• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 20 februari 2010

Palestina 32



Lia stuurde me dit:


The project is based on the book 'Het zijn net mensen' by Joris Luyendijk. This book is about objectivity or, to be more precise, the impossibility to be objective. On page 141 Luyendijk compares the Israël-Palestine conflict with the hypothetical Frisia- Netherlands conflict. The name Frisia is based on the Dutch northern province of Friesland. The purpose of this comparison is to explain the Palestinian view on the conflict. What would The Netherlands look like if the Dutch were conquered by the Frisians?

Because Israël is about the same size as The Netherlands, this textual comparison really came to life to me. I decided to visualize it by making a large infographic containing smaller graphics with background information. I translated the data accurately from the Middle-East to the situation of The Netherlands.

If you are interested, you can find the Dutch passage of Luyendijk's book >here.

*UPDATE: A good interview about the project at wereldjournalisten.nl





President Kennedy's Waarschuwing



The President and the Press: Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association

President John F. Kennedy
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York City, April 27, 1961

audio Listen to this speech

I

The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country's peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of "clear and present danger," the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public's need for national security.

Today no war has been declared--and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. And yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired.

If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of "clear and present danger," then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.

It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.

Nevertheless, every democracy recognizes the necessary restraints of national security--and the question remains whether those restraints need to be more strictly observed if we are to oppose this kind of attack as well as outright invasion.

For the facts of the matter are that this nation's foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery or espionage; that details of this nation's covert preparations to counter the enemy's covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike; that the size, the strength, the location and the nature of our forces and weapons, and our plans and strategy for their use, have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power; and that, in at least in one case, the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby satellites were followed required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money.

The newspapers which printed these stories were loyal, patriotic, responsible and well-meaning. Had we been engaged in open warfare, they undoubtedly would not have published such items. But in the absence of open warfare, they recognized only the tests of journalism and not the tests of national security. And my question tonight is whether additional tests should not now be adopted.

The question is for you alone to answer. No public official should answer it for you. No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will. But I would be failing in my duty to the nation, in considering all of the responsibilities that we now bear and all of the means at hand to meet those responsibilities, if I did not commend this problem to your attention, and urge its thoughtful consideration.

On many earlier occasions, I have said--and your newspapers have constantly said--that these are times that appeal to every citizen's sense of sacrifice and self-discipline. They call out to every citizen to weigh his rights and comforts against his obligations to the common good. I cannot now believe that those citizens who serve in the newspaper business consider themselves exempt from that appeal.

I have no intention of establishing a new Office of War Information to govern the flow of news. I am not suggesting any new forms of censorship or any new types of security classifications. I have no easy answer to the dilemma that I have posed, and would not seek to impose it if I had one. But I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self-restraint which that danger imposes upon us all.

Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: "Is it news?" All I suggest is that you add the question: "Is it in the interest of the national security?" And I hope that every group in America--unions and businessmen and public officials at every level-- will ask the same question of their endeavors, and subject their actions to the same exacting tests.

And should the press of America consider and recommend the voluntary assumption of specific new steps or machinery, I can assure you that we will cooperate whole-heartedly with those recommendations.

Perhaps there will be no recommendations. Perhaps there is no answer to the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war. In times of peace, any discussion of this subject, and any action that results, are both painful and without precedent. But this is a time of peace and peril which knows no precedent in history.

II

It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to your second obligation--an obligation which I share. And that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people--to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well--the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face.

No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.

I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers--I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: "An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed--and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants"--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

This means greater coverage and analysis of international news--for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security--and we intend to do it.

III

It was early in the Seventeenth Century that Francis Bacon remarked on three recent inventions already transforming the world: the compass, gunpowder and the printing press. Now the links between the nations first forged by the compass have made us all citizens of the world, the hopes and threats of one becoming the hopes and threats of us all. In that one world's efforts to live together, the evolution of gunpowder to its ultimate limit has warned mankind of the terrible consequences of failure.

And so it is to the printing press--to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news--that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.


Zie: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resources/Archives/Reference+Desk/Speeches/JFK/003POF03NewspaperPublishers04271961.htm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhZk8ronces&feature=player_embedded#

Iran 322

Chossudovsky: US Will Start WW3 by Attacking Iran

By RussiaToday

February 19, 2010 "RussiaToday" -- A UN nuclear watchdog report suggests Iran could be developing a nuclear bomb, apparently confirming long-held suspicions in the West. But Tehran denies the claims, again insisting that its atomic intentions are peaceful. Michel Chossudovsky, who's from an independent Canadian policy research group, believes that what Iran says hardly matters, because the U.S. is planning for war.

Posted February 19, 2010

Zie: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24806.htm

Jacqueline Maris van de VPRO 11



Beste Jacqueline,

Vergeet het publiek, vergeet je luisteraars en kijk. Kijk goed, en als je goed kijkt dan zie je je eigen voorland en dat van je kinderen. Wat je ziet, als je goed kijkt tenminste, is het bloedoffer dat in de toekomst de hele wereld zal infecteren. Als het van ons daar mag, zal het straks overal mogen. Vrede is het alleen in de pauze, zei W.L. Brugsma eens in een uitzending tegen mij. Het is ook de titel van zijn laatste boek voor zijn sterven. Kijk goed zodat je later kunt vertellen hoe het allemaal kon gebeuren.

Je ziet het laatste bedrijf voordat het doek valt, voordat de laatste hedendaagse mythen hun geldigheid verliezen.

'Mir besteht mein Leben jetzt in dem Wunsche,' schrijft hij aan zijn vriend Overbeck, 'dass es mit allen Dingen anders gehen möge, als ich sie begreife; und dass mir jemand meine "Wahrheiten" unglaubwürdig mache'. Deze waarheid, die niemand hem ongeloofwaardig heeft kunnen maken, bestond uit het besef dat God dood is, dat de bovenste waarden zich ontwaarden en dat het nihilisme voor de deur staat: 'der unheimlichste aller Gäste' [...] uit de puinhoop er van verrees niet zo zeer een nieuwe moraal voor het individu, als wel een moraal van de rangorde der individuen, met alle implikaties van teling en geweld: de bovenste mag doden, de onderste moet sterven.'

Harry Mulisch De Zaak 40/61. Een reportage.

Maar dit alles wist je al nietwaar, Jacqueline, want het was jij die me schreef:

'Het is trouwens niet de eerste keer in de geschiedenis dat onrecht wordt geratificeerd zoals jij je ongetwijfeld bewust bent - denk aan de Schotse settlers in noord-Ierland die tot dusverre hun staatje hebben behouden. En hoe gaat het straks verder met de Chinezen in Tibet en de Javanen in Papua om maar wat voorbeelden te noemen? Misschien dat de Palestijnen er in het internationale circus nog een schadevergoeding voor hun landverlies uit kunnen slepen. Terugkeer van vluchtelingen lijkt me een lang geleden gepasseerd station. Kortom, jij hebt kennelijk meer vertrouwen in internationaal recht en universele waarden van rechtvaardigheid dan ik.''

Oke, nu jij en ik dit weten laat me weten wat je ziet, kijk met een onbevangen oog hoe onder jouw neus het suicidale nihilisme zich manifesteert, hoe zich de terreur tegen de Palestijnse bevolking voltrekt. Kijk zoals een arts naar een open wond kijkt en vertel het mij en je luisteraars. Ik waarschuw je: je zult er de rest van je leven een prijs voor moeten betalen.

De NAVO 4



Ruim twee weken geleden schreef ik dit:

Opnieuw, zoals gesteld in het vorige stukje over de westerse steun aan de Israelische terreur: het concentratiekamp Gaza is een noodzakelijk testgebied voor de toekomstige oorlogsvoering en dat nu is de belangrijkste reden waarom het Westen de Israelische terreur tegen de Palestijnse bevolking ongestoord door laat gaan en zelfs beloond. Daar worden allerlei nieuwe wapens en militaire taktieken uitgeprobeerd die het Westen straks nodig meent te hebben om de kloof tussen arm en rijk in stand te houden. Vandaar dat de Amerikanen in Fallujah en de Israeli's Gaza-stad witte fosfor gebruikten in een bevolkingsrijke omgeving, hetgeen een oorlogsmisdaad is.


De westerse militaire
strategen worden geconfronteerd met een wezenlijk andere werkelijkheid sinds de val van de Sovjet Unie. Mutual Assured Destruction, de zelfmoordstrategie van de twee grootmachten, is niet langer meer het allerbelangrijkst, veel belangrijker is nu hoe de verpauperde Derde Wereldbevolking, opgesloten in stedelijke centra, bestreden kunnen worden zodra de have-nots beginnen te rebelleren tegen hun armzalig lot. Gaza is hiervoor een uitstekende oefenplaats, en vandaar dat het Westen de Israelische strijdkrachten steunt bij het terrorisme tegen de Palestijnse burgerbevolking. Dit berust op een bewust politiek besluit, dat evenwel niet publiekelijk bekend is gemaakt, maar wel ten grondslag ligt aan het feit dat Israel sinds enige tijd deelneemt aan NAVO-oefeningen.


Elke dag weer trekken wereldwijd tenminste 160.000 Derde Wereldbewoners naar de steden om daar te gaan leven. Op die manier is de Derde Wereld, van India tot Afrika, van La Paz tot Manilla in toenemende aan het veranderen in bidonvilles en sloppenwijken, waarin de bewoners op geen enkele manier aangesloten zijn op de stedelijke infrastructuur. Ze hebben geen drinkwater, geen electriciteit, geen openbaar vervoer, geen vast werk. 'Cities... are growing by sixty million per year, and 90 percent of the increase in world population over the next generation will be accomodated by the urban areas of less-developed regions. By 2030, in other words, two billion more people will struggle for survival; in cities, especially in the teeming metropolitan complexes of Africa and Asia. As the UN researchers pointed out in their watershed 2003 report, The Challenge of Slums, this urban population explosion will be almost completely delinked or 'disincorporated' from industrial growth and the supply of formal jobs,' aldus de Amerikaanse historicus Mike Davis in In Praise of Barbarians, Essays Against Empire.

Belangrijk is te weten dat deze miljarden overtolligen niet gebruikt kunnen worden als reserveleger voor de de grote multinationals op zoek naar de laagste lonen. Integendeel zelfs, dit verstoten proletariaat zal een steeds grotere last worden voor zowel de succesrijke bovenlaag in de Derde Wereld als de Eerste Wereld, en wel omdat deze paria's op den duur de status-quo zullen bedreigen. Nu al zijn ze in staat hele steden plat te leggen. Deze massa bestaat niet uit 'a socialized collectivity of labor and lacks significant power to reorganize modern industrial life upon the basis of its own class culture.' Het probleem is namelijk dat deze miljarden overtolligen hun eigen boerencultuur kwijt zijn geraakt en in de chaos van de krottenwijken zelf geen eigen cultuur hebben kunnen opbouwen. Deze ontheemde massa zal geen revolutie tegen de macht beginnen, omdat daarvoor een eigen analyse van de situatie ontbreekt. De toekomst zal een lange reeks opstanden te zien geven, een permanente sociale onrust, waarbij op gezette tijden alles dat in hun weg staat vernietigd zal worden. Men zal geen nieuwe macht opbouwen, geen nieuwe organisatiemodellen, maar men zal plunderen en moorden, net zolang tot de macht die hen in deze situatie heeft gebracht haar 'orde' heeft hersteld. En die 'orde' kan dat alleen door middel van grof geweld, en door de globalisering hebben de westerse economische machten alle belang bij het handhaven van 'orde en gezag.' De westerse militairen zullen steeds vaker en op steeds meer plaatsen de taak krijgen de economische belangen van de VS en Europa veilig te stellen. Dat zien we nu gebeuren in Irak en Afghanistan, waarbij opvalt hoe ontoereikend de militaire strategie en tactiek nog steeds is. Vandaar dat de militaire planners steeds meer geavanceerde technologie zoals drones zullen inzetten, en als dat onvoldoende is, steeds nieuwere wapens en nieuwe militaire strategieen. Maar om te kunnen zien of die werken heeft het Westen Israel nodig om die in Gaza uit te proberen. 1 ding is zeker: 'The new urban poor... will not go gently into this dark night. Their resistence, indeed, becomes the principal condition for the survival of the unity of the human race against the implicit triage of the new global order.' Laten we eerlijk zijn: wij westerlingen zullen niet opkomen voor de menselijke waardigheid zodra dit betekent dat we onze rijkdom moeten beperken, wij zullen niet opkomen voor de mensenrechten en voor democratie. Dat zal elders moeten gebeuren, ver weg van onze vleespotten.

Nadat ik in 2002 samen met Bertus Hendriks van de Wereldomroep vergeefs had geprobeerd Jenin binnen te komen maar tegengehouden werd door Israelische tankbemanning las ik in de Jerusalem Post dat een Amerikaanse militaire delegatie naar Israel was gevlogen om zich op de hoogte te stellen van de ervaringen van de Israelische militairen bij het veroveren en vernietigen van het vluchtelingenkamp van Jenin, waarbij volgens naderhand verschenen rapporten de volgende Israelische oorlosmisdaden hadden plaatsgevonden:
  • aanvallen en doden van medisch personeel;
  • gebruik van burgers als levende schilden;
  • geen onderscheid maken tussen militaire doelwitten en huizen van burgers;
  • uitgebreid en buitenproportioneel vernielen van burgerlijke infrastructuur.

Israel test voor het Westen nieuwe wapens en nieuwe taktieken uit voor 'Urban Warfare'. En dat kan zowel op de Westbank als vooral ook in de Gazastrook nu Israel zich daar heeft teruggetrokken waardoor dit gebied een echte concentratiekamp kon worden, waar de Israelische strijdkrachten onbeperkt hun gang kunnen gaan, en ervaringen kunnen opdoen die naderhand NAVO-militairen zullen gebruiken bij het veilig stellen van westerse economische belangen.

Zoals 6 jaar geleden de Amerikaanse journalist Mike Davis in The Pentagon As Global Slumlord schreef:

This tactical 'Israelization' of U.S. combat doctrine has been accompanied by a 'Sharonization' of the Pentagon's worldview. Military theorists envision the evolving capacity of high-tech warfare to contain, if not destroy, chronic 'terrorist' insurgencies rooted in the desperation of growing megaslums.


Daarom is het ook zo belangrijk dat Gaza geisoleerd blijft van de buitenwereld. Alleen als Gaza een hermetisch gesloten concentratiekamp is, kan de bevolking optimaal onderworpen worden aan militaire proeven, nieuwe tactieken en strategieen en vooral ook aan nieuwe wapens. Vandaar ook dat er met medewerking van Amerikaanse militairen op dit moment een ijzeren muur wordt gebouwd in het zuiden van de Gazastrook die acht meter diep de grond ingaat, zodat ontsnappingstunnels en bevoorradingstunnels nagenoeg onmogelijk zullen worden. Het resultaat van een van de nieuw ingezette wapens kunt u op de foto's hierboven zien. Ze zullen zeker in de toekomst elders in de Derde Wereld door het Westen worden gebruikt. Er zit niets anders op, want onze militairen worden geconfronteerd met een 'rapid urbanisation in developing countries which results in a battlespace environment that is decreasingly knowable,' aldus kapitein Troy Thomas, een vooraanstaande theoreticus van de Amerikaanse luchtmacht in het kwartaaltijdschrift Aerospace Power Journal. Alle proeven zijn daarbij welkom, zeker als ze door Israelische militairen kunnen worden uitgevoerd in een hermetisch afgesloten gebied, waar 'informal, decentralized subsystems and no blueprints exist, and points of leverage in the system are not readily discernable.'

Nu de Russen met hun staand leger niet meer de vijand zijn, en meer dan de helft van de mensheid in dichtbevolkte agglomeraties leeft waar de westerse strijdkrachten geconfronteerd worden met de chaos van de stedelijke guerilla, moeten de militairen zich volledig herorienteren, en is elk testgebied zoals Gaza een uitkomst. Daar kan onder als het ware wetenschappelijke condities de nieuwe oorlogsvoering worden getest. Dit is ook een belangrijke reden waarom Israel al meedoet aan NAVO-oefeningen, en waarom westerse politici voorstellen om Israel op te nemen in het Atlantisch Bondgenootschap. Het verklaart tevens waarom onze eigen minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, de CDA-er Maxime Verhagen, ervoor pleit Israel lid te maken van de Europese Unie. Zonder de Israelische terreur heeft 'de Joodse natie' geen belang voor ons. Alleen als pion in de westerse terreur vertegenwoordigt Israel een belang bij het veilig stellen van de Europese en Amerikaanse economische belangen. En dus hebben ongeveer vijf miljoen Joden in Israel een vrijbrief gekregen om de Palestijnen in de bezette gebieden te terroriseren. En dat gaat net zolang door tot Israel aan zijn eigen geweld ten onder gaat, maar tegen die tijd hebben we wel een andere pion gevonden om onze verdeel en heerspolitiek te kunnen blijven uitvoeren. Het christelijke Westen heeft altijd al de joden misbruikt.

Op die ontwikkeling wees al meer dan 60 jaar geleden meer dan 60 jaar geleden de joodse filosofe Hannah Arendt, zelf een zioniste. Ze schreef:

Onafhankelijkheid, zo werd geloofd, kon het joodse volk bereiken onder de vleugels van elke grootmacht sterk genoeg om zijn ontwikkeling te beschermen. Paradoxaal als het mag klinken, maar juist deze nationalistische misvatting dat een natie een inherente onafhankelijkheid bezit, had tot gevolg dat de zionisten de joodse nationale emancipatie volledig afhankelijk maakten van de materiele belangen van een andere natie. Het feitelijke resultaat was een terugkeer van de nieuwe beweging naar de traditionele methoden van shtadlonus (de vroegere ‘hofjoden’ die machtsbeluste vorsten financieel ten dienste stonden. SvH), die de zionisten ooit eens zo bitter hadden gehaat en zo fel hadden gehekeld. Nu kenden ook de zionisten politiek gesproken geen betere plaats meer dan de foyers van de machtigen en ze kenden geen betere basis voor hun overeenkomsten dan de goede diensten aan te bieden als agenten van buitenlandse belangen… Als de joden in Palestina kunnen worden belast met de taak om voor een deel zorg te dragen voor de Amerikaanse belangen in dat gedeelte van de wereld dan zou inderdaad de fameuze uitspraak van opperrechter Brandeis nog bewaarheid worden: men moet een zionist zijn om een perfecte Amerikaanse patriot te zijn… Maar slechts dwaasheid kan een beleid dicteren dat vertrouwt op bescherming van een verre imperiale macht terwijl het de welwillendheid van de buren verspeelt… Welk programma hebben de zionisten te bieden voor een oplossing van het Arabisch-Joodse conflict?’
Hannah Arendt, oktober 1945


Met deze feiten in het achterhoofd moet u dit bericht lezen. Het is al een ouder bericht, maar ik kreeg het net opgestuurd en is interessant genoeg:


Marines to train at new Israeli combat center
Soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces take part in urban warfare training May 28 in the IDF's new Urban Warfare Training Center at Tzeelim in southern Israel.
Soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces take part in urban warfare training May 28 in the IDF's new Urban Warfare Training Center at Tzeelim in southern Israel. (Uriel Sinai / Getty Images)

BALADIA CITY, Israel — In a new, elaborate training center in the Negev desert, Israeli troops — and someday, U.S. Marines and soldiers — are preparing for the wide range of urban scenarios they may confront.

Here, at Israel’s new National Urban Training Center, the Israeli Defense Force’s Ground Forces Command is preparing forces to fight in four theaters: Gaza, Lebanon, the West Bank and Syria.

Built by the Army Corps of Engineers and funded largely from U.S. military aid, the 7.4-square-mile generic city — balad, in Arabic, means village — consists of 1,100 basic modules that can be reconfigured by mission planners to represent specific towns.

It’s a much smaller, IDF-tailored version of the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center, the sprawling 100,000-acre simulated microcosm of the Middle East used to train infantry brigade task forces deployed in the region. And while Baladia City won’t feature all the pyrotechnic bells and whistles of the Fort Polk, La., facility, it will offer the same high-fidelity simulated battlefield technologies, force identification and location systems, and debriefing capabilities, officers here said.

“Combat units from platoon up to brigade level will train in an environment that simulates the real urban battle,” said Brig. Gen. Uzi Moskovich, commander of the NUTC and its adjacent National Ground Training Center, Israel’s downsized version of the Army’s force-on-force training facility at Fort Irwin, Calif. “Enemy forces will fight according to their respective combat doctrines, and the civilian population will behave in ways typical of their particular community, religion and culture.”

Moskovich said Baladia City would eventually host Army and Marine Corps units for training before they head to Iraq.

“This is something developed by us in cooperation with the U.S. Army; we intend for it to become a valuable center of knowledge that will also benefit our American allies and other friends,” he said.

An Israeli budget official said total Baladia City program costs came in at less than $45 million, a small fraction of Washington’s investment in the JRTC. As a frame of reference, he estimated each weeklong brigade-size exercise at a few thousand dollars, while major drills at JRTC could run into the millions.

“In terms of cost versus effectiveness, this is the best investment we’ve made in the army in the past 10 years,” said Moskovich, who also commands the IDF’s Gaza division. “This facility will be unique in the world, even with regard to the U.S. Army. It’s not the size, but the added value of the different terrains, the fine-tuning of the cultural environments and the debriefing capabilities.”

Lessons from Lebanon

Soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces take part in urban warfare training May 28 at the Urban Warfare Training Center.
Soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces take part in urban warfare training May 28 at the Urban Warfare Training Center. Built by the Army Corps of Engineers and funded largely from U.S. military aid, the training center will eventually be used by U.S. soldiers and Marines on their way to Iraq. (Uriel Sinai / Getty Images)

Located at the Tze’elim training base less than nine miles east of Rafah, a terrorist-ridden smugglers’ haven that straddles the Gaza-Egyptian border, Baladia naturally resembles the sandy, arid terrain of the Palestinian coastal strip. At the moment, however, Lebanon and Syria are the highest-priority threat theaters, and creative engineering is required to transform the area into what IDF officers here call “Hezbollahland.”

“We have the capabilities to create a realistic representation of where we’re most likely to fight,” Moskovich said. “Give me 70 or 80 tractors for a month, and I’ll re-create the hills and topography of a Lebanese village. It won’t be identical, but it will be enough to provide the type of realistic training our forces require. It might not be politically correct, but we’re not pretending here. What looks like a mosque is a mosque. And our people will impersonate Arabs, not the Swiss. We need them to act the way our enemies are likely to fight on their own home turf.”

During a late-May visit, IDF planners were busy transforming large portions of Baladia City into Bint Jbeil, a Hezbollah stronghold from which extremist Shiite forces extracted a heavy price on IDF ground troops in last summer’s Lebanon War.

The area now features a city center, complete with shops, a grand mosque, hospital and an old casbah quarter built with 5-foot-thick walls. It even has a cemetery that doubles as a soccer field, depending on operational scenario.

Hundreds of soldiers, most of them 19- and 20-year-old women, graduates of Arabic language and cultural programs, are play-acting civilians and enemy fighters. Others serve as representatives of the Red Cross, other humanitarian aid organizations and the international media.

Designed according to lessons from the recent Lebanon War, side streets and main passageways will bristle with improvised explosive devices, while snipers will man the rooftops of multistory apartment buildings positioned throughout the town. Of course, IDF soldiers will have to contend with underground bunkers and the so-called nature reserves, those foliage-camouflaged, often remotely activated Katyusha rocket launching sites that confounded Israeli airpower and ground forces up until the last day of the war.

“The threat can come from anywhere,” said the director of the tactical training center’s urban warfare branch, a lieutenant colonel, who asked that his name not be used. “We learned from Lebanon that anti-tank missiles and rockets can be launched from windows of residential buildings or from public places, like schools and community centers.”

The MALI

Urban Warfare Training Center
The Urban Warfare Training Center is a 7.4-square-mile generic city that can be that can be reconfigured by mission planners to represent specific towns. (Uriel Sinai / Getty Images)

Known by its Hebrew acronym MALI, the Baladia City NUTC features 472 structures, 1,200 doorways, 2,500 windows, multiple elevator shafts, and four miles of paved streets and semi-paved roads. For added realism, charred automobiles and burned tires litter the roadways. In the near future, planners will add donkeys, sheep, dogs and other live animals that often provide early warning of approaching Israeli troops.

Besides conquering and controlling a city, infantry will practice rescue operations, logistics crews will train in weapon storage, and entire battalions and brigades will drill combined air-land precision operations with the Israeli air force.

“In urban warfare, the first lesson is that things take time,” the lieutenant colonel said. “If the troops need half a day to advance five to 10 meters, so be it. The key is to conquer the city in a methodically selective and surgical manner so that harm to uninvolved civilians is kept to a minimum.”

Aside from meticulous mission planning, troops and especially commanders must maintain a continuously high level of situational awareness. To this end, significant attention will focus on selecting homes on the outskirts of town best suited to serve as forward command posts.

Ideally, the urban warfare director said, such homes should be located on an elevation that is clear of vegetation and not completely isolated, but with very few neighbors. Moreover, family members must not play any type of prominent role in the local community.

“Determining a forward command location ... can often make or break the entire battle,” the officer said. “The battalion commander must always be in the front; he has to have the benefit of being close to the fight. As for brigade commanders, it’s a matter of judgment. At times, he may need to remain further in the rear. But here, we urge them to be as forward deployed as possible. Remember, what you see here during the day doesn’t even resemble what it looks like at night.”

In the coming months, Baladia City will be integrated into the army’s Tzayad, or Hunter, secure digital network. The facility also will be enveloped by cameras, illuminator locators, a public address system, controlled street lights and an elaborate audio system that simulates helicopters, mortar rounds, muezzin prayer calls and 20 other distinct sounds.

Maj. Miki Winkler, director of the tactical training center that manages all Baladia City communications and debriefings, said commanders will view all activity in hyper-speed, where one minute of battle translates into one second of after-action review: “Everything is recorded. Every person is a stand-alone sensor and every floor of every building is an illuminator.”

Principal contractors include Israel’s state-owned Rafael and San Diego-based Cubic Defense Applications, provider of the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, a lightweight, wireless vest that contains laser detectors to track and record soldier performance. Cubic also will provide, under a Pentagon Foreign Military Sales contract, PC-based range instrumentation and an infrared system for indoor/outdoor tracking, said Jan Stevens, the company’s corporate communications manager.

Out-of-the-box thinking

Moskovich hopes to declare Baladia City initially operational by the end of July or early August, with full capability scheduled for Jan. 1 — not bad, he said, for a complex, bilateral program that began with “out-of-the-box” thinking by a midlevel officer just five years ago.

“We broke ground in March 2005, but it all started with one of our battalion commanders, who made us realize we had to provide a better answer to the unique challenges of urban warfare,” Moskovich said.

IDF officers credit Amir Baram, then a lieutenant colonel commanding the 890 Battalion, with changing the nature of the nation’s ground force tactical training program. At the time, in March 2002, Baram was assigned a key role in taking over Nablus, a hotbed of Palestinian terrorism behind a string of suicide bombings that triggered Defensive Shield, Israel’s largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.

With nowhere to train his forces in the type of house-to-house warfare needed for the mission, Baram turned to a prominent Israeli real estate developer, who allowed the battalion to drill at night at an unfinished residential complex.

“They drilled on real structures, with entryways, windows and elevator shafts,” said Uri Dori, a retired IDF brigade commander. “It must have helped, because the battle in Nablus is now considered practically a textbook example of successful urban warfare.”

Two combat battalions and one supporting battalion took part in that 17-day siege, first controlling the city’s Balata refugee camp and then systematically pushing the terrorists into the casbah, where they were simultaneously attacked from multiple directions.

Fighting in the casbah took an entire weekend, with troops circumventing explosives-rigged alleyways and “breaking the geometry by literally bursting through walls, penetrating in zigzag, wormlike fashion,” noted Brig. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Nablus division commander at the time.

The result, Kochavi said, was 74 armed terrorists killed, 155 civilians injured and 480 taken prisoner, as opposed to two Israelis killed and 19 injured. Palestinian officials and humanitarian organizations dispute these statistics, maintaining that several hundred civilians were injured or killed in the Nablus siege.

Since last summer, Baladia City has hosted 85 drills using what Moskovich calls “stupid buildings.” But after everything comes online in January, the commander says he’ll fix his sights on two new growth areas: developing a home-based Red Team and developing the city’s environs for ingressive training.

“Most of the casualties we suffered in Lebanon were at the contours of built-up areas,” he said. “When our units entered villages, most of them knew what to do. But what we learned is that urban warfare actually begins two to three kilometers from the outskirts of the city itself.”

As for Baladia City’s dedicated opposing force, Moskovich said the role-playing force already constitutes the beginnings of a home-based Red Team.

“There’s almost a weekly struggle to provide the opposing forces,” he said. “Right now, we have two blue sides, which puts the training conductor in a bind, since he’s obligated to both sides and has to satisfy their respective drill requirements.”

Moskovich estimates it would cost $100,000 a year to maintain a professional opposing force, with its own uniforms, vehicles, weapons and pyrotechnics: “I’m not talking about a brigade or even a battalion. I’ll be more than happy with a reinforced company.”

Recent developments in Syria may make it necessary to give Moskovich more than that. Syria is developing specialized infantry battalions trained in the type of guerrilla warfare waged so successfully by Hezbollah in last summer’s war, a military intelligence source said.

And with the “reasonable likelihood” of another war on Israel’s northern front — perhaps by summer’s end, according to some intelligence estimates here — that Red Team force may not come soon enough.

Source: Marine Corps Times

Marines to train at new Israeli combat center
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Soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces take part in urban warfare training May 28 in the IDF's new Urban Warfare Training Center at Tzeelim in southern Israel.
Soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces take part in urban warfare training May 28 in the IDF's new Urban Warfare Training Center at Tzeelim in southern Israel. (Uriel Sinai / Getty Images)

BALADIA CITY, Israel — In a new, elaborate training center in the Negev desert, Israeli troops — and someday, U.S. Marines and soldiers — are preparing for the wide range of urban scenarios they may confront.

Here, at Israel’s new National Urban Training Center, the Israeli Defense Force’s Ground Forces Command is preparing forces to fight in four theaters: Gaza, Lebanon, the West Bank and Syria.

Built by the Army Corps of Engineers and funded largely from U.S. military aid, the 7.4-square-mile generic city — balad, in Arabic, means village — consists of 1,100 basic modules that can be reconfigured by mission planners to represent specific towns.

It’s a much smaller, IDF-tailored version of the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center, the sprawling 100,000-acre simulated microcosm of the Middle East used to train infantry brigade task forces deployed in the region. And while Baladia City won’t feature all the pyrotechnic bells and whistles of the Fort Polk, La., facility, it will offer the same high-fidelity simulated battlefield technologies, force identification and location systems, and debriefing capabilities, officers here said.

“Combat units from platoon up to brigade level will train in an environment that simulates the real urban battle,” said Brig. Gen. Uzi Moskovich, commander of the NUTC and its adjacent National Ground Training Center, Israel’s downsized version of the Army’s force-on-force training facility at Fort Irwin, Calif. “Enemy forces will fight according to their respective combat doctrines, and the civilian population will behave in ways typical of their particular community, religion and culture.”

Moskovich said Baladia City would eventually host Army and Marine Corps units for training before they head to Iraq.

“This is something developed by us in cooperation with the U.S. Army; we intend for it to become a valuable center of knowledge that will also benefit our American allies and other friends,” he said.

An Israeli budget official said total Baladia City program costs came in at less than $45 million, a small fraction of Washington’s investment in the JRTC. As a frame of reference, he estimated each weeklong brigade-size exercise at a few thousand dollars, while major drills at JRTC could run into the millions.

“In terms of cost versus effectiveness, this is the best investment we’ve made in the army in the past 10 years,” said Moskovich, who also commands the IDF’s Gaza division. “This facility will be unique in the world, even with regard to the U.S. Army. It’s not the size, but the added value of the different terrains, the fine-tuning of the cultural environments and the debriefing capabilities.”

Lessons from Lebanon

Soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces take part in urban warfare training May 28 at the Urban Warfare Training Center.
Soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces take part in urban warfare training May 28 at the Urban Warfare Training Center. Built by the Army Corps of Engineers and funded largely from U.S. military aid, the training center will eventually be used by U.S. soldiers and Marines on their way to Iraq. (Uriel Sinai / Getty Images)

Located at the Tze’elim training base less than nine miles east of Rafah, a terrorist-ridden smugglers’ haven that straddles the Gaza-Egyptian border, Baladia naturally resembles the sandy, arid terrain of the Palestinian coastal strip. At the moment, however, Lebanon and Syria are the highest-priority threat theaters, and creative engineering is required to transform the area into what IDF officers here call “Hezbollahland.”

“We have the capabilities to create a realistic representation of where we’re most likely to fight,” Moskovich said. “Give me 70 or 80 tractors for a month, and I’ll re-create the hills and topography of a Lebanese village. It won’t be identical, but it will be enough to provide the type of realistic training our forces require. It might not be politically correct, but we’re not pretending here. What looks like a mosque is a mosque. And our people will impersonate Arabs, not the Swiss. We need them to act the way our enemies are likely to fight on their own home turf.”

During a late-May visit, IDF planners were busy transforming large portions of Baladia City into Bint Jbeil, a Hezbollah stronghold from which extremist Shiite forces extracted a heavy price on IDF ground troops in last summer’s Lebanon War.

The area now features a city center, complete with shops, a grand mosque, hospital and an old casbah quarter built with 5-foot-thick walls. It even has a cemetery that doubles as a soccer field, depending on operational scenario.

Hundreds of soldiers, most of them 19- and 20-year-old women, graduates of Arabic language and cultural programs, are play-acting civilians and enemy fighters. Others serve as representatives of the Red Cross, other humanitarian aid organizations and the international media.

Designed according to lessons from the recent Lebanon War, side streets and main passageways will bristle with improvised explosive devices, while snipers will man the rooftops of multistory apartment buildings positioned throughout the town. Of course, IDF soldiers will have to contend with underground bunkers and the so-called nature reserves, those foliage-camouflaged, often remotely activated Katyusha rocket launching sites that confounded Israeli airpower and ground forces up until the last day of the war.

“The threat can come from anywhere,” said the director of the tactical training center’s urban warfare branch, a lieutenant colonel, who asked that his name not be used. “We learned from Lebanon that anti-tank missiles and rockets can be launched from windows of residential buildings or from public places, like schools and community centers.”

The MALI

Urban Warfare Training Center
The Urban Warfare Training Center is a 7.4-square-mile generic city that can be that can be reconfigured by mission planners to represent specific towns. (Uriel Sinai / Getty Images)

Known by its Hebrew acronym MALI, the Baladia City NUTC features 472 structures, 1,200 doorways, 2,500 windows, multiple elevator shafts, and four miles of paved streets and semi-paved roads. For added realism, charred automobiles and burned tires litter the roadways. In the near future, planners will add donkeys, sheep, dogs and other live animals that often provide early warning of approaching Israeli troops.

Besides conquering and controlling a city, infantry will practice rescue operations, logistics crews will train in weapon storage, and entire battalions and brigades will drill combined air-land precision operations with the Israeli air force.

“In urban warfare, the first lesson is that things take time,” the lieutenant colonel said. “If the troops need half a day to advance five to 10 meters, so be it. The key is to conquer the city in a methodically selective and surgical manner so that harm to uninvolved civilians is kept to a minimum.”

Aside from meticulous mission planning, troops and especially commanders must maintain a continuously high level of situational awareness. To this end, significant attention will focus on selecting homes on the outskirts of town best suited to serve as forward command posts.

Ideally, the urban warfare director said, such homes should be located on an elevation that is clear of vegetation and not completely isolated, but with very few neighbors. Moreover, family members must not play any type of prominent role in the local community.

“Determining a forward command location ... can often make or break the entire battle,” the officer said. “The battalion commander must always be in the front; he has to have the benefit of being close to the fight. As for brigade commanders, it’s a matter of judgment. At times, he may need to remain further in the rear. But here, we urge them to be as forward deployed as possible. Remember, what you see here during the day doesn’t even resemble what it looks like at night.”

In the coming months, Baladia City will be integrated into the army’s Tzayad, or Hunter, secure digital network. The facility also will be enveloped by cameras, illuminator locators, a public address system, controlled street lights and an elaborate audio system that simulates helicopters, mortar rounds, muezzin prayer calls and 20 other distinct sounds.

Maj. Miki Winkler, director of the tactical training center that manages all Baladia City communications and debriefings, said commanders will view all activity in hyper-speed, where one minute of battle translates into one second of after-action review: “Everything is recorded. Every person is a stand-alone sensor and every floor of every building is an illuminator.”

Principal contractors include Israel’s state-owned Rafael and San Diego-based Cubic Defense Applications, provider of the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, a lightweight, wireless vest that contains laser detectors to track and record soldier performance. Cubic also will provide, under a Pentagon Foreign Military Sales contract, PC-based range instrumentation and an infrared system for indoor/outdoor tracking, said Jan Stevens, the company’s corporate communications manager.

Out-of-the-box thinking

Moskovich hopes to declare Baladia City initially operational by the end of July or early August, with full capability scheduled for Jan. 1 — not bad, he said, for a complex, bilateral program that began with “out-of-the-box” thinking by a midlevel officer just five years ago.

“We broke ground in March 2005, but it all started with one of our battalion commanders, who made us realize we had to provide a better answer to the unique challenges of urban warfare,” Moskovich said.

IDF officers credit Amir Baram, then a lieutenant colonel commanding the 890 Battalion, with changing the nature of the nation’s ground force tactical training program. At the time, in March 2002, Baram was assigned a key role in taking over Nablus, a hotbed of Palestinian terrorism behind a string of suicide bombings that triggered Defensive Shield, Israel’s largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.

With nowhere to train his forces in the type of house-to-house warfare needed for the mission, Baram turned to a prominent Israeli real estate developer, who allowed the battalion to drill at night at an unfinished residential complex.

“They drilled on real structures, with entryways, windows and elevator shafts,” said Uri Dori, a retired IDF brigade commander. “It must have helped, because the battle in Nablus is now considered practically a textbook example of successful urban warfare.”

Two combat battalions and one supporting battalion took part in that 17-day siege, first controlling the city’s Balata refugee camp and then systematically pushing the terrorists into the casbah, where they were simultaneously attacked from multiple directions.

Fighting in the casbah took an entire weekend, with troops circumventing explosives-rigged alleyways and “breaking the geometry by literally bursting through walls, penetrating in zigzag, wormlike fashion,” noted Brig. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Nablus division commander at the time.

The result, Kochavi said, was 74 armed terrorists killed, 155 civilians injured and 480 taken prisoner, as opposed to two Israelis killed and 19 injured. Palestinian officials and humanitarian organizations dispute these statistics, maintaining that several hundred civilians were injured or killed in the Nablus siege.

Since last summer, Baladia City has hosted 85 drills using what Moskovich calls “stupid buildings.” But after everything comes online in January, the commander says he’ll fix his sights on two new growth areas: developing a home-based Red Team and developing the city’s environs for ingressive training.

“Most of the casualties we suffered in Lebanon were at the contours of built-up areas,” he said. “When our units entered villages, most of them knew what to do. But what we learned is that urban warfare actually begins two to three kilometers from the outskirts of the city itself.”

As for Baladia City’s dedicated opposing force, Moskovich said the role-playing force already constitutes the beginnings of a home-based Red Team.

“There’s almost a weekly struggle to provide the opposing forces,” he said. “Right now, we have two blue sides, which puts the training conductor in a bind, since he’s obligated to both sides and has to satisfy their respective drill requirements.”

Moskovich estimates it would cost $100,000 a year to maintain a professional opposing force, with its own uniforms, vehicles, weapons and pyrotechnics: “I’m not talking about a brigade or even a battalion. I’ll be more than happy with a reinforced company.”

Recent developments in Syria may make it necessary to give Moskovich more than that. Syria is developing specialized infantry battalions trained in the type of guerrilla warfare waged so successfully by Hezbollah in last summer’s war, a military intelligence source said.

And with the “reasonable likelihood” of another war on Israel’s northern front — perhaps by summer’s end, according to some intelligence estimates here — that Red Team force may not come soon enough.

Source: Marine Corps Times