Israeli Organ Trafficking and Theft

Israeli Organ Trafficking and Theft
By Alison Weir – Washington Institute for Middle East Affairs November 2009

In August Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing grisly evidence suggesting that Israel had been taking Palestinian internal organs. The article, by veteran photojournalist Donald Bostrom, called for an international investigation to discover the facts.1

Israel immediately accused Bostrom and the newspaper of “anti-Semitism,” and charged that suggesting Israelis could be involved in the illicit removal of body parts constituted a modern “blood libel” (medieval stories of Jews killing people for their blood).2

Numerous Israeli partisans repeated these accusations, including Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin, who asserted that the story was “merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of European funded and promoted anti-Israel hate.”3 Others suggested that the newspaper was “irresponsible” for running such an article.4

The fact is, however, that Israeli organ harvesting—sometimes with Israeli governmental funding and the participation of high Israeli officials, prominent Israeli physicians, and Israeli ministries—has been documented for many years. Among the victims have been Palestinians.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes is Chancellor’s Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of California Berkeley, the founder of Organ Watch, and the author of scholarly books and articles on organ trafficking. She is the pundit mainstream media call upon when they need expert commentary on the topic.5

While Scheper-Hughes emphasizes that traffickers and procurers come from numerous nations and ethnicities, including Americans and Arabs, she is unflinchingly honest in speaking about the Israeli connection:

“Israel is at the top,” she states. “It has tentacles reaching out worldwide.”6

In a lecture last year sponsored by New York’s PBS 13 Forum, Scheper-Hughes explained that Israeli organ traffickers, “had and still have a pyramid system at work that’s awesome…they have brokers everywhere, bank accounts everywhere; they’ve got recruiters, they’ve got translators, they’ve got travel agents who set up the visas.”

Lest this sound simply like a successful international concern, it’s important to understand the nature of such a business.

As Scheper-Hughes describes it, organ trafficking consists of “paying the poor and the hungry to slowly dismantle their bodies.”

Organ traffickers prey on the world’s poorest, most desperate citizens—slum dwellers, inhabitants of dying villages, people without means or hope. Traffickers promise them what seem like astronomical sums of money (from $1,000 to $10,000)—which they frequently don’t even deliver—in return for vital internal organs.
For traffickers, human body parts are commodities, to be cut out of the bodies of the poor and sold to the rich. The organ “donors” receive no follow-up care and end up worse off on many levels—physically, financially, psychologically, socially—than even their original tragic situation. Sometimes they are coerced into such “donations.”

Organ sales have been illegal in most countries for years. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which covers prevention, enforcement and sanctions in trafficking of humans, includes in its definition of human exploitation the extraction of organs for profit.7 Israel finally passed legislation against organ trafficking in 2008.8, 9

In her Forum 13 lecture Scheper-Hughes discussed the two motivations of Israeli traffickers. One was greed, she said. The other was somewhat chilling: “Revenge, restitution—reparation for the Holocaust.”

She described speaking with Israeli brokers who told her “it’s kind of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. We’re going to get every single kidney and liver and heart that we can. The world owes it to us.’”

Scheper-Hughes says that she “even heard doctors saying that.”

For many years Israelis in need of an internal organ have gone on what experts call “transplant tourism”—traveling to other nations to obtain internal organs. Sometimes body parts are obtained from those freshly dead; more often from the desperately needy. While affluent people from numerous countries and ethnicities engage in this practice, Israel is unique in several significant ways.

First, Israelis engage in this at an extraordinarily high rate. According to a 2001 BBC report, Israelis buy more kidneys per capita than any other population.

Second, Israelis have the lowest donor rate in the world—one-fifth that of Europe, according to BBC. This is in part because there has been a widespread impression that Jewish religious law prohibits transplants as a “desecration of the body.”10 The Israeli news service Ynet reports, “the percentage of organs donated among Jews is the lowest of all the ethnic groups.”11

Third, the Israeli government has enabled the practice. For many years the Israeli health system subsidized its citizens’ “transplant holidays,” reimbursing Israelis $80,000 for medical operations abroad. Much of the remaining costs could often be obtained from government-subsidized12 Israeli insurance plans.13 In addition, Israel’s Ministry of Defense was directly involved.

Scheper-Hughes discussed Israeli organ trafficking in detail in 2001 in published testimony to the Subcommittee on International Relations and Human Rights of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.14 In her extensive testimony, Scheper-Hughes stated that although Israel had become a pariah for its organ policies, Israeli officials exhibited “amazing tolerance…toward outlawed ‘transplant tourism.’”

She described an international syndicate which was “organized through a local business corporation in conjunction with a leading transplant surgeon, operating out of a major medical center not far from Tel Aviv,” and which had forged links with transplant surgeons in Turkey, Russia, Moldavia, Estonia, Georgia, Romania, and New York City.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense was directly involved in what Scheper-Hughes called Israel’s “‘illicit [in other nations] national ‘program’ of transplant tourism…Members of the Ministry of Defense or those closely related to them” accompanied transplant junkets.

In her Forum 13 lecture, Scheper-Hughes said that investigating Israeli organ trafficking over the past decade had taken her “from country to country to country to country.”

One of these is Moldova, the poorest country in Europe—and homeland of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman—where 90 percent of the people earn less than $2 a day. A 2001 BBC report on organ trafficking described the situation: “Hundreds of Israelis have created a production line that starts in the villages of Moldova, where men today are walking around with one kidney.15

Another is Brazil, where a legislative commission found that 30 [it may actually have been as high as 60] Brazilians from impoverished neighborhoods had sold their kidneys to a trafficking ring headed by Israelis, with Israeli citizens receiving almost all of the organs, and the Israeli government providing most of the funding.16

The ring had also begun inquiring about buying other vital organs from poor residents, including lungs, livers and corneas.17

An Inter Press Service (IPS) news story from the time reported that Scheper-Hughes testified to the commission that international trafficking of human organs had begun some 12 years earlier, promoted by Zaki Shapira, head of kidney transplant services at Bellinson Medical Center, near Tel Aviv.

Scheper-Hughes reported that Shapira had performed more than 300 kidney transplants, sometimes accompanying his patients to other countries such as Turkey. The recipients were very wealthy or had very good health insurance, and the “donors” very poor people from Eastern Europe, the Philippines and other developing countries.

The chairman of the Brazilian commission, physician Raimundo Pimentel, was outraged at Israeli policies, pointing out that trafficking can only take place on a large scale if there is a major source of financing, such as the Israeli health system. Pimentel charged that the resources provided by the Israeli health system “were a determining factor” in enabling a network that preyed on society’s poorest populations.

In 2004 there were reports that Israeli traffickers had added China to their target donor populations.18 In one recent case an Israeli paid an organ broker $100,000 for a kidney transplant in China from an 18-year-old Chinese girl. She received $5,000 and died following surgery.19

New York Times reporter Larry Rohter pointed out that allowing brokers to operate with few restrictions benefited Israel “by exporting Israel’s organ shortage overseas.” Rohter cites a kidney specialist at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem who explained that patients who go abroad “‘save the country a lot of money; not only in terms of what doesn’t have to be spent on dialysis, but also by opening places for other people who are on the list.’”20

Many people find governmental complicity in organ trafficking deeply troubling on moral and philosophical grounds.

As Scheper-Hughes testified: “The sale of human organs and tissues requires that certain disadvantaged individuals, populations, and even nations have been reduced to the role of ‘suppliers.’

“It is a scenario in which only certain bodies are broken, dismembered, fragmented, transported, processed, and sold in the interests of a more socially advantaged population…of receivers.” She believes that the risks and benefits of organ transplant surgery should be more equally distributed among nations, ethnic groups, and social classes.

Organ theft


It is difficult to know how often Israeli trafficking involves outright theft of vital organs from living human beings.

It is not rare for the “donor” to receive little or none of the compensation promised. For example, in 2007 Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that two Israelis had confessed to persuading Palestinians “from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment.” According to the Haaretz report, after the organ had been taken the traffickers refused to pay for them.

On occasion, people are coerced into giving up their organs. For example, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, the alleged Brooklyn trafficker recently arrested in an FBI sweep in New Jersey, reportedly carried a gun. When a potential organ seller would try to back out, Rosenbaum would use his finger to simulate firing a gun at the person’s head.

The Rosenbaum case, reportedly part of a ring centered in Israel, is the first case of trafficking to be prosecuted in the US. His arrest and the substantial evidence against him may have surprised State Department Countermisinformation Director Todd Leventhal, who had characterized organ trafficking as an “urban legend,” stating, “It would be impossible to successfully conceal a clandestine organ-trafficking ring.” Leventhal called such reports “irresponsible and totally unsubstantiated.”

More often organ theft involves dead bodies—or those alleged to be dead.

Israel’s very first successful heart transplant, in fact, used a stolen heart.

In 1968 Avraham Sadegat unexpectedly died two days after being hospitalized in Beilinson Hospital in Israel’s Petah Tikva for a stroke. When his family finally was able to retrieve his body (the hospital initially refused to release it) they found his chest covered with bandages; odd, they thought, for a stroke victim. Upon removing these they discovered that the chest cavity was stuffed with bandages and the heart was missing.21

During this time, the Israeli press was heralding the historic heart transplant, performed by a team of surgeons who were to become some of Israel’s most celebrated physicians, among them Dr. Morris Levy, Dr. Bernardo Vidne, and Dr Jack Solomon, who harvested the heart.22

When the family began to ask questions, the hospital denied any connection. After the man’s wife and brother had raised a media furor, petitioned three cabinet ministers—and agreed to sign a document that they would not sue—the hospital finally admitted it was Sadegat’s heart that had been used.

Haaretz quoted Sadegat’s tearful wife: “They treated him like an alley cat. From the moment he entered the hospital, they apparently saw him only as a potential source of organs and not as a man in need of treatment. They only thought about how to do the deed without us knowing.”

Sadegat’s medical condition before his heart was removed has not been made public. It is possible—perhaps probable—that up until his heart was removed it was still beating; according to an Israeli media report, “once a heart stops beating, it is no longer fit for transplantation.”23

Even if he was what is now termed “brain dead,” the general view is that family members should at least be a party to decisions regarding the patient: first, whether to “pull the plug,” and, second, whether to donate an organ. At the time, however, Israeli law allowed organs to be harvested without the family’s consent.

Forty years later the hospital held an anniversary celebration of the transplant, despite the fact that, according to Haaretz, the heart had been obtained “through deceit and trickery.” The festivities, which honored surviving members of the transplant team, featured balloons and a red, heart-shaped cake.

In this incident of organ theft (and from a possibly living body), the family was Israeli. Had the wife and brother been Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza, they would not have possessed the power to force a confession from the hospital, and it is likely that those individuals today calling the Swedish article a “blood libel” or “irresponsible journalism” would have applied the same epithets to journalists reporting questions concerning the historic Israeli heart transplant—if any reporters even bothered or dared to do so.

Yehuda Hiss, keeper of the morgue

Perhaps one of the most long-term and high-level cases of organ theft—and one that involves Palestinian as well as Israeli organs—concerns an extraordinarily high official: Dr. Yehuda Hiss, Israel’s chief pathologist and, from 1988 through 2004, director of Israel’s state morgue, the L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir.

An early indication of malfeasance came to light in 1998 and concerned a Scottish man named Alisdair Sinclair, who had died under questionable circumstances after being taken into custody at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport.

The Israeli story, as reported by the Israeli news magazine Jerusalem Report, is that Sinclair had confessed to transporting drugs, even though none were found, although he was in possession of 9,000 German marks ($5,000). He then, the police claim, hanged himself by looping his shoelaces and T-shirt around a towel bar about a meter off the ground and slipped the improvised noose around his neck. From a squatting position, the police story goes, he repeatedly threw his bodyweight downward, choking himself.

Sinclair did not die, however, and medics were able to restore a heartbeat. He was transferred to a hospital where, according to the magazine report, the hospital’s associate director, Dr. Yigal Halperin, said that Sinclair “had suffered irreversible brain damage, and there was little doctors could do for him. Left in a corner of the emergency room, he died at 7 p.m. [It’s unknown whether he had been put on life support.] His corpse was transferred to the Institute for Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir for an autopsy.”

Afterwards, Israeli authorities located Sinclair’s family and gave them three weeks to dispose of the body. They suggested that he be buried in a Christian cemetery in Israel, pointing out that this would be one-third the cost of shipping the body back to Scotland. However, the grieving family scraped up the money to bring him home.

They had a second autopsy performed by Glasgow University, only to discover that Sinclair’s heart and a small bone in his throat called the hyoid were missing. The British Embassy filed a complaint with Israel, and a heart was sent to Scotland. According to the Jerusalem Report, the family “wanted the Forensic Institute to pay for a DNA test to confirm that this heart was indeed their brother’s, but the Institute’s director, Prof. Jehuda Hiss, refused, citing the prohibitive cost.”

Despite a protest from the British government, Israel refused to supply Hiss’s pathology findings or the police report. According to the British government and a report in the Israeli media, around the time of Sinclair’s death a doctor at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital put in a request for a hyoid bone for research purposes—and eventually received a bill for shipping costs.24 Israel retained Sinclair’s $5,000.

Through the years Hiss and the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic medicine continued to be accused of organ theft. In 2000 the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot published an investigative report alleging that Hiss had been extracting organs without permission and then packing the bodies with broomsticks and cotton wool to fill in cavities before burial. The report charged that under Hiss the institute had been involved in organ sales of body parts—“legs, thighs, ovaries, breasts and testicles,” allegedly to medical institutions.

In 2001 a district judge found the Institute had performed hundreds of autopsies and had removed body parts without the families’ permission—and sometimes in direct opposition to their expressed wishes.25 One report described a “museum of skulls” at the institute.

Little was done, however, and complaints continued—often by the parents of dead Israeli soldiers horrified to discover that body parts had been taken from their sons. Finally, in 2004 Israel’s health minister transferred directorship of the morgue itself away from Hiss. Hiss, however, retained his position as Israel’s chief pathologist, a post it appears he holds to this day.26, 27

Hiss had also been connected with two previous national scandals, both of which may have involved powerful people in Israel, which may account for his longevity in Israel’s medical establishment despite years of proven wrongdoing.

The first controversy concerned the “Yemenite Children’s Affair”—a situation, largely from the early 1950s, in which a thousand babies and small children of recent immigrants to Israel had “disappeared.”

When the immigrants had arrived as part of Israel’s “ingathering of the exiles,” babies were immediately taken from their mothers and placed in children’s houses. Many were hospitalized for a variety of ills, and hundreds died, their deaths coming in such large numbers that they were announced over loudspeakers.

The distraught parents often never saw the body or received a death certificate, and there were growing suspicions that not all had died—some, it was believed, had been “given” to Ashkenazi parents. One author writes: “It was a well-known fact within the Jewish community in the United States that if a family wanted a child they could go to [baby brokers, both rabbis] and simply pay the necessary fee.”28

Some Israeli investigators have found considerable evidence for these charges, and indications of complicity at multiple levels of the power structure. In fact, one researcher charges: “People in positions of power at the time that the State of Israel was established profited from the abduction and sale of children from poor immigrant families.”29

Hiss’ connection comes in 1997, when Israel finally had formed a committee to investigate the disappearance of Yemenite and other Jewish children in the years 1948-1954. Among those testifying before this committee was a California woman who had come to Israel searching for her biological mother—and, according to DNA testing by a geneticist at Hebrew University, had found her.

The committee demanded that another DNA test be conducted at the Abu Kabir forensic institute. As at least one observer predicted ahead of time, Hiss’s test came up negative, and the government was allegedly exonerated, despite the fact that the geneticist who had conducted the first tests stood by his results.30

Hiss also plays a role in some conspiracy theories regarding the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, who had begun a peace process with Palestinians. In March 1999 a group of academics presented findings alleging that Hiss had submitted false evidence to the commission that investigated the killing.31

Palestinian Victims


Israelis have also targeted Palestinians, a particularly vulnerable population on numerous levels.

In her congressional subcommittee testimony, Scheper-Hughes reported that before he moved overseas, Israeli hospital transplant head Zaki Shapira had located kidney sellers “amongst strapped Palestinian workers in Gaza and the West Bank.” She said that his “hand was slapped by an ethics board,” and he moved his practice overseas.

For decades numerous Palestinians and others have charged Israel with taking body parts from Palestinians they had wounded or killed.

In her subcommittee testimony, Scheper-Hughes testified that toward the end of the apartheid period in South Africa, “human rights groups in the West Bank complained to me of tissue and organs stealing of slain Palestinians by Israeli pathologists at the national Israeli legal medical institute in Tel Aviv.”

A Washington Report for Middle East Affairs article by Mary Barrett (see “Autopsies and Executions,” April 1990 Washington Report, p. 21) reported “widespread anxiety over organ thefts which has gripped Gaza and the West Bank since the intifada began in December of 1987.”

Barrett quotes a forensic physician: “There are indications that for one reason or another, organs, especially eyes and kidneys, were removed from the bodies during the first year or year and a half. There were just too many reports by credible people for there to be nothing happening. If someone is shot in the head and comes home in a plastic bag without internal organs, what will people assume?”

A 2002 news story from IRNA reported that three Palestinian boys aged 14-15 had been killed by Israeli forces on Dec. 30, their bodies finally being returned for burial on Jan. 6. According to the report: “shortly before burial, Palestinian medical authorities examined the bodies and found out that the main vital organs were missing from the bodies.” In an interview on Al Jazeera, President Yasser Arafat held up photos of the boys, saying, “They murder our kids and use their organs as spare parts.”

Journalist Khalid Amayreh, recently investigating this topic further, found that “several other Palestinians gave a similar narrative, recounting how they received the bodies of their murdered relatives, mostly men in their early twenties, with vital organs taken away by the Israeli authorities.”

Israel has consistently characterized such accusations as “anti-Semitic,” and numerous other journalists have discounted them as exaggerations.

However, according to the pro-Israel Forward magazine, the truth of these charges was, in fact, confirmed by an Israeli governmental investigation a number of years ago.

In a recent story critical of the Swedish article, the Forward actually confirmed its main point, that Israel had been taking the body parts of slain Palestinians. The Forward article reported that one of the governmental investigations into Hiss had revealed that “he seemed to view every body that ended up in his morgue, whether Israeli or Palestinian, as fair game for organ harvesting.”32

Over the years, a great many Palestinian bodies have “ended up” in the Israeli morgue. In numerous cases Israeli occupation forces have taken custody of wounded or dead Palestinians. Sometimes their bodies are never returned to their grieving families—Palestinian NGOs say there are at least 250 such cases.

In other cases the bodies have been returned to the families days later, with crudely stitched naval-to-chin incisions. On many occasions Israeli soldiers have delivered the bodies late at night and required the bereaved families to bury their children, husbands, and brothers immediately, under Israeli military guard, sometimes with the electricity shut off.

In 2005 an Israeli soldier33 described a military doctor who gave “medics lessons in anatomy” using the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Haaretz reports: “The soldier said that the Palestinian’s body had been riddled with bullets and that some of his internal organs had spilled out. The doctor pronounced the man dead and then ‘took out a knife and began to cut off parts of the body,’ the soldier said.

“‘He explained the various parts to us—the membrane that covers the lungs, the layers of the skin, the liver, stuff like that,’ the soldier continued. ‘I didn’t say anything because I was still new in the army. Two of the medics moved away, and one of them threw up. It was all done very brutally. It was simply contempt for the body.’”34

While most Israeli investigations into organ theft have largely ignored the Palestinian component, a number of significant facts are known:

* Palestinian organs were harvested during years of an astonishingly lax system in which the body parts even of Jewish Israelis were extracted illicitly at the national morgue by the chief pathologist and exchanged for money.
* Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are largely a captive population. Numerous reports by highly reputable Israeli and international organizations have documented a situation in which Palestinians have few if any real rights; Israeli forces have killed civilians with impunity, imprisoned massive numbers of people without benefit of trials, and routinely abused prisoners.
* Israeli authorities have conducted numerous autopsies of Palestinians without permission of their families, without even a semblance of public transparency, and without, it appears, accompanying reports. For example, the families of those who were taken while still alive are not provided with a medical report stating time and cause of death.
* A very small but significant minority of Israelis, including military officers and governmental ministers, hold extremist supremacist views relevant to organ extraction. In 1996, Jewish Week reported that Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, a leader of the Lubavitch sect of Judaism and the dean of a religious Jewish school in a West Bank settlement, stated: “If a Jew needs a liver, can you take the liver of an innocent non-Jew passing by to save him? The Torah would probably permit that.” Ginzburgh elaborated: “Jewish life has infinite value. There is something infinitely more holy and unique about Jewish life than non-Jewish life.” [The Jewish Week, April 26, 1996, pp. 12, 31]

While most Israelis strenuously repudiate such beliefs, Rabbi Moshe Greenberg, an Israeli scholar on Jewish scriptural views on racism and ethnic chauvinism, has said, “The sad thing is, these statements are in our books.” Greenberg, who was a professor at Hebrew University, pointed out that such Talmudic texts were “purely theoretical” at the time of their writing, because Jews did not have the power to carry them out. Now, he pointed out, “they’re carried over into circumstances where Jews have a state and are empowered.”

While it is impossible to know whether any Israelis have ever acted on such religious permission to kill a non-Jew in order to provide body parts to Jews, some observers have considered this a possibility.

Dr. A. Clare Brandabur, a distinguished American scholar who has lived and traveled extensively in Palestine, writes that the information published in the Swedish article “resonates with reports from Palestinians in Gaza which I heard during the first intifada.”

She comments, “When I interviewed Dr. Haidar Abdul Shafi, head of the Red Crescent in Gaza, I mentioned to him reports of shootings of Palestinian children at times when there were no ‘clashes’ going on—a solitary 6-year-old entering his schoolyard in the morning with his bookbag on his back. The soldiers abducted the wounded child at gunpoint, then his body would be returned a few days later having undergone an ‘autopsy at Abu Kabir Hospital.’”

She says: “I asked Dr. Shafi if he had considered the possibility that these killings were being done for organ transplant, since (as Israel Shahak notes in Jewish History, Jewish Religion), it is not allowed to take Jewish organs to save a Jewish life, but it is allowed to take the organs of non-Jews to save Jewish lives. Dr. Shafi said he had suspected such things but since they had no access to the records of Abu Kabir Hospital, there was no way to verify these suspicions.”

Scheper-Hughes, in her congressional testimony, describes the danger of “organs got by any means possible including (I was told by one guilt-ridden practitioner) chemically inducing the signs of brain death in dying patients of no means and with access to minimal social support or family surveillance.”

Whether or not there have ever been organ-inspired murders in Israel as it appears there have elsewhere, numerous groups around the world are urging an international investigation into Israel’s handling of Palestinian bodies in its custody.

However, the Israeli government and its powerful advocates abroad, who regularly block investigations into Israeli actions, are doing their utmost to prevent this one.35, 36 Several lawsuits have been filed against the Swedish newspaper, the largest by Israeli lawyer and IDF officer Guy Ophir, who filed a $7.5 million lawsuit in New York against the newspaper and Bostrom. Ophir declared that Israel must “silence the reporter and the newspaper.”37

International investigations, of course, have two results: the innocent are absolved, the guilty discovered.

It is clear which category Israel believes it falls into.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and is on the board of the Council for the National Interest.

An Internet petition calling for an investigation can be viewed at
www.ipetitions.com/petition/investigateorgantheft/

Footnotes:
1 Bostrom, Donald, “Our sons plundered for their organs,” Aftonbladet, Aug. 17, 2009 , translated by Tlaxcala.
www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=8390&lg=en
(Original Swedish version at www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article5652583.ab )
2 Israel Insider, “Netanyahu to press Sweden to condemn blood libel,” Aug. 23, 2009
http://israelinsider.ning.com/profiles/blogs/netanyahu-to-press-sweden-to
3 Tobin, Jonathan, “Swedish Anti-Semites Dig Up a Blood Libel,” CommentaryMagazine.com, Aug. 20, 2009
www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/tobin/76522
4 Cassel, Matthew, “Baseless organ theft accusations will not bring Israel to justice,” The Electronic Intifada, Aug. 24, 2009
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10730.shtml
5Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, “The Organ of Last Resort,” UNESCO, www.unesco.org, July, 2001
www.unesco.org/courier/2001_07/uk/doss34.htm
University of California Berkeley Anthropology Faculty CV: Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Chancellor’s Professor in Medical Anthropology, Head, Doctoral Program in Medical Anthropology, Critical Studies in Medicine, Science and the Body, Director, Organs Watch
http://anthropology.berkeley.edu/nsh.html
6 Griffin, Drew and David Fitzpatrick, “Donor says he got thousands for his kidney,” CNN Special Investigations Unit, CNN, Sept. 2, 2009
www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/09/01/blackmarket.organs/index.html
7Osava, Mario, “BRAZIL: Poor Sell Organs to Trans-Atlantic Trafficking Ring,” Inter Press Service (IPS), Feb. 23, 2004
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=22524
8 Yeshiva World News, “CNN: Israel a Leader in Organ Trafficking,” Sept. 3, 2009
www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/38973/CNN:+Israel+a+Leader+in+Organ+Trafficking.html
9Chabin, Michele, “Organ Donation: Legal, But Still Controversial,” Jewish Week, April 9, 2008
www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c40_a7588/News/Israel.html
10Rohter, Larry, “Tracking the Sale of a Kidney on a Path of Poverty and Hope,” The New York Times, May 23, 2004
www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/international/americas/23BRAZ.html?th=&pagewanted=print&position=
11Shapira-Rosenberg, Efrat, “A mitzvah called organ donation,” Ynet News, June 10, 2007
www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3388529,00.html
12 Rohter, Larry, op. cit.
13Ibid.
14 “Organs for Sale: China’s Growing Trade and Ultimate Violation of Prisoners’ Rights,” Hearing Before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, 107th Congress, First Session, June 27, 2001, Serial No. 107–29
http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/intlrel/hfa73452.000/hfa73452_0f.htm
15 Lloyd-Roberts, Sue, “Europe’s poorest country supplying organs to its neighbours,” BBC Newsnight, 9/7/01
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/events/newsnight/1437345.stm
16 “BRAZIL: Poor Sell Organs to Trans-Atlantic Trafficking Ring,” Mario Osava, IPS, Feb. 23, 2004
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=22524
17New York Times
18 “Israeli organ traffickers shift operations to China,” BioEdge, June 4, 2004
www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/7726/ www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/international/americas/23BRAZ.html?th=&pagewanted=print&position=
19 “CNN: Israel a Leader in Organ Trafficking,” Yeshiva World News, Sept. 3, 2009
www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/38973/CNN:+Israel+a+Leader+in+Organ+Trafficking.html
20“Tracking the Sale of a Kidney on a Path of Poverty and Hope,” New York Times, Larry Rohter, May 23, 2004
www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/international/americas/23BRAZ.html?th
21 “40 years after Israel’s first transplant, donor’s family says his heart was stolen,” Dana Weiler-Polak, Haaretz, Dec., 14, 2008
www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1046041.html
22“40 years on, medical staffers from Israel’s first human heart transplant reminisce about the feat,” Judy Siegel, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2008
www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P1-159077338.html
23“Shas swing vote pushes through organ donor law,” Shahar Ilan, Haaretz, March 25, 2008
www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/968084.html
“With top rabbis’ blessing, Knesset approves organ donation law,” Shahar Ilan, Haaretz, Aug. 7, 2008
www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/967871.html
24 “Scottish Tourist’s Family Rejects Out-of-Court Settlement,” Netty C. Gross, The Jerusalem Report, Jan. 29, 2001
25“Attorney-General lodges complaint against Abu Kabir coroner,” Dan Izenbert, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2003
26 “Hiss fired for repeated body-part scandals,” Judy Siegel, Jerusalem Post, May 11, 2004
27 “Infamous Chief Pathologist to Once Again Evade Punishment,” Ezra HaLevi, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, Sept. 26, 2005
www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/90518
28 “Were the Children Sold?” Yechiel A. Mann, Stop-Abuse.net
http://stop-abuse.net/ym5.htm
29 “The Missing Children,” Yechiel A. Mann, Stop-Abuse.net
http://stop-abuse.net/ym1.htm
30 “Infamous Chief Pathologist to Once Again Evade Punishment,” Ezra HaLevi, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, Sept. 26, 2005
www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/90518
31“Infamous Chief Pathologist to Once Again Evade Punishment,” Ezra HaLevi, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, Sept. 26, 2005
www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/90518
32“Illicit Body-Part Sales Present Widespread Problem,”
By Rebecca Dube, Forward, Published Aug. 26, 2009, issue of Sept. 4, 2009
www.forward.com/articles/112915/
33“Palestinian corpse used for IDF anatomy lesson,” Amos Harel, Haaretz, Jan. 28, 2005
www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=533018
34 “The Swedish canard—not only smoke, but also fire,” Shraga Elam, Aug. 25, 2009 (posted Sept. 4, 2009)
(Hebrew: http://cafe.themarker.com/view.php?t=1192567 )
http://shraga-elam.blogspot.com/2009/09/swedish-canard-not-only-smoke-but-also.html
35 “Israeli lawyer sues Swedish paper,” JTA, Aug. 27, 2009
http://jta.org/news/article/2009/08/27/1007480/israeli-lawyer-sues-swedish-paper
36 “Israeli lawyer sues ‘Aftonbladet’ in NY Court,” E.B. Solomont, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 26, 2009
www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1251145124980&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
37 “Israeli Reservists To Sue Swedish Newspaper,” David Bedein, The Bulletin, August 30, 2009
http://thebulletin.us/articles/2009/09/04/news/world/doc4a9aa59f46ce3700709743.prt

Source: www.wrmea.com/component/content/article/321-2009-november/6602-israeli-organ-trafficking-and-theft-from-moldova-to-palestine.html

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Israel feels under siege. Like a victim. An underdog

Israel feels under siege. Like a victim. An underdog
Robert Fisk – The Independent February 2, 2010

So the propaganda war is on. Forget Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the 15,000 Lebanese and Palestinian dead. Forget the Sabra and Shatila massacre that same year by Israel’s militia allies as their troops watched. Erase the Qana massacre of 1996 – 106 Lebanese killed by Israeli shellfire, more than half of them children – and delete the 1,500 in the 2006 Lebanon war. And forget, of course, the more than 1,300 Palestinians slaughtered by Israel in Gaza last year (and the 13 Israelis killed by Hamas at that time) after Hamas rockets fell on Sderot. Israel – if you believe the security elite of Israel’s right wing here in Herzliya – is now under an even more dangerous, near-unprecedented attack.

Britain – this came yesterday from Israel’s ambassador in London, no less – is “a battlefield” in which Israel’s enemies wish to “de-legitimise” the 62-year-old Jewish state.

Even Israel’s erstwhile friend, that fine Jewish judge Richard Goldstone, is now, in the words of one of Israel’s staunchest American-Jewish supporters, Al Dershowitz, an “absolute traitor to the Jewish people” and “an evil, evil man”. (Headlines for this, of course, in Israel yesterday.)

Israel under siege. That was the dreary, familiar, hopelessly misunderstood theme at the 10th annual Herzliya conference of diplomats, Israeli civil servants, military gold braid and government yesterday.

Israel the underdog. Israel the victim. Israel whose state-of-the-art, more-moral-than-any-other army was now in danger of seeing its generals arraigned on war crimes charges if they set foot in Europe.

Heaven forbid that Israeli officers should ever be accused of atrocities! The Jerusalem Post yesterday carried a photograph of Kadima leader Tzipi Livni looking at a Krakow poster abusing her as “wanted for war crimes in Gaza”. Forget that she did nothing as Foreign Minister when the Israelis rained phosphorus on Gaza. This whole judicial attack on Israel was an abuse, a deliberate use of international law to de-legitimise the state of Israel – like all the other condemnation of Israel. Would that it was. This current identity crisis is indeed a tragedy for Israel – though not in the way that its right-wing government now suggests.

I remember all too well how, after the disastrous Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, a huge London conference sought to find out how Israeli “propaganda” failed. Never mind the slaughter of the Lebanese and the growing Israeli military casualties. How come Israel’s message didn’t get across? How come the anti-Semitic press was allowed to get away with such calumny? It was an identikit forum to this week’s Herzliya confab.

Today we must forget Operation Cast Lead against Gaza and its savage casualties. We must condemn the Goldstone Report for its unspeakable lies – that the army of good may have committed war crimes against the terrorists of evil – and realise that Israel only wanted peace.

In reality, Israel has made a series of terrible diplomatic mistakes. I’m not talking about the humiliation heaped on the Turkish ambassador by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon – he, too, was at Herzliya. I’m not referring to the preposterous complaints by Ron Prossor, the Israeli ambassador to Britain, that in times of crisis there was “a cacophany of voices from Israel”, rather than a single voice.

No, Israel’s gravest mistake in recent years was to refuse to contribute to Goldstone’s report on the 2008-09 slaughter in Gaza. A “foolish boycott”, the daily Haaretz called it. A disaster, according to Israel’s liberal left, who rightly spotted that it placed Israel on the level of Hamas.

I have sat through hours of the Herzliya conference – it ends with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cheerleading for the masses tomorrow night – and the Goldstone Report and the fear of “de-legitimisation” has run like a thread through almost every debate.

I sat next to an Israeli PhD student yesterday who shook his head in despair. “I and my friends are filled with terrible disappointment when we hear these statements from our government. What can we say? What can we do?” It was an enlightening comment. Is this not what millions of British people said when Tony Blair took them to war on a sheaf of lies in 2003?

One of the most distressing moments at Herzliya came when Lorna Fitzsimons, former Labour MP and now head of Bicom, a British-based pro-Israeli think-tank, pointed out that “public opinion does not influence foreign policy in Britain. Foreign policy is an elite issue.” Deal with the elite, and the proles will follow – that was the implication. “Our enemies are going out to international courts where we are not supreme,” she said.

And that, in a sense, said it all. International legitimacy is what Israel demands. And as a state it is legitimate. It was voted into existence by the United Nations. And, as the Israeli historian Avi Shlaim has said, its creation may not have been just – but it was legitimate. Yet when an international juridical team invited Israel to participate in its inquiries, Mr Netanyahu smugly refused.

In this sense, the Gaza war proved what is so deeply troubling about the current Israeli body politic. It wants the world to recognise its democracy – however flawed this may be – but it will not join the world when asked to account for its behaviour in Gaza.It claims to be a light among the nations but will not let anyone look too closely at that light, to examine its fuel and to look precisely at what it illuminates.

Goldstone, Goldstone, Goldstone. The eminent lawyer who so bravely sought justice for the murdered and raped victims of the Serbs in the Bosnian war – and whose bravery inspired the world, including Israel, at that time – has been on the lips of every Israeli government apologist at Herzliya.

Tzipi Livni spoke of him. So did Yossi Gal, the Israeli foreign affairs ministry director-general. He spoke of the “attempt to use the Goldstone Report to push Israel to the margins of legitimacy”. So did Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations. He noted that the US administration had been “overwhelmingly responsive” – ie dismissive – of the Goldstone Report. Even the mouse-like US ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, suggested that the Goldstone Report might be used as an attempt to de-legitimise Israel.

What is this nonsense? After the 1982 massacre of Sabra and Shatila Palestinians, Israel appointed a government commission of inquiry. The Kahan Commission’s report was not perfect – but what other Middle Eastern nation would examine its sins so courageously? It stated that the then Defence Minister Ariel Sharon’s responsibility – he had sent in the Lebanese militias – was “personal”. This report did not expunge Israel’s guilt but it proved that it was a worthy state, one that was prepared to confront this slaughter with honesty rather than abuse.

Alas, no Kahan Commissions for Israel today. No judgment for Gaza. Just a slap on the wrist for a couple of officers who used phosphorus and a criminal charge against a soldier for stealing credit cards.

As it happens, I met Goldstone after he was appointed head of the war crimes tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia in The Hague. A palpably decent, honest man, he said that the world had grown tired of allowing governments to commit war crimes with impunity. He was talking, of course, about Milosevic. He wrote a book on the same lines, warmly praised by Israel. But now he is the earthquake beneath Israel’s legitimacy.

I dropped by the eminently sensible Israeli army reserve colonel Shaul Arieli at his NGO’s office in Tel Aviv yesterday afternoon and discussed the attempts to arrest Israeli military officers for war crimes if they visited Britain and other European countries.

“All this is much more disturbing to us today than it was a few years ago,” he said. “We are afraid of this trend after Operation Cast Lead. It affects the image of Israel all over the world, not just for military officers. If they were charged, it would show that the state of Israel couldn’t protect its soldiers. I am sure that the Goldstone Report affects these things.”

All of which suggests that the real earthquake beneath Israel, the real danger to its image and standing and legitimacy, is a nation called Israel.

Mossad Tied to Underwear Bomber

Mossad Tied to Underwear Bomber

Victor Thorn – American Free Press January 18, 2010

“His explosives couldn’t have blown up his own seat. Even if full power, it wouldn’t have worked.” These were the words relayed to me during a Jan. 2 interview with military analyst and counterinsurgency specialist Gordon Duff in regard to the attempt of Christmas Day underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab [sometimes referred to as Abdulmutallab] to ignite 80 grams of the explosive PETN on a flight destined for America. He also explained how the patsy’s country of origin, Nigeria, is clandestinely controlled by the Israeli army and Mossad.

These entities train the military, sell weapons, run the airports, and wield power over DICON (Defense Industries Corporation). Furthermore, Mutallab’s father is a Mossad partner and Israel’s No. 1 contact in Nigeria. As the former CEO of his country’s most influential bank and the man who ran their national arms industry, Mr. Mutallab also harbors extremely close relationships with the U.S. ambassador and CIA chief in Nigeria.

On Nov. 19, 2009, Mutallab supposedly felt so alarmed about his errant son’s behavior that he met with the CIA’s station chief in Nigeria. Duff describes the father in a Dec. 31 article for Veterans Today as “one of the richest people in the world, head of a major bank, head of the national armaments industry, and close associate of the U.S. ambassador,” as well as being a Mossad asset. Yet we’re to believe that nobody prevented his Yemeni-influenced “terrorist” son from boarding a plane ultimately bound for Detroit?

Another significant detail is being neglected by mainstream media sources. The firm in charge of security at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is the Israeli-owned International Consultants on Targeted Security (ICTS).They’re also the same outfit responsible for all three airports used by “Muslim hijackers” on 9-11. ICTS also handled security for London’s bus system during their 7-7 “Muslim bombing,” while doing the same at Charles de Gaulle Airport when “shoe bomber” Richard Reid boarded a plane in Paris on Dec. 22, 2001.

When a Michigan passenger, attorney Kurt Haskell, reported that a “well-dressed” Indian man arranged for Umar Mutallab to perform a “walkaround” without a passport in Amsterdam, ICTS was one of only a few entities that could have permitted this security breach to take place.

Despite tighter screening processes since 9-11, Northwest Airlines Flight 253 experienced no delays in takeoff. According to the Mathaba News Agency on Jan. 2, “It is evident that clearing the terrorist with higher-ups took a matter of a minute or so—the ‘Indian’ obviously had a high-level pass (CIA, Mossad or high-level security clout).”

Then, during the flight, onlookers noted that another passenger spent a great deal of time filming 23-year-old Mutallab with his camcorder. Even stranger, once the suspect tried to ignite his “crotch bomb,” Mathaba reported, “Throughout the incident, the man continued recording the terrorist, calmly and without interruption.”

Next, after the plane landed, another Indian man was led away in handcuffs after bomb-sniffing dogs smelled explosives in his luggage. Now, more than a week later, officials have refused to release Schiphol CCTV airport footage from Amsterdam, the air-bound “video passenger” film, or identify the man arrested in Detroit.

This Indian link doesn’t surprise Duff. “Israel and India are very close business partners, especially via their military contracts. Also, the Indian intelligence agency (Research and Analysis Wing) works hand-in-hand with Israel. Essentially, the two governments are one.”

But the Mossad’s reach extends even further, directly into the country where Mutallab purportedly trained. On Oct. 7, 2008, BBC News reported, “Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said that security forces have arrested a group of alleged Islamist militants linked to Israeli intelligence.”

The ties go even deeper, straight to Mutallab’s home country. In a Sept. 5, 2008 article by Tashikalmah Hallah and Francis Okeke entitled “Nigeria: Lawmakers Divided Over Mossad,” Sen. Nuhu Aliyu voiced his support for their pact with Israel. “They (Mossad) are professionals, and they are here to help train our own intelligence agents. I don’t see any way by which their presence in the country poses a threat to our national security.”

One final element of the equation needs to be addressed; specifically, the “terrorist cell” that ostensibly trained Mutallab prior to his Christmas Day terror attempt.

However, Duff paints an entirely different picture. “There is no al-Qaeda in Yemen. George Bush released a couple of phony operatives from Guantanamo, and after traveling to the Middle East, they hooked up with the Mossad. The only reason Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez released them is because they’re assets.”

Of course, the American public is being misled again into believing that this “lone nut” terrorist sneaked through the system (no-fly lists, airport scrutiny etc) due to mere incompetence, similar to what occurred on 9-11.

Yet Israeli intelligence provided security at the Amsterdam Airport, where Mutallab boarded a plane with no passport; the NSA is equipped to electronically eavesdrop anywhere around the world; the Mossad is tied to Yemen, Nigeria and India; while the suspect’s father opened up banking and arms contacts in the Middle East while harboring an extremely close relationship with American and Israeli intelligence.

What we’re being fed is another propagandized cover story that is intended to keep ratcheting up Orwellian-style trauma and fear, all the while further spreading our global “terror war” to Yemen and the African continent.

Drone surge: Today, tomorrow and 2047

Drone surge: Today, tomorrow and 2047

Nick Turse – Asia Times January 26, 2010

One moment there was the hum of a motor in the sky above. The next, on a recent morning in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, a missile blasted a home, killing 13 people. Days later, the same increasingly familiar mechanical whine preceded a two-missile salvo that slammed into a compound in Degan village in the North Waziristan tribal area of Pakistan, killing three.

What were once unacknowledged, relatively infrequent targeted killings of suspected militants or terrorists in the George W Bush years have become commonplace under the Barack Obama administration. And since a devastating December 30 suicide attack by a Jordanian double agent on a Central Intelligence Agency forward operating base in Afghanistan, unmanned aerial drones have been hunting humans in the AfPak war zone at a record pace.

In Pakistan, an “unprecedented number” of strikes – which have killed armed guerrillas and civilians alike – have led to more fear, anger and outrage in the tribal areas, as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with help from the United States Air Force, wages the most public “secret” war of modern times.

In neighboring Afghanistan, unmanned aircraft, for years in short supply and tasked primarily with surveillance missions, have increasingly been used to assassinate suspected militants as part of an aerial surge that has significantly outpaced the highly publicized “surge” of ground forces now underway. And yet, unprecedented as it may be in size and scope, the present ramping up of the drone war is only the opening salvo in a planned 40-year Pentagon surge to create fleets of ultra-advanced, heavily-armed, increasingly autonomous, all-seeing, hypersonic unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Today’s surge


Drones are the hot weapons of the moment and the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review – a soon-to-be-released four-year outline of Department of Defense strategies, capabilities and priorities to fight current wars and counter future threats – is already known to reflect this focus. As the Washington Post recently reported, “The pilotless drones used for surveillance and attack missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan are a priority, with the goals of speeding up the purchase of new Reaper drones and expanding Predator and Reaper drone flights through 2013.”



The MQ-9 Reaper

The MQ-1 Predator – first used in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s – and its newer, larger and more deadly cousin, the MQ-9 Reaper, are now firing missiles and dropping bombs at an unprecedented pace. In 2008, there were reportedly between 27 and 36 US drone attacks as part of the CIA’s covert war in Pakistan. In 2009, there were 45 to 53 such strikes. In the first 18 days of January 2010, there had already been 11 of them.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the US Air Force has instituted a much-publicized decrease in piloted air strikes to cut down on civilian casualties as part of Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal’s counter-insurgency strategy. At the same time, however, air UAS attacks have increased to record levels.

The air force has created an interconnected global command-and-control system to carry out its robot war in Afghanistan (and as Noah Shachtman of Wired’s Danger Room blog has reported, to assist the CIA in its drone strikes in Pakistan as well). Evidence of this can be found at high-tech US bases around the world where drone pilots and other personnel control the planes themselves and the data streaming back from them.

These sites include a converted medical warehouse at al-Udeid Air Base, a billion-dollar facility in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar where the air force secretly oversees its ongoing drone wars; Kandahar and Jalalabad air fields in Afghanistan, where the drones are physically based; the global operations center at Nevada’s Creech air base, where the air force’s “pilots” fly drones by remote control from thousands of kilometers away; and – perhaps most importantly – at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, a 12-square-mile (32 square kilometers) facility in Dayton, Ohio, named after the two local brothers who invented powered flight in 1903. This is where the bills for the current drone surge – as well as limited numbers of strikes in Yemen and Somalia – come due and are, quite literally, paid.

In the waning days of December 2009, in fact, the Pentagon cut two sizeable checks to ensure that unmanned operations involving the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper would continue full speed ahead in 2010. The 703rd Aeronautical Systems Squadron based at Wright-Patterson signed a $38 million contract with defense giant Raytheon for logistics support for the targeting systems of both drones. At the same time, the squadron inked a deal worth $266 million with mega-defense contractor General Atomics, which makes the Predator and Reaper drones, to provide management services, logistics support, repairs, software maintenance and other functions for both drone programs. Both deals essentially ensure that, in the years ahead, the stunning increase in drone operations will continue.

These contracts, however, are only initial down payments on an enduring drone surge designed to carry US unmanned aerial operations forward, ultimately for decades.

Drone surge: The longer view


In 2004, the air force could put a total of only five drone combat air patrols (CAPs) – each consisting of four air vehicles – in the skies over American war zones at any one time. By 2009, that number was 38, a 660% increase according to the air force. Similarly, between 2001 and 2008, hours of surveillance coverage for US Central Command, encompassing both the Iraqi and Afghan war zones, as well as Pakistan and Yemen, showed a massive spike of 1,431%.

In the meantime, flight hours have gone through the roof. In 2004, for example, Reapers, just beginning to soar, flew 71 hours in total, according to air force documents. In 2006, that number had risen to 3,123 hours; and last year, 25,391 hours. This year, the air force projects that the combined flight hours of all its drones – Predators, Reapers and unarmed RQ-4 Global Hawks – will exceed 250,000 hours, about the total number of hours flown by all air force drones from 1995-2007. In 2011, the 300,000 hour-a-year barrier is expected to be crossed for the first time, and after that the sky’s the limit.

More flight time will, undoubtedly, mean more killing. According to Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the Washington-based think-tank the New America Foundation, in the George W Bush years, from 2006 into 2009, there were 41 drone strikes in Pakistan which killed 454 militants and civilians. Last year, under the Barack Obama administration, there were 42 strikes that left 453 people dead. A recent report by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, an Islamabad-based independent research organization that tracks security issues, claimed an even larger number, 667 people – most of them civilians – were killed by US drone strikes last year.

While assisting the CIA’s drone operations in the Pakistani tribal borderlands, the air force has been increasing its own unmanned aerial hunter-killer missions. In 2007 and 2008, for example, air force Predators and Reapers fired missiles during 244 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, while all the US armed services have pursued unmanned aerial warfare, the air force has outpaced each of them.

From 2001, when armed drone operations began, until the spring of 2009, the air force had fired 703 Hellfire missiles and dropped 132 GBU-12s (250-kilogram laser-guided bombs) in combat operations. The army, by comparison, launched just two Hellfire missiles and two smaller GBU-44 Viper Strike munitions in the same time period. The disparity should only grow, since the army’s drones remain predominantly small surveillance aircraft, while in 2009 the air force shifted all outstanding orders for the medium-sized Predator to the even more formidable Reaper, which is not only twice as fast but has 600% more payload capacity, meaning more space for bombs and missiles.

In addition, the more heavily-armed Reapers, which can now loiter over an area for 10 to 14 hours without refueling, will be able to spot and track ever more targets via an increasingly sophisticated video monitoring system. According to air force Lieutenant General David Deptula, deputy chief of staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, the first three “Gorgon Stare pods” – new wide-area sensors that provide surveillance capabilities over large swathes of territory – will be installed on Reapers operating in Afghanistan this spring.

A technology not available for the older Predator, Gorgon Stare will allow 10 operators to view 10 video feeds from a single drone at the same time. Back at a distant base, a “pilot” will stare at a tiled screen with a composite picture of the streaming battlefield video, even as field commanders analyze a portion of the digital picture, panning, zooming and tilting the image to meet their needs.

A more advanced set of “pods”, scheduled to be deployed for the first time this autumn, will allow 30 operators to view 30 video images simultaneously. In other words, via video feeds from a single Reaper drone, operators could theoretically track 30 different people heading in 30 directions from a single Afghan compound. The generation of sensors expected to come online in late 2011 promises 65 such feeds, according to air force documents, a more than 6,000% increase in effectiveness over the Predator’s video system. The air force is, however, already overwhelmed just by drone video currently being sent back from the war zones and, in the years ahead, risks “drowning in data”, according to Deptula.

The 40-year plan


When it comes to the drone surge, the years 2011-2013 are just the near horizon. While, like the army, the navy is working on its own future drone warfare capacity – in the air as well as on and even under the water – the air force is involved in striking levels of futuristic planning for robotic war. It envisions a future previously imagined only in science-fiction movies like the Terminator series.

As a start, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, the Pentagon’s blue skies research outfit, is already looking into radically improving on Gorgon Stare with an “Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance-Infrared (ARGUS-IR) System”. In the obtuse language of military research and development, it will, according to DARPA, provide a “real-time, high-resolution, wide-area video persistent surveillance capability that allows joint forces to keep critical areas of interest under constant surveillance with a high degree of target location accuracy” via as many as 130 ‘Predator-like’ steerable video streams to enable real-time tracking and monitoring and enhanced situational awareness during evening hours”.

In translation, that means the air force will quite literally be flooded with video information from future battlefields; and every “advance” of this sort means bulking up the global network of facilities, systems and personnel capable of receiving, monitoring and interpreting the data streaming in from distant digital eyes. All of it is specifically geared toward “target location”, that is, pin-pointing people on one side of the world so that Americans on the other side can watch, track and, in many cases, kill them.

In addition to enhanced sensors and systems like ARGUS-IR, the air force has a long-term vision for drone warfare that is barely beginning to be realized. Predators and Reapers have already been joined in Afghanistan by a newer, formerly secret drone, a “low observable unmanned aircraft system” first spotted in 2007 and dubbed the “Beast of Kandahar” before observers were sure what it actually was. It is now known to be a Lockheed Martin-manufactured unmanned aerial vehicle, the RQ-170 – a drone which the air force blandly notes was designed to “directly support combatant commander needs for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to locate targets”. According to military sources, the sleek, stealthy surveillance craft has been designated to replace the antique Lockheed U-2 spy plane, which has been in use since the 1950s.

In the coming years, the RQ-170 is slated to be joined in the skies of America’s “next wars” by a fleet of drones with ever newer, more sophisticated capabilities and destructive powers. Looking into the post-2011 future, Deptula sees the most essential need, according to an Aviation Week report, as “long-range [reconnaissance and] precision strike” – that is, more eyes in far off skies and more lethality. He added, “We cannot move into a future without a platform that allows [us] to project power long distances and to meet advanced threats in a fashion that gives us an advantage that no other nation has.”

This means bigger, badder, faster drones – armed to the teeth – with sensor systems to monitor wide swathes of territory and the ability to loiter overhead for days on end waiting for human targets to appear and, in due course, be vaporized by high-powered munitions. It’s a future built on advanced technologies designed to make targeted killings – remote-controlled assassinations – ever more effortless.

Over the horizon and deep into what was, until recently, only a silver-screen fantasy, the air force envisions a wide array of unmanned aircraft, from tiny insect-like robots to enormous “tanker size” pilotless planes. Each will be slated to take over specific war-making functions (or so air force dreamers imagine). Those nano-sized drones, for instance, are set to specialize in indoor reconnaissance – they’re small enough to fly through windows or down ventilation shafts – and carry out lethal attacks, undertake computer-disabling cyber-attacks, and swarm, as would a group of angry bees, of their own volition. Slightly larger micro-sized Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (STUAS) are supposed to act as “transformers” – altering their form to allow for flying, crawling and non-visual sensing capabilities. They might fill sentry, counter-drone, surveillance and lethal attack roles.

Additionally, the air force envisions small and medium “fighter-sized” drones with lethal combat capabilities that would put the current UAS air fleet to shame. Today’s medium-sized Reapers are set to be replaced by next generation MQ-Ma drones that will be “networked, capable of partial autonomy, all-weather and modular with capabilities supporting electronic warfare [EW], CAS [close air support], strike and multi-INT [multiple intelligence] ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] missions’ platforms”.

The language may not be elegant, much less comprehensible, but if these future fighter aircraft actually come online they will not only send today’s remaining Top Gun pilots to the showers, but may even sideline tomorrow’s drone human operators, who, if all goes as planned, will have ever fewer duties. Unlike today’s drones, which must take off and land with human guidance, the MQ-Mas will be automated and drone operators will simply be there to monitor the aircraft.

Next up will be the MQ-Mb, theoretically capable of taking over even more roles once assigned to traditional fighter-bombers and spy planes, including the suppression of enemy air defenses, bombing and strafing of ground targets and surveillance missions. These will also be designed to fly more autonomously and be better linked in to other drone “platforms” for cooperative missions involving many aircraft under the command of a single “pilot”. Imagine, for instance, one operator overseeing a single command drone that holds sway over a small squadron of autonomous drones carrying out a coordinated air attack on clusters of people in some far off land, incinerating them in small groups across a village, town or city.

Finally, perhaps 30 to 40 years from now, the MQ-Mc drone would incorporate all of the advances of the MQ-M line, while being capable of everything from dog-fighting to missile defense. With such new technology will come new policies and new doctrines. In the years ahead, the air force intends to make drone-related policy decisions on everything from treaty obligations to automatic target engagement – robotic killing without a human in the loop. The latter extremely controversial development is already envisioned as a possible post-2025 reality.

2047: What’s old is new again


The year 2047 is the target date for the air force’s Holy Grail, the capstone for its long-term plan to turn the skies over to war-fighting drones. In 2047, the air force intends to rule the skies with MQ-Mc drones and “special” super-fast, hypersonic drones for which neither viable technology nor any enemies with any comparable programs or capabilities yet exist. Despite this, the air force is intent on making these super-fast hunter-killer systems a reality by 2047. “Propulsion technology and materials that can withstand the extreme heat will likely take 20 years to develop. This technology will be the next generation air game-changer. Therefore the prioritization of the funding for the specific technology development should not wait until the emergence of a critical COCOM [combatant command] need,” says the air force’s 2009-2047 UAS “Flight Plan”.

If anything close to the air force’s dreams comes to fruition, the “game” will indeed be radically changed. By 2047, there’s no telling how many drones will be circling over how many heads in how many places across the planet. There’s no telling how many millions or billions of flight hours will have been flown, or how many people, in how many countries, will have been killed by remote-controlled, bomb-dropping, missile-firing, judge-jury-and-executioner drone systems.

There’s only one given. If the US still exists in its present form, is still solvent and still has a functioning Pentagon of the present sort, a new plan will already be well underway to create the war-making technologies of 2087. By then, in ever more places, people will be living with the sort of drone war that now worries only those in places like Degan village. Ever more people will know that unmanned aerial systems packed with missiles and bombs are loitering in their skies. By then, there undoubtedly won’t even be that lawnmower-engine sound indicating that a missile may soon plow into your neighbor’s home.

For the air force, such a prospect is the stuff of dreams, a bright future for unmanned, hypersonic lethality; for the rest of the planet, it’s a potential nightmare from which there may be no waking.

Nick Turse is the associate editor of TomDispatch.com and the winner of a 2009 Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction as well as a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, In These Times, and regularly at TomDispatch. Turse is currently a fellow at New York University’s Center for the United States and the Cold War. He is the author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives(Metropolitan Books). His website is NickTurse.com.

Robert Fisk: Why does the US turn a blind eye to Israeli bulldozers?

Robert Fisk: Why does the US turn a blind eye to Israeli bulldozers?
Most of the West Bank is under rule which amounts to apartheid by paper

“Palestine” is no more. Call it a “peace process” or a “road map”; blame it on Barack Obama’s weakness, his pathetic, childish admission – like an optimistic doctor returning a sick child to its parents without hope of recovery – that a Middle East peace was “more difficult” to reach than he imagined.
But the dream of a “two-state” Israeli-Palestinian solution, a security-drenched but noble settlement to decades of warfare between Israelis and Palestinians is as good as dead.

Both the United States and Europe now stand idly by while the Israeli government effectively destroys any hope of a Palestinian state; even as you read these words, Israel’s bulldozers and demolition orders are destroying the last chance of peace; not only in the symbolic centre of Jerusalem itself but – strategically, far more important – in 60 per cent of the vast, biblical lands of the occupied West Bank, in that largest sector in which Jews now outnumber Muslims two to one.

This majority of the West Bank – known under the defunct Oslo Agreement’s sinister sobriquet as “Area C” – has already fallen under an Israeli rule which amounts to apartheid by paper: a set of Israeli laws which prohibit almost all Palestinian building or village improvements, which shamelessly smash down Palestinian homes for which permits are impossible to obtain, ordering the destruction of even restored Palestinian sewage systems. Israeli colonists have no such problems; which is why 300,000 Israelis now live – in 220 settlements which are all internationally illegal – in the richest and most fertile of the Palestinian occupied lands.

When Obama’s elderly envoy George Mitchell headed home in humiliation this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated his departure by planting trees in two of the three largest Israeli colonies around Jerusalem. With these trees at Gush Etzion and Ma’aleh Adumim, he said, he was sending “a clear message that we are here. We will stay here. We are planning and we are building.” These two huge settlements, along with that of Ariel to the north of Jerusalem, were an “indisputable part of Israel forever.”

It was Netanyahu’s victory celebration over the upstart American President who had dared to challenge Israel’s power not only in the Middle East but in America itself. And while the world this week listened to Netanyahu in the Holocaust memorial commemoration for the genocide of six million Jews, abusing Iran as the new Nazi Germany – Iran’s loony president supposedly as evil as Hitler – the hopes of a future “Palestine” continued to dribble away. President Ahmadinejad of Iran is no more Adolf Hitler than the Israelis are Nazis. But the “threat” of Iran is distracting the world. So is Tony Blair yesterday, trying to wriggle out of his bloody responsibility for the Iraq disaster. The real catastrophe, however, continues just outside Jerusalem, amid the fields, stony hills and ancient caves of most of the West Bank.

Secret Banking Cabal Emerges From AIG Shadows: David Reilly [Bloomberg.com]

Secret Banking Cabal Emerges From AIG Shadows: David Reilly [Bloomberg.com]

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) — The idea of secret banking cabals
that control the country and global economy are a given among
conspiracy theorists who stockpile ammo, bottled water and
peanut butter. After this week’s congressional hearing into the
bailout of American International Group Inc., you have to wonder
if those folks are crazy after all.

Wednesday’s hearing described a secretive group deploying
billions of dollars to favored banks, operating with little
oversight by the public or elected officials.

We’re talking about the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,
whose role as the most influential part of the federal-reserve
system — apart from the matter of AIG’s bailout — deserves
further congressional scrutiny.

The New York Fed is in the hot seat for its decision in
November 2008 to buy out, for about $30 billion, insurance
contracts AIG sold on toxic debt securities to banks, including
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., Societe Generale
and Deutsche Bank AG, among others. That decision, critics say,
amounted to a back-door bailout for the banks, which received
100 cents on the dollar for contracts that would have been worth
far less had AIG been allowed to fail.

That move came a few weeks after the Federal Reserve and
Treasury Department propped up AIG in the wake of Lehman
Brothers Holdings Inc.
’s own mid-September bankruptcy filing.

Saving the System

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was head of the New
York Fed at the time of the AIG moves. He maintained during
Wednesday’s hearing that the New York bank had to buy the
insurance contracts, known as credit default swaps, to keep AIG
from failing, which would have threatened the financial system.

The hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform also focused on what many in Congress believe
was the New York Fed’s subsequent attempt to cover up buyout
details and who benefited.

By pursuing this line of inquiry, the hearing revealed some
of the inner workings of the New York Fed and the outsized role
it plays in banking. This insight is especially valuable given
that the New York Fed is a quasi-governmental institution that
isn’t subject to citizen intrusions such as freedom of
information requests, unlike the Federal Reserve.

This impenetrability comes in handy since the bank is the
preferred vehicle for many of the Fed’s bailout programs. It’s
as though the New York Fed was a black-ops outfit for the
nation’s central bank.


Geithner’s Bosses

The New York Fed is one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks that
operate under the supervision of the Federal Reserve’s board of
governors, chaired by Ben Bernanke. Member-bank presidents are
appointed by nine-member boards, who themselves are appointed
largely by other bankers.

As Representative Marcy Kaptur told Geithner at the
hearing: “A lot of people think that the president of the New
York Fed works for the U.S. government. But in fact you work for
the private banks that elected you.”

And yet the New York Fed played an integral role in the
government’s bailout of banks, often receiving surprisingly free
rein to act as it saw fit.

Consider AIG. Let’s take Geithner at his word that a
failure to resolve the insurer’s default swaps would have led to
financial Armageddon. Given the stakes, you might think Geithner
would have coordinated actions with then-Treasury Secretary
Henry Paulson. Yet Paulson testified that he wasn’t in the loop.

“I had no involvement at all, in the payment to the
counterparties, no involvement whatsoever,” Paulson said.

Bernanke’s Denials

Fed Chairman Bernanke also wasn’t involved. In a written
response to questions from Representative Darrell Issa, Bernanke
said he “was not directly involved in the negotiations” with
AIG’s counterparty banks.

You have to wonder then who really was in charge of our
nation’s financial future if AIG posed as grave a threat as
Geithner claimed.

Questions about the New York Fed’s accountability grew
after Geithner on Nov. 24, 2008, was named by then-President-
elect Barack Obama to be Treasury Secretary. Geither said he
recused himself from the bank’s day-to-day activities, even
though he never actually signed a formal letter of recusal.

That left issues related to disclosures about the deal in
the hands of the bank’s lawyers and staff, rather than a top
executive. Those staffers didn’t want details of the swaps
purchase to become public.

New York Fed staff and outside lawyers from Davis Polk &
Wardell
edited AIG communications to investors and intervened
with the Securities and Exchange Commission to shield details
about the buyout transactions, according to a report by Issa.

That the New York Fed, a quasi-governmental body, was able
to push around the SEC, an executive-branch agency, deserves a
congressional hearing all by itself.

Later, when it became clear information would be disclosed,
New York Fed legal group staffer James Bergin e-mailed
colleagues saying: “I have to think this train is probably
going to leave the station soon and we need to focus our efforts
on explaining the story as best we can. There were too many
people involved in the deals — too many counterparties, too
many lawyers and advisors, too many people from AIG — to keep a
determined Congress from the information.”

Think of the enormity of that statement. A staffer at a
body with little public accountability and that exists to serve
bankers is lamenting the inability to keep Congress in the dark.

This belies the culture of secrecy obviously pervasive
within the New York Fed. Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns noted
during the hearing that the bank initially refused to disclose
even the names of other banks that benefited from its actions,
arguing this information would somehow harm AIG.

‘Penchant for Secrecy’

“In fact, when the information was finally released, under
pressure from Congress, nothing happened,” Towns said. “It had
absolutely no effect on AIG’s business or financial condition.
But it did have an effect on the credibility of the Federal
Reserve, and it called into question the Fed’s penchant for
secrecy.”

Now, I’m not saying Congress should be meddling in
interest-rate decisions, or micro-managing bank regulation. Nor
do I think we should all don tin-foil hats and start ranting
about the Trilateral Commission.

Yet when unelected and unaccountable agencies pick banking
winners while trying to end-run Congress, even as taxpayers are
forced to lend, spend and guarantee about $8 trillion to prop up
the financial system, our collective blood should boil.


Troops fire on starving crowds in Haiti

Troops fire on starving crowds in Haiti
Patrick Martin – WSWS.org January 28, 2010

Troops under United Nations command have opened fire on crowds of hungry Haitians seeking food, an ominous sign of impending confrontation between the people of the earthquake-wracked country and the armed forces dispatched there under the auspices of the imperialist powers.

On Monday, Uruguayan troops, part of the UN peacekeeping force deployed here since 2004, fired rubber bullets at people who crowded around food trucks, eventually pulling out and leaving sacks of rice to be fought over.

The next day, Brazilian troops proceeded more aggressively, using pepper spray and tear gas to hold off a crowd seeking food at a tent camp on the grounds of the devastated presidential palace. People ran from the spray coughing and with their eyes streaming.

Two tanks were brought up to menace the crowds when they began to reform, although Fernando Soares, a Brazilian army colonel, told the press: “They’re not violent, just desperate. They just want to eat.”

One soldier loaded a shotgun as the crowd watched, but did not fire. “They treat us like animals, they beat us, but we are hungry people,” one Haitian, Muller Bellegarde, told an American reporter.

The World Food Program (WFP) was delivering 107 cubic tons of rice, oil and beans to the palace camp, enough to feed 20,000 people for two weeks. As the trucks rolled up, thousands came out of their tents and began lining up, but the queues soon became disorderly as it became clear that there was not enough food for all who needed it. Another man told Reuters, “We are too many. Two trucks are not enough for us. They will fight, and the soldiers will shoot and fire gas.”

Violence also broke out in the seaside town of Jacmel, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, after initially peaceful protests over the scarcity of tents for earthquake survivors.

Force was used as well by Haitian police at a food-distribution site in Cite Soleil, the largest and most impoverished section of the capital city. Police swung sticks and clubs to drive back the crowd.

While Haitians seeking food and scavenging in the rubble have been portrayed as “looters” by the media, and targeted for repression by both foreign troops and Haitian police, it was so-called looters who found a man buried in the rubble of a building on Rue de Miracle in downtown Port-au-Prince Tuesday. They brought US soldiers with the necessary equipment to pull the man, Rico Dibrivell, 35, out alive. He had a broken leg and severe dehydration, but said he had been trapped for 12 days rather than 14, falling victim to an aftershock rather than the original 7.0 quake.

On Wednesday, a teenage girl was pulled alive and apparently unhurt, though severely dehydrated, from beneath another smashed building. Coming 15 days after the main tremor, this marks the longest known survival of an earthquake victim in modern history. US and other rescue efforts were called off at the weekend.

The total number of American military personnel in Haiti, including those on ships just offshore, rose to 15,400 by Tuesday. One third of these are soldiers on the ground in and around Port-au-Prince, with the bulk of them from the 82nd Airborne Division, an elite unit that specializes in combat, not logistical support.

The heavy-handed US military presence has generated considerable criticism. Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia boycotted a donors’ conference in Montreal to protest the US occupation of the country.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro wrote in Granma, the country’s official newspaper, that the focus on US military deployment had blocked entry of doctors and medical supplies. “Send doctors, not soldiers,” he wrote. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared, “The U.S. government is taking advantage of a humanitarian tragedy to militarily take over Haiti.”

These sentiments were expressed, not just by regimes long at odds with Washington, but by officials of longtime US allies France and Italy. A French cabinet official, Alain Joyandet, said in a radio interview January 19 that the role of the U.S. in Haiti should be clarified. “It’s about helping Haiti, not occupying Haiti.”

The top Italian official dispatched to Haiti, Guido Bertolaso, the civil protection minister, said Monday that the US intervention had been “pathetic…. It’s a truly powerful show of force, but it’s completely out of touch with reality. They don’t have close rapport with the territory and they certainly don’t have a rapport with international organizations and aid groups.”

Clearly referring to the photo-op appearance by former US President Bill Clinton, who passed through the island and briefly unloaded water bottles at the airport, he said, “Unfortunately there’s this need to make a bella figura in front of the television cameras rather than focusing on underneath the debris…. Some individuals were putting on a vanity show for the television cameras instead of rolling up their sleeves.”

Such comments clearly stung, as shown by the comments by Clinton’s wife, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Speaking to a group of State Department employees, she declared, “I deeply resent those who attack our country, the generosity of our people and the leadership of our president in trying to respond to historically disastrous conditions after the earthquake. Some of the international press either misunderstood or deliberately misconstrued what was a civilian and military response, both of them necessary in order to be able to deliver aid to the Haitians who desperately needed it.”

Haitian President Réné Preval, who has been virtually invisible to the people of his country for the past two weeks, emerged to denounce suggestions that the occupation of his country by foreign troops was a threat to its sovereignty. At a press conference with Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary-general of the Organization of American States, he rebuffed a question about the occupation, saying, “We are talking about people suffering and you are talking about ideology.”

A French reporter asked why US troops were controlling flights into the Port-au-Prince airport. Preval replied: “You need to run the airport, you need technical help and they offered it to us. I really can’t understand why the need for that is so difficult to accept.”

Preval also announced that Haitian legislative elections, previously scheduled for February 28, would be postponed indefinitely.

The major initiative of Preval’s government is a program to relocate 500,000 people from Port-au-Prince to villages outside the capital region, but there have been few takers among those living in the rubble. A reporter for the French news agency AFP visited Croix des Bouquets, one of the relocation sites, and described it as “a vast, gravel wasteland with just a few people hanging about hoping for work.”

Meanwhile an extraordinary denunciation of the Obama administration’s conduct in Haiti was published in the Wall Street Journal, issued by three New York City doctors, Soumitra R. Eachempati, incoming president of the New York State Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and Dean Lorich and David Helfet, orthopedic surgeons and colleagues of Dr. Eachempati at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

Their statement appeared under the headline, “Haiti: Obama’s Katrina, Many post-quake deaths could have been prevented.” The three doctors, who were among the first to reach Haiti after the quake, wrote that the delays imposed by the US military on relief groups entering the county “proved tragic. Upon our arrival at the Haiti Community Hospital we found scores of patients with pus dripping out of open fractures and crush injuries. Some wounds were already infested with maggots. Approximately one-third of the victims were children. Most of the patients already had life-threatening infections, and all were dehydrated. Many had been waiting in the hospital compound for days without water, antibiotics or even pain medicine. The hospital smelled of infected, rotting limbs.”

They continued: “The U.S. response to the earthquake should be considered an embarrassment. Our operation received virtually no support from any branch of the US government, including the State Department. As we ran out of various supplies we had no means to acquire more…. Later, as we were leaving Haiti, we were appalled to see warehouse-size quantities of unused medicines, food and other supplies at the airport, surrounded by hundreds of US and international soldiers standing around aimlessly.”