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NOW AVAILABLE: Full 60-minute footage smuggled from Mavi Marmara

NOW AVAILABLE: Full 60-minute footage smuggled from Mavi Marmara

June 11, 2010

MEDIA ALERT:

JUST RELEASED: ONE HOUR OF FOOTAGE FROM MAVI MARMARA
Footage taken aboard largest ship in Gaza Freedom Flotilla in hour before and during raid by Israeli military

New York, NY—

A full hour of raw footage taken aboard the Mavi Marmara in the hour leading up to and during the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has just been made available to view at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwsMJmvS0AY

The footage is also available for download at: http://tinyurl.com/flotilla-footage/

Despite the Israeli government’s efforts to confiscate all of the footage taken during the attack, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE filmmaker Iara Lee was able to smuggle one hour of footage back to the United States and is releasing it raw to the public today.

Yesterday at the United Nations, Ms. Lee presented the footage for the first time to the international press corps after the following statement:

“I want first to thank the United Nations Correspondents Association for organizing this event on such short notice.

“My name is Iara Lee. I am a dual U.S.-Brazilian citizen of Korean descent. I am a filmmaker and a human rights activist.

“I decided to join the Freedom Flotilla after going to Gaza a few months ago and seeing first hand the devastation there. After hearing the pleas of the people living in Gaza to have the blockade lifted, I felt I must do something.

“The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was on a humanitarian mission.  We expected to be deterred from delivering our aid to Gazans, but we did not expect to be attacked.

“We started filming from the moment we boarded the Mavi Marmara right through the Israeli assault on the ship. Although all of our equipment was confiscated, we managed to smuggle this footage out.

“Mine is high-definition footage of the Flotilla attack and also the only sustained footage of the ship and its passengers preceding the deadly Israeli commando raid. Watching this raw, unedited footage, you will get a sense of the mood on the ship and of the passengers on it.

“Undoubtedly, many of you will be scrutinizing it for clues to resolve the mysteries that still surround what happened that fateful night.

“During this past week the Israeli government has repeatedly alleged that these passengers — or some of them — laid a trap for Israel, duped the Israeli military, and plotted a lynching. Israel has repeatedly alleged that we were anti-Semitic Muslim fanatics connected to terrorist organizations.

“In fact, the passengers on our mission came from many countries and religious and ethnic backgrounds.  Our one common denominator was that we wanted to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza by highlighting the injustice of Israel’s blockade.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This wasn’t the ‘love boat,’ this was a flotilla of terror supporters.” Our footage will help you decide whether we were a love boat or a hate boat. You will see secular and devout passengers. You will see people at prayer and people working at their laptops.

“Was this a lynch-mob moved by hatred of Israelis or was it a cross-section of humanity moved by the plight of Gaza? Did we lay a trap for the Israeli commandos or did they unnecessarily attack us? Did we take them by surprise or did they take us by surprise?

“Do you see a premeditated ambush, or do you see some passengers using items at hand to protect themselves from an unprovoked assault by heavily armed commandos?

“You decide.”

CONTACT:

Iara Lee: iaralee@culturesofresistance.org

please cc: assistant@gg3.com for prompt reply

www.culturesofresistance.org

http://www.facebook.com/ profile.php?id=100000928581236

Posted at http://gazaflotilla.delegitimize.com/statements/activist-statements/full-60-minute-footage-smuggled-from-mavi-marmara/

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Israel’s shoot to kill policy uncovered
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=129575&sectionid=351021801
Despite claims of acting in self-defense, Israeli commandos have killed aid activists onboard Freedom Flotilla ships since they were carrying out a “shoot to kill policy”.

The Guardian has revealed that the results of the autopsies conducted on the bodies of Turkish activists killed last Monday by Israeli navy show they were peppered with 9mm bullets that were fired at close range.

At least 9 Turkish activists were shot to death when trying to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as part of an international aid convoy dubbed “Freedom Flotilla”.

The surfaced facts about the killings totally dismissed Israeli regime’s claims and its insistence that its troops just acted in self-defense when they opened fired on activists.

The report said the Turkish men onboard the Mavi Marmara have been shot 30 times in all and five of them were killed as the straight bullets hit them in their heads.

Vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, Yalcin Buyuk, conducted the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice.

He told the paper that a 60-year-old man named Ibrahim Bilgen was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back, while a 19-year-old boy named as Fulkan Dogan was shot five times from less than 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back.

The Israeli regime has come under intense international pressure to allow an international probe into the killings of civilian activists.



Israelis Threw 4 Injured Into the Sea
June 7, 2010, 12:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20100606&articleId=19584
Activist Idris Simsek, who was on board one of the six ships of the Freedom Flotilla during the Israeli attack, claims that four wounded activists were thrown into the sea.

The Israeli troops also put immense psychological pressure on the activists of the Freedom Flotilla, the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman quoted Simsek as saying in an article published on Saturday.

Simsek said they expected some harassment from the Israeli forces but did not expect an armed attack.

He went on to say that he witnessed that the person who waived the white flag to surrender was shot by the Israeli troops.

Erol Demir, another activist who was on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, said there is film footage of the chaos and the carnage on the ship and stated that the footage will show the real face of the Israeli military to the entire world.

“They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,” he added.

Hakan Albayrak, a journalist from the Turkish daily Yeni Safak who was also on the ship, said, “It was an outright massacre what Israel did out there. They attacked us in international waters… We had no weapons. I think we lost more people.”

The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea early on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the six ships and injuring about 50 other people.

The fate of three other Freedom Flotilla activists is still unknown.

Israel also arrested nearly 700 activists from 42 countries on board the ships of the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory.



The Gaza Blockade Is Illegal and the Flotilla Attack Was an Illegal Act of War
June 5, 2010, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Because the blockade of Gaza itself violates international law, Israel committed an illegal act of war attacking the convoy, regardless of who attacked whom first.

June 5, 2010 |http://www.alternet.org/story/147115/the_gaza_blockade_is_illegal_and_the_flotilla_attack_was_an_illegal_act_of_war

Israeli officials claimed that the IDF commandos who killed and wounded dozens of activists on a humanitarian aid convoy bound for Gaza this week faced a potentially lethal attack, and opened fire in self-defense. Eyewitnesses on board tell a different story, saying the special forces troops fired on the ships before boarding, weren’t in fact attacked and were unrestrained in their hostility. The question of who attacked whom is irrelevant, however, according to experts in international law. The blockade itself is illegal, and therefore Israel had no right to board those ships in the first place. It renders the argument over culpability moot. Israel committed an illegal act of war attacking the convoy, regardless of who tried to draw “first blood.”

Israeli officials claim that the Jewish state is at war with Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip. On that basis, officials say Israel has a right to intercept shipping in and out of Gaza under the law of war. In an opinion piece AIPAC has been pushing to reporters this week, Leslie Gelb, a former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote that “blockades are quite legal,” and compared the Gaza siege to the Anglo-U.S. blockades of Germany and Japan during World War Two. “Only knee-jerk left-wingers and the usual legion of poseurs around the world would dispute this,” wrote Gelb sneeringly. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., echoed the World War Two comparison.

The parallel is entirely false. Gaza is not an independent state at war with Israel. Gaza is occupied by Israel, and, as such, an entirely different set of international laws apply. As UC Hastings legal scholar George Bisharat explained this week, the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the ground in Gaza is immaterial, as the area remains under Israel’s “effective control” — it’s a remote occupation but an occupation nonetheless.

Under customary international law that Israel accepts as binding … a territory is “occupied” when foreign forces exercise “effective control” over it, whether accomplished through the continuous presence of ground troops or not.

Israel patrols the territorial waters and airspace of the Gaza Strip, regulates Gaza’s land borders, restricts internal movements by excluding Gazans from a “buffer zone” that includes 46 percent of the strip’s agricultural land, and controls the Gaza Strip’s supplies of electricity, heating oil, and petrol. Together these factors amount to remote but “effective control.”

According to Bisharat, this is not a matter of dispute. “The Gaza Strip remains occupied,” he wrote, “as the United Nations, the U.S. government and the International Committee of the Red Cross have all recognized.” Hamas controls the ground within Gaza, but Israel controls Gaza.

There are two important ramifications to this. First, a blockade that restricts the local population’s access to vital goods violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, which specifies that an occupying force has a legally binding duty to protect an occupied population. Bisharat explained it like this:

Israel has authority to halt arms imports into the Gaza Strip. But it also owes a general duty of protection to civilians under its control, and has specific duties to allow them access to adequate food and medical supplies, and to maintain public health standards – duties it has deliberately violated in imposing the siege on Gaza. Currently 77.2 percent of Gaza Palestinians either face or are vulnerable to hunger …

Moreover, collective punishment is specifically barred under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that the objective of the blockade is to weaken the Gaza economy and undermine support for Hamas. That is a political, not a military, objective, and it is impermissible under international law to target innocent civilians to achieve nonmilitary goals.

The second point pertains to the attack on the Freedom Flotilla. As Bisharat notes, “Actions taken to enforce an illegal siege cannot themselves be legal.” The Israel commandos were transported 70 miles offshore, into international waters. There, they attacked a civilian vessel flagged to an allied state — a NATO member — and killed and wounded some yet unclarified number of activists whose journey was motivated by their opposition to the blockade.

It was not an act of “piracy,” because the Israeli troops were operating under the flag of a nation-state. Because the blockade violates international law, and Israel had no military justification for boarding her with special forces troops, it rather constituted an “illegal act of war.” Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, called the legal situation “very plain”:

Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean … that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes place on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody’s territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.

There are therefore two clear legal possibilities.

Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.

Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.

After perpetrating an act of war on Turkey, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, among the most extreme figures to serve in any Israeli government, said of the attack: “We didn’t start this provocation, we did not send bullies with knives and metal rods to Turkey… In this case, the entire blame, all of it, from beginning to end, is that of Turkey.”

They didn’t in fact  send “bullies” to Turkey armed with “knives and metal rods”; according to Craig Murray, they sent a heavily armed special forces team to Turkey — the deck of that ship represented Turkish “soil.”

A final point. Israeli leaders say they have no animosity towards the people of Gaza. Some of Israel’s defenders have suggested that it’s relatively easy to get goods in and out of the territory; that Israel simply wants to “inspect shipments for arms.” So it’s important to note just how deeply damaging the blockade has been for the people of Gaza.

Foreign Policy Magazine compiled a large volume of information from reports issued by the United Nations and various NGOs working in Gaza. Just a few highlights:

  • Electricity: In 2006, Israel carried out an attack on Gaza’s only power plant and never permitted the rebuilding to its pre-attack capacity…. The majority of houses have power cuts at least eight hours per day. Some have no electricity for long as 12 hours a day. The lack of electricity has led to reliance on generators, many of which have exploded from overwork, killing and maiming civilians.
  • Water: Israel has not permitted supplies into the Gaza Strip to rebuild the sewage system. Amnesty International reports that 90-95 percent of the drinking water in Gaza is contaminated and unfit for consumption.
  • Health: According to UN OCHA, infrastructure for 15 of 27 of Gaza’s hospitals, 43 of 110 of its primary care facilities, and 29 of its 148 ambulances were damaged or destroyed during the war. Without rebuilding materials like cement and glass due to Israeli restrictions, the vast majority of the destroyed health infrastructure has not been rebuilt.
  • Food: A 2010 World Health Organization report stated that “chronic malnutrition in the Gaza Strip has risen over the past few years and has now reached 10.2%. … According to UN OCHA: “Over 60 percent of households are now food insecure …
  • Industry:  A World Health Organization report from this year states: “In the Gaza Strip, private enterprise is practically at a standstill as a consequence of the blockade. Almost all (98%) industrial operations have been shut down.

Israeli officials are correct that the state has a right to defend itself. Every nation does. But it has no right to commit war crimes in mounting that defense. The European Union has condemned the blockade of Gaza as a form of  “collective punishment,”  a serious violation of international law. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia’s summary of the Fourth Geneva Convention:

By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and World War II… In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance… The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility.

Israeli officials often invoke the image of rockets reining down on Israel from Gaza as justification for their aggressive policies. While they represent a modest threat — fewer people died in rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in all of 2008 than perished in a few hours during the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla — they are terrifying and constitute a war crime. Yet punishing the population rather than the militants who fired those rockets is a war crime as well. Approximately half of the population of Gaza are under 18 years of age.

Matt Yglesias noted that Israel’s defenders have described the blockade “as some kind of narrow effort to prevent arms smuggling,” but adds: “this simply isn’t what’s going on.” “The objective,” he wrote, “is to make life in Gaza miserable.”

Yglesias linked to Peter Beinart arguing that, as far as Israel’s government is concerned, “the embargo must be tight enough to keep the people of Gaza miserable, but not so tight that they starve.”

This explains why Israel prevents Gazans from importing, among other things, cilantro, sage, jam, chocolate, French fries, dried fruit, fabrics, notebooks, empty flowerpots and toys, none of which are particularly useful in building Kassam rockets. It’s why Israel bans virtually all exports from Gaza, a policy that has helped to destroy the Strip’s agriculture, contributed to the closing of some 95 percent of its factories, and left more 80 percent of its population dependent on food aid. It’s why Gaza’s fishermen are not allowed to travel more than three miles from the coast, which dramatically reduces their catch.

Beinart concluded that the deaths on the Freedom Flotilla were not the fault of the Israeli commandos who boarded those ships in the dead of night (a position I’m not necessarily endorsing), but of “the Israeli leaders who oversee the Gaza embargo, and with Israel’s American supporters, who have averted their eyes.”

For more on the status of the latest ship to head for Gaza, the Irish vessel MV Rachel Corrie, click here.



Gaza Flotilla: National Demo Sat 5 June ( Britain )

Gaza Flotilla: National Demo Sat 5 June

http://www.inminds.com/article.php?id=10401

inminds
4 June 2010

Saturday 5 June: Assemble Downing Street, London at 1.30pm, March to the Israeli Embassy

Speakers at the demonstration rally:
• Sarah Colborne (flotilla survivor)
• Ken Loach
• Caroline Lucas MP
• George Galloway
• Kevin Ovenden (flotilla survivor)
• Kate Hudson
• Lowkey
• Ismail Patel (flotilla survivor)
• Salma Yaqoob
• Daud Abdullah
• Lindsey German
• Tarik Ali
• Jeremy Corbyn MP
• John Rose
• Yvonne Ridley
• Mohammed Kosbar
• Lauren Booth
• Keith Sonnett
• Sally Hunt

Called by Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative, CND, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Viva Palestina and Palestinian Forum of Britain



Israel — Increasingly Paranoid and Isolated, Dominated by Fundamentalists, Armed with Over 200 Nukes
June 4, 2010, 3:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,
http://www.alternet.org/world/147089/israel_–_increasingly_paranoid_and_isolated,_dominated_by_fundamentalists,_armed_with_over_200_nukes
Foreign policy analysts around the world are quietly worrying about the prospects of having a very erratic state.

June 3, 2010 |
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After Israel’s lethal attack in international waters on a civilian flotilla carrying relief supplies to Gaza, a troubling question arises: Have Israeli authorities, who possess a major nuclear arsenal, become dangerously erratic?

This question can’t be posed publicly in the American mainstream news media nor in U.S. political circles, where fear of the pro-Israel lobby remains strong. But it is a concern that is being discussed quietly by foreign policy analysts around the world.

Even as America’s commentariat again generates the predictable excuses for Israeli latest actions, the political reality inside Israel is one that is shifting more and more toward a society dominated by Jewish fundamentalists, including an aggressive and racist settler bloc.

The ultra-Orthodox Shas Party is now in the Likud ruling coalition and holds important Cabinet posts such as housing. Shas leaders have made it clear that they favor a country segregated not just between Arab and Jew but between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

If these fundamentalist elements continue to consolidate their political power, the world could soon be facing an isolated and paranoid religious state with some 200 to 400 nuclear warheads along with a sophisticated collection of chemical and biological weapons.

One Israeli émigré, who spent his young adulthood working for the Israeli government, told me that he fears Israel is becoming like North Korea, except qualitatively more dangerous because Israel has an advanced nuclear arsenal and sits in a more strategic part of the world.

The current government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also appears excessively confident that Israel’s sophisticated propaganda network and its American neoconservative allies can overwhelm any criticism of Israeli actions in Washington and ensure eventual U.S. backing for a military strike on Iran.

Netanyahu has been dismissive toward President Barack Obama’s peace initiatives, particularly Obama’s demand that Israel stop building Jewish housing in traditionally Arab areas.

Ignoring those wishes, Netanyahu’s Shas Party allies announced new Jewish construction in Arab East Jerusalem last March as Vice President Joe Biden arrived to reaffirm U.S. solidarity with Israel.

Though Obama let his annoyance be known, Netanyahu followed up by announcing that the Jewish housing construction would go forward.

‘Kiss-and-Make-Up’

Faced with this Israeli intransigence, Obama quieted his criticism. He was reportedly looking forward to a “kiss-and-make-up” session with Netanyahu on Tuesday before Israel’s lethal assault on the “Freedom Flotilla” caused Netanyahu to cancel the meeting and rush back to Israel.

Obama also has fallen in line behind Israeli insistence that a confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program be put at the top of the international agenda and that a new Iranian offer to ship about half its low-enriched uranium out of the country be rejected.

more



Reporters Without Borders: 15 journalists still missing

Reporters Without Borders: 15 journalists still missing
Today (Last Update) Time 05:39
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Reporters Without Borders is urging the Israeli authorities to release a list of the journalists who were arrested during Monday’s raid on the humanitarian flotilla and to say where they are being held.

There were at least 15 foreign journalists traveling with the flotilla who still cannot be reached directly, the Paris-based media watchdog said. These are the names of the journalists known to have been aboard the flotilla:

• Reporter Svetoslav Ivanov and cameraman Valentin Vassilev of Bulgarian television station BTV
• Muna Shester of the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
• Talat Hussain, a presenter with Pakistan’s Aaj TV
• Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Paul McGeough and photographer Kate Geraghty
• Al Jazeera correspondent Abbas Nasser and cameraman Isaam Zaatar
• Mario Damolin, a freelancer working for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
• David Segarra of TeleSUR
• Reporter Ayse Sarioglu of the daily Taraf
• Reporter Murat Palavar of the Islamist daily Yeni Safak (New Dawn)
• TVNET foreign news chief Sümeyye Ertekin, producer Ümit Sönmez and cameraman Ersin Esen

An Al Jazeera TV crew was meanwhile attacked by Israeli citizens in the port of Ashdod Monday after the Israeli defense minister gave a news conference about the attack on the flotilla. Walid Al-Omri, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in the Palestinian territories, was injured in the attack, which followed virulent criticism of the Qatar-based TV station in the Israeli media.

Source: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=288951