Majority of recovered Islamic State cartridges in Iraq show ammo was made in US

Center for Public Integrity:

An independent arms monitoring group has collected evidence that fighters in the Middle Eastern extremist group known as the Islamic State, labeled a “network of death” by President Obama, are using weapons and ammunition manufactured in at least 21 different countries, including China, Russia, and the United States. The group’s report, released Oct. 6, indicates that the Islamic State’s relatively newly-formed force has had little difficulty tapping into the huge pool of armaments fueling the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, supplied not only by the world’s big powers but also by up-and-coming exporters such as Sudan.

Who made Islamic State ammo recovered in Iraq

See also UPI, 3 June 2005:

U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

AFP, 2 August 2007:

The US government cannot account for 190,000 weapons issued to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to an investigation carried out by the Government Accountability Office. According to the July 31 report, the military “cannot fully account for about 110,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armour and 115,000 helmets reported as issued to Iraqi forces.”

Inter Press Service, 23 September 2008:

Clandestine gun suppliers, funded by the U.S. and Iraqi governments, have flooded Iraq with a million weapons since 2003, charges a new Amnesty International investigation. Because of faulty or non-existent government tracking systems, many of those guns have gone missing, and some have turned up in the hands of insurgents. [...] Over the last five years since the invasion of Iraq, [Taos Industries] has received seven of the 47 weapons supply contracts listed by Amnesty, worth 95.1 million dollars out of the 217 million dollars total. [...] Amnesty investigators have also uncovered documents that suggest that several of Taos’s subcontractors were either operating illegally or had been listed by the United Nations for smuggling weapons. [...] In May 2005 the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, revealed that Taos had supplied thousands of Italian-made Beretta 92S pistols that were among the weapons seized in Iraq from al Qaeda operatives responsible for killing civilians. The Beretta pistols had been dispatched in July 2004 from Britain to the U.S. military base in Baghdad. An Italian court investigation the next year questioned the shadowy methods used in shipping the guns from Italy to Britain.

Quick programming note on external news links

For those following the Twitter feed for this blog, you may have noticed that I stopped adding links to news articles and posts from other blogs I find interesting. I’ve decided to move onto a new system wherein the news links are posted to a text widget on the right sidebar of this blog and then archived here. I may consider posting the news links to the Twitter feed as well, but that depends.

Reuters: US plans to use strikes against ISIS to empower “moderate” anti-Assad rebels

Reuters, “Strategy on Islamic State includes support for Syrian opposition, Iraq: White House“:

Obama could order airstrikes on an expanded list of targets within Iraq and has been considering strikes in Syria as well, on condition that moderate rebels there be in a position to hold territory cleared of Islamic State fighters by the strikes.

Of course, no one could have predicted that the US would exploit the ISIS’ newfound bogeyman status to further undermine and destabilize Assad’s regime. Except a lot of people.

Is there an IRS crack down against the Palestine movement in the works?

During a 5 March hearing before the US House Subcommittee on Terrorism, witnesses suggested that the IRS revoke the tax exempt status of NGOs viewed as being critical of Israel or supportive of the BDS movement.

The hearing, entitled Threats to Israel: Terrorist Funding and Trade Boycotts, called the author Edwin Black and Kaufman fellow from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) David Pollock to be among its witnesses. When asked by Rep. Juan Vargas “where is this money coming from” to support the BDS movement, Black replied that:

The number-one source of BDS funding is taxpayers. Here is how it works. [...] For each million dollars of tax exempt money, American taxpayers have to pony up $440,000. The number-one organization which has been associated with this process has been the New Israel Fund which gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Coalition of Women for Peace so that they could create a global infrastructure of boycotts including a database called Who Profits. They stopped giving this money in 2011 but now they continue to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations like Breaking the Silence, Adalah and Bisallam, which are absolutely essential to keep the BDS alive.

Along these lines, Pollack suggested that:

I think there could be, as my fellow witness just noted, there could be an opportunity to investigate the tax exempt status of organizations that might be knowingly or unknowingly funding activities that are either illegal or improper or not eligible for tax exempt status because they are political advocacy.

There appears to be a concerted campaign by certain segments of the Israel lobby to have the IRS audit and investigate non-profits seen as being unacceptably disrespectful of Israel. On 20 May of this past year, ex-Israeli Ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon posted to his Facebook that: “Israel ambassadors in countries where these [pro-Palestinian] organizations seek funding, mainly the USA, should work to have these organizations outlawed, denying them their ability to raise tax-exempt donations.” Even earlier this year, there is the case of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), a leftist Christian group which raised money to send humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. The IRS initiated an investigation of the group at the bidding of two members of Congress who asserted the group may be responsible for aiding Hamas. The non-profit status of this group now hangs in the balance.

While the IFCO case may be more about allegations of material support than advocacy, we should remain on the lookout for improper IRS scrutiny of other pro-Palestinian NGOs in the future. It should also be remembered that despite the agency’s recent controversy for allegedly persecuting the Tea Party movement, it has historically been a tool for hindering the left (examples here, here and here).

Recent incitements to genocide and other war crimes against the Palestinians from prominent figures

Giora Eiland (former head of Israel’s National Security Council), “In Gaza, there is no such thing as ‘innocent civilians,'” YNetNews, 5 Aug. 2014:

What would have been the right thing to do? We should have declared war against the state of Gaza (rather than against the Hamas organization), and in a war as in a war. The moment it begins, the right thing to do is to shut down the crossings, prevent the entry of any goods, including food, and definitely prevent the supply of gas and electricity. [...] You probably have two questions now. First, why should Gaza’s residents suffer? Well, they are to blame for this situation just like Germany’s residents were to blame for electing Hitler as their leader and paid a heavy price for that, and rightfully so. Hamas is not a terror organization which came from afar and forcibly occupied Gaza. It’s the authentic representative of the population there. It rose to power following democratic elections and built an impressive military ability with the residents’ support. Its power base has remained stable despite the suffering.

Kurt Schlichter (US conservative columnist), Twitter, 4 August 2014:

Yochanan Gordon, “When Genocide is Permissible,” Times of Israel, 1 August 2014:

We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

Moshe Feiglin (deputy speaker in the Knesset), Facebook post [translated here], 1 August 2014:

Israel must do the following: The IDF shall designate certain open areas on the Sinai border, adjacent to the sea, in which the civilian population will be concentrated, far from the built-up areas that are used for launches and tunneling. In these areas, tent encampments will be established, until relevant emigration destinations are determined. The supply of electricity and water to the formerly populated areas will be disconnected. The formerly populated areas will be shelled with maximum fire power. The entire civilian and military infrastructure of Hamas, its means of communication and of logistics, will be destroyed entirely, down to their foundations.

Martin Sherman, “Into the fray: Why Gaza must go,” Jerusalem Post, 24 July 2014:

The only durable solution requires dismantling Gaza, humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region.

Thane Rosenbaum, “Hamas’s Civilian Death Strategy,” Wall Street Journal, 21 July 2014:

The people of Gaza overwhelmingly elected Hamas, a terrorist outfit dedicated to the destruction of Israel, as their designated representatives. Almost instantly Hamas began stockpiling weapons and using them against a more powerful foe with a solid track record of retaliation. What did Gazans think was going to happen? Surely they must have understood on election night that their lives would now be suspended in a state of utter chaos. Life expectancy would be miserably low; children would be without a future. Staying alive would be a challenge, if staying alive even mattered anymore.

Ayelet Shaked (Knesset member), Facebook post [translated here], 1 July 2014:

The enemy soldiers hide out among the population, and it is only through its support that they can fight. Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.

If I am missing any examples the past two months (and I’m sure I am), please let me know.

Collection of incitements to genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians

Israel’s current Defense Minister once called for completely blocking Gaza’s access to food and water

US Embassy in Tel Aviv, 21 August 2001:

Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs [ed.: current Defense Minister] Moshe Ya’alon, speaking to an extreme right-wing Likud faction that has opposed Netanyahu’s party leadership, reportedly referred to the Israeli left as a “virus,” attacked the media, said the Supreme Court was authority without responsibility, called for a complete cut-off of humanitarian support to Gaza, and reiterated that Jews should be able to live anywhere in the Land of Israel. [...] The headlines were dominated on August 20 by a leaked speech Ya’alon gave over the weekend to the Jewish Leadership Forum, an extreme right-wing Likud faction led by Moshe Feiglin, who has opposed Netanyahu’s party leadership. [...] On Gaza, he said “we need to disengage completely from the Gaza Strip. . .not electricity, not water, not vegetables and not fruit. Neither a supply of food nor money.

It should be noted that this stance is even more extreme than that of a legal paper presented to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee this past month:

Because Israel is not obligated to trade in fuel, electricity or anything else with the Gaza Strip, and is not obligated to preserve a policy of open borders with it, it is permitted to avoid supplying consumer items and to close its borders if it chooses to do so, even if this is imposed as a ‘punishment’ for terror activity. The only restriction is that Israel is forbidden to interfere in the supply of basic humanitarian needs, like food and medicines, by others.

According to Al-Monitor, a video of the secretly recorded speech given by Ya’alon can be found here:

If anyone knows Hebrew and can provide a translation of any other revealing segments from the speech, it would be appreciated.

Statement of Bolivia’s ambassador to the UN before the Security Council on Gaza

UN Security Council, Sixty-ninth year, 7222nd meeting, 22 July 2014 (S/PV.7222), pp. 47-48:

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

Mr. Llorentty Solíz (Plurinational State of Bolivia) (spoke in Spanish): I thank you, Mr. President, for this opportunity to speak about the situation in Palestine.

The events we are discussing in this Chamber are tragic. The Charter on which the Organization was founded states that the peoples of the United Nations are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which has brought untold sorrow to mankind. The same Charter, which is quoted with such grand eloquence in so many statements, says that the Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members. However, this meeting and the scourge afflicting the Palestinian people are clear proof that the international order cannot save Palestine from the untold suffering brought about by Israeli aggression.

This meeting, this Council and the tragedy of Palestine are clear proof that this principle — the sovereign equality of all its Members — is not true. What the Charter says is not true. Members in this Organization are not equal. I will not speak about my country, which is one of the 193 Members, but I shall refer to the statement on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, whereby 120 countries demand that the Council stop the invasion into Gaza and put an end to the repeated Israeli military attacks against the Palestinian people. Many statements have been made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, which brings together more than two thirds of the membership of the Organization, calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory.

We are not equal, as the Charter claims, because only one of the five privileged members with the right to veto can paralyse any initiative for action. A single member has more power than two thirds of the Members of the United Nations. That same permanent member with the right to veto, which has justified those crimes with the “right to self-defense” formula, is complicit through action and inaction for those atrocities. Of course, I am referring to the United States, the same Member State that has hindered Palestine’s recognition as a full member of the Organization.

However, I do not believe that those considerations, which are discussed in the grey corridors of international diplomacy, went through the minds of any of the eight members of the Abu Jarad family when an Israeli missile struck their house in northern Gaza on 14 July, killing all of them, including five children aged 15, 13, 12 and 3 years and 6 months.

While we will never forget the atrocities the Nazis committed against the Jewish people, we also cannot remain silent in the face of these tragic events. It appears that in this story Goliath uses attack planes and missile launchers, while David wears a scarf.

In that context, I want to devote the four minutes that I have to the Palestinian people and to the Council. I apologize to the Palestinian people, through their representative and with our limited ability to reach them, from the bottom of our souls as a human beings. I want to apologize for the more than 600 Palestinians — men, women, the elderly and girls and boys — who lost their lives in the past few days. The international community, of which we are part, has failed them. We are failing them.

I want to apologize for the more than 3,500 Palestinian men, women, elderly and children who have been wounded and may be permanently disabled as a result of the Israeli aggression. The international community is failing them.

I apologize for the nearly 100 schools and the 18 medical facilities destroyed by the Israeli attack. The international community is failing them.

I apologize for the 72,000 children who will require specialized psychological counselling after these horrendous attacks. The international community is failing them.

I want to apologize for the 1,500 homes that have been totally or partially destroyed by the occupying Power. The international community is failing them.

I want to apologize for 6,000 Palestinians detained by the occupying Power. The international community is failing them.

I want to apologize for the illegal settlements. I want to apologize for the inhumane wall being built to isolate them. The international community is failing them.

I now want to address the Council — its 15 members and the 5 that have a privilege that makes us unequal, the right to veto — but above all the Government of the United States. We well know that what the world is witnessing today is the result of the illegal and illegitimate Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. We have lost our innocence. We know that many of the diplomatic efforts only give more time to Israel to pursue its military objectives.

The Council has the power to stop that, and it does not do it. It does not impose sanctions against Israel. There will be no decisions taken to stop tose atrocities. As President Evo Morales has said, we must put an end to that genocide and prosecute those responsible. Bolivia demands in the strongest terms that the Council put an end to the Israeli military aggression against Palestine. We call upon them to shoulder their responsibility and put an end to the building of the wall. We demand that an end be put to illegal settlements. We demand that Palestinian prisoners be freed. We demand compliance with the Geneva Conventions, human rights conventions and the Rome Statute. We call for a sanctions regime against Israel. We want aggression and the occupation to end. The Palestinians must have a free, sovereign and independent State.

I will conclude this statement by recalling the words of Nelson Mandela, that great revolutionary who took no half-measures but fought for the freedom of peoples. He said: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.