GAZA FREEDOM FLOTILLA: Brave Israeli Commandos Slaughter Aid Activists at Sea

Even America’s major media can’t duck a crime this grave – attacking and slaughtering up to 20 Gaza Freedom Flotilla activists and injuring dozens more.

New York Times writer Isabel Kershner headlined “At Least 10 Killed as Israel Intercepts Aid Flotilla, saying:

“The Israeli Navy raided a flotilla carrying thousands of tons of supplies for Gaza in international waters on Monday morning….The incident drew widespread international condemnation, with Israeli envoys summoned to explain their country’s actions in several European countries….The killings also coincided with preparations for a planned visit to Washington on Tuesday (June 1) by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Late word is it’s postponed.

Read more at SteveLendmanBlog

ISRAHELL BANALITY UPDATE: Not guilty. The Israeli captain who emptied his rifle into a Palestinian schoolgirl

An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.

The soldier, who has only been identified as “Captain R”, was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.

The manner of Iman’s killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was “scared to death”, made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.

After the verdict, Iman’s father, Samir al-Hams, said the army never intended to hold the soldier accountable.

“They did not charge him with Iman’s murder, only with small offences, and now they say he is innocent of those even though he shot my daughter so many times,” he said. “This was the cold-blooded murder of a girl. The soldier murdered her once and the court has murdered her again. What is the message? They are telling their soldiers to kill Palestinian children.”

The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident.

Capt R’s lawyers argued that the “confirmation of the kill” after a suspect is shot was a standard Israeli military practice to eliminate terrorist threats.

Following the verdict, Capt R burst into tears, turned to the public benches and said: “I told you I was innocent.”

The army’s official account said that Iman was shot for crossing into a security zone carrying her schoolbag which soldiers feared might contain a bomb. It is still not known why the girl ventured into the area but witnesses described her as at least 100 yards from the military post which was in any case well protected.

A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child.

In the recording, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post’s operations room and describes Iman as “a little girl” who was “scared to death”. After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive. At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot.

Although the military speculated that Iman might have been trying to “lure” the soldiers out of their base so they could be attacked by accomplices, Capt R made the decision to lead some of his troops into the open. Shortly afterwards he can be heard on the recording saying that he has shot the girl and, believing her dead, then “confirmed the kill”.

“I and another soldier … are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill … Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her … I also confirmed the kill. Over,” he said.

Palestinian witnesses said they saw the captain shoot Iman twice in the head, walk away, turn back and fire a stream of bullets into her body.

On the tape, Capt R then “clarifies” to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: “This is commander. Anything that’s mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it’s a three-year-old, needs to be killed.”

At no point did the Israeli troops come under attack.

The prosecution case was damaged when a soldier who initially said he had seen Capt R point his weapon at the girl’s body and open fire later told the court he had fabricated the story.

Capt R claimed that he had not fired the shots at the girl but near her. However, Dr Mohammed al-Hams, who inspected the child’s body at Rafah hospital, counted numerous wounds. “She has at least 17 bullets in several parts of the body, all along the chest, hands, arms, legs,” he told the Guardian shortly afterwards. “The bullets were large and shot from a close distance. The most serious injuries were to her head. She had three bullets in the head. One bullet was shot from the right side of the face beside the ear. It had a big impact on the whole face.”

The army’s initial investigation concluded that the captain had “not acted unethically”. But after some of the soldiers under his command went to the Israeli press to give a different version, the military police launched a separate investigation after which he was charged.

Capt R claimed that the soldiers under his command were out to get him because they are Jewish and he is Druze.

The transcript

The following is a recording of a three-way conversation that took place between a soldier in a watchtower, an army operations room and Capt R, who shot the girl

From the watchtower [three-way conversation between watchtower soldier, the operations room in another location, and finally, Captain R, the officer on the ground near watchtower “It’s a little girl. She’s running defensively eastward.” “Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?” “A girl about 10, she’s behind the embankment, scared to death.” “I think that one of the positions took her out.” “I and another soldier … are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill … Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her … I also confirmed the kill. Over.”

From the operations room “Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?”

Watchtower “A girl about 10, she’s behind the embankment, scared to death.”

A few minutes later, Iman is shot from one of the army posts

Watchtower “I think that one of the positions took her out.”

Captain R “I and another soldier … are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill … Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her … I also confirmed the kill. Over.”

Capt R then “clarifies” why he killed Iman

“This is commander. Anything that’s mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it’s a three-year-old, needs to be killed. Over.”

• This article was amended on 1 September 2010, to make explicit that the opening watchtower conversation is between three participants.

WORLD PRESS IMAGES FROM GAZA & WEST BANK

WORLD PRESS PHOTO CONTEST 2010

ALSO SEE THE PHOTO SERIE  “Gaza – landscape of destruction”

ISRAHELL: The Gaza Massacre

A MASSACRE IS A MASSACRE IS A MASSACRE

ISRAHELL DESTRUCTION DOCTRINE (bizness as usual)

Read the AFTER MATH of the ISRAHELL´S MASSACRE from the very soldiers with the guns in the mission for zionism and about the IDF – purity of slaughter!

Also see Gaza Massacre




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Amnesty: Israel repeatedly violated rules of war in Gaza

A new Amnesty International report has accused Israel of repeatedly violating the laws of armed conflict during the three-week Israel Defense Forces offensive in the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009.

The report claims that 1400 Palestinians died in the offensive – including 300 children – and that 5000 people were wounded.

The Amnesty report accuses IDF soldiers of violating the laws of armed conflict over and over again by directly attacking civilians and civilian structures and by causing an immeasurable number of civilian casualties when attacking Palestinian fighters.

It also mentions Israel’s justification for the offensive: that it attacked Gaza to prevent war and to stop armed Palestinians from shelling cities and towns in southern Israel with rockets. The report goes on to detail that three Israeli civilians were killed during the Gaza operation, adding to seven Israeli civilians killed by home-made rockets and other Palestinian attacks launched from Gaza in 2008.

According to the Amnesty International report, the sudden conflict came following a period of a year-and-a-half in which the IDF imposed an uncompromising blockade on the residents of Gaza, which almost completely prevented the movement of people and goods into the Gaza Strip and led to a humanitarian crisis.

The blockade almost completely strangled economic life, the report goes on to accuse, claiming that even those on their death bed were not permitted to leave the Strip for medical attention.

The report also accuses Israeli security forces of destroying many Palestinian homes in the West Bank on the pretext that they were built illegally.

erusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor responded to the report by accusing Amnesty International of focusing disproportionately on Israeli policy in Gaza and of not paying enough attention to the firing of rockets at Israel civilians.

The watchdog, headed by Bar Ilan University Professor Gerald Steinberg, added that Amnesty’s biased and disproportionate obsession with Israel reached its peak during the latest conflict in Gaza.

According to NGO Monitor, Amnesty International published more than 20 declarations during the Gaza offensive, most of them critical of Israel, even while violations of human rights included a massacre of more than 600 villagers by Ugandan rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo to which Amnesty devoted minimal attention.

Ref. Haaretz

Amnesty.org

Also read: “Israeli war crimes were daily and too numerous to count”

Ask your sons (“The most moral killing machine in the world”)

t is behavior well known to every police investigator: First the suspect denies everything, then attacks his interrogators, then admits to a small portion of the accusations (saying he merely did what everyone does), and finally breaks down and confesses.

The Israel Defense Forces returned from Operation Cast Lead and, of course, denied everything. The people applauded it for its bogus victory and no one paid much attention to the awful price paid by the Palestinians. But after the smoke (in this case, white phosphorus) cleared a bit, the blood began crying out from the ground. Foreign journalists and human rights groups investigated and reported their findings. The United Nations said the IDF intentionally targeted its facilities, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused the army of illegally using phosphorous bombs, the International Red Cross reported on the injured being denied medical attention and strikes on medical crews, officers at a premilitary course spoke of civilians killed, and Amira Hass wrote for Haaretz about the killing of people flying white flags, the use of flechette shells and the annihilation of entire families.

The ground began trembling beneath Israel’s feet when it started attacking the emissaries of these organizations. The country’s gates were closed to the UN fact-finding mission headed by Jewish South African Richard Goldstone, as if it were Zimbabwe or North Korea, as if it had much to hide. The president brusquely rebuked the UN’s Ban Ki-moon and suggested he visits Auschwitz, until eventually the secretary general was forced to shrink from supporting his organization’s damning report.

Anyone who dared investigate and report was branded anti-Semitic. Little has changed since the early-1970s report by a group of American lawyers on the Shin Bet security service’s alleged torture methods. These attorneys were immediately labeled anti-Semites. We deny, repress, lie, attack and compare ourselves to others, and our conscience remains clear. Even when the IDF admits to killing 300 civilians – 90 of them children, 50 women and 160 whose identities the army says is unclear – our story remains the same: the most moral army in the world. Not the third most, not the second – the most. After all, Yedioth Ahronoth gave that view its seal of approval in a special propaganda supplement entitled “The most moral in the world.

But let’s assume Amnesty is lying, Human Rights Watch is fabricating, B’Tselem is embellishing, the UN is anti-Israel and the media is full of hatred against us – isn’t there enough in the IDF’s own figures to shake us to the core? Three hundred civilians killed, including 90 children – isn’t that enough to expose the propagandistic lie of “the most moral” army? How many innocent people must be killed for that to happen?

The IDF conducted five “investigations” (in which, naturally, only soldiers’ actions were examined), lamented one family’s tragedy, and the military correspondents applauded again. The IDF Spokesman’s Office sent battalion commanders to recite declarations on their own lofty battle ethics – with faces concealed, of course, as suspects often are – and the media didn’t burden them with questions. No one believes this war should be subjected to a serious investigation because in this war, unlike its predecessors, not enough soldiers were killed to justify that.

But the truth cries out even from the collapsed and perforated rubble of what was once a home: The soldiers who were in Gaza know, as do their friends, that something terrible happened there – just as those who served in the West Bank know. Ask your sons; they know the truth – the truth is sitting in your own home. And ask the friends of your sons, and the sons of your friends – they know. Many of them are brainwashed, and for now are keeping mum. Israel is holding back the tide of reports and investigations, and putting its head in the sand of propaganda and victimization, but in the end the truth will emerge.

Even the excuse “everyone does it” will not do any good, as it does no good for a driver caught speeding. The Americans kill more? The French slaughtered more? That may do for the Foreign Ministry’s automatic statements. We deserve more, we deserve the full truth – what exactly our soldiers did in our name, each of our names, on the streets of Gaza, imprisoned and bleeding for the 22 days of a useless war.

Ref: Haaretz

War and Empire Are and Always Have Been the American Way of Life

Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth…could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio…If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. – Abraham Lincoln, 1838

Introduction

When President Bush announced the war on terror in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, a majority of American citizens, according to opinion polls, strongly supported the president’s invasion of Iraq based on their faith in the president’s mendacious assertions that Saddam Hussein’s regime was complicit in the atrocities, and was also planning more, thus leaving the nation no alternative. Despite all claims that Bush is departing radically from American tradition, there is nothing new about this. Presidents have deceived the American people time and again about justifications for war. Speaking of Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, the historian Thomas A. Bailey said that FDR was “like the doctor who must tell the patient lies for the patient’s own good?” It has long been a central tenet of the American national ideology that warfare is an aberration from the normal pursuits of our democratic society. Accordingly, only the perfidy of evildoers compels us to take up the sword.

Though historians have known for a half-century that significant information indicating Japan’s plans to go to war with the U.S. was pouring into Washington throughout the fateful year 1941 as a result of U.S. possession of the code-breaking development “Magic,” as well as radio tracking stations around the Pacific rim, and American spies in Tokyo, the Japanese “sneak” attack on Pearl Harbor that initiated U.S. entry into World War II is still the quintessential paradigm employed to illustrate and justify such doctrine. Though lesser known, the popular expositions of the Mexican and the Spanish-American Wars, and World War I, and many other examples, also suit the creed. Leaders have consistently employed duplicity to lead the nation into war in order to carry out agendas radically different from the rhetorical ones employed to justify the wars.

As serious scholars know well, the real history of the nation is far removed from what James Loewen would call the “disneyfied” notions of American exceptionalism. An honest appraisal of the nation’s past obliges us to conclude that warfare and empire are and have always been the American way. The facts of history clearly contradict the national ideology. Are the ideals we instill in the nation’s public schools only fairy tales for children; or is the vaunted commitment to proclaimed American values something that can be salvaged?

The conquest and colonization of North America by the British, and French and Spanish, was the result of bitter competition between the Atlantic maritime nations for control of the newly discovered lands in the western hemisphere, as well as in Asia and Africa. Indeed, the origins of the 20th century’s global wars can be found in those conflicts five centuries ago. The stable global system that appeared to have taken shape by 1900 was the direct result of armed strife between European rivals over the previous centuries, who by the turn of the 20th century had wrested dominion over most of the arable land surface and peoples of the planet, with Britain the dominant player upon whose empire the “sun never set.” Having just reached a plateau of homeostasis in the late 19th century, this world system’s balance was severely upset by the growing power of arrivistes hungry for their “place in the sun,” Germany, Japan and the United States.

While the conquest of North America was the outgrowth of Europe’s economic and military expansion, once the nascent United States had thrown off British rule, the nation began to compete directly with the former “mother country” for hegemony in the western hemisphere, and then throughout the 20th century in the world at large. The Monroe Doctrine, announced in 1823 to assert American predominance in the western hemisphere, has been progressively amplified ever since by succeeding administrations to encompass the entire planet. American military forces are deployed in over 140 nations, more than two-thirds of the states comprising the United Nations, on a scale that dwarfs anything ever seen in history. American arms patrol all the oceans and skies, including outer space, in what the Pentagon calls its intent to achieve “full-spectrum dominance” on a planetary scale.

The only thing really new about all of this is the scale but even that was fully predictable after World War II.

Neo-Conservatives aver that their motives are altruistic and that they are performing a vital service for the world community by forcibly spreading “democracy” because no other nation is capable of defeating rogue states and dictatorships. Yet the most cursory examination of the self-serving economic boons being reaped by the the well-connected patrons of the Bush Administration give the lie to their claims of global benefaction. Numerous liberals also assert that the United States is not embarked upon an imperial mission, comparing the American present to the Greek, Roman and British past, and highlighting the obvious differences. Yet the American experiment was calculated to settle land already known to be inhabited by others, under circumstances that required the bloody conquest of those peoples and the annexation of their land. Once embarked upon nationhood the United States immediately began to wrest territory from the Spanish, French, British and other native peoples, and within little more than half a century conquered and took from Mexico approximately one-quarter of our present continental territory, an expansion unprecedented in history, and which dwarfed imperial Rome in scale. Private individuals known as filibusters, encouraged by politicians at home, even dreamt of annexing all of Mexico, and attempted to annex Nicaragua and Santo Domingo but were halted when the logistics of ruling over an immense non-white majority were realized.

So war and empire were the realities of the first two centuries of the American nation. At the dawn of the 20th century the U.S. emerged onto the world stage to compete with the great powers of Europe and Asia, employing methods that did not involve outright annexation, but which were calculated to assert dominance over the resources, labor, and markets of as much of the planet as could be managed for the benefit of the United States. That process, the process of neo-empire, continues now on a planetary scale.

But what has impelled these wars, and the establishment of this new form of empire? From the outset, the British colonists who forcibly took control of North America did so with the goal of enriching themselves as they could not hope to do in Europe. Profit was the primary motive, even among those who came as indentured servants, since a continent seemed ripe for their taking once such debts were paid. By the time of the American Revolution the colonies had developed to the point where they could challenge Britain itself for mastery, and retain the riches of the continent for themselves. Though both Jeffersonians and Hamiltonians had different plans for the expansion of the new nation, expansionism was the goal of both. A fusion of both approaches characterized the early Republic, which expanded across the continent ruthlessly, dislodging all who stood in the way, natives, Spanish, French, British, Mexicans. As we know, it was Hamilton’s vision of an industrial-financial capitalism that prevailed. By the turn of the 20th Century the U.S. had arrived as an international great power and articulated its central foreign policy goal: the Open Door. In pursuit of markets, resources and access to cheap labor, the U.S. has used every method and stratagem, including outright military intervention, covert intervention, assassination, toppling governments, torture, propping up friendly dictatorships, all to achieve the overarching goal of opening markets for American goods and services on American terms, and gaining access to vital resources to maintain American production and profit.

Read the full artical here…

Ref: Global Policy