Posts Tagged ‘weapons’

Disarming: Gaza or Israel?

August 7, 2014

Nasir Khan, August 7, 2014

Palestinians have been under Israeli occupation; they have been frequent targets of destructive Israeli wars and massacres. If common sense can be our guide in this situation than the solution is to disarm Israel and prosecute its war criminals for war crimes and crimes against humanity in ICC. Disarming Hamas? Hamas has no army, no air force, no missiles, no navy, no naval gunships, no tanks, no anti-aircraft missiles. If Israel has played havoc with the homes and buildings of the Gazans and killed people then the main reason for the Gazan tragedy lies in their inability to defend themselves.

Ideally, for Gazans to defend themselves against Israel’s military might they need a matching military power and weapons. It is obvious that without this they have no chance to defend themselves and their homes. We have seen this what Israel is capable of doing in the 29-day war on Gaza. The Gazans have been at the mercy of Israeli missiles and powerful bombs that pulverised their homes and other structures. Unless Israel lifts the blockade, ends the occupation and develops a new approach towards the people of Palestine the conflict will not disappear.

But how can the Gazans under Hamas do that, to defend themselves militarily, remains an open question. The leaders of the ‘New World Order’ especially the United States will not allow that. There is no major country that is ready to give substantive material support to the Palestinians. Therefore the prevailing conditions will remain intact.

We need to keep in mind that Gaza is beleaguered by Israel from all sides including its air space. It is the largest open-air prison in the world. Now Israel by intentional destruction of the infrastructure of Gaza has made sure that its people would not raise their heads again against the ongoing occupation and blockade for years to come. But if they did at some stage then they would have Israeli war-machine on their heads again. It is as simple as that if we want to understand the Israeli position.

No doubt, this is an undefendable situation. To my mind the only explanation lies in the fact that it is military might that decides the fate of a subjugated people, not their rights according to international law or humane considerations. Yet the struggle of the Palestinians for their national liberation from the Zionist yoke needs universal support. The public demonstrations in many countries around the world denouncing the Israeli genocide and carnage in Gaza have been positive. They show a growing awareness among the people of the world about the plight of the colonised Palestinians.

The men who love war

March 11, 2010

Morning Star Online, March 11, 2010

Solomon Hughes

Two arms dealers attacked Gordon Brown for not spending more on weapons. It doesn’t have the same ring as “army big guns attack Gordon Brown’s defence budget claims” or “Prime Minister is targeted by top brass over army funding claims.” But it is true.

Admiral Lord Boyce and Lord Guthrie are publicly attacking Brown for not buying enough weapons. But Boyce and Guthrie are not merely a retired soldier and a former sailor.

Boyce is a director of the VT Group, which makes hundreds of millions of pounds selling goods and services to the navy.

Continues >>

The Defense Industry Is Pleased with Obama

February 7, 2010

Laura Flanders, The Nation, Feb 3, 2010

Who says the president is failing to show leadership? In one area at least, there’s no sign of flag or falter. If anything, the administration’s only becoming more forthright. Sad to say, that area is military build-up.

Last year, the White House made a big deal of cutting a weapons program — the F-22 fighter jet — and the cuts conveniently obscured the growth in spending on unmanned aircraft or drones (the weapons that Pakistanis say killed a record 123 civilians in twelve attacks last month; 41 for every alleged Al Qaeda operative.)

This year, the president dispensed with the window dressing. No big deal about cuts — except on the domestic side. While the administration’s record $3.8 trillion budget cuts or freezes spending on domestic programs, it requests $708.3 billion for war. That’s $14.8 billion more than we’re spending now.

The total includes $548.9 billion for “regular” war, plus $159.3 billion for special spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh yes, the administration’s also asking Congress to increase spending on new nuclear weapons by more than $7 billion dollars over the next five years — despite that peace prize-winning pledge to cut the US arsenal and seek a nuclear weapons-free world.

The quote of the day comes from the CEO of a military contractor-funded policy group called the Lexington Institute. Loren Thompson tells Tuesday’s New York Times, “The defense industry is pleased but bemused… It’s been telling itself for years that when the Democrats got control it would be bad news for weapons programs. But the spending keeps going on.”

Take that you Nobel committee!

And to think some whiners complain about Democrats suffering from a lack of direction.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at and Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on

The German offensive in Afghanistan

July 28, 2009
Ulrich Rippert,, 27 July 2009

The German army has dramatically intensified its intervention in Afghanistan in the past few days. In the course of a major offensive in northern Afghanistan, it has deployed heavy weaponry including Marder armed personnel carriers and Mörser mortar artillery.

For the first time since Hitler’s troops laid waste to large parts of Europe, the German army is again conducting major military operations against “rebellious elements.” According to press reports, the 21-cm Mörser 18 was one of the main weapons used by Hitler’s Wehrmacht on all of the fronts of the Second World War. Now, the same weapon in its modern form is being used once again to rain down destruction upon the enemy.

The decision for the latest deployment was not made by the German parliament, but rather by the army high command itself. With unprecedented arrogance and self-assertedness, Brigadier General Wolfgang Schneiderhan announced the military action with the words: “It was simply time to undertake this escalation.”

Continued >>

$2.775 billion in US aid supports Israeli nuclear weapons program

July 1, 2009
By Grant F. Smith
Online Journal Guest Writer | Online Journal,  June 29, 2009,

President Barak Obama’s fiscal year 2010 budget request for $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel is proceeding smoothly through the Congress.

On June 17, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs held a “mark-up” session on the budget. The subcommittee came under pressure from an antiwar group that sought to suspend or condition foreign aid over Israel’s use of US weapons which left 3000 Palestinians dead during the Bush administration. The subcommittee held its session in a tiny Capitol room denying activists and members of the press access. The budget quickly passed and is now before the full House Appropriations Committee.

Israel enjoys “unusually wide latitude in spending the [military assistance] funds,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Unlike other recipients that must go through the Pentagon, Israel deals directly with US military contractors for almost all of its purchases. This gives the US based Israel lobby, particularly the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influence multiplier on Capitol Hill. Large contractors proactively segment military contracts across key congressional districts to make them harder to oppose. As contactors and local business interests fight for Israel’s favor, AIPAC can turn away from shepherding the massive aid package to dedicate considerable resources toward Iran sanctions.

Representative Mark Steven Kirk (R-Illinois) sponsored an amendment to the foreign operations bill that would prevent the Export-Import Bank of the United States from providing loan guarantees to companies selling refined petroleum to Iran. According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Kirk is the top 2008 recipient of Israel political action committee (PAC) contributions (PDF). Kirk received $91,200 in the 2008 election cycle and more than $221,000 over his career.

Kirk’s AIPAC sponsored sanctions legislation passed the House Appropriations Committee on June 23. While tactically positioned as a rebuke to the crackdown on Iranian election protesters, the measure is only the most recent of strategic long-term AIPAC sponsored sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel contends Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons under the auspices of a civilian program, though no hard evidence has emerged. However, an illicit nuclear arsenal in the region has been positively identified.

The US Army (PDF), former President Jimmy Carter, and Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller have all recently confirmed that the only country in the Middle East that has deployed nuclear weapons is Israel. The Symington and Glenn amendments to foreign aid law specifically prohibit US aid to nuclear states outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran has signed. Israel hasn’t.

Congress can’t have it both ways on taxpayer funded sanctions and rewards. If gasoline imports indirectly support Iran’s nuclear ambitions, then $2.775 billion in cash for conventional US weapons and military technology clearly allows Israel to spend other resources on the development and deployment of its illicit nuclear arsenal.

Recently released CIA files long ago forecast that such an arsenal would not only make Israel more “assertive” but also reluctant to engage in bona fide peace initiatives. Cutting the massive and indirect US subsidization of nukes and forcing Israel to sign the NPT would go further in averting a nuclear arms race and conflicts in the region than targeting Iranian consumers at the gas pump. It would also demonstrate to the American public that the president and Congress, even under the pressure of AIPAC, won’t blatantly violate US foreign aid laws by publicly pretending Iran — rather than Israel — is the region’s nuclear hegemon.

Copyright © 2009 IRmep

Grant F. Smith is director of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy and author of the book “Foreign Agents: The American Israel Foreign Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal.”

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

Arms Trade Treaty could fail without human rights

September 23, 2008

Amnesty International, 17 September 2008

Every year,more than 300,000 people are killed with conventional weapons. Millions more are injured, abused, forcibly displaced and bereaved as a result of armed violence. Many of the weapons used to commit these violations are sourced on the poorly regulated international arms market.

Amnesty International’s new report, Blood at the Crossroads: Making the case for a global Arms Trade Treaty, uses nine detailed case studies of the catastrophic human rights consequences of unrestrained arms trading.

Launched as UN member states prepare to meet in October to consider further steps to move towards negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty, the report says that world leaders should adopt a “Golden Rule” to help protect human rights when arms are transferred between countries.

The “Golden Rule” states simply: that governments must prevent arms transfers where there is a substantial risk that they are likely to be used for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

From the ongoing conflict in Darfur, military crackdowns in Myanmar and Guinea to the proliferation of sectarian violence in Iraq, the report shows how and why the current variations and loopholes in national arms legislation allow massive violations of human rights to occur. It also demonstrates that without an effective human rights provision, a global Arms Trade Treaty could fail to protect those most vulnerable.

The report is launched during a global week of action by activists and supporters of the Control Arms Campaign. Campaigners are reminding governments that “The World is Watching”, a theme during the week of events and activities to ild up pressure for an agreement on an effective Arms Trade Treaty as quickly as possible.

Worldwide support for a UN process to develop a global Arms Trade Treaty was reflected when 153 states voted in favour (1 against (US), and 24 abstained) during the General Assembly in December 2006. Then during 2007 almost 100 states submitted their views to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, proposing human rights protection as one of the top considerations.

In the run up to October’s UN discussions at the General Assembly First Committee meeting on Disarmament and Security, a few states – including China, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Russia and the US – have been attempting to block, delay and water down proposals. These attempts could make the treaty fail in its objectives and allow the continued unchecked trade in arms.

“Despite the massive green light from most of the world community, a small minority of sceptics want to keep the status quo shambles so they can turn a blind eye to blatantly irresponsible arms transfers, rendering most national arms controls and UN arms embargoes weak and ineffective,” said Brian Wood, Amnesty International’s arms control manager.

China, Russia, the US and many other nations, are highlighted in the report as trading arms to countries with well documented human rights violations.

China and Russia remain the largest suppliers of conventional arms to Sudan that are used for serious ongoing human rights violations by the Sudanese armed forces in Darfur. Russia supplied military helicopters and bomber aircraft, while China sold Sudan most of its arms and ammunition.

In Iraq, the US Department of Defense has funded most of the supply of over one million rifles, pistols and infantry weapons for 531,000 Iraqi security force personnel in a poorly managed and unaccountable process since 2003. This supply has compounded the massive proliferation of arms and gross human rights abuses that began under the former Saddam government.

The new supplies have sometimes involved dubious players in international supply chains and a lack of accountability by Iraq, US and UK governments, leading to diversions of supplies to armed groups and illicit markets.

In Myanmar, despite the persistent pattern of well documented human rights violations committed by Myanmar government forces, China, Serbia, Russia and the Ukraine have between them supplied armoured personal carriers, trucks, weapons and munitions. India has recently offered to supply more arms.

The report shows graphically how violations of the UN arms embargo continue on Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Darfur in Sudan because of weak national laws and lack of commitment and capacity by some governments. The failure of over 80 percent of states to establish laws to control arms brokering and arms transportation makes this problem worse.

A UN Group of Governmental Experts examined the Arms Trade Treaty from February to August 2008 and its report will be considered at the UN First Committee of the General Assembly in October.

Amnesty International and its partners are now calling for states during their discussions at General Assembly to agree in December to start a negotiating process during 2009 so that the international community can benefit from a legally-binding and universal Arms Trade Treaty by the end of 2010.

“Discussions on an Arms Trade Treaty have reached a crossroads,” says Helen Hughes, one of the researchers on the report. “Governments can either carry on ignoring the horrific consequences of irresponsible international arms transfers or they can meet their obligations in an Arms Trade Treaty with a ‘Golden Rule’ on human rights that will actually help save people’s lives and protect their livelihoods.”

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