Israel supplies 10,000 assault rifles to India for Operation Green Hunt

Israeli-made Tavor assault rifle

Times of India,  October 1, 2010

Israeli arms give CRPF the edge in Jangalmahal

KOLKATA: The Army’s special forces were the first to receive them. It was then the turn of security personnel in J&K. Finally, CRPF personnel [Central Reserve Police Force paramilitary force] operating in Maoist-infested Lalgarh have got access to sophisticated weapons imported from Israel.

Senior officials believe that the 5.56mm Tavor guns, manufactured by Israel Weapon Industries Ltd (IWI), will give their men that much-needed edge over the guerrillas who use the terrain to their advantage. The INSAS, AK-47 or 7.62 mm SLR used by the CRPF till now have not proved to be too effective in close quarter battles (CQB). Indian ordnance factories have been trying to come up with an effective solution, but their latest products have not yet cleared field trials by the armed forces.

In 2009, Union home minister P Chidambaram cleared the procurement of 10,147 assault rifles from IWI in a `144-crore deal. The defence ministry had also imported similar weapons for use by its special forces.

“The INSAS is a good weapon for an infantry soldier. However, it is too cumbersome for personnel involved in counter-insurgency operations. The AK-47s are easier to carry, but are not accurate enough. The weapons imported from Israel are not only accurate and lightweight, they also have a rate of fire to match the AK-47s. They are ideally suited for the CQB environment when personnel have only a spilt second to react,” an official said. Continue reading

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine quits PLO meetings to protest peace talks with Israel

Armed members of PFLP lead march in Jenin, 2010-09-26

DAMASCUS/RAMALLAH, Sept. 26 — The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) suspended its participation in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) meetings on Sunday to protest direct peace talks with Israel.

“PFLP refuses to work as a cover for the Palestinian National Authority’s (PNA) policy,” Maher al-Taher, leader of the Damascus- based PFLP, said during a sit-in in support of the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails.  The decision of suspending participation in the PLO meetings is a response to the resumption of direct peace talks with Israel, Taher said.

The U.S.-brokered talks started on Sept. 2 are “concessions, especially as the negotiations were imposed as an alternative to the reference of the United Nations and its resolutions,” Khaleda Jarar, a senior PFLP leader, said in a press conference in Ramallah, following a meeting of the PFLP’s Central Committee.

The PFLP is the second largest member of the PLO after the PNA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.

The peace talks which are not aimed at protecting the Palestinian refugees’ right to return will actually serve the interests of the United States and Israel, Taher said. Continue reading

Ludhiana, Punjab: Workers from over 50 power loom factories on strike

Power loom factory in Tamil Nadu, September 28, 2010

Decisive strike at labour office on September 27 : Strike to be carried on till demands are met

Reaching no conclusion after eleven days of strike in more than fifty power loom factories of Ludhiana’s Gaushala, Kashmir Nagar and Madhopuri areas the workers in the leadership of Karkhana Mazdoor Union organised a big meeting in front of Vardhman Mill yesterday which was attended by more than a thousand workers of different areas. It was decided in the meeting that a strike shall be called at the labour office today (September 27) which shall not be called off until the demands of the workers are met even if the strikers have to spend the night at the labour office.

Rajwinder, President Karkhana Mazdoor Union, said that the immorality of the labour office has reached its limit and they have no regard for their constituinal duties. The workers have been protesting for the last 11 days and their demands are very little and legitimate. There has been no significant increase in their wages for past 10-12 years while cost of living has gone up many times. The profits earned by owners at the expense of the workers have been soaring high but they are not willing to give a penny to the toiling workers. The workers live like slaves in this independent country whose rulers take great pride in calling it the biggest democracy of the world.

While the owners only care for their profits the labour office is even less concerned about the condition of the workers. The labour officers shamelessly take the side of owners in every dispute between the owners and the workers. Rajwinder brought out the contrasting fact that the representatives of the people (Members of Parliament) recently voted to increase their salary by more than 300 per cent but they do not wish to give the majority of people living in wretched conditions even a rupee more. He said that enough was enough and the workers were not ready to tolerate it any more. They will not relent until their demands are fulfilled.

The meeting in front the Vardhman Mill today was attended by representatives of Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Moulder and Steel Worker’s Union, Lok Ekta Sangthan, Mazdoor Chetana Manch, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), D.I.F., D.T.F., AITUC and INTUC and they promised to provide every support to the strike of the power loom workers of Gaushala, Kashmir Nagar and Madhopuri areas of Ludhiana and announced their participation in the strike to be held today at the labour office. Rajwinder said that now no factory owner has the courage to suppress the striking workers any more.

Released by Lakhwinder, Mobile: 096461 50249
  Secretary, Karkhana Mazdoor Union

US Role in Philippine Counter-insurgency Operations

Nuns lead march against US troops in the Philippines


September 26, 2010

In a speech during a Peace and Security forum held at the Mandarin Hotel last April 22, 2010, then presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III outlined his National Security Policy, which he said focuses on four key elements:

Governance – “The government must be present and accountable to its citizens especially those living in the poorest and most remote areas.”

(An effective political strategy focuses on strengthening the government’s capability and capacity to respond—and be seen to be responding—to the needs of its people.)

Delivery of basic services – “To alleviate the plight of innocent civilians caught in the conflict, we must renew government programs that build access roads, school buildings for basic and adult education, provide potable water and sanitation facilities, basic health care, electricity, assist in shelter reconstruction, and provide temporary livelihood interventions.”

Economic Reconstruction and Sustainable Development – the national government, in partnership with international donor organizations, must assist the new ARMM regional government in building a capable bureaucracy with streamlined and transparent procedures to increase the region’s absorptive capacity for development projects that will come its way. Continue reading

Maoists appeal to Naga troops to defy orders in West Bengal

Nagaland Indian Reserve Battalion in transit

Hindustan Times, September 29, 2010

A top Maoist leader on Wednesday appealed to Naga troopers of the Indian Reserve Battalion [from the northeast state of Nagaland] to defy orders and not take part in the ongoing security operations against the ultra left rebels in West Bengal’s Junglemahal region.

In an open letter to troopers of the Nagaland Indian Reserve Battalion – who are on duty in the mountainous terrain of Purulia district to fight the ultras, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) politburo member Kisanji asked them to “revolt against the orders to battle against the people, desist from pumping bullets into the bodies of your brothers and sisters and defy all orders to dispatch you from one place to another at the diktat and whims of superiors to kill people and get killed”.

“The government considers you as ambush expert Nagas who can easily kill and get killed in the battle zone of the Ayodhya Hills of Purulia district,” Kisanji observed.

Two companies of NIRB troopers were deployed in the Ayodhya Hills of Purulia district recently to flush out the ultra left rebels from the area as part of the anti-Maoists operations launched June 2009 in Junglemahal (forested Maoist-affected areas of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura).

The Ground Zeros in Beirut–and a New Synagogue

Israeli bombing of Beirut, 2006

The Ground Zero Synagogue–Lebanon Becoming More American than America

“There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.”— Newt Gingrich

Has Lebanon officially become more tolerant and progressive than the United States?

Let’s talk about Lebanon’s Ground Zero and you can decide for yourself.  One must first understand what “Ground Zero” means to most Lebanese.

In a country with about the same land mass as Los Angeles County which has been at war off and on for nearly four decades, “Ground Zero” for the Lebanese is arguably their entire country—and at the center of their Ground Zero is downtown Beirut, captured and occupied by the Israeli Defense Force in 1982 and which was almost entirely reduced to rubble from Muslim West Beirut to Christian East Beirut, and all points in between.

Israeli bombing of Beirut, 1982

Once upon a time not too long ago, there was scarcely a building left standing or unscarred by shrapnel in all of Beirut.  I know, because I was in Beirut in 1991, and witnessed first hand a city once described as “the Paris of  the Middle East” reduced to ruins, pock marked with unexploded munitions and a haphazard “network” of open sewers. Continue reading

The Food Crisis is Not about a Shortage of Food

The face of hunger and malnutrition in India.

Jim Goodman

29 September, 2010,

The food crisis of 2008 never really ended, it was ignored and forgotten. The rich and powerful are well fed; they had no food crisis, no shortage, so in the West, it was little more than a short lived sound bite, tragic but forgettable. To the poor in the developing world, whose ability to afford food is no better now than in 2008, the hunger continues.

Hunger can have many contributing factors; natural disaster, discrimination, war, poor infrastructure. So why, regardless of the situation, is high tech agriculture always assumed to be the only the solution? This premise is put forward and supported by those who would benefit financially if their “solution” were implemented. Corporations peddle their high technology genetically engineered seed and chemical packages, their genetically altered animals, always with the “promise” of feeding the world.

Politicians and philanthropists, who may mean well, jump on the high technology band wagon. Could the promise of financial support or investment return fuel their apparent compassion?

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) an initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation supposedly works to achieve a food secure and prosperous Africa. While these sentiments and goals may be philanthropy at its best, some of the coalition partners have a different agenda. Continue reading