TBR News June 5, 2010

Jun 05 2010

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., June 5, 2010: “It is very obvious that anyone who dares to speak ill of the actions of the state of Israel is considered by the radical members of the Jewish community to be a vicious anti-Semite and probably a secret neo-Nazi who lusts to launch another Holocaust. That the crazy Netanyahu had deliberately ordered what amounts to an act of piracy, complete with armed pirates, commandeered and later looted ships and murdered passengers, is not to doubt but I note that the American media is shoving this off onto the back pages and the New York Times devoted its entire op-ed page following the event to Israeli officials presenting their shrill defenses. From the howls from the Jewish community, one would think the Internet was filled with former Gestapo officers bent on spreading their lies to an innocent public. And, also we note, Brother Cass wants to use this to clamp down on the entire American internet to prevent such horrible attacks in the future. Couldn’t Dick Cheney take Cass out on a hunting trip only this time be armed for heavier game? A load of bird shot in Cass’s face would not slow him down but a larger caliber projectile invading  tender body parts might do better. I have said it before. So did our first President and I will conclude this by reprinting a portion of his farewell address of 1796.: ‘,,, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation. ‘As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils 7 Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter. ‘Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests. ‘The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities. ‘Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel. ‘Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice? It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.’ From this, it is easy to see that in actuality, George Washington was our first anti-Semite!”

Report condemns swine flu experts’ ties to big pharma

Trio of scientists who urged stockpiling had previously been paid, says report June 4, 2010 by Randeep Ramesh The Guardian/UK Scientists who drew up the key World Health Organization guidelines advising governments to stockpile drugs in the event of a flu pandemic had previously been paid by drug companies which stood to profit, according to a report out today. An investigation by the British Medical Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the not-for-profit reporting unit, shows that WHO guidance issued in 2004 was authored by three scientists who had previously received payment for other work from Roche, which makes Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), manufacturer of Relenza. City analysts say that pharmaceutical companies banked more than $7bn (£4.8bn) as governments stockpiled drugs. The issue of transparency has risen to the forefront of public health debate after dramatic predictions last year about a swine flu pandemic did not come true. Some countries, notably Poland, declined to join the panic-buying of vaccines and antivirals triggered when the WHO declared the swine flu outbreak a pandemic a year ago this week. The UK, which warned that 65,000 could die as a result of the virus, spent an estimated £1bn stockpiling drugs and vaccines; officials are now attempting to unpick expensive drug contracts. The cabinet office has launched an inquiry into the cost to the taxpayer of the panic-buying of drugs. Today, the Council of Europe, produces a damning report into how a lack of openness around “decision making” has bedevilled planning for pandemics. “The tentacles of drug company influence are in all levels in the decision-making process,” said Paul Flynn, the Labour MP who sits on the council’s health committee. “It must be right that the WHO is transparent because there has been distortion of priorities of public health services all over Europe, waste of huge sums of public money and provocation of unjustified fear.” Although the experts consulted made no secret of industry ties in other settings, declaring them in research papers and at universities, the WHO itself did not publicly disclose any of these in its seminal 2004 guidance. In its note, the WHO advised: “Countries that are considering the use of antivirals as part of their pandemic response will need to stockpile in advance.” Many nations would adopt this guidance, including Britain. In 2005, the government said it had begun bulk-buying the drug Tamiflu, initially ordering 14.6m doses after bird flu killed 40 in Asia. The specific guidance on antivirals was written by Professor Fred Hayden. He has confirmed in an email that he was being paid by Roche for lectures and consultancy work at the time the guidance was produced and published. He received payments from GSK for consultancy and lecturing until 2002. He said “[declaration of interest] forms were filled out for the 2002 consultation”. The previous year Hayden was also one of the main authors of a Roche-sponsored study that asserted what was to become a main Tamiflu selling point – its claim of a 60% reduction in flu hospitalisations. Dr Arnold Monto was the author of the WHO annex dealing with vaccine usage in pandemics. Between 2000 and 2004, and at the time of writing the annex, Monto had openly declared consultancy fees and research support from Roche and GSK. No conflict of interest statement was included in the annex published by the WHO. When asked if he had signed a declaration of interest form for WHO, Dr Monto said “conflict of interest forms are requested before participation in any WHO meeting”. The third scientist, Professor Karl Nicholson, is credited with the WHO’s influential work Pandemic Influenza. According to declarations he made in the BMJ and Lancet in 2003, he had received sponsorship from GSK and Roche. Even though the previous year these declarations had been openly made, no conflict of interest statement was included in the annex. Nicholson said he last had “financial relations” with Roche in 2001. When asked if he had signed a declaration of interest form for WHO, he replied: “The WHO does require attendees of meetings, such as those held in 2002 and 2004, to complete declarations of interest.” A WHO official told the BMJ it had to balance an individual’s privacy with the robustness of guidelines, which were subject to a wide external review process. Editor’s note: Our last issue of the Slaughterhouse Informer contained clear and concise reporting on the Israeli piracy in the Mediterranean. It received so much comment that we are reprinting this part of the newsletter:

Prayers, tear gas and terror

June 4, 2010

by Paul McGeough, Chief Correnspondent in Istanbul

Sydney Morning Herald After four days at sea, our correspondents witnessed the Israeli assault on the Gaza flotilla. 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. The call to prayer could be heard across the water – haunting chords made tinny by the ship’s PA system, yet haunting enough amid tension sparked several hours earlier when the six ships’ captains in the Free Gaza Flotilla rejected a demand radioed by the Israeli navy – change course away from the Gaza Strip or be confronted with lethal force. Pacing the Mavi Marmara at a steady 8 knots and just 150 metres to its port side, we were aboard the 25-metre Challenger One, the fastest but also the smallest boat in the flotilla. It was a front-row seat for the opening to Israel’s Operation Sky Wind which, despite confident predictions by a gallery of Israeli officials, was about to go horribly wrong. In the blackness before the rising of a burnt-orange moon, all that could be seen of the Israelis around us were pinpoints of light, as warships sitting a kilometre or more each side of the flotilla inched in – seemingly to squeeze the Gaza-bound humanitarian convoy. Then, the tightening noose. Sneaking up and around every boat, there were bullet-shaped hulks which soon became impossible to hide as the moonlight made fluorescent tubes of their roiling wakes. First one, then two and maybe four could be seen sneaking in from the rear. They hunted like hyenas – moving up and ahead on the flanks; pushing in, then peeling away; and finally, lagging before lunging. But as they came alongside the Mavi Marmara, the dozen or so helmeted commandos in each assault craft copped the full force of the ferry’s fire hoses and a shower of whatever its passengers found on deck or could break from the ship’s fittings. 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. The death toll stands at nine of the ship’s activists and maybe 30 injured – and there were claims from some on the ship that some of their comrades were missing, unaccounted for since the battle at sea and the chaotic arrest and deportation by Israel of the estimated 700 activists aboard the six vessels. Four of the ships carried 10,000 tonnes of emergency supplies for Gaza, which Israel has kept under blockade since 2006 when Hamas won electoral control of the Palestinian Occupied Territories. A year later Hamas retained control of Gaza in the face of an Israeli- and US-backed bid to oust the Islamist movement from power. The flotilla drew on funds from NGOs in Turkey, Malaysia, Ireland, Algeria, Kuwait, Greece and Sweden. The international coalition of Palestinian support groups is determined to prove the Israeli blockade of Gaza is a Western-backed exercise in collective punishment – something that will be maintained until Gazans turn on Hamas. Tel Aviv claims it is vital to Israel’s security. As distress flares launched from the ship cut through the steel-beam spotlights on Israeli helicopters hovering overhead, the first Israeli commandos who slithered down ropes from the choppers were easy pickings for the waiting activists. At this stage, Challenger One’s British skipper, Dennis Healey, opted to gun the engines, hoping to break from the Israelis swarming the rest of the flotilla. The following account of what happened on the decks of the Mavi Marmara is based on interviews with activists while they and the Herald news crew, which accompanied the flotilla as non-participating observers, were held in an Israeli prison for more than two days. People were also interviewed on Wednesday on board one of three aircraft sent to Israel by the Turkish government to ferry all the near-700 captured activists to a rousing 4am reception by tens of thousands of cheering Turks at Istanbul’s airport. 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. Soon after the soldiers had been treated, injured and dead from among the boat’s passengers were brought in. Stojiljkovic said: “Some were not badly wounded, but then a guy was brought in with a point-blank shot between his eyes – he was dead and I was told that another person was killed in the same way.” 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”. Gardel said the bulk of the passengers had remained in the second-deck saloons and had not been involved in resisting the Israelis –”but a bunch of people tried to protect the bridge, the engine-room and the point from which we streamed the live video”. Another activist, a Turk, lifted his shirt to reveal 10 puncture marks in a rough and black-bruised circle, about the circumferences of a teacup. He said the marks were inflicted when he was bitten by an Israeli security dog – while he had been assisting the Israelis by acting as a translator. 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. It took the Israelis about 85 minutes to capture the Mavi Marmara. As the 100-plus reporters and other media workers on board followed orders to return to the ship’s press room after being told by the captain his vessel now was under Israeli control, many were crestfallen by the sense an Israeli blanket of “white-noise” had prevented them from getting the story out.

But then someone flicked the switch on a big flat-screen TV on the wall. It burst into life with a Turkish channel, running the live-feed video which the ship had been transmitting to websites run by the Free Gaza Movement and the flotilla’s other sponsors – it was scenes of the Israeli takeover of the Mavi Marmara. A resounding cheer went up.

Israeli commandos kill activists on flotilla bound for Gaza

Ankara calls incident unacceptable as 10 members of aid convoy are killed during storming of Turkish ship in international waters May 31, 2010 by Harriet Sherwood in Ashdod The Guardian/UK At least 10 pro-Palestinian activists were killed and dozens injured in a battle at sea with Israeli naval commandos today, sparking an international diplomatic crisis and the prospect of angry demonstrations across Israel, the Palestinian territories, Turkey and beyond. Dozens of activists injured during the storming of a Gaza aid flotilla were ferried to hospitals in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ashkelon. The Israeli military said at least five of its personnel were also injured, at least one seriously. The incident engulfed Israel in a war of words with its ally Turkey, with whom relations were already stained following the Israelis three-week military assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008-9. Today’s deaths and injuries were condemned by the UN, EU and other countries. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, described the storming of the flotilla as a “massacre”. The Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, described it as a “war crime”. Turkey, Spain and Greece demanded explanations from the Israeli ambassadors to their countries. Turkish police were sent to the residence of the Israeli ambassador in Ankara, which was surrounded by demonstrators. Nine of the dead activists were thought to be Turkish nationals. Israel swiftly mounted a PR offensive to set out its version of events. The navy had promised to exercise restraint in dealing with the flotilla, and the bloodshed involved in the operation will inevitably leave Israel open to charges of excessive force. The assault began at 4.30am in international waters, about 60 miles from the coast of Gaza where the convoy was heading to deliver its cargo of aid. According to a spokeswoman for Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Avital Leibovich, officers aboard its warships gave the activists several warnings before boarding the Turkish ferry, the Mavi Marmara. “We found ourselves in the middle of a lynching,” she told reporters in the Israeli port of Ashdod. Around 10 activists attacked commandos, she said, relieving them of their pistols. “We didn’t look for confrontation but it was a massive attack,” she said. “What happened was a last resort.” It was impossible to contact protesters on the ships, but the Free Gaza Movement, one of the organisers of the flotilla, said the IDF had started the violence, firing as soon as they boarded the ship. At least one of the six boats in the flotilla arrived at lunchtime in Ashdod, 23-miles north of Gaza City. The port was closed to reporters, who took up position on a hill overlooking it. Activists were expected to be processed in a large white tent on the quayside, where they would be offered the choice of immediate deportation to their country of origin or going through the lengthy process of the Israeli courts system. The Israeli authorities gave no details of the injuries suffered by activists. It confirmed that 10 were dead, although government sources suggested the figure could be as high as 19. It claimed that one of its injured troops had suffered gunshot wounds and another had been stabbed. Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, an influential organisation among Arab citizens of Israel, who was on board the Mavi Mamara, was also injured. There are conflicting reports as to the seriousness of his injuries. The Swedish author Henning Mankell was on board one of the ships, which left Cyprus yesterday and had been due to arrive in Gaza today. The flotilla, which had been delayed by several days, was carrying around 650 activists and 10,000 tonnes of aid, including medical supplies and construction materials. The aim was to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which has been rigorously enforced for the past three years. Leibovich defended Israel’s action in international waters, saying it was permissible when a country’s security was threatened. Israel was expected to advise its nationals in Turkey to leave the country for fear of reprisals. A luxury liner, Magic 1, was diverted from the Turkish coast to Cyprus. Abbas said: “What Israel has committed on board the freedom flotilla was a massacre.” He declared three days of official mourning for the dead. Israeli police cancelled leave and the army was on high alert, saying it feared possible rocket attacks from Islamist militants in Gaza and southern Lebanon. Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, described the activists as allies of Hamas and al-Qaida, claiming they would have opened an arms smuggling route to Gaza if they had been permitted to land there.

Turkey Promises to Send Supplies to Gaza With Naval Escort

May 31, 2010 AlterNet Well, now Israel has done it. They have actually provoked Turkey to the point that they may start a war over this incident massacre: Turkey has threatened Israel with unprecedented action after Israeli forces attacked an aid vessel, killing 10 peace activists headed to Gaza.Israel said 10 people died while those on the ship said at least 15 were killed. A shocked world has responded with outrage. Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and warned of unprecedented and incalculable reprisals. Two Turkish activists were reported to be among those killed in the flotilla. Ankara warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy, a development with unpredictable consequences. Israel has sounded an alert throughout the country fearing rocket attacks by Hezbollah in Lebanon. If Turkey is promising to send new supplies with naval escort, then we’re headed for an epic showdown between two of Americas closest allies. I don’t think Obama is getting too much rest and relaxation this Memorial Day. Meanwhile, the Arab League will meet tomorrow and put immense pressure on Egypt to lift their portion of the Gazan blockade. I can’t imagine that Egypt will refuse. In fact, I think Israel has jeopardized their peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. All this, and for what? To keep construction materials from the Gazan people? Israel is not behaving in anything resembling a rational manner. They just lost the only friends they had not named America. And who can help them now but Big Daddy? The problem is that Big Daddy has more to consider than Israeli’s deluded interests. We have to worry about our own image and international relationships. Turkish Sources Israeli Advance Target Assassination List Found on Flotilla June 1, 2010 PrisonPlanet 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. Flotilla Massacre is a Reply to the Turkish-Iranian Relations The leaders of the Israeli gang of War criminals, the so-called “Israeli government” is currently engaged in inciting and planning to launch a nuclear war against Iran, was not able to do anything in response to the Turkish- Iranian-Brazilian agreement of last May 17 2010 to transfer 1.200 Kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for nuclear fuel. In retaliation, they perpetrated the massacre on the Freedom Flotilla of humanitarian aid-carrying ships aiming to break the Israel genocide of siege on Gaza imposed since 2006. The Turkish-Iranian-Brazilian agreement stood as an obstacle against the Israeli ambitions to force the world to enter into a spiral of bloody nuclear war. It is wrong to believe that the Turkish government was not expecting the massacre against the Freedom Flotilla which carried 10.000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Gaza. The military maritime piracy and massacre operation carried out by Shayetet 13, a naval commando unit, in which at least 20 peace activists were murdered and over 50 were wounded, was a decision of the inner circles of power in israel and approved by the Israeli Cabinet headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and other war criminals. This Israeli massacre was a message addressed to Turkey and its new Iranian and Syrian allies. Anyone who knows to read between the lines and the history of Israel’s military leaders can understand that Israel has never distinguished between civilians and militants of the groups which are considered as enemies according to the non-logical standards of the zionists. Israel committed a massacre against the Turkish ship “Marmara”, which carried humanitarian aid to the Palestinians besieged in the Gaza concentration camp. This massacre was well prepared by the Israeli cabinet, and some pro-Israel governments were informed with full details about the planned crime. Israel commissioned a special unit in the Marine Corps, deployed boats and helicopters patrolling the coast of Ashdod and Gaza and announced the waters off the coast of Gaza a closed military zone. They also announced via their propaganda organs of their intent to transfer the ships and the solidarity activists to the port of Ashdod before deporting them to their countries as illegal immigrants, and to arrest those who refused to identify themselves and sign a pledge not to return. They also prepared tents as detention units to jailing the activists and investigating them; the team of the interrogators which Israel choose to interrogate the peace activist was manned by people with experience as torturers and who had previously “worked” the Palestinian prisoners of the israeli gulag. The Israeli ships monitored the Freedom Flotilla from a distance of about 124 km away of the coast of Israel. According to the international movement, the passengers rushed to wear the safe jackets and raised the alert status as soon as the war ships were visible. The peace activists on board of the convoy stated that three Israeli ships spoke to the Turkish ship Captain over radio and warned him of the consequences of approaching the coast of Gaza which was declared as the a closed military area. They demanded from them to bring the humanitarian aid to the port of Ashdod, stressing that the Israeli navy would prevent the penetration a military closed area at any price, meaning that they would not shrink from murdering anybody. The ships were carrying 10.000 tons of medical supplies and building materials, timber, and 100 pre-built houses, for ten thousands of people who lost their homes due to the Israeli war crimes on Gaza early in the year of 2009. They also carried 500 electric vehicles for the use of disabled people, especially since the recent Israeli war crimes over 600 were left permanently disabled, with amputated legs. The Israeli Arab Knesset MP Hanan Al-Zoubi had spoken through a loudspeaker in Hebrew with the Israeli military telling them to not attack ships carrying civilian peace activists and humanitarian aid. She added that during her appeal the Israeli soldiers fired live bullets at ships, which led to the wounding of civilians, among them the Arab-Israeli citizen Sheikh Raed Salah, who was shot and now in a critical conditions. She added: “the Israeli gunboats approached the “Caravan of freedom” and asked the captain of the ship to identify himself and the identity of the boat. The ships were in the International waters about 100 miles from Gaza. At this moment the Israeli helicopters attacked the ships from the sky. 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. 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. In the end, Israel has carried out a horrific bloody massacre, and the victims were all civilians.The questions remain: Did Israel achieve its goals with the massacre on the Freedom Flotilla ship? Did Turkey and the other countries on Israel secret hate list (who are listed in secret as “hostile enemies”) receive the Israeli message? Which was the Israeli message? The answer to the first question is a clear now, and the coming days will reveal the answer to the second question and whether Israel really considers Turkey an enemy in secret. Whatever the answers to these questions, Israel should admit that the political equation has changed in the region and Israel and its allies can no longer change the politics. In the best interest of everybody, Israel should understand that everything they do is against them and that it would be better to desist from further criminal actions. Also in the best interest of everybody, all other nations must understand that Israel no longer has any legitimacy whatsoever as a state, and that its continued existence as a state is undesirable in the extreme to everybody outside of the tiny corrupt elites which are its support base overseas. Israel vows more attacks on aid ships June 1, 2010 Press TV – A defiant Israel downplays international condemnations of its deadly raid against a Gaza-bound aid convoy, vowing to prevent all aid ships trying to break the Gaza siege. “We will not let any ships reach Gaza and supply what has become a terrorist base threatening the heart of Israel,” AFP quoted Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai as saying on Tuesday. The remarks came in response to an announcement by organizers of Gaza Freedom Flotilla, saying they intended to send two more aid boats to Gaza, despite Israel’s deadly naval operation. The commando raid killed some 20 people accompanying the six-ship fleet and left more than 50 others wounded, according to Palestinian sources. Israel’s Army Radio reported that the MV Rachel Corrie, a converted merchant ship, would reach Gazan waters by Wednesday. An unnamed Israeli marine lieutenant told the radio in an interview that he expected an easy takeover of the ship, saying the Israeli forces would be “ready” for the Rachel Corrie, Reuters reported. Israel’s latest threat comes as a slap in the face of sharp criticism and envoy-summonings against Israel across the world, particularly in Muslim nations where a seething anti-Israeli sentiment erupted into angry street rallies. On Tuesday, Israel announced a decision to hold 480 activists captured on Monday in jail, saying the international campaigners would face prosecution. The UN Security Council condemned the bloodshed in the Monday’s attack and called for the immediate release of the civilians in the Israeli custody. The 15-nation council also ordered an impartial investigation into the deadly Israeli attack on the freedom flotilla. http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/israel-vows-more-attacks-on-aid-ships/

Former Mossad agent ridicules Gaza ship raid

June 1, 2010 by Jeff Stein  | Washington Post The Israeli commando attack on a civilian flotilla was “so stupid it is stupefying,” says former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky. Ostrovsky spent six years in the Israeli navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander before Mossad recruited him in 1982. He quit after four years and in the 1990s he wrote two highly critical, first-person books about the intelligence service. Monday’s raid on a seaborne civilian aid mission to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which left nine dead and about 75 wounded, was carried out by the Israeli navy’s commando unit, “Shayetet 13,” Ostrovsky said. “It’s a fantastic unit. … It was not typical of Flotilla 13,” he said, using the English translation for Shayetet, which he called “one of the top units in the Israeli military.” Members of the unit “have trained extensively for overtaking a ship,” he said. “However, their training was directed at overtaking a hijacked ship.” Evidently the tactics weren’t adjusted for this mission. “Mossad probably had more than one man on board” the ships, Ostrovsky said, secret agents who would have been giving Israeli mission planners an accurate picture of what was happening on the vessels. Were their reports ignored? “At this point,” says Jeffrey White, a former Middle East analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, “it is hard to say if this was a failure of collection, assessment or operational preparation.” “My sense is that somewhere in the process from collection to conduct, the notion that this would be an action against moderate opposition became fixed ….” “The mistakes were on every level,” said Ostrovsky, “from the order to forcefully board outside the territorial waters to the actual attack.” Responsibility for the raid, which has provoked widespread condemnation and a diplomatic uproar, should be laid at the feet of “the shoot-from-the-hip prime minister,” Ostrovsky said — Binyamin Netanyahu, whom he blamed for two previous messy intelligence operations in Dubai and Jordan. Flotilla 13’s typically careful planning, he speculated, was supplanted by orders from Netanyahu or his ultra-conservative foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, to “do something now.” “Nobody can do a good job in a rush,” he said. Stopping the flotilla in international waters was “a grave mistake,” Ostrovsky said. “Why not wait? They knew where it was going.” Ostrovsky, who developed missile capabilities for Israeli gunboats, said there were several, far safer, alternatives to sending black-clad commandos rappelling onto the ship from frightfully noisy helicopters in the middle of the night. The commandos could have easily sneaked up to the ships and boats from behind in “wet submarines” (which look like open torpedoes) and disabled their propellers, he said. “Eventually they’d run out of food and water and they could be towed to shore,” said Ostrovsky, now chief executive of TheBookPatch.com, a Web site for writers. Ostrovsky said it was also inexplicable that the commandos were sent to land on the top decks in the middle of the ships, where they were vulnerable to resistance from terrified and angry passengers and crew. A better tactic would have been to have the commandos board from the stern and bow and work inward. In any event, the episode has become a public relations debacle for Israel, Ostrovsky said. “We look like the British stopping the Exodus,” he said. The 1960 blockbuster movie, based on a best-seller by the same name, dramatized the efforts of 611 Jewish refugees to defy a British blockade of occupied Palestine after World War II.

America’s Complicity in Evil

May 31, 2010 by Paul Craig Roberts http://www.opednews.com/articles/America-s-Complicity-in-Ev-by-paul-craig-roberts-100531-315.html As I write at 5pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from President Obama except to say that he needed to learn “all the facts about this morning’s tragic events” and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House. Thus has Obama made America complicit once again in Israel’s barbaric war crimes. Just as the US Congress voted to deep-six Judge Goldstone’s report on Israel’s war crimes committed in Israel’s January 2009 invasion of Gaza, Obama has deep-sixed Israel’s latest act of barbarism by pretending that he doesn’t know what has happened. No one in the world will believe that Israel attacked ships in international waters carrying Israeli citizens, a Nobel Laureate, elected politicians, and noted humanitarians bringing medicines and building materials to Palestinians in Gaza, who have been living in the rubble of their homes without repairs or medicines since January 2009, without first clearing the crime with its American protector. Without America’s protection, Israel, a totally artificial state, could not exist. No one in the world will believe that America’s spy apparatus did not detect the movement of the Israeli attack force toward the aid ships in international waters in an act of piracy, killing 20, wounding 50, and kidnapping the rest. Obama’s pretense at ignorance confirms his complicity. Once again the US government has permitted the Israeli state to murder good people known for their moral conscience. The Israeli state has declared that anyone with a moral conscience is an enemy of Israel, and every American president except Eisenhower and Carter has agreed. Obama’s 12-hour silence in the face of extreme barbarity is his signal to the controlled corporate media to remain on the sidelines until Israeli propaganda sets the story. The Israeli story, preposterous as always, is that the humanitarians on one of the ships took two pistols from Israeli commandos, highly trained troops armed with automatic weapons, and fired on the attack force. The Israeli government claims that the commandos’ response (70 casualties at last reporting) was justified self-defense. Israel was innocent. Israel did not do anything except drop commandos aboard from helicopters in order to intercept an arms shipment to Gazans being brought in by ships manned by terrorists. Many Christian evangelicals, brainwashed by their pastors that it is God’s will for Americans to protect Israel, will believe the Israeli story, especially when it is unlikely they will ever hear any other. Conservative Americans, especially on Memorial Day when they are celebrating feats of American arms, will admire Israel for its toughness.Here in north Georgia where I am at the moment, I have heard several say, admiringly, “Them, Israelis, they don’t put up with nuthin.” Conservative Americans want the US to be like Israel. They do not understand why the US doesn’t stop pissing around after nine years and just go ahead and defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. They don’t understand why the US didn’t defeat whoever was opposing American forces in Iraq. Conservatives are incensed that America had to “win” the war by buying off the Iraqis and putting them on the US payroll. Israel murders people and then blames its victims. This appeals to American conservatives, who want the US to do the same. It is likely that Americans will accept Israeli propagandist Mark Regev’s story that Israelis were met by deadly fire when they tried to intercept an arms shipment to Palestinian terrorists from IHH, a radical Turkish Islamist organization hiding under the cover of humanitarian aid. This explanation is crafted to allow Americans to sink back into their stupor. Americans will never hear from the US media that Turkey’s prime minister Erdogan declared that the aid ships were carefully inspected before departure from Turkey and that there were no terrorists or arms aboard: “I want to say to the world, to the heads of state and the governments, that these boats that left from Turkey and other countries were checked in a strict way under the framework of the rules of international navigation and were only loaded with humanitarian aid.” Turkey is a US ally, a member of NATO. Turkey’s cooperation is important to American’s plan for world hegemony. Turkey now realizes that the Israeli state is comprised of total evil. Erdogan must wonder about the morality of Israel’s American protector. According to a report in antiwar.com, the Turkish government declared that “future aid ships will be dispatched with a military escort so as to prevent future Israeli attacks.” Will the CIA assassinate Erdogan or pay the Turkish military to overthrow him? Murat Mercan, head of Turkey’s foreign relations committee, said that Israel’s claim that there were terrorists aboard the aid ships was Israel’s way of covering up its crime. Mercan declared:”Any allegation that the members of this ship is attached to al-Qaeda is a big lie because there are Israeli civilians, Israeli authorities, Israeli parliamentarians on board the ship.” The criminal Israeli state does not deny its act of piracy. Israeli military spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters: “This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves.” Americans, and their Western European puppet states and the puppet state in Canada, will be persuaded by the servile media to buy the story fabricated by Israeli propaganda that the humanitarian aid ships were manned by terrorists bringing weapons to the Palestinians in Gaza, and that the terrorists posing as humanitarians attacked the force of Israeli commandos with two pistols, clubs, and knives. The ignorant Americans will swallow this story without a hiccup. —————————— PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS Hon. Paul Craig Roberts has had careers in scholarship and academia, public service, and journalism. He served in the Congressional staff and as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. Obama’s Timidity and Deaths at Sea June 1, 2010 by Ray McGovern Information Clearing House – A chief lesson to learn from President Barack Obama’s recent unwillingness to stand up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Lobby is that such timidity can get people killed. Casualty figures are still arriving in the wake of Israel’s Sunday night-Monday morning commando attack on an unarmed flotilla trying to bring relief supplies to the 1.5 million Palestinians crowded into Gaza. Already, at least nine civilian passengers are reported killed, and dozens wounded. Seldom has an act of aggression been so well advertised in advance. Israel had made clear that it would use force to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza and heard no stern protest from President Obama, who apparently could not overcome his fear of Israel’s legendary political clout. Earlier this year, Obama did criticize Israel’s continued settlement of Palestinian areas and Netanyahu’s resistance to holding meaningful peace talks, but the President has failed to follow up his words with firm action or resolve. Netanyahu concluded that Israel could do what it wished, including dropping commandos from helicopters onto crowded ships and, after alleging a clash with civilians, ordering the use of lethal force. Then, Netanyahu could expect that America’s Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) – with leading figures like Wolf Blitzer who built his journalistic career by working for the Jerusalem Post – would finesse the murderous assault into something reasonable and possibly even tilted sympathetically toward the Israeli troops. Early on, CNN began repeating the Israeli “explanation” for its attack on the high seas, parroting the Jerusalem Post which reported that “militants were killed” after they set upon Israeli naval commandos who boarded one of the six ships Monday morning at two o’clock. The commandos “were met with strong resistance from men armed with bladed weapons and the situation degenerated into a massacre when one of them grabbed the weapon of a soldier and opened fire,” said the Jerusalem Post, quoting Israeli military sources. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that the relief convoy organizers had a “radical Islamic anti-Western orientation,” and that Israeli “naval forces were attacked with metal clubs and knives, as well as live fire,” though there were no reports of Israeli deaths. The IDF statement continued: “The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose,” adding that the Navy then used riot dispersal methods, which include live fire, according to JTA, the global news service of the Jewish people. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed the organizers of the convoy for the violent outcome, and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told a news conference why that was so: “The organizers’ intent was violent, their method was violent, and unfortunately, the results were violent.” So, you see, the Israeli military resorted to violence only in self-defense. Right. Quiet Conversation On Monday, President Obama spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone about the incident. Afterwards, the White House said Obama had expressed “deep regret” over the deaths, but declined further comment, citing “the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances” as quickly as possible. Don’t hold your breath, though, waiting for the timid Obama or his Likud-leaning advisers – much less the FCM – to question the Israeli version. We are likely to get an “explanation” worthy of the late Alexander Haig as to why the slaughter may well have been “justified.” Haig’s death in February brought to mind comments he made about a brutal incident on the night of Dec. 2, 1980, shortly after Ronald Reagan’s election victory. In rightist-ruled El Salvador, government security forces stopped four American churchwomen in their mini-van and were ordered to kill them. The soldiers first raped the women and then executed them with high-powered rifles. Reagan’s foreign policy team decided to treat the rape-murder as a public relations problem, best handled by shifting blame onto the victims. And so, the women were deemed not nuns, but “political activists.” (Today, “militants”-whatever that means-is often the label of choice.) After becoming Reagan’s first Secretary of State, Haig told Congress that “the nuns may have run through a roadblock or may have accidentally been perceived to have been doing so, and there may have been an exchange of fire.” In just a few weeks, the American women had gone from being innocent victims to “political activists” to armed insurgents – although knowledgeable U.S. government officials conceded there was no evidence to support Haig’s shoot-out speculation. As an intelligence analyst at the time, I knew of Haig’s inclination to make up stuff. Watch for something similar to happen with respect to the “militants” or “activists” who were killed or wounded in the incident off Gaza. I avoid tuning in to the FCM anymore (it’s just too much for my Irish temper), but I’m told that Israel-friendly pundits are already spinning faster than the famous centrifuges in Iran. Uncle Remus’s Wisdom “He Don’t Say Nothin’,” as Uncle Remus put it, with improper grammar but with an accurate understanding that by not saying anything you can often convey a powerful or dangerous message. As a presidential candidate, Obama was careful to say nothing about the brutal Israeli blockade against the 1.5 million people in Gaza, about to enter its fourth year. As president-elect he stayed mum as the Israelis attacked densely populated Gaza, killing some 1,400 Gazans. As President, he has backed down at every significant moment when Netanyahu thumbed his nose at Obama or at Vice President Joe Biden. Obama knew about the “Freedom Flotilla” and its plan to bring supplies to Gaza. And he had to be aware of Israel’s threats to attack the relief ships. But, like Uncle Remus’s B’rer Fox, Obama “don’t say nothin.'” Quite the contrary, Obama’s pro-Zionist White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who recently vacationed in Israel and met with Netanyahu last Wednesday, extended an invitation for a working visit at the White House. Netanyahu was to visit Obama on Tuesday after a four-day visit to Canada. On Monday morning, Netanyahu canceled out of a gala dinner to be held in his honor in Ottawa and nixed the visit to Washington. He said he hoped that both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Obama “understand that Israel has a great security problem.” Getting Away With Murder The fatal incident off the Gaza coast was not the first time Israel had used lethal force against a nearly defenseless ship at sea. The attack on the “Freedom Flotilla” was reminiscent of the attack on the USS Liberty during Israel’s Six-Day War against three of its Arab neighbors. The war started on June 5, 1967, when Israel carried out an unprovoked Blitzkrieg attack. What is my source for “unprovoked?” Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who 15 years later admitted publicly: “In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian President] Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” Three days into the war, Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats turned their firepower on the intelligence collection ship USS Liberty in international waters after the Israelis had identified it as a U.S. Navy ship. The Israelis later insisted that the strafing and torpedo attacks were accidents in the fog of war. However, U.S. intelligence intercepted Israeli conversations at the time showing the attacks were deliberate, and their nature and persistence showed clear intent to sink the Liberty and leave no survivors. Israeli commandos clad in black were about to land from helicopters and finish off what remained of the Liberty crew when Seaman Terry Halbardier (later awarded the Silver Star) slid over the Liberty’s napalm-greased deck to jury-rig an antenna and get an SOS off to the Sixth Fleet. Israeli forces intercepted the SOS and quickly broke off the attack. But 34 of the Liberty crew were killed and over 170 wounded. To avoid exacerbating relations with Israel, the U.S. Navy was ordered to cover up the deliberate nature of the attack, and the surviving crew was threatened with imprisonment, if they so much as told their wives. When some of the crew later called for an independent investigation, they were hit with charges of anti-Semitism. One of the surviving crew of the USS Liberty, decorated Navy veteran Joe Meadors, was with the “Freedom Flotilla” when it was attacked on Sunday night. Meadors is past president of the USS Liberty Veterans Association. The State Department tells us that Joe Meadors survived this latest Israeli attack. At last word, he sits in an Israeli jail. Rachel Corrie Another American was murdered in cold blood on March 16, 2003. Twenty-three year-old Rachel Corrie, a volunteer serving in Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement was run over by an Israeli Army bulldozer after a prolonged face-off in full view of several of her volunteer colleagues. Rachel had been trying to prevent the bulldozing of a Palestinian home where she had been staying. The message the Israelis wanted to convey in killing Rachel Corrie was that international volunteers would no longer be exempt from the brutal treatment accorded young Israeli volunteers who tried to stand up, as Rachel did, for decent treatment of Palestinians in Gaza. The FCM’s excitement over President George W. Bush’s eagerly anticipated “shock-and-awe” bombing of Iraq three days later pushed what limited coverage there was about Rachel’s murder to the back pages. The Israelis claimed the killing was an inadvertent mistake, like the shoot-up of the Liberty. The courageous Rachel was very much with the Freedom Flotilla in spirit. And a certain poetic justice is to be found in that one of the ships in the convoy bore the name “Rachel Corrie.” Israel cannot hide behind “inadvertence” this time, although its spin-masters are already doing their best to smear the civilians on the ships with buzzwords, calling them “militants” and “terrorists” who “ambushed” and tried to “lynch” the Israeli commandos. These P.R. tactics may work with the American FCM and neocons in Washington – and by extension the TV-watchers in the United States – but patience with Israel in the international community is wearing paper-thin. Some Care About the Scandal of Gaza Much of the world’s impatience has to do with Gaza, including the Israeli attack from Dec. 17, 2008, to Jan. 18, 2009, as well as the three-year blockade that began when Hamas won Palestinian elections and became the governing party in Gaza. Israel and the U.S. government deem Hamas to be a terrorist organization, though some other countries regard it more as a resistance movement fighting against Israeli occupation. Regardless of how one feels about Hamas, Israel’s harsh blockade of Gaza and last year’s military assault have inflicted a humanitarian disaster on the Palestinian people. Has Netanyahu Gone Too Far? Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has reacted strongly to the Israeli attack on the relief ships, the largest of which sailed from Turkey. According to one report, Turkey has served warning that Turkish Navy ships will escort future relief convoys to Gaza. Erdogan has had it with Israeli mistreatment of Muslims in his eastern Mediterranean neighborhood. On Jan. 29, 2009, at the economic summit in Davos, he leveled harsh criticism to Israeli President Shimon Peres’s face, labeling Gaza “an open-air prison.” Erdogan angrily cited “the sixth commandment – Thou Shalt Not Kill,” adding, “We are talking about killing” in Gaza. Erdogan’s one-and-a-half-minute tirade was captured on camera by the BBC. Five days before Erdogan’s outburst, the Brazilian government also condemned Israel’s bombing of Gaza and its effect on the civilian population as a “disproportionate response.” It seems to have been the atrocity in Gaza-plus a common determination to prevent war from spreading to Iran-that galvanized the successful joint effort by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to defy Israel. They persuaded Iran to agree to transfer half of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey for further processing, rendering it unusable for a nuclear weapon. Defy Israel? you ask. Confused? If the Israeli leaders truly believe that low-enriched uranium comprises an essential part of an “existential threat” to Israel from eventual nuclear weapons in Iran, would they not be delighted at Iran’s agreement to send half of that uranium out of the country? Good question. Truth be told, Israel cares a lot less about Iran’s uranium that it does about forcing “regime change” in Tehran. Netanyahu does not want any agreement with Iran; he wants sanctions against Iran, and eventually a military conflict, with the U.S. jumping in to help finish Iran off. And this twin wish is shared by American neocons who remain influential in the Obama administration and in the FCM. The pro-Israeli hardliners are the ones running U.S. policy on the Middle East, not Obama, who seems only nominally in charge. Unusually clear proof of this came when the Brazilians released a letter revealing that Obama had personally encouraged the Brazilian and Turkish leaders to pursue the kind of deal they were able to work out with the Iranians. Small wonder, then, that the leaders of Brazil and Turkey were taken aback when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other administration spokespeople trashed the tripartite Iran-Turkey-Brazil deal and pressed ahead with a new round of sanctions. And the President? Did he step up and acknowledge that he had encouraged Brazil and Turkey to seek the uranium deal? Well, he don’t say nothin’. Israeli Influence While Americans continue to be starved of real information from the FCM, better informed people around the world have come to view with disdain the degree to which Washington dogs are wagged by Israeli tails. When I suggested five years ago before a Capitol Hill hearing chaired by Rep. John Conyers that Israel was right up there, together with oil and military bases, as comprising the real rationale for war on Iraq, I, too, was called anti-Semitic. But the evidence has always been as clear as it is abundant. An inadvertent remark by a major player on Iraq, former British Prime Minister Blair, has provided insight – straight from the horse’s ass, I mean, mouth. In early February 2010, the British press revealed that Blair, testifying to the Iraq war commission in the U.K., offered the following account of his discussions with Bush in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002. (That’s when Bush said war was the only way to deal with Saddam Hussein, and Blair acquiesced.) But Blair’s remarks revealed that Israeli concerns were a major part of the equation and that Israeli officials were involved in the discussions. Thus, Blair: “As I recall that discussion, it was less to do with specifics about what we were going to do on Iraq or, indeed, the Middle East, because the Israel issue was a big, big issue at the time. I think, in fact, I remember, actually, there may have been conversations that we had even with Israelis, the two of us, whilst we were there. So that was a major part of all this.” It is a safe bet that Hillary Clinton’s Likud-friendly lieutenants and their new junior partners in London are busy conferring with Tel Aviv right now about how to handle the P.R. challenge caused by the upstart leaders of Turkey and Brazil with the temerity to work out a deal with Tehran. (Never mind that Obama personally asked them to do it.) How does one make into a bad thing Iran’s agreement to ship half its uranium out of the country, even if additional steps might still be needed to assure the world that Iran is telling the truth when it says it isn’t building a nuclear bomb? More and more people around the globe are seeing Obama as subservient to the Likud Lobby, perhaps not as enthusiastically as Bush was, but still unwilling to put action behind his occasional words of dissatisfaction. Important players in the Middle East, as well as increasingly assertive countries like Turkey and Brazil, conclude that the policies and behavior of Tel Aviv and Washington are virtually identical. And then there is the $3 billion or so that the United States gives Israel each year that enables the Israelis to arm themselves to the teeth. It is understandable, then, that many will blame Washington for what happened in the dark of night, on the eve of Memorial Day, on the high seas. Hard Lessons The likely results are three-fold: 1)–On Memorial Day next year, there may well be hundreds more “fallen heroes” to honor, killed by Muslim and other “militants” who make no distinction between what the U.S. has done in Iraq and Afghanistan and what Israel does in Gaza and the occupied West Bank – and add Lebanon and Syria, for good measure. As Gen. David Petraeus pointed out earlier this year, the unresolved Arab-Israeli “conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel” and thus puts U.S. troops at greater risk. “Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the [region] and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world,” Petraeus said. “Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.” 2)–The linking of U.S. support with Israeli actions increases the incentive of terrorists to ply their dark arts in the United States. While it is difficult to find a measure of objectivity in official U.S. government documents on this topic, every so often there is a slip between cup and lip. There was such a slip on Sept. 23, 2004, for example, when the Pentagon-sponsored U.S. Defense Science Board issued a formal report concluding: “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights.” You will not be surprised to find out that the board’s report was generally suppressed in the FCM, as were the following, more specific, examples: “By his own account, KSM’s [9/11 “mastermind” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s] animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” [9/11 Commission Report, July 22, 2004, page 147] And what motivated Dr. Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, the 32-year-old Jordanian physician of Palestinian origin, who on Dec. 30, 2009, detonated a suicide bomb at a CIA site in eastern Afghanistan, killing seven American CIA operatives? According to his brother, al-Balawi “changed” during the three-week-long Israeli offensive in Gaza, which killed some 1,400 Gazans. When al-Balawi volunteered to treat injured Palestinians in Gaza, he was arrested by Jordanian authorities, his brother said. It was after that arrest that al-Balawi allowed himself to be “recruited” to spy on al-Qaeda for the CIA. Quickly, it became payback time for Americans and Jordanians whom he associated with Israel. Christmas underpants bomber Abdulmuttallab, also is reported to have been particularly outraged by Israel’s slaughter of Gazans at the turn of 2008-09 and Washington’s defense of Israel’s action. That Israeli actions in Gaza acted as catalysts to al-Balawi’s and Abdulmuttallab’s determination to exact revenge on the U.S. is hardly surprising – the more so in view of Washington’s efforts to suppress the findings of the UN-commissioned Gaza investigation by Justice Richard Goldstone. His report concluded that: “The blockade policies implemented by Israel against the Gaza Strip, in particular the closure of or restrictions imposed on border crossings in the immediate period before the military operations, subjected the local population to extreme hardship and deprivations that amounted to a violation of Israel’s obligations as an Occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Š “Israel has essentially violated its obligation to allow free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital objects, food, and clothing that were needed to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the civilian population Š “The Mission concludes that the conditions resulting from deliberate actions of the Israeli forces and the declared policies of the Government with regard to the Gaza Strip before, during, and after the military operation cumulatively indicate the intention to inflict collective punishment on the people of the Gaza Strip. “The Mission, therefore, finds a violation of the provisions of Articles 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” 3)–Attacking Iran It is no secret that this goal enjoys high priority on Netanyahu’s agenda. It could be stopped in its tracks by a public warning from President Obama. But all signs point to his bending to neocon advice to shy away from a showdown and, rather, leave everything, including another war of aggression, “on the table.” The fact that world leaders consider Netanyahu a clear and present danger to peace in the region is shown by the way the leaders of Turkey and Brazil moved at an accelerated pace to bend the Iranians to the kind of deal that Obama personally had advocated, before being overruled by Hillary Clinton and others in his misguided Team of Rivals. The urgency of the Turkey-Brazil initiative came through in the words of Brazilian President Lula da Silva, who could hardly have been more explicit: “We can’t allow to happen in Iran what happened in Iraq. Before any sanctions, we must undertake all possible efforts to try and build peace in the Middle East.” Green Light? Netanyahu listens only to Washington, when he listens at all. Following the bloody attack on the Freedom Flotilla, I imagine he will now get at most a mealy-mouthed “please-don’t-do-this-again” from the White House, together with acquiescence in an Al-Haig-type made-up excuse about an “exchange” of fire. If that proves to be the case, Netanyahu is altogether likely to consider that Israel has a green light to provoke hostilities with Iran, with the full expectation that the United States will jump right in to help the non-ally ally finish the job. Non-ally ally? Sorry, despite what you hear from Obama, Congress and the whole Washington Establishment, Israel is not an ally of the United States. Webster’s (and international law) define ally as “a state associated with another by treaty.” There is no mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and Israel. (Washington has broached the idea to Israel from time to time, but Israel has said no thanks. Treaties, you see, require internationally recognized borders, and-for obvious reasons-Israeli leaders avoid that subject like the plague.) NATO member Turkey, on the other hand, is a U.S. ally. This could make things very awkward if Turkey sends its warships to accompany the next convoy trying to lift the siege of Gaza. It is possible that Washington may have to choose between a real ally and a synthetic one, if shots are fired.

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