Monday, May 19, 2008

Supping With the Devil

Hello, Kafka. The following quotations speak for themselves:-

"Discussions of Israel's military trade usually focus on the flow of weapons into the country - US-made Caterpillar bulldozers used to destroy homes in the West Bank, and Britain supplying parts for F-16s. Overlooked is Israel's huge and expanding export business. Israel now sends $1.2bn in 'defence' products to the US - up dramatically from $270m in 1999. In 2006, Israel exported $3.4bn in defence products - well over a billion more than it received in American military aid. That makes Israel the fourth largest arms dealer in the world, overtaking Britain." (How war was turned into a brand: Political chaos means Israel is booming like it's 1999 - and the boom is in defence exports field-tested on Palestinians, Naomi Klein, The Guardian, 16/6/07)

"[Senator Helen Coonan] also pointed to potential long-term collaboration between [Australia & Israel], saying 'there are some synergies between Australia and Israel in the security sector'. And a number of Israeli ICT companies are already active investors in these areas in Australia, she added." (Despite threats, Israel is a 'land of innovation' - Coonan, The Australian Jewish News, 17/11/06)

"Another troubled defence project, a $145m unmanned aerial vehicle contract with the army has been placed on a 'projects of concern' list. The contract was signed in... 2005 by then defence minister Robert Hill and provides for the supply of 8 Israeli-made 1-View tactical UAVs. But 2 years behind schedule it now joins a list of 9 delayed defence projects worth billions of dollars... 'We're very worried about this', Defence Procurement Secretary Greg Combet said yesterday. 'It's important we get these UAV capabilities out in the field where they're being utilised in Afghanistan'." (Spy plane joins list of troubled projects, The Australian, 17/5/08)

"Each targeted assassination is a large-scale operation that integrates hundreds of specialists from different military branches and security apparatuses. Beyond its reliance on background intelligence, targeted assassination depends on sharing real-time information between various agents, commanders, operators and different military planes, and their ability to act upon it. After a Palestinian is put on the death list he is followed, sometimes for weeks, by a 'swarm' of various unmanned aircraft. Often, different swarms would follow different people simultaneously in different areas of the Gaza Strip. In this way, the security services establish the targeted person's daily routines and habits, and maintain continuous visual contact with him until his killing. As well as being cheaper to operate, unmanned drones have the advantage over manned planes or helicopters in that they can remain in the air around the clock, some for as long as 30 hours, and because their formations circulate in relatively small areas while providing a multiplicity of angles of vision. Moreover, drones are quiet and barely visible to the human eye. This is the reason why, from 2004, the Air Force started to shoot its missiles from drones rather than from its more visible attack helicopters or jets. A swarm of various types of drones, each circulating at a different altitude, up to 30,000 feet, is navigated by a GPS system and woven by radio communication into a single synergetic reconnaissance and killing instrument that conducts the entire assassination operation. Some drones are designed to view the terrain vertically downwards in order to establish the digital coordinates of a targeted person, while others look diagonally, in order to distinguish facial features or identify a vehicle's licence plates. Some drones are designed to intercept radio signals and mobile phones, others can carry and shoot missiles. With the development and proliferation of drone technology, there remains, as Shimon Naveh put it, 'very few Israeli soldiers in the airspace over Gaza... the air is mainly filled with Golems... an army without soldiers'. Although until 2004, military jets and helicopters carried out the assassinations, they are now largely used to divert attention from the real area of operations by flying over other parts of the Gaza Strip when the assassinations take place." (Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation, Eyal Weizman, p 241-242)

No comments: