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Ed Jewett
05-31-2010, 04:52 AM
Israel Has Attacked Gaza Flotilla: Casualties and Fatalities Reported (http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/israel-has-attacked-gaza-flotilla-casualties-and-fatalities-reported/)

Posted on May 30, 2010 by willyloman
“Two dead, at least 30 wounded” as Israel opens fire at Gaza activists (http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=59257) - They seem to have opened fire on the boats from the Israeli helicopters (I guess the ones we paid for)
Report: Several casualties in clash between Gaza aid flotilla, Israel Navy (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-several-casualties-in-clash-between-gaza-aid-flotilla-israel-navy-1.293089) -
Picture of Blood on a Life Vest (http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/picture-injured-person-with-blood-on-life-ves)
BBC is Confirming the Interception but no word on casualties yet (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10195838.stm) – “Hamas says the interception took place in international waters, more than 150km (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza. Israel has made no comment”
Live feed (http://www.livestream.com/insaniyardim)
Update: Initial reports – at least two people killed, 30 injured in Israeli attack on freedom flotilla (http://mondoweiss.net/2010/05/israeli-ships-bear-down-on-freedom-flotilla-in-the-dark.html)

Peter Lemkin
05-31-2010, 05:09 AM
Israel Has Attacked Gaza Flotilla: Casualties and Fatalities Reported (http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/israel-has-attacked-gaza-flotilla-casualties-and-fatalities-reported/)

Posted on May 30, 2010 by willyloman
“Two dead, at least 30 wounded” as Israel opens fire at Gaza activists (http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=59257) - They seem to have opened fire on the boats from the Israeli helicopters (I guess the ones we paid for)
Report: Several casualties in clash between Gaza aid flotilla, Israel Navy (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-several-casualties-in-clash-between-gaza-aid-flotilla-israel-navy-1.293089) -
Picture of Blood on a Life Vest (http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/picture-injured-person-with-blood-on-life-ves)
BBC is Confirming the Interception but no word on casualties yet (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10195838.stm) – “Hamas says the interception took place in international waters, more than 150km (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza. Israel has made no comment”
Live feed (http://www.livestream.com/insaniyardim)
Update: Initial reports – at least two people killed, 30 injured in Israeli attack on freedom flotilla (http://mondoweiss.net/2010/05/israeli-ships-bear-down-on-freedom-flotilla-in-the-dark.html)

The usual....kill the peacemakers....very sad! I've heard unconfirmed reports of many more than two dead. What was their crime? What, for that matter, is the crime of the Palestinians, more so in Gaza?!?!?

Ed Jewett
05-31-2010, 05:55 AM
31 May 2010

http://www.legitgov.org (http://www.legitgov.org/)

All links are here:

http://www.legitgov.org/#breaking_news (http://www.legitgov.org/#breaking_news)


Breaking: Report: At least 10 activists killed as Israel Navy opens fire on Gaza aid flotilla (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-at-least-10-activists-killed-as-israel-navy-opens-fire-on-gaza-aid-flotilla-1.293089) --Over 60 pro-Palestinian campaigners wounded after six-ship convoy sailing for Gaza Strip ignored Israel's order to turn back, Turkish news reports. 31 May 2010 Israel Navy troops opened fire on pro-Palestinian activists aboard a six-ship aid flotilla sailing for the Gaza Strip, killing at least 10 and wounding several others after the convoy ignored orders to turn back, Turkey's NTV reported early Monday. The IDF also confirmed that two navy commandos had been wounded in fight, which apparently broke out after activists tried to seize their weapons.
Gaza aid flotilla attacked, 10 killed (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128420&sectionid=351020202) 31 May 2010 Israeli forces have attacked the international aid convoy Freedom Flotilla en route to the besieged Gaza Strip, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 50 injured. The attack came on Monday morning after one of the six ships in the convoy was hit by Israeli navy forces before being stormed by commandos descending from helicopters. The interception reportedly took place in international waters, more than 150km (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza.
Turkey summons Israeli envoy after deadly Gaza ship attack (http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=59258) --The report also said, "Foreign Ministry has set up a crisis desk." 31 May 2010 Turkey has summoned Israeli envoy to condemn Israeli attack on Turkish Gaza aid ship on international waters. The move comes after Israeli troops shot dead two aid activists and wounded more than 30 on the ship, Turkish media said. Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned Israeli envoy Gabby Levy to condemn the bloody action, Turkish TV, NTV, said.
Protesters try to storm Israeli consulate in Turkey (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/protesters-try-to-storm-israeli-consulate-in-turkey-1.293172) --CNN-Turk and NTV televisions show dozens of angry protesters scuffling with Turkish police guarding consulate building in downtown Istanbul. 31 May 2010 Turkish police blocked dozens of stone-throwing protesters who tried to storm the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul over reports of an Israeli attack on at least one aid ship in international waters on Monday, news channels reported. CNN-Turk and NTV showed dozens of angry protesters scuffling with Turkish police guarding the consulate in downtown Istanbul. "Damn Israel," the protesters shouted.

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 06:15 AM
Fucking murderous bastards!

Ed Jewett
05-31-2010, 06:20 AM
Israeli commandos open fire after being attacked with axes & knives by Gaza flotilla "peace activists" (http://www.thejidf.org/2010/05/israeli-commandos-open-fire-after-being.html)

Pro-Israel site... l

Paul Rigby
05-31-2010, 06:27 AM
Israeli commandos planting weapons on the boats as I type...

Ed Jewett
05-31-2010, 06:45 AM
Does anyone have a fix on the precise location? I'm not entirely sure it matters except in terms of law... These folks are pretty much already deep into the international parish hall of shame. And the USofA which arms and supports them and, well, g'nite. May the world be somehow rosier in the morning.

Peter Presland
05-31-2010, 06:50 AM
If there is ANY justice in this world, Zionist Israel has just signed its own dissolution warrant.

There's nothing more to say beyond Magda's post.

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 07:09 AM
Israeli commandos planting weapons on the boats as I type...

Yup. Will anyone actually believe that yarn that an activist grabbed a soldier's weapon?

Remember when Cynthia McKinney's relief boat to Gaza was attacked and rammed by an Israeli Navy ship in international waters? She describes it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psk5rjjsvy4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jYc70aTHms&feature=related

She claims the Israeli lied and said the relief boat attacked their war ship. Sound familiar?

"I know what my own government did to Paul Robson,...MalcolmX,...Martin Luther King."

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 07:13 AM
Does anyone have a fix on the precise location? I'm not entirely sure it matters except in terms of law... These folks are pretty much already deep into the international parish hall of shame. And the USofA which arms and supports them and, well, g'nite. May the world be somehow rosier in the morning.
Haaretz has them in international waters.

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 07:17 AM
Does anyone have a fix on the precise location? I'm not entirely sure it matters except in terms of law... These folks are pretty much already deep into the international parish hall of shame. And the USofA which arms and supports them and, well, g'nite. May the world be somehow rosier in the morning.
Haaretz has them in international waters.

And Cynthia McKinney's boat was in international waters as well. They still get away with it. I guess there's no line they can't cross.

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 07:22 AM
Looks like they were just practicing on Rachel Corrie.

Mark Stapleton
05-31-2010, 07:33 AM
Just heard a radio interview with one of the organisers of the flotilla, speaking from Cyprus. The attack was definitely in international waters and the number of dead could be as high as sixteen.

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 07:47 AM
Just heard a radio interview with one of the organisers of the flotilla, speaking from Cyprus. The attack was definitely in international waters and the number of dead could be as high as sixteen.

And the number of injured high as well. I'm reading about 50, per early estimates.

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 07:59 AM
It was an air and sea attack. Helicopters dropped commandos on to the ships. They had gas masks and apparently some sort of gas used. Live ammunition. All in international waters. The Turkish ship Mari Marvina was one of the attacked. This had an international crew on board. IDF troops were informed in English and Hebrew that passengers were unarmed and not to attack.

Peter Presland
05-31-2010, 08:01 AM
GPS positions of the flotilla here (http://gazafreedommarch.org/cms/en/flotilla.aspx) - The yellow pennants

They are widely dispersed. The Turkish ship from which the Al Jazeera video was broadcast was/is closer to Cyprus than Israel

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 08:08 AM
It was an air and sea attack. Helicopters dropped commandos on to the ships. They had gas masks and apparently some sort of gas used. Live ammunition. All in international waters.

So, the commandos were victims of an unprovoked attack by one or more activists after the commandos dropped from helicopters onto the ship?

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 08:11 AM
The timing of this seems convenient. This is a holiday weekend in the US. Isn't that typically when big news goes unnoticed? I wonder how often the Free Gaza Movement (tries to) deliver aid.

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 08:40 AM
Video report by al jazeera at this link. Emphasis in below article mine. Get a load of the Israeli spin.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/7789175/Israeli-troops-attack-ship-carrying-aid-to-Gaza-killing-16.html

"Fighting broke out between the activists and the masked Israeli troops, who rappelled on to deck from helicopters before dawn.

A spokeswoman for the flotilla, Greta Berlin, said she had been told ten people had been killed and dozens wounded, accusing Israeli troops of indiscriminately shooting at "unarmed civilians". But an Israeli radio station said that between 14 and 16 were dead in a continuing operation.

"How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this?" Ms Berlin said. "Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?

"We have two other boats. This is not going to stop us."

The Israeli government's handling of the confrontation was under intense international pressure even as it continued. The Israeli ambassador to Turkey, the base of one of the human rights organisation which organised the flotilla, was summoned by the foreign ministry in Anakara, as the Israeli consulate in Istanbul came under attack.

One Israeli minister issued immediate words of regret. "The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities," Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the trade and industry minister, told army radio. But he added that the commandoes had been attacked with batons and activists had sought to take their weapons off them.

Israeli military sources said four of its men had been injured, one stabbed, and that they had been shot at.

"The flotilla's participants were not innocent and used violence against the soldiers. They were waiting for the forces' arrival," they were quoted by a news website as saying.

The flotilla had set sail on Sunday from northern, or Turkish, Cyprus. Six boats were led by the Mavi Marmara, which carried 600 activists from around the world, including Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the Northern Ireland peace protester who won a Nobel Prize in 1976.

It came under almost immediate monitoring from Israeli drones and the navy, with two vessels flanking it in international waters. The flotilla, which had been warned that it would not be allowed to reach Gaza, attempted to slow and change course, hoping to prevent a confrontation until daylight, when the Israeli military action could be better filmed.

But in the early hours of this morning local time commandoes boarded from helicopters.

The activists were not carrying guns, but television footage shown by al-Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/05/201053133047995359.html) and Turkish television channels show hand-to-hand fighting, with activists wearing life-jackets striking commandoes with sticks. The Israeli army said its troops were assaulted with axes and knives. The television footage did not show firing but shots could be heard in the background. One man was shown lying unconscious on the deck, while another man was helped away.

A woman wearing hijab, the Muslim headscarf, was seen carrying a stretcher covered in blood.

The al-Jazeera broadcast stopped with a voice shouting in Hebrew: "Everyone shut up".

Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza after the strip was taken over by the militant group Hamas in 2007. It has allowed some food and medical supplies through, but has prevented large-scale rebuilding following the bombardment and invasion of 2008-9.

The flotilla is the latest in a series of attempts by activists to break through the blockade. The boats were carrying food and building supplies.
Activists said at least two of the other boats, one Greek and one Turkish, had been boarded from Israeli naval vessels. Activists said two of the other boats in the flotilla were American-flagged.

The confrontation took place in international waters 80 miles off the Gaza coast.

It was attacked by the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.

"We call on the Secretary-General of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon, to shoulder his responsibilities to protect the safety of the solidarity groups who were on board these ships and to secure their way to Gaza," he said.
Turkish television meanwhile showed hundreds of protesters trying to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul. The incident will be particularly damaging for Israel's relations with what had been seen as its closest ally in the Muslim world.

"By targeting civilians, Israel has once again shown its disregard for human life and peaceful initiatives," a Turkish foreign ministry statement said. "We strongly condemn these inhumane practices of Israel.

"This deplorable incident, which took place in open seas and constitutes a fragrant breach of international law, may lead to irreparable consequences in our bilateral relations."

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 08:40 AM
Don't forget Carsten's thread here: http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3974

Looks like they were expecting action. Anyone for a quick game or Russian roulette?

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 08:49 AM
Don't forget Carsten's thread here: http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3974

Looks like they were expecting action. Anyone for a quick game or Russian roulette?

Exactly what I'm wondering. Is Israel trying to provoke a strong reaction that will then "justify" the war it's already positioned to fight?

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 08:51 AM
Here's the official story:
http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/05/31/2739378/protesters-on-gaza-bound-ship-killed-in-rioting

"Protesters on ship bound for Gaza killed in rioting May 31, 2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Up to 14 activists onboard a flotilla of ships bound for Gaza were killed during rioting after Israeli Naval forces boarded the ships to redirect them to an Israeli port.

Israel's Navy intercepted six of the ships early Monday morning as they attempted to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israel had radioed to the ships numerous times, requesting that they head to the port in Ashdod, where they could unload their aid material to be transferred to Gaza after security inspections, the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman said in a statement.

When Naval Forces boarded the shops, they were attacked with metal clubs and knives, as well as live fire, according to the IDF. "The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose," the statement said, adding that the Navy then used riot dispersal methods, which include live fire.

"The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail," according to the IDF.

In addition to the reported 14 dead protesters, tens of protesters were injured and evacuated to Israeli hospitals. Ten Israeli soldiers were also injured, one in serious condition.

Israeli ministers decided last week not to allow the ships to reach Gaza."

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 08:57 AM
Here's the website of the group that organized the Gaza flotilla, and their statement:

http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/press-releases/1191-civilians-under-attack-by-israel

Civilians Under Attack by Israel (http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/press-releases/1191-civilians-under-attack-by-israel)

Written by Free Gaza Team
31 May 2010

(Cyprus, June 1, 2010, 6:30 am) Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep. According to the live video from the ship, two have been killed, and 31 injured. Al Jazeera has just confirmed the numbers.

Streaming video shows the Israeli soldiers shooting at civilians, and our last SPOT beacon said, “HELP, we are being contacted by the Israelis.” We know nothing about the other five boats. Israel says they are taking over the boats.

The coalition of Free Gaza Movement (FG), European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), the Perdana Global Peace Organisation , Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza appeal to the international community to demand that Israel stop their brutal attack on civilians delivering vitally needed aid to the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza and permit the ships to continue on their way.

The attack has happened in international waters, 75 miles off the coast of Israel, in direct violation of international law.

Peter Presland
05-31-2010, 09:14 AM
One Israeli minister issued immediate words of regret. "The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities," Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the trade and industry minister, told army radio. But he added that the commandoes had been attacked with batons and activists had sought to take their weapons off them.

Weasel words from the man who, among other serious crimes against humanity, eye witnesses report as having personally executed prisoners of war (http://wantedforwarcrimes.blogspot.com/2009/02/binyamin-ben-eliezer.html),

Peter Lemkin
05-31-2010, 10:01 AM
Death toll now at 10....and rising!.....

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 10:25 AM
20 dead now.
2,000 protesting outside Israeli Embassy in Vienna Austria
Also huge protests in Beirut and in Turkey.
One of the dead is alleged to be high profile Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, the leader of the Islamic movement in Israel, how utterly convenient. I wonder if they shot the 86 year old holocaust survivor?
Pathetic BBC reporting of massacre so far.
Greece suspends military exercises with Israel in protest.
Israeli Arabs organise general strike
Many Israeli ambassadors called in to be read the riot actby their host nations.

Peter Lemkin
05-31-2010, 10:54 AM
20 dead now.
2,000 protesting outside Israeli Embassy in Vienna Austria
Also huge protests in Beirut and in Turkey.
One of the dead is alleged to be high profile Sheik
Pathetic BBC reporting of massacre so far.
Greece suspends military exercises with Israel in protest.
Israeli Arabs organise general strike

Israeli statement said flotilla members were armed...I very much doubt they were - or only to defend themselves with sticks. If there are weapons 'found', they will likely have been planted, IMO. This was a massacre. Israel just doesn't mind killing people for no reason......

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 11:04 AM
There were no arms. I know people who are on it and others and they are militant peaceniks and arms of any kind are anathema to them. Any arms would be planted for sure. But they have the right to defend themselves and there is no reason they should co-operate with armed terrorists in international waters boarding their boats. Which in a civilized world is recognized as an act of war even without the massacre which occurred in this case.

Peter Presland
05-31-2010, 12:37 PM
Per Paul R earlier, the 'they shot first we were only defending ourselves' refrain begins. This from Norway (http://www.newsinenglish.no/2010/05/31/norway-shocked-over-israels-attack/)

Israel claims the activists on board the convoy shot first, and that its soldiers — who stormed the convoy, shot and killed as many as 20 persons and wounded 30 more –found weapons.Also some good points from Craig Murray (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/05/what_is_the_poi.html) who, as former head of the FCO Maritime section, knows a thing or two about international maritime law:

Having seen so many illegal wars lately, you might be interested to know that in international law Turkey could now with perfect legality declare itself to be at war with Israel. I do not advocate that, but after the fake justification over Iraq I thought you might be interested to see what a genuine causus belli looks like.

Peter Lemkin
05-31-2010, 12:42 PM
Does anyone have a fix on the precise location? I'm not entirely sure it matters except in terms of law... These folks are pretty much already deep into the international parish hall of shame. And the USofA which arms and supports them and, well, g'nite. May the world be somehow rosier in the morning.
Haaretz has them in international waters.

Israel has NO legal claim to any waters heading into Gaza - those waters that are not international, belong to the Palestinians! So, it doesn't matter where they were - the action was one of piracy and murder - premeditated and disgusting in the extremes of the extreme.....:banghead: I'm now reading 16 dead.....for doing nothing more than trying to bring aid to the imprisoned and embattled Palestinians!:thefinger:

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 12:48 PM
That could be interesting. A Turkish ship in international waters, and Turkey being a NATO member, attacked by Israel. Turkey declares war. NATO forced to go along as required under it own terms. Just can't see it happening some how.

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 12:58 PM
Israel has just announced that it will prosecute the convoy members who "attacked" its soldiers #gaza (http://twitter.com/search?q=%23gaza) #flotilla (http://twitter.com/search?q=%23flotilla) #fb (http://twitter.com/search?q=%23fb) about 5 hours ago (http://twitter.com/georgegalloway/status/15093464357) via web
George Galloway says that Israel will prosecute the flotilla members for their attack on its soldiers. What for? Sleeping activist caused property damage to their live ammunition and bleed on uniforms as friendly Israeli's IDF personnel boarded boats to give early morning wake up call and greeting to ready for berthing in Gaza port?

Paul Rigby
05-31-2010, 01:10 PM
Israeli commandos open fire after being attacked with axes & knives by Gaza flotilla "peace activists" (http://www.thejidf.org/2010/05/israeli-commandos-open-fire-after-being.html)

Pro-Israel site... l

Another pro-Israeli site:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/10195997.stm

Puke-inducing commentary and interchange, but entirely typical of at least one participant, Jonathan Charles.

To think we have to pay for this stuff.

Peter Presland
05-31-2010, 01:12 PM
That could be interesting. A Turkish ship in international waters, and Turkey being a NATO member, attacked by Israel. Turkey declares war. NATO forced to go along as required under it own terms. Just can't see it happening some how.

Well consider this from Israeli government mouthpiece Debka File then (http://www.debka.com/article/8823/):

debkafile's military sources report Israeli concerns that Turkey may not confine itself to strong diplomatic retaliation for the Israel Navy's seizure Monday, May 31, of the Marmora, the Turkish vessel leading the flotilla for breaking the Gaza blockade and resort to military action along with the Iranian-backed Hizballah and Hamas. A statement from Ankara threatened "unprecedented and incalculable" reprisals, following which the Turkish chief of staff Gen. Ilker Basbug was recalled urgently to Ankara from a visit to Egypt. Greece has since halted its joint exercise with Israel in protest against the naval action.
debkafile reports from Ankara that the Turkish government is planning to continue pounding the Israeli blockade with more flotillas and have them escorted by Turkish warships and fighter jets. Israel merchant vessels moored outside Ashdod port have been instructed to sail into port and take shelter in case of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip against Ashdod and Ashkelon.
Monday morning, Israeli warplanes headed west over the Mediterranean in support of the still ongoing Israeli commando operation aboard the Turkish Marmora, the scene of violent clashes between Israeli troops and the 600 "peace activists," some of them armed. Ankara later reported 15 dead aboard the vessel.
Israeli army spokesman, Col. Avi Beneyahu, called the incident "an act of terror on the high seas." Far from being a humanitarian mission, the flotilla was sponsored personally by Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza and permit arms supplies and terrorist to reach the Strip unrestricted. It aimed at provoking a widely publicized international incident with fatalities and showing Israel using strong-arm tactics against unarmed peace-lovers.
Its leaders and the nations involved therefore refused to heed warnings that the vessels would be prevented from entering Gaza Port and rejected Israeli offers to ferry their aid cargo overland to the Gaza Strip. Population within missile range of Gaza advised to take shelter in secured areas.
An estimated 19 activists were killed battling with Israeli troops, and dozens injured. Official sources cite 10 fatalities,although by Monday afternoon, there were still no official confirmed figures. Ten Israeli soldiers were wounded, two critically. They were all ferried to Israeli hospitals by helicopter.
The pro-Hamas passengers were described as mobbing the Israeli commandos as they were dropped onto the Marmara's deck, using knives and iron bars to beat them and shooting with a sidearm snatched from a soldier and at least two other pistols recovered empty from two of the bodies.
Israeli security forces are preparing for the Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian Hamas to go back to shooting missiles and rockets against Israeli towns, in support of the seaborne attack on Israeli commandos. The police are also on special alert in and around Israeli Arab communities, after Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyah called them out on a general strike, and the Holy Places, especially in Jerusalem.
Egypt will face pressure to end its joint embargo on Gaza with Israel at the Arab League Council meeting urgently Tuesday, June 1. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas demanded the session.
Demonstrations against Israel were staged in Syrian and Lebanese towns. Jordan hands stiff complaint to head of Israeli diplomatic mission in Amman.
Also, note the Orwellian inversion - delivered with a grave straight face no doubt:

Israeli army spokesman, Col. Avi Beneyahu, called the incident "an act of terror on the high seas."

You simply could not make this stuff up could you?

This could get dangerous quickly - and so of course it damned well should for Zionist Israel.

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 01:35 PM
Apparently, the ships are being taken to Haifa by the IDF, not Ashdod, to avoid publicity.

Magda Hassan
05-31-2010, 01:51 PM
Nice clear and strong piece by Lenin's Tomb. My bolding.

The reason for the slaughter of the Free Gaza activists (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/05/reason-for-slaughter-of-free-gaza.html) posted by lenin (http://leninology.blogspot.com/)

The Israeli government and media has been vilifying the Free Gaza movement in a rabid build-up for weeks, but who would have anticipated this bloody culmination (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/05/israel-attacks-gaza-flotilla-kills-at.html)? Who would have expected this act of high seas piracy? Israeli claims that they were fired at, or even attacked with "knives" and "other cold weapons" when they illegally boarded the flotilla, before going on to stalk the sleeping and the innocent can surely be dismissed as vulgar propaganda. From the people who gave us the fastest re-definition of the term 'civilian' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7811386.stm) of any belligerent state in recent history, such talk is emetic. The idea that there was a "fight", any kind of meaningful combat, between unarmed peace activists and trained killers is just absurd. But let's note a few things. For a start, it is Israel's official contention that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, that their murderous blockade has no severe consequences for the people of Gaza, even at the same time as their official spokespersons speak of Gaza explicitly in the language of genocide (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/01/at-what-point-does-it-become-genocide.html). This after the Goldstone report (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/12/operation-cast-lead-one-year-on.html) and a mountain of evidence compiled by relief agencies and NGOs documenting the effects of Israel's blockade. It is, of course, absurd and despicable, but it should remind us what kind of state we're dealing with, what kind of logical somersaults it is capable of performing while maintaing perfect equanimity.

Now recall that for weeks the Israeli state has been declaring that the aid flotilla constitutes a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty, though Israel has no sovereign right to police the borders of Gaza. They claimed that the convoy was bringing assistance to terrorists, and warned that it was being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. They claim that such aid vessels help keep Hamas in power and Gilad Shalit (who he?) locked up. They claim that the convoy, rather than the blockade itself, constitutes a violation of international law. Israel's ability to exhale falsehoods and absurdities seamlessly, poker-faced, and then to suddenly and without missing a beat alter its story when it becomes clear that not even its loyalist drones are gullible enough to believe it, is not unique but it has a unique pedigree. For the Israeli state is singular in its self-righteousness. This is built in to official doctrine and practise, entrenched in its forms of governmentality. It is always the victim, no matter what it's doing today - whether slaughtering refugees in Sabra and Shatilla, or murdering sleeping families in Dahiya, from Nakba to Cast Lead - it is always on the precipice of being exterminated by a new wave of Arab Nazis. Given this, any effort to undermine its 'defensive' actions is an attack not only on its expansive notions of sovereignty, but on the 'Jewish state'.

By the logic of Israel, any abridgment of its right to murder Palestinians constitutes an act of antisemitism, an existential attack on the Jewish people, whom they represent by proxy. Its job, then, is to do whatever it deems fit in discouraging and punishing said 'antisemites' while aggressively retailing whatever they do to an increasingly hostile world which, at any rate, they insist is driven by exterminationist antisemitism anyway. If the two ends - the violent preservation of Israeli supremacy in the Middle East, and the global PR - increasingly come into conflict, this is only because of a 'new antisemitism', not because of anything Israel actually does.

In other words, by the twisted logic of Zionism: Israel can impose a blockade on Gaza that systematically starves civilians, leaves them to die without medicine, destroys their sewage and power systems, leaves them utterly dependent on international aid delivery which it imposes the most grotesque restrictions on; then it can demonise and assault an aid flotilla intended to break the blockade, fire on the residents, murder people in their sleep, the better to deter anyone from attempting to violate its supremacy in Palestine again; then it can manufacture whatever story it requires to force a hostile world to accept its actions, muddy the waters, juggle narratives, befuddle and confuse people, following up one bit of legerdemain with yet another and another, etc; and it can do all this while remaining the perpetual victim (remember Sderot!), while doing nothing more than defending itself, defending its famed "right to exist", and by proxy the right of the Jewish people to exist. That, the logic of Zionism upon which the Israeli state is founded, alone explains the insane combination of thuggishness, deceit, secrecy and sanctimony that has always characterised Israel's conduct.

Meanwhile, the British government is rapidly moving to fulfil its promise to make it possible for Israeli war criminals to visit the UK (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/may/30/change-universal-jurisdiction-law) without being disturbed by Inspector Knacker.

Jan Klimkowski
05-31-2010, 03:55 PM
Turkish PM: Aid ship raid is Israeli state terrorism

Published: 05.31.10, 18:23 / Israel News

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused Israel of state terrorism after Israeli marines stormed a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza.

"This action, totally contrary to the principles of international law, is inhumane state terrorism. Nobody should think we will keep quiet in the face of this," Erdogan told reporters from Chile, where he was cutting short an official visit to Latin America to deal with the crisis. (Reuters)
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896926,00.html

Correct. But how far is Turkey prepared to go?

The geopolitical wildcard is Iran.

Presumably the Turkish PM could refuse to allow American, NATO and Israeli aircraft to use Turkish airspace in any attack on Iran, but the Israelis would probably fly directly across Iraqi airspace. Regardless of what the sovereign Iraqi government thinks.

The UN security council is meeting in emergency session later today, but America and Britain will likely veto any resolution condemning the Israeli slaughter of the peaceniks.

I also note that the Israeli spin doctors - military and political - keep on claiming their commandoes were about to be "lynched".

The word "lynch" has a very specific meaning. I've yet to see any evidence to support this repeated Israeli claim.

Peter Lemkin
05-31-2010, 04:22 PM
Politically lynched....maybe....actually lynched....not a chance....:bebored: But Propaganda is all about the spin and lie to divert the viewers attention and thoughts from the facts...to the invented scenario....the magician's [or intelligence apparatchik's ] slight 'o hand and diversion of attention from the real acts to the phony ones.

Keith Millea
05-31-2010, 05:11 PM
Motherfuckers

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 05:39 PM
That could be interesting. A Turkish ship in international waters, and Turkey being a NATO member, attacked by Israel. Turkey declares war. NATO forced to go along as required under it own terms. Just can't see it happening some how.

Daily Kos has a good thread on this scenario. Update added recently.
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/5/31/871525/-Israels-attack-tests-NATO-Doctrine.

"Israel's attack tests NATO Doctrine. [Update] NATO agrees

by 8ackgr0und N015e

Share this on Twitter - Israel's attack tests NATO Doctrine. [Update] NATO agrees

Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:37:32 PM PDT

Israel's attack on the MV Blue Mamara, a Turkish vessel, means they just attacked a member of NATO. According to the NATO Charter, Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

If you think there is wiggle room in that definition, you would be mistaken. Article 6 is explicit about where attacks will trigger responses. Vessels in the Mediterranean Sea are mentioned explicitly.

Article 6 (1)
For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;

on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

(1) The definition of the territories to which Article 5 applies was revised by Article 2 of the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of Greece and Turkey signed on 22 October 1951.

(2) On January 16, 1963, the North Atlantic Council noted that insofar as the former Algerian Departments of France were concerned, the relevant clauses of this Treaty had become inapplicable as from July 3, 1962.

If the former Soviet Union had attacked a NATO vessel in the Mediterranean, we know what would have happened. Of course, that never happened for obvious reasons. In fact, Article 5 was never invoked until the attack on the WTC and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. After 9/11, the US invoked Article 5 for the first time in the history of NATO. That's why NATO forces are still in Afghanistan.

Attacking vessels on the high seas is not the sort of thing people ignore. When the PLO boarded a vessel (the Achille Lauro) and took it over, killing one of the passengers (Leon Klinghoffer), the UN responded by redefining piracy. Nations cannot be guilty of piracy -- by definition. However, this certainly seems to be a criminal act at a minimum. Some might even consider it an act of war. The question now is whether an Israeli attack on the MV Blue Mamara, a Turkish vessel, and thus a vessel of a NATO member, in the Mediterranean Sea leads Turkey to invoke its rights under Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.

The US media is very slow to cover this early on, while Europe and even Ha'aretz is giving this front page coverage.

I wonder if Rahm is still in Israel? This certainly has the potential to develop into an ugly confrontation."

UPDATE This is no longer an academic discussion. According to the Economic Times (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/NATO-to-meet-Tuesday-on-Gaza-flotilla-raid-by-Israel/articleshow/5995887.cms):
NATO will hold emergency talks on Tuesday at Turkey's behest after the deadly Israeli raid on a flotilla of aid-carrying ships bound for Gaza

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 05:43 PM
Here is the Economic Times report referred to above. Emphasis mine.
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/NATO-to-meet-Tuesday-on-Gaza-flotilla-raid-by-Israel/articleshow/5995887.cms

NATO to meet Tuesday on Gaza flotilla raid by Israel
31 May 2010, 2211 hrs IST,AGENCIES

BRUSSELS: NATO will hold emergency talks on Tuesday at Turkey's behest after the deadly Israeli raid on a flotilla of aid-carrying ships bound for Gaza, spokesman James Appathurai said.

"Planning is underway for a meeting... at the request of the Turkish authorities tomorrow afternoon," Appathurai said. The talks will gather ambassadors from the 28 NATO member countries at its Brussels HQ.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Santiago, Chile, that his government was demanding the NATO council gather to address a crisis that has already seen Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Canada and Washington where he had been due to meet with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Appathurai said in a statement that the military alliance is "deeply concerned about the loss of life" in international waters, with at least nine people -- many Turks according to reports -- killed and dozens more reported wounded.

"NATO does not really have instruments with which to deal with the follow-up from this type of affair," said a diplomat.

"Turkey has not invoked article five which envisages all allies coming to the aid of a member country that is the victim of an attack.

"But, given that numerous Turkish citizens appear to figure among the casualties, it is understandable that (Ankara) triggers political dialogue with its parners," the diplomat added.

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 06:15 PM
Emphasis mine.

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Israeli-PM-Cancels-White-House-Meeting-95257909.html

"The United Nations Security Council is holding an emergency meeting to discuss an Israeli naval raid on an aid flotilla.

At least nine passengers were killed, and dozens of others were injured, when Israeli commandos stormed ships bringing aid to the Gaza Strip early Monday. The flotilla, led by a Turkish ship, was in international waters about 60 kilometers off the coast of Israel when it was intercepted.

Israel says seven soldiers also were wounded in the violence.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed regret at the loss of life, but said Israeli troops acted in self-defense.

Israeli Government Spokesman Mark Regev says the activists had weapons and were prepared to attack the commandos when they came aboard the ship. But representatives of the Free Gaza Movement, which organized the flotilla, described the raid as an attack on civilians, saying the activists did not have violent intentions.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the raid an act of "state terrorism." Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Israel and canceled three planned military exercises with Israel to protest the incident.

The aid ships, carrying more than 600 pro-Palestinian activists and 10,000 tons of supplies, left for Gaza Sunday and defied a radio warning from the Israeli navy not to approach the region.

Organizers from the Free Gaza Movement and a Turkish human rights group said the convoy was carrying medical supplies as well as cement and other building materials, which Israel has banned from entering Gaza because of what it says are security concerns.

Israel has taken the ships to a nearby port to begin deportation procedures for the activists. It says that after inspection, the humanitarian aid will be transferred to Gaza by land."

Helen Reyes
05-31-2010, 06:18 PM
Also, note the Orwellian inversion - delivered with a grave straight face no doubt:

Israeli army spokesman, Col. Avi Beneyahu, called the incident "an act of terror on the high seas."

You simply could not make this stuff up could you?

This could get dangerous quickly - and so of course it damned well should for Zionist Israel.

That's the line that grabbed my attention, too, Peter. It's an act of war, not piracy. The Israeli inner circle is probably thinking of it as "pre-emptive" to prevent as early as possible possibly damaging events taking place. "Pre-emption" points to another problem, i.e., there is nothing to distinguish a "pre-emptively defensive" act from an act of aggression.

This brings up Nuremberg and the UN Charter. The Nuremberg trials named "crimes against peace" meaning acts of aggression and belligerance the highest crimes, carrying higher punishment than "war crimes" or "crimes against humanity."

This is the foundation of the UN Charter. The UN Charter also makes it obligatory for signatories to act to stop crimes against humanity. It's not a green-light to interfere in another's sovereign affairs, it's an obligation.

Tony Blair twisted this around to justify invading Yugoslavia and Iraq. What it's really about is the moral responsibility to save people from genocide, to rescue individuals from situations such as the quarantined no-man's land in Gaza.

What I'm saying is that this act, even if the peaceniks had shot white phosphorus at the IDF after they boarded, is a breaker for both NATO and the UN. Both organizations founder right here. NATO has been living a ghost existence for several years attacking civilians in Asia and pretending they're terrorists or combatants or every dictatorship's favorite word for the armed opposition, "bandits," while restoring the opium trade. The UN actually foundered when Kaffi Anan meekly admitted the Iraq war was illegal. He told the reporter "Well, you can put it that way if you wish." Now comes the moment of truth for both. Neither is up to the challenge.

I'm predicting neither NATO nor the UN will do anything. It will be left to an EU special commission to channel the rage in Sweden and across Europe into some political formula ostensibly aimed against Israeli aggression and human rights violations while doing nothing in practice. It's Hillary saying "Nothing's off the table" then turning around and saying "No, Tehran is trying to hide under Turkey's apron, no deal." It's Obama-Soetoro saying "We should talk to Iran" then saying "There's no reason to talk with Iran until they come clean."

In other words, the response will be to wait for public furor to blow over and continue business as usual. Meanwhile, the illegal act by Israel will mean a universal letter of marque to raid all Israeli shipping anywhere in the world, and will probably spill over into synagogue-burnings and random or semi-organized fire bombings. The lack of a political response and the resultant underground action against perceived Israeli objects will both play into the inner sanctum's plan to wait for it to blow over while painting negative expressions as extremist and anti-Semitic.

My two shekels.

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 06:35 PM
http://realisticpeace.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/israels-kent-state/

Israel’s Kent State

By Moshe Yaroni

Having worked on the issue of Israel and its myriad conflicts for many years, one gets used to tragedy and even to stunningly abhorrent behavior. And indeed, I have seen more than enough of both from all sides in this conflict.

But every once in a while, things take a turn, and that turn is punctuated by a singular, stunning event. The murderous raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla this day was one such event.

The Mavi Marmara, one of the ships that was stormed

I waited to start writing this until there was some official statement from Israel. I did that because I want to start off with Israel’s explanation for this horror. Here’s what the IDF spokesperson said, in part:

During the intercept of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, including live fire. Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.

I am sure, as is always the case, there will be those who believe this version of events. But frankly, I can’t see how anyone can do so unless they are so desperate to justify Israel’s action here that they’ll believe anything. Let’s examine the IDF’s version of events.

We begin with the point that these were civilian ships and Israel boarded them with commandoes—soldiers who are disposed toward combat situations and are not meant to police unarmed civilians. They’re fighters, that’s their purpose. But the IDF claims that an assortment of international activists deliberately provoked a violent confrontation (using potentially deadly weapons, but which still leave them ridiculously overmatched) against heavily armed and trained soldiers in order to “lynch them.”

Does that seem remotely credible? It only seems so if you believe the activists on board these ships were willing to risk and actually sacrifice their lives in order to create a scandal for Israel. Of course, Israeli hasbara (propaganda) is well-practiced in casting all Arabs and Muslims as suicidal lunatics, aided by the suicide bombers who represent an infinitesimal percentage of those populations. But this collection of international activists, including many Jews, Americans and Europeans, apparently are also willing to give their lives, and rather cheaply, according to this story.

No, the IDF version of these events doesn’t begin to pass the laugh test.

When I first heard confirmed reports of this massacre, I thought of the Kent State shootings in 1970. That horrific tragedy, like this one, was the result of a government using ridiculously disproportionate force against civil disobedience.

But at Kent State, the shootings resulted from high tensions and one person losing control, causing others to follow his lead. Was that the case here? I suppose one must allow the possibility, but the quick response of the government certainly gives the appearance that it was not that simple.

Friends and colleagues can tell you, I have been very critical of the Free Gaza Movement’s politics. Before this incident, I had criticized them for refusing to carry a letter and package from Noam Shalit to his son, Gilad. I’m familiar with many of the core activists and know some of them personally. I know their agenda is more than humanitarian; it is more than breaking the siege on Gaza, and it is more radical than I am comfortable with.

But I also know they are non-violent, and quite serious about that. They’re also not stupid, which any group of civilians would have to be to intentionally get into a violent clash with a significant military force. And while I may not be on the same page with them politically, they are entitled to their political views. And the action itself of breaking the blockade, carrying goods to the besieged Strip and showing some support for the million and a half innocent people of Gaza who bear the burden of this policy that has only strengthened Hamas is brave and positive.

The bottom line is that Israel raided these ships with commandoes, and the end result was a great deal of needless bloodshed. And apparently, according to the IDF spokesperson, as reported by journalist Gregg Carlstrom, they couldn’t even wait to do it until the ships had passed out of international waters, which makes it, if no explanation is forthcoming, an act of piracy as well.

Israel crossed a line today, in a way not dissimilar (though certainly of a much smaller scope, thankfully) to the line they crossed in their massive attack on Gaza in 2008-09. Whatever Israel’s detractors have said over the years, this incident, like Operation Cast Lead, was far beyond anything Israel has done in the past.

This was a shocking massacre, and there’s no way to pretty that up. These were people engaged in direct action of civil disobedience. True, the siege on Gaza should simply be lifted, but being that it’s there, yes, Israel can be expected to take action to stop the flotilla. But this doesn’t just go above and beyond and justification, it zooms light years past it.

The IDF talks of gunfire, but apparently the guns in question were taken from soldiers during the confrontation, not precipitating it, according to the IDF spokesperson’s statement: “According to reports from sea, on board the flotilla that was seeking to break the maritime closure on the Gaza Strip, IDF forces apprehended two violent activists holding pistols. The violent activists took these pistols from IDF forces and apparently opened fire on the soldiers as evident by the empty pistol magazines. ” All of this begins with the Israeli tactics used to raid the ships.

Israel’s excuses are weak. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Ynet, “It was obvious to all that this was a media provocation, aimed at reaching a confrontation with Israel…We are not Shiite suicide attackers, and it is the soldiers’ duty to defend themselves.” If it wasn’t such a tragedy, I’d be rolling my eyes.

It is now up to the international community, and especially the United States, to take action. If the Obama Administration is to have any credibility left on this issue at all, it must forcefully denounce this action and call for an end to the siege of Gaza. The latter is not likely to happen, but the former is an absolute must. Without it, Obama will begin to be seen throughout not only the Arab and Muslim world, but also by Europe as little different from his predecessors on the Middle East issue.

No doubt as well the leaders of AIPAC, the ADL, AJC and similar groups will be quick to support the IDF’s absurd story here. The Jewish telegraphic Agency offers portent by simply parroting the IDF line and framing the incidents as “Protesters on ship bound for Gaza killed in rioting.”

We can do better, and we must. If there is to be any hope of stopping Israel from committing to this suicidal and murderous course it is on, and bringing its supporters around the world down with it, incidents like this must be denounced firmly, with calls for real accountability. This was a serious crime and it cannot be tolerated or excused away.

Jan Klimkowski
05-31-2010, 06:44 PM
I see that the Israeli propaganda machine is rolling out their "heavy hitters", such as slimeball Mark Regev, and desperately showing footage of "pro-Palestinian terrorists" linked to "Al Qaeda and the Hamas terror group" attacking their brave commandoes with iron bars.

Except why did the IDF board the boats with heavily armed commandoes in the first place?

The Israeli military and political establishment displays precisely the same contempt for the safety and sanctity of non-Israeli life that the American military and political establishment demonstrates for non-American life with its routine remote drone attacks on the dusky natives of "AfPak" - of whom, by the last estimate, at least 94% of the dead and slaughtered were men, women and children with no connection to militant groups (let alone "terrorist" groups).

Peter Presland
05-31-2010, 06:50 PM
More on the strict legal niceties from a man who knows as much about maritime law as anyone - Craig Murray again (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/05/the_legal_posit.html):

But as I told this afternoon's tremendous spontaneous demonstration on Whitehall, fine words are not enough and we must now see the kind of sanctions regime we saw against apartheid South Africa.
A word on the legal position, which is very plain. To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.
Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean however that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes place
on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody's territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.
There are therefore two clear legal possibilities.
Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.
Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.
In brief, if Israel and Turkey are not at war, then it is Turkish law which is applicable to what happened on the ship. It is for Turkey, not Israel, to carry out any inquiry or investigation into events and to initiate any prosecutions. Israel is obliged to hand over indicted personnel for prosecution.

Jan Klimkowski
05-31-2010, 07:03 PM
Peter - thanks for posting that legal analysis via Craig Murray.

I doubt we'll see MSM illluminating its viewers in this fashion....

Ed Jewett
05-31-2010, 09:10 PM
Thanks, all. Good update. I will be polite and restrained. I will remain polite and restrained. I am remaining poli ... :viking::thefinger:

Dawn Meredith
05-31-2010, 09:44 PM
Fucking murderous bastards!

We must must must do something about this. Evil murderous monsters.

Every Jew must stand against this.

Dawn

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 10:33 PM
http://www.salon.com/news/israel/index.html?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/05/31/israel

UPDATE VI: Among the countries condemning Israel for its attack are Russia (http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100531/159235535.html), Turkey (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/7789077/Turkey-condemns-Israel-over-deadly-attack-on-Gaza-aid-flotilla.html), India (http://beta.thehindu.com/news/article443081.ece), China (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-05/31/content_9913874.htm), Brazil (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897038,00.html), France (http://alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/PAB008367.htm), Spain (http://www.tradesignalonline.com/Markets/Story.aspx?id=633467&cat=5) and many more (http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-05-31/international-community-condemns-israel.html). By stark contrast, the White House issued a statement (http://blog.taragana.com/politics/2010/05/31/readout-of-the-presidents-call-with-prime-minister-netanyahu-of-israel-40391/) which conspicuously refused to condemn the Israelis (Obama "expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today’s incident, and concern for the wounded"), while the U.S. State Department actually hinted (http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/31/1981947/obama-administration-concerned.html) at condemning the civilians delivering the aid ("we support expanding the flow of goods to the people of Gaza. But this must be done in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation").

Obama's call for "learning all the facts and circumstances" is reasonable enough, but all these other countries made clear that this attack could never be justified based on what is already indisputably known: namely, that the ship attacked by Israel was in international waters and it resulted in the deaths and injuries to dozens of civilians but no Israeli soldiers were killed and a tiny handful injured. In any event, Obama's neutrality will have to give way to a definitive statement one way or the other, and soon.

Myra Bronstein
05-31-2010, 11:36 PM
Emphasis mine.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-goodman/interview-at-least-15-dea_b_595438.html

Amy Goodman (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-goodman) Host, executive producer of Democracy Now!, NYT bestselling author, syndicated columnist
Posted: May 31, 2010 04:47 PM

I interviewed Adam Shapiro, board member of the Free Gaza Movement, hours after the attack on the Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Transcript below.

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza strip. Dubbed the Freedom Flotilla, the ships were aiming to break Israel's 3-year blockade of Gaza. At least 15 people were killed and dozens injured when Israeli troops attacked the lead ship in the convoy-the Turkish "Mavi Marmara"-early Monday morning. The attack happened in international waters, 75 miles off the coast of Israel and Gaza. We reached Adam Shapiro in New York a few hours after the attack. He's a board member of the Free Gaza movement, one of the groups that coordinated the Freedom Flotilla. His wife Huwaida Arraf is the chairperson of the Free Gaza movement and is on the flotilla.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: "No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children's toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters."

Amy Goodman: This is Democracy Now!, I'm Amy Goodman. We have on the line with us Adam Shapiro. He is a board member of the Free Gaza Movement. Adam, we got word several hours ago that the Israeli military had attacked the Free Gaza Flotilla. We are speaking to you at about 3:30 AM Eastern Standard Time. Can you tell us what you understand has happened?

Adam Shapiro: The Israelis launched a military operation involving about a thousand soldiers, using ships, using helicopters, and using airplanes to attack the flotilla of six ships - three passenger and three cargo ships, at approximately between 8 and 9 pm Eastern Standard Time. All the ships have been captured. One of the ships that we know for sure, which had a satellite communication ability, the large Turkish ship with about 600 passengers including members of Parliament from different countries, was attacked by Israeli soldiers using live ammunition. We now know that at least 14 people have been confirmed killed, and perhaps as many as 20 killed, with over 60 injured, and currently all the ships are being brought into the Israeli port of Haifa.

Amy Goodman: We are reading Israeli military reports that say when they boarded the Turkish ship, that they were attacked by sticks and knives. What do you understand has happened?

Adam Shapiro: Our people on the ship reported live as the soldiers came onto the ship, and reported that soldiers were opening fire as they were coming onto the ship, and they were descending from helicopters. So, our understanding is that the Israeli soldiers opened fire first. I have not seen or heard any thing else about - and there are many journalists on board that ship - anything else about our people, the passengers on that ship, posing any kind of threat. There was a live feed coming from the ship using satellite, video satellite, on satellite, that has been rebroadcast on CNN, on CNN Turk, on Al Jazeera, on Press TV, on numerous media outlets, not one image from this entire footage shows any of the passengers holding any kind of object that could be construed as a weapon. So, I mean, I am sure that the Israelis would like the world to believe that they were the ones being attacked as they assaulted these ships, but this is just Israeli spin.

Amy Goodman: Adam Shapiro, what is the purpose of the Free Gaza Flotilla?

Adam Shapiro: The purpose of the Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla was to literally break the Israeli blockade that it is imposing on Gaza, a form of collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians who are trying to survive at this point, basically, especially after the Israeli attacks in December, 2008-January, 2009, in which much of Gaza was reduced to rubble, and has not been able to have been rebuilt, where Palestinians can't get basic food and medicine in, to just survive with. And so, this effort was, yes, to deliver the goods and materials that Gaza, the Palestinians in Gaza need, but also to awaken the international community to the abuse that the Palestinians are suffering that has been regarded by the Goldstone Report, by many other reports and by human rights organizations, including the E.U. and other groups, calling this blockade and this siege criminal, as well as cruel and inhuman.

Amy Goodman: What is your response to what has happened in these last hours, to the Israeli military assault on the Free Gaza Flotilla?

Adam Shapiro: We have always been prepared that the Israelis might attack the ships and try, obviously, try to take control of them, and prevent us from reaching Gaza, but the opening of fire against unarmed civilians who pose no threat to Israel, is something, I think, it is absurd in a way that can't even be described. We all remember what happened to Rachel Corrie in Gaza, standing in front of a home to protect it and being crushed and run over by a bulldozer driver. In this case, I think in a way, it is almost even worse, because Israel said that they were sending their best commandos on this mission, that they were sending their most professional soldiers, and so if these are their professional soldiers, and they opened fire, then we must assume, then, and I don't think we are incorrect to assume, that they had orders to open fire, because I don't think that soldiers operating in this way, if they were truly professional, and they were truly the best, well-trained commandos that Israel had, they would have no reason to shoot, unless they were ordered to do so.
And I really hope that the United States, the Europeans, and Turkey, and the other governments who had citizens on board press for an independent investigation, not an Israeli investigation, an independent investigation. This attack took place in international waters, not in Israeli waters.

Amy Goodman: Who was on the Turkish ship?

Adam Shapiro: On board the Turkish ship were over, approximately about 600 passengers. We had quite a large number of Turkish activists. Of course, the boat was secured in Turkey, and purchased by a Turkish organization, so many of their people were on board. We also had members of the European Parliament on board, we had members of Arab parliaments on board, including Egypt and Jordan, we had others activists who have been active in trying to raise the awareness of what's happening to Palestinians in general and specifically in Gaza, and we had media. We had Al Jazeera on board, we had a couple of Turkish broadcasting channels on board, as well as other print and other forms of media on board.

Amy Goodman: Adam Shapiro, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Adam Shapiro: Thank you very much.

Amy Goodman: Adam Shapiro is a board member of the Free Gaza Movement.

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 04:11 AM
The Madness of Arrogance (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/the-madness-of-arrogance/)
Israel's Attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla
by Dr. Alan Sabrosky / May 31st, 2010

Israeli Butchery at Sea (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/israeli-butchery-at-sea/)
by Gilad Atzmon / May 31st, 2010

Israel’s Latest Murder of Humanitarian Activists (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/israels-latest-murder-of-humanitarian-activists/)
by Cynthia McKinney / May 31st, 2010

http://dissidentvoice.org/

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 06:22 AM
Memorial Day 2010 (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3429) Israel Does Not Understand 4GW (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431)

The story du jour.


Having previously failed to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza that denies HAMAS war material and economic aid, a coalition of Islamists, Palestinian nationalists and Western Leftists used ships of Turkish registry. The IDF took the bait and blundered into an ambush where the commandos were promptly swarmed by the “peace activists”, overpowered (!) and then had to bloodily shoot their way out of a debacle.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU12KW-XyZE&feature=player_embedded



RealClearPolitics has a better video (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/05/31/close-up_footage_of_flotilla_passengers_attacking_israel i_soldiers.html).


Taking stock of this bit of guerrilla theater gone lethal, let’s see what the supporters of HAMAS terrorism gained:


The world is hearing a false narrative that Israel massacred unarmed peace activists.
Turkey’s ruling, authoritarian, crypto-Islamist Party has a further wedge to downgrade Turkey’s traditional military cooperation with Israel while putting political pressure on Turkish secularists and Army leaders.
Israel’s diplomatic isolation is greatly increased
Additional strain is put on the already lukewarm relationship between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government

On the moral level of war, HAMAS supporters - whose strategic objective is to end Israel’s blockade of Gaza, so that HAMAS can rebuild it’s military strength - have scored a solid triumph while the IDF have acted with all the instinctive propensity for causing self-inflicted wounds of Richard Nixon confronting the Watergate break-in.
Because Israel is powerful and democratic and its enemies, despite their viciousness and authoritarian politics, are weak, the Israelis are not held to the same moral standards by international observers (many of whom, it must be noted, begin with a strongly anti-Israel or at least, anti-Western, orientation). In a 4GW paradigm, even acting in self-defense is not enough for a strong state to play the role of “the good guy” in a globalized media environment, unless the weak side does something that is viscerally morally repulsive - ex. Abu Zarqawi ’s extreme brutality and lust for staging ghoulish beheadings of captives on the internet (http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2005/10/dear_zarqawi_a.php).
There seems to be a stunning political-strategic tone deafness on the part of Israeli leaders in recent years. Perhaps there is a degradition of IDF tactical excellence as well. Overpowering highly trained, heavily armed, elite commandos by untrained civilians is not possible unless said commandos were sent in poorly briefed, with unworkable ROE (IMHO, this was more likely a prepared ambush than a spontaneous act). There’s no half-way method of seizing a hostile ship by force. Either you do it swiftly, while citing appropriate legal justification or you don’t and employ a different set of responses to turn the ships away in a manner that does not alienate observers.
Military force used ineffectually is as counterproductive as force used excessively. From a Boydian strategic perspective, the initiative is lost, opponents are “pumped up” while one’s own side and sympathizers are demoralized. Political irritants become inflated into disasters. HAMAS, Hezbollah, al Qaida and similar entities are not the old, state-sponsored, state-centric, PLO and they are not playing the PLO’s game.
ADDENDUM:
Abu Muqawama gives the “peace flotilla” way too much benefit of the doubt here, but his analysis of how poorly the Israelis handled this situation is spot on (http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2010/05/memorial-day-and-lesson-information-operations.html):
One could, from the start, think a number of different things about those participating in the peace flotilla to Gaza. (Naive? Righteous? Courageous? Anti-Semitic?) But for the sake of argument, and putting ourselves in the shoes of an Israeli naval commander, let’s assume the most malevolent of motivations for the people participating in the peace flotilla. If I am in charge of doing that for the Israeli Navy, I am going to assume these people are smart and are deliberately trying to provoke a crazy response from my sailors and soldiers that will produce ready-for-television images that both isolate Israel within the international community and further raise the ire of the Arabic-speaking and Islamic worlds. I mean, that is my base assumption for what this group is trying to do. So naturally, the last thing I would want my forces to do would be to overreact, right? It’s like when your convoy gets fired on inside a crowded market: the last thing you want to do is return fire with 7.62mm, killing a bunch of civilians and giving the enemy exactly the effect he was looking for.
If something does go wrong, meanwhile, I am going to have a response ready. I am going to have my very best spokespersons on international and Israeli television. I am most certainly not going to let people like Danny Ayalon provide my government’s response, right? Because a live wire like Ayalon — who the Turks already hate, with an understandable passion (http://www.haaretz.com/news/peres-humiliation-of-turkey-envoy-does-not-reflect-israel-s-diplomacy-1.261381) — will just say something incredibly crazy like how the people in the aid flotilla were terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda (http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Speeches+by+Israeli+leaders/2010/Gaza_flotilla_Press_conference_DepFM_Ayalon_31-May-2010.htm). (Even if you can prove this is somehow true, everyone you need to be speaking to right now — the international community, the Turkish people, the Arabic-speaking world — is just going to think you are nuts for saying it or will roll their eyes and say, “Oh, of course he’s saying that.”)
In reality, what happened today is the Israelis got their butts handed to them. The Israeli response to this aid flotilla was a fabulous gift to Hamas and Iran. (Try to imagine, if you will, the Israelis trying to go before the U.N. Security Council to gather support for sanctions on the Iranian regime right now. They would be more likely to leave New York with sanctions on their own regime!)
ADDENDUM II.
George Friedman of STRATFOR ( Hat tip to Adam Elkus (http://rethinkingsecurity.typepad.com/))
Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion (http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100531_flotillas_and_wars_public_opinion?utm_sou rce=GWeekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=100531&utm_content=readmore&elq=3bb72a520f5547a191389b8ab10576e5)
….The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.
The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.
Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.
This entry was posted on Monday, May 31st, 2010 at 11:21 pm and is filed under 21st century (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=360), 4GW (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=262), IO (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=460), Tactics (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=605), analytic (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=46), arab world (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=498), disinformation (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=475), extremists (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=483), islamic world (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=499), islamist (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=210), john boyd (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=338), legitimacy (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=465), mideast (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=43), military (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=39), navy (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=374), non-state actors (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=372), politics (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=187), public diplomacy (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=472), strategy (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=127), terrorism (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=211), theory (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=13), war (http://zenpundit.com/?cat=18).

11 Responses to “Israel Does Not Understand 4GW”



Mithras (http://mithras.blogs.com/) Says:
May 31st, 2010 at 11:54 pm (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18303)
Perhaps there is a degradition of IDF tactical excellence as well.
Their performance in the 2006 Lebanon war was less than impressive, too. Maybe they believe their own hype; maybe occupation duty causes good soldiers to rust.
anon Says:
May 31st, 2010 at 11:56 pm (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18304) Israel could also go for the ultrakill by nailing Hamas in the digital media for their outright lies.Dozens of these activists published outright lies about the event, in text, on the internets. They are smoked.
Joseph Fouche (http://committeeofpublicsafety.wordpress.com/) Says:
June 1st, 2010 at 12:54 am (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18306) It’s interesting that the IDF had cameras available to counter the enemy narrative. Unfortunately, they seem to have been sent to film a version of the Keystone Cops.
zen (http://www.zenpundit.com/) Says:
June 1st, 2010 at 2:01 am (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18308) It was Keystone Cop-like. Were but for ppl being killed, one can almost hear the Benny Hill theme playing as the video runs.
.
It may be, as I am not an expert on things Israeli, that the leadership of the IDF has reached a period of careerism, CYAism and an American-like disconnect of military operations from grand strategy and political judgment.
.
Imagine having fifty of your friends on hand and a squad of Navy SEALS burst in, brandishing weapons at you. If you spontaneously swarm them, armed with fists, pipes and knives, you will most likely all die. If you swarm them because you expected their arrival and had some rudimentary tactics ready, you will do better but you will still probably die. Now imagine the SEALS have been ordered to capture you without shooting anyone - unless they are about to be killed. Well, then the odds change. Significantly.
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That sounds like what the Israeli commandos were ordered to do by someone unwilling to accept any responsibility for making realistic military and political decisions and hoped to get by on bluffing, sticking the soldiers with the consequences ( physical, legal, professional and political) if their bluff was called.
.
Any readers with real knowledge of the Israeli political scene/IDF are asked to weigh in here.
Joseph Fouche (http://committeeofpublicsafety.wordpress.com/) Says:
June 1st, 2010 at 2:23 am (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18309) It makes me wonder how much input Netanyahu put into this operation. Netanyahu is a former commando. His older brother was the commander (and sole Israeli military casualty) of Israel’s greatest special commando raid, Operation Entebbe. Goes to show that military experiences not a panacea in a political leader.
zen (http://www.zenpundit.com/) Says:
June 1st, 2010 at 2:27 am (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18310) JF,
.
Agreed. Netanyahu also used to be a skilled spinmeister/talking head in his younger days with a good grasp of media nuances, especially American media. That capacity appears to have atrophied.
Stephen Pampinella (http://stephenpampinella.wordpress.com/) Says:
June 1st, 2010 at 3:00 am (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18313) Nice analysis.Not an expert on the Israelis, but Sergio Catignani’s work is a great insight into their strategic culture. He argues the IDF has a penchant for seeing all problems as having military solutions, leaving them unable to conceptualize the political consequences. http://www.amazon.com/Israeli-Counter-Insurgency-Intifadas-Dilemmas-Conventional/dp/0415570123/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275361160&sr=8-1
Schmedlap (http://www.schmedlap.com/weblog) Says:
June 1st, 2010 at 3:14 am (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18314) When I saw the video of dudes fastroping into a crowd of angry people, I thought "WTF? Seriously? WTF???" I am no expert on highly specialized operations like this, but it seems to me that dropping some flashbangs and/or tear gas onto the boats before zipping down the rope would have been a good idea, both in hindsight and foresight.
zen (http://www.zenpundit.com/) Says:
June 1st, 2010 at 3:21 am (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18315) "He argues the IDF has a penchant for seeing all problems as having military solutions, leaving them unable to conceptualize the political "
.
Hmmmm……sounds familiar…..who else is like that ? http://zenpundit.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif
zen (http://www.zenpundit.com/) Says:
June 1st, 2010 at 3:23 am (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18317) I’m with you, Schmedlap. My thought is "not allowed to". I suppose the commanding officer on the scene could simply be an incompetent but how likely is that in so politically sensitive an incident? Micromanagement seems more likely.
Eddie (http://hiddenunities.wordpress.com/) Says:
June 1st, 2010 at 3:29 am (http://zenpundit.com/?p=3431#comment-18318) Never bring a paintball gun to a pipe fight (and I gather there were some knives and bags of marbles too).
You could argue the Israeli blockade of Gaza is itself proof they do not understand 4GW. It accomplishes little for the security of Israel and postpones the day of accountability for Hamas by giving them a valid excuse for Gaza’s economic devastation and social decay (almost the same way we prop Fidel up by keeping the embargo).
I’m no specialist on the IDF so I’ll leave that discussion of their problems to the better-knowledgeable, but I can speak fairly well for Israeli politics. Bibi is in a weak coalition government packed with fascist and religious extremist parties. He has a veritable cast of amateurs appointed to posts in the government he had little say in choosing, so its difficult for him to rein in the more dimwitted and asinine ideas hatched by the underlings of his aligned parties. This doesn’t excuse his inability to prioritize what matters for Israel’s strategic interests over his narrow political needs (its doubtful him and Tzipi Livni could come to terms for sharing power that he could live with, so he in essence picked his poison knowing the domestic political constraints he was shackling himself with), but it does explain much of the incompetence Israel has experienced since he assumed power.

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 06:23 AM
Monday, May 31, 2010 05:32 ET Israel attacks aid ship, kills at least 10 civilians

By Glenn Greenwald




http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/md_horiz.jpg AP
This video image released by the Turkish Aid group IHH Monday May 31, 2010 purports to show Israeli military vessel at sea in international waters off the Gaza coast near a ship convey carrying aid to Gaza.

(Updated below (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html#postid-updateA1) - Update II (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html#postid-updateA2) - Update III (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html#postid-updateA3) - Update IV (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html#postid-updateA4) - Update V (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html#postid-updateA5) - Update VI (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html#postid-updateA6) - Update VII (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html#postid-updateA7))
Late last night, Israel attacked a flotilla of ships in international waters (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/world/middleeast/01flotilla.html?hp) carrying food, medicine and other aid to Gaza, killing at least 10 civilians on board and injuring at least 30 more (many reports (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/at-least-10-activists-killed-in-israel-navy-clashes-onboard-gaza-aid-flotilla-1.293089) now put the numbers at 19 dead and 60 injured). The Israeli Defense Forces is claiming that its soldiers were attacked with clubs, knives and "handguns" when they boarded the ship without permission, but none of the Israeli soldiers were killed while two are reported injured. Those on the ships emphatically state (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/10195997.stm) that the IDF came on board shooting (though see this video and discussion here (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/05/videos-of-the-raid.html), as well as this (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/#postid-updateA5)). An IDF spokesman said (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/up-to-16-killed-in-israeli-attack-on-aid-flotilla-reports/article1586180/): "Our initial findings show that at least 10 convoy participants were killed."
The six-ship flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid along with 600 people, all civilians, which included 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland and European legislators; an elderly Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein, 85 (http://www.hedyepstein.com/abouthedy/), was scheduled to be among those on the ship but remained in Cyprus. In December, 2008, Israel, citing rocket attacks from Hamas, launched a 22-day, barbaric attack on Gaza, bombarding a trapped population, killing hundreds of innocent civilians (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8245433.stm) (1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed), and devastating Gazan society. A U.N. report released earlier this month (http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/16-un+says+gaza+blockade+hinders+reconstruction+aid-hs-01) documented that, as a result of the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt (the two largest recipients of U.S. aid), "[m]ost of the property and infrastructure damaged . . . was still unrepaired 12 months later."
The flotilla attacked by Israel last night was carrying materials such as cement, water purifiers, and other building materials, much of which Israel refuses to let pass into Gaza. At the end of 2009, a U.N. report found (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=33334&Cr=gaza&Cr1) that "insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the territory," and also "blamed the blockade for continued breakdowns of the electricity and sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to let spare parts needed for repair get through the crossings."
It hardly seemed possible for Israel -- after its brutal devastation of Gaza and its ongoing blockade -- to engage in more heinous and repugnant crimes. But by attacking a flotilla in international waters carrying humanitarian aid, and slaughtering at least 10 people, Israel has managed to do exactly that. If Israel's goal were to provoke as much disgust and contempt for it as possible, it's hard to imagine how it could be doing a better job.
It is appropriate that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Obama on Tuesday in Washington, because -- as always -- it is only American protection of Israel that permits the Israelis to engage in conduct like this. Initial reports speculate that Netanyahu would cancel that meeting in order to return to Israel in light of this attack. But there would be something quite symbolically appropriate about having the U.S. stand at the side of Israel in the aftermath of this latest massacre, because it is only the massive amounts of U.S. financial and military aid, and endless diplomatic protection, that enables Israel to act with impunity as a rogue and inhumane state. So complete is the devotion of the U.S. Congress to the mission of serving and protecting Israel that it even overwhelmingly condemned the Goldstone report (http://www.haaretz.com/news/u-s-house-backs-resolution-to-condemn-goldstone-gaza-report-1.4853), which found that Israel and Hamas had both commited war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity during the Israeli attack on Gaza (the U.S. Congress, of course, never condemned the Israeli war crimes themselves -- only the Report which documented those crimes). Israeli actions are a direction reflection on, and by-product of, the U.S. Government, because it is the U.S. which enables and protects the behavior.
The one silver lining from these incidents is that the real face of Israel becomes increasingly revealed and undeniable. Not even the most intense propaganda systems can prettify a lethal military attack on ships carrying civilians and humanitarian aid to people living in some of the most wretched and tragic conditions anywhere in the world. It is crystal clear to anyone who looks what Israel has become, and the only question left is how will the rest of the world -- beginning with their American patrons -- will react.
As Americans suffer extreme cuts in education for their own children (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/26/AR2010052604597.html) and a further deterioration in basic economic security (http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/04/pete-petersons-anti-entitlement-juggernaut-gets-fueled-obama) (including Social Security), will they continue to acquiesce to the transfer of billions of dollars every year to the Israelis (http://rawstory.com/news/afp/US_Congress_approves_Israel_aid_inc_06272008.html) , who -- unlike Americans -- enjoy full, universal health care coverage (http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/israel_has_rx_for_us_health_care_20040820/)? How is the revulsion justifiably provoked by this latest Israeli crime going to impact American efforts in the Muslim world (as but one of many examples to come, Al Jazeera reports (http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/05/31/aftermath-israels-attack-gaza-flotilla) that "Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a large anti-Israel rally across from the Green Zone in Baghdad")? How much longer will Americans be willing to pay the extreme prices for its endlessly entangled "alliance" with its prime Middle Eastern client state, whose capacity for criminal and inhumane acts appears limitless?
* * * * *
On a day when the meaning of "heroism" is often discussed, the people on these ships who tried to deliver aid to Gazans, knowing that they could easily find themselves in a confrontation with the Israeli Navy but doing it anyway in order to bring attention to the extraordinary injustice and cruelty of the blockade, are pure, unadulterated heroes.

UPDATE: Regarding the blockade of Gaza itself -- about which (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/apr/16/israel) "Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister [said when it was first imposed]: 'The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger'" -- this post (http://heathlander.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/israel-massacres-peace-activists/) documents just some of the effects, with ample links to U.N. reports, including:


* since the intensification of the siege in June 2007, "the formal economy in Gaza has collapsed" (More than 80 UN and aid agencies (http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/gaza_agriculture_25_05_2010_press_release_english. pdf) [.pdf])
* "61% of people in the Gaza Strip are … food insecure," of which "65% are children under 18 years" (UN FAO (http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/47d4e277b48d9d3685256ddc00612265/9a265f2a909e9a1d8525772e004fc34b?OpenDocument))
* since June 2007, "the number of Palestine refugees unable to access food and lacking the means to purchase even the most basic items, such as soap, school stationery and safe drinking water, has tripled" (UNRWA (http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=89302))
* "in February 2009, the level of anemia in babies (9-12 months) was as high as 65.5%" (UN FAO (http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/47d4e277b48d9d3685256ddc00612265/9a265f2a909e9a1d8525772e004fc34b?OpenDocument))
The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl, whose entire political world view is shaped by his devotion to Israel (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/04/snubbing-an-ally.html), today criticizes President Obama (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/30/AR2010053003299.html?hpid=opinionsbox1) for rejecting "Bush's conclusion that the promotion of democracy and human rights is inseparable from the tasks of defeating al-Qaeda and establishing a workable international order." That's ironic, because if "human rights" played any role whatsoever in American foreign policy, the massive American aid and other protection for Israel which Diehl cherishes above all else would instantaneously disappear.

UPDATE II: Just ponder what we'd be hearing if Iran had raided a humanitarian ship in international waters and killed 15 or so civilians aboard.

UPDATE III: One of the ships attacked by Israel belonged to a Turkish aid organization, and it's been reported that among the dead are at least two Turks. Turkey today (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/turkey-threatens-action-israel-on-alert/116743-2.html) "warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy." Among other things, Turkey is a NATO member with increasing tensions with Israel. Its Prime Minister today condemned the Israeli action (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/world/middleeast/01flotilla.html?pagewanted=2&hp) as "state terrorism." Amidst worldwide protests aimed at Israel (http://www.haaretz.com/news/worldwide-protests-staged-against-israel-s-offensive-in-gaza-1.267352), along with possible internal unrest if (as has been reported) an Israeli Arab leader was among the wounded or dead, it's possible that this incident could produce some serious unforeseen consequences for the Israelis.

UPDATE IV: So, to recap what seems thus far to be the central claim of Israel apologists: Israel is the official Owner of international waters (which is where the flotilla was when it was attacked). As such, they have the right to issue orders to ships in international waters, and everyone on board those ships is required to obey and submit. Anyone who fails to do so, or anyone in the vicinity of those who fail to do so, can be shot and killed and get what they deserve.
What's so odd about that is that the U.S. has been spending a fair amount of time recently condemning (http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/003284.html) exactly such acts as "piracy" and demanding "that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes." When exactly did Israel acquire the right not only to rule over Gaza and the West Bank, but international waters as well? Their rights as sovereign are expanding faster than the BP oil spill.

UPDATE V: Israel's foreign minister is now actually claiming (http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?ID=177047) that attempts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza are "an attack on Israel's sovereignty." Is that supposed to be some kind of a joke? The only claim that I can recall that's remotely comparable is when the U.S. General serving as Commander of Guantanamo condemned (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5068606.stm) suicides by three detainees there as an "act of asymmetric warfare waged against us." The U.S. and Israel are very adept at claiming victimhood: even when they're killing large numbers of civilians and locking people up in cages with no charges, they're the ones who are the suffering, wronged parties.
Thus, there are at least 10-20 dead passengers and 50-60 wounded on those ships -- compared to no Israeli fatalities and virtually no wounded -- but it's the passengers, delivering humanitarian aid in international waters when Israel seized their ships, who are the aggressors and were "attacking Israeli sovereignty." The only thing worse than this claim is how many apologists for Israel will start parroting it (see Andrew Sullivan (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/05/videos-of-the-raid.html) for more refutation of the claim that it was the passengers who were somehow the "aggressors").

UPDATE VI: Among the countries condemning Israel for its attack are Russia (http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100531/159235535.html), Turkey (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/7789077/Turkey-condemns-Israel-over-deadly-attack-on-Gaza-aid-flotilla.html), India (http://beta.thehindu.com/news/article443081.ece), China (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-05/31/content_9913874.htm), Brazil (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897038,00.html), France (http://alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/PAB008367.htm), Spain (http://www.tradesignalonline.com/Markets/Story.aspx?id=633467&cat=5) and many more (http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-05-31/international-community-condemns-israel.html). By stark contrast, the White House issued a statement (http://blog.taragana.com/politics/2010/05/31/readout-of-the-presidents-call-with-prime-minister-netanyahu-of-israel-40391/) which conspicuously refused to condemn the Israelis (Obama "expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today’s incident, and concern for the wounded"), while the U.S. State Department actually hinted (http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/31/1981947/obama-administration-concerned.html) at condemning the civilians delivering the aid ("we support expanding the flow of goods to the people of Gaza. But this must be done in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation").
Obama's call for "learning all the facts and circumstances" is reasonable enough, but all these other countries made clear that this attack could never be justified based on what is already indisputably known: namely, that the ship attacked by Israel was in international waters and it resulted in the deaths and injuries to dozens of civilians, but no Israeli soldiers were killed and a tiny handful injured. In any event, Obama's neutrality will have to give way to a definitive statement one way or the other, and soon.

UPDATE VII: The formal statement submitted to the U.N. by the U.S. Ambassador today (http://usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/2010/142381.htm) rather clearly seeks to blame everyone -- from Hamas to those attempting to deliver the aid -- for what happened: everyone, that is, except for the party which actually did the illegal seizing of the ship and the killing (Israel):


As I stated in the Chamber in December 2008, when we were confronted by a similar situation, mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by member states and groups that want to do so. These non-provocative and non-confrontational mechanisms should be the ones used for the benefit of all those in Gaza. Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances. . . . We will continue to engage the Israelis on a daily basis to expand the scope and type of goods allowed into Gaza to address the full range of the population’s humanitarian and recovery needs. Hamas’ interference with international assistance shipments and the work of nongovernmental organizations complicates efforts in Gaza. Its continued arms smuggling and commitment to terrorism undermines security and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
Given that the Israelis refuse to allow (http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/05/20105319333613851.html) anything other than the most minimal "necessities" to enter Gaza, I'd love to know what "non-provocative and non-confrontational mechanisms" exist to deliver humanitarian assistance? And it's extraordinary that we refuse to condemn a blockade that, as classic "collective punishment," is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,539363,00.html), and even refuse to condemn today's violent seizure of ships in international water. But, of course, the central rule of American politics is that Israel cannot be criticized, even as the rest of the world condemns it. How do you think the rest of the world will perceive the U.S.'s extreme, out-of-step protection of the Israelis, while subtly (or not-so-subtly) heaping the blame on the victims of its aggression?




Related Stories



Netanyahu: Attack was self defense (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/05/31/ml_israel_palestinians_8/index.html)

Israel's Prime Minister claims aid ship passengers beat, clubbed and stabbed Israeli soldiers
By ROB GILLIES, Associated PressMonday, May 31, 2010






765 comments (http://letters.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/view/?show=all)

Peter Presland
06-01-2010, 06:48 AM
Have a look at this awesome weapons cache - YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvS9PXZ3RWM&feature=player_embedded)

Richard Seymour at Lenin's Tomb (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/05/saddams-wmd-found-aboard-gaza-freedom.html) comments:


This is either: awesomely, epically, tragicomically pathetic; or, it is a huge middle digit proudly erected and waved before the entire world.The Israelis really are living in never-never land. The video is from 'The IDF Spokespersons Unit (http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk) and there's more on their channel - most of equally hilarious.

Their view and grasp of reality would be tragically pathetic if they were not armed to the teeth with nukes and every other bit of high-tech weaponry the good ol' US of A can provide - and demonstrated time and again their readiness to use it all.

Helen Reyes
06-01-2010, 07:09 AM
http://bztv.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/04/03/1101791119_400.jpg

Israel has hostages now too. Is this Day One of the hostage crisis?

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 07:14 AM
http://cryptome.org/info/anti-israel/anti-israel.htm

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 07:18 AM
Hundreds detained at Ashdod port (http://www.legitgov.org/Hundreds-detained-Ashdod-port)

June 1, 2010 by legitgov

[/URL]Hundreds detained at Ashdod port (javascript:void(0)) --Soldiers, officers bring passengers of Marmara ship under arrest at Ashdod port, first questioning each separately and then transferring them to Beersheba Prison 01 Jun 2010 IDF and police forces continued efforts Tuesday to bring the 500 passengers of the Mavi Marmara ship to Ashdod port. Hundreds disembarked at the dock, including seven Israelis. Four of them were arrested, among them the head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, who was taken in for questioning.

Israel jails 480 Gaza aid activists (http://www.legitgov.org/Israel-jails-480-Gaza-aid-activists)

June 1, 2010 by legitgov

Israel jails 480 Gaza aid activists (javascript:void(0)) 01 Jun 2010 Israel has jailed 487 international activists captured during its deadly commando strike on a Gaza aid convoy, while 48 others are to be "expelled." Those detained remain in custody at the southern Israeli prison of Ashdod, while the other 48 will be taken to Ben Gurion international airport to be sent back to their home countries, AFP quoted a report by Israel's public radio as saying on Tuesday. The international activists were interrogated by Israeli police on Tuesday, a day after the Gaza-bound flotilla they traveling on was stormed by Israeli forces in international waters, 150km (90 miles) from Gaza.

Security Council slams Gaza aid raid (http://www.legitgov.org/Security-Council-slams-Gaza-aid-raid)

June 1, 2010 by legitgov

[URL="http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128595&sectionid=351020202"]Security Council slams Gaza aid raid (javascript:void(0)) 01 Jun 2010 The UN Security Council has condemned Israel's deadly attack on a Gaza-bound aid convoy, demanding the immediate release of the ships and the civilians onboard. The Security Council condemned "those acts which resulted in the loss of at least 10 civilians and many wounded," AFP quoted a statement by the Council's President. The UN body further called for the immediate release of all ships and civilians held by Israel, urging an impartial investigation into the Israeli attack against the aid flotilla.

Peter Lemkin
06-01-2010, 08:00 AM
Israel kills 15 protesters as it storms Gaza aid flotilla: Emergency protest today
Monday, 31 May 2010 00:23
Written by John Rees
http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/news/70-palestine/5383-israel-kills-15-protesters-as-it-storms-gaza-aid-flotilla-emergency-protest-today
The full brutality of the Israeli state was displayed today as it stormed the Gaza Freedom Flotilla 40 miles into international waters off the coast of Gaza.

An Emergency Protest has been called outside Downing Street, London at 2pm today, Monday 31 May.

The Israelis at first tried to claim that there had been no deaths, a claim repeated in early BBC reports. They, and the BBC, are now reporting that at least 15 have died.

The excuse now being offered by the Israeli's is that their heavily armed forces were attacked by protesters when they stormed the boats. Many will be sceptical about these reports in the light of previous attempts by the Israeli state to discredit protesters like Rachel Corrie, killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, and Tom Hurndall, shot by an Israeli sniper in 2004.

The British government must immediately break all links with Israel, as it would certainly have done with any Muslim state who committed this international crime.

The new Foreign Secretary William Hague boasted that he is 'a natual friend' of Israel within hours of taking office. He also said that 'we don’t say you rule out for ever any military action' against Iran. He is clearly not the man who should be organising the government's response to this crisis. He should resign immediately.

The British government must insist that the siege of Gaza end now.

In response to the killing of Rachel Corrie Amnesty International made this statement:

'Amnesty International and other international, Israeli, and Palestinian human rights groups have reported on Israel's use of disproportionate, excessive, and lethal force without regard to civilian lives, indiscriminate attacks on civilians, extrajudicial executions and unwarranted destruction of civilian property that have resulted in deaths of innocent bystanders.'

The truth is that the Israeli state regards itself as above the law. Its war with the Palestinians has been given renewed support by the US during the war on terror.

The senseless killing of Palestinians and their supporters will only end when the apartheid state is dismantled and the Palestinians return to their homeland.

Video of the attack at Palestine Video (http://palestinevideo.blogspot.com/2010/05/moment-of-attack-on-freedom-flotilla-in.html)

Further video available online from Turkish television. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/10195997.stm)

Magda Hassan
06-01-2010, 08:05 AM
Israeli lawyers for the Free Gaza Movement are being denied access to the prisoners/hostages of the Israelis.

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 08:14 AM
(http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/06/raw-footage-israeli-navy-massacre-flotilla-activists/)RAW FOOTAGE : ISRAELI NAVY MASSACRE FLOTILLA ACTIVISTS (http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/06/raw-footage-israeli-navy-massacre-flotilla-activists/)

Attack against Freedom Flotilla is a terrorist act and a crime against humanity (http://angelacorrias.blogspot.com/2010/05/attack-against-freedom-flotilla-is.html)

Israel Forces Fired On Sleeping Civillians Under Cover Of Darkness (http://www.prisonplanet.com/israel-forces-fired-on-sleeping-civillians-under-cover-of-darkness.html)

PROTEST AGAINST ISRAEL IN TIMES SQUARE (http://tweetphoto.com/24949237)

The Palestine Journal of Ellen Stark (Gaza Freedom Flotilla Activist) (http://palestinejournales.blogspot.com/)

Netanyahu cancels Obama meeting amid raid furor (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7141136.ece)

Still Think Israel Doesn’t Run the United States? (http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/58854.html)



'Israel is a Lunatic State' - Finkelstein on Gaza Flotilla Attack (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB_CKL5h2_8)

Turkey threatens action; Israel on alert (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/turkey-threatens-action-israel-on-alert/116743-2.html?from=tn)

Cynthia McKinney condemns Israeli massacre of activists (http://www.greenpartywatch.org/2010/05/31/cynthia-mckinney-condemns-israeli-massacre-of-activists/)

Israel's Attack on Us All (http://www.counterpunch.org/cook05312010.html)


World Watches Raid on Relief Flotilla as Israel’s PR Machine Flails (http://firedoglake.com/2010/05/31/world-watches-raid-on-relief-flotilla-as-israels-pr-machine-flails/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter)

In raw video, reporters claim Israelis fired on activists before boarding ship (http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0531/raw-video-reporter-claims-israelis-fired-activists-boarding-ship/)

Israel: The Pariah of the International Community (http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/31-05-2010/113590-israel_pariah-0)

'Israel has lost all legitimacy' (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128571&sectionid=351020204)

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128571&sectionid=351020204

Israelis celebrating attack on Turkish Aid Ship - infront of Turkish Embassy,Tel Aviv (http://www.rys2sense.com/anti-neocons/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=22139)


Israelis are holding nine Americans kidnapped in international waters. Why hasn't Obama called for their return? (http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/05/31/gaza.flotilla.us.citizens/)

"Separately, Jonathan Slevin, a spokesman for the activist group Free Palestine Movement, said a group of five Americans participated in the flotilla, including former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck."

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/05/31/gaza.flotilla.us.citizens/


Former CIA Officer's McGovern & Giraldi: Israel Controls U.S. Government & Media (http://redactednews.blogspot.com/2010/05/former-cia-officer-israel-controls-us.html)

Israel Will Once Again Get Away With Murder (http://mediamonarchy.blogspot.com/2010/05/worldwide-condemnation-of-israel-attack.html)

GORDON DUFF: ISRAEL SCAMS U.S., “GAZA CONVOY CARRYING STOLEN NUKES” (http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/06/gordon-duff-israel-scams-u-s-%e2%80%9cgaza-convoy-carrying-stolen-nukes%e2%80%9d/)


Official: As many as 9 Americans on Gaza relief flotilla (http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/05/31/gaza.flotilla.us.citizens/)

Peter Presland
06-01-2010, 09:58 AM
It will be interesting to see if anything more comes out about this (http://redactednews.blogspot.com/2010/05/turkish-sources-israeli-targeted.html):



http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wh6KQulpuj0/TARdWUt2p4I/AAAAAAAAAcU/HJIDzv1FQqs/s320/1-18-150x121.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wh6KQulpuj0/TARdWUt2p4I/AAAAAAAAAcU/HJIDzv1FQqs/s1600/1-18-150x121.jpg)

Turkish sources and media revealed a document which shows that a death list had been prepared in advance by the Israelis, showing names and pictures of people on board of the ships to be murdered, who, according to Israel, were “involved in the International humanitarian aid for Gaza”. According to the Turkish sources, hundreds of Israeli soldiers stormed the blue Turkish ship “Marmara” flotilla and they had copies of the death list. The list included the names of civilians on the fleet who should be killed”. The document was apparently recovered after one of the Israeli soldiers lost it during the piracy act.

Magda Hassan
06-01-2010, 10:10 AM
Wow. I saw that on Turkish tv but because all the dialogue was in Turkish and no subtitles I wasn't sure what it was.
The writing on the wall, so to speak.

Magda Hassan
06-01-2010, 10:13 AM
Also interesting and from the same source above:

Regarding the complicity of other foreign states in this crime, it has transcended that the Germans Parliamentarians who were on-board, Annette Groth, Inge Höger and Norman Paech, had repeatedly asked the German Foreign Ministry for support and protection, but were rebuffed and instead they were warned to get off the flotilla because of unspecified “dangers”. The strange attitude of Cyprus, which neither allowed the ships to enter port, nor allowed a delegation of Parliamentarians to board the ships, can in retrospect only be explained with the prior knowledge and complicity in the crime if the Cypriot regime.

Peter Lemkin
06-01-2010, 11:49 AM
It will be interesting to see if anything more comes out about this (http://redactednews.blogspot.com/2010/05/turkish-sources-israeli-targeted.html):



http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wh6KQulpuj0/TARdWUt2p4I/AAAAAAAAAcU/HJIDzv1FQqs/s320/1-18-150x121.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wh6KQulpuj0/TARdWUt2p4I/AAAAAAAAAcU/HJIDzv1FQqs/s1600/1-18-150x121.jpg)

Turkish sources and media revealed a document which shows that a death list had been prepared in advance by the Israelis, showing names and pictures of people on board of the ships to be murdered, who, according to Israel, were “involved in the International humanitarian aid for Gaza”. According to the Turkish sources, hundreds of Israeli soldiers stormed the blue Turkish ship “Marmara” flotilla and they had copies of the death list. The list included the names of civilians on the fleet who should be killed”. The document was apparently recovered after one of the Israeli soldiers lost it during the piracy act.

This horrible action by the IDF [not their first] is MUCH bigger than at first sight! One of the Americans is the former Ambassador!.....hit lists!.....killing unarmed and unprovoked peace demonstrators!....and on and on.....but, sadly, the PTB in the USA have given Israel a 'get-out-jail/trouble-free-card' and will block any UN sanctions or other actions. Only, IMO, the Isreali People [fo which there are many good ones who DO NO like what has been going on now a long tme!] can act to change things...as in the USA....only we can change things!. Dare to change things, as the good Israeli's should do the same!

Myra Bronstein
06-01-2010, 04:12 PM
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177134


http://www.jpost.com/HttpHandlers/ShowImage.ashx?ID=144074
Photo by: IDF

'Next time we'll use more force'

By YAAKOV KATZ, AP AND JPOST.COM STAFF
06/01/2010 13:41

Navy prepares for expected arrival of 2 more activist ships.

Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

"We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war," the officer said. "That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war."

The anonymous comment came the day after the Israeli Navy raided a flotilla (http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177067) of international aid ships headed to the Strip. Nine activists were killed in the raid, and dozens were injured.

The flotilla which arrived late Sunday night was comprised of six ships, and another two ships, including The Rachel Corrie, were expected to attempt to enter Israeli waters in the coming days.

Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement said earlier Tuesday that a cargo boat was already on the way to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

A second boat carrying about three dozen passengers was expected to join the first, she added.

Peter Lemkin
06-01-2010, 04:32 PM
Nuke 'em....and stop pissing around!......Peaceniks and pro-Palestinian Aide and Freedom Advocates deserve nothing less than death!....Nice move Israel; you've long been beyond the pale of decency...now well beyond that!......:argh: At least, I think now all but the American idiotocracy can see this!

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 08:45 PM
What If Iran Had Carried out the Gaza Carnage? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/06/what-if-iran-had-carried-out-the-gaza-carnage/)

by Kourosh Ziabari / June 1st, 2010

Rachel Corrie Lives: The Attack On the Aid Flotilla (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/06/rachel-corrie-lives-the-attack-on-the-aid-flotilla/)

by Ron Jacobs / June 1st, 2010

Israel’s Foulest Crime (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/06/the-rogue-state%e2%80%99s-foulest-crime/)

Letter to MP, Henry Bellingham, a Newly Appointed Foreign Office Minister in the Coalition Government
by Stuart Littlewood / June 1st, 2010

Felled by Pathocracy: Rachel Corrie, Palestinians and 20 Newly Killed Humanitarians (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/06/felled-by-pathocracy-rachel-corrie-palestinians-and-20-newly-killed-humanitarians/)

by Rady Ananda / June 1st, 2010

Brave Israeli Commandos Slaughter Aid Activists at Sea (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/06/brave-israeli-commandos-slaughter-aid-activists-at-sea/)

by Stephen Lendman / June 1st, 2010

Israel’s Premeditated Murder of Peace Activists Was No Mistake (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/06/israels-premeditated-murder-of-peace-activists-was-no-mistake/)

by Ahmed Amr / June 1st, 2010

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 08:52 PM
Egypt opens Gaza border after Israel ship clash (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6502H820100601) 01 Jun 2010 Egypt will open its border with the Gaza Strip to let Palestinians cross, officials said on Tuesday, following a storm of international criticism of Israel's bloody enforcement at sea of its blockade on the enclave. The decision, urged by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas against whom the embargo has been directed, prompted dozens of people to race to the crossing point in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, although the gates remained closed.


Red Cross visits wounded activists (http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177156) 01 Jun 2010 Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross for Israel and Gaza went on Tuesday to hospitals where foreign civilians from countries without diplomatic relations with Israel who were injured in the Mavi Marmara ship conflict attack were being treated. They were also given access to detention centers where those who were not wounded were being held.


Gaza flotilla - Eye witness accounts of Israeli raid (http://www.legitgov.org/Gaza-flotilla-Eye-witness-accounts-Israeli-raid)


'They came up and used plastic bullets, we had beatings, we had electric shocks, any method we can think of, they used.' Gaza flotilla - Eye witness accounts of Israeli raid (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10206802.stm) 01 Jun 2010 Passengers aboard the Gaza-bound aid flotilla have been describing the drama of the moment that Israeli forces raided their ships. Speaking on their return to Germany, Greece and Turkey on Tuesday, the activists said that commandos had administered electric shocks and beaten passengers during the assault.


Israel raid on Flotilla like 9/11: Turkey (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128670&sectionid=351020204) 01 Jun 2010 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu draws a parallel between an Israeli attack against a Gaza-bound aid convoy and the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US. "Psychologically this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey," said Davutoglu, who is in Washington for talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The minister also expressed Turkey's dissatisfaction with the US stance after Washington only regretted "the loss of life" aboard the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy.

http://www.legitgov.org/

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 09:11 PM
http://www.ynetnews.com/PicServer2/02012008/1650152/Untitled-2_a.jpgUSS Liberty Photo: Gettyimages Imagebank
http://www.ynetnews.com/PicServer2/24012010/2584540/3_a.jpg (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:ShowBigPic25845392584540%20%28%27/Ext/App/Thumbnails/CdaThumbnails_OpenWin/1,9788,L-2584539-2584540,00.html?CapField=article_images.name&TabSelect=article_images,images&WhereCls=article_images.image_id=2584540%20and%20a rticle_images.article_id=3897160%20and%20article_i mages.image_id=images.id&DescField=images.english_credits%20%27%29)http://www.ynetnews.com/Images/Thumbnails/magdelet4_English.gif (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:ShowBigPic2584539%20%28%27/Ext/App/Thumbnails/CdaThumbnails_OpenWin/1,9788,L-2584539-,00.html?CapField=article_images.name&TabSelect=article_images,images&WhereCls=article_images.image_id=2584540%20and%20a rticle_images.article_id=3897160%20and%20article_i mages.image_id=images.id&DescField=images.english_credits%20%27%29)Foreigne rs detained at Ashdod port Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO




US veteran on board 'Liberty' was flotilla passenger

Man who served on ship bombed by Israel during 1967 war is missing in aftermath of flotilla clashes News agencies Published: 06.01.10, 09:13 / Israel News (http://www.ynetnews.com/home/0,7340,L-3082,00.html)

A US Navy veteran who was on board the USS Liberty, which Israel attacked during the Six Day War (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3400973,00.html), is now missing after taking part in the conflict-ridden flotilla, US news agencies reported Tuesday.



Sixty-three year-old Joe Miduras, of the Texas town of Corpus Christi, has not yet made contact with his wife, Jean. She has so far remained unconcerned, however, saying she didn't think he had been hurt.
Miduras was a soldier on board the USS Liberty, which came under fire by Israeli warplanes and torpedoes on the fourth day of the 1967 war. As a result, 34 crew members were killed. "We have no luck with Israelis," his wife joked.
One other American man, a former diplomat, was also on board the flotilla. Eighty-one year-old Edward Peck, of Maryland, was the US ambassador to Mauritania and also served in the State Department during the Reagan presidency.
He is currently on his way home. His wife says she received an email from the Foreign Ministry saying Peck was in good condition, and estimated that he would be home on Tuesday.
On board the Marmara were also two Australian journalists, Paul McGeough and photographer Kate Geraghty. Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, Alan Oakley, said the two had been taken to Ela Prison in Beersheba.
He said he had had no contact with the two since Monday's incidents. Oakley added that the Irish and Australian embassies in Israel would take care of the two, who are also Irish citizens.

Oakley said the journalists had participated in the flotilla as part of their jobs as reporters. "I hope the authorities respect their rights," he said.

The Immigration Authority said (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897136,00.html)Tuesday that there had been 679 passengers from 40 different countries on board the boats, most of them Turkish and Greek. The youngest passenger was a two-year old child. Nine were killed and more than 40 injured during the clashes, seven of them IDF soldiers.

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 09:13 PM
"We are studying the situation." -- Obama

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 09:29 PM
Helen Thomas Asks White House Press Secretary Gibbs About Israeli Flotilla Massacre: "Why didn't you immediately condemn it?" (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/52747)

Submitted by Chip on Tue, 2010-06-01 19:16

Israel (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/taxonomy/term/114)
Media (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/taxonomy/term/2)
Obama Administration (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/obama)
Palestine (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/taxonomy/term/127)

The following exchange happened today between White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and veteran reporter Helen Thomas as broadcast on MSNBC.
Helen Thomas: Our initial reaction to the flotilla massacre, deliberate massacre, an international crime, was pitiful. What do you mean, “You regret…” when something should be so strongly condemned. And, if any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms. What is this sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship where a country that deliberately kills people and boycotts – and we aid and abet the boycott?
Gibbs: Look, I think the initial reaction regretted the loss of life, as we tried, and still continue to try to gather the relevant (muffled comment by Thomas)...nothing can bring them back, Helen, we know that for sure because I think if you could, that wouldn’t be up for debate. We believe that a credible and transparent investigation has to look into the facts and, as I said earlier, we are open to international participation.
Thomas: Why did you think of it so late? Why didn’t you immediately condemn it?
Gibbs: Again, I think that the statements that we released speak directly to that.

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 09:55 PM
Mossad Chief: Israel Gradually Becoming Burden on U.S.
'Israel less of an asset for US'

By JPOST.COM STAFF

June 01, 2010 "JPost (http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177136)" -- Strategic ties between Jerusalem and Washington have been slowly changing since the conclusion of the Cold War, Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

"Bit by bit, Israel is becoming less of a strategic asset for America," Dagan said in his meeting with committee.

The Mossad chief indicated as well that the US views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a lower priority after determining that neither side is ready for an agreement.

According to Israel Radio, Dagan also surmised that the Iranian uranium fuel-swap deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey was designed to avert the sanctions proposal currently in front of the UN Security Council. Iran's effort to avert sanctions was influenced by a lack of progress in the development of its centrifuge program the intelligence chief reported.

The Iranians "pulled a rabbit out of their hat to split the international community at the last moment," Israel Radio quoted Dagan as saying.

IDF: Wasn’t possible to stop largest craft

By Ronen Medzini

June 01, 2010 "Ynet (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897323,00.html)" -- Due to impossibility of stopping Marmara, other operational options rejected, senior officer says. MK Hanegbi justifies operation, praises government. MK Eldad: Peace groups forerunners of terror groups
Ronen Medzini

A senior IDF officer said Tuesday that the army carefully considered the options for stopping the flotilla to Gaza, and rejected alternatives to the operation finally chosen which led to the killing of nine activists.

The possibility of stopping "Marmara," the largest vessel in the flotilla, because of its size, strength and speed, was considered. But doing this by stopping its engines was rejected because the tow to the shore would be too long. There were also fears that those on the boats would be left without water or food.

The officer said that the two pistols were snatched from IDF troops and were found on the bodies of those killed. They were without bullets because they had been fired.

Meanwhile, following UN calls for a thorough investigation into the operation against the flotilla, questions are already being asked in the Knesset.

Chairman of Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tzachi Hanegbi said Tuesday, "There are many intelligence and operational questions. We will insist on getting answers, on investigating and on learning lessons." Mossad chief Meir Dagan was also present at the meeting.

Hanegbi justified the government and IDF decision to act against the vessels, which were making their way to the Gaza Strip to protest Israel's blockade.

"After Operation Cast Lead, the previous government decided to impose a sea blockade on Gaza, and all goods entering the Strip via the sea would have to be checked in Ashdod first," he said. "The opposition of that time supported the decision and the current government continued this policy, and in this spirit it was decided to prevent the inciting and violent flotilla."

Hanegbi added that opposition party Kadima had also supported the operation. "We are not used to a consensus on many issues, but the feeling of injustice we all feel now, in light of the hypocrisy and cynicism of attacks against Israel on this issue strengthens the clear moral and security logic to prevent the opening of free sea routes into the Gaza Strip."

The Knesset member also explained why Israel acted. "We got out of Gaza a few years ago, and since then we have been attacked, an Israeli soldier has been in some hidden basement for four years, and thus we believe we have a right to act as we acted," he said.

He added his congratulations to decision-makers involved in the affair, including the army, the navy and the government.

MK Arieh Eldad (National Union) said to Ynet, "Maybe after this operation, with its murderous character, Israel will respond in a different manner to Bil'in and Nil'in, to all the anarchist groups for peace, and the organizations working in the name of Arab Israelis. Israel needs to understand that most of these groups are the forerunners of terror groups, promoting interests against Israel. We need to treat them as organizations who have come to kill IDF soldiers."

During a separate event, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said, "We cannot expect 100% success in this kind of operation."

In a Finance Ministry conference in Jerusalem, Steinitz said that Israel is an expert in exaggerated and dangerous self-flagellation. He said that the lifting of the sea blockade would cause further missiles and terror activities.

"Israel has no choice but to defend itself," he declared. "The navy did all it was told, while endangering its soldiers."

Zvi Lavi also contributed to this report


http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25585.htm

Magda Hassan
06-01-2010, 10:14 PM
By Michel Chossudovsky

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19481 (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103449420321&s=793&e=0014tPcfF6SvHzarSYxpamXKEYPgaOTCpsyUU9RhNrgh207D D55LmoitNlwUsw2rzUvumZJ7DojI1ynPTuDafdKxFep2SEU8_c B6spJzZPRVidCMZLgJn13RRE-uT1fplEIcbR14EWnV988_Wm2tP4B5tTcTksLyyVh77de_zSOdg g=)

Global Research (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103449420321&s=793&e=0014tPcfF6SvHxy78Cn18WNxEaoOuyA1JBqLWSjhWbZNjFrT 3IPmb7RJSkZZ474ty2NDfLxxZvmONiYHs03m8y4BsfYUT7gfCG n-16HurrHLRwMgyC2qgYfxg==), June 1, 2010

Following Israel's criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats.
In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
At noon today, I received the following message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie:

RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.

The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.

In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.

We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.

We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza.

Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie.

Sent on behalf of the humanitarian activists on aboard the Rachel Corrie - by PGPO land team (Ram Karthigasu and Christopher Chang)
In recent developments, the Netanyahu government is in crisis:

"Senior ministers [of the Netanyahu cabinet] have been sharply critical of the fact that the decision to seize control of the flotilla to Gaza was made after two meetings of the forum of seven senior ministers but without official deliberation by the inner cabinet, the body that has the authority to approve military actions of this scale." What this suggests is that the actual decision to conduct the raids in international waters bypassed the Cabinet. (Haaretz.com headlines RSS (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103449420321&s=793&e=0014tPcfF6SvHw12GVcnp3DZslac9mLIIY8FpEIXcLw7xW6-Ym2VUH_CVHDQoFcpMn87id71Tc5WQGNQMFaf72Adtpv50iJIng 9HNdb_YTbbI_DoFu-oPpXAhdZJKFIWxIpvCP2nva63Qcrup3EqcGbsBA2TTcsYzBuBz 3Rl_bqavUhyapnaxEvEdFQ2Y35Ay01SfjnWDXB5JE=)
The question remains: if the Israeli cabinet did not ratify the operation, who ordered the raids and through what procedure?
What were the respective roles of Israeli intelligence and the IDF in planning these raids?
What role was played by Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's White House Chief of Staff, who had meetings with both Netanyahu and president Shimon Peres, respectively on May 26 and 27?
Did Rahm Emmanuel meet officials of Israel's military and intelligence establishment?
Did the Obama administration give the Green Light?
It is important that this news gets out, with a view to ensuring that the Rachel Corrie MV safely reaches the coast of Gaza without encroachment, with a view to breaking Israel's criminal embargo.

In this endeavor we shall prevail. Our hearts and minds are with those who continue to sail on board the Rachel Corrie MV.

It should be noted that Israel has not in any way modified its policy with regard to the Rachel Corrie MV: There are two more ships heading for Gaza including the Rachel Corrie MV. Israel has promised "to respond even more harshly":

“Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war,” the officer said. “That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.” (www.ynetnews.com (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103449420321&s=793&e=0014tPcfF6SvHyky41LBKdQHGs9NRADwxDvE3hOeUAZiIdiz ArpX4hwSh64P2MxpYwphYLb50y0-BNojubwNoHxrpBxC010vUcSlk3IJQ13NLI=))
The Rachel Corrie MV is in part supported by the Perdana Global Peace Organization under the helm of the Malaysia's former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky is a member of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.

Ed Jewett
06-01-2010, 10:21 PM
Released Detainees Deny Being Armed, Say Israel Used Bullets, Gas, Electroshock
Readers Number : 506 http://www.almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/WebsiteImages/PicturesFolder/f444be3f-81e9-4c94-8c7b-903de07b00f1_top.jpg (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:void%280%29)

01/06/2010 Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi, who was on board the Marmara ship when it was raided by Navy fighters, held a press conference in Nazareth on Tuesday, in which she accused Israel of committing crimes during its takeover of the Gaza-bound aid ship. She called for an international inquiry into the incident.

Zoabi added, "It was clear from the size of the force that boarded the ship that the purpose was not only to stop this sail, but to cause the largest possible number of fatalities in order to stop such initiatives in the future."

She said the flotilla's participants did not have any violent intentions: "Our goal was to break the siege. We had no plans for a confrontation. Israel carried out a provocative military operation. Israel is used to doing as it pleases with the Palestinians. The main problem is not the ship, but the siege."

She also demanded the activists held in Beersheba be allowed visitation. "We also demand a UN inquiry commission probe the Israeli claims. This is an international issue, because the passengers were from different nations."

Of the raid itself, she said, "I entered the captain's room. He was asked to stop by the Israeli soldiers. He said, 'We are a Turkish ship.' We were 130 miles off. It was 11:30 pm. We saw four Israel vessels, they were at a distance because we were in international waters. At 4:15 am we saw the ships approaching. They were dinghies and choppers. At 4:30 am the forces landed quickly. I did not hear any warning from the ships, because noise was coming from the ships and the choppers. Within 10 minutes there were already three bodies. The entire operation took about an hour."

She denied any resistance from the ship's passengers. "There was not a single passenger who raised a club. We put on our life vests. From where I was standing, I didn't see any clubs or anything of the sort. There were gunshots, I don't know if they were live bullets or not. There were gunshots fired from the ships in our direction."

"A clear message was being sent to us, for us to know that our lives were in danger. We convened that we were not interested in a confrontation. What we saw was five bodies. There were only civilians and there were no weapons. There was a sense that I many not come out of it alive. Israel spoke of a provocation, but there was no provocation."

Zoabi was released to her home Tuesday morning after being questioned.

Shortly before the takeover, Zoabi said, "We are part of the Palestinian people. They are trying to break us. The ships took us by surprise and started to call out to us. For four years, no one spoke about Gaza. Only in this past week did the entire world get to the war crimes of Israel, a country that occupies and violates basic humanitarian rights."

GREEK ACTIVIST: ISRAELIS USED BULLETS AND ELECTROSHOCK
Moreover, a Greek activist told of the moment Israeli troops stormed the ill-fated Gaza-bound aid flotilla, using rubber bullets, tear gas and electroshock weapons to subdue those aboard. "Israeli troops jumped onto the boat around 0530 on Monday," Michalis Grigoropoulos said of the pre-dawn raid by Israeli forces.

Grigoropoulos was aboard the Eleftheri Mesogeio, smaller than the lead boat, the Mavi Marmara, which Israeli troops had attacked earlier. "They fired rubber coated bullets, tear gas and then used electroshock weapons on some activists," he told Skai television shortly after Israel deported him and five compatriots to Athens.

"An hour beforehand, at 0430 local time, we heard gunfire on the Turkish boat Mavi Marmara, the Israelis jumped from helicopters onto the boat," he said.

Israel is still holding hundreds of the 686 passengers they seized and took back to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where Grigoropoulos said he was kept incommunicado, denied access to a lawyer and made to sign papers he did not understand.

Grigoropoulos criticized "the wretched detention conditions at Ashdod (where) 500 people were packed in together" saying that "two Greek activists were beaten up" there by Israeli police. "They made me sign papers on my expulsion, without me knowing what was on the papers because I did not have the right to a translator, a lawyer or to communicate with my family," he said.

The Eleftheri Mesogeio's captain, Zaharias Stilianakis, who was among those returned to Athens, said that "after their assault on the boat, the commandos cut all means of communication."

GERMAN WITNESSES: NO ONE ARMED ON GAZA FLOTILLA
Three visibly shaken Germans who experienced the deadly raid by the Israeli military denied on Tuesday that anyone on board was armed. "The Israeli government justifies the raid because they were attacked. This is absolutely not the case," former Member of Parliament Norman Paech, 72, wrapped in a blue blanket, told reporters in Berlin. "This was not an act of self-defense."

His comments were backed up by two others on board the convoy when it was raided at dawn on Monday in international waters, MPs Inge Hoeger, 59, and Annette Groth, 56. "We felt like we were in a war, like we were being kidnapped," Hoeger said. "We wanted to bring aid to Gaza. Nobody had a weapon."


http://www.almanar.com.lb/newssite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=140067&language=en

Magda Hassan
06-02-2010, 02:32 AM
I heard through Spanish media that only activists who agree to sign a statement (in what anguage, perhaps Hebrew, I don't know) saying that they have been treated well by the Israelis and that they agree not to make complaints or charges against the Israelis are being released.

Myra Bronstein
06-02-2010, 02:51 AM
I heard through Spanish media that only activists who agree to sign a statement (in what anguage, perhaps Hebrew, I don't know) saying that they have been treated well by the Israelis and that they agree not to make complaints or charges against the Israelis are being released.

Dunno if that's true.
Dunno if this is true:
Israel to Free Activists
(http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheat-sheet/item/israel-to-free-activists/flotilla-fallout/?cid=cs:headline1)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that the foreign activists aboard the aid boat attacked by Israeli soldiers on Monday would be released within 48 hours. Worldwide protests and criticism aimed at Israel's raid on Gaza aid ships resulted in the delivery of relief supplies as well. Turkey's prime minister expressed outrage, saying, "We see clear murder taking place, and we see an aggressive country." The country is Israel's closest Muslim ally. President Obama expressed his regrets, but also emphasized "the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning's tragic events as soon as possible." Earlier in the day three people were killed in an Israeli airstrike in one Gaza town, and Egypt will open the crossing between it and Gaza for humanitarian purposes.
Read it at CNN (http://www.thedailybeast.com/partnersfeed/?cid=cs:cheatsheet1&f=http%3A%2F%2Fus.cnn.com%2F2010%2FWORLD%2Fmeast%2 F06%2F01%2Fgaza.raid.resolution%2Findex.html)

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/What-Role-for-NATO-and-the-UN-in-Israel-Flotilla-Crisis-3823

Magda Hassan
06-02-2010, 03:13 AM
Why wait 48 hours? Why not release them straight away? Drive them to the airport and put them on a plane out of the country. They've had them for 48 hours already. But it is all the better to keep them silent unable to tell their story while they put their own odious propaganda wheels in motion.

Peter Lemkin
06-02-2010, 04:14 AM
Terror on Aid Ship: "Plan Was to Kill Activists and Deter Future Convoys"

by Jonathan Cook


Global Research, June 2, 2010
- 2010-06-01

Nazareth --An Arab member of the Israeli parliament who was on board the international flotilla that was attacked on Monday as it tried to take humanitarian aid to Gaza accused Israel yesterday of intending to kill peace activists as a way to deter future convoys.



Haneen Zoubi said Israeli naval vessels had surrounded the flotilla’s flagship, the Mavi Marmara, and fired on it a few minutes before commandos abseiled from a helicopter directly above them.



Terrified passengers had been forced off the deck when water was sprayed at them. She said she was not aware of any provocation or resistance by the passengers, who were all unarmed.



She added that within minutes of the raid beginning, three bodies had been brought to the main room on the upper deck in which she and most other passengers were confined. Two had gunshot wounds to the head, in what she suggested had been executions.



Two other passengers slowly bled to death in the room after Israeli soldiers ignored messages in Hebrew she had held up at the window calling for medical help to save them. She said she saw seven other passengers seriously wounded.



“Israel had days to plan this military operation,” she told a press conference in Nazareth. “They wanted many deaths to terrorise us and to send a message that no future aid convoys should try to break the siege of Gaza.”



Released early yesterday by police, apparently because of her parliamentary immunity, she said she was speaking out while most of the hundreds of other peace activists were either being held by Israel for deportation or were under arrest.



Three other leaders of Israel’s large Palestinian Arab minority, including Sheikh Raed Salah, a spiritual leader, were arrested as their ships docked in the southern port of Ashdod. Lawyers said that under Israeli law they could be held and questioned for up to 30 days without being charged.



Contradicting Israeli claims, Ms Zoubi said a search by the soldiers after they took control of the Marmara discovered no arms or other weapons.



It was vital, she added, that the world demand an independent UN inquiry to find out what had happened on the ship rather than allow Israel to carry out a “whitewash” with its own military investigation.



Ms Zoubi spoke as Palestinians inside both Israel and the occupied territories observed a general strike called by their leaders. A statement from the High Follow-Up Committee, the main political body for Israel’s Palestinian citizens, described the raid on the flotilla as “state-sponsored terrorism”.



Demonstrations and marches in most of the main Palestinian towns and villages in Israel passed off quietly. Local analysts described the mood as angry but subdued, not least because of the openly hostile climate that has developed towards Palestinian citizens since crackdowns on their protests during the Israeli attack on Gaza 18 months ago.



However, police were reported to have been put on high alert, with thousands of extra officers drafted into the north, where most Palestinian citizens live.



On Monday, clashes between protesters and police broke out close to the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City and in the northern town of Umm al Fahm after false rumours circulated that Sheikh Salah, the leader of Israel’s main Islamic Movement, had been killed in the Israeli naval operation.



Even before the attack on the flotilla, the country’s Palestinian minority, a fifth of the population, had been braced for a backlash from the government and Jewish public for its leaders’ participation in the flotilla. As the ships set sail, Ynet, Israel’s most popular news website, had asked whether Ms Zoubi was an “MP in the service of Hamas”.



But faced with the severe diplomatic fall-out from Israel’s killing of peace activists, Israel’s Palestinian leaders warned that they were likely to come under even fiercer criticism in coming days.



Yesterday right-wing parties launched their first attacks on Ms Zoubi, demanding the revocation of her immunity and her expulsion from the parliament. Danny Danon, a member of the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, called for her to be “tried for treason”.



In her statement on the attack, Ms Zoubi said that at 4am on Monday she had seen at least 14 Israeli boats surround their ship 130km out at sea, in international waters.



She said the passengers had been gripped with fear at the noise and confusion as the commandos abseiled on to the deck. “I did not believe we were going to survive more than five minutes,” she said.



Taleb al Sana, another Arab MP, supported Ms Zoubi’s contention that Israeli claims that the commandos shot only at the passengers’ legs were false. “I have visited the wounded in hospital and they all have shot wounds to the head and body,” he said.



Adalah, a legal centre for Israel’s Arab minority, said nine lawyers had been given limited access yesterday afternoon to the hundreds of activists detained in the southern city of Beersheva and were trying to take testimonies “in very difficult circumstances”.



Its lawyers and human rights groups were also trying to track down who had been injured and where they being treated.



“Our view is that Israel is intentionally trying to obstruct this work and is enforcing an information blackout,” said Gaby Rubin, a spokeswoman for Adalah.



Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

Ed Jewett
06-02-2010, 07:26 AM
FWIW, the workers on the Deepwater Horizon who survived were not allowed to go home until they signed certain papers either, and I'm sure there are other similar situations of a variety of sorts. I think this would fall under the category of an "event cluster" as discussed by Witt and Kouzmin in their discussion about framing SCAD research (see the American Behavioral Scientist Volume 52, No, 6 reviewed here by me in another thread). The specific technique might be called a "negative information action" as defined by Chris Hinson in the same issue: when it is used to "hide criminal acts, conceal embarrassing information, silence critics, or manipulate popular perceptions of international incidents". There is something about habeas corpus here too, and I suspect any agreement signed under such duress would be null and void on the surface because of the duress.

Peter Presland
06-02-2010, 08:33 AM
Serious food for thought here. Careful restrained comment from inside NATO but the current - soto-voce - is unmistakable. Turkey IS a member of NATO and if NATO umms and ahhs about support for a member when that member's sovereign territory (as in law a ship in international waters is) is attacked, then the real rationale for the entire organisation is in question.

This thing has the potential to shake the Western Alliance and its drive towards effective single world government dominated by the US to its foundations.

Craig Murray again: (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/06/israeli_murders.html)

I was in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 20 years and a member of its senior management structure for six years, I served in five countries and took part in 13 formal international negotiations, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and a whole series of maritime boundary treaties. I headed the FCO section of a multidepartmental organisation monitoring the arms embargo on Iraq.
I am an instinctively friendly, open but unassuming person who always found it easy to get on with people, I think because I make fun of myself a lot. I have in consequence a great many friends among ex-colleagues in both British and foregin diplomatic services, security services and militaries.
I lost very few friends when I left the FCO over torture and rendition. In fact I seemed to gain several degrees of warmth with a great many acquantances still on the inside. And I have become known as a reliable outlet for grumbles, who as an ex-insider knows how to handle a discreet and unintercepted conversation.
What I was being told last night was very interesting indeed. NATO HQ in Brussels is today a very unhappy place. There is a strong understanding among the various national militaries that an attack by Israel on a NATO member flagged ship in international waters is an event to which NATO is obliged - legally obliged, as a matter of treaty - to react.
I must be plain - nobody wants or expects military action against Israel. But there is an uneasy recognition that in theory that ought to be on the table, and that NATO is obliged to do something robust to defend Turkey.
Mutual military support of each other is the entire raison d'etre of NATO. You must also remember that to the NATO military the freedom of the high seas guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a vital alliance interest which officers have been conditioned to uphold their whole career.

That is why Turkey was extremely shrewd in reacting immediately to the Israeli attack by calling an emergency NATO meeting. It is why, after the appalling US reaction to the attack with its refusal to name Israel, President Obama has now made a point of phoning President Erdogan to condole.
But the unhappiness in NATO HQ runs much deeper than that, I spoke separately to two friends there, from two different nations. One of them said NATO HQ was "a very unhappy place". The other described the situation as "Tense - much more strained than at the invasion of Iraq".
Why? There is a tendency of outsiders to regard the senior workings of governments and international organisations as monolithic. In fact there are plenty of highly intelligent - and competitive - people and diverse interests involved.
There are already deep misgivings, especially amongst the military, over the Afghan mission. There is no sign of a diminution in Afghan resistance attacks and no evidence of a clear gameplan. The military are not stupid and they can see that the Karzai government is deeply corrupt and the Afghan "national" army comprised almost exclusively of tribal enemies of the Pashtuns.
You might be surprised by just how high in Nato scepticism runs at the line that in some way occupying Afghanistan helps protect the west, as opposed to stoking dangerous Islamic anger worldwide.
So this is what is causing frost and stress inside NATO. The organisation is tied up in a massive, expensive and ill-defined mission in Afghanistan that many whisper is counter-productive in terms of the alliance aim of mutual defence. Every European military is facing financial problems as a public deficit financing crisis sweeps the continent. The only glue holding the Afghan mission together is loyalty to and support for the United States.
But what kind of mutual support organisation is NATO when members must make decades long commitments, at huge expense and some loss of life, to support the Unted States, but cannot make even a gesture to support Turkey when Turkey is attacked by a non-member?
Even the Eastern Europeans have not been backing the US line on the Israeli attack. The atmosphere in NATO on the issue has been very much the US against the rest, with the US attitude inside NATO described to me by a senior NATO officer as "amazingly arrogant - they don't seem to think it matters what anybody else thinks".
Therefore what is troubling the hearts and souls of non-Americans in NATO HQ is this fundamental question. Is NATO genuinely a mutual defence organisation, or is it just an instrument to carry out US foreign policy? With its unthinking defence of Israel and military occupation of Afghanistan, is US foreign policy really defending Europe, or is it making the World less safe by causing Islamic militancy?
I leave the last word to one of the senior NATO officers - who incidentally is not British:
"Nobody but the Americans doubts the US position on the Gaza attack is wrong and insensitve. But everyone already quietly thought the same about wider American policy. This incident has allowed people to start saying that now privately to each other."

Peter Presland
06-02-2010, 09:28 AM
Another indication of why this is so serious. I sense that, at the very least, it is a watershed event. There are now a whole bunch of cards way up in the air and slowly heading back to earth. I doubt the axis of deeply strained US/UK/NATO unity of purpose can survive their landing - and I also doubt the US has much left by way of influence over how they land.

Headline from Debka File (http://www.debka.com/article/8828/)

The war projected between Israel and the Iran-led bloc of Syria, Hizballah and Hamas is suddenly overshadowed by Turkish-Israeli hostilities over a deadly Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla from Istanbul. Against the US president Barack Obama's bid to bridge the rift, Turkish generals are drawing up plans to break Israel's Gaza blockade and avenge 9 deaths, while Israel is bound by its war on terror to thwart them - bringing both to the brink of overt hostilities.Overt hostilities means the unambiguous invocation of NATO article 5. Which must surely be an absolute priority for the US to try to prevent - or is it?

Magda Hassan
06-02-2010, 10:10 AM
NATO was only ever meant to be a tool for the US to achieve its foreign policy ends. Sure, they would have come to the 'rescue' of Germany if the great Red hoards had invaded, like that was ever going to happen. Since the changes in the Eastern block NATO should have disbanded, as they had actually agreed to do so. NATO was never going to come to any members 'defence' unless it was in the US interest to do so. If this brings the end of NATO this will be the best news I've had in many a moon.

What role, if any, do you think Turkey playing (with Brazil) the go-between for Iran's nuclear material is in all this with both Israel choosing a Turkish ship to attack and the US piss weak response?

Peter Presland
06-02-2010, 11:16 AM
NATO was only ever meant to be a tool for the US to achieve its foreign policy ends. Sure, they would have come to the 'rescue' of Germany if the great Red hoards had invaded, like that was ever going to happen. Since the changes in the Eastern block NATO should have disbanded, as they had actually agreed to do so. NATO was never going to come to any members 'defence' unless it was in the US interest to do so. If this brings the end of NATO this will be the best news I've had in many a moon.
I've got no issue with any of that.


What role, if any, do you think Turkey playing (with Brazil) the go-between for Iran's nuclear material is in all this with both Israel choosing a Turkish ship to attack and the US piss weak response?There are major deep political forces in play; of that I've no doubt. What the game plans of the protagonists are is less clear; as is a precise delineation of the boundaries between them.

The over-arching objective of the US dominated NWO alliance is another matter though. That has not changed one iota and is summed up clearly enough in the PNAC phrase 'full spectrum dominance'.

I have little doubt that, if those forces judge that an Israel/Turkey conflict, sucking in Iran and Syria with a few nuclear detonations along the way, is what it will take to ensure that dominance, then that is what is likely to happen - as far as possible from the US 'Homeland' too - which is nice for them. Israel as ever, with its clear dominant influence on the US government (but what about it's military?) is something of a wild card though IMHO.

With the confluence of loads of other serious global issues to boot, I just don't see any good outcome to this personally. I'd like to, but right now I don't.

Mark Stapleton
06-02-2010, 01:16 PM
I heard through Spanish media that only activists who agree to sign a statement (in what anguage, perhaps Hebrew, I don't know) saying that they have been treated well by the Israelis and that they agree not to make complaints or charges against the Israelis are being released.

I heard two different radio broadcasts yesterday claiming Aussie journalist Paul McGeogh was asked to sign a declaration that he had entered Israel illegally. His continued detention presumably indicates he refused to sign the statement.

Fellow Sydney Morning Herald employee, photographer Kate Geraghty, was reportedly tasered.

The Netanyahu Government won't survive this incident and its quite possible Israel won't either.

Magda Hassan
06-02-2010, 02:12 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7796277/Gaza-flotilla-attack-Israeli-ambassador-compares-raid-to-Second-World-War.html
:puke:

Mark Stapleton
06-02-2010, 03:29 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7796277/Gaza-flotilla-attack-Israeli-ambassador-compares-raid-to-Second-World-War.html
:puke:

Fark. If guys like Oren speak for the Israeli mainstream, and I think to some extent he does, then they really do live in another world.

Decades of mollycoddling by mainly Western nations is coming home to roost. They've descended so deeply into deluded fantasy I doubt they can ever be rehabilitated.

btw, Obama's chickenshit 'denunciation' of Israel proves once and for all that Israel rules the US with an iron rod--as if it needed further proof. Even Australia had the guts to give Israel a serve.

Israel is America's lord and master. For now, at least.

Peter Lemkin
06-02-2010, 04:34 PM
I'm listening to an Israeli spokesman....deputy director of the Israeli Foreign Ministry stumbling for words and explanations for what happened / how it happened. I think Israel has finally [decades too late] gone a tad too far for World Public Opinion not to notice the outright: illegalities, lies, over-reactions, lack of concern for human life [if not their own], breaking of International Laws, and more [make that less...]...this will long haunt Israel...and haunt it it should!!!! I wonder how they will react to the ship named Rachael Corrie, headed their way now!......the very name will give them pause.....as hardened as they are.....the eye of the world are on that ship and Israel!

Helen Reyes
06-02-2010, 05:05 PM
Turkey was brought into NATO in order to guard the Black Sea, one of three of the USSR's outlets to Ocean, the others being the Baltic and Vladivostok/Khabarovsk on the Pacific. Turkey's presence in NATO was a strategic consideration, their history vis-a-vis Germany in World War II was on again/off again. It made internal sense for the Ataturk agenda of moving closer or joining the West. If TUrkey were subjected to the criteria the states in the NATO expansion waves were subject to--democratic government, established democratic institutions, respect for basic human rights and civil liberties--it couldn't have been a member in, say, 1997 or 2003, or whenever Poland joined, or the Baltic states. Turkey was further "defanged" during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Kennedy agreed to make Turkey off limits to nuclear missiles in exchange for Krushchev pulling missiles out of Cuba. Turkey was supposed to be some sort of bridge to CENTO and ultimately SEATO in the collective security alliance of alliances but these never really took off for various reasons.

If NATO members are still pretending they are anything more than a tool for US/UK hegemony, this incident is a kind of watershed, for them, at least. Of course Germany and Turkey have fairly deep ties because of the gastarbeiter phenomenon leading to cross-cultural understanding. Turkey's status has never been anything less than any other member's even if the considerations for Turkish membership were initially based on geopolitics rather than shared values. What Peter Presland's repost realyl hints at, but which isn't stated explicitly, is that Article 5 of NATO, invoked by the US after 9/11 to invade Afghanistan to depose the Taliban and capute al Qaeda, was invoked under false pretenses: the US did 9/11, and more and more people inside of NATO and out know this is the truth. This is the first time Article 5 was ever invoked, it is the second time (outside Yugoslavia and Kosovo) NATO has been deployed outside member-states and it is based on a lie by one of the member-states, supposedly the most important member, the US.

The other aspect is about control of the US. If Israel controls the US, and the US controls NATO, then Israel controls NATO. Doubtless some Israeli politicians would like to think this is true. Many US politicians would gallantly submit to Israeli rule and would place the treayt organization at Israel's disposal. The other members see it otherwise.

That leaves a block in NATO of everyone besides the US, and possibly Canada and the UK, at odds with the idea that NATO exists to serve Israel. In other words, all the EU countries, minus, possibly, Britain. So it falls to the EU to deal with thsi violation of the Geneva Convention, the UN Charter and the NATO charter. It's a deal-breaker. It divides NATO, it divides the UN and it could divide an already weakened EU.

Within the EU there is strong sentiment against Turkish membership. Turkey sees its future as inside Europe. There is a Muslim/Christian-Western Secular divide, there is a divide over immigration into the EU and there's a slight possibility of an Islamic divide, although the cards seem to be stacked toward Islamic cooperation against Israel.

Israel could only have made such a provocative move after consultations with the US and others, or if there was knowledge of an impending larger conflict. It's no accident it took place on Veterans' Day in the United States, just as Cast Lead took place around Christmas after CIA agent Obama-Soetoro was allegedly elected but not yet inaugurated. Then as now Obama-Soetoro failed to condemn Israel's gross violation of the norms of Western civilization.

Keith Millea
06-02-2010, 05:30 PM
http://www.commondreams.org/further/2010/06/01-2

I'll refrain from personal commentary because when I'm pissed off I can't control my use of indecent language.

06.01.10 - 3:07 PM
Activist Loses Eye

http://www.commondreams.org/files/images/activist_PE_bleeding_activist.jpg
An American activist lost an eye and sustained head injuries after being shot (http://palsolidarity.org/2010/05/12604/)in the face with a tear gas canister while demonstrating in the West Bank against Israel's attack on the Gaza aid flotilla. Israeli troops fired the canister at close range at Emily Henochowicz, a 21-year-old art student in New York.

"They clearly saw us," said Sören Johanssen of the International Solidarity Movement. "They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession."

Helen Reyes
06-02-2010, 06:13 PM
http://grapevine.is/News/Archive

http://grapevine.is/media/w490/8178cabdf39387b.jpg

Minister of Foreign Affairs Condemns Israeli Attack
31.5.2010
Words by Paul Nikolov
Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson condemned an Israeli attack against a humanitarian convoy of boats bound for Gaza, likening the Gaza Strip itself to "one big prison".

In a statement from the ministry, Össur agrees with the opinion of the European Union and the United Nations that the attack should be investigated exhaustively.

Israeli commandos killed 19 people when they stormed a convoy of ships delivering aid to Gaza this morning. Israel says it responded to attacks against its soldiers, 10 of whom were injured.

"Gaza is actually one big prison, where international laws are broken against residents there," the statement says in part. "This has to stop." The ministry calls for the withdrawal of military action against Gaza.

The ministry also sent a strongly-worded letter to the Israeli embassy in Oslo, and called for a meeting between the two countries in that city. Furthermore, the minister said he was pleased that the UN intends to bring the matter up at UN headquarters in New York.

Protests have erupted around the world over the attacks, the strong reaction to which prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel a trip to visit US president Barack Obama.

Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee: Iceland Should "Review" Relationship with Israel
1.6.2010
Words by Paul Nikolov
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee Árni Þór Sigurðsson believes Iceland should review its political relationship with Israel in light of attacks made by Israeli commandos against a convoy of aid workers bound for Gaza that left at least 19 dead. A parliamentary discussion on the matter has been proposed for today's schedule.

Árni Þór was in Madrid at the time of the attacks, and said he witnessed global dialogue on the matter give a resounding tone of condemnation for the attacks, from the United Nations and the European Union especially. In light of this reaction, Árni Þór said he believes it's reasonable for Iceland to review its political relationship with Israel.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson has already condemned the attacks, calling Gaza itself "one big prison", and intends to meet with Israeli embassy officials in Oslo over the matter. Many Icelanders gathered in front of the ministry itself to protest the attacks yesterday.

http://grapevine.is/media/w490/fb3a51c8a3d44e.jpg

Foreign Affairs Committee Wants to Impose Embargo or Cut Political Contact with Israel
1.6.2010
Words by Paul Nikolov
The majority of the Foreign Affairs committee - The Movement, the Social Democrats, the Leftist-Greens and the Progressives - have stated that they want to either impose an embargo against Israel, or cut off political contact with the nation, in light of yesterday's attack on aid workers bound for Gaza.

Leftist-Green MP Ögmundur Jónasson brought the matter up in parliament today, addressing the Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson. The minister, for his part, has said that he wants to discuss the matter with other nations to see what sort of formal action Iceland will take.

All parties in the Foreign Affairs committee - except for the Independence Party - strongly condemned Israel's attack on aid workers bound for Gaza, leaving anywhere from nine to nineteen aid workers dead, and many more injured.

The committee furthermore decided that they would organize a trip to Gaza soon, and send aid relief to the region.

Peter Lemkin
06-02-2010, 08:16 PM
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: We go now to the Middle East, where Israel has deported more than 120 activists seized after a deadly raid in international waters on a humanitarian aid flotilla trying to break the Gaza blockade. The activists were taken to Jordan and released. Hundreds more, most of them Turkish, remain in custody. In the face of mounting world criticism, Israel said it will release the rest of the detainees within the next two days.

This is Mark Regev, the spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

MARK REGEV: We don’t want to see foreign activists in an Israeli detention center, and so we’ve decided to speed up the process of deportation, and our hope is to have all these activists out of the country within forty-eight hours.


SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: At least nine people were killed when armed Israeli commandos, using helicopters and dinghies, stormed the six-ship Gaza aid convoy early on Monday. The identities of the dead have not been released, but four of them are said to be from Turkey. Reuters reports one of them is Turkish activist Ali Aydar Bengi. Speaking in Ankara, his sister-in-law Azize Tekin blasted Israel for the raid.

AZIZE TEKIN: [translated] The whole world has denounced Israel. So did we. Once again, they have shown their ugly side to the world. I cannot even consider them as human beings.


AMY GOODMAN: The attack has sparked worldwide protest and condemnation. Turkey’s prime minister said Israel should be "punished" for what he called a "bloody massacre." The UN Security Council condemned actions that, quote, "led" to the deaths and called for an impartial investigation. At a news conference, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the US fully supports the Security Council statement.

ROBERT GIBBS: The Security Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza. The Council, in this context, condemns those acts which resulted in the loss of at least ten civilians and many wounded, and expresses its condolences to their families. The Security Council requests the immediate release of the ships as well as civilians held by Israel.

REPORTER: So that would seem to cover President Obama’s personal feelings, while some of the allies are looking for a stronger statement from him directly.

ROBERT GIBBS: Well, again, I—this is supported not just by the United States but by the international community.

REPORTER: In light of what happened with the Gaza aid flotilla, is the President considering at least backing international calls to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli forces?

ROBERT GIBBS: No. Well, look, obviously, as we have said before, we are concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and continue to work with the Israelis and international partners in order to improve those conditions. And as the UN Security Council statement says, obviously it’s an untenable situation.

HELEN THOMAS: Our initial reaction to this flotilla massacre, deliberate massacre, an international crime, was pitiful. What do you mean you regret when something should be so strongly condemned? And if any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms. What is this sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship, where a country that deliberately kills people—

ROBERT GIBBS: Well, again, Helen, I—

HELEN THOMAS: —and boycotts, and we aid and abet the boycott?

ROBERT GIBBS: Well, look, I think the initial reaction, regretted the loss of life, as we tried and still continue to try to gather the relevant—

HELEN THOMAS: Regret won’t bring them back.

ROBERT GIBBS: Nothing can bring them back, Helen. We know that for sure, because I think if you could, that wouldn’t be up for debate. We are—we believe that a credible and transparent investigation has to look into the facts. And as I said earlier, we’re open to international participation in that investigation.

HELEN THOMAS: Why did you think of it so late?

ROBERT GIBBS: Why did we think of...?

HELEN THOMAS: Why didn’t you initially condemn it?

ROBERT GIBBS: Again, I think the statements that we released speak directly to that.


AMY GOODMAN: Robert Gibbs being questioned at the end there by veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas.

All the permanent members of the Security Council except for the United States have explicitly called for Israel’s three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted. Meanwhile, the Egyptian government has temporarily eased the blockade and opened the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Despite Monday’s deadly attack, another ship carrying aid has set sail for Gaza intending to challenge the Israeli blockade. Organizers of the Freedom Flotilla said five of those on board are Irish, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire. Israel remains defiant and says it’s ready to intercept the ship. The ship is called The Rachel Corrie, named after the American peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer on March 16, 2003, as she was trying to protect the home of a Palestinian family from being demolished.

Haneen Zuabi, an Israeli Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, the parliament, was on the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, when it was attacked. She was supposed to be on the program today, but she has just gone into session in the Israeli parliament. So, for more, we turn to Edward Peck. He’s a former US ambassador. He, too, was on the Gaza aid flotilla, and he’s joining us from his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

EDWARD PECK: I’m honored.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about, Ambassador Peck, what happened? Where were you in this flotilla, and what took place—what was it?—about 4:00 Monday morning?

EDWARD PECK: Four o’clock in the morning, and we were on a small ship. I was not on the one that was so heavily damaged, physically, in terms of the people. We were on a small ship under—that had come out of Athens, Greece. There were fifty-four of us onboard. And our ship was small enough so that the Israeli commandos were able to step from their deck right onto ours. So the first thing we knew was the sound of footsteps, and my eyelids flicked open, and there they were, heavily armed. And I notice the Israeli government keeps referring to the paint guns, but the paint guns were attached to the automatic weapons and the stun grenades and the pepper spray and the tasers and everything else that these guys carry. You know, paint guns are for fun.

And it was all over in the inside of the ship where I was. But up on the upper deck, where some people had been sitting and sleeping, they made an effort to peacefully prevent the Israelis from taking over the wheelhouse, and we had a number of people injured in that. Nothing critical of a critical nature, but we had people on crutches and people with bandages and peoples with their arms in slings, and the captain had his neck in a bracelet. And they were the first ones off the ship, when they finally forced us into—off the ship in Ashdod.

AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Peck, why did you go on this mission?

EDWARD PECK: Well, that’s a good question. You know, I have been an activist. I don’t consider that to be anything but a word that informs people that I’m interested and aware. And I’ve made a number of trips to Israel and all the surrounding countries and the West Bank over the—since I retired, explaining, talking, meeting people, taking groups of people over to meet and discuss. And I decided I would like to have a chance to participate in something tactile, something that you could see, you know, something—rather than just plain words. And the Americans were added to this group, as you probably know, very late in the game. It was a European thing. And at the last minute, they said, "We need some Americans," and they contacted Paul and Janet and got the Free Palestine Movement organized. And they invited me, and I said yes, because I thought it would be helpful and beneficial to Israel to let them receive the supplies, just the convoy of the boats that carried the equipment, to come in and help the people of Gaza, a humanitarian effort not directed against Israel, but intended to deal with the humanitarian situation that needed to be dealt with by people who could help from outside. Everything we brought was donated, as you may know. Everything the flotilla brought was donated by people who said, "Yeah, we’ve got to help the folks in Gaza. They are suffering."

AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Peck, we’re going to break. When we come back, we’re going to play an interview with the deputy ambassador to the United Nations from Israel, and we’d like to get your response. Ambassador Edward Peck, on with us on the line from Chevy Chase, Maryland, where he’s just returned home. He was one of the members of the 700-strong Freedom Flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.



AMY GOODMAN: On the line with us is Ambassador Ed Peck. He is just back from the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, one of the ships—the ships were attacked by Israeli commandos. But first, we’re going to turn to another diplomat. Sharif?

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, yesterday I had a chance to speak with Israel’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Carmon. I reached him on the phone and questioned him about the raid.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Why did Israel attack a boat carrying more than 600 international activists in international waters?

DANIEL CARMON: Israel did not attack a boat. Israel enforced a maritime blockade, which is a measure that is totally legal in international law, to enforce a blockade when there is a possibility of a danger emanating from some source. And this was exactly the case. There was a flotilla of so-called real, genuine humanitarian aid to Gaza. And when I’m saying "so-called," I mean some of this flotilla was not a genuine, naive humanitarian aid-only flotilla. And for this reason and for the danger that emanated from this, we—our navy enforced the blockade, as—

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: But this was in international waters.

DANIEL CARMON: The international law—and I would refer you to international law—when there is a danger, when there are conditions that require this, boarding can be done on a dangerous vessel in international waters, too.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Eyewitnesses said commandos came out shooting, the Israeli commandoes came out shooting.

DANIEL CARMON: Not at all. Not at all. The Israeli navy, after repeatedly offering a remedy and an alternative for transferring the humanitarian aid to Gaza through the port of Ashdod, the Israeli for weeks now, after updating the organizers and the relevant governments about our intentions, did exactly what we said we would do: boarded the ship—the ships, and I’m talking about there were six ships, by the way. Five ships adhered totally to what they were supposed to do and replied and reacted positively to the communications done by the Israeli navy. One particular ship, the Marmara, which had onboard not humanitarian activists only, but some activists of a very extreme organization called IHH, which had other intentions, had other plans, and the plans were to provoke. And more than this, when the Israeli navy—

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: What evidence do you have of those plans? IHH is an organization that works across Turkey and the world.

DANIEL CARMON: Yes, and is also connected to terrorism and to al-Qaeda and some elements from the people of this organizations, when the Israeli naval soldiers came down to the ship in order to—to enforce the blockade, after repeated advertisement that were answered by "negative" or four-letter words, which I will not repeat here, were attacked. And I think you saw that on TV also. I hope you did.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, let me ask you—

DANIEL CARMON: By knife, clubs, shooting from live ammunition. One soldier was thrown overboard. You have it all in the media. And the reaction is a very natural reaction, unfortunate result, but a natural reaction of self-defense.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Let me ask you about that video that was released by the Israeli military. Will you release an unedited video of the excerpts that have been playing on the networks?

DANIEL CARMON: I am not—I’m not aware of what you mean by "edited" or "unedited," but I think you saw that—you saw that, and it speaks by itself.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And do you know who filmed it?

DANIEL CARMON: No, I have no idea.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And why haven’t you released the names of the dead? At least nine were killed. First of all, do you know how—can you confirm the number of dead?

DANIEL CARMON: As much as I know, there are nine dead in this unfortunate incident, some injured and Israeli soldiers wounded, including two gravely wounded.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, there are families around the world who are anxiously awaiting news. Why have the names of the dead not been released yet?

DANIEL CARMON: We would have to check it with the local authorities.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And why is Israel continuing to hold hundreds of international activists? What is their crime?

DANIEL CARMON: Any of the participants in this so-called protest, which is much more than just a—even much more than just a protest, those who are suspected of trespassing the law, there will be measures that would be applied. All those who don’t will be released as soon as possible. We have indicated this from the start of this operation. We have indicated this in the planning stages. We had no intention of doing anything—anything—that was problematic. The problems and the confrontation and the violence came from the other side, from those who misused the disguised—the disguise of humanitarian aid to do something else. And this something else is the lynch that we saw in this clip that—in this horrible clip that we all saw.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, the UN Security Council has condemned the raid. What is your response?

DANIEL CARMON: I would—I would suggest to read exactly the text of various communications in the last few days. I haven’t seen—the condemnation is a condemnation of the act that brought this incident to be what it was, and I think that you can interpret exactly, meaning that the flotilla by itself—and we have heard it in various communications and speeches in the Security Council. If the flotilla was a genuine, innocent humanitarian aid flotilla, things would go the other way, exactly as other flotillas went and other convoys went there before. But unfortunately, this was not the case. They had other intentions. They had other connections. And they wanted to provoke. And provoke, they did.


SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: That was Israel’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations Daniel Carmon, speaking with me yesterday. Edward Peck, you’re a former US ambassador. You were on this aid flotilla. Respond to some of the comments of Daniel Carmon.


EDWARD PECK: Well, sir, you know, it’s interesting. He did what he was supposed to do, and everything he said, as far as I’m concerned, is what you find in a meadow somewhere where they keep large animals. You know, here, one of the things I find that is the twist in this thing was that these peaceful, heavily armed commandos who were in international waters to capture a ship full of men and women, who were not bothering Israel, and who took what steps they could to try to prevent these pirates from doing it, are accused of attacking them. Mr.—the deputy ambassador, they were defending the ship. The Israelis were attacking it, and the passengers didn’t want them to do it. And to see somebody using a deckchair against a heavily-armed and armored Israeli soldier, I mean, my god, that’s a dangerous weapon. It’s called twisting the story. If you come to attack me and I defend myself, you know, that’s considered legal in law.


SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And Edward Peck, he kept saying this was not a genuine humanitarian-only flotilla. What do you say to that?


EDWARD PECK: Yeah, this is the other thing. You know, I did not expect that the government of Israel would refer to us as tree-hugging, you know, flowerchildren. Of course we’re also savage, murdering, you know, anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian—aw, come on, get off it. But of course he has to say this. This is Israel’s position. But it’s as full of holes as a window screen. You know, if you look at the people who were there and the stuff that we were bringing, and he quotes—forgive me, I get—I’ve been talking about this since I got back yesterday morning, just about this time, I guess. The international law, he says, you know, you can do this if it’s provoking a danger, [B]but Gaza does not belong to Israel. It is illegally occupied by international law, so you can’t really stop ships from going there. Well, you can, and they did, but if people try to resist what you’re trying to do, you cannot really accuse them of attacking your heavily armed soldiers. And they were heavily armed. On our little boat, a couple of them had paint guns attached to their submachine guns, along with stun grenades and the pepper spray and the handcuffs and the pistols, you know. So this is sort of a twisting reality, which of course I understand why they’re trying to do it. I’ve been a diplomat. But it’s laughable.

Sir, just try one more thing. He didn’t mention this because he may not know it, but all of us—I was expelled. I was deported for having violated Israeli law. And I said to the gentleman, "What law have I violated?" He said, "You have illegally entered Israel." I said, "Well, now, wait. Our ship was taken over by armed commandos. I was brought here at gunpoint against my will, and you call that illegally entering Israel? You and I went to different law schools, guy." It’s kind of a—it’s a fiasco. It would be amusing if it weren’t so damned sad, because, unfortunately—and I speak with total sincerity here—I think Israel has done itself some serious damage. And in addition to just what they did, it was the way they did it and the way they’re presenting it. Nobody regrets what happened on the Israeli side, because those were all terrorists, you know, violating our laws. Guys, get a grip. This isn’t going to work.


AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Peck, who did you serve under as ambassador in the Middle East?


EDWARD PECK: Well, I was ambassador, essentially, in Baghdad under a man named Jimmy Carter, and then I was an ambassador in Mauritania under a man named Ronald Reagan. But I served under—you know, I was a career guy, so I served under, I think, eleven presidents. I’ve forgotten exactly. I guess it was eight presidents, excuse me.


AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Peck, what do you think President Obama should do? Are you satisfied with the US response?


EDWARD PECK: No, I’m not, and it concerns me. I understand as well as most people, I suppose, and better than most, the relationship that links the United States to Israel. I think certain aspects of it are wonderful, and certain aspects of it are detrimental to the interests of both countries. But I understand it exists. I would wish that Mr. Obama—"deeply regrets," my goodness, you know, and Secretary Clinton is talking to their foreign minister about how we handle this crisis? Hey, wait a minute. Wait a minute. What do we have to do with this crisis? Well, I know, the world perceives us as aiding, arming, financing and supporting Israel in pretty much whatever it does. That’s our national policy. But if I were he, it strikes me as an opportunity that he could use to take some of the steps that he obliquely referred to in the early days of his administration, which raised people’s hopes, that perhaps the United States would distance itself a bit from what Israel does rather than supporting it all blindly.


SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And Ambassador Peck, finally, the United States is the only permanent member of the Security Council not to explicitly call for an end to the three-year Israeli blockade of Gaza.


EDWARD PECK: Well, sir, that doesn’t surprise me. You know, I think we vetoed twenty-nine Security Council resolutions over the years that were directed at trying to get Israel to do various things or stop doing them. This is our policy. You may know that one of the gentlemen on our particular little boat was a veteran of the attack of—Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty in the '67 war, in which 200 American servicemen serving on a US Navy ship were killed or wounded. And what did that lead to? So, the situation is imbalanced. You know, we're not looking at our own interests the way we should. The President should pay perhaps a little more attention to how to advance America’s interests, rather than protect Israel, because this is costly. And The Rachel Corrie, if they attack The Rachel Corrie, named after—


AMY GOODMAN: The ship that’s headed to Gaza now. We have five seconds, Ambassador.


EDWARD PECK: Thank you. And that will be a tragedy for everyone. And I don’t want that. No one with half a brain wants anything bad to happen to Israel, but I fear that they’re going to happen.


AMY GOODMAN: Former US Ambassador Edward Peck. He was on the aid flotilla.

Ed Jewett
06-02-2010, 08:20 PM
The Mediterranean Massacre
Israel as the blond beast
by Justin Raimondo (http://original.antiwar.com/author/justin/), June 02, 2010
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The condemnations (http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_15200395), the imprecations (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html), the expressions of shock (http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/a-special-place-in-hell/a-special-place-in-hell-the-second-gaza-war-israel-lost-at-sea-1.293246) are rolling in, as the nations of the world raise their voices in protest over the Mediterranean massacre (http://news.antiwar.com/2010/05/31/israel-attacks-gaza-aid-ships-killing-at-least-19/) carried out by Israeli commandos, but rather than get into specifics, I want to note a general pattern that this incident seems to confirm.
It is often said, by Israel’s defenders, that the Jewish state is part and parcel of the West: that Israel, the only democracy in the region (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1B3GGLL_enUS371US371&q=only+democracy+in+the+middle+east&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=), must be defended because they are, after all, reliable allies who share our values, the heritage of Athens and Jerusalem (http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/philosophy/002452.html). That has been the conventional wisdom – and it’s wrong. The Mediterranean Massacre underscores the wrongness of this assumption.

Israel is not a Western country, and hasn’t been for some time: helped along by this latest incident, the realization of this fact by Western governments and peoples will represent a turning point in the Jewish state’s relations with the civilized world, especially including (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/?pagination=false) Jews in the Diaspora. I have argued this for years: that the successful aliya (http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/Aliyah) program (http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/Aliyah) pushed by the Israeli government has displaced the old European-derived Israeli elites with a new, more Asiatic (http://www.slate.com/id/2211915) influence, one that is now – with the rise of the Israel far right – the dominant factor in Israeli politics.
Birthed by leftist Zionists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Zionism) who sought to build an egalitarian community in the midst of a desert, the modern state of Israel has taken on the characteristics of its neighbors – gone native, so to speak, both culturally and politically. The large scale infusion (http://www.roadjunky.com/cultureguide/1412/racism-and-immigration-in-israel) of North African and Asiatic populations has changed Israeli society irrevocably, so that, today, the rise of a thuggish fascist demagogue like Avigdor Lieberman (http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2006/10/27/a-jewish-hitler/), the former bouncer turned Foreign Minister, is all too believable. Lieberman isn’t a political anomaly: he and his party represent what is the dominant trend (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/entire-political-system-shifting-rightward-1.269963) in Israeli politics.
In understanding how the Israelis justify killing sixteen civilians (http://sify.com/news/16-killed-30-injured-as-israeli-armed-forces-storm-gaza-aid-ships-news-international-kf5nudcgcgf.html) in international waters – and kidnapping hundreds (http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1269117/Israel-holds-hundreds-seized-during-raid) – we have to look at it from the viewpoint of a savage. Now I don’t mean by that term someone necessarily wearing animal skins, and wielding a club: savages can wear Armani suits, and wield nuclear weapons, as the history of the twentieth century attests. In the West, however, the culture and especially religious belief prevents the celebration of savagery as civic virtue: when we commit atrocities, we justify it as a proportionate use of force in retaliation for previous acts of aggression by the victims of our wrath. Hiroshima and Nagasaki (http://www.lewrockwell.com/raico/raico22.html) – and the arguments used to buttress the case for killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians – come to mind. The death of innocents is explained away as “collateral damage (http://blogs.abcnews.com/nightlinedailyline/2010/05/al-qaedas-no-3-killed-and-use-of-drones-.html).”
The savage mind, however, works differently. Shorn of what we would recognize as a moral sense, the savage glories (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:LutgqvNxSwYJ:www.tomdispatch.com/post/174938/kill_them_we_are_going_to_wipe_them_out_+bush+%22k ick+ass%22&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us) in his capacity for pitiless violence. It’s a survival mechanism: in his world, red in tooth and claw, instilling fear in your opponent means winning more than half the battle. As a survival strategy, it’s like the one inmate who mutters ominously to himself while exhibiting all the characteristics of a violent psychotic: the other prisoners give him plenty of space because they think he’s liable to do anything. So, too, in the case of the Israelis, who are signaling their willingness to go to any lengths in order to instill the fear of their wrath far and wide.
Yes, they’re telling us, not even you in the West – our “friends” and allies – are exempt. We’ll kill your people, and kidnap them with impunity. We’ll steal your secrets (http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2005/06/15/indictment-shows-washington-is-israeli-occupied-territory/), and the identities of your citizens (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/germany-france-also-request-israeli-answers-on-dubai-fake-passports-1.263521): we’ll spy on you (http://www.antiwar.com/orig/giraldi.php?articleid=13906), and collaborate with your enemies (http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2005/08/03/with-friends-like-this/) (and ours). Nothing is beneath us. The voice of the Israeli Attila rings loud and clear, and it is telling us what was clearly said by Ron Torossian (http://gawker.com/5069457/ronn-torossian-i-think-we-should-kill-a-hundred-arabs-or-a-thousand-arabs), organizer of the June 1 “we stand with Israel” demonstration outside the Turkish UN mission:
“I think we should kill a hundred Arabs or a thousand Arabs for every one Jew they kill.”
This precisely describes the guiding principle of the Israelis’ strategic vision: respond to a few stray rockets (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/05/israelandthepalestinians) with a full-scale invasion (http://www.goldstone-report.org/) and prolonged occupation and blockade (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/apr/16/israel). Respond to the imaginary “threat” of a ship full of unarmed “activists” and journalists by launching a military assault (http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/06/anti-israel_pro.html), murdering sixteen and wounding a good number of the survivors. Torossian, who has taken on the job of defending this act of savagery, is at least honest in accurately transmitting the Israeli view and its implications. After all, why stop at killing a mere thousand Arabs: why not a hundred thousand, or a million?
This is the voice of the savage being raised in the midst of our advanced industrial civilization: it’s as if a giant atavism suddenly reared its shaggy head above the New York City skyline, shaking its fist and roaring as skyscrapers tremble. It is Nietzsche’s blond beast (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Genealogy_of_Morality) speaking in Hebrew. The IDF is beyond good and evil, the settlers Overmen with Brooklyn accents (http://maxblumenthal.com/2009/06/feeling-the-hate-in-jerusalem-on-the-eve-of-obamas-speech-in-cairo/).
To add a note of hilarity to this foreboding scene, we have the Israelis and their amen corner claiming the crew and passengers “ambushed (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1B3GGLL_enUS371US371&q=idf+ambushed&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=)” the poor defenseless IDF, complaining that they beat their assaulters with whatever makeshift weapon they could lay hands on. The “proof” that this was a boatload of “militants” – terrorists, in fact, in league with al Qaeda and Hamas (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/Flotilla-was-sent-by-group-with-links-to-Al-Qaeda-Israel/articleshow/6000825.cms) – is that they defended themselves. It’s funny how, even in justifying a brazen assertion of dominance, the defenders of the Jewish state revert to the role of the victim. Old habits are hard to break, but one has to wonder: what kind of mental processes allow a person to make such arguments?
We are dealing, here, with a sociopathic tendency that only takes on the superficial appearance of a political ideology. The classic profile (http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html) of the sociopath is one so fixated on the fulfillment of his own desires that every means are used to achieve his ends. Out of such raw materials serial killers are made, and also dictators like Stalin and Hitler. Add the animating factor of religion to the mix, and a monster arises out of the bubbling brew, a bestial creature bereft of morality (http://www.haaretz.com/news/chabad-rabbi-jews-should-kill-arab-men-women-and-children-during-war-1.277616), and without any check on its inherently destructive nature.
In Israel’s case the creature can more accurately be termed a monster in the Frankenstein mold, that is, a monster created by the mad scientists who have been in charge of US foreign policy since the Reagan years (http://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/06/world/on-middle-east-policy-a-major-influence.html?pagewanted=all). We nurtured the young Frankenstein when he was but a babe in the cradle, recognizing the Jewish state at a crucial moment (http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/index.php) in its development, and since that time subsidizing it, arming it, and protecting it from its own worst impulses – until, today, we have a perfectly monstrous juvenile delinquent turned sociopath on our hands, who’s mugging the neighbors, stealing from our wallet, and thumbing his arrogant nose at all and sundry for good measure.
A few columns back, I asked: Have the Israelis gone crazy (http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/07/21/israel-and-the-nutbar-factor/)? The Mediterranean Massacre answers that question with a resounding yes.
So what do you do when one of your neighbors, or friends, goes off the deep end, and starts making life difficult for everyone around him? Well, you can call the cops, but in this case that’s not possible: the US-brokered resolution passed by the UN Security Council managed to condemn the violence while not mentioning its authors. The Obama administration, for its part, “stands with Israel,” as Jack Tapper reports (http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/06/official-us-will-stand-with-israel.html) for ABC News:
“I’m told there won’t be any daylight between the US and Israel in the aftermath of the incident on the flotilla yesterday, which resulted in the deaths of 10 activists… ‘The president has always said that it will be much easier for Israel to make peace if it feels secure,’ a senior administration official tells ABC News.”
If the only way we can make the Israelis feel “secure” is by allowing them to engage in international piracy on the high seas, then perhaps this is the sort of high-maintenance relationship we can no longer afford. When Israelis are allowed to kill and kidnap Americans, without having to endure even a mild rebuke, one has to wonder what, exactly, is going on in Washington, D.C. Yes, the Israel lobby is one of the most powerful, but surely there’s someone in those circles willing to stand up for America and American interests – isn’t there?
Although information is still sketchy, there may be as many as nine Americans traveling with the flotilla, including Joe Meadors (http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2010-06-01/article/35497?headline=East-Bay-Citizens-Condemn-Israel-Attack-on-Gaza-Aid-Flotilla), a veteran of the 1967 bombing (http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/margolis12.html) of the USS Liberty: no word yet as to whether he survived the Mediterranean Massacre. Other possible American victims of Israeli state terrorism include Ann Wright (http://www.kitv.com/news/23762985/detail.html), former US Army colonel and Deputy Chief of Mission to Afghanistan. Underscoring the dire physical threat posed by the flotilla to Israel’s national security, we have the 81-year-old Ambassador Edward L. Peck (http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2010/05/30/gaza-freedom-flotilla), former State Department Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania, Deputy Director of the Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism at the Reagan White House, and State Department Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. These are the dangerous “militants” who “ambushed” the delicate flowers of the IDF.
If the Israelis killed or injured a single American – and we still don’t know – the “we stand with Israel” position of the Obama administration approaches treason (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:9aHxFJSlG5AJ:www.usconstitution.net/const.html+constittution+treason&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us). That’s a word the War Party uses with promiscuous abandon, but in this instance I’m using it because it precisely describes the policy of sacrificing one’s own citizens on the altar of fealty to a foreign capital. If “a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils,” as our first President put it (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp), then Obama’s craven act of appeasement in this instance epitomizes all that Washington feared and warned against.
As I have long warned, the political evolution of Israeli society is taking a disturbing turn, and the one question that we ought to ask ourselves is why hasn’t the Israeli government had to suffer any blowback on the home front? Why isn’t the Israeli public up in arms over this brazen violation of international law and common sense? Why do the fascist thugs in possession of the Israeli state still enjoy the support of the Israeli people?
The answer is that Israeli society has long ago been poisoned by the bacillus of fascism (http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j042902.html), and – sheltered under the umbrella of US military and financial support – the bacterium has flourished in the perfect Petri dish of generous American aid. Now the creature has broken out of the laboratory, and is roaming the world in search of victims – and finding them in a couple of boat loads of lefty journalists and international do-gooder types. What we ought to be asking ourselves, somewhat nervously, is: who’s next?

Paul Rigby
06-02-2010, 09:09 PM
The Mediterranean Massacre
Israel as the blond beast
by Justin Raimondo (http://original.antiwar.com/author/justin/), June 02, 2010

Birthed by leftist Zionists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Zionism) who sought to build an egalitarian community in the midst of a desert, the modern state of Israel has taken on the characteristics of its neighbors – gone native, so to speak, both culturally and politically. The large scale infusion (http://www.roadjunky.com/cultureguide/1412/racism-and-immigration-in-israel) of North African and Asiatic populations has changed Israeli society irrevocably, so that, today, the rise of a thuggish fascist demagogue like Avigdor Lieberman (http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2006/10/27/a-jewish-hitler/), the former bouncer turned Foreign Minister, is all too believable.

Er, what? North Africans and Asiatics are innately, what, pro-fascist, uncivilized? Bollocks. Israel has marched remorselessly to the far-right because its US sponsors wanted it to.


what kind of mental processes allow a person to make such arguments?

Quite.

Contempt for Israel's butchery shouldn't blind us to grotesque nonsense like this from Raimondo.

Helen Reyes
06-02-2010, 09:33 PM
Rumour has it one of the dead is an American. Probably why they won't release the names or all the hostages.

Netanyahu is a crazy fascist. Last time he was in power this kind of crap happened all the time. Someone had to be assassinated for him to achieve power that time. "I stand with Israel" means getting rid of Bibi, first of all. His brand of demagogery is destructive to all. He's basically a Bush neocon on speed and the other rumour is he has a US passport.

Mark Stapleton
06-02-2010, 11:51 PM
The Mediterranean Massacre
Israel as the blond beast
by Justin Raimondo (http://original.antiwar.com/author/justin/), June 02, 2010

Birthed by leftist Zionists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Zionism) who sought to build an egalitarian community in the midst of a desert, the modern state of Israel has taken on the characteristics of its neighbors – gone native, so to speak, both culturally and politically. The large scale infusion (http://www.roadjunky.com/cultureguide/1412/racism-and-immigration-in-israel) of North African and Asiatic populations has changed Israeli society irrevocably, so that, today, the rise of a thuggish fascist demagogue like Avigdor Lieberman (http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2006/10/27/a-jewish-hitler/), the former bouncer turned Foreign Minister, is all too believable.


Er, what? North Africans and Asiatics are innately, what, pro-fascist, uncivilized? Bollocks. Israel has marched remorselessly to the far-right because its US sponsors wanted it to.


what kind of mental processes allow a person to make such arguments?

Quite.

Contempt for Israel's butchery shouldn't blind us to grotesque nonsense like this from Raimondo.


I don't know what the author means in regard to the infusion of North Africans and Asiatics either, but the rest of the piece was on the money, imo.

Ed Jewett
06-03-2010, 01:46 AM
http://extra.volkskrant.nl/opinie/media/od100601_620.jpg (http://extra.volkskrant.nl/opinie/media/od100601_620.jpg)

Magda Hassan
06-03-2010, 04:17 AM
?HH website downed before Israeli attack on aid convoy

http://medya.todayszaman.com/todayszaman/2010/06/03/ihh.jpg
The online home of the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (?HH), one of the organizers of a convoy of six aid vessels bound for the Gaza Strip, was hit by a denial-of-service (DoS) attack moments before the Israel military brutally attacked the convoy in international waters -- killing at least nine peace activists -- on Monday.
The website, www.ihh.org.tr (http://www.ihh.org.tr/), has been offline ever since the widely deplored Israeli attack was launched. The developments on the Mavi Marmara, the largest of the three Turkish ships in the convoy, had been streamed live on the website. After its broadcast was cut, the international community was stripped of the ability to witness the bloody event.
Israeli authorities embarked on an enthusiastic PR campaign following the attack, claiming that Israeli naval commandos opened fire on peace activists onboard the vessels in self-defense, an allegation vehemently denied by volunteers returning to their home countries after being deported. Israel also prevented journalists from receiving and reporting information regarding developments after the attack.
At the moment, the ?HH’s page on social networking site Facebook.com has replaced its official website in functioning to connect people around the world with the association and to decry the Israeli offensive, which has drawn the ire of international organizations including the UN, NATO and the European Union. The number of members of the ?HH’s Facebook page has grown from about 18,000 to over 76,000 in only two days. The page can be viewed at www.facebook.com/ihhtr (http://www.facebook.com/ihhtr).
(http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-211989-100-ihh-website-downed-before-israeli-attack-on-aid-convoy.html)
03 June 2010, Thursday
TODAY’S ZAMAN ?STANBUL
http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-211989-100-ihh-website-downed-before-israeli-attack-on-aid-convoy.html

Peter Presland
06-03-2010, 05:39 AM
Debka file is THE Israeli hard line Zionist MSM outlet (http://www.debka.com/article/8829/). Given his long-standing facist credentials this is difficult to envisage but Netanyahu it appears, is in trouble from his Right.

.. and this thing is very far from over - all eye's on the Rachael Corrie.

....... Our counter-terror sources confirm that for the first time ever, the government in Jerusalem flouted legal and judicial opinion and sent out of Israel's jurisdiction a pack of terrorists who were filmed attacking Israeli soldiers without trial, together with the bodies of unidentified assailants without giving the investigating authorities a chance to carry out autopsies and find out if they were wanted for security offensives.
After Israel gave way on this, the Erdogan government upped the pressure with further ultimatums.
After declaring it was vital to prevent hundreds of Iranian ships reaching Gaza with thousands of heavy ballistic missiles for Hamas, Netanyahu faced a fresh Turkish demand to lift the blockade on Gaza without delay.
Furthermore, the Irish vessel Rachel Corrie, which was left out of the flotilla after it developed technical trouble, was discovered to have changed course from a direct route to Gaza and headed for a stopover at a Turkish port. debkafile's counter-terror sources disclose suspicions in the Israeli government and naval command that the Irish ship would take aboard a new batch of trained Turkish IHH terrorists and head for the Gaza Strip. They might even be the same IHH activists who attacked Israeli commandos on the Marmara and were deported Wednesday.
Erdogan has resolved that this group which he personally sponsored will reach Gaza Port by hook or by crook. It is also feared in Jerusalem that he may attach an escort of Turkish warships and air force jets to accompany the Rachel Corrie and make sure the ship breaks through the blockade to its destination.
The Irish ship was first scheduled to anchor Saturday, June 5, but its detour to Turkey will delay its arrival by a couple of days.

Mark Stapleton
06-03-2010, 07:15 AM
.. and this thing is very far from over - all eye's on the Rachael Corrie.



Indeed they are, Peter.


And herein lies the opportunity for President Obama--currently standing shamefully in the corner wearing the dunce's cap--to redeem himself. If he were to cast his shackles aside and publicly demand that Israel allow safe passage of the MV Rachel Corrie to Gaza, then Israel would have to comply. They can't take on the entire planet no matter how tough they think they are. If they did not comply, and another massacre resulted, the Zionist experiment is then effectively over, and they might as well pack up their things and fuck off back to Florida and New York to their million dollar condos.


MLK was an African American with balls. He would have dragged the Israelis into line long ago. Does Obama have any balls?


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a man with balls. A great statesman at a time when they are sorely needed.


If the Gaza blockade causes a war to break out, then its on Obama's head. He has about 48 hours to decide whether or not he wants to go down in history as a chickenshit coward.

Peter Presland
06-03-2010, 08:17 AM
.. and this thing is very far from over - all eye's on the Rachael Corrie.

..... And herein lies the opportunity for President Obama--currently standing shamefully in the corner wearing the dunce's cap--to redeem himself. ....

MLK was an African American with balls. He would have dragged the Israelis into line long ago. Does Obama have any balls?

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a man with balls. A great statesman at a time when they are sorely needed.

If the Gaza blockade causes a war to break out, then its on Obama's head. He has about 48 hours to decide whether or not he wants to go down in history as a chickenshit coward.

Re: the boldfaced bit:

I agree it would be on his head but, assuming war between Israel and Turkey/Iran/Syria IS judged to be the way to go, that is certainly not what would be fed to the Western Sheeple - and given the implications, the vast majority would probably, yet again, accept the official narrative - for a while anyway and depending how it all turned out.

Suppose that toppling Erdogan is judged a priority in spite of the risks, then this conjunction of events could just be manoeuvred into the best 'casus-beli' for attacking Iran, Syria, Hezbolla and Hamas that the US/Israel is likely to get. It is exactly what CIA/Mossad and the rest of the Western Intelligence axis have specialised in and honed to a fine art over decades. Stir the pot, manipulate, provoke etc - secure in the knowledge that you can obliterate any of the protagonists at will and create your own version of reality. It's wearing a bit thin by now but I wouldn't bet against it.

IMHO this whole developing situation is fraught with grave peril but, given the state of the globalisation project, I would put the odds at best at about evens that something like that has/has not been carefully planned and orchestrated.

Mark Stapleton
06-03-2010, 09:15 AM
.. and this thing is very far from over - all eye's on the Rachael Corrie.

..... And herein lies the opportunity for President Obama--currently standing shamefully in the corner wearing the dunce's cap--to redeem himself. ....

MLK was an African American with balls. He would have dragged the Israelis into line long ago. Does Obama have any balls?

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a man with balls. A great statesman at a time when they are sorely needed.

If the Gaza blockade causes a war to break out, then its on Obama's head. He has about 48 hours to decide whether or not he wants to go down in history as a chickenshit coward.

Re: the boldfaced bit:

I agree it would be on his head but, assuming war between Israel and Turkey/Iran/Syria IS judged to be the way to go, that is certainly not what would be fed to the Western Sheeple - and given the implications, the vast majority would probably, yet again, accept the official narrative - for a while anyway and depending how it all turned out.

Suppose that toppling Erdogan is judged a priority in spite of the risks, then this conjunction of events could just be manoeuvred into the best 'casus-beli' for attacking Iran, Syria, Hezbolla and Hamas that the US/Israel is likely to get. It is exactly what CIA/Mossad and the rest of the Western Intelligence axis have specialised in and honed to a fine art over decades. Stir the pot, manipulate, provoke etc - secure in the knowledge that you can obliterate any of the protagonists at will and create your own version of reality. It's wearing a bit thin by now but I wouldn't bet against it.

IMHO this whole developing situation is fraught with grave peril but, given the state of the globalisation project, I would put the odds at best at about evens that something like that has/has not been carefully planned and orchestrated.

I can't see how Israel alone could fight against such an array of opponents and succeed--unless they unleashed nukes and destroyed themselves in the process. The entire region may yet unite against Israel in the event of another war.

The circumstances are much different to 1967 for example. Unlike then, Israel has now alienated itself from much of Europe, Asia and indeed most of the world. Spin won't work when the rest of the world knows the score. Because of the internet, Zionist control over information has been weakened. They can't impose an alternative reality like they used to. Their efforts to do so in this recent debacle have been an abject failure.

And America has no pretext for fighting on Israel's side--the slavering rednecks in the Republican Party notwithstanding. They don't even have a formal defence treaty with Israel--just a set of vague 'understandings'. The top military brass have also displayed a reluctance to follow Israel's lead of late. Despite Israel's control over the US legislature and much of its institutions, there's dissent everywhere--and its becoming more vocal.

Iran has been very careful not to provoke the Israel/US axis into war. They insist on their right to nuclear energy just like anyone else, but they haven't stepped over the mark once, much to the annoyance and frustration of the true axis of evil.

In their desperation, Israel may expedite all the false flag attacks they have in the pipeline in order to catalyse the west into supporting them. Bombs (and God knows what else) might start going off everywhere in the west. I certainly hope I'm wrong there, but what I've learned over the last ten years or so is that you can never underestimate the evil of the Zionist regime. They've developed a seige mentality against the rest of the world.

Magda Hassan
06-03-2010, 09:42 AM
Last time I looked the MV Rachel Corrie was flagged in Cameroon IIRC. It has been leased by some Irish humanitarian group to send aid to Gaza. Does any one know any different? And what it may mean in a confrontation with the Israelis?

Edit: The Rachel Corrie is registered in Cambodia.

Peter Lemkin
06-03-2010, 10:32 AM
Last time I looked the MV Rachel Corrie was flagged in Cameroon IIRC. It has been leased by some Irish humanitarian group to send aid to Gaza. Does any one know any different? And what it may mean in a confrontation with the Israelis?

It had originally meant to be with the original flotilla, but had some mechanical problems that delayed it. I believe the above it correct. I predict more of the same from the Israeli's - who may try not to kill quite as many this time.....but the chances of doing so is there and more than 50-50; as if they did not [they fear] it would break their illegal blockade and open the doors for Gaza to live like a normal entity.....Israel, for all of their propaganda, lies and bravado are on the defensive now. I heard there was an Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner on board, I'll catch the name again and put it up.....kill her and there will be trouble......but I see little world reaction to the 9 or so dead...including a 19 year old American.

Peter Presland
06-03-2010, 10:40 AM
I can't see how Israel alone could fight against such an array of opponents and succeed--unless they unleashed nukes and destroyed themselves in the process. The entire region may yet unite against Israel in the event of another war.

The circumstances are much different to 1967 for example. Unlike then, Israel has now alienated itself from much of Europe, Asia and indeed most of the world. Spin won't work when the rest of the world knows the score. Because of the internet, Zionist control over information has been weakened. They can't impose an alternative reality like they used to. Their efforts to do so in this recent debacle have been an abject failure.

And America has no pretext for fighting on Israel's side--the slavering rednecks in the Republican Party notwithstanding. They don't even have a formal defence treaty with Israel--just a set of vague 'understandings'. The top military brass have also displayed a reluctance to follow Israel's lead of late. Despite Israel's control over the US legislature and much of its institutions, there's dissent everywhere--and its becoming more vocal.

Iran has been very careful not to provoke the Israel/US axis into war. They insist on their right to nuclear energy just like anyone else, but they haven't stepped over the mark once, much to the annoyance and frustration of the true axis of evil.

In their desperation, Israel may expedite all the false flag attacks they have in the pipeline in order to catalyse the west into supporting them. Bombs (and God knows what else) might start going off everywhere in the west. I certainly hope I'm wrong there, but what I've learned over the last ten years or so is that you can never underestimate the evil of the Zionist regime. They've developed a seige mentality against the rest of the world.
I think we're in danger of discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin here, but a couple of points:

Firstly I don't think America needs a pretext. 'America', as used and abused by you-know-who, is largely irrelevant. It is a trans-national elite dominated by the US PNAC-aligned political establishment that calls the shots and I don't think there's much doubt about its bought-and-paid Zionist loyalties. The only question for me is the extent to which the US military will continue to allow itself to be the tool of that trans-national agenda.

On that analysis, IF Erdogan is judged a serious enough threat and Syria/Iran can be drawn into action in support, that trans-national elite have the makings of the casus beli against the Axis of Evil they so desperately need. Sterling efforts being made with North Korea right now too,

I don't see all that as a done deal but historical precedents are not encouraging.

Mark Stapleton
06-03-2010, 11:03 AM
Last time I looked the MV Rachel Corrie was flagged in Cameroon IIRC. It has been leased by some Irish humanitarian group to send aid to Gaza. Does any one know any different? And what it may mean in a confrontation with the Israelis?

http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/list-of-passengers-aboard-mv-rachel-corrie-en

The passernger list.

2 Irish and 9 Malaysians. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir has been a vocal critic of Israel for years and is a sponsor of this humanitarian voyage. Although he's not on board, he has balls.

I hope the ship is nowhere near Cameroon, otherwise we're in big trouble.:heeeelllllooooo:

Magda Hassan
06-03-2010, 11:12 AM
Yep, Mark. Forgot about the Malaysian involvement on that ship. But it is still flagged in Cameroon. What ever that may mean.

Mark Stapleton
06-03-2010, 11:51 AM
I can't see how Israel alone could fight against such an array of opponents and succeed--unless they unleashed nukes and destroyed themselves in the process. The entire region may yet unite against Israel in the event of another war.

The circumstances are much different to 1967 for example. Unlike then, Israel has now alienated itself from much of Europe, Asia and indeed most of the world. Spin won't work when the rest of the world knows the score. Because of the internet, Zionist control over information has been weakened. They can't impose an alternative reality like they used to. Their efforts to do so in this recent debacle have been an abject failure.

And America has no pretext for fighting on Israel's side--the slavering rednecks in the Republican Party notwithstanding. They don't even have a formal defence treaty with Israel--just a set of vague 'understandings'. The top military brass have also displayed a reluctance to follow Israel's lead of late. Despite Israel's control over the US legislature and much of its institutions, there's dissent everywhere--and its becoming more vocal.

Iran has been very careful not to provoke the Israel/US axis into war. They insist on their right to nuclear energy just like anyone else, but they haven't stepped over the mark once, much to the annoyance and frustration of the true axis of evil.

In their desperation, Israel may expedite all the false flag attacks they have in the pipeline in order to catalyse the west into supporting them. Bombs (and God knows what else) might start going off everywhere in the west. I certainly hope I'm wrong there, but what I've learned over the last ten years or so is that you can never underestimate the evil of the Zionist regime. They've developed a seige mentality against the rest of the world.
I think we're in danger of discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin here, but a couple of points:

Firstly I don't think America needs a pretext. 'America', as used and abused by you-know-who, is largely irrelevant. It is a trans-national elite dominated by the US PNAC-aligned political establishment that calls the shots and I don't think there's much doubt about its bought-and-paid Zionist loyalties. The only question for me is the extent to which the US military will continue to allow itself to be the tool of that trans-national agenda.

On that analysis, IF Erdogan is judged a serious enough threat and Syria/Iran can be drawn into action in support, that trans-national elite have the makings of the casus beli against the Axis of Evil they so desperately need. Sterling efforts being made with North Korea right now too,

I don't see all that as a done deal but historical precedents are not encouraging.

Well said.

We are really moving into uncharted territory now.

The North Korean comedy sank without trace. At least they're mixing comedy with tragedy.

Magda Hassan
06-03-2010, 01:46 PM
Last time I looked the MV Rachel Corrie was flagged in Cameroon IIRC. It has been leased by some Irish humanitarian group to send aid to Gaza. Does any one know any different? And what it may mean in a confrontation with the Israelis?

It had originally meant to be with the original flotilla, but had some mechanical problems that delayed it. I believe the above it correct. I predict more of the same from the Israeli's - who may try not to kill quite as many this time.....but the chances of doing so is there and more than 50-50; as if they did not [they fear] it would break their illegal blockade and open the doors for Gaza to live like a normal entity.....Israel, for all of their propaganda, lies and bravado are on the defensive now. I heard there was a Nobel Peace Prize winner on board, but exactly who was not named.
My bolding above Looks like the Israelis had sabotaged some of the boats before they left Cyprus.


Gaza aid flotilla: Israeli sabotage suspected

Israel's military may have sabotaged two boats carrying Free Gaza activists after both malfunctioned at the same time in the same way prior to the raid Tuesday 1 June 2010 16.26 BST http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Travel/Pix/pictures/2010/6/1/1275404058272/Israels-raid-on-the-Free--006.jpg Israel's raid on the Free Gaza flotilla has sparked protests around the world. Two passenger boats may also have been sabotaged prior to the raid Photograph: Yossi Zamir/EPA Israel (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/israel) gave strong indications today that its forces had secretly sabotaged some of the ships bound for Gaza (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gaza) as part of the freedom flotilla.
Matan Vilnai, the deputy defence minister, was asked on Israel Radio whether there had not been a smarter alternative to direct assault. He answered that "all possibilities had been considered," adding: "The fact is that there were less than the 10 ships that were due to participate in the flotilla."
The comments appeared to dovetail with reports that two of the vessels malfunctioned at the same time and in the same way. Challenger I and Challenger II, carrying 36 activists, were forced into port in Cyprus on Friday evening when steering systems on both ships broke down on the passage from Heraklion in Crete, a campaign spokeswoman said.
Challenger II also started taking on water after the bilge pump suddenly stopped working and an inspection yesterday revealed "very suspicious" faults, according to Greta Berlin, a spokeswoman for Free Gaza.
An unnamed Israeli Defence Force source who briefed the Knesset's foreign affairs and defence committee on the widely criticised armed interception of the flotilla at sea, also spoke of "grey operations" being mounted against the flotilla. No further detail was reported, probably because of the military censorship rules binding the Israeli media.
Both were forced to radio distress signals to Cypriot ports and Berlin said the captain of Challenger I, Denis Healey, was "frightened that he was not going to be able to get the boat in".
"They had mechanical probles on Friday afternoon at around 3.30pm when they were going towards Cyprus to pick people up. They had been travelling from Crete and had been at sea for about 30 hours," she said.
Once in port in northern Cyprus, Healey had to repair hydraulic lines on the vessel. Challenger II had to pull alongside the main Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, on the high seas 70 miles off Cyprus, to transfer its passengers before it limped into port.
The unnamed Israeli officer also said that military planners had considered trying to stop the Mavi Marmara rather than board it but had decided against it because the Turkish ship was too fast.
There is at least one precedent for naval sabotage by the Israelis. Flotilla 13, the elite naval commando unit that carried out Monday's raid, reportedly blew up a ship named al-Awda (the Return) which was chartered by the PLO in 1988 to dramatise the plight of Palestinian refugees. It sank in Limassol harbour, Cyprus.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/01/israel-gaza-flotilla-sabotage-suspected

Helen Reyes
06-03-2010, 02:17 PM
Had not heard she was sailing under the flag of Cameroon. I hear she has turned off her radio locator to make it harder for the Israelis to find her. The following might shed a little light. It sounds like Ireland is warning Israel there will be dire consequences for attacking Irish citizens.

http://rachelcorriepgpo.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/irish-aid-boat-holds-course-towards-gaza-despite-israel-warning/


Israel warning
In News and Updates on June 2, 2010 at 5:19 am
MV Rachel Corrie avoided capture during flotilla raid but Israeli lieutenant says ‘we will be ready’

“Medical supplies being loaded into the MV Rachel Corrie, which was named after a 23-year-old American killed in Gaza in 2003. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA”

The final boat in the Gaza aid flotilla was sailing at full speed towards the territory’s coast tonight despite warnings that it would be intercepted by Israeli forces.

The MV Rachel Corrie, a 40-year-old cargo ship bought by the Irish arm of the Free Gaza Movement, was delayed and avoided capture during Monday night’s assault. Tonight it was still in international waters about two days from Gaza, carrying a consignment of aid and 19 activists and crew, among them five Irish nationals, the organisation said.

The Irish taoiseach, Brian Cowen, warned Israel tonight that he expected no violence against those on the Rachel Corrie.

“If any harm comes to any of our citizens it will have the most serious consequences,” he said, calling on Israel to guarantee the vessel safe passage through the military blockade of Gaza.

The ship, named after the 23-year-old American killed in Gaza in 2003 while trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian home, had halted in the Mediterranean following the assault while those on board – among them the Nobel peace laureate Máiread Maguire and Denis Halliday, a retired senior UN diplomat – discussed whether they should continue.

It was now carrying as a “second wave” of the flotilla, said Niamh Moloughney, who organised the sailing in Ireland.

“I’d say the mood on board is resilient and steadfast. When people signed up to this they knew what might happen,” said Moloughney. “We expected we would be confronted and there would be a stand-off, but no one expected this. But there’s never really been a question of the boat turning back.”

As well as the Irish nationals, the 1,200-tonne boat is carrying six Malaysians and eight crew of varying nationalities.

All those on board had received training in non-violent resistance before the sailing and had pledged not to fight back if the boat was boarded, Moloughney added.

Speaking on the boat’s satellite phone, Maguire said she was determined the boat should continue on its course.

“We’re not frightened, no, we hope the Israeli government will allow us to go freely in and we know the international community are calling for our safe passage,” she said.

Halliday said he had spoken to Ireland’s foreign minister, Micheál Martin. “He was very reassuring that the government was behind us and he gave us a complete green light to do what we’re doing and he’ll protect us as much as he can,” Halliday said.

Martin himself told parliament: “We will be watching this situation very closely – as indeed will the world – and it is imperative that Israel avoid any action which leads to further bloodshed.”

It appeared clear, however, that Israel planned to stop the ship.

The country’s military was carrying out “professional investigations” into what happened in Monday’s raid, an Israeli marine lieutenant, who was not identified, told Israel’s Army Radio. He added: “And we will also be ready for the Rachel Corrie.”The boat, which was bought at auction by the Free Gaza Movement after being impounded a year before in Dundalk, is carrying a consignment including medical equipment, wheelchairs, school supplies and cement, according to the organisation.


On Bibi, he always seems to form these coalition govts with extreme ultranationalists with a bare minimum of Knesset representation. Regarding possible war with Turkey: the internal dialogue in Israel is basically a case of mass psychosis right now, but the belligerents are either old, infirm, prohibited by their beliefs from actually fighting or not preparing to fight themselves, but plenty ready to act as cheer leaders. The real state of the IDF is highly demoralized, that's why Israel stopped the Lebanon war, not just because of outside pressure.

This scenario would start as a naval war, Lebanon and Syria would likely shoot at Israeli planes and miss them, as they do now. Turkish forces could overwhelm Israel in a conventional battle and their would be high morale on the Turkish side. That only leaves Israel with the possibility of strafing, bombing and harrying Turkish territory from the air, and probably mainly sparsely inhabited eastern Turkey, aka Kurdistan. Israel's big ace up their sleeve would be the nukes, but they'd become total outcasts then and would probably end up losing anyway, because it would piss people off so much and others could join in against Israel, despite Israel's now-dwindling supply of atom bombs. The nuclear war would be limited because Israel's supply is limited. They could nuke Mecca and/or Medina, but that would just stir up the hornet's nest against them. What are the other targets, national capitals? Damascus would be easy to take out, but ... if the "traditional" corrupt and malleable regimes in the Middle East and the Islamic world start to fall, the situation could become even more bellicose and the war against Israel could enjoy even more popular support.

That leaves the US and UK as Israel's fall-back position if they get pushed up against a wall. Except that both US and UK are obligated under NATO to come to Turkey's aid against Israel. What a mess. Sorry, just thinking out loud again.

Oh, and I heard the Turkish leader escaped an assassination attempt by Mossad a year ago, and is not really happy they tried to kill him. There's the NATO stay-behind network in Turkey recently uncovered, possibly this is the same organization that tried to kill him, I haven't followed it. I think if their priority is to kill him now, they've already sort of missed the boat, they failed, and he's mad as hell.

Helen Reyes
06-03-2010, 02:52 PM
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=289017



Nicaragua cuts ties with Israel
Published yesterday (updated) 02/06/2010 16:19

Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The Nicaraguan government Tuesday suspended the country's diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of Israel's deadly raid on the Gaza-bound international aid flotilla on Monday, various media outlets reported.

Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo, who is wife of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, announced the move in a short statement, the Chinese Xinhua news agency reported.

"Nicaragua suspends from today its diplomatic relations with the government of Israel," said the statement.

The Nicaraguan government "emphasized the illegal nature of the attack on a humanitarian mission in clear violation of international and humanitarian law," it added.

The move comes as Turkish-Israel relations hit an all time low, with at least 16 countries calling in Israeli ambassadors.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday called for an independent probe into the attack, which saw at least 10 activists killed by Israeli forces after they intercepted the Gaza-bound aid boat in international waters.

Keith Millea
06-03-2010, 03:16 PM
Rumour has it one of the dead is an American. Probably why they won't release the names or all the hostages.


If this turns out to be true,the dead American better not be the Veteran from the USS Liberty.It will be Israels(and Obummers)worst nightmare when this nations Veterans hit the streets.

Peter Lemkin
06-03-2010, 03:38 PM
Rumour has it one of the dead is an American. Probably why they won't release the names or all the hostages.


If this turns out to be true,the dead American better not be the Veteran from the USS Liberty.It will be Israels(and Obummers)worst nightmare when this nations Veterans hit the streets.

It is not a rumor. He was an American, born in Turkey, 19 years old. I heard his name, but don't recall it and couldn't quickly find it on the internet. It was mentioned on Democracy Now...I'll try to find it shortly. http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/3/huwaida [a great account of a bad event]

Peter Presland
06-03-2010, 05:12 PM
Shot 5 times - 4 times in the head.

But, he was probably a Muslim so I guess that'll be OK then.
This from ABC: (http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Media/american-killed-gaza-aid-flotilla/story?id=10814848)

A U.S. citizen who lived in Turkey is among the nine people killed when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship heading for the Gaza Strip (http://abcnews.go.com/International/Media/israel-deports-turkish-activists-captured-gaza-bound-flotilla/story?id=10804566), officials said today. The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency.

http://a.abcnews.com/images/International/ap_Furkan_Dogan_100603_mn.jpg

This is Nov. 6, 2008 photo made available Thursday June 3, 2010 by his family shows Furkan Dogan, the American citizen who was born in the U.S. in 1991, one of nine activists killed in Monday's pre-dawn military takeover of six aid ships by Israeli forces in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Dogan's body was to be flown to his family's hometown of Kayseri for burial late Thursday, June 3, 2010, the state-run Anatolia News Agency reported. http://a.abcnews.com/assets/images/icons/icon-arrow-up.gif (http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Media/american-killed-gaza-aid-flotilla/story?id=10814848#)
(Dogan Family Archive/AP Photo)

Dogan was a high school student studying social sciences in the town of Kayseri in central Turkey. He was born in the United States and moved to Turkey at the age of 2. He will be buried in his hometown tomorrow.
Dogan's body was returned to Turkey (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=10804391) today along with eight others, all Turkish nationals, who were on board the Mavi Marmara.

Peter Lemkin
06-03-2010, 06:01 PM
JUAN GONZALEZ: The bodies of nine activists killed by Israeli troops on the Gaza aid flotilla arrived in Turkey Thursday morning. The Anatolia news agency reports that eight of the dead were Turks and one was a US citizen of Turkish origin. Turkish forensic experts have confirmed that all nine were shot with guns.

Some 450 of the remaining activists have also arrived in Turkey after being released from Israeli custody. Most of the activists were flown out of Israel with no belongings other than their passports and clothes. A crowd of several thousand gathered in central Istanbul to celebrate the activists’ return. Meanwhile, three air ambulances landed at a military base in Ankara carrying wounded activists who were transferred to hospitals in the city. Officials in Israel say they have released about 700 activists from forty-two countries that were seized from the Gaza aid flotilla.

Seven activists wounded in the Israeli attack are reportedly still being treated in an Israeli hospital, while three others—an Irishman and two women from Australia and Italy—remain in Israeli custody. Ha’aretz reports that there are also still a number of Israeli citizens in detention.

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed criticism of the raid by Israeli commandos on the humanitarian aid flotilla in international waters as "hypocrisy." In a televised address, he said the Israeli soldiers had acted to defend themselves. His comments came as the UN Human Rights Council voted to set up an independent international inquiry into the raid.

Meanwhile, talk is now turning to the next ship on its way across the Mediterranean to try to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The ship is named The Rachel Corrie, after the American peace activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in 2003 when she was trying to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition. About eleven people are onboard, including the Irish Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire.

Huwaida Arraf is the chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement. She was on the flotilla when it was attacked. She was released from Israeli custody Tuesday. She joins us on the phone from Ramallah in the West Bank.

Huwaida, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you talk about the latest developments and also what the Prime Minister had to say?

We’re trying to reach Huwaida Arraf right now on the line. Let us go back for a moment, though, to another guest that we have on the line. Sawsan Zaher is a staff attorney at Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. She has interviewed many of the activists in detention, joining us on the phone from southern Israel.

Sawsan, what have you learned from those hundreds of people who were imprisoned? Who did you talk to? What were their stories of what happened onboard the flotilla?

SAWSAN ZAHER: Yeah, well, first of all, good day to everyone.

I just would like to emphasize that before we even succeeded to meet with the activists, we had a long journey full with obstacles from the Israeli authorities. We knew about the first sixteen detainees that were in Israeli custody and detention that were taken already on Monday, and already when we knew about that, we started to apply in order to meet them, and we were all the time refused. When we knew that they arrived, that all the flotilla or most of the flotilla have arrived to Ashdod, a port, I also went there and also asked to meet the detainees, because they of course have the right to meet a lawyer in order to inform them about their legal rights, etc. I was also refused. The argument then was that the whole port for this action was a closed military zone, and no entrance was allowed.

So we were told that we can get only on the next day, the next day when they will all be brought to prison. And so that’s what we—and so that’s what we did. We got there the next day in the morning, but unfortunately, and in contrast to what they have told us, we were there at around 9:30 in the morning, but they told us no lawyers are allowed. It’s only a day for diplomats, and none of the organizations can take in. However, I am very happy, actually, that we insisted and we stayed there despite their responses, because eventually, around 1:00, we were able to enter. Despite that, they left us, like, for another two hours. So, actually, there were lots of obstacles, when eventually we succeeded to enter. We started—

AMY GOODMAN: Sawsan, before we hear from you the stories, we just got Huwaida Arraf back on the line—

SAWSAN ZAHER: Yeah, sure.

AMY GOODMAN: —and it’s very difficult to get her.

So I just wanted to go, Huwaida, to you, as you were in this aid flotilla. Describe what happened to you and the people you were imprisoned with, the stories that you heard, and now what’s happening with the ship that is coming in, another part of the aid flotilla.

HUWAIDA ARRAF: Sure, I’ll tell you what I can. Thank you for having me, Amy.

I was on the Challenger ship, which is the American flag vessel, and we were one of six ships that were on the flotilla. At approximately midnight, the Israeli navy started radioing us, asking for information, which we supplied to them, as to who we are, what flag we were flying under, where we came from, where we were going. Then they started issuing threats against us, demanding that we turn around and saying that they would be willing to use all necessary force in order to enforce the blockade on Gaza. To this, we replied that the blockade is illegal, and we are unarmed civilians, we are carrying only humanitarian aid, and therefore they would not be justified in using force against us. And we urged them over and over again not to use force against us as we continue on our way to Gaza.

A few hours later, while it was still dark, approximately 4:00, 4:30 in the morning, we saw their naval vessels quickly approaching just around our vessels. On our ship, we had approximately seventeen people, five of them which were American citizens. We all went outside, because we had planned to try to prevent them from boarding our ship as best as we can just using our bodies. Going outside allowed me to see the beginnings of the attack on the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara. We were traveling very close alongside it on its left side. And I saw Zodiacs filled with armed commandos coming up upon the ship, then heard explosions, which I take to be tear—sorry, concussion grenades or sound bombs. And then there were—opening fire. And because we didn’t have any guns or weapons on our ships, fire came from the Israeli commandos. There was also a helicopter overhead. As far as the people on the ship, I could see them at first try to use just water hoses to keep the Israeli soldiers back, but that’s all I was able to see before our ship decided to take as fast as we could.

Although we had initially agreed that we would all stay together and help each other, the captain of the Marmara told us to go on ahead and try to radio out, try to tell the world what was happening, that we were under attack. So we put our boat in full speed and tried to prevent or at least delay them boarding our ship. Unfortunately, we could not get any word out, because our satellite communications systems were jammed. So after about fifteen—ten or fifteen minutes or so, they were able to surround our boat and proceeded to board it.

We tried to put our bodies in the way. We repeated that we’re on an American flag vessel, we are unarmed civilians, don’t board. They had masks and guns, and they proceeded to violently board. They threw concussion grenades onto the boat. They used tasers on people and then, in general, just beat people down that tried to put themselves in the way. We had—we tried to prevent them from getting inside the boat. They broke the glass doors to get access to the wheelhouse. Anyone that stood in the way, they just beat them down. A young Belgian volunteer ended up with a bloody face. Just to give you an example of how they treated us, you know, they grabbed me by the hair and rammed my head into the deck and then were stepping on my head in order to cuff my hands behind my back and then put a sack over my head. And this is the kind of violent treatment that we were subjected to, as Israel says that, yeah, they were as nonviolent as possible and they were the ones under attack.

They immediately went for any kind of media recording equipment, telephones, cameras, that we had and confiscated those, and then proceeded to do their own recording, which I’m presuming is the only recording that’s coming out from their takeover of the ship.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Huwaida, I’d like to ask you, because this has been such a bone of contention and the Israeli government has so vehemently denied it, the issue of the first explosions that you heard on the main boat. Did those occur before any Israelis had actually landed on the boat?

HUWAIDA ARRAF: Yes, yes. You know, we had someone on watch all of the time on our boat just to see when they would start approaching. And so, as soon as we got a call that their naval vessels are coming, we went outside on the deck of the boat, and so I saw the Israeli—the Zodiacs approaching the Marmara, then they were up against it, and immediately heard explosions. This was before—you know, this was almost immediately after we heard that—or we saw them approaching, so they really didn’t have time to enter before we heard these explosions, not only concussion grenades, but opening of fire. I can’t tell you for sure if it was rubber-coated, steel bullets, live ammunition—I’m not quite sure—but there was definitely an opening of fire before they boarded the ship.

AMY GOODMAN: And Huwaida, when did you hear that people onboard the main ship had been killed?

HUWAIDA ARRAF: This wasn’t until much later, after we were pulled into the port of Ashdod. We protested even leaving the ship. We told the Israeli soldiers that we consider ourselves kidnapped. We were attacked in international waters. We were still seventy miles out from the coast of Gaza and nowhere near Israeli territorial waters, and we did not want to go to Israel. And so, they picked us up by our hands and feet one by one. Some people walked, but others were dragged off of the boat. And then we were separated. So I didn’t see any of my colleagues after that. They put me through different levels of interrogation. And it was one of the officers that told me that there had been casualties. At that point, we didn’t know how many, and we still actually are trying to ascertain the whole truth about how many and who.

AMY GOODMAN: We understand from Turkish media nine dead. Eight of them lived in Turkey, one of them a US citizen. Is that your understanding?

HUWAIDA ARRAF: Yeah. Yes, that is the latest information that I have. We’re still following up on it to verify, but that is the latest information that I have. And, you know, it’s worthwhile to say, because I know Israel’s spin machine is working and they’re trying to say that we were violent and the casualties were all our fault, but a few things. One, they were the initial aggressors. Two, they didn’t have to attack, because they knew we constituted no threat to them whatsoever. We kept repeating that we told them we were unarmed civilians. We told them that we had been checked at the port that we departed from. And we told them also that we would be willing to submit to additional checks by a neutral body, whether it be the UN or the ICRC. We weren’t hiding anything at all. And therefore, there was absolutely no justification in using this kind of violence against us. I mean, they sent out armed commandos to attack unarmed ships carrying only aid headed for the Gaza Strip.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Huwaida, the issue of how they have treated the Israeli citizens that were on the boats, apparently in an even harsher way than they have with the international folks that were on the boat, do you have any information on that?

HUWAIDA ARRAF: Yes. Well, I know that they did try—moved to prosecute four of the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, one of them a young lady, Lubna, who—an organizer with the Free Gaza Movement. They stuck them—charges against them, use of violence and other things. But I think they—one, either they recognized that eventually these charges would not hold, the same way that they tried to say that we had weapons on our boats and later they retreated from these claims because there were no weapons on our boats, the same way charging these four with using violence would not have held. And at the same time, there was a sense of solidarity amongst all of the people that were engaged in this mission, and therefore people that were detained and knew about the charges being pressed against these four refused to leave the country until these four were released. Yesterday, actually, there was a big demonstration at the airport, mainly the Turkish activists that refused to get on planes until they found out that the Palestinian citizens of Israel had been released. And they were supposed to be released as of this morning.

AMY GOODMAN: In the United States, the big question that’s being asked by the media, those that are covering this, is why you didn’t allow them to check to see what this humanitarian aid was. And in Sharif Abdel Kouddous’s interview with the Israeli deputy ambassador to the United Nations yesterday that we played, he said that they could go on these ships in international water, the ambassador said, because if there is a threat, there is—they are able to do that, that it is legal.

HUWAIDA ARRAF: [inaudible] never even asked to board and check our ship. What they offered is for us to give them the cargo and that they would deliver it to Gaza. And the response to this is twofold. One, it’s really disingenuous for them to say that, because they know that the cargo that we were carrying is precisely the cargo they have not allowed in Gaza for over three years, and yet they consist of only basic supplies that are desperately needed in Gaza, such as a water filtration systems, books for universities, paper for schools, reconstruction supplies, prefabricated homes. They don’t let these items into Gaza or through what they call their humanitarian corridor. Israel’s blockade on Gaza is so comprehensive and only meant to keep Palestinians basically on the verge of survival or so that one cannot say there’s actual starvation, but it is not a life. They have reduced Gaza to a situation where over 80 percent of the people are in need of humanitarian aid, and Israel trickles in this humanitarian aid.

So we are not interested in perpetuating this cycle. We need to campaign for an end to the policy that leaves Palestinians in need of humanitarian aid, and therefore we not only need to just deliver the aid through negotiation with Israel, we need to end this policy so that Palestinians can have access to the outside world, so that they can import and produce and export and build an economy and be able to lead a life with dignity, instead of just living off of handouts. And so that’s very important to recognize. So them letting the—taking the cargo and letting it in would not have worked for two reasons: one, they wouldn’t have let this cargo in; and two, it’s really about the policy that needs to be changed.

AMY GOODMAN: Huwaida, was there discussion on the boat, among the passengers, about any kind of resistance to the commandos? Did you anticipate the commandos’ reaction onboard, their actions?

HUWAIDA ARRAF: Well, we had agreed as a coalition. We had a few organizing meetings before we actually launched the flotilla. And as the organizing body, we had agreed that we would not resist with any kind of force. We would try to defend our boats as much as possible, mainly using our bodies. And we did agree that also using water or water hoses would be OK to try to keep them away, but that we would not—one, we would not have any kind of weapons on our boat, and two, that we would not use physical force to repel them.

On our boat, it’s exactly what we did. We tried to put our bodies in the way. We were beaten up for it, but we did not respond by physically assaulting the soldiers. I wasn’t on the Marmara at the time of the attack, so I can’t actually say what went down there, though I wouldn’t be surprised if some people, you know, didn’t stick to the agreement amongst all of the coaltion or the organizing members. I mean, you had a situation where a boat of 560 people, most people we had given a training and orientation, but yet, in the middle of the night, you had commandos opening fire on your boat and descending on your boat from above. People might have felt like they had to fight back. But they fought back not really with the weapons or guns, because Israel had those, and they are the ones that launched the initial assault. So this attempt to vilify some people that might have picked up chairs or whatever to defend themselves, I think, is quite misplaced.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And what about the issue that apparently some of the folks also brought children with them and the criticism that—again, that the Israeli government has launched of putting children in such a dangerous situation?

HUWAIDA ARRAF: I spent a couple of days on the Mavi Marmara when our boat had a little bit of technical problems, and there were no children except for one. The first mate of the Marmara had brought his wife and young son onboard, and they were basically the whole time in the captain’s quarter. Generally, you know, the crew captain, first mate are allowed, you know, under international law, to bring their families with them. Whether or not it was a wise decision, I don’t feel like I can comment on. But aside from that family and that one child, there weren’t other children on these boats.

AMY GOODMAN: And Huwaida, the image that is shown in the video of what is described as the commandos being attacked by men with bars or sticks, it’s not clear.

HUWAIDA ARRAF: Like I said, it’s hard for me to comment, because I wasn’t on the boat when it happened, but two things that make me a little bit—that call this into question. One is that we—I saw how they treated us on our boat. We didn’t have sticks or anything like that, and yet they were very violent, and they immediately went to remove any kind of recording equipment that we had. So any of the footage that we took was all gone. And then they proceeded to make their own videos. So I would doubt the authenticity of it.

But let’s say we don’t doubt the authenticity of it, and some people did use bars or whatever they had. Again, we have to go back to the fact that Israel launched the initial attack, and they started firing on the boat before the soldiers even descended onto the boat. And while we, you know, had an agreement as a coalition that we would not fight back using any kind of physical resistance, sometimes you can’t control people’s—how people react to violence, and it may have happened. But the people that did defend themselves in this way shouldn’t be the ones that are vilified or condemned, because Israel knew that they were launching this heavy attack against unarmed boats and unarmed civilians. I don’t know what they—they expect that people would just welcome them onto the boat after they fired in this way and they were masked? They did not lift the masks off their face once. They were carrying M-16s and other weapons. I don’t know what they expected. So it’s really Israel’s policy that is to blame for the casualties that happened.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, the ships that are moving forward now, with Denis Halliday, the former assistant UN Secretary-General who had been in charge in Iraq—he is on the ship—the Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire, they are moving forward toward Gaza. What’s the plan?

HUWAIDA ARRAF: Yes, that is on the Motor Vessel Rachel Corrie, which was always designed to be a part of the flotilla. However, it had some mechanical problems, in addition to another boat that was supposed to be part of the flotilla and had some mechanical problems. They were delayed, unfortunately. At first, we did not want to say we suspected sabotage, but we weren’t saying anything, just trying to deal with the situation. [inaudible] two days ago, Israel actually bragged about the fact that they engaged in sabotaging our boats. But nevertheless, that’s not going to hold them back. We were able to deal with it, the MV Rachel Corrie, and she has been sailing. She is in the Mediterranean now, with the personalities that you mentioned onboard. However, we, as an organization and as a coalition, are now assessing the most strategic time and way to have the Motor Vessel Rachel Corrie approach Gaza. We are dealing with the casualties and the results of the attack on the last flotilla and want to make sure that this one is protected and documented as much as we can and that it has all the political support that we can muster to ensure success. So while it is ready to start the voyage towards Gaza and probably be in Gaza within one or two days, we might actually end up holding it back until we can garner more support to ensure that what happened with the last flotilla doesn’t happen to the MV Rachel Corrie and the vessels that are to follow, because now there is widespread outrage and people ready to donate more boats and more cargo so that we keep up this effort, this international civilian effort, to break the siege on Gaza. So, we will try to keep you updated as much as possible.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you, Huwaida Arraf, for joining us. Huwaida Arraf is the founder of the International Solidarity Movement and chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement. She was part of the Freedom Flotilla that was heading to Gaza when the Israeli commandos landed and attacked. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We continue to talk about the aid flotilla. Juan?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, we also have on the line also someone else who was on that boat. Ann Wright is a retired Army colonel, a former US diplomat. She spent twenty-nine years in the military and later served as a high-ranking diplomat in the State Department. In 2001, she helped oversee the reopening of the US mission in Afghanistan. In 2003, she resigned her State Department post to protest the war in Iraq. She was on the Freedom Flotilla and just deported to Turkey.

AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Wright, welcome to Democracy Now!

ANN WRIGHT: Hi, Amy, Juan.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us what happened to you?

ANN WRIGHT: Well, I was also on the Challenger 1 with Huwaida. And let me just give a great compliment to Huwaida and all of the Free Gaza Movement. It’s a tremendous, tremendous thing that they have done in creating this movement of boats that had six large vessels that went toward Gaza. And let me tell you how thrilling it was to see all of those boats steaming, those civilians trying to challenge the governments of the world that say there must be a siege to strangle the 1.5 million people in Gaza, and yet the citizens of the world are challenging that with everything they’ve got.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Tell us what you saw and how you were treated by the Israeli soldiers.

ANN WRIGHT: Well, I saw the attack on the Marmara also of the helicopters coming over, the rappelling down of the soldiers, the sailors, the Zodiac boats coming up the side, the spraying of them. Then, with that, the captain of the Marmara told us to go ahead to try to get as far away as we could, because we had the fastest boat. We were—as Huwaida very accurately described, our boat was boarded. People were thrown on the deck. Windows were blown out. Flash bangs were used. One of our journalists was hit with something of an electric shock. I don’t know that it was a taser. She doesn’t know, either, yet. One of the women was hit in the face, in the nose, with one of the liquid-filled balls. They were very excessively rough, excessively forceful, on trying to slow down, stop—actually, we were already stopped. They weren’t stopping us at all. We were already dead in the water, and yet all of this force used on us.

AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Wright, I wanted to get your response to Vice President Biden. He was on the Charlie Rose show last night, and he was questioning what the big deal was getting this humanitarian aid directly to Gaza. This is the Vice President.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: You can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not, but the truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know—they’re at war with Hamas—has a right to know whether or not arms are being smuggled in. And up to now, Charlie, what’s happened? They’ve said, “Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship, if you divert slightly north, you can unload it, and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.” So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, “I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight—3,000 rockets on my people.”


AMY GOODMAN: That was Vice President Biden last night. Colonel Ann Wright, your response?

ANN WRIGHT: Well, I think our vice president needs to take another look at this thing. The ships were open to inspection beforehand, and I’m quite sure Mossad had their little agents that were all over that place. These groups are humanitarian groups that are bringing in goods that are needed for the people of Gaza. They’ve had plenty of inspections on them.

If you talk about violence, it’s not 3,000 rockets Hamas is putting on Gaza; it’s a twenty-two-day attack that the Israelis did that killed 1,400 people, wounded 5,000, left 50,000 homeless. And here we are a year and four months later, and the Israelis will not let any sort of reconstruction materials in. And then, when reconstruction materials start coming that way, instead of waiting until—if they have a zone that they are trying to protect, let ships come into it and stop them.

But I would say that there are ways that you can stop them without killing people. There are ways you can stop even passenger ship like that ferry boat, and certainly like our little thirty-foot craft. You don’t have to use commandos with—I mean, you can use commandos with excessive force, which they do, but there are other ways to do it, if you want to kind of preserve a sense of civility, humanity, and meeting the international law, quite honestly.

And going outside a boundary, going into international waters, I mean, what they are are pirates. They are pirates. They kidnap people, and they’re stealing stuff. They’ve probably stolen over a million dollars’ worth of cameras, computers, cell phones. I mean, I’m in Istanbul. We just got here early this morning. Some luggage is here. There’s not a thing in it. Everything has been taken. The Israeli military said, "Oh, yes, we have to count this. You know, we have to take it." Well, what they’ve done, they’ve stolen it. And if we have any friends that are in Israel, I hope that they go down to the black market and see where our stuff is, because somebody is making a killing on this thing.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Ann Wright, once you were in Israeli custody, how were you and the other prisoners treated?

ANN WRIGHT: Well, in the brand new Israeli prison—nobody had ever been in this particular prison in Barsheba that we were in—the treatment was reasonable. However, when we got out to the airport, I have never seen supposedly professional law enforcement people treat others with such disrespect. They were laughing, giggling, commenting on wounded and dead. It was a very pitiful, pitiful performance by law enforcement people. And I think what we saw as internationals coming in there is the tip of the iceberg compared to what Palestinians see every single day from those types of law enforcement officials.

AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Ann Wright, we want to thank you for being with us, speaking to us from Istanbul, where she was just deported to. She is a retired US Army colonel, former US diplomat, spent twenty-nine years in the military, later served as a high-ranking diplomat in the State Department. In 2001, she helped oversee the lead-up to—in 2001, she helped oversee the reopening of the US mission in Afghanistan, in 2003 resigned her State Department post to protest the war in Iraq. She was on the Freedom Flotilla, as was Huwaida Arraf.

Peter Lemkin
06-03-2010, 06:11 PM
The Lone Ship of the Freedom Flotilla: The Rachel Corrie MV Continues to Sail Towards Gaza in Defiance of Israeli Threats

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, June 1, 2010

Following Israel's criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats.

In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

At noon today, I received the following message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie:

RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.

The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.

In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.

We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.

We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza.

Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie.

Sent on behalf of the humanitarian activists on aboard the Rachel Corrie - by PGPO land team (Ram Karthigasu and Christopher Chang)

Matthias Chang, Denis Halliday on board the Rachel Corrie MV

In recent developments, the Netanyahu government is in crisis:

"Senior ministers [of the Netanyahu cabinet] have been sharply critical of the fact that the decision to seize control of the flotilla to Gaza was made after two meetings of the forum of seven senior ministers but without official deliberation by the inner cabinet, the body that has the authority to approve military actions of this scale." (Haaretz.com headlines RSS

What this suggests is that the actual decision to conduct the raids in international waters bypassed the Cabinet.

The question remains: if the Israeli cabinet did not ratify the operation, who ordered the raids and through what procedure?

What were the respective roles of Israeli intelligence and the IDF in planning these raids?

What role was played by Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's White House Chief of Staff, who had meetings with both Netanyahu and president Shimon Peres, respectively on May 26 and 27?

Did Rahm Emmanuel meet officials of Israel's military and intelligence establishment?

Did the Obama administration give the Green Light?

It is important that this news gets out, with a view to ensuring that the Rachel Corrie MV safely reaches the coast of Gaza without encroachment, with a view to breaking Israel's criminal embargo.

In this endeavor we shall prevail. Our hearts and minds are with those who continue to sail on board the Rachel Corrie MV.

It should be noted that Israel has not in any way modified its policy with regard to the Rachel Corrie MV: There are two more ships heading for Gaza including the Rachel Corrie MV. Israel has promised "to respond even more harshly":

“Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war,” the officer said. “That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.” (www.ynetnews.com)


The Rachel Corrie MV is in part supported by the Perdana Global Peace Organization under the helm of Malaysia's former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky is a member of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.

Related Article: Michel Chossudovsky, "Operation Justified Vengeance": Israeli Strike on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is Part of a Broader Military Agenda, May 31, 2010

Peter Lemkin
06-03-2010, 06:16 PM
Ironies of History: Exodus and Gaza Aid Flotilla

Israel's position on blockading a whole people is not sustainable.

By Richard Irvine - Belfast

No one can accuse History of not having a sense of irony. Sixty-three years ago in July 1947 a passenger ship destined for Palestine and named The Exodus was stopped and boarded by the British Navy. The ship was crowded with Holocaust survivors determined to make a new life for themselves in British controlled Palestine. The British, facing Jewish terrorism and trying to keep promises made to the Palestinian Arabs to limit Jewish immigration, were determined to stop it. Accordingly when the Royal Navy boarded the ship twenty miles out from Haifa a full scale battle ensued. Three of the immigrants were killed and dozens injured as British troops beat the passengers on to three separate prison ships. From there these Holocaust survivors were transported back to Germany and were once again placed in camps. The world was horrified; an American newspaper ran the headline, “Back to the Reich.” Delegates from the UN Special Commission on Palestine who watched what occurred were similarly shocked; the Yugoslav delegate cited that what happened to The Exodus “is the best possible evidence we have for allowing Jews into Palestine.”

Since then the fate of The Exodus has achieved legendary status: Leon Uris used it as the basis of his 1958 bestseller of the same name; an award winning film starring Paul Newman came out in 1960; and former Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban, drew a direct link between The Exodus story and the ending of British rule in Palestine. Tellingly a 1996 documentary celebrating the story is entitled, “Exodus 1947: The Ship That Launched A Nation.”

Today another small flotilla of ships is making its way to Palestine. Crammed with humanitarian aid and some 600 international peace activists and human rights workers it is set for Gaza.

Synonymous with violence and poverty Gaza is home to 1.5 million dispossessed and imprisoned Palestinians. Under Israeli control since 1967 Gaza has seen it all and been through it all. Yet the events of the last two years are without precedent. Under blockade since 2007, bombarded in a three week long assault that is called a war, its people have been barely subsisting since. “Put on a diet” according to Israeli government spokesperson, Dov Weisglass, much that is essential for everyday life is banned: cement is banned, pencils banned, paper banned, toys banned, medicines and food restricted.

Of course you can agree with all this and say it is “the terrorist” organisation Hamas that is to blame. You can say that even though all this is illegal under international law it is necessary for Israel’s security. Or you can ask how banning toys is fighting terror?

Like Mary Robinson after the war you can be shocked of course: "Their whole civilisation has been destroyed, I'm not exaggerating....It's almost unbelievable that the world doesn't care while this is happening." Or you can believe Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Leibermann: “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Despite Hamas’ war crimes against Israeli citizens… Israel continues to respond in the most humane way possible.”

Regardless of whom you choose to believe, this weekend you are likely to see another example of Israel’s humanity. Reportedly a quarter of Israel’s Navy has been mobilized to ensure the aid flotilla does not get through. The Israeli press reports that just like the British all those years ago, plans have been made to stop the aid flotilla twenty miles out to sea and transfer the passengers to holding camps or prisons inside Israel before deporting them. For Israel’s Foreign Minister this is not an aid convoy, but “a blatant provocation” and “violent propaganda.” Which is odd really since the convoy, if left unimpeded, will not go near Israel.

However, even if Israel does stop the convoy it should be aware that its position on blockading a whole people is not sustainable. At the time of The Exodus affair future Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared: “To Britain we must say: it is a great illusion to believe us weak. Let Great Britain with her mighty fleet and her many guns and planes know that this people is not weak, and that its strength will stand it in good stead.” Replace Great Britain with Israel and the same applies today.

- Richard Irvine is based in Belfast, Ireland. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Jan Klimkowski
06-03-2010, 07:26 PM
Juxtaposition - definition:
The act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side.


“Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip", a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.


The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency.

Murder - definition:
1. To kill (another human) unlawfully.
2. To kill brutally or inhumanely.
3. To put an end to; destroy.

Keith Millea
06-03-2010, 07:40 PM
Here is an interesting 2 minute video of some of the protests from different countries.It starts out in Sydney.It ends with another illustration of juxtaposition

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kehFikgYkuw&feature=player_embedded

Ed Jewett
06-04-2010, 12:23 AM
That is a unilateral gang-style execution, a specialty of the American-Israeli approach to winning hearts and minds.

Ed Jewett
06-04-2010, 12:37 AM
Lie of the Land: The Dark Heart of a Special Relationship (http://www.chris-floyd.com/articles/1-latest-news/1974-lie-of-the-land-the-dark-heart-of-a-special-relationship.html) http://www.chris-floyd.com/templates/rt_terrantribune_j15/images/pdf_button.png (http://www.chris-floyd.com/index.php?view=article&catid=1:latest-news&id=1974:lie-of-the-land-the-dark-heart-of-a-special-relationship&format=pdf) http://www.chris-floyd.com/templates/rt_terrantribune_j15/images/printButton.png (http://www.chris-floyd.com/index.php?view=article&catid=1:latest-news&id=1974:lie-of-the-land-the-dark-heart-of-a-special-relationship&tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=) http://www.chris-floyd.com/templates/rt_terrantribune_j15/images/emailButton.png (http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/mailto/?tmpl=component&link=aHR0cDovL2NocmlzLWZsb3lkLmNvbS9hcnRpY2xlcy8xL WxhdGVzdC1uZXdzLzE5NzQtbGllLW9mLXRoZS1sYW5kLXRoZS1 kYXJrLWhlYXJ0LW9mLWEtc3BlY2lhbC1yZWxhdGlvbnNoaXAua HRtbA%3D%3D) Written by Chris Floyd Thursday, 03 June 2010 23:38 Israel's deadly attack on the relief boat bound for Gaza almost defies comment. Its wanton criminality is so blatant and its "justifications" so transparently false (http://www.juancole.com/2010/06/netanyahu-defiant-still-fighting-ww-ii-hypocrisy-of-netanyahu-lieberman-opposing-terrorism.html) that condemnation seems almost superfluous; the evil of the action is self-evident. Likewise, the reactions of the American power structure – timorous appeasement from the White House, unhinged bloodthirstiness from Congress – have been so wildly inappropriate and utterly divorced from reality that they can scarcely bear any serious consideration; they are simply roars of meaningless noise, set loose in hopes of drowning out the truth.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the incident (beside the loss of innocent life) is its glaring confirmation of this long-established, deeply destructive fact: there is no outrage that Israel can commit that the United States government will not countenance.

Of course, this has been true for decades, encompassing everything from the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, its illegal development of a nuclear arsenal, its decades of relentless espionage in the United States, its atrocities in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, its state-terror, collateral-damaging "targeted assassinations" around the world, its heinous apartheid wall, the open, often genocidal racism of many of its political and government leaders, its mass cluster-bombing at the end of its latest military aggression in Lebanon, its horrific civilian slaughter in its latest full-scale assault on Gaza, and the subsequent strangulation of Gaza, a war crime of collective punishment that resembles nothing so much as the Nazi ghettoization of Jews in Warsaw. And throughout all of this, the United States has given billions of dollars to Israel, year in, year out, decade after decade, to support its war machine and its structures of repression.

So in a very real sense, the current situation is nothing new at all. But it is also true that this atrocity-producing dynamic has become ever more frenzied since the launching of the bi-partisan, world-wide, multi-generational "War on Terror." There is no longer even any pretense of any red lines that Israel might cross that would lead to even the slightest diminution of American support. In any case, as Glenn Greenwald (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/03/israel/index.html) (among others) points out, the two nations now share fully and openly the same policies of torture, lawlessness, state terror (including assassination), military aggression, war profiteering and extremist, demonizing rhetoric aimed at keeping their populations roiled with fear, anger and confusion.

(In fact, the Americans kill far more innocent civilians in predominantly Muslim lands each year than the Israelis -- who, if only in this, might feel justifiably wronged in being singled out for international condemnation when their mentors and paymasters in Washington commit the same depredations on a much larger scale.)

It's true that part of the American elite's indulgence of Israel stems from the political clout of the "Jewish Lobby." And this influence, which traditionally weighed most heavily on the Democratic Party, has now been joined by the even more zealous -- not to say maniacal and mindless -- support for Israel from America's religious Right, which has almost entirely subsumed the Republican Party. Just as elite bipartisan consensus on military empire and unrestrained corporate oligarchy have eliminated institutional barriers to vast atrocities, crimes and follies in these areas, so too has the convergence of traditional Lobby clout and empowered religious extremism eliminated any real opposition in Washington to any Israeli policy or action.

But I believe there is an even deeper root to this "special relationship" -- and that's the process of "ethnic cleansing" and violent land-grabbing which is absolutely foundational to both nations. What the Americans did long ago -- drive the natives from the land by force, steal their territory and plant a new state there, reserved for the benefit of the "right" sort of people -- the Israelis are now trying to do in the Middle East. Even the same false tropes of justification are used: the natives were lazy and shiftless, they had not "improved" and exploited the land, and therefore had no legal or moral title to it. Then comes the fact-free claim that there weren't even many of these lower creatures to begin with: "a land without people for a people without land," the "virgin continent," just waiting to be populated. And finally, the land-grabbing and ethnic cleansing are hailed as part of a divine plan for God's chosen people, who by conquest, extermination and theft are to become "a light unto the nations," "the shining city on a hill."

This shared ethos is probably another reason why Israel continues its subjugation of the Palestinians with such relentless fervor -- because they know it can work. If you press the natives hard enough, for long enough, if you have the steel to "do whatever it takes" to crush their resistance -- as the Americans did with the Indians -- then you too might win out in the end. It can be done, because it has been done in history (and not just by the Americans, of course); it's a risky business, but for the Israeli elites, as for their American role models, the game is worth the candle.

At any rate, the latest incident will only embolden the Israelis to further atrocities, with the backing -- and often the weapons -- of the United States. Where this process will end is almost too harrowing to contemplate. I honestly believe that if the Israelis decided to "liquidate the ghetto" in Gaza, as was done in Warsaw, then you would see the American elite contorting themselves -- and the truth -- this way and that in order to justify the carnage.

And why not? An elite which has instigated the murder of more than a million people in Iraq -- in a ghastly operation hailed as "an extraordinary achievement" by the progressive peace laureate now in charge of the American war machine -- would certainly not blanch at a little liquidation by their protégés.

Hey man, it's all just payback for 9/11, right? And maybe for Custer as well.

Ed Jewett
06-04-2010, 01:58 AM
Gordon Duff: Israel Says Gaza Attack “A Silly Misunderstanding”

June 3, 2010 posted by Gordon Duff (http://www.veteranstoday.com/author/gordonduff/) · 9 Comments (http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/06/03/gordon-duff-israel-says-gaza-attack-a-silly-misunderstanding/#respond)

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Gaza Flotilla and USS Liberty Survivors Apologize to Israel

Israel Claims Attack Authorized Personally by Lord Balfour

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor
This week “religious commandos” from Israel attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters. Seven Israelis were injured during the attack with one member of the “Israeli Secret Police” thrown overboard by an 81 year old woman. Jerusalem papers report that Israel is holding the woman for attempted sexual assault.
Is it illegal to rape a pirate on the high seas? We are waiting for a ruling from the International Criminal Court at the Hague on this.
One “commando” tripped over a wheel chair in the dark and fell down a flight of stairs. The injured commando, an Obergruppenfuhrer, a rabbinical rank with the IDF, said, “After shooting the man in the chair, I quickly ran over to get his watch. Imagine how I felt, nearly giving my life for a stinking Timex.”
The helicopters and boats used by the “floating and flying rabbis” were paid for by the US as part of a USAID program funding health clinics in Gaza. Israelis working with USAID on the project indicated that they the “Peace Flotilla” was mistaken for a “refugee resettlement cruise.”
http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/ScreenHunter_06-Jun.-03-00.35-150x150.gif (http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/06/03/gordon-duff-israel-says-gaza-attack-a-silly-misunderstanding/screenhunter_06-jun-03-00-35/)Walter Rothschild, Founder of Israel, Riding his Tortoise

“It is our job to care for the Palestinians. We were only there to do medical inspections, picking those that are healthy enough for labor and finding those who are unfit and need “special treatment.” Sixteen were selected for delousing. Relatives of those who received “special treatment” are waiting for a list of names and where to pick up the ashes.
The United States Senate, led by Josef Lieberman, John McCain and Charles “Chuckie” Schumer, voted unanimously to continue their unbroken support for Israeli efforts to provide a decent homeland for Palestinians, “no matter how many of these worthless Muslim bastards have to die in the process.”
Senator McCain was quick to point out, “My father, Admiral McCain helped organize a similar Israeli effort when the USS Liberty became stranded in international waters near the same area. Israel expended four torpedoes, firebombed the ship 3 times using napalm, hit the ship with over 18,000 rounds of cannon fire and even strafed the lifeboats but was unable to save the 34 killed and 174 injured during this rescue attempt.”
USS Liberty survivor Phillip Tourney, when questioned about the incident said, “At least they didn’t try to steal my watch.”
Another USS Liberty survivor praised the Israeli actions, “ Although nothing was wrong with our ship, after the Israelis set it on fire and torpedoed it, every effort was made to by them to motivate our US Navy fire crews. When the Israelis came up firing machineguns at our medical and fire rescue personnel from close range, we had an excellent battle simulation. In fact, the Israeli’s “simulated” several of our medical personnel, treating the dozens of wounded and dying, to death.”
Senator Schumer was quick to point out, “The USS Liberty incident demonstrated the highest bravery any American ally can show. The quick action of the Israeli crew, reloading weapons, putting the dodging and wounded crew in their sights and managing to deal with the guilt and stress for years afterward, the highest level of heroism and sacrifice a son of Zion can display.”
An Israeli press spokesman released the following statement about the Gaza Freedom Flotilla rescue effort:
In the name of the exalted Grand Rabbinical Conclave of Jerusalem and the Office of Judaic Racial Purity we offer our apology for any possible misunderstandings caused by our mission of mercy this week. With our current programs to relocate thousands of elderly Jewish “financial workers” in emergency need for seasonal vacation residences. Other settlers have come to us demanding a safe homeland free of criminal extradition and unencumbered by tax liens, court judgments, copyright laws and other common methods of oppression and victimization of “dual citizens.”
The Judaic Republic of Israel regrets the necessity of seeking “lebensraum” in areas that had been infected with Palestinians, some for a thousand years or longer. We wish that the international community comes to understand that the welfare of the Palestinian people, a people we offered to ship, dead or alive, to any country ready to take them, is foremost in our hearts.
Toward that end, we have been forced to offer new housing, schools and hospitals to serve the Palestinian community. Thus far, we have managed to eliminate 44,000 substandard homes, 86 inadequate schools and to eradicate more than a dozen hospitals along with other unacceptable structures.
During the next 5 to 10 years, with additional aid from the United States, we will begin studying the possibility of replacing the destroyed dwellings with temporary structures. In the interim, the Palestinian residents of Israel are being offered healthful open air accommodations in a supervised environment with plenty of helpful Judaic overseers to render guidance and motivation.
When asked to explain the odd interpretation of international law that allowed military operations on the high seas, we were told that the British government had, in a codicil of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, an agreement between Lord Balfour and Walter Rothschild, a well known British banking enthusiast and amateur zoologist.
Why the Balfour Declaration Empowers Israel to World Rule
The founder of the State of Israel is Walter Rothschild, the man Lord Balfour addressed his famous declaration to. What do we know of this great social visionary and founder of world Zionsim?
Whether Walter Rothschild was acting in his capacity as a zoologist or amateur banker when negotiating with Lord Balfour over Jewish settlements in Palestine is unclear as is the source of clear authority either party had to engage in any such endeavor.
When addressed by “Lord Balfour,” Walter Rothschild was not a “lord” or a “baron.” He was only kept out of an insane asylum because of his wealthy family. Walter Rothschild wouldn’t know a Zionist from a Free Methodist if he found one in his porridge.
Walter Rothschild is best known for his carriage, drawn by six zebras, often seen in London’s streets and for his inability to speak in an understandable manner. Rothschild’s banking career ended in 1908, when he was fired from the family bank. From that point onward, his only activity was collecting photographs of animals and pasting them into a scrapbook. During the years from 1908 through his participation in the Balfour negotiation, Rothschild managed to buy 200,000 bird eggs and over 30,000 beetles.
When Walter Rothschild found the Balfour Declaration in his morning mail at 148 Piccadilly, he had no idea of its meaning or why it had been mailed to him. When questioned about the Balfour Declaration, Walter Rothschild said, ” Whrump wiffen pogel hoobob bobalpop.” Thus, a man who owned two tons of dried “toad droppings” the only subject he expressed any lasting interest in, came to make his contribution to history.
In 1932, Britain, as a reward for opening the letter containing the note from Lord Balfour named Walter Rothschild a Baron based on their belief that the Rothschild family was remotely related to Austrian royalty, which, of course, is not the case.

Magda Hassan
06-04-2010, 02:06 AM
When the Israeli government says there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza it can only be because they don't think the Palestinians who live there are human.

Thanks Peter for the Exodous article. Ironic isn't it? I kept thinking about that and Leon Klinghoffer who was murdered by the PLO when they hijacked the Achille Lauro. The rule of the Maritime Law were even changed to deal with that event. The same rules that the Israelis are breaking (amongst many others) now it suits them.

Mark Stapleton
06-04-2010, 02:22 AM
Gaza Flotilla and USS Liberty Survivors Apologize to Israel

Israel Claims Attack Authorized Personally by Lord Balfour

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor
This week “religious commandos” from Israel attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters. Seven Israelis were injured during the attack with one member of the “Israeli Secret Police” thrown overboard by an 81 year old woman. Jerusalem papers report that Israel is holding the woman for attempted sexual assault.
Is it illegal to rape a pirate on the high seas? We are waiting for a ruling from the International Criminal Court at the Hague on this.
One “commando” tripped over a wheel chair in the dark and fell down a flight of stairs. The injured commando, an Obergruppenfuhrer, a rabbinical rank with the IDF, said, “After shooting the man in the chair, I quickly ran over to get his watch. Imagine how I felt, nearly giving my life for a stinking Timex.”



Gordon Duff is just brilliant. :rock:

Helen Reyes
06-04-2010, 03:59 AM
http://www.thestar.co.za/?fSectionId=&fArticleId=nw20100603220828446C145143



Ambassador to Israel recalled after Gaza raid
4 June 2010, 00:18
Related Articles
ANCYL condemns attack on Gaza flotilla
Unions condemn deadly raid
SA rebukes Israel over deadly raid

The South African government's decision to recall its ambassador to Israel is premature and inappropriate, the Jewish leadership in the country said in a statement on Thursday.

The joint statement by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, South African Zionist Federation and the Office of the Chief Rabbi came after deputy minister of international relations, Ebrahim Ebrahim, said Ismail Coovadia would be recalled from Israel for consultations.

Ebrahim said the recall was a form of protest, following Monday's clash between Israeli defence force members and a flotilla which intended to break the Gaza blockade with aid.

But Ebrahim added that Coovadia would return to Tel Aviv.

Nine people were killed during Monday's raid in international waters. South African radio reporter, Gadija Davids, was among the more than 600 people from 42 countries detained by Israel afterwards.

Davids was expected home soon from Turkey, where she was sent after her release from an Israeli prison. Coovadia was accompanying her.

"The South African Jewish leadership is saddened over the deaths and injuries incurred during the Gaza flotilla incident," the Jewish leadership said.

"Nevertheless, the South African government's decision to temporarily recall our Ambassador to Israel in response to the incident is premature and inappropriate."

The Jewish leaders said the facts of the incident were not yet fully known.

"They will become so only after the investigation into its causes has completed its work and reported its findings to the international community," the organisations said.

"In this regard, the leadership expresses its profound disappointment at the decision, as it goes against the South African way of engaging in dialogue and not jumping to conclusions before all the facts are known."

The Jewish leadership said it regretted that South Africa was so far the only country, apart from Turkey, to have taken "so radical and disproportionate a step, despite not being directly involved in the matter".

The leadership said it has requested a meeting with the South African government to obtain clarification concerning the rationale behind the recall.

Trade union federation Cosatu, applauded the recall. It also wanted South Africa to sever all diplomatic relations with Israel.

South Africa's Al Jama-ah political party also said it was pleased by government's actions and believed they gave effect to the position of former president Nelson Mandela that "South Africa will never be free until Palestinians are free".

The Israeli government said it regretted South Africa's decision to recall Coovadia.

"We regret this measure," Israel's foreign affairs spokesperson Yigal Palmor said.

"But it is a sovereign decision of the South African government. We respect that.

"We would not have done the same and we would have understood the South African government if it had been placed in the same situation. We hope to have him back soon," Palmor said.

Israel has claimed it acted in self defence, citing footage of soldiers being hit with poles and one being thrown overboard after they had rappelled onto the boats. - Sapa

Helen Reyes
06-04-2010, 04:20 AM
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3898523,00.html



Ecuador recalls envoy; Chavez: Israel a murderer

Latin America's left-wing governments continue to criticize Jewish state over deadly Navy raid. 'Israel is a damned, terrorist country. Long live the Palestinian people,' Venezuelan president says

AFP Published: 06.03.10, 12:24 / Israel News

Ecuador President Rafael Correa says he has recalled the country's ambassador to Israel for consultations in Quito following the deadly Israeli Navy raid against on a Gaza –bound flotilla.

In a statement released Wednesday night, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said the ambassador would leave Tel Aviv immediately, "as an act of protest against the attack which left civilians killed and injured."

Another Latin American country, Nicaragua, took an even harsher step on Wednesday, when it decided to cut off its diplomatic ties with Israel.

"Nicaragua suspends from today its diplomatic relations with the government of Israel," President Daniel Ortega's communications chief Rosario Murillo said in a statement read on Radio Ya.

Managua "underscored the illegal nature of the attack on a humanitarian mission in clear violation of international and humanitarian law," added Murillo, who doubles as poetess and first lady.

Nicaragua reiterated its support for the Palestinian people and urged an end to the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Another attack on Israel came Wednesday night from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who blasted the Navy operation with harsh words during a speech on local television: "Israel is a damned, terrorist and murderous country. Long live the Palestinian people!"

Chavez slammed the American response to the events, which he said was too gentle. "The Obama administration condemns terror, as long as it's not committed by the US or Israel," he said.

Helen Reyes
06-04-2010, 04:27 AM
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-06/02/c_13330176.htm



Israel faces diplomatic wilderness

English.news.cn 2010-06-02 22:59:40

by David Harris

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-06/02/13330176_31n.jpg
Palestinians attend an anti-Israel protest in Gaza, June 2, 2010. A general strike on Wednesday dominated the West Bank and Gaza Strip in support for the victims of the Freedom Flotilla, which was attacked and seized by the Israeli army on its way to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 31. (Xinhua Photo)

JERUSALEM, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Nicaragua became the first state to suspend diplomatic ties with Israel in the wake of the Israeli interception of a flotilla making its way to the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the deaths of at least nine of those on board.

Turkey has also warned that it is seriously considering the future of its relationship with the Jewish state. Ankara gave strong support to the vessel that headed the flotilla, which was boarded by Israeli forces on Monday. Four of those killed were Turks and a large percentage of those arrested hailed from Turkey.

Others considering taking some form of diplomatic action include Dublin, which is watching the situation closely as an Irish ship, the Rachel Corrie, heads for Gaza in a bid to breach the Israeli blockade on the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Israeli analysts told Xinhua on Wednesday that the actions of the international community thus far could well prove to be the tip of the iceberg.

IN DEEP WATER

The extent of Israel's problems became clear when the Americans refused to veto a condemnation of Israel at the United Nations Security Council. The United States did succeed in watering down the wording though.

The fallout from the maritime operation has derailed the recent improvement in ties between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Gilbert N. Kahn, a professor of political science at Kean University in New Jersey.

"The U.S.-Israeli relationship, which had been seriously strained following the Jerusalem settlement controversy that had erupted during the visit to Israel by (U.S.) Vice President Joe Biden in March was improving," he said.

Now, even the recently launched indirect peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians look to be on ice.

Netanyahu had hoped to meet Obama this week but called off his visit to the White House in order to douse the flames back at home.

"Obama could not have been very happy with Netanyahu cancelling his meeting. I'm pretty sure that Obama had some very strong and decisive words to say to Netanyahu," said Gershon Baskin, the Israeli chief executive and founder of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information.

The knock-on effects from the flotilla episode will not just be felt in relations with the United States but in Israel's dealings with many countries, experts predict.

Qatar in the Gulf does not have official diplomatic ties with Israel but there is a quiet relationship. That is expected to be damaged in the wake of the affair.

Baskin can also see a situation whereby some African states, with which Israel has invested much time and effort to build a bond, will decide to cool relations or suspend them for the time being.

Gerald Steinberg, a professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University, prefers not to predict which nations may choose to sever ties with Israel but adopts a generally pessimistic attitude regarding Israel's current standing in the club of nations.

"This has the narrative that Israel is guilty and that Palestinians are victims. On that basis this could definitely mushroom," Steinberg said on Wednesday.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-06/02/13330176_21n.jpg
An activist injured during Israeli attack on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza is stretchered onto an ambulance at the airport in Ankara, Turkey, June 2, 2010. Israel began expelling all activists seized during a raid on an aid convoy sailing to Gaza that has drawn international outrage. (Xinhua Photo)


PRECEDENTS

Steinberg compares the latest saga to those of the fighting in Jenin in 2002 and the publication last September of the Goldstone report on the findings of the Gaza war that began in December 2008. In both cases Israel was on the receiving end of a global lashing.

Israel maintains that much of the criticism was unfair and not even-handed. Nonetheless, the international community saw Israel as the guilty party in both instances and Israel lost many friends as a result.

"No matter how legitimate Israel's claim might be to sustaining the Gaza blockade, it will never change public perception of the humanitarian-suffering Gazans; nor can it persist in assuming it can operate totally alone in the world of nations," Kahn explained.

It is a point picked up by Baskin. While he notes that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, he says the world does not want the continuation of Israel's economic stranglehold on the strip.

The lone voice that seems to be in favor of the Israeli marine actions is that of the Czech Republic.

The chairman of the Senate of the country's parliament, Premysl Sobotka, is currently in Israel. He reportedly told his Israeli counterpart that Israel was in the right to board the Turkish ship, that Hamas is a terror organization and that others in Europe feel the same way as the Czechs but will not say so publicly.

ISOLATION IN FACE OF OTHER CHALLENGES

Most foreign diplomats are shying away from supporting Israel at the moment, which leaves many here feeling that the country is turning into a pariah state. That will make it even more difficult than ever for Israel to achieve its aim when it comes to its major international challenge -- Iran.

Israel exploits every opportunity to push its allies to persuade the UN Security Council to impose new tough sanctions on Iran. Israel is convinced that Tehran has a secret nuclear weapons program. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that only sanctions against the Islamic republic's energy sector will bear fruit.

But some observers say Israel does not have the resources to fight so many battles at once.

Israel "cannot constantly be engaged in damage control and image repair. When a genuine crisis will occur, Israel will need friends and supporters," Kahn suggested.

"Israel needs to comprehend that operating alone in the world with one friend plus Diaspora Jewry is hardly a recipe for progress," he added.

The damage is already done and there is little Israelis can do to backtrack, said Steinberg. In the short term, he suggested, Israel should focus on the Rachel Corrie ship and any subsequent bids to break the blockade.

Israel cannot allow the boat to do so and as a result there will be further diplomatic strife, he warns.

"There are no real allies right now. The U.S. to some degree. I suspect the U.S. won't do much more for Israel so this is going to be a disaster on many fronts and so I think you're going to see Israel digging its feet in and increasing its unwillingness to allow weapons to flow through into Gaza," said Steinberg.

Baskin, however, thinks that perhaps Obama will use the opportunity to force the Israelis and Palestinians back to real talks over and above the indirect parley that began last month, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it:

"Ultimately, the solution to this conflict must be found through an agreement based on a two-state solution negotiated between the parties. This incident underscores the urgency of reaching this goal and we remain committed to working with both sides to move forward these negotiations."

Editor: yan

Helen Reyes
06-04-2010, 04:37 AM
http://www.examiner.com/x-45802-India-Headlines-Examiner~y2010m6d3-Indians-protest-Israeli-attacks-on-Gazabound-ships



Indians protest Israeli attacks on Gaza-bound ships
June 3, 2:20 PMIndia Headlines ExaminerIbtihal Ahmed

http://image3.examiner.com/images/blog/replicate/EXID45802/images/resized_HinduIs.jpg
Protests in India's capital, New Delhi
The Hindu Newspaper

Several Indians [sic] took to the streets of New Delhi to protest Israel’s attacks on the ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The protesters who belonged to the Committee for Solidarity with Palestine criticized the Indian government and all aligned parties for their unyielding relations with Israel.

The crowd attempted to march in front of the Israeli Embassy but was prevented.

“Today, the government is shying of even naming Israel as the aggressor of Palestine. The Indian Government should cut off its relations with the Israeli Government,” said one of the speakers at the event.

Speakers included different party leaders including an official from the Communist Party of India and members of the Legislative Assembly.

Israel’s defense trade relations with India have reached $9 billion and India is the largest consumer of Israeli military equipment.

India formally established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992 after having been pro-Arab for the most part.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs has released a statement on the 31st of May expressing concern following the attacks, “There can be no justification for such indiscriminate use of force, which we condemn.”

Many Arab diplomats in New Delhi criticize the Ministry’s soft stance in which no formal condemnation was made.

“It is interesting to see that the Indian government started off its statement by 'deploring' and not 'condemning' the attacks. Just look at the language.” said an anonymous official in New Delhi.

On May 31st, Israel’s armed forces attacked Gaza-bound ships carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. So far, 19 people have been killed dozens were wounded. The attack took place on international waters 65 kilometers off the Gaza coast.

Helen Reyes
06-04-2010, 04:49 AM
http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Irish-government-expected-to-expel-Israeli-diplomat-95400614.html



Irish government expected to expel Israeli diplomat involved in passport forgery
By DONAL THORNTON , IrishCentral.com Staff Writer

Published Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 7:36 AM
Updated Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 8:03 AM

http://media.irishcentral.com/images/300%2A243/swf+passport1.jpg
The Irish government may expel an Israeli diplomat suspected of forging Irish passports for a Mossad hit squad

Top Government officials and the Irish Police have advised the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin, to expel an Israeli diplomat that they suspect was involved in forging Irish passports for a Mossad hit squad.

Britain and Australia have already expelled Israeli diplomats that they suspect were involved in forging passports for an Israeli hit squad.

The Mossad hit squad consisted of up to 30 individuals, all of which carried forged passports from countries such as Britain, Australia, and France.

The Mossad agents assassinated Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, a Hamas official in Dubai.

Martin is expected to propose to the ministerial cabinet that Ireland expel the Israeli diplomat. There have also been calls to expel the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Dr Zion Evrony.

The Israeli embassy is located in Dublin's Ballsbridge area and currently employs two security officers that the Irish government believes were responsible for forging eight Irish passports.

Martin will make his recommendations to the cabinet in two weeks time.

"The Minister is determined that such action as decided by the Government be seen as a clear and targeted response to the very serious issue of the misuse of Irish passports and that it not be confused with reaction to any other international incident. He will time his statement on the misuse of passports accordingly,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Irish Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, has warned that there will be "serious consequences" if Israeli commandos forcibly board the Irish ship 'Rachel Corrie.' The ship is the soul survivor of the flotilla and is currently en route to Gaza.

Former Nobel peace price winner, Mairéad Corrigan-Maguire, and former UN diplomats are on board the ship.

The Irish Government has called on Israel to allow the boat to unload in Gaza.

"These actions, which resulted in at least nine people being killed and approximately 30 being injured, were completely disproportionate and unacceptable,” said Cowen.

“It is clear that the incident took place in international waters. The legal basis for the action of the Israelis is at the very least open to serious question.”

Mark Stapleton
06-04-2010, 06:04 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b06gRN_tL74

Mark Regev getting smashed in this interview

Helen Reyes
06-04-2010, 06:54 AM
The Mediterranean Massacre
Israel as the blond beast
by Justin Raimondo (http://original.antiwar.com/author/justin/), June 02, 2010

Birthed by leftist Zionists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Zionism) who sought to build an egalitarian community in the midst of a desert, the modern state of Israel has taken on the characteristics of its neighbors – gone native, so to speak, both culturally and politically. The large scale infusion (http://www.roadjunky.com/cultureguide/1412/racism-and-immigration-in-israel) of North African and Asiatic populations has changed Israeli society irrevocably, so that, today, the rise of a thuggish fascist demagogue like Avigdor Lieberman (http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2006/10/27/a-jewish-hitler/), the former bouncer turned Foreign Minister, is all too believable.

Er, what? North Africans and Asiatics are innately, what, pro-fascist, uncivilized? Bollocks. Israel has marched remorselessly to the far-right because its US sponsors wanted it to.


what kind of mental processes allow a person to make such arguments?

Quite.

Contempt for Israel's butchery shouldn't blind us to grotesque nonsense like this from Raimondo.

Agree, but I think his point is basically that Israel is damaging that fragile thing known as civilisation, the rule of law, respect for human rights, on a global scale, witness the transfer of the use of torture from Israel to the United States in the last decade, right down to the level of technique.

I think the Palestinian MK has it right: this was a death-squad operation with a kill-list and orders to inflict maximum fatalities while not sinking the vessels outright. The cover stories are too visible: paint-gun lies, faked footage, "lynch mobs" etc. Israel had its own cover story for domestic consumption going into this, that the vessels carried terrorists associated with Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, insert name here. The initial arrests were supposed to be on the pretext of illegally entering Israel, then Israel would decide which prisoners to keep for terrorism charges, propaganda campaigns or ransom.

This plan was scrapped at the last minute.

Obviously some wires got crossed, the commandos were supposed to attack the peace campaigners within Gazan waters, which is not Israeli territorial waters, but Israel would pretend they were.

There is nothing legal about Israel murdering foreign nationals in international waters. Israeli internal discourse is trying to say when an "embargo" is in place it is legal to intercept violators on the high seas. This is a provisional agreement among groups of nations for dealing with specific situations, as I understand the scope of international law on the issue. Somali "pirates," for example: groups of nations agree it is legal to intercept suspected Somali pirate vessels in international waters within a defined space. Israeli has no international embargo against Gaza, they only had Egyptian complicity in sealing the Gaza ghetto, and they don't even have that now. On the contrary, the international community doesn't recognize Gaza's incorporation into Israel. The legal argument fails under any scrutiny, but the point is comfort Israelis, and not to defend Israel in the court of international opinion.

Netanyahu, Liebrman, Barak are open to indictments for war crimes, crimes against humanity and simple conspiracy to commit mass murder. I'm sure leaders in the IDF and Shin Bet are also indictable on same. If I understand it correctly, if even one EU country issues arrest warrants, they can be apprehended anywhere in the EU.

CIA agent Soetoro's wait-and-see attitude is interesting because I'm expecting the number of dead to grow once bodies dumped overboard are factored in. It's also interesting to remember that in Germany East German border guards were sentenced for firing on civilians trying to flee decades earlier. It is NOT legal to shoot people for violating international borders, no matter how much Israel would like to drag this standard of civilisation into the mud, too. Nor is it legal to shoot people in international waters, or in no-man's-lands or disputed territories. (Israel's policy of ghettoizing Gaza through long lists of prohibited imports is also illegal. Where did the Likkudniks get the idea of limiting Gazans' food supply to bare survival levels? Could it perhaps be the Third Reich's policy of limiting the food allowed per Jew in the ghettos under the pretext of wartime rationing?) CIA agent Soetoro's recent irruptions over the Arizona illegal immigrant check program, objections of violations of privacy or targeting minorities, look very odd in comparison to his silence over the deliberate, pre-planned targeting and murder of an American citizen and others on American and other vessels on the high seas. Perhaps his lack of US citizenship explains his reluctance to stand up for other American citizens.

Magda Hassan
06-04-2010, 07:28 AM
The Gaza Flotilla: How Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fakes Photos of Seized Weapons

June 2, 2010 by politicaltheatrics (http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/author/politicaltheatrics/)
Filed under Israel/Palestine (http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/category/israel/), Recent Articles (http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/category/recent-articles/), Western Imperialism (http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/category/uncategorized/)

13 Comments (http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/2010/06/the-gaza-flotilla-how-israel%e2%80%99s-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-fakes-photos-of-seized-weapons/#respond)


The following is a repost (http://ibnkafkasobiterdicta.wordpress.com/), due to the amazing hard work of one Ibn Kafka. He has taken the liberty of translating the original post from French into English.
On the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs’ Flickr page (http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=ibnkafkasobiterdicta.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2Fisrael-mfa%2F&sref=http%3A%2F%2Fibnkafkasobiterdicta.wordpress.c om%2F), the pictures of the so-called weapons seized on the ships taking part in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla provide ample evidence of the deviousness of those darned anti-semitic terrorists. Be forewarned: the following pictures are not for the faint-hearted.

Exhibit A: bulletproof vests
http://ibnkafkasobiterdicta.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/stg-bulletproof-vests.jpg?w=332&h=500Selon l'armée israëlienne, ce sont des armes

A slight snag though: two commentators, probably anti-semitic, point out that this photo (http://www.flickr.com/photos/israel-mfa/4662343871/) really is from February 2006:

Blue says (http://www.flickr.com/photos/israel-mfa/4662343871/#comment72157624063372715): In addition, IsraelMFA has to be careful with the date settings of their cameras! This picture looks like it was taken on Feb 7, 2006.. Wth?

goplayer2008 says (http://www.flickr.com/photos/israel-mfa/4662343871/#comment72157624063785757):
EXIF data
Date and Time (Modified): 2010:06:02 10:37:58
YCbCr Positioning: Co-sited
Exposure Program: Aperture-priority AE
Date and Time (Original): 2006:02:07 04:49:57
Date and Time (Digitized): 2006:02:07 04:49:57

Exhibit B: An Axe

http://i.ixnp.com/images/v6.32/t.gif

-



http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/stg-axe.jpg (http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/stg-axe.jpg)Ceci est une arme de destruction massive

An axe on board a ship? Good grief.
Another commentator, probably anti-semitic as well, notices (http://www.flickr.com/photos/israel-mfa/4659596078/#comment72157624064070995) that the picture (http://www.flickr.com/photos/israel-mfa/4659596078/in/set-72157624179998488/) dates from 2003:

Embra says (http://www.flickr.com/photos/israel-mfa/4659596078/#comment72157624064070995):
Tiff data: Taken on January 1, 2003. Oops!

Horror knows no bounds-Exhibit C: Pepper Spray.
http://ibnkafkasobiterdicta.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/stg-pepper-spray.jpg?w=468&h=285Futés ces Turcs pour utiliser des sprays au poivre toujours sous emballage

The comments display the usual hateful fanaticism one can expect from islamo-fascists:

deepvisual says:
wow
they managed to use them while they were still in their wrappers… damn those Turks are clever..
Posted 3 hours ago.

Embra says:
Tiff data: Taken on January 1, 2003.
Posted 53 minutes ago.

docteur_nic says:
My mom must be a turrurrist. She used to carry one of those in her purse.
Posted 45 minutes ago.
Again, be forewarned: this post isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Which leads us to Exhibit D: A Keffieh, kitchen knives, a Saudi flag, and and some CD-roms.

http://ibnkafkasobiterdicta.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/stg-keffieh-knives-cd-roms.jpg?w=468&h=351
Do not faint just yet, because here is exhibit E: an electric saw – on a ship! Really, those terrorists really are beyond the pale.

http://ibnkafkasobiterdicta.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/stg-electric-saw.jpg?w=468&h=310
Another anti-semitic commentator spews his hateful bile (http://www.flickr.com/photos/israel-mfa/4662965686/#comment72157624063697569):

barneygale says (http://www.flickr.com/photos/israel-mfa/4662965686/#comment72157624063697569):
Hi. Just to confirm that the EXIF metadata points to this photo being taken in 2006:
barney@benchwood:~$ identify -verbose farm5.static.flickr.com/4047/4662965686_a91f8 bab2e_o_d.jpg | grep Date
exif:DateTime: 2010:06:02 10:38:47
exif:DateTimeDigitized: 2006:02:07 05:52:19
exif:DateTimeOriginal: 2006:02:07 05:52:19

Please bear with me, because here comes Exhibit F: night vision equipment, of course utterly useless on high seas.

http://ibnkafkasobiterdicta.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/stg-night-vision-equipment.jpg?w=332&h=500
Allow an antisemitic islamo-fascist to point out that picture’s original date (http://www.flickr.com/photos/israel-mfa/4662343805/meta/in/set-72157624179998488):
Date and Time (Original): 2006:02:07 05:20:56 Date and Time (Digitized): 2006:02:07 05:20:56 Finally, the smoking gun as it were: aa butterfly knife of sorts, with a blade slightly shorter than a thumb, a weapon ideally suited for use against marine commandos armed with high-velocity firearms:

http://ibnkafkasobiterdicta.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/stg-bloody-knife.jpg?w=468&h=322
If all this hard evidence isn’t enough to convince you of the legitimacy of the Israeli action, I rest my case.
PS: Hurry up visiting that Flickr page, as I fear that some photos might be withdrawn soon…

Mark Stapleton
06-04-2010, 07:34 AM
AhHAH!

CAUGHT!

Nice post Magda.

Helen Reyes
06-04-2010, 10:23 AM
The Francophones forgot to post the photo of "ballistic slingshots." To be fair, the Israeli photo of CD-ROMs, kaffiyas, wooden dowels and the Ginzu knife collection was later supplemented with one large ceremonal daggar of the Yemeni type, apparently without sharpened edges, although that is purely supposition on my part.

So far, the reports of violence against the international IDF peacekeepers on duty seem to have been confirmed in multiple instances: on one ship water was sprayed on IDF peacekeepers lowered by rope from helicopters, and in once case at least, an IDF peacekeeper was forced into the drink because of the extreme pressure of the water current. In another instance, not completely confirmed at press time, someone and perhaps several people refused to move out of the way of IDF peacekeepers, and had to be physically moved and beaten up for good measure. Unconfirmed reports continue to circulate of crazed peace protestors weilding wooden sticks and of a person who used a chair, most likely to deflect what was legitimate and legal gunfire aimed at their person.

Oh, and the paint-ball guns. What if the Lebanese Hezbollah/Hamas/Berkeley peacenik terrorists planted evidence to frame the IDF peacekeepers for using chemical/biological weapons contained in small spherules shot from paint-guns? These terrorist groups are known to have access to a wide arsenal of chem/bio agents and this would not be beyond the realm of possibility. We already know they've faked EXIF data in the photographic evidence.

Peter Presland
06-04-2010, 10:38 AM
If the tone and content of recent Debka File articles is any guide (and, from long-term monitoring of it, I think it is), then Zionist Israel is sinking into ever deeper psychosis.

The following are the top 5 featured articles on today's RSS feed:

Poised on the Brink They Have Burned Most Bridges (http://www.debka.com/article/8830/)

Turkey builds up and holds ready for action against Israel a large air, sea and marine force in the Turkish sector of Cyprus should Israel stand by its refusal to lift the Gaza blockade and stop Turkish boats bound for the enclave.They Walked into a Turkish Trap (http://www.debka.com/article/8831/)

Israel blinded itself to the changing winds in Ankara after pro-Islamic Recep Erdogan succeeded in gaining control of Turkey's armed forces. This enabled Turkish intelligence to lay a trap for Israel.Erdogan Has Three Follow-up Scenarios Ready (http://www.debka.com/article/8832/)

The Turkish leader is sinking millions of dollars to build a large new flotilla for blowing Israel's blockade sky high and tightening the international diplomatic siege around Israel.Political Lynch in Broad Daylight, Wilst Washington Stands by (http://www.debka.com/article/8833/)

Amid his charm offensive for American Jewry, Obama lets Israel down in the international arena - especial in its war on terror and nuclear weapons.The Flotilla Indirectly Altered the Middle East Balance of Strength (http://www.debka.com/article/8834/)

Hamas suddenly discovered that its most effective weapon against Israel is not the Iranian missiles but Turkish block-busting ships and their propaganda impact.

Helen Reyes
06-04-2010, 10:42 AM
Meanwhile, in Iceland...

http://grapevine.is/News/ReadArticle/Iceland-Imports-Seven-Hundred-and-Thirty-Two-Million-ISK-in-Israeli-Goods-Each-Year


http://grapevine.is/media/w490/f036eb17b7138dd4.jpg
Iceland Imports 732 Million ISK in Israeli Goods Each Year

4.6.2010 Words by Paul Nikolov

In light of a possible trade embargo with Israel, research done on just what kind of trade Iceland engages in with the country brought to light that Iceland imports some 732 million ISK in Israeli goods every year.

According to data from Statistics Iceland, the largest category of imported goods from Israel are basic industrial products, such as chemicals, plastics, and sanitary products. After this, Iceland imports furniture and scientific instruments from Israel, followed by machine and vehicle parts. In all, these imports total 732 million ISK each year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson said that a trade embargo against Israel is possible in light of an Israeli commando attack against a convoy of boats loaded with aid for civilians in Gaza that left anywhere from nine to nineteen dead, and many more injured.

In a new poll conducted by Vísir, when asked "Should Iceland reduce imports from Israel?", 81.1% said yes, while 18.9% said no.

Peter Lemkin
06-04-2010, 03:18 PM
http://sweetsilence.vox.com/library/post/george-galloway-on-israel-attacking-freedom-flotilla-headed-to-gaza-strip---20-dead.html



....Rachael Corrie is coming back to haunt Israel for her [Israel's] sins....again!http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/images/2010/05/13/free-gaza-boat-p3.jpg

http://lelatensae.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/rachel20corrie.jpg

http://www.rachelcorrie.org/

[THE GOOD, THEY DIE YOUNG!].......
RACHAEL CORRIE....PRESENTE!!!!!!

Myra Bronstein
06-04-2010, 05:56 PM
Emphasis mine. Thank goodness for Al Jazerra.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/04/al-jazeera-reporter-israe_n_600720.html


(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/04/al-jazeera-reporter-israe_n_600720.html#)Al Jazeera Reporter: Israel Fired On Gaza-Bound Ship Before Boarding (VIDEO) (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/04/al-jazeera-reporter-israe_n_600720.html)

First Posted: 06- 4-10 12:02 PM | Updated: 06- 4-10 12:06 PM

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/171868/thumbs/s-GAZA-REPORTER-large.jpg

A reporter and producer for the Arabic news organization Al Jazeera who was on board the Gaza-bound aid flotilla during Monday's deadly raid gave a firsthand account of the grisly scene aboard the ship to the network Thursday.

According to Jamal ElShayyal's account of the raid, the Israeli military had fired on the Mavi Marmara before boarding the ship. "It was evident there was definitely fire from the air, because one of the people who was killed was clearly shot from above -- he was shot, the bullet targeted him at the top of his head," ElShayyal said. "There was also fire coming from the sea as well." This account differs from the one given by the Israeli military.

The reporter also describes being mistreated by officials alongside other civilians before his Thursday release.

Keith Millea
06-04-2010, 06:52 PM
http://www.counterpunch.org/amiri06042010.html
Weekend Edition
June 4 - 6, 2010
Sabotaging Peace

The Real Motive Behind the Gaza Flotilla Attack

By RANNIE AMIRI
Worldwide outrage and condemnation of Israel’s brazen, unprovoked attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which killed at least nine activists and injured dozens, was predictable and justified. Many remained puzzled, though, as to why Israel thought it necessary to send in elite, rappelling commandos to confront an unarmed civilian flotilla carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid to the beleaguered territory. The six-ship convoy was co-sponsored by a Turkish humanitarian organization and sailed under Turkey’s flag when it was raided in international waters.

The consensus was that Israel was “sending a message.” Anyone who dared challenge its naval blockade and siege of Gaza would meet a similar fate.

This is a correct yet superficial analysis. The real motive behind the Israeli assault is far more sinister: to deliberately undermine (if not entirely abort) consequential, substantive peace talks with the Palestinians and Syrians, and repay the Turks for negotiating a nuclear fuel-swap deal with Iran (which significantly set back Israel’s case for military intervention).

In essence, it was done to sabotage peace.

“We have to set up a dynamic state bent upon expansion,” David Ben Gurion famously stated. And peace, stability and diplomacy are obstacles to Zionism’s tenets of land acquisition and subjugation of indigenous peoples.

There have been recent calls to advance the indirect, United States-mediated proximity talks taking place between the Israeli government and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. This now seems unlikely.

The opening sentence of a May 31 Associated Press report inferred similarly:
“Israel's bloody, bungled takeover of a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel is complicating U.S.-led Mideast peace efforts, deepening Israel's international isolation ...”

That was exactly the intent. Israel can easily wither “international isolation” to the degree the U.S. protects it from meaningful sanction. Israel actually covets isolation; it permits it to operate in “nothing to lose” mode. Expropriation of Palestinian land accelerates and reckless behavior goes unchecked.

Additionally, the attack effectively severs relations with Turkey. Israel wants no part of a non-military solution to the Iranian nuclear issue like the one just brokered by Turkey and Brazil. Turkey’s role in mediating between Syria and Israel, for all the perfunctory plaudits the latter gave it, was actually unwelcome and is now off the table as well.


It would not be the first time Israel deliberately provoked a crisis at the expense of civilian lives to further its expansionist agenda, justify war, or use as a campaign issue:

Six weeks before Israel’s 1996 elections, Prime Minister Shimon Peres launched operation “Grapes of Wrath,” a two-week military blitz in Lebanon conducted in the midst of a two-decade occupation of the south. During it, the Israelis massacred 106 civilians that had sought shelter at a United Nations compound in Qana.


In September 2000, four months before his election, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (accompanied by 1,000 riot police), paraded through the Haram al-Sharif compound in Jerusalem, which includes al-Aqsa mosque—the third holiest site in Islam—leading to the Second Intifada.
The United Nations Human Rights Commission, in a resolution titled “Grave and massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel,” condemned “the provocative visit to Al-Haram al-Sharif on 28 September 2000 by Ariel Sharon, the Likud party leader, which triggered the tragic events that followed in occupied East Jerusalem and the other occupied Palestinian territories, resulting in a high number of deaths and injuries among Palestinian civilians.”

Sharon then campaigned on putting down the intifada he instigated.

1,500 Lebanese were killed, one million displaced, and the country’s civil infrastructure decimated during Israel’s failed bid to destroy Hezbollah in the July 2006 war. The conflict started after two Israeli commandos were caught snooping around the Lebanese border town of Aitaa al-Chaab. After years of repeated, illegal violations of Lebanese airspace failed to provoke a response, the soldiers’ capture was the pretense needed to initiate the disproportionate Israeli onslaught.


The flimsy rationale upon which the 2008-2009 Gaza invasion was based was previously discussed (http://www.counterpunch.org/amiri05142010.html).
The latest Israeli operation against 700 activists delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza is only the latest in a series of criminal endeavors meant to quash any hope for peace, negotiation or conflict resolution between Israel, its neighbors and the Palestinians.
Mission accomplished.

Rannie Amiri is an independent Middle East commentator. He may be reached at: rbamiri [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Ed Jewett
06-04-2010, 08:15 PM
A Hasbara brigade music video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOGG_osOoVg&feature=player_embedded#! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOGG_osOoVg&feature=player_embedded#%21)

Ed Jewett
06-04-2010, 08:28 PM
The video above was taken from here:

A YOUTUBE CLIP THAT WILL NOT BE CENSORED (http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/a-youtube-clip-that-will-not-be-censored/)

[which contains other embedded videos as well]

Israel is trying to make this into a popularity contest…..
3 most viewed YouTube clips in the world – posted by IDF

IDF clips of clash aboard a Gaza flotilla aid ship viewed by some 3 million people Wednesday. Al Jazeera video of same incident comes in fourth with 616,000 views.


In the online public relations arena, it appears that the Israel Defense Forces is winning the battle, at least for now. Three of the four most viewed clips on the popular video website YouTube in recent days were posted by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.


The videos were posted after a clash between Israeli navy commandos and activists aboard a boat carrying aid and heading toward blockaded Gaza resulted in 9 deaths and dozens of injuries early Monday morning.


The most watched YouTube video on Wednesday was a clip depicting Israeli navy commandos being propelled down from a helicopter onto the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara and subsequently being beaten by the activists on board.




This video reached an astounding 1.2 million views as of 7 p.m. Wednesday Israel time. This video was taken from an adjacent Israeli navy vessel.



Another video, this one taken from an Israeli military helicopter, also garnered close to one million views.



A third clip, which includes a soundtrack of communications between the commandos, was viewed by over 650,000 people. Overall, videos posted in recent days by the IDF have gotten some 3 million hits.



An Al Jazeera video, which shows the activists on the boat running away from IDF troops, was viewed by 616,000 people as of Wednesday evening, bringing it to fourth place. This was the first video that was posted online following the tragic event, hours before the IDF spokesperson’s Unit posted its videos.

On Tuesday, the YouTube battle between IDF and Al Jazeera was still close, but the IDF clips claimed the lead overnight Wednesday (daytime in the U.S.)
The operators of YouTube have decided to block the response option on all videos pertaining to the event. (mini censorship)

Above taken from (http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=desertpeace.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.haaretz.com%2Fnews%2Fdiplomac y-defense%2F3-most-viewed-youtube-clips-in-the-world-posted-by-idf-1.293994&sref=http%3A%2F%2Fdesertpeace.wordpress.com%2F2010 %2F06%2F04%2Fa-youtube-clip-that-will-not-be-censored%2F) here:


http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/3-most-viewed-youtube-clips-in-the-world-posted-by-idf-1.293994

Keith Millea
06-05-2010, 03:12 AM
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/06/04-9

Published on Friday, June 4, 2010 by Inter Press Service (http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51724) If World Governments Will Not Confront Israel, What Path Should Civil Society Take?

by Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS - If, as expected, the U.N. Security Council remains politically impotent and refuses to penalise Israel for the killings of nine pro-Palestinian civilians on a ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, what is the next course of action?


http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/gaza_0.jpgPeople gather during a pro-Palestine protest in Brussels, Belgium, Friday June 4, 2010. Israeli commandos on Monday stormed six ships carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists on an aid mission to the blockaded Gaza Strip, killing 9 people and wounding dozens after encountering unexpected resistance as the forces boarded the vessels. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

A global civil society campaign to de-legitimise Israel? Formal or informal sanctions by individual states? Worldwide arrest warrants?

All of these - and more - are in the realm of possibility, say two leading constitutional experts, Professor Richard Falk, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Michael Ratner, president of the New York- based Centre for Constitutional Rights.

The gridlock in the Security Council is likely to remind civil society forces that justice for the Palestinians will depend on bottom-up conflict resolution, and a global delegitimising campaign that worked so well in the struggle to defeat South African racism, Falk told IPS.

Asked how Israel could be punished and/or penalised for its atrocities - if action is to be taken outside the Security Council chambers - Falk said there are two sets of punitive responses outside of the U.N. system.
First, by strong diplomatic initiatives, as for instance, the deterioration of Israeli trade and security relations with Turkey, and others; and by some governments adopting informal or formal sanctions - again the South Africa analogy is relevant, he said.

Secondly, by civil society initiatives that move toward further de-legitimisation of Israel, such as a citizen tribunal on Israeli aggression on the high seas or slow genocide in Gaza; an intensifying campaign fueled by outrage, including the failure of the United Nations to uphold international law in relation to Israel, said Falk, who is also professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University.

Ratner told IPS the murdered and injured citizens from various countries can and should begin criminal prosecutions in their home countries against Israeli officials who ordered this attack in international waters.

"Worldwide arrest warrants should issue. Israeli officials should understand that they may have impunity in Israel, but that they leave Israel at their peril," he said.

The Israeli attack on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid, which resulted in the killings of eight Turkish nationals, has provoked anger and protests worldwide.
According to news reports, there were more than 600 civilians from 32 countries on board the six ships which flew the flags of Turkey, Greece and Comoros.

But after a 12-hour session Monday, the Security Council issued a tame "presidential statement" condemning what has been described by critics as "high seas piracy and banditry".

The United States, which has traditionally thrown a protective arm around Israel - whether the Jewish state is right or wrong - was primarily responsible for "watering down" the statement and refusing to adopt a formal resolution against Israel.

Secure under a protective U.S. umbrella, Israel is unlikely to be singled out for condemnation or even subjected to Security Council sanctions or resolutions.

"Yes, it is likely that Israel will continue to enjoy de facto impunity as a result of Euro-American geopolitical protection," Falk told IPS.
But he predicted that European support for Israel is likely to be under strain "after such a flagrant disregard of international law and such a cruel and arbitrary use of force".

Ratner told IPS that "at some point - [and] we may be reaching that point - the anger at Israel by Muslim populations of countries like Turkey and Pakistan, and by extension their anger at the U.S., UK. and France for their continued support in the Security Council for Israeli lawlessness, may force a change."

This is not because those countries care a whit about Palestinians, he said, but because their security depends on not alienating millions in an area they deem crucial to their economic and physical security.
"So I have not given up hope for increased pressure on Israel from the Security Council," he said.

The Security Council's failure to condemn this attack is also part of its failure to act on prior occasions when Israel has violated international law, such as in Gaza, said Ratner. At a minimum, the Security Council should refer this matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, he added.

"The Security Council overlooking lawlessness in the past has led to more lawlessness in the future. It has given Israel impunity to carry out horrendous human rights violations," he noted.

As the Security Council, controlled on this issue by the U.S., the UK and France, protects Israel, "We are seeing the emergence of a remarkable phenomenon: militant activism by thousands from all over the world taking action that is the best hope for forcing a change that could end the blockade, end the settlements and has the potential to bring peace," he said.

Addressing parliament Wednesday, a visibly angry Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that, "Even despots, gangsters and pirates have specific sensitiveness, (and) follow some specific morals."

"But those who do not follow any morality or ethics, those who do not act with any sensitivity, to call them such names would even be a compliment to them," he said.

"This brazen, irresponsible, reckless (Israeli) government that recognises no law and tramples on any kind of humanitarian virtue, this attack by the Israeli government must by all means be punished," he added.

Referring to the Israeli version of the attack, Erdogan said the government in Tel Aviv, "has made lying its state policy and does not blush about the crime it commits".

Instead of expecting the Israelis to open an investigation, "the international community must investigate this incident in all its dimensions and must give the legal response", he added.

© 2010 IPS North America

Peter Lemkin
06-05-2010, 05:36 AM
The ship Rachael Corrie is now only a short distance from Gaza, being shadowed by several Israeli Navy ships and a zodiac swiftboat with commandos aboard very close. The Israelis just [within the last 30 minutes] cut off their communications. They have announced they will attempt to get to Gaza, but if boarded will offer no resistance and all will try to get to the mid-deck, sit down and show their hands empty - palms facing the boarding pirates. I wish them luck. They have gotten far, but I fear they will shortly be boarded or worse. The Israeli Navy has the means to turn off engines or sink ships, etc. et al. It will all happen in the next hour.....stay tuned. Best of luck to all brave and decent souls on the MV Rachael Corrie!!! What a proud name to bear!!

Their website here. (http://www.freegaza.org/)

Peter Lemkin
06-05-2010, 06:28 AM
AMY GOODMAN: We’re also joined by Joe Meadors, who was on one of the other Free Gaza boats that was seized early Monday morning. For Meadors, this marks the second time he’s been aboard a ship attacked by the Israeli forces in international waters.

We’re going to go back now to 1967. Meadors was a signalman aboard the USS Liberty, a US Navy electronic-intelligence-gathering ship that was attacked by Israeli planes and torpedo boats in 1967. Thirty-four Americans were killed, more than 170 wounded, in the attack. At the time, the Liberty was cruising international waters off the Egyptian coast in the midst of what became known as the Israeli-Arab Six Day War. Joe Meadors joins us now from Texas.

Welcome to Democracy Now! Go back to 1967. Explain what happened.

Joe, if you could repeat what you were just saying?

Well, we’re going to try right now to go to a clip, to go to an excerpt of White House—about this attack that occurred in 1967. It’s from a documentary called Loss of Liberty.

STAN WHITE: I was coming to go back to the TRESSCOM area. I stepped out on deck. A plane came by. I looked right in the cockpit. He waved, I waved. That’s how close they were. And they knew who we were.

GEORGE GOLDEN: Of all the recon flights that they had that morning, over looking at our ship for approximately six to seven hours, they had a good idea of what they were doing. And they hit—they hit us hard and fast with everything they had.

NARRATOR: Commander William McGonagle, the ship’s captain, although he had been badly wounded, most of his bridge crew had been killed, he stayed on the bridge throughout the attack and the long night that followed. Admired and respected by his crew, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry.

CAPT. WILLIAM McGONAGLE: When the planes struck, it was without provocation and certainly unexpected, and they seemed to descend on us from all directions at the same time. Those rockets and machine guns tore the ship. It killed men on deck. And we were defenseless.


AMY GOODMAN: That’s an excerpt of the documentary Loss of Liberty, as we turn to another excerpt.

CAPT. WILLIAM McGONAGLE: It appeared, from the ferocity of the attack, that the intent of the attackers was to sink the ship. Maybe they hoped to have no survivors, so that they would not be held accountable for the attack after it occurred.

STAN WHITE: We didn’t know who was attacking us. They didn’t know who was attacking us. I don’t know how Washington can say, "Don’t go, because they’re friends of ours." So that’s the thing that’s always bothered me right there.

DEAN RUSK: I never, myself, accepted the Israeli purported explanation. Accidents don’t occur through repeated attacks by service vessels and by aircraft. It obviously was a decision taken pretty high up on the Israeli side, because it involved combined forces. The ship was flying an American flag. Even if it had been unidentified from an Israeli point of view, it was a reckless thing for them to do. Suppose it had been a Soviet ship. That could have produced very large problems indeed.

JAMES AKINS: George Ball, the brilliant and courageous Undersecretary of State at the time of the '67 war, wrote about the attack on the Liberty subsequently. He said, "The ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack" was that it "had far more effect on policy in Israel than in America. Israel's leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything."


AMY GOODMAN: That, an excerpt again of the documentary about the 1967 USS Liberty. Joe Meadors is on the line with us, a survivor of that attack by the Israeli military on the US military ship that killed thirty-four Americans.

Most Americans are not familiar, Joe, with this story. Explain where you were on the boat in 1967. Then we’ll talk about what happened this past weekend.

JOE MEADORS: I was one of the two signalmen on the ship, and as a signalman, my work station was on the very top deck. It’s virtually an open deck. But at the beginning of the attack, I was up there, and most of the time I was up—either up there or down in the pilot house, one deck below.

AMY GOODMAN: And what happened?

JOE MEADORS: Throughout the whole morning, we had been flown over about a dozen times by Israeli aircraft, who were clearly identifying us. We had overheard their pilots radioing back to their bases. Two o’clock in the afternoon, two more—two Israeli air jets blew up our starboard side. And we were in the pilot house, so we ran up to the signal bridge, anticipating just another circling of the ship. The aircraft got directly ahead of us and turned immediately left and started strafing the ship. They had rockets inside each of the four gun sheds. We had four .50-caliber machine guns. And they also put rockets directly into each of the antenna mounts.

AMY GOODMAN: Why were they attacking a US military ship?

JOE MEADORS: They claim that they were—they mistook us for a forty-year-old rusted-out Egyptian tramp steamer, the El-Kasir. I don’t think anybody believes that.

AMY GOODMAN: We were looking—just watching and listening to people like Dean Rusk, the US Secretary of State. It’s now, what, more than forty years later. What were you doing on the Gaza aid flotilla?

JOE MEADORS: I had been invited by the people at the Free Palestine Movement to visit the Gaza and see if we can try to break the blockade.

AMY GOODMAN: In the case of 1967, did Israel ever claim responsibility for the attack? And what was the response of your government, of the United States?

JOE MEADORS: They claimed that they mistook us for an Egyptian tramp steamer. They claimed it was a mistake, and they apologized for the mistake. The US government accepted it. But then again, the US government has never conducted an investigation of the attack. War crimes were committed by both Israel and the United States during that attack, and we’ve been trying to get them investigated, but the US government just ignores our request.

AMY GOODMAN: Which ship were you on this time, Joe, forty years later?

JOE MEADORS: I was on the Greek passenger ship, the Svendoni.

AMY GOODMAN: And your thoughts about what happened last weekend in the early morning hours of Monday?

JOE MEADORS: I was kind of apprehensive, given the history I’ve had with the Israelis. I seem to have all the bad luck in the world when it comes to the Israelis. Their overtaking of our ship was quite simple. They just jumped onboard, a couple dozen of them, and took over the ship. They used tasers and kicked some of the people topside when they were trying to protect the captain and the pilot house. But their actions were quite swift.

AMY GOODMAN: And anything happen to you?

JOE MEADORS: No, nothing happened to me. As a matter of fact, on hindsight, they were fairly polite. It was always "please" and "thank you," but those words take on a different meaning when they’re said at the point of a gun.

AMY GOODMAN: You were not, though, on the Mavi Marmara, where the nine activists were killed.

JOE MEADORS: No, we weren’t there.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Joe Meadors, I want to thank you very much for being with us, survivor of the 1967 USS Liberty attack, where thirty-four Americans were killed, more than a hundred injured.

Magda Hassan
06-05-2010, 08:05 AM
June 4, 2010
9 hours ago (http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/proof-emerges-idf-audio-of-radio-communicatio)

Proof emerges IDF audio of radio communication with Mavi Marmara is fabricated. #flotilla (http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/proof-emerges-idf-audio-of-radio-communicatio)


UPDATED: EARLIER VIDEO RELEASED BY ISRAEL PROVIDES FURTHER PROOF OF AUDIO FAKERY
Today, Israel released what it claimed to be the audio of a conversation between Israeli naval vessels and the Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara which occurred prior to the Israeli assault that killed at least 9 passengers and injured dozens more in the early hours of 31 May in international waters in the eastern Mediterranean. This audio clip, which the Israelis titled "Radio Transmission from Mavi Marmara to Israeli Navy" appears to be fabricated.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxY7Q7CvQPQ&feature=player_embedded



The following is a transcript of the audio:
ISRAELI SHIP "This is the Israeli Navy, you are approaching an area which is under a naval blockade"
MAN'S VOICE 1 "Shut up, go back to Auschwitz."
WOMAN'S VOICE "We have permission from the Gaza Port Authority to enter."
MAN'S VOICE 2 "We're helping Arabs go against the US, don't forget 9/11 guy"
On hearing the recording Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, identified the woman's voice as that of his wife Huwaida Arraf, chair of the Free Gaza Movement. However, Arraf was not aboard the Mavi Marmara. She was aboard one of the small passenger vessels in the six-boat flotilla, called Challenger 1. She recounted what she experienced on Russia Today, among other major media outlets (video below). It would appear that Israel has once more been caught fabricating evidence in its desperate effort to justify its violent assault on the Free Gaza Flotilla, a civilian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVKeGMaKKO0&feature=player_embedded


Update 1
Thanks to Marian Houk (http://twitter.com/MarianHouk ), I have learned that the Israeli army originally uploaded a video (below) in which the same naval officer in the video above has an innocuous conversation with a ship in which the only reply from the ship is "Negative, Negative, our destination is Gaza." There is no "anti-Semitism" or anything that paints the Flotilla passengers as raving bigots. The earlier video actually shows the officer moving, whereas in the previous video in which a speaker allegedly says "Go back to Auschwitz" we simply see a still picture of the same naval officer while the audio plays. This is further evidence of complete fabrication.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKOmLP4yHb4&feature=player_embedded



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Magda Hassan
06-05-2010, 10:57 AM
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/6/4/1275690407898/04.06.10-Martin-Rowson-on-005.jpg

Magda Hassan
06-05-2010, 11:52 AM
A very interesting observation by Craig Murray. My bolding.

Why Was the Mavi Marmara Reflagged Just Before Sailing?

Contrary to virtually all media reports to date, it appears the Mavi Marmara was reflagged from Turkey to the Comoros Islands around 20 May, shortly before heading the peace flotilla.
This is very important. While the Israeli attack remains illegal, it means that the injured party - and the party with legal jurisdiction over the event - is the incapable Comoros Islands rather than the highly capable Turkey. It also greatly reduces the NATO angle, unless other attacked ships were flying the Turkish flag.
But the question must be why on earth was the flag changed just before sailing, and who instigated it?
Flags of convenience are normally adopted for purely commercial reasons to escape regulations of s "serious" flag state like the UK or US, in particular on issues like rates of pay, union recognition, working conditions and hours etc. The Turkish owned merchant fleet uses flags of convenience much less than other advance nations - possibly from national pride, possibly because Turkish regulations are not too onerous anyway.
But it would seem remarkable if the owners of the ship decided for commercial reasons to switch flags just before sailing in the "Peace flotilla". It is on the face of it a remarkably foolish decision. Did the Turkish governrnent influence it to lessen the political responsibility of Turkey in any incident? Did Israel manage to influence the owners in any way? Is the vessel leased? Who are the owners, and just why did they do this?
None of this masks the illegality of Israel attacking a ship under any foregin flag in international waters. But bluntly, it was a stupid decision in practice by the protestors to set sail in a Comoros flagged ship.
Fortunately the MV Rachel Corrie is Irish registered, and the flag state (Ireland) has already shown it takes its duty seriously by telling the Israeli government it expects the Rachel Corrie to pass unhindered.

Austin Kelley
06-05-2010, 04:12 PM
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11319.shtml

You will have no protection

Alice Walker, The Electronic Intifada, 4 June 2010

http://electronicintifada.net/artman2/uploads/2/100604-israeli-navy.jpg


You will have no protection

-- Medgar Evers to Civil Rights Activists in Mississippi, shortly before he was assassinated, 12 June, 1963




My heart is breaking; but I do not mind.

For one thing, as soon as I wrote those words I was able to weep. Which I had not been able to do since learning of the attack by armed Israeli commandos on defenseless peace activists carrying aid to Gaza who tried to fend them off using chairs and sticks. I am thankful to know what it means to be good; I know that the people of the Freedom Flotilla are/were in some cases, some of the best people on earth. They have not stood silently by and watched the destruction of others, brutally, sustained, without offering themselves, weaponless except for their bodies, to the situation. I am thankful to have a long history of knowing people like this from my earliest years, beginning in my student days of marches and demonstrations: for peace, for non-separation among peoples, for justice for Women, for People of Color, for Cubans, for Animals, for Indians, and for Her, the planet.

I am weeping for the truth of Medgar's statement; so brave and so true. I weep for him gunned down in his carport, not far from where I would eventually live in Mississippi, with a box of t-shirts in his arms that said: "Jim Crow Must Go." Though trained in the United States Military under racist treatment one cringes to imagine, he remained a peaceful soldier in the army of liberation to the end. I weep and will always weep, even through the widest smiles, for the beautiful young wife, Myrlie Evers, he left behind, herself still strong and focused on the truth of struggle; and for their children, who lost their father to a fate they could not possibly, at the time, understand. I don't think any of us could imagine during that particular phase of the struggle for justice, that we risked losing not just our lives, which we were prepared to give, but also our children, who we were not.

Nothing protected Medgar, nor will anything protect any of us; nothing but our love for ourselves and for others whom we recognize unfailingly as also ourselves. Nothing can protect us but our lives. How we have lived them; what battles, with love and compassion our only shield, we have engaged. And yet, the moment of realizing we are truly alone, that in the ultimate crisis of our existence our government is not there for us, is one of shock. Especially if we have had the illusion of a system behind us to which we truly belong. Thankfully I have never had opportunity to have this illusion. And so, every peaceful witnessing, every non-violent confrontation has been a pure offering. I do not regret this at all.

When I was in Cairo last December to support CODEPINK's efforts to carry aid into Gaza I was unfortunately ill with the flu and could not offer very much. I lay in bed in the hotel room and listened to other activists report on what was happening around the city as Egypt refused entry to Gaza to the 1,400 people who had come for the accompanying Freedom march. I heard many distressing things, but only one made me feel, not exactly envy, but something close; it was that the French activists had shown up, en masse, in front of their embassy and that their ambassador had come out to talk to them and to try to make them comfortable as they set up camp outside the building. This small gesture of compassion for his country's activists in a strange land touched me profoundly, as I was touched decades ago when someone in John Kennedy's White House (maybe the cook) sent out cups of hot coffee to our line of freezing student and teacher demonstrators as we tried, with our signs and slogans and songs, to protect a vulnerable neighbor, Cuba.

Where have the Israelis put our friends? I thought about this all night. Those whom they assassinated on the ship and those they injured? Is "my" government capable of insisting on respect for their dead bodies? Can it demand that those who are injured but alive be treated with care? Not only with care, but the tenderness and honor they deserve? If it cannot do this, such a simple, decent thing, of what use is it to the protection and healing of the planet? I heard a spokesman for the United States opine at the United Nations (not an exact quote) that the Freedom Flotilla activists should have gone through other, more proper, channels, not been confrontational with their attempt to bring aid to the distressed. This is almost exactly what college administrators advised half a century ago when students were trying to bring down apartheid in the South and getting bullets, nooses, bombings and burnings for our efforts. I felt embarrassed (to the degree one can permit embarrassment by another) to be even vaguely represented by this man: a useless voice from the far past. One had hoped.

The Israeli spin on the massacre: that the commandos were under attack by the peace activists and that the whole thing was like "a lynching" of the armed attackers, reminds me of a Redd Foxx joke. I loved Redd Foxx, for all his vulgarity. A wife caught her husband in bed with another woman, flagrant, in the act, skin to skin. The husband said, probably through pants of aroused sexual exertion: All right, go ahead and believe your lying eyes! It would be fun, were it not tragic, to compare the various ways the Israeli government and our media will attempt to blame the victims of this unconscionable attack for their own imprisonment, wounds and deaths.

So what to do? Rosa Parks sat down in the front of the bus. Martin Luther King followed her act of courage with many of his own, and using his ringing, compassionate voice he aroused the people of Montgomery, Alabama to commit to a sustained boycott of the bus company; a company that refused to allow people of color to sit in the front of the bus, even if it was empty. It is time for us, en masse, to show up in front of our conscience, and sit down in the front of the only bus we have: our very lives.

What would that look like, be like, today, in this situation between Palestine and Israel? This "impasse" that has dragged on for decades. This "conflict" that would have ended in a week if humanity as a whole had acted in defense of justice everywhere on the globe. Which maybe we are learning! It would look like the granddaughter of Rosa Parks, the grandson of Martin Luther King. It would look like spending our money only where we can spend our lives in peace and happiness; freely sharing whatever we have with our friends.

It would be to support boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel to End the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and by this effort begin to soothe the pain and attend the sorrows of a people wrongly treated for generations. This action would also remind Israel that we have seen it lose its way and have called to it, often with love, and we have not been heard. In fact, we have reached out to it only to encounter slander, insult and, too frequently, bodily harm.

Disengage, avoid, and withhold support from whatever abuses, degrades and humiliates humanity.

This we can do. We the people; who ultimately hold all the power. We the people, who must never forget to believe we can win.

We the people.

It has always been about us; as we watch governments come and go. It always will be.



Alice Walker is a poet, novelist, feminist and activist whose award-winning works have sold over ten million copies.

Image: Israeli soldiers stand guard as the Israeli navy raids one of the ships in the Freedom Flotilla. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Jan Klimkowski
06-05-2010, 05:23 PM
The autopsies reveal numerous close range head shots.

The slaughter of the lambs.


Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range

Exclusive: Nine Turkish men on board Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times, autopsy results reveal

Israel was tonight under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range.

Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice today.

The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.

The findings emerged as more survivors gave their accounts of the raids. Ismail Patel, the chairman of Leicester-based pro-Palestinian group Friends of al-Aqsa, who returned to Britain today, told how he witnessed some of the fatal shootings and claimed that Israel had operated a "shoot to kill policy".

He calculated that during the bloodiest part of the assault, Israeli commandos shot one person every minute. One man was fatally shot in the back of the head just two feet in front him and another was shot once between the eyes. He added that as well as the fatally wounded, 48 others were suffering from gunshot wounds and six activists remained missing, suggesting the death toll may increase.

The new information about the manner and intensity of the killings undermines Israel's insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists.

"Given the very disturbing evidence which contradicts the line from the Israeli media and suggests that Israelis have been very selective in the way they have addressed this, there is now an overwhelming need for an international inquiry," said Andrew Slaughter MP, a member of the all party group on Britain and Palestine.

Israel said tonight the number of bullets found in the bodies did not alter the fact that the soldiers were acting in self defence. "The only situation when a soldier shot was when it was a clearly a life-threatening situation," said a spokesman for the Israeli embassy in London. "Pulling the trigger quickly can result in a few bullets being in the same body, but does not change the fact they were in a life-threatening situation."

Protesters from across the country will tomorrow march from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy to call for Israel to be held to account for its actions.

Earlier this week, William Hague, the foreign secretary, said the government would call for an inquiry under international auspices if Israel refuses to establish an independent inquiry, including an international presence.

The autopsy results were released as the last of the Turkish victims was buried.

Dr Haluk Ince, the chairman of the council of forensic medicine in Istanbul, said that in only one case was there a single bullet wound, to the forehead from a distant shot, while every other victim suffered multiple wounds. "All [the bullets] were intact. This is important in a forensic context. When a bullet strikes another place it comes into the body deformed. If it directly comes into the body, the bullet is all intact."

He added that all but one of the bullets retrieved from the bodies came from 9mm rounds. Of the other round, he said: "It was the first time we have seen this kind of material used in firearms. It was just a container including many types of pellets usually used in shotguns. It penetrated the head region in the temple and we found it intact in the brain."

An unnamed Israeli commando, who purportedly led the raid on the Mavi Marmara, today told Israeli news website Ynet News that he shot at a protester who approached him with a knife. "I was in front of a number of people with knives and clubs," he said. "I cocked my weapon when I saw that one was coming towards me with a knife drawn and I fired once. Then another 20 people came at me from all directions and threw me down to the deck below …

"We knew they were peace activists. Though they wanted to break the Gaza blockade, we thought we'd encounter passive resistance, perhaps verbal resistance – we didn't expect this. Everyone wanted to kill us. We encountered terrorists who wanted to kill us and we did everything we could to prevent unnecessary injury."

Tonight the Rachel Corrie, an Irish vessel crewed by supporters of the Free Gaza movement, remained on course for Gaza. Yossi Gal, director general at the Israeli foreign ministry, said Israel had "no desire for a confrontation" but asked for the ship to dock at Ashdod, not Gaza.

"If the ship decides to sail the port of Ashdod, then we will ensure its safe arrival and will not board it," he said

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/04/gaza-flotilla-activists-autopsy-results

Peter Lemkin
06-06-2010, 04:42 AM
Robert Fisk: The truth behind the Israeli propaganda
June 5, 2010

ROBERT FISK/THE INDEPENDENT—I have, of course, been outraged at armed men boarding ships in international waters, killing passengers on board who attempt to resist and then forcing their ship to the hijackers’ home port. I am, of course, talking about the Somali pirates who are preying on Western ships in the Indian Ocean. How dare those terrorists dare to touch our unarmed vessels on the high seas? And how right we are to have our warships there to prevent such terrorist acts.

But whoops! At least the Israelis have not demanded ransom. They just want to get journalists to win the propaganda war for them. Scarcely had the week begun when Israel’s warrior “commandos” stormed a Turkish boat bringing aid to Gaza and shot nine of the passengers dead. Yet by week’s end, the protesters had become “armed peace activists”, vicious anti-Semites “professing pacifism, seething with hate, pounding away at another human being with a metal pole”. I liked the last bit. The fact that the person being beaten was apparently shooting another human being with a rifle didn’t quite get into this weird version of reality.

Turkish family protests that their sons wanted to be martyrs – something which most Turkish family members might say if their relatives had been shot by the Israelis – had been transformed into confirmation that they had been jihadis. “On that aid ship,” a Sri Lankan texted me this week, “I had my niece, nephew and his wife on board. Unfortunately Ahmed (20-year-old nephew) got shot in the leg and now treated (sic) under military custody. I will keep you posted.” He did indeed. Within hours, the press was at his family’s home in Australia, demanding to know if Ahmed was a jihadi – or even a potential suicide bomber. Propaganda works, you see. We haven’t seen a frame of film from the protesters because the Israelis have stolen the lot. No one has told us – if the Turkish ship was carrying such ruthless men – how their terrible plots to help the “terrorists” of Gaza were not uncovered in the long voyage from Turkey, even when it called at other ports. But Professor Gil Troy of McGill University in Montreal – in the rabid Canadian National Post, of course – was able to spout all that gunk about “armed peace activists” on Thursday.

I wasn’t personally at all surprised at the killings on the Turkish ship. In Lebanon, I’ve seen this indisciplined rabble of an army – as “elite” as the average rabble of Arab armies – shooting at civilians. I saw them watching the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinians on the morning of 18 September (the last day of the slaughter) by their vicious Lebanese militia allies. I was present at the Qana massacre by Israeli gunners in 1996 – “Arabushim” (the equivalent of the abusive term “Ayrab” in English), one of the gunners called the 106 dead civilians, more than half of them children, in the Israeli press. Then the Israeli government of Nobel laureate Shimon Peres said there were terrorists among the dead civilians – totally untrue, but who cares? – and then came the second Qana massacre in 2006 and then the 2008-09 Gaza slaughter of 1,300 Palestinians, most of them children, and then…

Well, then came the Goldstone report, which found that Israeli troops (as well as Hamas) committed war crimes in Gaza, but this was condemned as anti-Semitic – poor old honourable Goldstone, himself a prominent Jewish jurist from South Africa, slandered as “an evil man” by the raving Al Dershowitz of Harvard – and was called “controversial” by the brave Obama administration. “Controversial”, by the way, basically means “fuck you”.

There’s doubts about it, you see. It’s dodgy stuff.

But back to our chronology. Then we had the Mossad murder of a Hamas official in Dubai with the Israelis using at least 19 forged passports from Britain and other countries. And the pathetic response of our then foreign secretary, David Miliband? He called it “an incident” – not the murder of the guy in Dubai, mind you, just the forgery of UK passports, a highly “controversial” matter – and then… Well, now we’ve had the shooting down of nine passengers at sea by more Israeli heroes.

The amazing thing in all this is that so many Western journalists – and I’m including the BBC’s pusillanimous coverage of the Gaza aid ships – are writing like Israeli journalists, while many Israeli journalists are writing about the killings with the courage that Western journalists should demonstrate. And about the Israeli army itself. Take Amos Harel’s devastating report in Haaretz which analyses the make-up of the Israeli army’s officer corps. In the past, many of them came from the leftist kibbutzim tradition, from greater Tel Aviv or from the coastal plain of Sharon. In 1990, only 2 per cent of army cadets were religious Orthodox Jews. Today the figure is 30 per cent. Six of the seven lieutenant-colonels in the Golani Brigade are religious. More than 50 per cent of local commanders are “national” religious in some infantry brigades.

There’s nothing wrong with being religious. But – although Harel does not make this point quite so strongly – many of the Orthodox are supporters of the colonisation of the West Bank and thus oppose a Palestinian state.

And the Orthodox colonists are the Israelis who most hate the Palestinians, who want to erase the chances of a Palestinian state as surely as some Hamas officials would like to erase Israel. Ironically, it was senior officers of the “old” Israeli army who first encouraged the “terrorist” Hamas to build mosques in Gaza – as a counterbalance to the “terrorist” Yasser Arafat up in Beirut – and I was a witness to one of their meetings. But it will stay the same old story before the world wakes up. “I have never known an army as democratic as Israel’s,” the hapless French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy said a few hours before the slaughter.

Yes, the Israeli army is second to none, elite, humanitarian, heroic. Just don’t tell the Somali pirates. :hmmmm2:

Ed Jewett
06-06-2010, 07:09 PM
http://willyloman.wordpress.com/ has been following and adding to the coverage. Scroll down through the entries....

Ed Jewett
06-06-2010, 07:17 PM
Sea Blockade of Gaza Was “Temporary” — 15 Years Ago (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/06/sea-blockade-of-gaza-was-temporary-15-years-ago/)

by Stuart Littlewood / June 5th, 2010

Peter Lemkin
06-06-2010, 07:21 PM
Sea Blockade of Gaza Was “Temporary” — 15 Years Ago (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/06/sea-blockade-of-gaza-was-temporary-15-years-ago/)

by Stuart Littlewood / June 5th, 2010

...well...some some terms...such as temporary/fair/just/right/legal/justified/defensive/et al. are very subjective and the stronger usually gets to define and then propagandize for the media [often their media surrogates].... :cheers:

Mark Stapleton
06-07-2010, 12:38 AM
So the illegal blockade of Gaza remains in place.

As long as Israel can use the spectre of rocket attacks to justify itself, the blockade can be maintained in perpetuity.

What would happen if Hamas was able to persuade all its supporters to suspend rocket attacks permanently? Nothing. As one Palestinian commentator claimed on radio over the weekend (I'm going to assume he's telling the truth simply because it fits perfectly into the mode of Zionist behaviour), the Israelis have a small group of collaborators inside Gaza who, when a pretext for more barbarism is required, will fire rockets from Gaza into Israel themselves.

They always land in unpopulated areas. Casualties are extremely rare. Doesn't look like they are really trying to do any damage at all, does it. Ah yes, but it is still a rocket. It's aim is to kill Israelis, the authorities will proudly boast. By this means, the Israelis can convince those stupid enough to believe them ie. the majority of those who consume mainstream media in the west, that the blockade is morally justified, absolutely necessary for Israel's survival... and permanent.

Myra Bronstein
06-07-2010, 02:20 AM
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-navy-reserves-officers-allow-external-gaza-flotilla-probe-1.294536

Officers denounce operation as 'military and diplomatic failure', slam government for placing blame on the activists.

By Anshel Pfeffer (http://www.haaretz.com/misc/writers/anshel-pfeffer-1.292)

A group of top Israel Navy reserves officers on Sunday publicly called on Israel to allow an external probe into its commando raid of a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla last week, which left nine people dead and several more wounded.

In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, the Navy officers denounced the commando raid as having "ended in tragedy both at the military and diplomatic levels."

"We disagree with the widespread claims that this was the result of an intelligence rift," said the officers. "In addition, we do not accept claims that this was a 'public relations failure' and we think that the plan was doomed to failure from the beginning."

"First and foremost, we protest the fact that responsibility for the tragic results was immediately thrust onto the organizers of the flotilla," wrote the officers. "This demonstrates contempt for the responsibility that belongs principally to the hierarchy of commanders and those who approved the mission. This shows contempt for the values of professionalism, the purity of weapons and for human lives."

The Navy officers' letter came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was convening his top ministers to deliberate a United Nations proposal to create a joint international committee alongside Turkey and the United States to investigate the circumstances of the deadly raid.

The cabinet was also to discuss the creation of an internal committee to look into the incident. Netanyahu earlier Sunday rejected the idea of an international panel, and reiterated that Israel had the right to conduct its own investigation.

Netanyahu discussed the proposal for a multinational panel with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a telephone call on Saturday but told cabinet ministers fon Sunday that Israel was exploring other options, political sources said.

"I told [Ban] that the investigation of the facts must be carried out responsibly and objectively," Netanyahu told ministers. "We need to consider the issue carefully and level-headedly, while maintaining Israel's national interests as well as those of the Israel Defense Forces."

Ed Jewett
06-07-2010, 03:31 AM
Thanking Israel for the Gift of Understanding (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/thanking-israel-for-the-gift-of-understanding/)

5 06 2010 I don’t write poems but, in any case, poems are not poems



Ghassan Hage

Long ago, I was made to understand that Palestine was not Palestine;
I was also informed that Palestinians were not Palestinians;
They also explained to me that ethnic cleansing was not ethnic cleansing.
And when naive old me saw freedom fighters
they patiently showed me that they were not freedom fighters,
and that resistance was not resistance.
And when, stupidly, I noticed arrogance, oppression and humiliation
they benevolently enlightened me so I can see that arrogance was not arrogance,
oppression was not oppression, and humiliation was not humiliation.
I saw misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentration camp.
But they told me that they were experts
in misery, racism, inhumanity and concentrations camps
and I have to take their word for it:
this was not misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentrations camp.
Over the years they?ve taught me so many things:
invasion was not invasion, occupation was not occupation,
colonialism was not colonialism and apartheid was not apartheid?
They opened my simple mind to even more complex truths
that my poor brain could not on its own compute like:
?having nuclear weapons? was not ?having nuclear weapons?,
?not having weapons of mass destruction? was ?having weapons of mass destruction?.
And, democracy (in the Gaza strip) was not democracy.
Having second class citizens (in Israel) was democracy.
So you?ll excuse me if I am not surprised to learn today
that there were more things that I thought were evident that are not:
peace activists are not peace activists, piracy is not piracy,
the massacre of unarmed people is not the massacre of unarmed people.
I have such a limited brain and my ignorance is unlimited.
And they?re so fucking intelligent. Really.
Sometimes when there is a surfeit of information and disinformation and everybody has something to say, there emerges a gem so clear and brilliant that says it all. It does not need any explanation.
Sonja Karkar
Editor
http://www.australiansforpalestine (http://www.australiansforpalestine/)

Magda Hassan
06-07-2010, 03:45 AM
Brilliant Ed! Thanks for posting this. Sure are so fucking intelligent aren't they?

Ed Jewett
06-07-2010, 04:27 AM
Children Of Gaza
Are You Brave Enough To Witness Life In Gaza?

Must Watch Documentary
First Broadcast Monday 15 March 2010 - Runtime 48 Minutes

[embedded in five parts at link below]

In December 2008, the Israeli Defence Force attacked Gaza. Around 300 children were among the 1,300 Palestinians that were killed.

After the ceasefire, BAFTA-winning filmmaker Jezza Neumann arrived in Gaza to follow the lives of three children over a year.

Surrounded by the remnants of the demolished Gaza Strip and increasingly isolated by the blockade that prevents anyone from rebuilding their homes and their lives, Children of Gaza is a shocking, touching and uniquely intimate reflection on extraordinary courage in the face of great adversity.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25633.htm

Ed Jewett
06-07-2010, 04:33 AM
The Tacitus Principle:
How Israel and its Apologists Defend the Indefensible By Élise Hendrick

June 06, 2010 "Über Meldungen aus dem Exil (http://meldungen-aus-dem-exil.noblogs.org/post/2010/06/04/the-agricola-principle-how-israel-and-its-apologists-defend-the-indefensible)" - - If there is one piece of ancient wisdom that has never lost even a bit of its validity over the centuries, it is Cornelius Tacitus' axiom that, “Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.” Indeed, this appears to be the underlying principle of the US-Israeli PR campaign that has been launched in the wake of the almost universally condemned Israeli commando raid on the unarmed Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which carried aid to the Gaza Strip in an effort to break the siege that has strangled the 1.5 million people there since 2007.

The facts of the attack are fairly uncontroversial. The Gaza Freedom Flotilla consists of several multinational, civilian ships carrying humanitarian aid for the population of the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege in some form or other since 1991, a siege that was tightened to the point of denying basic humanitarian supplies after the elected Hamas government defeated a US-Israeli coup attempt led by Muhammad Dahlan in 2007. The ships were inspected before leaving port, and found to contain only humanitarian aid, much of it medical and reconstruction supplies banned under the US-Israeli embargo.

On 31 May, in international waters, Israeli warships and helicopters surrounded the flotilla, and executed a late-night commando raid on the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, killing at least 16 people (a figure that has been revised in subsequent reports without explanation or comment to 9 dead) and wounding at least 30, according to Israeli news reports that were broadcast before Israeli military censors issued a gag order preventing further reporting.

According to a 28 May Maariv article found by Max Blumenthal (http://maxblumenthal.com/2010/06/the-flotilla-raid-was-not-bungled-the-idf-detailed-its-violent-strategy-in-advance/), this raid was premeditated, having been planned “detail by detail” as much as a week in advance. Everything aboard the ship, including footage of the Israeli attack shot by journalists travelling with the flotilla, has been confiscated. Only a few of the passengers abducted by the Israeli Navy were initially released; the majority were held incommunicado until 2 June, and denied access to lawyers and the media.


How to Lie With Sources:
Terrorist Charities and Bogus “Intelligence Reports”


Israel and its apologists have used the head start given them by the military gag order to propound a rather different version. For the purposes of this article, I will rely primarily on the fairly typical sampling that can be found in two press releases of the Israeli PR outfit The Israel Project (courtesy of Doug Henwood (http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/)):

The first of these press releases – New Ship Headed for Gaza despite Israeli Prohibitions (2 June 2010 – “New Ship…”) – is decorated with a photo of “Anti-Israel activist Rachel Corrie” burning what is supposed to be an American flag. While one might rightly ask why it matters that a young woman who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer during a non-violent attempt to prevent a house demolition seven years ago apparently burned a US flag sometime prior to that, this question is never squarely addressed. The idea, it seems, is to use innuendos about the “illegal flotilla” and unsupported assertions about the “global jihadi ties” of those on board (who even named one of their ships after a known flag burner!) in hopes that the buzzwords used will cause readers to suspend the operation of whatever critical faculties they have.

Having thus set the stage, New Ship… informs us that the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara was, suspiciously enough, “filled with hundreds of Turks”. These flag burner-loving Turks, with their “global jihadi ties”, we learn, carried out a “pre-meditated [sic] attack” on Israeli soldiers who boarded their ship.
Although at least four of the nine activists who died [of natural causes, of course] on the Mavi Marmara May 31 are thought to be Turkish nationals, Israel has not yet released the names and nationalities of those killed in the clash. The Turkish ship was backed by the Insani Yardim Vakfi - “humanitarian relief fund”), or IHH, an Islamist Turkish group. The incident occurred after Israeli Navy personnel attempted to stop the ship from illegally entering Gaza and were attacked by the self-described human rights activists with knives, clubs and other weapons. About 400 of the 700 people participating in the six-vessel flotilla were Turks.
The passengers on the Turkish boat, are “self-described” human rights activists, more than half of whom, the press release once again makes a point of emphasising, were from Turkey (presumably out of fear that the Turks might do to Gaza what they did to Germany – i.e., rebuild it), and backed by the “Islamist Turkish group” ?nsan? Yard?m Vakf? (Humanitarian Relief Fund or IHH). To support its claim that the IHH is an Islamist group, New Ship... cites to a 1 June Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/31/AR2010053101209.html) article, which has only the following to say about the IHH:
Flotilla organizers, from the Turkish nongovernmental organization IHH, or Humanitarian Relief Fund, said they were transporting 6,000 tons of cement, more than 2,000 tons of iron, 100 prefabricated houses, 500 wheelchairs, medical equipment, wood and glass for building, electric generators and food.
Real bad dudes, clearly. It bears repeating that this is the only reference to the IHH in the article, which does not even assert, let alone prove, that the IHH is an “Islamist group”. While this might give a critical reader cause to question the honesty of New Ship... as a whole, the press release was not written for critical readers.

Later on in New Ship..., additional sources are cited for the claim that:
In 2006, a study conducted by the Danish Institute for International Studies showed that the IHH was involved in planning an al-Qaeda attack againstLos [sic] Angeles International Airport in 1999. The IHH reportedly acquired forged documents, enlisted operatives and delivered weapons to al-Qaeda in preparation for the attack, which was ultimately foiled.

The Danish study also cites a French intelligence report which stated that in the mid-1990s the IHH sent a number of operatives into war zones in Muslim countries to get combat experience. The report said that the IHH transferred money and “caches of firearms, knives and pre-fabricated explosives” to Muslim fighters in those countries. Strangely enough, New Ship… does not link to the Danish study, which is available online, but to a page on the website of the Israeli Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center (http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/hamas_e105.htm), headed up by Col. (ret.) Reuven Erlich, which describes itself as "an NGO dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the Israeli intelligence community”. The page, which is replete with assertions and devoid of direct quotes or anything else in the way of substantiation, also does not link to the Danish study, though it does provide an image of the title page and of part of a paragraph from the relevant section (without reproducing the source citations). Those interested can find the report at:

http://www.diis.dk/graphics/Publications/WP2006/DIIS%20WP%202006-7.web.pdf (page 15)

The evidence for the claim that the IHH was “involved in planning an Al-Qaeda attack againstLos Angeles [sic] International Airport in 1999” is that a French magistrate by the name of Bruguière “testified that IHH had played ‘[a]n important role’” in the plot.

The ”French intelligence report” supporting the remainder of the claim turns out to be a motion filed in a French court: “Requisitoire [sic] Definitifaux [sic] aux Fins de Non-Lieu. De Non-Lieu partiel. De Requalification [sic]. De Renvoi devant le Tribunal Correctionnel, de mantien [sic] sous Controle [sic] Judiciaiare [sic] et de maintien en Detention [sic]” (Final Motion Concerning Dismissal, Partial Dismissal, Reclassification, Remand to the Criminal Court, Continued Judicial Supervision, and Continued Detention). This is, it bears emphasising, the only source cited for these claims in the Danish think tank’s report.

In other words, apart from grossly falsifying a press report, the press release cites the website of a think tank connected to the Israeli intelligence community, which itself cites no sources except for a Danish think tank’s report that bases the claims on an unsupported assertion by a French judge and moving papers filed in court, which the press release helpfully misrepresents as an “intelligence report”. QED.

To further bolster claims that those aboard the aid flotilla were dangerous terrorists, the Israel Project reports that:

a number of flotilla activists discussed the possibility they might die and become “martyrs” in the course of attempting to reachGaza [sic] in their vessels before they had even set out. The organizers held a press conference in the Turkish city of Antalya before the flotilla sailed, tasking all the participants to write their wills before departing. Walid Al-Tabtabai, a Kuwaiti member of parliament, was among those who wrote a will before leaving on the flotilla. Similarly, in its follow-up press release, European Officials Rushed to Judgment and Condemned Israel’s Attempts to Stop Illegal Flotilla (3 June 2010), the Israel Project claims that Turkish passenger


Benginin told his family just before joining the flotilla: "I am going to be a shahid; I dreamt I will become a shahid – I saw in a dream that I will be killed." And Iritilmis reportedly told a friend before departure, “He was devoted to this activity, and always dreamt about becoming a shahid,”
translating the Turkish expression ?ehit dü?mek (to be killed) as “to become a shahid”, presumably for maximum effect. In other words, then, the damning evidence is that some people on board the flotilla were concerned that they might not survive an encounter with the Israeli Navy.

Perhaps sensing that even its target audience will not immediately grasp the horrors that might ensue if the people of the Gaza Strip were allowed access to concrete, New Ship... helpfully adds that “Hamas [the elected government] has in the past used [concrete] to build bunkers” like those one finds in Sderot, leading, presumably, to an untenable “bunker gap”. Even assuming this is true, one might be forgiven for doubting that there is anything particularly nefarious about building air-raid shelters in an area that has been subjected to extensive aerial bombardment.

How to Lie with Sources II:
“This Was Not a Love Boat – This Was a Boat of Hatred”
In a further effort at creating the impression that the humanitarian nature of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla is pretextual, New Ship... selectively quotes from a 2 June article (http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=177284) in the right-wing Jerusalem Post to the effect that:

In the meantime, Iran-backed Hamas on Wednesday (June 2) was preventing Israel from delivering humanitarian aid from the flotilla toGaza [sic]. Israel dispatched eight truckloads of the aid to the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza on June 1 after the ships were escorted to the port city of Ashdod. Said a Hamas official, "We refuse to receive the humanitarian aid until all those who were detained aboard the ships are released."

The authors of New Ship…, apologists for “US-backed Israel”, might have mentioned that the unnamed official of democratically-elected Hamas (whose name and title, Minister of Social Welfare Ahmed Al-Kurd, are quoted in the JP article, but suppressed in New Ship…) is further quoted in the very same JP article as saying:


"We also insist that the equipment be delivered in its entirety."

Kurd said that Israel's decision to allow a number of wheelchairs to be delivered to the Gaza Strip was a "deception," claiming that the batteries that operate them had been removed, making them useless.

Clearly, this press release is not meant to be taken seriously.

This all comes to a crescendo with a quote from none other than US-backed Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who considers the flotilla an “unprecedent attack of hypocrisy”, because "The purpose of the flotilla wasn’t to enter [sic] goods to Gaza – which we allow anyway, on a daily basis – the purpose was to break the naval blockade.” The purpose of the blockade, the indignant Netanyahu proclaimed, is to “stop weapons from entering Gaza”. Amira Hass of the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/why-won-t-israel-allow-gazans-to-import-coriander-1.288824) helpfully provides examples of the sort of dangerous ordnance the blockade keeps out:


The Defense Ministry is refusing - on security grounds, it says - to reveal why Israel prohibits the import into the Gaza Strip of items such as cilantro, sage, jam, chocolate, french fries, dried fruit, fabrics, notebooks empty flowerpots and toys, while allowing cinnamon, plastic buckets and combs.
One might object that it is hardly hypocritical to launch a flotilla for the purpose of breaking the naval blockade when that has in fact been the stated purpose of the flotilla all along, but it seems reasonable to defer to Netanyahu’s expertise in the field of hypocrisy.


“We are of course sorry for the lost [sic] of lives,” Netanyahu goes on, “but our soldiers were in life danger and were defending themselves from being lynched.”
It is worthwhile at this point to remember what “lynching” actually is. An exhibit currently touring the US, Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, provides us with examples:


(1) Bennie Simmons (http://withoutsanctuary.org/pics_04_text.html), or Dennis Simmons, accused of the murder of sixteen-year old Susie Church, was taken from prison guards in Anadarko, Oklahoma. His killers led him to a nearby bridge and hanged him from the limb of a cottonwood tree flourishing by a stream."

The Negro prayed and shrieked in agony as the flames reached his flesh," reported a local newspaper, "but his cries were drowned out by yells and jeers of the mob." As Simmons began to lose consciousness the mob fired at the body, cutting it to pieces. " The mobsters made no attempt to conceal their identity," remarked the Enfaula Democrat, "but there were no prosecutions."

(2) Tampa (http://withoutsanctuary.org/pics_06_text.html) had built a flourishing cigar manufacturing industry by providing liberal incentives to manufacturers. The unionizing of workers and the violence erupting from strikes threatened the town's economy. Two Italian immigrants were accused of union sympathy and of shooting J. F. Esterling, a bookkeeper for the West Tampa cigar factory. City fathers were alarmed that an "American" would be subjected to attack. While the "conspicuous" immigrants, neither one of which was recognized previously as strikers, were being taken to a safer jail in a horse-drawn hack, a mob separated them from a suspiciously modest guard consisting of one deputy sheriff and fireman. The mob fled in automobiles, a luxury afforded by only the elite in Tampa, which suggested that they were "men with boiled shirts, high collars, diamonds, and kid gloves."
Conspicuously absent from these accounts is any reference to the victims being highly trained, armed special-forces operatives executing a late-night raid. Indeed, it seems that the hallmark of a lynching is that the victim is unarmed, alone, and completely helpless, and usually ends up burnt at the stake or hung from a tree amidst much merrymaking.

Quite apart from the absurdity of using the term “lynch” to describe alleged “attacks” on special forces soldiers raiding a civilian vessel, there is something distinctly sickening about this appropriation of one of the signal atrocities of modern African American history. One wonders how Netanyahu or his many spokespersons and media flacks would react if one of the Mavi Marmara passengers were to refer to the Israeli raid as a “pogrom”.


An Arsenal Rivalled Only by Bob Vila

The Israeli military have since made a major media production of the “weapons (http://idfspokesperson.com/2010/06/01/photos-of-the-mavi-marmaras-equipment-and-weapons-1-jun-2010/)" discovered on board the ship as part of the “pre-meditated [sic] attack” on those defenceless commandos.

The “weapons” recovered include “metal rods, slingshots, knives, smoke torches, wrenches, electric saws, gas masks, and molotov [sic] cocktails”. The photographs do not show the “smoke torches” or Molotov cocktails, and what the IDF claims are slingshots are photographed in such a way that it is not actually particularly clear what they are. Gas masks, of course, are not weapons at all. They are breathing apparatus used in environments with contaminated air (and thanks to the Israeli destruction of the main sewage treatment plant, there is plenty of that in Gaza). Flares are standard safety equipment on any ship (for SOS signalling if radio communication is impossible), and are indeed often required in order to obtain a certificate of seaworthiness.

The remainder are children’s toys, kitchen utensils, and run-of-the-mill tools that one will find in any well-equipped home.

When examining these photos, it is important to keep in mind that we are forced to take the IDF's word on them. We have no independent information whatever on this matter. The Israeli military have had unfettered, uncontrolled, unmonitored access to the ships, and have not only a strong interest in finding something to create the perception that their attack was justified but also a track record of lying about these matters.

The same caveats apply to the videos released by the IDF. The first thing worth noting is that none of them is longer than approximately 20 seconds. More importantly, the time stamps have either been obscured or removed altogether, making it impossible to establish a chronology based on them. In one, which the IDF claims was somehow “censored” from the Mavi Marvara’s live satellite feed, we see nothing but what appears to be a fight in a room someplace (how one censors a satellite feed in real time during an armed attack is anyone’s guess). Nothing in the video allows the viewer to determine when or where the footage was shot – we have to take Israel’s word for it.

The other videos are shot in infrared at such a great distance that the people appear to be small dots or vague silhouettes. It is impossible to tell who’s who, let alone what anyone is doing. This is tacitly acknowledged by the fact that the IDF has placed captions by some of the dots, explaining what these particular dots were supposed to be doing. Without them, there would be no way of knowing at all – again, we have to take their word for it. Again, there is not a single identifying detail visible in these videos – we see a large boat and the silhouette of a helicopter, but no markings. These, too, could have been shot anywhere and at any time (or, given the image quality, created as part of a first-year computer graphics course).

Footage of the killings of the activists on board is, of course, conspicuously absent from this heavily edited collection of cinematic vignettes, which might even have been shot during IDF exercises preparing for the raid given the lack of identifying detail and the absence of timestamps from the majority of the footage.

Further doubt is cast on this version by another Jerusalem Post article (http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177445), dateline 4 June 2010, which relies entirely on unnamed Israeli military sources, including two anonymous members of the Israeli elite unit who claim to have been involved in the raid on the Mavi Marmara. The new version put forth in the article, a significant escalation of prior claims, appears to have been issued in response to the interviews with survivors of the Israeli attack that are now readily available. The article reads like an IDF press release, with no non-IDF sources quoted and no questions whatever raised about the statements reported.

In this version, the attacking Israeli commandos were “attacked” by “mercenaries”, a description the JP uncritically accepts on the basis that it is the terminology used by the IDF.

The article drips with admiration for the “well-built”, “soft-spoken” anonymous IDF soldier, who basis his claim that those on board the Mavi Marmara were “without a doubt terrorists” on the fact that he could see “the murderous rage in their eyes”. This is a particularly impressive diagnostic feat given that the IDF claims that “all the mercenaries wore gas masks”.

An Israeli officer allegedly involved in the raid, identified only as “T.” “fills in the blanks” left by the account of S. (a true disciple of Marcus Aurelius who is “stingy with words”) as follows:

T. said he realized the group they were facing was well-trained and likely ex-military after the commandos threw a number of stun grenades and fired warning shots before rappelling down onto the deck. “They didn’t even flinch,” he said. “Regular people would move.”
If this is true, the IDF is holding out on us. The available footage, far from showing people who “didn’t even flinch”, looks like a free-for-all, with people milling about in all directions. All of the "evidence” that those on board the Mavi Marmara were “mercenaries” or “terrorists” is of basically the same character. Of note, however, is T.’s admission that the attacking commandos were firing (“warning shots”, allegedly) before they even boarded the ship.

Similarly absent from the footage made available is anything to confirm that “The attackers [sic] had already seized two pistols from the commandos, and fired repeatedly at them." The JP also uncritically reports the suspicions of the Israeli military that “the group did have some guns of its own”, but does not see fit to point out that this contradicts prior versions (which claimed, at the most, that guns were “stolen” from the attacking commandos) and is based solely on the result of an investigation by unnamed IDF “forensic experts” that has irreparably tainted the scene (it is not for nothing that suspects are generally not allowed unsupervised access to crime scenes).

S. is reportedly being considered for a "medal of valor” for the “remarkable job” he did.

Meanwhile, post mortems (http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/06/04/gaza.raid.autopsies/index.html) performed in Turkey showed that five of those killed on the Mavi Marmara were shot in the head, one from point-blank range. “One casualty, a 19-year-old dual national Turkish-American citizen named Furkan Dogan, was found to have bullet wounds in his head and multiple bullets in his body, [medical examiner Haluk] Ince said.”
In the eyes of the insufficiently reverent, evidence like might help to explain why S. “does not look like a hero”, in the words of the JP article.

The “Illegal” Flotilla

Before addressing the legal issues, let us return to the undisputed facts:

The Gaza flotilla was in international waters en route to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, when it was surrounded by the Israeli Navy. The Israeli military then proceeded to carry out an armed attack on at least one of the ships with the equivalent of US Navy SEALS, who boarded the Mavi Marmara by force and proceeded to kill sixteen passengers and injure over thirty. The flotilla was then hijacked and taken to Israeli territory, where the abducted passengers and crews were held incommunicado.

New Ship… repeatedly describes the flotilla as “illegal”, because it "violate[d] Israeli law” to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip. This claim puts Israel and its apologists in a rather awkward position. The official Israeli position, rejected by all international organisations and international law specialists, is that Gaza is not occupied, although Israel retains effective control over Gaza by land, sea, and air, has cut off all direct contact with the outside world, attacks the territory at will, and is exploiting natural gas deposits found in Gaza’s coastal waters. Even more importantly, Gaza is not a separate political entity; it is part of what in international law is referred to in the singular as the “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, which includes the indisputably occupied West Bank. As such, the specific modality of Israeli control does not matter. The Gaza Strip is part of the territory that has been under Israeli occupation since June 1967.

If Gaza is not occupied, however, how does Israeli law apply to Gaza, which is not a part of Israel? This argument ultimately serves only to point up Israel’s duplicity over the (long since resolved) issue of whether it is occupying Gaza (it is).

More importantly, both the Fourth Geneva Convention (http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/385ec082b509e76c41256739003e636d/6756482d86146898c125641e004aa3c5) (art. 64) and the Fourth Hague Convention (http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/385ec082b509e76c41256739003e636d/1d1726425f6955aec125641e0038bfd6) (art. 43) prohibit an occupying power imposing its laws on the occupied territory, and no state may apply its domestic laws to a foreign ship in international waters.

Another tack that Israel’s apologists have taken is to quote selectively from official naval warfare manuals, such as the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflict at Sea (http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JMST). As the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) points out on its web page dedicated to this Manual, “[t]he Manual is not a binding document. In view of the extent of uncertainty in the law, the experts decided that it was premature to embark on diplomatic negotiations to draft a treaty on the subject.” In other words, the Manual is what is known in law as a “restatement”, a helpful summary of generally accepted principles and commentary that does not, itself, have force of law.

While less patently ridiculous than the argument that Israeli law has any applicability on the high seas or the Gaza Strip, the naval warfare manuals are what is known in international humanitarian law as jus in bello, i.e., provisions applicable to how warfare is to be conducted. As such, they presume that warfare has already been found to be lawful in a specific case. This bootstrapping argument assumes a matter that must first be proven.
A blockade is, uncontroversially, an act of war. As such, it falls within the general prohibition on the use or threat of military force set forth in Art. 2(3) and (4) of the UN Charter (http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml):


3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
The UN Charter (Art. 51 (http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter7.shtml)) provides one exception to this general prohibition, which is at the core of modern international law: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”
Accordingly, acts of war are presumptively illegal. The burden to establish their legitimacy is always on the state asserting a right to use or threaten military force. In order to carry this burden, states must prove that they have exhausted peaceful means (or that no peaceful means are available).

Thus, the first question is: Is Israel under armed attack? The only thing that could potentially be considered an armed attack within the meaning of Art. 51 are the attacks with crude, homemade rockets emanating from Gaza, which have, between 2001 and 2008, altogether claimed fewer lives within Israel (16 (http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=hsJPK0PIJpH&b=883997&ct=3887857)) than an average month’s traffic fatalities (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/news.aspx/129092) (37 based on 2008 figures). Thus, for our purposes, Israel can be considered to be under armed attack, ineffectual as it is.

The next question is: Are peaceful means available? This, too, must be answered in the affirmative. One obvious option would be to end the occupation altogether, in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 242 and decades of General Assembly resolutions near-unanimously (US, Israel, and the odd Pacific atoll opposed) affirming that Palestinians are entitled to full sovereignty over all territories occupied by Israel in 1967, and calling for a “just solution” to the refugee problem, based on the legal principle that refugees are entitled to return to their homes or seek compensation, at their option. In other words, the first peaceful means that should be considered is for Israel to cease defying international law and the consistently expressed demands of virtually the entire world.

Some may object at this point that this might be too much legality for the delicate, unwritten Israeli constitution. Are there any other peaceful options available to Israel – short of living up to all of its legal obligations – to achieve its stated aim of ending the rocket attacks?

Again, the answer is: Yes. Prior to the Israeli “Cast Lead” massacre of Winter 2008-2009, Hamas had agreed to a cease fire with Israel. Despite Israel’s refusal to observe the ceasefire (it kept the siege in place – an act of war), rocket attacks from Gaza all but stopped (http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e007.pdf) from 19 June 2008 (when the ceasefire took effect) until 4 Nov 2008, when Israel violated the ceasefire (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/idf-kills-hamas-man-in-gaza-clash-1.256644) with a deadly attack deep inside the Gaza strip. Nonetheless, the elected Hamas government remained willing to offer Israel a ten-year ceasefire (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8014069.stm) even after Israel had killed 1,400 overwhelmingly unarmed people and laid waste to the Gaza Strip in a month-long massacre.

In other words, far from exhausting peaceful means that have proven successful in the past, Israel has steadfastly refused to consider such means at all. Accordingly, Israel can claim no legal right to impose a blockade of any kind on the Gaza Strip, let alone one that specifically targets foodstuffs, school supplies, and materials desperately needed in order to repair the devastation wrought during Israel’s 2008-2009 rampage.

Because Israel can claim no legal right to impose a blockade on the Palestinians of Gaza, moreover, the US-backed Likud-Israel Beitenu regime in Israel (to use one of the preferred grammatical constructions of the Israel Project press releases) certainly cannot assert a right to enforce such a blockade on third parties. This is particularly true in light of Israel’s duty under Art. 59 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to "facilitate [relief actions] by all the means at its disposal" and to "permit the free passage of [relief] consignments and [...] guarantee their protection," a duty, it is worth noting, that would apply even if Israel could lawfully impose a blockade.

Let us return, then, to the undisputed facts. In order to enforce a blockade of the Gaza Strip, Israeli special forces carried out a late-night raid on an unarmed, civilian humanitarian relief convoy in international waters that sought free passage to territory Israel occupies. It is alleged that those on board the Turkish Mavi Marmara resisted this armed attack using whatever materials were available (most of which can be found in any proper kitchen, tool shed, or garage in the world). Approximately sixteen passengers were killed by the Israeli attackers (though current press reports have reduced the figure – without explanation or comment – to nine), and the remainder were taken, by force, to Israeli territory and held there incommunicado.

As we have seen, Israel has no legal justification either for its blockade or for the attack on the Mavi Marmara, let alone for hijacking the convoy on the high seas (which constitutes an act of war against the countries whose flags the ships were flying).

But what of the alleged “lynching” of the armed Israeli special forces soldiers who boarded the Mavi Marmara? Leaving aside the patently offensive and absurd term, this act patently constitutes an armed attack – on a civilian vessel, no less – within the meaning of Art. 51 of the UN Charter. Because of the immediacy of the threat, Turkey (and, indeed, any NATO state under the "collective self-defence" variant in conjunction with Art. 5 of the North Atlantic Charter) would have been entitled to use proportionate force – e.g., by dispatching a warship – to defend the vessel. Barring that, those on board would have been entitled to respond to the Israeli attack using the same weapons that the Israeli troops carried.

In other words, even if we accept as fact the Israeli account of a “lynching” of soldiers who boarded a civilian vessel by force, all this would mean is that those on board the Mavi Marmara used substantially inferior means to ward off (unsuccessfully) an armed, illegal attack on their ship that killed their comrades.

In short, the official US-Israeli line does not hold up to even elementary scrutiny. The central claims either cannot be proven or are directly contradicted by the evidence adduced to “substantiate” them. One could be shocked by the contempt that these propagandists show for their intended audience (the media), if it were not so clearly justified.

Helen Reyes
06-07-2010, 07:11 AM
I saw this mentioned in the local paper. Quite odd, it was a story about "recovered digital photos" with not a single photo with the article. Apparently Turkey's somewhat pro-Israel newspaper Hurriyet is running a story that photos erased by the IDF from a digital camera have been recovered showing activists brutalizing IDF forces on the Marmara. Remember, all the reports to date have said Israel has released protestors (except for 17 MIAs, probably dead) BUT NOT THEIR LAPTOPS, CAMERAS OR OTHER ITEMS.

links:
http://www.raptureforums.com/forum/israel-middle-east-news/36227-turkish-paper-releases-censored-photos-beaten-israeli-commandos.html

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/turkish-paper-releases-censored-photos-of-beaten-israeli-commandos-1.294443

photos:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/images/galerithumbs/20100606/id_55_0adc86b8.jpghttp://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/images/galerithumbs/20100606/id_55_43d9cb4f.jpg
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Ed Jewett
06-07-2010, 07:30 AM
Israeli Navy Fires at Palestinian Divers Off Gaza, 5 Killed


Published June 07, 2010
| NewsCore
The Israeli Navy said Monday its commandos killed five militants dressed in diving gear off the coast of Gaza -- while Palestinian medics claimed the dead were fishermen.
The five -- believed to be all men -- were spotted on a boat heading north towards Israel, from the Nuseirath refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, an IDF spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post.
The spokesperson said they were heavily armed and dressed in diving gear -- and they were trying to swim to shore when a firefight erupted.
An army source told Haaretz that the firefight about 4:30am (local time) was a success for the Navy's elite commando unit, Shayetet 13, and prevented a rare attempt at a seaborne attack on Israel.
There were no Israeli casualties.
Medical sources told Al Jazeera that those killed on Monday were fishermen, but the Israeli navy claimed they were divers planning a "terror attack."
Four bodies were retrieved and taken to a hospital in central Gaza, with two of the dead suffering multiple gunshots to the head, Palestinian health official Moawiya Hassanain said. A fifth person was initially reported missing, feared dead.
The incident comes amidst tensions between the two nations after Israel killed nine pro-Palestinian activists during a raid last week on a six-ship humanitarian aid flotilla headed to Gaza.
Israel has claimed the flotilla was linked to terrorists.


http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/06/07/israeli-navy-fires-palestinian-divers-gaza-medics-say-killed/

Peter Presland
06-07-2010, 08:26 AM
A petition to the UN. (http://www.petitiononline.com/is050110/petition.html)@3,500 sigs to date.

Probably another exercise in futility and yet another list of 'subversives' for the SIS databases - but it only takes a jiffy to sign.


We, the undersigned citizens of the world, call on the United Nations General Assembly to rescind Israel's membership in the UN, as a step toward ending Zionist apartheid.

Israel's attack on a humanitarian aid fleet on Monday May 31, 2010, its murder of 9 human rights activists in international waters and wounding 50 others demonstrate that Israel rejects the structural tenets of our shared humanity, manifested in a global moral consensus and international law.

Countless UN resolutions call on Israel to respect international law. It abides by none of them. It should therefore lose its place among the global family of nations.

Israel has been violating international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention in its building of settlements, displacement of the indigenous population of Palestine, invasion of surrounding countries, killing and ethnically cleansing civilians systematically through the use of massacres. Israel has never been held accountable for the massacres of Deir Yassin, Qibya, Sabra and Shatilla, Qana, Gaza, and Jenin, for murdering Rachel Corrie, nor, as of today, for its massacre on the flotilla of international peace activists hoping to break Israel’s siege on the Palestinian people. As of 2007, Gaza has been turned into an open air prison housing 1.5 million people. Since 1948, Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship do not enjoy equal protection or rights under Israeli law for not being classified as “Jewish Nationals.” Palestinian survivors of ethnic cleansing are denied the right to return.

We, the citizens of the world, call upon you to shape the 21st century with a new ethic, already enshrined in the United Nations. We call upon you to end Zionist apartheid and racial injustice by stripping Israel of its UN membership.

Magda Hassan
06-07-2010, 02:05 PM
Was the Obama Administration involved in the Planning of the Israeli Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla?
The Broader Military Agenda

By Michel Chossudovsky

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19573 (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztAMk6ba16JWisDrLFmI-6rrjG_yNpzc40_zxAe89aXHtWxeL29HL0gbAMcD7Xm8Mo5LUuP Kcw3q3P7VMIigy9g1mAzSSb_NXurilivBYSL6rww9gJHh7ygXL YBybXUpZoFoqL8erilX70BIAJWMH4k2j9Fk8Cxol6k=)

Global Research (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztDpBQERk5Q-NKKCuIcxt24_F_cslG2khFVgT5uf3g88GV2J5LvVneu06ykC9s eVpWrOHiUwQj5ScGVSsV6D0mkOAiFa6_h3caCdjHqDelOjMw== ), June 6, 2010

The Israeli Navy Commando had prior knowledge of who was on the Turkish ship including where passengers were residing in terms of cabin layout. According to Swedish author Henning Mankell, who was on board the Marmara , "the Israeli forces attacked sleeping civilians."
These were targeted assassinations. Specific individuals were targeted. Journalists were targeted with a view to confiscating their audio and video recording equipment and tapes.
"We were witnesses to premeditated murders," said historian Mattias Gardell who was on the Mavi Marmara.
"...Asked about why activists on the Turkish ship had attacked the Israeli soldiers, Gardell stressed "it is not as if Israel is a police officer whom no human being has the legitimate right to defend him or herself against":

"If you are attacked by commando troops you of course must have the right to defend yourself ... Many people on this ship thought they were going to kill everyone. They were very frightened ... It's strange if people think one should not defend oneself. Should you just sit there and say: 'Kill me'?" he said." (See Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Detailed Compiled Eyewitness Accounts Confirm Cold-Blooded Murder and Executions by Israeli Military (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztDBvvl_Nf2IR6P_7chtAlYZsCTa1Exo59TyT Kd6s24BRJg-4aTTQW4w2EHRkCrSWUzVUa-RvXLWY1aV0H5Jq46ABoIPwwepUaR3UszPidvwZbqJaZ_XI93PC vxe-oRSa9nIDuF0pnZ9O5S-pMuhrOV3xnWXt11fLOo=), Global Research, June 1, 2010)
“They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,” (quoted by Press TV (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztCJN2bOlFbqgEn9h7MMTWPjML6EtyzIveZCC HhVVuvnv7Foxzu9LODe7kEoxFwCItCDs3AyjMlBXHFA9vrVUN1 nv3sUvWDjJJGi4sfOB8Q-gJkc8-fVvyikzmrHSbG0q-Q6UkCDyVQqwuvqa_kHmr0kCHVjek65s18IWr0r2Bq3OQ==))
(http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztCJN2bOlFbqgEn9h7MMTWPjML6EtyzIveZCC HhVVuvnv7Foxzu9LODe7kEoxFwCItCDs3AyjMlBXHFA9vrVUN1 nv3sUvWDjJJGi4sfOB8Q-gJkc8-fVvyikzmrHSbG0q-Q6UkCDyVQqwuvqa_kHmr0kCHVjek65s18IWr0r2Bq3OQ==)

The Israeli Commando had an explicit order to kill.
What was the role of the United States?
The raids on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, bear the mark of previous Israeli operations directed against unarmed civilians. It is a well established modus operandi of Israeli military-intelligence operations, which is tacitly supported by the US administration.
The killing of civilians is intended to trigger a response by Palestinian resistance forces, which in turn justifies Israeli retaliation (on "humanitarian" grounds) as well as a process of military escalation. The logic of this process was contained in Ariel Sharon`s "Operation Justified Vengeance" initiated at the outset the Sharon government in 2001. This Operation was intent upon destroying the Palestinian Authority and transforming Gaza into an urban prison. (See Michel Chossudovsky, "Operation Justified Vengeance": Israeli Strike on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is Part of a Broader Military Agenda (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztC5_oNUF4YZ90H_Q4o8cfNLwnfIQ-lp3aggz2o_y0CBmQdqgVyObHUX3cSSaV767kjAwdmd9MgD25BD EfRaK7p6n_IRlTJFxqtErfWlTGiuZ0LpMLcwjCkGWMbgvzjXbh JOgcraHFMsNWMW3cBtevs06MhxTBmhcww=), Global Research, June 1, 2010).
The Israeli attack of the Flotilla bears the fingerprints of a military intelligence operation coordinated by the IDF and Mossad, which is headed by Meir Dagan. It is worth recalling that as a young Coronel, Dagan worked closely with then defense minister Ariel Sharon in the raids on the Palestinian settlements of Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut in 1982.
There are indications that the US was consulted at the highest levels regarding the nature of this military operation. Moreover, in the wake of the attacks, both the US and the UK have unequivocally reaffirmed their support to Israel.
There are longstanding and ongoing military and intelligence relations between the US and Israel including close working ties between various agencies of government: Pentagon, National Intelligence Council, State Department, Homeland Security and their respective Israeli counterparts.

These various agencies of government are involved in routine liaison and consultations, usually directly as well as through the US Embassy in Israel, involving frequent shuttles of officials between Washington and Tel Aviv as well as exchange of personnel. Moreover, the US as well as Canada have public security cooperation agreements with Israel pertaining to the policing of international borders, including maritime borders. (See Israel-USA Homeland Security Cooperation (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztDdSn-0BlzluhfOY_BSPuvH69GEV2-PbTqgguf7OdDOkHyOyaZ49fAGaSDJ4E93iCWzHg1mJEMUCo6Oh CJ1VIBHcZlgCzbTlf_mXGfSikb0egLPAhCmYfiRYOa4dlgkbBJ Z8l1-r8pt5GLpvQB3iBJC1AN35lxBuWs=), See also Michel Chossudovsky, The Canada-Israel "Public Security" Agreement (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztDcGqoH-XCqSDXd1IffiN_Ekfb1RUpli3t68lWJAZ8eAAVozYtKMbMrh0r hCNjvQWBasWEB5_16F5yL6NiVUw2NcwplX_DeFRRhnwRIhwli1 UKxwNrz0E10vOF9thuf94OW7HaBE58EwcncC8_d9vqTio6Jlu6 vsh4=), Global Research, 2 April 2008)
The Role of Rahm Emmanuel
Several high level US-Israel meetings were held in the months prior to the May 31st attacks.
Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's White House chief of Staff was in Tel Aviv a week prior to the attacks. Confirmed by press reports, he had meetings behind closed doors with Prime Minister Netanyahu (May 26) as well as a private visit with President Shimon Peres on May 27.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/rahmnet1.jpg
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May 26 meeting between Rahm Emmanuel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Official statements do not indicate whether other officials including cabinet ministers or IDF and Mossad officials were present at the Rahm Emmanuel-Netanyahu meeting. The Israeli press confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel had a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whose Ministry was responsible for overseeing the Commando attack on the Flotilla. (Rahm Emanuel visits Israel to celebrate son's bar mitzvah - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztCWflNunXBIRgNGOQMX0FTjUrcfHaeTdl-0njRsIS6Lx3Rc6zuHf9V_fcFu4YvcvgOrMhvAC0PMWdPFultzn CgbZCvFpW5WCNOdOPiUhWu21GxBwiz1c2_tXK1dPMmt79dYhCx HFJzz5q5RxWVCv-nV8JPVp4XRG0AVmlhewk9FqMb3OV-NKzGBcXZoogdBu4M-ZdcsV1Hj6TCI34IiFZ4i), 23 May 2010). The White House also confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel was to meet other high-ranking Israeli officials, without providing further details. (Rahm Emanuel in Israel for Son's Bar Mitzvah, May Meet With Officials (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztDFainXjolAFTfJOba9GyU6a9Ivs5s6gKVqW 1cWprBg7quYl8Bb29PouNFWH9EbZAf15rErV9AIrsev6dcxYU_ ZHiYL-N85HIoE9VJSkH_l7PcSasRyKhreXjNNYdAtr0T5G90_DxmVnZ1 1GDyjJZsIRzoaAHympr_dE5ZNzhCIULutfWipo8fdHjKLuHyBz soDEpX3-T6rUNZ22XHpsTbG))
"Our Man in the White House"
While born in the US, Rahm Emmanuel also holds Israeli citizenship and has served in the Israeli military during the First Gulf War (1991).
Rahm is also known for his connections to the pro-Israeli lobby in the US. The Israeli newspaper Maariv calls him "Our Man in the White House" (quoted in Irish Times, March 13, 2010). Rahm Emmanuel gave his support to Obama in the November 2008 presidential elections following Obama`s address to the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC.
At the time of Rahm Emmanuel's confirmation as White House chief of staff, there were reports in the Middle East media of Rahm Emanuel's connections to Israeli intelligence.
The exact nature of Rahm Emmanuel's ties to the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus, however, is not the main issue. What we are dealing with is a broad process of bilateral coordination and decision-making between the two governments in the areas of foreign policy, intelligence and military planning, which has been ongoing for more than 50 years. In this regard, Israel, although exercising a certain degree of autonomy in military and strategic decisions, will not act unilaterally, without receiving the "green light" from Washington. Rahm Emmanuel`s meetings with the prime minister and Israeli officials are part of this ongoing process.
Rahm Emmanuel's meetings in Tel Aviv on May 26 were a routine follow-up to visits to Washington by Prime Minister Netanyahu in March and by Minister of Defense Ehud Barak in late April. In these various bilateral US-Israel encounters at the White House, the state Department and the Pentagon, Rahm Emmanuel invariably plays a key role.
While the pro-Israeli lobby in the US influences party politics in America, Washington also influences the direction of Israeli politics. There have been reports to the effect that Rahm Emmanuel would "lead a team of high octane Democratic party pro-Israel political operatives to run the campaign for the Defense Minister Ehud Barak" against Netanyahu in the next Israeli election. (Ira Glunts, Could Rahm Emanuel Help Barak Unseat Netanyahu? (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztBSMRR2WrkldxxsyPtPSu41xzkYjLRAWSN86 cZuCavj7n8YtiThrEX0Vrtt8Z_jJ9Lwhz1KIpsC8rgFuodbF2u fvvZtYzqvLGNWmvj5VsFpQUcCMwguPHdv0VB8bPWO-MibfF55epYyvd9Dl_PQu6vnnf1WASli3B8=) Palestine Chronicle, June 2, 2010)
The April 27 meeting between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Defense Minister Barak pertained to "a range of important defense issues" directly or indirectly related to the status of the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation:

"As President Obama has affirmed, the United States commitment to Israel's security is unshakable, and our defense relationship is stronger than ever, to the mutual benefit of both nations. The United States and our ally Israel share many of the same security challenges, from combating terrorism to confronting the threat posed by Iran's nuclear-weapons program.
For years, the United States and Israel have worked together to prepare our armed forces to meet these and other challenges, a recent major example being the Juniper Cobra joint exercise held last October. Our work together on missile-defense technology is ongoing, and the United States will continue to ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge." (Press Conference with Secretary Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Barak, April 2010 - Council on Foreign Relations (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztD6VxfJrsPr6IGWeCLKbowt0RDfQsCl4m_xG uPiU8JiOTICPL_VCXrJ9RlXjBlzukFkOpXhucwZph_9WgDcDl_ G-dVDfqXW8Pkrp7mmVDn8830lQEFoNNy9Nw_IYOIPw0Xc7h36iKC dAL-oq6f_FW-W_qGcYS7D2gyzx-Eu__QxE8w7sCj0GhgLVN9NDOrHCazLEKRfaZlZ4-jJxOsFwXy6uik4Hw4x2IPUJyA9HDlR-9gQ5kDCSY95) April 27, 2010)
These consultations pertained to ongoing military preparations regarding Iran. Both Israel and the US have recently announced that a pre-emptive attack against Iran has been contemplated.
Washington views Israel as being "'integrated into America’s military architecture,' especially in the missile defense sphere." (quoted in Emanuel to rabbis: US 'screwed up' (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztCKN69cmjagdp_gioobx7Q8o_CmY_K0dQAFn mM7ysr6MrDeLwuNh3mvIPUpKJcll-OCMPNDF1SNJ771mS9hjOzTwW1XQW1yx3kS50lPT8ldPCUDr7lv 4UuBpKSdWM982chMzVBk5FrV2OKEPFQVy0ebrDARj9Wsar4=) Jerusalem Post, statement of Dennis Ross, who is in charge of the US administration’s Iran policy in the White House, May 16, 2010).
Targeting Iran
The attack on the Freedom Flotilla, might appear as a separate and distinct humanitiarian issue, unrelated to US-Israeli war plans. But from the standpoint of both Tel Aviv and Washington, it is part of the broader military agenda. It is intended to create conditions favoring an atmosphere of confrontation and escalation in the Middle East war theater;

"All the signs are that Israel has been stepping up its provocations to engineer a casus belli for a war against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Tel Aviv sees as unfinished business its inconclusive wars: the first in Lebanon in 2006, and the second in Gaza in 2008-09." (Jean Shaoul Washington Comes to the Aid of Israel over Gaza Convoy Massacre (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztDJSYIPCCNsesF8KYzhmWE2b3UKcweTjpseu h-6yQ2XMmqNesO6PSEdQluu_VR8sXoiDm2EU9LS4FrMPrbpG5bDc 23wPamCH1cPWI0MTQFNAEgPdihxkGbiyf7Bn3LqDed8tDj4IAD Rs56aoU221Nlt2t5D3I_z1p4=), Global Research, June 4, 2010)
Following Israel's illegal assault in international waters, Netanyahu stated emphatically "Israel will continue to exercise its right to self defence. We will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza," suggesting that the Gaza blockade was part of the pre-emptive war agenda directed against Iran, Syria and Lebanon. (Israeli forces board Gaza aid ship the Rachel Corrie - Telegraph (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztBnC5G422LkgP2NHwQ7rgTtKXyRfx5ber1Ry Vuo7MX64HBi6x1HaVpttisQVS3jIXsK8wyfQyARhr3zeCmC6-TDrOTIxo5I0tltNXAK9_7nmUL2g8F51bRzt0bl5NycRWLEQ6ee 2IYCUNJvN188hrf56CxKBZX9nALehyh-jJMHRIyougZ50889OYaguA-vVwwLkCIg1q2dRme6ZhTxanlIgv7Hwis3Gi4rmedyXVl3Dy9XT eebTPGOqIpm9EWhkkM=), June 5, 2010, emphasis added) .
Moreover, the raid on the Flotilla coincided with NATO-Israel war games directed against Iran. According to the Sunday Times, "three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline." (Israel Deploys Three Nuclear Cruise Missile-Armed Subs Along Iranian Coastline).
While Israeli naval deployments were underway in the Persian Gulf, Israel was also involved in war games in the Mediterranean. The war game codenamed "MINOAS 2010" was carried out at a Greek air base in Souda Bay, on the island of Crete. Earlier in February, The Israeli air force "practiced simulated strikes at Iran's nuclear facilities using airspace of two Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, which are close territorially with the Islamic republic and cooperate with Israel on this issue." Ria Novosti,War Games: Israel gets ready to Strike at Iran's Nuclear Sites (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztCO_inaSAJG6cK_Ak4VhLDmD3iuh3BBYVGYb swRvwdcXp-EYbEXB9DIGi7PTaoMqpT1lAPhu8jI_Cl7i_vrYREq-5FX4u3kRiV5AxEbcPNolFYragGLcBNZV0-A4RmG8asXyNNbQ0jilI2EPFz-BGKFCP9hHHWOkSY=),, March 29, 2010)

Also, in the wake of the final resolution of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation directed against Israel's nuclear weapons program, the White House has reaffirmed its endorsement of Israel's nuclear weapons capabilities. Washington's statement issued one day before the raid on the flotilla points to unbending US support to "Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities", which also include the launching of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran:

"a senior political source in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel received guarantees from U.S. President Barack Obama that the U.S. would maintain and improve Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities.
According to the source, "Obama gave [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu unequivocal guarantees that include a substantial upgrade in Israel-U.S. relations."
Obama promised that no decision taken during the recent 189-nation conference to review and strengthen the 40-year-old Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty "would be allowed to harm Israel's vital interests," the sources said. Obama promised to bolster Israel's strategic capabilities, Jerusalem officials say - Haaretz Daily Newspaper) (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztCkz2vOFAOrIxVIpM7gafb7KbDunYtfJGhYe BZYmDcwY7D6EU6hr5ZPCbbvn0YI0e2rqjL7QI3d4BywPf4wWlU N9tuL-pscqgo74sE6c3zznrgKij5KUPKCkZLEYzsRGG9NBSlFb7HVPaK H1mmAuwWUr5X6CB5zUo7EAtL4Hfz1EGzPzomGkUtPBMQ0-CLwHE4rFbotv7Lt1NryZIFcOPDkIkf0cS8rFYLEFNBmJtUeKGC ntM-NYRP3D6xHgkviuQE=)
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Robert Gates and Israel's Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Press Conference, April 27, 2010

The Turkey-Israel Relationship in Jeopardy?
The actions of Israel against the Freedom Flotilla have important ramifications. Israel's criminal actions in international waters has contributed to weakening the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.
The bilateral Israel-Turkey alliance in military, intelligence, joint military production is potentially in jeopardy. Ankara has already announced that three planned military exercises with Israel have been cancelled. "The government announced it was considering reducing its relations with Israel to a minimum."
It should be understood that Israel and Turkey are partners and major actors in the US-NATO planned aerial attacks on Iran, which have been in the pipeline since mid-2005. The rift between Turkey and Israel has a direct bearing on NATO as a military alliance. Turkey is one of the more powerful NATO member states with regard to its conventional forces. The rift with Israel breaks a consensus within the Atlantic Alliance. It also undermines ongoing US-NATO-Israel pre-emptive war plans directed against Iran, which until recently were endorsed by the Turkish military.
From the outset in 1992, the Israeli-Turkish military alliance was directed against Syria, as well as Iran and Iraq. (For details see See Michel Chossudovsky, "Triple Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztBS9UVUf-2-xgD-alfgcdUGjEAJq_0rc21UoOLS3ekZIux-WHR0RChIHzVQGjmGDmmZuO8ClR_dwdcKKrSt59nYLPkfo5ez8N mJQKMwbZ4ecaeKxXBun7zqHtNAR19-ikB4MFbP68f4lFiwQxaf3Z7xUIbdMoIHFF8=), Global Research, 2006)
In 1997, Israel and Turkey launched "A Strategic Dialogue" involving a bi-annual process of high level military consultations by the respective deputy chiefs of staff. (Milliyet, Istanbul, in Turkish 14 July 2006).
During the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This "triple alliance", which in practice is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara.
Starting in 2005, Israel has become a de facto member of NATO. The triple alliance was coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which included "many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to "enhance Israel's deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria." ("Triple Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztBS9UVUf-2-xgD-alfgcdUGjEAJq_0rc21UoOLS3ekZIux-WHR0RChIHzVQGjmGDmmZuO8ClR_dwdcKKrSt59nYLPkfo5ez8N mJQKMwbZ4ecaeKxXBun7zqHtNAR19-ikB4MFbP68f4lFiwQxaf3Z7xUIbdMoIHFF8=)).
The Issue of Territorial Waters
Israel's blockade of Gaza is in large part motivated by the broader issue of control of Gaza's territorial waters, which contain significant reserves of natural gas. What is at stake is the confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral de facto declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza's maritime areas. If the blockade were to be broken, Israel's de facto control over Gaza's offshore gas reserves would be jeopardy. (See Michel Chossudovsky,War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztCpLIlaGMx0fi3TbqrJCpwXLOn2VzTiBfhag euoHyAt-QXeEudIrXEz7RM3oGBXm00la3NSA6fTEeRN1vBrTLOS7011lr5 eKldNKYSoqfdEatEM5qB_yktQzfl7g7InPnFRSnGP-P78sSIMbtslrYj51q2P78EJvE8=), Global Research, January 8, 2009. See also Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103460571776&s=793&e=001xCNluNziztDtc9derg_HmsofW3CErzB0gmC1phOATce8N EUEhRhglfcaPskBTFUOMRvA74Dnu1c0FGpSVKE4GZyi5_vRb4I r8rYrvwG4XHS3xUtl8GTWHCbJSJjRy-Xi72oyiDfDvJVpNoZIBiFKMmAX1Lp8KY5A_kRRYIceKh8=)Glo bal Research, July 23, 2006)
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/gazagasmap2.gif

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/gazagasmap.jpg

Austin Kelley
06-07-2010, 02:15 PM
http://maxblumenthal.com/2010/06/idf-admits-it-doctored-flotilla-audio-clip-washington-posts-kessler-must-retract/

IDF Admits It Doctored Flotilla Audio Clip. Washington Post’s Kessler Must Retract
On 06.05.10, By Max

The IDF admitted today in a press release that it doctored audio footage from its exchanges with the Gaza flotilla in order to paint the flotilla passengers as anti-Semites. I am beginning to wonder if the Israeli military hired James O’Keefe to handle its press shop.

This is the IDF’s “clarification:”

Yesterday evening on 4 June 2010, the IDF released an audio recording of a radio transmission between the Israeli Navy vessel and the Flotilla ships wherein unidentified flotilla passengers tell the Israeli Navy vessel to “shut up, go back to Auschwitz” and “we’re helping Arabs go against the US, don’t forget 9/11.” There have been questions regarding the authenticity of the recording as well as its attribution to a communication with the Mavi Marmara.

So to clarify: the audio was edited down to cut out periods of silence over the radio as well as incomprehensible comments so as to make it easier for people to listen to the exchange. We have now uploaded the entire segment of 5 minutes and 58 seconds in which the exchange took place and the comments were made.

This transmission had originally cited the Mavi Marmara ship as being the source of these remarks, however, due to an open channel, the specific ship or ships in the “Freedom Flotilla” responding to the Israeli Navy could not be identified. During radio transmissions between Israeli Navy and the ships of the “Free Gaza” Flotilla on 31 May 2010, the Israeli Navy ship attempts to make contact with the ‘Defne Y’ on channel 1-6. Other ships from the flotilla respond on the channel, without identifying themselves. At some point during the radio exchange the Israeli Navy is told by one of the ships to “shut up, go back to Auschwitz” (2:05) and “don’t forget 9-11? (5:42).

It’s nice that the IDF has “clarified” its doctoring of footage. But the new clip it has released that supposedly shows “the entire segment…in which the exchange took place and the comments were made” is highly suspect as well. Why? Because it contains an exchange with Huwaida Arraf that Arraf claims took place on an entirely different attempt to break the siege — Arraf has led previous aid boats to Gaza that were intercepted and hijacked by the IDF. Arraf told Ma’an News:

“I was by the radio the whole time there was any communication. Mine was the only boat in which I answered and not the captain and they all answered in a very professional manner.” Arraf told Ma’an that while she might have spoken of having permission from the Gaza Port Authority on a previous attempt to break the blockade, she is certain that she did not say it on Monday morning. ”When they radioed us, we were still 100 miles away,” she explained.

Mya Guarnieri of Ma’an goes into more detail about the suspicious nature of the new clip the IDF has released, demonstrating how absurd their latest attempt to save face is. The lesson of the debacle is that nothing the IDF says can be trusted by anyone. Not ever. (Of course, that should apply to any nation’s military, and not just “the most moral army in the world”).

Hours after the IDF’s admission, major news outlets which reported on the doctored audio clip as though it was a shocking revelation and not a scandalous forgery have still not corrected themselves. The most blatant stenographer of IDF propaganda is the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler. Here is what Kessler reported after being participating a briefing session with an IDF flack:

Israeli forces spent four hours trying to persuade the 300-foot-long Turkish ship to shift course away from Gaza, senior Israeli officials said in a briefing Friday for a small group of reporters.

The activists responded repeatedly with shouts — “Go back to Auschwitz!” — and kept the ship at its maximum speed of 10 knots.

Besides the fact that Kessler reported on the “Go back to Auschwitz” claim without investigating it, he claimed that the passengers “repeatedly” shouted the slur. But even the IDF did not claim that anyone “repeatedly” shouted anything; the “Auschwitz” statement is heard in the doctored audio clip only once.

Kessler’s report was so slanted in favor of the Israeli military he was compelled to include this as his opening line: “This is the Israeli version of the deadly raid on an aid ship bound for Gaza.” But Kessler also cited the opinions of “Turkish officials,” and worded his article as though it were an authoritative report on what really happened on board the Mavi Marmara.

Finally, Kessler reports the IDF’s discredited claim that numerous Mavi Marmara passengers were terrorist “mercenaries:”

The activists also had substantial funds, perhaps 1 million euros. Many of the activists who battled the soldiers were each carrying 10,000 euros, which officials speculated meant that they were mercenaries who had been paid to fight.

Right. The IDF had retracted its claim about terrorist mercenaries on board the Mavi Marmara a full day before Kessler filed. Kessler and the Washington Post have let the Israeli military play them for fools. They should issue corrections immediately.

If the Post does not correct, readers should let WaPo Ombudsman Andrew Alexander know that his paper’s coverage of the flotilla massacre remains riddled with major factual errors. Alexander can be reached at ombudsman@washpost.com or 202-334-7582.

Peter Lemkin
06-07-2010, 04:54 PM
"Clarification" is Diplo-News-Speak for 'we lied, and got caught...and our fallback position is......:aetsch:

Peter Presland
06-08-2010, 03:18 PM
Serious stuff this. Silence is the usual way the UK Foreign Office deals with things Palestinian, but even William Hague has commented on it.

From Debka File again: (http://www.debka.com/article/8842/)

An Iranian sea convoy will back up the Turkish campaign to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assured Turkish leaders whom he met in Istanbul Tuesday, Jan. 8 that the vessels due to enter the disputed waters within days will not shrink from a head-on clash with Israel's Navy and Air Force exclusion forces. "We'll breach the Gaza blockade," the Iranian president vowed. The Iranian Red Crescent vessels will carry "volunteer marines" of the Revolutionary Guards "who will teach the Israelis a lesson."
Tehran's "humanitarian convoy" for Gaza will consist of three Iranian vessels flying Red Crescent flags.
debkafile's intelligence sources report that he promised Turkish leaders to attach Iranian warships and submarines to the Red Crescent ships for their voyage through the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean. For some months, one or two Iranian submarines have been deployed in the Mediterranean using Syrian naval port facilities.
The showdown between Turkey and Israel, said Ahmadinejad, "will change many issues in the world and mark the final countdown for Israel's existence. It shows that it has no room in the region and no one is ready to live alongside it."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Iran’s plan to send aid boats to Gaza, warning that the move would deliberately aggravate an already tense situation. “It is not helpful, and probably it is not designed to be helpful, he said.
Russian Prime Pinister Vladimir Putin, for his part, promised to join Ankara in bringing the Israeli attack on the Turkish flotilla before the United Nations.
The Iranian and Turkish leaders meeting in Istanbul Monday and Tuesday finalized a plan to synchronize the flotilla's approach to Gaza's shores with the UN Security Council vote on sanctions against Iran, whereupon Turkey, Brazil and Lebanon, who are SC members, will halt the procedure and turn the session around to the unfolding sea battle between Iran and Israel. The sanctions vote will be buried by the sounds of war.

Mark Stapleton
06-08-2010, 04:27 PM
This is a massive failure from President Obama. He could have defused this at any time by demanding Israel end the fucking blockade of Gaza. There's plenty of levers for Obama to use to pressure Israel, regardless of the Zionist cockroaches in Congress.

Selfish, greedy spoilt brat Israel has now given the Arab world an ideal pretext for intervention and probably war. And Obama let them do it.

Unless of course Obama secretly wants Israel destroyed, probably taking half the region with it.

ps. nice scoop Peter. Debkafile is now on my favorites.

Austin Kelley
06-08-2010, 05:29 PM
Excellent article by Steve Shalom that places the latest Israeli aggression against Gaza within the context of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and the blockade against Gaza.

http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2010-06-05/stephen-shalom-but-what-could-israel-do/

Helen Reyes
06-08-2010, 05:32 PM
It almost does look like intentional failure on Bibi's part.

If Egypt has opened up the Gaza border Iran can dock somewhere there presumably at whatever port exists on the Sinai, unload and take an overland route for aid deliveries.

I remember hearing Israel wasn't letting Gazans fish in Gazan waters a few years back. The natural gas fields sound like a real motive in all this, in Israel's attempt to claim Gazan waters as their own while pretending they've withdrawn from Gaza. To re-seal the Egyptian border Israel would have to invade and fight their way there, set up their line in the sand and keep it supplied. Maybe that's the plan, to push all the Gazans out to Egypt while there's a window to do so.

Mark Stapleton
06-08-2010, 06:27 PM
It almost does look like intentional failure on Bibi's part.

If Egypt has opened up the Gaza border Iran can dock somewhere there presumably at whatever port exists on the Sinai, unload and take an overland route for aid deliveries.

I remember hearing Israel wasn't letting Gazans fish in Gazan waters a few years back. The natural gas fields sound like a real motive in all this, in Israel's attempt to claim Gazan waters as their own while pretending they've withdrawn from Gaza. To re-seal the Egyptian border Israel would have to invade and fight their way there, set up their line in the sand and keep it supplied. Maybe that's the plan, to push all the Gazans out to Egypt while there's a window to do so.

You could be right there.

Helen Reyes
06-09-2010, 07:21 AM
It almost does look like intentional failure on Bibi's part.

If Egypt has opened up the Gaza border Iran can dock somewhere there presumably at whatever port exists on the Sinai, unload and take an overland route for aid deliveries.

I remember hearing Israel wasn't letting Gazans fish in Gazan waters a few years back. The natural gas fields sound like a real motive in all this, in Israel's attempt to claim Gazan waters as their own while pretending they've withdrawn from Gaza. To re-seal the Egyptian border Israel would have to invade and fight their way there, set up their line in the sand and keep it supplied. Maybe that's the plan, to push all the Gazans out to Egypt while there's a window to do so.

You could be right there.

Except Israel fouled the nest with depleted uranium during Cast Lead. The real estate values of Gaza waterfront property will have suffered tremendously. Looks more like a scorched earth.

Magda Hassan
06-09-2010, 07:40 AM
Yes, serious stuff indeed. Not the best decision by Ahmadinejad either. He was playing it well until this. It would be better if Turkey went alone or with other more neutral nations.

Serious stuff this. Silence is the usual way the UK Foreign Office deals with things Palestinian, but even William Hague has commented on it.

From Debka File again: (http://www.debka.com/article/8842/)

An Iranian sea convoy will back up the Turkish campaign to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assured Turkish leaders whom he met in Istanbul Tuesday, Jan. 8 that the vessels due to enter the disputed waters within days will not shrink from a head-on clash with Israel's Navy and Air Force exclusion forces. "We'll breach the Gaza blockade," the Iranian president vowed. The Iranian Red Crescent vessels will carry "volunteer marines" of the Revolutionary Guards "who will teach the Israelis a lesson."
Tehran's "humanitarian convoy" for Gaza will consist of three Iranian vessels flying Red Crescent flags.
debkafile's intelligence sources report that he promised Turkish leaders to attach Iranian warships and submarines to the Red Crescent ships for their voyage through the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean. For some months, one or two Iranian submarines have been deployed in the Mediterranean using Syrian naval port facilities.
The showdown between Turkey and Israel, said Ahmadinejad, "will change many issues in the world and mark the final countdown for Israel's existence. It shows that it has no room in the region and no one is ready to live alongside it."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Iran’s plan to send aid boats to Gaza, warning that the move would deliberately aggravate an already tense situation. “It is not helpful, and probably it is not designed to be helpful, he said.
Russian Prime Pinister Vladimir Putin, for his part, promised to join Ankara in bringing the Israeli attack on the Turkish flotilla before the United Nations.
The Iranian and Turkish leaders meeting in Istanbul Monday and Tuesday finalized a plan to synchronize the flotilla's approach to Gaza's shores with the UN Security Council vote on sanctions against Iran, whereupon Turkey, Brazil and Lebanon, who are SC members, will halt the procedure and turn the session around to the unfolding sea battle between Iran and Israel. The sanctions vote will be buried by the sounds of war.

Peter Lemkin
06-09-2010, 12:34 PM
Israel Doctored the Evidence: The Gaza Freedom Flotilla and Al Qaeda
Israeli Propaganda Exposed

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19572 [for photos and links]
The attack and murder of international humanitarian activists, aid workers and a journalist by the Israeli military on the Mavi Maramara on May 31, 2010 in international waters is an unjustifiable act of aggression. It can be interpreted as either an act of piracy or as an act of war. Nor is this type of behaviour on the part of Israel new.

Israel could never justify forcefully stopping an international convoy of ships going to the Gaza Strip to help relieve the Palestinian people. This is why Tel Aviv deliberately instigated fighting with unarmed civilians on board the Mavi Maramara, fabricated evidence, and has hereto tried its best to portray the international group of civilians or some of its members as violent extremists.

False Israeli claims about Weapons on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Tel Aviv has turned reality on its head and tried to portray itself as the victim of the unarmed civilian group of international humanitarians, aid workers, and activists as the aggressors. Israeli officials have released pictures of standard ship equipment and kitchen knives collected from the Mavi Maramara. They claim that these were weapons being carried or smuggled by violent extremists. Even vests with clear Red Crescent symbols used by doctors, medics, and humanitarian workers of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent were presented by Israeli officials as proof that the members of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla were violent extremists.

The Guardian (Connolly, 3 June 2010) in an interview with Henning Mankell, the Swedish writer, gives an account of how the Israelis were categorizing anything that they could as a weapon:

“The soldiers checked the boat and one soon returned saying they had found weapons, Mankell said. ‘I have 24 witnesses to this, he showed me my razor, a one-time use razor, and a box cutter he’d found in the kitchen,’ Mankell said.”

The passengers onboard the Mavi Maramara were defending themselves and not out to kill the so-called Israeli commandos. Picture evidence proves that the Israeli account is false. The passengers even gave medical aid to the Israeli commandos they captured. The pictures were on a chip hidden by a passenger so that the Israelis would not destroy the evidence.




False Israeli claims about Al-Qaeda links to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

The Israeli military has also overtly claimed that members of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla were linked to Al-Qaeda. Tel Aviv put out a press release on June 2, 2010 making such claims to the international media.



When asked by reporters Max Bluementhal (3 June 2010) and Lia Tarachansky what evidence the Israeli military had to support its Al-Qaeda claims, Israeli military officials replied that they had no evidence and that they were simply told by Benjamin Netanyahu’s advisors of Israel's National Security Council that the activists onboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla had ties to Al-Qaeda. Later this was retracted and taken off the webpage of the Israeli military.




Caught Red Handed: Israel Doctored the Audio Evidence

The Israeli military also released a doctored audio transmission in which unknown voices say “Shut up, go back to Auschwitz” and “We’re helping Arabs go against the U.S., don’t forget 9/11 guys.” Upon the release of the Israeli evidence, the organizers of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla strongly refuted the Israeli claim as doctored propaganda.

Firstly, the first release by Israel had no responses except a male voice saying “Negative. Negative.”

Secondly, in the second audio transmission the male individual(s) who made the comments never identified himself (themselves), but Israeli officials have confirmed that the response came from the Mavi Maramara.

Thirdly, from studies of these organizations, there is a standard radio response that humanitarian workers and activists have been systematically using when coming into contact with Israeli military vessels under which they identify themselves, state their intentions as humanitarians, and tell the Israelis they are peaceful and pose no threat. This standard response can be heard in the unedited Israeli version of the audio in which the speaker Huwaida Arraf also identifies herself as speaking for the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

In the recording Arraf clearly says:

“Israeli Navy, this is the Freedom Flotilla. We are comprised of six motor vessels carrying only passengers and humanitarian aid destined for the Gaza Strip. We do not carry anything that constitutes a threat to your armed forces. Therefore, you are not justified in using any force against us. The blockade of Gaza is illegal under international law. We have permission from the Gaza Port Authority to enter. We repeat, we do not constitute a threat to your armed forces. You are not just..[radio interruption; the word she is using is “justified”] to threat unarmed civilians. Over.”


Following the well documented work of Huwaida Arraf and of these humanitarian organizations one would know that this has roughly been their standard response to the Israeli military. In the doctored Israeli releases almost all of this is cut out. All you hear in English is “Shut up, go back to Auschwitz”(unknown male voice), “We have permission from the Gaza Port Authority to enter” (Huwaida Arraf), and “We’re helping Arabs go against the U.S., don’t forget 9/11 guys” (unknown male voice) as an answer to the Israelis.

Fourthly, there is a big problem with the Israeli claim. Arraf was on the Challenger I and not onboard the Mavi Maramara. Many journalists caught on to this. Arraf makes things clear in an interview with Mya Guarnieri (6 June 2010):

“‘I was on the radio the whole time there was any communication,’ Arraf told Ma’an. ‘Mine was the only boat in which I answered and not the captain and they all answered in a very professional manner.’ Arraf told Ma’an that while she might have spoken of having permission from the Gaza Port Authority on a previous attempt to break the blockade, she is certain that she did not say it on Monday morning.”

The voice of Arraf was added from somewhere else. The audio is an extract from a past radio transmission. Under pressure, the Israeli military (5 June 2010) was forced to admit in an official press release that it had released an edited audio transmission to the international press and the world. In what amounted to little more than a failed coverup, the Israeli military (5 June 2010) press release states:

“This transmission had originally cited the Mavi Marmara ship as being the source of these remarks, however, due to an open channel, the specific ship or ships in the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ responding to the Israeli Navy could not be identified.”

While cutting out substantial and important points, the Israelis claimed that they edited and shortened the audio tape for listeners to understand. This is clearly false when the audio transmissions are studied.

In what amounts to a disgraceful bungle, the audio tapes were clearly doctored by the Israelis to frame the humanitarians onboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as violent bigots. The Israeli serviceman talking on the radio does not even say the exact same things in the different versions of the so-called transmissions. Before he says: “This is the Israeli Navy.” Yet, in the so-called unedited version the Israeli serviceman says “This is Israeli Navy,” with the word “the” missing. Moreover, even though the Israelis now claim they used an open line, no one else on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla heard any of these comments.

(Consult the IDF Press Release at the end of this text and the audio files)


Concluding Remarks

In the words of Haaretz, one of Israel’s major newspapers:

“The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs its hopeless frenzy. It has distributed menus from Gaza restaurants, along with false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle, which it might have been better off never starting. They want to maintain the ineffective, illegal and unethical siege on Gaza and not let the ‘peace flotilla’ dock off the Gaza coast? There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy the web of explanations, lies and tactics” (Levy, 30 May 2010).

The Israeli government is lying and, from Lebanon to the Gaza Strip, this has been proven time and time again. Tel Aviv deliberately invoked Al-Qaeda, the horrors of Auschwitz, and the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001 to demonize the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, but in so doing it has revealed its machinations and fabrications. If this is the behaviour of Tel Aviv when dealing with a few hundred international activists and humanitarians, one can only imagine the treatment millions of Palestinians face under Israeli occupation.

Israel is the aggressor. It was the party that attacked the international aid ships and their civilian passengers. The passengers that fought back did so to protect themselves. Also, Israeli servicemen systematically attacked journalists and confiscated all recording devices to prevent the people onboard the ships from exposing Israeli aggression against unarmed civilians in international waters.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is at a crossroad. What happened to the Mavi Maramara and the rest of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea is akin to the 1976 Soweto Riots that ended Apartheid in South Africa. A historic and very real opportunity is before us. The Gaza Strip and the Palestinians need urgent humanitarian aid. Not only do the Palestinians need to be saved from the brutal Israeli occupation, but the Israelis need to be saved from themselves too and the madness that is strangling their society. It is also from the example of the Palestinian people that the seeds of democracy will spread in the Middle East and in Arab countries.

Ordinary citizens across the globe will have to lead the way. Governments can not be depended on. It is time for the “Second Superpower,” which is the power of the people, to bring much needed change.

References:

Bluementhal, Max. June 3, 2010. “Under Scrutiny, IDF Retracts Claims about Flotilla’s Al Qaeda Links.” Accessed June 4, 2010:
<http://maxblumenthal.com/2010/06/under-scrutiny-idf-retracts-claims-about-flotillas-al-qaeda-links/>

Connolly, Kate. June 3, 2010. “Henning Mankell on Gaza flotilla attack: ‘I think they went out to murder.’” The Guardian. Accessed June 5, 2010:
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/03/gaza-flotilla-attack-henning-mankell>

Guarnieri, Mya. June 6, 2010. “‘Israel accused of fabricating flotilla video.” Ma’an News Agency. Accessed June 6, 2010:
<http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=289740>


Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), June 5, 2010. “Clarification/ Correction Regarding Audio Transmission Between Israeli Navy and Flotilla on 31 May 2010, Posted on 5 June 2010.” Accessed June 5, 2010:
<http://idfspokesperson.com/2010/06/05/clarificationcorrection-regarding-audio-transmission-between-israeli-navy-and-flotilla-on-31-may-2010-posted-on-5-june-2010/>

Levy, Gideon. May 30, 2010. “Gaza flotilla drives Israel into a sea of stupidity.” Haaretz. Accessed June 5, 2010:
<http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/gaza-flotilla-drives-israel-into-a-sea-of-stupidity-1.292959>

Peter Lemkin
06-10-2010, 12:49 PM
Today there is going to be the release of some video footage that the IDF did NOT confiscate and shows what REALLY happened.....the IDF lied and invented/sculpted those videos they showed....stay tuned!!!!! It will be released at a news conference at 4PM at the United Nations - and then made public via internet. Additionally, six or so passengers are missing and thought that they may have been Israeli spies on board. :ridinghorse: It seems they had pre-targeted persons for summary execution. Fuck you IDF!

Framing the Narrative: Israeli Commandos Seize Videotape and Equipment from Journalists After Deadly Raid *


After the Israeli military raided the Gaza aid flotilla and killed nine of the activists on board, they detained almost everyone else—700 activists and journalists—hauled them to the Israeli port of Ashdod, and kept them largely out of communication with family, press and lawyers for days. The Israeli government confiscated every recording and communication device it could find—devices containing almost all the recorded evidence of the raid. The Israelis selected, edited and released footage they wanted the world to see. We speak to two veteran reporters who were covering the Gaza Freedom Flotilla for Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald.

Listen/Watch/Read
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/9/framing_the_narrative_israeli_commandos_seizes

-----------------------------------------------------
Gaza Flotilla survivors recount tales of terror, brutality and fear for their lives



Please TAKE ACTION and DEMAND that the United Nations launch an independent investigation into the Israeli attack against unarmed relief ships in the Freedom Flotilla. DEMAND that the international community stop simply condemning Israel's brutal and illegal blockade of Gaza - and start doing something to end it!

CONTACT

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

The United Nations, New York NY 10017
tel: +1 212 963 5012
fax: +1 212 963 2155
email: sg@un.org

For three days as they were held in captivity last week and unable to speak on their own behalf, Israel presented the massacre against civilian passengers on the Mavi Marmara as self-defense against a “lynching.” Now that the passengers are returning to their home nations, the global community is hearing a much different story, not just regarding the May 31st attack but also new allegations of brutality in the treatment of several passengers afterwards once they were in custody inside Israel. Free Gaza is posting these survivor testimonies on our website, and we will continue to provide updates as more passengers share their experiences.

As the passenger accounts trickle in, survivors portray the Israeli military as using excessive and disproportionate force against activists not just on the Mavi Marmara but the other passenger ships as well. Use of tasers, electric shocks, rubber bullets and live ammunition (both on board and from the helicopter hovering above) are documented. Multiple passengers tell eyewitness accounts of soldiers refusing to allow medical treatment of injured passengers, specific and focused targeting of journalists on board and beatings of passengers after their arrival in Israel, causing at least two passengers to need hospitalization.

“Keeping passengers held in captivity so that they could not share their perspective was a deliberate attempt by Israel to cover up what really happened on the Mavi Marmara that fateful night,” notes Free Gaza co-founder Greta Berlin. “They knew what the passengers would be recounting, but they hoped that by delaying the release of their testimony until days after the immediate incident, media coverage would be buried as backpage follow-up stories or dismissed purely as old news.” She adds.



In her testimony, Annette Groth, a German Parliamentarian who was a passenger on Mavi Marmawa validates that assertion saying “The scandal is that we have to fight the Israeli images only with words. The Israelis confiscated all the activists' cameras, computers, and mobile phones.”



These accounts reveal an “alternative narrative” of the attack on the Freedom Flotilla that cannot be reconciled with the Israeli version. CONTACT Secretary General Ban Ki Moon today and DEMAND an independent investigation!

Jan van den Baard
06-10-2010, 02:47 PM
Was surprised to read this at Brookings:


http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0608_uss_liberty_ebinger.aspx

Peter Lemkin
06-10-2010, 04:26 PM
Was surprised to read this at Brookings:


http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0608_uss_liberty_ebinger.aspx

Yes, the US Authorities [or thugs] have every reason to be VERY angry at Israel for what happened to the Liberty...but have [obviously] 'compromised' in order to say nothing / do nothing......Israel holds more cards against the USA then visa-versa IMO. Democracy Now! had a great account by one victim [who survived] the Liberty [above on this thread].

Keith Millea
06-10-2010, 05:23 PM
Here is a 22 second video of the killing(execution)of 19 year old Furkan Dogan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlElXOJV4CA&feature=player_embedded

Helen Reyes
06-10-2010, 05:52 PM
... Additionally, six or so passengers are missing and thought that they may have been Israeli spies on board. :hobbyhorse: It seems they had pre-targeted persons for summary execution. Fuck you IDF!...

Yeah, they needed protestor infiltrators to stage the "lynching" footage after they secured the vessels. That still doesn't account for the bodies allegedly dumped overboard. Somewhere between 13 and 16 more dead, or perhaps more.

Austin Kelley
06-10-2010, 05:58 PM
Scheduled to happen in less than five minutes:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GAZA ACTIVISTS FACE 'TERRORISM' ARREST ON CAPITOL HILL TOMORROW

(Washington DC, 09 June) - Responding to recent congressional accusations that they are 'terrorists,' Gaza Flotilla activists with the Free Gaza Movement, Gaza Freedom March, Code Pink, and Freedom Flotilla will be voluntarily making themselves available for arrest in Rep. Brad Sherman's Capitol Hill offices on Thursday, June 10th at 2PM. In the event they are not arrested, they will be holding a memorial service for those killed aboard the Mavi Marmara in Rep. Sherman’s Rayburn HOB office.

Col. Ann Wright (ret.), a former U.S. diplomat, Gaza Freedom March organizer, and a passenger aboard the recent Freedom Flotilla, stated that: "Nine aid workers were murdered by Israeli commandos, and more than fifty were wounded. I want to look Brad Sherman in the eye and see if he has any sense for the gravity of this situation. If Sherman wants to have us arrested - we'll be there."

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) has publicly called for the arrest and prosecution of "any U.S. citizens who were aboard or involved with the Freedom Flotilla" under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Rep. Sherman serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and chairs the subcommittee on terrorism and nonproliferation.

According to Rep. Sherman: "[It's] absolutely illegal for any American to give food, money, school supplies, paper clips, concrete ...so I will be asking the Attorney General to prosecute any American involved in what was clearly an effort to give items of value to a terrorist organization.”

Rep. Sherman also stated that he was planning on working with the Department of Homeland Security to make sure all non-U.S. citizens aboard the Flotilla would be permanently barred from entering the U.S. This list includes Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire, former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, as well as a number of parliamentarians and government officials from Ireland, Britain, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Palestine, and Israel.

Ramzi Kysia, an organizer with the Free Gaza Movement, said that: "Rep. Sherman is welcome to arrest me and try to make his case to a jury of my peers. Delivering humanitarian aid to people in need is not 'terrorism.' Brad Sherman is a prime example of just how degenerate our political discourse has become on Capitol Hill."

Several other peace and justice advocates will also be making themselves available for arrest tomorrow, including Susan Kerin, a coordinator with both the Free Gaza Movement and Pax Christi, and Tighe Barry, a coordinator with Code Pink. Mr. Barry will be turning himself in to face the death penalty for building 3 playgrounds in Gaza for children, some of whom were born from parents in the Hamas government. [Emphasis added]

Peter Presland
06-10-2010, 07:10 PM
There's a wee bit of rhetorical license in this piece on Anti-War.com but similar stuff from Debka file and Haaretz quoting the same guy. There is some serious stuff going on here - and Turkey a NATO member too.


Israel Threatens War if Turkish PM Tries to Deliver Gaza Aid (http://news.antiwar.com/2010/06/09/israel-threatens-war-if-turkish-pm-tries-to-deliver-gaza-aid/)

Israeli Official Warns of Casus Belli on Israeli Army Radio

by Jason Ditz, June 09, 2010


Israeli Army commander and top Likud member Uzi Dayan today warned on Israeli Army Radio that Israel would consider any attempt by the Turkish military to protect future aid ships from attack an “act of war.”
http://news.antiwar.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/is.jpg With Israeli protesters already condemning Erdogan, is war on the table?

Dayan then added that if Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan attempted to accompany the aid ships personally, as he has reportedly considered “we would not try to take over the ship he was on, but would sink it.” (http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=177710) He added that Erdogan’s presence on a future aid ship would also be a casus belli for an Israeli war against Turkey.
Turkey has expressed outrage at last week’s Israeli attack on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza, an attack in which Israeli troops killed at least nine civilian aid workers. Israel has insisted that the aid ship was secretly in league with al-Qaeda and has since tried to spin Turkey as the villain for even allowing a ship (http://news.antiwar.com/2010/06/09/2010/06/03/after-israels-attack-on-aid-ship-turkey-spun-as-villain/) to try to deliver aid to the besieged strip.
The Israeli killings have only increased the number of groups planning attempts to deliver aid (http://news.antiwar.com/2010/06/09/2010/06/06/israel-to-face-several-more-gaza-aid-attempts/), and Israeli officials have promised to stop all these attempts militarily as well.
The explicit threat of war against Turkey is something new, however. While Israel starts wars with a casualness rarely seen in other nations, an attack on Turkey, a key NATO member with an enormous military, would be something quite different from a monthlong attack on the Gaza Strip or blowing up metro Beirut with air strikes.

Peter Presland
06-10-2010, 07:17 PM
More from Anti-War.com. Seems the Israeli lobby is already calling for the suspension of Turkey from NATO as a prelude to expulsion.

This has the potential to get seriously out of control.

Neoconservatives Lead Charge Against Turkey
Posted By Jim Lobe On June 9, 2010 @ 11:00 pm As the right-wing leadership of the organized U.S. Jewish community defends Israel against international condemnation for its deadly seizure of a flotilla bearing humanitarian supplies for Gaza, a familiar clutch of neoconservative hawks is going on the offensive against what they see as the flotilla’s chief defender, Turkey.
Outraged by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip’s Erdogan’s repeated denunciations of the May 31 Israeli raid, as well as his co-sponsorship with Brazil of an agreement with Iran designed to promote renewed negotiations with the West on Tehran’s nuclear program, some neoconservatives are even demanding that the U.S. try to expel Ankara from NATO as one among of several suggested actions aimed at punishing Erdogan’s AKP (Justice and Development Party) government.
"Turkey, as a member of NATO, is privy to intelligence information having to do with terrorism and with Iran," noted the latest report by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a hard-line neoconservative group that promotes U.S.-Israeli military ties and has historically cultivated close ties to Turkey’s military, as well.
"If Turkey finds its best friends to be Iran, Hamas, Syria and Brazil (look for Venezuela in the future) the security of that information (and Western technology in weapons in Turkey’s arsenal) is suspect. The United States should seriously consider suspending military cooperation with Turkey as a prelude to removing it from the organization," suggested the group.
Its board of advisers includes many prominent champions of the 2003 Iraq invasion, including former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director James Woolsey, and former U.N. Amb. John Bolton.
Neoconservative publications, notably the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard and the National Review, have also been firing away at the AKP government since the raid.
"Turkey now represents a major element in the global panorama of radical Islam," declared the Standard’s Stephen Schwartz, while Daniel Pipes, the controversial director of the Likudist Middle East Forum (MEF), echoed JINSA’s call for ousting Ankara from NATO and urged Washington to provide direct support for Turkey’s opposition parties in an article published by the National Review Online.
The Journal has been running editorials and op-eds attacking Turkey on virtually a daily basis since the raid, accusing its government, among other things, of having "an ingrained hostility toward the Jewish state, remarkable sympathies for nearby radical regimes, and an attitude toward extremist groups like the IHH (the Islamist group that sponsored the flotilla’s flagship, the Mavi Marmara) that borders on complicity."
On Monday, it ran an op-ed by long-time hawk Victor Davis Hanson that labeled the IHH "a terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda", while an earlier op-ed, by Robert Pollock, its editorial features editor, called Erdogan and his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, "demagogues appealing to the worst elements in their own country and the broader Middle East."
Meanwhile, in an op-ed published by The Forward, a Jewish weekly, Michael Rubin, a Perle protégé at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), accused Turkey of having "become a conduit for the smuggling of weapons to Israel’s enemies", notably Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
The onslaught is ironic both because of the neo- conservatives’ long cultivation of Turkey and their avowed support for promoting democratic governance — of which they have singled out Turkey for special praise — in the Muslim world.
Neoconservatives were among the most important promoters of the military alliance between Israel and Turkey that began to take shape in the late 1980s and was consolidated by the mid-1990s.
In fact, Perle and another of his protégés, former undersecretary of defense for policy, Douglas Feith, worked as paid lobbyists for Turkey during that period, in major part to persuade the powerful "Israel Lobby" on Capitol Hill to promote Ankara’s interests on Capitol Hill.
In 1996, the two men participated in a task force chaired by Perle that proposed to incoming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he work with Turkey and Jordan to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power as part of an alliance designed to transform the strategic balance in the Middle East permanently in favor of Israel.
But the Turkey promoted by Perle and his fellow-neocons in the 1980s and ’90s was one that was dominated by a secular business and political elite carefully monitored by an all- powerful military institution that mounted three coup d’etats between 1960 and 1980 and intervened a fourth time in 1997 to oust an Islamist-led government.
Despite its close links to both the U.S. and Israel, however, the Turkish military badly disappointed the neo- cons in the run-up to Washington’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Instead of insisting that the civilian government at the time grant U.S. requests to use Turkish territory as a major launching pad into northern Iraq, the armed forces decided to defer to overwhelming parliamentary and public opposition to the invasion.
"I think for whatever reason they did not play the strong leadership role on that issue that we would have expected," complained then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a long-time Perle friend and colleague who, despite his lavish praise of Turkey as a model Muslim democracy, headed repeated efforts by the George W. Bush administration to persuade Turkey’s national security council — where the military’s voice was dominant — to effectively overrule its parliament.
Erdogan, who became prime minister just a week before the invasion and whose political and economic reforms have been widely praised in the West, at first sought good relations with Israel. As late as 2007, he arranged for Shimon Peres to become the first Israeli president to address the Turkish parliament.
By then, however, many neocons had become concerned about Erdogan’s efforts to weaken the military’s power, his warm reception of a top Hamas leader in 2005, criticism of Israel’s military campaign against Hezbollah in 2006, and rapprochement with Syria.
When the military not so subtly threatened to intervene against Erdogan and the AKP in 2007, some neocons, notably Perle, suggested that the U.S. should not try to discourage it. Others, including the Standard’s Schwartz and Pipes, encouraged it as the lesser of two evils, even as the Journal defended the AKP as "more democratic than the secularists."
Since Erdogan’s furious denunciation of Israel, and Peres personally, at the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) of Israel’s Cast Lead operation in Gaza in Jan 2009, however, neocons of virtually all stripes — including those, like the Journal’s editorial writers, who have praised the AKP as a democratizing force — have turned against Ankara. And the flotilla incident, combined with Erdogan’s perceived defense of Iran’s nuclear program, has raised their animus to new heights.
"A combination of Islamist rule, resentment at exclusion from Europe, and a neo-Ottomanist ideology that envisions Turkey as a great power in the Middle East have made Turkey a state that is often plainly hostile not only to Israel but to American aims and interests," wrote Eliot Cohen, professor at Johns Hopkins University, in a Journal op-ed Monday.
(Inter Press Service)

Peter Presland
06-10-2010, 07:21 PM
And from Spiegel Online (http://ht.ly/1WdvU)

This could get interesting:

German-Jewish Boat to Challenge Israeli Blockade

By Charles Hawley
http://www.spiegel.de/images/image-97004-panoV9free-lcqd.jpg (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/bild-699714-97004.html) http://www.spiegel.de/static/sys/v9/icons/ic_lupe.png (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/bild-699714-97004.html)

AP
Palestinians enjoying a water pipe while looking out into the Mediterranean Sea. The waters off the Gaza Strip could get busy this summer.



A group of German Jews has stepped up efforts to send a humanitarian mission to the Gaza Strip in defiance of the Israeli sea blockade. Increasingly, it looks as though the group will have plenty of competition. The waters off Gaza promise to be busy this summer.
For years, the waters just off the coast of the Gaza Strip have been relatively quiet. Ever since Israel imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the region following the ascent of Hamas to power in 2007, fewer and fewer visitors have risked the trip. Even the local fishing industry has suffered mightily.


Now, though, a little over a week after the Israeli raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza City -- an operation which resulted in 9 dead and global condemnation of Israel -- sea-going traffic looks as though it might soon pick up. Several groups have threatened to send ships to test the Israeli blockade, among them a group of Jewish activists based in Germany. "We want to break the Gaza occupation and end the occupation of the West Bank as well," Kate Katzenstein-Leiterer, a member of the executive committee of the European Jews for a Just Peace, which is organizing the mission, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "We as Jews want to bring the Palestinians something other than bombs."
Donations Flooding In
She says that between eight and 16 people will be on board the boat, which plans to sail in mid-July. The ship, whose current location in the Mediterranean is being kept secret, will be carrying school supplies, musical instruments, children's clothing and "stuff for children that Israel has forbidden, such as sweets and chocolates."
The idea for the project is not new. The group, made up of pro-Palestinian Jews in Germany and around Europe, began collecting funds for their mission in 2008. But the Israeli raid on a flotilla of aid ships early last week has increased both interest in the project and the likelihood that it will become a reality. Donations, says Katzenstein-Leiterer, have been flooding in since the May 31 raid.
It has also, however, demonstrated that such a mission could be dangerous. "Because of what happened, we are quite concerned," said Katzenstein-Leiterer. "We are afraid that we too could become involved in a clash, which we don't want. We will not use violence."
Still, by the time they arrive in the waters off the coast of the Gaza Strip, there is reason to believe that Israeli patience toward attempts at breaking the Gaza blockade may have worn thin. In addition to the German-Jewish group, others have also indicated their interest in sending ships to the Gaza Strip. The Iranian government announced Monday it would send two ships, loaded with humanitarian goods from the Iranian Red Crescent, to Gaza this summer. The head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that the Iranian navy is prepared to escort the ships. Turkey -- whose foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu recently called the Israeli operation "Turkey's September 11" -- has also indicated its interest in sending more ships to Gaza in the near future.
Calming Frayed Nerves
Israel has vowed to continue its blockade of the Gaza Strip, reiterating its concern that Iran, in particular, seeks to smuggle weapons and munitions to the Islamist militants of Hamas. Still, Israeli officials said on Wednesday that the country was expanding the list of food items being allowed into the territory, the first small sign that Israel wishes to calm global nerves frayed by the raid.


Additionally the National Union of Israeli Students is hoping to be able to send 300 yachts and two ships toward Turkey with the aim of intercepting any additional aid ships and engaging them in dialogue. "We will tell them that if they want to help Gaza's residents, we will be happy to deliver their aid," reads the group's press release. "We would also like to (discuss) the Armenian issue and the problem of the Kurdish minority in Turkey."
European Jews for a Just Peace, for their part, are also interested in dialogue and have twice tried contacting the Israeli Embassy in Berlin to discuss their impending aid shipment. So far, says Katzenstein-Leiterer, they haven't received a response.

Myra Bronstein
06-11-2010, 06:28 AM
Today there is going to be the release of some video footage that the IDF did NOT confiscate and shows what REALLY happened....

This might be the video you're referring to Peter:
http://www.culturesofresistance.org/gaza-freedom-flotilla

The picture is crystal clear. It's not grainy. Though the chronology of events are not crystal clear, at least to me. Can anyone detect Israeli commandos firing on the activists as they're lowering themselves from the helicopter? That part starts at the 2:00 minute mark.

There is also this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlElXOJV4CA&feature=player_embedded
Entitled "?sraeli soldiers murdering Peace Activist on The Freedom Flotilla"

Myra Bronstein
06-11-2010, 07:40 AM
...
There is also this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlElXOJV4CA&feature=player_embedded
Entitled "?sraeli soldiers murdering Peace Activist on The Freedom Flotilla"

http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/06/10/new-video-appears-to-show-israeli-commandos-executing-gaza-aid-ship-victim/

Posted by B. E. Wilson (http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/author/brucewilson/) at 12:29 pm
June 10, 2010
Does a New Flotilla Video Show Israeli Commandos Executing Gaza Aid Ship Victim?

A newly surfaced video clip, allegedly from the May 31, 2010 Israeli attack, in international waters, on the Gaza aid flotilla ship Mavi Marmara, appears to show Israeli commandos carrying out an execution. The clip may be from one hour’s worth of footage smuggled off the Mavi Marmara by American independent filmmaker Iara Lee. That footage is being released at four PM Eastern Time today at the United Nations. Here is an interview (http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/10/exclusive_journalist_smuggles_out_video_of) with Lee aired today on the Democracy Now show.

Jewish-American journalist and blogger Richard Silverstein has thrown his weight behind the veracity of video clip that appears to show two commandos in the process of executing someone. The victim, behind a railing, is not visible but the commandos in the clip are clearly kicking someone (or something) on the ground. One of the two aims his rifle at what one would assume is a person, and seems to fire several shots.

I’ve studied the clip in detail, and there are no muzzle flashes visible but the muzzle of the gun was out of the line-of-sight of the camera that took the footage, hidden behind the ship railing that presumably also occludes the person the commando is aiming his rifle at. Towards the very end of the footage, the commando can be seen loading what would appear to be an ammunition clip into his rifle. He then aims it toward what is presumably a human victim. I’ve studied the clip frame by frame, and at this point (it’s hard to see with the naked eye) there is a rifle recoil.

If the video clip is authentic it would be extremely incriminating. An official autopsy done by the Turkish government on the corpses of victims from the Mavi Marmara showed many of the dead were shot at close range, multiple times, in the head (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/04/gaza-flotilla-activists-autopsy-results). At least nine Mavi Marmara Gaza aid activists died in the assault, and forty eight of the 600-700 activists aboard the Marmara suffered gunshot wounds....

Myra Bronstein
06-11-2010, 07:47 AM
...
Jewish-American journalist and blogger Richard Silverstein has thrown his weight behind the veracity of video clip that appears to show two commandos in the process of executing someone....

[Emphasis mine.]

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/06/10/idf-executed-mavi-marmara-victims/

IDF Executed Mavi Marmara Victims

"In my earlier posts about the killings aboard the Mavi Marmara, I used terms like “kill shot (http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/06/03/19-year-old-turkish-american-killed-by-idf-in-gaza-flotilla-attack/)” and “execution-style (http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/06/04/turkish-autopsies-show-flotilla-victims-shot-at-point-blank-range-six-remain-missing-possibly-dead/)” to describe these events. I based my judgment on the narratives told by eyewitnesses and the Turkish autopsy reports. Some readers were taken aback and accused me of overstatement, exaggeration and worse. But this video vividly confirms my strong suspicions.

It shows IDF commandos executing a passenger on the Mavi Marmara with one and possibly two point blank shots from above into the victim who lies on the boat deck. In truth, one cannot distinguish the face of the victim since it is blocked by a boat railing. But from the muzzle flashes and weapon recoils and the downward direction in which the shooter looks at his victim, it is clear this is an execution just as I described earlier.

The video caption claims this is the murder of 19 year-old Turkish-American high school student Furkan Dogan. While it is possible there is earlier footage not shown in this video that displayed the victim’s face and enabled one to identify him, I won’t vouch for Dogan as being the specific victim. But what is incontrovertible is that this is A Mavi Marmara passenger being murdered.

This changes everything. Here for the first time is evidence that the IDF was not just engaged in a defensive operation, but that it had determined to murder passengers. Gone are the hasbara rationales which defended Israel and blamed the victims for their own deaths.

I am ashamed of Israel. I am ashamed of my president’s response to Israel...."

David Guyatt
06-11-2010, 09:57 AM
More from Anti-War.com. Seems the Israeli lobby is already calling for the suspension of Turkey from NATO as a prelude to expulsion.

This has the potential to get seriously out of control.

Neoconservatives Lead Charge Against Turkey
Posted By Jim Lobe On June 9, 2010 @ 11:00 pm As the right-wing leadership of the organized U.S. Jewish community defends Israel against international condemnation for its deadly seizure of a flotilla bearing humanitarian supplies for Gaza, a familiar clutch of neoconservative hawks is going on the offensive against what they see as the flotilla’s chief defender, Turkey.
Outraged by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip’s Erdogan’s repeated denunciations of the May 31 Israeli raid, as well as his co-sponsorship with Brazil of an agreement with Iran designed to promote renewed negotiations with the West on Tehran’s nuclear program, some neoconservatives are even demanding that the U.S. try to expel Ankara from NATO as one among of several suggested actions aimed at punishing Erdogan’s AKP (Justice and Development Party) government.



Imagine all those in the US military/intelligence/political system who will lose fat drug money pay cheques from the American Turkish Council (as revealed by Sibel Edmonds) if Turkey is booted out of NATO?

My guess is that it will never happen.

But I am more than curious at Turkey's reaction to this event and also why Israeli commando's appear to have coldly assassinated a Turkish citizen on board the Mavi Marmara?

Is there more to this story than meets the eye?

Ed Jewett
06-11-2010, 07:18 PM
A short primer on Israeli propaganda for media dummies

06/09/10
Stuart Littlewood (http://www.a-w-i-p.com/index.php?s=Stuart+Littlewood&sentence=sentence&in_blogs=6)
http://www.a-w-i-p.com/media/blogs/articles/Directory2/hamas_kids_bit_77.jpg (http://www.a-w-i-p.com/media/blogs/articles/Directory2/hamas_kids_jpg.jpg)
Stuart Littlewood deconstructs the Israeli propaganda that has been flooding the airwaves following Israel’s murder of humanitarian activists aboard the Gaza-bound international aid flotilla, most notably from the orifice of the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman, Australian-born Mark Regev, and debunks the propaganda manual used by Israeli officials and stooges to hoodwink Westerners.
What were Israel’s excuses for hijacking the Free Gaza ships in international waters and imprisoning their passengers after gunning down nine of them and wounding several more?


? There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and
? Israel already allows sufficient humanitarian aid into Gaza so the flotilla was “an armada of hate and violence", said Israel’s deputy foreign minister.
But according to John Ging, United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) director of operations in Gaza, “It’s a struggle to survive [with] the infrastructure and water and sanitation in a state of collapse and all that goes with that... People are at their wits’ end to understand when all of this will come to an end.”


? If the Free Gaza ships delivered the humanitarian cargo to the Israeli port of Ashdod, Israel would ensure it was delivered to Gaza after checking it for arms.
That’s very unlikely. The report “Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses” by a group of 16 European non-governmental organizations, published in December 2009, showed that the Israelis allow only a feeble trickle and what is permitted changes from day to day.


? Israel could not allow the ships into Gaza without searching them for arms that might be of use to Hamas.
There are peaceful alternatives for checking cargoes. Besides, it’s time Israel implemented The Agreement on Movement and Access it signed in November 2005, under which it promised to allow its crossings into Gaza to “operate continuously” so that people and goods could move freely.
The agreement also provides for
? the reduction of obstacles to movement within the West Bank
? bus and truck convoys between the West Bank and Gaza
? the building of a new seaport in Gaza
? reopening of the airport in Gaza
There would then be no need for ships bringing humanitarian aid.
The European Council on 8 December 2009 stated: “The EU again reiterates its calls for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza. In this context, the council calls for the full implementation of The Agreement on Movement and Access.”
Israel has ignored countless verbal appeals. The EU is in position to twist its arm because it has granted Israel privileged access to European markets under the EU-Israel Association Agreement and the plug can be pulled. These trading advantages are conditional on Israel showing respect for human rights and democratic principles. Compliance is an essential element, not an option.


? Israel’s interference with the mercy ships was an act of self-defence against the threat posed by Hamas firing rockets and mortars out of Gaza.
This isn’t about rockets. A ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, was negotiated with Hamas in June 2008. Hamas honoured the agreement, firing no rockets and restraining other resistance groups. Israel broke the ceasefire on 4 November by suddenly making a military incursion into Gaza and killing seven members of Hamas. Operation Cast Lead followed, supposedly to stop the rockets. The deaths of over 1,400 people and the maiming of thousands more were unnecessary. All Israel needed to do was observe the ceasefire. It chose not to.
And whatever Israel may say, the blockade inflicts “collective punishment” on the people of Gaza, which is a violation of international law and Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.


? Hamas wants to destroy Israel.
Not true. Hamas has said it will accept Israel within its internationally-recognized 1967 borders, which is the same position the United Nations has adopted.


? Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu now says "dozens of thugs" from what he called "an extremist, terrorism-supporting" organization were on-board the flotilla.
No evidence has been produced so far.


? Israel is a vibrant democracy.
Actually, Israel is a racist ethnocracy, which discriminates in countless vile ways against its Arab minority.
As usual, Israel's chief propagandist, Mark Regev, was on hand to give the tragedy the benefit of his spin.


? "We did everything we could to avoid violence... They [the aid workers] chose the path of confrontation… Our boarding party was attacked with live fire…”
No such weapons were found.


? "Violence was initiated by these activists..."
No, violence was initiated by armed troops storming the peace ships in the dead of night.


? "We didn't attack them, they attacked us... We tried to do, in accordance with international law, a peaceful intervention as they were entering a blockaded area..."
International law does not permit armed intervention in international waters, and the blockaded area has no legal basis.


? "There are no shortages in Gaza..."
That is not what the UN and countless NGOs and charities say.
Meanwhile, in London, Israel’s ambassador, Ron Prosor, was saying:


? “The people on board the ships behaved appallingly… they really did everything in order to provoke and confront…”
What is confrontational about sailing lawfully and peacefully on a humanitarian mission?


? “We disengaged completely out of Gaza…”
No, Israel remains in occupation of Gaza's airspace and coastal waters and in control of all entrances and exits except on the Egyptian border. It has Gaza bottled up.
As always, newspaper and television editors, reporters and presenters were happy to retell the Israeli version of events, the distortion and the plain lies, along with the exaggerated language such as “extremists” and “militants” to describe aid workers, without bothering to examine or question the material in any way.
More pearls of wisdom from Regev
Mark Regev, the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman, is a rich source of propaganda nonsense, for example…


? "It’s not just Israel who refuses to speak to Hamas. It’s the whole international community… Most of the democratic world refuses to have a relationship with Hamas because Hamas has refused to meet the most minimal benchmarks of international behaviour."
Isn’t that a little cheeky of Mr Regev, coming from a regime widely condemned for war crimes, piracy and mega-lawlessness?


? "It was the former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, that put four benchmarks on the table. And he said, speaking for the international community…That if Hamas reforms itself… If Hamas recognizes my country’s right to live in freedom… If Hamas renounces terrorism against innocent civilians… If Hamas supports international agreements that are being signed and agreed to concerning the peace process… then the door is open. But unfortunately – tragically – Hamas has failed to meet even one of those four benchmarks. And that’s why today Hamas is isolated internationally. Even the United Nations refuses to speak to Hamas.
Which of those benchmarks has Israel met?
If you’re getting the impression that Israel is going all-out to demonize Hamas you’d be right, as we’ll see later.


? "Iran’s President openly talks about wiping Israel off the map. The Iranian nuclear programme is a threat, not just to my country, but to the entire region. And it’s incumbent upon us all to do what needs to be done to keep from proliferating.”
Why is Israel the only state in the region not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? Are we all supposed to believe that Israel's 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads pose no threat to the region? Would Mr Regev also tell us why Israel hasn’t signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and hasn’t ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty or the Chemical Weapons Convention? What proof does he have of Iran's nuclear weapons plans?
And why does he deliberately misquote Mr Ahmadinejad? For the record, the Iranian president said, quoting the late Ayatollah Khomeini:

"The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time."
Israel’s Crapaganda Handbook
The Israeli administration’s scriptwriters use a propaganda training manual that teaches the art of lying and how to sugar-coat their poison so that gullible audiences will easily swallow it. Everything Israel dislikes, and everything that thwarts their lust for domination, is now labeled “Iranian-backed”… They would have us believe that everyone in the West – and that includes you and me and the dog – is in mortal danger from Iran and must therefore huddle together in a collective act of aggression orchestrated by Tel Aviv and Washington.
Situations are defined in language that suits only Israel’s case and ensures that Israel’s narrative, which has little or nothing to do with truth, is the one that is carried by the media.
Take, for example, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the UN in 2009. Referring to the critical Goldstone report on Israel’s blitzkrieg against Gaza, he said:


Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?
The false choice is a propaganda favourite. Why would anyone wish to stand alongside either? The fact is, Israel reneged on a ceasefire agreement just before it launched its murderous onslaught, which it had been planning for months.


In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza… We didn't get peace. Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base 50 miles from Tel Aviv. Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare. You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent.
Israel, camped on the Gazans’ doorstep and still occupying Gaza’s airspace and coastal waters, lobs high explosives into the tiny enclave’s 1.5 million starving and defenceless civilians, and there’s no escape because all exits are sealed.


…If Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.
What exactly are these “risks for peace” Israel has so bravely taken? In 62 years what peace dividends has Israel delivered?
The 116-page manual is designed to help the worldwide Zionist movement win the propaganda war, keep their ill-gotten territorial gains and persuade international audiences to accept that their crimes are necessary and in line with “shared values” between Israel and the West.
It was written by The Israel Project, which describes itself as “devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace”. The organization claims to provide journalists, leaders and opinion-formers with “accurate information about Israel”.
What it really does is undermine with clever words and discredited techniques the inalienable rights pledged by the UN to all peoples, including the Palestinians.
The manual teaches the sort of propaganda bollox that Israel’s scribblers and drivellers use to try to justify the slaughter, the ethnic cleansing, the land-grabbing, the cruelty and their blatant disregard for international law and UN resolutions, and make it all smell sweet with a liberal sprinkling of persuasive words. It is designed to hoodwink hard-bitten media types into believing that we actually share values with the racist regime in Israel and that its abominable behaviour is therefore deserving of support.
Priority: isolate Hamas
How does it do that?The manual’s strategy from the start is to demonize the democratically-elected Hamas and rob the resistance movement and the Palestinian population of their human rights. It is packed with advice such as this:


? “Clearly differentiate between the Palestinian people and Hamas… Hamas is a terrorist organization – Americans get that already. But if it sounds like you are attacking the Palestinian people (even though they elected Hamas) rather than their leadership, you will lose public support.”


? "The big picture approach is this: You must isolate Hamas as:



- A critical cause of the delay in achieving a two-state solution
- The biggest source of harm to the Palestinian people, and
- The reason why Israel must defend its people from living in terror.
- Read from the Hamas Charter. Now, here’s how to attack Hamas: indict them with their own indoctrination materials. Yes, people know Hamas is a terrorist organization – but they don’t know just how terrifying Hamas can be. The absolute best way to heighten their awareness is to read from the Hamas Charter itself. Don’t just “quote” from it. Read it. Out loud. Again and again. Hand it out to everyone."
That’s a very good point. Hamas is mad not to have rewritten its charter. Israel’s barbarous behaviour makes Hamas look good, but all that will count for nothing if the charter remains unchanged.


? "Israel’s right to defensible borders: The big picture is that they [specifically the Americans, but equally the British and other Europeans] believe that Hamas’s leadership of Gaza has made Israel and the region less safe… they are willing to grant Israel more leeway in resisting calls to give more land for more peace."
Here we see the motive for demonizing Hamas: Israel wants more leeway to continue its land-grabs and colonization. The idea that they are “giving land for peace” is utterly absurd – they are required to return land they have seized at gunpoint.


? “If… If… If…Then. Put the burden on Hamas to make the first move for peace by using If’s. If Hamas reforms… If Hamas recognize our right to exist… If Hamas renounces terrorism… If Hamas supports international peace agreements… then we are willing to make peace today.”
Just substitute Israel for Hamas. It reads much better.


? “Peace can only be made with adversaries who want to make peace with you. Terrorist organizations like Iran-backed Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are, by definition, opposed to peaceful coexistence, and determined to prevent reconciliation. I ask you, how do you negotiate with those who want you dead?”
Hamas and Hezbollah are only regarded as terrorists by the White House and Tel Aviv, and by US-Israeli stooges elsewhere.
The definition Bush used to blacklist those it suited him to accuse of committing, threatening to commit or supporting terrorism goes as follows…
“The term “terrorism” means an activity that –


(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and
(ii) appears to be intended –




(a) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(b) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(c) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.
This of course fits the US and Israel perfectly.


? "There is never, ever, any justification for the deliberate slaughter of innocent women and children. Never ... civilized people do not target innocent women and children for death.”
So where does that leave Israel, which recently killed 320 children in Gaza and 773 civilians including 109 women? From 2000 up to the start of Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 Israel had slaughtered 4,790 Palestinians in their homeland, including 952 children, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. In the same period Palestinians killed 490 Israelis in Israel including 84 children. So Israel’s kill-rate is nearly 10 to 1, and rising since the blitzkrieg on Gaza.
Israelis are also expert at making families homeless. Since 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Israel has demolished in total 24,145 homes in the occupied territories, including 4,247 (a UN figure) destroyed during Operation Cast Lead.
Israel talks a lot about its right to defend itself. Here is the rationale:


? “Americans fundamentally believe that a democracy has a right to protect its people and its borders… There is one and only one argument that will work for Israel:




(1) As a democracy, Israel has the right and the responsibility to defend its borders and protect its people.
(2) Terrorist groups, including Iran-backed Hezbollah and Hamas, continue to pose a direct threat to Israeli security and have repeatedly taken innocent Israeli lives.
(3) Israel is America’s one and only true ally in the region. In these particularly unstable and dangerous times, Israel should not be forced to go it alone.
(4) With America’s financial assistance, Israel can defend its borders, protect its people, and provide invaluable assistance to the American effort against the war against terrorism.”
But it seems that Americans don’t believe in democracy enough to allow Palestinian democracy to flourish.


? “When the terror ends, Israel will no longer need to have challenging checkpoints to inspect goods and people. When the terror ends we will no longer need a security fence.”
No rockets are coming out of the West Bank, so why is the wall still there – and still being built? Why are the occupation troops still there? Why are hundreds of checkpoints still there? Why is Israel still stealing land, demolishing Palestinian homes and building settlements there?


? "Remind people – again and again – that Israel wants peace. Reason One: If Americans see no hope for peace… they will not want their government to spend tax dollars or their president’s clout on helping Israel. Reason Two: The speaker that is perceived as being most for peace will win the debate... peace should be at the core of whatever message you wish to convey."
Israelis do NOT want peace and never have. They failed to honour previous peace accords. Every action is directed at provoking security crises and keeping the conflict boiling until they have stolen enough land and established enough '”acts on the ground” – Jews-only settlements, highways, disconnected Palestinian bantustans – to enable them to re-draw the map to suit their expansionist agenda and make the occupation permanent.


?"Draw direct parallels between Israel and America – including the need to defend against terrorism... The more you focus on the similarities between Israel and America, the more likely you are to win the support of those who are neutral. Indeed, Israel … faces many of the same challenges as America in protecting their citizens."
Israel’s strategy is dependent on the false idea that they are victims of terror and Western nations need to rally round Israel for mutual protection.


? "The language of Israel is the language of America: 'democracy’, 'freedom’, 'security' and 'peace'. These four words are at the core of the American political, economic, social and cultural systems, and they should be repeated as often as possible because they resonate with virtually every American… Remind your audience that Israel wants peace and then repeat the messages of democracy, freedom and peace over and over again.... we need to repeat the message, on average, ten times to be effective… But don’t confuse messages with facts.... "
Right, never let facts get in the way of a good message! The only word that matters to Israel is security (at everyone else’s expense, of course). How can democracy be a shared value when Israel is a nasty ethnocracy? How can freedom be a shared value when the world is still waiting for Israel to end the occupation and allow the Palestinians their freedom.


? “How can the current Palestinian leadership honestly say it will pursue peace when previous leaders rejected an offer to create a Palestinian state just a few short years ago and now refuse to live up to their responsibilities as outlined in the Road Map?”
This refers to Ehud Barak's so-called "generous offer”, a favourite myth. It wasn't enough that the Palestinians, at the time of the Oslo Agreements in 1993, were willing to concede 78 per cent of the land that was originally theirs, accept the remaining 22 per cent and recognize Israel within “Green Line” borders (i.e. the 1949 Armistice Line), Barak wanted to include 69 Israeli settlements within the Palestinians’ 22 per cent. He also demanded that the Palestinian territories be placed under "temporary Israeli control", meaning Israeli military and administrative control indefinitely. The “generous offer also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the new Palestinian state. What nation in the world would accept that?


? “Why is the world so silent about the written, vocal, stated aims of Hamas?”
Why is the world silent about the written, stated aims of the racist regime and its political parties? Read their manifestos.


? “The situation in the Middle East may be complicated, but all parties should adopt a simple approach: peace first, political boundaries second.”
Why should Palestinians renounce resistance while Israel’s jackboot is still on their throat? The international community should first insist on Israel’s compliance with international law and the many UN resolutions it has defied. The boundaries are already defined by these. Whatever issues then remain to be decided, Palestinians should not have to negotiate with a gun to their heads.


? "Bottom line: What will happen if we fail to get the world to care about the fact that Israeli parents in southern Israel need to literally dodge rockets when they drive their children to kindergarten in the morning?”
Only one in 500 makeshift Qassam rockets causes a fatality. The devastation and carnage resulting from the barrage of Israel’s state-of-the-art rocketry targeted on Gaza is a very different story.


? “Humanize Rockets: Paint a vivid picture of what life is like in Israeli communities that are vulnerable to attack. Yes, cite the number of rocket attacks that have occurred. But immediately follow that up with what it is like to make the nightly trek to the bomb shelter.”
Israel claims 12,000 rockets were fired from Gaza in the eight years up to the start of Operation Cast Lead. Would they care to tell the world how many bombs, rockets and shells (including the illegal and prohibited variety) Israel’s F-16s, tanks, armed drones and navy gunboats poured into the densely-packed humanity that is Gaza in the same period? Probably not.
And Israelis are careful not to mention that the township of Sderot, targeted by Gaza’s rockets and a major propaganda asset for Regev and company, is built on the ruins of an ethnically cleansed Palestinian village whose inhabitants were forced to flee by Jewish terrorists.


? “Living together, side by side. This is the best way to describe the ultimate vision of a two-state solution without using the phrase.”
Sounds cute and fluffy, but who would want to live alongside bigots and extremists who have made your life hell for 62 years?


? "When talking about a Palestinian partner, it is essential to distinguish between Hamas and everyone else. Only the most anti-Israel, pro- Palestinian American expects Israel to negotiate with Hamas, so you have to be clear that you are seeking a 'moderate Palestinian partner'."
What gives anyone, American or Israeli, the right to ignore a nation’s democratically elected representatives? And where are the moderate Israeli partners?


? "The fight is over ideology, not land; terror, not territory. Thus, you must avoid using Israel’s religious claims to land as a reason why Israel should not give up land. Such claims only make Israel look extremist to people who are not religious Christians or Jews.”
If the fight isn’t about land, why has Israel been stealing it? And why won’t they give it back when told to by the UN?


? "Think pro-Palestinian…I particularly want to reach out to Palestinian mothers who have lost their children. No parent should have to bury their child.”
Reach for the sick-bag. Israel won’t even allow cement into Gaza to build the graves.


? "And so I say to my Palestinian colleagues … you can stop the bloodshed. You can stop the suicide bombings and rocket attacks. If you really want to, you can put an end to this cycle of violence. If you won’t do it for our children, do it for your children.”
This is recommended as “an effective sound bite” for pro-Israel activists.


? "I want to see a future where the Palestinians govern themselves. Israel does not want to govern a single Palestinian. Not one. We want them to govern themselves. We want them to have complete self-determination."
Pure tosh! That’s not what Israel’s political parties are pledging. For decades Israel has dismissed the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. It is desperate to snuff out Palestine's fledgling democracy and destroy its chosen government.
What’s to become of the Holy City?


? "The toughest issue to communicate will be the final resolution of Jerusalem. Americans overwhelmingly want Israel to be in charge of the religious holy sites and are frankly afraid of the consequences should Israel turn over control to the Palestinians.”
Israel is in control right now and prevents Muslims and Christians from outside the city from visiting the holy places. Israel has proved it can’t be trusted. In any case, the UN's partition plan decreed that Jerusalem should become a “corpus separatum" – an international city – under international management.
And here’s a final example of the twisted mentality of those who wrote the manual:


? “The force undermining peace is Iran and their proxies Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. You must not call Hamas just Hamas. Call them what they are: Iran-backed Hamas. Indeed, when they [the West] know that Iran is behind Hamas and Hezbollah, they are much more supportive of Israel.”
By the same token should we call the racist regime what it is – US-backed Israel or US proxy Israel? Take your pick.
In addition to their expertise in disinformation the Israelis are adept at concealing or destroying the evidence of their crimes. We saw it again with the confiscation of the flotilla passengers’ cameras, phones, laptops and other personal effects. If they ever get them back they’ll be corrupted. Israel also makes it difficult for even VIPs to enter Gaza – they don’t want outsiders inspecting their major crime scene. Anything to obstruct justice and make it difficult to bring their thugs to book.
Israel’s dirty tricks will be to no avail in the end. They are beginning to lose the propaganda war. That was inevitable. In the long run you cannot succeed with a communications programme based on lies and deception. Even the best public relations is only as good as the “product” or brand, and “Brand Israel’s” reputation was never great. It has now fallen off a cliff. The truth is spreading despite big efforts by mainstream media to block or disguise it.
The thing we must cling to is the obligation that binds all decent people to respect and promote human rights. The following words, written nearly 62 years ago, explain why good will eventually triumph over the selfish and evil outpourings of the Israeli crapaganda machine.


Now, Therefore the General Assembly proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/) as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk (http://www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk/).
__________________________________________________ _________________________________
Source: http://www.redress.cc/palestine/slittlewood20100609
http://www.a-w-i-p.com/rsc/icons/minipost.gif (http://www.a-w-i-p.com/index.php/2010/06/09/a-short-primer-on-israeli-propaganda-for)

Helen Reyes
06-11-2010, 07:47 PM
More from Anti-War.com. Seems the Israeli lobby is already calling for the suspension of Turkey from NATO as a prelude to expulsion.

This has the potential to get seriously out of control.


Not necessarily. It's a preemptive bluff to try to keep NATO from performing their treaty duties if Turkey is attacked. Same sort of tactic as blaming the peaceniks when the IDF had hit lists. The response will logically be to tell the US they are welcome to the leave the alliance if they no longer want to enforce Article 5, which would end NATO participation in Afghanistan as well in one fell swoop.

Mark Stapleton
06-12-2010, 12:01 AM
A short primer on Israeli propaganda for media dummies




Great piece from Stuart Littlewood, Ed.

Thanks for posting it.

Ed Jewett
06-12-2010, 01:51 AM
A short primer on Israeli propaganda for media dummies




Great piece from Stuart Littlewood, Ed.

Thanks for posting it.


But not as good as that "hasbara handbook"....

Ed Jewett
06-12-2010, 03:56 AM
"President Obama's language is so similar to what we have recommended you say for years that he easily could be stealing straight from our playbook.... President Obama is saying exactly what you should be saying -- and he's getting rewarded for it. During this era of his immense popularity, you would be extremely well served to be on the same communications place as he is -- wherever it is consistent with Israeli policy." [Pages 87-88, "The Israel Project's 2009 Global Language Dictionary"] [emphasis theirs]

Peter Presland
06-12-2010, 10:41 AM
The vanishing ship's name. Credits to Nobody (http://churchofnobody.blogspot.com/2010/06/mavi-marmara-bullshit-internet-sleuths.html) and Whatdefuck.com
(http://whatdefuck.com/news/idf_video/newspage.html)
Seems there's a sister ship too - MS TDI Karadeniz - everyone feverishly checking its movements/whereabouts right now I guess.

I'd be interested in Jack White's take on this

The unraveling of this tall tale on the high seas began on the morning of Friday, June the 4th when the poster known as Shadow made the following remark to another forum poster known as JayRodney: "I had a close look at web pics of the Mavi Marmara and the ship in the vid that shows the Turks attacking the IDF as they land.
I do not believe it is the same ship. Compare them though, I'd like your opinion on it." To which JayRodney responded: "I have to conclude by my initial observation 'Mavi Marmara' should be visible 36-37 seconds into the video. Octo is getting screen shots and we will make the best comparison based upon available evidence. I think it's safe to call shenanigans.
It looks suspiciously like Mossad Productions, I'd say the margin of error is less than 1%. This is most assuredly propaganda."
Then the proverbial bomb was dropped, irrefutable evidence provided in the form of an animated .gif file: The poster known as Octo said: "ok, the pics are from slightly different angles, but to the best of my knowledge at approximately the same place of the ship(s) superimposed: doesn't even look like the same ship to me." Proof positive!
The boats name should have been visible in at least one frame of the SKY NEWS video. Not only is the ships designation 'Mavi Marmara' conspicuously absent, but the entire vessel is clearly different; it's not the same boat!
This IDF footage is clearly fabricated, I wonder how the Israeli government will explain this away?




http://whatdefuck.com/news/idf_video/mavi_small.gif

http://whatdefuck.com/news/idf_video/forumtag.jpg

Magda Hassan
06-12-2010, 11:00 AM
Well, deeper and deeper into the shit they go. First the 'Go back to Auschwitz' fake recording now this. It seems that the name of the ship should be clear at one point but there is nothing there. :vroam:

Peter Lemkin
06-12-2010, 11:15 AM
Well, deeper and deeper into the shit they go. First the 'Go back to Auschwitz' fake recording now this. It seems that the name of the ship should be clear at one point but there is nothing there. :vroam:

I can almost guess the reply.....that all those photos/videos shown by the IDF are enhanced, as they were taken at night in dark and somehow the lettering didn't show up. I dunno.....I think the witness statements and the few videos not confiscated [and why would they confiscate any...and about a million dollars of cameras...and not return any>?!] make a stronger statement. But this does add to the growing question about the truth of the lies...(sic)

Austin Kelley
06-12-2010, 11:36 AM
http://www.fpif.org/articles/democratic_party_defends_israeli_attack

Democratic Party Defends Israeli Attack

By Stephen Zunes, June 10, 2010

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested in the streets of Tel Aviv last weekend against their right-wing government's attack on an unarmed humanitarian aid flotilla sailing in international waters. International condemnation of the raids continued in foreign capitals. Meanwhile, in Washington, Democratic congressional leaders were lining up alongside their Republican colleagues to defend the Israeli assault. Countering the broad consensus of international legal scholars who recognize that the attack was in flagrant violation of international norms, prominent Democrats embraced the Orwellian notion that Israel's raid, which killed at least nine activists and wounded scores of others, was somehow an act of self-defense.

The offensive by the Democratic leadership has been led by Gary Ackerman (D-NY), who serves as House Democrats' unofficial spokesman on Middle East policy from his position as chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee on the Middle East. According to Ackerman, the killings were "wholly the fault and responsibility of the organizers of the effort to break through Israel and Egypt's legitimate closure of terrorist-controlled Gaza." According to Rep. Ron Klein (D-FL), due to the determination of activists on the ships to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of the besieged Gaza Strip, "Israel was left with no choice but to ensure the safety of its people." Similarly, Democratic majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) insisted that in attacking an unarmed flotilla carrying humanitarian aid in international waters, Israel had simply "invoked its right to self-defense."

To rationalize what virtually the entire international legal community recognizes as an act of war, congressional Democrats have engaged in a series of falsifications and radical reinterpretations of international law. The first involved a radically overextended notion of maritime sovereignty. The attack took place in international waters, roughly 85 miles from the Israeli coast. International maritime law has long recognized that territorial sovereignty extends only 12 miles out to sea. A Libyan effort in the 1980s to extend its claim of sovereignty into the Gulf of Sidra beyond the 12-mile limit led to a series of deadly clashes between U.S. and Libyan armed forces in order, according to then-President Ronald Reagan, to enforce America's "global Freedom of Navigation program" to defend "our rights on and over the high seas under international law." At the time, congressional Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in defending the use of force to challenge Libya's illegal overreach of its maritime boundaries.

However, congressional Democrats are quite willing to grant allied governments in the region far more latitude in extending their claims to Mediterranean waters. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) argued that responsibility for the violence lay with the organizers of the flotilla, not with "those who defended Israel's borders." Rep. Michael McMahon (D-NY) made a similar argument that the Israeli action was justified because Israel "has the right to maintain and defend its own borders." The flotilla was aiming directly toward the port of Gaza, not toward any area close to Israeli territorial waters, and no country recognizes the Gaza Strip as part of Israel. Nevertheless, Rep. Kendrik Meek (D-FL) insisted that Israel's assault on the flotilla was justified because the ships were "on the verge of breaching its sovereign borders." Similarly, Klein insisted that the ships were "threatening to breach Israel's defenses of its coastal border," and therefore "Israel was left with no choice but to ensure the safety of its people" by attacking the flotilla.

Redefining "Self-Defense"

The Free Gaza campaign had made clear that the cargo was exclusively humanitarian. Indeed, all of its previous eight voyages over the past two years were completely free of any weaponry or weapon parts. The plethora of peace and human rights groups participating in the flotilla would have never taken part were there any hint of arms being on board. Most crucially, customs officials rigorously inspected all the ships at their disembarkation points. Indeed, no weapons bound for the Gaza Strip were found on any of the six ships on the flotilla seized by Israel or on the seventh several days later. As a result, no reasonable person could claim that the Israelis had reason to suspect arms smuggling. The congressional Democratic leadership, however, is apparently not very reasonable.

For example, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) insisted that the Israelis attacked the flotilla to ensure that "dangerous resources do not reach the terrorist organization Hamas." This kind of paranoia was evident on the Senate side as well, as Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) justified the Israeli attack on the grounds that the peace activists might have been trying to smuggle missiles or even a radiological weapon. Similarly, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) declared that "Israel has every right in the world to make certain that weapons are not being smuggled in." Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) insisted that "Israel has every right to defend itself against radical activists" in order "to prevent innocent civilian aid from being used as a façade for arms trafficking" by those "threatening the safety and security of our ally Israel."

Despite the participation of large numbers of pacifists on the ships, Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) claimed that the flotilla "was really a Trojan Horse designed to attack the Israelis." The assault against the unarmed flotilla, according to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), was simply a case of the Israeli government "defending…their citizens" and "exercising its right to self-defense." Paul Hodes (D-NH) argued that Israel's intent in attacking the flotilla was simply "to protect itself and its citizens" while House Majority Leader Hoyer insisted that "Israel — rightfully so — invoked its right to self-defense on the Mavi Marmara." Rep Patrick Murphy (D-PA) also insisted that Israel was simply invoking its right to self-defense," while Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) insisted that "those aboard the Mavi Marmara never intended to carry out a peaceful humanitarian mission" and that "It was only when faced with violence that the soldiers reacted in self-defense."

The Israelis confiscated all recording equipment from those on board, only showing their carefully edited version of events surrounding their assault on lead vessel in a widely circulated videotape. The refusal to return any of the recording equipment to the kidnapped activists would normally raise questions as to what the Israeli government might be trying to hide. But that didn't bother Democratic lawmakers, who repeatedly cited the Israeli video as "evidence" to support their case that the people defending their ship, not the ones attacking it, were the aggressors. There are conflicting reports of what happened when Israeli forces illegally boarded the Mavi Marmara, but what is known is that Israeli commandos initiated the attack on the ship using stun grenades, teargas, paintballs, and rubber-cased steel bullets. The initial response from those on board was to try to fend off the attackers off with water hoses while the ship's passengers attempted to form a defensive cordon around the wheelhouse to prevent the attackers from seizing the ship.

Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, acknowledged that the flotilla was simply "too large to stop with nonviolent means." Despite this, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL) insisted that "the Israeli Navy worked to plan a non-violent interception of the flotilla and only used force when soldiers' lives were at risk." At least 48 activists suffered gunshot wounds and scores of others were badly beaten.

The British newspaper The Independent reported that soldiers fired down on the activists from their helicopters prior to any Israeli soldiers boarding the Mavi Marmara. One journalist reported that a man standing next to him was shot through the top of his head, killing him instantly. Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), however, insisted that the killings were all "acts of self-defense," while Rep. Shelley Berkeley (D-NV) blamed "passengers on the vessel, not Israeli forces, as the instigators of violence." Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said the "violent force [was] in fact initiated by those whose boat was boarded." Though the overwhelming majority of those on the ships were from peace organizations like War Resisters International, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, and others, Rep. Engel insisted that the ships were actually "filled with hate-filled provocateurs bent on violence." Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) claimed the responsibility for the killings were "those who chose to run an internationally recognized blockade and attack uniformed personnel." Though there were no guns found on board any of the ships, Quigley insisted that the activists "shot Israeli soldiers as they landed on the main ship."

Autopsy reports reveal that most of the victims of the Israeli raid were shot in the head at close range. Fulkan Dogan, a 19-year old U.S. citizen, was shot five times from less than 18 inches away. Similarly, despite Israeli troops using stun guns and severely beating passengers on the other ships who offered no violent resistance, Rep. Shelley Berkeley (D-NV) insisted that the Israeli seizure of the five other vessels took place "without incident," demonstrating that "Israeli personnel had no intention to use force and only did so in self-defense."

The Turkish crew — which, unlike the vast majority of people on board the ships, had not gone through the mandatory nonviolence training — should not have fought back. It should be noted, however, that international maritime law clearly gives crew members the right to defend their vessel from attacks in international waters. Apparently, these congressional Democrats believe, however, if you are attacked by the navy of a strategic ally of the United States, you have no right to defend your ship.

Accusations of Terrorist Ties

The most dangerous accusation by congressional Democratic leaders involves charges that the activists on board and the organizers of the flotilla had ties to terrorism. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee's subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation, and trade, called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute American participants in the flotilla. Because the Gaza Strip is currently ruled by Hamas, according to Sherman, any humanitarian aid to the people of that territory is "clearly an effort to give items of value to a terrorist organization." Sherman also announced he would be working with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that the more than 700 non-U.S. citizens who took part in the flotilla would be permanently barred from ever entering the United States. This would include European parliamentarians and Nobel laureates, as well as leading writers, artists, intellectuals, pacifists, and human rights activists, virtually none of whom is in the least bit sympathetic with Hamas or terrorism.

A series of Democrats in Congress have joined in insisting that the organizers of the flotilla have, in Sherman's words, "clear terrorist ties." Indeed, Frank insists that these groups are "pro-Hamas people" and that, rather than provide aid to the people of the Gaza Strip, they were actually "seeking to land in Gaza to aid and support Hamas." Engel insisted that the organizers of the flotilla have "links to Hamas and reportedly played a role in the attempted Millennium bombing in Los Angeles." Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) insisted that the United States "must stand up for the right of Israel to defend herself against terrorism — which is what Israel did when she blocked the attempt by the Flotilla to forcefully breach the blockade." And Rep. Ackerman claimed that the humanitarian relief effort was "to provoke a confrontation with Israel for the benefit of Hamas and as part of the international effort to delegitimize Israel's existence."

The very idea that pacifist, feminist, Jewish, and Christian organizations like CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the American Friends Service Committee would ally with a violent, misogynist, Islamic group like Hamas — much less any group that engages in terrorism — should be recognized as absurd on face value. When prominent Democrats — including the head of the House subcommittee on terrorism — imply that leading American and Israeli peace groups are linked to terrorism, it is no longer simply heated rhetoric in defense of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, but a dangerous attack on civil liberties.These congressional Democrats also ignore the fact that the Free Gaza campaign is supported by such Israeli groups such as Yesh G'vul, the Coalition of Women for Peace, New Profile, and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, among others. Such organizations and their members were already being subjected to violent attacks by far right-wing groups, some of whom have openly called for the murder of Knesset members who supported the flotilla. By falsely accusing these groups of being part of an effort that supports Hamas and other terrorist groups, these members of Congress appear to be willing to put the lives of Israeli peace and human rights activists at risk.

Shutting Out the United Nations

Democratic congressional leaders were quick to praise the Obama administration for blocking the United Nations from criticizing the Israeli attack. Hoyer reiterated how the "administration and Congress are determined to prevent condemnation of Israel at the UN Security Council." One clear role for the United Nations — given the conflicting accounts of what transpired during the Israeli attack — would be to launch an international investigation. A recent public opinion poll shows a clear majority of Americans — including 65 percent of Democrats — favor an international inquiry over allowing Israel alone to investigate the circumstances of the attack.

Despite this, congressional Democrats have also joined the Obama administration in insisting that Israel, not the UN or other international body, should conduct any investigation into the attack. This comes despite reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International documenting the right-wing Israeli government's notoriously poor record at conducting credible internal investigations regarding possible war crimes by its armed forces. Rejecting such detailed reports from reputable human rights organizations, Frank nonetheless insists "the Israeli government…has a very good record of holding the Israeli government to account," and that "the Israeli government has a better record of legitimate self-criticism than almost any other government in the world." Turning the consensus of international human rights organizations on its head, Frank argues that the only a group "commissioned by the Israeli government" would have credibility, while "clearly no inquiry chartered by the U.N. would have the credibility."

Other congressional Democrats have also been lining up insisting that the right-wing Israeli government of Benyamin Netanyahu be entrusted with the investigation. Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) insisted that "We must allow Israel, not the United Nations. . . to conduct a formal investigation into the flotilla incident." Similarly, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) has called for an "Israeli-led investigation" as have Rep. Michael McMahon (D-NY) and Rep. Sestak (D-PA), who is currently the Democratic nominee for Senate. Reid underscored his confidence in the right-wing Israeli government in noting how "Israel has pledged to carry out a transparent and thorough investigation of this incident, and I look forward to its findings."

Denying the Humanitarian Crisis

Democrats have also lined up to defend the blockade of the Gaza Strip, even as corporate media outlets such as Newsweek acknowledge that the blockade has little to do with preventing weapons smuggling. Some have gone as far as challenging the credibility of the UN and a plethora of aid agencies that have documented the public health crisis and food shortages in the Gaza Strip. For example, Sherman insists "the health circumstances in Gaza are better than they are in many American cities." In reality, UN officials have called the situation "grim," "deteriorating," and a "medieval siege." A bare minimum of 400 truckloads of goods needs to enter Gaza each week, and only an average of 171 get in. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in 10 Gazans suffer from "chronic malnutrition," and the UN says six in 10 Gaza households are "food insecure."

As reported in the Israeli press, as elsewhere, Israel has repeatedly refused to allow humanitarian goods into the Gaza Strip. This fact did not stop Reid from claiming that Israel "put in place a process to ensure that legitimate humanitarian relief reached Gaza." Similarly, Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) praised Israel for "allow trucks loaded with humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza on a daily basis," ignoring that such vehicles allowed by Israel are far less than what's needed. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) insisted that "there are alternative methods of delivery that are available," ignoring the fact that restrictive Israeli checkpoints have repeatedly turned away WHO medical supplies and rejected or delayed the delivery of UN food aid. Despite efforts to blame Hamas, Israel is in fact the source of the humanitarian crisis. Yet Democrats continue to be in denial.

'Creating an Incident'

Israel had allowed five of the previous eight ships from the Free Gaza Campaign carrying humanitarian supplies to deliver their goods to the port of Gaza without interception. So there was some genuine hope that the Israelis would allow this flotilla to dock unimpeded as well. To leading Democratic lawmakers, such as Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), however, "this flotilla was more about creating an incident than helping people." Similarly, Mikulski insisted that the activists "cared more about inciting a confrontation that they did about delivering aid."

These lawmakers seem to have forgotten, however, the longstanding tradition of strategic nonviolent direct action to "create an incident." The four African-American students who sat at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro back in 1960 weren't just interested in a cup of coffee. Similarly, when civil rights activists protested in downtown Birmingham in 1963, there was reason to suspect that Sherriff Bull Connor would use force to break up the demonstrations.

When people struggle nonviolently for justice against an oppressive state apparatus, there is no contradiction between helping people and creating an incident.

Relations with Turkey

Much of the wrath of congressional Democrats centers on the government of Turkey, a longstanding NATO ally. Pallone demanded that Obama condemn the Turkish government for supporting the relief effort and reacting negatively to the attack, which killed nine Turks on board. According to Rep. Anthony Wiener (D-NY), "We know this tragedy was instigated by Turkey." Though Turkey remains in NATO, Wiener went as far as referring to Turkey as "our former ally." Similarly, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) argued that criticism of Israel's action "neglects the role that Turkey played in staging the flotilla and Turkey's readiness to condone this kind of brinksmanship."

Putting the blame on Turkey for the deaths of its own citizens in international waters taking part in a multinational humanitarian relief efforts is particularly ironic given that, as recently as two months ago, many of these same members of Congress refused to support the recent House resolution commemorating the 1915 Armenian genocide on the grounds that it would offend the Turkish government.

In the world view of congressional Democrats, however, defending what is essentially an act of piracy and the murder of nine Turkish citizens is worth damaging relations with this key NATO ally, but acknowledging the genocide of one and half million Armenians is not.

Withdraw Support from the Democratic Party

This is certainly not the first time that Democratic congressional leaders have defended violations of international legal norms by U.S. allies. The history of supporting the Salvadoran junta, Nicaraguan Contras, Indonesian occupation forces in East Timor, and Moroccan occupation forces in Western Sahara all attest to the way the Democratic Party, like the Republican Party, is wedded to the notion that U.S. allies should be held to a lower standard of adherence to international law than perceived adversaries.

Indeed, one can imagine the reaction of these same Democrats had it been the Iranian navy that attacked a humanitarian flotilla in international waters, killed passengers and crew members, and kidnapped 750 people (including journalists) and held them incommunicado for several days in Iran.

Republican congressional leaders have certainly done no better in supporting Israel's raids. Yet many Democrats who have engaged in these right-wing attacks on human rights and international law consider themselves "progressive." Democratic members of Congress have ended their defense of the Salvadoran junta, the Indonesian dictatorship, and other criminal policies only when pressured by their constituents. Peace and human rights activists should similarly raise an outcry in response to the dangerously intemperate and inaccurate statements from congressional Democrats and then deny support for the re-election of any member of Congress who continues to support this latest Israeli atrocity.

For More Information:
All quotes from congressional representatives taken from the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, "Congressional Statements on the Gaza Flotilla Incident, June 9, 2010; http://www.aipac.org/Publications/Congressional_Statements_on_Flotilla.pdf

[I]Stephen Zunes, a Foreign Policy In Focus analyst, is a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco.

Helen Reyes
06-12-2010, 03:29 PM
Austin:

Israeli ships suffer almost no piracy because they have armed security details. This is somewhat of a difficulty for ships flying under other flags because many countries don't want armed crews putting to port, but Israel never has to worry about this for some reason. Obviously ship crews have the right to defend themselves on the high seas. If the Gaza flotilla had been serious about self-defence, they could've taken down some of the Israeli helicopters rather easily, harpooning lines upward to catch on the propellor blades.

Keith Millea
06-12-2010, 03:46 PM
Withdraw Support from the Democratic Party
Says it all for me.............

:hobbyhorse:

Mark Stapleton
06-12-2010, 11:28 PM
To quote Kang from The Simpsons, "Go ahead and throw your vote away---it's a two party system".

Kang and Kodos are the Zionist lobby. They own both sides in the two party system. The two party political system has failed.

Myra Bronstein
06-13-2010, 05:02 AM
The vanishing ship's name. Credits to Nobody (http://churchofnobody.blogspot.com/2010/06/mavi-marmara-bullshit-internet-sleuths.html) and Whatdefuck.com
(http://whatdefuck.com/news/idf_video/newspage.html)
Seems there's a sister ship too - MS TDI Karadeniz - everyone feverishly checking its movements/whereabouts right now I guess.

I'd be interested in Jack White's take on this...

WOW.
WOW!

Thanks for posting this Peter. Damn. Breathtaking gall and evil.

Hope Jack does weigh in on this evidence.

Peter Lemkin
06-13-2010, 05:57 PM
Richard Falk on the International Law and International Morality issues. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Falk)

Legality of Israel continuing the blockage against Gaza: Israel disengaged from territorial occupation in 2005 but continues to control all the borders, airspace and sea entry.
Israel completely controls what gets in and out of Gaza, including fuel and medicines so that it’s functionally occupied and legally considered to be occupied.
Internationally, there are several provisions requiring you to protect the necessities of the civilians
Hamas still considered terrorist government. A blockade is an act of war
If Gaza is defined as occupied, it is collective punishement, if it not occupied it means this is an act of war
The UN charter is clear that any use of force that is not legally justified as self defense against an armed attack is unlawful. The law is when you’re attacked on the high seas, you have a right to act in self defense.
The Israeli attack was a violation of the freedom of the high seas and a criminal, unlawful use of force. As far as I know, these allegations about these terrorist ties and background are completely invented, completely contrived. The New York Times has given the Israeli disinfo campaign, credibility is doesn’t deserve.
Under customary international law, you can’t do what Israel has been doing.
It’s a vindictive treatment of the people, the family members weren’t told if their loved ones were alive.
The Israelis can’t claim self defense. The Israeli use of force was excessive and disproportionate.
Israel continues to enjoy US protection and impunity.

Guest – Richard Falk professor of international law emeritus, Princeton University and Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories for the United Nations Human Rights Council. His book, The Great Terror War (2003), considers the American response to September 11, including its relationship to the patriotic duties of American citizens. He published Costs of War in 2008.

Peter Presland
06-14-2010, 09:07 AM
From The Australian (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/nobel-peace-prize-winner-david-trimble-to-monitor-israels-gaza-flotilla-inquiry/story-e6frg6so-1225879341427):

ISRAEL has announced that "an independent public commission", including two foreign observers, will investigate its naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which nine Turkish activists were killed.

Israel, which had rejected calls for an international probe into the May 31 incident, said retired Israeli supreme court judge Yaakov Tirkel would chair the commission.

In an apparent bid to boost the credibility of the probe, Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble and Ken Watkin, a former judge advocate general of the Canadian armed forces, were named as observers.

“In light of the exceptional circumstances of the incident, it was decided to appoint two foreign experts who will serve as observers,” said a late-night statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But Mr Trimble and Mr Watkin “will not have the right to vote in relation to the proceedings and conclusions of the commission,” the statement added.

And the two could also be denied access to documents or information if it was “almost certain to cause substantial harm to national security or to the state's foreign relations”.

Earlier, Mr Netanyahu told senior members of his right-wing Likud party that the composition and mandate of the commission was being coordinated with the United States.

Government ministers at the Likud meeting said the Israeli leader had spoken by telephone with US President Barack Obama late on Saturday and updated him on the commission.

The US welcomed the announcement as “an important step forward,” but said it expected the investigation to be carried out promptly.

“While Israel should be afforded the time to complete its process, we expect Israel's commission and military investigation will be carried out promptly,” said a statement by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

“We also expect that, upon completion, its findings will be presented publicly and will be presented to the international community.”

The UN Security Council had called for an “impartial” investigation into the incident, stopping short of calls by Turkey and other countries for an independent, international investigation.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had said that Israel should accept an international inquiry if it wanted to restore Israeli-Turkish ties

The announcement came as Israel faced mounting pressure to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip in the wake of the botched commando raid on the aid flotilla.

Mr Netanyahu said yesterday he had been looking at how to meet Gaza's humanitarian needs while keeping weapons out of the Hamas-run coastal strip before the latest crisis.

“Before the flotilla set sail for Gaza, we discussed, in various forums, the continuation of our policy toward the Gaza Strip,” Mr Netanyahu said.

He said he had held talks on the issue with Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair, who represents the UN, the US, the European Union and Russia.

In a statement, Mr Blair welcomed Mr Netanyahu's latest comments, saying they made a clear distinction between Israel's security concerns and the need to let Gazans live a normal life.

The Israeli statement said the commission would examine Israel's naval blockade of Gaza and its legality under international law and the “actions taken by Israel to enforce the naval blockade in the incident of May 31, 2010 with the rules of international law”.

It would also examine “the actions taken by the organisers of the flotilla and its participants, as well as their identity”.

Mr Netanyahu planned to seek the approval of his cabinet later today for the proposed commission.Also al Jazeeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/06/201061321535573808.html)

David Trimble (Baron and HM Privy Councillor for services rendered), knows a thing or two about state sponsored assassinations - from the State's perspective naturally - too. Having been at the sharp end of Northern Ireland Unionist (ie British State Establishment) politics throughout the infamous shoot to kill and Security Forces collusion/sponsorship of 'Loyalist' assasinations periods.

As for Ken Watkin. Don't know much about him except that he is a retired Brigadier Genral in the Canadian armed forces.

Actually - all that lends far more credibility to the thing than it warrants - a total bloody whitewash fits the proposal rather better.

Peter Lemkin
06-14-2010, 11:38 AM
The Anti-Empire Report

June 10th, 2010
by William Blum
www.killinghope.org
The worst thing that ever happened to the Jewish people is the Holocaust. The second worst thing that ever happened to the Jewish people is the state of Israel.

Things internationally are so dispiriting there's nothing left to do but fantasize. I picture Turkey, as a member of NATO, demanding that the alliance come to its defense after being attacked by Israel. Under Article 5 of the NATO charter an armed attack on one member is deemed to constitute an armed attack on all members. That is the ostensible reason NATO is fighting in Afghanistan — the attack against the United States on September 11, 2001 is regarded as an attack on all NATO members (disregarding the awkward fact that Afghanistan as a country had nothing to do with the attack). The Israeli attack on a Turkish-flagged ship, operated by a Turkish humanitarian organization, killing nine Turkish nationals and wounding many more can certainly constitute an attack upon a NATO member.

So, after the United States, the UK, Germany, France and other leading NATO members offer their ridiculous non-sequitur excuses why they can't ... umm ... er ... invoke Article 5, and the international media swallows it all without any indigestion, Turkey demands that Israel should at least lose its formal association with NATO as a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue. This too is dismissed with scorn by the eminent NATO world powers on the grounds that it would constitute a victory for terrorism. And anti-Semitism of course.

Turkey then withdraws from NATO. Azerbaijan and five other Central Asian members of NATO's Partnership for Peace with Turkic constituencies do the same. NATO falls into a crisis. Remaining member countries begin to question the organization's policies as never before ... like please tell us again why our young men are killing and dying in Afghanistan, and why we send them to Kosovo and Iraq and other places the Americans deem essential to their endlessly-threatened national security.

When Vice President Biden tells the eminent conservative-in-liberal-clothing pseudo-intellectual Charlie Rose on TV that "We have put as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them [Gaza] to get building materials in," 1Rose for once rises to the occasion and acts like a real journalist, asking Biden: "Have you threatened Israel with ending all military and economic aid? ... Have you put the names of Israeli officials on your list of foreigners who can not enter the United States and whose bank accounts in the US are frozen, as you've done with numerous foreign officials who were not supporters of the empire? ... Since Israel has committed both crimes against the peace and crimes against humanity, and since these are crimes that have international jurisdiction, certain Israeli political and military personnel can be named in trials held in any country of the world. Will you be instructing the Attorney General to proceed with such an indictment? Or if some other country which is a member of the International Criminal Court calls upon the ICC to prosecute these individuals, will the United States try to block the move? ... Why hasn't the United States itself delivered building materials to Gaza?"

When Israel justifies its murders on the grounds of "self-defense", late-night TV comedians Jay Leno and David Letterman find great humor in this, pointing out that a new memoir by China's premier at the time of the 1989 Tiananmen Square violent suppression defends the military action by saying that soldiers acted in "self-defense" when they fired on the democracy activists. 2

When Israel labels as "terrorists" the ship passengers who offered some resistance to the Israeli invaders, the New York Times points out that the passengers who resisted the 9-11 highjackers on the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania are called "heroes". (As an aside, it's worth noting that the United States uses 9-11 as Israel uses the Holocaust — as excuse and justification for all manner of illegal and violent international behavior.)

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reminds its readers that in 2009 Israel attacked a boat on international waters carrying medical aid to Gaza with former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney aboard; and that in 1967 Israel attacked an American ship, the USS Liberty, killing 34 and wounding about 173, and that President Johnson did then just what President Obama is doing now and would have done then — nothing.

And finally, Secretary of State Clinton declares that she's had a revelation. She realizes that what she recently said about North Korea when it was accused of having torpedoed a South Korean warship applies as well to Israel. Mrs. Clinton had demanded that Pyongyang "stop its provocative behavior, halt its policy of threats of belligerence towards its neighbors, and take irreversible steps to fulfill its denuclearization commitments and comply with international law." 3 She adds that the North Korean guilt is by no means conclusive, while Israel doesn't deny its attack on the ship at all; moreover, it's not known for sure if North Korea actually possesses nuclear weapons, whereas there's no uncertainty about Israel's large stockpile.

So there you have it. Hypocrisy reigns. Despite my best fantasizing. Is hypocrisy a moral failing or a failure of the intellect? When President Obama says, as he has often, "No one is above the law" and in his next breath makes it clear that his administration will not seek to indict Bush or Cheney for any crimes, does he think that no one will notice the contradiction, the hypocrisy? That's a callous disregard for public opinion and/or a dumbness worthy of his predecessor.

And when he declares: "The future does not belong to those who gather armies on a field of battle or bury missiles in the ground", 4does it not occur to him at all that he's predicting a bleak outlook for the United States? Or that his conscious, deliberate policy is to increase the size of America's army and its stockpile of missiles?

Comrades, can the hypocrisy and the lies reach such a magnitude that enough American true believers begin to question their cherished faith, so that their number reaches a critical mass and explodes? Well, it's already happened with countless Americans, but it's an awfully formidable task keeping pace with what is turned out by the mass media and education factories. They're awfully good at what they do. Too bad. But don't forsake the struggle. What better way is there to live this life? And remember, just because the world has been taken over by lying, hypocritical, mass-murdering madmen doesn't mean we can't have a good time.
Bad guys and good guys

In Lahore, Pakistan, reported the Washington Post on May 29, "Militants staged coordinated attacks ... on two mosques of a minority Muslim sect, taking hostages and killing at least 80 people. ... At least seven men armed with grenades, high-powered rifles and suicide vests stormed the mosques as Friday prayers ended."

Nice, really nice, very civilized. It's no wonder that decent Americans think that this is what the United States is fighting against — Islamic fanatics, homicidal maniacs, who kill their own kind over some esoteric piece of religious dogma, who want to kill Americans over some other imagined holy sin, because we're "infidels". How can we reason with such people? Where is the common humanity the naive pacifists and anti-war activists would like us to honor?

And then we come to the very last paragraph of the story: "Elsewhere in Pakistan on Friday, a suspected U.S. drone-fired missile struck a Taliban compound in the South Waziristan tribal area, killing eight, according to two officials in the region." This, we are asked to believe by our leaders, is a higher level of humanity. The United States does this every other day, sending robotic death machines called Predators flying over Afghanistan and Pakistan, to send Hellfire missiles screaming into wedding parties, funerals, homes, not knowing who the victims are, not caring who the victims are, many hundreds of them by now, as long as Washington can claim each time — whether correctly or not — that amongst their number was a prominent infidel, call him Taliban, or al Qaeda, or insurgent, or militant. How can one reason with such people, the ones in the CIA who operate the drone flights? What is the difference between them and a suicide bomber? The suicide bomber becomes one of the victims himself and sees his victims up close before killing them. The CIA murderer bomber sits safely in a room in Nevada or California and pretends he's playing a video game, then goes out to dinner while his victims lay dying. The suicide bomber believes passionately in something called paradise. The murderer bomber believes passionately in something called flag and country.

The State Department's Legal Advisor justifies the Predator bombings as ... yes, "self-defense". 5 Try reasoning with that.

These American drone bombings are of course the height of aggression, the ultimate international crime. They were used over Iraq as well beginning in the 1990s. In December 2002, shortly before the US invasion in March, the Iraqis finally managed to shoot one down. This prompted a spokesman for the US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, to call it another sign of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's "campaign of military aggression." 6

This particular piece of hypocrisy may have actually been outdone by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's comment about the US flights and bombings over Iraq during that period: "It bothers the dickens out of me that US and British pilots are getting fired at day after day after day, with impunity." 7

Send me a stamped self-addressed envelope for a copy of the revised edition of "An arsonist's guide to the homes of Pentagon officials".
When politicians misbehave. By speaking the truth.

The German president, Horst Koehler, resigned last week because he said something government officials are not supposed to say. He said that Germany was fighting in Afghanistan for economic reasons. No reference to democracy. Nothing about freedom. Not a word about Good Guys fighting Bad Guys. The word "terrorism" was not mentioned at all. Neither was "God". On a trip to German troops in Afghanistan he had declared that a country such as Germany, dependent on exports and free trade, must be prepared to use military force. The country, he said, had to act "to protect our interests, for example, free trade routes, or to prevent regional instability which might certainly have a negative effect on our trade, jobs and earnings".

"Koehler has said something openly that has been obvious from the beginning," said the head of Germany's Left Party. "German soldiers are risking life and limb in Afghanistan to defend the export interests of big economic interests." 8

Other opposition politicians had called for Koehler to take back the remarks and accused him of damaging public acceptance of German military missions abroad. 9

As T.S. Eliot famously observed: "Humankind can not bear very much reality."
What is the opposite of being a conspiracy theorist?

David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker magazine and former Washington Post reporter, has a new book out, "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama". In the three pages Remnick devotes to Obama's 1983-4 employment at Business International Corporation in New York he makes no mention of the well-known ties between BIC and the CIA. In 1977, for example, the New York Times revealed that BIC had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries during earlier years of the Cold War; 10BIC also attempted to penetrate the radical left, including Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). 11

Did Remnick not think it at all interesting and worthy of mention that the future president worked for more than a year with a company that was a CIA asset? Even if the company and the CIA made no attempt to recruit Obama, which in fact they may have done? It's this kind of obvious omission that helps feed the left's conspiracy thinking.

Because Remnick has impeccable establishment credentials the book has been widely reviewed. But none of the many reviewers has seen fit to mention this omission. And the way it works of course is that if it's not mentioned, it didn't happen. And if you mention such a thing, you're a pathetic conspiracy theorist. Like me, who discussed it in the January edition of this report. 12
Spam, myself and my readers

As some of you now know, someone hacked into my website and used my address book to send out emails to many of the readers of this report. The emails indicated that they had been sent by me and directed people to a website which sells handbags, shoes and watches. What bothers me the most about this incident is that several of my readers believed that it was actually me who had sent out the emails, that I was peddling handbags, shoes and watches. The only thing I sell are books. But I think these readers have now learned something about spam. And hopefully about me.

Oh, by the way, can I interest any of you in some nice T-shirts, hats, or sunglasses?
Notes
Charlie Rose Live, June 2, 2010 program ?
Associated Press, June 4, 2010 ?
State Department press conference, May 24, 2010 ?
Talk given in Moscow, July 7, 2009, text released by the White House ?
National Public Radio, March 26, 2010 ?
Washington Post, December 24, 2002 ?
Associated Press, September 30, 2002 ?
London Times Online, May 31, 2010 ?
Associated Press, May 31, 2010 ?
New York Times, December 27, 1977, p.40 ?
Carl Oglesby, "Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement" (2008), passim ?
William Blum, The Anti-Empire Report, January 3rd, 2009 ?

–

William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Magda Hassan
06-14-2010, 12:27 PM
From The Australian (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/nobel-peace-prize-winner-david-trimble-to-monitor-israels-gaza-flotilla-inquiry/story-e6frg6so-1225879341427):

ISRAEL has announced that "an independent ? public commission", including two foreign observers, will investigate its naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which nine Turkish activists were killed.

Israel, which had rejected calls for an international probe into the May 31 incident, said retired Israeli supreme court judge Yaakov Tirkel would chair the commission.

In an apparent bid to boost the :hahaha:credibility of the probe, Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble and Ken Watkin, a former judge advocate general of the Canadian armed forces, were named as observers.

“In light of the exceptional circumstances of the incident, it was decided to appoint two foreign experts who will serve as observers,” said a late-night statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But Mr Trimble and Mr Watkin “will not have the right to vote in relation to the proceedings and conclusions of the commission,” the statement added.

And the two could also be denied access to documents or information if it was “almost certain to cause substantial harm to national security or to the state's foreign relations”.

Earlier, Mr Netanyahu told senior members of his right-wing Likud party that the composition and mandate of the commission was being coordinated with the United States.

Government ministers at the Likud meeting said the Israeli leader had spoken by telephone with US President Barack Obama late on Saturday and updated him on the commission.

The US welcomed the announcement as “an important step forward,” but said it expected the investigation to be carried out promptly.

“While Israel should be afforded the time to complete its [whitewash]process, we expect Israel's commission and military [whitewash]investigation will be carried out promptly,” said a statement by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

“We also expect that, upon completion, its findings will be presented publicly and will be presented to the international community.”:sleep:

The UN Security Council had called for an “impartial” investigation into the incident, stopping short of calls by Turkey and other countries for an independent, international investigation.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had said that Israel should accept an international inquiry if it wanted to restore Israeli-Turkish ties

The announcement came as Israel faced mounting pressure to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip in the wake of the botched commando raid on the aid flotilla.

Mr Netanyahu said yesterday he had been looking at how to meet Gaza's humanitarian needs while keeping weapons out of the Hamas-run coastal strip before the latest crisis.

“Before the flotilla set sail for Gaza, we discussed, in various forums, the continuation of our policy toward the Gaza Strip,” Mr Netanyahu said.

He said he had held talks on the issue with Middle East Quartet envoy :hahaha:Tony Blair, who represents the UN, the US, the European Union and Russia.

In a statement, :hahaha:Mr Blair welcomed Mr Netanyahu's latest comments, saying they made a clear distinction between Israel's security concerns and the need to let Gazans live a normal life.

The Israeli statement said the commission would examine Israel's naval blockade of Gaza and its legality under international law and the “actions taken by Israel to enforce the naval blockade in the incident of May 31, 2010 with the rules of international law”.

It would also examine “the actions taken by the organisers of the flotilla and its participants, as well as their identity”. [that's what this is all about, deflect and blame the victim]

Mr Netanyahu planned to seek the approval of his cabinet later today for the proposed commission.Also al Jazeeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/06/201061321535573808.html)

David Trimble (Baron and HM Privy Councillor for services rendered), knows a thing or two about state sponsored assassinations - from the State's perspective naturally - too. Having been at the sharp end of Northern Ireland Unionist (ie British State Establishment) politics throughout the infamous shoot to kill and Security Forces collusion/sponsorship of 'Loyalist' assasinations periods.

As for Ken Watkin. Don't know much about him except that he is a retired Brigadier Genral in the Canadian armed forces.

Actually - all that lends far more credibility to the thing than it warrants - a total bloody whitewash fits the proposal rather better.
Why bother? Why bother with this stupid pretense? No one with 2 neurons will hold their breath waiting for anything remotely resembling the truth to come out of such a charade. Anything that has the support of Bliar can only be bad. And why has that slimey idiot not been put back in his box and shoved to the back of the cupboard. He is such a walking talking embarrassment for brand UK and humanity in general. Where are all these lone assassins? :sleep:

Peter Lemkin
06-14-2010, 06:43 PM
Israel's Gaza blockade breaks law, says ICRC

Written by Free Gaza Team | 14 June 2010

14 Jun 2010 00:03:31 GMT
Source: Reuters
ICRC says for first time blockade breaks international law, Urges Hamas to allow Gilad Shalit contact with family By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA,
June 14 (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip violates the Geneva Conventions and called for its lifting. The neutral humanitarian agency also urged Hamas militants holding Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured nearly four years ago in a cross-border raid, to allow his family to have regular contact with him, in line with international law.
Israel's raid on a Gaza aid flotilla two weeks ago, in which nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed, highlighted acute hardships faced by 1.5 million Gazans due to the closure since 2007, it said. They endure unemployment, poverty and warfare, and health care whose quality is at an "all time low". "The whole of Gaza's civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law," the ICRC said in a five-page statement. It was the first time the ICRC has said explicitly that Israel's blockade constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law embodied in the Geneva Conventions, an ICRC spokeswoman said.
The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population. Israel is entitled to impose restrictions on military material for legitimate security reasons, but the scope of the closure is disproportionate, covering items of basic necessity, according to the ICRC. "We are urging Israel to put an end to this closure and call upon all those who have an influence on the situation, including Hamas, to do their utmost to help Gaza's civilian population," said Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, head of ICRC operations for the Middle East. The ICRC said Hamas had continually rebuffed its requests to allow its officials to visit Shalit in detention. "In violation of international humanitarian law, it has also refused to allow him to get in touch with his family," it said.
Under customary international humanitarian law, captors holding detainees must allow them family contacts, while the Geneva Conventions require that they be treated humanely.
Arab League chief Amr Moussa visited the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the highest Arab official to do so since its seizure by Hamas Islamists in 2007, and called for an end to Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks on Friday with Middle East envoy Tony Blair on the blockade. Netanyahu said on Sunday Israel would continue discussions with the international community to prevent weapons and military equipment from reaching Gaza and to allow in humanitarian aid, an apparent signal it was open to revising blockade procedures. "Under international humanitarian law, Israel must ensure that the basic needs of Gazans, including adequate health care, are met," the ICRC said. The blockade, about to enter its fourth year, was "choking off any real possibility of economic development", it said.
States are obliged to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief supplies, equipment and personnel, according to ICRC which deploys 100 staff in Gaza."The Palestinian authorities ... must do everything within their power to provide proper health care, supply electricity and maintain infrastructure for Gaza's people," it added. Fuel reserves in Gaza, vital for keeping hospital generators running during daily power cuts, keep drying up, it said. Stocks of essential medical supplies were at an all-time low because of a halt in cooperation between authorities in Ramallah, the Fatah-ruled West Bank, and Gaza, the agency said.
"The state of the health care system in Gaza has never been worse," said ICRC health coordinator Eileen Daly. "Health is being politicised: that is the main reason the system is failing." Only 60 percent of Gazan residents are connected to a sewage collection system, according to the ICRC which voiced concern that drinking water in most of Gaza is unfit for consumption. (Editing by Janet Lawrence)...continues... http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/56-news/1227-israels-gaza-blockade-breaks-law-says-icrc-

Ed Jewett
06-14-2010, 08:40 PM
Footage proves indiscriminate Israeli live fire at Mavi Marmara passengers in Gaza Flotilla

Ali Abunimah

June 13, 2010

The one hour long raw footage released by the Cultures of Resistance Foundation (http://www.culturesofresistance.org/gaza-freedom-flotilla) (CoR) of the 31 May Israeli attack aboard the Mavi Marmara shows clear evidence of indiscriminate Israeli fire aboard the ship. Nine people were killed and dozens injured when Israeli forces boarded and seized the vessel, the largest passenger vessel in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea about 80 miles west (http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/mavi-marmara-was-heading-away-from-israelgaza) of the coast of Israel.
Starting at about 43 min 29 sec into the footage we begin to see injured people being carried by other passengers. This continues throughout the rest of the footage -- some of the people have gunshot wounds in the neck, shoulders, stomach, legs, or are so covered in blood it is difficult to tell where they have been hit. At 46 min 58 sec, for example, we see a white-haired man with blood pouring from his legs being carried down a main staircase into a lower deck of the ship to an area where other injured people are being treated:
http://posterous.com/getfile/files.posterous.com/temp-2010-06-13/fFwvGIHgcniHzumdaggvBfrgfHqgIlnlGFxzvzqqioaJHbeAfb ECFGqFhevf/0-46-5819.png.scaled500.pngClick to view large
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The injured man in the picture above appears to be Çetin Topçuoglu (http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/news/2010/06/putting-names-to-faces.html), 54, who coached Turkey's national Taekwondo team, and who subsequently died of his injuries. As he is brought downstairs a woman, who appears from many other published photographs to be his wife Çigdem Topçuoglu, watches:
http://posterous.com/getfile/files.posterous.com/temp-2010-06-13/GtAoCeDGzHFxDDeFmuzCgpEsyszriwfHCDCtttHJwgcxqBiedl nJJjalFyyg/0-47-0918.png.scaled500.pngClick to view large
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There are several other disturbing scenes of severely injured and dead people. Israel claims that its soldiers, who invaded and hijacked the Mavi Marmara and then kidnapped all its passengers and forced them to the Israeli port of Ashdod, fired live ammunition only in self-defense -- when they faced imminent risk of harm. But at least one sequence in the CoR footage disproves this claim.
Starting at about 50 minutes the camera operator walks up the staircase from the area wjere the injured are being treated on blood covered floors. There are many people on the landing and up the next flight of stairs. Some are holding sticks, others cameras. There is blood on the wall:
http://posterous.com/getfile/files.posterous.com/temp-2010-06-13/xHFedcpfAtwxBApypegGsqkuCxFiezldnugszBtnktGyyAlAmh fBFqeulyiu/0-50-3018.png.scaled500.pngClick to view large
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At the top of the stairs one man is standing against the wall trying to peer out of a porthole through the door leading to the outside deck. On the wall is a sign that says "5 Bridge Deck." At about 51 min 5 sec there is the sound of a gunshot and the man dives. There is commotion as people apparently prepare to defend the lower deck area in case of an Israeli invasion. Someone shouts "la ilaha illa allah" (There is no God but God) -- a common exclamation in the face of danger. It is apparent that Israelis are shooting through the porthole. At 50 min 52 sec, the red dot from a laser gunsight comes through the porthole and illuminates the internal wall of the ship:
http://posterous.com/getfile/files.posterous.com/temp-2010-06-13/BwjfBrHjoHkcIrlvhtunxGvdaauCBtydzhDEbdIqgFtlviIGpb AuCueGgczi/0-50-5202.png.scaled500.pngClick to view large
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At about 52 min 25 sec one of the passengers pushes open the door with a pole but recoils as there is a loud popping sound and flash, possibly another gunshot. After this the camera operator pans away and goes back down the stairs to the area where injured people are being treated.
Careful analysis of the frames shows that the Israelis had been using live fire. This can be seen by the damage done to the door jamb in the following stills, the first taken at 50 min 31 sec and the second about a minute later at 51 min 47 sec:
http://posterous.com/getfile/files.posterous.com/temp-2010-06-13/mgpuEgJbDgmnHwcandDvuDaketukhfbBxvIvDhgHugqeiIugrC DHkIAekIhB/0-50-3116.png.scaled500.pngClick to view large
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This single sequence proves that Israeli hijackers fired live ammunition into crowded spaces when they were not threatened from inside the space and could not have had a clear view of whom they might hit. The cameras and recordings that Israel seized and confiscated may contain many other such sequences. No wonder Israel is so adamant about hiding the evidence and rejecting a true independent investigation.
See also:
Video reveals European, American weapons used in Israeli attack on Gaza Flotilla (http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/european-and-american-weapons-used-in-israeli)


:: Article nr. 67006 sent on 14-jun-2010 05:17 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=67006 (http://www.uruknet.info/?p=67006)

Link: aliabunimah.posterous.com/20299014 (http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/20299014)

Jan Klimkowski
06-14-2010, 08:42 PM
Not only is it the stooge Trimble, but he doesn't even get a say in the final report:


But Mr Trimble and Mr Watkin “will not have the right to vote in relation to the proceedings and conclusions of the commission,” the statement added.

As for Watkin, see here:


Lawyer stonewalls questions on Afghan prison torture

The Canadian Press

Date: Thursday Nov. 5, 2009 7:02 AM ET

OTTAWA — A House of Commons committee investigating what the federal government may have known about possible prisoner torture in Afghan jails ran into a brick wall Wednesday, with the military's top lawyer refusing to answer questions.

Brig.-Gen. Ken Watkins, the military judge advocate general, claimed solicitor-client privilege about whether he'd seen warnings from a diplomat in Kandahar and whether he'd received direction from the prime minister's office.

"Obviously the coverup continues," said Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh.

"It is not part of solicitor-client privilege to hide who instructs you or who your client is. If the (Prime Minister's Office or Privy Council Office) instructed these individuals, we ought to know."

Watkins' office was copied on reports written by diplomat Richard Colvin in 2006, which laid out stark warnings about possible torture in Kandahar jails. Senior members of the Conservative cabinet say they never saw the reports.

The judge advocate general has the power to order military police to conduct an investigation if wrongdoing is suspected.

Watkins refused to say whether he -- or anyone else in his office -- saw Colvin's reports.

Colvin was the political officer at the Canadian-run provincial reconstruction base in mid-2006 when Canadian troops began handing over prisoners to Afghan authorities.

New Democrat defence critic Jack Harris said the military's top lawyer had a duty to act, if such startling information was before him.

"He should tell us and he should be able to tell us if he became aware of allegations," Harris said.

Watkins refused to say whether he'd seen published annual reports from the Foreign Affairs Department that detail Afghanistan's abysmal human-rights record. At one point, Watkins wouldn't even acknowledge whether he had read newspaper accounts of torture allegations.

All of it left opposition MPs fuming and Conservative members hinting that the committee's investigation had already turned into an inquisition.

"We've gotten off to a terrible start," said Bloc Quebecois defence critic Claude Bachand.

"I have the greatest respect for the House of Commons," Watkins told exasperated opposition MPs.

But he said his role before the committee was to answer questions about the legal framework governing the transfer of prisoners, not government policy.

While captured Taliban fighters are not considered prisoners under the Geneva conventions, they are accorded the same treatment, said Watkins.

Transferring prisoners, knowing that they face the possibility of torture, violates international law.

The committee also set out a list of witnesses it intends to call.

Gen. Rick Hillier, who retired as chief of defence staff last year, is among the top witnesses.

The committee said it also intends to call retired lieutenant-general Michel Gauthier, who commanded all overseas operations, and Brig.-Gen. David Fraser, the ground commander throughout much of 2006.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay and two former defence ministers -- Gordon O'Connor and Bill Graham -- are also on the witness list.

It's unclear how many of the hearings will be public.

The government has cast a blanket national-security exemption over a lot of information related to the case -- a move that effectively derailed a separate investigation by the Military Police Complaints Commission.

Robert Walsh, the Commons law clerk, cautioned MPs that they have the power to hold the government to account and shouldn't necessarily be trying to investigate the military.

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStoriesV2/20091105/afghan_prisoners_091105/?s_name=&no_ads=

Israel knows well the lesson of the Warren Commission: if you carefully select the inquiry members, then you don't have worry about the outcome.

Of course it's not quite as brazen or transparently crass as Dubya Bush trying to get Kissinger to run the 9/11 official inquiry.

:evil:

Magda Hassan
06-15-2010, 09:50 AM
Mossad photographed Rachel Corrie before it left Dundalk
Mark Hilliard
http://media.tribune.ie/site_media/photologue/photos/2010/Jun/12/cache/Derek_Graham035908_display.jpg
Jenny and Derek Graham

ISRAELI intelligence agents photographed members of the Rachel Corrie aid mission before the ship left dock in Dundalk, the first mate of the vessel has claimed.


In an interview with the Sunday Tribune, Derek Graham maintained that during their time in Israeli custody they saw photographs of several members of the group clearly taken in Ireland.


"They had people in Dundalk taking pictures. I would say it is standard. They would be either Mossad or IDF intelligence," he said.


"There was a picture of Jenny [his wife] and when she saw it she knew it was taken in Dundalk because of the background. That is where we bought the ship and got it ready and got it loaded."


The claims are significant in light of the recent controversy surrounding a suspected Mossad operation in Dubai in which Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated.


Those involved in the murder used fake passports, some of which had authentic Irish serial numbers.


"It wasn't startling because we had an idea that we were being watched," said Graham.


"I have done this [humanitarian aid missions] for three years and I had them outside my house in Cyprus and following us to the shops.


"I don't mind the ones that you can see – they are there for intimidation or just to let you know [you are being watched]. But it's the ones you can't see that I don't like."


Graham believes the Israeli authorities had carried out considerable research on the party before they left for Gaza.


Aside from photographing members of the aid mission, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) was also aware of the original name of the MV Rachel Corrie and refused to address it by its new one.


"They had their research done to know it was called the MV Linda before we renamed it," he said.


Nobody in the Israeli embassy could be reached for comment yesterday.


Labour's spokesman on foreign affairs, Michael D Higgins said that such actions could be seen as a potential diplomatic incident.


"If it was true, and taken in the context of all the other actions that have taken place [involving clandestine Israeli operations], it has to be part of the judgement of Micheál Martin in terms of what is done on the passport issue," he said.


"It would be of the same category of action and impropriety as the use of Irish passports [by Israeli agents]. These are not the actions of countries with friendly diplomatic relations."
http://www.tribune.ie/news/article/2010/jun/13/mossad-photographed-rachel-corrie-before-it-left-d/

Peter Presland
06-16-2010, 11:34 AM
Here's a doozy on that Israeli "Inquiry" from Craig Murray: (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/06/a_tale_of_two_i.html)

A Tale of Two Inquiries: the David Trimble Factor

There is a peculiar symmetry about the Bloody Sunday inquiry into the killing by soldiers of unarmed demonstrators concluding just as the Israeli inquiry into the shooting of unarmed peace activists is set up. But there is another fascinating common factor - David Trimble.
Trimble opposed the Bloody Sunday inquiry from the start. This from the BBC in 1998:
But the Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, dismissed Mr Blair's hope that an inquiry could be part of the healing process in Northern Ireland. "Opening old wounds like this is likely to do more harm than good," Mr Trimble said.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/51740.stm This week Trimble has been reinforcing that opposition to the diminsihing numbers who will listen - his reason? He thinks it is wrong that any soldier should be treid for murdering unarmed people:
David Trimble, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who led Protestants into Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, told The Guardian newspaper he had long opposed the idea of a new Bloody Sunday inquiry because it would be certain to provide fresh ammunition for those seeking to convict or sue the soldiers involved. Trimble was quoted as saying he advised then-
British prime minister Tony Blair not to throw out Widgery's verdict, because "if you moved one millimeter from that conclusion, you were into the area of manslaughter, if not murder."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100611/ap_on_re_eu/eu_nireland_bloody_sunday Why the Israelis would view Trimble as a good international frontman for their whitewash is blindingly obvious. Even more so when you consider that on the very day of the flotilla murders, David Trimble was in Paris chairing the glitzy launch of a new "Interrnational Friends of Israel" group.
It is therefore no surprise at all that it was that indefatigable - and extremely well remunerated - Friend of Israel, Tony Blair, who gave Netanyahu Trimble's name as a safe pair of hands for the cover-up.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/14/eu-gaza-raid-inquiry

Magda Hassan
06-16-2010, 11:57 AM
Some one pass me my smelling salts please!

Austin Kelley
06-16-2010, 03:33 PM
http://www.counterpunch.org/weir06162010.html

June 16, 2010

Another Compromised Reporter

The NYT and the Flotilla Inquiry

By ALISON WEIR

The New York Times, whose regional bureau chief has a son in the Israeli military, reports that Israel has just appointed a panel charged with investigating its attack on an aid flotilla that killed nine aid volunteers, including a 19-year-old American.

Isabel Kershner, who is an Israeli citizen and has refused to answer questions about her possible family ties to the Israeli military, writes the report.

Kershner reports that the White House hailed the announcement of the panel as an “important step forward,” stating that “the structure and terms of reference of Israel’s proposed independent public commission can meet the standard of a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation.”

In her story, Kershner reports that the panel will include eminent Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Lord David Trimble as an observer, but omits the fact that Trimble is a leader of the newly formed pro-Israel organization “Friends of Israel” and is close to Netanyahu associate Dore Gold.

Irish journalist Patrick Roberts writes, “This is a little like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.”

Kershner reports that the other foreign observer is Brig. Gen. Ken Watkins, former judge advocate general of Canadian Forces, but fails to mention that Watkins is known for stonewalling a 2009 House of Commons investigation into Afghan prisoner abuse.

One House of Commons member commented at the time about Watkins’ lack of cooperation with the investigation: "Obviously the cover-up continues."

Kershner informs readers that the panel will be led by a retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice, but fails to mention reports that he does not believe in such a panel and opposed foreign participation.

Kershner reports in the bottom half of her story that Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper calls the proposed panel a “farce,” but does not mention that this is a longstanding pattern for Israeli governmental investigations (and lack thereof) into military human rights abuses. For example:

° From 2001 through 2006 the Israeli State Attorney’s office received more than 500 complaints about abuse of interrogees. There was not a single criminal investigation.

° In 2005 Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem released a report entitled “Israeli military grants impunity when soldiers kill Palestinian civilians,” finding that although Israeli soldiers had killed at least 1,694 Palestinian civilians, including 536 minors, only one soldier had been convicted of “causing the death of a Palestinian.”

° In 2009 eleven Israeli human rights organizations released a joint report in which they called on the Israeli government to “Stop whitewashing suspected crimes in Gaza."

° In 2010 B’Tselem found that the Israeli military’s “cover-up of phosphorous shelling in Gaza proves army cannot investigate itself.” An Amnesty International report concurred in this conclusion, finding that Israel’s investigations into Cast Lead had not met “international standards of independence, impartiality, transparency, promptness and effectiveness.”

In her story Kershner reports Netanyahu’s allegation that the blockade “is necessary to prevent Hamas from smuggling in weapons or materials needed to make them, and to weaken Hamas control.” She goes on to acknowledge that “there is a growing consensus abroad that the blockade has taken a toll mainly on civilians,” but neglects to report the fact that Israeli closures of Gaza preceded the election of Hamas and that the “toll” is massive and calamitous.

She also fails to include any of the vast evidence for such a consensus, for example:

Nearly 99 percent of Gaza's 4,000 fishermen are now considered either poor (making between $100 and $190 a month) or very poor (earning less than $100 a month); there are acute, sometimes lethal shortages of fuel, cash, cooking gas and other basic supplies; 98 percent of industrial operations have been shut down since 2007; and 3,500 families are still displaced from last year’s invasion due to Israel’s blockade on building materials.

Although the Israeli government has failed to investigate itself honestly and thoroughly through the years, a great many respected international human rights organizations from Christian Aid to the Red Cross have done so, documenting a pattern of widespread human rights abuses by the Israeli military.

In 2006 independent researchers Patrick O’Connor and Rachel Roberts found that since fall 2000:

“[T]hree of the leading human rights organizations focusing on Israel/Palestine – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Israeli organization B'Tselem – published 76 reports focused primarily on Israeli abuses of Palestinian rights, and four reports primarily focused on Palestinians abuses of Israeli or Palestinian rights. This weighting suggests that Israel has committed a disproportionate share of the human rights violations.”

During this time, the New York Times published two news stories on reports documenting Israeli human rights abuses and two stories on reports documenting Palestinian human rights abuses.

In other words, in its “even-handed” style, the New York Times covered fifty percent of the reports on human rights abuses committed by Palestinians, while covering under three percent of those detailing human abuses perpetrated by Israelis.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and a board member of the Council for the National Interest. She can be reached at contact@ifamericansknew.org

Keith Millea
06-18-2010, 07:05 PM
How about a hundred boats next time??????? :alberteinstein:

http://www.commondreams.org/further/2010/06/17-2

06.17.10 - 10:39 PM
Irony and Mitzvah: German Jews to Gaza

by Abby Zimet
http://www.commondreams.org/files/images/gaza-children_3column00_nospace_landscape.jpg
A group of German Jews planning to take a boat with humanitarian aid to break the Gaza (http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/gaza090610.html) blockade now says it's looking for a second (http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/german-jews-inundated-with-requests-to-join-new-gaza-aid-flotilla-1.296146) boat because so many European Jews have asked to join them. Jewish Voices for a Just Peace, which includes the offspring of German Jews who fled the Holocaust, want to take children's food, clothes, medicine and school supplies as well as musical instruments, "food for the soul."

"We just see that a Jewish state is occupying Palestine, laying a siege, and depriving children of the things that they need. We as Jews are saying, 'not in our name.'" - Kate Katzenstein-Leiterer, a leader of the new flotilla effort.

Magda Hassan
06-19-2010, 04:45 AM
Organizer of German Jewish flotilla: We aren't betraying Israel

German Jewish Voice organization plans to send an aid ship to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza in July.

By DPA Tags: Israel news (http://www.haaretz.com/meta/Tag/Israel%20news) Jewish world (http://www.haaretz.com/meta/Tag/Jewish%20world) Gaza flotilla (http://www.haaretz.com/meta/Tag/Gaza%20flotilla)
An organization of German Jews that wants to send an aid ship to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza says that its intentions are no betrayal of the Jewish people.
In an interview with the German Press Agency dpa in Berlin, Kate Katzenstein-Leiterer, a leader of the German Jewish Voice organization said instead that they wanted to help preserve the state of Israel by showing that its current policies were wrong.
http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.293376.1276237860%21/image/1733860570.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_295/1733860570.jpg Israel Navy forces approach one of six ships of an aid flotilla bound for Gaza on May 31, 2010.
Photo by: Reuters "We want Israel to behave in a way that it can be recognized as a democratic state. Now it is recognized as a criminal state. That is not what we want," she said.
On May 31 nine people were killed when Israeli naval forces boarded ships in a flotilla carrying aid and activists - some of whom Israel says were armed - bound for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
The event caused international outrage, and has prompted Iran to say it will send its own fleet, threatening more confrontation in the Mediterranean.
"Some see what we are doing as a betrayal. But the question is, what do they really know about the whole thing. Some people don't want to be educated," Katzenstein-Leiterer said.
Jewish Voice plans to fill at least one vessel with educational materials donated by German schoolchildren for Gazan kids, and sail it from a Mediterranean port in mid-July.
"We don't want any confrontation with the Israeli navy. We have informed the (Israeli) ambassador in Berlin, and if they find it necessary to stop and check us, we will let them do that."
"And when they don't find any material that could be a security risk, we want them to let us go into Gaza. We won't unload our cargo in any Israeli or Egyptian port," she says.
Katzenstein-Leiterer grew up in the former East Germany, to where her committed Communist parents returned after fleeing Hitler's regime in World War II.
Her organization is part of the European Jews for a Just Peace movement, a ten-country peace-activist network.
Jewish Voice in Germany says that it has gathered the funds for its aid ship project from personal donations, loans, and a donation from the Left Party, a small political grouping with strong support in the former East.
"Normal people here don't understand very much what is going on in Israel and Palestine," Katzenstein-Leiterer says.
"The German press doesn't show what is going on. People think all Gazans are terrorists, like West Germans used to think that all East Germans were informers for the Stasi (secret police).
Katzenstein-Leiterer says that her group's stance has caused them to be ostracized by the mainstream German-Jewish community, which numbers a little over 100,000.
"Most of the Jews in Germany are immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and they are not on our side. The other members of the community are not on our side either. They say that everything that Israel does is OK, and they close their eyes to what is going on."
A senior activist in the Jewish Voice movement, Rolf Verleger, was reportedly expelled from his position in the Central Council of Jews in Germany because he initiated a petition saying the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon was "not in our name."
However, Katzenstein-Leiterer says that there are now a small group of German Jews who, despite the weight that Germany's history places on the Jewish community, want to speak out against a Israeli blockade policy - brought in after Hamas took control of the sliver of territory in 2007 - that they see as wrong.
"The whole blockade, the whole siege of Gaza is illegal. It is against international law and human rights," she says.
"We want to deliver musical instruments and school material. The children and deprived of every kind of school material; clothes, shoes, candies. We don't see that that is any kind of safety risk."
On Thursday the Israeli cabinet was expected to make a decision on scrapping the so-called "positive" list of items that they allow into Gaza in favor of a more relaxed "negative" list of prohibited items that could be of use to militants.
"We just see that a Jewish state is occupying Palestine, laying a siege, and depriving children of the things that they need. We as Jews are saying, 'not in our name.' We want to show that there are Jews in the world that are on the side of these deprived people," she says.

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/organizer-of-german-jewish-flotilla-we-aren-t-betraying-israel-1.296724

Magda Hassan
06-19-2010, 04:49 AM
Knesset to hold session on Armenian genocide

Despite the diplomatic tensions between Israel and Turkey aroused by last month's botched raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, the Knesset is scheduled to hold a session later this month on the Armenian genocide of 1915, which is attributed to the Ottoman Turks.

http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.296930.1276848258%21/image/778245476.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_295/778245476.jpg Knesset session, May 3, 2010
Photo by: Archive But due to an agreement between the government and the Knesset, the discussion will be held not in the plenum, but in a Knesset committee - most likely the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi said yesterday that if, as expected, the Knesset House Committee selects the panel he heads to host the session, he will probably schedule the hearing for two weeks from now.
On Wednesday, several U.S. congressmen from both parties announced that they were reconsidering their own positions on whether Turkey's treatment of the Armenians during World War I should be labeled genocide. At a press conference, the congressmen expressed concern over Ankara's deepening ties with Iran at the expense of those with its traditional ally Israel.
The Knesset session is the brainchild of Meretz chairman Haim Oron, who first suggested a debate be held on the matter a year ago. Oron said he does not intend to turn the discussion into a "settling of accounts" with Turkey over the flotilla incident, and plans to ensure that other lawmakers conduct themselves in a similar vein.
"I think this issue is deeply significant, and that's why I don't want it to turn into a denigration of our ties with Turkey at the hands of those who previously didn't even want to hold this debate," Oron said.
In an address to the Knesset plenum a month ago, Oron used unusually harsh language to denounce Turkey's wartime conduct toward the Armenians. But he took pains to qualify his remarks, lest he be accused of making a false historical analogy.
"We must not be part of this denial, because we, the Jewish people, are hurt by this kind of thinking all the time," he said. "I want to say this completely clearly: I am not making an analogy between the Holocaust of the Jewish people and the massacre of the Armenian nation, as tragic as the latter was. As a Jew, I can of course say that the Holocaust was unique. And that's why I don't use the same term in reference to the Armenians."

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/knesset-to-hold-session-on-armenian-genocide-1.296894

Magda Hassan
07-05-2010, 02:35 PM
Turkey has for the first time threatened to break diplomatic ties with Israel over its raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May.
Turkey's foreign minister said a break could only be averted if Israel either apologised or accepted the outcome of an international inquiry into the raid.
The Israeli government said it had nothing to apologise for.
Ankara curtailed diplomatic relations with Israel after the naval raid, in which nine Turks were killed.
Turkey - which until recently was Israel's most important Muslim ally - withdrew its ambassador and demanded that the Israelis issue an apology, agree to a United Nations inquiry and compensate the victims' families.
Analysis

Continue reading the main story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10505386.stm#skip_feature_02) http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/48227000/jpg/_48227743_006528552-1.jpg Jonathan Head,
BBC News, Istanbul
Emotions are still raw enough over this incident for both sides, Turkish and Israeli, to maintain the hardest possible line, even if behind the scenes they say they want to salvage the relationship.
Although Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made a hardline statement, it doesn't look like a fundamental change in position: Turkey is still adamant Israel acted illegally and the flotilla was in international waters.
Turkey's demands for an apology, compensation and an international inquiry have been unflinching. But Mr Davutoglu did say Turkey would be satisfied if the Israeli inquiry resulted in Israel being found at fault and if the Israeli government apologised. That seems unlikely.
Behind the scenes, the Obama administration is pushing these key US allies to fix their ties. But there is no realistic way of them mending relations for some time yet.

A Turkish foreign ministry official told the BBC relations with Israel had hit rock bottom, but Ankara would not rush into cutting ties.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey would be satisfied with the ongoing Israeli inquiry if that found Israel to be at fault.
Mr Davutoglu told Hurriyet newspaper: "[The Israelis] will either apologise or acknowledge an international, impartial inquiry and its conclusion. Otherwise, our diplomatic ties will be cut off."
He also said there was now a blanket ban in place on all Israeli military aircraft using Turkish airspace, not just on a case-by-case basis.
The BBC's Jonathan Head in Istanbul says that Turkey appears to be hardening its stance towards Israel, just five days after a surprise meeting between Mr Davutoglu and Israeli Trade Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer in Switzerland.
Reacting to the new Turkish stance, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: "We don't have any intention to apologise."
Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP news agency: "When you want want an apology, you don't use threats or ultimatums."
Israel says its commandos acted in self-defence after being attacked by activists wielding clubs and knives as the troops boarded one of the aid convoy ships.

Israeli spokesman Mark Regev: "I don't want to get into a public shouting match"

Activists on board the Mavi Marmara say lethal force was used from the start of the raid by Israeli forces.
The vessel was part of a flotilla trying to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Amid mounting international pressure following the raid, Israel last month announced it would ease its four-year blockade of the territory.
Blockade blacklist On Monday, Israel published a revamped blacklist of items barred from entry into the Gaza Strip.
Long-standing restrictions on allowing consumer goods into Gaza have been dropped, but Israel is retaining tight limits on badly needed construction materials.
The Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, has dismissed the concessions, saying they are of no use to the Palestinians living there.
TURKEY-ISRAEL FALL-OUT

Continue reading the main story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10505386.stm#skip_feature_02)

Ankara recognises Israel in 1949
Strong traditional military and trade ties
Tense relations since Israel's Gaza offensive in late 2008
January 2009: Turkish PM storms out of Davos forum after clash with Israeli president
May 2010: Gaza raid sparks recall of Turkish envoy in Israel
June 2010: Military flight bans considered on case-by-case basis
July 2010: Turkey threatens to break off diplomatic ties

Has Israel lost lone Muslim ally? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8714983.stm)
Israel says its blockade is needed to prevent the supply of weapons to Hamas.
Turkey and Israel forged strong military and trade ties following Ankara's recognition of Israel in 1949.
But relations have cooled in recent years. The Turkish government headed by the AK Party - which has Islamist roots - strongly criticised the raid launched by Israel in Gaza in December 2008.
In January 2009, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, after a clash with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
In January this year, Israel was forced to apologise over the way its deputy foreign minister treated the Turkish ambassador.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10505386.stm

Jan Klimkowski
07-05-2010, 06:16 PM
Reacting to the new Turkish stance, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: "We don't have any intention to apologise."

Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP news agency: "When you want an apology, you don't use threats or ultimatums."

Israeli spokesman Mark Regev: "I don't want to get into a public shouting match".

The chutzpah of the Three Stooges... :viking:

Myra Bronstein
07-06-2010, 03:42 AM
Turkey has for the first time threatened to break diplomatic ties with Israel over its raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May.
...

In response to this I assume:

http://www.aljazeerah.info/News/2010/July/3%20n/Netanyahu%20Will%20Neither%20Apologize%20to%20Turk ey%20Nor%20Pay%20Compensations%20for%20Victims%20o f%20the%20Israeli%20Massacre%20of%20Freedom%20Flot illa%20Raid.htm
Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding

News, July 2010

Netanyahu Will Neither Apologize to Turkey Nor Pay Compensations for Victims of the Israeli Massacre of Freedom Flotilla Raid

Saturday July 03, 2010 01:20 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Israeli occupation government prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, held Turkey fully responsible for Israel’s attack against the Turkish ships trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza, and stated that Israel will not apologize to the attack, and will not pay compensations to the victims and their families.
...

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-07-02/israel-won-t-apologize-to-turkey-for-ship-raid-netanyahu-says.html
Israel Won’t Apologize to Turkey for Ship Raid, Netanyahu Says
July 02, 2010, 2:37 PM EDT

By Calev Ben-David

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Israel won’t apologize to Turkey for its May 31 raid on an aid flotilla heading for the Gaza Strip in which nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late today in an interview with Israel’s Channel One.

“Israel cannot apologize because Israel’s soldiers tried to defend themselves” against the being “massacred,” Netanyahu said.
...

[Now look at this contrasting headline from the Jerusalem Post. Emphasis mine.]

http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=180231
Report: Israel to apologize to Turkey
By JPOST.COM STAFF
07/02/2010 08:50

Ben-Eliezer denies agreeing to compensate for flotilla injuries.

Israel is prepared to apologize to Turkey for the flotilla incident and to compensate the families of the injured parties, Turkish newspaper Huriyyet reported on Friday. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer's office has denied the reports.
...

Magda Hassan
07-06-2010, 04:09 AM
They say one thing for the cameras and another for the diplomats. Forked tongues.

Ed Jewett
07-09-2010, 08:40 PM
For those unfamiliar with the term, "hasbara" is a Hebrew word that literally means "explanation" or "advocacy through explication." It is commonly used to mean "propaganda on behalf of Israel." It is well known that Israel's efforts to explain its Gaza policies and its attack on the multinational humanitarian flotilla bringing aid to it have close to zero credibility abroad. It turns out that, despite an all-out effort at hasbara by the Israeli government, they don't have all that much credibility here either.
Hasbarapocalypse — Leaked Frank Luntz memo: Israeli public diplomacy in US on Flotilla failed dismally
July 5, 2010

Didi Remez - http://coteret.com/2010/07/05/hasbarapocal...ally/#more-2552 (http://coteret.com/2010/07/05/hasbarapocalypse-leaked-frank-luntz-memo-israeli-public-diplomacy-in-us-on-flotilla-failed-dismally/#more-2552)

The Israel Project (TIP), an American Hasbara outfit, commissioned Republican political consultant Frank Luntz to examine the effectiveness of Israel’s public diplomacy in the US on the Flotilla debacle. TIP gave the memo to the Prime Minister’s Office, where someone promptly leaked it to Chico Menashe, Channel Ten TV News diplomatic affairs correspondent.

Luntz’s findings are grim. Here’s a summary:

1. 56% of Americans agree with the claim that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza;
2. 43% of Americans agree with the claim that people in Gaza are starving;
3. [Only] 34% of Americans support the Israeli operation against the Flotilla;
4. [Only] 20% of Americans “felt support” for Israel following announcement of easing of Gaza closure.

Menashe wraps:

The figures are troubling and worrisome. If that is the situation with our great friend the US, it is easy to imagine the situation in other, somewhat less sympathetic countries.

Below is the full translated transcript of the report.

Frank Luntz analyses Netanyahu’s media performance in the flotilla affair

Channel Ten TV News, July 1 2010 20:38

Yaacov Eilon (host): Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considered to make an extremely persuasive presentation in the world press. But a professional analysis by a US expert presented yesterday to his senior aides strongly criticizes him. Netanyahu’s messages on the flotilla caused more harm than good. Our political correspondent Chico Menashe has obtained the report.

Chico Menashe: Criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s current PR messages and Israeli PR in general comes from the international elite of media consultants and pollsters and from the mouth of Frank Luntz, considered one of the leading American political consultants, a Republican pollster, a consultant to many governments throughout the world and to dozens of the biggest corporations in the US. He was asked by the Jewish organization The Israel Project to check the opinions of the American public on the messages Israel issued to the world during and after the flotilla events. The result is a harsh document that primarily criticizes the media strategy of the person considered Israel’s number one propagandist in the world, Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Netanyahu: Once again Israel faces hypocrisy and a biased rush to judgment.

Chico Menashe: Every time Israeli speakers begin with accusing the international community, writes Luntz, they lose their audience [emphasis mine]. For example, Netanyahu’s comments after the flotilla about the world hypocrisy were rejected by most of the American participants who listened to them. The findings were presented last night to senior members of Netanyahu’s Bureau. Luntz checked the opinions with focus groups, not a poll. He warns of a dangerous slide in the public opinion of the only country considered pro-Israeli, the U.S. Israel misses simple opportunities to change world public opinion, he writes, and the consequences are significant. The American public increasingly hesitates to accept arguments that support Israeli positions.

Ehud Barak: There is no hunger in Gaza and no humanitarian crisis.

Netanyahu: There’s no shortage of food, there’s no shortage of medicine, there’s no shortage of other goods.

Chico Menashe: Luntz says Israel must immediately stop using the argument that there is no hunger and no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. He says this fatally destroys Israel’s credibility in light of the images on the television screens. Israel must admit that there is a problem, he says, to gain the listeners’ sympathy [emphasis mine]. Luntz finds the troubling figure that 56% of participants agree with the claim that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and no less astonishing is that 43% of participants from the American public agree with the claim that people in Gaza are starving. But even lifting the closure that was supposed to improve Israel’s image missed the opportunity, according to Luntz.

Netanyahu: Yesterday an important decision was made by the security cabinet. Its meaning is clear. On the one hand, allowing civilian goods into Gaza, and on the other hand maintaining the military blockade of Hamas.

Chico Menashe: The statement by Netanyahu’s bureau of lifting the closure missed the opportunity to gain support in international public opinion [emphasis mine]. Only 20% of the Americans polled felt support of Israel following the statement. According to Luntz, this is the summary of the flotilla damage in American public opinion: Only 34% of the American public support the Israeli operation against the flotilla, and he says that is a dangerously low percentage.

The figures are troubling and worrisome. If that is the situation with our great friend the US, it is easy to imagine the situation in other, somewhat less sympathetic countries.

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=121420&view=findpost&p=1132439

Ed Jewett
07-11-2010, 04:21 AM
The Siege against Gaza: America's Ongoing Support of Israeli Military and Intelligence Operations

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky


Global Research (http://www.globalresearch.ca/), July 10, 2010
Perdana Global Peace Organization (http://www.perdana4peace.org/)


Perdana Global Peace Organization

International Conference on Gaza: Breaking the Siege

In the Spirit of Rachel Corrie and Mavi Marmara

11, July 2010, Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

We are dealing with a carefully planned military operation.
The Israeli Navy Commando which attacked the Marvi Marmara on May 31st had prior knowledge of who was on the Turkish ship including where passengers were residing in terms of cabin layout. According to Swedish author Henning Mankell, who was on board the Marmara , "the Israeli forces attacked sleeping civilians."
These were targeted assassinations. Specific individuals were targeted. Journalists were targeted with a view to confiscating their audio and video recording equipment and tapes.
"We were witnesses to premeditated murders," said historian Mattias Gardell who was on the Mavi Marmara.
"...Asked about why activists on the Turkish ship had attacked the Israeli soldiers, Gardell stressed "it is not as if Israel is a police officer whom no human being has the legitimate right to defend him or herself against":
"If you are attacked by commando troops you of course must have the right to defend yourself ... Many people on this ship thought they were going to kill everyone. They were very frightened ... It's strange if people think one should not defend oneself. Should you just sit there and say: 'Kill me'?" he said." (See Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Detailed Compiled Eyewitness Accounts Confirm Cold-Blooded Murder and Executions by Israeli Military (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19519), Global Research, June 1, 2010)
“They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,” (quoted by Press TV (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=129190&sectionid=351020202))
(http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=129190&sectionid=351020202)

The Israeli Commando had an explicit order to kill.
What was the role of the United States?
The raids on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, bear the mark of previous Israeli operations directed against unarmed civilians. It is a well established modus operandi of Israeli military-intelligence operations, which is tacitly supported by the US administration.
The killing of civilians is intended to trigger a response by Palestinian resistance forces, which in turn justifies Israeli retaliation (on "humanitarian" grounds) as well as a process of military escalation. The logic of this process contained in Ariel Sharon`s "Operation Justified Vengeance" (also referred to as the "Dagan Plan" named after Sharon's National Security advisor) was initiated at the outset the Sharon government in 2001. This Operation was intent upon destroying the Palestinian Authority and transforming Gaza into an urban prison. (See Michel Chossudovsky, "Operation Justified Vengeance": Israeli Strike on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is Part of a Broader Military Agenda (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19447), Global Research, June 1, 2010).
"Operation Cast Lead" resulting in the December 2008 invasion of Gaza should be understood as part of the logic of "Operation Justified Vengeance". In turn, the Israeli attack on the Flotilla must be viewed as a continuation of "Operation Cast Lead" which seeks to enforce the Siege on Gaza.
The attack on the Flotilla bears the fingerprints of a military intelligence operation coordinated by the IDF and Mossad, which is now headed by one of the main architects of "Operation Justified Vengeance", Meir Dagan. It is worth recalling that as a young Coronel, Dagan worked closely with then defense minister Ariel Sharon in the raids on the Palestinian settlements of Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut in 1982.
The Role of the United States
There are indications that the US was consulted at the highest levels regarding the nature of the military operation directed against the flotilla. Moreover, in the wake of the attacks, both the US and the UK unequivocally reaffirmed their support to Israel.
There are longstanding and ongoing military and intelligence relations between the US and Israel including close working ties between various agencies of government: Pentagon, National Intelligence Council, State Department, Homeland Security and their respective Israeli counterparts.

These various agencies of government are involved in routine liaison and consultations, usually directly as well as through the US Embassy in Israel, involving frequent shuttles of officials between Washington and Tel Aviv as well as exchange of personnel. Moreover, the US as well as Canada have public security cooperation agreements with Israel pertaining to the policing of international borders, including maritime borders. (See Israel-USA Homeland Security Cooperation (http://www.mops.gov.il/BPEng/OnTheAgenda/Israel-USAcollaboration), See also Michel Chossudovsky, The Canada-Israel "Public Security" Agreement (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8530), Global Research, 2 April 2008)
Several high level US-Israel meetings were held in the months prior to the May 31st attacks.
Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's White House chief of Staff was in Tel Aviv a week prior to the attacks. Confirmed by press reports, he had meetings behind closed doors with Prime Minister Netanyahu (May 26) as well as a private visit with President Shimon Peres on May 27.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/rahmnet1.jpg
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/rahmnet2.jpg


http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/rahmnet3.jpg
May 26 meeting between Rahm Emmanuel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Official statements do not indicate whether other officials including cabinet ministers or IDF and Mossad officials were present at the Rahm Emmanuel-Netanyahu meeting. The Israeli press confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel had a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whose Ministry was responsible for overseeing the Commando attack on the Flotilla. (Rahm Emanuel visits Israel to celebrate son's bar mitzvah - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News (http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/rahm-emanuel-visits-israel-to-celebrate-son-s-bar-mitzvah-1.291756), 23 May 2010). The White House also confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel was to meet other high-ranking Israeli officials, without providing further details. (Rahm Emanuel in Israel for Son's Bar Mitzvah, May Meet With Officials (http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/05/24/rahm-emanuel-in-israel-for-sons-bar-mitzvah-may-meet-with-offi))
"Our Man in the White House"
While born in the US, Rahm Emmanuel also holds Israeli citizenship and has served in the Israeli military during the First Gulf War (1991).
Rahm is also known for his connections to the pro-Israeli lobby in the US. The Israeli newspaper Maariv calls him "Our Man in the White House" (quoted in Irish Times, March 13, 2010). Rahm Emmanuel gave his support to Obama in the November 2008 presidential elections following Obama`s address to the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC.
At the time of Rahm Emmanuel's confirmation as White House chief of staff, there were reports in the Middle East media of Rahm Emanuel's connections to Israeli intelligence.
The exact nature of Rahm Emmanuel's ties to the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus, however, is not the main issue. What we are dealing with is a broad process of bilateral coordination and decision-making between the two governments in the areas of foreign policy, intelligence and military planning, which has been ongoing for more than 50 years. In this regard, Israel, although exercising a certain degree of autonomy in military and strategic decisions, will not act unilaterally, without receiving the "green light" from Washington. Rahm Emmanuel`s meetings with the prime minister and Israeli officials are part of this ongoing process.
Rahm Emmanuel's meetings in Tel Aviv on May 26 were a routine follow-up to visits to Washington by Prime Minister Netanyahu in March and by Minister of Defense Ehud Barak in late April. In these various bilateral US-Israel encounters at the White House, the state Department and the Pentagon, Rahm Emmanuel invariably plays a key role.
While the pro-Israeli lobby in the US influences party politics in America, Washington also influences the direction of Israeli politics. There have been reports to the effect that Rahm Emmanuel would "lead a team of high octane Democratic party pro-Israel political operatives to run the campaign for the Defense Minister Ehud Barak" against Netanyahu in the next Israeli election. (Ira Glunts, Could Rahm Emanuel Help Barak Unseat Netanyahu? (http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15732) Palestine Chronicle, June 2, 2010)
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barack in Washington
The April 27 meeting between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Defense Minister Ehud Barak pertained to "a range of important defense issues" directly or indirectly related to the status of the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation:
"As President Obama has affirmed, the United States commitment to Israel's security is unshakable, and our defense relationship is stronger than ever, to the mutual benefit of both nations. The United States and our ally Israel share many of the same security challenges, from combating terrorism to confronting the threat posed by Iran's nuclear-weapons program.
For years, the United States and Israel have worked together to prepare our armed forces to meet these and other challenges, a recent major example being the Juniper Cobra joint exercise held last October. Our work together on missile-defense technology is ongoing, and the United States will continue to ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge." (Press Conference with Secretary Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Barak, April 2010 - Council on Foreign Relations (http://www.cfr.org/publication/22004/press_conference_with_secretary_gates_and_israeli_ defense_minister_barak_april_2010.html) April 27, 2010)
These consultations pertained to ongoing military preparations regarding Iran. Both Israel and the US have recently announced that a pre-emptive attack against Iran has been contemplated.
Washington views Israel as being "'integrated into America’s military architecture,' especially in the missile defense sphere." (quoted in Emanuel to rabbis: US 'screwed up' (http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=175654) Jerusalem Post, statement of Dennis Ross, who is in charge of the US administration’s Iran policy in the White House, May 16, 2010).
Targeting Iran
The attack on the Freedom Flotilla, might appear as a separate and distinct humanitarian issue, unrelated to US-Israeli war plans. But from the standpoint of both Tel Aviv and Washington, it was part of the broader military agenda. It was intended to create conditions favoring an atmosphere of confrontation and escalation in the Middle East war theater;
"All the signs are that Israel has been stepping up its provocations to engineer a casus belli for a war against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Tel Aviv sees as unfinished business its inconclusive wars: the first in Lebanon in 2006, and the second in Gaza in 2008-09." (Jean Shaoul Washington Comes to the Aid of Israel over Gaza Convoy Massacre (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19509), Global Research, June 4, 2010)
Following Israel's illegal assault in international waters, Netanyahu stated emphatically "Israel will continue to exercise its right to self defence. We will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza," suggesting that the Gaza blockade was part of the pre-emptive war agenda directed against Iran, Syria and Lebanon. (Israeli forces board Gaza aid ship the Rachel Corrie - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7805732/Israeli-forces-board-Gaza-aid-ship-the-Rachel-Corrie.html), June 5, 2010, emphasis added) .
Moreover, the raid on the Flotilla coincided with NATO-Israel war games directed against Iran. According to the Sunday Times, "three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline." (Israel Deploys Three Nuclear Cruise Missile-Armed Subs Along Iranian Coastline).
While Israeli naval deployments were underway in the Persian Gulf, Israel was also involved in war games in the Mediterranean. The war game codenamed "MINOAS 2010" was carried out at a Greek air base in Souda Bay, on the island of Crete. Earlier in February, The Israeli air force "practiced simulated strikes at Iran's nuclear facilities using airspace of two Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, which are close territorially with the Islamic republic and cooperate with Israel on this issue." Ria Novosti,War Games: Israel gets ready to Strike at Iran's Nuclear Sites (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18380),, March 29, 2010)

Also, in the wake of the final resolution of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation directed against Israel's nuclear weapons program, the White House has reaffirmed its endorsement of Israel's nuclear weapons capabilities. Washington's statement issued one day before the raid on the flotilla points to unbending US support to "Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities", which also include the launching of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran:
"a senior political source in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel received guarantees from U.S. President Barack Obama that the U.S. would maintain and improve Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities.
According to the source, "Obama gave [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu unequivocal guarantees that include a substantial upgrade in Israel-U.S. relations."
Obama promised that no decision taken during the recent 189-nation conference to review and strengthen the 40-year-old Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty "would be allowed to harm Israel's vital interests," the sources said. Obama promised to bolster Israel's strategic capabilities, Jerusalem officials say - Haaretz Daily Newspaper) (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/obama-promised-to-bolster-israel-s-strategic-capabilities-jerusalem-officials-say-1.293086)
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/GatesBarak.jpg

Robert Gates and Israel's Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Press Conference, April 27, 2010
The Turkey-Israel Relationship in Jeopardy?
The actions of Israel against the Freedom Flotilla have important ramifications. Israel's criminal actions in international waters have contributed to weakening the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.
The bilateral Israel-Turkey alliance in military, intelligence, joint military production is potentially in jeopardy. Ankara has already announced that three planned military exercises with Israel have been cancelled. "The government announced it was considering reducing its relations with Israel to a minimum."
It should be understood that Israel and Turkey are partners and major actors in the US-NATO planned aerial attacks on Iran, which have been in the pipeline since mid-2005. The rift between Turkey and Israel has a direct bearing on NATO as a military alliance. Turkey is one of the more powerful NATO member states with regard to its conventional forces. The rift with Israel breaks a consensus within the Atlantic Alliance. It also undermines ongoing US-NATO-Israel pre-emptive war plans directed against Iran, which until recently were endorsed by the Turkish military.
From the outset in 1992, the Israeli-Turkish military alliance was directed against Syria, as well as Iran and Iraq. (For details see See Michel Chossudovsky, "Triple Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=2906), Global Research, 2006)
In 1997, Israel and Turkey launched "A Strategic Dialogue" involving a bi-annual process of high level military consultations by the respective deputy chiefs of staff. (Milliyet, Istanbul, in Turkish 14 July 2006).
During the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This "triple alliance", which in practice is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara.
Starting in 2005, Israel has become a de facto member of NATO. The triple alliance was coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which included "many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to "enhance Israel's deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria." ("Triple Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=2906)).
The Issue of Territorial Waters: Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields
Israel's blockade of Gaza is in large part motivated by the broader issue of control of Gaza's territorial waters, which contain significant reserves of natural gas.
What is at stake is the confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral de facto declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza's maritime areas. If the blockade were to be broken, Israel's de facto control over Gaza's offshore gas reserves would be jeopardy. (See Michel Chossudovsky,War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11680), Global Research, January 8, 2009. See also Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=2824)Global Research, July 23, 2006)
British Gas (BG Group) (http://www.bg-group.com/OurBusiness/WhereWeOperate/Pages/pgIsraelandAreasofPalestinianAuthority.aspx) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (http://www.ccc.gr/) (CCC) owned by Lebanon's Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.
The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).
The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.
The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine's gas reserves could be much larger.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/gazagasmap.jpg
Map 1

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/gazagasmap2.gif
Map 2
Who Owns the Gas Fields
The issue of sovereignty over Gaza's gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.
The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza's offshore gas reserves.
British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.
The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine's sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that "Israel would never buy gas from Palestine" intimating that Gaza's offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.
In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza's offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)
The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.
In 2006, British Gas "was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt." (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.
The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority." The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.
Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:
"Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government." (Ibid, emphasis added)
The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.
Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza's offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.
The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:
"Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror". (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on "The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas," March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza's Coastal Waters Threaten Israel's National Security? (http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=283&PID=1845&IID=1896) Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)
Israel's intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website (http://www.bg-group.com/OurBusiness/WhereWeOperate/Pages/pgIsraelandAreasofPalestinianAuthority.aspx)).
December 2008 Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board
The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under "Operation Cast Lead" was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:
"Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas."(Barak Ravid, Operation "Cast Lead": Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11521) Haaretz, December 27, 2008)
That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza's natural gas:
"Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel's wish to renew the talks.
The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel's request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials." (Globes online- Israel's Business Arena, June 23, 2008)
The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.
Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board. In all likelihood, a new "post war" political-territorial arrangement for the Gaza strip was also being contemplated by the Israeli government.
In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.
In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG's offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008)
"Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government's decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.
The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender." (Globes Nov. 13, 2008)
Gaza and Energy Geopolitics
The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.
If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel's offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).
These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel's energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport - pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. "What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline." (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=2824)Global Research, July 23, 2006)

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/LevantineEnergyCorridor.gif
Map 3
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/gazagasmap2.gif

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articlePictures/gazagasmap.jpg

Related Articles:
War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11680)
The Lone Ship of the Freedom Flotilla: The Rachel Corrie MV Continues to Sail Towards Gaza in Defiance of Israeli Threats (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19481)
The Invasion of Gaza: "Operation Cast Lead", Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Intelligence Agenda (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11606)
Global Research Dossier: The Israeli Attack on the Freedom Flotilla (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=newsHighlights&newsId=48)
Compendium of 50+ Articles

Magda Hassan
08-07-2010, 10:23 PM
Uribe's appointment to flotilla probe guarantees its failure
José Antonio Gutiérrez and David Landy, The Electronic Intifada, 6 August 2010

http://electronicintifada.net/artman2/uploads/2/100806-alvaro-uribe.jpg Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez has been criticized for his abuses of human rights defenders. (Center for American Progress)
At the beginning of this month the Israeli government announced it would cooperate with one out of two international UN-sponsored investigation commissions into the 31 May Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre, a move which UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon claimed was "unprecedented." However, the details of this commission and who will take part in it -- particularly the notorious outgoing president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe Vélez -- cast doubt over its impartiality.

The commission is composed of four persons, one chosen by Turkey, one chosen by Israel and two chosen from a list provided by Israel. The latter two are former Prime Minister of New Zealand Geoffrey Palmer, who will be the chair, and Uribe, who will serve as vice-chair. While Palmer, an expert in international law, is an uncontroversial choice, the appointment of Uribe is as perplexing as it is shocking. It appears that "balance" in this commission involves balance between someone versed in international and human rights law and someone who is adamantly opposed to it. This notion of balance fatally weakens this commission even before it has started, and tarnishes the process of international law.

Uribe is a controversial president whose regime has engaged in severe human rights abuses; illegal surveillance and harassment of human rights defenders by the intelligence service (DAS); international law violations (such as the bombing of Ecuadorian territory); corruption; crimes against humanity and excesses by the army in their US-sponsored counterinsurgency warfare.

Uribe's scorn for human right defenders is notorious. According to Human Rights First, "President Uribe and other administration officials have branded [human rights defenders] as terrorist sympathizers and have insinuated that illicit connections exist between human rights NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] and illegal armed groups. Irresponsible comments by government officials in Colombia put the lives of human rights defenders at even greater risk and threaten to undermine the value and credibility of their work" ("Human Rights Defencers in Colombia (http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/defenders/hrd_colombia/hrd_colombia.aspx?c=c1)").

In September 2009 Colombia was visited by Margaret Sekaggya, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders from the UN Human Rights Commission. Sekaggya found that constant problems faced by human rights defenders in Colombia include "Stigmatization [of human rights defenders] by public officials and non-State actors; their illegal surveillance by State intelligence services; their arbitrary arrest and detention, and their judicial harassment; and raids of nongovernmental organizations' (NGOs) premises and theft of information" ("Report of the Special Rapporteur ... (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/docs/A.HRC.13.22.Add.3_en.pdf)," 4 March 2010, pp. 13-18 [PDF]).

Public officials in Colombia constantly attack human rights defenders and members of the political and social opposition as aides of "terrorists," that is, left-wing guerrillas.

Uribe has led these attacks, calling human rights defenders "rent-a-mobs at terrorism's service who cowardly wave the human rights flag," "human rights traffickers," "charlatans of human rights," "bandits' colleagues," "intellectual front of the FARC [the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia]" and he has stated that "Every time terrorists and their supporters feel they will be defeated, they resort to denouncing human rights violations."

Uribe has referred in particularly harsh terms both to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch: "Amnesty International do not condemn international humanitarian law violations by the guerrillas and they give legitimacy to terrorism [...] they go around European bureaus like library rats, gossiping in low voices, undermining Colombian institutions." He said of the director of the Americas division of Human Rights Watch, José Miguel Vivanco: "Before Vivanco, a FARC defender [and] accomplice, came here to criticize our policy of democratic security, we were making serious efforts to put our country on its feet -- I don't have anything to learn from Mr. Vivanco when it comes to human rights" ("Defensores de derechos humanos: bajo el estigma del presidente Uribe (http://www.ipc.org.co/agenciadeprensa/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=337:defensores-de-derechos-humanos-bajo-el-estigma-del-presidente-uribe&catid=42:general&Itemid=159)," Agencia de prensa (IPC), 23 October 2009).

This is just a brief overview of Uribe's systematic attacks on human right defenders. In June 2010 an international human rights mission investigated the biggest mass grave in the western hemisphere -- containing some 2,000 execution victims who had been dumped there since 2004 -- which had just been discovered in the Colombian town of La Macarena. At the same time Uribe travelled to that very locality but not to pay his condolences to the victims' families, or guarantee that an investigation would determine what happened there. Instead, he went to visit the local military base -- exactly the same people that, according to victims' reports, filled that mass grave with its grisly contents -- to praise them for their work.

Uribe said on that occasion: "I want the country to know that now terrorists want to damn our partial victory by combining their means of struggle. Now the terrorists' spokespeople are talking of peace to have a break in order to recover, before we achieve our final victory. Terrorism combines means of struggle, so some of their spokespersons talk of peace; others come here to La Macarena to look for ways to discredit the Armed Forces and to implicate it in human rights violations. We will not fall into that trap, stay firm!" ("Voceros del terrorismo estan proponiendo la paz para poderse recuperar: Uribe (http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/paz/articulo-215260-voceros-del-terrorismo-estan-proponiendo-paz-poderse-recuperar-uribe)," [I]El Espectador, 25 June 2010).

It is hard to believe that, in spite of Uribe's appalling human rights record, he has been chosen to be part of a UN human rights commission. Going beyond Uribe himself, any representative of the Colombian state must be suspect when it comes to investigating human rights violations as official and "unofficial" state-sanctioned human rights abusers act with impunity; 98 percent of such cases remain unprosecuted ("Baseless Prosecutions of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia (http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/defenders/reports/report.aspx?s=eng&p=index)," February 2009).

It also strains credibility to believe that Colombia, the biggest recipient of US military "aid" after Israel and Egypt, a country that has agreed to host seven new US military bases on its territory last year, can be impartial in relation to Israel. Both the Israeli and Colombian governments share an ideological approach to their opponents, based on a belief that respecting human rights is a non-issue when it comes to pursuing their military goals against rebel groups. Unsurprisingly, there is also large-scale military cooperation between the two rogue states.

In recent years, according to news reports, Israel has become Colombia's number one weapon supplier, with arms worth tens of millions of dollars, "including Kfir aircraft, drones, weapons and intelligence systems" being used against opponents of the Colombian regime ("Report: Israelis fighting guerillas in Colombia (http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3435949,00.html)," Ynet, 10 August 2007). According to a senior Israeli defense official, "Israel's methods of fighting terror have been duplicated in Colombia" ("Colombia's FM: We share your resilience (http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=174358)," 30 April 2010).

There is a reason that Latin Americans often refer to Colombia as the "Israel of Latin America," and indeed why Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos, ex-Minister of Defence and right hand of Uribe, expressed his pride at such a comparison ("Santos, orgulloso de que a Colombia lo comparen con Israel (http://www.elespectador.com/video-207170-santos-orgulloso-de-colombia-comparen-israel)," El Espectador, 6 June 2010).

The Colombian government's bias in Israel's favor was made clear during an April 2010 visit of Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez to Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported Bermudez's "desire to strengthen Colombia's military relationship with Israel" and of the "need to do more in terms of the fight against terrorism." He confidently predicted that "whoever wins [Colombia's] presidential election next month will be supportive of . I admire your people. I admire your country and I admire you. You have many friends in Colombia" ("Colombia's FM: We share your resilience (http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=174358)").

The admiration is mutual, and Uribe undertakes his role of impartial investigator weighed down with awards from various Zionist organizations. These include the American Jewish Committee's "Light unto the Nations Award" and descending further into Orwellian doublespeak, the "Presidential Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism" from B'nai Brith.

While the Colombian government and Uribe are entitled to their choice of friends, this -- to say the least -- indicates that there will be no objectivity whatsoever with regard to Uribe's role in the commission.

It appears that Israel only agreed to cooperate with this particular UN inquiry as there is very little chance this commission will take an independent stance and deliver an unbiased verdict on the brutal Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Indeed, Israel has declined to cooperate with the other UN commission into the attack appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. It can be reasonably argued that Colombian and Israeli cooperation in this matter is a further step towards jointly "doing more in terms of the fight against terrorism" (to paraphrase Bermudez' remarks in Israel).

In reality this means attacking human rights defenders and aid workers and further undermining international law and respect for human rights. Participating in a whitewash of the illegal and brutal murder of human rights activists and painting them as "terrorists in disguise" will serve the military objectives of both countries as they struggle to undermine human rights defenders and "enemy communities" in their respective countries.

This is a maverick commission lacking credibility, which will serve only to show the influence of the United States and Israel on Ban Ki-moon's office. Such a commission will disappoint anyone expecting a neutral, impartial investigation that reveals the truth about the massacre of 31 May. This commission further undermines the credibility of the UN and serves to turn international and human rights law into a game played between the violators of these laws.

[I]José Antonio Gutiérrez and David Landy are activists based in Ireland, involved respectively with the Latin American Solidarity Centre and the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. José Antonio Gutiérrez writes frequently on Colombia for www.anarkismo.net (http://www.anarkismo.net/)
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11449.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+% 28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

Myra Bronstein
09-30-2010, 08:32 AM
[Emphasis mine.]

http://www.alternet.org/investigations/148314/un_report%3A_american_citizen_executed_by_israelis _during_mavi_marmara_raid/?page=1

The report shows conclusively that US citizen Furkan Dogan and five Turkish citizens were murdered execution-style by Israeli commandos.
September 27, 2010 |

The report of the fact-finding mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla released last week shows conclusively, for the first time, that US citizen Furkan Dogan and five Turkish citizens were murdered execution-style by Israeli commandos.

The report reveals that Dogan, the 19-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, was filming with a small video camera on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara when he was shot twice in the head, once in the back and in the left leg and foot and that he was shot in the face at point blank range while lying on the ground.

The report says Dogan had apparently been "lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time" before being shot in his face.

The forensic evidence that establishes that fact is "tattooing around the wound in his face," indicating that the shot was "delivered at point blank range." The report describes the forensic evidence as showing that "the trajectory of the wound, from bottom to top, together with a vital abrasion to the left shoulder that could be consistent with the bullet exit point, is compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on the ground on his back."

Based on both "forensic and firearm evidence," the fact-finding panel concluded that Dogan's killing and that of five Turkish citizens by the Israeli troops on the Mavi Marmari May 31 "can be characterized as extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions." (See Report [.pdf] Page 38, Section 170)

The report confirmed what the Obama administration already knew from the autopsy report on Dogan, but the administration has remained silent about the killing of Dogan, which could be an extremely difficult political problem for the administration in its relations with Israel.

The Turkish government gave the autopsy report on Dogan to the US Embassy in July and it was then passed on to the Department of Justice, according to a US government source who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the administration's policy of silence on the matter. The source said the purpose of obtaining the report was to determine whether an investigation of the killing by the Justice Department (DOJ) was appropriate.

Asked by this writer whether the DOJ had received the autopsy report on Dogan, DOJ spokesperson Laura Sweeney refused to comment.

The administration has not volunteered any comment on the fact-finding mission report and was not asked to do so by any news organization. In response to a query from Truthout, a State Department official, who could not speak on the record, read a statement that did not explicitly acknowledge the report's conclusion about the Israeli executions.

The statement said the fact-finding mission's report's "tone and conclusions are unbalanced." It went on to state, "We urge that this report not be used for actions that could disrupt direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine that are now underway or actions that would make it not possible for Israel and Turkey to move beyond the recent strains in their traditional strong relationship."

Although the report's revelations and conclusions about the killing of Dogan and the five other victims were widely reported in the Turkish media last week, not a single story on the report has appeared in US news media.
...
Another passenger whom forensic evidence shows was killed execution-style, according to the OHCHR report, is Ibrahim Bilgen, a 60-year-old Turkish citizen. Bilgen is believed by forensics experts to have been shot initially from the helicopter above the Mavi Marmara and then shot in the side of the head while lying seriously wounded.

The fact-finding mission was given forensic evidence that, after the initial shot in chest from above, Bilgen was shot in the head with a "soft baton round at such close proximity that an entire bean bag and its wadding penetrated the skull and lodged in the chest from above," the mission concluded.

"Soft baton rounds" are supposed to be fired for nonlethal purposes at a distance and aimed only at the stomach, but are lethal when fired at the head, especially from close range.
...
The account, provided by the OHCHR of the events on board the Mavi Marmara on its way to help break the economic siege of Gaza May 31 of this year, refutes the version of events aggressively pushed by the Israeli military and supports the testimony of passengers on board.
...
The idea that the passenger list would be seeded with terrorists determined to attack Israeli defense forces appears to have been a ploy to justify treating the operation as likely to require the use of military force against the passengers.
...
The report confirms that, from the beginning of the operation, passengers were fired on by helicopters flying above the Mavi Marmara to drop commandos on the deck.
...
Contrary to Israeli claims that one or more Israeli troops were wounded by firearms, the report says no medical evidence of a gunshot wound to an Israeli soldier was found.
...
The mission interviewed 112 eyewitnesses to the Israeli attack in London, Geneva, Istanbul and Amman, Jordan. The Israeli government refused to cooperate with the fact-finding mission by making personnel involved in both planning and carrying out the attack available to be interviewed.

Magda Hassan
09-30-2010, 10:03 AM
Thanks for this update Myra. Pretty incontrovertible isn't it?

Magda Hassan
09-30-2010, 10:44 AM
http://kenokeefe.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/poor-israeli-commando.jpg

Peter Presland
09-30-2010, 11:44 AM
Full report pdf here (https://wikispooks.com/wiki/File:UN_HRC_Gaza_Freedom_Flotilla.pdf) (it's only 420K)

Blog post here (http://www.wikispooks.org/blog/archives/36)

It is very damning indeed. Could hardly believe what I was reading from a UN sponsored report.

It's been published for over a week now. I put the pdf up 0n Wikispooks on 24th September.

But there's been barely a whisper about it from the MSM.

Magda Hassan
09-30-2010, 11:47 AM
Yes, Peter. I was expecting more of a whitewash than this. I'm pleasantly surprised.

Myra Bronstein
10-01-2010, 12:55 AM
Full report pdf here (https://wikispooks.com/wiki/File:UN_HRC_Gaza_Freedom_Flotilla.pdf) (it's only 420K)

Blog post here (http://www.wikispooks.org/blog/archives/36)

It is very damning indeed. Could hardly believe what I was reading from a UN sponsored report.

It's been published for over a week now. I put the pdf up 0n Wikispooks on 24th September.

But there's been barely a whisper about it from the MSM.

Yes, the MSM blockade of this smoking gun report is demonstrable.

Look at the number of news articles on this subject, compared to other subjects, from google news today. Shown in three attachments.

Myra Bronstein
10-01-2010, 01:03 AM
Full report pdf here (https://wikispooks.com/wiki/File:UN_HRC_Gaza_Freedom_Flotilla.pdf) (it's only 420K)

Blog post here (http://www.wikispooks.org/blog/archives/36)

It is very damning indeed. Could hardly believe what I was reading from a UN sponsored report.
...

Same here.
The UN may be a rogue element.
Could explain why Herr Bush the younger appointed that creepy John Bolton guy, an outspoken UN enemy, as UN Ambassador.

David Guyatt
10-06-2010, 07:52 AM
From Myra's No. 221 above:


The statement said the fact-finding mission's report's "tone and conclusions are unbalanced." It went on to state, "We urge that this report not be used for actions that could disrupt direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine that are now underway or actions that would make it not possible for Israel and Turkey to move beyond the recent strains in their traditional strong relationship."

(my italics)

Ah ha, there we have the US position. Outright murder and flouting of international law is simply to be ignored because otherwise it might disrupt ongoing negotiations.

Fat chance that Israel has any intention (or will ever have, in fact) to actually reach a genuine peaceful settlement in the Middle East.

I also liked the comment that the "report's tone and conclusions are unbalanced". A very sly statement when it is recalled that Israel flatly refused to provide input to the report.

It's all a charade.

Jan Klimkowski
01-23-2011, 08:46 PM
W H I T E W A S H:


Israeli soldiers fired at Gaza aid flotilla in self-defence, says inquiry

Raid on Gaza-bound ships in which nine activists was killed was legal, government-appointed Turkel commission concludes

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem guardian.co.uk, Sunday 23 January 2011 13.43 GMT

Israel acted within international law and its soldiers opened fire in self-defence during a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla of aid ships last May that prompted worldwide protests, a government-appointed commission concluded today.

The 280-page report of the Turkel Commission broadly endorsed the Israeli military and government versions of events on 31 May. Witnesses on board the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, on which nine Turkish activists were killed, vigorously contested the Israeli accounts.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey whose relations with Israel reached breaking point after the raid, today rejected the conclusions of the commission, saying it had "no value or credibility".

The report found that Israeli naval commandos were met with violence when they boarded the Mavi Marmara. It identified a key group of about 100 "IHH activists" – referring to a Turkish organisation that Israel accuses of having links to Hamas, the Islamist organisation that runs Gaza.

"The IHH activists carried out the violence on board the Mavi Marmara by arming themselves with a wide array of weapons, including iron bars, axes, clubs, slingshots, knives and metal objects. These weapons were capable of causing death or serious injury," the report said. The IHH activists used firearms against the soldiers, it added.

"Overall, the IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] personnel acted professionally in the face of extensive and unanticipated violence," it concluded.

It said the IDF's interception and capture of the vessels in the flotilla conformed with international law. The military's use of force also complied with international law in 127 cases, said the report. There were six cases that were inconclusive.

Activists on board the vessels said the Israeli military initiated the violence and used disproportionate force in the ensuing battle.

The commission also found that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, which the flotilla was attempting to breach, was primarily for security reasons and was imposed lawfully. It added that it did not "constitute 'collective punishment' of the population of the Gaza Strip".

"Israel is complying with the humanitarian obligations imposed on the blockading party, including the prohibition of starving the civilian population or preventing the supply of objects essential for survival," said the report.

Gisha, an Tel Aviv-based rights organisation, said in a statement that "a primary goal of the restrictions, as declared by Israel, was to paralyse the economy in Gaza and prevent its residents from leading normal lives". It challenged the commission's conclusion that restrictions were justified for military reasons.

Israel eased its blockade on Gaza under international pressure in the aftermath of the flotilla raid. However there are still severe restrictions on the import of construction materials, exports and freedom of movement.

After the report's publication, the Turkish foreign ministry said: "Israel's attack against the humanitarian aid convoy, which violated both wartime and peacetime international law, has also trampled all international principles, rules and norms with the manner in which it was conducted."

Sarah Colbourne, of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who was on the Marvi Marmara, said: "The facts are simple, the Marvi Marmara was carrying essential humanitarian aid like baby milk to the besieged people of Gaza. There were no guns or weapons on board the boat, we were in international waters, when over 300 bullets rained down on us."

Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said: "Israel acted in justifiable self-defence. Our soldiers acted to protect themselves and to protect their country. Then as now, Iran seeks to smuggle lethal weaponry to Hamas in Gaza."

The conclusions of the commission, headed by retired supreme court judge Yaakov Turkel, were endorsed by two international observers, who were appointed after claims that an internal Israeli investigation into the flotilla raid would not be objective.

Former Northern Ireland first minister David Trimble and Brigadier-General Ken Watkin of Canada said in a letter accompanying the report that the commission was independent and rigorous.

Israel intercepted the flotilla in international waters, claiming that the boats could be carrying arms or materials that could be used by militants. The nine casualties were all Turkish citizens, who between them sustained 30 bullet wounds.

Although Israel rebuffed calls for an international investigation, it faced criticism over its choice of commissioners, with critics saying the outcome of the inquiry would be a whitewash.

The Turkel commission will continue to investigate the political decision-making process in the runup to the raid. A second report is expected later this year.

Among those who gave evidence to the commission were Netanyahu, the defence minister, Ehud Barak, and army chief Gabi Ashkenazi. The commission was barred from questioning soldiers.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/23/israel-gaza-aid-flotilla-inquiry

Ed Jewett
01-23-2011, 09:20 PM
Self-defense at point-blank range while standing over supine attacker ....

Your Honor, he might have leapt upward and attacked my bullets.

Jan Klimkowski
04-19-2011, 09:33 PM
Here is the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/apr/19/bbc-film-gaza-aid-flotilla)'s headline about the BBC's investigation of a BBC documentary about the Gaza flotilla:


BBC film on Gaza aid flotilla praised by trust despite breaching guidelines

BBC Trust clears Panorama documentary on Mavi Marmara over majority of complaints, but upholds three out of 51 points

All sounds very promising.

The BBC standing up to the Israeli lobby.

Uh - no. Here's the detail:


The accuracy breaches related to the failure to include preliminary autopsy reports into how activists died and more details of the exact nature of the aid for Gaza being carried by the flotilla.

Panorama was also found by the BBC Trust to have breached impartiality guidelines by not verifying that the Israelis took proper care of the badly wounded following allegations of mistreatment of some of the casualties.

(snip)

The three key complaints relating to the points that were upheld included, "insufficient detail about the circumstances of the deaths", "the omission of allegations about Israeli mistreatment of the passengers after the flotilla was taken over" and "the misrepresentation of the humanitarian aims of the flotilla and of the Turkish humanitarian organisation, the IHH".

Regarding the claim that the manner in which the nine people killed was fundamental to the accuracy of the Panorama documentary, the BBC Trust agreed that because of the lack of clear video footage of anyone being shot, details from the preliminary autopsy reports would have "given a broader picture and added to the programme's description of how the activists died".

The ESC decided that "the information about the volume and nature of the gunshot wounds detailed in the preliminary autopsy reports gave a fuller picture of the manner in which the Israelis killed nine people and the level of force deployed by the Israeli commandos."

It also said that on the matter of the treatment of casualties by the Israelis, "the imagery and the accompanying script line ('The Israelis evacuated the badly wounded to hospital') would have left viewers with the impression that the badly wounded were all promptly and appropriately cared for. The committee noted that, although not proven, there are detailed allegations of mistreatment of at least some of the casualties."

Those three points are absolutely fundamental.

This is not a documentary to be praised. Rather it is a documentary to be thrown in the trash....

Jan Klimkowski
09-03-2011, 05:36 PM
Some playing of games by Turkey, Israel and the UN.

Note the way that MSM manages to get a Kurd to accuse Turkey of hypocrisy when it criticizes Israel.

When key NATO member Turkey commits atrociites against Kurds, MSM is usually nowhere to be seen....


Turkey expels Israel's ambassador over refusal to apologise for Gaza flotilla raid

Move comes on same day that UN report finds that Israel used 'excessive and unreasonable force' to stop flotilla

Julian Borger and Constanze Letsch in Istanbul guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/02/turkey-israel-ambassador-mavi-marmara), Friday 2 September 2011 18.35 BST

Turkey dramatically downgraded its relations with Israel on Friday, expelling the country's ambassador and cutting military ties with its former ally over Israel's refusal to apologise for an armed assault on a Gaza-borne aid flotilla that killed nine people.

The move, which takes Turkish-Israeli relations to a new low, came on the day a UN report into the Gaza flotilla incident was published. It found that Israeli had used "excessive and unreasonable" force to stop the flotilla approaching Gaza, but that it was justified in maintaining a naval blockade on the Palestinian enclave.

Announcing the measures, Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that the Israeli ambassador, Gabby Levy, and other senior Israeli diplomats would have to leave their posts by Wednesday and that Turkey's representation in Israel would be downgraded to the junior level of second secretary.

Levy was reported to be in Israel and would not be returning to Ankara.

"The time has come for Israel to pay for its stance that sees it above international laws and disregards human conscience," Davutoglu said. "The first and foremost result is that Israel is going to be devoid of Turkey's friendship … as long as the Israeli government does not take the necessary steps, there will be no turning back."

Davutoglu also said Turkey would take measures in the future to protect its shipping, without going into detail.

The UN investigation chaired by Geoffrey Palmer, a former New Zealand prime minister, focused on the events of 31 May last year on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish-flagged vessel which was the largest ship in an flotilla aimed at breaking the Gaza blockade. It was boarded by Israeli commandoes who were resisted by some of those on board. Nine pro-Palestinian activists – eight Turkish citizens and a Turkish American – were killed in the raid.

The breakdown in diplomatic relations followed several months of delicate negotiations between Turkish and Israeli diplomats over the wording of an Israeli apology for the incident and compensation for bereaved families, which Ankara had made a condition of improving relations. However, a compromise over a text broke down when it was rejected by right-wingers in the Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu.

"There is a deep sense of frustration within the Turkish foreign policy establishment that despite the efforts to mend the relationship and despite coming very close to agreeing to a text, the situation became untenable," said Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat who is now an analyst for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace thinktank.

"The publication of the UN report really established a deadline. Its publication had already been postponed twice, and the Israelis then asked for another six months delay, which Turkey would not accept.

"There is a feeling that neither Israel nor Turkey has anything to win by this, and there must be a degree of frustration in Washington too, as it invested a lot of time and effort in the efforts to mend this. Turkey seems to have lost the ability to play a role in the Middle East peace process because of the breakdown in the relationship with Israel. It was one of the few countries that could talk to both sides. That ability is gone and is unclear if we will be able to regain it. By being unable to settle the relationship with Turkey, meanwhile, Israeli has lost a friend and ally. This is a lose-lose situation."

Israel issued no official response to the Turkish decision, but Israeli officials have suggested to journalists that Ankara was distancing Israel to improve its standing in the Arab world. They have also pointed to the judgment in the Palmer report that the blockade of Gaza is justified under international law. Turkey has rejected that finding and called for the blockade to be reassessed by the UN and by the international court of justice.

However, Alon Liel, a former Israeli diplomat who once served in Turkey, argued that the current government had made a strategic mistake by failing to agree an apology with Turkey.

"The talks on the apology and on fixing this crisis in the relationship had been continuing for six months. The professional staff, the military and legal experts and diplomats had reached an agreement, on a technical apology, but even this was rejected by [foreign minister and coalition partner Avigdor] Lieberman. The issue of an apology is very unpopular in Israel, and Netanyahu ultimately adopted the Lieberman position," Liel said.

He warned that the Turkish expulsion of the Israeli ambassador would increase public pressure in Jordan and Egypt for their governments to follow suit.

Liel said: "In my 30 years as a diplomat we always put contacts with Middle East countries as a top priority, second only to the United States, but it seems that this government have given up on the region, assuming there will be no peace with Palestinians so nobody will like us anyway."

In the streets of Istanbul, the breach in relations with Israeli was mostly popular. Many Turks are angry that Israel refuses to apologise.

Yalçin Kuzgöl, owner of a barber shop in the gentrifying neighbourhood of Cukurcuma, thinks the UN was unable to issue an independent opinion: "All UN decisions and statements are always made in the favour of Israel, no matter what they have done. This is also the case for the Mavi Marmara report."

In the pre-dominantly Kurdish neighbourhood of Tarlabasi, barber Hassan Teke said: "Israel has become like a spoiled child, the spoiled child of the US."

None of his customers have heard of the government announcement yet, but the mention of Israel and the Mavi Marmara still gets a reaction: many Turks are angry that Israel refuses to apologise.

A few metres further down the street, a Kurdish man who wishes to remain anonymous has a very different opinion: "I think that the reaction of the Turkish government is two-faced and wrong. Turkey has no right to complain about the lack of human rights in other countries as long as the Turkish government keeps killing its own citizens in the [Kurdish] southeast."

He added: "So Israel made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes. To cut all relations because the other party does not want to apologise is exaggerated."

Jan Klimkowski
04-14-2012, 11:26 AM
Israel pressures airlines into refusing to allow peace activists to fly.



Israel forces airline to cancel tickets of British 'flytilla' activists

Jet2.com move follows pressure from Israel as 2,000 pro-Palestinian activists prepare to fly in on way to West Bank


Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem

guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/13/palestinian-territories-israel), Friday 13 April 2012 21.41 BST

Israel has forced low-cost airline Jet2.com to cancel the tickets of three women from Manchester intending to travel to Bethlehem via Tel Aviv this weekend for a gathering of pro-Palestinian activists.

Jet2.com informed the women by email that the airline would refuse to carry them and no refund would be paid. The move follows pressure on airlines from Israel to ban known activists.

One of the women, retired nurse Norma Turner, said Jet2.com had caved in to pressure. "It never crossed my mind that Israel could stop people with British passports leaving British airports," she told the Guardian.

Israel has promised to deny entry to hundreds of activists due to arrive at Tel Aviv airport on Sunday en route to the West Bank for a week of educational and cultural activities.

Up to 2,000 mainly European sympathisers plan to board planes in what has been dubbed a "flytilla" in reference to previous attempts to breach the blockade of Gaza by flotillas of boats.

Jet2.com's decision followed a similar move by the German carrier Lufthansa, which cancelled the tickets of dozens of activists on Thursday, saying it was complying with Israel's demand not to fly certain passengers to Tel Aviv. Other airlines are expected to follow suit.

In an email sent to the three women, Jet2.com said it had been obliged to provide the Israeli authorities passengers' names, dates of birth, passport numbers and nationalities.

"As a result of providing that information, Jet2.com has been informed by the Israeli authorities that you will not be not permitted to enter Israel. Consequently, if Jet2.com carries you to Israel, you will be refused entry and Jet2.com will be liable for both a fine and your return to Manchester," the email said.

"We regret that, in light of the decision taken by the Israeli authorities, we are unable to accept you for carriage to Israel on this occasion and your booking with Jet2.com has been cancelled."

The airline apologised and said the cancellation was "totally beyond our control" but said the passengers would not be reimbursed.

The Israeli authorities have warned they will not permit entry to "hostile elements" and "provocateurs". It distributed "no-fly" lists of known activists to airlines, which were warned that they would be expected to bear the costs of flying activists back to their point of departure.

"The provocateurs will be dealt with in a determined and quick way," Israel's public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, said this week. "If they arrive in Israel they will be identified, removed from the plane, their entry into Israel will be prevented and they will be moved to a detention facility until they are flown out of Israel."

Hundreds of police will be deployed to Ben Gurion airport from Saturday night and flights carrying activists will be diverted to a smaller terminal, where security forces and immigration officials will check and question passengers.

Israel's response was "paranoid and hysterical", said Mazin Qumsiyeh, one of the organisers of the Welcome to Palestine programme and a university professor in Bethlehem. "They simply don't want the world to know what's going on in Palestine."

The activists say they will be open about their intention to travel directly in special buses from the airport to Bethlehem. Israel controls all entry points to the West Bank.

A similar "flytilla" last July resulted in the detention and deportation of scores of activists. In May 2010, a flotilla of boats attempting to reach Gaza ended in Israeli forces shooting dead nine activists.

The mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh, told a press conference: "These people are coming to talk about peace, they are not coming to wage war against Israel. They are coming to visit the Palestinian people who are under occupation and to talk to them and to help them because these people are isolated."

Turner said she would seek legal advice on Jet2.com's move. "I think the airline should honour its commitment. We had checked in, and we have our boarding passes.

"Every country has the right to control its own borders. But to stop us leaving British shores just shows the extent of Israel's power and influence."

Magda Hassan
04-14-2012, 11:50 AM
Not just small local airlines. Lufthansa, Air France and Belgian Air as well. Indications are that Israel supplied a 'Blacklist'. It's quite despicable the attempt to suppress all form of solidarity with the Palestinians no matter how small.


The occupation reaches Europe: airlines cancel ‘flytilla’ passenger tickets
by Allison Deger on April 13, 2012 23
3770

"Flight France-Palestine," 2011. (Image: DOM)

Three European airlines have canceled the flights of passengers from the Airflotilla2, or flytilla, the campaign in which activists challenge Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories by flying into Tel Aviv and announcing to customs their intent to travel to the West Bank. The campaign started last year with a similar "Welcome to Palestine" fly-in, where some were also refused entry onto their purchased departure flights, at the behest of Israeli security.

Again, this year based on "Israel's orders," Lufthansa Airlines, Brussels Airlines and EasyJet all have canceled flytilla passenger tickets. As of today, European airlines have canceled up to 40 passenger tickets.

Campaign organizers with Bienvenue Palestine also found the tickets of two passengers unaffiliated with the flytilla were included in the mass cancellations.


Screen shot of organizer flytilla organizer, the Bienvenue Palestine campaign. Tweet on the bottom translates: "@Lufthansa @FlyingBrussels @Jet2Offers prefer to support Israeli apartheid in lieu of their humanitarian clients. "

After arriving in-country, activists are expected to tour the West Bank with Bienvenue Palestine. I translated from French Bienvenue Palestine’s full statement on flight cancellations:

Several dozen passengers who bought plane tickets to travel to Tel Aviv Sunday, April 15 were notified Thursday by Lufthansa airlines that their reservations were canceled, "by Israel's orders."

"Israel produced a list of names of persons to whom this country denies entry. Yours is on it, which brings us to cancel your ticket and we will immediately refund your credit card," said Lufthansa employees to the passengers.

Unable to distinguish between those who intended to participate in the Welcome to Palestine mission and those who were not involved, the Israeli government, long accustomed to mass "collateral damage," apparently decided to blacklist passengers in bulk. As of Thursday evening we had reports of at least two people who are not connected to the campaign and were planning to travel to Israel whose tickets were also canceled.

Passengers on Lufthansa flights have not committed any infractions, and do not accept the mafia-methods, favored by governments complicit in the imprisonment of the Palestinian people, starting with the French government.

Therefore, with the support of many friends, passengers with the campaign will arrive at their departing airports as scheduled this weekend, as a reminder that the West Bank and the rest of Palestine do not belong to Israel, and to demand respect of international law.
Passengers also received cancellation notices from the other European airlines, stating "Israel Immigration Authorities have informed us that you will be refused entry to Israel and instructed us to refuse you carriage." Bienvenue Palestine posted the text of the notices. Below is one from EasyJet:

Dear DUPONT,

We regret to inform you that Israel Immigration Authorities have informed us that you will be refused entry to Israel and instructed us to refuse you carriage. We have therefore had no choice but to cancel your reservation on easyJet flight to Tel Aviv on 15/04/2012. You will receive a full refund of your booking….

Please do not go to the airport as the Israeli Immigration Authorities have instructed us to refuse you carriage.

If you require further information relating to the refusal of travel may we suggest that you make contact with the Israeli Embassy in Bern. Their contact details are noted below for your information.

Embassy of Israel

Chancellery

Alpenstrasse 32

P.O.Box

3006 Bern

Phone number : +41(0)31 356 35 00 – Fax : +41(0)31 356 35 65

We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you and please be assured we are working under the instruction of the Israeli Immigration Authorities and will be unable to accept you for travel until so advised by the authorities.

Yours Sincerely

easyJet Customer Services

The notices indicate airlines received a master "back list" from Israeli authorities, which was used to select the passengers that were kept from boarding flights. Though the methods used to compile the list are unclear, yesterday Ynet News confirmed Israeli border security did send airlines companies both a passenger black list, along with a letter advising the companies to bar those listed from boarding their flights. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/04/the-occupation-reaches-europe-airlines-cancel-flytilla-passenger-tickets.html

Magda Hassan
05-30-2012, 02:27 PM
Turkish court accepts 'Mavi Marmara' indictmentBy JPOST.COM STAFF
05/28/2012 14:30
Court unanimously approves indictment seeking life sentences for four former top IDF brass over flotilla raid.http://www.jpost.com/HttpHandlers/ShowImage.ashx?ID=181802Photo: Stringer Turkey / ReutersA Turkish high criminal court has unanimously accepted an indictment seeking life sentences for four former Israeli military commanders over their alleged involvement in the 2010 killing of nine Turks on a Gaza-bound aid ship, Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman and the Andalou Agency reported Monday.
The indictment seeks nine counts of aggravated life imprisonment for former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, OC Israel Navy V.-Adm. Eliezer Marom, former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin and former IAF intelligence head Brig.-Gen. Avishai Levy.
Related:

Turkish PM: Gaza flotilla raid was 'grounds for war' (http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=237659)
Turkey completes probe into 'Mavi Marmara' raid (http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=269257)


Relations between the regional powers deteriorated sharply after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara aid vessel in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists on board the ship.
Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and froze all military cooperation after a UN report into the incident released last September largely exonerated the Jewish state.
On February 8, 2011, the report of Israel’s Turkel Commission that examined the events surrounding the protest flotilla held that “the naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip... was legal pursuant to the rules of international law.”
Moreover, the “actions carried out by Israel on May 31, 2010, to enforce the naval blockade had the regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and physical injuries.
“Nonetheless, and despite the limited instances of uses of force for which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law.”
In September, Turkey threatened to take Israel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over the Marmararaid.
Senior IDF officials have said they are taking legal precautions to protect soldiers and officers who participated in the operation to stop the Mavi Marmara.
The IDF Military Advocate- General’s Office established a joint team with the Justice Ministry to study the UN-commissioned Palmer Report, released in September 2011, which justified Israel’s decision to impose a sea blockade on the Gaza Strip but also criticized the navy’s operation to stop the Gaza-bound flotilla.
The report said that “the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces during the takeover of theMavi Marmara was unacceptable.”
The team was studying the legal consequences of the report and possible ways to provide protections to IDF soldiers.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak had tried to broker a compromise with Turkey in an effort to minimize the legal exposure of the commandos.
Reuters, Yaakov Katz and Oren Kessler contributed to this report.http://wpc.2a95.edgecastcdn.net/002A95/pixel_1.png?utm_source=jPost&rnd=89694366
http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=271688

Jan Klimkowski
05-30-2012, 05:01 PM
The indictment seeks nine counts of aggravated life imprisonment for former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, OC Israel Navy V.-Adm. Eliezer Marom, former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin and former IAF intelligence head Brig.-Gen. Avishai Levy.

Good.

Jan Klimkowski
03-23-2013, 06:21 PM
And so the international courts and criminal tribunals are avoided, and an amoral POTUS brokers a filthy deal between two rogue states.



Netanyahu apologises to Turkish PM for Israeli role in Gaza flotilla raid

Obama brokers call between Netanyahu and Erdogan as Israel says sorry for role in 2010 naval raid that left nine Turks dead

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem and Ewen MacAskill in Washington
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/22/israel-apologises-turkey-gaza-flotilla-deaths), Friday 22 March 2013 15.43 GMT


Gaza flotilla raid 2010, Turkey Israel
Nine Turkish activists were killed when Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara in 2010 to stop a it reaching Gaza. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Barack Obama has persuaded Israel to apologise to Turkey for the loss of nine lives on board the Mavi Marmara – the lead ship in an aid flotilla trying to breach the blockade of Gaza – in a deal that paves the way for diplomatic relations to be restored between the two countries.

News of the US-brokered deal came on Friday as Obama was leaving Israel at the end of his first official visit during which he was praised for an emotional speech tailored to mainstream Jewish opinion but criticised for doing nothing practical to advance stalled peace negotiations and downplaying Palestinian suffering.

The apology to Turkey for the May 2010 incident had been resisted by Israel until now, despite pressure from the international community. Both are close US allies – Turkey is a member of Nato – so the president was well placed to broker the deal.

According to White House officials aboard Air Force One, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu placed a call to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan while closeted with Obama in a trailer on the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport in the last minutes before the president's departure for Jordan. Obama joined the call at one point.

The Israeli prime minister's office said Netanyahu "apologised to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to the loss of life". Erdogan accepted the apology, White House officials said.

This was the "first step" towards normalisation of relations between the two countries, US officials said, and had been the subject of talks between Obama and Netanyahu in Jerusalem this week.

Arriving in the Jordanian capital Amman Obama went into talks with King Abdullah II on the escalating crisis in neighbouring Syria as well as the prospects for reviving Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

On the Israeli-Turkish deal the president said the "the timing was good" to restore the ruptured relationship, though it was "a work in progress".

A statement from Netanyahu's office said: "The two men agreed to restore normalisation between Israel and Turkey, including the dispatch of ambassadors and the cancellation of legal steps against IDF soldiers.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu … expressed regret over the deterioration in bilateral relations and noted his commitment to working out the disagreements in order to advance peace and regional stability."

It added: "The prime minister made it clear that the tragic results regarding the Mavi Marmara were unintentional, and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life. In light of the Israeli investigation into the incident, which pointed out several operational errors, Netanyahu apologised to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to loss of life and agreed to complete the agreement on compensation."

A statement released in Obama's name on Friday afternoon said: "The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security.

"I am hopeful that today's exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper co-operation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities."

The US has been deeply concerned about the deterioration in relations between its two key allies in the region since the flotilla debacle. Nine Turkish activists were killed when Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara in an operation to prevent it and other ships in the flotilla from reaching Gaza. The bloody confrontation was met with a wave of international condemnation, and Israel was forced to ease its stringent blockade of the tiny Palestinian enclave.

Turkey cut all diplomatic ties with Israel following the incident, and demanded that the Gaza blockade be lifted before normal relations would be restored. In Gaza, which has been ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas for almost six years, Turkey was hailed as a champion of Palestinian rights.

Reconciliation talks ran into trouble recently when Erdogan called Zionism a "crime against humanity" and compared it to fascism. But on Friday, a senior US official, briefing journalists on the flight from Tel Aviv to Amman, said brokering the deal become possible after Erdogan backtracked on those comments.

In an interview with a Danish paper this week, Erdogan did not retract his words but said they had been misinterpreted.

Netanyahu told Erdogan "he had seen his interview in a Danish newspaper and that he, Netanyahu, appreciated those comments", the US official said.

Asked if Obama had brokered the deal, the official said: "I think it would be accurate to say the president has been making this point to both leaders for going on a couple years now. So I think it's well known by both Turkey and Israel the importance we place on seeing these two close friends of ours have normalised relations."

He added: "No one is claiming that this resolves every potential difference between Israel and Turkey. I think we said, and I think they would tell you, this was an important step because one of the key things that had been dividing them was their strong differences over the Mavi Mara incident and Turkey's desire for an apology and compensation."

Israel will now move ahead on existing plans to pay up to £4m ($6.1m) in compensation to the dead activists' families.

The deal to end the rift allows Obama to claim a significant diplomatic victory from his first trip as president to Israel. While his speech to Israeli students on Thursday was widely praised, he risked accusations that he had achieved nothing of substance. There was no new plan to kickstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, little movement on how to deal with Iran's nuclear programme and nothing concrete on Syria.

But the end of the Israeli-Turkish standoff is progress. With so much turmoil and uncertainty in the region, the US wants to be able to count on Turkey and Israel working in tandem.

The rift created problems beyond just the symbolism. Turkey, as a member of Nato, was able to block Israeli participation in proposed multilateral exercises. The US, which backs Turkey's bid for membership of the European Union, sees it as an important player in Syria. Nato helped beef up military defences along the border last year.

Before flying to Jordan, Obama visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. In the afternoon he crossed the pre-1967 "green line" to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. A desert storm forced him to abandon the presidential helicopter and instead travel by road, passing through the eight-metre-high concrete wall that cuts off the West Bank city from Jerusalem.

Obama's first visit to the Holy Land since becoming president appeared to have succeeded in its main aim of reassuring Israel of the "unbreakable alliance" with the US and recalibrating the hitherto frosty relationship between its leaders. Palestinians remained deeply sceptical about his ability to force real change.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, is to explore renewing the talks. "We'll keep plugging away," Obama said in Amman. "We'll see if we can make it happen."

Magda Hassan
03-24-2013, 12:00 AM
And so the international courts and criminal tribunals are avoided, and an amoral POTUS brokers a filthy deal between two rogue states.



Netanyahu apologises to Turkish PM for Israeli role in Gaza flotilla raid

Obama brokers call between Netanyahu and Erdogan as Israel says sorry for role in 2010 naval raid that left nine Turks dead



It was never going to end any other way. What's a few dead activists between friends? There is business to do together and this loose string had to be tidied up. As the Palestinians know all too well the word 'justice' and 'Israel' are never used in the same sentence. And I doubt it is in Turkish either. Turkey has a lot of aces up its sleeve that it has chosen not to use. Especially the archives of land titles. It will take some thing much bigger than this for Turkey to find their cojones. For a moment I thought the words would have stuck in the mouth of Netanyahu but then I remembered he probably lies all the time and his words mean nothing anyway. He'll say the same to the Australian government about Zygier and it will mean the same.

Lauren Johnson
03-24-2013, 04:26 AM
And so the international courts and criminal tribunals are avoided, and an amoral POTUS brokers a filthy deal between two rogue states.



Netanyahu apologises to Turkish PM for Israeli role in Gaza flotilla raid

Obama brokers call between Netanyahu and Erdogan as Israel says sorry for role in 2010 naval raid that left nine Turks dead



It was never going to end any other way. What's a few dead activists between friends? There is business to do together and this loose string had to be tidied up. As the Palestinians know all too well the word 'justice' and 'Israel' are never used in the same sentence. And I doubt it is in Turkish either. Turkey has a lot of aces up its sleeve that it has chosen not to use. Especially the archives of land titles. It will take some thing much bigger than this for Turkey to find their cojones. For a moment I thought the words would have stuck in the mouth of Netanyahu but then I remembered he probably lies all the time and his words mean nothing anyway. He'll say the same to the Australian government about Zygier and it will mean the same.

I wonder if the US/Israeli/Turkish axis is coming together to finish off Syria.

Magda Hassan
03-24-2013, 06:15 AM
I wonder if the US/Israeli/Turkish axis is coming together to finish off Syria.
They're all NATO or defact NATO. Syria is not. Syria is an obstacle and a bad example of independence and autonomy.

Peter Lemkin
03-24-2013, 08:43 AM
Iran is the real target in their 'gun sights', IMHO....they have OIL!...and are stubbornly independant and thumb their noses at the Empire!

Magda Hassan
03-24-2013, 09:02 AM
Iran is the real target in their 'gun sights', IMHO....they have OIL!...and are stubbornly independant and thumb their noses at the Empire!
Indeed. Iran is at the end of the road from Damascus.

Jan Klimkowski
03-24-2013, 12:27 PM
I wonder if the US/Israeli/Turkish axis is coming together to finish off Syria.
They're all NATO or defact NATO. Syria is not. Syria is an obstacle and a bad example of independence and autonomy.

NATO.

And Gladio.

Of course, Turkey is dealing with the resurrection of its own false flag Gladio fascists (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?1148-Ergenekon).....

Plus the Kurds have just "signed up" to peace - whatever that means...

Syria... Lebanon.... Hezbollah.... Iran....

Whilst Al Qaeda now has an impreganable "Base" in Iraq.

The neocons are very happy.

Lauren Johnson
03-24-2013, 02:27 PM
I wonder if the US/Israeli/Turkish axis is coming together to finish off Syria.
They're all NATO or defact NATO. Syria is not. Syria is an obstacle and a bad example of independence and autonomy.

I think we are agreeing. Right?

Magda Hassan
05-15-2013, 05:30 AM
ICC opens initial probe into Israel’s deadly 2010 Gaza flotilla raidGet short URL (http://rt.com/news/israel-raid-icc-gaza-276/)
Published time: May 15, 2013 01:42
Israeli forces approach one of six ships bound for Gaza in the Mediterranean Sea May 31, 2010. (Reuters)




The referral has come from the Indian Ocean island of Comoros, where one of the flotilla’s vessels was registered. Comoros is a member of the ICC and according to the court's rules it is obligated to address an issue when a member state complains.The prosecutor of the ICC will open a preliminary investigation into Israel's 2010 raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists and strained relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

"My office will be conducting a preliminary examination in order to establish whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met," prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement after meeting with lawyers from a Turkish law firm Elmadag that is representing Comoros.

The Mavi Marmara ship registered in Comoros was stormed by Israeli forces on May 31, 2010 when it was attempting to break an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip. Soldiers killed nine activists, eight of them Turkish nationals, sparking international outcry and condemnation from the UN for use of“excessive force.”
The UN has called for the six-year blockade on Gaza to be lifted on numerous occasions on the grounds that it represents “a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law.”

Lawyers from the Istanbul-based law firm claimed, during the filing, that the events on the ship should be considered as having occurred on the territory of Comoros.

So far the court has declined to investigate events in the Palestinian territories, due to lack of jurisdiction. The ICC has jurisdiction over its members, over cases that are referred to it by the UN Security Council and over events that take place on the territory of member states.

"After careful analysis of all available information, I shall make a determination that will be made public in due course," Bensouda said.

Relations between Israel and Turkey were strained by the incident. However in April Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone conversation apologized to Turkey for "any error that may have led to loss of life.” Israel offered compensation to the families of the victims of the flotilla raid.

Earlier this month, a second round of reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey took place in Jerusalem. Following the talks Israel announced that an agreement had been drafted “but a number of clarifications are needed on a few issues."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that full diplomatic ties can only be resumed after compensation is paid and Israel must end all commercial restrictions on the Palestinians.
http://rt.com/news/israel-raid-icc-gaza-276/

David Guyatt
05-15-2013, 07:44 AM
"After careful analysis of all available information, I shall make a determination that will be made public in due course," Bensouda said.

And


Earlier this month, a second round of reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey took place in Jerusalem. Following the talks Israel announced that an agreement had been drafted “but a number of clarifications are needed on a few issues."

And


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that full diplomatic ties can only be resumed after compensation is paid and Israel must end all commercial restrictions on the Palestinians.
http://rt.com/news/israel-raid-icc-gaza-276/

Turkish business negotiation as usual...