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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Second IDF soldier refuses orders until army probes his claim Palestinians were abused

Second IDF soldier refuses orders until army probes his claim Palestinians were abused
By Anshel Pfeffer

A second IDF soldier has refused to continue following orders unless his complaints of violence toward Palestinians are investigated, Haaretz has learned. As with another infantry man from the same brigade - who was sentenced to 30 days in military prison last week after refusing to participate in his unit's operations in the territories - the second soldier, who can only be identified as A., came to his decision following a raid by the brigade's Haruv battalion in the village of Kifl Hares in the West Bank on March 26.

A. told his friends that soldiers from the platoon acted with unusual violence toward the residents of the village. "We were sent to look for firearms, but didn't find any weapons," the soldier said. "So we confiscated kitchen knives. But what I was most shocked about was the looting. One soldier took 20 shekels. Soldiers went into homes and looked for stuff to steal."
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A. also told of an assault on a mentally handicapped civilian. "He was just shouting at soldiers but then one soldier decided to attack him, so they beat the hell out of him - riffle butt to the head"

Read further>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Canadians Set to Sponsor Iraqi Palestinian Refugees

Canadians Set to Sponsor Palestinian Refugees
The refugees who have been denied asylum and rights in Iraq are extremely vulnerable and in poorly situated camps. Mennonite church are helping with sponsorship.
by Gladys Terichow

Some of the 336 Palestinian refugees stranded in an isolated refugee camp on the Iraq-Syria border will soon have new homes in Canada.

Gloria Nafziger (centre) visits the Al Tanf refugee camp, one of three make-shift refugee camps along the border between Syria and Iraq for Palestinians from Iraq.

Through its private sponsorship program the Canadian government is making it possible for churches and other private sponsors to sponsor some of the residents living in the Al Hol refugee camp, one of three make-shift refugee camps along the border between Syria and Iraq, said Gloria Nafziger of Amnesty International-Canada.

Nafziger represented the Canadian Council for Refugees on a visit to the three camps in November 2008 and highlighted the need for immediate action during a speaking tour hosted by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) refugee programs in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Colombia.

About ten Mennonite churches in Canada have expressed interest in sponsoring families from the Al Hol camp, said Ed Wiebe, national coordinator for MCC’s refugee programs. He anticipates Mennonite churches will sponsor more than 50 individuals.

About 3,000 Palestinian refugees are trapped in the border camps, said Nafziger during her Manitoba visit. They fled killings, kidnappings, torture and death threats in Iraq, but unlike other Iraqi refugees they do not have Iraqi citizenship and are not allowed to enter Syria to seek asylum.

Read further>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Also, watch THIS VIDEO from Journeyman Pictures on the conditions of the Palestinians who have fled to refugee camps in Iraq since the US invasion.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The language that absolves Israel

The language that absolves Israel

A special political vocabulary prevents us from being able to recognize what's going on in the Middle East.
By Saree Makdisi
June 19, 2009

On Sunday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech that -- by categorically ruling out the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state -- ought to have been seen as a mortal blow to the quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Monday morning, however, newspaper headlines across the United States announced that Netanyahu had endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, and the White House welcomed the speech as "an important step forward."

Read further>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yep, that's how they do it, a language with a different dictionary all their
own!

"Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East" BLEEP, in order to have a "democracy" and be Jewish, Palestinians had to be ethnically cleansed-Jamal Zahalka.

Think about them apples Israel supporters. Think how Israeli "democracy" stacks up against our own democratic values, what the US stands for (in theory and striving) and I DO NOT THINK that Israel has the same understanding of "democracy"!!

They have their own dictionary! NOW I get it! (actually I got it quite a while ago)

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind". George Orwell

Monday, June 15, 2009

Short Personal Note

Just a short note here for anyone who may read my blog regularly or for my friends. I'm going back to school. Yep, want to start working soooooooo after so many years of being a stay at home mom, and in this SUCKY economy, I asked myself what could I do that I would have a good chance getting a job doing AND enjoy at the same time.

Well, teach, it's my passion. But after many years out of the classroom and the fact that school districts state wide are buying out older teacher's contracts offering early retirement (because the more units you have, the longer you've been there, the more they HAVE to pay you) My problem is with so many years out of education but with so many post BA units (just shy of a masters in education) they'd have to pay me a much higher wage than a young teacher straight out of college with no experience. It's happening in our district, all the teachers being hired are almost all young without the units to have to pay them a higher starting wage, So, basically I'm screwed. PLUS that, SO much has changed and I don't even want to THINK about the workload.

Sooooo, I'm going for a different credential which I can get my foot in the door after one semester, then not that many more units and some work experience I can be fully credentialed. I am SO excited.

Now that you don't know what the heck I'm talking about, I'm going to be taking the necessary units in Child Development/Early Childhood Education to teach pre-school. Yep, wee little ones.

So here's the notice, there might be some other type articles being posted here, I will NEVER give up my passion for politics, and as long as I live, I will NEVER give up my support and activism for Palestine so those articles will STILL be here, in fact, they'll probably be the bulk of postings.

I have a very special friend to thank for HIS inspiration, his patience, his integrity and friendship. He knows who he is, so this one goes out to him, my dearest friend, thank you, you'll never know how much your own strength and kindness has been a blessing to me. Although he had nothing to do with my decision to go back to school, in a most dear way, he has helped me to trust my own decision making just by being the kindest man possible. Plus that, he has been my TEACHER and is the best teacher possible for all those who know him.

And the rest of you, YOU too!!!! I've truly TRULY been blessed by having you in my life. (no names, but you know who you are:) Love you all! Some of you have remained dear cyber-friends and some of you have become real-life friends. Just think, if it weren't for the internet we would have never met, from cities in the Mideast, to Europe, to other states and even my own home town, we CONNECTED.

School starts next Monday, early childhood development 101, then full-bore in the Fall so I can get this thing DONE and into a pre-school classroom (and take the rest of the units to be credentialed) where I can work till I retire. So if you see me here less, I'm BUSY with school, kids, DEAR friends and family.

Neo-Nazis Are In The Army Now

Neo-Nazis are in the Army now
Why the U.S. military is ignoring its own regulations and permitting white supremacists to join its ranks.

Editor's note: Research support for this article was provided by the Nation Institute's Investigative Fund.

By Matt Kennard

June 15, 2009 | On a muggy Florida evening in 2008, I meet Iraq War veteran Forrest Fogarty in the Winghouse, a little bar-restaurant on the outskirts of Tampa, his favorite hangout. He told me on the phone I would recognize him by his skinhead. Sure enough, when I spot a white guy at a table by the door with a shaved head, white tank top and bulging muscles, I know it can only be him.

Over a plate of chicken wings, he tells me about his path into the white-power movement. "I was 14 when I decided I wanted to be a Nazi," he says. At his first high school, near Los Angeles, he was bullied by black and Latino kids. That's when he first heard Skrewdriver, a band he calls "the godfather of the white power movement." "I became obsessed," he says. He had an image from one of Skrewdriver's album covers — a Viking carrying a staff, an icon among white nationalists — tattooed on his left forearm. Soon after he had another white power symbol, a Celtic cross, emblazoned on his stomach.

At 15, Fogarty moved with his dad to Tampa, where he started picking fights with groups of black kids at his new high school. "On the first day, this bunch of niggers, they thought I was a racist, so they asked, 'Are you in the KKK?'" he tells me. "I said, 'Yeah,' and it was on." Soon enough, he was expelled.

Continue reading this chilling expose>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Israeli Uzi Manufacturer Blacklisted In India In Arms Kickback Probe

Another scandal mars Indian defensePrintE-mail
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Written by Siddharth Srivastava   
MONDAY, 15 JUNE 2009
ImageIsrael, Singapore among the major offenders


India's corruption-ridden military procurement system has again been hit by a major scandal that has resulted in the arrest of the chairman of the state-controlled Ordinance Factory Board and the banning of seven major domestic and international companies including ones from Singapore, Poland and Israel. 

The current scandal is reminiscent of one – also involving Singapore – that brought down the government of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who, along with several others, was accused of receiving kickbacks from the Swedish arms maker Bofors AB and led to the defeat of the ruling Indian National Congress in November 1989 general elections. 

Similarly, Defense Minister George Fernandes was forced to step down in 2001 after an Indian website released a secretly filmed video implicating senior officials in corrupt arms deals, energizing opposition parties to call for the entire government to quit. 

The latest controversy doesn't appear to be likely to bring down the government. In a strongly worded statement, Defense Minister A K Antony declared: "I will take strong action if any wrongdoing is detected. No one found guilty will be spared.

The first victim is Gen. Sudipto Ghosh, the Ordinance Factory Board chairman, who has been arrested along with several others for taking bribes in exchange for defense contracts. Although seven companies have been named by the Central Bureau of Investigation, India's version of the FBI, Israeli Military Industries (IMI) and Singapore Technologies are among the biggest, currently estimated to be negotiating contracts over Rs 60 billion (US$1.27 billion).

Despite their size, Israel and Singapore rank among the world's biggest arms dealers. The Associated Press reported in 2007 that Israel ranked as the world's fourth-biggest arms dealer after the United States, Russia and France, selling US$4.3 billion in arms exports, primarily to the United States and India. .

Singapore has been repeatedly identified as a channel for illicit arms sales. In 1995, Michael Heseltine, the former British Deputy Prime Minister, asked for an investigation into Royal Ordnance, formerly a state-owned arms maker, which allegedly was channeling arms through Singapore to both Iran and Iraq. 

In the 1980s, the Swedish government announced that all arms exports to Singapore had been frozen in an effort to stop the island nation from being used as a possible channel for the unauthorized export of Swedish weapons. Between 1980 and 1984, according to the Swedes, Unicorn International, an associate company of Chartered Industries of Singapore, which in turn was a subsidiary of an arm of Singapore's ministry of defense, bought 304 missiles and 27 field sighting units from Bofors that were traced to the Middle East. 

According to Mark Pythian in his book "Arming Iraq: How the US and Britain Secretly Built Saddam's War Machine," "Nobel Kemi and Bofors, subsidiaries of Nobel Industries Sweden and member companies of EASSP, arranged for arms shipments for Iran to be transferred through conduit countries, most notably Singapore. Singapore was the second-largest largest importer of Swedish arms and accounted for 14.4 percent of all Swedish arms exports. Bofors sold Singapore artillery shells, 155mm guns, 40mm naval guns, and 70 laser-guided anti-aircraft missiles that were later shipped to Iran." 

IMI, the manufacturer of the Uzi, arguably the world's most popular submachine gun, supplies most of the Indian military's small arms. Singapore Technologies manufactures the towed 155-milimeter howitzer among a variety of other weapons. 

"Ending (ST's) contract means that a major upgrade to the artillery equipment will have to end," said the website Bnet. "A whole new contract proposal and award process would have to be completed, seriously delaying the reequipping of the military with more modern and advanced artillery. This means that India may have to reconsider ending the contracts as they require the capability being provided." 

Two other Israeli companies possibly related to the inquiry, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael, were not blacklisted, the website said, as their contracts are considered so important to the modernization of India's military.

The other offending companies named are Media Architects of Singapore and BVT Poland. The Indian companies are HYT Engineering, R K Machine Tools and T S Kishan Ltd. 

The CBI in its first information report stated that Ghosh vigorously pushed Israeli firms for defense-related purchases and entered into "criminal conspiracy" with a "private person and other accused" to demand and obtain "huge illegal gratification" for supply orders. New Delhi has thus put on hold all procurements and projects underway with the seven firms till CBI completes its probe into the alleged huge commissions.

Sources say that the armed forces will now have to look for new suppliers of the defense equipment, critical to keep their arms updated. The contracts affected were between IMI and the Ordinance Board in March, worth around Rs 12 billion (US$252 million), to set up an ordnance complex at Nalanda in Bihar to manufacture propellant charges for artillery ammunition meant for Bofors howitzers.

Blacklisted firms have not been allowed back into Indian defense contracts due to the political repercussions of such moves. The Nalanda complex has been a particular victim. In 2004 a South African firm, Denel, was blacklisted which then went into oblivion from the Indian scene. Denel had been originally sought for the construction of the Nalanda Ordinance factory, which also went into limbo.

Similar has been the fate of the then-Swedish Bofors (now owned by BAE Systems), which was caught in the controversy involving commissions to middlemen that cost Gandhi his job. Despite India's desperate need for howitzers, Bofors has been unable to break back into the Indian scenario; the guns that were delivered have proved their mettle during the Kargil war between India and Pakistan in 1999. 

Officials say that given the latest moves to blacklist companies, IMI will be particularly impacted. It will certainly affect future Indo-Israeli defense ties, which now run into billions of dollars. In addition to the Uzi and Tavor 21 submachine gun, variants of which cater to the needs of the Indian forces, IMI supplies 125mm tank shells and manufactures Zitara carbines and cargo ammunition (a variant of cluster bombs).

The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was also to be assisted by IMI in the development of the long delayed indigenous Arjun tank for the Army. The OFB and IMI were also looking collaborate on the development of PB500 bombs capable of penetrating two-meter-thick concrete.

Meanwhile, ST was to supply Pegasus howitzers (140 air-mobile ultra-light ones) valued at nearly Rs30 billion. The firm was also contending to win the Rs80 billion deal to sell 400 155mm/52-calibre towed artillery guns, along with transfer of technology for indigenous manufacture of 1,100 howitzers. The Pegasus howitzer was due for field testing in the western state of Rajasthan this summer. The guns are needed to be deployed in rural areas as well as along the India-Pakistan and India-China borders.

Among the Indian firms blacklisted, T S Kishan Co was to supply spares and accessories for T-72 and T-90S main-battle tanks of the Indian Army; Pune-based HYT Engineering components of missiles produced within India and the Ludhiana-based R. K. Machine Tools spares for vehicles and machinery produced by state unit Bharat Earth Movers. 

Observers say that the latest scandal and blacklistings will certainly impact India's defense modernization efforts, one of the largest globally, pegged at over US$50 billion between 2007 and 2012 aimed at building an immediate strike force against Pakistan and longer term deterrence against China. 

In a report last year, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India said the country over three years (2004-7), spent US$10.5 billion on military imports, making it amongst the largest arms importers in the developing world. 

Last month the IAF inducted the first of the three Israeli Phalcon AWACS, India's most potent force multiplier, capable of tracking down incoming missiles and can keep an ``eye'' on neighboring nations without infringing airspace. India is paying US$1.1 billion for the three AWACS. 

Another system India recently purchased from Israel for US$600 million are aerostat radars to also spot surreptitious guerilla attacks such as the one in Mumbai wherein the attackers used dingy boats to infiltrate the city. New Delhi has also signed a US$1.4 billion deal with Israel to purchase a 70 km shore-based and sea borne anti-missile air defense system.  (SOURCE)


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What amongst other weapons does Israeli Military Industries manufacture? HERE. Defunct cluster bombs used in Lebanon 2006, gun kits for Caterpillar bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes, you name it.

Too bad, so sad, India made it's bed by partnering with Israel. Should anyone be surprised by this, don't be.