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Putting Arms Exports To Israel On Trial

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67 Responses to “Contact Us”

  1. […] Check out the defendants website and get in touch with the campaign. Help with publicity, fundraising, meetings, even the legal case. Whatever you […]

  2. Lindis Percy in Prison.

    On 17th April, Lindis Percy was arrested outside Menwith Hill during a protest for an alleged bail offence; on the 21st April she was sent to prison for
    45 days by the Harrogate Magistrates Court for refusing to pay outstanding fines. Lindis refuses to pay for so-called aggravated trespass at
    Menwith Hill and Fylingdales. Lindis has constantly refused to pay these fines and yesterday there was a Warrant out for her arrest just after she
    returned from Seoul.

    If you log onto the BBC online York website you will see their version of
    events. http://news. 2/hi/uk_news/ england/north_ yorkshire/ 7492972.stm

    If you want to write to Lindis, her contact details are:

    Lindis Percy, KP5753, Low Newton Women’s Prison, Brasside, Durham,DH1 5YA
    Tel: 0191 3764000 Ext 4116

  3. Prepared: 15:42 on 21 April 2009
    Written Ministerial Statements for 21 April 2009

    Israel (UK Strategic Export Controls)
    The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband): I am taking this opportunity to update Parliament, following my answers on 19 January, Official Report, column 514, on whether UK-supplied equipment may have been used by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) during the recent conflict in Gaza.

    All strategically controlled exports from the UK—both military and dual-use goods—require an export licence, issued by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on the basis of advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence and, in relevant cases, the Department for International Development. Applications are assessed against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria and any other relevant announced policy. There are eight criteria, which set out the basis on which applications will be assessed. The most important criteria in relation to exports to Israel are as follows:

    Criterion 2 (we will not issue an export licence where there is a clear risk that the export might be used for internal repression), criterion 3 (we will not issue licences for exports which would provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflicts in the country of final destination), criterion 4 (preservation of regional peace, security and stability), and criterion 7 (the risk that the equipment will be diverted within the buyer country or re-exported under undesirable conditions).

    Estimates suggest that Israel buys over 95 per cent. of its military requirements from the US. The EU accounts for a proportion of the remainder. The UK is estimated as accounting for less than 1 per cent. of total Israeli military exports. Of the goods licensed by the UK, a significant proportion will have been for dual use goods for non-military use, or for goods for incorporation in Israel before onward export to a third country. Of the military goods licensed from the UK, the majority have been for components rather than complete systems or sub-systems. Many of the licences we have identified covering military equipment were for components for incorporation into US-manufactured platforms which were then re-exported to Israel.

    I will start by dealing with the equipment used by the IDF in relation to Operation Cast Lead which—contrary to suggestions made in the press and elsewhere—we do not believe contained components supplied under licence from the UK.

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): UAVs were used extensively for reconnaissance and targeting. The Heron and Hermes 450 variants were positively identified. Numerous export licence applications have been received to supply equipment to Israel’s significant UAV industry. The great majority are subject to further incorporation in Israel for onward export and a small number approved for demonstration, research, testing and our own “Watchkeeper” UAV programme. We have no evidence to suggest that goods licensed by the UK were diverted within Israel for use by the IDF.

    Tanks and Armoured Bulldozers: Merkava tanks were deployed in support of the ground offensive into Gaza. We have not identified any UK components on the Merkava tank. D9 Armoured Bulldozers were used to clear ground, clear routes for armoured vehicles and there are credible reports that they were used to demolish houses containing weapons caches or tunnels. None were supplied under licence from the UK, nor were any components for them.

    Secondly, there is equipment which may have been involved in Operation Cast Lead and may have contained British-supplied components.

    Satellites: Israel has a number of reconnaissance satellites that could have been used to provide information to the IDF, and for which the UK has supplied minor components. We assess that these might have been used to prepare the operation but would not have played a significant part in the operation itself.

    Thirdly, there is IDF equipment that was used in Operation Cast Lead and which almost certainly contained British-supplied components.

    Combat Aircraft: The F16 was widely used, including for the delivery of precision-guided ordnance. No licences have been granted by the Government for the export of F16 components sent direct to Israel since 2002. British made components for F16s have been exported to the United States where Israel was the ultimate end-user. These licences covered components for head-up displays, head-down displays and enhanced display units.

    Helicopters: Apache attack helicopters were used in the operation as part of the initial air campaign, and later in support of ground troops. Licences have been approved for the export of components to the US for incorporation into equipment for use on Apache helicopters ultimately destined for Israel. These licences covered parts for the fire control and radar system, navigation equipment and engine assemblies.

    Naval Vessels: Saar-Class Corvettes took part in the operation from the waters off Gaza. They are likely to have been used for a number of tasks, but there are credible reports that the Saar 4.5 was used in a naval fire support role (the Saar 5 does not carry a gun suitable for such a task). Applications have been approved for components direct to Israel for a 76mm gun for a Saar 4.5 class vessel. We have also licensed the supply of other types of equipment for the Israeli navy; most recent cases have been for ubiquitous cabling for the Saar-class vessels and components for radar equipment. Of the cases for radar equipment most have been for air defence purposes, but they have the technical capability to be used for fire-control against surface targets.

    Armoured Personnel Carriers: Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) were used and these included conversions of UK-supplied Centurion tanks to carry troops, for mobile headquarters and as combat engineer vehicles. The Centurions were sold to Israel in the late 1950s.

    It is inherent in the consolidated criteria that judgments are in part based on past practice, so evidence from Operation Cast Lead will be used in all future applications. I can confirm that we are looking at all extant licences to see whether any of these need to be re-considered in light of recent events in Gaza. All future applications will be assessed taking into account the recent conflict. I continue to believe that UK export controls and the consolidated criteria are amongst the strongest and most effective in the world and are the best basis for putting into practice our commitments on arms exports.

  4. wrongfull said

    I admire the time and effort you put into your blog. I wish I had the same drive 🙂

  5. […] now been out on bail, but with a tag, for about 2 weeks. You can continue to write to him, c/o the EDO Decommissioners PO Box. Many thanks to all the anti-EDO campaigners and other activists in Brighton who have supported […]

  6. Lies & Propaganda said

    Thanks for your e-mail regarding ‘Today’ on BBC Radio 4.

    I note you felt the programme’s analysis of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on the creation of a Palestinian state was biased in favour of Israel as there was no input from a Palestinian representative.

    While I appreciate your concerns, we don’t aim for a balance of opinion within one single item or programme as it’s not always possible or practical. Instead, we provide this balance over a period of time across our entire news and current affairs output.

    BBC News has covered the Palestinian opinion on the speech, and the BBC Online report below is just one example:

    The aim of our news reports is to provide the information across our programming in order to enable viewers and listeners to make up their own minds; to show the reality of a situation and provide the forum for debate, giving full opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard. We are satisfied that this has been the case in respect of our reporting of the Middle East, including events that have taken place in Gaza recently. Nevertheless, I recognise you may continue to hold a different opinion about the BBC’s impartiality.

    I’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

    The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.


    Andrew Hannah
    BBC Complaints

  7. Notes from past struggles... said

    “No government’s condemnation of terrorism is credible if it cannot show itself to be open to change by nonviolent dissent”

    · Arundhati Roy


    Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual State”

    · Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal


    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    · Mohandas Gandhi


    “We recommend that people throughout the world launch nonviolent actions against US and UK corporations that directly profit from this war”

    – 7th Recommendation of the World Tribunal on Iraq, June 2005;

    Six months after Israel launched its three-week military operation in Gaza on 27
    December 2008, Gazans still cannot rebuild their lives. Most people struggle to
    make ends meet. Seriously ill patients face great difficulty obtaining the treatment
    they need. Many children suffer from deep psychological problems. Civilians whose
    homes and belongings were destroyed during the conflict are unable to recover.
    During the 22 days of the Israeli military operation, nowhere in Gaza was safe for
    civilians. Hospitals were overwhelmed with casualties, including small children,
    women and elderly people. Medical personnel showed incredible courage and
    determination, working around the clock to save lives in extremely difficult
    circumstances. Meanwhile, daily rocket attacks launched from Gaza put thousands
    of residents at risk in southern Israel. Medical workers in Israel provided care for the
    traumatized population and treated and evacuated casualties.
    Many people in Gaza lost a child, a parent, another relative or a friend. Israel’s military
    operation left thousands of homes partly or totally destroyed. Whole neighbourhoods
    were turned into rubble. Schools, kindergartens, hospitals and fire and ambulance
    stations were damaged by shelling.
    This small coastal strip is
    cut off from the outside
    world. Even before the
    latest hostilities, drastic
    restrictions on the
    movement of people
    and goods imposed by
    the Israeli authorities,
    particularly since
    October 2007, had led
    to worsening poverty,
    rising unemployment
    and deteriorating public
    services such as health
    care, water and sanitation.
    Insufficient cooperation
    between the Palestinian
    Authority in Ramallah and
    the Hamas administration
    in Gaza had also hit the
    provision of essential
    services. As a result, the
    people of Gaza were
    already experiencing a
    major crisis affecting all
    aspects of daily life when
    hostilities intensified in
    late December.
    Six months later, restrictions
    on imports are making
    it impossible for Gazans
    to rebuild their lives. The
    quantities of goods now entering Gaza fall well short of what is required to meet the
    population’s needs. In May 2009, only 2,662 truckloads of goods entered Gaza from
    Israel, a decrease of almost 80 per cent compared to the 11,392 truckloads allowed
    in during April 2007, before Hamas took over the territory.
    Many children witnessed violence during the military operation.
    Bedwetting, insomnia and agitated behaviour are widespread.
    Thousands of children and adults need counselling to deal with
    emotional scars and post-traumatic stress.
    Tivadar Domaniczky /ICRC
    2 3
    Gaza neighbourhoods particularly hard hit by the Israeli strikes will continue to look
    like the epicentre of a massive earthquake unless vast quantities of cement, steel and
    other building materials are allowed into the territory for reconstruction. Until that
    happens, thousands of families who lost everything will be forced to live in cramped
    conditions with relatives. Others will continue to live in tents, as they have nowhere
    else to go.
    Emergency repairs carried out after the military operation have made it possible to
    restore water and sanitation services, but only to the already unsatisfactory level
    prevailing before December 2008. The infrastructure is overloaded and remains
    subject to breakdown. Although chlorine is used to disinfect the water, the risk of
    sewage and other waste matter seeping into the water supply network represents a
    major threat to public health.
    Every day, 69 million litres of partially treated or completely untreated sewage –
    the equivalent of 28 Olympic-size swimming pools – are pumped directly into the
    Mediterranean because they cannot be treated.
    Thousands of homes only have access to running water on certain days. Because the
    water supply network cannot be properly maintained, it is leaking, making it harder
    to maintain sufficient water pressure. Even when water is available in the pipes, many
    homes do not have sufficient power to pump it into rooftop storage tanks.
    The taps of tens of thousands of people run dry when Gaza’s municipal water wells
    break down, which frequently happens because of insufficient supplies of new water
    pipes, electrical spare parts, pumps and transformers.
    The ICRC has occasionally found ways of repairing infrastructure without relying
    on imports. For example, it used recycled materials (including used water pipes
    and concrete segments of the old Rafah border wall destroyed in January 2008) to
    upgrade a wastewater treatment plant serving 175,000 people in Rafah.
    However, on its own this is insufficient. Other repairs and reconstruction projects are
    urgently needed to prevent the further deterioration of the water supply system, carry
    out essential maintenance and stem the steady decline of the water and sanitation
    system throughout the Gaza Strip. The fact that water and sanitation services could
    collapse at any moment raises the spectre of a major public health crisis.
    The only….to read on visit:-

  9. Protest against Armed Forces Day said

    Protest against Armed Forces Day
    anti-war | 23.06.2009 18:58 | South Coast

    ANTI-WAR campaigners are calling for a protest on Saturday June 27 against an “Armed Forces Day” event in Worthing. Meet-up point is 11am at the east end of Warwick Street in the town centre, next to Steyne Gardens where the event is to be held. Some protesters will be in the guise of war victims and people are also being asked to bring banners and placards explaining why they are opposed to the state’s glorification of war.

    The following public statement has been issued by campaigners:

    We are protesting against the staging of an event in Worthing which shamelessly glorifies war and all the suffering, death and destruction that it involves.

    Commemorating conflicts in the past, such as the Second World War, when Britain really was at risk from invasion, is one thing.

    However, today’s armed services are plainly not being used to defend this country at all, but to illegally invade and occupy distant countries in the interests of American global strategy and to grab oil and gas supplies for Big Business.

    We believe that the so-called “Armed Forces Day” is nothing but a propaganda exercise designed to whip up public support for a thoroughly discredited British foreign policy.

    Waving the Union Jack to try and get people to march in step behind the Government is no way to run a democratic country in the 21st century – this sort of approach should have died a death with the end of the British Empire or with the last of Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies!

    Two million citizens protested in Britain against the invasion of Iraq, which is now widely seen as having been based on lie after lie.

    Many of us think Tony Blair and George W Bush should be facing war crime charges, while Gordon Brown’s regime is still trying to hide the truth by holding its whitewash enquiry behind closed doors!

    At a time when this country is sinking into huge debt, we simply cannot afford to spend £35 billion (MoD figures for 2009/10) on helping the USA to try to control the whole world – meanwhile lining the pockets of well-connected weapons manufacturers!

    If only we could invest that sort of money in healthcare, education or in developing green technologies to help us build a healthy and sustainable future for these small islands!

    While young men and women join the armed forces for various reasons, we should not be encouraging them to do so. There are so many more important, and less destructive, jobs to be done in this world.

    Do we really think “our boys and girls” are doing a good deed by bombing wedding parties in Afghanistan, blowing up little children with cluster bombs or causing defects in babies for generations to come by using highly toxic depleted uranium in our weapons?

    And if they are killed in action can we really claim that they are “heroes” who have died for something worthwhile, or are they in fact victims – victims of a system that regards them as cannon fodder for its own insatiable greed and megalomania?

    No more taxpayers’ money wasted on the military!

    No public subsidy for the arms industry!

    No more blood for oil!


    Download this article in pdf format >>
    Email this article to someone >>
    Submit an addition or make a quick comment on this article >>
    Hide the following comment

    A Soldiers Comment
    28.06.2009 06:30

    Hi There,

    I left the British Army a few years ago… I have just read your article and much of what you say is true.. Why did I join the army? Because I could not find a job in Thatchers Britain.

    The feeling amongst many ordinary soldiers is that they are being used and abused by the government and dying for no reason whatsoever..

    I have 2 children and it would devastate me if any of them wanted to join up..

    The turnover rate in the forces is huge, because many now see us used as like you say cannon fodder..

    No matter how patriotic someone is to Britain and going fighting for it should read about the 1st World War.. Nothing has changed, just to a lesser extent perhaps..

    You say that the 2nd World War was a different thing when we were really threatened and you’re right.. I agree.. If Britian was really threatened then I’m sure we would meet the challenge, but ….. I cannot get over Colin Powells briefing to the UN about weapons of mass destruction. A total lie that many soldiers are angry about to this day.. Friends and colleges who died based on this lie is hard to accept.. Many a conversation has taken place in barracks about this lie…

    The ordinary soldier needs you to keep the pressure on the goverment to not use them in illegal confilcts.. Many soldiers are good people.. Luckily I never had to pull the trigger to end a life.. If I had I seriously think I would have struggled to live the rest of my life with the guilt.. Many soldiers feel like this..

    Keep up the good work…

  10. Seen this?
    These are the latest killing machines.

  11. Israel committed war crimes and carried out reckless attacks and acts of wanton destruction in its Gaza offensive, an independent human rights report says.

    Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed using high-precision weapons, while others were shot at close range, the group Amnesty International says.

    Its report also calls rocket attacks by Palestinian militants war crimes and accuses Hamas of endangering civilians.

    The Israeli military says its conduct was in line with international law.

    Israel has attributed some civilian deaths to “professional mistakes”, but has dismissed wider criticism that its attacks were indiscriminate and disproportionate.

    Amnesty says some 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the 22-day Israeli offensive between 27 December 2008 and 17 January 2009, which agrees broadly with Palestinian figures.

    Amnesty International report on Operation ‘Cast Lead’
    Download the reader here
    More than 900 of these were civilians, including 300 children and 115 women, it says.

    In March, Israel’s military said the overall Palestinian death toll was 1,166, of whom 295 were “uninvolved” civilians.


    The 117-page report by Amnesty International says many of the hundreds of civilian deaths in the conflict “cannot simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage’ incidental to otherwise lawful attacks – or as mistakes”.

    It says “disturbing questions” remain unanswered as to why children playing on roofs and medical staff attending the wounded were killed by “highly accurate missiles” whose operators had detailed views of their targets.


    Children: 300
    Women: 115
    Men over 50: 85
    Civilian men under 50: 200
    Non-combatant police: 240
    Total: 940
    Source: Amnesty International

    Gaza conflict: Who is a civilian?
    Gaza case studies: Weapons use
    Lives were lost because Israeli forces “frequently obstructed access to medical care,” the report says. It also reiterates previous condemnations of the use of “imprecise” weapons such as white phosphorous and artillery shells.

    The destruction of homes, businesses and public buildings was in many cases “wanton and deliberate” and “could not be justified on the grounds of military necessity”, the report adds.

    “All of those things occurred on a scale that constitutes pattern – and constitutes war crimes,” Donatella Rovera, who headed the research, told the BBC.

    The document also gives details of several cases where it says people – including women and children posing no threat to troops – were shot at close range as they were fleeing their homes in search of shelter.

    Israeli officials responded saying the military targeted only areas where Palestinian militants were operating, and accused Hamas of turning civilian neighbourhoods into “war zones”.

    “We tried to be as surgical as is humanly possible in a difficult combat situation,” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told the BBC.

    Human shields

    The Amnesty report says no evidence was found that Palestinian militants had forced civilians to stay in buildings being used for military purposes, contradicting Israeli claims that Hamas repeatedly used “human shields”.

    However, Amnesty says Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups had endangered Palestinian civilians by firing rockets from residential neighbourhoods and storing weapons in them.

    It says local residents had in one case told researchers that Hamas fighters had fired a rocket from the yard of a government school.

    The Israeli military has repeatedly blamed Hamas for causing civilian casualties, saying its fighters operated from buildings like schools, medical facilities, religious institutions, residential homes and commercial premises.

    In the cases it had investigated, Amnesty said civilian deaths “could not be explained as resulting from the presence of fighters shielding among civilians, as the Israeli army generally contends”.

    However, Amnesty does accuse Israel of using civilians, including children, as human shields in Gaza, forcing them to remain in houses which its troops were using as military positions, and to inspect sites suspected of being booby trapped.

    It also says Palestinian militants rocket fire from the Gaza Strip was “indiscriminate and hence unlawful under international law”, although it only rarely caused civilian casualties.

    Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniya declined to comment on the Amnesty International criticism, but said: “We believe the leaders of the occupation state must be tried for these crimes.”

    Thirteen Israelis were killed, including three civilians, during the offensive, which Israel launched with the declared aim of curtailing cross-border rocket attacks.

  12. From The Times
    February 24, 2009

    Amnesty International: Gaza white phosphorus shells were US made

  13. Go to Previous message | Go to Next message | Back to MessagesMark as Unread | Print ReplyReply AllMove…BRHGBristol Stop The War…Bristol.Nakba60bristolnobordersbristolsocialforumCastle ParkLetters to and fro r…
    Flag this message, 2 July, 2009 5:25 PM
    From: This sender is DomainKeys verified”Harvey Tadman” View contact detailsTo:

    From The Times
    February 24, 2009

    Amnesty International: Gaza white phosphorus shells were US made

  14. Press Release – Campaigners to enact the Bloody History of ITT Today
    Chloe Marsh | 01.07.2009 08:54 | Anti-militarism | Iraq | Palestine | South Coast | World

    Smash EDO Press Release

    Wednesday 1sth July

    Campaigners to enact the Bloody History of ITT

    for more info call 07538093930 or email

    Demonstration at EDO MBM/ITT, Home Farm Road, 4pm

    Campaigners will hold a demonstration today to remember the bloody history of EDO MBM/ITT, A multinational arms company working in Brighton. The ITT Corporation, one of the largest companies in the world, which took over EDO in December 2007, have a long history of working with fascist regimes. They worked with the Nazi regime in Germany throughout its genocide, with Franco in Spain and with Pinochet in Chile.

    ITT took over EDO MBM which had been owned by the US company, EDO corporation. Prior to that the company had been owned by MBM, an arms company who have worked in Brighton since the 1940s.

    Campaigners will use street theatre to depict ITT’s inglorious history outside EDO MBM/ITT on Home Farm Road Brighton.

    Campaign press spokesperson Chloe Marsh said “we think it is important to remember this country’s history. ITT profited from the bombing of London and southeast England as its German subsidiary Focke-Wulfe built fighter aircraft for the Nazis. It is clear that the company has not gained any integrity since then as they continue to sell weapons to Israel for its crimes against the Palestinians”

    Photos and Interviews Available

    for more info call 07538093930 or email

    Notes for Journalists

    On 20th December 2007 EDO shareholders voted to approve the takeover of EDO Corp by ITT, the estimated value of the transaction was $1.7 billion.

    ITT & Hitler

    The CEO of International Telephone & Telegraph(ITT), Colonel Sosthenes Behn reportedly spoke with Adolf Hitler on the phone from New York Cityevery week of World War II. Key companies that maintained the German telephone network were ITT subsidiaries at that time, and communications were
    obviously of strategic importance for Nazi Germany. Their subsidiaries produced vital supplies such as switchboards, telephones, teleprinters, aircraft intercoms, submarine and ship phones, electric buoys, alarm gongs, buoys, air raid warning devices, radar equipment, radio parts and 30,000 fuses per month for artillery shells used to kill allied troops.

    Numerous payments were made to Heinrich Himmler in the late 1930s and in World War II itself through I.T.T. German subsidiaries. The first
    meeting between Hitler and I.T.T. was reported in August 1933, when Sosthenes Behn and I.T.T. German representative Henry Manne met with Hitler in Berchesgaden. Subsequently, Behn made contact with the Secretary of State Keppler and, through Keppler’s influence, Nazi banker Baron Kurt von Schröder became the guardian of I.T.T. interests in Germany. Schröder acted as the conduit for I.T.T. money funnelled to Heinrich Himmler’s
    S.S. organization in 1944.

    ITT profited from the bombing of London and southeast England as its German subsidiary Focke-Wulfe built the FW 191 heavy bombe and the FW 190D
    fighter bomber. By 1943 13% of ITT’s income was generated from Nazi Germany.

    At the time of the Pearl Harbour attack in 1941, ITT’s investments in Nazi Germany totalled $30 million. They continued to invest in and collaborate
    with Nazi Germany after the USA entered the war, in fact striking a deal with Hitler ensuring that the Nazi government would not acquire ITT’s shares, but would be responsible for the administration of the shares. ITT literally went into partnership with the Nazi government in wartime.

    ITT later sued the American government, receiving $27 million for damage that had been inß icted on their German plants by Allied bombers, despite the fact that these factories were building Nazi military equipment to attack the allies during the war. On 20th December 2007 EDO shareholders voted to approve the takeover of EDO Corp by ITT, the estimated value of the transaction was $1.7 billion. ITT have a long history of active support of fascism, recent attempts to re-brand their image have proved irrelevant in the face of their involvement in war-crimes and genocide throughout history, and which continues today.

    ITT & Franco

    To protect the interests of its Spanish subsidiary the Compania Telefonica Nacional de Espana (CTNE), which held a monopoly over Spain’s telephone system, ITT actively supported fascist dictator General Franco rise to power while opposition to ITT’s presence and profiteering in Spain grew, even resulting in two bombs exploding at an ITT telephone facility in Madrid.

    Colonel Behn provided private phone links between the plotters at Madrid and Generals Francisco Franco and Emilio Mola in the provinces. Behn’s activities allowed the extremely effective coordination between the widely scattered rebel leaders in the early days of the uprising. CTNE technicians were also repairing damaged telephone equipment for Franco’s insurgents. The US government claimed neutrality in the Spanish civil war,but failed to prevent US companies like ITT financing and supporting Franco. It was this extra support which won Franco the war, and resulted in 36 years of fascist rule in Spain.

    ITT & Pinochet

    In 1970 ITT tried to get the CIA to support Salvadore Allende’s right-wing opponent for the presidencey in Chile. ITT offered to pay the CIA $1million to prevent the Chilean Congress from confirming Allende after he was elected. Allende was campaigning on a platform of expropriation of American businesses, including ITT.

    In October, 1971, President Salvador Allende of Chile, the first democratically elected socialist leader, nationalized ITT’s 70% interest in the Chilean Telephone Company (Chiltelco). ITT proposed an 18-point action plan to the U.S. Government to strangle Chile’s economy, create panic among its population, and cause social disorder,so the Chilean armed forces would overthrow Allende.

    Three months later President Nixon created a special inter-agency group to implement ITT’s proposal, and the National Security Council’s Committee approved a plan to overthrow Allende. ITT directors John A. McCone, former head of the CIA, and Eugene R. Black, former head of the World Bank,
    were instrumental in getting the U.S. to approve ITT’s plan. Funding for the covert actions was channelled through the CIA, and the World Bank was one of the first financial institutions to cut off credit to Chile.

    Allende was killed in 1973 in the resultant military coup funded by ITT, who were rewarded with the return of its holdings under new leader Augusto
    Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship which saw thousands of Chileans tortured and murdered.
    Later in the decade charges of perjury were brought against ITT for having denied involvement in the CIA-backed military coup to US Congress. ITT public relations officer Hal Hendrix pleaded guilty to lying under oath, but was fined under $100 as a reward for cooperation in the larger perjury case against ITT.

    The perjury case against ITT was dropped in 1979 on the grounds of international security, yet documents declassified in 2000 showed ITT to be guilty of perjury regarding its involvement in Chilean politics.
    Despite its attempted re-branding, only last year ITT were found guilty of breaking US arms control laws by exporting secret night vision technology to foreign military forces which led to the largest fine in history
    for breach of export control law.

    Chloe Marsh

  15. Anti-Militarist Network Gathering, Nottingham
    Notts Anti-Militarism | 03.07.2009 03:17 | Anti-militarism | Nottinghamshire

    The Anti-Militarist Network will be holding its next gathering in Nottingham on the weekend of July 11th-12th.

    The AMN is a non-hierarchical, UK-wide network of autonomous campaigns, groups and activists opposed to militarism and the arms industry. It is at gatherings such as this that the AMN makes its decisions.

    Over the course of the weekend there will be various sessions and workshops, including planning mobilisations against the DSEi arms fair in London in September and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Edinburgh in November. The AMN gathering is a great opportunity for activists from around the country to network and build a national anti-militarist movement.

    The provisional timetable is as follows:

    SATURDAY 2009-07-11
    10:00 Introduction
    10:30 Reports from regional groups and recent events
    11:30 Break
    11:45 AMN infotour and publicity
    12:30 Lunch
    13:30 NATO Parliamentary Assembly
    15:30 Break
    16:00 Direct action workshops
    18:30 Dinner
    19:30 Social night

    SUNDAY 2009-07-12
    09:30 Disarm DSEi 2009
    11:30 Break
    11:45 EDO Decommissioners support
    12:30 Lunch
    13:30 Activist Trauma Support discussion (TBC)
    14:30 Conclusion

    The conference will be held at the Sumac Centre, 245 Gladstone St, Nottingham NG7 6HX. For directions see . For those needing accommodation, there will be crash-space at a nearby housing co-op. Please check in at the front desk or the bar in the Sumac Centre on the Friday or Saturday evening, or contact the Sumac Centre on +441159608254. There will also be limited accommodation at the homes of local activists, which you can request by e-mailing contact .

    Vegan meals will be provided by Veggies catering campaign and local volunteers. On the Friday and Saturday night the Sumac social club will be open, with bar and music. (Non-members must be signed in.) Delegates to the gathering will be asked for small donations to help cover costs.

    If you have any enquiries, special requirements or problems, please e-mail contact
    Notts Anti-Militarism

    23-27 July 2009, Oxfordshire

    Join people from across the broad spectrum of the British peace movement for five days of exploration, celebration and empowerment. Bring your contribution to a hothouse of creativity, a small self-governed society run by democratic camp meetings, a viable example of the kind of world we are trying to bring about.

    We will be learning from other movements, struggling with challenging
    issues, creating more cohesion in a segmented peace movement and debating nonviolence. Workshops will range from theoretical discussion to practical planning for actions later in the year.

    Fifty years of activist experience will be represented, along with fresh faces and new blood.

    There will be over 40 sessions, including:

    – ‘Local Anti-Arms Trade Campaigning’ and ‘International Perspectives on the Arms Trade’ with Smash EDO and Nottingham Against Militarism
    – ‘Protest Camps’ and ‘Nuclear Weapons and Trident Replacement’ with Faslane Peace Camp
    – ‘Using the System – how planning, legal and parliamentary systems can be utilised by activists’ with Juliet McBride (AWPC) and Andrew Wood (who recently successfully challenged police surveillance of activists in the courts).
    – ‘Chomsky’s Politics’ with Milan Rai (Peace News)
    – ‘Libertarian Education’ with David Gribble (author ‘Real Education:
    Varieties of Freedom’) and Leslie Barson (The Otherwise Club)
    – ‘Strategy Skills’ and ‘Consensus Decision-making’ with Seeds for Change (
    – ‘Civil Liberties’ with the Repeal SOCPA Campaign and Jim Brann (London CND)
    – ‘Worker’s control and Parecon’ with Mark Evans (Project for a
    Participatory Society)
    – ‘Faith-based Resistance’ with Susan Clarkson (Oxford Catholic Worker)
    – ‘Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran’ with Milan Rai, Salih Ibrahim (Voices UK) and Gabriel Carlyle (Voices UK)
    – ‘Nonviolence, armed self-defence and participatory democracy: lessons from the Black freedom struggle’ with Gabriel Carlyle
    – ‘Activism for the long haul’ with Martin Shaw (Activist Trauma Support)
    – ‘Islamaphobia and the War on Terror’ with Maya Evans (JNV) and Hugo Charlton
    (Campaign against Criminalising Communities)
    – ‘Countering Army Recruitment’ by David Gee (author of ‘Informed Choice? Armed forces recruitment practice in the United Kingdom’)

    As well as poetry, games, play-reading, story-telling, walks, a samba workshop, debates on the invasion of Iraq (‘Why did we fail?’) and the future of the anti-war movement, and more!

    Fed by local organic fruit and veg (lovingly cooked by the wonderful
    Veggies of Nottingham), we’re camping in a family-friendly and
    renewably-powered way from 23-27 July near Faringdon, Oxfordshire, to make the world a better place.

    Entrance to the camp costs £15-£50 depending on income. For all the
    details see or contact 0845 458 2564

  17. Ethics and partnerships: the OU and the St Athan
    Military Academy
    The Open University now boasts a Centre for Ethics and includes ethical teaching in its curriculum, but it does
    not yet have an ethical policy guiding its corporate partnerships. The recent link between the OU and the Metrix
    consortium has led to protests in Wales and may result in far wider ramifications for the institution
    Life at the OU in Wales took a new turn recently, with demonstrations
    against the University’s involvement in a military training consortium
    taking place outside our building.
    Over the past year, the ‘Stop the St Athan Military Academy
    Campaign’ has been publicizing and attacking the OU’s involvement
    in the Metrix consortium, which followed its success in being
    awarded a government contract to run a training agency for all of
    the British armed forces at St Athan in South Glamorgan.
    The OU is a member of the consortium, along with some major
    arms manufacturers, including QinetiQ and Raytheon. Raytheon
    manufactures Tomohawk and Patriot missiles, and missiles
    capable of carrying cluster bombs; QinetiQ hit the headlines with
    criticisms by the National Audit Office of the process whereby, in
    the privatization of DERA, the responsible civil servants became
    multi-millionaires overnight.
    Thousands of training jobs from around the UK will be moved
    to St Athan, just outside Cardiff, where up to 5,500 jobs will be
    created. This figure is one that fluctuates and is contested, but it is
    claimed that the St Athan Military Academy, costing £15 billion,
    will be the largest ever public-sector project in Wales.
    The project is welcomed by local MPs and Welsh Assembly
    Members, by the Welsh Assembly Government and by all of the
    major political parties in Wales. Nonetheless, several Plaid Cymru
    members of the National Assembly for Wales have spoken against
    it, and there are a small but vociferous number of people in Wales
    opposed to the militarization of the economy. Anti-militarism has
    been a core element of the nationalist struggle since its inception,
    and is a perspective shared by many key figures in public life.
    Does this new partnership fit with the mission of the OU – to
    create and enhance life opportunities? There are concerns about any
    institution’s associations with the arms trade. Jennie Lee, one of the
    main founders of the OU, was firm in her stand against arms, in that
    she was against the UK acquiring a nuclear deterrent.
    Various UK universities (including St Andrews and several
    Cambridge colleges) have adopted ethical investment policies.
    University College London, under pressure from students and
    alumni, is among those that are considering doing so. The School of
    Oriental and African Studies and Goldsmiths, University of London
    and Bangor University have withdrawn investment from arms
    companies. The OU has still to decide on whether it needs to devise
    clear and fully transparent ethical guidelines to steer its business
    Other institutions have been more forthright. The Norwegian state
    pension fund, which includes its petroleum fund, and Liverpool City
    Council are among the bodies that have disinvested from Raytheon,
    on the basis of its implication in war crimes and killing civilians in
    Iraq and Lebanon.
    Of course, military technology and the armed forces are involved
    in defence as well as attack, and there are plenty of us who subscribe
    to notions of ‘just wars’. But the plan is to train not just British
    troops, but armed forces from around the world. The idea of training
    troops for the Burmese government is more controversial than
    training British troops.
    Others do not share this political or moral concern, but object on
    pragmatic grounds: that the OU risks tainting its brand. In a sense,
    the greatest asset of the OU is its brand. The brand isn’t just a logo
    but is a reputation, and the reputations of organizations increasingly
    are linked to their ethical and environmental policies and practices.
    We only have to look to Nike, McDonald’s, Tesco, the Body Shop
    and the Co-operative Bank to see the centrality of ‘the brand’ to
    business performance.
    Across the economy and around the world there is a huge growth
    in the ‘corporate social responsibility’ agenda. In one sense, this is
    recognized by the OU, which recently launched a Level 1 course
    on Ethics in Real Life and takes very seriously its commitment to
    development in Africa. At the same time, it is in partnership with
    the World Bank to develop a private university in Pakistan, in
    collaboration with Tesco regarding using clubcard points to pay
    course fees (see Society Matters No.10), and is now linked with the
    Metrix consortium.
    This suggests the need for an ethical, environmental and corporate
    responsibility framework for the OU’s relationships with other
    organizations. With its deservedly high standing, the OU brand is of
    enormous benefit to us all. The good reputation of the OU is an asset
    and needs to be defended actively.
    In response to the University’s involvement in the Metrix
    consortium, the Open University Branch of the University and
    College Union (OUBUCU) has formulated a set of ethical guidelines
    to be applied to the future selection of its strategic partnerships with
    external organizations. The guidelines set out criteria regarding the
    arms trade, ecological sustainability, animal welfare and corporate
    responsibility to ‘filter’ out partnerships which may commercially
    damage the University’s brand. At the time of going to press, a
    paper setting out the arguments for their implementation has been
    presented to the Vice-Chancellor and the Branch awaits a response
    to its suggestion that a forum be established between union and
    management to discuss the guidelines. The union believes the
    University cannot be financially successful in the future unless it
    is committed to an ethical approach to partnerships.

  18. Slim said

    UK blocks 5 arms export licences to Israel (out of 182)
    * | 13.07.2009 09:23 | Anti-militarism | South Coast

    5 down

    177 to go

    hardly an embargo

    Haaretz 03:02 13/07/2009

    U.K. hits Israel with partial arms embargo over Gaza war

    By Barak Ravid

    Britain has slapped a partial arms embargo on Israel , refusing to supply replacement parts and other equipment for Sa’ar 4.5 gunships because they participated in Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.

    Britain’s Foreign Office informed Israel ‘s embassy in London of the sanctions a few days ago. The embassy, in a classified telegram to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem , said the decision stemmed from heavy pressure by both members of Parliament and human rights organizations.

    The embargo followed a government review of all British defense exports to Israel , which was announced three months ago. In total, the telegram said, Britain reviewed 182 licenses for arms exports to Israel , including 35 for exports to the Israel Navy. But it ultimately decided to cancel only five licenses, all relating to the Sa’ar 4.5 ships. The licenses in question apparently cover spare parts for the ship’s guns.


    Download this article in pdf format
    Email this article to someone;
    Submit an addition or make a quick comment on this article
    Hide the following comment

    Actually vastly increased arms sales
    13.07.2009 13:06

    “A petition of more than 38,000 signatures calling for a ban was also posted on the Prime Minister’s website.

    In a review published earlier this year, Amnesty International highlighted Britain’s role in supplying engines for the Hermes 450 drones, an aircraft widely used by the Israeli military in Gaza. A report by Human Rights Watch last week said that the weapons had killed dozens of civilians.

    According to government figures, Britain has more than doubled its sale of weapons to Israel in recent years. In 2007, Britain sold £6 million of arms to Israel, while in 2008 it licensed £20 million in the first quarter alone. ”

    I don’t know how the Times can call an increase from £6million a year to £20 million in 3 months ‘doubling’, it is at least a trebled and perhaps a yearly increase of more than thirteen fold.

    (Note to the editor – PLEASE publish related website details)

  19. Jim said

    Shocking suicide toll on combat veterans

    Tories demand better mental health care for troops returning from front

    By Nigel Morris and Kim Sengupta

    Wednesday, 15 July 2009
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    The cortege of hearses passes through Wootton Bassett yesterday

    More pictures
    Britain faces a “ticking timebomb” of mental illness and suicide among young Army veterans who return from hand-to-hand combat in Afghanistan, the Conservatives will warn today.

    A lack of mental health care for veterans, combined with the stress of fighting the Taliban, will mean many survivors of the conflict pay a heavy price in psychological problems and self harm, according to David Cameron and the shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

    As the bodies of eight soldiers – including three teenagers – killed in a bloody 24 hours in Helmand were repatriated yesterday, mental health experts joined the politicians in warning that not enough was being done to care for returning members of the armed forces.

    Related articles
    Ian Birrell: False hopes and phoney democracy
    Terri Judd: Mourners in their thousands weep for the returning dead
    Letters: War in Afghanistan
    Research suggests that veterans aged 18 to 23 are up to three times more likely to commit suicide than their civilian counterparts. Setting out plans today to boost mental health care for returning troops, Mr Fox and Mr Cameron will argue that more veterans of the Falklands campaign and the first Gulf War killed themselves after quitting the forces than died in action.

    An estimated 264 Falklands veterans have committed suicide since the conflict ended, compared with 255 soldiers killed in action, according to an ex-servicemen’s organisation.

    Twenty-four British soldiers died during the 1991 Gulf War, but the Ministry of Defence disclosed last year that 169 veterans of the conflict had died from “intentional self-harm” or in circumstances that led to open verdicts at inquests.

    Mr Fox told The Independent: “The suicide figures for past conflicts are deeply concerning. I worry that with the intensity of current operations in Afghanistan we are building up a timebomb of mental health problems.”

    David Hill, director of operations for the charity Combat Stress, said it took an average of 14 years for veterans to ask for help with post-traumatic stress disorder. Many suffered in silence – often harbouring suicidal thoughts – because they were reluctant to admit to their vulnerability.

    Mr Hill said: “Servicemen and women are exposed to stresses that most people won’t be exposed to in their lives. In Afghanistan, they are exposed to them quite early in their careers. There is a general lack of understanding about how intense these stresses can be.”

    A study by Manchester University this year found that ex-servicemen under 24 were between two and three times more likely to kill themselves than men of the same age from outside the forces.

    Researchers suggested three possible reasons: that they were already more vulnerable to suicide before joining up; that they had trouble re-adapting to civilian life; or that they were affected by “exposure to adverse experiences”.

    Professor Nav Kapur, one of the report’s authors, warned: “Young men leaving the armed forces appear to be at a higher risk. That needs to be recognised and action taken.”

    Kevan Jones, the Veterans minister, said: “We have made great progress both in the treatment of mental health problems and in reducing the stigma associated with seeking help. I’m working with the NHS to make sure GPs are telling veterans about the support available, such as the six community mental health schemes we have set up specifically tailored for veterans.”

    The Cabinet discussed the growing bloodshed in Afghanistan as the political controversy over the Government’s tactics intensified. Fifteen UK soldiers were killed in a 10-day spell last week, bringing the number of deaths since 2001 to 184. Downing Street insisted yesterday that the Army was “making progress” in its attacks on Taliban positions in Helmand, but acknowledged British troops were facing a “critical period”.

    A spokesman for Gordon Brown said: “The clear view coming out of Cabinet was that we do have the right approach in Afghanistan.” He denied Mr Brown had chosen the cheapest option for reinforcing the British forces by sending 700 extra troops rather than the 2,000 requested by military chiefs.

    The head of the British Army disclosed yesterday that the military will review strategy in the light of the recent surge in deaths. General Sir Richard Dannatt said: “We have got to think through the way we operate, the resources we have got, the numbers… to make sure we have given ourselves the absolute best chance of succeeding.”

    Senior officers will analyse details from the latest combat in Helmand to ascertain what lessons can be learned. In particular they will examine how the Taliban are honing their use of roadside bombs and mines.

    Stressing that withdrawal was not an option, General Dannatt said: “This mission is really important. If we were to pull out unilaterally, just come out of the mission… frankly, the consequences will be catastrophic.”

    Meanwhile 140 extra troops from the 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, currently based in Cyprus, are being deployed to Afghanistan to assist with the offensive against the Taliban in Helmand, codenamed Operation Panther’s Claw.

    What are the other members of Nato doing to help us?

    Q. Why have there been such levels of recrimination over British troop numbers in Afghanistan? What is the situation now?

    A. The UK deployment of about 4,000 troops to Afghanistan in 2006 took place against the background of a major commitment in Iraq. Commanders were concerned about “overstretch” and fighting on two fronts. Since then, the force in Afghanistan has reached 9,100 troops. When the UK began withdrawing from southern Iraq, the US wanted some forces diverted to Afghanistan. Senior British officers wanted 2,000 to 2,500 more troops sent to Helmand. A troop shortage meant ground won from the Taliban could not be held and it was felt that with up to 22,000 US troops heading to the country’s south, including to Helmand, the British had to raise their numbers to maintain credibility. Gordon Brown opted for the lowest commitment option: a temporary deployment of 700 for the Afghan elections. The decision sparked controversy and will be reviewed after the autumn election. It is expected the 700 will become permanent and an additional force sent.

    Q. What has been the British strategy in Afghanistan since 2006?

    A. John Reid, the then defence secretary, said he hoped the mission would end “without a shot being fired in anger”. Since then, about six million rounds are thought to have been fired. From the start of the mission, UK policy seemed confused and drifting. The official mission statement was that troops would help bring governance to a traditionally lawless part of the country and assist in poppy eradication. But they charged off to outlying areas and set up platoon houses, in effect inviting Taliban attacks. The operation ran counter to a plan by General (now Sir) David Richards, the British commander of Nato forces, which called for secure areas to be set up around larger towns, where reconstruction could begin. Instead, swaths of Helmand turned into battlefields, and there was little development.

    Q. Gordon Brown has asked for more Afghan government troops to be based in Helmand. Why? And how effective will this be?

    A. Nato’s aim is for Afghans to provide their own security but it will be a while before they can. Mr Brown has said the Afghan forces should hold ground which British forces cannot, effectively acknowledging there are not enough British forces on the ground. About 11 per cent of the 85,000-strong Afghan army are in Helmand, which has seen almost half of recent fighting. But much of the Afghan force is still training. The plan is to expand the Afghan forces to 134,000. But even that number would seem unlikely to be able to meet a Taliban emergency which is recruiting international jihadists and is supported by elements in the Pakistani military and intelligence. Iraq, with a similar population, has about 600,000 in its force.

    Q. What about contributions from other Nato countries?

    A. No less than 42 countries contribute to the International Security Assistance Force. But many contingents, including some from Nato countries, operate under caveats which restrict what they are allowed to do, rendering them virtually ineffective in combat scenarios. The UK and US have demanded that other Western states should do more. The Canadians have the worst fatality rate, losing 126 personnel from a force of 2,800. The British have lost 185 out of 9,000 and the Americans, 723 from 60,000. The deadliest attack was on a French unit last August; 10 soldiers died in an engagement 40 miles from Kabul.

    Kim Sengupta

  20. RAE STREET said

    Uranium – the deadly legacy of Britain’s Iraq inasion.

    One legacy left by the British (and US) army in Iraq has barely been mentioned in the coverage of the return of the british troops from Basra.
    That the contamination of the land from ‘depleted’ uranium dust left after the explosion of depleted uranium (DU) munitions which were used by the UK army in both wars on Iraq, in 1991 and 2003.
    When the (badley named) DU munitions burn they produce a DU oxide dust.
    The dust, which is radioactive and chemically toxic, can travel for miles and the fine particles can be inhaled or ingested by civilians.
    In adition, the DU penetrators fired from aircraft did not all reach their targets and as they corroded on the land were, and are, likely to contaiminate groundwater and drinking water supplies.
    Recent research suggests that the chemical toxicity of DU and its radioactivity may have a synergistic effect, bringing about health damage to humans, especially children, and pregnant women and their unborn babies.
    Clearly, with such potentially dangerous material, there are hazards all along the line in the production of the munitions – from uranium mining, through manufacture, to the weapons’ testing (carried out in south-west Scotland) to the soldiers using the arms, and most importantly, to the innocent civilians living around battleground sites.
    Ultimately, the only answer is an inter-national treaty to ban uranium weapons.
    However, in the meantime there is the fearful legacy for Iraqi civilians.
    The UK government cannot just walk away. It must acknowledge the problems and dangers and begin to look at reparation.

    Campaign Against Depleted
    Uranium Weapons

  21. Fred said

    Britain punishes Israel for Gaza naval bombardment

    By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
    Tuesday, 14 July 2009


    An Israeli Saar gunship

    The British Government has reacted to Israel’s bombardment and invasion of Gaza last January by barring further exports of components used in naval gunships which took part in the three-week operation.

    Britain has officially told Israel’s embassy in London that it is revoking five licences for exports of equipment used in Saar 4.5 vessels because they violate UK and EU criteria precluding military sales which could be used for “internal repression”.

    Israel used naval vessels to bombard Gaza targets from the Mediterranean to augment the ground and air offensive after Operation Cast Lead was launched against Hamas on 27 December last year. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, told the Commons in April that there were “credible” reports that the Saar-class Corvette vessels had been used in “a naval fire support role”.

    Related articles
    Israeli soldiers reveal the brutal truth of Gaza attack
    Breaking the Silence: Full report
    The Saar vessels’ 76mm guns are almost certain to have used British-made components because the Government had previously granted export licences specifically for them. It had also allowed exports of cabling for Saar-class ships and also components for radar which Mr Miliband acknowledged could be used for “fire control against surface targets” as well as its primary role in air defence.

    The cancellation of the five licences follows a review started by the UK Government three months ago, in the aftermath of the Israeli offensive, of the 182 licences currently in force for arms exports to Israel.

    The Israeli military acknowledges killing 1,166 Palestinians during the offensive, including at least 295 civilians, 49 of them women and 89 of them children under 16. Palestinian and other human rights groups put the total killed at up to 1,417, with a much higher proportion of civilians.

    The revoked licences appear to involve the only military equipment directly exported from the UK to Israel identified as having been used during Operation Cast Lead. But Mr Miliband acknowledged in April that other British-made components had also been exported to US manufacturers of military equipment that was subsequently sold on to Israel.

    These included equipment for the avionics systems – specifically cockpit display units – for F16 aircraft, widely used during Operation Cast Lead for aerial bombing of targets in Gaza.

    They also included parts used in the fire control systems of Apache helicopters, as well as navigation units and engine assemblies. Apaches were also regularly used in lethal air attacks during the Gaza operation.

    There was a row in the British Cabinet at the peak of the Palestinian intifada during 2002 over the export of F16 avionic components. But although the then Blair government barred direct sales of F16 components to Israel, it continued to license the sale of parts to the US manufacturers on the grounds that it would disrupt Anglo-US relations not to do so.

    Richard Burden, chairman of the Britain Palestine All-Party Commons Group, yesterday welcomed the decision to revoke the Saar licences and Mr Miliband’s April announcement of a review of “all extant” military export licences in the light of Operation Cast Lead.

    But he added that the criteria needed to be applied to indirect exports as well. “The vast majority of arms imports to Israel come from the US and unless any new policy addresses that issue it will simply not be effective.”

  22. Stan said


    US Must Monitor Use of US Weapons in Gaza
    Middle East, United States | Posted by: Edith Garwood, January 7, 2009 at 1:14 PM
    Amnesty International has called on the US State Department to suspend all transfers of military weaponry and equipment to Israel until it conducts an investigation into whether US weapons were used in human rights violations. Israel has been using F16’s, Apache helicopters, gunboats and bunker buster bombs in a week-long series of devastating attacks on the Gaza Strip.

    Israel Gaza Conflict Enters Twelfth Day. (c) Getty Images

    Monitoring of the use of American-made weaponry is not unprecedented. The State Department monitored the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories during the second intifada after Israel dropped a 2,000 pound bomb from an F-16 on an apartment building killing not only the Hamas target Saleh Shahadeh, but also 14 civilians, including 9 of his children in 2002.
    The U.S. Arms Export Act of 1976 was passed to help guarantee that US made weapons would only be used for legitimate self-defense reasons and not for violations of internationally recognized human rights. The act requires the State Department to report to Congress when there is a ‘’substantial violation” of the law.
    An incident similar to the 2002 case of Saleh Shahadeh happened during the latest series of attacks on the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces dropped a one-ton bomb on the home of a well-known Hamas leader, Nizar Rayan, killing him along with over a dozen members of his family, including most of his children. Additionally, civilian residential homes and other civilian buildings, including a university, police compounds, schools and fire stations have been targeted by Israeli air strikes.
    While it’s unclear whether any US weapons have been directly used by Israeli security forces for human rights violations in Gaza, given the types of weapons and attacks Israel security forces have recently used and the large amount of civilian casualties, there is a strong likelihood that US weapons could be used in such violations.
    According to the US government’s most recent annual report to the US Congress on US arms sales, in 2007 alone, the US approved or delivered millions of dollars worth of arms and ammunition to Israel, including items in the category of rockets, bombs and missiles. In the past, the US has also sold Israel F-16s, attack helicopters, and cluster munitions. A Jerusalem Post article outlines the use of GBU-39 ‘bunker buster’ bombs in this latest military operation against the Gaza Strip that were just sold to Israel by the US this past September.
    Although it is widely understood and accepted that Israel has the right and duty to protect its citizens, it is still obligated to do so respecting international humanitarian and human rights laws. They must use the least intrusive means available, respecting proportion, necessity and distinction (non-combatant vs. combatant). Israel has failed to do this, using extraordinarily powerful weapons against the Gaza Strip such as the one ton bomb on a home to kill one member of Hamas. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated locales on earth where 1.5 million people inhabitant a strip 4-7 miles wide and 25 miles long. Air strikes with ‘smart bombs’ no matter how precise have resulted in a shockingly large number of civilian deaths; sometimes entire families at the same time.
    The United States is obligated to enforce the law, regardless of who the offending party may be. We are a nation based on ‘rule of law’. If we suspect our weapons are being used in attacks that are indiscriminately killing civilians, we must act.
    These concerns were raised in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last Friday by Amnesty International. Until we can be certain that the US Arms Export Act is not being violated, we must suspend all transfers of weapons and immediately open an investigation.

    Tags: arms, arms export act, gaza, israel, palestine, united states, us weapons
    This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 at 1:14 pm and is filed under Middle East, United States. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  23. Gill said

    CALLOUT for Solidarity with 7 Anti-War Activists Presently at Large in the Talis
    Rachael | 17.07.2009 01:46 | Anti-militarism

    Seven anti-war activists entered the Shoalwater Bay military training area in central Queensland during joint US-Australian Talisman Sabre exercises

    Grana 4: Yulangi Bardon, Emily Nielson, Mark Palmer, Jake Bolton

    Jaegerstaetter 3: Cully Palmer, Jim Dowling, Bryan Law

    CALLOUT for Solidarity with 7 Anti-War Activists Presently at Large in the Talisman Sabre 09 Exercise Area

    *For photos and personal statements of the 7 activists go to this link

    *ABC Report

    *Call Talisman Sabre Hotline and demand the end of the exercise
    1800 639 724

    *Further background on nonviolent resistance to Talisman Sabre 09

    *Further suggestions for solidarity with the 7 activists see the end of this email


    7 More Activists Inside

    Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area:

    Call for End to War on Afghanistan

    Seven anti-war activists entered the Shoalwater Bay military training area in central Queensland during joint US-Australian Talisman Sabre exercises. The seven remain in the area and are presently moving towards the ‘live fire’ areas with the intention of shutting down the exercises. They remain undetected by Australian Defence Force Security and the Qld Police guarding the area.
    The activists are:
    Yulangi Bardon, 21
    Jake Bolton, 27
    Jim Dowling, 53
    Bryan Law, 55
    Emily Nielson, 19
    Culley Palmer, 21
    Mark Palmer, 51

    The group stated:
    “US and Australian militaries, training at Talisman Sabre are presently involved in waging an escalated war in northern Pakistan and southern Afghanistan. Most of the victims in this eight year war have been civilians yet the concept of civilians and civilian loss seems to have been completely lost on the military. There aren’t any civilians permitted in the exercises. Civilians are eliminated here as they are eliminated in war.

    “As civilians we enter this area in solidarity with all the civilian victims of the US and Australian military. We enter the exercise area with the intention of shutting down the exercises.

    “We come from varied backgrounds: Christian and Humanist traditions. We come in common purpose to nonviolently resist these rehearsals for war and the escalating war on the peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    “It is universally acknowledged that lies told by the Australian Parliament and the US government regarding “Weapons of Mass Destruction” [WMD] in Iraq led us to an illegal invasion and disastrous war in that country. Prime Minister Rudd’s recent assertion that Australian troops waging war in Afghanistan decreases the possibility of terrorism at home is also a lie leading us all to further disaster, death and destruction.

    “We call upon all sectors of civil society in Australia to take action against such rehearsals for invasion and war as Talisman Sabre. We call upon all sectors of civil society to take action against the escalating war on the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    “We call upon Air Commodore Meier to make good on his word to the Australian Senate “that if unauthorised personnel are known to be on or near the live fire area, we stop the clock on the exercises until they are found.” [June 4th 09] Despite our attempts to communicate, Thursday’s statement by Brigadier Bob Brown, contrary to this position, exhibits a negligence in relation to human safety that echoes the Australian and US military behaviour in Afghanistan.
    Call for further comment on the group’s activities: Martin Luther King House of Nonviolence, Yeppoon:-

    -Some of the 7 will not be co-operating with bail conditions when arre
    sted. Write a letter ot postcard
    to one of the 7 c/- 69 Kurumba St. Kippa-Ring Q.4021 AUSTRALIA

    -Financial donations c/- “Ciaron O’Reilly” P.O. Box 6376 Fairfield Gardens Q. 4103 AUSTRALIA

    *Call the following people for further comment on the group’s activities.
    Ciaron O’Reilly 0411516434
    Sean O’Reilly 0423749946
    Margaret Pestorius 0403214422
    Landline 07 4933 0356
    +61 7 4933 0356 (international)

    Professional photos available on request: Margaret 0403214422

    Email contact

  24. Rae Street said

    One legacy left by the British (and US) army in Iraq has barely been mentioned in the coverage of the return of the British troops from Basra.
    That is the contamination of the land from “depleted” uranium dust left after the explosion of depleted uranium (DU) munitions which were used by the UK army in both wars on Iraq, in 1991 and 2003.
    When the (badly named) DU munitions burn they produce a DU oxide dust.
    This dust, which is radioactive and chemically toxic, can travel for miles and the fine particles can be inhaled or ingested by civilians.
    In addition, the DU penetrators fired from aircraft did not all reach their targets and as they corrode on the land were, and are, likely to contaminate groundwater and drinking water supplies.
    Recent research suggests that the chemical toxicity of DU and its radioactivity may have a synergistic effect, bringing about health damage to humans, especially children, and pregnant women and their unborn babies.
    Clearly, with such potentially dangerous material, there are hazards all along the line in the production of the munitions – from uranium mining, through manufacture, to the weapons’ testing (carried out in south-west Scotland) to the soldiers using the arms and, most importantly, to the innocent civilians living around battleground sites.
    Ultimately, the only answer is an international treaty to ban uranium weapons.
    However, in the meantime there is the fearful legacy for Iraqi civilians.
    The UK government cannot just walk away. It must acknowledge the problems and dangers and begin to look at reparation.

  25. Anne said

    4 Remain At Large in U.S./OZ Military Exercise Area
    Solidarity | 23.07.2009 09:50


    Four Anti-War Activists Remain at Large in Prohibited Military Area for Over a Week

    Four anti-war activists remain at large in the prohibited Shoalwater military exercise area in central Queensland. The Shoalwater area is presently hosting the $250 million Talisman Sabre exercises involving 18,000 U.S. and 6.000 Australian troops.

    The four were part of a group of seven activists who covertly entered the area a week ago. Three of their number have since been detected and captured by the military and handed over to state police. U.S. and Australian military have been involved in offensive war game scenarios. Some of the soldiers encountered by the activists were playing the roles of insurgents following an amphibious assault by U.S. and Australian personnel. Today the military are involved in exercises countering civil unrest of the occupied population.

    Two of the activists, Yulangi Bardon and Emily Nielsen, are pictured above on top of The Polygon spire inside the Shoalwater military area. Jim Dowling and Culley Palmer also remain at large in the area after evading helicopter and dog searches.

    The group’s support spokeperson Ciaron O’Reilly stated “Since these exercises commenced a few weeks ago 30 U.S., 18 British, an Australian soldier and uncounted Afghanis have been killed in combat in Afghanistan. The Talisman Sabre exercises are dress rehearsals for more death and destruction, invasion and war”.

    Ciaron O’Reilly Ph. 0411 516 434
    Bryan Law Captured in Shoalwater Exercise Area…..and then there were 5!

    by Bryan Law

    Last Sunday morning, when I’d usually be just leaving Mass with the closing words “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord” resonating in my ears, I found myself instead on a dusty road at the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area. In front of me, stopped on the road, was an armoured column of US Marines, looking fierce with all their machine guns and cannons and carbines.

    I had stopped the armoured column by the sophisticated, high technology method of waving a blue plastic tarpaulin at them from beside the road as I emerged from the bush – a peace-crazed trespasser on the giant war-games called Exercise Talisman Sabre, outside Rockhampton in central Queensland. The Marine who spotted me from the turret of an APC, hopped on the radio and said something along the lines of “Holy Jiminy Batman, there’s an intruder on our war!”, and the column ground to a halt. Goodoh! Thinks me, this is what I came to do. For the how and why of that, let’s go back a step.

    On Thursday 16 July 2009 I walked into the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area with two friends, Culley Palmer, 21 and Jim Dowling, 51. We’d formed our little band over 10 days of organising and taking symbolic actions around the Peace Convergence, and we’d been part of the Martin Luther King House of Christian Nonviolence at Yeppoon. Our mission is to save Australia and the world from the spiritual death of militarism.

    Full details:


  26. de-com said

    Here’s a copy of a UN report dated 2nd January, 2009. If you’ve not already seen it,
    note the paragraph entitled ‘Violence’.

    United Nations
    Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

    2 January 2009 as of 14:30

    The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is significant and cannot be understated. It follows what the UN had described as an 18 month long “human dignity crisis” in the Gaza Strip, entailing a massive destruction of livelihoods and a significant deterioration of infrastructure and basic services.

    Elements of the current humanitarian crisis include:

    Seven days of uninterrupted bombardment on the entire Gaza Strip. Registered fatalities amount to • 327 and injuries to over 1,100, however there are estimates of additional unregistered casualties up to 421 people killed and 2,100 injured. People are living in a state of fear and panic.

    80% of the population cannot support themselves and are dependant on humanitarian assistance. • This figure is increasing.

    According to WFP, the population is facing a food crisis. There are food shortages of flour, rice, • sugar, dairy products, milk, canned foods and fresh meats.

    The imports entering are insufficient to support the population or to service infrastructure • maintenance and repair needs.

    The health system is overwhelmed, having already been weakened by the 18- month blockade. •

    The utilities are barely functioning: the only electric power plant has shut down. Some 250,000 • people in central and northern Gaza do not have electricity at all due to the damage to fifteen electricity transformers during the air strikes. The water system provides running water once every 5-7 days and the sanitation system cannot treat the sewage and is dumping 40 million litres of raw sewage into the sea daily. Fuel for heating, needed due to the cold weather, and cooking gas, are no longer available in the market.

    There has been significant destruction in the Gaza Strip, over 600 targets hit, including roads, • infrastructure, the Islamic university, government buildings, mosques and civil police stations.


    The main feature of the Israeli Air Force (AIF) attacks in the last 24 hours was the escalation in the targeting of residential houses belonging to Hamas leaders and militants. Some 25 such houses were attacked. Most of their residents received prior phone warnings by the IDF, informing them about the intention to bomb the house and advising their evacuation. In some cases the strike occurred only 5 minutes after the call. Additional people received similar warnings that did not materialize, thus leaving families in a state of panic and uncertainty. The estimate on the total number of Hamas leaders’ houses targeted so far is 45. There has been extensive damage caused to thousands of houses all over the Gaza Strip.

    Among the houses targeted yesterday was the house of Hamas leader Nizar Rayan in Jabaliya Refugee Camp, who refused to evacuate upon being warned of an imminent strike. As a result, Rayan and 13 of his family members, including 11 of his children, were killed and 12 were injured. According to the IDF the house served as an arms storage place.

    Over 60 rockets and mortars were fired by Palestinian militants at Israeli towns and cities, including Ashkelon, Ashdod, Sderot and Beersheba over the last 24 hours. Two residential buildings were directly hit, however no casualties were reported.



    Yesterday, UNRWA resumed its food distribution to 2,000-3,000 families. Six out of 10 distribution centers are functional today and will keep distributing food depending on the amount of flour they will receive.

    Yesterday, WFP distributed 358 metric tones of food and basic commodities to 2,300 families in Khan Younis and middle areas and is continuing today. By contrast, no distribution could be conducted in Gaza City (due to the location of the storage close to the police HQ) and in the northern area (due to damages to the storage building). In addition, WFP provides each morning 362 packs of bread (each one contains 50 pieces) to MoH hospitals.

    No wheat grain entered Gaza since the beginning of the hostilities resulting in the closure of all mills. Mill owners confirmed that the Ministry of National Economy in Gaza ordered them to allocate the available wheat flour to bakeries and distribute it under its supervision (instead of them selling it on the market). As of today, fewer than 20 bakeries throughout the Gaza Strip are operational, due to lack of flour and cooking gas.

    Some shop owners were reportedly hiding food items, in anticipation of further scarcity. An increased presence of blue police was observed in some areas, warning shop owners not to hide commodities or increase prices.


    According to various sources in the MoH and ICRC, while conditions at hospitals are extremely precarious, the situation has stabilized, following the large volume of medical supplies received and about to arrive. Overall, more than 30 truckloads with medical supplies have arrived to Gaza since Sunday. Yesterday four sophisticated generators have been brought in through Rafah crossing and distributed to Gaza MoH hospitals as an additional power backup.

    The main challenge is the shortage of adequate medical equipment and spare parts, compounded by the 18 month long blockade. According to WHO, there are at least 1,000 medical machines out of order. Hospitals suffer also a severe shortage of cooking gas in hospitals, which is expected to be totally depleted in the coming days. As a result, WFP has distributed canned meat and high energy biscuits. The MoH reported a shortage of trucks to deliver medical supplies to the hospitals and of adequate storage capacity.

    Fuel / Electricity

    The Nahal Oz fuel pipelines remain closed since the beginning of hostilities resulting in no delivery of fuel. Fuel shortages are exacerbated by interruption in the import of fuel from Egypt through the tunnels, following the destruction of part of them and the high risk of using them.

    The only power plant in Gaza is not operational due to the lack of industrial fuel. Power outages last a daily average of 16 hours. In addition, following the damages caused by the air strikes to 15 electrical transformers, as much as 250,000 people in central and northern Gaza have no electricity supply during the entire day and night. There are no transformers currently available in Gaza. Transformers which were already purchased are sitting in Israel or Tulkarem and need coordination to be brought into Gaza.

    Moreover, due to localized damages following airstrikes, some electrical lines have been cut, causing some areas to suffer from power cuts lasting 24 hours or more. In addition, a 5 MW line from Egypt to Rafah was damaged yesterday, extending the power cuts also to Rafah, which has usually continuous supply. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) is facing difficulties in repairing the damages.

    Petrol and cooking gas are no longer available on the open market and most of the 240 gas stations in Gaza City have closed. 3

    Waterand Sanitation

    Since Wednesday, the sewage and water systems in Beit Hanoun were hit at five locations, causing considerable damage to the main sewage pipeline between the city and the Beit Lahiya waste water treatment plant. This has resulted in sewage water pouring into the streets. In addition, the water network was hit at four locations and seven water wells were seriously damaged and cannot be repaired due to the bombardments. This situation has left up to 250,000 people in Gaza City and northern Gaza without water supply.

    UNRWA has started today distributing diesel to Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) in order to allow the functioning of water and waste water facilities. Yesterday, the CMWU received 24 tonnes of chlorine, used for water disinfection, which is sufficient for the next couple of weeks.


    Due to air strikes, some 250-300 people in Rafah spent last night at emergency shelters provided by UNRWA. Another 150 people are staying at the two other shelters in northern Gaza. UNRWA has distributed blankets and mattresses to these emergency centers. .


    The Kerem Shalom crossing is partially open today and 70 truckloads carrying mainly food and medical supplies are expected to arrive in. A total of 58 truckloads, including 30 for humanitarian aid agencies, entered yesterday through this crossing. The Karni grain conveyor belt and Nahal Oz fuel pipelines remain closed.

    The Erez crossing is partially open today and two medical cases with two escorts are expected to be evacuated to Israeli hospitals. On Wednesday five chronic patients and one wounded person, together with six escorts crossed. Except for these cases, the PA MoH in Ramallah continues to refuse to authorize the referral of patients from Gaza to medical treatment in Israel as in the past, referring patients to Egyptian hospitals instead.

    More than 400 foreign nationals, mainly spouses of Gazan residents and their children, are expected to leave Gaza through this crossing.

    The Rafah crossing is partially open today as well for the evacuation of medical cases and the entry of few shipments of medical supplies. Yesterday, 17 wounded were evacuated to hospitals in Jordan, and 120 people stranded in Egypt were allowed entry to Gaza. In addition, six truckloads of medical supplies entered Gaza yesterday through Rafah crossing.

    Priority imports needed:

    Fuel and electrical transformers: Industrial fuel is needed to power the only electric plant in Gaza • which has shut down. The remaining electric supply from outside the Gaza Strip is insufficient. Replacement of the ten transformers which were completely damaged is also urgently needed to restore electricity supply to 250,000 people in central and northern Gaza. All the water, sanitation and other utilities, which provide basic services to the population, as well as hospitals and the general population are affected by the outages which are now averaging 16 hours a day. Hospitals have reverted to generators to support intensive care and operating room functions.

    Wheat grain: Essential to provide flour for local bakeries and humanitarian food distribution to • hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries. There are long lines at bakeries and bread rationing has been implemented. The Karni conveyor belt is the best equipped mechanism to import the large amounts of wheat flour needed.4

    Cash: UNRWA – the largest humanitarian assistance provider in the Gaza Strip – has suspended • cash payments to its 94,000 “Special Hardship” families as well as its suppliers/contractors for critical programs including school feeding. Its staff has been able to receive only 50% of their salaries due to the cash shortage.


    Israel imposed a 24 hour total closure on the West Bank, except for humanitarian cases. Access of men to prayers in Al-Aqsa was prohibited except for Israeli ID holders above 50 years of age. 12,000 police and border police are on alert. Multiple demonstrations against the Israeli military operation in Gaza took place following Friday prayers today throughout the central West Bank. Clashes erupted between the IDF and Israeli Border Police and Palestinian protestors in Jerusalem. Three Palestinian protestors were injured in Ni’lin by rubber-coated metal bullets fired by the IDF during the demonstration today.

  27. Alan said

    SchNEWS – Issue 680


    Given the amount of aggro handed out to those brave enough to document Babylon’s excesses we wondered how long it was before we started getting our collars felt. Of course they’d need a task force to batter down the steel doors of the SchNEWS bunker – let alone take us alive – so Sussex Police took a more indirect route.

    At approximately 8.30am on Tuesday 2nd June, Sussex cops arrived at the home of Paul Light, now revealed as one of the SchMOVIES collective. (For anyone thinking that SchNEWS was still stuck in the Dark Ages with just a scrappy sheet of A4, we’ve moved right into the twentieth century and have our own slightly estranged film-making department.) Paul’s arrest has wide ranging implications for anyone who reports on controversial issues.

    When the cops came round Paul was getting his ten-year old son ready for school. He was immediately arrested on suspicion of being involved in the ‘decommissioning’ of the EDO ITT weapons factory in January (see SchNEWS 663). The actual charge was ‘conspiracy to commit criminal damage’.

    This vague charge was enough for the police to launch into a full-blown fishing expedition.“The only evidence they [Sussex police] have is that someone phoned me, asking if I wanted to film the police response,” Paul told SchNEWS, “I said I couldn’t because I had my son and his friend sleeping over that night. That was the end of it as far as I was concerned. As a film maker I frequently get phone calls about possible incidents to film – this was one shoot I couldn’t and didn’t make.”

    Paul was held and questioned for eight hours and his home was raided. The police took Paul’s son to school in a police car, where he burst into tears due to the stress. His father was released on bail and is awaiting the outcome of the arrest.

    Police took every item that could possibly be used for data storage as evidence, including cameras, computers, external hard drives, software, mobile phones, personal accounts, diaries and even his music collection.“Put bluntly they have concocted this arrest to see what material I have,” said Paul, who regularly films at protests and demonstrations.

    Police have recently attempted to use a film credited to SchMOVIES as evidence in court. The film ‘Batons and Bombs’ documents events at last year’s Carnival Against the Arms Trade (See SchNEWS 634) and was downloaded from the web by cops. They were refused its use as evidence in court on the grounds that the film was edited and they did not possess the original footage. The Crown Prosecution Service are currently appealing that decision via judicial review. The discovery of the original footage would greatly strengthen their hand.

    “The raid has effectively shut me down and I am no longer able to make films,” said Paul. “Film work is my livelihood, so effectively they have put me on the dole.” Paul makes films about many different campaigns and issues, and the arrest and raid has been a major setback in his ability to earn a living.“They have left me with nothing,” he said, “I have three commissions in production at the moment and I have had to phone people up and tell them the news – that their films will have to be postponed indefinitely!”

    * See

    * SchMOVIES is not new to controversy. The release of the 2008 film “On The Verge” (, a documentary about the Smash EDO campaign was met with bans across the UK by various police forces, claiming the film would need certification to be publicly viewed (See SchNEWS 626).

  28. Ollie said

    Anti Arms Co Demo, 17th October
    Target Brimar | 04.08.2009 17:59 | Anti-militarism | Iraq | Palestine | Manchester

    Demonstration against company making military parts used in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan

    A national demonstration has been called in Manchester on Saturday 17th October against Brimar, a company which manufactures components crucial to the functioning of, amongst other things, the Apache helicopters used by the Israeli army in the West Bank and Gaza and tanks used by the American Marines in Iraq. Brimar’s specialised viewing equipment allows weapons systems to be aimed from warplanes, helicopters, tanks and armoured vehicles.
    Brimar’s main facility is just outside Manchester. For more information on plans for the demonstration and about Brimar’s work for occupying armies in the Middle East, or to get more involved, please keep an eye on
    Target Brimar

  29. Maggie said

    Significant prima facie evidence of serious rights abuses in Gaza, UN reports

    Scene from Gaza, January 2008
    14 August 2009 – The top United Nations human rights official has called for a “credible, independent and transparent” investigation of all alleged rights violations during Israel’s military operations in Gaza eight months ago.
    “There is significant prima facie evidence of serious violations of international humanitarian law having been committed by the Israeli forces and Palestinian militants,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says in a new report, cautioning that her office is not yet in a position to assess each and every individual instance.

    Allegations include Israeli attacks on Gaza civilians and numerous civilian administrative facilities, hospitals, schools and 27,000 private homes, as well as a large number of extrajudicial executions, beatings and torture by the Palestinian group Hamas against alleged collaborators with Israel and supporters of the rival Fatah organizations during and after the military operation.

    A separate report by a UN investigative team released today and to be presented to the General Assembly’s 64th session beginning next month, cites “violations of the international humanitarian law during the Operation Cast Lead (Israel’s offensive), in particular the targeting of civilian population and wanton destruction of property and religious and cultural objects.”

    In her report to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, Ms. Pillay calls for the immediate easing of Israeli restrictions in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), which she hopes will lead to the complete lifting of the economy-devastating blockade on Gaza.

    “The blockade of Gaza and the restrictions on the entry and exit of people and goods in the West Bank, as well as inside the West Bank, amount to collective punishment,” she says, noting that this contravenes the Geneva conventions to which Israel is a party, and also citing the alleged torture of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.

    She calls on Israel to stop its expansion of settlements in the OPT, “which are illegal,” immediately halt evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes, in particular in East Jerusalem, and address “as a matter of urgency” persistent impunity for settler violence.

    “In particular, the High Commissioner remains gravely concerned that Israel has not yet complied with the Advisory Opinion on the Wall of the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” she writes, referring to the barrier that Israel says it is building to keep out suicide bombers and other assailants.

    The ICJ stated that erecting a wall within the OPT violated international law since its planned route encloses 9.5 per cent of the West Bank area. The report, covering the period up to 10 April, is the first of a series mandated by the Human Rights Council “on the violations of human rights of the Palestinian people by the occupying Power, Israel.”

    The investigative report, to be presented to the General Assembly by the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, voices “particular concern for an increasing number of incidents of violence by Jewish settlers against Palestinian population in the West Bank in the presence of Israeli army and police.”

    The Committee noted “continuous and in some cases worsening violations of economic and cultural rights, in particular the right to education and health, further restrictions of movement and attacks on and destruction of Palestinian farmlands and orchards.”

    The three-member Committee, comprising Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Senegal, has just returned from a 10-day mission to Egypt, Jordan and Syria, where it recorded the testimonies of witnesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Since its establishment in 1968, it has repeatedly been denied cooperation by the Government of Israel or access to the OPT.

  30. hammerhead said

    Regarding Court Cases.

    Richard Goldstone, internationally renowned legal bod wrote a report for the UN Human Rights Council following a fact-finding mission to prob alledged war crimes committed during Israel’s 23 day bloody onslaught against a largely defenceless population.
    The issues raised may result in a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor.
    “The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly in some respects crimes against humanity, were connited by the Israel Defence force”.

    Goldstone reported that the attackj on Gaza was a very political decision made at the highest level by the likes of Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and other serial criminals who have long tormented the Palestinians.
    The attack approved resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 people – mainly civilians and including OVER 300 CHILDREN, the wounding of thousands more, and the targeting of the already dilapidated and besieged society.

    Thousands of staved, desperate yet resilient Palestinians in Gaza continue to live in their makeshift tents, atop the rubble which was once their home, awaiting food, building msterials AND INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE.

    UN Report Finds War Crimes In Operation Cast Lead

    xxxxxxxxxx UN Fact Finding Mission finds strong evidence
    of war crimes and crimes against humanity
    committed during the Gaza conflict;
    calls for end to impunity

    15 September 2009

    NEW YORK / GENEVA – The UN Fact-Finding Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone on Tuesday released its long-awaited report on the Gaza conflict, in which it concluded there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.

    The report also concludes there is also evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity, in their repeated launching of rockets and mortars into Southern Israel.

    The four members of the Mission* were appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council in April with a mandate to “To investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”

    In compiling the 574- page report, which contains detailed analysis of 36 specific incidents in Gaza, as well as a number of others in the West Bank and Israel, the Mission conducted 188 individual interviews, reviewed more 10,000 pages of documentation, and viewed some 1,200 photographs, including satellite imagery, as well as 30 videos. The mission heard 38 testimonies during two separate public hearings held in Gaza and Geneva, which were webcast in their entirety. The decision to hear participants from Israel and the West Bank in Geneva rather than in situ was taken after Israel denied the Mission access to both locations. Israel also failed to respond to a comprehensive list of questions posed to it by the Mission. Palestinian authorities in both Gaza and the West Bank cooperated with the Mission.

    The Mission found that, in the lead up to the Israeli military assault on Gaza, Israel imposed a blockade amounting to collective punishment and carried out a systematic policy of progressive isolation and deprivation of the Gaza Strip. During the Israeli military operation, code-named “Operation Cast Lead,” houses, factories, wells, schools, hospitals, police stations and other public buildings were destroyed. Families are still
    living amid the rubble of their former homes long after the attacks ended, as reconstruction has been impossible due to the continuing blockade. More than 1,400 people were killed during the military operation.

    Significant trauma, both immediate and long-term, has been suffered by the population of Gaza. The Report notes signs of profound depression, insomnia and effects such as bed-wetting among children. The effects on children who witnessed killings and violence, who had thought they were facing death, and who lost family members would be long lasting, the Mission found, noting in its Report that some 30 per cent of children screened at UNRWA schools suffered mental health problems.

    The report concludes that the Israeli military operation was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole, in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population, and in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population. The destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a deliberate and systematic policy which has made the daily process of living, and dignified living, more difficult for the civilian population.

    The Report states that Israeli acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed.

    The report underlines that in most of the incidents investigated by it, and described in the report, loss of life and destruction caused by Israeli forces during the military operation was a result of disrespect for the fundamental principle of “distinction” in international humanitarian law that requires military forces to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects at all times. The report states that “Taking into account the ability to plan, the means to execute plans with the most developed technology available, and statements by the Israeli military that almost no errors occurred, the Mission finds that the incidents and patterns of events considered in the report are the result of deliberate planning and policy decisions.”

    For example, Chapter XI of the report describes a number of specific incidents in which Israeli forces launched “direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome.” These are, it says, cases in which the facts indicate no justifiable military objective pursued by the attack and concludes they amount to war crimes. The incidents described include:
    Attacks in the Samouni neighbourhood, in Zeitoun, south of Gaza City, including the shelling of a house where soldiers had forced Palestinian civilians to assemble;
    Seven incidents concerning “the shooting of civilians while they were trying to leave their homes to walk to a safer place, waving white flags and, in some of the cases, following an injunction from the Israeli forces to do so;”
    The targeting of a mosque at prayer time, resulting in the death of 15 people.

    A number of other incidents the Report concludes may constitute war crimes include a direct and intentional attack on the Al Quds Hospital and an adjacent ambulance depot in Gaza City.

    The Report also covers violations arising from Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank, including excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators, sometimes resulting in deaths, increased closures, restriction of movement and house demolitions. The detention of Palestinian Legislative Council members, the Report says, effectively paralyzed political life in the OPT.

    The Mission found that through activities such as the interrogation of political activists and repression of criticism of its military actions, the Israeli Government contributed significantly to a political climate in which dissent was not tolerated.

    The Fact-Finding Mission also found that the repeated acts of firing rockets and mortars into Southern Israel by Palestinian armed groups “constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity,” by failing to distinguish between military targets and the civilian population. “The launching of rockets and mortars which cannot be aimed with sufficient precisions at military targets breaches the fundamental principle of distinction,” the report says. “Where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into civilian areas, they constitute a deliberate attack against the civilian population.”

    The Mission concludes that the rocket and mortars attacks “have caused terror in the affected communities of southern Israel,” as well as “loss of life and physical and mental injury to civilians and damage to private houses, religious buildings and property, thereby eroding the economic and cultural life of the affected communities and severely affecting the economic and social rights of the population.”

    The Mission urges the Palestinian armed groups holding the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to release him on humanitarian grounds, and, pending his release, give him the full rights accorded to a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions including visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Report also notes serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial executions of Palestinians, by the authorities in Gaza and by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

    The prolonged situation of impunity has created a justice crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that warrants action, the Report says. The Mission found the Government of Israel had not carried out any credible investigations into alleged violations. It recommended that the UN Security Council require Israel to report to it, within six months, on investigations and prosecutions it should carry out with regard to the violations identified in its Report. The Mission further recommends that the Security Council set up a body of independent experts to report to it on the progress of the Israeli investigations and prosecutions. If the experts’ reports do not indicate within six months that good faith, independent proceedings are taking place, the Security Council should refer the situation in Gaza to the ICC Prosecutor. The Mission recommends that the same independent expert body also report to the Security Council on proceedings undertaken by the relevant Gaza authorities with regard to crimes committed by the Palestinian side. As in the case of Israel, if within six months there are no good faith independent proceedings conforming to international standards in place, the Council should refer the situation to the ICC Prosecutor.

    The full report can be found on the web page of the Fact Finding Mission:…n.htm

    For further media information: contact Doune Porter, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Tel: 1-917-367-3292 or +41-79-477-2576. Email:

    * The members of the Fact Finding Mission are:
    Justice Richard Goldstone, Head of Mission; former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
    Professor Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science; member of the high-level fact-finding mission to Beit Hanoun (2008).
    Ms. Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan; former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders; member of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur (2004).
    Colonel Desmond Travers, former Officer in Ireland’s Defence Forces; member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations.


    Related Link:…n.htm

  31. Decommissioners Solidarity demo in Bristol said

    Re: Decommissioners Solidarity demo in Bristol
    Word to the wise – check that The Gas are NOT playing at home….

  32. decommisioners said

    Bristol Rovers
    Sat 17 15:00 Away @ Southend FL1

  33. Ian & Ian said

    Israeli minister Ehud Barak faces war crimes arrest threat during UK visitPosted by Iqbal Tamimi on September 30, 2009 at 6:45pm
    View Iqbal Tamimi’s blog
    By Ian Black and Ian Cobain

    Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak. Photograph: Reuters

    Israel received an uncomfortable reminder of international anger over the Gaza war today when lawyers representing 16 Palestinians asked a London court to issue an arrest warrant for its defence minister, Ehud Barak, who is visiting Britain.

    After a day of delays and legal wrangling the bid failed on the grounds that Barak enjoyed diplomatic immunity from prosecution. But the episode triggered a brief storm that is likely to give Israeli officials second thoughts about the risk of prosecution in foreign courts.

    Barak was last night addressing a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference in Brighton, and is due to meet Gordon Brown and David Miliband, the foreign secretary‑— triggering new protests.

    Furious Israeli officials insisted all day that he was protected by diplomatic immunity and could not be legally detained.

    The action related to alleged war crimes and breaches of the Geneva conventions during the Gaza offensive, launched by Israel last December in response to Palestinian rocket attacks and widely criticised. The death toll is disputed, but the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem says 1,387 Palestinians died, including 773 people not taking part in hostilities.

    Solicitors asked a district judge at the City of Westminster magistrates court to issue a warrant for the minister’s arrest under the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, which gives courts in England and Wales universal jurisdiction in war crimes cases.

    The hearing was postponed while the court asked the Foreign Office to clarify Barak’s status in the UK. The lawyers making the application said they believed a warrant could be issued even if he was in Britain in an official capacity.

    Intensive contacts were understood to have taken place throughout the day between London and Jerusalem. Barak is also deputy prime minister of Israel and leader of the country’s Labour party.

    Lawyers from Irvine Thanvi Natas and Imran Khan & Partners said they believed the warrant that the international criminal court issued in May last year for the arrest of Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, offered a precedent. Bashir is accused of committing war crimes in Darfur.

    The issue is politically explosive. Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, lambasted the move as the “continuation of the process of demonisation and the de-legitimisation of Israel,” and called the action “spiteful”.

    Deputy district judge Daphne Wickham said allegations of war crimes had been well documented, but added: “I am satisfied that under customary international law Mr Barak has immunity from prosecution as he would not be able to perform his functions efficiently if he were the subject of criminal proceedings in this jurisdiction.”

    The accusations were based, in part, on a UN investigation conducted by the former South African judge Richard Goldstone. It concluded this month that Israel had committed war crimes by deliberately attacking civilians and firing white phosphorus shells. Israel rejected its findings as irredeemably biased. The 575-page report also found that Hamas, the group controlling Gaza, may be guilty of committing war crimes by firing rockets at Israeli civilian targets.

    Goldstone warned that unless Israel conducted investigations conforming to international standards, its officials could face action by the international criminal court or national prosecutions of the kind attempted in London.

    Michel Massih QC, for the applicants, argued that the court needed to be satisfied only that Barak faced war crimes allegations, and that the question of immunity should be considered only after his arrest. Massih added that international law “places a direct responsibility not only on those who pull the trigger, but on those higher up the chain of command”.

    Israeli media reported that Barak had been warned about the impending legal action and urged to leave the UK for France. But he had decided to carry on with his schedule as there was no doubt he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

    In 2005, human rights groups criticised British authorities for failing to arrest Doron Almog, an Israeli general for whom an arrest warrant for alleged war crimes had been issued, when his aircraft landed at Heathrow. Almog stayed on the plane and was allowed to return to Israel.

    In June a Spanish court shelved an investigation launched into a July 2002 air strike by Israel on a Hamas target in the Gaza Strip. The suspects named included the former Israeli defence minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and six current or former officers or security officials.

    Massih said: “If the Israeli courts were themselves to investigate, there would be no need to have recourse to international tribunals.”

    The Council for Arab-British Understanding condemned Brown for agreeing to meet Barak. “It is a disgrace to fete a man who is imposing one of the harshest sieges ever imposed on a civilian population, one that has deprived them even of the most basic necessities of life,” said the council’s director, Chris Doyle. “It is vital that British ministers send out a strong signal that Britain will stand up for international law and justice and refuse to meet Ehud Barak.”

  34. Decommissioners Solidarity demo in Bristol said


    Ehud Barak, Israeli defence minister and ‘genius’ behind
    the 28 day aerial bombardment of Gaza’s refugee camps last
    winter (See SchNEWS 661), showed his face at the Labour Party
    Conference in Brighton this week. But it wasn’t just Gordon
    Brown who was welcoming him to Britain; he also arrived to a team of
    UK lawyers – acting on behalf of their Palestinian counterparts –
    applying for an arrest warrant against him for his involvement in the
    killing of 1,400 people in ‘Operation Cast Lead’.

    Citing the precedent of the ICC ruling which issued an arrest warrant
    for Sudan’s president for war crimes in Darfur, legal teams
    applied for a warrant through the City of Westminster magistrates
    court this week. But Attorney Tayab Ali confirmed on Tuesday (29th)
    that the application had been denied, with the judge citing the
    immunity tendered to senior foreign officials, not to the mention the
    fact that he was hobnobbing with Gordy down in Brighton.

    However his presence didn’t go entirely unnoticed. With little
    more than 12 hours notice a national demo was called, and some 50
    people turned up late Tuesday night (29th) to protest against an even
    more unwelcome than usual guest at the party conference.

    * See

  35. E J S said

    Noam Chomsky: The United States – Israel’s Godfather

    Israel Attacks Gaza, Silence from Mainstream Media about Israeli Violations of International Law

    Israel launches missile attacks on Gaza – 27 Dec 08

    Noam Chomsky On The Israel-Palestine Conflict

    Gaza Crisis Courtesy of CNN

    In Gaza Israel uses new explosive deadly weapons

    Inside Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital 5. jan 09 interview Norwegian doctor

    Doctor Decries Israeli Attacks

    The sacrificed in Gaza

    Lebanon Israel Facts the Media Isn’t Telling You

  36. Chomsky on how Hamas policies are more conducive to peace than the U.S.’s or Isreal’s

  37. In the box said

    Noam Chomsky On Gaza – 2009.01.13 – MIT (1 of 11)

  38. The F-16s are winging said



    The olive and the army
    When they are both full-grown,
    Every olive tree on the West Bank
    The IDF cuts down.

    Chorus (Soloists):
    O the rampaging of settlers
    And the rolling of the tanks;
    The grinding of the bulldozers
    As the olives fall in ranks.

    The olive bears a berry
    As green as any grass;
    When the owners go to pick the fruit
    They’re not allowed to pass.

    Chorus (All)

    This oppression bears a berry
    As red as any blood,
    As the owners see their livelihoods
    All trampled in the mud.

    Chorus (All).

    If you want to buy the olives,
    You’ll find it very hard.
    For those that make it to checkpoints
    Still the way outside is barred.

    Chorus (All)

    Repeat first verse (All)
    The olive and the army,
    When they are both full-grown,
    Every olive tree on the West Bank
    The IDF cuts down.


    We three women travellers are;
    Bearing tales and many a scar,
    Always yearning for returning,
    Though we are scattered far.

    Chorus (Soloists)
    Star of Israel, weep in shame,
    Star adorning tanks that maim.
    War, oppression, dispossession:
    You dishonour David’s name.

    Hala (Solo) Jerusalem – Ramallah
    Nineteen years of exile and pain,
    Till we saw our old house again:
    Filled with pity for our city,
    Still we could not remain.

    Chorus (All)

    Na’imah (Solo) Hebron H2 – Hebron H1*
    How can children study or play
    When they’re hit and harassed each day?
    Settlers stopped our power and water:
    We could no longer stay.

    Chorus (All)

    Berlanty (Solo) Bethlehem University – Gaza
    When the army governs your plight,
    Education isn’t a right.
    Held in silence, bound and blindfold,
    Dumped in the dead of night

    Chorus (All)

    Sisters, you have opened our eyes:
    Help us now to make others wise.
    We will join you to bear witness
    To struggle and sacrifice.

    Chorus (All)

    First three verses soloists only
    Ding Dong! merrily on high
    The F-16s are winging
    Drones appear from out the sky
    Their deadly cargo bringing
    Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis
    Ding Dong merrily on high
    In Europe there’s a quand’ry
    Dingdong verily the Zi-
    Onists want their own country
    Gloria, they’ve taken someone else’s

    E’en so here below below
    With guns and bricks and mortar
    Israel’s colonies do grow
    But they need much more water
    Gloria, they’ve taken someone else’s

    Pray ye dutifully prime
    Your policies and spokesmen
    Surely now must be the time
    To act for peace and freedom.
    Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis
    O little town of Bethlehem
    Imprisoned how you lie.
    Above thy deep and silent grief,
    Surveillance drones now fly.
    And through thy old streets windeth,
    A huge illegal Wall.
    The hopes and dreams of peace, it seems
    Are dashed, in pieces fall.

    O morning stars together,
    Look down upon this crime.
    The people sing to God the King
    But justice, who can find?
    Will no-one hear the outcry as
    More settlements are built?
    While meek souls muse, apartheid rules,
    Speak up! or share the guilt

    O ye who care for Bethlehem
    Give strength to us, we pray.
    Cast out our fears, reward our tears.
    O hear our voice today!
    We stand against injustice,
    Oppression now must end.
    May justice rule the Holy Land,
    May peace at last descend.


    Away and in danger, no roof over head,
    Their homes were destroyed in Operation Cast Lead,
    The bombs in the bright sky, rained down where they lay,
    And for three hundred children ‘twas their very last day.

    The bombing and shelling came time after time
    Is the most moral army ashamed of this crime?
    The settlers on hilltops applaud every blast.
    World leaders stay silent, their people aghast.

    It’s time to raise our voices, end the violence and hate,
    For people of conscience can no longer wait.
    The siege must be broken and justice appear,
    So the children of Gaza can live without fear.


    God rest all ye who talk of peace
    Let nothing you dismay.
    A new administration
    Has come to save the day;
    To put an end to settlements
    That keep the peace at bay.
    Oh tidings of comfort and joy
    Comfort and joy,
    O tidings of comfort and joy!

    From every Western nation
    A stream of envoys came;
    And played with Netanyahu
    A long time-honoured game.
    We’ll tell you what you must not do
    And you’ll go on the same;
    Oh tidings of falsehood and lies
    Falsehood and lies,
    Oh tidings of falsehood and lies!
    “Fear not, then,” said the envoys
    “Let nothing you affright;
    Your Western friends won’t let you down
    Because you have the right
    To seize their land, destroy their homes
    And utilise your might.

    (All )
    Oh tidings of falsehood and lies Falsehood and lies,
    Oh tidings of falsehood and lies!
    From Lebanon to Negev
    The iron wall extends
    Dividing people from their schools,
    Their families and lands.
    We’re told “it’s for security,
    We know you’ll understand.”
    Oh tidings of falsehood and lies
    Falsehood and lies,
    Oh tidings of falsehood and lies!

    Take heed you military men,
    The world must have its say.
    Return the farmers’ dunams
    Your soldiers took away.
    For stolen dates and oranges
    We do not wish to pay

    (All )
    Bring us tidings of comfort and joy,
    Comfort and joy,
    Bring us tidings of comfort and joy!

    * Hebron H2 is the Old City of Hebron from which extremist settlers, defended by the Israeli army, have driven many Palestinian families, forcing them to flee to another area of the city known as Hebron 1.


    Gaza one year on: The aftermath of a tragedy
    To mark the anniversary of the offensive which left hundreds of innocent civilians dead, Donald MacIntyre revisits the scene of one of the most horrifying conflicts of our time

    Saturday, 12 December 2009

    Devastating: The Israeli attack on the town of Rafah on 13 January 2009

    • More pictures

    Hilmi Samouni still hopes at some point – “inshallah” – to go back to his old job as a kitchen assistant in the Palmyra, Gaza City’s best known shwarma restaurant. But unlike his 22-year-old brother Khamiz, who is working once again in a car paint shop, and his 20-year-old cousin Mousa, on a two-year accountancy diploma course at Al Azhar University, Hilmi, who is 26, found that he couldn’t cope when he returned to the Palmyra after the war. “Everyone there was very supportive,” he says, “but I couldn’t do good work.” Unlike Mousa, who also lost his parents, and Khamiz, Hilmi saw the bodies not only of his father Talal and his mother Rahme but also of his wife Maha, age 20, and their only son, six-month-old Mohammed, among the 21 killed in the shelling of the warehouse in which they had been ordered by Israeli troops to gather. It still bothers Hilmi that he has no pictures of any of them; they were burnt when the family home was fired on the day before.

    Now Hilmi mainly potters round the house, set amid devastated orchards and chicken coops in the southern Gaza City district of Zeitoun. The graffiti in English and Hebrew on the interior walls, left by the men of the Israeli army’s Givati brigade, are the only relics of their two-week occupation of the building – a gravestone drawn beside the words “Gaza we were here”; “One down and 999,000 to go”; “Death to Arabs”. Has the family deliberately kept the graffiti visible? “Yes, but anyway we didn’t have paint to cover them,” he says. One of Hilmi’s duties is to help look after his dauntingly self-possessed 11-year-old sister Mona, who turns the pages of artwork inspired by her memories of the morning of 5 January 2009. “This is me cleaning the face of mother who is dead. This is my father who was hit in the head and his brains came out. This is my dead sister-in-law. This is my sister taking the son from my sister in law…”

    The warehouse shelling commemorated in Mona’s artwork was one of the worst of many attacks on civilians in Gaza by Israeli forces between 27 December and 18 January. The Israeli military offensive had been a long time coming but still the multiple Saturday-afternoon bombing raids with which it began came as a surprise. The stated purpose was to halt the rocket and mortar attacks – 470 of which had spread undoubted fear through the border communities of southern Israel since an Israeli raid on Hamas ended an uneasy but largely effective five-month ceasefire in early November 2008.

    But if the timing was a surprise, the unprecedented ferocity of the onslaught on Hamas-controlled Gaza was even more so. More than two weeks into the war, the Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni would boast in a radio interview that “Israel … is a country that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing”. Whether, as Judge Richard Goldstone’s UN-commissioned report on Operation Cast Lead charged, Israel “targeted” the civilian population, or whether, as some soldiers have since attested, the military simply subordinated the preservation of Palestinian lives to those of its own troops, the figures tell their own story of the extent to which “a country” went “wild”. Though disputed by the military, exhaustive research by the respected Israeli human-rights agency B’Tselem put the total death toll at 1,387, of whom 773 were civilians. In the same period, four Israelis were killed in Israel by rocket fire, and nine soldiers in Gaza, four from friendly fire. Because the borders were closed, there was no flow of refugees out of Gaza of the sort that would have followed an equivalent onslaught elsewhere.

    That early-morning bombardment of Wael Samouni’s half-finished warehouse – where some 100 of his extended family, including his young relative Hilmi, had been sheltering – is one of more than 20 events being investigated by the Israeli military police. Last month, pointing out that so far only one soldier has faced trial over his conduct of the war – for stealing a Palestinian’s credit card – B’Tselem complained that since the Army itself was doing its own investigating, any indictments would be directed only against “the lower echelon” and that an independent inquiry capable of attributing blame to “senior officers” and government policy-makers in the “political echelon” was needed.

    Either way, there is no sign as yet of an investigation into a separate incident early the previous day, the first of the ground invasion. Israeli soldiers, their faces camouflaged in black, some with branches round their helmets, stormed into the house behind Hilmi’s home, where his uncle, Atiya Samouni, a 46-year-old farmer, was taking refuge with his two wives and 15 children.

    The family say that the house’s front door had deliberately been left open so the advancing troops would see there were children inside. According to their account, Atiya, who spoke some Hebrew, walked with his hands up to the open door of the children’s room – where the family was huddled – to show himself to the soldiers who were by now in the adjacent living room. His four-year-old son Ahmad followed him, crying out “Baba, Baba” – “Daddy” – and Atiya told him: “Don’t be afraid.” But as Atiya started to speak to the soldiers he was shot dead. The troops then began shooting into the children’s room, to screams from the adults of “katan” and “ktanim” – “little one(s)” in Hebrew. Five of the children were hit; Ahmad was shot twice in the chest, fatally.

    Eleven months later, the widowed Zeinat Samouni seems cheerful at first, pressing visitors with a hospitable smile to take one of the round flatbreads she is baking for the imminent Muslim festival of Eid al Adha in the one room she now shares with her seven surviving children. But she cannot stop crying as she describes how they left the house – and the body of her husband – with an older son carrying the heavily bleeding Ahmad to the house of another relative. As evening came, she gave Ahmad, his face now yellowing, bread dipped in water; “It was like feeding a bird,” she recalls. The family called an ambulance but were told that it was too dangerous for it to approach the area. Ahmad died in the early hours of Monday morning. “If we’d been able to get an ambulance, I think he would be alive now,” she says.

    Zeinat’s daughter, 10-year-old Amal, carries everywhere in her pocket two worn photographs of her dead father and brother. “I want to look at them all the time,” she says, almost a year after they were killed. “My house is not beautiful without them.” Amal was also injured and says her head and right eye still hurt. But the psychological trauma for Amal is compounded by the fact that she ran off before her mother and siblings left the house after the shooting. Four days later, she was found, partly buried under rubble, dehydrated and in shock, one of 15 other survivors in the immediate area when Red Cross ambulances were finally allowed to get close enough to bring them out. At school, Amal’s favourite subjects are Arabic and English. “I don’t know much English, but I like it,” says the girl, who wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

    Of Atiya’s children with his other wife, Zahawa, the most affected is Kannan, now 13, who still limps from the gunshot in his left thigh. Before the war, he was a keen midfielder but he no longer plays football. For him, too, the impact has not only been physical, however. In the months after the shooting, he had nightmares – and was several times found crying in his sleep or shouting, “They want to shoot my father”. “He won’t go to the toilet on his own,” his mother says, adding that he is easily scared – for example, by the sound of gunfire from a nearby Hamas police-training camp. Kannan, too, has a sketchbook – his drawing encouraged by the counsellor who saw him for four months after the war. It depicts the shooting of his father … children frightened of aeroplanes overhead … a destroyed Mosque.

    Even for the Samounis, however, life goes on. Kannan’s family should soon be able to grow six rows of lettuces, peppers and tomatoes on a small plot of land, thanks to a Red Cross irrigation repair project – two wells were destroyed during the military occupation of Zeitoun. It’s not enough produce to sell, as they had before, but it’s a start. His cousins have also been lent an acre of land, producing olives, figs and vegetables.

    Down the road, 22-year-old Rami Samouni, whose brother Hamdi was killed by Israeli forces along with the 18,000 chickens in his coop, is helping to rebuild the destroyed house of his cousin Arafat. The rebuilding is partly funded by the 4,000-euro compensation from the Hamas government earmarked for anyone who lost their home in its entirety, along with $5,000 from the rival Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, discreetly channelled by the UN Development Programme to ensure that no political stigma attaches locally to its beneficiaries. Rami, who will graduate next year with an education degree from Al Azhar University, sees the reconstruction as a metaphor. “You have to have hope. If you consider yourself sick, you’re going to be sick. You die if you don’t rebuild. Our enemies want us to give up and stop life. We have to move on.” Despite his talk of “enemies”, Rami says more than once in our conversation that he would accept a solution based on the 1967 borders, with Israel and a Palestinian state existing side-by-side.

    Elsewhere, too, there is varied but pervasive evidence of the famous Gazan resilience, even where the damage is worst. A year on, there are few bleaker sights than the rubble still left by last winter’s large-scale dynamiting and bulldozing of houses in the northern Gaza districts of Abed Rabbo and Atatra. All but a small minority of those made homeless by the war are renting homes or lodging with relatives. But in Atatra, where much of the destruction occurred during the last days of the war, a few are still living in tents. It seems to be the women here who are holding things together. The house of Arifa abu Leila, the 40-year-old mother of nine children, was destroyed after the family was forced to leave by Israeli soldiers. Now, under canvas, the family has only a hosepipe and a large plastic bowl for washing. She says the family never got the 4,000 euros from the Hamas authorities and muses the reason may be because her husband “used to be in Hamas but then he left it a long time ago”. But when her husband Saleh arrives, he denies adamantly that he was ever in Hamas.

    Their neighbour, 30-year-old Majda Ghabin, has a significantly more positive reason for living in a tent. With the money he received for his house – destroyed after he was forced out of it, arrested by Israeli troops, and held in Israel for five days during the war – he has rehabilitated his land and invested in carrots, cheaper to care for than the strawberries he used to farm. “I thought it was better to keep working than to find another house,” he explains. “That way I can make some money and maybe build a house in the future.”

    Over in the Abed Rabbo district, east of Jabalya and closer to the Israeli border, the wreckage has even generated its own micro-economy. At 6.30 each morning, Saber Abu Freih and his 60-year-old mother Ghazala arrive at what was once their house, partly to sift – so far in vain – through the rubble to find the jewellery they left behind 11 months ago and partly to load a donkey cart with blasted masonry needed to make new breeze-blocks for small-scale construction. A day’s work may bring around 100 shekels (£16) to be shared with his six brothers. “We are clearing the land, collecting stones that will be used for building at the same time,” he says cheerfully. “We may only get 10 shekels [£1.60] a cartload. But what can we do?”

    Donkey carts like this one head for the nearby Al Shobaki concrete works to be ground down and made into building blocks. Here, the owner, Abdel Salem al Shobaki, succinctly describes the business spiral of his company since the works was started during the height of the Intifada in 2003 as “excellent to good to bad to unbelievable”. The “bad to unbelievable” period, which began in mid-2007, reflects the recent political history of Gaza. Having won the 2006 electoral contest for control of the Palestinian parliament, to the consternation of just about everyone, possibly including Hamas itself, the militant Islamic faction rapidly found itself at odds, not only with Israel and the international community, which united in demanding that it recognise Israel as it had consistently failed to do, but also with the Fatah Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who unlike his political co-habitants had long renounced violence and long embraced the idea of a two-state solution. Despite the mounting tensions through 2006, exacerbated by the abduction of the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit and the ensuing military conflict, a short-lived Saudi-brokered coalition with Fatah was established in February 2007. In June of that year, however, the coalition broke down amid savage internecine fighting on Gaza’s streets which was decisively won by Hamas, who seized control in Gaza. Abbas “sacked” the Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, leaving the putative future Palestine split between the West Bank under his own control, and Gaza under that of Hamas. And Israel imposed a total economic siege which at a stroke halted Gaza’s once- vibrant manufacturing and agricultural sectors – which often exported to Israeli trading partners – by closing the borders to all but the inward passage of basic humanitarian goods. It is a policy for which Gaza’s population of 1.5m has been paying the price ever since.

    Among much else, it left Mr Al Shobaki short of a crucial commodity that he used to import regularly from

    Israel. Ever since June 2007, he says, he’s had “4,000 tons of gravel but no cement”. Then two months ago, Mr Al Shobaki – who says he actually pays 15-20 shekels (£2.40-£3.20) for a good cartload of war rubble – was finally able to procure enough cement to start the works going again, thanks to the tunnels through which it is smuggled from Egypt. Gazans are often sceptical about the quality of Egyptian cement – a joke doing the rounds is that a new Hamas-affiliated mosque on Gaza City’s beach road has remained uncompleted because the imams are holding out for Israeli cement. But the real problem is the price. Mr Al Shobaki pays 1,400 shekels (£220) a ton for Egyptian cement through the tunnels – compared to the 380 shekels (£60) or so he paid when the crossings were open and it came from Israel. “First I’d like to see reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas,” he says, “and then I’d like to see the crossings open. Anyone who says that the Israeli economy and Gaza’s are not connected is stupid. They are one economy.” Nevertheless, the tunnels have allowed him to restart production – though at next-to-no profit. For most Gazans, they are now the only tangible contact with the outside world.

    A large tent city stretches along Gaza’s southern border in Rafah, on the old Philadelphi Road which until 2005 was the Israeli-controlled no-man’s land between Egypt and Gaza. Overlooked by the watchtowers of Egyptian security rising above the border fence on the south side and the apartment blocks raddled by Israeli shelling from the years of the Intifada on the Palestinian side, the tents protect the entrances to hundreds of smuggling tunnels. These tunnels have served as Gaza’s lifeline since June 2007 – and have continued to do so despite the almost-daily Israeli bombing raids during Operation Cast Lead and the 117 deaths of workers, mostly from natural tunnel collapses, in the past year. Now the tunnels are among the Israeli Air Force’s retaliatory targets of choice every time a Qassam rocket is launched into southern Israel in breach of the undeclared but – most of the time – effective ceasefire.

    Today, as the late-November sun sets over the Mediterranean to the west and a solitary F16 flies high overhead, an earthmover has been at work for several hours beginning the repairs to a tunnel entrance destroyed that morning. Surveying the wreckage, tunnel worker Abu Yusef recalls that he once earned 300 shekels (£48) a day as a gardener in Israel when the crossings were open, and would willingly do so again rather than risk his life for a third of that. “If there was other work, I wouldn’t look at a tunnel again,” he says.

    One of the wrecked tunnel’s owners, who answers only to the name of Abu Hassan, estimates that it will cost almost £40,000 to repair the tunnel but it will – eventually – be worth it. Reeling off the goods he transports through the tunnels – “clothes and food, Galaxy chocolate, empty cola bottles, biscuits” – he acknowledges: “It will take me five months to cover the repair costs – before I would have done it in a month.” For business is down, largely because the market is saturated by the tunnels themselves. Supervising the arrival of a bamboo consignment and explaining that his tunnel also handles “clothes and sheep”, Mohammed, a 27-year-old from Khan Younis, says “it’s not like it used to be – there are a lot of products in Gaza. Gaza is full of bamboo.”

    Every diplomat familiar with the area believes that Hamas is actually benefiting from the tunnel economy created by the siege. It’s not just the 10,000 shekels (£1,600) each operator has to pay the Hamas-controlled Rafah municipality, ostensibly for “regulation and health and safety” – but which has not prevented 32 children and young people under the age of 18 being killed in the tunnels this year. One prominent Gaza businessman says that Hamas also brings in consumer goods through its own secret tunnels – the ones Israel believes it uses to import weapons – and then enlists tame traders to distribute the goods and share the profits with the faction. All of which can only make a mockery of the idea that the Israeli-imposed blockade hurts Hamas rather than the civilian population.

    Thanks to the tunnels, the shops are fuller than at any time since June 2007, probably making the gift exchanges at this year’s Muslim festival of Eid al Adha a little cheerier than last year, with plentiful Egyptian goods – at least for those who can afford to buy. A good imported box of chocolates costs around 150 shekels (£24) compared with just 60 shekels (£10) when it came from Israel, a sweater three times its old price of 50 shekels (£8). But this year’s Eid also signified something else: a deep reluctance on the part of many Gazans to wallow in their post-war grief and loss. True, a livestock trader in Jabalya estimated that only 35 per cent of Gazan families would be able to afford one of the traditional sheep for Eid – Sudanese, Libyan or Egyptian this year because imported through the tunnels. But in the vibrant pink feathers and the cloth flowers sported in the hair by perfectly turned-out little girls in the ruins of Atatra, or the parties of young middle-class Gazan women – their heads stylishly covered – crowded into the fashionable seafront Al Deira hotel, you could see a determination to make the best of the festival.

    The celebratory mood was certainly reinforced by the hope of an imminent prisoner exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit – and the prospect, whether bankable or not, that it would be followed by Israel’s at-least-partial lifting of the siege. But what neither the Eid celebrations nor the constant if costly flow of consumer goods through the tunnels can disguise, however, is the scale and impact of Gaza’s de-development. Jadwat Khoudary, one of Gaza’s most prominent businessmen, points out that even in “normal” times – without the present dire need for massive post-war reconstruction – Gaza’s daily requirement was for around 1,500 tons of cement. The expensive cement coming through the tunnels amounts to around 150 tons, enough for a relatively few individual families to repair their war-damaged homes. And he gives a striking example of Gaza’s Alice in Wonderland economics from one of his companies, which unlike many hundreds of others has – just – managed to keep going. It used to manufacture flexible foam, used in mass-produced cushions. But because the chemical raw materials are no longer available from Israel, the firm is now producing just 5 per cent of what it did, cutting and shaping ready-made flexible foam imported through the tunnels. He has laid off more than 200 workers; most of those who found jobs went “either to the Hamas internal police, the [regular] police, the [Hamas-run] Ministry of Works or muncipalities belonging to Hamas. How can I blame them if I cannot pay them salaries?” he says.

    We are talking on the eve of the Eid in his popular – but now, in the late afternoon, empty – beachfront restaurant. “Why do you think there’s no one here?” he asks. “Because most people are fasting before the Eid. Twenty years ago, only 1 per cent would have done that. Now it’s about 90 per cent.” Although Hamas had issued no edicts on this issue, Khoudary believes the phenomenon results from messages handed down from the mosques since Hamas came to power. He sees this, and the similar turn-round in those going to the Mosque to pray regularly, as evidence of the Islamic Hamas’s “credibility in the street” – one which the winter war of 2008-09 has done nothing to diminish.

    Certainly you can see the weakening of secularism on Gaza’s streets. More women are covering their heads; there is a greater sprinkling of them wearing the once rarely-seen nakab, the garment covering the whole face except for the eyes. And the greatest internal pressure on Hamas is not Fatah, which has been effectively repressed in Gaza, but from more extreme Islamist groups. To Khoudary, these developments are the function of what he calls “a mental siege” in which lack of contact with the outside world is turning Gaza inwards. To take a single example, there has been a complete halt to the once-steady flow of many hundreds of students a year, often to pursue postgraduate studies, abroad or in Israeli universities. Now Israel has used the closure to stop students even travelling to the West Bank, let alone to Israel or foreign countries. Thanks to the tunnels, says Khoudary, and provided you can afford it, “you can order anything you want in 36 hours. But the mental siege is the most dangerous and harmful siege.” He asks why Israel fosters a climate which in the long run will encourage extremist groups “worse than the Taliban”. “Israel is so stupid,” he says. “They are punishing the wrong people.”

    No one here has done more to try to ease this “mental siege”, within the constraints of total closure, than John Ging, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) director of operations and the man responsible for the education and welfare of Gaza’s almost one million refugees. Ging, a former Irish Army officer, is a brave man; he was at the UNRWA headquarters when its warehouse was destroyed under Israeli white-phosphorus shelling attack during the third week of Operation Cast Lead. In March 2007, when lawlessness in Gaza was at a peak from which it has now declined thanks to Hamas policing, Ging’s UN convoy was ambushed and 18 bullets fired into his armoured vehicle by Palestinian gunmen seeking to abduct him. Two months later, one of his bodyguards was injured when a UN school he was visiting came under fire. Even more extreme elements within Hamas – though never the de facto Hamas government itself – have issued threatening critiques of the highly successful summer games UNRWA ran for 250,000 children, of Ging’s warning to UNRWA’s Palestinian staff to leave their politics at the door when they come to work, and – most recently – of his bold determination to include holocaust studies in the UNRWA school human-rights curriculum.

    Yet what gives Ging his high credibility in Gaza is his tireless championing of the civilian population in the face of what he repeatedly calls the “failed and flawed” policies of isolating it. The end of the war, he says, left Gazans “worse than before” because of the “unfulfilled hope” that it would also mark the end of “that era of collective punishment … that had been their daily life for so long”. For the war had at least finally generated an international realisation “that it was the civilian population that was paying a devastating price not only in loss of life but [also] in their living conditions”.

    But rather than an end to isolation, Ging says, the traumatised Gazans have seen that “daily life continues to deteriorate and, as they listen and they read of more talk of war, they see the peace process is in further peril”.

    Ging acknowledges that this is not a “typical human emergency” made visible by “emaciated bodies and an overwhelmed medical service” – though he points out that 80 per cent of Gazans are dependent on food aid, that the medical services are overloaded but somehow coping, and that the water and sewage infrastructure is on the brink of crisis with 80m cubic litres of raw sewage pumped daily into the Mediterranean, 80 per cent of the drinking water below WHO minimum standards and 60 per cent of people with only irregular access to water. Instead, he says, “the problem here is the destruction of a civilised society and what the impact of that will be for the solution to this conflict”.

    As a man for whom belief in international law is a driving passion, he has sought to combat this trend with a human-rights curriculum in UN schools which is anything but routine, less than a year after a war about which the Goldstone report accused mainly Israel but also Hamas of war crimes. Ging is convinced about the positive response of Gazan civilians. “You only have to talk to them,” he argues, to know that “they are not terrorists, they are not violent people. They are deeply civilised people … not withstanding the provocative nature and injustice of their circumstances.”

    Their aspirations are not, he says, “vengeance or revenge or violence or destruction – their aspirations are the same as any civilised person on this planet. They want the space to live, basic fundamental freedoms of human rights. They understand the difference between right and wrong and sanctions against those who are in violation of the law, but their claim – which I fully support – is that the innocent should not be sanctioned.”

    Like Jadwat Khoudary, Ging is fearful however of the extremism that the “devastatingly” negative conditions of Gaza threaten to breed, including among school pupils. “How do we motivate them to achieve their academic potential when their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters have no job and no prospect of a job? They listen every day to rhetoric, very destructive, which capitalises on their physical experience which is very negative – and tries to attach that to violent activity as being the way out of those circumstances.” UNRWA, says Ging, aims to counter that through education. But, he adds, “the most important support is to change the circumstances”.

    The UN Girls’ Preparatory School A in Zeitoun, the very neighbourhood where calamity overtook the Samouni family, helps to illustrate the point. Three of its pupils were killed during the war, 25 injured and many more were made homeless by the destruction. Late last month, it staged a varied day of activities to reinforce another Ging initiative – one that perhaps would not go amiss in many British schools – the Respect and Discipline programme. They ranged from a parade – “We call it ‘military’ because we want the discipline of soldiers without the violence,” explained teacher Soha Sohoor – to a playlet set in court in which teenage girls acted the parts of a female lawyer, teacher, doctor, engineer and housewife successfully defending themselves against a judge’s draconian anti-woman ruling. Afterwards, four articulate 14-year-olds discussed issues ranging from domestic violence and the impact of the winter war to the determination of all four to go to university. All said they favoured a two-state solution based on 1967 borders.

    Shaima Remlawi, who is learning English, wants to be an international interpreter but also sees herself campaigning for women’s rights – particularly against early marriage and fathers who discourage their daughters from completing their education. “I will not marry until I am more than 20,” she declared. Afrian Naim wants to be a journalist, “so I can give the message of the Palestinians all over the world.” Islam Aqel wants to become both a professor and a “novelist who can write books that everyone can read.” And Ahlam Al-Haj Ahmed said: “I want to be a journalist writing about the sufferings of the Palestinian people. But I want to be effective in society, to be a member of the PLC [the Palestinian Parliament], not in Fatah or Hamas but as an independent, so I can tell the others when they are doing well and when they are not doing well.” It’s hard not to be impressed with these girls, brimming with healthy ambition. But hard also not to wonder – without that “change in circumstances”, an end to Gaza’s siege, mental and physical – how long it will be before their dreams crash into irrevocable disappointment.

    “It’s urgent that we change,” says Ging. “Because time is against us. A whole generation is growing up.”

    Egypt constructs huge Gaza wall
    Hamas expresses its dismay as Egypt acts to cut Gaza’s smuggling routes

    By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem

    Friday, 11 December 2009

    The border at Rafah between Egypt and the Gaza Strip

    • enlarge

    Egypt has reportedly begun building an underground iron wall along its border with the Gaza Strip in a major upgrading of its efforts to end smuggling through tunnels. Egyptian security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the wall project is under way. Local residents reported Egyptian clearing work was in progress 90 metres from the border over the last three weeks.

    The Egyptian project comes at the encouragement of the US. After Israel’s devastating Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last winter, Washington took the lead in encouraging international efforts to stop smuggling of weaponry into the Strip through the tunnels. Israeli defence officials say that the Qassam rockets that struck Israeli targets before and during the Gaza war came from Egypt via the tunnels.

    But the underground links also form a vital lifeline for the passage of everyday necessities in the face of a draconian Israeli blockade of the Strip that has at times gone so far as to bar the import of pasta into the coastal enclave.

    According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the wall will be 9-10km long and will be sunk 20-30m into the ground. It is supposed to be impenetrable and impossible to melt. It is not expected to halt smuggling completely, but to cut hundreds of existing tunnels and force diggers to go deeper than they have gone before.

    Leaders of Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, are believed to have been greatly dismayed by Egypt’s willingness to implement the project while the Israeli blockade continues and while Egypt keeps its own crossing with the Strip closed. But last night they declined to put their feelings on record, apparently wary of further antagonising Cairo, which is already angry over Hamas’s refusal to sign an Egyptian-brokered national reconciliation deal with the rival Fatah movement.

    But Hassan Khreisheh, an independent nationalist in the West Bank who is deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, described the project as “a shame for the Egyptians”.

    “They talk of supporting the Palestinians while they co-operate with others in imposing the siege and preventing food and supplies from reaching Gaza,” Mr Khreisheh said. “They are collaborating with the Americans.”

    Abdullah Abdullah, a legislator who supports Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Palestinian President, voiced understanding for the Egyptian move. “We can’t deny Egypt’s right to protect its sovereignty and people against intrusion. At the same time we want the Egyptians not to deny the Palestinians their means of livelihood.”

    Egypt is wary of Hamas because it is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the long-established transnational movement that supports the creation of an Islamic state in Egypt and which has long been a thorn in the flesh of President Mubarak. Cairo was criticised both before and during the war for allegedly providing diplomatic cover for Israel.

    Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said: “I cannot confirm what the Egyptians are doing and not doing. But I can say over the last two months the Egyptians have been enhancing their anti-smuggling efforts. We welcome that.”

  41. Erez Efrati said

    Tzipi Livni escapes International Court.
    Erez Efrati | 14.12.2009 11:12

    She was afraid to turn up yesterday at Hendon Hall.

    So you see them too

    Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled a visit to Britain this weekend over fears pro-Palestinian lawyers would seek to have her arrested.

    Ms Livni had been due to speak at Sunday’s JNF Vision 2010 conference in Hendon, north-west London. She had also been expected to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown for private talks.

    But she pulled out of the trip for fear of lawyers obtaining an arrest warrant.
    She is the latest senior Israeli politician to avoid Britain. In October, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon was advised by a special inter-departmental team working with ministers to pull out of a JNF dinner in London.

    Experts on international law from the foreign and justice ministries, and the IDF Attorney-General’s department, have advised cabinet ministers with a security background and senior IDF officers not to visit Britain, Spain, Belgium or Norway, while lawyers in these countries are seeking to arrest Israelis on charges of alleged war crimes through “universal jurisdiction” laws.

    Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor, speaking at the JNF conference, said Israel was fighting the laws “tooth and nail” and would “not be shut down”.

    A group of around 100 anti-Israel protestors demonstrated outside the Hendon Hall Hotel venue as delegates arrived.

    Well done the Palestinians. Keep it up.

    Erez Efrati

  42. Blockade forces UN to build mud huts
    A Palestinian man made homeless by Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza earlier this year has become the first to receive a UN-funded mud brick home.

    The house was given to Majid Athamneh – an elderly man whose apartment building in the border area of Izbet Abed Rabo was flattened by Israel – on Saturday.

    His new mud house looks out on the ruins of his former home.

    Head of UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza John Ging complained that it had been forced to revert to ancient building techniques because Israel wouldn’t allow concrete and other construction materials into blockaded Gaza.

    He said the UN hoped to build around 120 homes for dozens of Gaza families in the next few months.

    Thousands were made homeless during Israel’s three-week military assault a year ago and hundreds were killed

    Those left homeless have squeezed into houses of relatives, rented apartments or paid black-market prices to fix broken windows and patch up walls.

    And around 1,000 Gazans still live in tents.

    “A mud hut is better than a tent,” said Mr Ging. “It’s not a solution to the reconstruction of Gaza, but it shows you how desperate the situation is.

    “A year later, people living in tents have the hopeful prospect of getting a temporary mud brick shelter,” he added gloomily.

    Gazan police have rebuilt at least one of their stations out of mud and residents throughout the territory have used mud to build simple homes.

    Israel claims that Hamas would use construction materials for military purposes, but senior UN officials say it has repeatedly offered guarantees that building materials would be used purely for reconstruction.

  43. Paul said

    Think somethink has gonr wrong here mate….

    Recent Comments
    Blockade forces UN t… on Contact Us

  44. sahida said

    The US (and Egypt) should hang its head in shame.

    Al-Arish – Ma’an – Egypt’s plan to build an underground wall along its
    border with Gaza, first exposed by the Israeli daily Haaretz, is the
    second of two initiatives backed by the US military, Ma’an has

    In recent months, US army engineers have moved forward on a two-phase,
    multimillion-dollar project to stop the flow of weapons and money into
    the besieged coastal strip.

    The first stage of the initiative includes the installation of below-
    ground, state-of-the-art sensors capable of detecting sound or
    movement nearby. US experts began the process about one year ago, and
    it is nearing completion.

    The sensors are about the size of a human fist, planted below Rafah
    with cables running inside pipes 15 meters deep along the borderline.
    Each sensor is linked to an electronic panel and a computer screen,
    which documents below-ground activity. Whenever movement or sound is
    detected nearby, the sensors send details about the location and
    dimensions of its source to a special security system.

    Four US military engineers are responsible for monitoring these
    sensors and analyzing activity to differentiate between new digging or
    everyday goods smuggling. In all cases, US forces have kept the
    Israeli side informed about any detected movement, despite that the
    entire operation is conducted on Egyptian soil.

    Israel and Egypt have maintained a debilitating blockade on Gaza since
    Hamas took over in 2007, preventing all but a trickle of imports and
    exports, and banning the coastal enclave’s 1.5 million residents from
    traveling. Palestinians have resorted to building a vast network of
    underground smuggling tunnels, providing Gazans with a variety of
    banned commercial goods.

    American assistance has been instrumental in Egypt’s management of the
    siege. Egyptian security sources say authorities are aware of nearly
    1,300 underground tunnels, of which 450 were taken over this year.

    Phase two

    But Cairo is hesitant about the second stage of the project, the
    installation of a steel wall underneath the borderline that Haaretz
    revealed earlier this week. This phase, which gained traction six
    months ago, is unpopular among Egyptian officials who feel pressured
    to go along with what they consider a purely American-Israeli

    US officials have confirmed some involvement in the first stage, but
    deny that a second phase even exists.

    The steel wall and sensors were being installed along 10-11 kilometers
    of the 13-kilometer border; two to three were excluded because the
    soil is so soft along this stretch that it naturally prevents the
    maintenance of stable tunnels. The exclusion zones are referred to by
    officials in Rafah as International Marker No. 1 and No. 3, both of
    which are near the beach.

    All these plates and sensors were manufactured in the United States.
    Six months ago, freighters delivered the plates to a port on Egypt’s
    Mediterranean coast, where they were loaded onto military trucks and
    transported to Rafah under a shroud of secrecy.

    The panels, which sources say were transferred through Sheikh Zweid
    city, measure 18 meters by 50 centimeters and are about five
    centimeters thick. They were designed to snap into place parallel to
    one another, arranged side by side to increase the underground border
    wall’s horizontal length and effectiveness against the smugglers, who
    occasionally use explosives when digging.

    Egyptian authorities have installed a network of these plates on two sites along the border; one is located about four kilometers north of
    the port, and another about 500 meters south of the Rafah terminal.
    Security forces have lowered them into the ground under the guise of
    performing routine maintenance work. They have also employed ordinary
    equipment, such as machinery for digging water wells, as not to arouse
    suspicions. As of press time, however, portions of the steel panels
    remained exposed above ground.

    Egypt has officially denied any involvement, but Ma’an learned that
    the state confiscated or purchased private land along the border to
    implement the plan. Most of this land was owned by farmers, who
    separately accepted above-market compensation from buyers actually
    representing Cairo. Hundreds of trees have been uprooted over the past
    few months as authorities construct the underground system.

  45. Making New Markets: ParcAberporth and the commercialisation of drone technology

    The western Welsh county of Ceredigion is home to Danger Area D201, a former RAF missile testing ground, now converted into a 22km x 1.5km restricted airspace for the testing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The area is the embodiment of the tangled relationships existing between corporate, governmental and private commercial interests. A section of the old RAF land is now operated by arms giant QinetiQ; the runway is owned by the same private businessman who runs the local airport; and at the centre of this hub of UAV promotion is the ParcAberporth facility, made possible, and owned by, the Welsh Assembly.

    Most controversially, ParcAberporth is the UK testing ground for Elbit Systems; a company whose drones have been highlighted by several groups, including NGO Amnesty International, for the indiscriminate destruction they have wrought in Gaza. Less well publicised is the massive effort ParcAberporth and the Astraea coalition are making to commercialise UAVs and expand their market beyond the military to entirely ‘civilian’ applications.

    Elbit and Israel

    Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest arms and security corporation. Elbit has absorbed seven companies since 2000 and now employs over 10,000 people, as well as presiding over a considerable network of subsidiaries and affiliated corporations. Aside from testing its products at ParcAberporth, Elbit also operates a UK subsidiary, UAV Engines of Litchfield, whose engines are incorporated into many of the company’s drones. ‘Security’ equipment developed and provided by Elbit is instrumental in maintaining and expanding Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank. Most significantly, Elbit provides electronic detection equipment, which is being used in the construction of Israel’s apartheid wall through the West Bank, and supplies drone technology used extensively in Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Information collated by human rights organisations B’Tselem, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights suggests that 87 civilians were killed by drones during January’s Operation Cast Lead. When challenged by Amnesty International, local MPs and other campaigners, over potential complicity in the Gaza massacre, the Welsh Assembly has stated firmly that it “wouldn’t knowingly invest in any project that could be used in any form of human rights abuse”. This statement is, however, rather at odds with the admission of the UK Government’s Department of Business that it was, in actuality, uncertain about what happened to drone engines sold to Israel once they got there.

    The Growing Unmanned Market

    UAVs form part of a developing trend characterised by the minimising of human control of, or involvement with, ‘security’ and ‘defence’ technologies. Be it a biometric access interface, smart-cameras programmed to identify ‘terrorist behaviour’ at airports or the British military recruiting UAV operators by promoting their work as comparable to playing video games, state repression and corporately sponsored violence are changing their mechanisms to keep human agents at a distance from their actions. This is of course very useful for any party engaged in dehumanising or murderous activities. Human security guards might have qualms about the racial profiling they are asked to engage in, machines do not. It is certainly a lot easier to blow up dots on a screen than it is to sit in a plane and fire explosives into civilian homes. Many companies working to create increasingly sophisticated unmanned military equipment are simultaneously developing completely robotic technologies. QinetiQ, the arms manufacturer that operates part of the Welsh UAV testing facility, is one of the companies leading this push, creating robots for the land, sea and aerospace sectors. Although those developing this equipment place the emphasis very much on “protecting troops….from a safe distance”, these technologies could be seen to be, in essence, making human soldiers redundant, creating an automated military machine with almost no need for propaganda or self-made justifications.

    The Astraea Coalition

    Although it is marketed as such, the growth of unmanned military technologies is not an incidental development inherent to technological progress. The rapid expansion of drone technologies is being pushed for by a veritable super consortium of arms companies, UK government agencies and universities, under the name Astraea (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment)*. These include: BAE Systems, Thales, Rolls Royce, Agent Oriented Software and QinetiQ; the South West of England Regional Development Agency, South East Economic Development Agency, Scottish Enterprise and the North West Regional Development Agency; and the universities of Loughborough, Sheffield, Lancaster and Aberystwyth, among others. State involvement in Astraea is ‘led’ by the Welsh Assembly and, as such, Astraea receives half its funding from the public sector, constituting £16million in total.

    Astraea is in the first phase of a three year ‘programme’, whose stated mission includes not only the development of drone technologies, but also their “validation” for “unrestricted use”. There is no ‘evaluation’ or ‘assessment’ of drone use at the heart of this programme at all; the organisation’s clearly worded aim is to rewrite European airspace regulations in order that UAVs can be deployed widely for ‘civilian’ uses. Astraea is working to have previously manned flights replaced by drones in, for example, emergency situations where a location must be viewed from above. The organisation is even jumping on the greenwash bandwagon, making much of the potential use of drones to monitor environmental situations on land or at sea.

    This is, perhaps, not so sinister in itself, but the language of both Astraea and its component institutions is rife with commercial expansionism. QinetiQ writes plainly on its corporate website that the civilian market for its UAVs and other unmanned products has not yet been sufficiently “exploited”. Even the Welsh Assembly states in its own report on the development of ParcAberporth that “the potential for the civil market is considerable if the barriers that impede the wide deployment of civil systems can be overcome”. One of Astraea’s ‘programme points’ is simply named “Route to Compliance”. Astraea and its ‘corporate partners’ are effectively creating their own market, openly and aggressively seeking to change international airspace regulations, with a host of government departments to back them up. If successful, they’re looking at a very lucrative future; Astraea cites studies estimating that the European drones market it is creating will be worth €1.2billion over the next decade.

    The implications of government clubbing together with corporate interests to forge and legitimise markets for the products of arms companies are of course serious. Equally questionable are the potential ‘civilian applications’ of new UAVs. It seems unlikely that anyone looking at over €1billion profits will be content with supplying only emergency services and vaguely environmental enterprises. Drone use for police surveillance is already widespread in the USA, and, as is being seen with ‘non lethal’ weapons, there is much money to be made for military equipment companies selling their wares to police forces. Unmanned aerial surveillance has been spotted in the UK, with a small drone being used to spy on anti-fascist protestors at last summer’s British National Party (BNP) festival in Derby. With Astraea seeking a carte blanche for drone use in all European airspace, it is not unlikely that both UAV companies and state agencies will take full advantage of this.

    Campaign group Bro Emlyn for Peace and Justice (BEPJ) are calling for action against drone testing at ParcAberporth. You can find more about the campaign, plus an extensive news archive about UAV testing in Wales, on their website:

    *On a lighter note, it may interest you to know that the name Astraea is also that of the ancient Greek deity, Astraea, the ‘star-maiden’, who is, ironically enough, associated with both ‘new eras’ and ‘justice’.



    Second Meeting of the Open Ended Working Group (13-17 July 2009)
    The second meeting of the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) towards an Arms Trade Treaty took place in New York from 13-17 July, chaired by Ambassador Garcia Moritan of Argentina. The agenda centred around discussion of the objectives, scope and parameters of a potential arms trade treaty. In a ground-breaking meeting, consensus was achieved for the first time that the lack of international regulation of the conventional arms trade is a serious problem that an ATT could address. Consensus was also achieved on an OEWG report to the next UN General Assembly. This recognised “the need to address problems relating to unregulated trade in conventional weapons”, and noted that “respective responsibilities exist for both exporters and importers to address the current situation”.

    In a statement to the conference, UK Ambassador Duncan said the UK recognises “that the status quo ….arrangements for the arms trade is not fit for purpose in an interconnected globalised economy. The failure to deal effectively with the challenge of the 21st century market place is having a serious effect on our collective effort to maintain international security, uphold the norms of international behaviour, while promoting trade and develop the world’s poorest communities. The devastating humanitarian and economic impact is unacceptable.” Read Ambassador Duncan’s full statement .

    First Meeting of the Open Ended Working Group (2-6 March 2009)
    The First meeting of the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) to consider the issue of an Arms Trade Treaty took place in New York from 2-6 March 2009. Prior to this meeting a Preparatory Meeting had taken place in New York in January to agree the agenda and the rules of procedure for the OEWG. These discussions had not concluded at this time but agreement was reached on how to processd on the first day of the OEWG.

    The OEWG allowed for all Member States of the United Nations to convey their thougths and ideas on three main issues; the goals and objectives of a feasible Arms Trade Treaty, consideration of the scope of a potential Arms Trade Treaty, and consideration of the principles and draft parameters of a potential Arms Trade Treaty. Click on the following links to read the UK statements delivered during the meeting on the three main issues:

    Goals and Objectives of a Feasible Arms Trade Treaty, Scope of a Potential Arms Trade Treaty, Consideration of Parameters for a Potential Arms Trade Treaty.

    The discussions themselves confirmed the wide-spread support for concluding an Arms Trade Treaty although the elements that need to go in to such a treaty and the scope of such a treaty have yet to be negotiated. Some nations are still sceptical as to the utility of an Arms Trade Treaty and we hope to address those questions that they have in the Second Session in New York from 13-17 July 2009. It is hoped that a consensus report can be agreed at this meeting which will then be put before First Committee for their futher consideration on how to address this issue.

    The UK is supportive of securing a global treaty aimed at controlling the trade in conventional weapons; an Arms Trade Treaty. Jack Straw, then Foreign Secretary, first raised the idea of a possible new treaty in a speech on 15 March 2005. Our reasoning for being at the forefront of this initiative was highlighted in a speech given on 23 March 2006 in Geneva, by Dr Kim Howells, Foreign Office Minister responsible for Non-proliferation and Disarmament Issues. On the 24 July 2006 the UK along with 6 partner countries distributed the ATT letter 24 July 2006 and draft ATT resolution to all UN members. On the 14 September 2006 Dr Kim Howells, Gareth Thomas MP and Derek Twigg MP, the ministers for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, DFID and MOD, held an ATT ministerial event to promote and publicise the ATT resolution in preparation for First Committee.

    At the General Assembly on 6 December 2006, two paragraph votes were called for on the ATT resolution:

    on the establishment of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) in 2008 and
    the request of assistance to this group by the Secretary General.

    These paragraphs were accepted without amendment before the final vote on the whole resolution. This returned an overwhelming vote of support from 153 members, 24 abstentions and 1 vote against.

    During the meeting of the General Assembly on 6 December, this resolution was confirmed by 153 votes for, 24 abstentions and 1 against.

    Countries have now submitted their views on the feasibility, scope and draft parameters of an Arms Trade Treaty which can be seen here

    The second step of this process took place in 2008 when experts from 28 countries met to consider the feasibility, scope and draft parameters of an eventual ATT. They concluded their work in 2008 and agreed a final report, which recommended that further discussion should take place within the UN on this issue.

    In October, the United Kingdom along with the 6 original co-authors, tabled a new resolution at the UN General First Committee on taking forward work on the Arms Trade Treaty in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The report from the Group of Governmental Experts, which met in 2008 had highlighted the need for further discussion on this important topic.

    The vote on 31 October 2008 confirmed the overwhelming level of support for work towards and Arms Trade Treaty with 88% of States present voting in favour. 18 States abstained from the vote and 2, US and Zimbabwe, voted against.

    Two sessions of an open ended working group to allow all UN members to discuss and try to develop consensus on certain issues which may form part of an eventual treaty, will take place in March and July 2009. Further meetings of the OEWG are also scheduled for 2010 and 2011.

    Visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s page on ATT for more information.

  47. And the rest..! said

    Written Ministerial Statements for 21 April 2009
    Israel (UK Strategic Export Controls)
    The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband): I am taking this opportunity to update Parliament, following my answers on 19 January, Official Report, column 514, on whether UK-supplied equipment may have been used by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) during the recent conflict in Gaza.
    All strategically controlled exports from the UK—both military and dual-use goods—require an export licence, issued by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on the basis of advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence and, in relevant cases, the Department for International Development. Applications are assessed against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria and any other relevant announced policy. There are eight criteria, which set out the basis on which applications will be assessed. The most important criteria in relation to exports to Israel are as follows:
    Criterion 2 (we will not issue an export licence where there is a clear risk that the export might be used for internal repression), criterion 3 (we will not issue licences for exports which would provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflicts in the country of final destination), criterion 4 (preservation of regional peace, security and stability), and criterion 7 (the risk that the equipment will be diverted within the buyer country or re-exported under undesirable conditions).
    Estimates suggest that Israel buys over 95 per cent. of its military requirements from the US. The EU accounts for a proportion of the remainder. The UK is estimated as accounting for less than 1 per cent. of total Israeli military exports. Of the goods licensed by the UK, a significant proportion will have been for dual use goods for non-military use, or for goods for incorporation in Israel before onward export to a third country. Of the military goods licensed from the UK, the majority have been for components rather than complete systems or sub-systems. Many of the licences we have identified covering military equipment were for components for incorporation into US-manufactured platforms which were then re-exported to Israel.
    I will start by dealing with the equipment used by the IDF in relation to Operation Cast Lead which—contrary to suggestions made in the press and elsewhere—we do not believe contained components supplied under licence from the UK.
    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): UAVs were used extensively for reconnaissance and targeting. The Heron and Hermes 450 variants were positively identified. Numerous export licence applications have been received to supply equipment to Israel’s significant UAV industry. The great majority are subject to further incorporation in Israel for onward export and a small number approved for demonstration, research, testing and our own “Watchkeeper” UAV programme. We have no evidence to suggest that goods licensed by the UK were diverted within Israel for use by the IDF.
    Tanks and Armoured Bulldozers: Merkava tanks were deployed in support of the ground offensive into Gaza. We have not identified any UK components on the Merkava tank. D9 Armoured Bulldozers were used to clear ground, clear routes for armoured vehicles and there are credible reports that they were used to demolish houses containing weapons caches or tunnels. None were supplied under licence from the UK, nor were any components for them.
    Secondly, there is equipment which may have been involved in Operation Cast Lead and may have contained British-supplied components.
    Satellites: Israel has a number of reconnaissance satellites that could have been used to provide information to the IDF, and for which the UK has supplied minor components. We assess that these might have been used to prepare the operation but would not have played a significant part in the operation itself.
    Thirdly, there is IDF equipment that was used in Operation Cast Lead and which almost certainly contained British-supplied components.
    Combat Aircraft: The F16 was widely used, including for the delivery of precision-guided ordnance. No licences have been granted by the Government for the export of F16 components sent direct to Israel since 2002. British made components for F16s have been exported to the United States where Israel was the ultimate end-user. These licences covered components for head-up displays, head-down displays and enhanced display units.
    Helicopters: Apache attack helicopters were used in the operation as part of the initial air campaign, and later in support of ground troops. Licences have been approved for the export of components to the US for incorporation into equipment for use on Apache helicopters ultimately destined for Israel. These licences covered parts for the fire control and radar system, navigation equipment and engine assemblies.
    Naval Vessels: Saar-Class Corvettes took part in the operation from the waters off Gaza. They are likely to have been used for a number of tasks, but there are credible reports that the Saar 4.5 was used in a naval fire support role (the Saar 5 does not carry a gun suitable for such a task). Applications have been approved for components direct to Israel for a 76mm gun for a Saar 4.5 class vessel. We have also licensed the supply of other types of equipment for the Israeli navy; most recent cases have been for ubiquitous cabling for the Saar-class vessels and components for radar equipment. Of the cases for radar equipment most have been for air defence purposes, but they have the technical capability to be used for fire-control against surface targets.
    Armoured Personnel Carriers: Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) were used and these included conversions of UK-supplied Centurion tanks to carry troops, for mobile headquarters and as combat engineer vehicles. The Centurions were sold to Israel in the late 1950s.
    It is inherent in the consolidated criteria that judgments are in part based on past practice, so evidence from Operation Cast Lead will be used in all future applications. I can confirm that we are looking at all extant licences to see whether any of these need to be re-considered in light of recent events in Gaza. All future applications will be assessed taking into account the recent conflict. I continue to believe that UK export controls and the consolidated criteria are amongst the strongest and most effective in the world and are the best basis for putting into practice our commitments on arms exports.

  48. Ian said


    ‘Gaza is a maximum security prison, something like Guantanamo, basically a torture chamber under a constant harsh and brutal siege. A seige is an act of war; a total seige is a major war crime. And it’s not dramatically different in the West Bank where just about everything going on there is in violation of international law.’


    ‘The wretched reality endured by 1.5 million people in Gaza should appal anybody with an ounce of humanity. Sick, traumatised and impoverished people are being collectively punished by a cruel, illegal policy imposed by the Israeli authorities.’

    RONNIE KASRILS, Former leader of the armed wing of the ANC and most well-known Jewish politician in post-Apartheid South Africa:

    ‘The violence of the apartheid regime, as inhuman as it was, ‘was a picnic’ (in the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu) in comparison with the utter brutality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. I refer to the whole of Biblical Palestine from which Palestinian Arabs have been driven or are struggling to survive from the 1948 ethnic cleansing to the violence in the occupied West Bank and Gaza today. We did not see tanks with guns blazing protecting armored bulldozers reducing homes and bones to dust. We did not see helicopter gunships ‘taking out’ militants with their families, children and their homes with calculated precision. In South Africa we did not see the destruction by bombing of apartment blocks such as in Rafah in the Gaza Strip where children were sleeping. We did not see town centers such as Jenin and Ramallah razed to the ground reminiscent of the bloody suppression of the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War.’

  49. Uri Avnery said

    The riddle of the Egyptian jailers
    Wednesday 06 January 2010Uri Avnery Printable Email Something odd, almost bizarre, is going on in Egypt. About 1,400 activists from all over the world gathered there on their way to the Gaza Strip on the anniversary of Israel’s “cast lead” war. They intended to participate in a non-violent demonstration against the ongoing blockade, which makes the life of 1.5 million inhabitants of the strip intolerable.

    Demonstrations were to take place in many countries at the same time. A big protest was planned in Tel Aviv too. The “monitoring committee” of the Arab citizens of Israel was to organise an event on the Gaza border.

    But when the international activists arrived in Egypt, a surprise awaited them. The Egyptian government forbade their trip to Gaza. Their buses were held up at the outskirts of Cairo and turned back. Individual protesters who succeeded in reaching the Sinai in regular buses were taken off them. The Egyptian security forces conducted a regular hunt for the activists.

    The angry activists besieged their embassies in Cairo. On the street in front of the French embassy a tent camp sprang up which was soon surrounded by the Egyptian police. US protesters gathered in front of their embassy and demanded to see the ambassador. Several protesters who are over 70 years old began a hunger strike.

    Everywhere, the protesters were held up by Egyptian elite units in full riot gear, while red water cannon vehicles were lurking in the background. Protesters who tried to assemble in Cairo’s central Tahrir (liberation) Square were mishandled.

    In the end, after a meeting with the wife of the president, a typical Egyptian solution was found – 100 activists were allowed to reach Gaza. The rest remained in Cairo, bewildered and frustrated.

    While the demonstrators were cooling their heels in the Egyptian capital and trying to find ways to vent their anger, Binyamin Netanyahu was received in the president’s palace in the heart of Cairo. His hosts went to great lengths to laud and celebrate his contribution to peace, especially the “freeze” of settlement activity in the West Bank, a phoney gesture that does not include east Jerusalem.

    Hosni Mubarak and Netanyahu have met in the past – but not in Cairo. The Egyptian president always insisted that the meetings take place in Sharm-al-Sheikh, as far from the Egyptian population centres as possible. The invitation to Cairo was therefore a significant token of increasingly close relations.

    As a special gift for Netanyahu, Mubarak agreed to allow hundreds of Israelis to come to Egypt and pray at the grave of Rabbi Yaakov Abu-Hatzeira, who died and was buried in the Egyptian town of Damanhur 130 years ago, on his way from Morocco to the Holy Land.

    There is something symbolic about this – the blocking of the pro-Palestinian protesters on their way to Gaza at the same time as the invitation of Israelis to Damanhur.

    One may well wonder about the Egyptian participation in the blockade of the Gaza Strip – although it has allowed access this week for just three days.

    The blockade started long before the Gaza war and has turned the strip into what has been described as “the biggest prison on Earth.” The blockade applies to everything except essential medicines and the most basic foodstuffs.

    US Senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry was shocked to hear that the blockade included pasta – the Israeli army in its wisdom has designated noodles as a luxury.

    The blockade is all-embracing – from building materials to schoolchildren’s exercise books. Except for the most extreme humanitarian cases, nobody can pass from the Gaza Strip to Israel or the West Bank, nor the other way round.

    But Israel controls only three sides of the strip. The northern and eastern borders are blocked by the Israeli army, the western border by the Israeli navy. The fourth border, the southern one, is controlled by Egypt. Therefore, the entire blockade would be ineffective without Egyptian participation.

    Ostensibly this does not make sense. Egypt considers itself as the leader of the Arab world. It is the most populous Arab country, situated at the centre of the Arab world. Fifty years ago the president of Egypt, Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, was the idol of all the Arabs, especially of the Palestinians. How can Egypt collaborate with the “zionist enemy,” as Egyptians called Israel then, in bringing 1.5 million brother Arabs to their knees?

    Until recently the Egyptian government had been sticking to a solution that exemplifies the 6,000-year-old Egyptian political acumen. It participated in the blockade but closed its eyes to the hundreds of tunnels dug under the Egyptian-Gaza border through which the daily supplies for the population were flowing – for exorbitant prices and with high profits for Egyptian merchants – together with the stream of arms. People also passed through them, from Hamas activists to brides.

    This is about to change. Egypt has started building an iron wall along the full length of the Gaza border, consisting of steel pillars thrust deep into the ground, in order to block all tunnels. That will finally choke the inhabitants.

    When the most extreme zionist Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote 80 years ago about erecting an “iron wall” against the Palestinians, he did not dream of Arabs doing just that.

    Why do they do it?

    There are several explanations. Cynics point out that the Egyptian government receives a huge US subsidy every year – almost two billion dollars (£1.24bn) – by courtesy of Israel.

    It started as a reward for the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The pro-Israel lobby in the US Congress can stop it any time.

    Others believe that Mubarak is afraid of Hamas. The organisation started out as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, still the main opposition to his autocratic regime.

    The Cairo-Riyadh-Amman-Ramallah axis is poised against the Damascus-Gaza axis that is allied with the Tehran-Hezbollah axis. Many people believe that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is interested in the tightening of the Gaza blockade in order to hurt Hamas.

    Mubarak is angry with Hamas, which refuses to dance to his tune. Like his predecessors, he demands that the Palestinians obey his orders.

    President Abd-al-Nasser was angry with the PLO – an organisation created by him to ensure Egyptian control of the Palestinians but which escaped him when Yasser Arafat took over.

    President Anwar Sadat was angry with the PLO for rejecting the Camp David agreement, which promised Palestinians only “autonomy.” How dare the Palestinians, a small, oppressed people, refuse the “advice” of Big Brother?

    All these explanations make sense, yet the Egyptian government’s attitude is still astonishing. The Egyptian blockade of Gaza destroys the lives of 1.5 million human beings, men and women, old people and children, most of who are not Hamas activists.

    It is done publicly before the eyes of hundreds of millions of Arabs, a billion-and-a-quarter Muslims. In Egypt itself millions of people are also ashamed of the participation of their country in the starving of fellow Arabs.

    It is a very dangerous policy. So why does Mubarak follow it? The real answer is probably that he has no choice.

    Egypt is a very proud country. Anyone who has been in Egypt knows that even the poorest Egyptians are full of national pride and are easily insulted when their national dignity is hurt. That was shown again a few weeks ago when Egypt lost a football match with Algeria and behaved as if it has lost a war.

    “Consider that from the summit of these pyramids, 40 centuries look down upon you,” Napoleon told his soldiers on the eve of the battle for Cairo. Every Egyptian feels that 6,000 – some say 8,000 – years of history look upon them all the time. This profound feeling clashes with reality at a time when Egypt’s situation is getting more and more miserable. Saudi Arabia has more influence, tiny Dubai has become an international financial centre, Iran is becoming a far more important regional power.

    In contrast to Iran, where the ayatollahs have called upon families to limit themselves to two children, the Egyptian birthrate is devouring everything, condemning the country to permanent poverty.

    In the past, Egypt succeeded in balancing its internal weaknesses with external successes. Egypt was considered the leader of the Arab world and was treated accordingly. No more.

    Egypt is in a bad situation. Therefore Mubarak has no choice but to follow the diktats of the US which are, in fact, Israeli diktats. That is the real explanation for his participation in the blockade.

    When I spoke at the recent demonstration in Tel Aviv, after we had marched through the streets to protest against the blockade, I refrained from mentioning the Egyptian part in it.

    I confess that I liked the people I met during my visits to Egypt very much. The “man in the street” is very welcoming. In their behaviour towards each other there is an air of tranquility, an absence of aggression, a particular Egyptian sense of humour. Even the poorest keep their dignity in crowded and often miserable conditions. I have not heard them grumble. In all the thousands of years of their history, Egyptians have risen in revolt no more than three or four times.

    This legendary patience has its negative side too. When people are resigned to their lot this may prevent economic, social and political progress.

    It seems that the Egyptian people are ready to accept everything. From the pharaohs of old right down to the present pharaoh, their rulers have faced little opposition. But a day may come when national pride will overcome even this patience.

    As an Israeli, I protest against the Israeli blockade. If I were an Egyptian, I would protest against the Egyptian blockade. As a citizen of this planet, I protest against both.

    Uri Avnery is an Israeli journalist, peace activist and former Knesset member. He is one of the founders of Gush Shalom, a broad-based Israeli peace group.

  50. Recent news paper aeticles said

    Israeli army officers fear arrest in UK
    Visit cancelled over threat of prosecution for alleged war crimes against Palestinians

    By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem

    Wednesday, 6 January 2010


    An arrest warrant was issued by a London court against former Israeli defence minister Tzipi Livni


    A group of Israeli army officers has cancelled a visit to Britain because London was unable to guarantee they would not be arrested for alleged war crimes under universal jurisdiction provisions, Israeli officials said yesterday.

    Four officers, including a major, a lieutenant colonel and a colonel had been due to visit last week at the invitation of the British Army.

    An Israeli official declined to specify the purpose of the visit but said that Israeli officers are invited to Britain “to assist in defensive technology in the military arena”.

    The incident has fuelled Israeli anger at the British Government for not yet following through on promised changes to the law so that Israeli officers and officials do not run the risk of arrest on UK soil. There have been several incidents in which visiting Israelis have been vulnerable to arrest.

    The announcement of the cancellation came as the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, was in Israel on a private visit where she met the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon. “These officials were invited by Great Britain, but they will stay in Israel as long as we do not have a 100 per cent guarantee that they will not become objects of criminal lawsuits in that country,” Mr Ayalon said. “This matter will shake the good relations between the two countries that share values and far-reaching interests. The British must remember that such visits serve both countries.”

    Last month, it emerged that a London court had issued an arrest warrant against the former Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, at the behest of pro-Palestinian activists. They had demanded the warrant on the grounds that Ms Livni was responsible for war crimes during Israel’s devastating Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last winter, which took the lives of an estimated 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

    Ms Livni, the leader of the opposition Kadima party, called off her trip, but the incident sparked a diplomatic row between Britain and Israel.

    Under British law, courts are allowed to issue warrants for war crime suspects around the world, but Mr Ayalon claimed that pro-Palestinian groups were “manipulating and abusing” the legislation.

    In a speech at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University last night, Lady Scotland noted that the British Government “is looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed to avoid this situation arising again and is determined that Israel’s leaders should always be able to travel freely to the UK.”

    Palestinians and their supporters, however, oppose amending the law and argue that Israelis should be held accountable for alleged abuses and war crimes. We believe no attempt should be made [to change the law],” Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, told the Associated Press. “There’s no reason why Israel should be singled out for special treatment. If they’re accused of war crimes, we have a duty – and legislation – to prosecute.”

    A United Nations commission of inquiry led by Justice Richard Goldstone last year found that the Israeli army’s own investigations of its troops do not meet international legal standards.

    From the Morning Star –

    Britain ‘aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes’
    Wednesday 06 January 2010
    by Paddy McGuffin
    The British government has been accused of complicity in Israeli attempts to tear up the rule of international law and smear opponents.
    The allegations followed promises made by Attorney General Baroness Scotland in Jerusalem on Tuesday that an effort would be made try to find ways to prevent senior Israeli figures being threatened with arrest on British soil.
    The peer’s comments came after it emerged that a number of Israeli military personnel had pulled out of an official visit to Britain fearing arrest on war crimes charges.
    The latest incident follows the issuing of an arrest warrant for former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni last year by a county court judge.
    The Israeli government reacted with fury and the British government scrambled to assure it that the warrant would be quashed and the law changed to prevent any repetition.
    Speaking at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University this week, at an event entitled Lawfare – Time for rules of engagement, Ms Scotland said that the British government was “looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed to avoid this situation arising again and is determined that Israel’s leaders should always be able to travel freely to the UK.”
    Chairman of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights Daniel Machover said the British government was risking setting a legal precedent which would deny justice to the victims of torture, murder and genocide around the world.
    He said: “Israel is trying to stop fair trials by using the term ‘Lawfare’ – something which is deeply unsettling.
    “This is part of a long-term strategy by Israel seeking to smear and undermine any Palestinians seeking justice.”
    Mr Machover said Israel was exerting pressure on other countries, exploiting the “war on terror” to justify its actions and branding anyone who opposed them as anti-semitic or a supporter of terrorism.
    The British response smacked of a “cosy political club” consisting of those who were suddenly aware they too could be held to account, he added.
    “Close political ties with another government mustn’t override the UK’s proper duty to enforce the rule of law, nor must Israeli efforts to subvert the law itself be given any support,” he said.
    “If Israel succeeds in persuading nations to both change international law and close down the exercise of universal jurisdiction, the era of rampant state terrorism lies ahead and Palestinian self-determination will be one of the first victims, but far from the last.”

    From the Morning Star also :-

    One rule for them…
    Friday 08 January 2010
    In recent days, both former Israeli defence minister Tzipi Livni and a group of Israeli army officers have cancelled visits to Britain following the issuing of an arrest warrant by a British court for the former for alleged war crimes in the decimation of Gaza a year ago.
    Speaking at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University on January 5, Baroness Scotland stated that the British government was “looking urgently at ways the UK (legal) system might be changed,” preventing such future occurrences.
    Whatever Britain’s special relationship with the apartheid state of Israel, the basis on which the warrant was issued fell under universal jurisdiction provisions – “a concept that certain international law obligations are binding on all states and cannot be modified (even) by treaty.”
    According to Amnesty International, certain crimes pose so serious a threat to the international community as a whole that states have a logical and moral duty to prosecute an individual responsible for it. No place should be a safe haven for those who have committed genocide, crimes against humanity, extrajudicial executions, war crimes, torture and forced disappearances.
    Any attempt to unilaterally tamper with this global legal tool would also mean that any alleged war criminal or terrorist could pass through or potentially remain in Britain with possible impunity.
    Baroness Scotland also happened to pledge this “urgent” address three weeks or so before Tony Blair appears at the Chilcot inquiry amid a growing global clamour for his own indictment. Funny, that.
    Felicity Arbuthnot
    London E9

  51. 709 & 911 said

    Floods force hundreds from their homes in Gaza
    by 709 Wed Jan 20, 2010 14:24

    Heavy rain and flooding has forced hundreds of people from their homes in Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza authorities.

    About 115 homes were damaged and the sewage system was reported to be overflowing.

    A witness in Gaza who works for a local NGO said that over 100 families had been made homeless, but warned the number might rise if the rain continued.

    Some experts said Gaza’s poor infrastructure is unable to cope, and there was a risk that sewage mixed with floodwater could cause communicable and water-borne diseases.

    The Israeli government has so far not commented on allegations that Israel opened dams in Gaza valley, exacerbating flooding in the Strip.

    More on Israeli flooding of Gaza
    Wed Jan 20, 2010 14:45
    Israel has opened the floodgates of one of its dams in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, flooding Palestinian houses and causing severe damage.

    The Israeli authorities opened the dam’s floodgates without any prior warning or coordination with local authorities in Gaza, stunning the residents of the area, the Press TV correspondent in Gaza reported late on Monday.

    There has been heavy rain in the region over the past 24 hours. It seems the Israeli authorities could not handle the huge amount of rainwater and decided to open the floodgates without prior warning.

    Because Gaza is located in a low-lying area and the elevation decreases on the way to the Mediterranean Sea, water gushed into the area, flooding two Palestinian villages and displacing a hundred Gazan families.

    The locals say Israel intentionally caused the floods, the Press TV correspondent said.

    The waters from the dam, called the Valley of Gaza, flooded houses in Johr al-Deek village, which is southeast of Gaza City, and Nusirat in the eastern part of the territory, where the Al-Nusirat refugee camp is also located.

    The Valley of Gaza is about 8 kilometers long. It starts on the eastern Gaza border with Israel and ends in the Mediterranean.

    The houses of many Palestinians have been flooded and a number of people are trapped inside or on their roofs, while many have also gone missing, the Press TV correspondent said.

    Rescue teams are using small boats to evacuate the trapped people.

    Hamas has condemned the act as a war crime and has called on all concerned parties to intervene and offer assistance to the locals.

    The flooding has made life more difficult for the Gazans, especially for those still living in tents because their homes were destroyed in the December 2008-January 2009 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

    In the war, more than 1,400 people were killed, mostly women and children, and over 10,000 houses were destroyed or damaged, forcing at least 500 families to live in tents.

    Very little progress is seen in reconstruction of the devastated areas in the Gaza Strip, mostly due to the Israeli blockade, which has prevented the delivery of building materials to the coastal enclave.…avoc/…62311…srael

  52. Lewis said

    Children of GazaVideo Clip Filmmaker’s Feature Picture Gallery Watch this episode now on 4oD In December 2008, the Israeli Defence Force unleashed a campaign to destroy the ability of Hamas to launch rockets and mortars into Israel. Around 300 children were among the 1,300 Palestinians that were killed.
    After the ceasefire, BAFTA-winning filmmaker Jezza Neumann arrived in Gaza to follow the lives of three children over a year.
    Surrounded by the remnants of the demolished Gaza Strip and increasingly isolated by the blockade that prevents anyone from rebuilding their homes and their lives, Children of Gaza is a shocking, touching and uniquely intimate reflection on extraordinary courage in the face of great adversity.
    WATCH NOW ON On TVFirst ShownDate Time Channel
    Monday 15 March 2010 8PM Channel 4
    Last ShownDate Time Channel
    Monday 15 March 2010 8PM Channel 4
    Next OnDate Time Channel
    Sunday 21 March 4.15AChildren of GazaVideo Clip Filmmaker’s Feature Picture Gallery Watch this episode now on 4oD In December 2008, the Israeli Defence Force unleashed a campaign to destroy the ability of Hamas to launch rockets and mortars into Israel. Around 300 children were among the 1,300 Palestinians that were killed.
    After the ceasefire, BAFTA-winning filmmaker Jezza Neumann arrived in Gaza to follow the lives of three children over a year.
    Surrounded by the remnants of the demolished Gaza Strip and increasingly isolated by the blockade that prevents anyone from rebuilding their homes and their lives, Children of Gaza is a shocking, touching and uniquely intimate reflection on extraordinary courage in the face of great adversity.
    WATCH NOW ON On TVFirst ShownDate Time Channel
    Monday 15 March 2010 8PM Channel 4
    Last ShownDate Time Channel
    Monday 15 March 2010 8PM Channel 4
    Next OnDate Time Channel
    Sunday 21 March 4.15AM Channel 4

  53. Horfield said

    Debasing and devaluing our lives.

    Friday 05 March 2010 Paul Donovan

    Peace activist Father Martin Newell was once again in court last week facing the charge of criminal damage after he and fellow campaigner Katrina Alton poured red paint on a sign promoting an arms fair.

    The biennial Defence Services Export International (DSEi) weapons extravaganza in London’s Docklands draws in the merchants of death from across the world.

    During Newell’s brief hearing at Stratford magistrates’ court in east London, he tried to make his case of lawful excuse in taking the actions he did.

    He likened painting over the notice to taking similar action if he had seen an advert for hand guns, child pornography or heroin. The action was preventing a crime so should not warrant prosecution, he said.

    Newell was particularly persistent in questioning the actions of police officers who had been involved in his arrest and prosecution – did they ever consider what might be going on inside the arms exhibition with its array of delegations coming in from human rights-offending nations like Colombia?

    The point had particular pertinence, as 11 years ago I was involved in exposing a crime that had gone on at the arms exhibition. On that occasion the DSEi was being held at Chertsey in Surrey.

    A tip-off indicated that a Romanian company was selling banned anti-personnel landmines. I went to the exhibition and spoke to the salesman on the stand who confirmed that the illegal weapons were indeed for sale.

    The story made headlines leading on Channel 4 news and in the papers the next day. A government inquiry was announced.

    A few months later, a couple of Ministry of Defence police officers turned up at my house to take a statement. This was duly completed but that was the last I heard of the affair. No prosecution was pursued.

    There have been other cases of illegal sales of weapons at the arms fairs, but still they continue to take place on British soil in all of our names.

    The fairs themselves are bizarre occasions, with reps talking in a feverish but sanitised way about what this or that weapon can do. There’s no mention of the damage done by the weapons being sold – just how effective they are at killing.

    Newell and Alton’s protest brought home to at least those outside the exhibition what really was going on inside. One bystander congratulated them on their principled stance.

    Dehumanisation seems to be a vital prerequisite of the arms business and war generally. It is depressing to see how life amid international conflict becomes so debased and devalued.

    There is hierarchy of importance attached to different lives – and nowhere is this point clearer than in the Afghanistan war.

    Every soldier who dies is named and honoured on returning to this country. It seems they are all fine individuals, never anything less than paragons of virtue.

    Compare this to Afghan lives. Few people are ever named, instead being described in purely numeric terms.

    So when the latest military operation recently began in Afghanistan and 30 civilians were killed, none was named. It was just described as unfortunate in terms of the military operation. No mention of the death of some mother’s son or a young child’s grandparent.

    The actions of Newell, Alton and many others in taking direct action for life are vital acts of witness. They offer a wake-up call to those who seek to cheapen and devalue life in order to ensure that it is that much easier to take it.

    For more of Paul Donovan’s writing go to

  54. 7 PM – 29TH APRIL AT THE ROADHOUSE – (Formally the Pen & Quill) TAUNTON

    The Casual Terrorist

    Steve French and the Big Cats

    Threat Manifesto

    Dave Howells

  55. Gedicht said

    Hello from Germany! May i quote a post a translated part of your blog with a link to you? I’ve tried to contact you for the topic Contact Us « Support The EDO Decommissioners, but i got no answer, please reply when you have a moment, thanks, Gedicht

  56. Bob Nicholls said

    Dear Gedicht
    Sorry for slow response. Yes its fine to use a quote. We are off to Brighton for our trial on the 7th and have so much legal paperwork to view the site has been left to look after itself.
    take care

  57. decommisioners said

    Dear Gedicht
    yes its fine to use a quote.
    Sorry for delay in responding. We have let site look after its self while we study court paperwork.
    all the best

  58. Disarmament at US-army supplier

    ofogsweden — 17 October 2008 — Swedish antimilitaristic network Ofog disarming recoilless rifles “Carl Gustaf” at Saab Bofors Dynamics, outside Eskilstuna, Sweden
    Non-profits & Activism

    Saab Bofors Eskilstuna peace action weapons Ofog Avrusta Iraq disarmament Carl Gustaf

  59. Lazy Bob said

    A report from Amnesty International about the «war» in Gaza at the start of the 2009 supports earlier reports of war crimes and genocide It leaves no doubt about Israel’s beyond brutal acts against the Palestinian people.

    1. More than 3000 homes were completely destroyed, and more than 11 000 damaged.
    2. 215 factories and private businesses were partly or totally destroyed.
    3. 15 hospitals and 43 health stations were damaged or destroyed.
    4. 28 public buildings and 60 police stations were damaged or destroyed.
    5. 30 mosques were destroyed and 10 damaged.
    6. 10 schools were destroyed and 168 damaged. 3 universities were destroyed while 14 were damaged.
    7. 53 UN-buildings were damaged.

    The numbers speak for themselves, both in intent and fact. People have claimed that israel wasn’t only waging war against Hamas, but wanted to destroy, to kill of an entire generation of Palestinian mothers. 1400 Palestinians died as a result of attacks. At least 850 were civilians. 300 were children, some of them, not more than three months old. Most of the killed children were girls. This seems like a more than correct statement of fact.

    The report states categorically that these weren’t accidental by-products of warfare, but deliberate escalation of an ongoing campaign.

    Israel and its crimes are exposed yet again. A few individuals speak about a total international boycott of israel, but western state leaders are still yellow beyond words in their approach to this criminal nation.

    Definition of genocide.

    Genocide according to Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), Article 2

    …any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    Article 3

    The following acts shall be punishable:

    (a) Genocide;
    (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
    (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
    (d ) Attempt to commit genocide;
    (e) Complicity in genocide.

    It has been stated repeatedly for years that supporters of israel and its oppressive, murderous policies have blood on their hands. But it’s really worse than that. They’re supporting a government or series of governments that can easily be compared with the worst throughout history, like Nazi-Germany, Pol Pot, South Africa during apartheid and so on. It doesn’t change much that the majority of the population belonging to the ruling class has basic rights («democracy» and stuff). In many ways it makes it worse.

    Yet another massacre by Israeli forces in 2006, and after yet another leader showed himself to be no better than all of his predecessors. There have been numerous such occasions, both before and after. And every time the supporters of tyranny is riling up to defend the indefensible. They put the terrorist stamp on Hamas, insisting that they should discontinue their resistance, their very justified war against the brutal Israeli occupation. The tiny mosquito bites used by the Israelis to justify Israels’ undeniably horrible acts. Whatever Hamas is doing and what they are dwarfs in comparison with Israel and the Israeli supporters. The evidence, the illustrations we see every day of the occupant’s policy are or should be obvious to all.

    Yes, these people should indeed be held accountable. Their attitude or lack of it is quite simply completely unacceptable. Again and again we are forced to ask the same, inevitable question: What’s wrong with people?

    To say that Israel has a right to defend itself is like saying that laundry is dirty. It’s meaningless, especially since they are not doing that. What they are doing is slow, painful genocide, and that is to put it all in the right perspective. The fact that it is a slow, thorough process doesn’t it make it less genocide. Hamas isn’t the issue here. Israel is. Both in terms of «quality» and quantity we see that it’s Israel and their supporters’ misanthropic view of mankind that is victorious here.

    To speak about «dialogue» and «neutrality» in this context is totally meaningless and inappropriate. Those doing that or claim to be that, is siding with Israel.

    There has been a discussion about various kinds of boycotts lately. And even though underclassring have been reluctantly not in favor of a total boycott without exceptions HOWEVER we can understand why some people as disgusted with Israels actions do support them. Boycotts, generally speaking don’t work, because they tend to be incomplete. But in Israel’s case, if all its old friends in the west desert them it will probably be very effective. And one thing such an act will do, no matter what, is to send a message, a clear and not to be misunderstood message to Israel and their accomplices: STOP! And that is by far preferable to the disgusting endless inaction dominating the world’s Middle East politics for more than sixty, no, make that more than hundred years.

    Israel should be totally isolated from the international community, politically, militarily, economically and culturally, with no exceptions, until they stop. We can’t stop them today, but we can certainly stop them from eventually erasing the Palestinian people. Yes, we can. First of all. The «Jews», as they define themselves, as others also define them, unfortunately so, as an ethnically homogenous group (they’re not and that shouldn’t matter anyway), have reason to be paranoid, reason to be distrustful about the motives of the world.

    The question is how long the rest of us should put up with it, should allow our collective, bad conscience let the Isreali government get away with anything.

    Any horrible act, any atrocity, at least in intention, if not yet in scope, easily comparable to what the Nazis (and the world’s silence then) did to «them».

    They favor the collective punishment method, like the nazis did. When their enemies send one rocket into Israel, they return a thousand, a reign of bombs and destruction. When one single soldier is killed (god forbid) they kill thousands of men, women and even children on the other «side». When a few soldiers are kidnapped, or rather taken prisoners of war, they start yet another war, yet another campaign of terror on occupied territories and neighboring countries. The Middle East has become their playground, their sandbox, where they can turn over everything repeatedly, where they can do practically anything with impunity, without anyone doing anything about it.

    This isn’t a war. This is a one-sided, single-minded massacre of perceived enemies.

    «The eggs turn to lice», a united states general has been quoted as saying during the genocide of the american natives, and this is obviously how the Israeli government and the forces behind it view Palestinian children. They show that by their action almost daily. Even many conservative politicians, including the former Norwegian prime minister Kåre Willoch, have grown to realize and advocate the obvious truth: that israel is the occupying force in Palestine. He visited the refugee camps Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon in the eighties, and saw for himself the results of israeli occupation and general policy.

    So Palestine is occupied, as defined by international law, and as such, the Palestinian people have the right and even the duty to defend themselves and do everything in their power to fight the occupier, like any occupied land and people have done throughout recorded history. But it is an uneven struggle. It often is. But in this case the term «David and Goliath» is truer than it ever was. The way things are today any Palestinian resistance can never be any more than a gnat swatted by the Israeli giant swatter. Only true international pressure can sway the fourth greatest military power on the planet. Only full and complete adherence to the countless (useless) UN resolutions is acceptable.

  60. Repost said

    Charges dismissed on “Bonhoeffer 4” war resisters in Australia
    Repost | 16.06.2010 07:46 | Anti-militarism | Iraq | Terror War | World

    Charges Dismissed on 4 Australian Christian Peace Activists Arrested Resisting the War on Afghanistan

    Wednesday, 16 June, 2010

    The charges against the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective – four Christian peace activists who infiltrated the secret Australian military base on Swan Island in March and shut down the switchboard, a satellite and causing a lock down on the base, effectively disrupting the Australian war effort in Afghanistan – have been dismissed.

    To quote one of the Bonhoeffer 4 activists, Simon Reeves from court “Charges dismissed by magistrate!! Magistrate agrees sanctity of life is more important than unjust laws.” More information, including a link to the legislation they were discharged under, is available at and via @jarrodmckenna on Twitter

    Information about the Bonhoeffer 4 and their original press release which was circulated in March 2010 is copied below.

    Here is the media release from the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective, four Christian peace activists who yesterday morning infiltrated the secret Australian military base on Swan Island – after swimming to the island at 5.30am, they spent several hours on the base shutting down the switchboard, a satellite and causing a lock down on the base, effectively disrupting the Australian war effort in Afghanistan. The four were charged with trespass. There is a video of the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective explaining their action at news-bonhoeffer-activists-secret-military-base-now

    Activists breach secret military base

    Media release: The Bonhoeffer Peace Collective

    31 March 2010

    At 6am this morning, four Christian peace activists entered Swan Island, one of Australia’s most secret military installations near Queenscliff, Victoria, seeking to disrupt the war in Afghanistan.

    “Both Swan Island and the war on Afghanistan are out of sight, out of mind. It’s time to end further suffering of the Afghan people and our soldiers by bringing our troops home,” the group said.

    Swan Island is a highly secretive military installation used by the Army’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). Swan Island is said to be more secretive than Pine Gap in central Australia.

    “In the week before the first Easter, Jesus blockaded the temple and turned the tables inside. Today we are imitating Jesus’ disruption”, the group said. “Sometimes you have to get in the way of injustice”.

    “War can’t bring peace, it can only bring further terror, death and poverty,” the group said.

    Rev. Simon Moyle (Baptist Minister), Jacob Bolton (Community Worker), Jessica Morrison (University Lecturer) and Simon Reeves (Social Worker) have called themselves the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective after Kevin Rudd’s favourite theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was also an antiwar activist.

    “The followers of Christ have been called to peace. And they must not only have peace but also make it. His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. In so doing they overcome evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  61. supporter said

    Smashingly good start at Decommissioners trial.
    bristol | community | news report Wednesday June 16, 2010 10:19 by abc-paster – supporter

    The first week of the trial of the EDO Decommissioners was dominated by questionning of EDO boss Paul Hills, who was in the dock from Tuesday to Friday, and will be back again on Monday. He did not have a pleasant time as the defence team dug into what exactly EDO get up to, and with who.

    He was openly accused of lying by the defence, and at one point was warned by the judge of the risks of perjuring himself. Of interest to anti-militarists will have been discussions around export licenses and the inter-connected nature of the international arms trade, along with its links into political patronage. Also worth noting was the judge’s ruling that the jury be given as background info a very brief summary of the Goldstone report into Israel’s bombing of Gaza in 2008/9 and as the Decommissioners trial in Hove Crown Court enters its second week one of the defendants had their case dropped due to insufficient evidence provided by the prosecution. Back of the net. So thats one down… eight to go

    Defendants were believed to have been pleased with how the first week went as the trial finally got going after a 17 months wait, and they were able to sit back and watch Hills sweat. Of course they too will soon be up for questionning, but we trust their integrity and committment wil shine through! Defendants were further boosted by the good news from the Raytheon 11 trial in Belfast that ended on 4 June with 9 acquittals and 2 minor convistions, following 3 previous acquittals. Report here.

    At the beginning of the week one defendant, Robert Alford, chose to plead guilty as expected. However the judge decided he should remain on remand and will not be sentenced until the trial of the other 8 defendants ends. Although displeased at being kept on remand, this does mean Alford could benefit in the event the others are found not guilty.

    On the opening day of the trial, 7 June, defendants were greeted by a strong picket of the court. Around 60 people joined the protest, with about 20 from Bristol (including people from Bristol STW, Bristol PSC, Bristol ABC and other campaigners). The protest continued until around 1.30pm, when the jury were let go for the day and the court was closed to everyone except defendants and legal teams (apparently on security grounds as they watched cctv footage from inside the EDO factory). There is a report here from Bristol Indymedia, photos here, and a Guardian report here. You will find links to the Goldstone report in those articles.

    In the meantime Elijah Smith remains on remand throughout the trial, being bussed in from Lewes prison daily. Letters of support for him continue to be welcomed – write to Elijah Smith – A3186AM, HMP Lewes, 1 Brighton Rd, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1EA. You may also wish to send supportive letters to Robert Alford – A1583AN at the same address.

    Supporters are welcome inside and outside the court any day of the week. For other anti-EDO events see SmashEDO.

    There are no proceedings today, Wednesday, 16th, The defence starts from Thursday 10.30- public are welcome to attend.

  62. Ivan Noke said

    European Union considering giving ‘aid’ to Israeli Military.
    Ivan Noke | 21.06.2010 18:53 | Palestine

    A leading Israeli supplier of warplanes used to kill and maim civilians in Gaza is in the running for two new scientific research grants from the European Union.

    When is enough weapons enough?

    Israel’s attacks on Gaza in late 2008 and 2009 provided its air force with an opportunity to experiment with state-of-the-art pilotless drones such as the Heron. Although human rights groups have calculated that the Heron and other drones killed at least 87 civilians during that three-week war, EU officials have tentatively approved the release of fresh finance to the Heron’s manufacturer, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

    Two projects involving IAI have recently passed the evaluation stages of a call for proposals under the EU’s multi-annual programme for research, which has been allocated 53 billion euros (65.4 billion dollars) for the 2007-13 period.

    The Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, has confirmed that IAI is one of 34 Israeli “partners” involved in 26 EU-funded projects for information technology which are under preparation.

    Among the other Israeli firms being considered for such funding are Afcon, a supplier of metal detectors to military checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the Erez crossing between southern Israel and Gaza. Afcon was also awarded a contract in 2008 for installing a security system in a light rail project designed to connect illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem with the city centre.

    Mark English, a Commission spokesman, said that the procedures relating to the projects have not yet been completed. But the Israeli business publication Globes reported last month that Israeli firms stand to gain 17 million euros from the latest batch of EU grants for information technology. According to Globes, this will bring the amount that Israel has drawn from the EU’s research programme since 2007 to 290 million euros.

    Israel is the main foreign participant in the EU’s science programme. Officials in Tel Aviv say they expect Israeli firms and research institutes will have received around 500 million euros from the programme by the time of its conclusion.

    Chris Davies, a British Liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament (MEP), expressed anger at how the Commission’s research department appears willing to rubber-stamp new grants for Israeli companies. Such a “business-as-usual” approach is at odds with tacit assurances from officials handling the EU’s more general relations with Israel, he said.

    In late 2008, the EU’s 27 governments agreed to an Israeli request that the relationship should be “upgraded” so that Israel could have a deeper involvement in a wide range of the Union’s activities. But work on giving formal effect to that agreement has stalled because of the subsequent invasion of Gaza.

    Approving EU finance for Israel Aerospace Industries “should be regarded as utterly unacceptable, incoherent and outrageously naive,” Davies told IPS. He argued that there appears to be “no communication” between different sets of EU representatives on how Israel should be handled. “Where’s the joined-up thinking?” he asked.

    While the European Commission claims that all of its scientific research cooperation with Israel is civilian in nature, the Israeli government has been eager to publicise the almost umbilical links between the country’s thriving technology sector and its military. A brochure titled ‘Communications in Israel’ published by its industry ministry earlier this year refers to a “symbiosis” between the security and technology sectors in Israel. Several technology breakthroughs – such as the invention of voice recognition devices for computers by the Israeli army in the 1980s – have resulted from this “convergence”, the brochure claims.

    Other likely Israeli beneficiaries of the new round of EU funding do not conceal how they have benefited from this convergence either. The Israeli subsidiary of SAP, the software manufacturer, has issued publications about how it has provided specialist equipment for the Israeli army. And both Emza and LiveU, two “start-up” companies, are examples of the numerous makers of surveillance equipment in Israel that have seen their order books fill up since the country tried to position itself as an indispensable part of the “war on terror” declared by former U.S. president George W. Bush.

    Marcel Shaton, head of the Israel-Europe Research and Development Directorate (ISERD) in Tel Aviv, said that EU citizens should not have any qualms about financing Israeli arms companies. “All research supports the arms industry,” he said. “Non-military technology is used for military purposes all over the world.”

    But Yasmin Khan, a specialist on the arms trade with the anti-poverty group War on Want, said that the EU has been complicit in the occupation of Palestine through its support for Israel’s military industry.

    She noted that drones made by IAI and other Israeli companies have been bought by several European countries taking part in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. “The military industry is a central point of the Israeli economy,” she said. “The equipment it makes is sold as ‘battle-tested’, which is a dark way of describing its use in the occupied (Palestinian) territories.”
    Ivan Noke

  63. John Somebody said

    Bob, like so many people refers to, “democracy”, in Israel. BUT IT’S NOT ! I’d like to know, why people say this, when winning elections by creating an artificial majority, is usually regarded as electoral fraud. That’s with, or without the massacres, designed to create an exodus of refugees.
    And as the massacres are for racial reasons, ( you’re quite right,that makes it genocide), this means that zionasties could not win elections, without genocide. So, I don’t see why so many people refer to it as an, “Apartheid state”. Under apartheid, the state needs to exploit it’s victims, so their presence, is required. In Israel, the presence of victims is not required, their expulsion is. And their removal could not happen, without fear, created by racist murderers, so Israel is a genocidal state, not an apartheid one

  64. JC said

    EDO Decommissioners Trial Transcript of Judges Summing Up x | 15.07.2010 16:44 | Smash EDO | South Coast the full transcript of the judges speech from last day of the trial. from JC Judge Bathurst-Norman: the full summing-up Share July 15, 2010 LEWES CROWN COURTT 20097131/7129/7128/7126/7124/7122/7120 (SITTING AT HOVE)The Law Courts, Lansdowne Road, Hove. Sussex.BN3 3BN. 28th & 29th June 2010 Before: HIS HONOUR JUDGE BATHURST-NORMAN (Sitting as a Deputy Circuit Judge) R E G I N A – v – ORNELLA SAIBENE, ROBERT NICHOLLS, THOMAS WOODHEAD, CHRISTOPHER OSMOND, HARVEY TADMAN, ELIJAH SMITH and SIMON LEVIN MR. S. SHAY and MR. D. SULLIVAN appeared on behalf of the Prosecution MR. C. BLAXLAND QC and MISS R. HILL appeared on behalf of the Defendant SAIBENE MISS A. BAILEY appeared on behalf of the Defendant NICHOLLS MR. P. TROOP appeared on behalf of the Defendant WOODHEAD MR. D. DIAS and MISS P. ROSE appeared on behalf of the Defendant OSMOND MR. S. POWLES appeared on behalf of the Defendant TADMAN MR.HUSEYIN appeared on behalf of the Defendant SMITH MISS B. CAMPBELL appeared on behalf of the Defendant LEVIN 28th June 2010 SUMMING UP JUDGE BATHURST-NORMAN:Ladies and gentlemen, I have two jobs at this stage. My first job is to tell you what the law is. What I say about that you must accept from me and apply when you come to decide the facts. My second job is to give you a short summary of the evidence.Now obviously I don’t go through every word, or we would be here for another three-and-a-half weeks, but in doing that I try to give you a bird’s-eye view, and if I leave out something that seems to you to be important, you must take that matter into account, because you decide the facts and I don’t. Equally, if I comment on this or that aspect of the case, if the comment helps you, take it into account; if the comment doesn’t then ignore it all together. The first thing I want to say to you about the case, and it applies to each defendant: the prosecution bring the case against these defendants, and before you can find any one of them guilty the prosecution must prove the case against that defendant.In order to do that the prosecution must satisfy you so that you are sure of guilt, or put another way, but it means exactly the same thing, they must prove the case beyond all reasonable doubt. Now there are seven defendants.You consider each defendant separately.They don’t necessarily have to stand or fall together.As you can see from the indictment, they are all charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage.So what is a conspiracy?A conspiracy is basically an agreement. It is defined in this way: if a person agrees with any other person or persons that a course of conduct shall be pursued which, if the agreement is carried out in accordance with their intentions, will necessarily amount to or involve the commission of any offence or offences by one or more of the parties to the agreement, then that person is guilty of conspiracy to commit the offence or offences in question. A number of matters follow from this definition.For there to be a conspiracy, at least two people must be involved in the agreement; you can’t agree with yourself.Once you are satisfied so that you are sure that there was an agreement you have to decide who were the parties to that agreement.You decide that by looking at the evidence against each defendant in turn and deciding from that evidence whether that defendant was party to an agreement.Once by other evidence you find a defendant was a party to the agreement then whatever another party to the agreement does or says in pursuance of the agreement is evidence in the case of each defendant who was a party to that agreement. Anything said later to the police or anyone else about a defendant is only evidence in the cases of the defendant who is speaking, as the other defendants are not present and so can’t agree or disagree with what is said.And once a defendant gives evidence, that evidence is evidence in the case as a whole, be it for or against any other defendant. The agreement does not have to be written down or formally agreed in any way.Its existence can be inferred from the actions of the participants.In the execution of an agreement the various parties to it may play different roles.Some may play an active role, others may stand by ready to help if needed, or may only intend to encourage and in fact encourage those playing an active role. I have been careful to use the word “agreement”, because an agreement does not become a conspiracy unless its objective is to commit a criminal offence, in this case the offence of criminal damage.That is a matter for you to decide.So how is criminal damage defined?It is an offence for a person without lawful excuse to destroy or damage any property belonging to another, intending to destroy or damage that property. So what is meant by “lawful excuse”?It is defined in this way:a person has a lawful excuse if he destroys or damages property in order to protect property belonging to another and at the time of the act alleged he honestly believed that the property was in immediate need of protection and that the means of protection which he adopted were reasonable, having regard to all the circumstances. In this case a purpose of the defendants in damaging MBM’s property has to be to prevent the destruction by the Israeli Air Force of property in Gaza.I want to stress the word “a” purpose; it doesn’t have to be the sole purpose. Their purposes may not necessarily be exclusive.Also, it is the property that is in immediate need of protection not your actions to defend the property that has to be immediate, and the property itself has to be in immediate need of protection. Now the question of anyone’s honest belief in these circumstances is a subjective matter.It is not what you or I would believe, it is what each of the defendants believed.In this case you may think that no one doubts the honesty of these defendants’ belief.The same applies to the question of whether the means were reasonable; that too in this instance is a subjective test.If it is possible that a defendant honestly believed that the means he or she used were reasonable then that is sufficient to establish that the means so used were reasonable, again, no matter what you or I may think. Now the second matter of law relied upon by the defendants is that by law a person is entitled to use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime.In this instance the test of reasonableness is an objective test. And finally, the defendants raise the defence of necessity.That means the defendant whose case you are considering must have been acting reasonably and proportionately to avoid a threat of death or serious injury to others.Again, that is an objective test, and it involves furthermore two questions: was the defendant in question impelled to act as he did as a result of what he honestly believed the situation to be, and he had good cause to fear that otherwise death or serious injury would result?That part of it, of course, is subjective. Secondly, if that is possible, is it possible that a person of reasonable firmness, sharing the same characteristics as the defendant whose case you are considering, would have responded in the same way?If the answer to both question is “yes” then the defence of necessity is made out. Now it is not a prerequisite to the success of any of those defendants that the defendants had to succeed in their endeavours.When considering these defendants, which are all based on the same factual premise, if you think it possible in relation to whichever defendant’s case you are considering that the Crown have not satisfied you so that you are sure that that defendant did not have a lawful excuse, or, and I stress the word “or” (they don’t have to succeed on all three defences) was not using reasonable force in an attempt to prevent crime, or was not acting out of necessity, then your verdict in relation to that defendant will be one of not guilty, for at all times the burden of proving the case and therefore disproving any defence which is raised rests upon the Crown to satisfy you so that you are sure that the defence raised is untrue. So we come to the steps to your verdict.In reaching your verdicts there are a number of questions you need to ask yourselves, and those are the questions before you on that questionnaire.Is it possible that (a), and again I stress the word “a” purpose of the defendant in damaging (I am going to shorten it to MBM’s property) was to protect property in Gaza from damage and destruction by the Israeli Military?If so, is it possible that the defendant honestly believed that that property was in need of immediate protection, and again, I stress it is the property that has to be in need of immediate protection.If so, is it possible that the defendant honestly believed that MBM were supplying the Israeli Air Force, whether directly or indirectly, with component parts for the F16 aircraft?If so, is it possible that the defendant honestly believed that it was reasonable in the circumstances to damage MBM’s property in order to protect property in Gaza?And again, I have already stressed it, it is the property, so far as question 2 is concerned, that needs to be in immediate need of protection. Then we come to the prevention of crime defence.Is it possible that the defendant honestly believed that the Israeli Military were committing war crimes in Gaza?If so, is it possible that the defendant honestly believed that MBM were supplying the Israeli Air Force, whether directly or indirectly, and it doesn’t matter for our purposes whether it was going to America or any other country, directly or indirectly, with the component parts for the F16.If so, is it possible that the defendant honestly believed that by damaging the property of MBM he or she was assisting in the prevention of either war crimes that he or she believed the Israeli Military were committing, or conduct by MBM which was ancillary to or assisting in the commission of such war crimes, for such conduct would be an offence under English law.If so (the fourth question) is it possible that it was reasonable in all the circumstances, as the defendant believed them to be, to damage such property? Then to the defence of necessity.Is it possible the defendant reasonably believed that it was necessary to damage MBM’s property for the purpose of preventing death or serious injury in Gaza?If so, is it possible that it was reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be to damage such property? Now I stress again, a defendant does not have to have been successful in carrying out what he was trying to do in order for any of these defences to succeed.Nor is it relevant to your consideration of these defences that if they were to succeed people might be put out of work.You try the case on the evidence in this court.Your sole consideration is not to consider whether the defendants’ actions may or may not have an effect on others, you have to decide whether you are satisfied so that you are sure, it being a conspiracy, that two or more of them have committed a criminal offence. Now bear in mind also in circumstances such as this the actions of one party may have the effect you intend in itself but it may also by its effects — you may achieve your objective by triggering a chain reaction so that the actions of others in response to what you have done may in themselves achieve your objective.A simple example of that: we will all have read of Israel’s attack upon a ship on the high seas, killing nine people on board, and somehow, as the aggressors (puzzling for a lawyer like me) seemed to claim they were acting in self-defence.But the result of all that, of course, is that certainly the nature of the blockade on Gaza changed, because for once there was such a huge outcry of world opinion that Israel thought it had better try and regain face in the situation.(Pause) It matters not, again as I repeat what I have said really already, for your purposes whether the Israeli Air Force was being supplied by direct sales or via sales from some other country. Now you may be wondering what on earth has the actions of the Israeli Air Force to do with this country.The short answer is that if the Israeli Air Force was committing crimes in the way that the agreed evidence outlines in the unlawful killing of Palestinians in Gaza and in the unlawful causing of damage to property in Gaza, then under the War Crimes Act and other legislation any member of the Israeli Air Force who set foot in this country and who acted in that way would be liable to arrest and prosecution, as is anyone within this country who knowingly helps the Israeli Air Force to commit such war crimes. Next I want to say a word or two about—— UNKNOWN SPEAKER:Your Honour, I hesitate to get up, but please forgive me.I am having a hard time in hearing and following your Honour, and I don’t know whether the jury might be also. JUDGE BATHURST-NORMAN:I thought I was and I hoped I was speaking loud enough.I had better pull that — I can’t pull that across.(Indicating microphone)I don’t want to look at the jury and yet I want them to hear me, but I can’t move that. Are you hearing me all right?If not I’ll shout a bit louder. MEMBER OF THE JURY:Your Honour, if you might speak a little more slowly. JUDGE BATHURST-NORMAN:Yes, certainly, certainly. UNKNOWN SPEAKER:(Inaudible) shorthand (inaudible).(Laughter) JUDGE BATHURST-NORMAN:That’s what I’ve been saying to everyone else.(Laughter) Next I want to say a word about lies.This relates to Mr. Osmond and Mr. Levin, for when initially spoken to, Mr. Levin said he was just lighting a cigarette, and in their prepared statements in the bundle Tab 5, Exhibit 18 — I mean Tab 4, Exhibits 18 and 20, they both said that the break-in was nothing to do with them.They both now accept that they were parties to the agreement to break in and cause damage. Lies in themselves prove nothing.People lie for all sorts of reasons.They lie out of fear, including fear of being arrested and locked up and kept in custody; they lie to protect others; they lie because though they have a genuine defence they don’t think they will be believed.They lie out of panic; they lie to conceal discreditable conduct falling short of a criminal offence.It is only if you are satisfied so that you are sure of the following matters that you can draw any adverse inference from a lie: firstly, it is a lie and that that lie is material to what you have to decide; secondly, that the defendant in question knew it was a lie; thirdly, that the explanation for the lie given by the defendant is untrue; fourthly, that the only reason for the lie is that the defendant in question knew of his guilt and feared the truth coming out.In this case you may think the initial lies told by Mr. Osmond and Mr. Levin don’t help you one little bit, because when they come clean they accept that they were a party to the agreement to damage EDO’s property and they rely in their defences entirely on their reasons for so doing. Finally, a number of the defendants gave written explanations to the police, but that they were entitled to do rather than answering police questions, so do not hold that against those defendants in any way.Those explanations set out their defences.The fact that they didn’t answer questions was their right and does not in any way contribute to the proof of guilt. Mr. Smith, Mr. Tadman and Mr. Levin haven’t given evidence.They are entitled to remain silent, and you must not assume guilt from their silence.You try the case on the evidence which is put before you by the Crown.However, they are all entitled to rely on the evidence given by others in the trial, but silence at the trial may count against them because you may draw the inference that it is because they don’t have an answer to the Crown’s case, or none that would stand up to cross-examination, is why they have not gone into the witness box. If you draw that conclusion you must not convict any of them wholly or mainly on the strength of it, but you may treat it as some additional support for the Crown case.You should only draw that conclusion against any one of them if you think it — sorry, I beg your pardon, I turned the wrong way — if you think it a fair and proper conclusion to draw and are satisfied that the Crown’s case is so strong that it clearly calls for an answer and that the only sensible conclusion is that the one in question has no answer to it, or none that stands up to examination.In the light of the evidence in this case and what comes from the cases of their co-defendants and from their DVD statements and their statements to the police, you may think in this case that that direction does not lead you to the conclusion that it would be fair to draw any inference adverse to any of them.In particular in the case of Mr. Levin, you may think because of his mental health problems that it would be particularly unfair to draw such an inference. Democracy would not exist unless there were reporters and members of the public who were prepared to stand up for what they believe to be right, and sometimes, as in the case of the suffragettes, even to go to prison for their beliefs. As Edmund Burke says: “For injustice to flourish, all that is needed is for good men to do nothing.”Indeed, people like Mr. Osmond, who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others may, in fact — there may be much to be admired about people like that.Perhaps if he had done it in this country in the last war he would probably have received a George Medal. However, that does not give anyone a licence without any justification to commit offences.It is your task in this case to decide whether it is possible that such justification existed. I am going to start with the background relating to Israel and Palestine and to the evidence which points to the war crimes being committed by Israel in Gaza, an area over which Israel has imposed a blockade.The evidence shows that those war crimes are committed against the civilian population of Gaza and against the property of its residents, including the United Nations by the Israeli Forces. Now you have to look at the evidence coldly and dispassionately.It may be as you went through what I can only describe as horrific scenes, scenes of devastation to civilian population, scenes which one would rather have hoped to have disappeared with the Nazi regimes of the last war, you may have felt anger and been absolutely appalled by them, but you must put that emotion aside. Equally, you must put aside any feelings of being thoroughly ashamed of our Government, of the American Government and the United Nations and the EU in doing nothing about what was happening.You just concentrate on the evidence and deal with the case on the evidence as it stands. Dr. Taylor’s evidence led us along the way.She told us how the immunity which the United States by the veto affords — in the Security Council affords the protection to Israel and prevents it from suffering any reprisals for its actions. The result enables Israel to cock a snook at any decision of the United Nations or of the International Court of Justice by simply ignoring anything that is decided.The USA has exercised its veto in the United Nations Security Council to veto resolutions condemning Israel on no less than forty occasions.Israel has been able to ignore resolutions like 242, calling on it to withdraw from the Palestinian lands and calling for a United Nations Force to protect peace.However, calls are made for Israel to pull — so whatever calls are made for Israel to pull down the barrier, and the judgment of the International Court holding it illegal and to stop building settlements in the West Bank are simply ignored by Israel in the occupied territories seized in 1967.One can see from the maps produced by Dr. Taylor that effectively Israel takes from the Palestinians more and more and more of their land.So with that broad picture in mind let me concentrate on Gaza. Gaza is a small area twenty-five miles long by four to eight miles wide.Following the 1967 war it passed from Egyptian to Israeli control.It has a population of one-and-a-half-million, whose very existence depends upon UN food handouts.It can best be described as a giant prison camp, for the Israeli withdrawal did not give Gaza its freedom.It is surrounded by a fence.That fence is patrolled by Israeli tanks, planes fly overhead; Egypt keeps the one small crossing into Egypt closed.That crossing is so small that, if used, insufficient aid would get in.The remaining crossings are controlled by Israel, and it is Israel that decides what comes in and who goes in and out.In international law the West Bank remains an occupied territory. In January 06 Gaza elected Hamas as its governing body. Israel’s response was to impose a land, air and sea blockade. Even John Dugan, the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, was refused entry to Gaza by the Israelis.What food or aid going into Gaza is decided not by the needs of the Gazans but by Israel. Hamas took to firing rockets into Israel between 2001 through 2009.Nineteen Israelis were killed.Hamas has no Army, no Air Force and no Navy.Israel has a highly trained Army, a Navy and a Air Force with more F16s than any other country except for the USA.It is the USA’s policy to ensure that Israel is kept well-armed. so we come to 2006.Israel was at war in Lebanon, and named after an attack on a civilian quarter of Beirut, Israel developed what is called after that area the Dahiyah doctrine, namely that Israel would apply disproportionate force and cause great damage and destruction to any village from which Israel was fired upon.Israel regards such villages as military bases not as civilian villages.So with an election coming up and wanting to prove to the Israeli people that it was tough, on 27th December 2008 the Kadima government in Israel launched operation Cast Lead against Gaza.It sealed the border so no one could get into it or out of it, it stopped journalists entering it and encouraged them to leave and it claimed it was acting in self-defence.Of course, in those circumstances Israel doesn’t want journalists around, because if they are allowed to get in the full truth might get out.So far as self-defence is concerned it is only, of course, a defence if the force used is proportionate to the threat.If you use disproportionate or unreasonable force or act in revenge, or for some other purpose, you become the aggressor, even if you were acting in self-defence originally. Israel’s attack on Gaza involved the use of disproportionate force, despite the fears of the international community, and in particular the United Nations Human Rights Adviser, John Gaye.The Israeli plan called for a shock and awe bombardment.In three minutes 40 seconds, 250 Gazans were killed on the first day, as compared with nineteen Israelis killed by rocket fire in eight years.Throughout the campaign, and you have seen the papers saying they were still flying, the evidence of Dr. Taylor was that throughout the campaign — I should say still flying after the 17th — throughout the campaign F16s were used as bombers, apart from what the Israeli Army was doing on the ground. Worse still, Israel dropped leaflets telling civilians to flee the urban areas, with a result that many took shelter in United Nations facilities, which under international law should have been safe, which were clearly marked and from the fact that the GPS co-ordinates had been given to the Israelis, but these were nonetheless bombed, with many people killed. On 15th January the Al Quds hospital was bombed. Hospitals, ambulance depots, mosques, United Nations compound, industrial and agricultural sites, the sewage and the electricity power plants were all targeted and damaged or destroyed.Journalists and United Nations officials were kept out of Gaza whilst all this was happening.Those with power to do something, the United Nations, the EU, the USA and the Quartet contented themselves by calling upon Israel to stop. No doubt protected by the United States, Israel ignored the calls, their confidence in the USA’s protection, you may think, boosted by the fact that whilst the United Nations called for a cease-fire the USA abstained.Had the same events happened anywhere else, you may think, there would have been military intervention by the powers in question, as there had been in Bosnia and Kosova, but you may think double standards were applied because it was Israel — to Israel, because nothing happened. You have seen the news reports as to what happened. They are harrowing, and I am not going to take you through them in detail.You will have them with you, and I need only say, I think, that the death toll mounted, with women and children being killed over and over again.To use Dr. Taylor’s words, it was a turkey shoot; the civilians had no escape. When it was all over, the United Nations Human Rights Agency set up a Commission to investigate what had happened. That Commission was headed by an eminent international Juris Justice Goldstone, who is himself Jewish.Because his report was not to the liking of Israel he was condemned by Israel as being anti-semitic.Israel, of course, had refused to co-operate with this Commission.Justice Goldstone — you have his reports before you and I am only going to concentrate on the summary — Justice Goldstone found that both Israel and Hamas were guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He said that Israel’s attack on the population of Gaza constituted grave breaches of the 4th Geneva Convention.He said that certain weapons, white phosphorous, flechettes and DIMES, though not illegal under international law were used indiscriminately against civilians, and so their use should be regarded as a war crime.Israeli Forces had used Palestinians as a human shield, which was a war crime.Detaining Palestinians in degrading conditions, depriving them of water, food and sanitary facilities was a war crime. He said that the objective of the Israeli defence force involved the use of disproportionate force, causing great damage and destruction to the civilian population and to the infrastructure, also causing suffering to civilians, which again was a war crime. The damage caused by Israel to property in Gaza was estimated between 1.1 and 1.3 billion pounds. He said the targeting of the United Nations compound, the sewage system, the electricity power plant was a war crime.He said the impact of the blockade and the military actions on the Gazan people meant that Israel had violated the 4th Geneva Convention and was a war crime.The 4th Geneva Convention protects people under occupation.He said the attack on the Palestinian authority’s assembly building, the United Nation building, the ambulance depots and the hospitals violated customary international law. He recommended that both Israel and Hamas investigate these matters, and said if they failed to do so it should mean that the allegations were brought to the International Criminal Court, and that as the crimes were so serious universal jurisdiction should be invoked to prosecute those concerned.Israel has not carried out any investigations, and unlike in the case of Milosevic over Bosnia and Kabanda over Rwanda, nothing has been referred to the International Court. as you can see from Exhibit 29, you need not look at it for the moment, 1,086 Palestinians were killed, including 346 children and 79 women. 4,900 were injured, 1,709 of those were children, 724 were women, 140,000 children were suffering from stress and trauma, against nine Israeli soldiers killed and four Israelis killed in Israel and 58 injured by rocket attacks. You have heard the unchallenged evidence of Sharyn Lock, one of the international volunteers on the ground in Gaza.She told how she was shot at by the Israeli Army in 2002, using fragmentation bullets (I think they used to be called dum-dums) at a time when she had her hands in the air and was trying to deliver on foot food aid to a village. Courageously in 2008, December, when it was bitterly cold, she went back to help the injured.You saw her DVD outlining Israeli attacks upon civilians under eighteen, women and children being injured, dragging people from their homes, medical workers being targeted, hospitals being overwhelmed, and of the need for an international response, at least with sanctions.The whole of the Gaza strip was being targeted she said.She hoped in vain that people like her could get the government to respond — I say “the government”, the governments to respond.They never did.The Israelis were targeting ambulances, she said, they would strike an area and when the ambulances arrived to collect the wounded they would strike again. She spoke — she spoke of the Israeli Army making ambulance workers collect the wounded four or five days after they were wounded by hand-drawn donkey carts.She started to work in the Al Qud Hospital, where the Israeli Army attacked with white phosphorous.Civilians got caught up in that because, thinking it was a lighting system, they went out into the street.The use of water to put out the phosphorous fires, of course, just made them burn the more because of the oxygen in the water.There were tanks and snipers in the street; people ran to the hospital for safety. A nine-year-old girl was brought in shot in the face by a sniper.Her DVD showed that child’s mother and sister.As a result of the Australian Ambassador intervening and telling the Israeli government she was in the hospital the Israelis said they would stop shelling the hospital within an hour, but they continued for a further twelve hours.Four to five hundred people were sheltering in the hospital.With the Israeli’s permission, but only to go on foot, the Red Cross tried to get those people to a school about a mile away, but by that time that school had been attacked.Later that day they had to evacuate the bedridden from the hospital as the roof was badly damaged by fire.She said F16s were used.She witnessed war crimes, she said, and those who supplied Israel had the blood of children on their hands. Dr. Lucas, the MP for Brighton Pavilion and a former EU MP, led an EU delegation to Gaza.She was really shocked by the scale of the destruction: families who had left loved ones, homes, properties, sitting crying outside the rubble of their homes with no food.She was incredibly impressed by the efforts of the International Solidarity Groups and the courage they showed in defending others.It became clear to her that war crimes were being committed indiscriminately against civilians, so when she came back she tried to do something about it.The EU have a Trade Association Agreement with Israel; it has a human rights clause in it which says it can be suspended if Israel violates human rights.Although, she said, suspending it might be rather symbolic it would at least carry a message to Israel. So she tried to get the EU Commission to enforce that clause, but guess what?The Commission refused.They did nothing whatsoever, she said, to uphold their own values and support the Palestinians in that way.Perhaps that was the most direct and greatest and most depressing indictment she found of the EU’s behaviour.She met Government officials in this country and tried to motivate the British Government into doing something, but because of the USA they were not willing to do so. Because of the huge numbers of enquiries which she got in her EU office about EDO MBM she tried to investigate MBM. Her request under the Freedom of Information Act was refused. She tried to meet Mr. Hills, but the fact he demanded confidentiality in respect of the meeting and what she might learn of any meeting she, you may think quite rightly, refused to meet him on those terms, and as a result she concluded that what was happening at MBM was not above board.She said people in Brighton have done their best to make their voices heard in relation to MBM and have tried to influence the Council, but they have achieved nothing. Finally, you have in respect of what happened the Goldstone Report.I have already summarised it, I am not going through it, save to say that it reaffirmed that in Gaza Israel were applying the Dahiyah doctrine. That leads me conveniently to Mr. Hills.I am going to divide his evidence into three parts.I am going to begin by identifying the weapons we are concerned with.Firstly, there is the ZRFAU, the Arming Unit.This has the effect, when connected to a bomb, of turning a dumb bomb, that is one which is to say an unguided one which you just drop and hope, into a smart bomb, one which can be guided towards its target. Next there is the ERU-151, a bomb release unit, into which the ZRFAU fits, the ERU-151 shoots the bomb away from the plane without the risk of the plane being blown up.Then that has an FRCS cable attached to it.The purpose of that cable is to send a signal to the bomb release unit to release the bomb.The advantage it has over other types of release is it is reusable.Then there is the VER-2, the actual bomb rack, which holds two missiles and which were used with the ERU-151 and enables an F16 to carry two missiles under each wing.We have also heard about storage pallets for such bombs or missiles being made under sub-contract for MBM Brighton and sent to General Dynamics in Texas in the United States. Now all the weapons I have described are for use with the F16 fighter bombers.In addition, there is the RAIDER, which is a smart multiple store carrier.This enables an F16 to carry not only the missiles under each wing but also to carry two under the belly of the plane without thereby increasing the plane’s bomb load in safety.The RAIDER was developed between MBM and General Dynamics in the United Kingdom.General Dynamics (UK) of course, is part of General Dynamics in the United States, a major arms company who supply Israel.Only the MALTS, which Mr. Hills has accepted was made in Brighton, that was a practise bomb carrier. Now let’s turn to who uses these weapons.Well, second only to the United States the Israeli Air Force has the largest fleet of F16s in the world.The VER, which is also made under licence by Elbit in Israel, is only used by the Israeli Air Force.Now Mr. Hill tells you that with the exception of the storage pallets and the practise bomb dropping machine, none of these items are ever made in Brighton and then exported to Israel or to the USA, who might then be expected to re-export them to Israel, because the United States, as you have heard, does not consider itself bound by any End User Certificate.His explanation is that until it was wound up in 2008, all these items were made by Artisan in New Jersey. So why does MBM come into the matter at all?The reason is that MBM acquired the intellectual property rights and patents from a company calling itself Lucas Western in the United States.At the time MBM were owned by Morgan Crucible, who were also the owners of Artisan.Almost as soon as MBM acquired the intellectual property rights and the patent, Morgan Crucible made MBM hand them over to Artisan as Artisan was a small American company based in the United States and has opened up the American market for Morgan Crucible, the biggest market, of course, in the world for these items, and especially was it helpful and the United States Government’s policy to buy American was also to support small companies. In October 2000 there was a management buy-out of MBM, and as part of the buy-out the new holding company, Emblem, received Artisan more or less for next to nothing.The new company was taken over by EDO in the USA in 2003, and again in 2007 ITT, in the United Kingdom, took over — which is part of the USA ITT group, acquired MBM.The last two companies, EDO and MBM are major USA arms companies.ITT is perhaps the biggest arms company in the world; it supplies Israel, and so did EDO. So why do the protestors, who have been protesting since 2004, not accept what Mr. Hills says?Firstly, the USA’s policy is to ensure that Israel is supplied with weapons.95% of Israel’s weapons come from the USA, 4% from the EU and 1% from the United Kingdom.As I have said already, the USA refuses to be bound by the terms of any End User Certificate. what is an End User Certificate?If I want to export arms from this country I need to obtain a form from the DTI and fill it in, and then at the end of it there will be a box labelled “End User” and into that box there has to go a signature acceptable to the Government confirming that the person who signed there is indeed at the end of the chain and will not be selling items on.Perhaps in comedy there is always a grain of truth.Some of you might, like me, have been a great admirer of the “Yes Minister” series.I don’t know if any of you ever watched a particular version of it, but if you did you may recall a scene in which Jim Hacker, the Minister, tried to get an understanding of the End User Certificate from Sir Humphrey, the Permanent Secretary, and he was concerned that a particular detonating device had found itself in the hands of Italian terrorists.He ended up by asking if the system was really a charade, to which he received the answer from Sir Humphrey: “I think this conversation should end here, don’t you Minister!”(Laughter) Well, as you saw in that defence exhibit, the Oxfam Report, because parts can be exported, perhaps without the need for an End User Certificate, and then be assembled elsewhere into a weapon, you may think the system is one which it is not too difficult to circumvent.In the first three months of 2008 the United Kingdom exported to Israel20,000,000 worth of weapons, that rising from 6,000,000 in the previous year.You saw Mr. Clegg refer to that in the news handout CAD 43. Next, of course, Mr. Hills himself conceded that in the light of MBM’s advertising material and of what could be found in various websites, a protestor might well both honestly and reasonably have thought that the weapons were made in Brighton.All you have to worry about is the word “honestly”. Why is that?It is because over and over again when the weapons are advertised the name of MBM is used.You may have been puzzled by the fact that Artisan, who Mr. Hills claimed were the makers of ZRFAU were being used (it is his terminology) as a shop-window for MBM in the USA, and that was why the name MBM was used.Well, you may wonder what was the point of putting MBM’s name on something when it was something they never made?(Pause) What is the value then to MBM of advertising such a weapon?It can only be worth advertising a weapon if MBM were going to profit by its sale.There is no cross-over of accounts between sister companies, each may benefit their holding company but not each other.You have documents in front of you, you have been taken through them at great but necessary length.I propose only to summarise the effect. Firstly, all the advertising material, the flyers, were in the public domain; over and over again, it is the name MBM that comes up.In 2006, D1 if you want to make a reference to it in due course, EDO MBM were actively manufacturing the ZRFAU. The CRU-151 is described as being designed and developed by EDO MBM; over and over again the point of contact is described as Brighton, and that is so even on the Artisan website.For the USA consumption MBM becomes a division of Artisan.It never was such a division.”Ah”, says Mr. Hills “but MBM defence systems, the word “defense” is spelt with an S rather than a C in America, so that shows it had nothing to do with Brighton.He then had to concede that, of course, if it had been spelt with a C that would have given the game away to the United States Government. On 7th December 2005 you have the former managing Director, Mr. Jones, telling a court that the VER-2 is an Israeli Military industry project “and we are jointly marketing it for a third country”, and Mr. Hills accepts that third country could only be Israel; they are its only users. You have the fact that shortly before a trial in 2005 a reference to the F16 bomb rack was removed from the website on Mr. Hills’ advice.At first he claimed the changes to the website were normal reviews in the course of ownership changes.That perhaps was not the full truth, for in cross-examination, faced with his previous evidence in March 2009 that it was removed on his advice and that the protest played a part in the changes to the MBM website, and further that the reference to the ZRFAU were removed from their website in April 2007 because, as Mr. Hills put it, some aspects of the website confused the protestor community, he had to accept what he had said previously in court. At the time he was unwilling to disclose the company’s export licence.In June 2007 there is a letter from the DTI to Mr. Gibbon, saying that the only export licence for MBM was an export licence for the export of two ZRFAUs to the United States for scrap.To the outsider, who would not know the full history, it must, you may think, have looked very suspicious that these two items were in the United Kingdom at all.You may think that to the outsider, the protestor, the very fact that these two items were sent here and the necessary checks as to why they had failed had to be carried out here could only be attributed to a belief that they were manufactured in this country, for why should the reservoir of expertise to examine them, to decide why they had failed, reside in a company that had never ever made such items? There are two other final matters, H19, the letter from Mr. Jones to Mr. Osmond dated 25th May 2004, saying it is impossible for any company manufacturing components to state where those components may eventually be used, and lastly there is the fact that ITT, the owners of MBM, are one of the largest defence corporations in America.They supply Israel, they were fined, if you remember, 100 million dollars in respect of their lack of regard for export regulations in America, and also American General Dynamics, another very large defence company, supply Israel, as does Raytheon, one of the largest missile manufacturers, if not the largest missile manufacturers in the world.It was Raytheon who contracted MBM to supply missile pallets for shipment to General Dynamics in the USA.MBM then sub-contracted that contract to another company. Let us look very briefly at the question of the damage caused.Let me sound a firm warning at the outset: do not confuse the word “reasonable” with the word “effective”, they do not mean the same thing.You may think it doubtful whether any action of this kind would in itself put MBM with the huge resources of ITT behind it out of business.Damage, whether major or minor, may cumulatively lead to keeping a factory closed for a considerable period.In this case I think we were told it was a week.You may think it would be a mistake to look at individual items of damage, such as lockers, or Health and Safety notices or microwaves, look rather at the cumulative effect.Equally, bear in mind whereas a small demonstration outside the gates of a factory may achieve nothing, events of this kind may focus the minds of factory owners and perhaps even politicians on a situation in question so that they review what they are doing. Let me briefly review what happened.In the early hours of 17th January these defendants climbed over the perimeter using a ladder.Osmond and Levin remained outside. Those who went into the factory caused damage to the value of187,000.It is set out in detail on the list, Exhibit 2, which sets out the damage to doors, windows, computers, machinery, lockers, microwaves, the Health & Safety notice, and we know also that papers were just thrown out of the window left, right and centre.I am not going through it in more detail. Before going into action, Mr. Smith, Miss Saibene, Mr. Woodhead, Mr. Nicholls and Mr. Tadman all made video-clips setting out what they were doing.Let me go through what they said; Exhibit 3, Tab 4 I think in the Crown’s documents. Mr. Smith: “Hello there, my name is Elijah Smith.I’m 43 years old and I’m too old for this shit.As I’m looking at the world scene, yeah, I’m getting more and more horrified. This is disgusting.I don’t know why I didn’t notice it before, but I’ve been looking at the law and I don’t feel that I’m actually going to do anything illegal tonight, but I am going to go into an arm’s factory and smash it up to the best of my ability so they cannot actually work or produce weapons or the munitions that these very dirty (inaudible) have been provided to the Israeli Army so they can kill children.I said I would come on and do an interview.I can’t be arsed with interviews, yeah; the time for talking is gone, a little bit too far, yeah, I’m not a (inaudible), yeah, I’m just a person from the community and I’m deeply disgusted.We have laws in this country, specifically sections 3(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967.That says to the best of my knowledge of law, ignorance of law is no excuse and I’m allowed to decommission an infrastructure if they’re committing greater crimes, and that, sir, is what I’m going to do.Thank you very much.” Ornella Saibene: “Yeah, okay.My name is Ornella Saibene.I believe that ITT EDO are making weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction that breaks international law. It’s up to us citizens to make sure that companies in this country do not betray international law.” Mr. Woodhead: “Israel are committing a grave crime in Gaza. 350 children I think have been reported dead. It’s absolutely disgusting that weapons are being made in our cities in our country that are being used to kill innocent women and children and are being used indiscriminately; it’s about time that something was done about it.If the law and the police can’t do anything about it, it’s about time somebody else did.” “Are we rolling yet?Hi” — this is Mr. Nicholls — “I’m Bob.This is a brief note I’m going to submit to the local Constabulary when they eventually arrest us.The Israeli defence force is guilty of war crimes in Gaza.EDO and many other arms manufacturers around the United Kingdom are aiding and abetting the commission of these humanitarian crimes and war crimes.The action we have taken is intended to hamper or delay the commission of war crimes and prevent this greater crime.The glorification of war and the mass production of arms and weapons is a sickness in the heart of those involved.” Mr. Tadman: “Yeah, okay, hi.My name is Harvey.I’ve just heard that the Israeli Air Force dropped leaflets telling Palestinians to leave their homes otherwise they would be a legitimate target, and then — so then I read that the Palestinians should leave their homes.They took shelter in the United Nations compound.They were still targets.The warehouse that was storing humanitarian aid and first-aid, food whatever, had been targeted so now it’s time to have it out with EDO.Thank you.” Mr. Osmond and Mr. Levin were arrested in the woodland close to the factory.The remaining defendants were arrested in the factory.I have covered what Mr. Osmond and Mr. Levin said at their arrest.As you know, in Mr. Osmond’s first defence case statement he went on to say that he had nothing whatsoever to do with it.Mr. Levin in Tab 1 — you have seen the statements — said exactly the same, the demonstration was nothing to do with him, and what the other defendants have said is really covered by their evidence in this case, so I am not going through their statements to the police.I have looked already at what Mr. Smith and Mr. Tadman said.Mr. Tadman, as you know, didn’t say anything to the police, but he did make that DVD. I think at that moment, before my voice packs up, I am going to break.Tomorrow I shall probably be, I should think, another hour and then you will be considering your verdict. Now, it is vitally important at this stage, I have not finished my summing-up, do not start talking about the matter between yourselves; you will have plenty of time when you retire.We can’t have some of you getting into one corner and agreeing one thing, others into another corner agreeing something totally different without you all being there to hear the arguments that are being put forward, so keep it to yourselves.Yes, thank you.Thank you; please go. (In the absence of the jury) JUDGE BATHURST-NORMAN:I hope everyone heard that, as I was defeated by the fact that this is on this side.(Indicating microphone) (Following further matters being discussed, the case adjourned until the following morning) 29th June 2010 S U M M I N G U P (Continued) JUDGE BATHURST-NORMAN:Ladies and gentlemen, after we adjourned last night I received a message from you saying that you would like to have my directions on the law in writing.Despite my daughter’s criticism of my handwriting as resembling the wanderings of a drunken spider (laughter) Mr. Dias believes he can read it, and is very kindly going to type it out for you, but because I have rather summarised what I said yesterday I am going to go through it very shortly in summary form, and that is what you will have.In the process I shall answer the question you have asked, which is: “Does the objective test of reasonableness also apply to the prevention of damage to property, as has been quoted re the prevention of war crime?” The answer is going to be no it doesn’t, that is a subjective test, and I will come back to that in a moment. What I said to you yesterday is you consider each defendant separately.The prosecution must prove the case against each defendant.The prosecution must satisfy you so that you are sure of guilt. conspiracy: if a person agrees with any other person or persons that a course of conduct shall be pursued which if the agreement is carried out in accordance with their intentions will necessarily amount to or involve the commission of any offence or offences by one or more of the parties to the agreement then that person is guilty of conspiracy to commit the offence or offences in question. Matters following from that definition: at least two people must be involved for there to be a conspiracy.Once satisfied there was an agreement, look at the evidence against each defendant in turn and decide if that defendant was a party to the agreement.Once you decide that a defendant was a party to the agreement then whatever another party to the agreement does or says in pursuance of the agreement is evidence against all who are party to the agreement. What a defendant says to the police is only evidence in the case of that defendant.Evidence given in court by a defendant is evidence in the case as a whole.The agreement can be inferred from the actions of the participants. Criminal damage.The charge is conspiracy to commit criminal damage.Criminal damage is defined as: it is an offence for a person without lawful excuse to destroy or damage any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage such property. Lawful excuse: a person has a lawful excuse if he destroys or damages property in order to protect property belonging to another and at the time of the acts alleged he honestly believed that that property was in immediate need of protection and that the means of protection which he adopted were reasonable, having regard to all the circumstances.A purpose of the defendant in damaging MBM’s property has to be to prevent destruction by the Israeli Air Force of property in Gaza.A purpose, and I emphasise the word “a” there, means that the purpose does not have to be the exclusive purpose. Also it has to be the immediate needs of the property which you consider, not how quickly the defendants acted.The test for honest belief is a subjective test, it is what each defendant believed, not what you or I believe.The same applies under this heading to the question of whether the means adopted were reasonable.If it is possible that a defendant honestly believed that the means adopted were reasonable then that is sufficient to establish that the means he used were reasonable, no matter what you or I might think, and that is the answer to your question. Prevention of crime.By law a person is entitled to use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime.The test of reasonableness in this case is an objective test. Necessity.Necessity means that the defendant whose case you are considering must have been acting reasonably and proportionately to avoid a threat of death or serious injury to others.The test involves two questions: was the defendant impelled to act as he did because as a result of what he honestly believed the situation to be he had good cause to fear that otherwise death or serious injury would result to others.Secondly, if that was possible, is it possible that a person of reasonable firmness, sharing the characteristics of the defendant, would have responded in the same way?If the answer to both questions is “yes” then the defence of necessity is made out. General comments on the defences.It is not a prerequisite to the success of any defence that the defendants had to succeed in their objective.As the burden of proof rests on the Crown the Crown have to satisfy you so that you are sure that a defendant did not have a lawful excuse or was not acting out of necessity, or was not using reasonable force to prevent crime.It is sufficient for any defendant to succeed on any one of these defences for your verdict to be one of not guilty.The defendants do not have to succeed on all defences.Sometimes a person will achieve his objective indirectly through the response of others to his actions; sometimes he will succeed directly.It matters not whether MBM supplied the Israeli Air Force directly or whether they supplied a third-party, who then supplied Israel.I just insert there, I am saying “MBM” rather than EDO MBM or ITT EDO MBM, it is just shorthand as MBM. Back to what you shall have in writing.Do not consider the effect of your verdicts on others, for example, whether if these defences succeed people may be put out of work.Your task is to consider whether two or more of these defendants have committed this offence. Next consider the questions in the steps to verdict questionnaire.Next, if the members of the Israeli Air Force commit war crimes they can be prosecuted in England, as can anyone who knowingly helps the Israeli Air Force to commit such crimes or is complicit in their commission. 8, lies.Sorry, that should be 9, or it could indeed be 11, I beg your pardon.Next, people lie for all sorts of reasons, out of fear, including fear of being held in custody until trial (I would add there so that they can’t get on with what they want to do) to protect others, for fear of not being believed though they have a genuine defence, out of panic. You can only draw an inference if you are satisfied, firstly, it was a lie and that that lie is material to what you have to decide; secondly, that the defendant in question knew it was a lie; thirdly that the explanation for the lie given by the defendant is untrue; fourthly, his only reason for lying is that he knew of his guilt and feared the truth coming out.In this case lies by Osmond and Levin may not help you, as they admit they were party to the agreement to damage EDO MBM’s property. 12.Written explanations to the police.The defendants were entitled to take this course and they were entitled to set out their defences in this way and not to answer questions.Do not hold it against them, it does not contribute to proof of guilt. 13.Not giving evidence.Smith, Tadman and Levin have not given evidence.They are entitled to remain silent.You must not assume guilt from their silence.You try the case on the evidence.These defendants are entitled to rely on the evidence of their co-defendants.Silence may count against them, because you may draw the inference that they have no answer to the Crown’s case, or none that would stand up to cross-examination.If you draw that conclusion you must not convict any of them wholly or mainly on the strength of it, but you may treat it as some additional support for the Crown’s case.You should only draw that conclusion against any one of them if you think it is a proper and fair conclusion to draw and are satisfied that the Crown’s case is so strong that it clearly calls for an answer, and thirdly, that the only sensible conclusion is the defendant in question has no answer, or none that would stand up to examination. Having regard to the evidence in this case and to what their co-defendants have said and what they have said in their DVD statements and, where applicable, in their written statements to the police, it may be that you will not think it fair to draw any inference against any of them because they have not given evidence.In the case of Mr. Levin because of his mental health problems you may think it would be particularly unfair to draw any inference adverse to him. Thank you very much, Mr. Dias; you can now disappear and do the hard work. MR. DIAS:Well, your Honour, I think we can thank Mavis Beacon, which is the software programme that taught me to touch-type! (Laughter) JUDGE BATHURST-NORMAN:Thank you very much. MR. DIAS:And I will go and do my best. JUDGE BATHURST-NORMAN:And that, as you realise, answered your question on the damage question.Thank you very much.Then that is that.Well let’s turn then, because I finished the prosecution case yesterday, to the defence case.Miss Saibene gave evidence.Apart from matters arising out of a demonstration against weapons, Miss Saibene is a person of good character aged fifty.Treat her previous conviction as really a matter arising out of the same principles which has caused her to be before this court.Do not hold it against her in any way; it would be unfair to do so, as her actions were based on her very, very firm principles. So what does good character mean?Good character in itself is not a defence to a charge.However, you take it into account and you weigh it in the scales in this case in her favour, in the case of others in his favour, in two ways. Firstly, she has given evidence, and as with anyone of good character it supports her credibility.In other words, you take it into account and you weigh it in the scales in her favour when you come to decide whether it is possible that she is telling you the truth.Secondly, the fact that she is of good character may mean that she is less likely to have committed this offence than otherwise might be the case.What I have just said applies to others in this case who have given evidence.I will deal with each defendant as I review their evidence, but in relation to each, where it arises, that their only convictions arise out of their firmly held principles, do not hold these convictions against them and treat them all as being of good character.The same applies to Mr. Osmond in relation to his row over the ticket on which he spent120 and then wasn’t allowed to use; I suspect we would all get a bit hot under the collar in those circumstances. I particularly say that in this case because there has been no challenge by the Crown to the honesty of any of the defendants’ beliefs that Israel was committing war crimes in Gaza, unlawfully killing civilians and damaging property, including water, electricity supplies and sewage plants, that MBM were supplying components for F16s to the Israeli Air Force, whether directly or through a third-party.Those facts do not bring the case to an end, because you still have to answer remaining questions that are before you. Back to Miss Saibene.She is aged fifty and is clearly a person with a very deep social conscience who has made great contributions to her community.Judith Davies wrote of the work she had done in St. Paul’s in Bristol, helping to respond to the wave of crime and injustice young people were suffering, looking at the need for a Youth Centre, lobbying the Council, supporting a community art project, contributing to a youth community event, supporting the Full Circle, a family youth project, fund-raising, and the Saturday Better Days Play Club. Mr. Clarke, who is a member of the Bristol Stop the War Coalition described her as a dedicated campaigner for issues she believes in, always behaving with passion, integrity and honesty. Mrs. Lynch described her as her best friend, and told us of the enormous help and support which she had given to Mrs. Lynch’s disabled son and of her work helping the disabled and homeless.She also told us of Miss Saibene’s commitment to the peace movement. Mrs. Baker, the director of Child Victims of War charity met Miss Saibene through the peace movement and they became friends.She described Miss Saibene as a person for whom she has great respect, being a wonderful member of the local community and being involved with Gaza and Stop the War in Bristol. Dr. Dye, himself closely involved with what is happening in Gaza, knew Miss Saibene through the Bristol Solidarity Campaign.He made documentary films in Gaza in 2005 and 2006 and he gave copies of the DVD to Miss Saibene to encourage her interest in Gaza.He described her as a very intelligent peace-lover, believing in justice and peace for everyone seeking a better world. Miss Saibene herself told us of her involvement with the peace movement for thirty years, being involved in CND, Greenham Common, the (inaudible) demonstrations against the Iraq War.She spoke of designing leaflets, banners and posters and of organising film shows.She spoke of her involvement with the Palestine Solidarity Group. She dealt with her knowledge of her co-defendants.Mr. Nicholls is a peace campaigner from before the invasion of Afghanistan back in 2000/2001 and is a man who works with the homeless.Mr. Smith she knew from the Autumn of 2008 when she joined the Raytheon campaign in Bristol.Mr. Tadman she had met around 2003 when campaigning against the Iraq invasion. He would drive her to the Raytheon vigils.He would give her newspaper cuttings and discuss them.He was dreadfully moved by the plight of the Gazans over Operation Cast Lead and he took part in the making of those video clips that we have seen, Tab 4, and referred to them.Mr. Smith, she said, lived in the Red Factory, apparently a squatters’ building where a number of social events took place.They had discussed the Israeli Forces killing Gazans and the Raytheon booklet about the Raytheon 9.They had discussed “On the Verge” and they had discussed and agreed that action was necessary. Mr. Woodhead she had met in about August 2008 during the Raytheon campaign.He was actually temporarily staying with her in Bristol.During that campaign a journalist brought her a book about the Raytheon 9, that is your

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