The shameful political, economic, & military nexus between India & Israel

Kashmiri protest over Bhat murder (Dar Yasin:AP) Jan 22 2016

Kashmir, the other Intifada: without identification, it would be impossible to distinguish this photo of Kashmiri opposition to Indian military occupation from one of Palestinian opposition to the Israeli occupation. These youth are protesting today in Srinagar against the murders of 20-year-old Shariq Ahmad Bhat & 25-year-old Parvez Ahmad Guroo on Wednesday & Indian police are firing tear gas & rubber bullets to disperse them.

There is a political, economic, & military nexus between India & Israel that inextricably links the struggles for self-determination of Palestinians & Kashmiris. In 2014, bilateral trade between the two countries, excluding military sales, stood at almost US $5 billion, including $45 million in blood diamonds from Israel. (The breakdown is exports from India to Israel: $2,241 billion & exports from Israel to India: $2,286 plus the $45 million in diamonds.)

Since the 1980s Israel has been one of the world’s top arms producers & exporters with an estimated $7.47 billion a year in sales. Israel shrouds these transactions in secrecy but it has for decades operated as a US proxy in armament deals to oppressive regimes like Guatemala & Colombia, & conducts freelance profiteering in countries like apartheid South Africa & Iran under the Shah. Military links between India & Israel have grown exponentially since Modi took power in May 2014. The current 41 billion rupees (US $659 million) of Israeli arms sales to India is more than Israel’s total military exports to India for the three years before Modi took power.

Arms deals don’t mean just guns & bullets. India has billions of dollars & rupees in deals with Israel for counterinsurgency training services; assault & sniper rifles with ammunition; night vision devices; laser location & targeting equipment; drones; laser-guided bombs; high-tech surveillance equipment; anti-tank guided missiles & launchers; aircraft, cruise, & sea-to-sea missiles; border monitoring equipment; artillery radars; fast attack naval craft. You name it; Israel sells it to India. And India uses most of it against Kashmiris to maintain its force of 700,000 soldiers, paramilitary forces, & counterinsurgency thugs.

Israel’s counterinsurgency training services to India go back over a decade. It has trained thousands of Indian commandos in the brutal methods used against Kashmiris & others in India because Israel was founded by death squad battalions & has perfected its brutalities on the bodies of Palestinians.

Both India & Israel are central to US geopolitical designs & the nexus between them includes the Obama regime & the Pentagon which have brokered military contracts worth billions with both countries.

Incorporating Kashmiri solidarity into Palestinian solidarity does not weaken either but strengthens both & helps expose the roles played by India, Israel, & the US in violently opposing democracy around the world.

(Photo by Dar Yasin/AP)

Michael Douglas joins Israel’s propaganda campaign against BDS

Michael Douglas

As an illustration of how Israel uses culture & celebrities to legitimize colonialism, they’ve enlisted the actor Michael Douglas to join Natan Sharansky for a speaking tour of US campuses to address “heightened anti-Israel activity on campus” & to talk about Israel & the Jewish people “at a time when certain individuals & groups in the academic community as well as other forces are making sustained efforts to delegitimize Israel.” Do you think they might mean Palestinians & BDS? Golly it sure sounds like it.

The tour is sponsored by the Genesis Prize Foundation, the Jewish Agency for Israel, & Hillel International. Genesis is a prize founded in 2012 by Netanyahu’s office to promote “Jewish values.” Since it comes from Netanyahu there’s some confusion about whether genocide is included as one of those values or not. Douglas got it last year but no one is sure why since he only became Jewish again a few years ago after he nearly croaked.

Sharansky heads up the Jewish Agency for Israel which is the main Israeli agency to promote “aliyah,” the immigration to & colonialism of Palestine. He’s the guy responsible for recruiting & moving in settlers to take over Palestinian lands. He’s actually Russian & a real rightwing piece of work. It may not be Israel’s best idea to send him out on the trail for PR.

The tour begins at Brown University on Jan. 28, Stanford University on Feb. 2 & the University of California at Santa Barbara on Feb. 3. People might want to bring BDS banners to the events–since certain individuals & groups in the artistic community as well as other forces are trying to legitimize colonialism.

(Photo is from flickr)

Media coverage of Indian occupation of Kashmir moves from blackout to grayout

There is increasing media coverage of the Kashmiri struggle against Indian military occupation. It’s not an avalanche nor certainly hard-hitting investigative reports but a trickle of the kind of dishonest, tripe coverage we’re accustomed to about Palestinians.

It’s isn’t a matter of something being better than nothing since half-assed reporting trivializes conflicts & tunes readers out to understanding them since there’s ‘no there there’ to the news. But the internet does make it possible for us to take a snatch of information or a photo & do our own investigations. Social media makes it possible to interrogate participants & confirm things.

It isn’t that we want to know about all the human suffering in the world but that knowing what’s happening to our brothers & sisters means we can build bonds of understanding, respect, & solidarity.

Oceans are becoming plastic waste dumps

Plastic waste Jan 21 2016

According to a report released by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the ocean is expected to contain more plastic than fish (by weight) by the year 2050. Plastic packaging leaks into the oceans at the rate of one garbage truck full per minute because there is no unified global system for recycling. Currently only between 5 percent & 14 percent gets recycled; 40 percent ends up in landfill, & the rest in the oceans.

The plot sickens: plastics production has increased twenty times since 1964 & is expected to quadruple by 2050. We’ll be awash in plastic without clean water to put in it. Water has become a catastrophe zone–including the oceans; Flint, Michigan; water tables contaminated by fracking. There are major alerts just in this region where towns are urged not to drink, cook, or bathe in the water.

One would think persuading the politicians, bankers, & corporate muck-a-mucks at Davos would get thinks rolling but we know from all previous environmental conferences held by the elite that nothing will come of it except public relations. They’re running our planet into the ground.

We have some hard choices to make & not a lot of time to do it.

Photo is rubbish floating in Naifaru Harbour, Maldives, Indian Ocean, January, 2015.

(Photo by Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images)