REDEYE 5/30/18

Hammer and sickle memorializes Rama Plaza factory fire
NYT, 4/29 — “‘Help me! people screamed,’” recalled [Mahmudul Hassan] Hridoy….remembering the moment the seventh floor of the eight-story Rana Plaza…manufacturing complex crumbled beneath his feet on April 24, 2013. The catastrophe injured 2,500 and killed more than 1,100….the deadliest garment industry ‘accident’ in modern history.
“‘Save me!’ they cried,” Mr. Hridoy said. “But nobody was listening….”
…“Those memories still haunt me….”
The land where Rama Plaza once stood is now overgrown with weeds. On the street-facing side, a cement monument, topped by an enormous pair of sculpted fists grasping the hammer and sickle, has been erected in victims’ memory….Bangladesh has long been among the cheapest places to produce clothes, along with Vietnam and India. More than 4.4 million people — mostly women — work in its 3,000 factories where the minimum wage is currently 32¢ an hour, or $68 a month.
Brands flock here to source $30 billion worth of ready-made garments…. making Bangladesh the world’s second largest apparel manufacturing center, after China….
…the Bangladesh apparel industry has been rife with sweatshops — among the grimmest ever anywhere….Between 2006 and 2012, more than 500 Bangladeshi garment workers died in factories fires….The Tarzeen Fashions factory went up in flames…in November 2012. At least 117 died, many burned beyond recognition….Sweatshops [still] exist in Bangladesh….Fire buckets [are] filled with trash, emergency water buckets [are] cracked and half empty, no one [is wearing] safety masks, most workers — some in their early teens — [are] barefoot, wiring…exposed, bolts of fabric and scraps litter the floor, window panes…broken and [a] lone stairwell out of [a] tenement-like building [is] obstructed by cartons of finished products….
Already there has been union repression, with the jailing of labor leaders…and wage negotiations…will no doubt trigger worker protests and unrest….[The] minimum wage…is one-fifth a conservative living wage….
Recently, nearly 3,000 survivors and supporters — including nurses and doctors who treated the victims — gathered at Rana Plaza to mark the anniversary and honor the injured and dead…..and marched with banners that read “Workers of the World Unite….”
U.S. troops join Saudi’s war in Yemen
NYT, 5/4 — The Pentagon and the Trump administration…have misled Americans about growing military involvement in a war in Yemen….
In the latest expansion of America’s secret wars,…Army commandos….are helping to locate and destroy missiles and launch sites used by indigenous Houthi rebels in Yemen….This…puts the lie to Pentagon statements that American military aid to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is limited to aircraft refueling, logistics and intelligence and is not related to combat….
In at least 14 countries, American troops are fighting…professed enemies of the United States….
The Saudis’ brutal campaign in Yemen has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with at least eight million people on the brink of famine, one million suspected of being infected with cholera and two million displaced from their homes….The killing of thousands of civilians and the humanitarian aid deprivations, most blamed on Saudi Arabia, could be war crimes in which the United States would be complicit….In 2015, a Saudi-led coalition, with President Barack Obama’s backing, launched blistering attacks, including thousands of airstrikes….
Racist bail bondsmen extort billions from workers
NYT, 4/1 — …Commercial bail has grown into a $2 billion industry….
Bondsmen have extraordinary powers….Some…[can] arrest their clients for any reason — or none at all….and…can…jail someone for missing a payment.
…Bond agents can charge steep fees, some…are illegal, with impunity….They can also…require their clients to…keep a curfew, allow searchers of their car or home…and open their medical, Social Security and phone records to inspection….
“They’re living under a constant daily threat that ‘if you don’t bring more money, we’re going to put you in jail….’”
“What they’re doing is intimidating and coercing and lying….”
Commercial bail fees…siphon millions from poor, predominantly African-American and Hispanic communities….
…Bail companies are backed by large surety companies….
Together…[they] collect about $2 billion a year in revenue….“to safeguard their profits at the expense of people’s lives.”
Abu Dhabi: Slave labor on campus, workers still owed millions
NYT, 5/11 — When investigators reported in 2015 that 10,000 migrant workers employed at New York University’s campus in Abu Dhabi had not been paid money they were owed, and were subject to substandard working conditions, the university vowed to reimburse the workers and provide…compliance with labor standards.
Three years later, thousands of workers may still be owed millions of dollars. And…the university had not released a compliance report….
…A report…by the Coalition for Fair Labor, a group of N.Y.U. faculty members and students….[has] its title — “Forced Labor at N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi….”
In 2014…an investigation into the plight of construction workers at the Abu Dhabi campus, document[ed] how many had been charged steep recruitment fees to get their jobs, how few were being paid what they had been promised, and how some lived in miserable conditions.


REDEYE 5/2/18

Gov’t-enforced slavery of immigrants nets millions for detention companies
NYT, 4/5 (op-ed J. Stevens) — …Black-shirted federal agents barging into apartment complexes, convenience stores and school pick-up sites…round up…immigrants [promotes]….forced labor — some call it slavery — inside detention facilities….Yes, detention is a business. In 2010, private prisons and their lenders and investors lobbied Congress to pass a law ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement to maintain contracts for no fewer than 34,000 beds per night. This means that when detention counts are low, people would otherwise be released because they pose no danger…remain locked up, at a cost…of $125 s a day.
The people detained at these facilities do almost all of the work that keeps them running….That includes cooking, serving and cleaning up food, janitorial services, hair-cutting, painting, floor buffing and even vehicle maintenance.
Workers in immigration custody have suffered injuries and even died….Cesar Gonzalez was killed…when his jackhammer hit an electrical cable, sending 10,000 volts of direct current through his body….
Two…detention companies — GEO and CoreCivic…are…violating state minimum wage laws, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and laws prohibiting unjust enrichmen...GEO may be paying just 1.25 percent to 6 percent of minimum wage….That’s tens of millions of dollars GEO…[owes] in back wages to up to 62,000 people….And that’s just at one facility….18 Republican members of the House….asked that those who work while locked up are “not employees” and that federal minimum wage laws do not apply to them.
U.S. rulers’ racist laws confined Black families to ghettos for 100 years
NYT, 4/5 — …The...housing and urban development…agency [HUD]….has prolonged segregation in housing since the 1960s under both Democratic and Republican administrations….allowing cities to confine families to federally financed ghettos that offer little or no access to jobs, transportation or viable schools….
…A lawsuit….accuses HUD of illegally funneling federal money to the city of Houston, despite a 2017 finding by HUD itself that the city was…allowing racially motivated opposition to stop affordable housing projects in white neighborhoods. In a detail reminiscent of the Jim Crow South,…Houston discriminates even at the level of flood relief, maintaining “entirely different (and markedly inferior) drainage systems in predominantly minority neighborhoods, exposing…[them] to increased risk from storms….”
…The residential segregation that is pervasive in the United States today was partly created by explicit federal policies that date back at least to World War I….The federal insistence on segregated housing introduced Jim Crow separation in areas of the country outside the South where it had previously been unknown….Government…housing for defense workers near military installations and factories during World War I was founded on the premise that African-American families would be excluded “even from projects in northern and western industrial centers where they worked in significant numbers.”
The same toxic pattern prevailed under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, when the government created the first public housing projects for nondefense workers, building separate projects for black people, segregating buildings by race or excluding African-Americans entirely….Racially integrated communities were razed to make way for Jim Crow housing….In 1934…the government typically denied mortgages to African-Americans, shutting out even affluent black people from the suburban homeownership boom…during the middle decades of the 20th century….The vast wealth gap that exists today between whites and African-Americans has its roots in this era.
U.S.-backed Saudis’ Yemen airstrike ‘cut civilians into pieces’
NYT, 4/3 — The heat was stifling, the power out. So the transients, mostly women and children displaced from nearby towns, ventured outside their temporary housing…for some air….Then the Saudi warplanes struck.
…Medics and residents…described…an instant midmorning slaughter in a residential housing area; the warplanes fired missiles at the civilians, cutting them to pieces as they sought relief from the 92-degree temperature. At least 14 were killed and nine wounded….The airstrike was a reminder of the lethal hazards facing unarmed Yemenis from the firepower wielded by the Saudi-led coalition….
“The ambulances could not cross into the targeted areas due to intensity of the jets,…”the director of the city health bureau…said….He said there had been no military presence nearby. Medics…said…only two bodies could be identified. Most of the dead were in pieces.The targeted people were in the open to cool themselves as there was not electricity in the complex….
The United Nations…said that the coalition is responsible for a majority of the roughly 10,000 civilians killed since the Saudis began bombing in March 2015….The United States…has been providing military support to the Saudi coalition…including refueling, intelligence and targeting guidance….
India’s ‘demockracy’ exploits 8- to 14-year-olds in ‘inhuman conditions’
GW, 4/13-19 — [Rajkot is] one of the country’s hubs for cheap artificial jewelry sold in the U.S., UK and European markets….
…Two children were spotted wandering near a train station…in Rajkot after escaping a workshop in the city. There they had worked “day and night” assembling imitation jewelry…often sleeping in the same room with up to a dozen other children and being subjected to frequent beatings.
“They were kept in inhuman conditions and forced to do work that is not suitable to…a child,” said…a deputy commissioner….
So far 73 children — most aged between eight and 14 — have been found in the city, where about 700 imitation jewelry firms are based….Most of the children….had been receiving about ($46) per month….in the $150 million industry in Rajkot.


REDEYE 4/4/18

Trump’s education secretary promotes virulent racism
NYT (op-ed, Michelle Goldberg), 3/13 — CBS’s “60 Minutes” broadcast an interview…with Betsy DeVos,…Trump’s education secretary and one of the richest members of his very rich cabinet….DeVos struggled to answer very basic questions….Why schools in Michigan, her home state, have largely gotten worse since the widespread introduction of the school choice policies she lobbied for….DeVos is oblivious about “race….” refused to even admit that…[it] plays a role in discipline….
…Evidence…says minority students are more likely than white students in similar situations to be written up and disciplined….
…White kids are punished for classroom disruption by a trip to the principal’s office, while for black kids they call in the cops. DeVos refused to say such a discrepancy is wrong….
…Black public school students are suspended at 3.8 times the rate of white students…. [In] one elementary school…a black girl was suspended for poking a student with a pencil. When a white girl in the same grade threw a rock that hit another child in the head and broke the teacher’s sunglasses, she was made to help the teacher clean the classroom during lunch.
China’s ‘communist’ billionaire lawmakers’ ‘Great Leap Forward’
NYT, 3/3 — …Chinese lawmakers have plenty of money — $650 billion of it — and that’s growing….
…The net worth of the 153 members of China’s Parliament and its advisory body…amounts to $650 billion, up by nearly a third from a year ago….
…The wealth of the nation’s lawmakers has kept soaring. In 2017, it topped $500 billion, more than doubling from the year before….
…China added 210 billionaires over the past year — about four a week — 40 percent more than the United States….The [“]Communist[”] Party, which was founded to work for the interests of workers and stamp out capitalism, welcomed businesspeople into the party more than a decade ago.
Ivanka Trump’s shoe workers slave away at $30 a month
(NYT, 2/11) — …Producers of Ivanka Trump’s shoes recently relocated,…chasing a more desperate work force “content” to work for a pittance (roughly $30 a month) rather than paying the rising wages of their predecessors….
[Meanwhile] when wages rise because of…labor unrest, the Chinese government is happy to help Apple and others by handing out tax breaks and transportation projects to spur new, lower-paying factories in China’s hinterlands. No such help is on tap for a worker…living in places like Flint, Michigan, which can’t even guarantee the water is safe.
National Geographic spread extraordinary racism
NYT, 3/14 — “Through most of its history, National Geographic…reproduced a racial hierarchy with brown and black people at the bottom, and white people at the top.”
….Black people were presented as static, primitive and non-technological, often unclothed or presented as savages….That image…shaped how the magazine’s readers — largely white and middle class — perceived black people….
…Blatant examples of racism includ[ed] a 1916 story about Australia that included the photo caption: “South Australian Blackfellows: These savages rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings….”
The magazine was far from alone in racist coverage…but it was considered a leader in photography.
U.S. workers’ poverty among world’s deepest
NYT (op-ed, Angus Deaton), 1/25 —There are 5.3 million Americans who are absolutely poor by global standards….It is more than in Nepal (2.5 million)….It is precisely the cost and difficulty of housing that makes for so much misery for so many Americans, and it is precisely these costs that are missed in the World Bank’s global counts….
…Essentials of health are more likely to be lacking for poorer Americans and there are places — the Mississippi Delta and much of Appalachia — where life expectancy is lower than in Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Many Americans, especially whites with no more than a high school education, have seen worsening health….For this group life expectancy is falling; mortality rates from drugs, alcohol and suicide are rising…There are millions of Americans whose suffering, through material poverty and poor health is as bad or worse than that of poor people in Africa or in Asia….
…It is time to stop thinking that only non-Americans are truly poor….especially when they are as destitute as the world’s poorest people.


REDEYE 3/21/18

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Election Interference? The CIA Anti-Communist Specialists Outdo the Russians

(Editor’s Note: The Russians may have learned something about foreign election interference from U.S. rulers, the masters at it. Quoted entirely from the NY Times, Feb. 18.)

Bags of cash delivered to a Rome hotel for favored Italian candidates. Scandalous stories leaked to foreign newspapers to swing an election in Nicaragua. Millions of pamphlets, posters and stickers printed to defeat an incumbent in Serbia.

The long arm of Vladimir Putin? No, just a small sample of the United States’ history of intervention in foreign elections….

Steven Hall, retired…after 30 years at the C.I.A., where he was the chief of Russian operations….[said] The United States “absolutely” has carried out such election influence operations historically…and I hope we keep doing it.”

Loch Johnson, the dean of American intelligence scholars…says Russia’s 2016 operation was simply the cyber-age version of standard United States practice for decades, whenever American officials were worried about a foreign vote.

“We’ve been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947….We’ve used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners — you name it. We’ve planted false information in foreign newspapers. We’ve used what the British call ‘King George’s cavalry’: suitcases of cash….

The C.I.A. helped overthrow elected leaders in Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s and backed violent coups in several other countries in the 1960s. It plotted assassinations and supported brutal anti-Communist governments in Latin America, Africa and Asia….

A Carnegie Mellon scholar, Dov Levin, has scoured the historical record for both overt and covert election influence operations. He found 81 by the United States and 36 by the Soviet Union or Russia between 1946 and 2000….

His findings underscore how routine election meddling by the United States — sometimes covert and sometimes overt — has been….established in Italy with assistance to non-Communist candidates from the late 1940s to the 1960s. “We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians to defray their expenses,” said Mark Wyatt, a former C.I.A. officer….

Richard Bissell, who ran the agency’s operations in the late 1950s and early 1960s, wrote…of exercising control over a newspaper or broadcasting station, or of securing the outcome in an election.” A…report on the C.I.A.’s work in Chile’s 1964 election boasts of the “hard work” the agency did supplying “large sums” to its favored candidate and portraying him as a “wise, sincere and high-minded statesman” [Pinochet] while painting his leftist opponent as a “calculating schemer.”

C.I.A. officials told Mr. [Loch] Johnson…that “insertions” of information into foreign news media…sometimes false, were running at 70 to 80 a day. In the 1990 election in Nicaragua, the C.I.A. planted stories about corruption in the leftist Sandinista government, Mr. Levin said. The opposition won….

The hand of the United States reached boldly into a Russian election. American fears that Boris Yeltsin would be defeated for re-election as president in 1996 by an old-fashioned Communist led to an overt and covert effort to help him, urged on by President Bill Clinton. It included an American push for a $10 billion International Monetary Fund loan to Russia for four months before the voting….

In recent decades, the most visible American presence in foreign politics has been taxpayer-funded groups like the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute…which teach basic campaign skills…and train election monitors….

In 2016 the Endowment gave 108 grants totaling $6.8 million to organizations in Russia for…”engaging activists” and “fostering civic engagement….”

What the C.I.A. may have done in recent years to steer foreign elections is still secret and may not be known for decades.

W. Virginia teachers strike inspired by ‘mine wars’
NYT, 3/3 — …Tired of low pay and costly health benefits….teachers have refused to work in all 55 counties, shutting down every school in the state.
The teachers disregarded their own union leaders’ advice to return to work earlier this week, opting instead for a thunderous showdown with members of the state’s increasingly conservative leadership….
Smaller walkouts began in early February, organized by the sons and daughters of coal miners who stood on the picket lines themselves. “When I was in diapers, he was involved in a mine strike,” Justin Endicott, 34, a fourth-grade teacher…said of his father….
It is not a surprise to anyone here that the first teacher strikes came out of coal country. This was the battlefield of…a series of deadly battles in the early 20th century between coal miners and armies of law enforcement and company-hired soldiers. Among the people who fought in these wars was the great-grandfather of Brandon Wolford, a major organizer of the strikers in Mingo County.
In 1920, thousands of miners faced off in the five-day Battle of Blair Mountain against armed strikebreakers and government forces in one of the largest labor uprisings in American history.
(NYT, 3/2) — Kate Endicott, H.S. English teacher: “I live paycheck to paycheck….We come from an area that is known for standing up for what [we] believe in. The union wars, they originated in Mingo County.
“We believe we’re following in their footsteps. We believe the movement was started years ago through the mine wars. We’re just reviving the movement that was started years ago.”
South Africa: New millionaire ruler over Apartheid regime
NYT, 2/16 — …Furious street protests…have swept the nation [under] an economy that long funneled most of the spoils to a narrow, predominantly white slice of the populace….
Despite the formal eradication of apartheid, South Africa remains a land of stark economic inequalities that break along racial lines. Within the nation of 55 million people, just a tenth of the population, mostly white, controls more than 90 percent of the wealth….The vast majority of the rest owns nothing at all.
Roughly half the country lives in poverty. The official unemployment rate sits above 27 percent. And in the townships ringing cities, where the apartheid-era government forced black people to live,…two-thirds of young people are jobless. There, families hunker down in shacks lacking toilets and clean water….
…After a 2012 police massacre of striking platinum miners that killed 34 people….[current President Cyril] Ramaphosa occupied a seat on the board of Lonmin, the company that owned the mine….A day before the police opened fire, Mr. Ramaphosa had been urging senior government officials to take strong action to end the strike….
Beyond its systemic discrimination against black people, apartheid….ensured that huge numbers of black South Africans were available at poverty-level wages within…mining, agriculture and textiles….
…Ramaphosa…achieved extraordinary affluence by running South African companies with interests in mining, banking, real estate and telecommunications. His fortune has been estimated at $450 million.
Wage slavery rules Church hierarchy exploiting nuns
NYT, 3/2 — ROME — Sister Marie told of nuns who worked long hours to cook and clean for cardinals and bishops, without being asked to break bread at the same table.
Sister Paule pointed out that many nuns did not have registered contracts with the bishops, schools, parishes or congregations they worked for, “so they are paid little or not at all.”
Sister Cécile said that “nuns are seen as volunteers to have available at one’s calling, which gives rise to abuse of power.”
These stories…were revealed Thursday in an exposé about how nuns are exploited by the leaders and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church….
Though convents also depend on the money generated by the sisters living there, many nuns, unlike priests, are not paid, or are poorly paid, when they attend conferences or when they preach….
“Behind all this is still the unfortunate idea that women are worth less than men, and above all that the priest is everything while sisters are nothing in the church,” Sister Paule said.
Coal bosses profit; miner’s black lung disease on the rise
NYT, 2/23 — …Investigators…identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung cases ever officially recorded….A new black lung epidemic is emerging in central Appalachia….
Across the coal belt in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, “there’s an unacceptably large number of younger miners who have end-stage disease and the only choice is to get a lung transplant or wait it out and die,” [said David Blackley, an epidemiologist at OSHA].
Scientists have linked the new wave of lung disease to miners breathing in more silica dust....[which] can damage lungs faster than coal dust alone. Modern machinery, insufficient training…and longer work hours may also contribute to increased dust exposure….
A survey of clinics in 2016 has unofficially recorded nearly 2,000 cases over a similar period of time….
…Lowered dust exposure limits…[were] challenged by coal industry groups as costly….


REDEYE 2/21/18

Bush-Obama-Trump’s 17-year-war on Afghanistan continues
NYT, 1/30/18 — In coming months,…American troops in Afghanistan will grow to…15,000….4,000 will have been sent under President Trump’s war strategy….in a war that began with airstrikes and a few hundred Special Operations forces in 2001, and…later saw as many as 100,000 troops deployed….
American optimism goes all the way back to Nov. 17, 2001, when Laura Bush, then the first lady, said the Taliban “is now in retreat across much of the country….At the time, American troops had been in Afghanistan for a month. And just days into 2002…the first American soldier [was] killed….followed by…2,215 more….
Three months after[wards], Condoleeza Rice,…White House national security advisor, declared that “the Taliban regime has been routed….”
A year later…Donald Rumsfeld said the main war effort was ending….He called most of Afghanistan “secure….”
Still, days before he left office, President George Bush…on Dec. 16, 2008…[told] troops that “the Taliban is gone from power, and it’s not coming back.”
Except the Taliban had already returned. In July 2008, the group bombed the Indian Embassy in Kabul, killing 58. Nine American troops died the same month in an attack on a NATO base….But American commanders were still predicting victory….
President Obama authorized sending 17,000 more troops….And by December, Obama agreed to a surge of an additional 30,000 troops in Afghanistan….The Taliban kept up its onslaught….Military bases at Bagram and Kandahar were attacked in 2010 and a NATO convoy in Kabul was bombed, killing 18….
…An estimated 100,000 United States troops were in Afghanistan at the peak of war operations….In 2015….the Taliban soon overran Kunduz — the first…take over [of] a major city since 2001….By the end of 2016, General Nicholson, the current war commander….ordered the dropping of the “mother of all bombs” — the most powerful conventional bomb in the American arsenal — on eastern Afghanistan.
In November, General Nicholson delivered another bright update….”The Taliban cannot win….Their choices are to reconcile, live in irrelevance or die.”
The[y]…chose a different option. The Taliban launched a bloody 15-hour siege on a major hotel in Kabul last week, killing 22. On Saturday, at least 95 people died when an ambulance packed with explosives blew up on a busy street in the capital….The United States military alone dropped more than 4,000 bombs across Afghanistan in 2017.
U.S. poverty matches the world’s worst
NYT, 1/25 — …When we compare absolute poverty in the United States with absolute poverty in India and other poor countries, we should be using $4 in the United States and $1.90 in India….
There are 5.3 million Americans who are absolutely poor by global standards….more than in Nepal (2.5 million)….
It is precisely the cost and difficulty of housing that makes for so much misery for so many Americans, and it is precisely these costs that are missed in the…global counts….The essentials of health are more likely to be lacking for poorer Americans and there are places — the Mississippi Delta and much of Appalachia — where life expectancy is lower than in Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Many Americans, especially whites with no more than a high school education, have seen worsening health:…this group life expectancy is falling; mortality rates from drugs, alcohol and suicide are rising….
There are millions of Americans whose suffering, through material poverty and poor health, is bad or worse than that of poor people in Africa or Asia….It is time to stop thinking that only non-Americans are truly poor….especially when they are as destitute as the world’s poorest people.

Deadly fires still trapping exploited workers in ‘democratic’ India
NYT, 1/22 — A fire at an industrial building on the outskirts of New Delhi broke out as workers were stuffing gunpowder into firecrackers, trapping many of them on the factory’s upper floors as it spread, leaving at least 17 dead.
The laborers were paid only a few dollars a day to work in harsh conditions and at least 10…who died…were women….Frequent fires are a…reality in India’s urban areas…including ones manufacturing shoes and plastics catch fire with…regularity….
The building that went up in flames…in Bawana, an industrial area outside New Delhi, had no clear safety arrangements….Many factories have shifted to…industrial clusters like the one in Bawana…where they often employ low-wage workers from neighboring states….The presence of explosives in the building may have accelerated…[the fire’s] spread….
“We did not find any fire safety arrangements in the building,”…said [the chief fire officer].
Israel’s fascist rulers: assassinators-in-chief
NYT, 2/1/18 — Book review — “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations; by Ronen Bergman.
“Since World War II, Israel has assassinated more people than any other country in the Western World….” Belligerent Ariel Sharon…as an army commander,…as minister of defense and as prime minister. Bergman describes Sharon as a “pyromaniac” and obsession with killing Yasir Arafat…verging on monomaniacal. In his hunt for Arafat, Sharon almost had the Mossad shoot down a plane of 30 wounded Palestinian children by mistake; he even countenanced…downing…a commercial airliner if Arafat were on it….”an intentional war crime….”
 Israel [is] getting more…ruthlessly efficient….]It is]now capable of planning four or five “interceptions” a day. “You get used to killing. Human life becomes something plain, easy to dispose of. You spend a quarter of an hour, 20 minutes, on who to kill”…[said] Ami Ayalon,…head of [domestic security] Shin Bet in the late ’90s.