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Don’t look away from Kashmir’s mass graves and people’s struggle

By Ali Abunimah – The Electronic Intifada – 08/24/2011

Last Summer, during a massive unarmed revolt against Indian rule in Kashmir, the writer Pankaj Mishra posed the following question about the situation in the territory. It remains as valid today as a year ago – especially after the recent discovery of thousands of bodies in mass graves:

Once known for its extraordinary beauty, the valley of Kashmir now hosts the biggest, bloodiest and also the most obscure military occupation in the world. With more than 80,000 people dead in an anti-India insurgency backed by Pakistan, the killings fields of Kashmir dwarf those of Palestine and Tibet. In addition to the everyday regime of arbitrary arrests, curfews, raids, and checkpoints enforced by nearly 700,000 Indian soldiers, the valley’s 4 million Muslims are exposed to extra-judicial execution, rape and torture, with such barbaric variations as live electric wires inserted into penises.

Why then does the immense human suffering of Kashmir occupy such an imperceptible place in our moral imagination? After all, the Kashmiris demanding release from the degradations of military rule couldn’t be louder and clearer. India has contained the insurgency provoked in 1989 by its rigged elections and massacres of protestors. The hundreds of thousands of demonstrators that fill the streets of Kashmir’s cities today are overwhelmingly young, many in their teens, and armed with nothing more lethal than stones. Yet the Indian state seems determined to strangle their voices as it did of the old one. Already this summer, soldiers have shot dead more than 50 protestors, most of them teenagers.

The tolls of last summer’s unarmed uprising, violently suppressed by Indian forces with live fire, eventually rose to more than 100. And, though Kashmir is even less in the headlines today, protests and abuses – particularly the arrests and mistreatment of teenage boys – continue.

For decades, until today, the two-thirds of Kashmir under Indian control has been ruled under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, emergency rule as repressive as the worst Arab dictatorship.

Mass graves uncovered

If all the suffering of the living in Kashmir has not succeeded in awakening international concern, the recent revelations of mass graves must. Amnesty International reported on 22 August:

Following a report by a police investigation team, confirming the existence of unmarked graves containing bodies of persons subject to enforced disappearances, urgent action needs to be taken including preserving the evidence and widening the investigation across Jammu and Kashmir said Amnesty International today.

Over 2700 unmarked graves have been identified by the 11-member police team of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in four districts of north Kashmir. Despite claims of the local police that the graves contained dead bodies of “unidentified militants”, the report points out that 574 bodies have been identified as disappeared locals – 17 of these have already been exhumed and shifted to family or village grave sites.

The police report concludes that there is “every probability” that the remaining over 2100 unidentified graves “may contain the dead bodies of [persons subject to] enforced disappearances.” The report further clarifies that the only way to negate such a claim is to study the DNA profiles of the unidentified dead bodies and warns that in the absence of such tests, “it has to be assumed/ presumed that [the] State wants to remain silent deliberately to hide the Human Rights violations.”

While Amnesty welcomed this report, it calls on Indian authorities:

to initiate thorough investigations into unmarked graves throughout the state. All unmarked grave sites must be secured and investigations carried out by impartial forensic experts in line with the UN Model Protocol on the disinterment and analysis of skeletal remains.

The fact that an investigation has reached this point at all is to India’s credit, but given its appalling record in Kashmir, there is little reason to believe that India will provide justice for victims without strong pressure and exposure.

The silence of the liberals

While almost every other week, the United States issues orders to this or that country’s leader to step down, or to (very selectively) “respect human rights,” the Obama administration has been totally silent about the crisis in Kashmir. During his visit to India last year, Obama did not mention it.

In US media and establishment discourse, India is often presented as a colorful, “vibrant democracy” with a booming economy and an emerging middle class which is eyed hungrily by American corporations looking to export consumer goods – or jobs to India’s cheaper labor force.

I was reminded of the general obliviousness to the situation in Kashmir by a recent comment on Twitter from Princeton Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, former Director of Policy Planning in Obama’s State Department, on the occasion of India assuming the chairmanship of the UN Security Council:

@SlaughterAM
Anne-Marie Slaughter If India wants to distinguish itself as chair of the UNSC in August, it can take the lead on a serious int’l response to Syrian violence.
Aug 02 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

I can’t think of an occasion when I have heard American establishment intellectuals call for a “serious international response” to the repression in Kashmir; and surely if India wants to “distinguish itself” in international leadership it should deal frankly with the situation in Kashmir.

Israel and India, Hindutva and Zionism

Although the crisis in Kashmir is off the media radar – and that of many writers and activists concerned with Palestine – thanks to many people in Kashmir I have encountered via Twitter, I have become more educated about the situation. Nonetheless, in recent years, the patterns of Indian behaviour and discourse around Kashmir have come to closely resemble those of Israel toward the Palestinians.

This has been particularly true with the rise of Hindutva over the past two decades – an extreme form of Indian nationalism which views Muslims as alien and often denigrates them in ways familiar to Palestinians subjected to such dehumanizing discourses from Islamophobic Zionists and their allies in Europe and the United States.

Hindutva nationalists and Zionists often try to reframe the “conflicts” not as ones over human and political rights, sovereignty, consent and self-determination, but as being caused by irrational and implacable “Muslims” and “Islamists” who if not confronted and stopped will take over the world. In this context, all the repression and state violence to which millions of people are subjected is justified in the name of “fighting terror” and defending “democracy” and “civilized values.”

And, as Yasmin Qureshi pointed out in an analysis for The Electronic Intifada, Zionist and Hindutva groups are increasingly cooperating on US university campuses to try to shut down discussions of both Palestine and Kashmir.

India-Israel alliance aids repression

The cooperation moreover is not just discursive: India has greatly increased its military ties with, and weapons purchases from Israel – including drones. And Shin Bet and other Israeli agencies responsible for human rights abuses and extrajudicial executions of Palestinians and Lebanese have provided training and advice to India on how to suppress the people of Kashmir.

“My most recent film is about the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front in India. I am not allowed in India anymore. Interestingly, India is one of the biggest arms trade partners of Israel,” Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni told The Electronic Intifada last year, “India uses the same tactics against the Kashmir people as Israel does against the Palestinians.”

Justice must not be delayed

Ultimately there can be no solution to the question of sovereignty over Kashmir – a painful remnant of British colonialism – until the region’s people are given the right to determine their future, a promise made and long denied to them, free from manipulation by India or Pakistan, which controls most of the rest of the territory (China also occupies a smaller segment). Pakistan has its own ignoble record of interference in Kashmir and using its people as pawns in its conflict with India.

In the meantime, India’s global image as a “vibrant democracy” should not be allowed to obscure the reality of mass repression – and mass graves – or to delay justice for the victims any further.

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Don’t look away from Kashmir’s mass graves and people’s struggle

Israel uses mini-drone for assassinations

Press TV – August 24, 2011

Israel has designed a miniature unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to help Israeli intelligence services identify and target leaders of Palestinian resistance movements.

The newly unveiled spying UAV, dubbed Ghost, is an almost silent drone that weighs 9 pounds (nearly 4 kilograms), UPI reported.

The twin-rotor vertical take-off drone is designed for special clandestine operations in urban areas and has a range of around 2.5 miles (four kilometers), a flight endurance of 6 hours and speed of around 37 miles (59.5 kilometer) an hour.

The device can be carried in backpacks, along with spare batteries and a computer, by two soldiers who control it from a laptop computer.

The mini-helicopter, 4.76 feet in length and with a rotor span of 2.46 feet, is said to be capable of flying into buildings through windows to provide real-time intelligence for special forces or company-size infantry units. It can also provide ground forces with a unique horizontal, eyelevel visibility. Which means a comprehensive view of their targets and operational environment that lookdown UAVs cannot offer.

First displayed in March, the Ghost is to be soon marketed in the United States, where it was first unveiled.

The UAV can track targets for assassination by war drones, helicopter gunships or F-16 strike jets using precision-guided munitions, a tactic frequently used against Palestinian leaders.

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | 2 Comments

Street fighting on first day of general strike in Chile

Pagina/12* – August 24, 2011

At least 36 detained and one injured policeman resulted from clashes on the first day of a strike called called by the United Workers Central (CUT) in support of student demands for egalitarian public education and also to demand constitutional reform and changes to the tax system and labor laws.

Beginning in the early morning, barricades were installed at various points in Santiago and important intersections of the main traffic artery, Alameda Avenue, were blocked with burning tires. In outlying areas buses were prevented from departing.

“Very few parts have paralyzed traffic and there is some delay from the barricades,” said Transport Minister Pedro Pablo Errazuriz.

Early on, Deputy Interior Minister Rodrigo Ubilla, noted that both in Santiago and elsewhere in the country “there is a normal situation” and said that public transport operated in accordance with the usual schedules. While the Secretary General of Government, Andrew Chadwick, had indicated that they had “some small pockets but have not been of greater magnitude.”

On the other hand, the president of the CUT, Arturo Martínez, refuted the government saying that they have struggled to “demonstrate normality while the whole country now knows there is nothing normal.”

Deputy Interior Minister Rodrigo Ubilla urged the leadership of the CUT to allow citizens to travel to work, and said police “will act to clear” the barricades. The crackdown was carried out at the time of the lowest level of popularity for the Piñera government which has been beleaguered for months by student demands.

The police measure is supported by the government coalition, which includes the Socialist, For Democracy, Radical Social Democratic and Christian Democratic parties. The national government responded to the strike actions with the threat of the possible application of the Internal Security Act, which allows for the arrest of protesters.

* Translated by Aletho News

Full Spanish language report

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Street fighting on first day of general strike in Chile

NATO armed rebels attack Venezuelan ambassador’s residence in Tripoli

TeleSURtv.net* | August 24, 2011

Venezuela’s ambassador in Libya, Tajeldine Afif, said Wednesday that his home in Tripoli was attacked by armed groups which fired shots into the air as they entered the scene. This action was condemned by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.

Tajeldine Afif said that “at the embassy as such nothing happened, what happened today in our home (was that) armed groups entered this morning to my residence, asked for me and began to carry off all the goods, cars, ransacked the house, left nothing and gave a few shots into the air,” he said.

He explained that at the time of the incident he was in the residence by himself and vigilant when the rebels “took some shots at the door and entered”.

Tajeldine condemned the facts and stressed that it was “a demonstration of the violation of international law.”

“This site is our territory, Venezuela. Which must be respected. The violation is done by groups armed by NATO against our sovereignty,” he asserted.

Earlier, President Hugo Chavez had considered the situation in Libya an outrage.

“Regardless of the situation in Libya nothing can justify this outrage, it is an outrage against the world and a threat to the world,” said the president.

Chavez made the remarks during a brief news conference at the Miraflores Palace (Government House) after bidding farewell to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

In the Libyan capital fighting continues on Wednesday after the advance of rebel forces of the National Transitional Council.

*Translation by Aletho News

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Aletho News | 2 Comments

UN bid ‘endangers Palestinian rights’

Ma’an – 24/08/2011

BETHLEHEM — The Palestinian team responsible for preparing the United Nations initiative in September has been given an independent legal opinion that reveals a high risk involved with its plan to join the UN.

An initiative to transfer the Palestinians’ representation from the PLO to a state will terminate the legal status held by the PLO in the UN since 1975 that it is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, according to the document.

Crucially, there will no longer be an institution that can represent the inalienable rights of the entire Palestinian people in the UN and related international institutions, according to the brief.

Representation for the right to self-determination will be gravely affected, as it is a right of all Palestinians, both inside and outside the homeland, the legal opinion says. This change in status will severely disenfranchise the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties from which they were displaced.

The seven-page legal opinion, obtained by Ma’an, was submitted to the Palestinian side by Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of public international law at Oxford University and a member of the team that won the 2004 non-binding judgement by the International Court of Justice that the route of Israel’s wall was illegal.

The Palestinian team, headed by Saeb Erekat, has been preparing an initiative that involves the replacement of the PLO at the UN, substituting it with the State of Palestine as the representative of the Palestinian people.

As an actual state will not be created in September, as Israel’s occupation continues, the debate is focused on whether membership should be requested from the Security Council or if the General Assembly should be asked to grant recognition of the state as “observer,” a status that conveys less than full UN membership.

Yet, no consideration of the dramatic legal implications for Palestinian rights have been discussed, which this legal brief says will occur if the PLO loses its status.

The brief is to “flag the matters requiring attention” so that a substantial amount of people who have interests in the right of return, for example, are not “accidentally disenfranchised.”

Also, the prospect of substituting the PLO with the State of Palestine raises “constitutional” problems in that they engage the Palestinian National Charter and the organization and entities which make up the PLO, he writes. Secondly, “the question of the ‘capacity’ of the State of Palestine effectively to take on the role and responsibilities of the PLO in the UN; and thirdly, the question of popular representation,” the opinion says.

Due to the constitutional structure of the PLO and the history of the Palestinian Authority, which was established by the PLO as a short-term, administrative entity, the PA “has limited legislative and executive competence, limited territorial jurisdiction, and limited personal jurisdiction over Palestinians not present in the areas for which it has been accorded responsibility,” it says.

The brief says the PA “is a subsidiary body, competent only to exercise those powers conferred on it by the Palestinian National Council. By definition, it does not have the capacity to assume greater powers.”

It cannot “‘dissolve’ its parent body, or otherwise to establish itself independently of the Palestinian National Council and the PLO. Moreover, it is the PLO and the Palestinian National Council which derive their legitimacy from the fact that they represent all sectors of the displaced Palestinian people, no matter where they presently live or have refuge.”

Particularly crucial are the scholar’s conclusions about the implications of the plan to substitute PLO representation in the UN with the Palestinian state for the Palestinians in the Diaspora. The majority of the Palestinian people are refugees, and all of them are represented by the PLO through Palestinian National Council.

“They constitute more than half of the people of Palestine, and if they are ‘disenfranchised’ and lose their representation in the UN, it will not only prejudice their entitlement to equal representation, contrary to the will of the General Assembly, but also their ability to vocalise their views, to participate in matters of national governance, including the formation and political identity of the State, and to exercise the right of return,” the legal briefing says.

Karma Nabulsi, a former PLO representative and now a professor at Oxford University, says she is familiar with the document. Palestinian officials have also seen the legal opinion, she says.

“Without question, no Palestinian will accept losing such core rights for such a limited diplomatic initiative in September,” she says. “First, we will not have liberated territory upon which to establish a State. But in losing the PLO as the sole legitimate representative at the UN, our people immediately lose our claims as refugees to be part of our official representation, recognized by the world.

“This is an urgent and critical issue for our whole people. We must ensure our representatives advance our rights in international forum, not weaken or endanger them. Of course now that the legal dangers have been raised so fully, I am confident the initiative will protect the status of the PLO as sole legitimate representative in the UN in order to advance the rights” of the Palestinian people.

She says Goodwin-Gill has defined and clarified the “red lines” in legal terms.

“The PLO is the representative of the people, not just a part of the people; the PLO is the architect and creator of the Palestinian Authority; that any change in who represents the people or a part of the people requires an expression of the popular will and international recognition,” she explained.

“Neither the Palestinian Authority nor the PLO can alter the role and structure of the PLO without the agreement of the entire Palestinian people. In any case, the PLO and the Palestinian people were not aware that by losing the PLO as representative at the UN, it would create such legal dangers. Now they are.”

She concluded: “Obviously, we need clarity from the PLO on this critical issue, and it is important that the Palestinian public everywhere, especially the refugees in the shatat, are given concrete reassurances that representation of their core rights — on both representation and right of return — will remain untouched in September.”

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | Comments Off on UN bid ‘endangers Palestinian rights’

Interventionists Versus Non-Interventionists

Two distinct camps are forming to battle over Syria policy in Washington

Joshua Landis | Syria Comment | August 24th, 2011

The first is made up of the neocons, who are busy fitting the Arab Spring into US strategic interests as they see them. Bolton, Doran, and Abrams have been leading the charge in articulating this argument. (Bolton and Doran articles are copied below)

The second group are the “realists,” with a liberal coating. Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies has articulated a “don’t get involved” argument in the article copied below.

The first want to take down Assad’s Syria and the second do not.  The first see it as a vital US strategic goal, the second do not. The first see it as part of a broader effort to help your friends and hurt your enemies. They see Israel and Saudi Arabia as America’s main friends in the region and want to build them up. They want to crush, Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas. Syria is important because of Iran, America’s number one enemy. They tend to depict the battle in the Middle East as a struggle between good and evil, and freedom versus tyranny. The second see shades of gray. They see an ugly civil war lurking behind the surface of democracy promotion and are not sure Washington would be wise to get sucked into further expensive commitments that have more to do with messy emerging national identities and less to do with US interests.

The neocons have a number of strengths. Clarity is first. Second is the nature of the Assad regime, which is oppressive and run by a family surrounded by a narrow elite, dominated by Alawis, who are a minority themselves and unpopular among a broad section of the Sunni population. The regime has failed to deliver sufficient economic growth to reverse the growing pool of unemployed youth and to raise the standard of living for most Syrians. The country is suffering from all the ills of a growing income gap, drought and bad policies. Reform has been too slow and many believe it will never come because of the vested interests of the narrow and highly corrupt elite at the top. A growing number of Syrians argue that the entire system must be destroyed and Syria must rebuild itself. Increasingly, leaders of the Syrian uprising are beginning to embrace the ideas being put forward by the neocons. In order to win full US backing, they are pushing for acceptance of a complete strategic reversal of Syria’s foreign policy goals.

The neocons are not advocating direct US military involvement in Syria today. They understand this is not politically feasible. But they are preparing the grounds for a much higher level of military commitment in the future. They understand full well that in order to take down the Assad regime and counter the force of the Syrian military, the Syrian opposition will need to develop a full military option. To do so, it will need major US and NATO backing. This will not be a fight for the feint of heart.

Their strategy for angling the US toward making such a commitment in the future is economic sanctions. Broad economic sanctions imposed on Syria by the EU would have major moral implications down the road. Should Syrians start to starve, as they surely would if real sanctions are imposed, the moral argument for intervention and military escalation would improve. Should the poorest and most vulnerable Syrians begin to expire, as happened in Iraq in the 1990s, military intervention would become necessary to end the suffering and starvation. Liberals would have to support the military option in such a case. Today, most do not. Sanctions imposed now will make military intervention in the future imperative. Liberals embraced the invasion of Iraq in large part because of the moral argument. Saddam was starving his people. It would be hard to resist such an argument.

European governments have so far resisted imposing blanket trade sanctions on Syria for this exact reason. Once we see European governments impose devastating sanctions on Damascus, we may safely assume that they have accepted the notion of greater military involvement down the line in order to solve the humanitarian problem that sanctions will create. Perhaps they will not support a ground invasion as was done in Iraq, but they could support establishing a no-fly-zone and arming and training a proper Syrian insurgency, as was done in Libya. Of course, in Syria it will be a much bigger and more expensive operation as Syria has no frozen assets that can be diverted to fund the opposition. The Syrian army is much tougher than Libya’s was.

The realists argue that the US should not get militarily involved. They argue that Assad is too strong. The US is trying to prune its military commitments not grow them. The Assad regime still has the support of important sections of the population. It is not a clear good versus evil battle but something reflecting deeper civil and sectarian divisions in Syria. The Syrian opposition is hopelessly divided. Perhaps it will develop a leadership, but that will take time and must be left to emerge organically for the time being. The US should not tie its cart so closely to Israel and Saudi Arabia because both countries are pursuing policies which are not good for US interests in the long run. What is more, the realists do not believe that the US should take sides on the broader religious war being fought between Shiites and Sunnis in the Middle East. The US wants to check Iranian power and dissuade it from going nuclear, but it does not want to enter into the religious war. Most importantly, the US has too many military commitments in the Middle East, a region that has sucked up far too much of Washington’s time and money over the last decade. Greater involvement in Syria is not popular. In the end, this is a Syrian battle and the US should not be trying to decide it.

News Round Up

US, allies all but rule out Syria military intervention 

News agencies

The Nexus and the Olive Tree
BY MICHAEL DORAN | AUGUST 22, 2011

Only 12% Americans Think U.S. Should Step Up Involvement in Syria
August 22, 2011

New York Post: Facing facts on O’s Syria miscues

2011-08-24 | John Bolton

Moscow urges world community to bolster all-Syrian dialogue

August 23 – RIA Novosti

Syrian opposition moves towards setting up national council

The Guardian

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | Comments Off on Interventionists Versus Non-Interventionists

The Libyan Soldier: The True Heroes of NATO’s War

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford – August 24, 2011

The story is not over – not by a long shot – but the saga of the Libyan resistance to the superpower might of the United States and its degenerate European neocolonial allies will surely occupy a very special place in history. For five months, beginning March 19, the armed forces of a small country of six million people dared to defy the most advanced weapons systems on the planet, on terrain with virtually no cover, against an enemy capable of killing whatever could be seen from the sky or electronically sensed. Night and day, the eyes of the Euro-American war machine looked down from space on the Libyan soldiers’ positions, with the aim of incinerating them. And yet, the Libyan armed forces maintained their unit integrity and personal honor, with a heroism reminiscent of the loyalist soldiers of the Spanish Republic under siege by German, Italian and homegrown fascists, in the late 1930s.

The Germans and Italians and Generalissimo Franco won that war, just as the Americans, British, French and Italians may ultimately overcome the Libyan army. But they cannot convey honor or national legitimacy to their flunkies from Benghazi, who have won nothing but a badge of servitude to foreign overseers. The so-called rebels won not a single battle, except as walk-ons to a Euro-American military production. They are little more than extras for imperial theater, a mob that traveled to battle under the protective umbrella of American full spectrum dominance of the air. They advanced along roads already littered with the charcoal-blackened bodies of far better men, who died challenging Empire.

One thing is sure: the Americans and Europeans have never respected their servants. The so-called rebels of Libya will be no different. Washington, Paris and London know perfectly well that is was their 18,000 aircraft sorties, their cruise missiles, their attack helicopters, their surveillance satellites and drones, their command and control systems, their weapons, and their money, that managed to kill or wound possibly half the Libyan army. Not the rabble from Benghazi.

The rebels should not take too seriously being fawned over by the ridiculous hordes of corporate media tourists that have come to Tripoli to record the five-month war’s finale. They are highly paid cheerleaders. And, although it may appear that they are cheering for the rebels, don’t be fooled – at the end of the day, the western corporate media only cheer for their own kind. They are celebrating what they believe is a victory over the Libyan demon they have helped to construct in their countrymen’s minds. Next year, rebel, that demon might be you.

Or next year, it might be many Libyans, including those who were no friends of Col. Moammar Gaddafi. The Americans treat their native minions like children in need of supervision – and there is a certain logic to this, since whoever would entrust his nation’s sovereignty and resources to the Americans is, surely, either exceedingly stupid, or hopelessly corrupt. But Libya’s honor and her place in history has already been secured by a small African army that held out nearly half a year against the NATO barbarians.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Aletho News | 3 Comments

Israeli pilots ‘unaware’ of arms cargo, released by Eritrea

Pilots had told Eritrean authorities that they were carrying spare machine parts

Press TV – August 24, 2011

Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki Eritrea has ordered the release of two Israeli pilots detained in the country over arms smuggling in a show of friendship with Tel Aviv.

The two Israeli pilots, Captain Yehuda Maoz and First Officer Vered Aharonson, returned to Israel on Tuesday after nearly a month of intensive diplomatic efforts by Tel Aviv.

They were released shortly after former Israeli cabinet minister Ephraim Sneh met the Eritrean President and claimed that the two pilots were unaware of the cargo they were transporting.

An official involved in the release of the pilots said that there was no pressure on Afewerki and that he agreed to their release without any resistance because he considers himself a great friend of Israel.

Sneh and Afewerki have reportedly known each other for years. Twenty years ago when Afewerki was a guerrilla commander during the civil war in Eritrea he contracted malaria. The Israelis saved his life at the time by transferring him to Israel for treatment.

Maoz and Aharonson are former IDF officers employed as civilian pilots by the Israel-based Aviation Bridge Company. The pilots were arrested after an unannounced inspection by Eritrean security forces. The two were held in a hotel in the capital, Asmara, under heavy guard.

The pilots told Eritrean authorities that they were carrying spare machine parts for a local Eritrean security company, but it is believed that they were trying to smuggle Kalashnikov rifles into the country.

Some reports also suggest that the cargo was expected to be delivered to an Israeli company in the region.

~

See also:

US Air Force C17 transport caught smuggling arms and drugs into Argentina

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | 1 Comment

Israeli Hasbara Delegation Arrives In South Africa Amidst Protest

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC News | August 24, 2011

South African security forces were put on high alert this week as a delegation of former Israeli soldiers arrived as part of a campaign by an Israeli group to promote Israel through talks and events at university campuses worldwide.

The delegation was organized by the group ‘What Is rael’ (a play on the name Israel), which states on its Facebook page that the group aims to recruit “Students who consider themselves Zionists” to travel around the world to speak on campuses to challenge the global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

According to Israeli activists, the group has ties to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Jewish Agency, which have both been recently promoting ‘hasbara’, or propaganda campaigns promoting Israel as democratic and diverse, to try to counter groups that have sprung up worldwide to voice opposition to Israeli policies and ongoing occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

The South African Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Working group announced that their research into the visiting delegation of twenty ‘students’ had found that “two of the Israeli student delegates claiming to be students worked at the Israeli parliament. One is a deputy spokesperson and another is an official policy advisor.”

After a call was issued by the South African Students Congress last week to boycott and oppose what they called a ‘propaganda’ tour, dozens of students showed up at the airport to protest the arrival of the ‘What Is rael’ delegation, forcing the Israelis to exit the airport under heavy security through a back exit.

At the delegation’s first stop, the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, they were met by a number of protests, including a flash mob ‘die-in’, in which students all fell to the floor at the same moment to represent Palestinians killed by the Israeli military. According to one protest organizer, several of the former soldiers involved in the delegation have publicly bragged of involvement in the 2008-9 Israeli invasion of Gaza in which over 1400 Palestinians were killed, 400 of them children.

The University of Witwatersrand student newspaper quotes Stephanie Hodes, from the South African Union of Jewish Student (SAUJS), which sponsored the delegation, as saying, “the protest was sad, they should rather come inside and eat falafel.” The falafel, a traditional food in Palestine and the rest of the Arab world, was being promoted at the event as an Israeli food, with no mention of its Arab origins.

South Africa has been a main organizing center for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, with activists who fought the racist system of apartheid in the seventies and eighties among the first to term Israel’s system of segregation, occupation and discrimination against Palestinians as an ‘apartheid’ system.

The Coalition of South African Trade Unions, COSATU, by far the nation’s largest, was one of the first trade unions to support the boycott of Israel, blocking Israeli ships from entering South African ports and preventing the import of Israeli goods.

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | 2 Comments