Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan

by craig on June 2, 2010 7:18 am in Palestine

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I was in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 20 years and a member of its senior management structure for six years, I served in five countries and took part in 13 formal international negotiations, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and a whole series of maritime boundary treaties. I headed the FCO section of a multidepartmental organisation monitoring the arms embargo on Iraq.

I am an instinctively friendly, open but unassuming person who always found it easy to get on with people, I think because I make fun of myself a lot. I have in consequence a great many friends among ex-colleagues in both British and foregin diplomatic services, security services and militaries.

I lost very few friends when I left the FCO over torture and rendition. In fact I seemed to gain several degrees of warmth with a great many acquantances still on the inside. And I have become known as a reliable outlet for grumbles, who as an ex-insider knows how to handle a discreet and unintercepted conversation.

What I was being told last night was very interesting indeed. NATO HQ in Brussels is today a very unhappy place. There is a strong understanding among the various national militaries that an attack by Israel on a NATO member flagged ship in international waters is an event to which NATO is obliged – legally obliged, as a matter of treaty – to react.

I must be plain – nobody wants or expects military action against Israel. But there is an uneasy recognition that in theory that ought to be on the table, and that NATO is obliged to do something robust to defend Turkey.

Mutual military support of each other is the entire raison d’etre of NATO. You must also remember that to the NATO military the freedom of the high seas guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a vital alliance interest which officers have been conditioned to uphold their whole career.

That is why Turkey was extremely shrewd in reacting immediately to the Israeli attack by calling an emergency NATO meeting. It is why, after the appalling US reaction to the attack with its refusal to name Israel, President Obama has now made a point of phoning President Erdogan to condole.

But the unhappiness in NATO HQ runs much deeper than that, I spoke separately to two friends there, from two different nations. One of them said NATO HQ was “a very unhappy place”. The other described the situation as “Tense – much more strained than at the invasion of Iraq”.

Why? There is a tendency of outsiders to regard the senior workings of governments and international organisations as monolithic. In fact there are plenty of highly intelligent – and competitive – people and diverse interests involved.

There are already deep misgivings, especially amongst the military, over the Afghan mission. There is no sign of a diminution in Afghan resistance attacks and no evidence of a clear gameplan. The military are not stupid and they can see that the Karzai government is deeply corrupt and the Afghan “national” army comprised almost exclusively of tribal enemies of the Pashtuns.

You might be surprised by just how high in Nato scepticism runs at the line that in some way occupying Afghanistan helps protect the west, as opposed to stoking dangerous Islamic anger worldwide.

So this is what is causing frost and stress inside NATO. The organisation is tied up in a massive, expensive and ill-defined mission in Afghanistan that many whisper is counter-productive in terms of the alliance aim of mutual defence. Every European military is facing financial problems as a public deficit financing crisis sweeps the continent. The only glue holding the Afghan mission together is loyalty to and support for the United States.

But what kind of mutual support organisation is NATO when members must make decades long commitments, at huge expense and some loss of life, to support the Unted States, but cannot make even a gesture to support Turkey when Turkey is attacked by a non-member?

Even the Eastern Europeans have not been backing the US line on the Israeli attack. The atmosphere in NATO on the issue has been very much the US against the rest, with the US attitude inside NATO described to me by a senior NATO officer as “amazingly arrogant – they don’t seem to think it matters what anybody else thinks”.

Therefore what is troubling the hearts and souls of non-Americans in NATO HQ is this fundamental question. Is NATO genuinely a mutual defence organisation, or is it just an instrument to carry out US foreign policy? With its unthinking defence of Israel and military occupation of Afghanistan, is US foreign policy really defending Europe, or is it making the World less safe by causing Islamic militancy?

I leave the last word to one of the senior NATO officers – who incidentally is not British:

“Nobody but the Americans doubts the US position on the Gaza attack is wrong and insensitve. But everyone already quietly thought the same about wider American policy. This incident has allowed people to start saying that now privately to each other.”

Craig Murray is a former British Ambassador. He is also a former Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He negotiated the UK’s current maritime boundaries with Ireland, Denmark (Faeroes), Belgium and France, and boundaries of the Channel Islands, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. He was alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the Law of the Sea. He was Head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, enforcing sanctions on Iraq, and directly responsible for clearance of Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf.

Reviews of Craig Murray’s War on Terror Memoir, “Murder in Samarkand” – published in the US as “Dirty Diplomacy”:

“It really is a magnificent achievement” – Noam Chomsky

“A fearless book by a fearless man. Craig Murray tells the truth whether the “authorities” like it or not. I salute a man of integrity” – Harold Pinter

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242 Comments

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  1. Fascinating post, Craig.

    I think all eyes will be on the MV Rachel Corrie. BBC reports that the MV Rachel Corrie has declared that it will continue to Gaza with its humanitarian supplies.

    I believe the MV Rachel Corrie is registered in Ireland.

  2. I’ve been noticing over the past few days that Google has not been highlighting the Israeli/Flotilla murders and kidnapping, in its “in the news” section.

    You can see here that even though the Israeli/Flotilla murders and kidnapping is by far the biggest story over the past few days with nearly 16,000 articles, it doesn’t feature in Google’s “in the news” section of the most covered stories.

    Curious, eh.

    http://news.google.co.uk/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn

  3. peacewisher

    2 Jun, 2010 - 9:21 am

    Not at all curious, Zim.

    By the time the BBC refused to show the Gaza charity appeal last year it had become obvious that the mainstream media were being controlled by those who also control the Zionist entity.

    I think that was the last straw also for a lot of jews who previously had some sympathy with Zionism – including the MP Gerald Kaufmann.

    We are now in a period of gradual awakening… when people come to realise that they have been deceived.

    Rachel Corrie died for a humanitarian cause… as with Steve Biko in South Africa, the name is enough to defeat the media lies, and it looks increasingly like – as with Biko – her death was not in vain.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gaza-TV-News/119275738102852#!/pages/Rachel-Corrie/9284243339?ref=ts

  4. I never use google for my news (so I can’t comment on the last few days), but I just checked and the top story is in relation to the raid, both on news.google.co.uk and news.google.com.my. news.google.com.au has it at the top of the world section.

    It does make me happy that it appears that the deaths of the humanitarians will not have been in vain. However it is depressing that 40+ years of oppression against the Palestinians hasn’t caused the same outrage, but that’s the world we live in.

  5. mike cobley

    2 Jun, 2010 - 9:27 am

    It seems that the Irish governmnet has asked the Israelis to allow the Rachel Corrie to deliver its humanitarian cargo unhindered.

    http://forargyll.com/2010/06/gaza-flotilla-update-mv-rachel-corrie-still-headed-for-gaza/

  6. Craig

    Lots more good stuff at Glenn Greenwald’s blog, if for no other reason than to remind us that the slavish refusal of the American government to criticise Israel is not reflective of the views of all Americans.

    But thank you for the notes on NATO, I asked in an earlier thread if Turkey could ratchet up the pressure through the alliance and it seems they can. I still wonder though if the deal two weeks ago with Iran on the storage of enriched uranium is a key part of the backdrop here, without it I can’t make sense of why Israel would do something so obviously illegal and provocative.

  7. Fascinating insight Craig.

    Could NATO’s unease come from possible contingency planning as well, as the threats and possibilities of a middle east war have been on the cards for some time?

    NATO should have been disbanded after the cold war, it would have made for clearer lines in Afghanistan today.

    Now they are faced with mission creep and all sorts of obligations, off course there is no time to help Turkey, but help they must.

    If they do not react to this vile flagration of international law, then what is there to stop Turkey defending itself next time? and they will.

    If two activsts were shot before the helicopters landed their soldiers, then this contradicts all the spin trodden out by the likes of melanie Phillips of firebomb throwing activsts.

    It is disturbing that the news spin is so deep that it can divert the google machinery so fast, very worrying indeed.

  8. Fascinating article, Craig. Since Bush and Blair I have felt that NATO was manipulated to become a tool for US foreign policy. The Georgia debacle was a frightening example of how politicians might try and ‘include’ distasteful regimes inside NATO in order to trigger further disastrous wars. NATO has zero business in Afghanistan – that is surely obvious. NATO was a cold war alliance, it has no relevance to the modern world. Especially now that the US views it as synonymous with the laughably entitled ‘international community’ ie the US and its satellites. We must applaud Turkey and also Ireland for the simple act of speaking up and defending their citizens against violence and murder. Why is it so hard for the UK and Europe to do this? It would have been a straightforward defence of our own interests not so long ago. It would do the US a power of good to hear that its so-called ‘partner’, Europe, is in complete disagreement with its policies. Is the sky going to fall in when we stand up for our beliefs? How have we managed to breed such a feeble, craven political culture when even the loon Maggie wouldn’t think twice about browbeating the US about its idiocy?

  9. Craig:

    Your personal insights about the rich and powerful are one of my favourite parts of your blog. The “grumbles” you pass along offer an invaluable perspective on the inner workings of government.

    It still makes me laugh when I think about blog post ‘Parasite News’. Comedy gold.

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2007/07/parasite_news.html

  10. CheebaCow

    What I’m saying is that even though this story is by far the most covered in media, it doesn’t appear in Google’s “in the news” section of the most covered stories.

    Google doesn’t control all those media outlets that are covering the story, but it does control its “in the news” section.

    So how is it that their “in the news” section doesn’t feature this story?

  11. Craig

    Thanks a bunch for a solid insightful analysis. On your home-ground so to speak, it’s what you really do excel at. As for the last word of that senior NATO officer, those of us who no longer have any career-dependant ties to the Anglo-American Imperial Project and its fellow-travelling derivatives, answered his question a long time ago, as I’m sure, in your heart you have to.

  12. Zim, I was referring to the “in the news section’ as far as I know. I just double checked the link you included in your first post and the top story is related to the attack.

  13. Dear Craig,

    Excellent piece. The atmosphere you describe is precisely the one I ‘gleen’ from people I talk to who move in more rarified circles than I’ve chosen to. Whilst you were pushed out, I went into exile freely.

    Underneath the surface there are massive misgivings about the US leadership of NATO, and that US methods and interests simply don’t fit with Europe’s anymore. It was hoped that with the election of Obama things would change substantively, not cosmetically, from the Bush era. That, possibly, naive hope/delusion has been undergoing radical reappraisal over the last year or so.

    It’s now quite clear that Obama does not represent a clean break with the past, but merely a continuation, with an emphasis on continuity, especially in relation to the Middle East and the conflicts in Asia. This continuity worries many people in Europe, who are uneasy about where this may lead, witness the sudden resignation of the German president who made a ‘gaffe’ about the connection between German economic interests and the war in Afghanistan.

    Anyway, my fear is that the US is actually becoming more, not less, integrated with Israel, and that the relationship deeply harmful to the interests of the United States, which arguably cannot be the same as those of Israel.

    My biggest fear is that the United States is coming to resemble Israel more and more in the way it conducts its foreign policy, in relation to the rest of the world. The die hasn’t been cast definitively, but that seems to be the way things are moving.

    It’s startling; that even when the American people reject the policies of the Bush era and elect a president who they think represents the hope of change and peace and renewal, how much in practice, remains the same, almost as if the election had never taken place and didn’t matter. Ufortunately, from my ‘champange anarchist’ perspective, I suspect it didn’t, not really.

  14. CheebaCow

    The “in the news” section is in the right hand side of the Google news page.

    It’s got Theo Walcot and Fabio, amongst other things, there at the moment.

    It’s a quick link to the most covered stories of the day.

    The Israel/Flotilla incident isn’t mentioned.

    You have to wonder what munging of the search and indexing system produced a result that has had no mention of by far the biggest story of the past few days.

  15. If you look at Google’s graph under the Timeline of Articles it appears that the graph has today gone to zero, on the Isarel/Flotilla story.

    Does anyone really believe that that represents the coverage of this story today, around the world?

    http://news.google.co.uk/news/more?pz=1&cf=all&ned=uk&ncl=dMZmNDdWAggXrkMw4dU3dv5hkbKZM&topic=h

  16. Zim:

    Ok now I see the section you are talking about. However I still don’t agree with your interpretation that it is google trying to hide a story. The first article, and article that is in the most valuable/visible part of the page is about the attack. The ‘In the News’ section is relatively hidden, if the attack was not in the ‘Top Stories’ section but in the ‘In the News’ section I would actually be more inclined to agree with you. Also note that ALL the content displayed on the news page is determined by google. They are under no obligation to display any of the stories they display.

  17. Zim,

    I’m just guessing here – I know that Google individually identifies our computer accounts by setting ‘cookies’ in them. I suspect that search results are modified for each individual computer user account; that is the sort of thing Google specialise in. Try clearing cookies, or try from a different machine, and see if results vary.

  18. You really have to wonder at the mental health of these Israelis.

    The psychopathology is interesting though in highlighting one of the features of the psychopath; an inability to understand proportionality. That’s quite a common theme in Israeli dramatics.

    “Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, has compared the Gaza flotilla attack with America’s fight against Nazi Germany in the Second World War.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7796277/Gaza-flotilla-attack-Israeli-ambassador-compares-raid-to-Second-World-War.html

  19. Clark

    It’s nothing to do with cookies. I use Firefox on stealth, so don’t have any.

    The indexing system has quite clearly been munged, to exlude the story.

  20. The graph shows that 48 minutes ago there were still 1600 sources covering the incident, about 500 lower than 1 day ago. Seems like reasonable numbers to me. I think the fact that the graph displays a line for a time period before data has been properly collected is perhaps a little confusing. Anyway I don’t wanna derail the thread any more. I will agree to disagree =P

  21. Cheebacow

    Why do you think the most covered story by far over the past few days does not appear in Google’s list of most covered stories?

  22. Zim,

    all those graphs go to zero on the right for all articles. I suspect that it’s because they start counting now, so the number is low. At the update interval, the number is displayed (no longer zero), the graph moves left, and the new right is zero.

    Craig,

    when we’ve reassured Zim, could you delete this techy stuff please?, it detracts from an important piece.

  23. Ron:

    Psychopaths can actually be very successful, as they have a cold rationality to their actions where they don’t let emotions get in the way. They can understand social expectations and conform to them when others are looking even if they don’t have the same values themselves, this is because they understand that to not do so would be detrimental to themselves. I think Israel’s behaviour has generally followed this same pattern. What has greatly interested me about Israel’s recent actions is that they seem to have stopped behaving as they did previously, and have actually become quite irrational in behaviour.

  24. You do have to wonder about the psychology of the Israelis as mentioned above. The denialism that is rampant in Israel is obvious to anyone who has been there. The delusional nature of their ideological beliefs is quite staggering to outsiders. Their dependence on a manufactured narrative about their past and therefore their ‘rights’ is astonishing, as is their willingess to believe whatever the military tell them. Like the fantastist, the more dissonant their views are with reality, the more they shore them up and invent extravagant claims, making wild allegations against those who threaten their artifical worldview. Goldstone, peace activists, whoever challenges them must be met with slander, smearing, violence – whatever it takes. A classic example of the delusional nature of the Israel project is taking place in front of our eyes.Unfortunately for them, the more absurd their rationalisations, the more of a pariah they become, which of course reinforces their belief in their own exceptionalism, their ‘victimhood’ and their need to escalate the situation with even more lethal violence. That the founder of psycho analysis was Jewish is too ironic for words.

  25. Zim:

    The ‘In the News’ section appears to the most common names/phrases of the last few days. Due to the highly political nature of Israel’s attack different news organisations are going to use very different words to frame the issue. Pro Palestinian articles will call it an attack or a massacre, whereas pro Israel pieces will call it defence or whatever terms they are using to spin the issue. This effectively halves the commonality of each phrase. It’s not surprising that sports stars are prominent in that section. Regardless of political views, one can agree on who the winner of an event was. Ok this really is my last post on the topic, sorry everyone.

  26. The perceived irrationality of Israel resembles Nixon’s “mad dog” posture towards N.Vietnam.

    Nixon wanted to convince the enemy that he was capable of doing anything including using nuclear weapons.

    Israelis like the military historian, Martin Van Crefeld, have made similar threats re-willingness to target even Europe as pay-back for the “Holocaust” if it perceives it’s been forced into a corner.

    References to the apparent determination of the US to stoke Islamic resentment in the Middle East and Central Asia all point to the likelihood that the Anglo-US synarchy will use Israel to spark a major conflict in the near future.

    As economists like Gerald Celente have warned the bankers have done it before and will do it again.

    Did I mention that NATO will do the bidding of the bankers?

    Did I use the Z word before bankers?

    As if I would!

    Just in passing can I just mention that it was the French Rothschilds who bank-rolled LBJ’s escalation of the Vietnam war after the JFK assassination and the staged Tonkin incident.

    Well I did anyway.

    Wait for the censor……….

  27. CheebaCow

    I would have expected that with all the coverage this story is getting the term “Gaza” or indeed “Israel” or “Israeli” might have made an appearance.

    I find it surprising, to say the least, that Google’s indexing system is so poor as to more highly rate “David Laws”, “Land Registry” or “Crystal Palace” as more common news items than “Gaza” or “Israel” over the past few days.

    Indeed, were I a shareholder I’d be very concerned that any competitor could easily develop much better algorithms than Google are currently using on this feature.

  28. Oh dear. Even Stephen Nolan is now giving Israeli spokesman Marc Regev a hard time.

    Last night Kirsty Wark tore strips out of him or some other clone.

    The worm has turned.

    Let’s hope we can finally agree that Israel needs to be brought to heel and collectively work towards that goal.

  29. I am a little bemused by the comments on the BBC that the detainees are being “Deported” given that these people were siezed on the high seas by armed soldiers, then illegally taken into custody in a foreign country how cna they the be deported if they never entered the the country volenterally in the first place?

    Craig E

  30. Censor in overdrive!

    References to cognitive dissonance incurred as result of Zionist psychological warfare programmes re-eternal Jewish victimhood,”anti-semitism” and the “Holocaust” now being deleted wholesale.

    We are grown up enough to make our own minds up about whether or not there exists a Zionist plan for WW3.

    It ill behoves a supposedly liberal blogger to delete links to evidence that such a plan exists.

    Mr Murray is now on the list at left-gatekeeper.com!

  31. Even the Americans are wising up to Israel. Massively too.

    Larry from St Loopy will be pleased

    “In reaction to Israel’s deadly attack on a Gaza-bound humanitarian Flotilla, massive anti-Israeli protests have erupted across the United States.”

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128761&sectionid=3510203

  32. Larry from St. Louis

    2 Jun, 2010 - 11:45 am

    If you believe that “massive anti-Israeli protests” are occurring in the States, then clearly you’ve been manipulated by Iranian state-run media.

    Do you also believe that there are no homosexuals in Iran?

  33. In general, people, under situations of ‘stress’ seem to resort to a form of psychological ‘defence’ mechanism, where they seek solace and escape in the arms of fantasy or mythology. In short one creates a reality one can control and understand, rather than face the real world. It’s an attempt to make sense of the world. ‘Sense’ which is often false.

    Obviously I’m simplifying a lot here for the sake of clarity and space.

    Anyway, this individual mechanism can also apply to large groups of people, and when this happens the effect seems to be multiplide, with often truly disasterous consequences to follow.

    Here on can mention the case of Germany in the 30’s when there was a veritable flight away from rationality into the comforting and simplistic mythology, the ecstacy of escape, of NAZI religion or ‘ideology.’ That was a very extreme example.

    The extreme right in Israel, and not just there, remind me, or have many of the same traits, that characterised the fascist movements of mainland Europe.

    There’s a terrible, obscene, historical irony at work here. But if one looks at the history of Zionism, where it originated and the ideas it contained it’s more understandable. Essentially Zionism is a product, a branch, of eastern european romantic nationalism and ethno-racialism, combined. Though not as extreme, in the beginning, the roots of Zionism in eastern europe are the same mix of half-baked and misunderstood ideas that ‘produced’ fascism, in extremis.

    This is why so many of the attitudes, language and mythology, and not least actions, of the extreme, nationalist, right, in Israel have echoes of fascism about them.

    It’s arguable whether Israel was ever truly a ‘democracy’. Certainly the policy of ethnic cleansing effectively denied millions of Palestinians the right to take an active part in the future of their country, as they were not allowed to vote or take part in the democratic process which was ‘rigged’ to favour one particular ethnic group and give them an ‘artificial’ majority inside the disputed boundaries of the new Israeli state.

    But that’s the past, and we live in the eternal now. Clearly, Israel is now moving away from even a semblance of democracy and is becoming, however ironic, integrated into the normal type of totalitarian, dictatorship, states form that characterises the Middle East.

  34. “Last night Kirsty Wark tore strips out of him or some other clone.”

    Ouch. I can’t watch Newsnight when Wark hosts, she is such an abysmal interviewer, but that’s got to hurt if even she could go to work on the spokesgoon.

  35. Does Zim not know that Google’s co founder Sergei Brin is well embedded with the Zionist terror state and went there for its 60th ‘birthday’.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Brin

    What clever people these Zionists are!

  36. What I believe Larry is that Israel is getting a well-deserved and not before time kicking in media and diplomatic circles.

    Everyone is well and truly fed up with this nasty racist state, which pushed its luck just once too far.

    Even friends of Israel in media are finding it difficult to sell the “poor wee victim Israel just defending itself” myth, and their careers are much more important to them than defending loopy religious fruitcakes with nukes who want to take on the whole world.

    You see, there was time when career advancement in media and politics was enhanced by support for Israel. That’s now changing and support for Israel will in future be seen as a hindrance to advancement.

    You can thank Bibi for that. He never was very bright.

  37. Ed

    She annoys me too. Nolan annoys me even more.

    I have to say though that last night and this morning they did their jobs well.

    Just shows ya. They’ve been let off the BBC leash.

    Don’t forget that Wark only became prominent nationally after a very forceful local Scottish interview with Thatcher in the 1980s. She can do it when she wants to.

    My complaint was only that she didn’t do enough of it. She hasn’t lost it though.

  38. Am I missing something here or is it really only because of the Holocaust that the Israelis believe the rest of the world owes them something.

    Perhaps there is something inherently superior about them which has them believe they are the master race and not the Nazi’s.

  39. Craig, a splendid post, and one that really gets under the skin of the issue.

    Forgive the James Bond question, but I am curious how you avoid having your conversations intercepted. It would be a reasonable assumption that your telephones are keenly tuned into – and your various sources would surely be aware of that!

  40. Or is that a racist comment?

  41. I would say the successful commercial organisations I’ve worked for have tended to be led by superficially charming people who have turned out to be liars with no conscience or empathy with their staff and an overriding self regard.

    The couple of places I’ve worked that have gone bust were run by really nice people.

  42. Zim doesn’t care much for politics.

    He’s just a private investor on a pension, concerned that Google’s indexing algorithms are in need of attention.

    See. I’m not the only one worried. Others have noticed too:

    http://www.google.co.uk/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:GOOG

  43. The 499GT MV Rachel Corrie still seems to be Cambodian flagged although her home port is Dundalk and she is owned by the Irish arm of the Free Gaza Movement.

    As from December 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires all vessels over 299GT to carry an AIS transponder on board, which transmits their position, speed and course, among some other static information, such as vessel’s name, dimensions and voyage details.

    This AIS info is plotted on a Google map mostly in real time on a website developed and run by the University of the Aegean, http://www.marinetraffic.com

    However, for some unidentified reason, no AIS data has been received from the MV Rachel Corrie since 01:15 am on Monday 31st May reporting she was sailing south from Malta (where you can see that Rainbow Warrior is currently moored).

    Most likely she is out of marinetraffic.com’s coverage. Although there are around 500 ships showing up in the Mediterranean east of Athens, all of them seem to be north of Saida in south Lebanon. This seems odd considering there probably should be a stream of ships heading to and from the Suez canal. And, of course, the other flotilla ships are not currently showing up.

    It’s interesting to see that the BBC used an AP graphic from the University of the Aegean here to plot the other flotilla ships.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/dhtml_slides/10/gaza_flotilla/img/istan_israel_5.gif

  44. This NATO issue needs to be ramped up in the blogosphere, the main stream media are not acknowledging it, it has to be forced into the public domain and debated openly.

  45. Tom, great posts, all. Thanks for making these superb points.

    If I may venture to suggest, from experience on, and observation of, this blog, that one be wary of engaging with the very few bloggers who themselves refuse to engage with others and whose sole purpose on all threads seems to be disruption and the conveyance of provocative insult, rather than reasoned debate. Responding to them merely allows them to continue to come back and to divert and undermine reasoned analysis. There may be an irruption of precisely the sort to which I am alluding, sometime following this post. But it will be ignored by me. It is of no consequence. What is of consequence is the matter at hand.

    Thaks very much again for your astute comments. And thanks also to Mike Cobley and Jon for their support and engagement, it’s really appreciated.

  46. If the Americans really don’t care what others think, they shouldn’t worry much if fellow members of NATO pull out of Afghanistan. But maybe actually it does matter to them, in which case it can be used to persuade them to listen to their fellow members more.

  47. jon

    face to face.

  48. Redders, all of us do need to be careful not to dip into the boundaries of anti-Jewish sentiment. Many Jewish people, and a good minority of Israelis, are horrified at the ongoing siege of Gaza. For them – just as with their Jewish ideological opponents – the Holocaust is a terrible memory within their cultural identity and we should respect that – it was one of the worst crimes of the 20th century. Do some people exploit the Holocaust for the benefit of expansionist Israeli foreign policy? Sure, yes, but not every Israeli, or every Jew – a fact that is critical here.

    But I agree there is a danger amongst the hard right in Israel, and amongst religious ideologues, to promote the ‘chosen people’ myth, which is then recycled in legitimised racism. And whilst I condemn anti-semitism, the Israeli govt could not be more blinkered on how it is being judged internationally despite their propaganda efforts. They should be thinking not “what can be get away with” but “how does this affect how people see Israel, Israelis and Jewish people”. The hard-right government, and the militarist culture is creating, in effect, some of the anti-semitism that encourages the hardline, aggressive atmosphere in the first place.

  49. Can’t the US be kicked out of NATO? They seem to do nothing to benefit any country but their own and influence other countries to follow in their wake. I know it’s pretty well impossible to do but just though I’d chip in my tuppence worth.

    I’m also interested to hear what the American public think about this. The US government seems to be disproportionally influenced by those sympathetic to Israel but there are plenty of American, right wing ‘WASP’s’ who would happily leave the country to its fate, where are they all?

  50. Larry from St. Louis

    2 Jun, 2010 - 12:42 pm

    Yes, Tom, brilliant contribution by linking to Iranian state-run media.

  51. Suhayl – no problem. I spend only a little time on disruptive input – just enough to calm them down, and to dissuade others from engaging with them at length.

  52. Monty,

    thats an interesting map, thanks. Cargo vessels Lady Malakeh and Chesapeake Belle were headed into that strangely empty area; they are no longer shown. Let;’s see what happens to Druzhba Narodov.

  53. I find the Iranian state run media to be rather more reliable than the British state run media.

  54. I’ve not read Press TV, I really should give it a go. We would do well to be cynical, but whether it deserves markedly more cynicism than the British free media is an open question. The BBC output tend towards Israel partly because it is more time-consuming to defend criticism of Israel than of Palestine. Power and money is, of course, centred around people who hold pro-Israel views, and rarely around their ideological opposites.

    And I would be interested in the ratio of anti-war observers invited onto Radio 4’s Today programme versus the number of pro-“Afghan mission” talking heads. I would guess it is in the order of 1:500 – the “balance” really is not even an attempt at balance, as is usual.

  55. Jon, elegant response. But in many ways the Jews are like the Brits and the Yanks, individually wonderful people to know but collectively, jingoistic, international pains in the ass. Britain’s collective opinion of itself is still of Britannia ruling the waves, of Douglas Bader knocking the Hun out the sky and having the best football team in the world because we won the world cup, once.

    The problem is we export all of this in our political approach to the international community, albeit perhaps unintentionally, but we are still perceived as an aggressive, battle ready nation with disillusion of grander times when the empire was the next best thing since the Roman Empire.

    If we believe US foreign policy sucks perhaps we should examine our own record before condemning the Americans or the Israelis for that matter. We continue to have more recent blood on our boots than Israel, notably Afghanistan and Iraq but also our approach to the Northern Ireland conflict must be questioned.

    As an international community we stand as responsible for this act of murder on the high seas as Israel, we condoned the occupation of Palestine and were politically naive enough to believe there would be no Palestinian backlash. It has been us and the US selling modern weaponry to Israel citing commercial freedom as a good enough excuse but for some bizarre reason the Palestinians aren’t able to buy the same kit. We stand by and watch whilst entire communities are cut off by a wall akin to the Berlin wall; do we remember the cheers and news coverage that went up when the oppressed East Berlin was freed? and yet we allow Israel to commit the same crime. We don’t stop their import of cement in the same way they deny the Palestinians the same thing, they strike back at an entire community with ultra modern weaponry when home made missiles are occasionally launched against them.

    I could go on and as brilliant as Craig’s post is, he misses the desperately important point that British citizens stand on the sidelines and moan and groan when Israel visits its own racial persecution against a poorer, weaker and divided community but we are complicit in it.

    Lets show the Palestinians some humanity by using the Royal Navy to protect humanitarian aid sailing to Gaza on the high seas. Lets use our aggression against a country that can fight back instead of against ill equipped Afghan’s and possibly the worst equipped army ever to take on the collective might of the US and Great Britain, the Iraqi’s.

    Not so bad at oppression ourselves are we?

  56. I hoped that with Obama presidency, we would not see these kinds of double standards in international diplomacy. The US reaction over the Gaza Flotilla was a shocking disgrace.

    Turkey is such an important country straddling as it does Europe and the Middle East, Secular and Muslim. We are in danger of treating Turkey like a subordinate nation, almost as a chip in a poker game like at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, rather than as an equal.

    Yes, the US’s UN ambassador might have succeeded in getting a form of words that satisfy them but do they really think that will not lead to seething anger and resentment in the Turkish parliament and on the streets.

    Israel needs saving from itself. Only the strongest of words and the threat of sanctions will curb it’s propensity to racism, isolationism and rogue status. The same pressure that had to be brought upon South Africa, for the same reasons.

  57. doug scorgie

    2 Jun, 2010 - 1:30 pm

    Craig, In a letter in today’s Guardian a man writes: “…it is also very important to stress that a state, in a time of conflict, can impose an embargo, and carry out embargo activities in international waters. Within this framework it is legal to detain a civilian vessel trying to break an embargo, and if force is used against those carrying out the detention then they have every right to act in self-defence. The unfortunate loss of life was a direct result of the violence used by the extremists on the ship.”

    I don’t believe this but can you clarify?

  58. doug,

    It is true during a war. What war?

  59. “The Brussels-based European campaign against the siege on Gaza announced Wednesday that they had secured funds to support three new aid ships to be sailed to Gaza”.

    “The officials aid the ships would sail in a few weeks’ time, from ports in Turkey, whose Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed his country’s support, including aid contributions, for the flotilla.

    During a televised speech on Tuesday, Edrogan said future flotillas bound for Gaza territorial waters under Israeli threat would be accompanied by a military escort to ensure its safety”.

    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=289111

  60. “What war?”

    Israel has said, in an obviously cute attempt to rewrite international law, blockades are legal “in times of armed conflict”.

    http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Law/Legal+Issues+and+Rulings/Gaza_flotilla_maritime_blockade_Gaza-Legal_background_31-May-2010.htm

  61. Monty,

    marinetraffic.com seems not to do coverage south of about 40 degrees north. I don’t know why though. Zoom out until you see their coverage cells.

  62. “It is true during a war. What war?”

    One in which the opposition aren’t allowed to shoot back.

  63. Guesswork:

    Israel wish to provoke Turkey into a response, with a view to discrediting them, due to the Iran / Turkey Uranium deal.

    Israels attack was not so much arrogance as desperation.

  64. There seems to be a bit of an “Israel losing its marbles” theme developing.

    Norman G. Finkelstein is at it too:

    “Israel Is Now a Lunatic State”

    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/finkelstein310510.html

    The US needs to bring these very dangerous people under control immediately, if such a thing is now even possible.

    I just hope they don’t have nuclear weapons.

  65. It’s seemed fairly obvious to me that a European defence identity, unreliant on the whims of the US, is in the interests of Europeans even disregarding this issue. The UK’s defence needs have far more in common with the French than the US simply by virtue of being in the same place (thus the same neighbours, trade routes, immigrants) and being around the same size.

    Europe certainly shouldn’t need the US as protectors: the US aside, the combined military expenditure of the EU is about the same as that of the rest of the world combined, and technologically eclipses all but those who use NATO weapons anyway.

  66. Fascinating utter irrelevance Craig

  67. Now that we have the eyewitness testimony of survivors of the Israeli attack, we can see that the Israelis were lying all along.

    It was the Israeli commandos who used violence first.

    The lies and disproportionate violence are hardly a surprise, of course. Indeed more of a leitmotif for Israel.

    http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/deported-flotilla-activists-claim-israelis-fired-first/19499900

  68. Perhaps it is time for those in suitable positions of responsibility in the European Union, NATO etc to admit to themselves and to others that international law itself is a cover for the US (or rather power brokers within the US) and its allies to punish others and protect itself and its friends.

    If international law and regional organisations are to have the consent and trust of the populations they are supposed to serve then both the EU and NATO need to be seen to draw a line in the sand and speak up.

    How many years has Israel been allowed to continue to defy ‘international law’ and use a weaker enemy as an excuse to continue to take to its bosom more territory and more aid (US, Germany etc) while its protectors rationalise the lack of any meaningful response by reference to confidence building measures?

    If Europe is really an emerging power (and not just a way of slowly removing power from national electorates and placing it further away) then it needs to re-evaluate Israel’s golden position as a non-member trading partner, it is the only leverage it has.

    Unfortunately the only democratic portion of the EU – MEPs have little power in and by themselves.

  69. Larry from St. Louis

    2 Jun, 2010 - 3:03 pm

    “Norman G. Finkelstein is at it too:”

    Of course he is. He’s a Russia Today / Press TV favorite.

  70. ^ Well said Redders @ 1:23 PM.

    With regard to state media, read this article by Professor Richard Keeble, on how ‘Newspapers are the playthings of MI5’. Read further on about the (sshh, don’t mention it; blandly titled) UK IRD (Information Research Department) & the CIA ‘Operation Mockingbird’ operation to influence domestic and foreign media.

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/38zqu6t

  71. Larry from St. Louis

    2 Jun, 2010 - 3:14 pm

    Bert, that’s a link to a conspiracy nutcase website with an article without any substantiation. To state the obvious – what bullshit.

  72. Larry,

    So who would your bastion of British journalistic integrity be?

    Con Coughlin of the telegraph? (see http://preview.tinyurl.com/35d46st

    )

    Whatever _DID_ happen to Daniel McGrory of the Times?

  73. Echoes of fascism:

    Barak: In the Middle East, there is no mercy for the weak

  74. I am from the United States and live in the Deep South. I have read several people inquiring about the public sentiment in the States. I like my fellow citizens grew up beleiving Israeli could do no wrong especially here in Christian Zionist country(the deep south). I guareentee you the county I live in with a population of 50,000 there are 2 people(me and my mom) that understand Israeli has veered off into delusional land dragging its puppet the U.S.A with it. It has taken me 5 years to convince my best friend who is intelligent and university educated 5 years to get him to start questioning the propaganda he has been feed his whole life concerning Israeli . He was so thougherly brainwashed by his Christian Zionist church. And he is one of the smarter ones, for the rest of my neighboors forget about it. I feel like I’m living in an open air cult. The Christian Zionists(the whole southeastern part of the United States, Confederacy) support Israeli because their scoffield preachers have convinced them Israeli can do no wrong and basically WWIII must happen to bring the Prince of Peace back. Truly psychotic and sickening. They know nothing of the King of Kings. Well, it’s hopeless for at least 70,000,000 million proclaimed christian zionists here in the states aka the Republican Party. Unfortunately the Democratic politicians are no better and we know why. As for our media forget about it. Nothing but propaganda. Is there any hope. Yes, finally the progressives of this country are starting to awaken the ones who voted in Obama no change puppet. At least we know who runs our foreign policy now. The awakening is also happening in the progressive blogospehere, with the most heartening thing to see is many young Jewish American writers are getting it and starting to make their voice heard. Where is our hope, the democratic base a.k.a. the Western part of my country and many mid atlantic and Northern states. Watch the deemocratic primary next Tuesday in California between Jane Israeli lobby Harmon and Winograd an American Jew calling Israeli out on its abhorrent policies. It is going to be a good measuring stick here in the states for the democratic party on the assumption it is a tamper free election.

  75. Brave post Craig, Bravo – How I love the inside track! – I’ve had some strange land-line calls though – I wonder why?

  76. mike cobley

    2 Jun, 2010 - 3:30 pm

    For interested observers, the link that Louis from St Larry refers to is at the July 7th Peoples Independent Inquiry Forum, and a post quoting from an article at the Medialens website. The article is entitled ‘Hacks And Spooks’ and is by Richard Keeble, professor of journalism at the University of Lincoln. I refrain from including html links since good ol’ Larr will undoubtedly open a can of conspiraloon on my ass.

  77. Talk of anti-Semitism overlooks that Arabs are also Semites so Israel’s apartheid policy against Gaza is anti-Semitic. At the time of Moses, the Egyptian upper class considered themselves the Chosen People. You will recall that the OT talks of the death of the first born during the plagues in Egypt. The Hebrew words for chosen and first-born are very similar. Finally, just as Bliar was the poodle of Bush, so the United States is the poodle of Israel. What does Israel know that the U.S. would rather the rest of the world doesn’t find out?

  78. Monty,

    Thanks for that interesting info and link. I’m trying to find out what Royal Navy ships are in the Med East of Malta. Idle gossip suggests a frigate has been diverted to the area?

  79. Conrad, as scary as your post is, thank you for that. I really imagined that the US population would be better informed. And I thought the good ole United of Kingdom was bad for propaganda, at least the BBC gives us a hint sometimes.

  80. Notice the stats from medialens.org – good article – extract:

    The BBC failed to mention that during the 2006 war Lebanon was subjected to 12,000 Israeli bombing raids, 2,500 navy shells, 100,000 army shells and 4.6 million cluster bombs. (Jane’s Defence Weekly, ‘The war in numbers,’ August 23, 2006 and http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/02/17/israel-s-use-cluster-bombs-shows-need-global-ban)

    Even prior to the December 27, 2008 Operation Cast Lead offensive – when Israel attacked Gaza with hundreds of bombing raids and drone attacks, and thousands of artillery and tank shells – 14 Israelis had been killed by mostly home-made rockets fired from Gaza over the previous seven years as against 5,000 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Some 1,400 Palestinians were massacred in the Cast Lead assault.

  81. http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060303_hacks_and_spooks.php

    The original link to Keeble’s essay.

    I think it’s quite uncontroversial that the security service used to try to influence the British media. It’s not hard to do: offer “exclusive” “insider info” to journalists that say what you want and gives the journo a good story. Then if the journo starts doing things you don’t like, threaten to cut off the “exclusive” tit bits.

    The controversial thing is whether this still happens. I don’t see why it would have happened in the Cold War but doesn’t happen know though. American media supposedly now have a code not to allow anonymity for sources unless there is clearly good reason for that anonymity precisely to make propaganda harder. This was adopted post Iraq War media bullshit.

    The most notorious case perhaps was ABC’s anonymously sourced allegations that the post-9/11 anthrax attacks were linked to Saddam.

  82. Oh, people like Melanie Philips I’m confident aren’t MI5 plants. They’re just bigots.

  83. One of the Canadians that was attacked by the Israeli hi-jackers gave an interview today on what he saw, and had said that everything the israeli government is saying about the attack is nothing but a pack of lies.

    Israel is good at forcing it’s hand, usually with the help of it’s collective media spin dryer, to make it’s word more important than the rest.

    Israel’s intentions were all too clear.

    The only problem was they didn’t have a chance to kill-off most of humanitarian’s and kidnap the other’s without being identified.

  84. Arghh I wish I could disengage from net debates, but I can’t. It’s probably the main reason why I don’t allow myself to engage with trolls such as larry.

    Zim:

    The ‘In the News’ section does not use single words, only combinations of 2 or more words. If it did count single words it would simply list words like ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘and’ etc. Or if these words disallowed it would be ‘economy’, ‘violence’ or ‘crime’. You see it is virtually impossible to make a useful algorithm for the news based on single words. That is why Gaza, Israel etc are not listed. It ain’t a grand conspiracy as far as I can tell. Also it doesn’t explain why their ‘censorship’ would place the story they are censoring in the most prominent position but delete it from a less visible place.

    Nameless:

    The wiki link you posted has no reference to Israel, let alone to Sergey Brin attending celebrations for the founding of Israel. Regardless, it is a long bow to draw to say that because one man attended the celebrations, the entire company is censoring this story.

    I don’t think google is some magically pure company, when I use google search I always do so with google’s scripts and cookies blocked. However in terms of openness and freedom of information google ranks much higher than virtually any other tech company. Much more dangerous than any ‘censorship’ google takes part in, is the potential for massive data-mining.

  85. Best of luck to Marci Winograd in the California Democratic primary, but I will not be holding my breath. I gather it is almost impossible to get elected to anything in the US unless endorsed by AIPAC. The Zionist lobby likes to own *all* the candidates.

    Here in the UK it is a bit more subtle but essentially the same. Any candidate who is a “Friend of Israel” will magically get lots of campaign contributions from strangers.

  86. Regarding Richard Keeble, I haven’t read that link but he is likely to be the same person who wrote a guest alert for Media Lens some while back. I remember it being so good – drawing from a number of current activist sources – that I wrote a note to the editors to pat them on the back. I’ve included the link here if anyone wishes to read.

    He doesn’t sound like a conspiracy theorist to me.

  87. PS, I’ve reposted this post over at Indymedia UK – I think it is well worth spreading widely.

  88. Conrad,

    I sympathise with you – the source is American ‘behaviour conditioning’ television – shut down the source.

  89. Craig

    The reports of demoralisation at NATO HQ in the wake of the Israeli attack on the Turkish flagged vessel in the Eastern Med aren’t surprising. A couple of weeks ago the FT published a sneering article by the CFR President, Richard Haass, essentially saying that post WW11 ‘Euro Atlantic structures’ have had their day.

    He concluded thus-

    ‘The combination of structural economic flaws, political parochialism and military limits will accelerate this transatlantic drift. A weaker Europe will possess a smaller voice and role. Nato will no longer be the default partner for American foreign policy. Instead, the US will forge coalitions of the willing to deal with specific challenges. These clusters will sometimes include European countries, but rarely, if ever, will the US look to either Nato or the EU as a whole.’

    What is surprising however is that the Yanks, in showing such partiality to the Israelis over the latest incident, seem to be precluding Turkey’s participation in any ‘coalition of the willing’ it may try to cobble together in the near future. Perhaps they think the likes of Georgia & Romania will take up the slack instead- and if that is the case, it shows it isn’t just the Israelis who are losing their marbles.

  90. Interview with one of the Israeli MPs who was onboard the fotilla. She seems to reckon that the Isralies shot first even before boarding the boat.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1sH_RE4CY0&feature=player_embedded

  91. I think Canada is siding with Israel as well. But don’t spend any time thinking of us, we are inconsequential.

  92. ‘Regarding Richard Keeble, I haven’t read that link but he is likely to be the same person who wrote a guest alert for Media Lens some while back. I remember it being so good – drawing from a number of current activist sources – that I wrote a note to the editors to pat them on the back. I’ve included the link here if anyone wishes to read.

    He doesn’t sound like a conspiracy theorist to me.’

    Jon- I agree, but if you mention ‘Church Committee’ or ‘Operation Mockingbird’ to the likes of shitface Larry he extrudes his ‘conspiraloon’ accusations on cue like a clockwork toy.

  93. Is its NATO commitment more important to the US than its commitment to Israel or vice versa?

  94. In line with other posters I too have noticed that the story is now dead in the MSM. The Independent have had no comment section at all on this story. The Mail allowed criticism the first day, after which it has been all pro-Israeli propoganda.

    I’m not surprised…

  95. Conrad – thank you for that fascinating post from heart of the Deep South! Keep sane and stay strong! Good on you.

  96. It may be unkind to say this, but why do you folks keep whimpering on?

    It’s obvious. Jews rule and there’s really nothing you can do about it.

    Look at the fuckers outside the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, howling with glee at the murder of those terrorists armed with food parcels.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6a3_1275348204

    Some people would distinguish between Jews and Zionists. I understand the impulse. The Jews you probably know are nice people. People you like. People you trust. But they are the deluded little Jews whose childhood religious indoctrination overwhelms any capacity for analytical thought: for if they were to read the Torah with a critical mind they would see that Judaism is a deeply racist religion and the theological basis of Zionism. Jews who don’t wish to be associated with Zionism should find another religion.

    So I am sorry, but it is Jews who rule, although it is the Zionists who run the project, which works as follows.

    The same Zionist power brokers control both Israel and the United States. The United States dominates Nato, Nato determines European foreign policy. Simple, isn’t it: no extraterrestrial reptiles.

    In this connection, it is interesting to note the efforts to distract attention from Obarmy’s subservience to Israel by pretending he and his controller, Rahm Emmanuel, are somehow anti-Semitic and even responsible for the recent outbreak of Zionist mass murder on the high seas. (See the NY Post, I cannot include the link, the software chokes if there is more than one link in a post.) But as Hitler noted, any lie will be believed if it is big enough.

  97. But Alfred, one could say similar things about almost all religions (though focused differently). It’s like saying that ‘all Muslims/ Christians/ Hindus, etc.’ are responsible for such-and-such actions because of such-and-such text in their holy books. With respect, it’s far too simplistic an analysis. This is not to deny the very real impact of religious extremism on contemporary geo-politics, as ‘Conrad’ has just outlined in relation to the ‘Deep South’, for example.

  98. Yeah, Syhayl,

    you could say the same about all religions because that is their adaptive function. Adaptation is all about racism. Its about propagating your own genes and suppressing the propagation of the genes of others. The Jews just had that point clearly in mind as they developed their ideology: like the Nazis.

    Anyway, here’s to the NY Post article in which the Zionists blame Obarmy for the relief ship murders.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/anti_israel_sharks_sniff_weakness_n5AbqK6bk6NHcy6qEWK5jJ#ixzz0phPKSy8o

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