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Tories ready to reopen Dr David Kelly suicide inquiry

By James Slack and Miles Goslett | Daily Mail | 5th June 2010

The investigation into the death of weapons inspector David Kelly is likely to be reopened, it has emerged.

The case has ‘concerned’ Attorney General Dominic Grieve and – as the highest ranking law officer in England – he is considering an inquiry to review the suicide finding, Whitehall sources say.

At the same time, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is considering a request from campaigning doctors to release medical files relating to the death.

Lord Hutton, whose inquiry into the death was denounced as a whitewash, has indicated the papers should be kept secret for 70 years.

Medical experts have repeatedly questioned whether Dr Kelly could have taken his own life in the circumstances described by Lord Hutton.

The re-opening of the case is understood to have the backing of several other Government members, including Transport minister Norman Baker, who believes Dr Kelly was murdered.

Dr Kelly’s body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home seven years ago next month. Although a coroner’s inquest was set up to examine the 59-year-old’s death, it was suspended.

In its place the Government established the Hutton Inquiry. Unlike a coroner’s inquest it had no statutory powers and did not require witnesses to give evidence under oath.

Hutton concluded that Dr Kelly killed himself by cutting his left wrist with a blunt gardening knife after he was named as the source of a BBC news report questioning the Blair government’s grounds for invading Iraq.

But the Hutton Report, published in January 2004, was dismissed by experts as a whitewash for clearing the Government of any blame, despite evidence it had leaked Dr Kelly’s name to smear him.

From the time Dr Kelly’s body was found, on 18 July 2003, questions have been raised about the nature of his death. A group of leading doctors who are campaigning for a coroner’s inquest to be held spent a year compiling their own medical report.

It disputes that Dr Kelly, a Ministry of Defence employee and the world’s leading weapons inspector, could have died from haemorrhage, as Hutton concluded.

The doctors said it was not possible he would have died by severing the ulnar artery in his left wrist, as Hutton thought, because it is so small and difficult to access.

It also emerged after the Hutton Inquiry that no fingerprints were found on the knife Dr Kelly is alleged to have used, and that he was not wearing gloves when his body was found.

In January, it came to light that Lord Hutton secretly classified vital evidence relating to Dr Kelly’s death, including all medical and scientific records, the post-mortem report and photographs, for 70 years – until 2073.

This information was not included in the Hutton Report. Mr Grieve’s willingness to re-examine how Dr Kelly died comes three months after he wrote to Michael Powers QC, who has been working with the doctors to secure an inquest.

In the letter Mr Grieve said: ‘I am aware of the work of the doctors’ group on challenging Lord Hutton’s findings.

‘They have made an impressive and cogent case.’

A source confirmed his position has not changed since he entered the Government and he is exploring a way to reopen the inquiry.

As Attorney General he would be the final arbiter in any decision to apply to the High Court for a full inquest.

In January, the doctors applied to the Ministry of Justice to see Dr Kelly’s post-mortem report and records. So far the MoJ has not released them.

Mr Baker told the Daily Mail: ‘It’s astonishing that such a high profile death has not yet been subject to a proper inquest. If the Attorney General is seeking to correct this I welcome it.’
70 years of secrecy

Lord Hutton has been criticised for ordering that medical records relating to the death of Dr David Kelly should be kept secret for 70 years.

A 30-year ban was placed on ‘records provided which were not produced in evidence’. This is thought to refer to witness statements given to the inquiry which were not disclosed at the time.

But Lord Hutton ordered all medical reports – including the post-mortem examination findings by pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt and photographs of Dr Kelly’s body – to remain classified information for the seven decades. This usually only applies in cases of murder.

The normal rules on post-mortem examinations allow close relatives and ‘properly interested persons’ to apply to see a copy of the report. They can also ‘inspect’ other documents. The precise legal basis for Lord Hutton’s order has puzzled experts.

The most likely source is a rule which states that medical reports and post-mortem reports can be classified by the Government until the deceased’s youngest child is aged 100.

Dr Kelly’s youngest daughters were 30 when he died. Classifying the papers for 70 years would take them to the age of 100.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Deception | Comments Off on Tories ready to reopen Dr David Kelly suicide inquiry

The Real Motive Behind the Gaza Flotilla Attack

Sabotaging Peace

By RANNIE AMIRI | June 4 – 6, 2010

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 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.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | 2 Comments

The Flotilla Raid Was Not “Bungled.” The IDF Detailed Its Violent Strategy In Advance.

On 06.03.10, By Max Blumenthal

Tel Aviv-Israel Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his senior ministers have attempted to blame army commanders for “the bungled raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla,” according to the UK’s Daily Telegraph. The AP reported that “Israel’s bloody, bungled takeover of a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel is complicating US-led Mideast peace efforts.” And according to Reuters, “Israeli military admits errors in bungled boarding.”

But was the raid really bungled? Did the Israeli military command and Netanyahu government have no clear strategy going in? Or was the violence they meted out against the flotilla activists deliberate and methodically planned?

Statements by senior Israeli military commanders made in the Hebrew media days before the massacre revealed that the raid was planned over a week in advance by the Israeli military and was personally approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. The elite Israeli commando unit known as Unit 13 was tasked with carrying out the mission and its role was known by the Israeli public well before the raid took place. Details of the plan show that the use of deadly force was authorized and calculated. The massacre of activists should not have been unexpected.

On May 28, three days before the raid, top Israeli military officials revealed details of their strategy to Maariv, Israel’s most widely circulated paper. The caption of the Maariv article reflected the military command’s plan to use force: “On the way to violence; one of the boats is on its way.”

Here is a translation of relevant portions of the article:

This operation was approved by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak and will be led by the commander of the Navy, Lieutenant Colonel Eliezer Maron, who is nicknamed “Cheney.” If the people aboard the boats will not agree to turn around, the operation will transfer to the stage of force. “We are afraid that there will be a terror attack by the boats,” said a high ranking officer. “If terrorists have gotten on the boats or if there is an intention to use hot weapons against our forces, we will use full seriousness and caution. We want to avoid using force but as soon as there will be danger to the life of our forces we will be forced to use live fire as a last resort.


After our fighters take over the boats, OKETZ unit dogs and forces of the IHLM unit corps of engineers will inspect them looking for sabotage materials and fighting tools.

So the Israeli military broadcast its plan for violence, inciting the Israeli public and the soldiers of Unit 13 with fevered visions of a kill-or-be-killed encounter with a group of Arab “terrorists.” The stated conditions for using live fire were arbitrary and poorly defined, giving the commandos little direction and lots of leeway to kill — at the very least the plan demanded force in some form.

After the initial violent stages, the plan called for the gathering of the activists’ “fighting tools,” an acknowledgment by the Israeli military that the activists might try to repel its commandos once they forced their way on the ships. The plan to search for “sabotage materials” also foreshadowed the IDF’s post-raid propaganda campaign.

An alternative plan that would have been likely to avert violence could have been set into motion. The Israeli Navy could have done what it had in the past and hijacked the aid ships without boarding them, then towed them to shore. However, the Rambo-style plan concocted by Netanyahu, his top aides and the Naval commander with the unfortunate nickname of “Cheney” made the killing of activists likely, if not inevitable.

Why didn’t Israel’s leaders choose to deal with the flotilla in a more judicious fashion? Were they that stupid, or just crazy? From the details of the plan it appears that Netanyahu and his cohorts had envisioned Entebbe Part Deux, a daring anti-terror raid that would lift the sinking morale of the Israeli public while intimidating Iran and the Arab world. Though Israel may be more isolated than ever as a result of the massacre, the Netanyahu administration is reaping considerable political benefits at home.

The day after the massacre, spontaneous celebrations broke out in Ashdod, Tel Aviv, and throughout the country, bringing together right-wing elements with everyday Israelis. Over a thousand Israelis gathered tonight outside the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv to rally against the Turkish government and express their support for the raid. Multiple demonstrators including one man who has lived in Israel for 60 years told me, “What Turkey [the sponsor of the Mavi Marmara boat] has done is great. I have never seen this country more united in my entire life. We are all standing together now.” (Video coming soon).

Israeli newscasters are routinely using the term “mechabel,” or terrorist, to refer to the flotilla activists, while the violence that broke out on the deck of the Mavi Marmara is called “the lynch.” (Nevermind that zero commandos were hung and nine activists were killed, including an American citizen who was shot in the head four times.) No evidence is required to support claims in the Israeli media. The public desperately wants to believe that its government is right, so much so that Israel’s media is not even making a token effort to challenge the increasingly hysterical press releases disseminated by the IDF press office every few hours.

Hanin Zoabi, a Palestinian-Israeli member of the Knesset who was on the Mavi Marmara, was physically accosted in the Knesset by fellow legislators for attempting to relate her experience aboard the flotilla. MK Miri Regev of Likud called her a “traitor,” while Yoel Hasson of Kadima, a supposedly centrist party, denounced Zoabi as a “terrorist.” An Israeli Facebook group devoted to inciting Zoabi’s assassination has gathered 600 members in just a day and a half. In the meantime, Israel’s Interior Minster Eli Yishai is “looking into” means of stripping Zoabi of her citizenship.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Israeli War Crimes: From the U.S.S. Liberty to the Humanitarian Flotilla

James Petras | My Catbird Seat | 05 June, 2010

Introduction:  Israel Crimes on the High Seas

On June 8, 1967, two squadrons of Israeli warplanes bombed, napalmed and machine-gunned the US intelligence-gathering ship, USS Liberty, in international waters, killing 34 US sailors and wounding another 172.  The assault took place on a sunny afternoon, with the US flag and identifying markers clearly visible.  The Israelis targeted the antennae to prevent the crew from broadcasting for help and shot up the lifeboats to ensure no survivors.  There were, however, survivors who rigged up an antenna and radioed their distress, a call for help that reached Washington D.C.  In an unprecedented act of betrayal, President Johnson, in close liaison with powerful American Jewish Zionist political backers, covered up the mass murder on the high seas by issuing orders first to recall Mediterranean-based warplanes from rushing to assist their besieged comrades, then threatening to court-martial the survivors who might expose the deliberate nature of the Israeli assault and finally by repeating the Israeli line that the attack was a matter of mistaken identity, a lie which numerous military leaders later rejected.

Almost to the day, 43 years later, on May 31, 2010, Israeli warships, helicopter gun ships and commandos assaulted a convoy of humanitarian ships carrying ten thousand tons of aid to Gaza in international waters.  Prior to the aid mission Turkish authorities had examined the passengers and the ship to ensure no weapons were on board.  The Israelis never the less came on board shooting and clubbing the unarmed passengers, killing up to 19 and wounding dozens.  Despite subsequent Israeli and Zionist claims to the contrary no weapons were found, apart from sticks used by some of the victims attempting to fend off the murderous premeditated assault planned, directed and defended by top Israeli leaders and the entire leadership of the major Zionist organizations in the US and elsewhere.  The invading Israeli storm troopers systematically destroyed all cameras, videos and tape recorders that had documented their savage assault, in order to subsequently spread their brazen lies about their being subject to armed resistance.

The World Response

Within hours of Israel’s bloody act of piracy, nations, political leaders, human rights organizations and the vast majority of the international community condemned the Israeli state for its violation of international law.  Turkey, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Austria summoned their Israeli Ambassadors to protest the deadly assault.  The Financial Times, (June 1, 2010) referred to the Israeli assault as a “brazen act of piracy … hurtling into lawlessness” rooted in its “illegal blockage of Gaza”.  Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan called the Israeli assault an act of “state terrorism” which would have “serious consequences”.  Israel’s attacks on ships flying Turkish, Greek and Irish flags on the high seas were described by legal experts as an “act of war”.  The UN Security Council, NATO and the Secretary General of the UN demanded Israel cease its aggression, while tens of thousands of demonstrators marched denouncing Israel’s blatant act of state murder and wounding of pacifists, humanitarians and protesters from 60 countries.  UN experts demanded that Israeli leaders “must be held criminally responsible”.  Only the Obama regime refused to condemn the Israeli act of state terror, merely expressing “concern and regret”.  The Israeli state defended its murderous assault, promised more in the future and insisted on maintaining its blockade of Gaza, even after the US suggested it might be loosened.

The Israeli Defense of Piracy and State Terror

As news of the Israeli massacre slipped out and the international community reacted with horror and anger, the Israeli government “sought to flood the airwaves with their versions of events … more importantly, the authorities ensured that their narrative gained early dominance by largely silencing the hundreds of activists who were on board during the attack” (Financial Times, June 2, 2010, p2.).  The Jewish state held all the prisoners alive, wounded and dead incommunicado, seized their mobile phones and prohibited any interviews, barring all journalists.  Like most terrorist states, the Jewish state wanted to monopolize the propaganda media.  The Israeli propaganda machine via its state sponsored journalists and news media employed several ploys typical of totalitarian regimes.

  1. Israeli storm troopers invading the ship were turned into victims and the humanitarian pacifists were turned into aggressors.  “Israeli Soldiers Met by Well-Planned Lynch Mob” (Jerusalem Post, March 31, 2010); “Israeli Soldiers Attacked” (IDF, March 31, 2010).
  2. Israel’s act of piracy in international waters was declared legal by a Professor Sabel of the Hebrew University.
  3. The humanitarian organizers were accused of having ties to terrorists according to Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon, though no evidence was presented (Ha’aretz, May 30, 2010).  The organizers including the Turkish human rights group accused by Ayalon were cleared by the Turkish intelligence agency, the military and the Erdogan government, a member of NATO and for many years (in the past) a collaborator with the Israeli Mossad. The other 600 plus human rights volunteers, included pacifists, parliamentarians, former diplomats, as well as current members of the Israeli parliament.
  4. While dozens of human rights people were shot, killed and maimed, Israeli propagandists doctored video releases portraying one of the Israeli assailants on the deck, cutting out the preceding sequence of attack (Financial Times, June 2, 2010, p. 2).
  5. The Israeli sea and airborne assailants were described as the victims of a “Brutal Ambush at Sea” (Ynet News, June 1, 2010).
  6. The terrorized human rights workers were accused of being a “lynch mob”, attacking the Jewish commandos who were firing automatic rifles wildly across the deck and at cornered victims.  The few courageous individuals who fought back to stop the murderous attack were slandered by the Zion-prop, which itself is as monstrous as the crimes they perpetrated.

Once the Israeli propaganda machine started spewing out its gutter lies, the entire leadership of the Zionist Fifth column swung into action … first and foremost in the United States.

The US Zionist Power Configuration:  In Defense of the Massacre

Just as the entire leadership of the 51 principle American Jewish organizations defended every Israeli war crime in the past, from the bombing of the US Liberty, to the Occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza so too did these most honorable apologists repeat verbatim the lies of the Israeli state regarding the assault of the humanitarian flotilla.

The Daily Alert (May 31 – June 2, 2010), the official public propaganda organ of the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, published every scurrilous Israeli state lie, about the Israeli commandos being ‘lynched’, ‘attacked’ and the human rights victims being responsible for the death of their comrades … at the hands of Israeli commandos.  Not a single deviation, not a single word of criticism.  Not even a single mention of even the superficial Israeli critics who faulted the execution, the use of deadly weapons, the assault in international waters, and the public relations fiasco.  The vast majority of Israeli Jews and organized Zionists in the US supported the bloody massacre and were opposed by a small minority who has no access to the mass media.  Zionist control over the mass media was once again demonstrated by the reporting through “Israel’s eyes” (FAIR, June 1, 2010).  Essentially the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, CBS, NBC presented the Israeli commandos attacking the humanitarian boat as being … “assaulted and beaten” (Washington Post, June 1, 2010). The New York Times gave credence to the Israeli claim that its act of piracy on the high seas was legal (NY Times, June 1, 2010).  For the US mass media the problem is not Israeli state terror, but how to manipulate and disarm the outrage of the international community.  To that end the entire Zionist Power configuration has a reliable ally in the Zionized Obama White House and US Congress.

The Obama Response to Israeli State Terror

There is only one basic reason why Israel repeatedly commits crimes against humanity, including the latest assault on the humanitarian flotilla: because it knows that the Zionist Power Configuration, embedded in the US power structure, will ensure government support, in this case the Obama White House.

In the face of the world-wide condemnation of Israel’s crime on the high seas, and calls from the international community for legal action, the Obama regime absolutely refused to criticize Israel. A White House spokesman said “The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy” (AFP May 31, 2010).  An act of state terrorism does not evoke “regrets” – it normally provokes condemnation and punishment.  The power which caused “loss of life and injuries” has a name – Israel; the persons who suffered death and injuries during the Israeli assault – have a name – humanitarian volunteers.  It was not simply a “loss of life” but a well planned premeditated murder which is openly defended by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his entire Cabinet.  The “circumstances” of the murders are clear: Israel assaulted an unarmed ship in international waters, opening fire as they boarded the ship.  The Obama regime’s obscene political cover-up of a deliberate criminal act in violation of international law is evident in his description of a serial homicide as a ‘tragedy’.  Premeditated state terror has no resemblance to a tragic noble ruler forced by circumstances into a criminal act against their closest allies.

Washington, pressed to participate at a UN Security Council meeting, spent 10 hours eliminating all references to Israel’s illegal criminal act, ending in a resolution which merely calls for an “impartial” investigation, with Washington pushing for an Israeli investigatory committee.  To the world at large, including the Turkish government, the Obama regime and the US government, by refusing to condemn Israel, are “accomplices to a mass murder”.

To understand why the Obama regime brought shame and infamy to itself in the eyes of the world, one need look at the Zionist composition of the Obama White House and, equally important, the direct power and access that the principle Jewish-Zionist organizations have over the US political system.  In the week preceding Israel’s announced assault on the humanitarian flotilla, (pro-Israel) Jewish leaders met with over a third of US senators to pressure them to pass harsher sanctions on Iran by June. Among the key operatives attending were the Jewish Federation of North America, AIPAC and the rest of the Israeli Fifth Column (Jewish Telegraph Agency, May 26, 2010).  The following day a squadron of leaders from the Jewish Federations flew into Washington to meet with top Obama administration officials, to ensure that the White House and Congress did not in any way or form publicly express any criticism of Israel’s settlement policy.  No doubt the Zionist apologists for Israeli war crimes extended their agenda to include no public criticism of the Israeli assault on the flotilla.  Rahm Emmanuel, top US Presidential aide, was in Tel Aviv as a guest of top officials of the Israel Defense Force a few days before the IDF launched the assault, no doubt having filled Rahm in on the details.  The Israeli-American aide to Obama no doubt assured the war criminals of Washington’s unconditional political and military support for Israel’s acts of aggression.

From within the Obama Administration and without, the aggressive pressure from the 51 principle organizations of the American Zionists have guaranteed Israeli war criminals immunity from any War Crimes Tribunal, or even serious political condemnation by the UN Security Council.  The Zionized White House’s tactic is to deflect attention from immediate consequential condemnation let alone sanctions, hoping that over time, aided by the blanket mass media apology in the US, the mass indignation and protest overseas will gradually wither away.  Obama and his Zionist cohort are already in a belly crawl mode with Israel.  Part of Rahm’s mission to Israel was to hand Netanyahu an invitation to the White House, during the week of the slaughter at sea.  The only reason Netanyahu did not come to Washington was because he rushed back to Israel to buttress the Foreign Office’s defense of the slaughter in the face of world-wide outrage.  But in a phone conversation, Obama promised Netanyahu a prompt new invitation – assuring the Jewish statesman that violating international laws and bloodying dozens of humanitarian activists is of no consequence, especially since it insures continued financial support by Obama’s Zionist backers.

Like Lyndon Johnson with the cover-up of the USS Liberty, Obama’s apology of Israel’s war crimes, is the price for ensuring the backing of billionaire Zionist financiers and media moguls, the tens of thousands of pro-Israel Jews and the 51 President of the Major American Jewish Organizations.

In the face of Washington’s complicity with Israeli war crimes, the only road is to intensify the world-wide boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign against all Israeli products, cultural activities and professional exchanges.  Hopefully, the Islamic led mass protests will find echo in the wider anti-Zionist Christian and Jewish communities – especially, when Israeli apologists for state terror make public appearances.  Even more important each and every Israeli involved in the mass assault should be subject to criminal prosecution wherever they visit.  Only by making the Israelis understand that they will pay a high price for their serial homicides and violations of international law will reason possibly enter their political narrative.  Only by moving beyond symbolic protests, like recalling diplomats, and taking substantive actions, like breaking relations, will the international community isolate the perpetrator of state terrorism.  All Americans should send loud and clear to President Obama –NEVER AGAIN. Otherwise, with the Zionist Power Configuration active 7/24, the Obama regime, true to the Zionist agenda, will once again focus attention on attacking Iran.  Israel’s action today with US complicity is a prelude of the kind of deadly force it has in store for sabotaging the recent Turkey-Brazil-Iran diplomatic agreement.

This is dedicated to the brave Turkish martyrs on the Mavi Marmara, May 31, 2010, and to the 34 murdered American sailors on the USS Liberty, June 8, 1967 – all victims of an unrepentant criminal state – Israel.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | 3 Comments

Gaza occupation and siege are illegal

George Bisharat, The Electronic Intifada, 5 June 2010

Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was flagrantly illegal. The Flotilla, carefully searched for arms before disembarkation, enjoyed the right of free navigation in international waters, and Israel had no legal justification to interrupt its peaceful mission.

Flotilla passengers were entitled to defend themselves against Israel’s forcible boarding of the Mavi Marmara, whether or not Israeli commandos fired immediately on landing on the ship’s deck, as the passengers maintain. Dropping 100 armed soldiers on a ship from the sky is not a peaceful maneuver. Nor can Israeli armed commandos claim self-defense, any more than a purse snatcher facing a victim who elects to fight back. Hence, Israel is culpable for the killings that followed.

Israel has claimed that it is in “armed conflict” with the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip and that its actions on the high seas to enforce the blockade of the Gaza Strip are therefore permissible. That claim is wrong.

In fact, under customary international law that Israel accepts as binding, Israel continues to occupy the Gaza Strip, despite the withdrawal of its ground troops and settlers from that region in 2005. A territory is “occupied” when foreign forces exercise “effective control” over it, whether accomplished through the continuous presence of ground troops or not.

Israel patrols the territorial waters and airspace of the Gaza Strip, regulates Gaza’s land borders, restricts internal movements by excluding Gazans from a “buffer zone” that includes 46 percent of the Strip’s agricultural land, and controls the Gaza Strip’s supplies of electricity, heating oil, and petrol. Together these factors amount to remote but “effective control.” Thus, the Gaza Strip remains occupied, as the United Nations, the US government and the International Committee of the Red Cross have all recognized.

Israel has authority to halt arms imports into the Gaza Strip. But it also owes a general duty of protection to civilians under its control, and has specific duties to allow them access to adequate food and medical supplies, and to maintain public health standards — duties it has deliberately violated in imposing the siege on Gaza. Currently 77.2 percent of Gaza Palestinians either face or are vulnerable to hunger; of these, 65 percent are children younger than 18. According to UNICEF, 10 percent of Gaza children show signs of stunting, while the World Health Organization maintains that another 10 percent face chronic malnutrition.

Moreover, collective punishment is specifically barred under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that the objective of the blockade is to weaken the Gaza economy and undermine support for Hamas. That is a political, not a military, objective, and it is impermissible under international law to target innocent civilians to achieve nonmilitary goals.

Actions taken to enforce an illegal siege cannot themselves be legal. Israel’s blockade violates the human rights of Gaza Palestinians and must be brought to an end.

Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla is the logical consequence of years of Israeli impunity from international law — abetted by the diplomatic cover provided it by the US government. At some point, genuine friends of both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs must impress on Israel that its serial lawlessness is good for no one, multiplying resentment and pain, and pushing the prospects of regional peace into a more distant future.

George Bisharat is a professor at Hastings College of the Law and writes frequently about law and politics in the Middle East. This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | Comments Off on Gaza occupation and siege are illegal

Eyewitnesses, both activists and reporters, contradict Israeli account

By Steve Hynd | June 4, 2010

As Israel releases detained activists and journalists after the assault on the Gaza relief flotilla, they are beginning to tell their version of events. The story has so far been dominated by Israeli offical releases and “hasbara” so it’s important that the voices of these witnesses are heard by the international community. So far, though, these eyewitness accounts aren’t penetrating the U.S. media. If they did, more Americans would doubtless agree with the New York Times editorial calling for a “impartial international investigation”not a self-serving one run by Israel.

Most importantly, every witness who has so far spoken out contradicts the Israeli account of some kind of self-defense, saying that the Israelis first attacked in boats and that they had already opened fire on the flotilla before commandos began descending from helicopters. They also agree that several people were shot from behind or above, that the Israeli attackers didn’t immediately allow treatment of convoy wounded and that weapons ripped from the hands of commandos were stripped of their ammunition and thrown overboard.

Perhaps the best eyewitness account to begin with is that of Paul McGeough, twice named Australia’s journalist of the year. He writes:

The Israeli attack was timed for dawn prayers – when a good number of the men aboard the Mavi Marmara were praying on the aft deck of the big Turkish passenger ferry, as it motored steadily through international waters in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

…Suddenly sound bombs and tear gas were exploding on the main aft deck, where prayers were held five times a day. The life-jacketed passengers on the rails at first seemed oblivious as those behind them donned the few gas masks that were on board and others, wearing asbestos gloves, sought to grab the devices and hurl them back at the Israeli commandos before they exploded.

In failing to get their grappling irons to hold on the rails of the five-deck ferry, the commandos in their Zodiac-style assault craft continued to be an irritant, or perhaps a decoy because at this point the Israelis opted for a critical change of plan – if they could not come up from the water, they would have to drop from the sky.

On hearing the machines, activists on the upper decks rushed to the top level of the ship – grabbing the commandos even before they landed, disarming them; beating them until, according to some who were present, leaders demanded the Israelis not be harmed; but in one case, one of the Israelis was hurled from one deck of the ship to the next.

…There were conflicting accounts of the first commando landing – some activists said he was injured and was being carried inside the ship for treatment by the flotilla doctors. However, a Serbian cameraman, Srojan Stojiljkovic, said some of the activists had armed themselves with lengths of chain and metal posts that had served as cordons around the ship’s lifeboats.

“Some of the people caught the first commando before he touched the deck – a few started to hit him, but a lot of people moved in to shelter him with their bodies,” the cameraman said. “Another soldier with a bleeding nose was brought in … a few people threw punches, but not as many as I would have expected.”

Matthias Gardel, a leader of the Swedish Palestinian support group, confirmed the soldiers had been beaten, but insisted those involved were unarmed and in keeping with the ship’s non-violent charter, the soldiers’ weapons were thrown overboard.

McGeough also notes that at least two people were shot from behind while treating wounded, another was shot from above.

The Turkish actor Sinan Albayrak said he had witnessed one of the most senior of the Turkish activists ordering passengers to cease beating two of the Israeli soldiers. Later, he saw a Turkish photographer who had been shot in the back of the head; while he and others had been attempting to assist another injured activist, “Israeli troops had opened fire on them . . . we ran away from the injured man”.

The dead include a Turkish journalist, Chetin Genghis, whose head wounds suggested he had been shot from above – possibly from one of the helicopters. After witnessing his dying moments, his colleague Hisham Goruney said:”I want to forget – I still don’t believe that I saw it.”

Another of the dead was said to be an Indonesian cameraman, Sura Fachrizaz, shot in the chest. Also among the dead was a Malaysian doctor who, activists said, was shot while treating the wounded.

All of these elements are confirmed by other witness accounts. Canadian Farooq Burney, mentioned byJohn earlier, is head of an organisation that was bringing a consignment of laptops into Gaza to help educate children there.

Speaking from Istanbul, where he arrived after being released from Israeli detention, Burney said the Israeli military began firing objects at the ship before the boarding party landed.

“There were a lot of gunshot noises that could clearly be heard. Whether they were rubber bullets, whether they were live ammo, there was a lot of gunfire coming from the helicopter, coming from the boats (alongside the Mavi Marmara.)”

Burnley also recounted seeing his first casualty.

Canadian Farooq Burney (37) described how an elderly activist died after being shot in the chest. “We couldn’t see where he was hit so we opened up his lifejacket and we could clearly see that he was hit in the chest, he was losing a lot of blood,” Mr Burney said.

“It was on. . . the right, just close to his chest and there was blood coming out from there. He passed away,” he added.

Mr Burney also said activists who snatched pistols from the commandos removed the bullets and threw them into the sea, contradicting Israeli assertions that the weapons were used against the boarding party.

Gulf News reporter Abbas Al Lawati wrote for his own paper:

As I saw angry activists drag one of the Israeli soldiers down the stairs and punch him, I lost my journalistic objectivity and found myself urging the activist to stop hitting the soldier.

Seeing the anger in the activist’s eyes, I thought that he would kill him. I had images of the wars that Israel has waged over its captive soldiers, and the number of people that have died as a result of them. My thought was that if an Israeli soldier was to die on that ship, the entire flotilla would be bombed until it sank.

That was, of course, before I saw the bloodshed. The activists’ anger was suddenly put in context when I saw a number of people carrying a dying man down the stairs. His face was unrecognisable, covered in blood. He was apparently one of the first to go down, after an Israeli gun targeted the centre of his forehead from a helicopter, spilling his brains into the hands of another activist who was trying to look after him.

Lawati also describes meeting one of the Israeli commandos disarmed by the ship’s passengers.

I took a few steps down to film the other captive soldier, struggling to keep my balance with so much blood under my feet. He stood in a corner being attended by two medics onboard, in shock, crying.

It was surreal. I knew that that soldier could destroy the entire flotilla, and thought I would get some close up footage of him. I took my camera as close as possible to his face and asked his name twice. He was too traumatised to answer. I could see fear of death in his eyes. He was petrified. Then I heard women screaming. “They are coming!”

New Zealand activist Nicola Enchmarch spoke to the NZ Herald:

She said she saw an activist shot on the deck after the forces stormed the ship, part of a flotilla attempting to breach a blockade to deliver aid to Gaza.

“He was shot in the head – probably live ammunition because the back of his head, the injury was severe,” she told the BBC.

“He died there and we had to move because it was just getting crazy, there was a lot of gunfire coming from all directions.”

Her group moved down from the deck to shelter inside and escape the danger. On the way she saw a man shot in the back, who survived.

She said the activists were acting defensively while the Israeli forces were menacing and aggressive. They set off sound bombs and released what was possibly tear gas.

While Irishman Dr. Fintan Lane spoke of his experience on one of the flotilla’s smaller boats.

Dr Lane said he was assaulted: “When they boarded our boat, we resisted entirely peacefully. I sat on the floor and tried to reason with them, but the Israeli commandos physically attacked us,” he said.

“Fiachra [Ó Luain, from Boston USA] was dragged around the ground and I had a gun pointed in my face by a screaming commando. His mania was so intense that I genuinely feared for my life.”

Haneen Zuabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset who has recieved death threats for her participation in the relief convoy, told reporters:

“Israel wanted many deaths to terrorise us and to send a message that no future aid convoys should try to break the siege of Gaza,” she told journalists this week.

Zuabi said that naval boats surrounded the Mavi Marmara and fired on it before soldiers abseiled aboard from a helicopter. She went below to the ship’s hold and said that, within minutes, two dead passengers were brought inside, followed by two more who had been seriously wounded.

soldiers refused her requests for medical assistance for the injured passengers, who died shortly after.

Zuabi – known in Israel as an articulate Hebrew speaker – said that soldiers specifically asked her to translatetheir instructions. At first, she refused. “I shouted back, ‘Why didn’t you ask for my help before you murdered these people?'”

Al Jazeera journalist Jamal ElShayyal taped his account for his own station. Juan Cole writes:

he asserted that the Israelis opened fire as they were boarding the vessel, and that one passenger took a bullet through the top of his head. Many passengers have now confirmed that they were fired on even before the commandos had boots on the deck. Presumably it is this suppressive fire that killed or wounded some passengers and which provoked an angry reaction and an attack on the commandos.

You can watch ElShayyal’s whole account here.

Robert Mackay excerpts some of his testimony for the NYT’s The Lede blog:

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. There was also fire coming from the sea as well. Most of the fire initially from the sea was tear gas canisters, sound grenades, but then it became live fire. After I finished filing that last report and I was going down below deck one of the passengers who was on the side of the deck holding a water hose — trying to hose off, if you will, the advancing Israeli navy — was shot in his arm by soldiers in the boats below. […]

There is no doubt from what I saw that live ammunition was fired before any Israeli soldier was on deck. What I saw, the sequence of events that took place, there was a pool camera, so reporters took it in turns to file, so after I had done my first file, I turned around to see what was going on and there were several shots fired. In fact, one of the helicopters at the front of the ship, you could almost see the soldiers pointing their guns down through some sort of hole or compartment at the bottom side of the helicopter and firing almost indiscriminately without even looking where they were firing. And those bullets were definitely live bullets.

And apparently the violence didn’t stop after the Israelis had taken control. Irish-American peace campaigner Ken O’Keefe, a former US Marine, says he’s been beaten up twice while in Israeli custody. The second beating was so severe that he is still in an Israeli hospital and is now on hunger strike.

There’s a remarkable consistency among eyewitness accounts that Israel supporters will doubtless put down to complicity and others will ascribe to telling the truth. What’s certain is that these accounts are so very different from the official Israeli line that we have to question Israel’s credibility as an honest reporter of events as much as we question the eyewitnesses – perhaps even more so, since many of these witnesses are reporters with reputations for impartial accuracy rather than activists or soldiers following orders.

Robert Mackay writes:

The way these accounts diverge from that of Israel’s military would seem to make an independent investigation into the events crucial. That is particularly true since, as The Lede noted on Wednesday, Israel is apparently in possession of much more video evidence than it has yet released.

In a post making the case that Israel should not conduct that inquiry, Noam Sheizaf, an Israeli journalist and blogger, pointed out that journalists in the flotilla seem to have left Israeli custody without any of the video they shot during the raid that might bolster their accounts.

Israel has confiscated some of the most important material for the investigation, namely the films, audio and photos taken by the passengers [and] journalists on board and the Mavi Marmara’s security cameras. Since yesterday, Israel has been editing these films and using them for its own PR campaign. In other words, Israel has already confiscated most of the evidence, held it from the world and tampered with it. No court in the world would [trust] it to be the one examining it.

The Obama administration and pro-Israel members of Congress are busy saying that Israel is competent and can be trusted to investigate its own actions. Everything we’re hearing from those released says that simply isn’t the case.

Update: The Palestinian Monitor spoke to Italian activist Manolo Luppichini, who told them he was beaten in custody by his israeli captors because “I asked to call my family and my embassy”. Luppichini also says he spoke to Australian Jennie Campbell, one of the nurses present on the Mavi Marama. She told him that she had seen and counted 19 bodies, not the 9 being reported by the media.

Also, check out Gaza Flotilla Survivors, which is aggregating accounts by eyewitnesses.

Update 2: British journalist Hassan Ghani told BBC Radio Scotland:

“They began by throwing stun grenades on to the deck of the ship when people were in the middle of morning prayers.

“Then they began using rubber bullets, they tried to come aboard the ship from the side. People repelled the commandos with water cannons they had set up on the side of the ship.

“Then the Israelis used helicopters to drop people onto roof and there was scuffles on the roof.

“The Israeli solders had already opened fire on the ship, so people were grabbing anything they could to stop the attack in international waters.”

Eyewitness reports are very consistent and at odds with the Israeli official line.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | 3 Comments

UN rights chief says Gaza siege ‘illegal’

Press TV – June 5, 2010

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says the Israeli imposed blockade of the Gaza Strip is “illegal and must be lifted.”

The United Nations official, Navi Pillay said on Saturday that “International humanitarian law prohibits starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and … it is also prohibited to impose collective punishment on civilians.”

“I have consistently reported to member states that the blockade is illegal and must be lifted,” she added.

The comments came as Tel Aviv’s siege of the Gaza Strip is about to enter its third year. The Gaza siege has deprived the Palestinians of food, fuel and other necessities.

Pillay also repeated a call for a probe into Israel’s deadly attack on the multinational relief convoy, the Freedom Flotilla, which had set sail to challenge the siege.

The Monday attack in international waters 150 km (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza killed several activists and left scores more injured.

Also on Saturday, the Israeli military seized the Rachel Corrie, the aid ship which neared Gaza five days after the bloodshed.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | 6 Comments

Israel Derangement Syndrome

By Andrew Sullivan | The Atlantic Monthly | 04 June 2010

To read Charles Krauthammer today is to enter a twilight zone of an alternate reality. A country permanently occupying and colonizing a neighboring region, and treating its original inhabitants as dangerous interlopers, is the victim. An elite commando unit attacking a ship carrying toys and wheelchairs in the hours before dawn are those we should feel pity for. A country with 150 nuclear warheads and the strongest military in its region, the victor in every conventional war it has always fought, is somehow also always fighting for its very existence. A country backed by the sole superpower, supplied with aid by huge majorities in the US Congress, is facing extinction. Self-defense requires not civilly disabling and inspecting the cargo of an unarmed ship but raiding it at dawn and killing nine and injuring dozens. Basic human revulsion at a military that can kill over a thousand people – including scores of women and children in a trapped, impoverished enclave – can only be a function of anti-Semitism. A territory that is being systematically populated with Israelis in illegal settlements in contravention of the Geneva Conventions is merely a “buffer zone”. You need to colonize buffer zones?

Invasion and occupation of neighboring countries is “forward defense”. And asking that a two-state solution be moved forward by freezing illegal settlement construction and allowing a blockade that, while interdicting arms, doesn’t seek to kill civilians and restrict the import of basic necessities is to deprive a country with 150 nuclear warheads of any legitimate form of self-defense.

This is a form of derangement, or of such a passionate commitment to a foreign country that any and all normal moral rules or even basic fairness are jettisoned. And you will notice one thing as well: no regret whatsoever for the loss of human life, just as the hideous murder of so many civilians in the Gaza war had to be the responsibility of the victims, not the attackers. There is no sense of the human here; just the tribe.

Something has been wrong here for a very long time, and now it is inescapable. Until the discourse is rescued from the victims of Israel Derangement Syndrome, Israel and America will slowly be drawn into wars they cannot ultimately win, lose every other ally they ever had, and embolden and fortify the very Islamist forces we are seeking to defuse and defeat.

Copyright © 2010 by The Atlantic Monthly

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | 1 Comment

Israeli commando ‘to get valor medal’

Press TV – June 5, 2010

An Israeli commando who shot dead several activists in a recent attack on a Gaza-bound international aid convoy may receive a medal of valor, a report says.

The Times Online reported on Saturday that the nominated Israeli soldier single-handedly killed six campaigners on the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara — one of the six ships of the Freedom Flotilla.

The convoy was carrying hundreds of activists and thousands of tons of supplies for the people of Gaza, who have been under siege for three years.

The flotilla came under attack on Monday by Israeli commandos, leaving at least nine activists dead and more than 40 others injured.

In an interview with Israeli media, the soldier — identified for security reasons only as Staff Sergeant S — said the shooting had started within minutes after he and his comrades were set upon by a “mob of mercenaries.”

Israeli forces claim that pro-Palestinian activists on board the ships started the violence, while all activists say that Israelis began shooting from their boats surrounding the ship and a helicopter hovering above.

Granting the award to the commando is expected to worsen the already shaky relations between Turkey and Israel as Ankara has called on Tel Aviv to make an apology over the deadly assault.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Militarism | 10 Comments

Israel censors news on deadly Flotilla raid

Mel Frykberg, The Electronic Intifada, 4 June 2010
Freedom Flotilla activists being marched away from a bus at the Ben Gurion International airport. (Mel Frykberg/IPS)

TEL AVIV (IPS) – Attempts by media to interview some of the hundreds of Freedom Flotilla members, who were being deported from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, Wednesday, were thwarted by Israeli authorities.

“No you will not be able to talk to them or interview them,” Shahar Ariel, a deputy-spokesman from Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs told IPS as TV crews and journalists jammed one of the airport’s sidewalks and filmed the dramatic departure.

Foreign media, and some Israeli journalists, have accused Israeli authorities of censoring news and interfering with journalists trying to interview the Freedom Flotilla activists who were trying to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip when they were attacked by Israeli commandos.

Israeli journalists from the left-leaning daily Haaretz have complained of extreme difficulty in contacting the top brass in political and military echelons willing to give interviews and comment on the debacle.

Furthermore, the Israeli military had imposed a blackout on the names and nationalities of the activists on board the Freedom Flotilla and refused to reveal in which hospitals the wounded were receiving treatment.

Some of the details leaked out, but journalists were forbidden from talking to the wounded in the hospitals with Israeli soldiers stationed in hospital corridors to enforce the blackout.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) reported that at least 60 of the approximately 700 passengers on board the Freedom Flotilla were journalists and slammed the treatment of the media.

“We point out that the journalists were there to do their job, which was to cover what happened. They should not be confused with the activists,” RWB said.

Some of the reporters on board the boats were assaulted and their equipment confiscated or destroyed. They were amongst the last to be released by the Israeli authorities.

“We tried to race ahead of the commandos so that we could send out pictures of the dead and wounded to the international media,” Huwaida Arraf, the Free Gaza Movement’s chairwoman, told IPS. “But our satellite phones had stopped functioning. The Israelis had scrambled the signals to prevent us communicating with the outside world.”

“It was clear from the beginning that Israel was trying to control the media coverage of the event to present its version of events to the world.”

“As soon as the commandos boarded they confiscated our mobiles, recording and video devices and then started filming instead,” Arraf told IPS.

One of the two Australian journalists on board, from The Sydney Morning Herald, Kate Geraghty, was tazered (with an electric baton). Paul McGeough, her colleague, said that the naval commandos’ pursuit of the boats had felt like “being hunted by hyenas at night.”

The two were denied consular access or legal representation. They had originally wanted to fight their deportation order but their lawyer was denied timely access. When an Israeli court eventually agreed to an urgent hearing it appeared too late as their plane was due to leave.

IPS asked Ariel why the Australian journalists had been denied consular access and legal representation and why so many of the activists had suddenly decided not to fight their deportation after initially vowing to do so.

“We want them out of the country as soon as possible. This is a normal situation, at this point in time, for them not to have consular and legal access as they as they are still under investigation,” Ariel told IPS.

The abuse and beatings of activists apparently happened on boats where no resistance had been offered to the raiding commandos, unlike on the Mavi Marmara where some activists tried to fight back with crude kitchen instruments, resulting in a still disputed number of them dead.

The Israelis had claimed there were firearms on board, but withdrew the allegations after being unable to offer proof.

Arraf disputed the accusations, saying that not only had the boats been thoroughly checked by security at the various ports of departure but the Flotilla organizers had hired independent security experts to verify that the boats were weapons-free.

In a separate incident on Wednesday IPS witnessed two very frightened activists who had arrived at the airport on buses and had been forcibly removed, being cuffed and frog-marched out of the departure terminal towards a minivan.

According to an Israeli police spokesman they had acted in a “provocative” manner.

When this correspondent took pictures of the event, she was verbally abused and physically intimidated by one of the security police escorting the Freedom Flotilla detainees before his colleagues pulled him back.

The police then blocked the entrance of the minibus with their bodies so that other reporters arriving on the scene were unable to take further pictures.

Following the incident reporters were physically prevented by security guards from entering the departure terminal.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of Israel’s Knesset (parliament), who was on board one of the six Flotilla boats, was provided with bodyguards after another member tried to physically attack her, forcing other legislators to intervene.

Haaretz reported that Hanin Zoabi, the Palestinian MK, had during a parliamentary discussion, described the Israel navy’s bloody raid on a Turkish-flagged ship as a “pirate military operation.”

She had demanded that ministers explain why the soldiers had been ordered to confiscate reporters’ cameras and why the government had refused to allow the media to publish pictures of the people who were killed on board the ship.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | Comments Off on Israel censors news on deadly Flotilla raid

Rep. Sherman: Prosecute U.S. Citizens involved with Gaza Flotilla

Ali Gharib | Lobe Log | June 4th, 2010

On a press call hosted by a pro-Israel organization, Rep. Brad Sherman, Democrat of California, told reporters that he intends seek the prosecution of any U.S. citizens who were aboard or involved with the Freedom Flotilla.

“The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 [PDF] makes it absolutely illegal for any American to give food, money, school supplies, paper clips, concrete or weapons to Hamas or any of its officials,” Sherman said on the Israel Project call, conflating Hamas and Gaza’s civilian population. “And 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.”

Sherman also said that he plans on working with the Department of Homeland Security to make sure that any non-U.S. citizen involved with or aboard the Flotilla are excluded from entering the U.S.

Hamas, considered a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 and has held de facto rule over the Gaza Strip since it took the area by force in 2007 in anticipation of an impending U.S.-backed coup d’etat by the rival Fatah faction.

The Freedom Flotilla was organized by the Free Gaza Movement to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza — in place since Hamas’s takeover — and deliver tons of food aid, medical and school supplies and building materials to repair buildings damaged in the month-long Israeli assault of Gaza in Dec. 2008 and Jan. 2009. The Flotilla was raided by Israeli commandos in international waters during the early hours of Monday morning, leaving at least nine people, including one U.S. citizen, dead.

Though the nine were killed by the IDF, Sherman criticized the Obama administration for not directly blaming Hamas, using the logic that the militant movement brought the blockade on itself: “I think the U.S. could be better now about condemning Hamas as responsible for those nine deaths.”

The blockade and the land siege (by Israel and Egypt) have, by international consensus (leaving out Israel and its hard-line American allies) caused a humanitarian crisis among Gaza’s civilian population.

The Congressman, known as a pro-Israel stalwart who has, in the past, joined as the sole Democrat on Republican criticisms of Obama’s foreign policy toward Israel, denied that there was a “hunger crisis” or “humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip. “The health circumstances in Gaza are better than they are in many American cities,” he added later.

Questions about the legality of the Israeli blockade and its enforcement in international waters were quickly dismissed by Sherman, who said that the U.S. had itself blockaded Germany in both World Wars, Japan in the Second, Cuba during the missile crisis, and, curiously, the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The irony of the last example was, I’m sure, lost on Sherman. It was in that war, of course, that another man named Sherman, a Union officer, led a scorched-Earth campaign against the blockaded Confederacy. There are similar examples from the recent Gaza War, which I’d bed Rep. Sherman also had no problem with. (And are we really reduced to using a conflict from 150 years ago to justify military actions of the IDF?)

While Israel alleges ties between IHH, a Turkish relief organization involved in the Flotilla, and terror groups, many credible doubts have been raised about that assertion (see LobeLog contributors Marsha Cohen and Max Blumenthal’s pieces on the subject). Nonetheless, Sherman insisted the group has “clear terrorist ties.”

The California Congressman also blamed the media for the harsh criticisms of Israel since the incident on the Med (even from tiny Central American countries). Sherman employed what he called the “Kent State Rorschach Test” — referring to a generation of journalists who grew up in the Vietnam War-era and viewed Western governments critically because of incidents like the 1970 Kent State massacre.

“The liberal media is misled by that Kent State Rorschach Test that is a belief that those who are poorer, less technological, and more scruffy looking are right,” he said, alluding to skepticism of “Westerners, Europeans, and the U.S.”

All of Israel’s problems, said Sherman, are a distraction from Iran’s nuclear program, which he alleged is aimed at nuclear weapons. If Iran acquires those weapons, he said, the U.S. itself will be in danger: “You could smuggle one into the States in a bale of marijuana.”

“What really matters is the Iran nuclear program and we have a short amount of time to stop that program,” Sherman went on. “And our failure to take all the action to stop that program could force Israel to take an action far more controversial than what they’ve done this week.”

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Wars for Israel | 7 Comments