Progressive Calendar 05.31.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 21:22:44 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.31.10

1. Vs Israeli terror   6.01 4pm
2. Palm oil bad/CTV    6.01 5pm
3. Torturing democracy 6.01 6:30pm
4. Amnesty Intl        6.01 7pm
5. China: Com/Cap?     6.01 7pm

6. Jonathan Cook    - Raid on the Gaza flotilla/ Israel's attack on us all
7. Gilad Atzmon     - Israeli butchery at sea
8. Cynthia McKinney - Latest murder of humanitarian activists
9. Dr Alan Sabrosky - Israel's attack the madness of arrogance
10. Stephen Lendman - Slaughter at sea/ Israel attacks the Gaza Flotilla

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Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 16:00:18 -0500
From: Jordan S. Kushner <kushn002 [at]>
Subject: Vs Israeli terror 6.01 4pm

For Immediate release
Minnesotans Condemn Israeli Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Demand an
Immediate End to U.S. Aid to Israel

Contact: Women Against Military Madness :  Sarah Martin 612-437-0222
MN Break the Bonds:  Sriram Ananth 612-214-1619

Tuesday June 1, 4:00-6:00 PM
In front of Office of Senator Amy Klobuchar, 1200 Washington Avenue,

On Sunday May 30th, Israeli Navy special forces attacked with live
ammunition the Free Gaza Flotilla in international waters killing numerous
humanitarian aid workers and peace activists, and wounding many more. The
flotilla which sailed from Ireland was bringing desperately needed food,
medicine and building supplies to the people of Gaza.

For the past 5 years Gazans have been living under a brutal Israeli siege
and blockade which has resulted in intolerable and escalating rates of
malnourishment, unemployment and homelessness. The vicious Israeli bombing
and military assault on Gaza in December 2008 - January, 2009 killed over
1400 people, mostly civilians, and destroyed the civilian infrastructure.
A report by the United Nations Human Rights Commission found that Israel
deliberately attacked the civilian population and infrastructure, and
committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Israel has now committed a brazen military attack on defenseless civilians
in international waters.

Israel's criminal actions cannot be permitted to continue.  The United
States directly supports Israeli atrocities with billions of dollars of
military and economic aid every year.  All of our Senators and
Congressional representatives have supported this aid.  This must stop. We
call for an immediate end to U.S. ties to Israel. Specifically as people
in Minnesota, we call for an end to Minnesota economic ties and financial
support of Israel's atrocities.

Sponsored by; Coalition for Palestinian Rights (CPR), Women Against
Military Madness (WAMM), AntiWar Committee (AWC), International Jewish
anti-Zionist Network - TC (IJAN-TC), MN Break the Bonds (MN BBC), Teachers
Against Occupation (TAO)

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palm oil bad/CTV 6.01 5pm

Stupendous St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  Households
with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 6/1 @ 5pm & midnight + Wed, 6/2, 10am
"The Problem With Palm Oil: Global Issue, Local Solution?"

Activists from the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) explain the devastating
impact of palm oil production on the world's last remaining rainforests.
We follow the story from Indonesia to our local supermarkets and learn how
local companies are implicated in rainforest destruction and what local
consumers can do to stop it.  (May)

--------3 of 10--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Torturing democracy 6.01 6:30pm

Pax Conversational Salon: Documentary Screening: "Torturing Democracy"
Tuesday, June 1, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 West
Seventh, St. Paul.

"ÓThe documentary 'Torturing Democracy' tells the story of how the United
States government circumvented tradition and law to adopt torture as
official policy. The film, produced by award- winning filmmaker Sherry
Jones, draws on interviews, archival footage, and recently declassified
documents to piece together the development and dissemination of torture
tactics from Bagram in Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib - and
the document trail leads right to the top of the chain of command."
Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call 651-227-3228.

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From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 6.01 7pm

Saint Cloud Area Amnesty International meets on Tuesday, June 1st, from
7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the St. Cloud Public Library, 1300 W. St. Germain,
Saint Cloud. For more information contact Jerry Dirks, 320-251-6491 or
jerry.dirks [at]

--------5 of 10--------

From: Socialist Appeal <new [at]>
Subject: China: Com/Cap? 6.01 7pm

A Discussion of China
Communist or Capitalist?

In Minneapolis, MN, on June 1st, Fred Weston of and the
International Marxist Tendency will be discussing the genesis of the
Chinese Revolution and perspectives for the future.  Come with your
questions and contributions to this important discussion on the future of
1/5 of humanity!

June 1st, 2010
May Day Books (301 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN)

--------6 of 10--------

Raid on the Gaza Flotilla
Israel's Attack on Us All
May 31, 2010


It is quite astounding that Israel has been able to create over the past
12 hours a news blackout, just as it did with its attack on Gaza 18 months
ago, into which our main media organisations have willingly allowed
Israeli spokespeople to step in unchallenged.

How many civilians were killed in Israel's dawn attack on the Gaza-bound
flotilla of aid? We still don't know. How many wounded? Your guess is as
good as mine. Were the aid activists armed with guns? Yes, says Israel.
Were they in cahoots with al-Qaeda and Hamas? Certainly, says Israel. Did
the soldiers act reasonably? Of course, they faced a lynch, says Israel.

If we needed any evidence of the degree to which Western TV journalists
are simply stenographers to power, the BBC, CNN and others are amply
proving it. Mark Regev, Israel's propagandist-in-chief, has the airwaves
largely to himself.

The passengers on the ships, meanwhile, have been kidnapped by Israel and
are unable to provide an alternative version of events. We can guess they
will remain in enforced silence until Israel is sure it has set the news

So before we get swamped by Israeli hasbara let's reiterate a few simple

* Israeli soldiers invaded these ships in international waters, breaking
international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime. The
counter-claim by Israeli commanders that their soldiers responded to an
imminent "lynch" by civilians should be dismissed with the loud contempt
it deserves.

* The Israeli government approved the boarding of these aid ships by an
elite unit of commandoes. They were armed with automatic weapons to pacify
the civilians onboard, but not with crowd dispersal equipment in case of
resistance. Whatever the circumstances of the confrontation, Israel must
be held responsible for sending in soldiers and recklessly endangering the
lives of all the civilians onboard, including a baby and a Holocaust

* Israel has no right to control Gaza's sea as its own territorial waters
and to stop aid convoys arriving that way. In doing so, it proves that it
is still in belligerent occupation of the enclave and its 1.5 million
inhabitants. And if it is occupying Gaza, then under international law
Israel is responsible for the welfare of the Strip's inhabitants. Given
that the blockade has put Palestinians there on a starvation diet for the
past four years, Israel should long ago have been in the dock for
committing a crime against humanity.

Today Israel chose to direct its deadly assault not only at Palestinians
under occupation but at the international community itself.

Will our leaders finally be moved to act?

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His
latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and
the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing
Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website

--------7 of 10--------

Israeli Butchery at Sea
by Gilad Atzmon
May 31st, 2010
Dissident Voice

As I write this piece the scale of the Israeli lethal slaughter at sea is
yet to be clear. However we already know that at around 4am Gaza time,
hundreds of IDF commandos stormed the Free Gaza international humanitarian
fleet. We learn from the Arab press that at least 16 peace activists have
been murdered and more than 50 were injured. Once again it is
devastatingly obvious that Israel is not trying to hide its true nature:
an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by

Watch live streaming video from insaniyardim at

For days the Israeli government prepared the Israeli society for the
massacre at sea. It said that the Flotilla carried weapons, it had
"terrorists" on board. Only yesterday evening it occurred to me that this
Israeli malicious media spin was there to prepare the Israeli public for a
full scale Israeli deadly military operation in international waters. Make
no mistake. If I knew exactly where Israel was heading and the possible
consequences, the Israeli cabinet and military elite were fully aware of
it all the way along. What happened yesterday wasn't just a pirate
terrorist attack. It was actually murder in broad day light even though it
happened in the dark. [But then it was our dear little Israel and our
gotta-have-an-apartheid-Zionist-Homelend (Reich) Jews whose ancestors
suffered so much decades ago their offspring can kill anyone they want and
take anythng they want and we will stand there nodding our heads and
smiling. We are patsies for evil. -ed]

Yesterday at 10 pm I contacted Free Gaza and shared with them everything I
knew. I obviously grasped that hundreds of peace activists most of them
elders, had very little chance against the Israeli killing machine. I was
praying all night for our brothers and sisters. At 5am GMT the news broke
to the world. In international waters Israel raided an innocent
international convoy of boats carrying cement, paper and medical aid to
the besieged Gazans. The Israelis were using live ammunition murdering and
injuring everything around them.

Today we will see demonstrations around the world, we will see many events
mourning our dead. We may even see some of Israel's friends "posturing"
against the slaughter. Clearly this is not enough.

The massacre that took place yesterday was a premeditated Israeoperation.
Israel wanted blood because it believes that its "power of deterrence"
expands with the more dead it leaves behind. The Israeli decision to use
hundreds of commando soldiers against civilians was taken by the Israeli
cabinet together with the Israeli top military commanders. What we saw
yesterday wasn't just a failure on the ground. It was actually an
institutional failure of a morbid society that a long time ago lost touch
with humanity.

It is no secret that Palestinians are living in a siege for years. But it
is now down to the nations to move on and mount the ultimate pressure on
Israel and its citizens. Since the massacre yesterday was committed by a
popular army that followed instructions given by a "democratically
elected" government, from now on, every Israeli should be considered as a
suspicious war criminal unless proved different.

Consider the fact that Israel stormed naval vessels sailing under Irish,
Turkish and Greek flags. Both NATO members and EU countries must
immediately cease their relationships with Israel and close their airspace
to Israeli airplanes.

Considering yesterday.s news about Israeli nuclear submarines being
stationed in the Gulf, the world must react quickly and severely. Israel
is now officially mad and deadly. The Jewish State is not just careless
about human life, as we have been following the Israeli press campaign
leading to the slaughter, Israel actually seeks pleasure in inflicting
pain and devastation on others.

Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He
lives in London and is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed
and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is also one of the
most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. He can be reached at:
atz [at] Read other articles by Gilad.

--------8 of 10--------

Latest Murder of Humanitarian Activists
by Cynthia McKinney
May 31st, 2010
Dissident Voice

I am outraged at Israel's latest criminal act. I mourn with my fellow Free
Gaza travelers, the lives that have been lost by Israel's needless,
senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists. But I'm even more
outraged that once again, Israel's actions have been aided and abetted by
a U.S. political class that has become corrupted beyond belief due to its
reliance on Zionist finance and penetration by Zionist zealots for whom no
U.S. weapons system is too much for the Israeli war machine, and the
silence of the world's onlookers whose hearts have grown cold with

I recently visited the offices of IHH, the Turkish humanitarian
organization that sponsored one of the Freedom Flotilla boats, and that
was targeted by the Israelis for its murderous rampage. Reports are still
coming in as to the full extent of the senseless Israeli violence. Of
course, I expect Israel's apologists in the press and in the United States
government to shift into high gear to support Israel's lying machine. Take
note of their names. The 12,000 internet squatters/written word grenade
throwers, hired by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to defend Israel and
attack peace activists online, are already busy spreading their
orchestrated disinformation in cyberspace. Be very careful what you read
and believe from special interest press and the internet. You could be
reading one of Israel's hired hacks. As a news diversion from what Israel
has just done, I suspect that we can also expect to see a lot of
historical footage of war's atrocities on television: today is Memorial
Day in the United States, a day long ago set aside to remember the
sacrifices of U.S. war dead.

I encouraged and supported U.S.S. Liberty veteran Joe Meadors's
participation in the Freedom Flotilla. Unfortunately, the fate of the
U.S.S. Liberty innocents on the high seas, while in international waters,
has now been visited upon the participants in the Freedom Flotilla, in
large measure because of the Congressional- and Presidential-level
cover-up of the 1967 Israeli attack on that U.S. surveillance ship.
Combined with the failure of just about every other effort to hold Israel
accountable for its crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, and
crimes against the peace. Belgium and Spain changed their domestic laws of
universal jurisdiction after Israeli appeals to do so. The entire musical
chairs gang of rotating Israeli leadership are war criminals. During my
imprisonment in Israel for attempting to take crayons to the children of
Gaza, I called Israel a failed state. If Israel is threatened by unarmed,
humanitarian activists to the point of massacring them, then Israel is a
failed state. Israel is a failed nuclear state.

Obama's most recent granting of an additional $205 million for Israeli
"missile defense" is unconscionable, when in the same week, reports
revealed for the first time, Israel's offer of nuclear weapons to
apartheid South Africa. Just last week, a paper bearing the signature of
former Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, was released by South Africa,
revealing that in 1975, Israel could offer South Africa nuclear weapons
"in three sizes". South Africa's then-Minister of Defense, P.W. Botha, was
South Africa's signatory to the letter. This information would make the
entire Obama Administration look sadly farcical as it points an accusing
finger at Iran, except that U.S. obeisance to the Israeli bloodthirst is
deadly serious. With deadly outcomes.

Earlier this month, Israel was granted admission to the Organization of
Economic and Community Development (OECD), a direct affront to ongoing
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) efforts across the world. Once again,
Israel has thumbed its nose at the global community - with bloody
results - because it can.

I am proud to serve on the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine. Its
next sitting will be in London, where we will examine corporate complicity
in Israel's crimes against Palestine. The Tribunal will sit from November
5-7. Please put this on your calendar. We all must do what we can, where
we are to end wars against the people at home and wars against human
rights abroad.

Finally, a friend just sent a message to me saying that the Israelis had
lost their minds. Sadly, based on the past, the Israelis could very well
conclude that they can do anything - imprison me for trying to take love
to the children of Gaza and kill humanitarian activists trying to do the
same - because they know, in the end, they'll get away with it. Instead, I
would suggest that we are the ones who have lost our minds, our souls, our
spirits, and our human dignity if we allow the Israelis to get away with
murder - again - and we do nothing. [Amen. ed]

I am calling on the people of the United States to change course now.

On this Memorial Day 2010, I am stunned and outraged beyond belief while
mourning the dead of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.

Cynthia McKinney was a presidential candidate for the Green Party in the
2008 election.

--------9 of 10---------

The Madness of Arrogance
Israel's Attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla
by Dr. Alan Sabrosky
May 31st, 2010
Dissident Voice

Israel's attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla on America's Memorial Day
was all too predictable, although the form it took surprised even me. And
it confirms the old proverb that "Those whom the gods would destroy, they
first make mad," for the attack was the kind of madness only unbridled
arrogance can assume.

It wasn't just that foreigners as well as Palestinians, flying flags other
than that of Palestine, were attacked. Israel has a long history of doing
such things, especially to the UN. But except for the USS Liberty incident
in 1967, it has generally done that on inland sites - Gaza, the West Bank,
Lebanon - where it can largely block news and visual evidence, and control
the spin it puts on events, counting on its friends in the US and other
mainstream media to say little or nothing to contradict them.

The Attack Reprised

Not this time. An attack on the open seas, in acknowledged international
waters, against unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid with passengers
and crews from many countries - especially a direct attack against a
Turkish ship - is a different matter, and potentially an explosive one.
The number of shipboard casualties indicates that once fighting started,
the Israeli commandos simply sprayed automatic weapons fire into the
people around them - another of their long-standing habits.

And technology is their enemy here, just as it became in an earlier day
the enemy of communist regimes in the former Soviet Union and other
Eastern European countries. Too many images and videos were taken, and
some sent, and too many witnesses reported what was happening, before the
Israelis were able to suppress communications from their victims.

Bad for their victims, but also potentially very bad for Israel, and the
initial Israeli public-relations damage control efforts show that they are
at least dimly aware of that fact. Trying to cast the attack in
international waters as an exercise in self-defense would be ludicrous in
the best or worst of circumstances - has anyone ever seen wheelchairs used
as offensive weaponry?

And for the Israeli spokeswoman to try to spin an assault by warships and
armed commandos as defense against a "lynch" (I guess she was trying to
push an American "hot button" for Obama - someone should tell her it is
"lynching" or "lynch mob") would have embarrassed even her public
relations soulmate, Dr. Josef Goebbels. But desperate do what desperation
dictates, I suppose, although this time they may well have gone way too

A Judging, Long Overdue

And that is what the initial responses appear to affirm. All of the major
US and many other media outlets are carrying this story, and even with the
slant from many Jewish correspondents based in Jerusalem or Ashdod, the
bloody particulars are slowly coming through to at least a general
American audience for the first time:

1. The unarmed ships with unarmed passengers were trying to ferry
humanitarian and reconstruction aid to ravaged and embattled Gaza.

2. Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza, probably if not certainly in
violation of international law, supported largely by US vetoes in the UN
Security Council.

3. Israeli warships and commandos intercepted and attacked the aid
flotilla in international waters - which is an act of war, piracy or state
terrorism, depending on one's view of the details.

4. Under attack, some of the passengers tried to defend themselves, scores
were killed or wounded, and some Israeli commandos were also wounded -
doubtless a surprise to them, but then their usual run of victims may have
made them a bit too cocky.

5. Many governments and publics around the world - not only in Arab
capitals - are openly outraged, and the discussion forums on US news web
sites carrying the story suggest that much the same is happening at a
public level in this country.

6. But for Israel, this is just another "we are the misunderstood victim"
incident in a long, sordid and utterly unbelievable litany of such things
- except that this time, they may not get away with it.

Seizing the Moment

This is a time for those interested in justice for Palestine to seize the
moment and act, building on the promise engendered but not fulfilled after
the submission of the Goldstone Report to the HRC.

I would like to think that President Obama would take a stand, and perhaps
he will, but if he does it will be with words and not with deeds. Neither
the Congress nor Rahm Emanuel would let him do much more, whatever his
predisposition - and who knows, he may believe the "lynch" metaphor, or
pretend to do so.

Americans shouldn't bother with letters or emails to US Senators or
Representatives, or Obama; AIPAC will be there ahead of you with more
letters and money than you can generate. Go instead directly to the local
offices of US Senators and Representatives, stay until you speak
personally to the senior person there, and make your case as forcefully as
you can. Make sure as many people hear you as possible - but be polite,
and leave your signs at home.

For the world community, now is the time and this is the incident to drive
home the UN "Uniting for Peace" Resolution, in both the Security Council
and the General Assembly as needed. The nationalities of the victims will
at least neutralize many European countries that might have opposed it
before. Sanctions, embargoes, even the suspension or expulsion of Israel
from the UN itself, do as much as quickly and as forcefully as possible.
Press the BDS campaign everywhere hard.

And for the US armed forces, on this Memorial Day, it would be well to
reflect on the meaning of duty and service to country and people. Oaths of
allegiance, obedience and loyalty are important to professionals in the
armed forces, in or out of uniform. They were to me when I was in the
Marines, and later as a civilian at West Point and the Army War College.
I'm sure serving professionals today are no different.

But the elected and appointed civilians overseeing the armed services have
also taken their own oaths, and many have violated them by serving the
interests of Israel rather than the US, itself, and especially by spending
American lives and treasure furthering Israeli interests rather than
safeguarding American ones. This, to me, is clearly treason, and utterly
negates any loyalty anyone else owes to them.

Remember that the cornerstone of our oaths is not to obedience, but to
"support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all
enemies, foreign and domestic". Think about it on this Memorial Day.

Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a writer and consultant
specializing in national and international security affairs. In December
1988, he received the Superior Civilian Service Award after more than five
years of service at the U.S. Army War College as Director of Studies,
Strategic Studies Institute, and holder of the General of the Army Douglas
MacArthur Chair of Research. He can be reached at: docbrosk [at]

--------10 of 10--------

Israel Attacks the Gaza Flotilla
Slaughter at Sea
May 31, 2010

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

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.

The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times carried
similar reports, trying, but hardly able to downplay a major crime.

The UK-based Stop the War Coalition called it "Yet another act of Israeli
barbarism" in announcing an "emergency demonstration" at 2:00PM near the
prime minister's Downing Street residence, saying spread the word and

In Gaza, thousands protested, expressing anger, outrage and sympathy,
carrying banners condemning willful crimes, and calling for Arab
solidarity. Similar demonstrations turned out in Amman, Cairo, Damascus,
Tehran, Ankara, Istanbul, Beirut and other regional cities.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed the Flotilla organizers for inciting
the attack, while his deputy, Danny Alalon said they were connected to
international terrorist organizations and were trying to smuggle in arms.
Weapons were found on board, he claimed.

At a hastily called news conference, sparsely attended, he referred to
"the armada of hate and violence in support of the Hamas terror
organization," accusing peaceful activists of a "premeditated and
outrageous provocation," saying "The organizers are well known for their
ties with global Jihad, Al Qaeda and Hamas. (Their) intent was violent,
their method was violent, and the results were unfortunately violent."

Shameless lies from a criminal caught red-handed, Haaretz's Gideon Levy

"The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs (distributing) false
information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations
battle....There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will
never buy (its) web of explanations, lies and tactics."

In Washington, of course, they're echoed along with toned down pious
indignation publicly, but privately, assurances of solid US-Israeli
relations are affirmed. [We know in whose butt-crack the US nose is sunk
deep. -ed]

On May 31, White House spokesman William Burton said:

"The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained,
and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this
tragedy," stopping short of condemning crimes too grave to ignore and
demanding harsh measures in response to premeditated slaughter.

Much the same from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (a reliable Israeli
ally) stating:

"It is vital that there is a full investigation to determine exactly how
this bloodshed took place. I believe Israel must urgently provide a full
explanation," stopping short of demanding it and full accountability.

Saying he "deplored in the strongest terms the killing of civilians,"
Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, like his EU counterparts, said
it was "indispensable that there be an inquest to ascertain the facts,
which are still not clear."

They're very clear. Israeli forces planned and executed a premeditated
attack against peaceful humanitarian activists, trying to deliver
essential to life aid to Gazans under siege - to break Israel's attempt to
suffocate and starve them.

The Wall Street Journal online headlined "More than 10 Dead After Israel
Intercepts Gaza Aid Convoy," saying (like most US media reports) that "An
Israeli military spokesman said later in the day that some activists
'appeared' to be armed with guns, and fired at the Israeli soldiers,
though it wasn't clear who fired first."

The activists, in fact, were unarmed civilians, delivering vitally needed
humanitarian aid to 1.5 million Gazans, trapped under siege for three
years this month. Without provocation, they were maliciously and willfully
attacked in international waters by armed Israeli commandos with orders to
open fire if the convoy failed to abort its mission.

The best Journal writer Joshua Mitnick could say was "whether the military
action was warranted or not (it) threatens to further sully Israel's
international reputation, after a series of recent diplomatic setbacks."

No mention of the Gaza war, daily West Bank and East Jerusalem incursions,
the three-year siege, a 43-year occupation, daily killings, targeted
assassinations, homes bulldozed, mass arrests, torture, and Palestinian
communities throughout the Territories and in Israel threatened by daily

No mention by European nations either, the EU merely calling for a full
inquiry, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (a staunch Israeli
supporter) saying he was "deeply shocked by the 'tragic' consequences of
Israel's military operation (against) a humanitarian initiative," but
little else. The same hypocrisy echoed from most European capitals, much
like already from Washington.

Turkey's Communist Party's press statement, in contrast, said:

"The pirate commandos trained by Israel Naval Forces mounted an operation
this morning to capture the flotilla carrying aid to Gaza and slaughtered
unarmed civilians in the course of this outrageous operation."

Calling the attack "barbarous," it "demanded" immediate deportation of
Israel's diplomatic mission, cancellation of Turkish-Israeli military and
other agreements, and Israel held fully accountable for its crime against
humanity - its specialty against civilians and nonviolent activists.

Al Jazeera reported that "Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm
the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news (shouting) 'Damn
Israel' as police blocked them."

It also said Israeli radio confirmed at least 19 were killed and dozens
injured, quoting IDF spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich, saying, "This happened
in waters outside Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend
ourselves," - the usual response from scoundrels caught red-handed.

Video footage on board the Turkish passenger ship Mavi Marmara showed
Israeli commandos opened fire during the assault, activists saying it
began immediately after storming on board.

Al Zazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, on the ship, said "a white surrender flag
was raised (and) there was no live fire coming from the passengers."

The Free Gaza Movement reported that "Under darkness of night, Israeli
commandos dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi
Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck." No action
on board provoked it. It was premeditated, willful slaughter.

The Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement expressed sorrow in
denouncing the attack, citing it as further "proof that despite claims to
the contrary, Israel never 'disengaged' from the Gaza Strip but rather
continues to control its borders - land, air and sea....hermetically
(cutting off) 1.5 million human beings (from) access to the outside world"
and vitally needed humanitarian aid.

Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, claimed "They initiated the violence,"
and the IDF insisted it responded when its forces "were attacked with
knives, clubs, and even live fire." Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said
soldiers were forced by violent acts to respond with live fire.

They lied.

Viewing the video footage, Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reported that:

"All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show
clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical (and
other humanitarian) supplies on board."

Other footage showed black-clad commandos descending from helicopters,
then immediately opening fire on deck against peaceful activists.

Israeli forces seized the ship and a smaller one, took them to Israel's
port of Ashdod, and censored all information on the assault.

The Flotilla, with 700 activists, left Cyprus at 3:00PM (1200 GMT) Sunday,
on the last leg of their journey, heading for Gaza, hoping to arrive by
daylight. Six hours after departure, three Israeli missile boats left
Haifa to interdict it, according to reporters on board before being
ordered to turn off their cell phones.

The convoy hoped to break the siege and deliver over 10,000 tons of
vitally needed aid, including food, medicines, educational, construction,
and other materials. Israel warned it would intercept and abort the
mission, giving no details except to say ships would be seized, then taken
to Ashdod.

A May 31 Gaza Freedom press release called for a "global
response to killings on the Freedom Flotilla," saying:

"We, Gaza based Palestinian Civil Society Organizations and international
activists, call on the international community and civil society to
pressure their governments and Israel to cease the abductions and
killings....against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla....and begin a global
response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at
sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for

"We, from Gaza, call on you to demonstrate and support the courageous men
and women on the Flotilla and join the many now murdered on a humanitarian
aid mission. We insist on severance of diplomatic ties with Israel, trials
for war crimes and the international protection of the civilians of Gaza.
We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and
sanction campaign of a country proving again" to be an international

"Join a growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the
day when Palestinian are entitled to the same rights as (all) other
people, when the siege is lifted, the occupation over and the 6 million
Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice."

Stand in solidarity for their freedom in peace, and demand nothing less,
including full accountability for Israeli officials responsible for high
crimes of war and against humanity.

On board the Flottilla are over 700 activists from 40 countries, including
35 politicians and a Nobel Peace laureate, Mairead McGuire, who protesting
with Bil'in village activists against Israel's Separation Wall, in April
2007, was shot and injured with a rubber bullet, then tear-gassed,
overcome, and had to be taken by stretcher to an ambulance.

Again, she and 700 others risked their lives to deliver vitally needed
aid. In solidarity, people of conscience everywhere must support them and
demand full accountability for the latest Israeli crimes too grave to

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
lendmanstephen [at]


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
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