Monthly Archives: May 2010

Welcome to BBC Israel By William Bowles

By William Bowles
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Creative-i
31 May, 2010

The BBC has outdone itself this time with an outrageous piece of blatant Israeli propaganda.

It was a tossup: should I go to the demonstration outside 10 Downing Street today (31/5/10) or write this piece on the absolutely outrageous ‘coverage’ by the BBC of the massacre of at least nineteen people by the Israeli military in international waters?

“It happened about 40 miles (64 km) out to sea, in international waters. — ‘Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship’, BBC, 31 May, 2010

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US activist loses eye after being shot in face with tear gas canister

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International Solidarity Movement
31 May 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

American activist loses eye after being shot in face with tear gas canister

31 May 2010: An American solidarity activist was shot in the face with a tear gas canister during a demonstration in Qalandiya, today. Emily Henochowicz is currently in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem undergoing surgery to remove her left eye, following the demonstration that was held in protest to Israel’s murder of at least 10 civilians aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters this morning.

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“Operation Justified Vengeance” by Michel Chossudovsky

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by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, May 31, 2010

Israeli Strike on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is Part of a Broader Military Agenda

War Criminal Prime Minister Netanyahu, who directly ordered the strike on the international flotilla to Gaza was on an official visit to Canada at the time of the Israeli attack.  The strike constitutes an act of piracy in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Netanyahu’s actions, which have resulted, in more than 10 deaths and up to 60 injured constitute a criminal act committed in international waters. ( BBC News – Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship).

In a cruel irony, Netanyahu in a recent statement, committed himself to peace with Palestine: “We want to move as speedily as possible to direct talks because the kind of problem that we have with the Palestinians can be resolved in peace and can be arranged only if we sit down together”.

Several prominent personalities as well as several Global Research authors and partners were on board the ships.


The May 31st strike is a follow-up on “Operation Cast” initiated in late December 2008. It is meant to enforce the status of Gaza as a de facto urban prison.

Operation “Cast Lead” was part of a broader military-intelligence operation initiated at the outset of the Ariel Sharon government in 2001. It was under Sharon’s “Operation Justified Vengeance” that F-16 fighter planes were initially used to bomb Palestinian cities. The strike on the Freedom Flotilla is part of the logic of transforming Gaza into an urban concentration camp.

“Operation Justified Vengeance” was presented in July 2001 to the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon by IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, under the title “The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and Disarmament of All Armed Forces”. “Operation Justified Vengeance” was also referred to as the “Dagan Plan”, named after General (ret.) Meir Dagan, who currently heads Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. (See Ellis Shulman, Operation Justified Vengeance, A Secret to Destrythe Palestinian Authority, Global Research, 2002)

Meir Dagan, in coordination with his US counterparts, had been put in charge of various military-intelligence operations. It is worth noting that Meir Dagan as a young Colonel had worked closely with then defense minister Ariel Sharon in the raids on Palestinian settlements in Beirut in 1982.

The 2009 ground invasion of Gaza, in many regards, bear a canny resemblance to the 1982 military operation led by Sharon and Dagan.

Dagan as head of Israeli intelligence, no doubt also took part in the decision to launch the strike on the Freedom Flotilla.

Was the Decision Taken in Consultation with Washington?

On May 26, the Israeli military (IDF) confirmed that it would confront the Freedom Flotilla in international waters, while intimating that there may be terrorist elements on board the ships:

“As part of the military preparation, the navy carried out an exercise intercepting ships and arresting passengers.

Navy Commander Major-General Eliezer Marom said the navy forces will use measures to protect the soldiers’ lives and ensure that there are no terrorist elements or explosives on the ships.

Marom said he instructed the forces to act sensibly and avoid provocations, adding that the IDF had no intention of harming the hundreds of passengers on board these ships.” (Israel’s Military Command Says Will Stop Flotilla, but Transfer Supplies to Gaza)

It is worth noting that prior to this announcement, the IDF launched a public relations campaign, describing the Flotilla as a “provocative act”:

“Head of Gaza ‘s Coordination and Liaison Authority, Colonel Moshe Levi convened a press conference and said that there was no shortage in food and supplies in the Strip.

“The planned flotilla to Gaza is a provocative act that is unnecessary under the existing conditions in the Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian situation is good and stable,” he said, adding that Israel allows many products into the Strip, and only limits those that might serve Hamas in advancing terror activities.” (Ibid)

Washington was fully aware as to the nature as well as the likely consequences of the IDF naval operation in international waters, including the killings of civilians. There are indications that the decision was taken in consultation with Washington.

The Role of Rahm Emmanuel

Obama’s White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was in Israel in the week prior to the launching of the raid on the Freedom Flotilla.

Although on a private visit, Rahm Emanuel met Prime Minister Netanyahu in high level discussions on May 26. And on that same day, the IDF confirmed the launching of a military operation directed against the Flotilla. On May 26, Rahm Emanuel also extended an invitation to Netanyahu to meet president Obama in early June following his scheduled official visit to Canada. In recent developments, Netanyahu has cancelled his US trip and is returning to Tel Aviv.

The Broader Military Agenda

It should be understood that the raid on the Flotilla also coincided with NATO-Israel war games directed against Iran. According to the Sunday Times “three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.” (Israel Deploys Three Nuclear Cruise Missile-Armed Subs Along Iranian Coastline). The report tacitly presents Israel as the victim rather than the perpetrator of military threat:

“Israel’s business and defence centre, remains the most threatened city in the world, said one expert. “There are more missiles per square foot targeting Tel Aviv than any other city,” he said.
… The first [submarine] has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.

The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.

The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”

The deployment is designed to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. “We’re a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place,” said a flotilla officer.

The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. “The 1,500km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran,” said a navy officer.

Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an Iranian admiral said: “Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”

Israel’s urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance was demonstrated last month. Ehud Barak, the defence minister, was said to have shown President Barack Obama classified satellite images of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon. (emphasis added)

While these naval deployments were underway in the Persian Gulf, Israel was also involved in war games in the Mediterraean. The war game codenamed “MINOAS 2010″ was carried out at a Greek air base in Souda Bay, on the island of Crete.

Also, in the wake of the decision directed against Israel’s nuclear weapons under the auspices of the NPT, the White House reaffirmed not only its support to Israel, but also to Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities. The statement issued one day before the raid on the flotilla points to US support of “Israel’s strategic and deterrence capabilities, which also include the launching of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran:

“a senior political source in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel received guarantees from U.S. President Barack Obama that the U.S. would maintain and improve Israel’s strategic and deterrence capabilities.

According to the source, “Obama gave [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu unequivocal guarantees that include a substantial upgrade in Israel-U.S. relations.”

Obama promised that no decision taken during the recent 189-nation conference to review and strengthen the 40-year-old Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty “would be allowed to harm Israel’s vital interests,” the sources said.  Obama promised to bolster Israel’s strategic capabilities, Jerusalem officials say – Haaretz Daily Newspaper)

The presence of Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Tel Aviv undoubtedly played a role in the timing of this Sunday May 30th statement as well as the concurrent strike on the Freedom Flotilla.

The killing of unarmed civilians was part of the mandate of the Israeli naval commando. It was an integral part of the logic of Dagan’s “Operation Justified Vengeance”, which presents Israel as the victim rather than the perpetrator and uses civilian deaths “on both sides” to justify a process of military escalation.

The action by the IDF has triggered a wave of indignation throughout the Middle East. It will no doubt also trigger a response by Palestinian resistance forces, including possible suicide bomb attacks inside Israel, which could then be used by Israel as a pretext and justification for the launching a broader military operation.

Iran is being portrayed in Western media reports as supportive of Hamas and the Freedom Flotilla is said to be backed by a tacit Hamas-Iran alliance. Realities are turned upside down. Israel is the victim. In the words of Benjamin Netanyahu: “Our soldiers had to defend themselves to defend their lives.” In the words of Netanyahu at a press briefing in Ottawa:

“”Soldiers had boarded the vessel to check for any rockets, missiles or explosives headed for Gaza to be used for attacks on Israel, he said. They were mobbed, they were clubbed, they were beaten, stabbed, there was even a report of gunfire, and our soldiers had to defend themselves, defend their lives or else they would have been killed,” he said Monday during a visit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Netanyahu added: “Regrettably in the exchange at least 10 people died. We regret this loss of life. We regret any of the violence that was there. I would like to wish speedy recovery to the wounded, including four of our own soldiers.” (Quoted in the Toronto Star, May 31, 2010)

Meanwhile, a White House spokesman has confirmed that the United States “deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained”. But the action by Israel has not been condemned by the Obama administration: The administration is “currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.” (See The Associated Press: Obama administration concerned about Gaza incident)


For further details on Operation Cast Lead and Operation Justified Vengeance, see

Michel Chossudovsky, The Invasion of Gaza: “Operation Cast Lead”, Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Intelligence Agenda
, Global Research, January 2009.

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2010

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19447

see

Words Fail: People Of Conscience Condemn Terrorist Israel’s Actions by Cindy Sheehan

Gaza Aid Convoy Attack: Israel’s Murderous Sea Piracy a Horrendous Moment of Truth for US Policy By Finian Cunningham

Audrey Bomse Member Of Gaza Flotilla Responds To Israeli Press Conference On Attack

20 killed, Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet; protests in Turkey

Confirmed report: Israeli Forces Have Killed 16 Passengers On Board The Flotilla, 60 Injured (updated)

Two Gaza Freedom Flotilla ships have been contacted by IDF boats + Message from Cindy Sheehan

Nuclear fuel swap deal: US sabotages ‘unique opportunity’ for peaceful resolution with Iran by Finian Cunningham

Israel-Palestine-Gaza-Occupation

videos:

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Words Fail: People Of Conscience Condemn Terrorist Israel’s Actions by Cindy Sheehan

Updated: June 1, 2010 added video

by Cindy Sheehan
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Blog
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
May 31, 2010

First and foremost, we mourn the deaths of the 20 humanitarian aid workers that were spinelessly slaughtered by the terrorist state of Israel. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the families in this terrible time of senseless loss. We also wish a speedy and complete recovery to the up to 80 people who were wounded by the IDF in this abominable attack in International Waters.

We severely condemn, with the very harshest tone imaginable, the murderous attack conducted upon the innocent unarmed humanitarians of the FREE GAZA ‘Freedom Flotilla’ within International Waters.

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Gaza Aid Convoy Attack: Israel’s Murderous Sea Piracy a Horrendous Moment of Truth for US Policy By Finian Cunningham

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by Finian Cunningham
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Finian.cunningham@gmail.com
31 May, 2010

This time, the Israeli war machine may have gone too far for international public opinion to stomach.  In the early hours of 31 May, before daybreak, Israeli commandos stormed the international civilian aid convoy heading for Gaza. Between 20-24 volunteers onboard have been killed and at least 50 injured, according to various reports, but the number of casualties has risen rapidly from the initial reports of two dead. The final death toll could be greater.

The actions by Israeli forces have been condemned by governments around the world. European governments, including those of Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Norway and Sweden have summoned their respective Israeli envoys over the incident. Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan is reported to have cut short a trip to South America and his country is said to have recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest.

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Audrey Bomse Member Of Gaza Flotilla Responds To Israeli Press Conference On Attack

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May 31, 2010 CNN

no longer available

Audrey Bomse Member Of Gaza Flotilla Resonds To Israeli Press Conf On Attack Continue reading

This Country Needs a Few Good Communists by Chris Hedges

by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Truthdig
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Noam Chomsky Speaks to Birzeit University via video conference

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Chomskyan

May 30, 2010 — Noam Chomsky Speaks to Birzeit University via video conference.
5/24/2010

Chomsky was scheduled to speak at Birzeit University in person, but was denied entry to the West Bank by the Israeli Department of the Interior.
He delivered the talk by video conference in Jordan.

Official site: http://www.chomsky.info

Check out The Authority Smashing! Hour, Weeknights at 8pm Eastern
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/tash
and
http://www.authoritysmashers.wordpres…

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20 killed, Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet; protests in Turkey

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Press TV on May 31, 2010

Israeli forces have attacked the international aid convoy Freedom Flotilla en route to the besieged Gaza Strip, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 50 injured. The interception reportedly took place in international waters, more than 150km (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza. Israeli navy forces and helicopters have taken over the ships in the humanitarian aid convoy and are using force against those on board, a Press TV correspondent reported.

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Confirmed report: Israeli Forces Have Killed 16 Passengers On Board The Flotilla, 60 Injured (updated)

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Latest updates are below; scroll down please.

From Facebook:
Gaza TV News

***

Call for action from activist Caoimhe Butterly (Gaza TV News)

GazaTVNews — May 30, 2010 Continue reading

Two Gaza Freedom Flotilla ships have been contacted by IDF boats + Message from Cindy Sheehan

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From Facebook:

Sarah Irving May 30 at 3:23pm

In the last few minutes, at least two of the FreeGaza flotilla boats (the Turkish IHH boat and FreeGaza’s Challenger 2) have been contacted and/or approached by IDF boats in international waters. If you haven’t already contacted your press, elected representatives and other decision makers, in whatever country you are from, now is the time! Protest at Israeli state piracy, and demand that all governments follow their duty to protect humanitarian missions.

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From International Brigade to Freedom Flotilla: Remembering the ancestors of our struggle By William Bowles

By William Bowles
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Creative-i
30 May, 2010

In the light of the Freedom Flotilla on its way to Gaza and the opposition it’s facing, not only from Israel, but the news blackout by the corporate/state media of the seven hundred brave people making the trip, it’s worth recalling that back in the 1930s the International Brigade was formed to defend Spain’s democratic Revolution against Fascism. Continue reading

Exclusive: Woody Allen and The Possibility of Divine Intervention by Rocket Kirchner

by Rocket Kirchner
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Rocket Kirchner (blog)
Rocket Kirchner (youtube channel)
May 30, 2010

Rocket Kirchner

photo by Dandelion Salad

Relax dear readers… no… Woody Allen has not had a conversion experience. But the night is always young, and the lights of Manhattan never go out. Nor does Woody’s brain ever turn off. Woody Allen: a life in film by Richard Schickel (2003) is a noteworthy book in dialogue form between one of our great film critics and one of our great filmmakers. A book that gives one pause to think that maybe Allen is as the poets used to say “ripe for ghosting”. Or is it just my Theistic bias?

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Oily Politics Led to Environmental Disaster by Walter Brasch

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by Walter Brasch
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.walterbrasch.com
May 30, 2010

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) had a good idea to slow or stop the Gulf Coast oil spill from reaching shore. Build artificial barrier islands, he told the federal government. He wanted the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River to strengthen and connect the existing barrier islands. The $350 million plan, which Jindal demanded be paid for by BP Oil, would establish an 80–85 mile barrier, about 200 feet wide and six feet high. The barriers would also protect the marshlands, the federal wildlife preserves, and a fragile ecosystem.

When the federal government didn’t respond, he threatened to have Louisiana do the job itself, and had his attorney general notify the Corps of Engineers that under the 10th Amendment the state had a right to protect itself during an emergency. After two weeks of discussion and analysis by the Corps, President Obama ordered the first of six islands to be built. Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, the on-scene commander, said the first island would be a prototype; if it worked, five more would be built.  Jindal wants 24 islands, but believes the first six are a good start.

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Peace Heroes: Casey Sheehan by Cindy Sheehan

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by Cindy Sheehan
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Blog
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
crossposted at (Islam Times)
May 30, 2010

Memorial Day and the “holiday” weekend lay a double-whammy claim on my emotions every year.

Thirty-one years ago today—May 29—my first child was born—a son. We named him “Casey” because we were huge baseball fans and it just seemed like such a fine Irish-American name. His middle name, Austin, is an old family name of mine.

I went into labor with Casey a week early and I was in labor with him (in those days, knowing the gender of the baby was not routine) all day on Memorial Day in 1979. The labor was not too harsh and he was born at exactly one hour and one minute past midnight.

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