Posts Tagged ‘humanitarian aid’
Ken O’Keefe: ‘We, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are the modern example of Gandhi’s essence’ « P U L S E. …as opposed to Biden the All-American quisling…
3 June 2010
The Israeli military’s killing of nine civilians and wounding of scores more on a ship carrying humanitarian supplies in international waters was an act of cold-blooded murder and a war crime.
For millions of people around the world, this military assault on an aid convoy carrying wheelchairs, cement, water purification systems, children’s toys and notebook paper to Gaza—all items barred by Israel’s blockade of the occupied territory—epitomizes the role played by Israel, as well as that of its US sponsor, in global affairs.
As always in the aftermath of such atrocities, the Israeli government has blamed its victims. In a televised speech Wednesday, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu described the aid convoy as a “flotilla of terror supporters” and praised the slaughter on the high seas as an act of self-defense by besieged Israeli commandos.
Those who engaged in self-defense were the passengers on the ship, and they had every right to do so. The fact that nine of them were killed, while the Israel Defense Force (IDF) commandos suffered not a single fatality, is evidence as to who was the aggressor.
This is a regular pattern. The massacre in the Mediterranean comes just a year and a half after Operation Cast Lead, the far greater slaughter that the Israeli regime unleashed against the suffering people of Gaza. Claiming then as now to act in “self defense,” in December 2008 and January 2009 Israel rained bombs, missiles and tank and automatic weapons fire upon Gaza, killing over 1,400 Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed men, women and children. This one-sided war by one of the world’s most powerful military machines against a relatively defenseless civilian population claimed just 13 Israeli lives, all but three of them soldiers.
The aid convoy was a response to the barbaric blockade that has subjected an entire population of 1.5 million people in Gaza to hunger, disease and misery.
Since the tightening of the blockade in 2007, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the number of Gazan refugees living in abject poverty has tripled.
The UN reported at the end of 2009 that “insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the territory.” Among the starkest expressions of Israel’s deliberate starvation of an entire population was a finding by the Food and Agriculture Organization last year that 65 percent of babies between the ages of nine and 12 months suffer from anemia.
Israel is able to carry out this kind of medieval siege as well as piracy and murder not merely because of its own military might, but thanks to the unwavering patronage and funding of Washington. This latest mass killing has only underscored that—as with so much else—the advent of the Obama administration has effected no significant change in US policy.
While issuing a hypocritical expression of “deep regret at the loss of life,” the Obama administration is doing everything it can to assure that Israel bears neither blame nor consequences for these killings. It quashed any criticism of Israel’s action at the UN Security Council and has implicitly adopted the Zionist state’s justification for the massacre.
Israel’s criminality and Washington’s role as its unconditional enabler both have a long history. It is worth recalling another Israeli attack on a vessel in international waters that took place 43 years ago. In that attack, 34 sailors aboard the USS Liberty were killed by Israeli napalm, missiles and machine-gun fire, while another 171 while wounded—the worst casualties suffered by the US Navy in a hostile action since World War II.
An intelligence ship, the Liberty was attacked off the Sinai Peninsula on June 8, 1967 in the midst of the Six-Day War. While Israel called it a tragic “mistake,” ample evidence emerged that the Zionist state attacked the ship because it wanted to stop Washington from listening in to its communications. Intercepts flatly contradicted Tel Aviv’s claim that it was acting in self-defense and revealed that Israel wanted to conceal evidence of its aggressive intentions as it moved to seize Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights, all of which remain under illegal occupation to this day.
Much of the criticism of this week’s attack on the aid convoy, including within Israel itself, has treated it as a “botched” operation, an excessive use of force and a public relations fiasco. But this is not a matter of a government losing its head. The Netanyahu regime’s policies are directed to a definite socio-political base, composed of religious extremists, right-wing settlers and the most politically reactionary layers within Israeli society. Its orientation is personified by the fascistic background and ideology of its foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
Deeply reactionary and in deep political crisis, the Israeli government is driven more and more to act as a global pyromaniac, threatening renewed wars against Syria and Lebanon and, according to a report in the London Times this week, sending submarines armed with nuclear missiles to the waters off Iran.
The unconditional support and approximately $3 billion in annual aid to Israel bestowed by Washington—and continued under Obama—pose a mortal danger to people across the globe.
This is not a matter merely of a single outlaw regime, but of a general descent of world affairs into a state of criminality and the disintegration of any semblance of international law, with Israel’s main patron setting the pattern.
The Obama administration continues two wars of aggression initiated under Bush and has maintained intact a police state apparatus of unlawful detentions, rendition and torture. It has now earned the ignominious designation as the number one practitioner of “targeted killings”—assassinations—through CIA drone attacks that have killed “many hundreds of people” in Pakistan, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday. The report condemned Washington for claiming a “license to kill without accountability.”
The behavior of the US and other governments as if they were the state incarnation of Murder Inc., acts of state terrorism and piracy like that committed by Israel this week, and the constant threats of new aggression have created a global climate that bears ever closer resemblance to the conditions that prevailed on the eve the Second World War.
These developments are driven by the mortal crisis of world capitalism and will not be reversed by either protests or pacifism. Only by uniting the working class, including both Jewish and Arab workers in the Middle East, in a common struggle to put an end to the profit system can a new global conflagration be prevented.
By Stephen Lendman, May 29th, 2010 5:22 AM
Professor Jeremy Salt teaches political science at Ankara, Turkey’s Bilkent University. He’s also the author of “The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands.” On January 9, 2009, during Israel’s war on Gaza, he wrote “A Message to the brave Israeli Airmen,” asking:
— “What’s it like, firing missiles at people you can’t see?
— Does that help, that you cannot see who you are killing?
— does it ease your conscience that you are not deliberately targeting civilians,” when, in fact, you are under Israel’s Dahiya Doctrine to use enough “disproportionate force (to inflict) damage and met(e) out punishment” against civilian infrastructure, “economic interests and the centers of civilian power,” willfully slaughtering noncombatant men, women and children;
— “How does this sit on your conscience?
— Do you sleep well at night or do you have nightmares of the women and children you killed in their homes, in their beds, in their kitchens and living rooms, in their schools and mosques?
Do you really believe they threaten your security – farmers in their fields, mothers with their children, teachers in classrooms, imams in mosques, children at play, the elderly, frail or disabled?
Do you ever question what you’ve done and why? Have you no shame, no sense of decency, no idea of the difference between right and wrong? Will you follow orders blindly and do it again and again, mindless about crimes of war and against humanity you, your superiors, and government officials are accountable for under fundamental international law?
“Brave” Israeli airmen, soldiers, sailors, and other security force personnel have acted lawlessly for decades, including committing appalling human rights crimes – a snapshot of some victims follows.
Persecuting Mazin Qumsiyeh
Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in the West Bank. Earlier he taught at Yale, Duke, and the University of Tennessee. Interested mainly in media activism and public education, he’s been a board, steering, and executive committee member of numerous activist organizations, and is President of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Apartheid Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour. His most recent book is titled, “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment.”
On the morning of May 6, Qumsiyeh and three others were arrested, handcuffed, and taken to an unknown destination. He explained what happened.
In Al-Wallaja, his “ten hour ordeal” began at 8:30AM. The village is near the Green line. Israel’s Separation Wall route will encircle it. It’s already lost much of its land. Residents fear losing the rest, so to prevent it they resist.
Israeli bulldozers have demolished numerous homes. Heroic villagers inspired others, “including Internationals and Israelis to join them in their popular resistance….Today’s started as we came through the woods and sat in front of the bulldozer.”
“As the soldiers gathered their forces around us, you could feel (them) preparing themselves for attack. We remained calm and peaceful. They dragged us one by one forcefully from the bulldozed lands. They picked the four of us for arrest for no obvious reason” – Qumsiyeh, two Palestinian brothers, and a Canadian activist.
They beat, clubbed, rifle-butted, and pepper-sprayed the two brothers. All four were then taken to a military checkpoint, told to sit and wait, then ordered “to sign a paper claiming….we were not beaten or mistreated.”
They refused, then taken to “the investigation offices near Qubbit Raheel (Rachel’s tomb), (and) locked up in a metal container.” Hours later, they were interrogated individually, asked, but refused, to sign other papers. Painfully handcuffed, they were returned to the container.
Next on to Talpiot police station to be fingerprinted and photographed. “It was now nearly 5:30 and we were starving….Finally they br(ought) us some bread, each a slice of cheese and a small packet of jam.” Together they were “dragged in front of a new investigator who asked us to sign a release form that says we are told to stay away from the wall….for 15 days and if we don’t we will (each) have to pay” about $1,200. They signed, were released, but not given their ID cards. Later they got them. “Life goes on in the land of Apartheid. Stay tuned.”
As coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Apartheid Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour, Qumsiyeh leads Palestinian grassroots resistance against “Israeli occupation and colonization” as well as “stopping and dismantling” what the International Court of Justice (ICJ) called illegal, ordering the Wall’s demolition and for Israel “to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction….including in and around East Jerusalem.”
As the “main national grassroots body mobilizing and organizing resistance against” the Wall, the Campaign “coordinates the work of 54 popular committees in communities” targeted for (or now being) destroyed by its construction.
Strategies against it include raising awareness internationally; national and community resistance; mobilizing solidarity among affected communities, the Arab world, civil society, and unions; calling for global boycott, divestment and sanctions; and enlisting international popular support for justice.
Attacking Disabled Palestinians in Gaza
Besides the occupation, siege, regular incursions, and overall reign of terror against 1.5 million people, Israel targets the disabled, explained by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in a December 2009 report titled, “Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Disabled Persons in the Gaza Strip,” from September 1, 2003 – November 30 2009.
It covers willful assaults against disabled civilians, and others incapacitated by attacks. Of most concern was Operation Cast Lead’s 23-day assault from December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009, inflicting massive numbers of deaths and injuries, as well as widespread destruction, mostly against civilians, their homes, mosques, businesses, factories, farms, schools, and hospitals – clear non-military targets. The siege’s effect on health, education, and other vital services was also addressed.
During the reporting period, 31 disabled Palestinians were killed, including four women, and six children. Another 600 sustained permanent disabilities, mostly physical. In addition, because of inadequate or unavailable food, medicines, medical equipment, fuel, clean water, sanitation, and the ability to leave or enter freely, the negative impact has been enormous.
“At the same time, foreign medical and technical personnel have not been able to enter (Gaza) to help the disabled and provide them with necessary medical and rehabilitation services.” As for the overall effect of the siege, the longer it continues the more harm it inflicts on those least able to cope. Precisely Israel’s strategic aim – to strangle and smother all Gazans, the elderly, infirm and disabled the most vulnerable.
Amnesty International (AI) on Israeli War Crimes
In its 2010 annual report, AI accused Western nations of shielding Israel from accountability during the Gaza war and for nearly three years of siege, depriving the population of vital essentials to survive and endure. At the same time, it praised the Goldstone Commission for heroically telling the truth.
In documenting Israeli crimes of war and against humanity, AI said:
“Among other things, (Israel) carried out indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against civilians, targeted and killed medical staff, used Palestinian civilians as ‘human shields,’ and indiscriminately (used) white phosphorous (and other illegal weapons) over densely populated residential areas.” As a result, the toll was devastating.
In response, the US State Department downplayed the accusations, saying it “supports the need for accountability for any violations that may have occurred in relation to the Gaza conflict by any party,” ignoring Israel’s premeditated aggression, willfully attacking civilians and committing horrendous war crimes.
AI also condemned America’s human rights abuses, saying:
“In the counter-terrorism context, accountability for past human rights violations by the USA remains largely absent, particularly in relation to the CIA programme (sic) of secret detention. In litigation, the US administration continues to block remedy for victims of such human rights violations. 181 detainees remain in Guantanamo despite President Obama’s commitment to close the detention facility by January 2010. A new Manual for Military Commissions released by the Pentagon in April confirmed that even if a detainee is (uncharged or) acquitted by a military commission, the US administration reserves the right to continue to hold them in indefinite detention.”
Obama Administration’s Brazen Lawlessness
The latest example comes from a just revealed September 2009 secret directive about expanded covert military activity in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Horn of Africa or anywhere in the world to counter alleged threats. In other words, the Obama administration reserves the right to send US forces anywhere clandestinely, with or without host nation approval, to “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” designated targets by state terrorism, war, or any other means on the pretext of defending national security – a justification only scoundrels would invoke.
Italian New Weapons Research Committee (NWRC) Accuses Israel of Contaminating Gaza Soil
In its May 11 press release, NWRC (a group of independent scientists and doctors) said Israel’s 2006 and 2009 bombings left a high concentration of toxic/carcinogenic metals residue in soil and human tissue, likely to cause tumors, fertility problems, and serious harm to newborns, including deformities and genetic mutations.
Of particular concern were “wounds provoked by weapons that did not leave fragments in the bodies of the victims, a peculiarity that was pointed out repeatedly by doctors in Gaza. This shows that experimental weapons, whose effects are still to be assessed, were used.”
Some elements found are carcinogenic, including mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and uranium (from weapons with depleted uranium). Others are potentially carcinogenic, including cobalt and vanadium, and still more are fetotoxic (harmful to fetuses), including aluminum, copper, barium, lead, and manganese. All of them in high enough amounts produce genetic mutations as well as pathogenic effects on human respiratory organs, kidneys, skin, neurological development, and other bodily functions.
The combination of environmental contamination, direct wounds or inhilations, aggravated by dire living conditions, presents a serious risk to large numbers of people, worsened by repeated armed incursions. According to Paola Manduca, NWRC’s spokesperson:
“Our study indicates an anomalous presence of toxic elements in the soil (and human tissue). It is essential to intervene at once to limit the effects of the contamination on people, animals and cultivations.”
Thus far, Israeli-Western collaborators still prevent 1.5 million Gazans from getting the critical help they need, while Moshe Kantor, president the European Jewish Congress, equated NWRC’s research to “ancient blood libels against the Jewish people, when rumors were spread about Jews poisoning wells. Today we are seeing a recurrence of all the worst excesses of anti-Semitism and diatribes that we perhaps naively thought had remained in the Dark Ages.”
The pro-Israeli NGO Monitor’s Gerald Steinberg called the accusations “designed to stigmatize Israel and erase the context of mass terror, (similar to other) false or unverifiable claims.” These are typical responses from rogues and their defenders caught red-handed.
But clear evidence they deny can’t be hidden. Nor can the growing disenchantment of young American Jews, a phenomenon Steven Rosenthal discussed in his 2001 book “Irreconcilable Differences: The Waning of the American Jewish Love Affair with Israel,” citing policies that transformed the relationship from uncritical “Israelotry” to disapproval and distress. The 1982 Lebanon invasion, repressive occupation, Intifada, regular incursions, and greater concern about home-grown issues shattered American Jewish unanimity, diluting Israel’s next generation support.
On May 10, 2009, The Forward and Brandeis University Professor Jonathan D. Sarna asked why, noting “a critical difference between support for Israel in the past and today. For much of the 20th century, the Israel of American Jews – the Zion that they imagined in their minds, wrote about and worked to realize – was a mythical Zion, a utopian extension of the American dream.”
They imagined a “social commonwealth,” an “outpost of democracy, spreading America’s ideals eastward in a Jewish refuge where freedom, liberty and social justice would someday reign supreme.” Utopias, of course, are illusions, now dispelled to reveal “unlovliest warts.” Today, bloom is off the rose, unsurprising given convincing reasons to remove it.
A Final Comment
On May 26, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire paid “Tribute to the People of Gaza,” saying:
“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the human spirit to survive….In a triumph of hope over adversity and tremendous suffering, love still abides….Gaza’s people have suffered an Israeli occupation for over 40 years,” enduring wars and current medieval-type siege.
Lives have been shattered, crops destroyed, soil poisoned, and sustainability comprised, so “Where is the hope? Where is the love in the midst of such suffering and injustice?” In the will to survive; in growing worldwide solidarity; in the “Freedom Flotilla” defying the blockade to deliver aid, Maguire on it, “inspired by the people of Gaza whose courage, love and joy in welcoming us, even in the midst of such suffering gives us all hope. They represent the best of humanity,” no amount of Israeli repression can extinguish, nor their redoubtable “nonviolent struggle for human dignity, and freedom.”
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Israel’s Ready Media Campaign and Military Action
According to an article in the Jerusalem Post on May 25, 2010, the Israeli “Navy is preparing an operational plan to stop the flotilla of nine ships–loaded with hundreds of international activists and thousands of tons of supplies–– which are scheduled to try and break the sea blockade on Gaza by anchoring in the newly-expanded port later this week.” The article describes a military campaign coordinated with a major media campaign.
The web edition of the largest circulation paper in Israel, YNET News.com, reports that “Israel is also preparing for the media blitz certain to follow the flotilla, which many believe will harm the state’s [Israel’s] already floundering reputation.” According to the article, “Foreign Ministry, IDF, and PR spokespersons are preparing interviews for global news agencies in order to explain Israel’s position, mainly that the flotilla serves the terror organization ruling Gaza and not its residents.”
The 700 human rights workers on the nine boats of the International Freedom Flotilla come from 40 countries and include 35 members of parliament from 15 different countries . The humanitarian aid includes medical supplies, such as wheel chairs and medicine, toys for children, pencils, and building supplies, ranging from bags of cement to pre-fabricated homes.
According to the Jerusalem Post article, in preparation for the military campaign the Israeli Defense Force “has established a joint taskforce together with the Israel Police, the Foreign Ministry and the Prisons Service to coordinate efforts to stop the flotilla and manage the potential media fallout.”
The Jerusalem Post article also describes the basic elements of the Israeli government media campaign, “to stress that the supplies the ships are carrying are unnecessary and that Israel – together with various international organizations – already transfers these supplies to Gaza via land crossings.”
The article then gives the Israeli government talking points of its media campaign:
“Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that existing land crossings were more than capable of meeting Gaza’s needs;” that “15,000 tons of supplies enter Gaza each week;” and that “building materials are allowed in when monitored by international organizations who ensure that the materials will not be commandeered by Hamas for the fortification of bunkers.
Citing a story in the Financial Times, the article says that the 200 to 300 smuggling tunnels from Egypt into Gaza “have become so efficient that shops all over Gaza are bursting with goods.”
Contradicting the Foreign Ministry spokesman, a United Nations report says says the “Livelihoods and lives of people living in the Gaza Strip have been devastated by over 1000 days of near complete blockade.”
Also contradicting, a May 23, 2010 article on the Israeli YNET News.com, “UN says Gaza blockade hinders reconstruction aid,” says “Most of the property and infrastructure damaged in Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip was still unrepaired 12 months later and aid efforts have been largely ineffective, a UN report said Sunday.” The article goes on to quote from a UN report that says “In view of the scale of the needs, international assistance in Gaza is tantamount to tinkering at the edges.”
Also contradicting, a January 20, 2010 World Health Organization fact sheet states that
“The lack of building materials is affecting essential health facilities: the new surgical wing in Gaza’s main Shifa hospital has remained unfinished since 2006. Hospitals and primary care facilities, damaged during operation ‘Cast Lead’, have not been rebuilt because construction materials are not allowed into Gaza.”
If tunnels are so efficient and food and building material so widely and cheaply available in Gaza as the Israeli government says, then the blockade is not working anyway. So why is Israel continuing the blockade, including threatening the flotilla?
Furthermore, the Israeli government has not backed up its far-fetched claim of tunnel efficiency by building its own tunnels to replace its traditional land, sea, and air import and export means.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev was quoted in the article smearing the human rights activists saying ‘they are the opposite’ for failing ‘to say anything about human rights of Israeli civilians who have been on the receiving end of Hamas rockets for years.’”
However, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs own website “One Month of Calm Along the Israel-Gaza Border.” provides evidence that Israel successfully stopped rocket fire on June 19, 2008 with an Egyptian brokered ceasefire. Then the Israeli military launched an attack on Gaza on November 4, 2008 ending that ceasefire. Then, according to another Ministry of Foreign Affairs website , during the Israeli government’s 22 day Operation Cast Lead attack on Gaza that started on December 27, 2008, 776 rockets and morters landed in Israeli territory, a doubling of the intensity of rocket fire from Gaza from the previous peak, until a new cease fire was announced on January 18. Thus, it was Israeli government action that belies its supposed concern about the safety of Israeli civilians.
“Regev also condemned the activists for failing to say anything about ‘the human rights of Palestinians who live in Gaza under the jackboots of the Hamas regime that oppresses women, Christians, and gays – a regime that has brutally suppressed all political opposition, destroyed independent media, closed down internet cafés, and has even made it illegal for a male hairdresser to cut the hair of a woman.’”
However, if the Israeli government is concerned about jackboots of a regime, why does the Israeli government suppress civil liberties of Israeli human rights organizations, as described in a New York Times article, “Israeli Rights Groups View Themselves as Under Siege,” published on April 5? One could well ask about the jackboots of the Israeli occupation of Palestine that includes targeted assassinations, detention without trial, torture, demolishing houses, bombing civilian neighborhoods, destroying civilian infrastructure and siege on a defenseless civilian population in Gaza.
“Palmer also charged that organizers of the flotilla ‘are less interested in bringing in aid than in promoting their radical agenda, playing into the hands of Hamas provocations. While they have wrapped themselves in a humanitarian cloak, they are engaging in political propaganda and not in pro-Palestinian aid.’”
If it were true that the purpose of the human rights workers is to score political points why does the Israeli government play into their hands by engaging in a blockade that involves the illegal collective punishment of the entire civilian population of Gaza? Collective punishment puts Israeli government political and military leaders in breach of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
Any attack on the ships of the International Freedom Flotilla could also put Israeli government officials in violation of several articles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Part VII :
article 87(a) provides for “freedom of navigation.”
article 88, states, “The high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes.”
arrticle 89 states, “No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.”
article 90 states, “Every State, whether coastal or land-locked, has the right to sail ships flying its flag on the high seas”
By failing to defend the high seas from Israeli-government piracy other governments and the UN are acquiescing to degradation of international law regarding the freedom of navigation.
Defend the International Freedom Flotilla
As Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University said, “by now it has been demonstrated that neither governments nor the UN will challenge this blockade, only people of conscience and courage will.” Support demonstrations are taking place in cities around the world demanding action from the US government and the UN to defend free passage in international waters and to end the illegal siege of Gaza.
Readers can track the flotilla, click links to latest news, and find a list of emergency response plan actions that they can take at http://gazafreedommarch.org/cms/en/flotilla.aspx
James Marc Leas is a Jewish patent lawyer who is a co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Free Palestine Subcommittee. He participated in the NLG delegation to Gaza in February, 2009.
For over four years, Israel has subjected the civilian population of Gaza to an increasingly severe blockade, resulting in a man-made humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions. Earlier this month, John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with humanitarian aid. This weekend, 9 civilian boats carrying 700 human rights workers from 40 countries and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid will attempt to do just that: break through the Israel’s illegal military blockade on the Gaza Strip in non-violent direct action. In response, the Israeli government has threatened to send out ‘half’ of its Naval forces to violently stop our flotilla, and they have engaged in a deceitful campaign of misinformation regarding our mission.
Israel claims that there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every international aid organization working in Gaza has documented this crisis in stark detail. Just released earlier this week, Amnesty International’s Annual Human Rights Report stated that Israeli’s siege on Gaza has “deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law.”
Israel claims that its blockade is directed simply at the Hamas government in Gaza, and is limited to so-called ’security’ items. Yet When U.S. Senator John Kerry visited Gaza last year, he was shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade included staple food items such as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste. Furthermore, Gisha, the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, has documented numerous official Israeli government statements that the blockade is intended to put ‘pressure’ on Gaza’s population, and collective punishment of civilians is an illegal act under international law.
Israel claims that if we wish to send aid to Gaza, all we need do is go through ‘official channels,’ give the aid to them and they will deliver it. This statement is both ridiculous and offensive. Their blockade, their ‘official channels,’ is what is directly causing the humanitarian crisis in the first place.
According to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: “Palestinians in Gaza are being actually ’starved to death,’ receiving fewer calories per day than people in the poorest parts of Africa. This is an atrocity that is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It is a crime… an abomination that this is allowed to go on. Tragically, the international community at large ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are treated more like animals than human beings.”
Israel claims that we refused to deliver a letter and package from POW Gilad Shalit’s father. This is a blatant lie. We were first contacted by lawyers representing Shalit’s family Wednesday evening, just hours before we were set to depart from Greece. Irish Senator Mark Daly (Kerry), one of 35 parliamentarians joining our flotilla, agreed to carry any letter and to attempt to deliver it to Shalit or, if that request was denied, deliver it to officials in the Hamas government. As of this writing, the lawyers have not responded to Sen. Daly, electing instead to attempt to smear us in the Israeli press. We have always called for the release of all political prisoners in this conflict, including the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, among them hundreds of child prisoners.
Most despicably of all, Israel claims that we are violating international law by sailing unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to a people desperately in need. These claims only demonstrate how degenerate the political discourse in Israel has become.
Despite its high profile pullout of illegal settlements and military presence from Gaza in August—September 2005, Israel maintains “effective control” over the Gaza Strip and therefore remains an occupying force with certain obligations. Among Israel’s most fundamental obligations as an occupying power is to provide for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population. An occupying force has a duty to ensure the food and medical supplies of the population, as well as maintain hospitals and other medical services, “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” (G IV, arts. 55, 56). This includes protecting civilian hospitals, medical personnel, and the wounded and sick. In addition, a fundamental principle of International Humanitarian Law, as well as of the domestic laws of civilized nations, is that collective punishment against a civilian population is forbidden (G IV, art. 33).
Israel has grossly abused its authority as an occupying power, not only neglecting to provide for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population, but instituting policies designed to collectively punish the Palestinians of Gaza. From fuel and electricity cuts that hinder the proper functioning of hospitals, to the deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid delivery through Israeli-controlled borders, Israel’s policies towards the Gaza Strip have turned Gaza into a man-made humanitarian disaster. The dire situation that currently exists in Gaza is therefore a result of deliberate policies by Israel designed to punish the people of Gaza. In order to address the calamitous conditions imposed upon the people, one must work to change the policies causing the crisis. The United Nations has referred to Israel’s near hermetic closure of Gaza as “collective punishment,” strictly prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. All nations signatory to the Convention have an obligation to ensure respect for its provisions.
Given the continuing and sustained failure of the international community to enforce its own laws and protect the people of Gaza, we strongly believe that we all, as citizens of the world, have a moral obligation to directly intervene in acts of nonviolent civil resistance to uphold international principles. Israeli threats and intimidation will not deter us. We will sail to Gaza again and again and again, until this siege is forever ended and the Palestinian people have free access to the world.
- Amnesty International, Annual Human Rights Report (26 May 2010); http://thereport.amnesty.org
- “The pasta, paper and hearing aids that could threaten Israeli security,” The Independent (2 March 2009)
- “Restrictions on the transfer of goods to Gaza: Obstruction and obfuscation,” Gisha (January 2010)
- “Carter calls Gaza blockade ‘a crime and atrocity,” Haaretz (17 April 2008),http://www.haaretz.com/news/carter-calls-gaza-blockade-a-crime-and-atrocity-1.244176
- “Gaza aid convoy refuses to deliver package to Gilad Shalit,” Haaretz (27 May 2010)
- “Comprehensive Report on Status of Palestinian Political Prisoners,” Sumoud (June 2004); Palestinian Children Political Prisoners, Addameer, http://www.addameer.org/detention/children.html
- Article 42 of the Hague Regulations stipulates, a “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army,” and that the occupation extends “to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.” Similarly, in the Hostage Case, the Nuremburg Tribunal held that, “the test for application of the legal regime of occupation is not whether the occupying power fails to exercise effective control over the territory, but whether it has the ability to exercise such power.” Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, like those in the West Bank, continue to be subject to Israeli control. For example, Israel controls Gaza’s air space, territorial waters, and all border crossings. Palestinians in Gaza require Israel’s consent to travel to and from Gaza, to take their goods to Palestinian and foreign markets, to acquire food and medicine, and to access water and electricity. Without Israel’s permission, the Palestinian Authority (PA) cannot perform such basic functions of government as providing social, health, security and utility services, developing the Palestinian economy and allocating resources.
- John Holmes, Briefing to the U Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 27 January 2009.
- Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article I stating, “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.” See also, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, I. C. J. Reports 2004, p. 136 at 138;http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1671.pdf.
Israeli disinformation cannot hide the siege of Gaza.
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor
22nd January 2010
On October 25, 2005, I wrote an article for Online Journal, headlined Is it the weather or government terror, detailing government manipulation of weather, including earthquakes, for terror and destruction, mentioning that “your local weatherman was surely not up to pointing this out,” and adding “let me help with the forecast, past, present and long-range. Well, déjà vu all over again seems to have struck in Haiti on January 12.
When I wrote that article, I was disturbed over the effects of Katrina, on August 25, 2005, not to mention the Indonesian tsunami preceding it on December 26, 2004. It seemed to me it would take a helluva lot more than the weatherman to explain such cosmic events within a year, four months and a day. Today, I ask you to read my first article to familiarize yourself with HAARP, the acronym for the government’s High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, which is about more than weather, but rather US Weapons of Meteorological Mass Destruction.
As I write that, I can hear the sirens of “conspiracy theory” going off on the airwaves as if a thief had broken into the dark hole of the Pentagon and was filling his pockets with all the secrets of these darker ops. Well, perhaps.
HAARP, as you will read in more detail, can shock the upper atmosphere with both a focused and navigable electromagnetic bolt. The ionosphere is the electrically charged sphere that surrounds the earth’s upper atmosphere, about 40 to 60 miles above the earth’s surface. Take a look also at the excellent Haiti Earthquake Raises HAARP Controversy at the phoenixaquua.blogspot, so you don’t think it’s just me thinking this. In fact, you can see filmed examples of how HAARP works, and how it has worked on Haiti.
You will particularly enjoy this article’s film clip of Pat Robertson’s analysis of the Haitian earthquake. Pat believes it’s due to the victory of the Haitians in their rebellion over Napoleon and the French in 1801. Their victory, he claims, was due to a pact the Haitians made with the Devil. And this pact, Pat iterates, haunts them to this day. This is a man who ran for president of the US, is the owner of a chain of TV and radio stations, and a leader of the Machiavellian Dominionists sect of Conservative Christianity. But I digress and I’m dizzy from this one.
HAARP has always been referred to by the US government as a tool for researching weather, but in fact has been developed and used by the military for Department of Defense purposes. This dark side of HAARP has been played down for obvious reasons, but Dr. Nick Begich and Jeane Manning have done an excellent expose of this “Military Pandora’s Box” in their book, Angel’s Don’t Play This Harp. There as an excellent summary of the book at this site. It debunks the notion that HAARP is no different than other ionospheric heaters operating safely through the world in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Tromso, Norway, and the former Soviet Union.
Yet a 1990 government document claims that the radio frequency (RF) power bolt can drive the ionosphere to “unnatural” activities. Quoting the authors . . .”at the highest HF powers available in the West, the instabilities commonly studied are approaching their maximum RF energy dissipative capability, beyond which the plasma process will ‘runaway’ until the next limiting factor is reached.” The program operates out the University of Alaska Fairbanks (in Sarah Palin-land), providing a ground-based “Star Wars” technology, offering a relatively inexpensive defense shield.
But the University also boasts about the most mind-boggling geophysical manipulations since nuclear bombs of which HAARP is capable. It’s based on the work of electrical genius Nicholas Tesla and the work and patents of Texas’ physicist Bernard Eastlund. The military has deliberately underestimated the deadly possibilities of this uber technology, most pointedly in this case to create earthquakes with the generation of bolts of electrical power aimed at specific targets.
In fact, HAARP’s potential for havoc drew the attention of none other than Zbigniew Brzezinski, former NSA adviser to Jimmy Carter, science advisor to President Johnson, and political advisor to President Obama.
More than 25 years ago, when Brzezinski was a professor at Columbia University, he wrote, “Political strategists are tempted to exploit research on the brain and human behavior [another strange purpose HAARP can be put to]. Geophysicist Gordon J.F. MacDonald, a specialist in problems of warfare, says accurately-timed, artificially-excited electronic strokes could lead to a pattern of oscillations that produce relatively high power levels over certain legions of the earth . . . in this way one could develop a system that would seriously impair the brain performance of very large populations in selected regions over an extended period.”
He capped this statement with “no matter how deeply disturbing the thought of using the environment to manipulate behavior for national advantages, to some, the technology permitting such use will very probably develop within the next few decades.” Let me tell you, dear readers, it’s here.
As of 1970, Brzezinski predicted HAARP could be used for “a more controlled and directed society” linked to technology. This society would be dominated by an elite group which impresses voters by allegedly superior scientific know-how.” Furthermore, Dr. Strangelove states, “Unhindered by the restrains of traditional liberal values, this elite [the New World Order of today] would not hesitate to achieve its political ends by using the latest modern techniques for influencing public behavior and keeping society under close surveillance and control. Technical and scientific momentum would then feed on the situation it exploits.”
And thus spake Brzezinski, who also predicted that it would take an inciting incident like Pearl Harbor (i.e., 9/11) to engage the normally peaceful American population to go to war on a march for world hegemony (i.e., The War on Terror). And he was spot on.
Zbig is not afraid, in fact, is lauded for thinking down avenues that would make most of us shiver with disgust. Regrettably, his forecasts tend to prove accurate, because they inspire the worst people to do the worst things. And so, these “tools for the elite” and their temptation to use them increases incredibly. The policies to use them are in place. As to the “stepping stones” that could be used to reach this highly controlled techno-society, Brezinski expected them to be “persisting social crisis” and the use of mass media to gain the public’s confidence. Again, he’s spot on.
Way back in 1966, Professor Gordon J.F. MacDonald, then associate director of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at UC, Los Angeles, was a member of President Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee and later a member of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. He actually wrote a chapter called “How to Wreck the Environment” in his book, Unless Peace Comes. Of course, this came at the height of the Vietnam brutality. Given the aura of violence similar to today’s, Gordon described in his chapter, among other things, “polar ice cap melting or destabilization, ozone depletion techniques, earthquake engineering [italics mine], ocean wave control and brain wave manipulation using the planet’s energy fields.”
The outstanding peculiarity of the Haitian earthquake is that it devastated Haiti, which is the western part of the larger island of Hispaniola, while the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic, suffered some aftershocks but remained relatively unscathed, hotels operating, business booming, flights coming in and out. If this isn’t pinpoint targeting of an earthquake, it is a very strange, yet to be explained phenomena. [China Rose has wondered why there was complete silence nearly everywhere re the earthquake’s effects or lack of effects on the Dominican Republic [predominantly controlled by corporate interests and a playground for the elites]. In fact, it was immediately labelled the “Haiti earthquake”, as if Haiti itself was an island, and Dominican Republic did not even exist. Perhaps it was a result of the well-documented extreme geographic and cartographic ignorance of most US residents].
For the “official” statistics of the event, see the Tectonics of the Haitian earthquake by Chris Rowan at scienceblogs.com. Despite the fact that Rowan sees this as a “strike-slip in the Caribbean Plate with the crust on each side of the fault moving horizontally relative to the other side,” and so on, I still feel that the pinpointing of Haiti is not just another predictable earthquake. But read Chris’s full explanation. A bolt of HAARP energy could have caused that “strike-slip.”
What is far more interesting to note is an article from nextgov.com (Technology And The Business of Government), Defense launches online system to coordinate Haiti relief efforts , which was published last Friday but refers to a disaster relief drill that took place on Monday, January 11, a day before the earthquake. I quote, “As personnel representing hundreds of government and nongovernment agencies from around the world rush to the aid of earthquake-devastated Haiti, the Defense Information Systems Agency has launched a Web portal with multiple social networking tools to aid in coordinating their efforts.
“On Monday, [January 11, before the earthquake] Jean Demay, DISA’s technical manager for the agency’s Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, happened to be at the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami preparing for a test of the system in a scenario that involved providing relief to Haiti in the wake of a hurricane. After the earthquake hit on Tuesday, Demay said SOUTHCOM decided to go live with the system [itlaics mine]. On Wednesday [the day after the earthquake], DISA opened up its All Partners Access Network, supported by the Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, to any organization supporting Haiti relief efforts.
“The information sharing project, developed with backing from both SOUTHCOM and the Defense Department’s European Command, has been in development for three years. It is designed to facilitate multilateral collaboration between federal and nongovernmental agencies . . .”
You’ll pardon my paranoia, but this is identical to drills being set up the day before 9/11/01 by FEMA in NYC on 9/10/01 and NORAD.
The political truth is that Haiti has historically been a thorn in the side of those from the US and Europe, who would exploit its natural resources and dare to genocide its people. See Wiki’s History of Haiti, which opens by with the tale of Christopher Columbus, colonizer extraordinaire, naming the entire island, Hispaniola.
From the very beginning, Wiki notes, “Following the arrival of Europeans, Haiti’s indigenous population suffered near-extinction, in possibly the worst case of depopulation in the Americas. A commonly accepted hypothesis attributes the high mortality of this colony in part to Old World diseases to which the natives had no immunity. The colonists also killed a considerable number of the natives both directly and indirectly by enslavement and murder.” And so the die was cast.
And, as Wayne Madsen reports, U.S. troops in Haiti to prevent Aristide’s return, “President Obama, in keeping with his CIA lineage, has permitted the Pentagon under Robert Gates to take charge of the humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti.
“As Cuban and Venezuelan field hospitals were already rendering first aid and trauma care to Haitians injured in the mega-quake, Obama was gathered at a White House photo op with Vice President Joe Biden and other Cabinet officers to state that U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft would fly over Haiti to assess the situation from the air. A U.S. P-3 Orion spy plane from Comalapa air base in El Salvador was dispatched to conduct the surveillance operation, an act that was already being accomplished by earth satellites, the images of which were available on Google Maps.
“As Obama was garnering praise from such sycophantic White House outlets as the largely-discredited Washington Post, a 37-person Icelandic search-and-rescue team was pulling trapped earthquake victims from the rubble of collapsed buildings in Port-au-Prince. Iceland, a nation bankrupted by Obama’s banker pals on Wall Street and in the City of London, was able to react in a way that the slumbering and oafish dying super-power, the United States, could not — with action aimed at providing immediate assistance to the Haitian people . . .” Read the full article for all the details.
Madsen was not the only one to comment that in the middle of this havoc the US seems more set on occupying Haiti with its Army than delivering relief aid. Press TV reports that Nicaraguan President Ortega warns of US deployment in Haiti. He stated, “What is happening in Haiti seriously concerns me as US troops have already taken control of the airport,” Ortega said on Saturday ”The Pentagon says it has deployed more than 10,000 soldiers in Haiti to help victims of Tuesday’s earthquake.
”This is while US paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division took control of the main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince on Friday three days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake brought death and misery to the impoverished nation.”
Said Press TV, ”The leftist Nicaraguan president denounced Washington’s move in deploying military forces in Haiti, saying ‘It seems that the bases (on Latin America) are not sufficient.’
”’There is no logic that US troops landed in Haiti. Haiti seeks humanitarian aid, not troops. It would be madness if we all began to send troops to Haiti,’ said Ortega.”
Given Nicaragua’s horrific experiences with the US and the Contras, his doubts, as Madsen’s, are to be seriously considered. Back then, we had Reagan and Bush I pulling the strings, which eventually exploded into the Iran-Contra debacle, which attempted to continue New World Order advancement from Central America to the Middle East. So what has changed?
Bottom line, am I asking you to blame anyone slipping on a banana peel to be the result of HAARP’s cataclysmic power? No, I’m not. But I am asking you to pursue the given links and seriously consider the possibility of HAARP’s ability to produce this highly targeted mega-earthquake. It is one more weapon in the US arsenal. And the more you know, the better to discern the big picture. All you have you to lose are your political chains and the specter of Zbigniew Brzezinski and his clones.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer and life-long resident of New York City. Reach him at gvmaz @ verizon.net. His new book, “State Of Shock: Poems from 9/11 on” is available at JerryMazza.com , Amazon or Barnesandnoble.com.
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