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France abducts 5 children from Muslim couple falsely suspected of moving to Syria

February 5, 2015

A Muslim couple in France has had their five children abducted by the state over unproven allegations that they are radicals who planned to take the entire family to fight in Syria.
Nearly a dozen police and social service workers entered the couple’s house, on an allegedly false pretext, as the family was packing to move to Tunisia, where the father was born.
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February 6, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia, Video | , | Leave a comment

Man Claims Cops Broke His Prosthetic Arm

By JONNY BONNER | Courthouse News | February 3, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY – Heber City police broke an elderly man’s prosthetic arm during a bogus arrest for driving in Utah with a Colorado license, the man claims in Federal Court.

Danny Baker sued police Officers Michael Stowe and Officer Brunnell on Jan. 30, seeking $1.5 million in damages, plus treble damages.

Baker has a prosthetic arm due to a construction accident in the 1970s. He says he spends a lot of time in Utah for medical reasons, and that he drives slowly there because he likes to keep an eye out for deer and elk.

He was doing that when Officer Stowe stopped him outside of Heber City in August 2013, for a cracked windshield.

Brunnell, whose first name is not listed in the complaint, assisted Stowe.

Baker claims that Stowe ran his license through a computer and then “insisted that Mr. Baker was driving without a valid license because Officer Stowe’s search of his database revealed that Mr. Baker had previously possessed a Utah driver’s license.”

Baker’s Utah license expired in 1988, he says, after he moved to Colorado.

Stowe “persisted,” however, and told him that his Colorado license was invalid because he did not have a Utah license, Baker says.

He says Stowe ordered him out of his car and arrested him for “‘driving on a denied license, fail[ure] to stop, expired license, [and] cracked windshield.'” (Brackets in complaint, which cites a police report of the incident.)
According to Stowe’s police report, Baker replied: “you ain’t touching me with those cuffs till you read me my rights.”

Baker says he “immediately” informed the officers that he had a prosthesis in his arm, and that he could not comply with the order to place his hands behind his back.

“Officer Bunnell responded to this information by grabbing Mr. Baker’s arm. Officer Stowe then grabbed Mr. Baker’s left hand and elbow, and forcibly turned Mr. Baker toward the car, while forcing Mr. Baker’s arms behind his back,” the complaint states.

It continues: “Officer Bunnell exerted such great force upon Mr. Baker’s arm that the prosthesis in Mr. Baker’s arm snapped, breaking Mr. Baker’s arm, destroying the prosthesis, and resulting in severe pain to Mr. Baker.”

The abuse didn’t stop there, Baker says.

“Even during the booking process, despite the open and obvious disfiguration of Mr. Baker’s arm, Officer Stowe did nothing to address Mr. Baker’s broken arm or the severe pain Mr. Baker was experiencing,” the lawsuit states.

Baker says the police denied him medical treatment for hours, until he was released on bail, and his daughter took him to a hospital.”

He says criminal charges against him were dismissed when his attorney showed “evidence and videotapes from the arrest” to a prosecuting attorney.

Baker seeks punitive damages for unreasonable seizure and excessive force, false arrest and malicious prosecution.

He is represented by Justin Heideman of Provo.

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

On Leaving the United States

A Long and Arduous Ordeal

By SAMI AL-ARIAN | CounterPunch | February 6, 2015

After 40 years, my time in the U.S. has come to an end. Like many immigrants of my generation, I came to the U.S. in 1975 to seek a higher education and greater opportunities. I also wanted to live in a free society where freedom of speech, association and religion are not only tolerated but guaranteed and protected under the law. That’s why I decided to stay and raise my family here, after earning my doctorate in 1986. Simply put, to me, freedom of speech and thought represented the cornerstone of a dignified life.

Today, freedom of expression has become a defining feature in the struggle to realize our humanity and liberty. The forces of intolerance, hegemony, and exclusionary politics tend to favor the stifling of free speech and the suppression of dissent. But nothing is more dangerous than when such suppression is perpetrated and sanctioned by government. As one early American once observed, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” Because government has enormous power and authority over its people, such control must be checked, and people, especially those advocating unpopular opinions, must have absolute protections from governmental overreach and abuse of power.

A case in point of course is the issue of Palestinian self-determination. In the United States, as well as in many other western countries, those who support the Palestinian struggle for justice, and criticize Israel’s occupation and brutal policies, have often experienced an assault on their freedom of speech in academia, media, politics and society at large.

After the tragic events of September 11th, such actions by the government intensified, in the name of security. Far too many people have been targeted and punished because of their unpopular opinions or beliefs.

During their opening statement in my trial in June 2005, my lawyers showed the jury two poster-sized photographs of items that government agents took during searches of my home many years earlier. In one photo, there were several stacks of books taken from my home library. The other photo showed a small gun I owned at the time. The attorney looked the jury in the eyes and said: “This is what this case is about. When the government raided my client’s house, this is what they seized,” he said, pointing to the books, “and this is what they left,” he added, pointing to the gun in the other picture. “This case is not about terrorism but about my client’s right to freedom of speech,” he continued.

Indeed, much of the evidence the government presented to the jury during the six-month trial were speeches I delivered, lectures I presented, articles I wrote, magazines I edited, books I owned, conferences I convened, rallies I attended, interviews I gave, news I heard, and websites I never even accessed.

But the most disturbing part of the trial was not that the government offered my speeches, opinions, books, writings, and dreams into evidence, but that an intimidated judicial system allowed them to be admitted into evidence.

That’s why we applauded the jury’s verdict. Our jurors represented the best society had to offer. Despite all of the fear-mongering and scare tactics used by the authorities, the jury acted as free people, people of conscience, able to see through Big Brother’s tactics.  One hard lesson that must be learned from the trial is that political cases should have no place in a free and democratic society.

But despite the long and arduous ordeal and hardships suffered by my family, I leave with no bitterness or resentment in my heart whatsoever. In fact, I’m very grateful for the opportunities and experiences afforded to me and my family in this country, and for the friendships we’ve cultivated over the decades. These are lifelong connections that could never be affected by distance.

I would like to thank God for all the blessings in my life. My faith sustained me during my many months in solitary confinement and gave me comfort that justice would ultimately prevail.

Our deep thanks go to the friends and supporters across the U.S., from university professors to grassroots activists, individuals and organizations, who have stood alongside us in the struggle for justice.

My trial attorneys, Linda Moreno and the late Bill Moffitt, were the best advocates anyone could ask for, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Their spirit, intelligence, passion and principle were inspirational to so many.

I am also grateful to Jonathan Turley and his legal team, whose tireless efforts saw the case to its conclusion. Jonathan’s commitment to justice and brilliant legal representation resulted in the government finally dropping the case.

Our gratitude also goes to my immigration lawyers, Ira Kurzban and John Pratt, for the tremendous work they did in smoothing the way for this next phase of our lives.

Thanks also to my children for their patience, perseverance and support during the challenges of the last decade. I am so proud of them.

Finally, my wife Nahla h​as been a pillar of love, strength and resilience. She kept our family together during the most difficult times. There are no words to convey the extent of my gratitude.

We look forward to the journey ahead and take with us the countless happy memories we formed during our life in the United States.

Sami Amin Al-Arian is a Palestinian-American civil rights activist who was a computer engineering professor at University of South Florida. 

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 2 Comments

Philadelphia Man Sues After Video Evidence Proves False Arrest on Terrorism Charges

By Andrew Meyer | PINAC | February 4, 2015

Roger Vanderklok only wanted to file a complaint. Instead, he was taken to jail.

After being questioned by Transportation Security Administration workers at Philadelphia International Airport about some PowerBars and a watch in his bag, Vanderklok was accosted by TSA supervisor Charles Kieser.

When Vanderklok asked to file a complaint, Kieser instead called the Philadelphia police, who promptly arrested Vanderklok and took him to jail.

Vanderklok is now suing the Philadelphia police along with the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security.

“The police at the airport never even questioned Mr. Vanderklok. They just detained him,” said Vanderklok’s attorney, Thomas Malone. “The detectives at the 18th [District] also never spoke with him. He was charged based on a single allegation by one TSA employee.”

Vanderklok was arrested on January 26, 2013, after security grew suspicious of the watch and PowerBars in his bag. Vanderklok, 57, an architect from Philadelphia, was asked if he had any “organic matter” in his bag. Thinking the TSA was asking if he had any fruit or vegetables, Vanderklok said no.

Here’s what happened next, according to :

PowerBars, which contain milk, grain and sugar, are considered “organic matter” and can resemble a common explosive. Terrorists often use a small electronic device, like a watch, to detonate the explosive. Hence the agent’s concern.

Once the items were deemed harmless, Vanderklok says, he told Kieser that if someone had only told him what “organic matter” meant, he could have saved everyone a lot of trouble. Kieser then became confrontational. Vanderklok says he calmly asked to file a complaint. He then waited while someone was supposedly retrieving the proper form.

Instead, Kieser summoned the Philadelphia Police. Vanderklok was taken to an airport holding cell, and his personal belongings – including his phone – were confiscated while police “investigated” him.

Vanderklok was detained for three hours in a holding cell – missing his plane – then handcuffed and taken to a police station jail cell for a total of 20 hours.

None of the police officers told him why he was there. Only at his 2 a.m. arraignment did Vanderklok find out he was being charged with “threatening the placement of a bomb” and making “terroristic threats.” His wife had to pay $4,000 bail to get him released from jail at 4 a.m.

At Vanderklok’s trial on April 8, 2013, TSA supervisor Kieser told the court, “I saw a passenger becoming agitated. Hands were in the air. And it’s something we deal with regularly. But I don’t let it go on on my checkpoint.” Kieser added that Vanderklok, “had both hands with fingers extended up toward the ceiling up in the air at the time and shaking them,” and “put his finger in my face. And he said, ‘Let me tell you something. I’ll bring a bomb through here any day I want.’ And he said you’ll never find it.”

Fortunately for Vanderklok, Kieser went overboard with his lying, as the airport surveillance videos showed Vanderklok looked calm with his laptop under his arms and his hands clasped in front of him throughout the incident.

Judge Felice Stack acquitted Vanderklok of all charges within minutes of hearing Kieser’s testimony. The only questions left are how much will the TSA and Philadelphia police offer as a settlement, and will Kieser and any of the officers who arrested Vanderklok face any repercussions? – Video

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

Unpacking France’s Chilling Proposal to Hold Companies Accountable for Speech

By Jillian York | EFF | February 6, 2015

France’s misguided efforts to grapple with hate speech—which is already prohibited by French law—have been making headlines for years. In 2012, after an horrific attack on a Jewish school, then-president Nicolas Sarkozy proposed criminal penalties for anyone visiting websites that contain hate speech. An anti-terror law passed in December imposes greater penalties on those that “glorify terrorism” online (as opposed to offline), and allows websites engaging in the promotion of terrorism to be blocked with little oversight. And following the attack on Charlie Hebdo last month, Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated that “it will be necessary to take further measures” to address the threat of terrorism.

Despite such a history, the latest proposal to emerge from the country is shocking. At the World Economic Forum last week, President Francois Hollande called on corporations to “fight terror,” stating:

The big operators, and we know who they are, can no longer close their eyes if they are considered accomplices of what they host. We must act at the European and international level to define a legal framework so that Internet platforms which manage social media be considered responsible, and that sanctions can be taken.

In effect, Hollande’s proposal seeks to hold social media companies accountable for the speech that they host. This is antithetical to US law, where online service providers are explicitly exempted from being treated as publishers, with few exceptions, thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

In other countries, such as Thailand, a lack of protections for intermediaries led to the 2010 arrest of the editor of a popular publication. Her crime? A failure to quickly moderate comments that were deemed to defame the monarchy, an act that in Thailand comes with harsh penalties.

Developing global norms on intermediary liability point away from the Thai model that the French President lauded, in favor of a model closer to US law. An international study on the topic launched last month by UNESCO concluded that “Limiting the liability of intermediaries for content published or transmitted by third parties is essential to the flourishing of internet services that facilitate expression.”

While it’s likely that many of the companies in question would attempt to voluntarily comply with requests to remove content that glorifies terrorism, Hollande’s proposal would subject them to sanctions if they fail to comply with the proposed regulations. This places an extraordinary burden on these companies, whose users number in the millions, or even billions. It also stifles innovation locally: Entrepreneurs in France are unlikely to create new platforms for speech if there’s a risk of penalty in doing so.

We understand that European attitudes toward hate speech differ from those in the United States, but we strongly believe that any attempt to ban speech leads down a slippery slope. Holding corporations accountable for the speech they host is just one step down that slope.

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

License Plate Scanners Also Taking Photos of Drivers and Passengers

By Sonia Roubini | ACLU | February 5, 2015

The Drug Enforcement Administration is using its license plate reader program not only to track drivers’ locations, but also to photograph these drivers and their passengers, according to newly disclosed records obtained by the ACLU via a Freedom of Information Act request.

One internal 2009 DEA communication stated clearly that the license plate program can provide “the requester” with images that “may include vehicle license plate numbers (front and/or rear), photos of visible vehicle occupants [redacted] and a front and rear overall view of the vehicle.” Clearly showing that occupant photos are not an occasional, accidental byproduct of the technology, but one that is intentionally being cultivated, a 2011 email states that the DEA’s system has the ability to store “up to 10 photos per vehicle transaction including 4 occupant photos.”

The DEA documents are just the latest indication that license plate scanners are not always focused just on license plates.

  • In December, reported that Vigilant Solutions, one of the main providers of ALPR technology, expanded the integration of facial recognition technology into its ALPR offerings. “The new Vigilant Mobile Companion app expands the benefits of license plate recognition and facial recognition technologies to all areas of the agency,” a Vigilant Solutions press release claimed. This software would not only allow law enforcement officials to photograph the occupants of a vehicle, but also to quickly and accurately identify individuals and enter them into the DEA’s database.
  • In 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that a network security engineer in San Leandro, California named Michael Katz-Lacabe had submitted a public records request in 2010 for photos of his license plate and any associated images in order to determine the breadth of the information that the ALPRs had collected on him. One of the images captured Katz-Lacabe stepping out of his car in his driveway with his two young daughters, and several other images taken by the ALPRs very clearly identified him. It’s important to remember that Katz-Lacabe was never suspected of any crime.
  • The Milwaukee Police Department’s policy on the use of ALPRs says that stored data can include a “contextual photo (e.g. a photo of the scanned vehicle and/or occupants).”
  • The Wall Street Journal’s article on the DEA’s license scanning program last week mentioned the DEA’s collection of visual images of drivers and passengers, confirming in its reporting that they “are sometimes clear enough for investigators to confirm identities.”

This aspect of license plate scanning technology has not received enough attention. ALPR manufacturers and law enforcement agencies have argued that images of license plates cannot be used to identify individuals, and thus do not infringe on our individual privacy. This argument is thin already, but it certainly doesn’t fly with regards to photographs of the driver or passengers inside of a vehicle — especially in the era of face recognition analytics. Law enforcement is already using license plates to identify and track people — photographs of car occupants only allow agencies to be even more sure of exactly who they are surveilling.

Some law enforcement agencies that employ ALPRs recognize that the technology should not be used to capture photos of vehicle occupants. We obtained an ALPR policy from Tiburon, California that speaks to our privacy concerns. The policy states that “cameras will be directed only to capture the rear of vehicles and not into any place where a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ might exist.” This means that the ALPRs “will not be able to ‘see’ or photograph vehicle occupants because the camera will only be photographing the rear of vehicles, it will not be able to create a record of its occupants.” Tiburon’s policy shows that there are precautionary measures that can be taken to (at least partially) avoid infringing on individual privacy. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that most law enforcement agencies are taking such measures.

Tracking movement and saving individuals’ photos is particularly worrisome if the DEA is targeting First Amendment-protected activity. As we stated in our blog post on the DEA’s plans to monitor gun shows, an automatic license plate reader cannot distinguish between people transporting illegal guns and those transporting legal guns, or no guns at all; it only documents the presence of any car driving to the event. A photo of a car’s occupants, however, documents much more — and intensifies our concerns about the targeted use of this technology. We don’t want to see someone’s photo entered into a facial recognition database simply because a person’s presence at a gun show (or any other gathering) is considered suspicion of illegal activity.

The DEA has yet to release any policies that govern the use of license plate readers or the database of Americans’ locations that it creates. It is unclear if any court or process oversees or approves the use of this intelligence, or if other government agencies have access to the photographs. This all highlights the need for more light to be shed on this program and others like it.

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

French comedian convicted of ‘supporting terror’


French humorist Dieudonné Mbala Mbala
Ramin Mazaheri – Press TV – February 5, 2015

Paris – Popular French humorist Dieudonné Mbala Mbala has been convicted and fined 30,000 euros for “supporting terrorism speech” in a decision which many say exemplifies the often discriminatory and two-tiered nature of France’s legal system.

Following the recent terrorist attacks in France, Dieudonné, as he is widely known, posted on Facebook that “Je me sens Charlie Coulibaly” (I feel like Charlie Coulibaly), an apparent reworking of the global “Je suis Charlie” campaign. Coulibaly refers to Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist responsible for four deaths at a Kosher supermarket in Paris.

The court rejected Dieudonné’s claim that he is a satirist in the same vein as Charlie Hebdo, the French weekly which has sparked worldwide protests on multiple occasions by publishing sacrilegious pictures of Prophet Mohammed.

Both Dieudonné and Charlie Hebdo defend their actions by saying they insult any and all religions, ethnicities and politicians, with plenty of evidence available on the Internet to support their claims.

While Charlie Hebdo has been exonerated for its previous cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, as well as for insulting former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the neo-fascist National Front Party, Dieudonné has been repeatedly fined for remarks deemed to incite racial hatred and anti-Semitism, both of which are explicitly banned by French law. Dieudonné and his entourage have been taken to court some 80 times in recent years, and just this week Dieudonné was convicted and forced to pay a fine of 4,000 euros for calling current Prime Minster Manuel Valls a “Mussolini with half Down’s Syndrome”.

Many claim that the lack of a law to ban Islamophobic speeches or the insulting of Islam reflects a state-sanctioned double-standard, and there is little political support apparent to create such laws. That has led to widespread complaints from France’s Muslim community, estimated at 5 to 10 percent of the overall population.

Where Dieudonné and Charlie Hebdo differ greatly is in their favored target: For more than a decade Charlie Hebdo has been openly anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic, while Dieudonné is openly anti-Zionist. Many also believe that Dieudonné satirizes France’s politicians much more forcefully, as Charlie Hebdo’s editors have increased their ties to the conservative UMP party in recent years.

This helps explain Dieudonné’s vast popularity among the youth, Muslim and immigrant communities, as reflected by the hundreds of Dieudonné supporters present at the Palais de Justice in Paris.

“Dieudonné is the same as Charlie Hebdo, except that Dieudonné attacks our society’s ‘untouchables’,” said Enzo Columba, 23, outside Dieudonné’s trial. “In France, you can attack the Blacks, the Arabs, the Muslims, but not the ‘untouchables’, and that’s why Dieudonné is treated differently by the media and the law,’” said Columba.

“He is so popular because he is like us: He is the son of immigrants, he grew up around Paris, and, like so many French youth, he is anti-Zionist,” added Columba.

France has not released updated arrest totals for “supporting terrorism speech” since January 20, when 117 arrests were acknowledged. People have been accused, tried, convicted and sentenced to multi-year prison terms in just 3 days, causing widespread accusations of “hysteria” and “witch-hunts”.

Among the convicted have been alcoholics, homeless people and the mentally ill. Critics contend that the wave of arrests is intended to have a “chilling effect” on all criticism of the government’s policies, as well as to intimidate the Muslim community.

“I’m here to support the liberty of expression, like we had in the past,” said Madame Lamarque, an interested citizen who also awaited the verdict outside the courtroom.

“I think we are losing this freedom, and I don’t understand why,” said Lamarque. “I do not think Dieudonné has been treated like other humorists.”

France made global news this week when an 8-year-old boy was interrogated for 30 minutes by police for allegedly making remarks supporting terrorism. Ahmed, whose last name has not been released, could not even explain what “terrorism” was, and his teachers and school principal have been sharply criticized for involving the police.

“The manner in which this was handled and became so overblown is totally unbelievable,” the head of the French Communist Party, Pierre Laurent, told Press TV.

“We cannot expose a child of 8 years to such a trauma,” said Laurent. “It’s the opposite of the mission of education: To care for and protect children, not to place them under the media’s glare and render them fodder for the public’s judgment.”

Ahmed is in the third grade in the southeastern city of Nice, an affluent region which is also a stronghold of the neo-fascist National Front party.

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 6 Comments

Israel Aerospace Industries: a company profile

By Tom Anderson | Corporate Watch | February 5, 2015

Israel Aerospace Industries is one of Israel’s biggest arms companies. Founded in 1953 as Bedek, IAI has long been at the forefront of Israel’s arms production and export. It also develops systems for commercial aircraft. In 2013, 73% of IAI’s sales revenues came from exports.

IAI and Israel’s drone wars

IAI was one of the earliest developers of drone technology and launched its first surveillance drone, the IAI Scout, in 1979. Since then the company has launched a number of drone models (see below). Drone development is handled by IAIs MALAT divisions. IAI describes its unmanned aerial systems as ‘combat proven’ and writes on its website of its drones’ “unsurpassed track record of over 1,200,000 operational flight hours for over 50 users on five continents”. According to Drone Wars UK, IAI has exported their UAVs, sometimes through joint venture agreements, to various European countries as well as South America, Australia, Canada and India and the company has a growing market in Africa.

IAI and Gaza

Most of IAI’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) are surveillance drones, but the Heron 1 and Heron TP both have strike capabilities and have been used in Gaza. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW),i the Heron can fly up to 40 hours and can carry four Spike missiles. It is also used for surveillance and to identify targets on the ground.

Drone Wars UKii reports that Israel was deploying armed Heron 1 drones during the Operation Summer Rains attack in Gaza in 2006.

The IAI Heron TP is Israel’s biggest drone, with a wing span of 26 metres. It was first used during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza during 2008-2009.iii When the Heron TP is marketed as ‘combat proven’ it means that it has been tried out on the people of Gaza with fatal consequences.

Attacks on Lebanon:

IAI’s Searcher and Scout drones were both used for surveillance in Israel’s attacks on Lebanon in the 1990s and early 2000s. It is believed that armed Heron drones were used in the assault on Lebanon in 2006iv

IAI and the US:v

During the first Gulf War, IAI Pioneer drones were used by the US navy to guide shells fired from battleships.


A ‘defence’ company which develops and produces a variety of products for both military and commercial markets in Israel and around the world, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter jets and naval and ground defence systems. In 2013, military equipment accounted for 73% of the company’s sales, with only 27% going to commercial

Traded on: TASE

Revenues/Assets/Sales: In 2013 the company reported an operating income of $84 million, the company recorded total assets of over $5 billion and net sales of over $3.5 billion – to view the company accounts click here.

Employees: 16,000


ELTA Systems Ltd (Israel)

ELTA North America (based in Maryland, US)

European Advanced Technology (EAT)



Head quarters: Ben Gurion International Airport, 70100, Israel. Phone: 00972-3-9353111 Email:

Representatives: The company has representatives around the world, including in Asia, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Korea, North America and Russia.

Ownership: IAI is fully owned by the Israeli state. It is the largest state owned defence and aerospace company in Israel.

Drones manufactured by IAIvii

IAI Scout, Bird Eye 400, Mini Panther, Mosquito 1, Mosquito 1.5, Panther, Harpy, Searcher I, I-View-150, Searcher II, Searcher III, B-Hunter, Heron 1 (Shoval), Heron TP (Eitan).

Countries IAI has exported to:viii

Angola, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United States, UK.


In 2011 a Palestinian civil society call demanded a two way embargo on arms sales to and from the Israeli state and Israeli companies.

In October 2014, activists from London Palestine Action occupied the London offices of Airbus over its involvement with IAI. The two companies are working together on the Harfang drone for the French Air Force. The Harfang drone is based on the IAI Heron.


The battlefields of Israel’s militarism and occupation have proved effective testing grounds for new types of weaponry. Israel’s constant state of warfare has ensured a reliable marketplace for Israeli arms manufacturers. According to Drone Wars UK, surveillance drones were first used in Egypt in the lead up to the Yom Kippur War. The first recorded use of an Israeli drone to help piloted warplanes bomb targets (target acquisition) was in 1982 in the run up to the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon. According to the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, the first recorded use of an armed drone by Israel was in 2004. The experience gleaned during years of military repression has made Israel the largest exporter of drone technology in the world. Israeli arms companies have sold drones to over 50 countries.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW): “the missile fired from a drone has its own cameras that allow the operator to observe the target from the moment of firing. The optics on both the drone and missiles include imaging infrared cameras that allow operators to see individuals at night as well as during the day. With these visual capabilities, drone operators should have been able to tell the difference between fighters and others directly participating in hostilities, who are legitimate targets, and civilians, who are immune from attack, and to hold fire if that determination could not be made. If a last-second doubt arises about a target, the drone operator can use the missile’s remote guidance system to divert the fired missile, steering the missile away from the target with a joystick.”

Despite this, the number of deaths (as a proportion of total deaths) caused by drone strikes has been increasing. During our 2013 visit to Gaza, Corporate Watch interviewed several survivors of Israeli drone attacks who had not involved in any fighting before they were targeted, many of those killed by drone attacks are children. The Gaza based Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights provided Corporate Watch with these shocking figures for the years 2000-2012:


Total recorded number of people killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza

Number of people killed by Israeli drones in Gaza (% of total)



0 (0%)



0 (0%)



0 (0%)



0 (0%)



2 (0.3%)



0 (0%)



91 (17%)



98 (34.9%)



172 (22.4%)



461 (43.6%)



19 (26.4%)



58 (51.8%)



201 (78.8%)


Israeli drone strikes are carried out from the Palmachin and Tel Nof air force bases.xxii

i Human Rights Watch (2009), Section 4

iiDrone Wars UK (2014), page 10

iiiT. Goldenburg, Huffington Post, Israel Unveils New Drone Fleet that can reach Iran (2010)

ivDrone Wars UK (2014), page 10

vDrone Wars UK (2014), page 7

viIAI –

viiDrone Wars UK (2014), page 7

viiiDrone Wars UK (2014), page 19

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukrainian parliament passes law allowing army deserters to be shot

RT | February 5, 2015

Ukraine’s parliament has passed a law which authorizes commanding officers to use physical force against army defectors. It comes as the latest military draft has seen a lack of enthusiasm on the part of potential soldiers.

Ukraine’s parliament voted on Thursday with 260 MPs in favor – only 226 votes were needed to pass the law. The new article 22(1) added to the charter regulating service in the armed forces of Ukraine states that commanders “have the right to personally use physical force, special means, and weapons when in combat” against soldiers who commit “criminal acts.”

Under criminal acts the law lists “disobedience, resistance or threat to use force against the commander, voluntary abandonment of military positions and certain locations of military units in areas of combat missions.”

An explanatory note to the document says that currently there are mass violations of military discipline, in particular, desertion from units and drinking alcohol, as well failure to execute commanders’ orders.

In late January, a new Ukrainian military draft for 2015 came into effect. This one is the fourth wave of mobilization since Kiev launched a military operation against militias in eastern Ukraine in April 2014.

It was expected to see 100,000 people joining the army in three stages throughout the year. However, the country’s Defense Ministry said on January 31 that nearly 7,500 Ukrainians are already facing criminal charges for evading military service.

The Ukrainian president’s adviser, Yury Biryukov, cited statistics, showing that desertion surprisingly was primarily a problem in western Ukraine, traditionally seen as a hotbed of anti-Russian sentiment.

The Ukrainian president went as far as signing a decree on additional measures to ensure a successful draft in 2015. A major provision is temporary restriction on leaving the country for men eligible for military service.

“The Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine parliament] has authorized the shooting of army deserters. By doing so they are risking shooting the whole army: people don’t want to participate in a bloody venture,” said the head of Russia’s Lower House of Parliament Committee for relations with the CIS bloc, Leonid Slutsky, on his Twitter.

Kiev began a military assault on eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions in April 2014, after they refused to recognize the country’s new, coup-imposed authorities. Following a period of calm and hopes that the Minsk negotiations conducted in September 2014 were bearing fruit, Kiev launched a new assault on the militia-held areas on January 18. Since then, eastern Ukraine has suffered constant shelling. Among the latest incidents, a hospital in Donetsk was hit on Wednesday. Local authorities said more than 15 people were feared dead in the attack. According to UN estimates, over 5,000 people have died since the conflict started.


Potential conscripts evade draft, flee country amid escalation in E. Ukraine

New military draft starts in Ukraine amid intensified assault on militia-held territories

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Venezuelan Bomb Plot’ a Figment of FBI’s–and US Media’s–Imagination

By Jim Naureckas | FAIR | February 2, 2015

All these headlines are wrong:

Ex-Los Alamos Scientist Gets 5 Years in Venezuelan Nuclear Bomb Plot
NBC News (1/28/15)

US Nuclear Scientist Who Offered to Help Venezuela Build Nuclear Bombs Gets 60 Months
Washington Post (1/29/15)

Ex-Los Alamos Scientist Heard Offering to Design Bomb Directed at NYC for Venezuela
CBS New York (1/28/15)

Ex-Los Alamos Scientist Accused of Offering to Make Venezuela a Nuclear Weapon to Be Sentenced
Minneapolis Star Tribune (1/28/15)

Scientist Sentenced After Offering to Build Nuclear Weapons for Venezuela, Bomb Targeting New York
Syracuse Post-Standard (1/28/15)

What’s wrong is that  there was no “Venezuelan nuclear bomb plot,” and the scientist in question, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, didn’t offer Venezuela anything. What Mascheroni was convicted of was telling undercover FBI agents, who were pretending to work for Venezuela, that he could give them nuclear weapons secrets. In real life, Venezuela had nothing to do with it.

The distinction is critical because accurate headlines would not leave casual readers with the impression that Venezuela was interested in getting a nuclear bomb, or in trying to nuke New York. From the point of view of the US government, no doubt, that misimpression is a feature and not a bug.

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments