- The Flotilla attack was a well-planned act of premeditated
murder in international waters, the Netanyahu government (on June 14) announcing
an inquiry commission this writer discussed in a same-day article, accessed
through the following link:
- It explained the planned whitewash of a grievous crime
against humanity, one Israel mustn't be allowed to get away with despite
it being minor by comparison with far greater ones, Cast Lead most prominent
- The internal commission is illegitimate, even with international
observers (chosen for supporting Israel), nonetheless endorsed by the White
House, its paymaster/partner in crime, colluding in the coverup.
- Called an Independent Public Commission, Netanyahu said
it will demonstrate clearly "to the entire world that the state of
Israel acts according to law, transparently and with full responsibility."
- In his released statement, White House press secretary
Robert Gibbs endorsed the announcement as an "important step forward,"
saying "the structure and terms of reference of Israel's proposed
independent public commission can meet the standard of a prompt, impartial,
credible and transparent investigation."
- The administration was silent after the May 31 massacre,
only saying it regretted the loss of life, its usual boilerplate cover
for Israeli belligerence, partnered with our own globally.
- Commission Members - Chosen for Coverup
- Two voting members include former Israeli Supreme Court
Justice, Jacob Tirkel, its head. A conservative jurist, his experience
entails handling military court appeals, virtually always favoring Israel
over Palestinian plaintiffs.
- Amos Horev, the other voting member, is a retired major
general, prominent in Israel's military-industrial complex, a reliable
choice, like Tirkel, to whitewash IDF crimes.
- Two non-voting foreign observers include David Trimble,
an Ulster, Northern Ireland unionist allied with its power structure that
used death squads during "The Troubles" to kill people for being
Catholic. He's also a member of the Netanyahu/Dore Gold-established "Friends
of Israel," a "worldwide Christian ministry....fostering solidarity
with (the right of) the Jewish people....to live in their ancient homeland,
Israel," no matter that for centuries it was historic Palestine.
- General Ken Warkin (ret.) was also chosen, former head
of Canada's military judiciary, involved in the coverup of the Canadian
Airborne Regiment Battle Group's early 1990s Somalia atrocities.
- Like past Israeli and Washington commissions, whitewash
is assured this time, the bogus investigation to produce lies, distortion,
omissions, false conclusions, and exoneration of cold-blooded murder, ordered
by top government and military officials who'll walk away scot- free, what
Israel planned by appointing an earlier investigation into Operation Cast
- Its conclusion was preordained, on the mind of a Haaretz
June 15 editorial writer who said:
- "A committee whose makeup and authority are perceived
as predetermined will be unable to satisfy international leaders and their
constituencies abroad who demanded the inquiry in the first place."
- "....the committee's membership nor its authority
is suited to meet the challenges posed by the affair. (It's more) a public
relations tool (than a body able) to bring justice to bear on those found
responsible for the operation's failings....It would have....been better
if the (committee) had never been born, sparing us the deceptive appearance
of a real investigation," what this commission will dutifully avoid
- A same day Gush Shalom (GS - Israel's "hard core"
peace movement) called the commission "toothless and powerless, (its)
terms of reference exclude in advance all the main points which should
be investigated." GS will petition Israel's High Court to challenge
it, though prevailing against supportive justices faces near impossible
- The commission's mandate excludes days of cabinet planning
to interdict and slaughter designated Flotilla activists, nor will it consider
eyewitness accounts from passengers called "terrorists."
- Instead, it will rely on IDF testimonies, whitewashing
what happened, including fake video footage to show Israel's version of
events, not the accurate recording showing commandos firing from helicopters
before ever landing aboard, shooting passengers in the head at point blank
range, and dumping bodies, and perhaps live activists, overboard to perish
at sea, to hide the true death toll, believed to be at least 15, not the
official nine reported, though at first Israeli radio said 19.
- Netanyahu's commission will avoid truth, presenting the
IDF's sanitized version of events instead, Israel's customary type coverup,
why an independent investigation is essential. More on that below.
- Internal Findings from Cast Lead Investigations
- On April 29, 2009, IDF Chief of Staff, General Gabi Ashkenazi
approved and authorized publication of the findings of five investigative
teams, headed by colonels and composed of officers, not in the Gaza war's
chain of command. They investigated five issues:
- -- claims about UN and international facilities fired
- -- incidents involving shootings at medical facilities,
buildings, vehicles and crews;
- -- others harming civilians;
- -- the use of white phosphorous weapons; and
- -- damage to infrastructure and buildings.
- At the same time, an overall IDF investigation reviewed
the entire operation to "verif(y it) at various levels." In other
words, to assure the five investigative teams absolved Israel of any culpability.
- Unsurprisingly, they concluded that:
- "throughout the fighting in Gaza, the IDF operated
in accordance with international law. The IDF maintained a high professional
and moral level while facing an enemy that aimed to terrorize Israeli civilians
whilst taking cover amidst uninvolved civilians in the Gaza strip and using
them as human shields."
- It continued at some length justifying Israeli crimes
of war and against humanity, repeated in a sixth investigation and one
by Major General Avichai Mandelblit, Military Advocate General, concluding
on February 24, 2010 from two investigations into Israel's human shield
- "There is no dispute that during the military conflagration
the use of human shields was completely forbidden," his investigation
finding no basis that IDF troops hid behind noncombatants during the war,
despite clear evidence they did and committed grievous crimes throughout
the 23-day assault against a civilian population.
- Instead, he added that "while we regret, of course,
any harm to civilians, we emphasize that the responsibility for that lies
solely at the doorstep of the Hamas organization, following its use of
the civilian population for its despicable purposes," - Israel's customary
response, blaming victims for its own crimes, Mandelblit repeating a scripted
judgment, no matter how compelling the evidence against it, what the Goldstone
Commission and other human rights groups concluded.
- Often far less than impartial, so did Human Rights Watch
(HRW) after conducting its own investigation saying:
- A year after the war's end, neither side conducted serious
investigations to determine whether or not war crimes were committed, failing
to explain that Israel launched a premeditated attack against defenseless
civilians, protected by Hamas and other resistance forces armed with homemade
rockets and light arms against a powerful military invader using the latest
Washington-supplied weapons and technology to commit mass-murder and devastation.
- HRW agreed, calling Israeli attacks "indiscriminate,
disproportionate (and) at times seemingly deliberate, in violation of the
laws of war," causing vast destruction and large numbers of deaths
and injuries - IDF investigations providing cover for serious crimes, bogus
"after-action reports....in which an officer in the chain of command
interviews soldiers involved, with no testimony from victims or witnesses,"
that at most results in minor disciplinary action against lower-ranking
participants, never the high command, HRW adding:
- "....they are not a substitute for impartial and
thorough investigations into laws-of-war violations."
- In other words, the entire process was bogus, the IDF
absolving itself and government officials of any culpability, the planned
outcome from Netanyahu's commission, its members to deliver judgments he
wants, why HRW titled its report, "Turning a Blind Eye," Israel
and Washington's exculpatory self-examinations, no matter how compelling
the evidence against them.
- Calls for an Independent Commission
- On June 2, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution
(32 - 3 with nine abstentions, including Britain, France, Japan and South
Korea) calling for an independent fact-finding mission into Israel's Flotilla
attack, similar to the one leading to the Goldstone Commission.
- Sponsored by Arab states, it harshly condemned Israel
"in the strongest terms" for violating international law at sea,
also calling on Tel Aviv to lift the Gaza blockade and supply immediate
humanitarian aid in the form of food, medicines, fuel, and other essentials.
- Other human rights organizations voiced support:
- -- Amnesty International (AI) wants "an independent
inquiry into the incident;"
- -- Human Rights Watch calls for "A prompt, credible,
and impartial investigation....to determine whether the lethal force used
by Israeli commandos was necessary to protect lives and whether it could
have been avoided;" and
- -- a coalition of 30 human rights organizations demands
an "end to impunity....following Israel('s Flotilla) attack,"
- "We, the undersigned organisations (sic)....are
shocked by Israel's killing and injury of civilians carrying humanitarian
supplies to Gaza, (and) call on the international community to immediately
take all appropriate measures in response to this unacceptable violence."
- "This tragedy is the result of the prolonged impunity
granted to Israel by the international community, despite Israel's documented,
persistent disregard for international and humanitarian law in (Occupied
Palestine) and its violation of fundamental human rights, including the
right to life."
- Israel is criminally liable, including for maintaining
a genocidal Gaza siege. The 30 organizations also called for its immediate
lifting, and urged the International Criminal Court's (ICC) Prosecutor
"to make an urgent determination regarding the opening of an investigation
into the" OPT situation, and for the UN Secretary-General to use all
measures at his disposal to act, not abstain beyond his disingenuous rhetoric,
best not said unless followed by specific measures aimed at holding culpable
parties accountable and achieving justice for aggrieved victims at long
last, something neither he or his predecessors have done.
- The following organizations endorsed the statement:
- The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
- The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
- The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)
- Turkish Coalition for the ICC
- Track Impunity Always (TRIAL)
- Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists
- Gender Justice Initiative
- Fondazione Internazionale Lelio Basso (Italy)
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights
- University College Dublin (Ireland)
- Uganda Joint Christian Council
- Human Rights Network - Uganda
- Uganda Women and Children organization (UWCO)
- Hope After Rape (HAR, Uganda)
- Disabled Women's Network & Resource Organisation
in Uganda (DWMRO)
- Cameroon Coalition for Human Rights
- Iranian Islamic Human Rights Commission
- Kituo Cha Sheria (Kenya)
- Coalition for Justice and Accountability (Sierra Leone)
- Colombian Commission of Jurists
- Network Movement for Democracy Human Rights (Sierra Leone)
- Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human
- Indonesian Civil Society Coalition for the ICC
- Ligue pour la Paix et les Droits de l'Homme (Democratic
Republic of Congo, DRC))
- Synergie des ONG's Congolaise pour les Victims
- Femme pour la Paix, le Developpement et les Droit de
- Sierra Leone Coalition for the ICC
- Association Espanola De Derecho International De Derechos
- Justice Without Frontiers
- Lebanese Centre for International law and Human Rights
- La Coalition Marocain Pour La Cour Penal Internationale
- Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
- In a separate statement, B'Tselem demanded an "immediate,
independent and effective investigation....carried out by a group that
is not affiliated with the Israel army - (to include) testimonies of eyewitnesses....who
participated in the flotilla."
- The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
also called for an immediate independent international investigation, accusing
Israel of violating international law by attacking civilians with disproportionate
- Free Gaza, other Israeli and Palestinian human rights
groups, along with others worldwide demand the same thing, saying Israel
must be held accountable.
- Global nations (including Turkey, Arab states, Venezuela,
Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Sweden, Russia, China and many others) called
for appropriate actions in response to Israel's unjustified attack, including
an open, independent investigation, an airing of all relevant facts, and
accountability for those responsible for crimes in international waters.
- Countries only expressing regret for the lives lost included
America, Israel, Canada, Britain, Japan, Australia, and several others,
including Pope Benedict in the Vatican, a loyal ally of imperial aggression
like his predecessors.
- Posted on numerous sites, including Palestine Chronicle,
Uruknet, Countercurrents and others, writer Ahmed Amr, former NileMedia.com
editor, made "The Case For An Impartial Turkish Inquiry," since
nine of their citizens were murdered, one a Turkish America, Furkan Dogan,
the Obama administration dismissive, though he was shot four times in the
head at point blank range, clearly an assassination.
- Given Turkey's outrage over the attack, Prime Minister
Recep Erdogan calling it "state terrorism," its Foreign Minister,
Ahmet Davutoglu, saying it was "banditry and piracy," and their
country's street expressing outrage in protest, "A robust inquiry
might uncover some uncomfortable truths (and) make the Mediterranean a
safe neighborhood for one and all."
- Indeed so if regional states had leaders and officials
credentials as distinguished as the Free Gaza Movement, one of the Flotilla's
- Its Board of Advisors includes:
- -- James Abourezk, former US Senator from South Dakota,
the first Arab-American to hold that office, and founder of the American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC);
- -- M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor
of Law emeritus, Depaul University, as well as a UN international human
rights and humanitarian law consultant;
- -- Noam Chomsky, noted linguist, philosopher, political
activist, author, lecturer, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute
- -- Gretta Duisenberg, international human rights activist,
board member of "One Justice," an international Paris and Geneva-based
legal group, and honorary president of the Hebron-based Arab Centre for
Research and Studies on Palestine;
- -- Jeff Halper, Israeli Professor of Anthropology, political
activist, author, lecturer and co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against
House Demolitions (ICAHD);
- -- Archbishop Theodosius (Atallah) Hanna, Archbishop
of Sebaste from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem;
- -- Peter Hansen, former UNWRA Commissioner-General and
Assistant UN Secretary-General;
- -- John Pilger, noted author, journalist and award-winning
documentary filmmaker, including his 2002 film, "Palestine is still
- -- Leila Sharaf, a Jordanian Senator, former Minister
of Information, and former board member of the Arab Organization for Human
- -- Aengus O. Snodaigh, Irish political leader and activist;
- -- Baroness Jenny Tonge, human rights activist and member
of the British House of Lords; and
- -- Naomi Klein, lecturer and noted author, including
"The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism."
- Its Advisory Council includes:
- -- Dr. Mona El-Farra, physician, human/women's rights
activist, and Deputy Director of the Union of Health Work Committees in
- -- Mahfouz Kabariti, human rights activist and President
of the Palestinian Sailing Federation and Fishing & Marine Sports Association
- -- Jamal El-Khoudary, Chairman of the Popular Committee
Against the Siege and independent parliament member in Gaza;
- -- Dr. Eyad Sarraj, physician and Gaza-based human rights
- -- Amjad Al-Shawa, human rights activist and Director
of the Gaza-based Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO).
- Israel and Washington call these noted activists "terrorists."
People of conscience call them heroic for years of activism and dedication.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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