The Loss Of Liberty,
34 Americans Murdered by 6srael
34 Americans Murdered by 6srael
—Ambassador Edward L. Peck, Gaza Freedom Flotilla passenger, chief of mission in Iraq and Mauritania, and deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan administration, Institute for Public Accuracy, 2 June 2010
By James Petras
Israel Crimes on the High Seas
On June 8, 1967, two squadrons of Israeli warplanes bombed, napalmed and machine-gunned the US intelligence-gathering ship, USS Liberty, in international waters, killing 34 US sailors and wounding another 172. The assault took place on a sunny afternoon, with the US flag and identifying markers clearly visible. The Israelis targeted the antennae to prevent the crew from broadcasting for help and shot up the lifeboats to ensure no survivors. There were, however, survivors who rigged up an antenna and radioed their distress, a call for help that reached Washington D.C. In an unprecedented act of betrayal, President Johnson, in close liaison with powerful American Jewish Zionist political backers, covered up the mass murder on the high seas by issuing orders first to recall Mediterranean-based warplanes from rushing to assist their besieged comrades, then threatening to court-martial the survivors who might expose the deliberate nature of the Israeli assault and finally by repeating the Israeli line that the attack was a matter of mistaken identity, a lie which numerous military leaders later rejected.
Almost to the day (memorial day! -gr), 43 years later, on May 31, 2010, Israeli warships, helicopter gun ships and commandos assaulted a convoy of humanitarian ships carrying ten thousand tons of aid to Gaza in international waters. Prior to the aid mission Turkish authorities had examined the passengers and the ship to ensure no weapons were on board. The Israelis, nevertheless, came on board shooting and clubbing the unarmed passengers, killing up to 19 and wounding dozens. Despite subsequent Israeli and Zionist claims to the contrary no weapons were found, apart from sticks used by some of the victims attempting to fend off the murderous premeditated assault planned, directed and defended by top Israeli leaders and the entire leadership of the major Zionist organizations in the US and elsewhere. The invading Israeli storm troopers systematically destroyed all cameras, videos and tape recorders that had documented their savage assault, in order to subsequently spread their brazen lies about their being subject to armed resistance.
The World Response
Within hours of Israel’s bloody act of piracy, nations, political leaders, human rights organizations and the vast majority of the international community condemned the Israeli state for its violation of international law. Turkey, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Austria summoned their Israeli Ambassadors to protest the deadly assault. The Financial Times (June 1, 2010) referred to the Israeli assault as a “brazen act of piracy … hurtling into lawlessness” rooted in its “illegal blockage of Gaza”. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan called the Israeli assault an act of “state terrorism” which would have “serious consequences”. Israel’s attacks on ships flying Turkish, Greek, and Irish flags on the high seas were described by legal experts as an “act of war”. The UN Security Council, NATO, and the Secretary General of the UN demanded Israel cease its aggression while tens of thousands of demonstrators marched denouncing Israel’s blatant act of state murder and wounding of pacifists, humanitarians and protestors from 60 countries. UN experts demanded that Israeli leaders “must be held criminally responsible”. Only the Obama regime refused to condemn the Israeli act of state terror, merely expressing “concern and regret”. The Israeli state defended its murderous assault, promised more in the future and insisted on maintaining its blockade of Gaza, even after the US suggested it might be loosened.
The Israeli Defense of Piracy and State Terror
As news of the Israeli massacre slipped out and the international community reacted with horror and anger, the Israeli government “sought to flood the airwaves with their versions of events … more importantly, the authorities ensured that their narrative gained early dominance by largely silencing the hundreds of activists who were on board during the attack.”1 The Jewish state held all the prisoners alive, wounded, and dead incommunicado, seized their mobile phones and prohibited any interviews, barring all journalists. Like most terrorist states, the Jewish state wanted to monopolize the propaganda media. The Israeli propaganda machine via its state sponsored journalists and news media employed several ploys typical of totalitarian regimes.
1. Israeli storm troopers invading the ship were turned into victims and the humanitarian pacifists were turned into aggressors.2
2. Israel’s act of piracy in international waters was declared legal by a Professor Sabel of the Hebrew University.
3. The humanitarian organizers were accused of having ties to terrorists according to Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon, though no evidence was presented.3 The organizers including the Turkish human rights group accused by Ayalon were cleared by the Turkish intelligence agency, the military and the Erdogan government, a member of NATO and for many years (in the past) a collaborator with the Israeli Mossad. The other 600 plus human rights volunteers, included pacifists, parliamentarians, former diplomats, as well as current members of the Israeli parliament.
4. While dozens of human rights people were shot, killed and maimed, Israeli propagandists doctored video releases portraying one of the Israeli assailants on the deck, cutting out the preceding sequence of attack.4
5. The Israeli sea and airborne assailants were described as the victims of a “Brutal Ambush at Sea.”5
6. The terrorized human rights workers were accused of being a “lynch mob”, attacking the Jewish commandos who were firing automatic rifles wildly across the deck and at cornered victims. The few courageous individuals who fought back to stop the murderous attack were slandered by the Zion-prop, which itself is as monstrous as the crimes they perpetrated.
Once the Israeli propaganda machine started spewing out its gutter lies, the entire leadership of the Zionist Fifth column swung into action … first and foremost in the United States.
The US Zionist Power Configuration: In Defense of the Massacre
Just as the entire leadership of the 51 principle American Jewish organizations defended every Israeli war crime in the past, from the bombing of the US Liberty, to the Occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza so too did these most honorable apologists repeat verbatim the lies of the Israeli state regarding the assault of the humanitarian flotilla.
The Daily Alert (May 31-June 2, 2010), the official public propaganda organ of the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, published every scurrilous Israeli state lie, about the Israeli commandos being ‘lynched’, ‘attacked’ and the human rights victims being responsible for the death of their comrades … at the hands of Israeli commandos. Not a single deviation, not a single word of criticism. Not even a single mention of even the superficial Israeli critics who faulted the execution, the use of deadly weapons, the assault in international waters, and the public relations fiasco. The vast majority of Israeli Jews and organized Zionists in the US supported the bloody massacre and were opposed by a small minority who has no access to the mass media. Zionist control over the mass media was once again demonstrated by the reporting through “Israel’s eyes” (FAIR, June 1, 2010). Essentially, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, CBS, NBC presented the Israeli commandos attacking the humanitarian boat as being … “assaulted and beaten.”6 The New York Times (June 1, 2010) gave credence to the Israeli claim that its act of piracy on the high seas was legal. For the US mass media the problem is not Israeli state terror, but how to manipulate and disarm the outrage of the international community. To that end the entire Zionist Power configuration has a reliable ally in the Zionized Obama White House and US Congress.
The Obama Response to Israeli State Terror
There is only one basic reason why Israel repeatedly commits crimes against humanity, including the latest assault on the humanitarian flotilla: because it knows that the Zionist Power Configuration, embedded in the US power structure, will ensure government support, in this case the Obama White House.
In the face of the world-wide condemnation of Israel’s crime on the high seas, and calls from the international community for legal action, the Obama regime absolutely refused to criticize Israel. A White House spokesman said “The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.”7 An act of state terrorism does not evoke “regrets” – it normally provokes condemnation and punishment. The power which caused “loss of life and injuries” has a name – Israel; the persons who suffered death and injuries during the Israeli assault – have a name – humanitarian volunteers. It was not simply a “loss of life” but a well planned premeditated murder which is openly defended by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his entire Cabinet. The “circumstances” of the murders are clear: Israel assaulted an unarmed ship in international waters, opening fire as they boarded the ship. The Obama regime’s obscene political cover-up of a deliberate criminal act in violation of international law is evident in his description of a serial homicide as a ‘tragedy’. Premeditated state terror has no resemblance to a tragic noble ruler forced by circumstances into a criminal act against their closest allies.
Washington, pressed to participate at a UN Security Council meeting, spent 10 hours eliminating all references to Israel’s illegal criminal act, ending in a resolution which merely calls for an “impartial” investigation, with Washington pushing for an Israeli investigatory committee. To the world at large, including the Turkish government, the Obama regime and the US government, by refusing to condemn Israel, are “accomplices to a mass murder”.
To understand why the Obama regime brought shame and infamy to itself in the eyes of the world, one need look at the Zionist composition of the Obama White House and, equally important, the direct power and access that the principle Jewish-Zionist organizations have over the US political system. In the week preceding Israel’s announced assault on the humanitarian flotilla, (pro-Israel) Jewish leaders met with over a third of US senators to pressure them to pass harsher sanctions on Iran by June. Among the key operatives attending were the Jewish Federation of North America, AIPAC and the rest of the Israeli Fifth Column (Jewish Telegraph Agency, May 26, 2010). The following day a squadron of leaders from the Jewish Federations flew into Washington to meet with top Obama administration officials, to ensure that the White House and Congress did not in any way or form publicly express any criticism of Israel’s settlement policy. No doubt the Zionist apologists for Israeli war crimes extended their agenda to include no public criticism of the Israeli assault on the flotilla. Rahm Emmanuel, top US Presidential aide, was in Tel Aviv as a guest of top officials of the Israel Defense Force a few days before the IDF launched the assault, no doubt having filled Rahm in on the details. The Israeli-American aide to Obama no doubt assured the war criminals of Washington’s unconditional political and military support for Israel’s acts of aggression.
From within the Obama Administration and without, the aggressive pressure from the 51 principle organizations of the American Zionists have guaranteed Israeli war criminals immunity from any War Crimes Tribunal, or even serious political condemnation by the UN Security Council. The Zionized White House’s tactic is to deflect attention from immediate consequential condemnation let alone sanctions, hoping that over time, aided by the blanket mass media apology in the US, the mass indignation and protest overseas will gradually wither away. Obama and his Zionist cohort are already in a belly crawl mode with Israel. Part of Rahm’s mission to Israel was to hand Netanyahu an invitation to the White House, during the week of the slaughter at sea. The only reason Netanyahu did not come to Washington was because he rushed back to Israel to buttress the Foreign Office’s defense of the slaughter in the face of world-wide outrage. But in a phone conversation, Obama promised Netanyahu a prompt new invitation – assuring the Jewish statesman that violating international laws and bloodying dozens of humanitarian activists is of no consequence, especially since it insures continued financial support by Obama’s Zionist backers.
Like Lyndon Johnson with the cover-up of the USS Liberty, Obama’s apology of Israel’s war crimes, is the price for ensuring the backing of billionaire Zionist financiers and media moguls, the tens of thousands of pro-Israel Jews and the 51 President of the Major American Jewish Organizations.
In the face of Washington’s complicity with Israeli war crimes, the only road is to intensify the world-wide boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign against all Israeli products, cultural activities and professional exchanges. Hopefully, the Islamic led mass protests will find echo in the wider anti-Zionist Christian and Jewish communities – especially, when Israeli apologists for state terror make public appearances. Even more important each and every Israeli involved in the mass assault should be subject to criminal prosecution wherever they visit. Only by making the Israelis understand that they will pay a high price for their serial homicides and violations of international law will reason possibly enter their political narrative. Only by moving beyond symbolic protests, like recalling diplomats, and taking substantive actions, like breaking relations, will the international community isolate the perpetrator of state terrorism. All Americans should send loud and clear to President Obama – NEVER AGAIN. Otherwise, with the Zionist Power Configuration active 7/24, the Obama regime, true to the Zionist agenda, will once again focus attention on attacking Iran. Israel’s action today with US complicity is a prelude of the kind of deadly force it has in store for sabotaging the recent Turkey-Brazil-Iran diplomatic agreement.
This is dedicated to the brave Turkish martyrs on the Mavi Marmara, May 31, 2010, and to the 34 murdered American sailors on the USS Liberty, June 8, 1967 – all victims of an unrepentant criminal state – Israel.
Cengiz Akyüz with his nine-year-old daughter
Twenty-eight children lost their fathers as a result of the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla.
Nine people were shot dead on May 31 by Israeli soldiers who attacked the Turkish vessel M.V. Mavi Marmara as it attempted to transport humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.
Eight of them were fathers whose children are now yatims due to the Israeli assault on the Freedom Flotilla.
The Arabic word yatim is usually translated as orphan. However, in the Islamic religion, the word yatim actually means a child whose father is dead or whose father and mother are dead. This is the reason why Islamic media outlets are calling the children orphans.
Following are brief biographies of the nine people, as reported by Lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com:
1. Ibrahim Bilgen
Ibrahim Bilgen, 61, was an electrical engineer from Siirt. He was a member of the Chamber of Electrical Engineers of Turkey. He ran as a Saadet (Felicity) Party candidate in the Turkish general election of 2007 and the Siirt mayoral election of 2009. He was married with 6 children.
2. Ali Haydar Bengi
Ali Haydar Bengi, 39, ran a telephone repair shop in Diyarbakir. He was a graduate of Al-Azhar University, Cairo (Department of Arabic Literature). He was married to Saniye Bengi and had four children — Mehunur (15), Semanur (10), and twins Mohammed and Senanur (5).
3. Cevdet Kiliçlar
Cevdet Kiliçlar, 38, was from Kayseri. He was a graduate of Marmara University's Faculty of Communications and formerly a newspaper journalist for the National Gazette and the Anatolia Times. For the past year, he was a reporter and webmaster for the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). He was married to Derya Kiliçlar, and had one daughter, Gülhan, and one son, Erdem.
4. Cetin Topçuoglu
Cetin Topçuoglu, 54, was from Adana. He was a former amateur soccer player and taekwondo champion who coached Turkey's national taekwondo team. He was married and had one son, Aytek. His wife, Cigdem Topçuoglu, was also aboard the Mavi Marmara, but survived.
5. Necdet Yildirim
Necdet Yildirim, 32, was an IHH aid worker from Malatya. He was married to Refika Yildirim and had one daughter, Melek, aged three.
6. Fahri Yaldiz
Fahri Yaldiz, 43, was a firefighter who worked for the Municipality of Adiyaman. He was married and had four sons.
7. Cengiz Songür
Cengiz Songür, 47, was from Izmir. He was married to Nurcan Songür and had six daughters and one son.
8. Cengiz Akyüz
Cengiz Akyüz, 41, was from Iskenderun. He was married to Nimet Akyüz and had three children — Furkan (14), Beyza (12), and Erva Kardelen (nine).
9. Furkan Dogan
Furkan Dogan, 19, was in his senior year at Kayseri High School, where he was awaiting the results of his university entrance exams. He had hoped to become a doctor and loved chess. He was the son of Dr. Ahmet Dogan, an associate professor at Erciyes University. He was a Turkish-American dual national with two siblings.
The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea early on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the six ships and injuring about 50 other people.
The fate of three other Freedom Flotilla activists is still unknown.
Israel also arrested nearly 700 activists from 42 countries on board the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory.
By Rich Wiles
Rich Wiles views Israel’s murder of peace activists aboard the Gaza-bound international aid flotilla against the background of a long history of Israeli crimes against the Palestinians. He reminds us that, even as the world was mourning the murder of the peace activists, Israeli soldiers and settlers continued to murder Palestinians.
”People of the world, you can see what is happening. You are taking to the streets. You are rightly angry at this inhumanity. For the sake of your fellow human beings this barbarity must be stopped for ever. All inalienable rights must be enforced, and all occupied lands must be liberated. Now must be our time; Rise people, rise!”
Through the recent murderous events in international waters Israel has once again shown its true colours and its total disregard for humanity.
From the global reaction over the last week it seems, that for once, a huge majority of people around the world have seen these attacks in a clear light. Let us call a massacre a massacre. Whilst these atrocities have clearly appalled millions of people, the inhumanity of the Zionist regime should have come as no surprise, for this is nothing new.
What happened to the dedicated human rights activists about the flotilla in the early hours of 31 May was yet another example of Israel’s barbarity against innocent human beings, yet by the following afternoon it could not even be called “the latest” attack.
As people around the world took to the streets to call for an end to Israel’s impunity, people in Palestine continued to resist all the way from the southern Palestinian town of Rafah in Gaza, north and across the Palestinian towns of 1948 Palestine, and yet further around the West Bank.
At Kalandia checkpoint near Ramallah, Palestinians gathered to demonstrate against the massacre at sea. The Israeli occupation forces’ response was violent as is the norm, and this led to more bloodshed. A 21-year-old American photographer was shot in the eye by what is thought to have been a high-velocity tear-gas canister. Emily Henochowicz was immediately rushed to hospital; she now has only one eye.
On 1 June, three Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including a 65-year-old woman who was shot in the legs in the area of the Kerem Shalom crossing. In the following days, Zionist settlers, who are supported by the Israeli government in their colonization of Palestinian land through financial incentives and ideology (let us not forget that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is himself a settler living in a West Bank colony near Bethlehem), have continued their violent campaigns against Palestine and its people.
In the northern West Bank, settlers from the Yitzhar colony torched around 100 dunums of Palestinian almond and olive groves on 2 June. On the same day, in al-Khalil (Hebron in English), a Palestinian was killed by settlers in a car crash. The morning of 3 June brought yet more Palestinian blood; this time is was the blood of two schoolboys. As children from al-Aroub refugee camp crossed a road on their way to class a car stopped and an armed settler stepped out of the vehicle. According to witnesses, the settler then proceeded to open fire on the schoolboys. This incident happened in full view of the permanently manned Israeli occupation forces’ watchtowers that dominate the entrance to al-Aroub camp. Two boys were shot; one was hit in the thigh, whilst the second boy is still in critical condition after being shot through his stomach. Doctors are as yet still unsure if this boy will survive. Following the shooting the settler got back in his car and drove away.
People around the world are expressing their anger at the massacre carried out against the flotilla, and rightly so, but nobody should lose sight of the wider context. The activists aboard those ships were demonstrating their support for justice, and their refusal to remain silent. The exact details of injuries and deaths is still unclear, but what is abundantly clear is that they died in defence of Palestine. As those people died, so other innocent people are continuing to die much as they have done for over 62 years under the black clouds of Zionism.
It seems that at last, huge numbers of people around the world are taking notice of events in Palestine, and more widely against Palestinian people and their supporters. Israel’s continued and developing disregard for life and the rule of law is being clearly seen globally by people who would not consider themselves to be activists. These actions are no longer only known by those who choose to find out for themselves; the truth is becoming so very clear for so many people. What happened in international waters in the early hours of 31 May was grotesque and inhumane, as were the events in the following days which must also be recognized internationally.
The 1948 massacres in Deir Yassin, Tantura and other villages; the massacre in Kufr Qassem in 1956; the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982; the massacres in Qana in 1996 and again in 2006; the massacre in Jenin refugee camp in 2002; the massacres in Gaza through 2008 and 2009; the ongoing external and internal displacement of millions of Palestinians, and more than 60 years of ongoing colonization of Palestinian lands and all-encompassing denial of rights – this is the context in which this most recent massacre is inextricably rooted.
The Israeli propaganda machine is working harder than it has ever had to work before, but its wheels are falling off. Netanyahu and his fellow war criminals are on the back foot as their lies are becoming more and more desperate, and more and more transparent.
People of the world, you can see what is happening. You are taking to the streets. You are rightly angry at this inhumanity. For the sake of your fellow human beings this barbarity must be stopped for ever. All inalienable rights must be enforced, and all occupied lands must be liberated. Now must be our time; Rise people, rise!
Rich Wiles is an artist, writer, and activist based in Palestine. His latest book is Behind the Wall: Life, Love and Struggle in Palestine (Potomac Books).
Dear UN General Assembly Members:
We, the undersigned citizens of the world, call on the United Nations General Assembly to rescind Israel's membership in the UN, as a step toward ending Zionist apartheid.
Israel's attack on a humanitarian aid fleet on Monday May 31, 2010, its murder of 9 human rights activists in international waters and wounding 50 others demonstrate that Israel rejects the structural tenets of our shared humanity, manifested in a global moral consensus and international law.
Countless UN resolutions call on Israel to respect international law. It abides by none of them. It should therefore lose its place among the global family of nations.
Israel has been violating international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention in its building of settlements, displacement of the indigenous population of Palestine, invasion of surrounding countries, killing and ethnically cleansing civilians systematically through the use of massacres. Israel has never been held accountable for the massacres of Deir Yassin, Qibya, Sabra and Shatilla, Qana, Gaza, and Jenin, for murdering Rachel Corrie, nor, as of today, for its massacre on the flotilla of international peace activists hoping to break Israel’s siege on the Palestinian people. As of 2007, Gaza has been turned into an open air prison housing 1.5 million people. Since 1948, Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship do not enjoy equal protection or rights under Israeli law for not being classified as “Jewish Nationals.” Palestinian survivors of ethnic cleansing are denied the right to return.
We, the citizens of the world, call upon you to shape the 21st century with a new ethic, already enshrined in the United Nations. We call upon you to end Zionist apartheid and racial injustice by stripping Israel of its UN membership.