43 Israeli Reserve Soldiers Stand Against IDF and SIGINT

[“A significant part of what the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] does is not the “title” [ie defence]. The “title” of what the IDF does in the occupied territories is ruling another people. One of the things you need to do is defend yourself from them, but you also need to oppress the population. You need to weaken the politics, you need to strengthen and deepen your control of Palestinian society so that the [Israeli] state can remain [there] in the long term … We realised that that’s the job of the intelligence.”: — from the interview with 3 of the “refuseniks”, in the 2nd article posted below. The unity of these “refuseniks” is a rejection of the colonial mission to control all aspects of Palestinian life.  They do not, as a group, object to other aspects of Israel and Israeli military policy and practice.  Nonetheless, their stance is noteworthy, though limited. — Frontlines ed.]

.2014/09/18

Jean Shaoul

Forty-three reserve soldiers and officers in Israel’s prestigious military intelligence gathering unit, Unit 8200, have refused to take any further part in the gathering of information on Palestinian society in the West Bank.
Their stand is the latest expression of the growing opposition within the armed forces to the ongoing repression of the Palestinian people.
Refusal to enlist was once considered unthinkable among Jewish Israeli youth other than among the ultra-orthodox, but now, as one young refusenik, Shaked Harari, explained, they “are not embarrassed that we are refusing. We believe that this declaration can make an ideological change, and it will not happen if we don’t stand behind it and we are not honest with it.”

Unit 8200 is under the control of the Israel Defence Force’s (IDF) Military Intelligence Directorate, whose role is similar to that of the National Security Agency in the United States. It collects signal intelligence (SIGINT), including eavesdropping on telephone calls, text messages, and emails. As the largest part of the IDF, the views expressed must therefore reflect a much wider layer than the number who actually signed the letter.
The unit has acquired an iconic status, in part because as a result of its technical expertise a number of 8200’s alumni have gone on to found or manage some of Israel’s high-tech start-up companies. Its operations are secret and subject to censorship, while the identities of its leading personnel are never revealed.
It is therefore all the more significant that it is the ethical and political character of the Unit’s work and above all its methods that have come to public attention. While a number of pilots, soldiers and officers from combat units faced with the daily task of humiliating and arresting Palestinians—and worse—have refused service, this is the first time that anyone in electronic surveillance has spoken up and refused to enlist.
Jewish Israeli men are required to carry out three years of military service from the age of 18 and then at least a month a year of reserve duty until the age of 40. They typically spend a few weeks each year in active duty. While women are also obliged to do military service, they are not required to serve in combat units, while their service and reservist duties are shorter.
The 43 signatories, collected over a year, to an open letter to Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, chiefs of the IDF and its SIGINT branch stressed that they believed that the information they collected was often used to exert control over innocent Palestinian civilians and to set West Bank residents against each other. At the same time it was an invasion of the privacy of the Palestinian, said the signatories. Continue reading

New York Police and Philippine National Police announce joint program “against terror and crime”

[Long ago, Phil Ochs wrote a satirical, anti-imperialist song, “We’re the Cops of the World,” and each day since has confirmed that ugly truth.  New efforts to re-tool Philippine forces to match the operational methods of US imperialist forces are part of similar global restructurings, especially with the previously announced renewed “pivot to Asia.”  See the articles from the Philippine Daily Inquirer,  ABS-CBN News/Phil Star — followed by the statement of the CP of the Philippines, below. — Frontlines ed.]

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NYPD deployed against Occupy movement

By

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) have joined forces in a memorandum of understanding to fight terrorism and transnational crimes.

PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome and NYPD’s Lt. Gustavo Rodriguez signed the Memorandum of Understanding in Camp Crame on Oct. 31.

“Mitigating transnational crime and combating terrorism is of utmost importance to the NYPD and we are proud to join forces with an agency that shares the same mission,” Rodriguez told reporters after the signing.

Bartolome said the PNP and NYPD would work together to mitigate transnational crimes “with emphasis on” illegal drugs, terrorism, smuggling, human trafficking, maritime fraud and cybercrime.

Bartolome said the MOU was about the “exchange of information” between the two police forces.

Philippine police deployed against farmers protest

“We have similar problems. It’s not just their problems or ours,” the PNP chief said.

Bartolome said the PNP had signed a similar MOU with the Australian Federal Police.

Rodriguez said the partnership would involve the collection of information on transnational crime and counter-terrorism that would be “disseminated back to New York City.” Continue reading

The Other Side of the COIN: Counterinsurgency and Community Policing

by Kristian Williams

The following discussion of U.S. domestic counterinsurgency is adapted and condensed with permission from “The Other Side of the COIN: Counterinsurgency and Community Policing” by Kristian Williams.  Williams is a member of Rose City Copwatch in Portland, Oregon, and the author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America (Soft Skull, 2004; South End Press, 2007)The full paper appeared in the May 2011 issue of Interface, and a full list of bibliographic sources can be found there.
The unrest of the 1960s left the police in a difficult position.  The cops’ response to the social movements of the day — the civil rights and anti-war movements especially — had cost them dearly in terms of public credibility, elite support, and officer morale.  Frequent and overt recourse to violence, combined with covert surveillance, infiltration, and disruption (typified by the FBI’s COINTELPRO operations), had not only failed to squelch the popular movements, it had also diminished trust in law enforcement.

The police needed to re-invent themselves, and the first place they looked for models was the military. Military training, tactics, equipment, and weaponry, made their way into domestic police departments — as did veterans returning from Vietnam, and, more subtly, military approaches to organization, deployment, and command and control.  Police strategists specifically began studying counterinsurgency warfare.

“Counterinsurgency” (or “COIN” is military jargon) refers to a kind of military operation outside of conventional army-vs.-army war-fighting, and is sometimes called “low-intensity” or “asymmetrical” combat.  But counterinsurgency also describes a particular perspective on how such operations ought to be managed.  This style of warfare is characterized by an emphasis on intelligence, security and peace-keeping operations, population control, propaganda, and efforts to gain the trust of the people. Continue reading