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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

IRISH SALUTE TO ALL THE BRAVE PALESTINIAN FALLEN




VICTORY TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE


"Self government is our right, a thing born to us at birth a thing no more to be doled out to us by another people then the right to life itself then the right to feel the sun or smell the flowers or to love our kind."
 Roger Casement

Israel agrees to open Gaza crossings, to allow humanitarian aid and construction material, according  to senior Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq, saying that three more Gaza crossings will be operational, in addition to the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings. He said that Gaza fishermen will be allowed, as far as 6 nautical miles, this would be increased gradually, until it is 12 nautical miles by the end of 2014.

Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip will be discussed at a conference in Egypt next month. The Palestinian national consensus government, will be in charge. The Hamas spokesperson added, that the ceasefire agreement was sponsored and will be monitored by Egypt only. More negotiations next month to discuss unresolved issues,  he said. Israeli, European and American restrictions to money transfers to Gaza for salaries for employees of the former Hamas-led government in Gaza are now cancelled. 

Abu Marzouq stated that Israel agreed, to stop targeted assassinations of resistance activists. With regard to the Rafah crossing, Egyptian and Palestinian officials would meet to discuss opening the crossing permanently. The Gaza buffer zone has also been removed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

IRISH BLOG BELFAST TELEGRAPH UP THE RA





BELFAST TELEGRAPH LINK

Ardoyne Fleadh: 'Irish rebel band' accused of making 'hate speech and glorifying IRA' at event

Monday, August 25, 2014

ISRAELI NUCLEAR ROGUE BULLY TERRORIST STATE THREATENS THE WORLD




Nuclear-Weapon States:
The nuclear-weapon states (NWS) are the five states—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States—officially recognized as possessing nuclear weapons by the NPT. Although the treaty legitimizes these states’ nuclear arsenals, it also establishes that they are not supposed to build and maintain such weapons in perpetuity. Article VI of the treaty holds that each state-party is to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” In 2000, the five NWS committed themselves to an “unequivocal undertaking…to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.” But for now, the five continue to retain the bulk of their nuclear forces. Because of the secretive nature with which most governments treat information about their nuclear arsenals, most of the figures below are best estimates of each nuclear-weapon state’s nuclear holdings, including both strategic warheads and lower-yield devices referred to as tactical weapons. Russia and the United States also retain thousands of retired warheads planned for dismantlement, not included here.
China: About 250 total warheads. 
France: Fewer than 300 operational warheads. 
Russia: Approximately 1,512 strategic warheads deployed on 498 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers [1]. The Federation of American Scientists estimates Russia has another 1,000 nondeployed strategic warheads and approximately 2,000 tactical nuclear warheads. Additional thousands are awaiting dismantlement.
United Kingdom: Fewer than 160 deployed strategic warheads, total stockpile of up to 225.
United States: 4,804 nuclear warheads as of September 2013 [2], including tactical, strategic, and nondeployed weapons. According to the latest official New START declaration, the United States has1,585 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 778 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers [1]. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that the United States' nondeployed strategic arsenal is approximately 2,800 warheads and the U.S. tactical nuclear arsenal numbers 500 warheads. Additional warheads are retired and await dismantlement.

Non-NPT Nuclear Weapons Possessors:
Three states—India, Israel, and Pakistan—never joined the NPT and are known to possess nuclear weapons. Claiming its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes, India first tested a nuclear explosive device in 1974. That test spurred Pakistan to ramp up work on its secret nuclear weapons program. India and Pakistan both publicly demonstrated their nuclear weapon capabilities with a round of tit-for-tat nuclear tests in May 1998. Israel has not publicly conducted a nuclear test, does not admit to or deny having nuclear weapons, and states that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Nevertheless, Israel is universally believed to possess nuclear arms. The following arsenal estimates are based on the amount of fissile material—highly enriched uranium and plutonium—that each of the states is estimated to have produced. Fissile material is the key element for making nuclear weapons. India and Israel are believed to use plutonium in their weapons, while Pakistan is thought to use highly enriched uranium.
India: Between 90-110 nuclear warheads.
Israel: Between 75 to 200 nuclear warheads.
Pakistan: Between 100 to 120 nuclear warheads.



The truth about Israel's secret nuclear arsenal

Israel has been stealing nuclear secrets and covertly making bombs since the 1950s. And western governments, including Britain and the US, turn a blind eye. But how can we expect Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions if the Israelis won't come clean?
Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona.
Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona. Photograph: Getty Images
Deep beneath desert sands, an embattled Middle Eastern state has built a covert nuclear bomb, using technology and materials provided by friendly powers or stolen by a clandestine network of agents. It is the stuff of pulp thrillers and the sort of narrative often used to characterise the worst fears about the Iranian nuclear programme. In reality, though, neither US nor British intelligence believe Tehran has decided to build a bomb, and Iran's atomic projects are under constant international monitoring.
The exotic tale of the bomb hidden in the desert is a true story, though. It's just one that applies to another country. In an extraordinary feat of subterfuge, Israel managed to assemble an entire underground nuclear arsenal – now estimated at 80 warheads, on a par with India and Pakistan – and even tested a bomb nearly half a century ago, with a minimum of international outcry or even much public awareness of what it was doing.
Despite the fact that the Israel's nuclear programme has been an open secret since a disgruntled technician, Mordechai Vanunu, blew the whistle on it in 1986, the official Israeli position is still never to confirm or deny its existence.
When the former speaker of the Knesset, Avraham Burg, broke the taboo last month, declaring Israeli possession of both nuclear and chemical weapons and describing the official non-disclosure policy as "outdated and childish" a rightwing group formally called for a police investigation for treason.
Meanwhile, western governments have played along with the policy of "opacity" by avoiding all mention of the issue. In 2009, when a veteran Washington reporter, Helen Thomas, asked Barack Obama in the first month of his presidency if he knew of any country in the Middle East withnuclear weapons, he dodged the trapdoor by saying only that he did not wish to "speculate".
UK governments have generally followed suit. Asked in the House of Lords in November about Israeli nuclear weapons, Baroness Warsianswered tangentially. "Israel has not declared a nuclear weapons programme. We have regular discussions with the government of Israel on a range of nuclear-related issues," the minister said. "The government of Israel is in no doubt as to our views. We encourage Israel to become a state party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]."
But through the cracks in this stone wall, more and more details continue to emerge of how Israel built its nuclear weapons from smuggled parts and pilfered technology.
The tale serves as a historical counterpoint to today's drawn-out struggle over Iran's nuclear ambitions. The parallels are not exact – Israel, unlike Iran, never signed up to the 1968 NPT so could not violate it. But it almost certainly broke a treaty banning nuclear tests, as well as countless national and international laws restricting the traffic in nuclear materials and technology.
The list of nations that secretly sold Israel the material and expertise to make nuclear warheads, or who turned a blind eye to its theft, include today's staunchest campaigners against proliferation: the US, France, Germany, Britain and even Norway.
Whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. Whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. Photograph: AP
Meanwhile, Israeli agents charged with buying fissile material and state-of-the-art technology found their way into some of the most sensitive industrial establishments in the world. This daring and remarkably successful spy ring, known as Lakam, the Hebrew acronym for the innocuous-sounding Science Liaison Bureau, included such colourful figures as Arnon Milchan, a billionaire Hollywood producer behind such hits as Pretty Woman, LA Confidential and 12 Years a Slave, who finally admitted his role last month.
"Do you know what it's like to be a twentysomething-year-old kid [and] his country lets him be James Bond? Wow! The action! That was exciting," he said in an Israeli documentary.
Milchan's life story is colourful, and unlikely enough to be the subject of one of the blockbusters he bankrolls. In the documentary, Robert de Niro recalls discussing Milchan's role in the illicit purchase of nuclear-warhead triggers. "At some point I was asking something about that, being friends, but not in an accusatory way. I just wanted to know," De Niro says. "And he said: yeah I did that. Israel's my country."
Milchan was not shy about using Hollywood connections to help his shadowy second career. At one point, he admits in the documentary, he used the lure of a visit to actor Richard Dreyfuss's home to get a top US nuclear scientist, Arthur Biehl, to join the board of one of his companies.
According to Milchan's biography, by Israeli journalists Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman, he was recruited in 1965 by Israel's current president, Shimon Peres, who he met in a Tel Aviv nightclub (called Mandy's, named after the hostess and owner's wife Mandy Rice-Davies, freshly notorious for her role in the Profumo sex scandal). Milchan, who then ran the family fertiliser company, never looked back, playing a central role in Israel's clandestine acquisition programme.
He was responsible for securing vital uranium-enrichment technology, photographing centrifuge blueprints that a German executive had been bribed into temporarily "mislaying" in his kitchen. The same blueprints, belonging to the European uranium enrichment consortium, Urenco, were stolen a second time by a Pakistani employee, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who used them to found his country's enrichment programme and to set up a global nuclear smuggling business, selling the design to Libya, North Korea and Iran.
For that reason, Israel's centrifuges are near-identical to Iran's, a convergence that allowed Israeli to try out a computer worm, codenamed Stuxnet, on its own centrifuges before unleashing it on Iran in 2010.
Arguably, Lakam's exploits were even more daring than Khan's. In 1968, it organised the disappearance of an entire freighter full of uranium ore in the middle of the Mediterranean. In what became known as the Plumbat affair, the Israelis used a web of front companies to buy a consignment of uranium oxide, known as yellowcake, in Antwerp. The yellowcake was concealed in drums labelled "plumbat", a lead derivative, and loaded onto a freighter leased by a phony Liberian company. The sale was camouflaged as a transaction between German and Italian companies with help from German officials, reportedly in return for an Israeli offer to help the Germans with centrifuge technology.
When the ship, the Scheersberg A, docked in Rotterdam, the entire crew was dismissed on the pretext that the vessel had been sold and an Israeli crew took their place. The ship sailed into the Mediterranean where, under Israeli naval guard, the cargo was transferred to another vessel.
US and British documents declassified last year also revealed a previously unknown Israeli purchase of about 100 tons of yellowcake from Argentina in 1963 or 1964, without the safeguards typically used in nuclear transactions to prevent the material being used in weapons.
Israel had few qualms about proliferating nuclear weapons knowhow and materials, giving South Africa's apartheid regime help in developing its own bomb in the 1970s in return for 600 tons of yellowcake.
Pictures of the secret Dimona nuclear reactor in Israel, showing where the plant has allegedly been Pictures of the secret Dimona nuclear reactor in Israel, showing where the plant has allegedly been camouflaged. Photograph: space imaging
Israel's nuclear reactor also required deuterium oxide, also known as heavy water, to moderate the fissile reaction. For that, Israel turned to Norway and Britain. In 1959, Israel managed to buy 20 tons of heavy water that Norway had sold to the UK but was surplus to requirements for the British nuclear programme. Both governments were suspicious that the material would be used to make weapons, but decided to look the other way. In documents seen by the BBC in 2005 British officials argued it would be "over-zealous" to impose safeguards. For its part, Norway carried out only one inspection visit, in 1961.
Israel's nuclear-weapons project could never have got off the ground, though, without an enormous contribution from France. The country that took the toughest line on counter-proliferation when it came to Iran helped lay the foundations of Israel's nuclear weapons programme, driven by by a sense of guilt over letting Israel down in the 1956 Suez conflict, sympathy from French-Jewish scientists, intelligence-sharing over Algeria and a drive to sell French expertise and abroad.
"There was a tendency to try to export and there was a general feeling of support for Israel," Andre Finkelstein, a former deputy commissioner at France's Atomic Energy Commissariat and deputy director general at the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Avner Cohen, an Israeli-American nuclear historian.
France's first reactor went critical as early as 1948 but the decision to build nuclear weapons seems to have been taken in 1954, after Pierre Mendès France made his first trip to Washington as president of the council of ministers of the chaotic Fourth Republic. On the way back he told an aide: "It's exactly like a meeting of gangsters. Everyone is putting his gun on the table, if you have no gun you are nobody. So we must have a nuclear programme."
Mendès France gave the order to start building bombs in December 1954. And as it built its arsenal, Paris solds material assistance to other aspiring weapons states, not just Israel.
"[T]his went on for many, many years until we did some stupid exports, including Iraq and the reprocessing plant in Pakistan, which was crazy," Finkelstein recalled in an interview that can now be read in a collection of Cohen's papers at the Wilson Centre thinktank in Washington. "We have been the most irresponsible country on nonproliferation."
In Dimona, French engineers poured in to help build Israel a nuclear reactor and a far more secret reprocessing plant capable of separating plutonium from spent reactor fuel. This was the real giveaway that Israel's nuclear programme was aimed at producing weapons.
By the end of the 50s, there were 2,500 French citizens living in Dimona, transforming it from a village to a cosmopolitan town, complete with French lycées and streets full of Renaults, and yet the whole endeavour was conducted under a thick veil of secrecy. The American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in his book The Samson Option: "French workers at Dimona were forbidden to write directly to relatives and friends in France and elsewhere, but sent mail to a phony post-office box in Latin America."
The British were kept out of the loop, being told at different times that the huge construction site was a desert grasslands research institute and a manganese processing plant. The Americans, also kept in the dark by both Israel and France, flew U2 spy planes over Dimona in an attempt to find out what they were up to.
The Israelis admitted to having a reactor but insisted it was for entirely peaceful purposes. The spent fuel was sent to France for reprocessing, they claimed, even providing film footage of it being supposedly being loaded onto French freighters. Throughout the 60s it flatly denied the existence of the underground reprocessing plant in Dimona that was churning out plutonium for bombs.
Producer Arnon Milchan with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Mr and Mrs Smith.Producer Arnon Milchan with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Mr and Mrs Smith. Photograph: L Cohen
Israel refused to countenance visits by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), so in the early 1960s President Kennedy demanded they accept American inspectors. US physicists were dispatched to Dimona but were given the run-around from the start. Visits were never twice-yearly as had been agreed with Kennedy and were subject to repeated postponements. The US physicists sent to Dimona were not allowed to bring their own equipment or collect samples. The lead American inspector, Floyd Culler, an expert on plutonium extraction, noted in his reports that there were newly plastered and painted walls in one of the buildings. It turned out that before each American visit, the Israelis had built false walls around the row of lifts that descended six levels to the subterranean reprocessing plant.
As more and more evidence of Israel's weapons programme emerged, the US role progressed from unwitting dupe to reluctant accomplice. In 1968 the CIA director Richard Helms told President Johnson that Israel had indeed managed to build nuclear weapons and that its air force had conducted sorties to practise dropping them.
The timing could not have been worse. The NPT, intended to prevent too many nuclear genies from escaping from their bottles, had just been drawn up and if news broke that one of the supposedly non-nuclear-weapons states had secretly made its own bomb, it would have become a dead letter that many countries, especially Arab states, would refuse to sign.
The Johnson White House decided to say nothing, and the decision was formalised at a 1969 meeting between Richard Nixon and Golda Meir, at which the US president agreed to not to pressure Israel into signing the NPT, while the Israeli prime minister agreed her country would not be the first to "introduce" nuclear weapons into the Middle East and not do anything to make their existence public.
In fact, US involvement went deeper than mere silence. At a meeting in 1976 that has only recently become public knowledge, the CIA deputy director Carl Duckett informed a dozen officials from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the agency suspected some of the fissile fuel in Israel's bombs was weapons-grade uranium stolen under America's nose from a processing plant in Pennsylvania.
Not only was an alarming amount of fissile material going missing at the company, Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (Numec), but it had been visited by a veritable who's-who of Israeli intelligence, including Rafael Eitan, described by the firm as an Israeli defence ministry "chemist", but, in fact, a top Mossad operative who went on to head Lakam.
"It was a shock. Everyody was open-mouthed," recalls Victor Gilinsky, who was one of the American nuclear officials briefed by Duckett. "It was one of the most glaring cases of diverted nuclear material but the consequences appeared so awful for the people involved and for the US than nobody really wanted to find out what was going on."
The investigation was shelved and no charges were made.
A few years later, on 22 September 1979, a US satellite, Vela 6911, detected the double-flash typical of a nuclear weapon test off the coast of South Africa. Leonard Weiss, a mathematician and an expert on nuclear proliferation, was working as a Senate advisor at the time and after being briefed on the incident by US intelligence agencies and the country's nuclear weapons laboratories, he became convinced a nuclear test, in contravention to the Limited Test Ban Treaty, had taken place.
It was only after both the Carter and then the Reagan administrations attempted to gag him on the incident and tried to whitewash it with an unconvincing panel of enquiry, that it dawned on Weiss that it was the Israelis, rather than the South Africans, who had carried out the detonation.
"I was told it would create a very serious foreign policy issue for the US, if I said it was a test. Someone had let something off that US didn't want anyone to know about," says Weiss.
Israeli sources told Hersh the flash picked up by the Vela satellite was actually the third of a series of Indian Ocean nuclear tests that Israel conducted in cooperation with South Africa.
"It was a fuck-up," one source told him. "There was a storm and we figured it would block Vela, but there was a gap in the weather – a window – and Vela got blinded by the flash."
The US policy of silence continues to this day, even though Israel appears to be continuing to trade on the nuclear black market, albeit at much reduced volumes. In a paper on the illegal trade in nuclear material and technology published in October, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) noted: "Under US pressure in the 1980s and early 1990s, Israel … decided to largely stop its illicit procurement for its nuclear weapons programme. Today, there is evidence that Israel may still make occasional illicit procurements – US sting operations and legal cases show this."
Avner Cohen, the author of two books on Israel's bomb, said that policy of opacity in both Israel and in Washington is kept in place now largely by inertia. "At the political level, no one wants to deal with it for fear of opening a Pandora's box. It has in many ways become a burden for the US, but people in Washington, all the way up to Obama will not touch it, because of the fear it could compromise the very basis of the Israeli-US understanding."
In the Arab world and beyond, there is growing impatience with the skewed nuclear status quo. Egypt in particular has threatened to walk out of the NPT unless there is progress towards creating a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. The western powers promised to stage a conference on the proposal in 2012 but it was called off, largely at America's behest, to reduce the pressure on Israel to attend and declare its nuclear arsenal.
"Somehow the kabuki goes on," Weiss says. "If it is admitted Israel has nuclear weapons at least you can have an honest discussion. It seems to me it's very difficult to get a resolution of the Iran issue without being honest about that."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

IRISH TIMES Israel’s Dahiya Doctrine





The scale and nature of the Israeli assault on Gaza – destroying every piece of basic infrastructure available and predictably inflicting civilian deaths on a grand scale – has resulted not from extreme belligerence towards Palestinians but from a settled strategy Israeli leaders hope will soon be adopted (insofar as it has not been adopted already) by western powers in prosecution of the “war on terror”. On this reading, the repeated massacres cannot be put down to soldiers and air crews following irresponsible orders (or being the worst shots in the world). The devastation is coldly deliberate.
The assault is an expression of the Dahiya doctrine. The title refers to the Dahiya neighbourhood of Beirut, devastated in August 2006 in retaliation for the failure of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to defeat Hizbullah in clashes in southern Lebanon during which large numbers of civilians were either directly killed by bombs or crushed as they huddled in the rubble of their homes.
In October 2006 the head of Israel’s northern command, Maj Gen Udi Adam, resigned, taking responsibility for the failure. He was replaced by Gadi Eizenkot, previously military secretary to the office of the prime minister, subsequently deputy chief of the general staff.

More ruthlessness

What was needed was more ruthlessness, Eizenkot declared. Time to take the gloves off. “What happened in the Dahiya district will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on . . . We will apply disproportionate force and cause great damage and destruction. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.”
The author of the IDF’s code of conduct, professor of practical ethics at Tel Aviv University, Asa Kasher, incorporated the Dahiya doctrine into his rules of battle. The fact that the IDF employs an embedded ethicist is one of the bases for the regular claims of Israeli spokespersons that Israel’s is “the most moral army in the world”.
Kasher argues from social contract theory that the state has an imperative duty to protect its citizens, including soldiers in battle, and that this extends to killing the neighbours of enemy combatants.
Kasher fancied that the doctrine might prove popular with other powers. “We in Israel are in a key position in the development of law in this field because we are on the front line in the fight against terrorism. This is gradually being recognised both in the Israeli legal system and abroad . . . I am optimistic enough to assume that the world will soon acknowledge Israel’s lead . . . My hope is that our doctrine . . . will be incorporated into customary international law.”

Reckless disregard for civilian life

The doctrine provides a theoretical basis, retrospectively and in the present, for the Israeli practice of deploying massive force and showing reckless disregard for civilian life in response to attacks which it may itself have provoked or in efforts to secure the release of kidnapped citizens or captured soldiers. In this context, all inhabitants of Gaza and indeed the entity itself can be – and have been – declared legitimate targets.
Thus, a threat to the lives of Israelis, civilian or military, from Hamas rockets – albeit fired in response to Israel’s abandonment of a non-aggression pact Hamas had faithfully maintained for more than a year – is enough to justify all-out war. To say this is not to defend Hamas’s use of a tactic that makes civilian casualties – to put it no higher – fairly likely.
The spirit of the doctrine infused the text of the advertisement published in theGuardian on August 4th, headed “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago . . . now it’s Hamas’s turn”.
The bluntness of the statement apparently offended many readers of the paper. But it was no more than a restatement of the defence of the mass killing of children which was being offered day in and day out by various Israeli spokespersons.
The actions were intended to defend Israeli citizens from Hamas attacks: the way to stop the killing of Palestinian children, then, was for Hamas to desist. Or to put it another way – surrender or we’ll keep on killing your kids. The sentiment was exactly in line with Eizenkot’s precepts.

Arm’s-length negotiations

Thus, too, the insistence of the Israeli side at the arm’s-length negotiations in Cairo on the demilitarisation of Gaza – disarmament of Hamas – as a precondition for even an interim solution of the conflict. This precondition on its own ensures the failure of the talks. But then, for Israel, the talks are not the thing. The annihilation of any who threaten its citizens is the thing that matters.
It would, of course, be simplistic to try to compress every Israeli action and attitude into the pattern of the Dahiya doctrine. But it would be worse than simplistic, it would be an evasion of the facts of the matter, to try to analyse or understand Israel’s behaviour without reference to the doctrine.