Saturday, August 20, 2016

Israel Exports Weapons to Brazil

Israeli Weapons Exports to Brazil

Israeli Weapons Exports to Brazil | Global Research - Centre for ...
Apr 24, 2013 - Israeli weapons used in the repression of Brazil's poor black youth ... the urgent need to end the military agreements linking Brazil and Israel.

Nelson Jobim
Image: Brazilian soldier at the 2009 Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) fair
“PASSPORT!” demanded the Israeli security guard in English as he approached demonstrators at the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) fair, which took place April 9-12 at the RioCentro Convention Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This surreal scene unfolded as a tiny group of activists entered the fair’s exhibition space, which contained a number of Israeli arms industry exporters. Armed with nothing but “Boycott Israeli apartheid” t-shirts and keffiyas, they first held a picket outside the entrance, during which a large Palestinian flag was held up along with signs that read, “Israeli arms embargo now!” and “President Dilma, stop buying Israeli weapons!” Dilma Vana Rousseff, the first female president of Brazil and a member of the Workers’ Party, is the successor to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
This first demand–to embargo Israeli arms–is the central aim of the Brazilian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign led by the Frente em Defesa do Povo Palestino-SP (Front in Defense of the Palestinian People–São Paulo), which is composed of dozens of Brazil’s civil society organizations.
The second–calling on President Dilma to halt the purchase of Israeli weaponry–is a condemnation of the rapid increase in military contracts between Israel and Brazil, which has solidified Brazil’s shameful standing as one of the five largest importers of arms from the apartheid regime. Both the São José dos Campos Steelworkers Union and the Brazilian labor federation, CSP-Conlutas, are endorsers of this demand.
These two organizations joined the demonstration in front of RioCentro, which also included representatives from Anel (National Free Students Assembly), Mopat (Palestinian Movement for All), Ciranda Internacional da Communicação Independente (Ciranda International for Independent/Shared Information) and PSTU (Unified Socialist Workers Party).
This year’s LAAD fair demonstrated the urgent need to end the military agreements linking Brazil and Israel. The more than 30 Israeli companies present at RioCentro were granted special privileges to dialogue at the event’s opening ceremony with Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer and Secretary of Defense Celso Amorim as official representatives of President Dilma Rousseff. Exhibitors’ sights were set on acquisition of security contracts for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, both of which are set to occur in Brazil.
Following the initial demand for passports, Israeli security guards surrounded the activists, serving as an alarming example of Israel’s ability to place itself above international law. The exercise of such impunity also offers a tiny glimpse of what life must be like for Palestinians living under occupation and apartheid.
In addition to demanding passports from Brazilian citizens exercising their rights on their own soil, the security agents then proceeded to follow the activists as they moved throughout the fair. There were dozens of Israeli personnel. The activists verbally protested this discriminatory act while simultaneously denouncing the occupation of Palestinian land.
For those who have been to Palestine, it was as though the Israeli guards had reproduced, inside of Brazil, their system of segregating and expelling the “unwanted.” The demand for passports seemed an attempt to recreate a West Bank checkpoint with which the Israeli security personnel were no doubt familiar. It was as though, with the blessing of the Brazilian state and federal governments, they had staged an occupation of the LAAD event area and were completely ignoring Brazilian citizens’ democratic right to free expression and assembly.
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DESPITE ATTEMPTS to embarrass and intimidate the “unwanted” visitors at the fair, the activists were still able to get a sense of the merchandise on display–such as the Israeli-made drones recently used during the Operation Pillar of Cloud attacks on Gaza last year. Israel’s Secretary of Defense even had his own booth. For some reason, activists were not permitted to enter it.
One particularly striking exhibit by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) featured a futuristic presentation of its technologies on a giant screen. IAI, according to reports from Palestinian organizations, produces equipment used by Israeli occupation forces in their policing of the apartheid wall and illegal Jewish-only settlements.
IAI’s Brazilian subsidiary, Bedek, together with the Brazilian conglomerate Grupo Synergy have formed a joint venture called EAE Soluções Aeroespacias (EAE Aerospace Solutions). This conglomerate produces materiel for the Brazilian Armed Forces that utilizes TAP M&E Brazil’s production and maintenance centers in Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre.
Another exhibitor was Rafael Defence, which boasts on its website of a “special” relationship with the Israel Defense Force (IDF). This firm–in collaboration with Netcom Malam Team International, Israel’s largest information technology group–has developed specially designed products for Israel’s occupying forces.
Israel Military Industries (IMI)–which counts Brazil’s army among its clients and enjoys a commercial partnership with Taurus, which is headquartered in Porto Alegre–was also an exhibitor. IMI manufactures the Israeli Tavor rifle.
The LAAD Fair was sponsored by Brazilian aviation manufacturer Embraer, a company closely linked to the Israeli arms industry. It maintains contracts with the Israeli company Elbit Systems, which was also a fair exhibitor. Elbit, a high-tech military firm, manufactures the aforementioned Israeli drones recently deployed in Gaza. Elbit is also one of 12 companies involved in the construction of the Israel’s apartheid wall.
In October 2012, UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights Richard Falk called for the boycotting of Elbit Systems during a UN General Assembly. Throughout the last 15 years, Elbit has maintained a presence in Brazil operates through its subsidiaries AEL, Periscope Optronic Equipment S/A and Ares Aerospace. Through Ares Aerospace, Elbit recently acquired two million-dollar contracts with the Brazilian army.
Furthermore, the government of Rio Grande do Sul–the state that is home to Porto Alegre–plans to expand Elbit’s presence in Brazil by means of privatization. If Brazil’s supporters of neoliberalism have their way, Brazil’s Porto Alegre could become Israel’s most important foreign military research outpost because it is home to AEL, which is a subsidiary of Elbit. This project, financed by public money, also provides benefits in the form of business transactions intrinsically linked to Israel’s crimes and violations of human rights.
The BDS Brazil campaign has sent a letter to federal and state governments in Brazil expressing its alarm at Israel’s presence at the LAAD Fair. Signed by more than 30 civil society organizations, the document highlights the importation of these military technologies by local governments to use in their repression of Brazil’s poor black youth.
The case of Rio de Janeiro is exemplary. The Israeli company, Global Shield, won a million-dollar contract to provide military police with eight new armored vehicles (known as caveirões in Portuguese) used in police occupations of the favelas (slums).
Translated from Portuguese by Ryan Green.

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Brazil’s military relations with Israel
 Index 1. Summary and Recommendations p. 2 2. Brazil’s support of the Israeli arms industry p. 5 3. Overview of the interests of Israeli arms producers in Brazil p. 8 4. Contradicting the economic, legal and political framework of Brazil p. 20 Annex 1: Elbit and IAI: Complicit in Israeli human rights violations p. 26 The Palestinian Grassroots Anti Apartheid Wall Campaign March 2011 STOP THE WALL CAMPAIGN الفلسطینیة الشعبیة الحملة جدار الفصل العنصري لمقاومة 2 1. Summary and Recommendations

This report details the active support of the Brazilian state for the Israeli arms industry as well as the Israeli interests in and profits from Brazil’s military and defense industry. It finally confronts these realities with the framework of economic, legal and political interests and obligations of Brazil. Based on 2005 - 2010 Israeli arms export data, the SIPRI has concluded that Brazil is the fifth largest importer of Israeli arms. 1 Several major programs signed between Israel and Brazil are already worth close to one billion US$ . 2 Brazil’s support to Israeli arms industry:  Brazil signed a security cooperation agreement with Israel at the end of November 2010 to facilitate military cooperation and contracts.  The Brazilian Armed Forces opened an office in Tel Aviv in 2003.  Brazil regularly receives from Israel and sends Israel political and state sponsored economic delegations with the aim of strengthening military ties.  Brazil’s LAAD Defense Expo annually hosts the most important Israeli arms companies. (Next exposition: April 2011, Rio de Janeiro.)  Brazilian officials are on record to have helped Israeli arms companies to enter in contact with armed forces in other Latin American countries. Interests of Israeli arms producers in Brazil: This report does not cover all interest of Israeli arms producers but merely aims to showcase some examples. Elbit Systems:  provides weapons that the Israeli military uses for the killing of civilians and “extrajudicial killings.” It further provides equipment to the Apartheid Wall and the settlements.  has bought three Brazilian arms companies: AEL, Ares Aeroespecial e Defesa SA ("Ares") and Periscopio Equipamentos Optronicos SA ("Periscopio").  has numerous contracts with the Brazilian military, including for the prestigious Guarani project.  hopes to gain further contracts for the Olympics and the World Cup in Brazil. Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI):  provides weapons that the Israeli military uses for the killing of civilians and “extrajudicial killings.” It further provides equipment to the Apartheid Wall and the settlements. 1 2 3  has formed a joint venture called EAE with Synergy Group. IAI’s subsidiary Bedek uses TAP M&E Brazil maintenance and production centers in Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre airports.  has numerous contracts with the Brazilian military and currently aims to win other contracts with Embraer. Israeli Military Industries (IMI):  is – just as many other Israeli arms companies – deeply involved in corruption cases and bribery of public officials  has given Taurus the license to produce its Tavor rifles in Brazil.  The Brazilian army buys the Taurus produced Tavor rifles. Others:  Numerous other Israeli arms and homeland security companies have gotten contracts in Brazil and with the Brazilian ministry of Defense.  The Israeli military industry points at billions of dollars of contracts in preparation of the 2014 World Cup games and the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. Contradicting Brazil’s legal and political framework: Legal obligations:  Brazil, as a signatory of the most relevant instruments of international law, has an obligation of non-recognition and non-assistance to violations of international law.  The current military relations between Brazil and Israel imply a violation of the duties of third states regarding violations of international law: o Brazil facilitates economic benefits for companies that directly contravene the IV Geneva Convention, thereby assisting in the maintenance of an unlawful situation. o Brazil hosts representatives of companies that directly contravene the IV Geneva Convention and in some cases persons accused of war crimes. o Brazil facilitates the presence of companies that directly contravene the IV Geneva Convention on its own territory, entering thereby in direct or indirect complicity with violations of international law. o Brazil facilitates relations between its own economy and citizens and companies directly involved in violations of the IV Geneva convention.  Export is the lifeline for the Israeli arms industry – up to 70% of Israeli arms are produced for export. Without the Israeli arms industry Israel would not be able to maintain the occupation or to continue to lead wars, such as those against Lebanon in 2006 and against Gaza in 2008/9, both of them strongly condemned by Brazil. Brazil’s political interests:  Brazil has recognized the Palestinian state in the borders of 1967. Israeli arms industry is consciously profiting from on the ongoing occupation of the OPT as it develops its weapons thanks to the “experience” gathered in the occupation. The support for the Israeli arms industry therefore contradicts clearly the stated support of the Brazilian government for the creation of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. 4  The Arab world is potentially a major export destination for Brazilian weapons. A circle whereby Israel uses Brazil to produce weapons – or partake in the production of weapons – that should be sold to the Arab world will likely raise serious concern in the populations and some governments.  Strengthening ties with Israeli arms producers and private security military companies (PSMC) sets a poor precedent in terms of accountability, considering Israel’s support of repressive regimes and role in profiting and fostering from instability in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Secondly, military ties with Israel leaves elements in place which could support or form oppressive, and at the most extreme anti-government activity, in a given country. Finally, even if military ties pose no threat to a country’s stability, support of the Israeli military industry casts doubt on a government’s commitment to human rights. Recommendations: Given the above, we urge the Brazilian state to stop all military relations with Israel, and in particular to:  Not ratify, and to cancel, the security cooperation agreement with Israel.  Close down the offices of the Brazilian Armed Forces in Israel.  Modify the procurement regulations of the Brazilian army to ensure that companies violating international law are excluded from contracts.  Bar companies involved in violations of international law from establishing themselves on Brazilian territory via acquisitions of companies, joint ventures or licensing.  Ensure companies violating international law are excluded from the contracts for the World Cup and the Olympics as sports that awards war criminals cannot be “fair play”.  Bar companies violating international law from participating in the LAAD Defense Expo.  Duly prosecute Israeli suspects of war crimes and crimes against humanity when they are found in its territory. Doing business with the Israeli arms industry seriously undermines Brazil’s support of Palestinian political and human rights, as any contracts directly support the construction of settlements and the Wall, which ensure that a Palestinian state will not be established, as well as provide financial support and incentive for companies closely tied with the human rights violations carried out by the Israeli military. This ensures that colonialism and occupation remain profitable, allowing these companies to continue to profit from Israeli war crimes while casting doubt on the Brazilian government’s commitment to human rights and its alliances and interests in the wider region. It is unacceptable that Brazil hand over their taxpayers’ money to these companies,...

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