Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Anti-Empire Report

June 10th, 2010

The worst thing that ever happened to the Jewish people is the Holocaust. The second worst thing that ever happened to the Jewish people is the state of Israel.

Things internationally are so dispiriting there's nothing left to do but fantasize. I picture Turkey, as a member of NATO, demanding that the alliance come to its defense after being attacked by Israel. Under Article 5 of the NATO charter an armed attack on one member is deemed to constitute an armed attack on all members. That is the ostensible reason NATO is fighting in Afghanistan — the attack against the United States on September 11, 2001 is regarded as an attack on all NATO members (disregarding the awkward fact that Afghanistan as a country had nothing to do with the attack). The Israeli attack on a Turkish-flagged ship, operated by a Turkish humanitarian organization, killing nine Turkish nationals and wounding many more can certainly constitute an attack upon a NATO member.

So, after the United States, the UK, Germany, France and other leading NATO members offer their ridiculous non-sequitur excuses why they can't ... umm ... er ... invoke Article 5, and the international media swallows it all without any indigestion, Turkey demands that Israel should at least lose its formal association with NATO as a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue. This too is dismissed with scorn by the eminent NATO world powers on the grounds that it would constitute a victory for terrorism. And anti-Semitism of course.

Turkey then withdraws from NATO. Azerbaijan and five other Central Asian members of NATO's Partnership for Peace with Turkic constituencies do the same. NATO falls into a crisis. Remaining member countries begin to question the organization's policies as never before ... like please tell us again why our young men are killing and dying in Afghanistan, and why we send them to Kosovo and Iraq and other places the Americans deem essential to their endlessly-threatened national security.

When Vice President Biden tells the eminent conservative-in-liberal-clothing pseudo-intellectual Charlie Rose on TV that "We have put as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them [Gaza] to get building materials in," 1Rose for once rises to the occasion and acts like a real journalist, asking Biden: "Have you threatened Israel with ending all military and economic aid? ... Have you put the names of Israeli officials on your list of foreigners who can not enter the United States and whose bank accounts in the US are frozen, as you've done with numerous foreign officials who were not supporters of the empire? ... Since Israel has committed both crimes against the peace and crimes against humanity, and since these are crimes that have international jurisdiction, certain Israeli political and military personnel can be named in trials held in any country of the world. Will you be instructing the Attorney General to proceed with such an indictment? Or if some other country which is a member of the International Criminal Court calls upon the ICC to prosecute these individuals, will the United States try to block the move? ... Why hasn't the United States itself delivered building materials to Gaza?"

When Israel justifies its murders on the grounds of "self-defense", late-night TV comedians Jay Leno and David Letterman find great humor in this, pointing out that a new memoir by China's premier at the time of the 1989 Tiananmen Square violent suppression defends the military action by saying that soldiers acted in "self-defense" when they fired on the democracy activists. 2

When Israel labels as "terrorists" the ship passengers who offered some resistance to the Israeli invaders, the New York Times points out that the passengers who resisted the 9-11 highjackers on the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania are called "heroes". (As an aside, it's worth noting that the United States uses 9-11 as Israel uses the Holocaust — as excuse and justification for all manner of illegal and violent international behavior.)

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reminds its readers that in 2009 Israel attacked a boat on international waters carrying medical aid to Gaza with former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney aboard; and that in 1967 Israel attacked an American ship, the USS Liberty, killing 34 and wounding about 173, and that President Johnson did then just what President Obama is doing now and would have done then — nothing.

And finally, Secretary of State Clinton declares that she's had a revelation. She realizes that what she recently said about North Korea when it was accused of having torpedoed a South Korean warship applies as well to Israel. Mrs. Clinton had demanded that Pyongyang "stop its provocative behavior, halt its policy of threats of belligerence towards its neighbors, and take irreversible steps to fulfill its denuclearization commitments and comply with international law." 3 She adds that the North Korean guilt is by no means conclusive, while Israel doesn't deny its attack on the ship at all; moreover, it's not known for sure if North Korea actually possesses nuclear weapons, whereas there's no uncertainty about Israel's large stockpile.

So there you have it. Hypocrisy reigns. Despite my best fantasizing. Is hypocrisy a moral failing or a failure of the intellect? When President Obama says, as he has often, "No one is above the law" and in his next breath makes it clear that his administration will not seek to indict Bush or Cheney for any crimes, does he think that no one will notice the contradiction, the hypocrisy? That's a callous disregard for public opinion and/or a dumbness worthy of his predecessor.

And when he declares: "The future does not belong to those who gather armies on a field of battle or bury missiles in the ground", 4does it not occur to him at all that he's predicting a bleak outlook for the United States? Or that his conscious, deliberate policy is to increase the size of America's army and its stockpile of missiles?

Comrades, can the hypocrisy and the lies reach such a magnitude that enough American true believers begin to question their cherished faith, so that their number reaches a critical mass and explodes? Well, it's already happened with countless Americans, but it's an awfully formidable task keeping pace with what is turned out by the mass media and education factories. They're awfully good at what they do. Too bad. But don't forsake the struggle. What better way is there to live this life? And remember, just because the world has been taken over by lying, hypocritical, mass-murdering madmen doesn't mean we can't have a good time.

Bad guys and good guys

In Lahore, Pakistan, reported the Washington Post on May 29, "Militants staged coordinated attacks ... on two mosques of a minority Muslim sect, taking hostages and killing at least 80 people. ... At least seven men armed with grenades, high-powered rifles and suicide vests stormed the mosques as Friday prayers ended."

Nice, really nice, very civilized. It's no wonder that decent Americans think that this is what the United States is fighting against — Islamic fanatics, homicidal maniacs, who kill their own kind over some esoteric piece of religious dogma, who want to kill Americans over some other imagined holy sin, because we're "infidels". How can we reason with such people? Where is the common humanity the naive pacifists and anti-war activists would like us to honor?

And then we come to the very last paragraph of the story: "Elsewhere in Pakistan on Friday, a suspected U.S. drone-fired missile struck a Taliban compound in the South Waziristan tribal area, killing eight, according to two officials in the region." This, we are asked to believe by our leaders, is a higher level of humanity. The United States does this every other day, sending robotic death machines called Predators flying over Afghanistan and Pakistan, to send Hellfire missiles screaming into wedding parties, funerals, homes, not knowing who the victims are, not caring who the victims are, many hundreds of them by now, as long as Washington can claim each time — whether correctly or not — that amongst their number was a prominent infidel, call him Taliban, or al Qaeda, or insurgent, or militant. How can one reason with such people, the ones in the CIA who operate the drone flights? What is the difference between them and a suicide bomber? The suicide bomber becomes one of the victims himself and sees his victims up close before killing them. The CIA murderer bomber sits safely in a room in Nevada or California and pretends he's playing a video game, then goes out to dinner while his victims lay dying. The suicide bomber believes passionately in something called paradise. The murderer bomber believes passionately in something called flag and country.

The State Department's Legal Advisor justifies the Predator bombings as ... yes, "self-defense". 5 Try reasoning with that.

These American drone bombings are of course the height of aggression, the ultimate international crime. They were used over Iraq as well beginning in the 1990s. In December 2002, shortly before the US invasion in March, the Iraqis finally managed to shoot one down. This prompted a spokesman for the US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, to call it another sign of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's "campaign of military aggression." 6

This particular piece of hypocrisy may have actually been outdone by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's comment about the US flights and bombings over Iraq during that period: "It bothers the dickens out of me that US and British pilots are getting fired at day after day after day, with impunity." 7

Send me a stamped self-addressed envelope for a copy of the revised edition of "An arsonist's guide to the homes of Pentagon officials".

When politicians misbehave. By speaking the truth.

The German president, Horst Koehler, resigned last week because he said something government officials are not supposed to say. He said that Germany was fighting in Afghanistan for economic reasons. No reference to democracy. Nothing about freedom. Not a word about Good Guys fighting Bad Guys. The word "terrorism" was not mentioned at all. Neither was "God". On a trip to German troops in Afghanistan he had declared that a country such as Germany, dependent on exports and free trade, must be prepared to use military force. The country, he said, had to act "to protect our interests, for example, free trade routes, or to prevent regional instability which might certainly have a negative effect on our trade, jobs and earnings".

"Koehler has said something openly that has been obvious from the beginning," said the head of Germany's Left Party. "German soldiers are risking life and limb in Afghanistan to defend the export interests of big economic interests." 8

Other opposition politicians had called for Koehler to take back the remarks and accused him of damaging public acceptance of German military missions abroad. 9

As T.S. Eliot famously observed: "Humankind can not bear very much reality."

What is the opposite of being a conspiracy theorist?

David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker magazine and former Washington Post reporter, has a new book out, "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama". In the three pages Remnick devotes to Obama's 1983-4 employment at Business International Corporation in New York he makes no mention of the well-known ties between BIC and the CIA. In 1977, for example, the New York Times revealed that BIC had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries during earlier years of the Cold War; 10BIC also attempted to penetrate the radical left, including Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). 11

Did Remnick not think it at all interesting and worthy of mention that the future president worked for more than a year with a company that was a CIA asset? Even if the company and the CIA made no attempt to recruit Obama, which in fact they may have done? It's this kind of obvious omission that helps feed the left's conspiracy thinking.

Because Remnick has impeccable establishment credentials the book has been widely reviewed. But none of the many reviewers has seen fit to mention this omission. And the way it works of course is that if it's not mentioned, it didn't happen. And if you mention such a thing, you're a pathetic conspiracy theorist. Like me, who discussed it in the January edition of this report. 12

Spam, myself and my readers

As some of you now know, someone hacked into my website and used my address book to send out emails to many of the readers of this report. The emails indicated that they had been sent by me and directed people to a website which sells handbags, shoes and watches. What bothers me the most about this incident is that several of my readers believed that it was actually me who had sent out the emails, that I was peddling handbags, shoes and watches. The only thing I sell are books. But I think these readers have now learned something about spam. And hopefully about me.

Oh, by the way, can I interest any of you in some nice T-shirts, hats, or sunglasses?


  1. Charlie Rose Live, June 2, 2010 program
  2. Associated Press, June 4, 2010
  3. State Department press conference, May 24, 2010
  4. Talk given in Moscow, July 7, 2009, text released by the White House
  5. National Public Radio, March 26, 2010
  6. Washington Post, December 24, 2002
  7. Associated Press, September 30, 2002
  8. London Times Online, May 31, 2010
  9. Associated Press, May 31, 2010
  10. New York Times, December 27, 1977, p.40
  11. Carl Oglesby, "Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement" (2008), passim
  12. William Blum, The Anti-Empire Report, January 3rd, 2009

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Flotilla Massacre: Historical Perspective, Aftermath and Implications - by Stephen Lendman

During the Mandate period and throughout its existence, Israel's history has been bloodstained, barbarous, and out-of-control - and for most of it generously funded and heavily armed with the latest weapons and technology by its Washington paymaster/partner to reign terror on the region and Palestine. Early on, Israel was a regional menace. It's now a global one, posing a grave threat to world peace and stability.

The Flotilla attack was just the latest among its thousands of other atrocities, large and small, including preemptive wars, smaller incursions, bombings, killings including targeted assassinations, torture as official policy, and numerous other crimes against humanity as advocated by early leaders like David Ben-Gurion (Israel's first prime minister) saying:

"We must expel the Arabs and take their place and if we have to use force, to guarantee our own right to settle (on their land) then we have (it) at our disposal."

Or former IDF Chief of Staff Raphael Eitan (1978 - 1983) saying:

"We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel....Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours."

Or the secret (1976 published) Koenig Report saying:

"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population."

Or Benjamin Netanyahu, as Deputy Foreign Minister, saying "Israel should have exploited the (1989 Tiananmen Square violence), when world attention focused on (China), to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories."

Little wonder why Israel's history is so bloodstained, some notable examples below:

-- on July 22, 1946, future prime minister Menachem Begin's Irgun (a notorious terror group) bombed the King David Hotel, massacring 92 Brits, Arabs and Jews, wounding 58 others, in an operation approved by David Ben-Gurion as head of the Jewish Agency at the time;

-- also under the Mandate, the terrorist Stern Gang (future prime minister Yitzhak Shamir one of its leaders) carried out numerous bombings, kidnappings, and killings, including the 1944 assassination of Lord Moyne in Cairo - Britain's highest ranking official in the region;

-- on April 9, 1948 (during Israel's "war of independence") the Irgun, Stern Gang and other Israeli terrorists slaughtered well over 120 Palestinian men, women and children in the bloody Deir Yassin village rampage; on April 14, The New York Times reported 254 killed;

-- Israel's "war of independence" (Palestine's Nakba, its "Holocaust") depopulated 531 towns and villages and 11 urban neighborhoods, committing mass slaughter, rapings, vast destruction, and countless other atrocities in displacing about 800,000 Palestinians - one of history's greatest ever crimes of war and against humanity;

-- a week after the war's mid-May 1948 end, Israeli troops massacred over 200 al-Tantura villagers, mostly unarmed young men murdered in cold blood;

-- on July 11 & 12, IDF forces slaughtered several hundred Lydda civilians, including 80 machine-gunned inside the Dahmash mosque;

-- from October 24 - 29, 1948, Israeli soldiers slaughtered 50 Hula, Lebanon villagers;

-- on October 29, 1948, they massacred around 200 al-Dawayima villagers;

-- on October 30, 20 more in Majd al-Kurum, 94 when they blew up a house, and hundreds in Sa'sa' village;

-- on October 14, 1953, Ariel Sharon's notorious Unit 101 murdered 70 Qibya, Jordan villagers;

-- on April 5, 1956, IDF shelling massacred 56 and wounded 193 in Gaza City;

-- on October 29, 1956, the IDF slaughtered about 50 Kafr Kassem village men, women and children;

-- during the 1956 Suez War, Israelis executed about 273 Egyptian soldiers and civilians in cold blood;

-- on November 12, 1956, the IDF slaughtered over 100 Rafah Refugee Camp civilians;

-- during Israel's preemptive June 1967 Six Day War, its forces massacred around 2,000 captured Egyptian soldiers, another 340 Syrian villagers in the Golan Heights, and displaced over 300,000 Palestinians who fled to Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria to escape the carnage;

-- on June 8, 1967, Israeli forces preemptively attacked the USS Liberty (a clearly marked US intelligence ship), killing 34 Americans and wounding another 171 in international waters; Lyndon Johnson's defense department whitewashed it as a case of "mistaken identity," despite clear knowledge of a premeditated assault;

-- on February 21, 1973, the IDF shot down Libya Airlines Flight 114, killing 106 passengers, including one American;

-- on February 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein (a member of Rabbi Meir Kahane's extremist Jewish Defense League) attacked Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs Ibrahim mosque, massacring 29 and wounding another 129;

-- during Israel's 1982 Lebanon invasion and occupation, IDF forces slaughtered about 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, including around 3,000 by its Phalangist allies in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps;

-- during the first (1987 - 1992) and second (2000 - 2005) Intifadas, IDF rampages slaughtered thousands of Palestinian men, women and children in cold blood;

-- in April 2002, IDF forces invaded Jenin and its refugee camp, cut them off from outside help, destroyed hundreds of buildings, buried many alive under the rubble, cut off power, water, food, and other essential supplies, refused to let in help (including medical aid), and killed or wounded at least dozens (perhaps hundreds) of Palestinian civilians; Israel removed bodies and buried them to prevent an accurate count;

-- during the July 2006 Lebanon war, the IDF caused mass destruction, killed about 1,300, wounded many more, and displaced around one million civilians (about one-fourth of the population);

-- during the June 2006 Operation Summer Rain against Gaza, Israelis killed around 240 (mostly civilians) and caused widespread destruction - including three main bridges, the Nusairat and al-Boreji refugee camps' main water pipe, and the Strip's only power plant, supplying 80% of the Territory's electricity;

-- during the same period, the IDF conducted around 50 West Bank incursions, raiding homes, razing farmland, arresting dozens, and on June 29 the entire (elected) Hamas leadership, including eight ministers, 25 PLC Change and Reform Party members, and other Hamas officials; and

-- during the 23-day December 2008 - January 2009 Operation Cast Lead, IDF forces slaughtered over 1,400, injured around 5,500 more (many seriously), and inflicted vast destruction throughout Gaza, including vital infrastructure, hospitals, schools, mosques, government buildings, factories, other businesses, farmland, private homes, and much more unrelated to military necessity in violation of international law; as a result, the Goldstone Commission concluded that:

"the Israeli military operation was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole, in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing the (entire) population, and in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population. The destruction of (vital infrastructure and non-military targets) was the result of a deliberate and systematic policy which has made the daily process of living, and dignified living, more difficult for the civilian population."

And now the Flotilla massacre, Israel's latest crime against humanity, enraging millions worldwide, getting Turkey and South Africa to recall their ambassadors, Nicaragua to downgrade diplomatically to a consular level, and several other countries to consider their own measures.

Qatar announced it will pay to take Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and will fund a worldwide media campaign on the incident and Gaza siege.

Arutz Sheva (Israel National reported that the Egyptian Bar Association is collecting material to file an ICJ suit, its chairman, Hamdi Alifa, saying they're being reviewed to file "giant lawsuits" against Israeli crimes, including the Flotilla attack and Gaza siege.

Haaretz reported that Swedish dock workers will blockade Israeli ships from June 15 - 24. Norway announced it cancelled a scheduled special operations seminar because its Defense Ministry objected to an Israeli officer's participation. In Bournemouth, England (with a large Jewish population and Jewish mayor), people demanded cutting city relations with Netanyahu.

The French operator Utopia said it won't screen the Israeli-made film, "Five Hours From Paris." Israel flags were publicly burned in many cities. New Delhi Muslims demanded their government sever ties with Israel. The BBC reported that 200 or more in Belfast protested the Rachel Corrie seizure, five days after the Flotilla massacre.

Ynet reported that President Shimon Peres will likely cancel a scheduled Asia trip, because he's supremely unwelcome, and longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas said Israeli Jews should return to Germany, Poland, and America, prompting B'nai B'rith's international VP Daniel Mariaschin to say:

"There should be no place for her in a news organization. Her comments go beyond commentary and land well in the camp that will stop at nothing to delegitimize Israel." B'nai B'rith has long supported the worst of Israeli crimes, denouncing anyone who dares expose them.

On June 7, Haaretz reported that a Knesset panel voted 7 - 1 to "strip Balad (Party) MK Hanin Zuabi (an Israeli citizen) of privileges over (her) Gaza flotilla participation."

In a same day op-ed piece, Haaretz's Ruth Gavison called measures to "limit dissent and protest" dangerous by "enforc(ing) the platforms of those who claim Israel is becoming a belligerent country that belittles democracy and human rights."

In fact, throughout its history, Israel has always been belligerent, and has never respected democracy, human rights, or the rule of law.

Global Outrage - Resonating and Growing

After the massacre, world protests erupted, including in many US cities - among them:

-- New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC in front of the White House, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, Houston, Dallas, Cleveland, Atlanta, Tampa, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Charlotte, Raleigh, Knoxville, Fresno, Dearborn, Denver, Sioux Falls, Fort Wayne, Fayetteville, Portland, Boise, and Seattle.

US major media reports ignored them, but aired Israeli propaganda blaming the victims, calling them terrorists, and claiming the Netanyahu government acted responsibly to prevent "pro-Palestinian radicals, jihadists" from smuggling in arms to Hamas - Palestine's legitimate government, falsely called a terrorist organization to justify premeditated murder, a suffocating siege, claiming they're for self-defense, another refuge for scoundrels caught red-handed as evidenced by the worldwide outrage.

On May 31, Al Jazeera headlined what millions around the world feel: "Global outrage over Israeli attack" - condemnation from high officials to street anger everywhere, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya proclaiming May 31 "freedom day" in calling on Palestinians throughout Gaza and the West Bank "to carry out a total strike (throughout the Territories) to show solidarity (against) Israeli crimes."

Longtime Palestinian supporter, Hugo Chavez, expressed condolences to the families and friends of the "heros who were victims of this crime," calling on "those responsible for the murders (to) be severely punished."

In a prepared statement, he condemned the "brutal massacre committed by the state of Israel against members of the Freedom Flotilla (and its) war against unarmed civilians who were trying to bring humanitarian assistance to the....people of Gaza (under) a criminal blockade imposed by the state of Israel."

"The revolutionary government of Venezuela will continue denouncing the terrorist and criminal nature of the Israeli government and reiterates....its unshakeable commitment with the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, national sovereignty and dignity."

In early 2009, over Cast Lead atrocities, Chavez severed diplomatic ties with Israel and hasn't restored them.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly condemned Israel's attack as "despicably cowardly, brazen, reckless, and vicious - against international law, against the heart of humanity, against world peace," referring to the massacre as an "abhorrent terrorist attack" against a humanitarian mission in international waters.

He recalled his ambassador, cancelled three jointly scheduled military operations, called for an emergency Security Council meeting, asked for immediate international community action, and said "Everything has a price. And this government will have to pay (it)."

Aside from its latest appalling crime, a litany of explanatory lies, and a common street thug as prime minister, Israel and America (its paymaster/partner in all belligerent acts) have a whopping PR disaster on their hands, given world outrage resonating to top officials who must answer to their own constituencies.

Moreover, the Netanyahu government's farcical justification compounds its untenable position. Obama's indifference and Security Council obstructionism exposes his, along with outrageous congressional comments. These people can't even lie well, or perhaps as automatically count on reliable allies ahead, getting fed up with ones more an albatross.

Objectives of Both Sides

Flotilla planners' clear agenda included:

-- delivering essential to life aid to 1.5 million besieged Gazans, three years this month, but more importantly

-- symbolically breaking the siege to encourage world condemnation, highlighting an intolerable injustice, and taking another important step toward ending it.

On the pretext of blocking the entry of weapons, Israel carried out a premeditated, carefully planned and rehearsed military operation, designed to commit murder and mass casualties against unarmed civilians, even announcing it in Maariv, one of Israel's leading dailies, days in advance, the caption reading:

"On the way to violence, one of the boats is on its way," suggesting a kill-or-be-killed encounter with "terrorists."

Israel's plan had specific objectives:

-- to maintain its oppressive blockade;

-- keep 1.5 million Gazans trapped in the world's largest open-air prison;

-- cause enough harm to deter others from coming, and

-- assassinated designated activists on board.

On June 5, the UK Independent's Catrina Stewart reported an interview with Jamal Elshayyal, one of eight Al Jazeera on board reporters, seven on the Mavi Marmara, saying passengers found on Israeli commandos a list of names and photos, Alshayyal telling Stewart:

The "protesters rummaged through captured soldiers' belongings and claimed to unearth a document that they allege is a list of people Israel intended to assassinate. The booklet, written in Hebrew and in English, contained some photographs of passengers on the Marmara, including the leader of IHH, the Turkish charity that provided two of the ships, an 88-year-old priest and Ra'ad, head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Mr. Elshayyal said."

Autopsy reports show Flotilla members were shot multiple times at close range, two or more in the head, indicating murder, not self-defense as Israel claims.

The Israeli Project produces pro-Israeli propaganda, claiming it's information is accurate, unbiased, and "not related to any government or government agency."

In its post-Flotilla attack conference call, Rep. Brad Sherman (D. CA) accused Flotilla activists of aiding Hamas in violation of US law, then called on US Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute US participants on terrorist charges, saying:

"The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 makes it absolutely illegal for any American to give food, money, school supplies, paper clips, concrete or weapons to Hamas or any of its officials."

Sherman, a so-called "liberal" Democrat, supports the most extremist elements of Israel's government, Netanyahu and Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman among them, notorious sponsors of state-terrorism.

The entire Senate and most House members also back Israel's belligerence and broader objective to destroy PA authority to subjugate all Palestine - by ruthless attacks against civilians, considered legitimate targets to weaken their will to resist through mass slaughter, other atrocities, and numerous other abuses.

Cast Lead did it horrifically, the Flotilla slaughter just the latest example of how far Israel will go - with Washington's full support through generous funding, the latest weapons and technology, and use of its Security Council pressure and veto.

Stratfor Global Intelligence on the Flotilla Massacre

Providing information and insights to world decision-makers, Stratfor's CEO George Friedman examined the effect of Israel's attack, calling it "unprecedented in size" for an assault of this kind, citing three factors differentiating it:

-- over 600 foreign nationals were involved, including politicians and journalists, "raising the stakes for all players;"

-- the incident drew unprecedented media attention and preparation; immediately, "pre-arranged interviews with various pro-Palestinian representatives were filling regional media such as Al Jazeera" and others (but not in America where they're banned); world protests erupted, calling for accountability and sanctions against Israel; and

-- "Most importantly, a non-Arab foreign state played a role in instigating this incident. Turkey has been feeling its way forward in the region," trying to increase its political stature through "new tools of influence." Its government "did everything it could to benefit from the public relations that a successful breaching of the blockade would generate."

In addition, because of Israel's "direct action, a web of international relationships will be affected," and Turkey can leverage the incident by "providing military escorts (for) future aid flotillas that could increase in size" and further heighten tensions if Israeli recklessness continues.

Already, Middle East instability has increased, "the last thing" America needs with more than enough on its plate. In addition, Washington-Tel Aviv relations are affected, at least overtly as well as Israel's Western and regional relationships. Fumbling a "military action against a civilian something that works directly against American policies."

Given what's happened and world outrage, "the issue has....shifted from a military question to a political one." Key ahead is how Israel, Washington and Ankara will react, besides the potential effect on other world governments, given growing demands for accountability and mass public calls for action.

Friedman discounts the idea that the commandos used "paintballs" in the attack, calling them "training rounds" not likely to be used during a mission of this sort, especially on a ship with over 600 activists. Claiming it flies in the face of up to 20 killed and many more wounded, Friedman added:

"We find this hard to believe, given Israel's extensive experience (against) hostile civilian crowds," perhaps ready to offer resistance.

Israel's Shayetet 13 force is an elite Naval Special Forces unit, specializing in sea-to-land incursions, assassinations, counterterrorism, sabotage, and other belligerent acts - not crowd control, "so a civilian opposition would not necessarily be their area of expertise," a mission Israeli police could have handled.

Friedman omitted what Today's Zaman reported (an English language Turkish daily) on June 7, stating:

"Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek (said) Turkish citizens who were injured or killed were subjected to serious torture, and this much is evident from traces left on their bodies as well as from bullet shots, most of which were fired at close range."

The paper's photographer, Kursat Bayhan, was on the Mavi Marmara and related his "30 hours in cell number 5202" in Beer-Sheva Prison. All their belongings were taken. They were body-searched, handcuffed, photographed, forced to sign a document saying they weren't harmed, those requesting return of their luggage and passports then beaten, how Israel treats virtually all detainees.

Fallout from the Flotilla Massacre

Joshua Landis is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. On his June 1 web site posting, Syria Comment, he headlined, "Israel Pays High Price for Attack on Turkish Flotilla with Aid for Gaza," saying the damage is mounting:

-- Greece "decided to discontinue the joint military exercise currently under way and to postpone" the Athens visit of Israel's air force general staff head, scheduled for June 1;

-- Turkey recalled its ambassador, and its foreign minister says "relations are irreparable;"

-- Netanyahu had to cancel his important Washington visit;

-- an emergency UN Security Council session was called, no surprise afterward that Washington prevented any meaningful resolution;

-- "Obama will try to distance the US from Israel in due course. What choice does he have? Israel is increasingly a millstone around America's neck;"

-- China got Washington to agree to exempt its companies from US measures for doing business with Iran for whatever new sanctions it agreed to;

-- "Negotiations will now become harder and more costly for the US as the world largely sees (its) effort to punish Iran to be driven by Israeli concerns. Iran hardly threatens the US," Israel or any other nation.

On May 31 in Foreign Policy, Professor Stephen Walt headlined "Israel's latest brutal blunder," saying:

"What could Israel's leaders have been thinking? How could they possibly believe that a deadly assault against a humanitarian mission in international waters would play to their advantage?" Actions like this galvanize efforts to "delegitimize the country....This latest escapade is as bone-headed as the 2006 war in Lebanon" and Cast Lead. They provide "more evidence of the steady deterioration in Israel's strategic thinking that we have witnessed since 1967."

Importantly, the Flotilla attack "poses a broader threat to US national interests" because the world associates Israel's actions with Washington, given the "unbreakable bonds" between them. It's clear that "the special relationship with Israel has become a net liability." Tel Aviv portraying itself as a blameless victim is wearing thin, a shameless canard, increasingly likely ahead to fall on deaf ears.

On January 19, 2009, after Cast Lead, Walt addressed "The Myth of Israel's strategic genius," saying:

The record shows otherwise. Israel's military victories are often strategic failures, showing it's expert only at shooting itself in the foot, so far at least without consequences, but for how long.

According to noted Israeli supporter Leon Wieseltier, its settlements project was another "moral and strategic blunder of historic proportions," one, in fact, "never openly debated within the Israeli body politic," but taken behind closed doors.

For decades, Israel has stumbled from one strategic blunder to another, showing there's "no reason to think (it) possesses uniquely gifted strategists or a national security establishment that consistently makes smart and far-sighted choices."

Yet remarkably, some of its most incompetent leaders, including Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, Ariel Sharon, and Netanyahu are rewarded with new chances to repeat mistakes, perhaps because of Washington's unflagging support, but for how long, given the price America pays for damaged goods, compounding its own appalling record abroad and at home with a shelf life of definite limits and an ability to preserve it running out of cash.

Perhaps also its willingness to stick with a dubious partner, the same problem Washington faces with allies, sooner or later to get fed up and walk away, cutting their losses to advantage their own futures. The same ones Americans should consider for their own welfare, and assess how far they'll go to defend it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

The method in Israel's madness

The method in Israel's madness
By Pepe Escobar

Why would Israel, in a deliberate and methodical operation planned over a week in advance - according to statements by senior Israeli military commanders made in Hebrew-language media days before the attack - target an unarmed ship on a humanitarian mission flying the flag of Comoros? (Unlike Turkey, Comoros is a party of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction over war crimes committed on vessels of member states.)

Why would Israeli commandos shoot nine unarmed activists dead with nine millimeter bullets at close range, between the eyes, in the top of the head, in the back of the head, in the chest, in the back, and in the legs - including an American citizen? (The final death toll may be 15, as six activists are still missing; Israeli army radio reported 16 dead early last Monday when the attack took place on the Mavi Marmara, a part of the Free Gaza flotilla.)

How could Israel think it would get away with it by censoring video and photos - and then getting away with it all over again by refusing an international, independent commission to investigate the incident and subsequent cover-up?

Why, geopolitically, would Israel declare war on the de facto international community - from Muslim nations to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member-countries to global public opinion?

Is this merely a case of a "dysfunctional government", as Bradley Burston wrote in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. And strategically speaking, is there any method behind the madness? Or is the method actually the madness?

Be afraid, be very afraid
There may be a very simple answer to all these questions: fear.

Let's survey Israel's possible motivations. A key Israeli motive to attack the humanitarian flotilla was to send a "signal" to Turkey about the Brazil and Turkey-mediated Iran nuclear fuel-swap deal - as its success pre-empted Israel's pleas for a military strike on Tehran's nuclear facilities. Israel wants conflict between Washington and Tehran - and that means using the Israel lobby in Washington to sabotage US President Barack Obama's half-hearted attempts at finding any sort of agreement with Tehran over its uranium-enrichment program.

Israel wants a weak Turkey - out of the loop both in the Middle East and the European Union (EU). Turkey is an emerging, key regional power now with good, stable relations with its neighbors. Turkey is key for the US: 70% of all supplies for US troops in Iraq go through the Incirlik base in Turkey. Turkey has troops fighting the US war in Afghanistan. Not to mention that Turkey - in Obama's own terms - represents the key bridge between the West and the Muslim world.

The White House gave a wimpy response, "The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy." This was also Washington's signal to Turkey that the Brazil-Turkey mediation on the Iran nuclear fuel swap deal was not exactly welcome.

Iran agreed last month with the leaders of Brazil and Turkey to send most of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey to be held in escrow pending delivery of fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor.

As much as Israel wants Turkey immersed in deep trouble with both Syria and Greece, and fighting a nasty internal Kurdish problem, Ankara is not exactly trembling because of Israel's "message". In terms of conventional military strength, Turkey is ahead of Israel itself; and moreover it is a very important US NATO ally.

Another key Israeli motive was to undermine and in fact abort any possibility of meaningful peaceful negotiations with the Palestinians and the Syrians - and to cut Turkey from the loop. Turkey is very much involved in the Palestinian tragedy. It is trying hard to breach the gap between Fatah and Hamas. A key Israeli aim appears to be to sabotage any Turkish-led peace initiative to solve the Palestinian problem that includes the essential provision of a fully denuclearized Middle East - anathema to (undeclared) nuclear power Israel.

To round it all up, there is the crucial element of fear itself. As the once-fabled Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have struggled in battles with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and Hamas in Gaza in 2008, they have had to come to grips with the fact that their tanks are now vulnerable to Russian-made rocket-propelled grenades; their ships are now vulnerable to Hezbollah's made in China missiles; and their planes will soon be vulnerable to Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

The new axis in town
Iraqi Kurdistan is now virtually independent - according to Washington's designs. Israel is robustly active everywhere in Iraqi Kurdistan. At the same time, the US actively supports the Iraq-based Kurdish Workers' Party separatists in eastern Anatolia as well as Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) separatists in Iran and Kurdish separatists in Syria. The Turkish military spent no time analyzing these crucial developments. Their conclusion: NATO is not exactly a panacea. We must focus on the Middle East.

And this has led to the ultimate Israeli nightmare. The new key axis in the Middle East is Turkey, Iran and Syria. It used to be only Iran and Syria. Its historical legitimacy simply cannot be questioned, as it unites Shi'ite Iran, secular Syria and post-Ottoman Sunni Turkey.

There are many fascinating side-effects of this cross-fertilization - such as more than a million Iraqis, many of them very well educated, finding a new life in Syria. But the most remarkable effect of this axis is that it has smashed the same old divide-and-rule logic Western colonialism has been imposing on the Middle East for more than a century. Turkey's destiny may not be firmly attached to a fearful Europe that really does not want to embrace it after all; Turkey is to become once again a leader of the Muslim world.

Life for the new axis won't be easy. United States covert operations have tried to destabilize Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - to no avail. The same for US Central Intelligence Agency black ops in Sistan-Balochistan province in southeast Iran, as a means to destabilize the regime in Tehran. And the same for shady covert ops meant to bring a new military dictatorship in Turkey. But while US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton perfects her vociferousness, Assad, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad got together this February in Syria and advanced their partnership.

Crucially, Russia immediately stepped in to fill the US-provoked void. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has been to Ankara and Damascus and has positioned himself in favor of full reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and a fully functional Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel.

Even US Central Command commander General David “I'm always positioning myself to 2012” Petraeus has been forced to publicly admit that US strategic ally Israel - because of the non-stop colonization of Palestine and the blockade it is enforcing in Gaza - has become an immense burden for US strategic designs.

Russia on the other hand supports the new Turkey, Syria and Iran politico-economic axis. Visa-free travel between Ankara and Moscow is now on. Russia's Rosatom and Atomstroyexport are finishing Iran's Bushehr nuclear power station this August; are discussing the building of other plants; and have clinched a Turkish nuclear power station deal worth US$20 billion (Syria is also interested). Stroitransgaz and Gazprom will bring Syrian gas to Lebanon - as Israel prevents Lebanon from exploiting its considerable offshore reserves. Russia is on a roll. Tehran will soon receive its already paid-for S-300 missiles. And Syria will soon get a new naval base.

In Pipelineistan, Russia and Turkey are now brothers in arms. Russia will build a crucial Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline to bring Russian oil from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Moreover, Turkey is about to join the Russian South Stream gas pipeline - and that means a direct blow to the troubled US/EU-supported Nabucco.

Russia - just like Turkey - also wants a fully denuclearized Middle East, which implies a non-nuclear Israel. This will be discussed at the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency.

Thus, essentially, Israel fears the new Turkey, Syria and Iran as much as it fears Russian support for it. A new Middle East is being born - and there seems to be only one place for Israel: isolation.

Israel's "mad dog" strategy - conceived by former military leader Moshe Dayan - is not exactly an exercise in fitting in. Even centrist Middle East analyst Anthony Cordesman, an establishment icon at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote an essay under the title "Israel as a Strategic Liability?"

Big Brother Washington may be - forever - blind to it; but if you are a state and your strategy is to configure yourself as South Africa at the twilight of apartheid - by the way, at the time Israel was trying to sell nuclear weapons to South Africa - method is the last thing to be found in your madness.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

Both The CIA and the NAZIs Performed Human Experiments on Prisoners

Shocking New Report: The CIA Performed Human Experiments on Prisoners Under Bush

A new report details how the effects of torture on detainees were closely studied in order to perfect 'enhanced interrogation techniques.'
A US military trooper standing in front of an old airplane hangar used for media activities at Camp Justice, site of the US war crimes tribunal compound at Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base, Cuba, in 2009. President Barack Obama appears near a compromise to allow military tribunals to move forward for the alleged September 11 plotters in exchange for a deal to close Guantanamo Bay.
Photo Credit: AFP/Pool/File - Brennan Linsley

Over the last year there have been an increasing number of accounts suggesting that, along with the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" torture program, there was a related program experimenting with and researching the application of the torture.

For example, in the seven paragraphs released by a British court summarizing observations by British counterintelligence agents of the treatment of Binyan Mohamed by the CIA, the first two of these paragraphs stated:

    It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2002 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer….

    BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation. The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed. [emphasis added]

The suggestion was that a new strategy was being tested and the results carefully examined. Several detainees have provided similar accounts, expressing their belief that their interrogations were being carefully studied, apparently so that the techniques could be modified based on the results. Such research would violate established laws and ethical rules governing research.

Since Nazi doctors who experimented upon prisoners in the concentration camps were put on trial at Nuremberg, the U.S. and other countries have moved toward a high ethical standard for research on people. All but the most innocuous research requires the informed consent of those studied. Further, all research on people is subject to review by independent research ethics committees, known as Institutional Review Boards or IRBs.

In the U.S., there was a major push toward more stringent research ethics when the existence of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study was publicly revealed in the early 1970s. In that study nearly 400 poor rural African-American men were denied existing treatment for their syphilis, and indeed, were never told they had syphilis by participating doctors. The study by the U.S. Public Health Service was intended to continue until the last of these men died of syphilis. When the study became public the resulting outcry helped cement evolving ethical standards mandating informed consent for any research with even a possibility of causing harm. These rules were codified in what has become known as the Common Rule, which applies to nearly all federally-funded research, including all research by the CIA.

Experiments in Torture

A new report of which I am a coauthor, Experiments in Torture: Evidence of Human Subject Research and Experimentation in the "Enhanced" Interrogation Program, just released by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) confirms previous suspicions and provides the first strong evidence that the CIA was indeed engaged in illegal and unethical research on detainees in its custody. The report, the result of six months of detailed work, analyzes now-public documents, including the "torture memos" from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and the CIA's Inspector General Report and the accompanying CIA Office of Medical Services (OMS) guidelines for monitoring of detainees.

The report points to several instances where medical personnel -- physicians and psychologists -- monitored the detailed administration of torture techniques and the effects upon those being abused. The resultant knowledge was then used both as a legal rationale for the use of the techniques and to refine these abusive techniques, allegedly in order to make them safer.

For example, the OMS guidelines contain this note emphasizing how important it is "that every application of the waterboard be thoroughly documented" by medical personnel, and clarifying the nature of this documentation:

    "how long each application (and the entire procedure) lasted, how much water was applied (realizing that much splashes off), how exactly the water was applied, if a seal was achieved, if the naso- or oropharynx was filled, what sort of volume was expelled, how long was the break between applications, and how the subject looked between each treatment."

This type of documentation was not part of routine medical care as it was not being done in the interests of the person being waterboarded. Rather, the OMS made clear that this was being done

    "[i]n order to best inform future medical judgments and recommendations" [regarding how to torture people.]

The purpose of this systematic monitoring was to modify how these techniques were implemented, that is, to develop generalizable knowledge to be utilized in the future. As Renée Llanusa-Cestero demonstrated in a recent paper on CIA research in the peer-reviewed journal Accountability in Medicine, the medical personnel conducting these observations were primarily present as researchers to observe and monitor, not as treating doctors.

Other examples in the PHR report describe instances in which OMS staff investigated the degree to which severe pain that may meet the legal definition of torture arose from the applications of a specific technique (sleep deprivation) or from combinations of individual techniques. In the combined techniques example, they apparently experimented with different combinations of abusive techniques -- "for example, when an insult slap is simultaneously combined with water dousing or a kneeling stress position, or when wall standing is simultaneously combined with an abdominal slap and water dousing" -- and studied the suffering that each combination created. The Office of Legal Counsel drew upon this research in one of the torture memos to argue that, because they claimed the individual "enhanced techniques" were not harmful, combining these varied techniques also would not cause interrogators to slip over the line allegedly separating legal techniques from illegal "torture."

It is hard not to conclude that the CIA was conducting research upon detainees. These observations and experiments were not conducted for the benefit of the individuals being brutally interrogated but for the purpose of creating generalizable knowledge and thus constituted research subject to the laws and ethical rules regulating research, including the Common Rule.

Evidence Techniques Are Harmful

The PHR report also argues that literature existing in 2002 when the torture program began provides strong reason to believe that these "enhanced interrogation" torture techniques might well cause severe harm to those subjected to them. In an appendix, the report summarizes a set of studies on the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program that demonstrated a whole panoply of potentially serious effects that occurred when these techniques were administered to U.S. service members over a few days. The Resistance portion of the SERE program attempts to inoculate special forces and others at high risk of capture against breaking if subjected to techniques banned by the Geneva Conventions, that is, to torture. In SERE, soldiers are subjected to brief periods of "enhanced interrogations" in order to prepare them for the real thing if captured and tortured. It was to SERE that the CIA and Bush administration turned when they decided to adopt torture as official policy.

Despite the fact that those subjected to SERE were volunteers, had a 'safe word' to end their abuse, and knew that their torment would end in a few days, an extensive program of research demonstrates that those subjected to the techniques even to a very limited degree suffered a whole range of potentially serious physical and psychological effects, including severely increased stress hormone levels and high rates of psychological dissociation, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite this body of published research, when the Bush Justice Department worked on the torture memos, they argued -- ignoring this SERE research as well as many accounts from torture survivors -- that the SERE experience demonstrated that the techniques were not harmful. In later memos, however, Justice Department lawyers apparently tried to strengthen their case by citing the CIA research derived from its torture implementation as further evidence that the techniques did not cause serious harm. Thus, one of the main finding in the PHR report is that one set of potentially criminal acts, illegal and unethical research, was used, incorrectly, to justify another set of potentially criminal acts, torture of detainees.

Reason for CIA Torture Research

The language of the documents might be interpreted as suggesting that the CIA engaged in this research to avoid harming the detainees, to keep the interrogations "safe and ethical." This was far from the truth. Rather, the Justice Department torture memos argued that torturers could be protected from prosecution for their acts of torture if they demonstrated a "good faith" effort to avoid causing the "severe pain" involved in legal definitions of torture irrespective of how much suffering and harm the torturers actually caused.

One way they could demonstrate such a good faith effort was to consult with health professionals, the researchers, who could assure them that their actions would not cause harm. Another way to demonstrate good faith was to collect and analyze evidence of prior interrogations demonstrating, allegedly, that they did not cause severe harm. Thus, the quality of the research did not matter. Its very existence would provide the CIA torturers and responsible officials with a get-out-of-jail-free card.

The SERE studies described in the PHR report provided good reason to suspect that the CIA's torture would cause harm. That is likely why they were ignored by the CIA and the lawyers writing the torture memos.But the CIA’s torture research claiming that the “enhanced interrogation” tactics were safe could be used as a legal defense for the torturers, possibly counteracting the body of legitimate research demonstrating the opposite. The CIA’s research was junk science. But that was no problem because its purpose wasn’t increasing understanding, but ass-covering, CYA, for the CIA.

Call for Investigation

This PHR report provides evidence that the CIA likely violated federal ethics rules as well as a prohibition in the War Crimes Act on biological experiments on prisoners "without a legitimate medical or dental purpose." Thus PHR calls for both a criminal investigation of this research and these experiments, which may well constitute a war crime, and an investigation by the Office of Human Research Protections of research ethics violations.

Regarding the call for a criminal investigation, it is important to realize that the logic used by the Obama administration to refuse an investigation of torture claims -- that the torture memos allowed the torturers to believe their actions were legally sanctioned -- does not apply to potential research on detainees. As far as is publicly known, there exist no "torture research" memos authorizing ignoring laws and regulations prohibiting research on torture techniques.

American Psychological Association

In addition to criminal and federal penalties, another necessary response to these reported torture experiments is professional sanctioning of any health professionals found to have participated in the research. Physician organizations such as the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have adopted clear ethical rules prohibiting their members' participation in either the "enhanced interrogation" program or in research such as that described here. The exception among major health professional organizations is the American Psychological Association (APA).

In 2002 the APA modified its ethics code to allow psychologists to dispense with informed consent

    "where otherwise permitted by law or federal or institutional regulations." [ethics code standard 8.05.]

Whatever the reason for the APA making this modification, it could be interpreted as allowing psychologists to follow CIA (or military) directives authorizing exemption from the informed consent requirement. This lowered standard does not change psychologists' legal or ethical obligations in terms of causing harm, but it does unacceptably weaken research standards. This modification should be removed.

In February 2010, after eight years of stalling, the APA removed from its ethics code a related loophole, ethics code standard1.02, often described as the “Nuremberg Defense,” that allowed dispensing with any section of the code when it was in conflict with “the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing legal authority.” But even with the long-delayed correction to 1.02, changes permitting psychologists to perform research on subjects without their consent remain in the ethics code. To date, there has been no explanation offered by the APA for reducing the standard on informed consent, nor has there been any response to longstanding calls from PHR, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, and numerous other psychological and human rights groups to restore psychologists’ informed consent ethical obligations the standards that all other health professional associations have instituted since Tuskegee and Nuremberg. Psychologists and others should demand that the APA immediately remove this ethics code section.

Israel, trapped in a state of victimhood, first orders Gaza Peace Flotilla killings, then cleverly abuses Rachel Corrie

By Stewart Wechsler

I want to offer another perspective on why the Israeli government first ordered the killing of those Gaza Peace Flotilla members, and now are using the second aid ship, the Rachel Corrie, to silence their critics in a pattern of a victim turned abuser, but be patient, it is tied together at the end of this piece.:

When I was a kid growing up as a Jew in the New York area, I frequently heard the phrase "Never again!" At the time I originally thought it meant that we should never again be silent and complicit in genocides or even smaller injustices to ANY people. I later realized that to those of my fellow Jews that protested "Never Again!" the loudest, it really meant "Never Again to us Jews!"

These Jewish brothers for whom "Never Again!" was all about us Jews, stood in sharp contrast with my Jewish heroes and heroines. My heroes and heroines were the Civil Rights Movement activists that risked or gave their lives fighting for the freedom of Blacks in Mississippi in 1964. They were the Jews that made up a disproportionate number of those that fought General Franco's fascism in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 - 1939. They have been the Jewish journalists that have spoken truth to power, from Amy Goodman to Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn (whose New York accent sounded just like my socialist uncle Ed Hoffman, another one of my Jewish heroes who, as an African American History professor in the South devoted much of his life fighting for Civil Rights in his own way.). My Jewish heroes and heroines have always been my brothers and sisters that were leaders in movements for social justice for all peoples. More recently Jewish heroines have included those such as Heddy Epstein, the 85 year-old Holocaust survivor that has been devoting her life to fight the abuse of the Palestinian people, and the Jewish writers, Naomi Klein and Naomi Wolf that have exposed the abusers of power in their books "The Shock Doctrine" and "The End of America".
In my analysis, those who were only thinking of the Jews when they proclaimed "Never Again!, were my emotionally scarred Jewish brothers who never healed from the post traumatic stress of the Holocaust and the other abuses passed through generations of victim-hood. Both in New York and in Israel the worst victims of abuse have ended up becoming those with the greatest emotional need to gain power and possessing the greatest willingness to abuse others to get the power they feel they need to feel emotionally invulnerable and not "less than".

In Israel the greatest victims of these emotionally scarred Jews have been the indigenous people of pre-WWII Palestine / Israel, especially the Arab - Muslim Semites, but also the Sephardic Semites that had been living for so long in peace with their Semitic brothers. These Sephardics were then also treated as second class citizens by the more urbane Ashkenazi (my tribe) immigrants from Europe.

In America and the rest of the world, some of the most emotionally abused Jews went on to misuse the skills and strengths that we should be most proud of as a people. These Jewish brothers went on to misuse their great intelligence and strong business skills. Instead of being the greatest business people that provide valued products and services that maximally benefit both buyers and sellers, employees and their communities as many of us Jews do so well, the Bernie Madoffs, Jack Abramoffs, and Goldmans and Sachses among us used their business skills to get the most for themselves at the expense of their customers, employees and communities.

When we get in this abusive mode, due to the shame of our circumstances we cannot see what we are doing and we end up in an endless vicious cycle of trying to get more for ourselves at the expense of others and our earth, to try to make ourselves feel better because we don't feel we have enough. In reality these brothers and sisters are trying to compensate for not having enough love, but they try to make up for their lack of love with more power over others, with this power often being in the form of money. Consequently, they then end up digging themselves deeper and deeper into a hole of being hated and despoiling the earth that sustains us all. When others do anything to expose our abuses, our insecurity makes us defensive and we are likely to attack them viciously. And when such attacks are pointed out, it only further confirms our feeling of being unfairly persecuted, and hardens us even more.

This is what the Gaza Peace Flotilla members were guilty of. They were guilty of exposing the abuse, by the weak-egoed people that have come to dominate Israel, of their Semitic brothers in Gaza. For this, at least 9 or 10 of the Gaza Peace Flotilla members paid with their lives.

I expect that with the treatment of the subsequent aid ship, the Rachel Corrie, the abuse victim - turned abuser - state of Israel will try to whitewash its earlier abuse of Gaza Peace Flotilla members by showing that they did not kill any of them. With this they will try to show the world, or maybe fool enough of them into believing, that they really are not abusers. I expect they will examine all of the ship's contents and let them go into Gaza after showing that they don't have any supplies that would help so-called "terrorists". After showing that the second ship had no supplies that would aid "terrorists" they will imply that the earlier Gaza Peace Flotilla did. While the wise among us pleaded that the world should "Never Forget!", in this case the killings on the Gaza Peace Flotilla, the Israeli decision makers cleverly (foolishly?) believe that they can get us to forget. With defenders of the Israeli government having near monopoly control of the the voice of the people in the US media and substantial global media control also, they believe they can silence their victims. This is another well known pattern of abusers, they scare their victims, in this case the media workers of the US and world, into silence.

In their abuse of others, these most powerful Jewish Post Traumatic Stress victims are calling out for help and healing, but few of us have the wisdom and strength to heal them. Yet, in failing to do so we let these sickest of our brothers go on to destroy our peace and our earth like a child on a temper tantrum. These sickest among our brothers will up the ante by calling out for help louder and louder until they are heard and healed or until we and our beloved earth are almost all dead. Even if some survive this temper tantrum of titans of industry an enormous amount of God's ancient art in the form of species, ecosystems and cultures will be destroyed.

As a Jews I do believe we should be proud of our intelligence, business skills and media savvy, but sadly, a minority of us have used those erstwhile strengths in a sick way. Though our sickest brothers have become prominent among a top predator/abuser/controller group that dominates the money, the corporations, the media establishments and the governments of the world (especially in America and Israel), we have no monopoly on this disease. I don't know whether or not any of the top players in British Petroleum are Jewish, but they are now certainly among the world's sickest abusers and it has nothing to do with being Jewish or not. As far as I can tell, all of the people in this top predator/abuser/controller class suffer from this same addiction to power over others to try to compensate for the love they can't buy or have. But in trying to control everyone, they only become more hated or more distant from others, and those that might appear to love them are, more often than not, just sucking up to their money.
Thus, the fundamental solution to most of the world's man-made problems caused by these emotionally unhealthy people, is to end the cycle of victim becomes abuser who victimizes others who in turn again become abusers. We may not all be ready to love our enemies among the greatest power abusers as a clever Jewish guy named Jesus might have suggested, but we should at least understand that the abusers are a product of an abusive society. I would contend that they are also usually products of sick personal circumstances. We now have an opener with a better than ever connected world to recreate a sort of world community where it is no longer acceptable anywhere in the world to prey on others anywhere on earth.

Author's Bio: I've been an activist to one degree or another since I was 11 years old. This started with attending rallies against the Vietnam War with my family. At that age I also remember attending a grape boycott picket with my older brother and attempting to win people to my side. I now have 2 focuses. One focus is on the war against the truth by the media now controlled by the most powerful few. The second focus is on the war on the ecosystem by both the corporations and the lifestyles of most Americans and others. These people are either oblivious to or insensitive to the effects our life styles have on ecosystems and all of the other species on earth that make up those ecosystems.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

What The Washington Post failed to report: where Obama's special ops murder teams are operating

The Washington Post, the White House's largest collection of media stenographers for the administration, reported on June 3 that the Obama has secretly dispatched US Special Operations forces to 75 countries around the world. Just as the Post initially agreed not to publish the locations of CIA "black" torture and detention centers in eastern Europe, the Post has toed the line by not providing a complete list of the countries where US Special Operations forces are operating covertly.

WMR scooped the Post by identifying a number of eastern European "black" sites, including those in Poland and Romania.

We are now providing the list of 75 countries where Obama has secretly deployed US Special Operations forces:

1. Afghanistan 2. Albania 3. Algeria 4. Azerbaijan 5. Bahrain 6. Bangladesh 7. Benin 8. Bosnia and Herzegovina 9. Brunei 10. Burkina Faso 11. Cameroon 12. Central African Republic 13. Chad 14. China 15. Colombia 16. Comoros 17. Congo (DR) 18. Cote d'Ivoire 19. Djibouti 20. Egypt 21. Eritrea 22. Ethiopia 23. Gabon 24. Gambia 25. Georgia 26. Guinea 27. Guinea-Bissau 28. Honduras 29. India 30. Indonesia 31. Iran 32. Iraq 33. Jordan 34. Kazakhstan 35. Kenya 36. Kosovo 37. Kuwait 38. Kyrgyzstan 39. Lebanon 40. Libya 41. Malaysia 42. Mali 43. Mauritania 44. Mexico 45. Morocco 46. Myanmar 47. Nepal 48. Niger 49. Nigeria 50. Oman 51. Pakistan 52. Philippines 53. Qatar 54. Russian Federation 55. Rwanda 56. Saudi Arabia 57. Senegal 58. Sierra Leone 59. Somalia [including Somaliland] 60. South Africa 61. Sri Lanka 62. Sudan 63. Syria 64. Tajikistan 65. Tanzania 66. Thailand 67. Togo 68. Tunisia 69. Turkey 70. Turkmenistan 71. Uganda 72. United Arab Emirates 73. Uzbekistan 74. Venezuela 75. Yemen

The empire and lies

Reflections of Fidel
The empire and lies

(Taken from CubaDebate)

I was left with no alternative other than to write two "Reflections" on Iran and Korea, which explain the imminent danger of war with the use of nuclear weapons. I have also expressed the opinion that one of them could be overcome if China decided to veto the resolution that the United States is promoting in the United Nations Security Council. The other is dependent on factors that escape any possibility of control, due to the fanatical conduct of the state of Israel, converted by the United States into its current condition as a strong nuclear power, which does not accept any control whatsoever on the part of the superpower.

In June 1953, when the first United States intervention to crush the Islamic Revolution in defense of its own interests and those of its close ally the United Kingdom took place, which resulted in Mohammed Reza Pahlevi assuming power, Israel was a small state that had not yet seized almost all of Palestinian territory, part of Syria and more than a small part of neighboring Jordan, defended up until then by the Arab Legion, of which not a trace remained.

Today the hundreds of rockets with nuclear warheads, supported by the most modern aircraft supplied by the United States, are threatening the security of all the states of the region, Arab and non-Arab, Muslim and non-Muslim, that are in the reach of the wide radius of action of Israeli missiles, which could fall within a few meters of their objectives.

Last Sunday, May 30, when I wrote the Reflection "The Empire and drugs," the brutal attack on the flotilla transporting provisions, medicines and other items for the one and a half million Palestinians besieged in a small fragment of what was their own homeland for thousands of years, had not yet taken place.

The vast majority of people invest their time in and struggle to confront the necessities that life imposes upon them, including food, the right to recreation and study, and other vital problems of their closest family members; they do not have time to search for information about what is happening on the planet. They can be found anywhere, with noble expressions on their face, trusting that others will take charge of finding solutions to the problems overwhelming them. They are capable of rejoicing and laughing. Thus, they bring happiness to those of us who have the privilege of observing with equanimity the realities threatening us all.

The extremely strange fabrication that North Korea had sunk the South Korean Cheonan corvette – designed with cutting-edge technology, endowed with a wide-ranging sonar system and underwater acoustic sensors – in waters opposite its coast, blamed North Korea for the appalling act that cost the lives of 40 South Korean marines and inflicted dozens of injuries.

It was not easy for me to unravel the problem. On the one hand, there was no explanation as to how it was possible for any government, however much authority it enjoys, to utilize command mechanisms to give orders to torpedo an ensign ship. On the other hand, I did not believe for one second the version that it was Kim Jong II who gave that order.

I lacked the elements needed to reach a conclusion, but I was sure that China would veto a draft resolution in the Security Council to sanction North Korea. On the other hand, I was in no doubt whatsoever that the United States is unable to avoid the use of nuclear weapons on the part of the incontrollable government of Israel.

Late in the evening of June 1 the veil over what really happened began to lift.

At 10:30 p.m. I listened to the content of an acute analysis by the journalist Walter Martínez, who produces the sterling "Dossier" program on Venezuelan television. He came to the conclusion that the United States had made each part of Korea believe what each side was affirming about the other, with the objective of solving the problem of the return of the territory occupied by the Okinawa base, as demanded by the new Japanese leader, reflecting the wishes of the country. His party gained enormous backing in the elections due to that promise of his to secure the [U.S.] withdrawal from the military base installed there which, for more than 65 years, has been a dagger thrust in the heart of Japan, now a developed and rich country.

Via Global Research the really amazing details of what happened have come out, thanks to an article by Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist working in Washington DC, who circulated information from intelligence sources on the Wayne Madsen Report website.

Those sources, he affirmed, "…suspect that the March attack on the South Korean Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette, the Cheonan, was a false flag attack designed to appear as coming from North Korea."

"One of the main purposes for increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula was to apply pressure on Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to reverse course on moving the U.S. Marine Corps base off Okinawa. Hatoyama has admitted that the tensions over the sinking of the Cheonan played a large part in his decision to allow the U.S. Marines to remain on Okinawa. Hatoyama's decision has resulted in a split in the ruling center-left coalition government, a development welcome in Washington, with Mizuho Fukushima, the Social Democratic Party leader threatening to bolt the coalition over the Okinawa reversal.

"The Cheonan was sunk near Baengnyeong Island, a westernmost spot that is far from the South Korean coast, but opposite the North Korean coast. The island is heavily militarized and within artillery fire range of North Korean coastal defenses, which lie across a narrow channel.

"The Cheonan, an ASW corvette, was decked out with state-of-the-art sonar, plus it was operating in waters with extensive hydrophone sonar arrays and acoustic underwater sensors. There is no South Korean sonar or audio evidence of a torpedo, submarine or mini-sub in the area. Since there is next to no shipping in the channel, the sea was silent at the time of the sinking.

"However, Baengnyeong Island hosts a joint U.S-South Korea military intelligence base and the U.S. Navy SEALS operate out of the base. In addition, four U.S. Navy ships were in the area, part of the joint U.S-South Korean Exercise Foal Eagle, during the sinking of the Cheonan. An investigation of the suspect torpedo's metallic and chemical fingerprints show it to be of German manufacture. There are suspicions that the U.S. Navy SEALS maintains a sampling of European torpedoes for sake of plausible deniability for false flag attacks. Also, Berlin does not sell torpedoes to North Korea, however, Germany does maintain a close joint submarine and submarine weapons development program with Israel.

"The presence of the USNS Salvor, one of the participants in Foal Eagle, so close to Baengnyeong Island during the sinking of the South Korean corvette also raises questions.

"The Salvor, a civilian Navy salvage ship, which participated in mine laying activities for the Thai Marines in the Gulf of Thailand in 2006, was present near the time of the blast with a complement of 12 deep sea divers.

"Beijing, satisfied with North Korea's Kim Jong Il's claim of innocence after a hurried train trip from Pyongyang to Beijing, suspects the U.S. Navy's role in the Cheonan's sinking, with particular suspicion on the role of the Salvor. The suspicions are as follows:

"1. The Salvor engaged in a seabed mine-installation operation, in other words, attaching horizontally fired anti-submarine mines on the sea floor in the channel.

"2. The Salvor was doing routine inspection and maintenance on seabed mines, and put them into an electronic active mode (hair trigger release) as part of the inspection program.

"3. A SEALS diver attached a magnetic mine to the Cheonan, as part of a covert program aimed at influencing public opinion in South Korea, Japan and China.

"The Korean peninsula tensions have conveniently overshadowed all other agenda items on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visits to Beijing and Seoul."

Thus, in an amazingly easy way, the United States managed to solve an important problem: to liquidate the National Unity government of the Democratic Party of Yukio Hatoyama, but at an extremely high cost:

1- It deeply offended its South Korea allies.

2- It highlighted the skill and rapidity with which its adversary Kim Jong Il acted.

3- It emphasized the prestige of the Chinese power, whose president, with full moral authority, moved personally and sent China’s principal leaders to converse with Emperor Akihito, the Prime Minister and other eminent Japanese figures.

Political leaders and world opinion have proof of the cynicism and total lack of scruples that characterize the imperial policy of the United States.

Fidel Castro Ruz

June 3, 2010,

11:16 a.m.

Translated by Granma International

Was the Obama Administration involved in the Planning of the Israeli Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla?

The Broader Military Agenda

The Israeli Navy Commando had prior knowledge of who was on the Turkish ship including where passengers were residing in terms of cabin layout. According to Swedish author Henning Mankell, who was on board the Marmara , "the Israeli forces attacked sleeping civilians."

These were targeted assassinations. Specific individuals were targeted. Journalists were targeted with a view to confiscating their audio and video recording equipment and tapes.

"We were witnesses to premeditated murders," said historian Mattias Gardell who was on the Mavi Marmara.

"...Asked about why activists on the Turkish ship had attacked the Israeli soldiers, Gardell stressed "it is not as if Israel is a police officer whom no human being has the legitimate right to defend him or herself against":

"If you are attacked by commando troops you of course must have the right to defend yourself ... Many people on this ship thought they were going to kill everyone. They were very frightened ... It's strange if people think one should not defend oneself. Should you just sit there and say: 'Kill me'?" he said." (See Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Detailed Compiled Eyewitness Accounts Confirm Cold-Blooded Murder and Executions by Israeli Military, Global Research, June 1, 2010)

“They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,” (quoted by Press TV)

The Israeli Commando had an explicit order to kill.

What was the role of the United States?

The raids on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, bear the mark of previous Israeli operations directed against unarmed civilians. It is a well established modus operandi of Israeli military-intelligence operations, which is tacitly supported by the US administration.

The killing of civilians is intended to trigger a response by Palestinian resistance forces, which in turn justifies Israeli retaliation (on "humanitarian" grounds) as well as a process of military escalation. The logic of this process was contained in Ariel Sharon`s "Operation Justified Vengeance" (also referred to as the "Dagan Plan") initiated at the outset the Sharon government in 2001. This Operation was intent upon destroying the Palestinian Authority and transforming Gaza into an urban prison. (See Michel Chossudovsky, "Operation Justified Vengeance": Israeli Strike on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is Part of a Broader Military Agenda, Global Research, June 1, 2010).

The Israeli attack on the Flotilla bears the fingerprints of a military intelligence operation coordinated by the IDF and Mossad, which is now headed by Meir Dagan. It is worth recalling that as a young Coronel, Dagan worked closely with then defense minister Ariel Sharon in the raids on the Palestinian settlements of Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut in 1982.

There are indications that the US was consulted at the highest levels regarding the nature of this military operation. Moreover, in the wake of the attacks, both the US and the UK have unequivocally reaffirmed their support to Israel.

There are longstanding and ongoing military and intelligence relations between the US and Israel including close working ties between various agencies of government: Pentagon, National Intelligence Council, State Department, Homeland Security and their respective Israeli counterparts.

These various agencies of government are involved in routine liaison and consultations, usually directly as well as through the US Embassy in Israel, involving frequent shuttles of officials between Washington and Tel Aviv as well as exchange of personnel. Moreover, the US as well as Canada have public security cooperation agreements with Israel pertaining to the policing of international borders, including maritime borders. (See Israel-USA Homeland Security Cooperation, See also Michel Chossudovsky, The Canada-Israel "Public Security" Agreement, Global Research, 2 April 2008)

The Role of Rahm Emmanuel

Several high level US-Israel meetings were held in the months prior to the May 31st attacks.

Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's White House chief of Staff was in Tel Aviv a week prior to the attacks. Confirmed by press reports, he had meetings behind closed doors with Prime Minister Netanyahu (May 26) as well as a private visit with President Shimon Peres on May 27.

May 26 meeting between Rahm Emmanuel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Official statements do not indicate whether other officials including cabinet ministers or IDF and Mossad officials were present at the Rahm Emmanuel-Netanyahu meeting. The Israeli press confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel had a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whose Ministry was responsible for overseeing the Commando attack on the Flotilla. (Rahm Emanuel visits Israel to celebrate son's bar mitzvah - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News, 23 May 2010). The White House also confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel was to meet other high-ranking Israeli officials, without providing further details. (Rahm Emanuel in Israel for Son's Bar Mitzvah, May Meet With Officials)

"Our Man in the White House"

While born in the US, Rahm Emmanuel also holds Israeli citizenship and has served in the Israeli military during the First Gulf War (1991).

Rahm is also known for his connections to the pro-Israeli lobby in the US. The Israeli newspaper Maariv calls him "Our Man in the White House" (quoted in Irish Times, March 13, 2010). Rahm Emmanuel gave his support to Obama in the November 2008 presidential elections following Obama`s address to the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC.

At the time of Rahm Emmanuel's confirmation as White House chief of staff, there were reports in the Middle East media of Rahm Emanuel's connections to Israeli intelligence.

The exact nature of Rahm Emmanuel's ties to the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus, however, is not the main issue. What we are dealing with is a broad process of bilateral coordination and decision-making between the two governments in the areas of foreign policy, intelligence and military planning, which has been ongoing for more than 50 years. In this regard, Israel, although exercising a certain degree of autonomy in military and strategic decisions, will not act unilaterally, without receiving the "green light" from Washington. Rahm Emmanuel`s meetings with the prime minister and Israeli officials are part of this ongoing process.

Rahm Emmanuel's meetings in Tel Aviv on May 26 were a routine follow-up to visits to Washington by Prime Minister Netanyahu in March and by Minister of Defense Ehud Barak in late April. In these various bilateral US-Israel encounters at the White House, the state Department and the Pentagon, Rahm Emmanuel invariably plays a key role.

While the pro-Israeli lobby in the US influences party politics in America, Washington also influences the direction of Israeli politics. There have been reports to the effect that Rahm Emmanuel would "lead a team of high octane Democratic party pro-Israel political operatives to run the campaign for the Defense Minister Ehud Barak" against Netanyahu in the next Israeli election. (Ira Glunts, Could Rahm Emanuel Help Barak Unseat Netanyahu? Palestine Chronicle, June 2, 2010)

The April 27 meeting between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Defense Minister Barak pertained to "a range of important defense issues" directly or indirectly related to the status of the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation:

"As President Obama has affirmed, the United States commitment to Israel's security is unshakable, and our defense relationship is stronger than ever, to the mutual benefit of both nations. The United States and our ally Israel share many of the same security challenges, from combating terrorism to confronting the threat posed by Iran's nuclear-weapons program.

For years, the United States and Israel have worked together to prepare our armed forces to meet these and other challenges, a recent major example being the Juniper Cobra joint exercise held last October. Our work together on missile-defense technology is ongoing, and the United States will continue to ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge." (Press Conference with Secretary Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Barak, April 2010 - Council on Foreign Relations April 27, 2010)

These consultations pertained to ongoing military preparations regarding Iran. Both Israel and the US have recently announced that a pre-emptive attack against Iran has been contemplated.

Washington views Israel as being "'integrated into America’s military architecture,' especially in the missile defense sphere." (quoted in Emanuel to rabbis: US 'screwed up' Jerusalem Post, statement of Dennis Ross, who is in charge of the US administration’s Iran policy in the White House, May 16, 2010).

Targeting Iran

The attack on the Freedom Flotilla, might appear as a separate and distinct humanitiarian issue, unrelated to US-Israeli war plans. But from the standpoint of both Tel Aviv and Washington, it is part of the broader military agenda. It is intended to create conditions favoring an atmosphere of confrontation and escalation in the Middle East war theater;

"All the signs are that Israel has been stepping up its provocations to engineer a casus belli for a war against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Tel Aviv sees as unfinished business its inconclusive wars: the first in Lebanon in 2006, and the second in Gaza in 2008-09." (Jean Shaoul Washington Comes to the Aid of Israel over Gaza Convoy Massacre, Global Research, June 4, 2010)

Following Israel's illegal assault in international waters, Netanyahu stated emphatically "Israel will continue to exercise its right to self defence. We will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza," suggesting that the Gaza blockade was part of the pre-emptive war agenda directed against Iran, Syria and Lebanon. (Israeli forces board Gaza aid ship the Rachel Corrie - Telegraph, June 5, 2010, emphasis added) .

Moreover, the raid on the Flotilla coincided with NATO-Israel war games directed against Iran. According to the Sunday Times, "three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline." (Israel Deploys Three Nuclear Cruise Missile-Armed Subs Along Iranian Coastline).

While Israeli naval deployments were underway in the Persian Gulf, Israel was also involved in war games in the Mediterranean. The war game codenamed "MINOAS 2010" was carried out at a Greek air base in Souda Bay, on the island of Crete. Earlier in February, The Israeli air force "practiced simulated strikes at Iran's nuclear facilities using airspace of two Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, which are close territorially with the Islamic republic and cooperate with Israel on this issue." Ria Novosti,War Games: Israel gets ready to Strike at Iran's Nuclear Sites,, March 29, 2010)

Also, in the wake of the final resolution of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation directed against Israel's nuclear weapons program, the White House has reaffirmed its endorsement of Israel's nuclear weapons capabilities. Washington's statement issued one day before the raid on the flotilla points to unbending US support to "Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities", which also include the launching of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran:

"a senior political source in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel received guarantees from U.S. President Barack Obama that the U.S. would maintain and improve Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities.

According to the source, "Obama gave [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu unequivocal guarantees that include a substantial upgrade in Israel-U.S. relations."

Obama promised that no decision taken during the recent 189-nation conference to review and strengthen the 40-year-old Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty "would be allowed to harm Israel's vital interests," the sources said. Obama promised to bolster Israel's strategic capabilities, Jerusalem officials say - Haaretz Daily Newspaper)

Robert Gates and Israel's Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Press Conference, April 27, 2010

The Turkey-Israel Relationship in Jeopardy?

The actions of Israel against the Freedom Flotilla have important ramifications. Israel's criminal actions in international waters has contributed to weakening the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.

The bilateral Israel-Turkey alliance in military, intelligence, joint military production is potentially in jeopardy. Ankara has already announced that three planned military exercises with Israel have been cancelled. "The government announced it was considering reducing its relations with Israel to a minimum."

It should be understood that Israel and Turkey are partners and major actors in the US-NATO planned aerial attacks on Iran, which have been in the pipeline since mid-2005. The rift between Turkey and Israel has a direct bearing on NATO as a military alliance. Turkey is one of the more powerful NATO member states with regard to its conventional forces. The rift with Israel breaks a consensus within the Atlantic Alliance. It also undermines ongoing US-NATO-Israel pre-emptive war plans directed against Iran, which until recently were endorsed by the Turkish military.

From the outset in 1992, the Israeli-Turkish military alliance was directed against Syria, as well as Iran and Iraq. (For details see See Michel Chossudovsky, "Triple Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon, Global Research, 2006)

In 1997, Israel and Turkey launched "A Strategic Dialogue" involving a bi-annual process of high level military consultations by the respective deputy chiefs of staff. (Milliyet, Istanbul, in Turkish 14 July 2006).

During the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This "triple alliance", which in practice is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

Starting in 2005, Israel has become a de facto member of NATO. The triple alliance was coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which included "many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to "enhance Israel's deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria." ("Triple Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon).

The Issue of Territorial Waters

Israel's blockade of Gaza is in large part motivated by the broader issue of control of Gaza's territorial waters, which contain significant reserves of natural gas. What is at stake is the confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral de facto declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza's maritime areas. If the blockade were to be broken, Israel's de facto control over Gaza's offshore gas reserves would be jeopardy. (See Michel Chossudovsky,War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields, Global Research, January 8, 2009. See also Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)