are only allowed to swim in gender-segregated pools and are banned from participating in international swimming competitions. During a previous open-water record-attempt, Iranian police chased Elham in a boat in order to stop her from swimming. The propellers on the police boat sliced her legs and hip.
Elham broke her previous 20km open-water record, in June of 2013, by completing a swim in the Caspian Sea in just over eight hours. She swam in a private, women-only beach to avoid another run in with the police. Yet, Iranian officials have refused to recognize her record, stating that her swimming costume, which she had worn when setting her previous records, was illegal because “the feminine characteristics of her body were visible when she came out of the water.

As an Iranian-American woman living in the United States, I feel it is my duty to raise the publics’ awareness on the issue at hand. I’m asking the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to require the Iranian Swimming Federation to register the record Elham Asghari rightfully earned.
Elham Asghari is a talented, accomplished athlete who has worked tirelessly as an open-water swimmer. She continues to face obstacles and challenges that most athletes would never have to deal with on a daily basis. Like any other athlete she deserves to be recognized for her accomplishments. Please join me in asking FINA to help get Elham’s record recognized.


(CNN) — Women stood at the forefront of the Arab Spring, taking to the streets shoulder to shoulder with men in an effort to overturn oppressive old orders.

But while their efforts have seen dictators ousted and reforms introduced, the greater rights for women many hoped would emerge from the upheaval have not materialized.

Indeed, says Lebanese activist Diala Haidar, the rise of political Islam throughout the region in the wake of the uprising has raised the specter of hard-won gains for women being lost.

Haidar and four other women’s rights activists across the region started a campaign, The Uprising of Women in the Arab World, on Facebook in October 2011, to highlight injustices against women throughout the region.

“The Arab Spring took place under the banner of freedom, dignity and equality, and the three can’t be established if women are left behind,” said Haidar, 28, a laboratory supervisor.

“At every stage of history we have been given the excuse, ‘It’s not the time to discuss women’s issues — we are at war, it’s a revolution,’ or whatever. It’s our time to say ‘We need our rights,'” she added.


RIYADH — Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.

Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple.


International Olympic Committee rules require that countries allow both men and women to compete as a prerequisite for their participation in the Olympic Games. Saudia Arabia, a country that has never sent a female athlete to the games, has been warned of this, promised to correct the situation, and then sort of did nothing for awhile and hoped that no one would notice.

Now, one human rights group says enough is enough and is encouraging the IOC to bar the Middle Eastern Kingdom from the Games, on account of the fact that they’re clearly dragging their feet on this. In a letter to the IOC on Wednesday, the organization demanded Saudi Arabia be barred from the upcoming London Olympic Games if they fail to send a lady to compete.

For awhile, it looked as though Saudi Arabia would actually comply with the IOC’s warning. Equestrian Dalma Rushdi Malhas competed for the kingdom in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, where she took home a bronze medal. Some analysts believed that she had the best chance to qualify for the Olympics, but now, it seems that the country’s all-male equestrian team is deep into training in Europe— without her.

Further, Olympic rules have bent over backward to allow countries with fewer highly trained athletes to send participants to the games by offering universality slots in many track and field and swimming events. The slots are reserved for countries that can’t produce any athletes that meet the qualifying standards. Saudi Arabia has not opted to fill any of those slots with female athletes.

A spokesperson from the IOC rejected the call for a Saudi ban, saying that the Games don’t issue ultimatums or deadlines to countries who wish to participate, that Malhas’s participation in the Youth Olympic Games was a positive sign that Saudi Arabia was serious about including ladies.

But Human Rights Watch isn’t not so sure this is the case. Girls and boys are strictly segregated in the country, and all girls schools do not offer any sort of physical education, exercise, or sports teams. For a Saudi woman to have any hope of training, she’d have to do it in another country. Saudi Arabia was never serious about including women in sport, and may never be.

Ban Urged on Saudi Arabia over Discrimination [NYT]

The Iraqi Council of Representatives will vote to legalise Forced Child Marriage1.
The specifics of the legislation (part of the Jaafari Personal Status Law) are terrifying:

  • There will no longer be a minimum age to legally marry (it’s currently 18) but the law provides policies for divorcing a 9-year-old girl;
  • A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal on her behalf; and
  • The girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and leaving the home without his permission.

It’s a recipe for a life in domestic and sexual slavery.

The law was sent to the Council of Representatives yesterday, and the vote could happen any time now. To prevent Iraq’s girls from becoming vulnerable to forced child marriage it is crucial that we act now.

Currently, Iraq has one of the most progressive policies on women’s rights in the Middle East — setting the legal marriage age at 18 and prohibiting forced marriage2.

Any minute now, the Iraqi Council of Representatives will vote to legalise forced child marriage. 1
The specifics of the legislation (part of the Jaafari Personal Status Law) are terrifying:
  • There will no longer be a minimum age to legally marry (it’s currently 18) but the law provides policies for divorcing a 9-year-old;
  • A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal; and
  • The girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and leaving the home without his permission.
It’s a recipe for a life in domestic and sexual slavery.
Currently, Iraq has one of the most progressive policies on women’s rights in the Middle East — setting the legal marriage age at 18 and prohibiting forced marriage.2
Brave Iraqi women have been fighting against removing the minimum age for marriage, for their sake and for the sake of their daughters. Last month on International Women’s Day, countless women attended demonstrations in Baghdad protesting the Jaafari Personal Status Law. They called it the “Day of Mourning”.3
We may not have much time to stop Iraq from legalising forced child marriage and a lifetime of domestic and sexual slavery for girls and women. Call on the the Iraqi Council of Representatives to vote “no” to the Jaafari Personal Status Law today.


|

Saudi Arabia’s feared morality police say they will not punish men who walk around in their underwear – but women still face harsh punishments if they violate strict laws on women’s dress codes.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has denied reports of a ban to counter the controversial trend of young men frequenting shopping malls in their undershirts and long pyjamas.

Women, however, are still expected to cover their body with a cloak, head covering and a veil according to the country’s strict Islamic laws.


Friday, 15 March, 2002, 12:19 GMT  

Saudi police ‘stopped’ fire rescue
 
Saudi Arabia’s religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers.

In a rare criticism of the kingdom’s powerful “mutaween” police, the Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls who died in the fire on Monday.

An inquiry was launched by the Saudi government in wake of the deaths. The investigation was led by Abdul Majeed, the governor of Makkah. The Interior Minister, Prince Nayef, promised that those responsible for the deaths would be held accountable.[7] Nayef, at the time, stated that the deaths didn’t happen as a result of the fire, but rather the stampede caused by the panic. He acknowledged the presence of two mutaween and that they went there to prevent “mistreatment” of the girls. He asserted that they didn’t interfere with the rescue efforts and only arrived after everyone had left the building.[7]
On March 25, the inquiry concluded that while the fire had been caused by a stray cigarette, the religious educational authorities responsible for the school had neglected the safety of the pupils.[3] The inquiry found that the clerics had ignored warnings that overcrowding of the school could cause a fatal stampede. It also found that there was a lack of fire extinguishers and alarms in the building. Accordingly, the cleric in charge of the school was fired, and his office was merged with the Ministry of Education. The report dismissed allegations that the mutaween (of CPVPV) had prevented the girls from fleeing or made the death toll worse.[3]
Many newspapers welcomed the merger of the agency responsible for girls’ education with the Ministry of Education. Previously, the agencies had been separate and girls’ education had been in the hands of the religious establishment. The newspapers saw the merger as a step towards “reform”.


Elham Asghari is an Iranian swimmer who began swimming at the age of five. She holds several national open-water swimming records. Elham swims wearing a full-body swimsuit she designed that fully adheres to Iran’s Islamic dress code for women. She says the suit hinders her performance and causes her pain, adding a hefty six kilograms to her weight in water. Still she wears it in order to pursue her lifelong dream of being an open-water swimmer.
Achieving that dream has not been without its challenges for Elham. In Iran women are only allowed to swim in gender-segregated pools and are banned from participating in international swimming competitions. During a previous open-water record-attempt, Iranian police chased Elham in a boat in order to stop her from swimming. The propellers on the police boat sliced her legs and hip.
Elham broke her previous 20km open-water record, in June of 2013, by completing a swim in the Caspian Sea in just over eight hours. She swam in a private, women-only beach to avoid another run in with the police. Yet, Iranian officials have refused to recognize her record, stating that her swimming costume, which she had worn when setting her previous records, was illegal because “the feminine characteristics of her body were visible when she came out of the water.

As an Iranian-American woman living in the United States, I feel it is my duty to raise the publics’ awareness on the issue at hand. I’m asking the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to require the Iranian Swimming Federation to register the record Elham Asghari rightfully earned.
Elham Asghari is a talented, accomplished athlete who has worked tirelessly as an open-water swimmer. She continues to face obstacles and challenges that most athletes would never have to deal with on a daily basis. Like any other athlete she deserves to be recognized for her accomplishments. Please join me in asking FINA to help get Elham’s record recognized.


(CNN) — Women stood at the forefront of the Arab Spring, taking to the streets shoulder to shoulder with men in an effort to overturn oppressive old orders.

But while their efforts have seen dictators ousted and reforms introduced, the greater rights for women many hoped would emerge from the upheaval have not materialized.

Indeed, says Lebanese activist Diala Haidar, the rise of political Islam throughout the region in the wake of the uprising has raised the specter of hard-won gains for women being lost.

Haidar and four other women’s rights activists across the region started a campaign, The Uprising of Women in the Arab World, on Facebook in October 2011, to highlight injustices against women throughout the region.

“The Arab Spring took place under the banner of freedom, dignity and equality, and the three can’t be established if women are left behind,” said Haidar, 28, a laboratory supervisor.

“At every stage of history we have been given the excuse, ‘It’s not the time to discuss women’s issues — we are at war, it’s a revolution,’ or whatever. It’s our time to say ‘We need our rights,'” she added.


RIYADH — Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.

Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple.


International Olympic Committee rules require that countries allow both men and women to compete as a prerequisite for their participation in the Olympic Games. Saudia Arabia, a country that has never sent a female athlete to the games, has been warned of this, promised to correct the situation, and then sort of did nothing for awhile and hoped that no one would notice.

Now, one human rights group says enough is enough and is encouraging the IOC to bar the Middle Eastern Kingdom from the Games, on account of the fact that they’re clearly dragging their feet on this. In a letter to the IOC on Wednesday, the organization demanded Saudi Arabia be barred from the upcoming London Olympic Games if they fail to send a lady to compete.

For awhile, it looked as though Saudi Arabia would actually comply with the IOC’s warning. Equestrian Dalma Rushdi Malhas competed for the kingdom in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, where she took home a bronze medal. Some analysts believed that she had the best chance to qualify for the Olympics, but now, it seems that the country’s all-male equestrian team is deep into training in Europe— without her.

Further, Olympic rules have bent over backward to allow countries with fewer highly trained athletes to send participants to the games by offering universality slots in many track and field and swimming events. The slots are reserved for countries that can’t produce any athletes that meet the qualifying standards. Saudi Arabia has not opted to fill any of those slots with female athletes.

A spokesperson from the IOC rejected the call for a Saudi ban, saying that the Games don’t issue ultimatums or deadlines to countries who wish to participate, that Malhas’s participation in the Youth Olympic Games was a positive sign that Saudi Arabia was serious about including ladies.

But Human Rights Watch isn’t not so sure this is the case. Girls and boys are strictly segregated in the country, and all girls schools do not offer any sort of physical education, exercise, or sports teams. For a Saudi woman to have any hope of training, she’d have to do it in another country. Saudi Arabia was never serious about including women in sport, and may never be.

Ban Urged on Saudi Arabia over Discrimination [NYT]

Actions that threaten Saudi Arabia’s unity

Published time: February 03, 2014 03:34

Actions that threaten Saudi Arabia’s unity, disturb public order, or defame the reputation of the state or the king – will be considered acts of terrorism under a new counterterrorism law which has come into force in the gulf kingdom.

The new legislature was ratified by King Abdullah on Sunday after being approved by the Cabinet in December, following the initial proposal by the Interior Ministry and advisory Shura Council.

It defines terrorism as “any act carried out by an offender … intended to disturb the public order…to shake the security of society… stability of the state… expose its national unity to danger… suspend the basic law of governance or some of its articles,” according to its text as cited by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Terrorists can also be considered those individuals who “insult the reputation of the state or its position… inflict damage upon one of its public utilities or its natural resources,” or those who attempt to force “governmental authority to carry out or prevent it from carrying out an action, or to threaten to carry out acts that lead to the named purposes or incite [these acts].”

The legislation, made up of 40 clauses, allows the security forces to arrest and detain suspects for up to six months with the possibility to extend the confinement for another six months. Suspects are allowed to be held incommunicado for 90 days without the presence of their lawyer during the initial questioning.

Internet surveillance and phone tracking are also allowed under the new legislature, as well as the right for the security services to raid the homes of suspected terrorists, without prior approval from a judge. People suspected of financing terrorist activities could also be prosecuted.

The interior minister, rather than any judge, is empowered to suspend sentences or drop charges and release a person on trial.

When the legislature was approved in December, HRW lashed out against the Kingdom’s strive to limit freedom of speech and criticized the monarchy over its very vague definition of terrorism.

“Vague and overbroad legal provisions cannot be the basis for overriding a broad array of fundamental rights,” HRW said in a statement in December. “Saudi Arabia’s denial of the rights to participate in public affairs, and freedom of religion, peaceful assembly, association, and expression, as well as its systematic discrimination against women greatly exceed any notion of justifiable restrictions.”

Activists are worried that the law will first of all be applied to silence the liberal opposition in the country. Saudi activist Abdulaziz Al Shubaily from the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights (HASEM) described the law as a “catastrophe”.

“If I call for the release of someone from jail for being held longer than their sentence, I can be tried for “asking the state to take action,” Shubaily said. “When I call for a constitutional monarchy, I can now be charged with terrorism.”

“They characterize you as a terrorist because you ask the kingdom to do something it does not want to do,” he added.

HRW researcher Adam Coogle said, that the new law is “draconian in spirit and letter, and there is every reason to fear that the authorities will easily and eagerly use it against peaceful dissidents.”

Saudi women who are seen driving can now be accused of disturbing public order for defying a driving ban imposed on females and face punishment under a new law. In October last year, several images emerged online of women getting in cars and going around the city as part of a unified protest.


Edited time: November 05, 2013 08:14

A Kuwaiti woman was arrested in Saudi Arabia for driving a car while taking her diabetic father to the hospital. The arrest comes just one week after Saudi women protested the driving ban in the conservative Gulf monarchy.

The woman was driving a Chevrolet Epica with her father in the passenger seat when she was pulled over in an area located near the border with Kuwait, Saudi police told Kuwait Times newspaper.

She explained that she was taking her sick father to the hospital, but officers were unsympathetic. The woman was detained and is now being held in custody pending an investigation, police said.

The media report provided no information on whether her sick father made it to the hospital.

There are close ties between Kuwaitis and Saudis in the area, with people from both countries crossing the border on a regular basis.

However, Kuwait has surged ahead in terms of female rights. Women in the country are allowed to drive, vote, and run for political office.

In Saudi Arabia, attempted reforms from King Abdullah often face resistance from the country’s senior clergy.

Saudi woman are not allowed to drive cars, travel abroad, open a bank account, or work without permission from a male relative.

Last Saturday, a protest took place against the driving ban, which resulted in 16 female drivers being stopped by police. They were fined 300 riyals (US$80) each and forced along with their male guardians to pledge to obey the kingdom’s laws.

Activists said that more than 60 Saudi women got behind the wheel to protest the driving ban.


A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for breaking the country’s ban on female drivers.
The woman, identified only as Shema, was found guilty of driving in Jeddah in July.
Women2drive, which campaigns for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, says she has already lodged an appeal.
In recent months, scores of women have driven vehicles in Saudi cities in an effort to put pressure on the monarchy to change the law.
The sentence comes two days after the Saudi leader King Abdullah announced women would be allowed to vote for the first time in 2015.
Two other women are due to appear in court later this year on similar charges, correspondents say.

Published time: February 03, 2014 03:34

Actions that threaten Saudi Arabia’s unity, disturb public order, or defame the reputation of the state or the king – will be considered acts of terrorism under a new counterterrorism law which has come into force in the gulf kingdom.

The new legislature was ratified by King Abdullah on Sunday after being approved by the Cabinet in December, following the initial proposal by the Interior Ministry and advisory Shura Council.

It defines terrorism as “any act carried out by an offender … intended to disturb the public order…to shake the security of society… stability of the state… expose its national unity to danger… suspend the basic law of governance or some of its articles,” according to its text as cited by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Terrorists can also be considered those individuals who “insult the reputation of the state or its position… inflict damage upon one of its public utilities or its natural resources,” or those who attempt to force “governmental authority to carry out or prevent it from carrying out an action, or to threaten to carry out acts that lead to the named purposes or incite [these acts].”

The legislation, made up of 40 clauses, allows the security forces to arrest and detain suspects for up to six months with the possibility to extend the confinement for another six months. Suspects are allowed to be held incommunicado for 90 days without the presence of their lawyer during the initial questioning.

Internet surveillance and phone tracking are also allowed under the new legislature, as well as the right for the security services to raid the homes of suspected terrorists, without prior approval from a judge. People suspected of financing terrorist activities could also be prosecuted.

The interior minister, rather than any judge, is empowered to suspend sentences or drop charges and release a person on trial.

When the legislature was approved in December, HRW lashed out against the Kingdom’s strive to limit freedom of speech and criticized the monarchy over its very vague definition of terrorism.

“Vague and overbroad legal provisions cannot be the basis for overriding a broad array of fundamental rights,” HRW said in a statement in December. “Saudi Arabia’s denial of the rights to participate in public affairs, and freedom of religion, peaceful assembly, association, and expression, as well as its systematic discrimination against women greatly exceed any notion of justifiable restrictions.”

Activists are worried that the law will first of all be applied to silence the liberal opposition in the country. Saudi activist Abdulaziz Al Shubaily from the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights (HASEM) described the law as a “catastrophe”.

“If I call for the release of someone from jail for being held longer than their sentence, I can be tried for “asking the state to take action,” Shubaily said. “When I call for a constitutional monarchy, I can now be charged with terrorism.”

“They characterize you as a terrorist because you ask the kingdom to do something it does not want to do,” he added.

HRW researcher Adam Coogle said, that the new law is “draconian in spirit and letter, and there is every reason to fear that the authorities will easily and eagerly use it against peaceful dissidents.”

Saudi women who are seen driving can now be accused of disturbing public order for defying a driving ban imposed on females and face punishment under a new law. In October last year, several images emerged online of women getting in cars and going around the city as part of a unified protest.


Edited time: November 05, 2013 08:14

A Kuwaiti woman was arrested in Saudi Arabia for driving a car while taking her diabetic father to the hospital. The arrest comes just one week after Saudi women protested the driving ban in the conservative Gulf monarchy.

The woman was driving a Chevrolet Epica with her father in the passenger seat when she was pulled over in an area located near the border with Kuwait, Saudi police told Kuwait Times newspaper.

She explained that she was taking her sick father to the hospital, but officers were unsympathetic. The woman was detained and is now being held in custody pending an investigation, police said.

The media report provided no information on whether her sick father made it to the hospital.

There are close ties between Kuwaitis and Saudis in the area, with people from both countries crossing the border on a regular basis.

However, Kuwait has surged ahead in terms of female rights. Women in the country are allowed to drive, vote, and run for political office.

In Saudi Arabia, attempted reforms from King Abdullah often face resistance from the country’s senior clergy.

Saudi woman are not allowed to drive cars, travel abroad, open a bank account, or work without permission from a male relative.

Last Saturday, a protest took place against the driving ban, which resulted in 16 female drivers being stopped by police. They were fined 300 riyals (US$80) each and forced along with their male guardians to pledge to obey the kingdom’s laws.

Activists said that more than 60 Saudi women got behind the wheel to protest the driving ban.


A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for breaking the country’s ban on female drivers.
The woman, identified only as Shema, was found guilty of driving in Jeddah in July.
Women2drive, which campaigns for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, says she has already lodged an appeal.
In recent months, scores of women have driven vehicles in Saudi cities in an effort to put pressure on the monarchy to change the law.
The sentence comes two days after the Saudi leader King Abdullah announced women would be allowed to vote for the first time in 2015.
Two other women are due to appear in court later this year on similar charges, correspondents say.

War Business

Published on Feb 4, 2013
Written and spoken by Michael Rivero. 
The written version is here: http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTI…

Video by Zane Henry.

This video is in the public domain. The producers have waived their copyright to this video.
Listen to a post production conversation between the producers by clicking on this mp3: https://soundcloud.com/eonitao-state/…


Cora Currier writes for ProPublica via Juan Cole
The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.
Come tomorrow, thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight – even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.
Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others.
Brake pads may sound innocuous, but “the Iranians are constantly looking for spare parts for old U.S. jets,” said Steven Pelak, who recently left the Department of Justice after six years overseeing investigations and prosecutions of export violations.
“It’s going to be easier for these military items to flow, harder to get a heads-up on their movements, and, in theory, easier for a smuggling ring to move weapons,” said William Hartung, author of a recent report on the topic for the Center for International Policy.
In the current system, every manufacturer and exporter of military equipment has to register with the State Department and get a license for each planned export. U.S. officials scrutinize each proposed deal to make sure the receiving country isn’t violating human rights and to determine the risk of the shipment winding up with terrorists or another questionable group.
Under the new system, whole categories of equipment encompassing tens of thousands of items will move to the Commerce Department, where they will be under more “flexible” controls. Final rules have been issued for six of 19 categories of equipment and more will roll out in the coming months. Some military equipment, such as fighter jets, drones, and other systems and parts, will stay under the State Department’s tighter oversight.
Commerce will do interagency human rights reviews before allowing exports, but only as a matter of policy, whereas in the State Department it is required by law.
The switch from State to Commerce represents a big win for defense manufacturers, who have long lobbied in favor of relaxing U.S. export rules, which they say put a damper on international trade. Among the companies that recently lobbied on the issue: Lockheed, which manufactures C-130 transport planes, Textron, which makes Kiowa Warrior helicopters, and Honeywell, which outfits military choppers.
Overall, industry trade groups and big defense companies have spent roughly $170 million over the last three years lobbying on a variety of issues, including export control reform, a ProPublica analysis of disclosure forms shows.
The administration says in a factsheet that “spending time and resources protecting a specialty bolt diverts resources from protecting truly sensitive items,” and that the effort will allow them to build “higher fences around fewer items.” Commerce says it will beef up its enforcement wing to prevent illegal re-exports or shipments to banned entities. The military has also supported the relaxed controls, arguing that the changes will make it easier to arm foreign allies.

An interview with Commerce Department officials was canceled due to the government shutdown, and the State Department did not respond to questions.
The shift is part of a larger administration initiative to update the arms export process, which many acknowledge needed to be streamlined. But critics of the move to Commerce say that decision has been overly driven by the interests of defense manufacturers.
“They’ve cut through the fat, into the meat, and to the bone,” said Brittany Benowitz, who was defense adviser to former Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., and recently co-authored a paper on the pending changes.
“I think it’s fair to say that the views of the enforcement agencies and actors charged with carrying out the controls haven’t won the day,” said Pelak, the former Justice Department official.
Current controls haven’t prevented the U.S. from dominating arms exports up to now: In 2011, the U.S. concluded $66 billion in arms sales agreements, nearly 80 percent of the global market. The State Department denied just one percent of arms export licenses between 2008 and 2010.
At a recent hearing, a State Department official touted the economic benefits, saying the “defense industry is going to become even more competitive than they are already.”
Under the new policy, military helicopters, transport planes and other types of military equipment that typically need approval may be eligible for license-free export to 36 allied governments, including much of Europe, Argentina, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
According to Colby Goodman, an arms-control expert with the Open Society Policy Center, once an item is approved for that exemption, it’s not clear that there will be any ongoing, country-specific human rights review. (The State Department hasn’t yet responded to our request for comment on that point.)
Goodman is particularly concerned about Turkey, where in the last year authorities violently suppressed protests and “security forces committed unlawful killings,” according to the most recent State Department Human Rights report.
Under the new system, some military parts can now be sent license-free to any country besides China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria. Other parts that are deemed not “specially designed” for military use, while also initially banned from those countries, have even fewer restrictions on re-exports.
Spare parts are in high demand from sanctioned countries and groups, which need them to keep old equipment up and running, according to arms control researchers. Indonesia scrambled to keep its C-130s in the air after the U.S. blocked exports for human rights violations in the 1990s. In a report on trade in arms parts, Oxfam noted that by the time of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, Muammar Qaddafi’s air combat fleet was in dire shape, referred to by one analyst as “the world’s largest military parking lot.” Goodman said Congolese militia members may be using aging arms that the U.S. sold decades ago to the former Zaire.
Pelak says the changes will make enforcement harder by getting rid of part of the paper trail as parts and munitions exit the U.S.: “When you take away that licensing record, you put the investigation overseas.” His office handled dozens of cases each year in which military items had been diverted to prohibited countries. The Government Accountability Office raised concerns last year about Commerce’s enforcement abilities as it takes control of exports that once went through the State Department.
The president is authorized – in fact, required – to revise the list of items under State Department control. But the massive shift to Commerce means that laws and regulations that were designed with the longstanding State Department system in place may now be up to presidential prerogative.
Vetting for human rights compliance is one such requirement. The Commerce Department said it will also continue to publicly report the sales of so-called “major defense equipment.”
Other laws may not get carried over, however. For example, if firearms are moved to Commerce, manufacturers may no longer have to notify Congress of foreign sales.
Several organizations, including the Center for International Policy, the Open Society Policy Center, and the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights, have called on the administration to hold off moving some military items from the State Department, and have asked Congress to apply State’s reporting requirements and restrictions to more of the military items and parts soon to be under Commerce control.
In one area, the administration does appear to have temporarily backed off – firearms and ammunition. Any decision to loosen exports for firearms could have conflicted with the president’s call for enhanced domestic gun control.
According to a memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal last spring, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security both opposed draft versions of revisions to the firearms category. (The Justice Department press office is out of operation due to the government shutdown, and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.) Shifting firearms was also likely to be a lightning rod for arms control groups. As the New York Times’ C.J. Chivers has documented, small arms trafficking has been the scourge of conflicts around the world.
Draft rules for firearms and ammunitions were ready in mid-2012, according to Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for gun manufacturers. The Commerce Department even sent representatives to an industry export conference to preview manufacturers on the new system they might fall under.
But since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last December, no proposed rule has been published.
Keane thinks the connection is irrelevant. “This has nothing to do with domestic gun control legislation. We’re talking about exports,” he said. “Our products have not moved forward, and we’re disappointed by that.”
The defense industry has long pushed for a loosening of the U.S. export controls. Initial wish-lists were aimed at restructuring and speeding up the State Department system, where the wait for a license had sometimes stretched to months. The current focus on moving items to Commerce began under the Obama administration.
The aerospace industry has been particularly active, as new rules for aircraft are the first to take effect. Commercial satellites had been moved briefly to Commerce in the 1990s, but when U.S. space companies were caught giving technical data to China in 1998, Congress returned them to State control. Last year, satellite makers successfully lobbied Congress to lift satellite-specific rules that had kept them from being eligible for the reforms.
Newer industries want to cash in, too. Virgin Galactic wrote in a comment on a proposed rule that the “nascent but growing” space tourism industry was hindered by current rules. At a conference in 2011, the chief executive of Northrup Grumman warned of “the U.S. drone aircraft industry losing its dominance” if exports weren’t boosted. (Drones are regulated under missile technology controls, and are mostly unaffected by the current changes.)
Lauren Airey, of the National Association of Manufacturers, named two main objections to the current system. First off, fees: Any company that makes a product on the State Department list has to be registered whether or not they actually export, with yearly costs starting at $2,500. There’s no fee for the Commerce list.
Secondly, any equipment that contains a listed part gets “lifetime controls,” Airey said. If a buyer wants to resell something, even for scrap, they need U.S. approval. (For example, the U.S. is currently debating whether to let Turkey re-sell American attack helicopters to Pakistan.) Under Commerce, “there are still limitations, but they are more flexible,” Airey said.
Airey’s association (and other trade groups) makes the case that foreign competitors are “taking advantage of perceived and real issues in U.S. export controls to promote foreign parts and components – advertising themselves as State-Department-free.” Airey demurred when asked for an estimate on the amount of business lost: “It’s hard to put a number directly on how much export controls cause U.S. companies to be avoided.”
An Aerospace Industries Association executive noted at a panel this spring, “We really did not move the needle at all by complaining about the fact that we weren’t making as much money as we wanted to.”
But at a recent hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, members of Congress highlighted economic impact.
“In my district in Rhode Island,” said David Cicilline, D-R.I., “as many of our defense companies are looking to expand their business, really, to respond to declines in defense domestic spending, international sales are becoming even more important and really critical…to the job growth in my state.”
William Keating, D-Mass., said that “with declining defense budgets, arms sales are even more critical to the defense industry in my state to maintain production lines and keep jobs.”
“That would not have been the response a decade ago,” said one staffer who works on the issue. “National security hawks would have been worried about defense items moving to the Commerce list. The environment on the Hill has dramatically changed.”
One concern came from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which believes that easing controls on military technology and software could actually lead to more outsourcing of production.
William Lowell, who spent a decade of his 30 years at the State Department directing defense trade controls, told ProPublica that the move represents a major shift in the U.S. attitude towards international arms trade. U.S. policy has long been aimed at “denying the entry of U.S. military articles of any type into the international gray arms market – for which small arms and military parts are the lifeblood,” Lowell wrote in comments opposing the new rules. “Commercial arms exports have never been considered normal commercial trade.”
Follow @coracurrier


U.N. Arms Trade Treaty…Not only would it violate Texans’ Second Amendment rights, including the right to self defense, it also raises U.S. sovereignty and national security concerns.

Senator John Cornyn

On 2 April 2013, the General Assembly adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), regulating the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The treaty will foster peace and security by putting a stop to destabilizing arms flows to conflict regions. It will prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms. And it will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools.


By Richard Solash

September 25, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has signed a landmark treaty at the UN General Assembly in New York aimed at regulating the multibillion-dollar global trade in conventional weapons. RFE/RL looks at how the Arms Trade Treaty works and why it is significant that the United States has signed the international accord.

What does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to do?

The UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has the ambitious aim of responding to international concern that the $70 billion a year trade in conventional weapons leaves a trail of atrocities in its wake.

The treaty calls for the international sale of weapons to be linked to the human rights records of buyers.

It requires countries to establish regulations for selling conventional weapons.

It calls for potential arms deals to be evaluated in order to determine whether they might enable buyers to carry out genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.

The treaty also seeks to prevent conventional military weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists or organized criminal groups, and to stop deals that would violate UN arms embargos.

What is the significance of Washington’s signature on the treaty?

Experts say that Washington’s signature on the document could be the treaty’s watershed moment.

The United States is the world’s largest arms dealer. So U.S. support and ratification of the accord is essential to its success.

According to Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, formal support from the United States gives the treaty the potential to change the very nature of the global arms trade.

“The United States already has a very robust set of standards and export controls,” he says. “This treaty essentially internationalizes the U.S. system and lays down some prohibitions on the transfer of conventional weapons. And this treaty will require all states to establish export laws, to enforce those export laws, and to abide by a common set of standards.”

What types of conventional weapons deals does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to regulate?

Conventional weapons covered by the UN Arms Trade Treaty include tanks and other armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, naval warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms.

It also establishes common international standards for the regulation of the international trade in ammunition, weapons parts, and arms components.

The treaty does not regulate the domestic sale or use of weapons in any country. It also recognizes the legitimacy of the arms trade to enable states to provide for their own security.

What enforcement clauses are contained in the treaty?

There is no clear enforcement mechanism in the UN Arms Trade Treaty. It also remains unclear whether the transfer of conventional weapons in ways other than sales — for example, such as rental contracts or gifts — would fall under the treaty.

Nevertheless, arms-control advocates hope the treaty will increase pressure on weapons exporters such as Russia — which argues that arms sales to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime are permitted because Damascus is not under a UN arms embargo.

The West argues that Russia, a major player in the global arms trade, should stop sending weapons to the Syrian regime because Assad’s security forces have used conventional military weaponry to kill tens of thousands of civilians caught up in the civil war.

Who supports the treaty and who doesn’t?

The UN General Assembly voted decisively in April to approve the Arms Trade Treaty, ending nearly a decade of negotiations over how strict it should be.

UN members voted 154 to 3 in favor of the accord, with 23 countries abstaining.

Iran, North Korea, and Syria — long accused of fueling international conflicts through arms shipments — were the countries to vote against the treaty.

The United States voted in favor of the treaty, despite opposition from influential U.S. gun lobbyists.

The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, and Canada also voted for the treaty.

Former Soviet republics that voted for the treaty were Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and all three Baltic states.

Also voting yes were Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Russia and China, which are two of the world’s leading exporters of conventional weaponry, were among the countries that abstained from the vote.

Others who abstained from the vote include Belarus, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cuba, Burma, and Angola.

Several abstaining countries objected on grounds that the human rights criteria in the treaty are not defined clearly enough.

To date, 89 countries have signed the treaty, including the United States, which did so on September 25.

To take effect, it must be ratified by at least 50 UN member states. So far, just five countries have done so.

Italy became the first EU state to ratify the accord after it won parliamentary approval there on September 25.


The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons, which has not entered into force. International weapons commerce has been estimated to reach US$70 billion a year.[1]

The treaty was negotiated at a global conference under the auspices of the United Nations from July 2–27, 2012, in New York.[2] As it was not possible to reach an agreement on a final text at that time, a new meeting for the conference was scheduled for March 18–28, 2013.[3] On 2 April 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted the ATT.[4][5] The treaty has been signed by 113 states, but it will not enter into force until it has been ratified or acceded to by 50 states.

The roots of what is known today as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) can be traced back to the late 1990s, when civil society actors and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates voiced their concerns about the unregulated nature of the global arms trade and its impact on human security.[7]

The ATT is part of a larger global effort begun in 1997 by Costa Rican President and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Óscar Arias. In that year, Arias led a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in a meeting in New York to offer the world a code of conduct for the trade in arms. This group included Elie Wiesel, Betty Williams, the Dalai Lama, José Ramos-Horta, representatives of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Amnesty International, and the American Friends Service Committee. The original idea was to establish ethical standards for the arms trade that would eventually be adopted by the international community. Over the following 16 years, the Arias Foundation for Peace & Human Progress has played an instrumental role in achieving approval of the treaty.

In 2001, the process continued with the adoption of a non-legally binding program of action at the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in 2001. This program was formally called the “Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects” (PoA).[8]

Later put forward in 2003 by a group of Nobel Peace Laureates, the ATT was first addressed in the UN in December 2006 when the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 61/89 “Towards an Arms Trade Treaty: establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms”.

The arms trade treaty, like the PoA, is predicated upon a hypothesis that the illicit trade in small arms is a large and serious problem requiring global action through the UN. According to a well regarded 2012 Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution publication, “the relative importance of diversion or misuse of officially authorised transfers, compared to international entirely illegal black market trafficking has been thoroughly confirmed.”[9] The authors go on to elaborate that “For most developing or fragile states, a combination of weak domestic regulation of authorised firearms possession with theft, loss or corrupt sale from official holdings tends to be a bigger source of weapons concern than illicit trafficking across borders.”

The UN General Assembly of 2 April 2013 (71st Plenary Meeting) adopted the Arms Trade Treaty as a resolution by a 154-to-3 vote with 23 abstentions. North Korea, Iran, and Syria voted in opposition. China and Russia, among the world’s leaders in weapon exports, were among the 23 nations that abstained.[21]Cuba, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan also abstained. Armenia, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Vietnam did not vote.[1] It was opened for formal signature on 3 June 2013.

“According to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, the treaty will not do any of the following: interfere with domestic arms commerce or the right to bear arms in Member States; ban the export of any type of weapon; harm States’ legitimate right to self-defence; or undermine national arms regulation standards already in place.”

Opposition to the ATT can be broken down into state opposition and civil society opposition. Over thirty states have objected to various parts of the ATT during negotiations, the majority of which held strong concerns about the implications for national sovereignty.[citation needed] According to armstreaty.org, the leading ATT negotiations tracking website,[citation needed] countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Egypt, and Iran have objected to many more aspects of the ATT than has the United States.

From a civil society point of view, groups concerned about national sovereignty or individual rights to armed defense have been negative of the ATT. While not fundamentally opposed to an ATT, these groups are keenly sensitive to ensuring an ATT does not undermine national constitutional protections and individual rights. The most vocal and organized civil society groups opposing objectionable aspects to the ATT originated from the United States. These groups include the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), the National Rifle Association (NRA), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and The Heritage Foundation. The NRA and the Gun Owners of America say that the treaty is an attempt to circumvent the Second Amendment and similar guarantees in state constitutions in order to impose domestic gun regulations.[24]

Perhaps the largest source of civil society opposition[vague] to the ATT has come from the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), which is the lobbying arm of the NRA. In July 2012 ILA wrote that:

“Anti-gun treaty proponents continue to mislead the public, claiming the treaty would have no impact on American gun owners. That’s a bald-faced lie. For example, the most recent draft treaty includes export/import controls that would require officials in an importing country to collect information on the ‘end user’ of a firearm, keep the information for 20 years, and provide the information to the country from which the gun was exported. In other words, if you bought a Beretta shotgun, you would be an ‘end user’ and the U.S. government would have to keep a record of you and notify the Italian government about your purchase. That is gun registration. If the U.S. refuses to implement this data collection on law-abiding American gun owners, other nations might be required to ban the export of firearms to the U.S.”[25]

Advocates of the treaty say that it only pertains to international arms trade, and would have no effect on current domestic laws.[26][27][28] These advocates point to the UN General Assembly resolution starting the process on the Arms Trade Treaty. The resolution explicitly states that it is “the exclusive right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through constitutional protections on private ownership.”

On 12 July 2012, the United States issued a statement condemning the selection of Iran to serve as vice president of the conference. The statement called the move “outrageous” and noted that Iran is under Security Council sanctions for weapons proliferation.

International non-government and human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Oxfam, the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, Saferworld and the International Action Network on Small Arms (who lead the Control Arms Campaign) have developed analysis on what an effective Arms Trade Treaty would look like.[30]

It would ensure that no transfer is permitted if there is substantial risk that it is likely to:

Loopholes would be minimized. It would include:

  • all weapons—including all military, security and police arms, related equipment and ammunition, components, expertise, and production equipment;
  • all types of transfer—including import, export, re-export, temporary transfer and transshipment, in the state sanctioned and commercial trade, plus transfers of technology, loans, gifts and aid; and
  • all transactions—including those by dealers and brokers, and those providing technical assistance, training, transport, storage, finance and security.

The Amnesty International website “loopholes” include shotguns marketed for deer hunting that are virtually the same as military/police shotguns and rifles marketed for long range target shooting that are virtually the same as military/police sniper rifles. AI advocates that the civilian guns must be included in any workable arms trade controls; otherwise, governments could authorize export/import of sporting guns virtually the same as military/police weapons in function.[31]

It must be workable and enforceable. It must:

  • provide guidelines for the treaty’s full, clear implementation;
  • ensure transparency—including full annual reports of national arms transfers;
  • have an effective mechanism to monitor compliance;
  • ensure accountability—with provisions for adjudication, dispute settlement and sanctions;
  • include a comprehensive framework for international cooperation and assistance.

NGOs are also advocating that the Arms Trade Treaty must reinforce existing responsibilities to assist survivors of armed violence, as well as identify new avenues to address suffering and trauma.

The U.S. NGO Second Amendment Foundation has voiced concern that a multinational treaty limiting the firearms trade might infringe on the constitutional right of private firearm ownership for self-defense in the US and other countries.


The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides, in part, that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In Reid v. Covert and many other cases, United States Supreme Court has “regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty.” In Reid, the Court held, in part, that:
No agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or any other branch of government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution. Article VI, the Supremacy clause of the Constitution declares, ‘This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all the Treaties made, or
which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law
of the land…’ Indeed, as the Second Amendment applies directly to the federal government, it logically extends to international treaties entered by the federal government and, thus, may not be circumvented by such a treaty.

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would violate the Second Amendment, as it broadly applies to “small arms and light weapons” which are owned and carried by millions of Americans. The treaty also contains provisions for “end user documentation” for a “minimum of ten years,” which potentially opens the door to an international gun registry. Such a proposal goes far beyond measures Americans have already rejected time after time.

Texas Conservative Coalition

TCC


Brian Jones Aug. 27, 2013, 10:29 AM 5,322 4

The international community is not happy with the United States and Saudi Arabia amid news that they have inked a deal for hundreds of millions of dollars of controversial and potentially unethical cluster bombs.
The $641 million deal would send 1,300 cluster bombs to America’s closest ally on the Arabian Peninsula, through U.S. defense contractor Textron, according to a Pentagon release on the contract.
Cluster are controversial because they are by nature less accurate than more modern munitions. The Human Rights Watch page on cluster bombs puts it this way:

[Cluster munitions] pose an immediate threat during conflict by randomly scattering thousands of submunitions or “bomblets” over a vast area, and they continue to take even more civilian lives and limbs long after a conflict has ended, as hundreds of submunitions may fail to explode upon impact, littering the landscape with landmine-like “duds.

Presently, a treaty banning cluster bombs has been signed by 112 of the 192 member U.N. states. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not signatory.
This comes as both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia criticize the violence that has waged on in Syria for more than two years.
Among a litany of human rights violations that include targeting civilians and using chemical weapons, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria has also been accused of using cluster bombs.


The war on Syria has nothing to do with the welfare of the Syrian population, the chemical attack just a fabricated excuse


Top US arms makers are forecasting a significant rise in sales for the coming year – after a pretty solid 2012. Washington has been shifting its sights towards Asia – looking to arm its allies neighboring North Korea and China.

Independent journalist James Corbett says the US is creating a pretext to make billions from arms sales – which generate geopolitical tensions.


(CNN) — Adam Lanza brought three weapons inside Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14 and left a fourth in his car, police said. Those weapons were a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and two handguns — a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm.

In the car he left a shotgun, about which police have offered no details. Lanza used one of the handguns to take his own life, although police haven’t said whether the gun was the Glock or the Sig Sauer.
In fact many details remain unknown about the weapons Lanza used that day to kill 20 children, his own mother, six other adults and then himself. Here’s what is known so far:

Bushmaster AR-15 rifle

The primary weapon used in the attack was a “Bushmaster AR-15 assault-type weapon,” said Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance. The rifle is a Bushmaster version of a widely made AR-15, the civilian version of the M-16 rifle used by the U.S. military. The original M-16 patent ran out years ago, and now the AR-15 is manufactured by several gunmakers. Unlike the military version, the AR-15 is a semiautomatic, firing one bullet per squeeze of the trigger. But like the M-16, ammunition is loaded through a magazine. In the school shooting, police say Lanza’s rifle used numerous 30-round magazines.
An AR-15 is usually capable of firing a rate of 45 rounds per minute in semiautomatic mode.
Police didn’t offer details about the specific model of the rifle Lanza used. A typical Bushmaster rifle, such as the M4 model, comes with a 30-round magazine but can use magazines of various capacities from five to 40 rounds. An M4 weighs about 6 ½ pounds and retails for about $1,300.
Under the 1994 federal ban on such weapons, buying some variants of new AR-15s was against the law. The ban expired in 2004.
Bushmaster is the No. 1 supplier of AR-15 rifles in the United States, according to the company website.
Their weapons are used by more than 100 police departments and by the militaries of 50 nations, according to Bushmaster. Private citizens use them for “hunting, recreation, competition and home defense and security,” the website says.

Gun control: ‘This one feels different’

Glock 10 mm handgun

Police haven’t said what kind of Glock 10 mm handgun Lanza used. But Glock lists two types on its website, including the Glock 20 and Glock 29.
Lanza had “multiple magazines” for the Glock, Vance said. Such magazines are widely available.
The Glock 20 model has a 15-round magazine. Glock describes it as an ideal weapon for hunting because of its larger bullets, referred to as the ammunition’s caliber.
The Glock 20 measures nearly 8 ¼ inches long and weighs about 2 ½ pounds when loaded, according to Glock’s website.
Guns and Ammo magazine said of Glocks: “They point naturally, their triggers aren’t too heavy … but most importantly of all, they’re reliable.”

The Glock is among the more popular pistols sold in the United States.

The Glock semi-automatic was developed in 1982 for the Austrian army. It was not envisioned that it would be bought by millions of citizens. It is not in fact bought by millions of civilians anywhere but in the United States. The gun should not be singled out for demonization; there are lots of semi-automatic pistols, and lots of semi-automatic rifles, and all of them are widespread and legal in the United States.

“The Austrian military made an announcement in 1980 that it would be replacing the Walther P38 handgun – a WWII era weapon. Their Ministry of Defense outlined the basic criteria for this new service pistol. In 1982, Glock learned Austrian Army’s plan to procure a new weapon and begin assembling a team of European experts in the handgun field. He chose a variety of people – including some from the military, some from the police force and he even chose civilians involved in sport shooting.”
It wasn’t long before Glock had his first working prototype. Between Glock’s use of synthetic materials and the newer production technology, the design was very cost effective, making it a viable candidate. The Glock 17 (so-named as it was the company’s 17th patent) passed every endurance and abuse test and was chosen over a number of pistol designs from well-known manufacturers to be the official replacement of the Walther P38. Both military and police forces in Austria adopted the Glock 17 (aka: P80 – Pistole 80) into service in 1982. Many consider the Glock-17 one of the top pistols of all time.”
But here’s the kicker:

 ” Within its first 10 years, this pistol reached sales in excess of 350,000 in over 45 countries; the U.S. alone accounting for 250,000 of that total. “

So here is what happened: in the first ten years, 100,000 of these guns were sold to militaries and police in Europe, and then the rest went to the civilians and police of the United States. The US took 71% of all Glocks in their first decade, even though the US army rejected them. The US is peculiar.

Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun

The other handgun police said Lanza had with him during the school massacre was a Sig Sauer. Authorities didn’t say what kind, but possibilities include the P226, P229 or P250, P290, and if it was an older pistol, possibly the P220. The 9 mm P220 is no longer sold in the United States
Like the Glock, Lanza’s Sig Sauer also allowed a high-capacity magazine, Vance said. Lanza used “multiple magazines” that are widely available to feed ammunition to the Sig Sauer, Vance said. Sig Sauer makes 9 mm pistol magazines with a maximum capacity of 20 bullets.
And like the Glock, Vance said the Sig Sauer handgun was a semiautomatic.
The P226 has a 15-round magazine, measures 7 ¾ inches and costs about $1,142, according to Sig Sauer’s website. They can be found cheaper at some gun shops.

The Handguns magazine website says of the P226: “Adopted by the [Navy] SEALs nonetheless, it has proven to be durable, reliable, accurate and adaptable. What it has not had a reputation for is compactness.”


How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns

Posted on 12/17/2012 by Juan Cole

It turns out that the Newtown shooter used a semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle and he had lots of thirty-round high-capacity clips for it. Authorities have revealed that each of the 20 children and six adults he killed was shot multiple times, but given the number of clips Lanza brought with him, the number of victims could have been much, much higher. The Federal ban on weapons such as the Bushmaster, in place 1994-2004, was allowed to lapse by the George W. Bush administration and his Republican Congress, all of whom received massive campaign donations from the gun lobby. There is a Connecticut ban, but the maker of the Bushmaster used a loophole in the poorly written state law to continue to sell the gun in the state. The Bushmaster is manufactured by a subsidiary of the Wall Street hedge fund, Cerberus Capital Management, called the “Freedom Group”– which also owns Remington and DPMS Firearms. It is the largest single maker of semi-automatic rifles in the US, and they are expected to be a major growing profit center in the coming years. The Freedom Group was sued over the Washington, DC, sniper attacks, and paid $500,000 without admitting culpability.
So, the hedge funds are doing us in every which way.
But the weird idea of letting people buy military weaponry at will, with less trouble than you would have to buy a car, is only one manifestation of America’s cult of high-powered weaponry.
In 2011, US corporations sold 75% of all the arms sold in the international weapons market, some $66 billion of the $85 billion trade. Russia was the runner-up with only $4 billion in sales.
Saudi Arabia bought F-15s and Apache and Blackhawk helicopters. Oman bought F-16s. The UAE got a missile shield. And, of course, Israel gets very sophisticated weapons from the US, as well.
The US share of the arms trade to the Middle East has burgeoned so much in the past decade that it now dwarfs the other suppliers, as this chart [pdf] from a Congressional study makes clear.

The University of Michigan “Correlates of War” project, run by my late colleague David Singer, tried to crunch numbers on potential causes of the wars of the past two centuries. Getting a statistically valid correlation for a cause was almost impossible. But there was one promising lead, as it was explained to me. When countries made large arms purchases, they seemed more likely to go to war in the aftermath. It may be that if you have invested in state of the art weapons, you want to use them before they become antiquated or before your enemies get them too.
So the very worst thing the US could do for Middle East peace is to sell the region billions in new, sophisticated weapons.
Moreover if you give sophisticated conventional weapons to some countries but deny them to their rivals, the rivals will try to level the playing field with unconventional weapons. The US is creating an artificial and unnecessary impetus to nuclear proliferation by this policy.
I first went to Pakistan in 1981. At that time it was not a society with either drugs or guns. But President Ronald Reagan decided to use private Afghan militias to foment a guerrilla war against the Soviets, who sent troops into Afghanistan in late 1979. Reagan ended up sending billions of dollars worth of arms to the Mujahidin annually, and twisting Saudi Arabia’s arm to match what the US sent. The Mujahidin were also encouraged by the US to grow poppies for heroin production so that they could buy even more weapons.
Over the decade of the 1980s, I saw the weapons begin to show up in the markets of Pakistan, and began hearing for the first time about drug addicts (there came to be a million of them by 1990). I had seen the arms market expand in Lebanon in the 1970s, and was alarmed that now it was happening in Pakistan, at that time a relatively peaceful and secure society. The US filled Pakistan up with guns to get at the Soviets, creating a gun culture where such a thing had been rare (with the exception of some Pashtuns who made home-made knock-offs of Western rifles). Ultimately the gun culture promoted by Reagan came back to bite the US on the ass (not to mention Afghanistan and Pakistan!) And not to mention the drugs.
Now the US views Pakistan as peculiarly violent, and pundits often blame it on Islamism. But no, it is just garden-variety Americanism. You’re welcome.

Published on Feb 4, 2013
Written and spoken by Michael Rivero. 
The written version is here: http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTI…

Video by Zane Henry.

This video is in the public domain. The producers have waived their copyright to this video.
Listen to a post production conversation between the producers by clicking on this mp3: https://soundcloud.com/eonitao-state/…


Cora Currier writes for ProPublica via Juan Cole
The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.
Come tomorrow, thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight – even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.
Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others.
Brake pads may sound innocuous, but “the Iranians are constantly looking for spare parts for old U.S. jets,” said Steven Pelak, who recently left the Department of Justice after six years overseeing investigations and prosecutions of export violations.
“It’s going to be easier for these military items to flow, harder to get a heads-up on their movements, and, in theory, easier for a smuggling ring to move weapons,” said William Hartung, author of a recent report on the topic for the Center for International Policy.
In the current system, every manufacturer and exporter of military equipment has to register with the State Department and get a license for each planned export. U.S. officials scrutinize each proposed deal to make sure the receiving country isn’t violating human rights and to determine the risk of the shipment winding up with terrorists or another questionable group.
Under the new system, whole categories of equipment encompassing tens of thousands of items will move to the Commerce Department, where they will be under more “flexible” controls. Final rules have been issued for six of 19 categories of equipment and more will roll out in the coming months. Some military equipment, such as fighter jets, drones, and other systems and parts, will stay under the State Department’s tighter oversight.
Commerce will do interagency human rights reviews before allowing exports, but only as a matter of policy, whereas in the State Department it is required by law.
The switch from State to Commerce represents a big win for defense manufacturers, who have long lobbied in favor of relaxing U.S. export rules, which they say put a damper on international trade. Among the companies that recently lobbied on the issue: Lockheed, which manufactures C-130 transport planes, Textron, which makes Kiowa Warrior helicopters, and Honeywell, which outfits military choppers.
Overall, industry trade groups and big defense companies have spent roughly $170 million over the last three years lobbying on a variety of issues, including export control reform, a ProPublica analysis of disclosure forms shows.
The administration says in a factsheet that “spending time and resources protecting a specialty bolt diverts resources from protecting truly sensitive items,” and that the effort will allow them to build “higher fences around fewer items.” Commerce says it will beef up its enforcement wing to prevent illegal re-exports or shipments to banned entities. The military has also supported the relaxed controls, arguing that the changes will make it easier to arm foreign allies.

An interview with Commerce Department officials was canceled due to the government shutdown, and the State Department did not respond to questions.
The shift is part of a larger administration initiative to update the arms export process, which many acknowledge needed to be streamlined. But critics of the move to Commerce say that decision has been overly driven by the interests of defense manufacturers.
“They’ve cut through the fat, into the meat, and to the bone,” said Brittany Benowitz, who was defense adviser to former Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., and recently co-authored a paper on the pending changes.
“I think it’s fair to say that the views of the enforcement agencies and actors charged with carrying out the controls haven’t won the day,” said Pelak, the former Justice Department official.
Current controls haven’t prevented the U.S. from dominating arms exports up to now: In 2011, the U.S. concluded $66 billion in arms sales agreements, nearly 80 percent of the global market. The State Department denied just one percent of arms export licenses between 2008 and 2010.
At a recent hearing, a State Department official touted the economic benefits, saying the “defense industry is going to become even more competitive than they are already.”
Under the new policy, military helicopters, transport planes and other types of military equipment that typically need approval may be eligible for license-free export to 36 allied governments, including much of Europe, Argentina, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
According to Colby Goodman, an arms-control expert with the Open Society Policy Center, once an item is approved for that exemption, it’s not clear that there will be any ongoing, country-specific human rights review. (The State Department hasn’t yet responded to our request for comment on that point.)
Goodman is particularly concerned about Turkey, where in the last year authorities violently suppressed protests and “security forces committed unlawful killings,” according to the most recent State Department Human Rights report.
Under the new system, some military parts can now be sent license-free to any country besides China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria. Other parts that are deemed not “specially designed” for military use, while also initially banned from those countries, have even fewer restrictions on re-exports.
Spare parts are in high demand from sanctioned countries and groups, which need them to keep old equipment up and running, according to arms control researchers. Indonesia scrambled to keep its C-130s in the air after the U.S. blocked exports for human rights violations in the 1990s. In a report on trade in arms parts, Oxfam noted that by the time of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, Muammar Qaddafi’s air combat fleet was in dire shape, referred to by one analyst as “the world’s largest military parking lot.” Goodman said Congolese militia members may be using aging arms that the U.S. sold decades ago to the former Zaire.
Pelak says the changes will make enforcement harder by getting rid of part of the paper trail as parts and munitions exit the U.S.: “When you take away that licensing record, you put the investigation overseas.” His office handled dozens of cases each year in which military items had been diverted to prohibited countries. The Government Accountability Office raised concerns last year about Commerce’s enforcement abilities as it takes control of exports that once went through the State Department.
The president is authorized – in fact, required – to revise the list of items under State Department control. But the massive shift to Commerce means that laws and regulations that were designed with the longstanding State Department system in place may now be up to presidential prerogative.
Vetting for human rights compliance is one such requirement. The Commerce Department said it will also continue to publicly report the sales of so-called “major defense equipment.”
Other laws may not get carried over, however. For example, if firearms are moved to Commerce, manufacturers may no longer have to notify Congress of foreign sales.
Several organizations, including the Center for International Policy, the Open Society Policy Center, and the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights, have called on the administration to hold off moving some military items from the State Department, and have asked Congress to apply State’s reporting requirements and restrictions to more of the military items and parts soon to be under Commerce control.
In one area, the administration does appear to have temporarily backed off – firearms and ammunition. Any decision to loosen exports for firearms could have conflicted with the president’s call for enhanced domestic gun control.
According to a memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal last spring, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security both opposed draft versions of revisions to the firearms category. (The Justice Department press office is out of operation due to the government shutdown, and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.) Shifting firearms was also likely to be a lightning rod for arms control groups. As the New York Times’ C.J. Chivers has documented, small arms trafficking has been the scourge of conflicts around the world.
Draft rules for firearms and ammunitions were ready in mid-2012, according to Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for gun manufacturers. The Commerce Department even sent representatives to an industry export conference to preview manufacturers on the new system they might fall under.
But since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last December, no proposed rule has been published.
Keane thinks the connection is irrelevant. “This has nothing to do with domestic gun control legislation. We’re talking about exports,” he said. “Our products have not moved forward, and we’re disappointed by that.”
The defense industry has long pushed for a loosening of the U.S. export controls. Initial wish-lists were aimed at restructuring and speeding up the State Department system, where the wait for a license had sometimes stretched to months. The current focus on moving items to Commerce began under the Obama administration.
The aerospace industry has been particularly active, as new rules for aircraft are the first to take effect. Commercial satellites had been moved briefly to Commerce in the 1990s, but when U.S. space companies were caught giving technical data to China in 1998, Congress returned them to State control. Last year, satellite makers successfully lobbied Congress to lift satellite-specific rules that had kept them from being eligible for the reforms.
Newer industries want to cash in, too. Virgin Galactic wrote in a comment on a proposed rule that the “nascent but growing” space tourism industry was hindered by current rules. At a conference in 2011, the chief executive of Northrup Grumman warned of “the U.S. drone aircraft industry losing its dominance” if exports weren’t boosted. (Drones are regulated under missile technology controls, and are mostly unaffected by the current changes.)
Lauren Airey, of the National Association of Manufacturers, named two main objections to the current system. First off, fees: Any company that makes a product on the State Department list has to be registered whether or not they actually export, with yearly costs starting at $2,500. There’s no fee for the Commerce list.
Secondly, any equipment that contains a listed part gets “lifetime controls,” Airey said. If a buyer wants to resell something, even for scrap, they need U.S. approval. (For example, the U.S. is currently debating whether to let Turkey re-sell American attack helicopters to Pakistan.) Under Commerce, “there are still limitations, but they are more flexible,” Airey said.
Airey’s association (and other trade groups) makes the case that foreign competitors are “taking advantage of perceived and real issues in U.S. export controls to promote foreign parts and components – advertising themselves as State-Department-free.” Airey demurred when asked for an estimate on the amount of business lost: “It’s hard to put a number directly on how much export controls cause U.S. companies to be avoided.”
An Aerospace Industries Association executive noted at a panel this spring, “We really did not move the needle at all by complaining about the fact that we weren’t making as much money as we wanted to.”
But at a recent hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, members of Congress highlighted economic impact.
“In my district in Rhode Island,” said David Cicilline, D-R.I., “as many of our defense companies are looking to expand their business, really, to respond to declines in defense domestic spending, international sales are becoming even more important and really critical…to the job growth in my state.”
William Keating, D-Mass., said that “with declining defense budgets, arms sales are even more critical to the defense industry in my state to maintain production lines and keep jobs.”
“That would not have been the response a decade ago,” said one staffer who works on the issue. “National security hawks would have been worried about defense items moving to the Commerce list. The environment on the Hill has dramatically changed.”
One concern came from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which believes that easing controls on military technology and software could actually lead to more outsourcing of production.
William Lowell, who spent a decade of his 30 years at the State Department directing defense trade controls, told ProPublica that the move represents a major shift in the U.S. attitude towards international arms trade. U.S. policy has long been aimed at “denying the entry of U.S. military articles of any type into the international gray arms market – for which small arms and military parts are the lifeblood,” Lowell wrote in comments opposing the new rules. “Commercial arms exports have never been considered normal commercial trade.”
Follow @coracurrier


U.N. Arms Trade Treaty…Not only would it violate Texans’ Second Amendment rights, including the right to self defense, it also raises U.S. sovereignty and national security concerns.

Senator John Cornyn

On 2 April 2013, the General Assembly adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), regulating the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The treaty will foster peace and security by putting a stop to destabilizing arms flows to conflict regions. It will prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms. And it will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools.


By Richard Solash

September 25, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has signed a landmark treaty at the UN General Assembly in New York aimed at regulating the multibillion-dollar global trade in conventional weapons. RFE/RL looks at how the Arms Trade Treaty works and why it is significant that the United States has signed the international accord.

What does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to do?

The UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has the ambitious aim of responding to international concern that the $70 billion a year trade in conventional weapons leaves a trail of atrocities in its wake.

The treaty calls for the international sale of weapons to be linked to the human rights records of buyers.

It requires countries to establish regulations for selling conventional weapons.

It calls for potential arms deals to be evaluated in order to determine whether they might enable buyers to carry out genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.

The treaty also seeks to prevent conventional military weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists or organized criminal groups, and to stop deals that would violate UN arms embargos.

What is the significance of Washington’s signature on the treaty?

Experts say that Washington’s signature on the document could be the treaty’s watershed moment.

The United States is the world’s largest arms dealer. So U.S. support and ratification of the accord is essential to its success.

According to Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, formal support from the United States gives the treaty the potential to change the very nature of the global arms trade.

“The United States already has a very robust set of standards and export controls,” he says. “This treaty essentially internationalizes the U.S. system and lays down some prohibitions on the transfer of conventional weapons. And this treaty will require all states to establish export laws, to enforce those export laws, and to abide by a common set of standards.”

What types of conventional weapons deals does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to regulate?

Conventional weapons covered by the UN Arms Trade Treaty include tanks and other armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, naval warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms.

It also establishes common international standards for the regulation of the international trade in ammunition, weapons parts, and arms components.

The treaty does not regulate the domestic sale or use of weapons in any country. It also recognizes the legitimacy of the arms trade to enable states to provide for their own security.

What enforcement clauses are contained in the treaty?

There is no clear enforcement mechanism in the UN Arms Trade Treaty. It also remains unclear whether the transfer of conventional weapons in ways other than sales — for example, such as rental contracts or gifts — would fall under the treaty.

Nevertheless, arms-control advocates hope the treaty will increase pressure on weapons exporters such as Russia — which argues that arms sales to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime are permitted because Damascus is not under a UN arms embargo.

The West argues that Russia, a major player in the global arms trade, should stop sending weapons to the Syrian regime because Assad’s security forces have used conventional military weaponry to kill tens of thousands of civilians caught up in the civil war.

Who supports the treaty and who doesn’t?

The UN General Assembly voted decisively in April to approve the Arms Trade Treaty, ending nearly a decade of negotiations over how strict it should be.

UN members voted 154 to 3 in favor of the accord, with 23 countries abstaining.

Iran, North Korea, and Syria — long accused of fueling international conflicts through arms shipments — were the countries to vote against the treaty.

The United States voted in favor of the treaty, despite opposition from influential U.S. gun lobbyists.

The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, and Canada also voted for the treaty.

Former Soviet republics that voted for the treaty were Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and all three Baltic states.

Also voting yes were Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Russia and China, which are two of the world’s leading exporters of conventional weaponry, were among the countries that abstained from the vote.

Others who abstained from the vote include Belarus, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cuba, Burma, and Angola.

Several abstaining countries objected on grounds that the human rights criteria in the treaty are not defined clearly enough.

To date, 89 countries have signed the treaty, including the United States, which did so on September 25.

To take effect, it must be ratified by at least 50 UN member states. So far, just five countries have done so.

Italy became the first EU state to ratify the accord after it won parliamentary approval there on September 25.


The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons, which has not entered into force. International weapons commerce has been estimated to reach US$70 billion a year.[1]

The treaty was negotiated at a global conference under the auspices of the United Nations from July 2–27, 2012, in New York.[2] As it was not possible to reach an agreement on a final text at that time, a new meeting for the conference was scheduled for March 18–28, 2013.[3] On 2 April 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted the ATT.[4][5] The treaty has been signed by 113 states, but it will not enter into force until it has been ratified or acceded to by 50 states.

The roots of what is known today as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) can be traced back to the late 1990s, when civil society actors and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates voiced their concerns about the unregulated nature of the global arms trade and its impact on human security.[7]

The ATT is part of a larger global effort begun in 1997 by Costa Rican President and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Óscar Arias. In that year, Arias led a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in a meeting in New York to offer the world a code of conduct for the trade in arms. This group included Elie Wiesel, Betty Williams, the Dalai Lama, José Ramos-Horta, representatives of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Amnesty International, and the American Friends Service Committee. The original idea was to establish ethical standards for the arms trade that would eventually be adopted by the international community. Over the following 16 years, the Arias Foundation for Peace & Human Progress has played an instrumental role in achieving approval of the treaty.

In 2001, the process continued with the adoption of a non-legally binding program of action at the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in 2001. This program was formally called the “Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects” (PoA).[8]

Later put forward in 2003 by a group of Nobel Peace Laureates, the ATT was first addressed in the UN in December 2006 when the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 61/89 “Towards an Arms Trade Treaty: establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms”.

The arms trade treaty, like the PoA, is predicated upon a hypothesis that the illicit trade in small arms is a large and serious problem requiring global action through the UN. According to a well regarded 2012 Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution publication, “the relative importance of diversion or misuse of officially authorised transfers, compared to international entirely illegal black market trafficking has been thoroughly confirmed.”[9] The authors go on to elaborate that “For most developing or fragile states, a combination of weak domestic regulation of authorised firearms possession with theft, loss or corrupt sale from official holdings tends to be a bigger source of weapons concern than illicit trafficking across borders.”

The UN General Assembly of 2 April 2013 (71st Plenary Meeting) adopted the Arms Trade Treaty as a resolution by a 154-to-3 vote with 23 abstentions. North Korea, Iran, and Syria voted in opposition. China and Russia, among the world’s leaders in weapon exports, were among the 23 nations that abstained.[21] Cuba, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan also abstained. Armenia, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Vietnam did not vote.[1] It was opened for formal signature on 3 June 2013.

“According to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, the treaty will not do any of the following: interfere with domestic arms commerce or the right to bear arms in Member States; ban the export of any type of weapon; harm States’ legitimate right to self-defence; or undermine national arms regulation standards already in place.”

Opposition to the ATT can be broken down into state opposition and civil society opposition. Over thirty states have objected to various parts of the ATT during negotiations, the majority of which held strong concerns about the implications for national sovereignty.[citation needed] According to armstreaty.org, the leading ATT negotiations tracking website,[citation needed] countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Egypt, and Iran have objected to many more aspects of the ATT than has the United States.

From a civil society point of view, groups concerned about national sovereignty or individual rights to armed defense have been negative of the ATT. While not fundamentally opposed to an ATT, these groups are keenly sensitive to ensuring an ATT does not undermine national constitutional protections and individual rights. The most vocal and organized civil society groups opposing objectionable aspects to the ATT originated from the United States. These groups include the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), the National Rifle Association (NRA), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and The Heritage Foundation. The NRA and the Gun Owners of America say that the treaty is an attempt to circumvent the Second Amendment and similar guarantees in state constitutions in order to impose domestic gun regulations.[24]

Perhaps the largest source of civil society opposition[vague] to the ATT has come from the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), which is the lobbying arm of the NRA. In July 2012 ILA wrote that:

“Anti-gun treaty proponents continue to mislead the public, claiming the treaty would have no impact on American gun owners. That’s a bald-faced lie. For example, the most recent draft treaty includes export/import controls that would require officials in an importing country to collect information on the ‘end user’ of a firearm, keep the information for 20 years, and provide the information to the country from which the gun was exported. In other words, if you bought a Beretta shotgun, you would be an ‘end user’ and the U.S. government would have to keep a record of you and notify the Italian government about your purchase. That is gun registration. If the U.S. refuses to implement this data collection on law-abiding American gun owners, other nations might be required to ban the export of firearms to the U.S.”[25]

Advocates of the treaty say that it only pertains to international arms trade, and would have no effect on current domestic laws.[26][27][28] These advocates point to the UN General Assembly resolution starting the process on the Arms Trade Treaty. The resolution explicitly states that it is “the exclusive right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through constitutional protections on private ownership.”

On 12 July 2012, the United States issued a statement condemning the selection of Iran to serve as vice president of the conference. The statement called the move “outrageous” and noted that Iran is under Security Council sanctions for weapons proliferation.

International non-government and human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Oxfam, the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, Saferworld and the International Action Network on Small Arms (who lead the Control Arms Campaign) have developed analysis on what an effective Arms Trade Treaty would look like.[30]

It would ensure that no transfer is permitted if there is substantial risk that it is likely to:

Loopholes would be minimized. It would include:

  • all weapons—including all military, security and police arms, related equipment and ammunition, components, expertise, and production equipment;
  • all types of transfer—including import, export, re-export, temporary transfer and transshipment, in the state sanctioned and commercial trade, plus transfers of technology, loans, gifts and aid; and
  • all transactions—including those by dealers and brokers, and those providing technical assistance, training, transport, storage, finance and security.

The Amnesty International website “loopholes” include shotguns marketed for deer hunting that are virtually the same as military/police shotguns and rifles marketed for long range target shooting that are virtually the same as military/police sniper rifles. AI advocates that the civilian guns must be included in any workable arms trade controls; otherwise, governments could authorize export/import of sporting guns virtually the same as military/police weapons in function.[31]

It must be workable and enforceable. It must:

  • provide guidelines for the treaty’s full, clear implementation;
  • ensure transparency—including full annual reports of national arms transfers;
  • have an effective mechanism to monitor compliance;
  • ensure accountability—with provisions for adjudication, dispute settlement and sanctions;
  • include a comprehensive framework for international cooperation and assistance.

NGOs are also advocating that the Arms Trade Treaty must reinforce existing responsibilities to assist survivors of armed violence, as well as identify new avenues to address suffering and trauma.

The U.S. NGO Second Amendment Foundation has voiced concern that a multinational treaty limiting the firearms trade might infringe on the constitutional right of private firearm ownership for self-defense in the US and other countries.


The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides, in part, that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In Reid v. Covert and many other cases, United States Supreme Court has “regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty.” In Reid, the Court held, in part, that:
No agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or any other branch of government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution. Article VI, the Supremacy clause of the Constitution declares, ‘This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all the Treaties made, or
which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law
of the land…’ Indeed, as the Second Amendment applies directly to the federal government, it logically extends to international treaties entered by the federal government and, thus, may not be circumvented by such a treaty.

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would violate the Second Amendment, as it broadly applies to “small arms and light weapons” which are owned and carried by millions of Americans. The treaty also contains provisions for “end user documentation” for a “minimum of ten years,” which potentially opens the door to an international gun registry. Such a proposal goes far beyond measures Americans have already rejected time after time.

Texas Conservative Coalition

TCC


Brian Jones Aug. 27, 2013, 10:29 AM 5,322 4

The international community is not happy with the United States and Saudi Arabia amid news that they have inked a deal for hundreds of millions of dollars of controversial and potentially unethical cluster bombs.
The $641 million deal would send 1,300 cluster bombs to America’s closest ally on the Arabian Peninsula, through U.S. defense contractor Textron, according to a Pentagon release on the contract.
Cluster are controversial because they are by nature less accurate than more modern munitions. The Human Rights Watch page on cluster bombs puts it this way:

[Cluster munitions] pose an immediate threat during conflict by randomly scattering thousands of submunitions or “bomblets” over a vast area, and they continue to take even more civilian lives and limbs long after a conflict has ended, as hundreds of submunitions may fail to explode upon impact, littering the landscape with landmine-like “duds.

Presently, a treaty banning cluster bombs has been signed by 112 of the 192 member U.N. states. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not signatory.
This comes as both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia criticize the violence that has waged on in Syria for more than two years.
Among a litany of human rights violations that include targeting civilians and using chemical weapons, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria has also been accused of using cluster bombs.


The war on Syria has nothing to do with the welfare of the Syrian population, the chemical attack just a fabricated excuse


Top US arms makers are forecasting a significant rise in sales for the coming year – after a pretty solid 2012. Washington has been shifting its sights towards Asia – looking to arm its allies neighboring North Korea and China.

Independent journalist James Corbett says the US is creating a pretext to make billions from arms sales – which generate geopolitical tensions.


(CNN) — Adam Lanza brought three weapons inside Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14 and left a fourth in his car, police said. Those weapons were a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and two handguns — a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm.

In the car he left a shotgun, about which police have offered no details. Lanza used one of the handguns to take his own life, although police haven’t said whether the gun was the Glock or the Sig Sauer.
In fact many details remain unknown about the weapons Lanza used that day to kill 20 children, his own mother, six other adults and then himself. Here’s what is known so far:

Bushmaster AR-15 rifle

The primary weapon used in the attack was a “Bushmaster AR-15 assault-type weapon,” said Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance. The rifle is a Bushmaster version of a widely made AR-15, the civilian version of the M-16 rifle used by the U.S. military. The original M-16 patent ran out years ago, and now the AR-15 is manufactured by several gunmakers. Unlike the military version, the AR-15 is a semiautomatic, firing one bullet per squeeze of the trigger. But like the M-16, ammunition is loaded through a magazine. In the school shooting, police say Lanza’s rifle used numerous 30-round magazines.
An AR-15 is usually capable of firing a rate of 45 rounds per minute in semiautomatic mode.
Police didn’t offer details about the specific model of the rifle Lanza used. A typical Bushmaster rifle, such as the M4 model, comes with a 30-round magazine but can use magazines of various capacities from five to 40 rounds. An M4 weighs about 6 ½ pounds and retails for about $1,300.
Under the 1994 federal ban on such weapons, buying some variants of new AR-15s was against the law. The ban expired in 2004.
Bushmaster is the No. 1 supplier of AR-15 rifles in the United States, according to the company website.
Their weapons are used by more than 100 police departments and by the militaries of 50 nations, according to Bushmaster. Private citizens use them for “hunting, recreation, competition and home defense and security,” the website says.

Gun control: ‘This one feels different’

Glock 10 mm handgun

Police haven’t said what kind of Glock 10 mm handgun Lanza used. But Glock lists two types on its website, including the Glock 20 and Glock 29.
Lanza had “multiple magazines” for the Glock, Vance said. Such magazines are widely available.
The Glock 20 model has a 15-round magazine. Glock describes it as an ideal weapon for hunting because of its larger bullets, referred to as the ammunition’s caliber.
The Glock 20 measures nearly 8 ¼ inches long and weighs about 2 ½ pounds when loaded, according to Glock’s website.
Guns and Ammo magazine said of Glocks: “They point naturally, their triggers aren’t too heavy … but most importantly of all, they’re reliable.”

The Glock is among the more popular pistols sold in the United States.

The Glock semi-automatic was developed in 1982 for the Austrian army. It was not envisioned that it would be bought by millions of citizens. It is not in fact bought by millions of civilians anywhere but in the United States. The gun should not be singled out for demonization; there are lots of semi-automatic pistols, and lots of semi-automatic rifles, and all of them are widespread and legal in the United States.

“The Austrian military made an announcement in 1980 that it would be replacing the Walther P38 handgun – a WWII era weapon. Their Ministry of Defense outlined the basic criteria for this new service pistol. In 1982, Glock learned Austrian Army’s plan to procure a new weapon and begin assembling a team of European experts in the handgun field. He chose a variety of people – including some from the military, some from the police force and he even chose civilians involved in sport shooting.”
It wasn’t long before Glock had his first working prototype. Between Glock’s use of synthetic materials and the newer production technology, the design was very cost effective, making it a viable candidate. The Glock 17 (so-named as it was the company’s 17th patent) passed every endurance and abuse test and was chosen over a number of pistol designs from well-known manufacturers to be the official replacement of the Walther P38. Both military and police forces in Austria adopted the Glock 17 (aka: P80 – Pistole 80) into service in 1982. Many consider the Glock-17 one of the top pistols of all time.”
But here’s the kicker:

 ” Within its first 10 years, this pistol reached sales in excess of 350,000 in over 45 countries; the U.S. alone accounting for 250,000 of that total. “

So here is what happened: in the first ten years, 100,000 of these guns were sold to militaries and police in Europe, and then the rest went to the civilians and police of the United States. The US took 71% of all Glocks in their first decade, even though the US army rejected them. The US is peculiar.

Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun

The other handgun police said Lanza had with him during the school massacre was a Sig Sauer. Authorities didn’t say what kind, but possibilities include the P226, P229 or P250, P290, and if it was an older pistol, possibly the P220. The 9 mm P220 is no longer sold in the United States
Like the Glock, Lanza’s Sig Sauer also allowed a high-capacity magazine, Vance said. Lanza used “multiple magazines” that are widely available to feed ammunition to the Sig Sauer, Vance said. Sig Sauer makes 9 mm pistol magazines with a maximum capacity of 20 bullets.
And like the Glock, Vance said the Sig Sauer handgun was a semiautomatic.
The P226 has a 15-round magazine, measures 7 ¾ inches and costs about $1,142, according to Sig Sauer’s website. They can be found cheaper at some gun shops.

The Handguns magazine website says of the P226: “Adopted by the [Navy] SEALs nonetheless, it has proven to be durable, reliable, accurate and adaptable. What it has not had a reputation for is compactness.”


How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns

Posted on 12/17/2012 by Juan Cole

It turns out that the Newtown shooter used a semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle and he had lots of thirty-round high-capacity clips for it. Authorities have revealed that each of the 20 children and six adults he killed was shot multiple times, but given the number of clips Lanza brought with him, the number of victims could have been much, much higher. The Federal ban on weapons such as the Bushmaster, in place 1994-2004, was allowed to lapse by the George W. Bush administration and his Republican Congress, all of whom received massive campaign donations from the gun lobby. There is a Connecticut ban, but the maker of the Bushmaster used a loophole in the poorly written state law to continue to sell the gun in the state. The Bushmaster is manufactured by a subsidiary of the Wall Street hedge fund, Cerberus Capital Management, called the “Freedom Group”– which also owns Remington and DPMS Firearms. It is the largest single maker of semi-automatic rifles in the US, and they are expected to be a major growing profit center in the coming years. The Freedom Group was sued over the Washington, DC, sniper attacks, and paid $500,000 without admitting culpability.
So, the hedge funds are doing us in every which way.
But the weird idea of letting people buy military weaponry at will, with less trouble than you would have to buy a car, is only one manifestation of America’s cult of high-powered weaponry.
In 2011, US corporations sold 75% of all the arms sold in the international weapons market, some $66 billion of the $85 billion trade. Russia was the runner-up with only $4 billion in sales.
Saudi Arabia bought F-15s and Apache and Blackhawk helicopters. Oman bought F-16s. The UAE got a missile shield. And, of course, Israel gets very sophisticated weapons from the US, as well.
The US share of the arms trade to the Middle East has burgeoned so much in the past decade that it now dwarfs the other suppliers, as this chart [pdf] from a Congressional study makes clear.

The University of Michigan “Correlates of War” project, run by my late colleague David Singer, tried to crunch numbers on potential causes of the wars of the past two centuries. Getting a statistically valid correlation for a cause was almost impossible. But there was one promising lead, as it was explained to me. When countries made large arms purchases, they seemed more likely to go to war in the aftermath. It may be that if you have invested in state of the art weapons, you want to use them before they become antiquated or before your enemies get them too.
So the very worst thing the US could do for Middle East peace is to sell the region billions in new, sophisticated weapons.
Moreover if you give sophisticated conventional weapons to some countries but deny them to their rivals, the rivals will try to level the playing field with unconventional weapons. The US is creating an artificial and unnecessary impetus to nuclear proliferation by this policy.
I first went to Pakistan in 1981. At that time it was not a society with either drugs or guns. But President Ronald Reagan decided to use private Afghan militias to foment a guerrilla war against the Soviets, who sent troops into Afghanistan in late 1979. Reagan ended up sending billions of dollars worth of arms to the Mujahidin annually, and twisting Saudi Arabia’s arm to match what the US sent. The Mujahidin were also encouraged by the US to grow poppies for heroin production so that they could buy even more weapons.
Over the decade of the 1980s, I saw the weapons begin to show up in the markets of Pakistan, and began hearing for the first time about drug addicts (there came to be a million of them by 1990). I had seen the arms market expand in Lebanon in the 1970s, and was alarmed that now it was happening in Pakistan, at that time a relatively peaceful and secure society. The US filled Pakistan up with guns to get at the Soviets, creating a gun culture where such a thing had been rare (with the exception of some Pashtuns who made home-made knock-offs of Western rifles). Ultimately the gun culture promoted by Reagan came back to bite the US on the ass (not to mention Afghanistan and Pakistan!) And not to mention the drugs.
Now the US views Pakistan as peculiarly violent, and pundits often blame it on Islamism. But no, it is just garden-variety Americanism. You’re welcome.