| Pentagon unveils laser capable of shooting down drones, mortars!

Pentagon unveils laser capable of shooting down drones, mortars ~ RT.

The US Army has successfully used a vehicle-mounted laser to shoot down numerous mortar rounds and drone aircraft for the first time.

Taking place over the course of several weeks, the test involved destroying more than 90 incoming mortar rounds and multiple drones. Eventually, the Army hopes to test an even more advanced laser system that could shoot down more dangerous weapons, such as incoming cruise missiles.

Named the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD), the current version of the weapon features three to five lasers that can be attached to the top of a military vehicle in a dome-like turret structure. According to Terry Bauer, the Army’s program manager for the weapon at Boeing, when the HEL MD hits a target like a mortar, it heats up the insides to the point that the mortar explodes in mid-air.

“It falls as a single piece of metal with a little bit of shrapnel. It basically falls where it was going to fall, but it doesn’t explode when it hits the ground,” Bauer said to the Christian Science Monitor“We turn it into a rock, basically.”

When it comes to shooting down drones, the laser can be used to blind an unmanned vehicle’s cameras and take apart its tail, causing the whole thing to come crashing down to earth.

The Army hopes to use the laser to protect bases that come under fire from mortar and rocket attacks. This happened frequently during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Monitor reported that the cheap cost of using lasers would make the weapons a sensible choice for the Pentagon.

Still, officials said it is unlikely that the HEL MD will be ready for combat use before 2022, as the Army is moving to test more advanced versions over the coming years. The current system is equipped with a laser with the strength of 10 kilowatts, but future versions will be outfitted with 50- and 100-kilowatt lasers.

“If you’re engaging a target at the same range, a 100 kW laser will destroy the target in one-tenth of the time than the 10kW would,” Bauer told AFP.

The HEL MD is just one of the laser-equipped weapons being developed by the United States military. As RT reported in November, the Department of Defense is looking into attaching high-powered lasers to its next-generation fighter jets, which would be capable of tracking and disarming enemy sensors, destroying incoming missile attacks, and going on the offensive.

Meanwhile, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced in October its plans to develop drone-mounted laser systems that would be able to shoot missiles down from the sky.

High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) (Image from army.mil)

High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) (Image from army.mil)



| Another Murderous American Drone Strike!

Another Murderous American Drone Strike. ~ Peter Koenig, ICH.

The Western media are happily touting the success of another murderous American drone strike – killing Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud – and 25 other Pakistani – just collateral damage, no more. Glorifying drone strikes. Glorifying killing. The West is used to it. Deep inside they may even like it.

Under the Obama Regime, assassinations are the order of the day.

Obama – so he proudly says, controls personally who has to die and who may live. He blesses the trigger boys.

That has never happened in US history before. Not even in the hell of the Bush years.

Washington has not only become the capital of a failed state – but the capital of a willing killing machine, lying around the world about terrorism that justifies eradication by random and cruel killing. It justifies the CIA, NSA and the US military as the good-doers of the world – which is basically what the US Senate accepted these last days after their soft questioning of NSA chief, Keith Alexander.

And the Western drugged-like indoctrinated populace buys it.

Not realizing that the only way this country, self-styled US empire, can survive is when its military-security killing complex – that swallows more than 50% of the state budget and spits out about two thirds of the American blood-soaked GDP – keeps assassinating people randomly, and is waging ‘freedom’ wars, one after one – keeping the military industrial complex – and the dollar printing presses alive.

We, the People, must halt this gruesome empire, this horrifying killing machine.
It must be stopped.

One assassination must be the last one.

We, the people, have an obligation, we the People – our future is at stake, our free and creative thinking, our countries ‘ sovereignty – our planet’s and children’s future is in danger – we the People, must act now.

Let me take the liberty to call upon the leaders of Russia and China, to do another humanitarian act, as they did before when they saved Syria from the immediate threat of US aggression – now again – — the only way the US does retreat from their criminal actions, is if their sick greed economy is jeopardized.

We the people want no more bloodshed. No more wars. We want to stop the killing. We want to ground the drones at once. We want the elite’s puppet, Obama’s criminal functions paralyzed at once. Once and for all.

We want to halt American aggressions, abuse and supremacy of one nation over the rest of the world.

We want equality.

Sovereign countries and people.


The Western economy is based on greed – economics of greed. Human greed is so strong – as Edward Bernays knew well, when he invented the almighty propaganda machine – that a sheer threat to its feeding economy may succeed. It will prompt a retreat – just to postpone as long as possible the feeder of greed, the fodder for greed – its sick economy.

We need an alternative economy – one of peace and equality, protecting our planet, one of justice and one that offers our children a future.

That’s why we ask the Russian and Chinese Governments for another humanitarian act. This time more than a threat – the actual launching of a new economy – abandoning the dollar, replacing it with local moneys and eventually with a new common currency – a new currency emerging from a basket of currencies initiated by the BRICS – and eventually of all those sovereign nations that participate.

The world will flock to this basket.

The American killing machine and the economy of greed that drives it will implode.

Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world and writes regularly forInformation Clearing House and other internet sites.

See also –

US Kills 25 people in Pakistan: The head of the Pakistani Taliban was killed by a US drone strike in Pakistan on Friday. “Among the dead, are Hakimullah’s personal bodyguard Tariq Mehsud and his driver Abdullah Mehsud, two of his closest people,” said one intelligence source, adding at least 25 people were killed in the strike.

Pakistan Taliban secretly bury leader, vow bombs in revenge: “Every drop of Hakimullah’s blood will turn into a suicide bomber,” said Azam Tariq, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman.

Khan Said is the new leader of the Taliban: Pakistan’s Taliban has chosen a veteran insurgent with a reputation for brutality as its new leader after a US drone strike killed Hakimullah Mehsud.

Pakistan accuses US of ‘scuttling’ Taliban talks with drone strike, summons ambassador:“Brick by brick in the last seven weeks we tried to evolve a process by which we could bring peace to Pakistan and what have you (the US) done?” Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, Ali Khan said. “You have scuttled it”

Pakistan reviews US relationship over Taliban drone kill: The Pakistani government is holding a high-level meeting to review its ties with the US. The country’s top officials were infuriated with the US drone assassination of a Taliban commander, who was about to engage in talks with Islamabad.

President Obama Reportedly Told His Aides That He’s ‘Really Good At Killing People‘: This will not go over well for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner. According to the new book “Double Down,” President Barack Obama told his aides that he’s “really good at killing people” while discussing drone strikes.



| Secret UK use of drones in Afghanistan continues – disclosure campaign thwarted!

UK use of drones in Afghanistan remains under wraps after disclosure campaign is thwarted ~ KUNAL DUTTAJONATHAN OWENThe Independent.


Campaigners have vowed to continue to fight the “culture of secrecy” surrounding Britain’s use of drones after a protracted legal battle to force the Government to disclose details of deployments in Afghanistan failed, with the information tribunal backing the Ministry of Defence’s refusal to reveal information on military operations.

The appeal to the Information Commissioner was filed in wake of numerous Freedom of Information requests that were refused by the MoD. But after a two-day closed hearing the information tribunal supported the MoD’s position with soldier’s lives being cited as the key reason for the lack of disclosure.

“The MOD referred to the disclosure of the requested information as involving ‘risk to life and limb’, the Commissioner used the phrase ‘life and death’,” the ruling stated.

“We do not consider either of these phrases to be over-dramatising the level of risk that could be caused to service men and women should the information be released and available to enemy forces in Afghanistan.”

Campaigners tonight branded the ruling “disappointing” but vowed to fight on, calling for Britain’s involvement to be “brought out of the shadows”. Dan Carey of Deighton Pierce Glynn, the law firm representing drone campaigner Chris Cole who originally filed the appeal, said: “The tribunal have decided that when the MoD waves the flag of troop safety this creates a virtually insurmountable barrier to disclosure, yet, in not disclosing to us even the explanation given by the MoD, it has been impossible for us to respond meaningfully.”

Cori Crider, strategy director of Reprieve, said: “We know that the UK is closely involved in supporting the CIA in carrying out these illegal strikes, yet they are still refusing to come clean.  Today’s ruling is disappointing, but the fact remains that the US-UK drone wars must be brought out of the shadows.”

The refusal to divulge information on Britain’s use of drones in combat comes after just a week after a United Nations report called on the CIA to declassify information and clarify its position on the legality of drone strikes.

Britain has been under mounting pressure to clarify its position on drones which has intensified in recent months. In April, it emerged that crew at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire had assumed control of armed Reaper drones flying over Afghanistan. Previously, all UAV missions over Afghanistan had been operated from Creech air force base in Nevada.

The MoD previously insists that it does not use armed UAVs against terrorist suspects outside Afghanistan, and that the vast majority of UK drone flights are reconnaissance missions. But British drones within Afghanistan are thought to have deployed 350 weapons since 2007, including Hellfire guided missiles and laser-guided bombs.

Last week a report by the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, called on the US to declassify information about operations co-ordinated by the CIA.

It also shed new light on the technical aspects of British drones. Reaper UAVs, used by the RAF, have a range of 3,700 miles (5,900 km), a maximum airspeed of 250 knots and can ascend to 15,300 metres (50,000 feet), the document explained.

Their missions can last up to 18 hours. The Reaper carries three cameras as well as laser-guided bombs. Three communication networks relay information between the RAF ground station in the UK and the UAV: “a secure internet-based chat function, a secure radio routed via satellite and a secure telephone system”.

Mr Emmerson’s report stated: “The United Kingdom has reported only one civilian casualty incident, in which four civilians were killed and two civilians injured in a remotely piloted aircraft strike by the Royal Air Force in Afghanistan on 25 March 2011,”. An RAF inquiry found that “the actions of the [ground] crew had been in accordance with the applicable rules of engagement”.

In a statement, an MoD spokesman said: “We take our responsibilities under the FOI Act very seriously and fully recognise the general public interest in openness.

“However, the FOI Act does allow for information to be withheld in certain situations when harm could result from its release. We agree with the findings of the Tribunal that due to the risk to the effectiveness, capability and security of our forces this is such a case.”


drone firingA

drone protest1 DronesKill

| Please tell me, Mr President, why a US drone assassinated my mother!

Please tell me, Mr President, why a US drone assassinated my mother ~

    • theguardian.com.

      Momina Bibi was a 67-year-old grandmother and midwife from Waziristan. Yet President Obama tells us drones target terrorists

    • The last time I saw my mother, Momina Bibi, was the evening before Eid al-Adha. She was preparing my children’s clothing and showing them how to make sewaiyaan, a traditional sweet made of milk. She always used to say: the joy of Eid is the excitement it brings to the children.

      Last year, she never had that experience. The next day, 24 October 2012, she was dead, killed by a US drone that rained fire down upon her as she tended her garden.

      Nobody has ever told me why my mother was targeted that day. The media reported that the attack was on a car, but there is no road alongside my mother’s house. Several reported the attack was on a house. But the missiles hit a nearby field, not a house. All reported that five militants were killed. Only one person was killed – a 67-year-old grandmother of nine.

      My three children – 13-year-old Zubair, nine-year-old Nabila and five-year-old Asma – were playing nearby when their grandmother was killed. All of them were injured and rushed to hospitals. Were these children the “militants” the news reports spoke of? Or perhaps, it was my brother’s children? They, too, were there. They are aged three, seven, 12, 14, 15 and 17 years old. The eldest four had just returned from a day at school, not long before the missile struck.

      But the United States and its citizens probably do not know this. No one ever asked us who was killed or injured that day. Not the United States or my own government. Nobody has come to investigate nor has anyone been held accountable. Quite simply, nobody seems to care.

      I care, though. And so does my family and my community. We want to understand why a 67-year-old grandmother posed a threat to one of the most powerful countries in the world. We want to understand how nine children, some playing in the field, some just returned from school, could possibly have threatened the safety of those living a continent and an ocean away.

      Most importantly, we want to understand why President Obama, when asked whom drones are killing, says they are killing terrorists. My mother was not a terrorist. My children are not terrorists. Nobody in our family is a terrorist.

      My mother was a midwife, the only midwife in our village. She delivered hundreds of babies in our community. Now families have no one to help them.

      And my father? He is a retired school principal. He spent his life educating children, something that my community needs far more than bombs. Bombs create only hatred in the hearts of people. And that hatred and anger breeds more terrorism. But education – education can help a country prosper.

      I, too, am a teacher. I was teaching in my local primary school on the day my mother was killed. I came home to find not the joys of Eid, but my children in the hospital and a coffin containing only pieces of my mother.

      Our family has not been the same since that drone strike. Our home has turned into hell. The small children scream in the night and cannot sleep. They cry until dawn.

      Several of the children have had to have multiple surgeries. This has cost money we no longer have, since the missiles also killed our livestock. We have been forced to borrow from friends; money we cannot repay. We then use the money to pay a doctor, a doctor who removes from the children’s bodies the metal gifts the US gave them that day.

      Drone strikes are not like other battles where innocent people are accidentally killed. Drone strikes target people before they kill them. The United States decides to kill someone, a person they only know from a video. A person who is not given a chance to say – I am not a terrorist. The US chose to kill my mother.

      Several US congressmen invited me to come to Washington, DC to share my story with members of Congress. I hope by telling my story, America may finally begin to understand the true impact of its drone program and who is on the other end of drone strikes.

      I want Americans to know about my mother. And I hope, maybe, I might get an answer to just one question: why?

      • Editor’s note: Momina Bibi’s age when she died was originally given in the body text and standfirst as 65; this was amended to 67 at 1.30pm (ET) on 25 October

    • Pakistani ribesmen from Waziristan protest against US drone attacks, outside parliament in Islamabad
      Tribesmen from Waziristan protest against US drone attacks, outside Pakistan’s parliament in Islamabad, in 2010. Photograph: T Mughal/EPA
    •  ________________________________________________________________  

    • U.S. Drones: Will I be next? ~ AmnestyInternational, YouTube.

    • On a sunny fall afternoon in October 2012, 68-year-old Mamana Bibi was killed in a drone strike that appears to have been aimed directly at her. Her grandchildren recounted in painful detail to Amnesty International the moment when Mamana Bibi, who was gathering vegetables in the family fields in Ghundi Kala, North Waziristan was blasted into pieces before their very eyes. Nearly a year later, Mamana Bibi’s family has yet to receive even any acknowledgment from US authorities that she was killed, let alone justice or compensation for her death.

      Amnesty International’s investigations into drone strikes in north western Pakistan have shown that some of these drone strikes could amount to war crimes.

      It is time for the USA to come clean about drone killings in Pakistan: time to investigate those responsible and give Mamana Bibi’s family and others like them justice.

    • ________________________________________________________________________ 

    • DroneEerie1




| ‘Historic’ Drone landing paves way for ‘Killer Robots’ anytime, anywhere!

‘Historic’ Drone Landing Paves Way for ‘Killer Robots’ Anytime, Anywhere ~  Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams.

Aircraft landing of the X-47B proves US military “would take autonomous armed combat anywhere in the planet.”

The landing of the X-47B pilotless drone is just the ‘precursor’ to the future of warfare. (Photo: Timothy Waller/ USNavy/ AP)In an event sure to make “history”—if not for its technical prowess, then for its long-term impact on international warfare—the US Navy Wednesday successfully completed the landing of a fully automated aerial drone on an aircraft carrier at sea.

In what is being billed as a “pivotal moment” for the US military in the “growing global robotics arms race,” the landing—which took place on the deck of the USS George HW Bush off the mid-Atlantic coast—is the first time a “robot performed a feat executable only by the navy’s top pilots,” reports the Guardian.

They continue:

The X-47B, constructed by Northrop Grumman, is a different kind of drone from the Predators and Reapers that have become global symbols of American military power. Contrary to popular understanding, those drones are not actually pilotless. People, usually US air force officers and contractors, fly them remotely, controlling them through instruments resembling those found in a traditional cockpit.

The X-47B is pilotless. Its operations occur thanks to lines of software code that its on-board computer systems execute. Its flight paths are pre-programmed […] although navy officials can take control in the event of a malfunction.

“Precursor to fully autonomous weapons?” tweeted Amy Wareham, Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch.

The human rights watchdog group has long been sounding the alarm over the potential of ‘killer robots,’ including the X-47B—a craft which they say “would take autonomous armed combat anywhere in the planet.”

And the Associated Press confirms that the successful landing paves the way for the US to “launch unmanned aircraft without the need to obtain permission from other countries to use their bases.”

“Your grandchildren and great-grandchildren and mine will be reading about this historic event in their history books,” boasted Rear Admiral Mat Winter, the head of the navy’s drone programs.

Though the navy plans on “mothballing” the costly X-47B ($1.4bn over four years), there are plans to develop other models of armed drones which will work alongside manned naval aircraft providing “around-the-clock surveillance while also possessing a strike capability.”

The Guardian continues:

[T]he navy will now put its energy into the X-47B’s successor, the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike robot, or UClass. The navy wants to use UClass to augment its carrier air wings – it will not replace manned pilots – providing surveillance flights longer than human pilots can withstand and, if necessary, firing its weapons in battle scenarios too dangerous for human pilots. Unlike the X-47B, the UClass robots will be armed, although navy officers insist that weapons releases will only occur at a human’s direction.

Four companies are competing for the UClass contract, each with their own design for the forthcoming drone.


New Age in Carrier Aviation Takes Off With X-47B Landing.

Northrop Grumman's X-47B just before landing on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July, 10 2013. US Navy Photo

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B just before landing on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July, 10 2013. US Navy Photo

The Navy has entered a new age in carrier aviation with the successful landing of the unmanned Northrop Grumman X-47B on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), the service announced at 1:45 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

Call sign Salty Dog 502 left Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. shortly after 12:00 p.m. EST and flew to the Bush controlled through a complex series of algorithms and navigational sensors and landed on the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier guided not with a joystick and throttle controls but by an operator with a mouse and a keyboard.

On its final approach to Bush a hypersensitive version of the same GPS technology used to direct families on vacation guided the hook of the tailless aircraft safely to the deck of the carrier and into history.

“The dynamics and complexity of the demonstration is not just flying an airplane. It is operating a system autonomously in and out of the most demanding launch and recovery environment around the world,” Rear Adm. Mat Winter program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons said in a Tuesday conference call with reporters.
“This is not trivial.”

The landing of the X-47B successfully proved the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) project and will pave the way to include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on carriers in the future.

The Navy’s focus now will be to move beyond the experimental UCAS-D and into a capability that will move from novelty to an organic component of the carrier air wing.

The next step will be development of the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) a capability the Navy wants to field by 2020.

The UCLASS program has run in parallel with the UCAS-D program. According to documents obtained by USNI News, the Navy is looking for a system (consisting of one or more aircraft) that can conduct two 650 nautical mile orbits around a carrier for $150 million.

In June, the Navy issued a preliminary request for proposal (RfP) to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Atomics and Northrop Grumman to begin design work on their bids ahead of a full RfP in 2014.

“All of the knowledge out of the program is being transferred to UCLASS,” Winter said.
“UCLASS will benefit from all of what we have done here in X-47B.”


DroneEerie1 Related articles

drone firingA

| Criminal State: How the EU subsidises Israel’s military-industrial complex!

How the EU subsidises Israel’s military-industrial complex ~ BEN HAYES, OpenDemocracy.

The EU is providing generous R&D (research and development) subsidies to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the state-owned manufacturer of Israeli ‘drones’ and other ‘battlefield solutions’. Some of the grants are for IAI to adapt its killer robots for use within the EU.

Regardless of where you stand on Israel-Palestine, things have surely gone awry in Brussels for the EU to be providing generous R&D (research and development) subsidies to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the state-owned manufacturer of Israeli ‘drones’ and other ‘battlefield solutions’. Some of the grants are for IAI to adapt its killer robots for use within the EU. It’s a wonder David Cameron didn’t mention it in his crusade against the EU budget. Perhaps not: but how does EU tax-payers hard-earned cash end up in the hands of the Israeli war machine?

EU research subsidies to Israel

The EU’s framework research programme is the biggest single R&D budget in the world. The current “FP7” programme (2007-2013) has a budget of €51 billion; the next programme, “Horizon 2020” (2014-2020), will have somewhere between €70 and €80 billion. Israel joined the European Research Area in 1995 under the terms of a remarkably generous EC “association agreement” and participates in the framework programmes on the same footing as EU member states. This means it puts up some of the money (each participating state pays a proportion based on its GDP) and is eligible to apply for the funds on offer. With its buoyant R&D sector, few states have been as successful in landing EU grants as Israel (which is thus a net recipient of EU research funds) and the EU is now second only to the Israeli Science Foundation in Jerusalem as a source of domestic research funding.

Israel Aerospace Industries has been a principle beneficiary of the EU’s largesse. Established in 1957 upon recommendation of Shimon Perez, then Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Defence, IAI is now a world leader in the booming drone market, producing the HeronHunter and Ghost, among many others – in 2010 its total annual revenues topped the $3 billion mark. Since Israel joined the European Research Area, IAI has landed at least 69 EU research grants. Because the European Commission is ostensibly prohibited from funding military R&D, most of these grants have come from the transport and aerospace budgets, where military and defence contractors play a leading role in developing new materials for aircraft and more efficient engines as part of the EU’s “clean skies” programme. The EU has also ploughed money into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs/drones), which it wants to see introduced into commercial airspace as soon as practicably possible.

Since the EU launched the dedicated “security research” component of the FP7 programme, funding has poured directly into Israel’s defence and homeland security sectors. Among dozens of EU-funded UAV projects, IAI landed contracts to develop drones for European security agencies to “autonomously” stop “illegal migrants” and “non-cooperative vehicles”, whatever that entails. Meanwhile Israel’s Verint Systems, one of the world’s largest surveillance contractors, is leading a project to bring “Total Airport Security” to European airports; its consortium includes Elbit Systems, another massive defence conglomerate, which helped construct and maintain Israel’s illegal “Separation Wall”. Other recipients of EU security grants include Motorola Israel (producer of “virtual fences” around Israeli settlements), Aeronautics Defense Systems(another Israeli drone manufacturer specialising in “networked warfare”) and theIsrael Counter-Terrorism and Security Academy (which is helping the EU with its “counter-radicalisation” strategy). As FP7 draws to a close having already funded over 200 security research projects, one in five contracts includes an Israeli security partner.

An ethical void

The European Union has expressed “concern” about Israel’s “targeted killings” and the Separation Wall, and “condemned” new Israeli settlements. So should it be funding the very companies that sustain these unlawful activities? Ask the relevant European Commission officials and they will simply point to the EU-Israel cooperation agreement with one hand (i.e. don’t blame us) and the independent evaluation of EU research proposals with the other (i.e. Israel is actually rather good at security technology).

So what about the ethical standards governing EU research funding? The problem here is that these do not address the ethical standing of the researchers, only the ethical issues raised by the research. Put simply, this means that as long as they’re not developing GM foods or stem cells etc., or testing their wares on children or animals, there’s no case to answer where the participation of the Israeli war industry is concerned.

What about the supposed EU prohibition of “dual use” research – shouldn’t this prevent the funding of research with potential military spin-offs? Unfortunately the EU security research programme is predicated on the adaptation of military technology for “civil” security purposes, rendering “dual use” largely impotent in the face of considerable subsidies for defence contractors diversifying into all things Homeland Security: border control, counter-terrorism, infrastructure protection, mass surveillance and so on.

So here is the question we should be asking: why on earth is “democratic”, non-militarist Europe so keen to import Israel’s hyper-militaristic security architecture in the first place? Terrorists, illegal migrants, or the future threat to social order posed by their own citizens?

Towards “Horizon 2020”

Regardless, we cannot rely on the European Commissioner for Research or Members of the European Parliament to address the obvious problems with the existing EU framework – the former has repeatedly declared herself satisfied that there is no moral, legal or ethical case to answer in respect to the likes of IAI; the latter, with a few honourable exceptions, have simply ignored the pleas and complaints of NGOs and campaigners. Nevertheless, the preparations for “Horizon 2020”, which will begin in 2014, provide an important opportunity to reflect on the plans that are under way.

It is clear that without changes to the status quo, things will get a lot worse (or better if you happen to be an Israeli security contractor). First, the security research budget is set to grow from €1.4 billion in FP7 to as much as €4.1 billion under Horizon 2020 (the exact figure is not known because the legislation is still under negotiation). Second, the EU is strongly prioritising research that can be monetarised, so there will be a lot more subsidies for industry and less for the fluffy stuff like social science, which while creating knowledge for human development, rarely helps the corporate bottom line. Third, with the global market for Homeland Security now reportedly worth $100 billion-a-year, EU security research appears certain to escape the cuts secured by the likes of David Cameron. Fourth, there is a tangible culture of cooperation between the European and Israeli security research elite, with the former assuming that participation of the latter enhances their funding prospects.

Campaign challenge

In this climate the only challenge to EU-Israeli security cooperation is coming from the bottom-up. In the UK, following a campaign by Palestinian solidarity groups and the National Union of Students, Kings College and the Natural History Museum expressed regret at their EU-funded partnership with Ahava, whose Dead Sea Laboratories are based in an illegal Israeli settlement.

Last week I spoke to students at the prestigious Catholic University of Leuven, where activists have launched a campaign against its partnership with IAI in five EU-funded projects. Their tenacity means there is every chance that Leuven will, in the next few months, commit to excluding Israel’s defence and security industry from future partnerships. Similar campaigns are under way in other universities across Europe.

Of course it would be far better for the EU to simply demonstrate the “leadership” and “even-handed” approach to Israel-Palestine it has long promised by simply changing the rules of its research programme. Until then, there is every likelihood that the Nobel Peace Prize will come back to haunt us.


SettlementsCRIME CrimeBlood

crime-scene-tape-2 israeli CRIMES UN charter