This baby girl, Aavielle Nevaeh Wakefield, is dead because we think people have an unfettered right to firearms. Hers is not the only face…..God knows we have hundreds of them. You can see some of them here and if you want to pick and choose who you think belongs there that’s fine too….it shows what kind of person you are to minimize human life and death. This whole firearm debate has certainly changed my approach about the firearms I own and sometimes carry….#allLivesMatter
We all know about the tragedy that happened in Oregon where college students were murdered by an American terrorist with self proclaimed ties to the political right, also known as the #demonicGOP or Republican party. That part of his bio is conveniently left out…even his name won’t be uttered by the Oath Keeper sheriff of the county where the shooting occurred probably in no small part because the shooter reminds the sheriff of himself….a conservative gun loving, gun toting true blue American. In the President’s remarks above, those made passionately, he issued a challenge to news organizations at about the 6:30 mark of his speech which many responded too and which have become a constant theme here at Miscellany101 about terrorism versus good old fashioned American crime…the kind of crime we’ve become used too and are good at doing so much so that we outdo the terrorists.
Let’s start with the basics; we are a country of criminals of all shapes, sizes and descriptions. There are many people who mean to do their fellow citizens harm and this intent is practiced on a daily basis. DAILY BASIS! There have been more mass shootings in this country of “exceptionalism” than there have been days of the year, that as of October 1…a mass shooting defined as one in which four or more people have been shot, not necessarily killed. If you want to quarrel over being killed versus being shot as a measure of qualitative American lifestyle you’re an idiot. Jamil al-Amin was correct back in 1967 when he said, ‘violence is as American as cherry pie’; our propensity to embrace it, see it as a solution to all our problems and even enable it through the auspices of police departments and the NRA will only insure we continue down that path in even more egregious ways. So the President has a right to be angry if he wants to be the “leader of the free world”, wherein his country, our country surpasses ALL of the world, free or otherwise, in firearm fratricide.
But that isn’t the challenge we’re answering here……..THIS IS!
…..and about those “terrorism” related deaths…many of them were commited by our own homespun white/black American terrorists, like this one or this one or this one or this one or……….While one can show there are “others” who committed acts of terrorism on America soil where people were killed the only thing they have in common with one another and the other Americans who’ve committed acts of terrorism is the fact that they lived here in America and had access to firearms, proving what al-Amin said back in 1967 about “our” inclination to murder and death. It cuts across color, race, ethnicity…it is something unique to our political system which says we have a right to firearms and many more others of us have a right to kill. If you claim this is a Christian country beware your Christianity which warns you, Mathew 26:52, ‘he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword’. Fix this America!
One always hears how there are no voices opposing Islamic terrorism, or so the saying goes, although the two term “Islamic terrorism” is an oxymoron, and it’s really a false argument. If you want to know what Muslims say about terrorism there are plenty of places where you can find the voice that expressly unequivocally denounces terrorism. One can find a very good source here if you care to look.
However, as for the issue of “jihad”, there’s lots written about it but it all boils down to this.
Declare your Jihad on thirteen enemies you cannot see – egoism, arrogance, conceit, selfishness, greed, lust, intolerance, anger, lying, cheating, gossiping, and slandering. If you can master and destroy them, then you are ready to fight the enemy you can see.
Ok…do you know anyone who has fought jihad in the way described above?
A thing or two about “terror tunnels”
When I visited family in Gaza City in 2011, they reluctantly agreed to take me to see some of the tunnels that had been constructed in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
At the time, there were an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 tunnels criss-crossing their ways underneath Gaza’s border with Egypt. Designed to outsmart the blockade that had essentially cut the coastal territory off from the world since 2006, the tunnels instantly grew in popularity. They were seen as a source of relief. The food, construction materials, and even animals that Israel had banned from entering the Strip was finding another way in.
As Israel and the Egyptian government cooperated to keep even the most basic necessities out of the Gaza Strip, smugglers went to work. In just three to ten minutes, a runner could smuggle anything he wanted from one of the tunnel to the other. Many requests were bold — new cars, healthy sheep, a family who had waited too long at the border — and some were ridiculous — a family meal from KFC, and why not a wife — but they all got through. So is the quick-witted brilliance of the Palestinian under occupation.
With the popularity grew attention, and the Israeli and Egyptian governments agreed to handle the threatening illusion of freedom with force. Egyptian armed forces demolished any tunnel they uncovered. The Israeli military launched air strikes even during periods of rest with the same purpose in mind.
Since then, the number of tunnels in Gaza has certainly grown. It is a bafflingly elaborate system, and although few people will ever be able to conceptually grasp the full extensiveness of the tunnel network, a quick look at the tunnels themselves reveal just how much time and effort goes into them.
As I stood at the mouth of a tunnel used primarily to shuttle fish from an Egyptian port, one smuggler gave me a brief rundown of how the tunnels are built and, in some cases, destroyed. Curiously, he had no qualms about me taking photographs. Israel knew everything there was to know about his tunnels, he informed me. The one that smuggled fish and other small food goods had been hit six times already, prompting him to reinforce the interior of his tunnel with steel plates. Three years later, I am unsure if his tunnels still exist.
This is what the tunnels were built for in the first place, and for the most part, this is what they continue to be used for. Israel knowingly targets them, claiming them to be security concerns when all the tunnels really do is relieve a bit of the pressure that people in Gaza have had to face for almost a decade now.
There are other tunnels that are used to connect opposite ends of the Gaza Strip without exposure to Israeli weaponry. These tunnels are used by Palestinian government leaders who constantly have to duck Israeli assassination attempts as well as resistance fighters who are legally entitled to resist their occupier. Never forget this last part, I am always told.
These very same tunnels were the ones used to keep Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit alive when he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war on June 25, 2006. Shalit would later be swapped in a prisoner exchange with the Israeli government.
Lately, however, new tunnels have been uncovered in the northern Gaza Strip that are being used in the defense of Palestine. As part of the Israeli military’s egregious public relations campaign, Israel has officially dubbed them “terror tunnels,” carrying absolutely no context whatsoever.
To Israel, every tunnel — be it one that brings food into an impoverished Gaza Strip where over half of the population depends on food aid or one that delivers sheep to a Khan Younis farmer who lost his other farm animals to a prior Israeli incursion — is a “terror tunnel”. The phrase alone has given Israel the impunity it feels it needs to enact vengeance against the Gaza’s population. After all, “terror tunnels” was the pretext for Israel’s repeated bombardment of the Shuja’iyya neighborhood or the Jabalya Refugee Camp, where hundreds including many children were massacred and thousands displaced.
“Terror tunnels” is also why entire city blocks were wiped off the map, or why every single building in Beit Hanoun is either damaged or demolished, or why Eid Al-Fitr wasn’t celebrated in Gaza. “Terror tunnels” is Israel’s attempt at justifying war crimes and human rights abuses in the Strip, which are increasingly being investigated by the United Nations and other international observers.
Israel’s media strategists and spokespeople have been trained to bring up the “terror tunnels” as often as possible. In some cases, they even present the tunnels with unsubstantiated claims that they were built to ‘massacre’ Israelis.
The message they give is that Palestinians are popping out of the ground like groundhogs, and that Israel is simply hammering them back into the ground. Israel is, in essence, basing its invasion of the Gaza Strip on a hypothetical. But Gaza is all too familiar with this. Each Israeli major military offensive on the Gaza Strip has been announced as a necessary defensive maneuver to keep Israel from being wiped off of the map. Meanwhile, Israel wipes Gaza off the map.
Incidentally, one such “terror tunnel” made its way onto cameras yesterday when Hamas fighters filmed their infiltration of the Nahal Oz military base in southern Israel. Five Israeli soldiers were reported killed.
In another “terror tunnel” story that happened today, three Israeli soldiers fell into a booby-trapped tunnel entrance in the southern Gaza Strip.
While the Israeli government continues to purport the idea that the tunnels are meant to target thousands of Israelis, we are left with the very obvious: every single military assault carried out by Palestinian fighters that has used an infiltrating tunnel has only ever targeted Israeli soldiers. In other words, armed tunnel activity is targeting armed and active combatants, not civilians or noncombatants. Maybe Israel can learn a thing or two.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza has just exceeded 1,300. Most of the dead, according to the United Nations, are civilians, with over 250 children.
Israel, who says that it acts solely in self-defense, is enacting on Gaza the kind of destruction and misery that it projects to the world as its greatest fear.
Israel, whose spokespeople say it acts “as surgically as is humanly possible,” has no regard for civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Israel, with its seemingly endless supply of advanced and pinpoint-accurate weaponry, has demolished entire neighborhoods and taken so many lives in search of tunnel entrances no larger than two meters in width.
A beleaguered looking President Barack Obama appeared before the Washington press corps Friday to lash into Hamas for supposedly violating the 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire that his Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations had labored so tirelessly to secure.
“I have unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third minutes after a cease-fire was announced,” Obama said.
But evidence supporting Obama’s claim of Hamas responsibility has been difficult to come by. Indeed, even the Israeli Army news desk was unable to provide AlterNet with a clear narrative or substantial evidence regarding the incident in question. Moreover, accounts published in Arabic by Hamas’s military wing along with details provided by the PLO indicate that the killing of two soldiers and disappearance of another actually occurred before the cease-fire went into effect — when Israel was assaulting Rafah.
“Today at 9:30, terrorists executed an attack from which two soldiers were killed and an additional is now missing and therefore he is suspected to have been abducted,” an Israeli army spokesperson told AlterNet. The army spokesperson went on to state that Hamas and the army “exchanged shelling,” yet they were unable to provide details on the source of the Palestinian fire. “They used several forms of fire simultaneously,” was all the spokesperson could divulge.
“I cannot confirm at the moment as we are still looking into it, but it may have been live bullets and a suicide belt,” which killed the soldiers, the army spokesperson said.
When asked why the army did not have a solid account of the events that broke the promised 72-hour cease-fire, the army spokesperson maintained, “There were terrorists and they attacked the soldiers, two soldiers didn’t just drop dead.”
Tweets from Gaza contradict official US-Israeli claims
The PLO and Palestinian Authority both insisted to AlterNet that Hamas fighters engaged Israeli soldiers inside Gaza well before the cease-fire took effect – and during an Israeli assault on Rafah leading up to the 8am cease-fire.
“They aborted the cease-fire from the beginning,” said Nabil Shaath from the PLO’s Central Committee.
A veteran negotiator, Shaath has become the de facto liaison between the PLO and Hamas. He confirmed to AlterNet that PA President Mahmoud Abbas received a briefing from Hamas this morning on the incident near Rafah. Shaath’s account reflects details provided directly by Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip.
According to Shaath, at 6am Hamas fighters engaged Israeli forces in Rafah. He maintained that it was then — almost two hours before the cease-fire went into effect — that the two Israeli soldiers were killed and the other went missing.
Shaath’s account was supported by dispatches published before the cease-fire went into effect by the official Twitter account of Hamas’s Qassam Brigades military wing. In a tweet published at 7:34 a.m. on August 1, the Qassam Brigades stated, “At 7 a.m. a group [of Hamas fighters] clashed with [Israeli] forces east of Rafah and caused many injuries and death to them.”
In a separate tweet published at 6:22 a.m. on the say day, the Qassam Brigades declared, “At 6:30 a.m., a group of the Qassam infiltrated behind enemy lines at east Rafah and bombed a house that the enemy had taken as a stronghold with a Tandem missile after the enemies bombed the whole area.”
The following day, Qassam Brigades reiterated its description of the incident in an official statement: “The clashes began at 7.00am, before the proposed truce was in effect, while the enemy launched its attack on civilians at 10 a.m, blatantly violating the truce in aims of finding a missing soldier.”
Reading the story of another episode of homemade American terrorism here and saw the following remark in the comments section
The article below really exposes the lie advanced by the Right that guns don’t kill people, it’s people who kill people. In reality it’s people with guns who kill people and such brutality doesn’t have as much to do with gang related activity as we’ve been led to believe. (Emphasis in red mine)
In a scathing critique of ABC’s recent report “Young Guns,” Dana Loesch stated that most gun deaths were the result of gang violence; therefore, America has a gang problem, not a gun problem. Her claim appears to be supported by sites positing that “a staggering 80 percent of gun homicides are gang-related.” As it turns out though, not only is her statement factually incorrect, as the majority of gun deaths are suicides, but there is not a shred of evidence to support her characterization that gangs are the driving force behind firearm violence.
Unfortunately, Dana Loesch’s sentiment is shared by many gun advocates, including the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, who, when opposing firearm background checks said, “President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.”
So, do we have a gang problem or a gun problem? Data collected by the National Gang Center, the government agency responsible for cataloging gang violence, makes clear that it’s the latter. There were 1,824 gang-related killings in 2011. This total includes deaths by means other than a gun. The Bureau of Justice Statistics finds this number to be even lower, identifying a little more than 1,000 gang-related homicides in 2008. In comparison, there were 11,101 homicides and 19,766 suicides committed with firearms in 2011.
According to the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the number of gangs and gang members has been on the rise for some time now, increasing by more than one-third in the past decade. Between 2010 and 2011, for example, there was a 3 percent increase in the number of gangs, but an 8 percent decrease in gang-related homicides. If gang violence was truly driving the gun homicide rate, we should not see gang membership and gun homicide rates moving in opposite directions.
The most recent Centers for Disease Control study on this subject lends further credence to our claim. It examined five cities that met the criterion for having a high prevalence of gang homicides: Los Angeles, California; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Long Beach, California; Oakland, California; and Newark, New Jersey. In these cities, a total of 856 gang and 2,077 non-gang homicides were identified and included in the analyses. So, even when examining cities with the largest gang problems, gang homicides only accounted for 29 percent of the total for the period under consideration (2003-2008). For the nation as a whole it would be much smaller.
The 80 percent of gang-related gun homicides figure purporting to support Loesch’s claim, then, is not only false, but off by nearly a factor of five. The direct opposite is necessarily true: more than 80 percent of gun homicides are non-gang related. While gang violence is still a serious problem that needs to be addressed, it is disingenuous to assert that the vast majority of our gun problem (even excluding suicides) is caused by gangs.
Gun advocates’ blind focus on gangs, drugs and violent felons overlooks the larger gun problem facing America. It is irresponsible and disingenuous for some of us to brush off our staggering death toll from firearms merely as the product of gangs or even violent criminals. Recognizing America’s high homicide rate for what it is — a gun problem — is the first step in solving it.
Don’t expect to be able to persuade people with the rational of the article above about the perils of the proliferation of firearms because for the Right facts never are the driving point of their argument but now YOU know.
The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Since the September 11th Attacks on the United States in 2001, which resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City and severe damage to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the United States has changed its priorities to focus upon eradicating terrorism in the world. Terrorism involves the systematic use of terror or violence to achieve political goals. The targets of terrorism include government officials, identified individuals or groups, and innocent bystanders. In most cases terrorists seek to overthrow or destabilize an existing political regime, but totalitarian and dictatorial governments also use terror to maintain their power.
As clear and distinct as this definition is, it cannot but include the Israeli government as a dictatorial government that uses terrorism to maintain power, as this article in RawStory suggests. In spite of a newly signed peace agreement with Egypt, in 1979 Israel was intimating that it would use nuclear weapons against its neighbors because somehow it feared for its existence. We know now that was a crock….Israel then as now, has no more to fear from its neighbors than the man in the moon. In fact, since 1973 all of Israel’s wars have been wars of aggression and expansion, not self-defense. One could argue they have been the precursor to America’s aggression in the Mid East…a kind of good cop, bad cop play on empire and subjugation of the Middle East.
In 1980, British officials were concerned that Israel could be heading for a new conflict, despite signing a peace treaty with Egypt the year before, according to official papers released from the National Archives after being kept secret for 30 years.
“The situation in the region is deteriorating and with it Israel’s dangerous mood of isolation and defiance will grow,” warned a cable from the British embassy in Tel Aviv, dated May 4.
What Israel served to do with this threat to use nuclear weapons was to get governments to support her in her continued suppression of Palestinian statehood, in other words to achieve the political objective of denial of human rights to her Palestinian neighbors as well as forge political hegemony in the area. Let’s not forget existential threats to Israel are no more than political dissent that are the basis for a mature political entity, not a threatening bullying one like Israel, which usually contribute to the improvement of the social fabric, not its elimination. Very few but the extreme of the extreme, (and who could that be?) would dare suggest Israel not exist, but what everyone of conscience and morality should insist upon is that Israel honor the territorial integrity of its neighbors, not interfere with Palestinian statehood, cease its racist policies towards non-Jews within its borders and honor international treaties against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. That’s the kind of discourse that countries can conduct on the world’s stage in a mature, socially and internationally acceptable manner. Not so with the Israeli interpretation of dissent. In its case dissent is not tolerated except from within and only within limits defined by the government. That is called fascism.
Search for transplant here at Miscellany101 and you’ll see several references to stories similar to this news, stretching back a year or more. In some ways it explains Israel’s blood lust….shooting people is a way to harvest organs, especially a well placed head shot.
Israel has admitted that in the 1990s, its forensic pathologists harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinians, without the permission of families.The issue emerged with the publication of an interview with the then-head of Israel’s Abu Kabir forensic institute, Dr. Jehuda Hiss. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic, who released it because of a huge controversy last summer over an allegation by a Swedish newspaper that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. Israel hotly denied the charge.
Parts of the interview were broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 TV over the weekend. In it, Dr. Hiss said, “We started to harvest corneas … . Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family.”
No accountability for the Israeli government…it was all informal, and Hiss is no longer in a position of authority will be the official party line, but they’ve already been caught in one lie, so don’t believe the next one that comes out.
I read this very interesting article that asserts President Obama is going down the same onerous road as his predecessor in dispensing justice to perceived enemies of the state…..at the expense of breaking the law and further endangering the national security as well as the national psyche. What is the matter with America that she has become afraid of people, not nations mind you, but individual people, that it makes her break her own laws as well as the laws she has agreed with the international community upon for decades?!?
The Obama administration now claims a right to kill American citizens without trial, without notice, and without any chance for the marked men or women to object legally. The Bush administration’s “targeted killing” program has been radically expanded to include Americans far from any war zone. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testified earlier this year that the targeting-to-kill decision depends only on “whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us.”
The poster boy for the targeted killing program is Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim cleric who is reportedly in Yemen. The Obama administration touts allegations that al-Awlaki helped spark the slaughter at Ford Hood, Texas, inspired the attempt to destroy a jetliner on Christmas Day 2009, and has done other dastardly things that the government has not yet disclosed (for our own good, of course). Al-Awlaki might well be a four-star bastard, but government press releases and background briefings have not previously been sufficient to justify capital punishment.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to compel Uncle Sam “to disclose the legal standard it uses to place U.S. citizens on government kill lists.” The Obama administration has responded by invoking the doctrine of state secrets, effectively claiming that national security demands that these policies be kept hidden. By hiding behind state secrets, the feds don’t even have to explain why the law doesn’t apply to their actions.
In oral arguments in federal court on Nov. 9, Justice Department attorney Douglas Letter asserted that no judge has authority to be “looking over the shoulder” of the Obama administration’s targeted-killing program. Letter declared that the program involves “the very core powers of the president as commander-in-chief.” When Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008, entitling the president to kill Americans without trial was not one of the reforms he promised.
The Obama administration has decided to pursue a Bush administration policy of extra-judicial punishment for individuals anywhere in the world, even American citizens, and claim no one has the right to oversight. It is an extraordinary position to take on the heels of an administration whose party was soundly defeated in the presidential elections in part one may argue for just such a disregard for law and the rights of US citizens. There has been no hue and cry on the part of the people for their president to undertake this action, so why does he feel the need to do so?
The Obama administration’s position “would allow the executive unreviewable authority to target and kill any U.S. citizen it deems a suspect of terrorism anywhere,” according to Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Pardiss Kebriae. And the feds have a horrible batting average when it comes to accurately identifying terrorist suspects. In the six weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government rounded up 1,200 people as suspected terrorists or terrorist supporters. None of the detainees proved to have links to the attacks. And as the ACLU noted earlier this year, “the government has failed to prove the lawfulness of imprisoning individual Guantanamo detainees in 34 of the 48 cases that have been reviewed by the federal courts thus far, even though the government had years to gather and analyze evidence for those cases and had itself determined that those prisoners were detainable.”
It’s clear to this viewer that the Obama approach to the war on terror, is just as pernicious as Bush. In fact it is a continuation of the former President’s policy at at time when the “threat” level is not as imminent as it was after 911 all the inaccurate and misleading press propaganda to the contrary. What we are witnessing is the way in which government works; it’s march towards diminution of citizen rights is gradual, slow, deceptive and relentless. New faces have little to do with changing the progress of government’s march toward this goal. Obama isn’t ‘change we can believe in’, he’s more of the same.
When it comes to Israel that bar keeps getting lower and lower. I just finished reading a NYT article, In Bid to Quell Anger Over Raid, Israel Frees Detainees which proclaimed
Israel worked Wednesday to defuse rising international anger by agreeing to a rapid release of all detainees — including those suspected of attacking its soldiers — taken after the deadly nighttime raid of six ships seeking to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The release seemed most immediately aimed at repairing dangerously eroding ties with Turkey, Israel’s main ally in the Muslim world, as demands continued to intensify around the world to end a blockade that critics say has kept Gazans isolated and impoverished.
which seems to imply Israel was doing the activists a favor by releasing them even though they “attacked” IDF soldiers. This is the same theme repeated in defense of Israeli action that fateful morning; the Israelis inflicted casualties on people only after they were attacked, which begs the questions why were they attacked? The fight didn’t happen in a vacuum; indeed it occurred only after Israeli soldiers first fired on and then assaulted the flotilla that was at the time in international waters, far from the coast of Gaza, its intended target or better yet, Israel its final destination. However, Israelis would have you believe the people on board those vessels were the worst of the worst terrorists and of course have even thrown in the word al-Qaida to frighten people even more. It doesn’t matter that the al-Qaida label applied to the organizers of the flotilla is as false and non-existent as the one many tried to affix to Saddam Hussein; the mere mention of the word generates the “shock” value that legitimizes any reaction even illegal ones.
The Israelis who probably just a few short weeks ago were leading the calls for freedom of the press in response to the Draw Muhammad day fiasco dreamed up by people who want to antagonize members of the Islamic faith, went on to perform the best press censorship of the modern era, by taking all the recording devices from any and everyone on any ships and not releasing them while spinning their (Israeli) yarns about what went on during that dreaded encounter. The IDF even went so far as to release their video version of events and the aftermath, which was as sloppy as the tale they tried to spin. For example, it was discovered that pictures of some of the “weapons” they claimed to have confiscated and displayed were taken several years ago and other photographs showed instruments, rather tools, one would expect to see on a boat that handled several hundred passengers and cargo not the weapons Israelis hoped one would dream up when it was said they were fired on or assaulted. Those pictures immediately discredited the scenario the Israelis painted of having been fired on by passengers during their own assault on the ship; there were no firearms on any of the vessels except the firearms the Israelis brought when they pirated the ships.
We still don’t have a casualty count from the Israelis, not that anyone is asking any more, but it would certainly tell us the extent of the killing that went on that night. There is at least one account that says the Israelis threw some bodies overboard into the water. Nor do we know just how badly wounded and how many there are of the other people involved in the flotilla. Main stream media has settled on the number 9 but other accounts have said as many as 20 were killed and so what will happen is people will begin to quibble about numbers and forget about the fact that those numbers represent people who were murdered for there is absolutely no justification for the Israeli boarding of those boats in international waters or anywhere near the coast of Gaza. The blockade of Gaza is not meant to secure Israeli borders……it is an act of war and intimidation used to impoverish an entire group of people and frighten others from coming to their aid in order for the Israelis to seize the land they want those people to abandon and grab the natural resources contained therein. We’ve already posted stories here on Miscellany101 of Palestinian farmers and fisherman who have been killed or wounded while going about their daily business of subsistence living in plain view, during daylight hours when there was no ambiguity about their actions or intentions, by IDF. What was the security risk they posed, other than their living, as they went about the daily chores associated with gathering food and providing for their families? What group did they represent to the Israelis as they toiled on their boats, in an area off the coast of GAZA, not Israel, that was an existential threat? We have grown used to this war of attrition the Israelis are waging against unarmed civilians to the extent we don’t even ask those kinds of questions anymore. Instead we are fed the diet of the importance of Israel maintaining its security and the rights of victims of Israeli aggression are never considered and their deaths continue. Israel has no right to murder farmers and fishermen, but that axiom of law is lost in the clamor about Israel’s right to self defense.
In like fashion, the argument about Israel’s latest atrocity never addresses the illegal nature of the Israeli blockade of Gaza which has slowly been lost in the noise about international waters. Instead we’re told indignantly how the flotilla was well away from the Israeli imposed blockade limit, miles away in fact, in international waters. That too has become another encroachment that will fall to the Israeli march towards total abandonment of law and order as the Israelis claim they were fired upon by members of the flotilla who were out to lynch these heroes of Israel’s gestapo storm troopers when they descended onto the ships. Israel didn’t consider for one moment international law and boundaries and it doesn’t want you to either when it comes to their illegal activity. And have you heard how tolerant the Israelis were by boarding ships with non lethal paint guns and how they only resorted to deadly force when they were attacked, as if they magically appeared on those ships or were passengers all along from the moment they set sail from ports in Cyprus who had to defend themselves suddenly and unexpectedly from bloodthirsty anti-semitic activists who turned on them, endangering their lives.
The very idea of Israel confronting the ships was illegal, and the actions which ensued during or after that confrontation were murderous at best, war crimes/atrocities at worse. What’s sad is an American administration’s reaction to such criminal behavior, ostensibly done in its name; Joe Biden suggesting murder is no big deal, Obama being absolutely silent on the issue and America before the UN watering down any resolutions critical, not condemnatory mind you, of Israeli action. This all because the international community has continued to dismiss pass transgressions and only focus on current ones which are increasingly more narrowed and defined by Israel. Israeli soldiers were attacked, even though they were engaged in internationally criminal activity, but that’s not a big deal, they were attacked and some were injured, even though they themselves murdered unarmed citizens, but that’s not important because they have a right to know what was contained on the boats, even though they sabotaged some of them while they were at port but that’s not a big deal, and so it goes. And did you know an American was killed on one of the boats, shot four times in the head, but the US government is used to its citizens being killed by Israelis and so that’s not a big deal either.
In the last month we have seen or read about Israel rejecting calls for a nuclear free Middle East; condemned the NonProliferation Treaty; put out news stories that it has placed nuclear armed submarines off the coast of Iran; attacked a ship belonging to a country that signed an accord with Iran that a US administration had sought; attacked and killed unarmed civilians on relief aid boats in international waters; continued the blockade and siege of a defenseless population and American troops are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for what?
In this day of information technology and rapid news gathering, there is still too much silence coming from the halls of government and the corporate media about the attack on the Gaza bound flotilla and the violation of international law on the part of the Israelis. So here is a response to the vacuum left by “power” and by the way the answer to the question posed by Cook is a resounding NO!
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 agenda.
So before we get swamped by Israeli hasbara let’s reiterate a few simple facts:
* 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.
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?
Guantanamo Bay will most likely go down as the place which housed the most terrorist we ever faced in our war on terror, the phony war started by George Bush, and those terrorists were US personnel who engaged in torture and even murder. The latest news that three suicides and the resulting investigation was so botched as to lead to more questions than answers can only lead one to the conclusion that the “suicides” were indeed murder and lead to other questions of how many other deaths at Gitmo were at the hands of the captors and not the captive. The facts from the only independent study conducted are three detainees were found swinging at the end of a ligature in their closely guarded cells with rags stuffed in their throats and one “suicide” victim had his internal organs, heart and kidneys and throat removed before his body was interred.
The removal of internal organs closely dovetails into another story we’ve covered in the pages of Miscellany101 as it regards Palestinians in the Occupied Territories who’ve died at the hands of their terrorist captors. That is scary enough, the parallel universe that seems to pervade all that the American and Israeli authorities do to Arab, semitic and Muslim peoples the world over; however, the lengths at which authorities went to blame even the victims for their murder at the hands of those same authorities (for how can a man both hang himself, stuff rags in his own throat and remained undetected for several hours long enough for rigor mortis to develop in a cell that was under 24 hour scrutiny by security guards because said occupant of the cell possessed the super human capability to break loose over power his guards and eventually find his way to the US mainland to wreak further havoc on innocent Americans) is a further nail in the coffin of US legitimacy and credibility.
Rear Adm Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair. “They are smart. They are creative, they are committed,” he said. “They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”
Or how about this wildly insane comment from a former Bush Administration official who seemed to have the intent correct, i.e. publicity, although assigning it incorrectly to the victims
“It does sound like this is part of a strategy – in that they don’t value their own lives, and they certainly don’t value ours; and they use suicide bombings as a tactic,” Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told BBC’s Newshour yesterday. “Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move.”
What Guantanamo Bay became and perhaps still is today was a battleground for a disgraced titular warrior and leader of the free world, George Bush and now Barack Obama, to play out fantasies of getting even with a perceived foe at the expense of the Nation’s Constitution and way of life. He descended into the depths of every type of illegal and immoral activity to satisfy a blood lust to exorcise demons of inferiority and insecurity and in term projected that all onto the national consciousness that have seriously affected our judgement and moral compass until the present.
Blackwater founder and Christian mercenary/missionary Erik Prince is in the news again for allegations he sent people to kill Muslim Iraqis under the sponsorship of the US State Department. Inflammatory but you can read the story here.
A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”
Now even if you believe in the phony war on terror, you have been told several times it had nothing to do with Iraqis; rather we were going there for the purposes of removing a ruler we didn’t like but who we knew all along had nothing to do with 911. Blackwater became Dick Cheney’s praetorian guard, initially to guard his interests, Halliburton, there in Iraq and ostensibly to do Cheney’s demented bidding which included political assassinations the world over. As if the torture issue isn’t reason enough for federal authorities to look into prosecuting Cheney, this latest revelation about Blackwater and the nefarious dealings of its president, Prince, should be the nail in the coffin for Cheney and many other former Bush officials’ incarceration. However, because of Blackwaters’ close ties with federal government officials, many of them career employees who remain when administrations leave and who have a direct impact on policy no matter who’s in charge, don’t look for the investigation into Blackwater malfeasance to go too far, unless the public demands it. Meanwhile, Blackwater and the US government will continue to get away with murder, and earn the scorn of the rest of the world.
The Israeli government is clearly up to, planning, attacks against some of its neighbors as it hypes up, read that lies, allegations about what they are doing. First comes this incredible, un-sourced story, a former Revolutionary Guard member talks about deflowering Iranian girls who were to be executed. Clearly this piece of work is aimed at legitimizing an Israeli attack on Iran. It is doubly anonymously un-sourced so isn’t really worth the bandwidth it passes on, but it has already gotten play in such reputable places as here, although it’s good to see in the comments section people aren’t buying it as readily as some would like.
The next incredibly stupid story is this one about the Pope and the Vatican, which appeared here. This story was so unbelievable that halfway through the article the writer seems to doubt the authenticity of what he/she’s writing about! This second story is more insidious because it takes aim at both the Roman Catholic Church as well as Hizbollah. Jews it seems are at war with both Christianity, that is the branch that’s not politically zionist leaning, as well as Islam, so both are fair game. While you read this latest bunch of news emanating from Israel to cover Netanyahu’s belligerence towards his US sponsors, consider this: Israel is the only country in the Middle East and Europe that is a foreign occupier and which regularly wages war against its neighbors. Murder is the engine that drives and gives meaning to the Israeli government. Just ask the Palestinians.