Saturday, January 17, 2009

Greece hinders US arms delivery to Israel

> Greece hinders US arms delivery to Israel
> Wed, 14 Jan 2009
> Attempted US arms delivery raises fears of Gaza escalation.
> The US has to re-route arms shipment to Israel as Athens declined to
> allow a Greek port be used as a transit point, fearing nationwide
> protests.
> The transit was called off by the Greek government on Tuesday, after the
> issue provoked a media outcry in Greece, where Israel's 19-day-old
> offensive in Gaza is deeply unpopular.
> Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, however, painted a different picture,
> saying that the route had been changed to avoid Greece, "because the
> Greek government had some issue with the off-loading of some of that
> shipment in their country."
> Morrell declined to say what type of arms were included in the shipment.
> This is while the US military claimed that the shipment of 325
> containers of ammunition from the Greek port of Astakos to a US
> stockpile in Israel was canceled in light of the proximity of the
> Israeli port of Ashdod - the shipment's destination - to the conflict in
> the Gaza Strip.
> Anti-Israeli protester in Athens
> Opposition parties in Greece have called for public demonstrations in
> Astakos on Wednesday and Thursday, raising fears of fresh nationwide
> protests, only weeks after violent anti-government riots were subdued.
> Since the beginning of the Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip on
> December 27, more than 975 people have been killed and another 4,500
> have been wounded.
> ===
> Communist Organization of Greece (KOE) Statement Nr 3 / 2009 Let's
> unite and block the Ship of Death! The Communist Organization of
> Greece (KOE) condemns the shameful implication of Greece in the plans to
> ship huge cargos of US arms to Israel through the Greek port of Astakos
> (Western Greece). If shipped, these arms will be used for the
> continuation of the genocidal Zionist aggression in Gaza. The
> implication of the Greek port of Astakos reveals the full complicity of
> the government of Karamanlis in the crime perpetrated against the
> Palestinian People. The claims of the Greek government ("we know
> nothing about it") are sheer lies and pure hypocrisy. The complicity of
> the Greek government is revealed to the whole world through the attempt
> to use of the Greek soil in order to supply new arms to the Israeli
> Neo-Nazis. This is not a a unique episode: during the genocidal US war
> against Iraq, the naval base of Souda (Crete) was also used by the
> "liberators of Iraq". The dramatic call of the PFLP, addressed to the
> Greek people and the progressive movements, to halt the shipment of US
> arms to Israel must put us all on alert! The Communist Organization of
> Greece calls the democratic Greek people to block, this Thursday 15
> January, the port of Astakos. We warn the Greek government: Do not
> facilitate the murderers of the Palestinian People! Let's support
> actively the martyred Palestinian People! Expel the Zionist ambassador!
> Shut down the Zionist embassy! Athens, 12 January 2009 PS: Attached,
> poster of KOE that is used from today all over Western Greece, calling
> for the blockade of the Port of Astakos. Translation: USA-Israel are
> murdering The hands of the Greek government are blood-stained Our ports
> must become forbidden zone for the butchers of Palestine WE WILL BLOCK
> THE SHIP OF DEATH All in the Port of Astakos on Thursday 15/1 *****
> Communist Organization of Greece / Kommounistiki Organosi Elladas (KOE)
> International Relations Department
> Email: *
> Web: * In English:
> Post address: Newspaper "Left!" * Isaia Salonon 6 * 11475 Athens, Greece
> Phone: +30 210 6441745 * Fax: +30 210 6430024
> ===
> US Cancels Munitions Shipment To Israel Via Greece
> (Updates with further comments from Pentagon spokesman)
> WASHINGTON (AFP)--The U.S. military has to had to cancel a planned
> shipment of munitions from a Greek port to a U.S. warehouse in Israel
> due to objections from Athens, a Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday.
> "I think the Greek government had some issue with the offloading of some
> of that shipment in their country and so we are finding alternative
> means of getting that entire shipment to its proper destination in
> Israel," spokesman Geoff Morrell told a news conference. "I don't think
> we've come to a final resolution on how or when that will take place."
> The shipment had been agreed last summer before the current Israeli
> offensive in Gaza, he said.
> He said the U.S. had operated the munitions stockpile for nearly 20
> years and that Israel "can ask for permission to access" the munitions.
> He said he didn't know the nature of Greece's objection and whether it
> was related to security or political concerns.
> ===
> Greece bars Israel arms shipments
> Daily News
> 12 Jan 2009
> GREECE barred its ports today from exporting arms to Israel, despite a
> tender for that purpose with the US Navy.
> Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyiannis told reporters today that
> neither the private port of Astakos in the country's west nor "any other
> location in Greece will be used for the supplying of the Israeli army".
> Details of a US Navy tender were revealed by Reuters and confirmed by
> Washington.
> ===
> Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel
> Planning a Broader Middle East War? by Michel Chossudovsky January 11,
> 2009
> A very large delivery of US weaponry to Israel consisting of 3,000 tons
> of "ammunition" is scheduled to sail to Israel. The size and nature of
> the shipments are described as "unusual": "Shipping 3,000-odd tons of
> ammunition in one go is a lot," one broker said, on condition of
> anonymity. "This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven't seen
> much of it quoted in the market over the years," he added. "Shipping
> brokers in London who have specialized in moving arms for the British
> and U.S. military in the past said such ship charters to Israel were
> rare. (Reuters, Jan 10, 2009) The Pentagon has entrusted a Greek
> merchant shipping company to deliver the weapons to Israel: "The U.S.
> is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms
> to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters
> show. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was
> to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as
> "ammunition" on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to
> the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January. A
> "hazardous20material" designation on the manifest mentions explosive
> substances and detonators, but no other details were given.(Ibid) It is
> worth noting that a similar unusually large shipment of US ordinance to
> Israel was scheduled in early December: "Tender documents indicate
> that the German ship hired by the US in early December also carried a
> massive cargo of weapons that weighed over 2.6 million kg [2600 tons]
> and filled up to 989 standard 20-foot containers to Ashdod from North
> Carolina." (Press TV, 10 Jan 2009) Are These Large Shipments of
> Ordinance Connected to the Invasion of Gaza? The request by the
> Pentagon to transport ordinance in a commercial vessel, according to
> Reuters, was made on December 31, 4 days after the commencement of the
> aerial bombings of Gaza by F16 Fighter jets. Analysts have hastily
> concluded, without evidence, that the 2 shipments of "ammunition" were
> intended to supply Israel's armed forces in support of its military
> invasion of Gaza. "A senior military analyst in London who declined to
> be named said that, because of the timing, the shipments could be
> "irregular" and linked to the Gaza offensive." (Reuters, January 10,
> 2009) These reports are mistaken. Delivery of ordinance always precedes
> the onslaught of a military ope ration. The ordinance required under
> "Operation Cast Lead" was decided upon in June 2008. Further to Tel
> Aviv's request under the US military aid program to Israel, the U.S.
> Congress approved in September 2008 the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster
> high precision GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39).
> The GBU 39 smart bombs produced by Boeing were delivered to Israel in
> November. They were used in the initial air raids on Gaza: "...The
> Israel Air Force has used the new lightweight GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb
> acquired from the USA, in the recent attacks in Gaza. The [Jerusalem]
> Post mentioned the new weapons ordered last September having arrived
> last month [November], and already put to action with the IAF fighters.
> These weapons could have been deployed by the Boeing/IAF F-15Is, since
> sofar SDB is cleared for use only with this type of aircraft. It is
> highly unlikely that the bulk of the weaponry included in these two
> large shipments, scheduled to arrive in Israel in late January, is
> intended to be used in Israel's military operation in Gaza. The GBU-39
> is lightweight (130 kg). The entire shipment of GBU 39s (1000 units)
> would be of the order of a modest 130 tons. In other words, the
> specifications of the GBU 39 do not match the description of the
> "unusually large" and "heavy" shipment of ordinance.
> Escalation Scenario The shipment ordered on December 31 is of the order
> of 3000 tons, an unusually large and heavy cargo of "ammunition"
> pointing to the transfer of heavy weaponry to Israel. According to US
> military statements, the ordinance is for stockpiling, to be used "at
> short notice" in the eventuality of a conflict: "This previously
> scheduled shipment is routine and not in support of the current
> situation in Gaza. ...The U.S. military pre-positions stockpiles in some
> countries in case it needs supplies at short notice." (Reuters, 10 Jan
> 2009, emphasis added) Whatever the nature of these large weapons
> shipments, they are intended for use in a future military operation in
> the Middle East. Since the launching of the Theater Iran Near Term
> Operation Operation (TIRANNT) in May 2003, an escalation scenario
> involving military action directed against Iran and Syria has been
> envisaged. TIRANNT was followed by a series of military plans pertaining
> to Iran. Numerous official statements and US military documents have
> pointed to an expanded Middle East war. What these shipments suggest
> is that the "escalation scenario" not only prevails, but has reached a
> more active stage in the process of US-Israeli military planning.&nb sp;
> Whether these weapons will be used or not is not known. The central
> question, in this regard, is whether the Gaza invasion is part of a
> broader military adventure directed against Lebanon, Syria and Iran, in
> which heavier weaponry including US made bunker buster bombs will be
> used. History of US Weapons Shipments to Israel The stockpiling of
> US made bunker buster bombs by Israel has been ongoing since 2005:
> "The United States will sell Israel nearly 5,000 smart bombs in one of
> the largest weapons deals between the allies in years. Among the bombs
> the [Israeli] air force will get are 500 one-ton bunker busters that can
> penetrate two-meter-thick cement walls; 2,500 regular one-ton bombs;
> 1,000 half-ton bombs; and 500 quarter-ton bombs. The bombs Israel is
> acquiring include airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and
> detonators. They are guided by an existing Israeli satellite used by the
> military. The sale will augment existing Israeli supplies of smart
> bombs. The Pentagon told Congress that the bombs are meant to maintain
> Israel's qualitative advantage [against Iran], and advance U.S.
> strategic and tactical interests." (Jewish Virtual Library
> :
> September 21 -22, 2004, Haaretz / Jerusalem Post.) The actual shipments
> of US made bunker buster bombs started in 2005. The US approved in April
> 2005, the delivery of: some 5,000 "smart air launched weapons"
> including some 500 BLU 109 'bunker-buster bombs.
> The (uranium coated)
> munitions are said to be more than 'adequate to address the full range
> of Iranian targets, with the possible exception of the buried facility
> at Natanz, which may require the [more powerful] BLU-113 bunker buster
> [a variant of the GBU 28]'" (See Michel Chossudovsky, Planned US-Israeli
> Nuclear Attack on Iran
> , Global
> Research, May 1, 2005) The BLU-109 is smaller than the GBU 28. "It is a
> 2,000lbs warhead that can be used in combination with a GPS guidance kit
> [...], and can penetrate up to 15 feet of fortified concrete." (See
> ) In 2006 at the
> height of the Lebanon War in August 2006, a major shipment of the 2.2
> ton GBU 28 bombs, according to the New York Times, was dispatched to
> Israel. ' The GBU 28 is produced by Raytheon. It was used against Iraq
> in the 1991 Gul f War, has the the capability of penetrating some 20
> feet of reinforced concrete. (Haaretz, 9 Nov 2008) In contrast to the
> GBU 39 smart bombs (130 kg) used against Gaza, each GBU-28 weighs a
> hefty 2.2 tons. "The Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) is a special weapon
> developed for penetrating hardened Iraqi command centers located deep
> underground. The GBU-28 is a 5,000-pound laser-guided conventional
> munition that uses a 4,400-pound penetrating warhead." Federation of
> American Scientists
> , (For a visual
> depiction see "Bob Sherman, How the GBU-28 works", USA Today on-line.
> ).
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