Illegal Blockades

by craig on June 20, 2011 2:08 pm in Uncategorized

A new Gaza freedom convoy is preparing to sail, this time including a US flagged vessel. My friends Ann Wright and Ray McGovern are going to be on it. Ray tells me the ship, which is registered in Delaware, has been renamed “The Audacity of Hope”. I am not quite sure if he is joking. I hope it is true as the irony is delicious.

The boarding of a US flagged ship on the High Seas is something which, in any other circumstances, the US would never tolerate, and I am hoping that it will give Clinton a headache now – which is why that possible ship name would be so great. What is for certain, is that a US court would have jurisdiction over any incidents that happen on board, and I cannot imagine any US judge would renounce that jurisdiction. So if the Israelis shoot Ann, Ray or any of their fellow passengers, the implications could be profound.

At Ray and Ann’s request, I have added my weight to the legal assessment of their actions:

Ambassador Craig Murray is a former Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the United Nations Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He was deputy head of the teams which negotiated the UK’s maritime boundaries with France, Germany, Denmark (Faeroe Islands) and Ireland.

As Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he was responsible for giving real time political and legal clearance to Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, in enforcement of the UN authorised blockade against Iraqi weapons shipments.

Ambassador Craig Murray is therefore an internationally recognised authority on maritime jurisdiction and naval boarding issues.

“The legal position is plain. A vessel outwith the territorial waters (12 mile limit) of a coastal state is on the high seas under the sole jurisdiction of the flag state of the vessel. The ship has a positive right of passage on the high seas. The coastal state can regulate economic activity exploiting the resources of the seas and continental shelf up to 200 miles, the extent of the continental shelf, or the agreed boundary, but there is no indication of fishing, oil drilling or analagous economic activity in this case. The vessel is entitled to free passage.”

“This right of free passage is guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, to which the United States is a full party. Any incident which takes place upon a US flagged ship on the High Seas is subject to United States legal jurisdiction. A ship is entitled to look to its flag state for protection from attack on the High Seas.”

“Israel has declared a blockade on Gaza and justified previous fatal attacks on neutral civilian vessels on the High Seas in terms of enforcing that embargo, under the legal cover given by the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.”

“There are however fundamental flaws in this line of argument. It falls completely on one fact alone. San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. Israel is not currently engaged in an armed conflict, and presumably does not wish to be. San Remo does not confer any right to impose a permanent blockade outwith times of armed conflict, and in fact specifically excludes as illegal a general blockade on an entire population.”

“It should not be denied that Israel suffers from sporadic terrorist attacks emanating from Gaza. However this does not come close to reaching the bar of armed conflict that would trigger the right to impose a limited naval blockade in terms of San Remo. To make a comparison, in the 1970’s and 1980’s the United Kingdom suffered continued terrorist attack from the Irish Republican Army, with much more murderous impact causing many more deaths than anything Israel has suffered in recent years from Gaza. However nobody would seek to argue that the UK would have had the right to mount a general naval blockade of the Republic of Ireland in the 1970’s and 1980’s, even though the Republic was undoubtedly the base for much IRA supply and operations. Justifications of Israeli naval action against neutral civilian ships by San Remo is based on special pleading and an impossibly strained definition of the term “armed conflict”. ”

Craig Murray

They already have a more thorough and academic piece here, which I cannot fault.

All the boats and volunteers from various countries have my most earnest good wishes, and admiration for their courage as they brave the attentions of the murderous thugs of the Israeli state.

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  1. Well said and done, Craig and friends! Good luck to ‘The Audacity of Hope’. Now let’s see if the usual jolly rogers come out of the woodwork to comment upon this post… Methinks what we need is Johnny Depp on board. Now that would be a coup indeed (!)

  2. YugoStiglitz

    20 Jun, 2011 - 2:47 pm

    OK, so you’re a maritime legal expert. Does registering a vessel in a U.S. state confer a U.S. flag? Is this ship prepared to comply with all the regulatory requirements that the U.S. Coast Guard enforces?

  3. Given that Israel got away with the attack on the USS Liberty (8 June 1967) actually owned and operated by the US Government, I would not rely too much on “old glory” in this context.

  4. The ‘Big One’ and good luck Ray – thinking of you all the way – keep safe.

    In 2003 Ex CIA analyst and veteran Ray McGovern said, “The intelligence process is a bit like virginity, once you prostitute it, it’s never the same. Your credibility never recovers.”

    “Watching what has happened with Iraq over the past several months has been like watching your daughter being raped.”

    Ray chaired the National Intelligence Estimates during the seventies and in 2004 he criticized the official account of 9/11 and called for a new investigation. Ray said, “I think at simplest terms, there’s a cover-up. The 9/11 Report is a joke.”

    He concluded by saying, “There are a whole bunch of unanswered questions. And the reason they’re unanswered is because this administration will not answer the questions.”

    On the Iraq war Ray said, “As the Downing Street memos show, that the stated reason for attacking Iraq was a lie. It is also the case that the whole “war on terror” was based on a prior deception.

    Ray McGovern, is the founder of VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity), and is one of many signers of a petition to reinvestigate 9/11.

  5. Listen to Ray McGovern here:

    ‘The light of human conscious’

  6. So Yugo – if the vessel engages in breaches of US law – take it to US court – unless the ship is within 12 KM of Israel’s borders/territory.

    It really isn’t that difficult. The legality of activities of those on board is completely irrelevant to the discussion here. Outside the 12KM limit it is under US jurisdiction. All crimes would be prosecutable within a US court room. If it is within 12 KM of Israel’s borders (wherever the fuck they are) then it is Israel’s jurisdiction.

    So Craig – what happens if the ship is within 12 KM of Gaza and Gaza is not occupied (according to Israel) and Israel has no recognized borders – and claims no borders in the region? Am I correct in assuming that without any claim of what its borders are it has no territorial waters – or are we to assume that the 1948 boundary represents its borders?

  7. YugoStiglitz

    20 Jun, 2011 - 5:02 pm

    Sorry, Mark, but the fact that McGovern thinks that 911 was an inside job renders him one of the least credible opinion-holders on the Palestinian issue. 911 was clearly perpetrated by 19 Arab Muslims.

  8. YugoStiglitz

    20 Jun, 2011 - 5:09 pm

    Edwin, I don’t think you quite get it. It’s likely not a U.S.-flagged vessel from the get-go. Registering a boat with a state government does not confer a flag. If I register my motorboat in Illinois, it’s not a U.S.-flagged vessel. There are manning requirements, environmental regulations, tax issues, etc.

    I would have expected Craig Murray to know this, as he claims to be an expert in maritime law. This is where a good legal education is essential – as a lawyer, you are trained to always engage in an effort to spot the issues. Here, it seems that Craig Murray is taking the word of other non-lawyers that it is a U.S. flagged vessel, merely because these folks sent in a check to the state of Delaware.

    A quick Internet search tells me that this is quite often a scam to get foreigners to think that they have a U.S.-flagged vessel. I can’t believe that Ray McGovern fell for this scam. Wait, let me correct that. I absolutely believe that it would be predictable for Ray McGovern to fall for this scam.

  9. YugoStiglitz

    20 Jun, 2011 - 5:17 pm

    Mark, thanks for the video – McGovern can’t help but compare himself to Jesus, Gandhi and MLK. Well, there you go.

  10. Ex colonel Ann Wright is a ‘woman of steel’ – an amazing lady who received a US Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 people from the civil war in Sierra Leone, the largest evacuation since Saigon.

    Ann has extraordinary vision and in a number of prominent speeches in 2003 she stated that the Iraq war would be a disaster.

    Ann sent a letter of resignation to Colin Powell on the eve of ‘shock & awe’ and devoted her time to protesting the Iraq war including fasting for a month. She was arrested several time during the Bush Jnr presidency. She has been on delegations to Iran and was in Gaza three times in 2009, following the Israeli attack on Gaza that killed 1,440 and wounded 5,000. She was an organizer for the Gaza Freedom March that brought 1,350 persons from 44 countries to Cairo, Egypt, in solidarity with the people of Gaza. She was on the May, 2010 Gaza flotilla that was attacked by the Israeli military.

    Bless you Ann you are an inspiration, fearless and intelligent; you are my hero.

  11. Edwin,

    It is not at all unusual for a country not to have defined its maritime boundaries – it was only in the mid 1990s when I was involved in defining most of the UK’s maritime boundaries. Disputes between states are one key reason why boundaries are often not defined yet. But the state’s right to twelve miles is generally accepted. Israel of course has very little coastline, and there is no reason why the ship should pass anywehre liable to any potential Israeli territorial waters claim. It is also worth noting that Israel specifically states it is not in legal terms an “occupying power” in Gaza.


    Maintenance of the international shipping register, as that is a matter of recognised obligation between states, must be a federal matter. Registration specifies a state and home port (it is normally the home port that is displayed under the ships name) and that is where I presumed Delaware came in. You are quite right that membership of the shipping register will entail obligations to a number of safety, work practice, manning, environmental and other requirements. That is why sadly the shipping registers of the UK and US have declined and most international vessels are registered in tinpot countries with no effective environmental and safety regulation.

    The vessel is currently in Greece, and the Greek port authorities will have checked its papers and flag. I have not checked its papers and assume that it is US flagged because I was told so. I will certainly advise them to check. The registration of the Mavi Marmara was switched from Turkey to the Comoros Islands immediately before sailing, with disastrous consequences.

    Your posts are a helpful reminder to check the registration; I will amke sure the campaigners do that.

  12. “…is preparing to sale”. Sail.

    More substantially, what’s the position when it gets within 12 NM of the coast of Gaza? I have to admit that I’m very foggy about the legal situation of Gaza – probably because everybody else is too. Still, I was surprised that the Israelis didn’t leave it until then last time round as they don’t seem to have much problem justifying, at least to their friends, interventions within Gaza’s territory.

  13. Letter to Rep. Barbara Lee from Henry Norr:

    The Audacity of Hope is a U.S.-registered, U.S.-flagged vessel. It will carry approximately 50 American passengers and crew, including at least seven other Californians (among them Alice Walker) – for details, see All participants are sworn and committed to non-violence, and of course we will be completely unarmed. We have no intention of entering or even going near Israel or Israeli territorial waters. Lest we be accused of assisting anyone on the U.S. government’s terrorist list, the U.S. boat this year will not even carry medical supplies or children’s toys, just letters from Americans to the people of Gaza.

  14. Ed,

    Within 12 miles of Ghana it is under the jurisdiction of the Gazan authorities. It is true that Gaza is in an anomalous position and not part of any widely recognised state, but there are authorities there which the UN and many other states regularly deal with. Plainly the lawful authority in Gazan coastal waters is not Israel – although Israel did once have limited authority there as an occupying power. That is no longer the case.

  15. Update,

    I have just received confirmation from Ann Wright that the US registration is indeed in order. And thatc all applicable US regulations are being complied with.


  16. Yugo or is it LfStL? You should have been at RIBA this evening to hear Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 giving a two hour lecture full of incontrovertible facts. They demand a proper investigation and not the 10,000 pages of nothingness that FEMA produced.

    PS Guess who was in the audience? David Aaronovitch. Watch for his next piece in the Times which undoubtedly will belittle and smear.

  17. YugoStiglitz

    21 Jun, 2011 - 4:11 am

    Richard Gage is laughable; he’s always been laughable, and his “presentation” is silly. His architectural skills have never qualified him for any serious project.

    Do you believe that New World Order ninjas planted thermite in the twin towers prior to be airplanes hitting? I sure don’t!

    At the Royal Institute, was he sharing a stage with Holocaust deniers and alien invasion experts? He did so recently in Ireland.

    In any event, that the speech took place at the Royal Institute should of course not serve as any endorsement or support on the part of RIBA for his crackpot theories. I’m sure David Icke could even get a room there if he could manage to pay the bill. Richard Gage knows that gullible people will more likely believe him if he can rent rooms in such places.

  18. Don’t get that one mate..”Within 12 miles of Ghana it is under the juristdiction of the Gaza authorities” Is there something we should know 😉

  19. If I lived in Gaza in the Holy Land, I would prefer not to be rescued by political stunt artists. It would be more reassuring if the political classes of Western countries had not become the chattels of Zionist bankers and were able to put pressure on Israel without fear of plunging us into the economic status of the planet Mars.

    Before you delete, Craig, you will be pleased to hear that I have found an alternative explanation of our current problems to this old theme. In Gaza the people are Muslim, and they pray for their needs to the Creator of the Worlds, All Glory be to Him.
    NAPIT, one of the quasi-non-government-organisations set up to regulate electrical circuits in domestic properties, told me yesterday that they have to guarantee the safety of every electrical circuit that they process for x number of years regardless of the existence of the company that did the work.

    I thought the function of these organisations was to drive up knowledge and standards in the trade. No. That is no longer the aim in Big Brother Britain. We are now so obsessed with the minutiae of unbelievably irrelevant detail, generated by the computer age, that we no longer have functioning hearts and minds.

    Even more reason why not to be rescued by a US boat or a space craft from Mars. Allah is sufficient and he is with the patient. I personally do not like political stunts of any kind.

  20. Thanks for that Mary. Yugo from St. Larry wants to steer us away from the subject of Ghaza’s territorial waters, to his job in hand, denial of Newtons physical laws that govern our existence on earth.
    What, if anything, should happen in case the pirates once again attack ships? I’m sure that the BBC will find all the right words to define this ‘outrageous threat’to their poor battered territory, once they are put into their mouth.
    We will also hear the fiddlers playing tunes of rockets fired, the ‘dome’, so much heralded as the end to all fire crackers, does not seem to work, or does it? There is no justification to attacking people on the high seas with automatic weapons helicopter gun ships, not that Israel has ever cared much about laws designed for all of us to follow.
    We have to keep an eye on those who do not condemn them, they are as guilty as the actors in this farce and need to be reminded of their superiority complex.

  21. Ingo – you thank her for bringing that up, and then you accuse me of going off-topic? Wow! But then, quite typical for the comments section here.

    Anno – there is no Allah. Allah is a fabrication of primitive people. As is the case with the vast majority of your religious beliefs.

  22. Ingo. Agree. I still enjoy this mash up of the Israeli propaganda and lies that were put out after the killings on the Mavi Marmara. Worthy of Miss Jane Corbin and her ‘Death in the Med’.
    Look out for the cat playing a keyboard and another dressed up as a Kkhhaammaass terrrrist. Also the physiognomy of Mark Regev so often seen (and heard) on the British media.
    PS Pointless to reply to Yugo from St Larry and in any case Craig doesn’t want a 9/11 discussion on his site.

  23. The missing link!
    Christopher Hitchens’ comments cleverly follow on at the end. Haven’t watched it but can imagine the poison being spewed.

  24. So what would happen if someone/a dedicated nation takes it upon themselves to reciproke any actions of the IDF by stopping and attacking Israeli shipping on the high seas?
    Surely such an option must have been considered before they decide to take actions against peacefull postal deliveries.
    To ratchet up the agression by re starting building in the west bank on Monday, challenging Hamas to start lobbing firecrackers at the dome, is goading and not a means of re starting peace talks. Israel is steering towards war by throwing their weight about unecessarrily. This means that can expect reciproke actions by outside factions such as Hezbollah in return, with Israel punishing Ghaza and Hamas in return.
    Expect Israeli spokespersons wriggling on the BBC, a can of worms could not compete with their expediency.

  25. Seems there is no country that one can truly trust as they are all prepared to sell their country’s ‘soul’ to the Devil(s).
    Haaretz: Israel and Turkey holding secret direct talks to mend diplomatic rift
    […] the U.S. administration has held talks with senior Turkish officials, mainly to foil the flotilla to Gaza due later this month, but also in a bid to improve relations with Israel.
    On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu and expressed satisfaction with the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation’s announcement that the ship the Mavi Marmara would not take part in the flotilla this time around, officials said.

  26. Given that Turkey raised so many issues with the previous vessel it was forced to re-flag, I am surprised that the US permitted this new boat to be registered in its own territory. Given that it would know that it was part of a Freedom Flotilla, why did it not put a wall of safety checks that were impossible to pass?
    Brave people, I wish them well.

  27. Anno, I’d be inclined to think most people in Gaza would be inclined to disagree with you; they need all the help they can get. They were welcomed with open arms previously, surely?
    Good activism on behalf of a stricken people should, of course, check with those people before actions are carried out on their behalf. I cite as a good (and relevant) example the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement that supports freedom for the Palestinians; of course, any boycott of Israeli goods is liable to hurt Palestinians too. However, activists have checked with Palestinians, and there was/is a feeling that it is worth the risk.
    Your insistence that all the Palestinians need is their God sounds rather like abandonment to me. Perhaps you should consider that it is Allah who is sending the Flotilla?

  28. YugoStiglitz

    21 Jun, 2011 - 1:15 pm

    Any of you know if your hero Ken O’Keefe will be on this boat?

  29. Larry,

    I have written to Jack Pringle, a partner in ‘Pringle Brandon’ giving him some comprehensive information he needs to make a further judgement on the collapse of the WTC buildings that may help with their new company branding.

    ‘Pringle Brandon’ are accredited to ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 therefore they are committed to computer models based on definable real world input that is peer verified. NIST refuses to release input to their structural failure/collapse analysis models. After an FOI request the SAP 2000 structure data files became available but the data refuses to fit the released blueprints. I am still waiting for WTC7 blueprints.

    Who would trust an architectural company who’s partner believes that steel framed buildings specifically designed to resist office fires collapsed in a manner that has never been documented and immediately after the collapse the evidence was destroyed/removed before thorough investigation to national quality standards.

    Some years later explosives were found in the WTC debris recovered at four verifiable locations BY SWORN WITNESSES which enforced the widely known scientific fact that extremely high temperatures existed in the towers shown by the pervasive presence of spherical iron balls in the fine concrete dust, many hollow contained sulphur deposits. These balls and the presence of molten steel, witnessed and documented by fire personnel at the scene, indicate temperatures unobtainable by office fires and jet fuel burning off.

  30. YugoStiglitz

    21 Jun, 2011 - 2:14 pm

    [Mod/Jon: abusive, deleted]

  31. “You should have been at RIBA this evening to hear Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 giving a two hour lecture full of incontrovertible facts.”
    Usually “incontrovertible facts” is Trutherspeak for “made up incoherent gibberish” such as “There were classic signs of a completely unorthodox controlled demolition of the like never seen before using substances not even known to be used for anything at all let alone controlled demolitions in which the buildings were IMPLODED and blasted steel girders LATERALLY OUTWARDS for six hundred feet…blah…blah…blah… very noisy explosions which made no sound at all.”
    I hope the jars of nanothermite were passed around so that the pilgrims could kiss the relics.
    By the way, Aaronovitch’s Twitter feed on this subject is here:!/search?q=%23911truth
    It sounds more like he went for the entertainment rather than to gather information or whatever it is you might think is sinister. I like the fact that he refused to sign the petition on the grounds that that is just what the NWO want.

  32. By the way, this is an inadvertantly hilarious typo:
    “You should have been at RIBA this evening to hear Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11”.

  33. Was this you Mary?
    David Aaronovitch Woman next to me taking copious notes in red ink. Audience very amused by idea of twin tower collapses being caused by planes. #911truth.”
    And did you bring Ian Henshell with you?
    “Henshall ended the meeting by thrusting his F’stein monster’s crankled head in my face and yelling “you fucking scumbag”.”

  34. KingofWelshNoir

    21 Jun, 2011 - 4:34 pm

    I read Aaronovitch’s Voodoo Histories. To establish his even-handedness he had to offer some examples of conspiracies he believed in. But all the ones he cited were ones that had been accepted as true and passed into the historical record. Which is a bit like betting on the horses after the race is over.

    Three cheers for Henshall.

  35. Aaronovitch is a thinking man. He cannot visualise the prodigious cover-up which is his main argument and the contention of Craig and many others. This is a perfectly natural human response.

    Aaronovitch said some people are so good at putting together the science, “there are always moments when you suddenly think, ‘maybe it’s not them, maybe it’s me, maybe I’m completely wrong’, and you’re gonna go back to basics and you look at it again and you ask yourself this one simple question: what is the actual evidence for their version of events?”

    I would turn the question on itself, what is the actual evidence of the government ‘official’ conspiracy regarding the collapse?

    Surprisingly or not the ‘evidence’ is non-existent – FEMA did not know why the third building collapsed and NIST took forever to propose a collapse based on a computer simulation that fails to fit the real event, omits vital information and in an unscientific way proposes a single failure event.

    I put this to any architect – would you design a steel high rise building that would fall 100ft to the ground at free-fall speed on a single failure?

    Now where is David’s phone number.

  36. Ref A&E for 9/11 Truth Mark, and completely ignoring the remarks previous to yours, no that wasn’t me! Mr Aa is a clever scribbler/smudger/smearer. I thought green was the theoretical colour of the ink used by those who oppose him and see him for what he is. He was sitting at the back in an attractive black tee shirt some sizes too small and peering down at his (electronic) gadget throughout. Don’t know how he heard or saw anything as he was so concentrated on his task. He raised the question on his TWITter as to how Mr Gage was funded. implying something shady. He did not mention that the admission charge was £15, £10 unwaged and £7 OAP and there were enough paying audience members there to easily cover the hire of the Jarvis Auditorium ar RIBA. Also many book sales.
    I have never heard of Ian Henshall. Someone else he is attempting to diminish no doubt.

  37. YugoStiglitz

    21 Jun, 2011 - 4:53 pm

    Heh Mark Golding – why are all steel-structured buildings equipped with layers of fireproofing on each and every column?

    Single failure point? Hah! Now that’s a new one from the conspiraloons!

    You’re correct the FEMA did not explain Building 7. Neither did the New York City Department of Public Parks, the Bridge Club of Greater Philadelphia, nor Elvis Costello & the Attractions.

    NIST provided a perfectly workable explanation. It was completely predictable that, when the final report came out, not one of you conspiraloons changed your minds.

    Why are you so dedicated to right-wing American conspiracy theories?

  38. YugoStiglitz

    21 Jun, 2011 - 4:56 pm

    [Mod/Jon: disruptive, deleted]

  39. YugoStiglitz

    21 Jun, 2011 - 5:04 pm

    The words of Aaronovitch seem to really sting you people. Might it be because you know he’s always quite right?

  40. The West works on the Thatcher principle, make the rich richer so that they can drop a few shillings to the masses in exchange for bits and bobs they need, like luxury swimming pools. World politics operate on the same principle. All legislation is written by and for the rich and rich nations. The rights of the masses diminish into insignificance and then we call foul.

    Why did British people go along with the Thatcher lie? Now is not the time to cry foul about the steady diminution of rights caused by the Thatcher principle. Sending a flotilla to Gaza is like hunting foxes and giving the fox a head start to make the sport more fun. You create Israel and nurture it with billions of dollars so that you can bag trophies of your braveness on horseback or boatback for your stately homes.

    To me this is merely the spoilt behaviour of the enemies of life and honour having a spiffing time. b.t.w isn’t Yugostilitz supposed to be locked up safely in the Hague?

  41. @All, don’t feel the troll, folks.
    @Anno, sure, Thatcher’s policies were appalling, and yes, some people supported her (it is sadly the case that some right-wingers are still fond of her). But to answer your question – why did British people go along with the Thatcher lie – well, it’s a complex question. I’d cite public appetite for military propaganda for a start – she made herself very popular domestically over the Falklands conflict. Also, in our class-ridden society, there is a significant number of people on the Tory right who think that some people deserve to be impoverished – though how much of that is subconscious it is difficult to tell.
    I should be interested in your thoughts on my defence of the flotilla above – I reckon this stuff is important, and of all people you should be fully supportive, I should think.

  42. Jon, as I see it Mrs T. used the sledgehammer of anti-christianity to break the existing aristocracy and its basically christian values. But the plutocrats who have replaced them are greedier and morally worse. In the same way the UK used Israel to undo the considerable lingering authority of the broken chaliphate of Turkey. And the successors have proved to be greedier and worse.

    We are not going to break the appalling power of our present plutocracy or the appalling power of Israel, easily. Bits and bobs of demonstrations are small compensation for those who warned of the dangers to come and who were ignored. Both of these old powers, the British and Ottoman were broken by means of very dirty politics and not by pacifism at all.

    I take inspiration from the women of Egypt in the Arab spring who showed that they had no intention of sacrificing one tiny part of Islam in order to create change. For the time being we are stuck with the plague of feminism ( did you see Germaine Greer exposing her psychosis that little girls kissing their fathers goodnight amounts tom sexual flirtation? ) and the Black Death of the Mark Regev psychosis of apartheid.

    I agree with you that this kind of protest is valid, but it will take the smashing of the Thatcher Capitalist model to cure the injustices of the War on Islam. The capitalists cannot stand the message of the Gospels and the Qur’an, that our lives are not only about this world and its wealth. The oppression of the Palestinians has to be seen in the context of wider Capitalist terror, rather than as a local issue of territorial borders.

  43. YugoStiglitz

    21 Jun, 2011 - 7:11 pm

    Trolls! Hah! Angrysoba and I certainly would not have brought up 911 conspiracy nuttery without the contribution of the 911 conspiracy nuts at this site.

    Still wondering why you nutters blindly buy into right-wing American conspiracy theories.

  44. Yes, anno, I agree with you that the form of the economic system is a root problem. I do not agree with you wrt your faith in a single, unifying spiritual solution. Such ‘solutions’ have been around for all time and will continue to fascinate and inspire. I do agree though that a different vision is lacking and is required to give the various movements direction, though in his discussions with angysoba, Jon did allude to something that might be described as visionary in another thread recently. But the ‘vision’ cannot be one-size-fits-all; that has been the problem in the past. Furthermore, if one waits for the perfect conditions for worldwide revolution (or whatever one’s equivalent Auspicious Event might be), it will never arrive. And if one simply await the Second Coming or the advent of the Word of God, one will still be waiting while the universe re-condenses. People have to work with what they’ve got. In the case of the Levant, whatever overlays and fabricated justifications might exist, it is primarily a territorial, imperial matter, a matter of power and earth.

    One must try to score a thousand tiny victories as well as thinking and acting strategically in the hope that gradually, inexorably, the hegemony of the economic system is weakened to the point where it becomes vulnerable and/or where it implodes through over-expansion.

    The continuous raising of the oppression of the Palestinians as a public political issue internationally – even if by ‘stunts’ – serves a greater purpose. No-one is under the illusion that such activity on its own will bring down the hegemon. Although there may be some tangible benefit, it is in essence a propaganda exercise, one which I support. I know what you mean (at least, I think I know what you mean) about guilt-ridden Westerners going off to grandstand for this or that cause while their governments and elites continue their rapine activities, regardless. However, just as Rome was not built in a day, neither was it dismantled in a day.

  45. And we seek new pastures ‘Suhayl’ across the river of blood. The bridge of knowledge once obscured by the trolls is in full view – really, all we have to do is cross over and leave the barren fields of deception behind. Is that so difficult? The fearsome trolls are now old and weak – just follow ‘Mary’ – her strength will lead you.

  46. YugoStiglitz

    21 Jun, 2011 - 9:26 pm

    [Mod/Jon: disruptive, deleted]

  47. Mr Rasmussen conducts the next movement of the NATO Symphony.
    Turkey To Take in NATO Ground Forces
    By Big News Network
    June 21. 2011 “BNN” — Turkey has agreed that NATO can turn its airbase in Turkey into a base for ground operations into Syria.
    The country will become the main base in the area for the US-led military alliance’s ground forces.
    NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said the alliance will transfer the bulk of its ground forces from a military base in the city of Heidelberg in southwestern Germany.
    Other troops will arrive from Spain to be placed at the Izmir Air Station in western Turkey, which will now become the centre for ground troops.
    Turkey has recently toughened its opinion on neighbouring Syria, where unprecedented civilian unrest has led to the deaths of many people. Ankara has already created its own military bases close to the common border with Syria.
    (Informstion Clearing House)

  48. King Of Welsh Noir: “I read Aaronovitch’s Voodoo Histories. To establish his even-handedness he had to offer some examples of conspiracies he believed in. But all the ones he cited were ones that had been accepted as true and passed into the historical record. Which is a bit like betting on the horses after the race is over.”
    I seem to remember that he believed in the JFK conspiracy, the post-trial Templar nonsense and the idea that Hitler ordered the burning of the Reichstag. None of these has passed into the historical record; just about every specialist historian in the relevant fields will disagree with these conspiracy theories. The only one which Aaronovitch mentions as an unfounded conspiracy theory that is still widely accepted by relevant historians is the murder of Kirov being a plot by Stalin. Or at least I think it is still widely accepted.

  49. “I agree with you that this kind of protest is valid, but it will take the smashing of the Thatcher Capitalist model to cure the injustices of the War on Islam. The capitalists cannot stand the message of the Gospels and the Qur’an, that our lives are not only about this world and its wealth.”
    To be honest, that’s pretty much a Marxist take as well. In that way most of the West is now Marxist. It’s unusual to see on this blog that Maggie’s being taken down for being an upstart commoner who destroyed traditional privelege. Of course, they too hated her for being common as muck and they too would have said that the deserving poor would be looked after in the next world so all the poor need do is stop complaining and turn to God. Remember the lines to “All Creatures Great and Small”: “The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, He made them high and lowly and ordered their estate.”

  50. Mark Golding: “The bridge of knowledge once obscured by the trolls is in full view – really, all we have to do is cross over and leave the barren fields of deception behind.”
    Yes, yes, yes. Victory is just around the corner. The evil NWO/Zio-Nio-con empire will soon be exposed for blowing up their own buildings with non-flammable Top Seckrit Explosive Sparklers or something else incoherent. Was Kool Aid on sale as refreshment?

  51. Angry, yes – Thatcher as “daughter of a greengrocer” showed her as an extraordinarily determined woman who rose to high office despite a working-class background. I would imagine that fact is used by conservatives to “prove” that capitalism is meritocratic, even though it was an unusual case. I wonder even that she might have believed this herself, strengthening her convictions in the free market (“if I can make it, anyone can!”).
    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen people prefer anecdotes to statistics to prove their case.

  52. Okay, so you guys disagree on 9/11. Think we established that, several times! Maybe you could agree to disagree?
    This is, after all, not a thread about that topic :)

  53. @Anno; not sure what the “sledgehammer of anti-christianity” is – but I’d wager that Thatcher wasn’t primarily driven by religious ideas. I think she genuinely believed in the validity of the free-market, and that it could “be made to work”. Hence her war with the miners, her belief in entrepreneurialism and that “there is no such thing as society”, her attacks on the welfare state, etc. Like you, I do wonder whether capitalism would be as rapacious as it is today without her, and Reagan’s, influence.
    I think the issue of feminism is irrelevant here – I don’t think it has much bearing on the kind of injustices we’re discussing. Capitalism of course does, which I think we’re agreed about. But I should say I am surprised these days how much of a backlash there is against feminism – it seems to be, in theory at least, a reasonable idea of equality that should garner support from liberals of all genders. And yet the Guardian recently carried some pieces on feminism, and there was avalanches of angry criticism in response – and not all from the right. (My private view is that is mostly driven by latent misogyny – partly from an unreconstructed working class – as I can’t think of any other reason for it.)
    Off-topic: Greer might not be that wrong, from a psychological perspective – perhaps Suhayl could chip in with some Freud? For example, psychologists understand that when girls move into puberty, a proportion of their respective fathers become less tactile, which is sometimes incorrectly understood by the daughter as a confusing rejection. I don’t know what you read, but I am sure Greer wasn’t endorsing incest – just describing a complex family dynamic.
    Yes, to the smashing of the Thatcher capitalist model. Strangely however many capitalists are religious – I think perhaps that bit about passing a camel through the eye of a needle was missing from their bibles!

  54. Lizz Phelan has documented NATO bombing of a University and a market place in Tripoli killing women and children. UN and the Arab League are aware that NATO is trying to control the insurgency or Arab spring to promote civil war in Libya. Counter-revolutionaries are active in Libya controlled by Britain and France; both countries having a huge dependence on Libyan oil. Agent Cameron is tasked with *propaganda* to support the NATO’s role of supporting ‘democracy’ and the rights of the Libyan people.

    Libya has a population of 6 Million. On Friday last week one million Libyans took to the streets in Tripoli and hundreds of thousands marched in many other parts of Libya, all staging support for Gaddafi.

    In three months NATO airstrikes has achieved nothing except civilian deaths and Gaddafi is still in power. Clearly the people of Libya are with their leader.

    UK and French special forces agents are paying insurgents to take advantage of splits in Libyan tribal allegiances while sanctions on Libya are causing a crisis similar to the sanctions imposed on Iraq – THIS IS THE INSIDE TRACK!

    America supports 75% of the NATO budget as countries have pulled out ie Germany has refused to support NATO in Libya. The yanks(CIA) are really helping Britain (assassinate Gaddafi??) because to them Libya is not so strategically important as Pakistan and Afghanistan right now. Of concern to America is NATO’s future role and Gates really wants to see a political solution in Libya to give NATO a clean exit strategy.

    Britain has caused a crisis in Libya; post Cold war NATO is ineffective as it was in Kosova with NATO bombing murdering many civilians and having to apologize – NATO is now struggling to prevent its disintegration.

  55. Mazin Qumsiseh writes:
    The battle lines are drawn
    Israel’s UN ambassador met with major American Jewish organizations telling them to work hard to ensure there will not be passage of any votes on Palestine at the UN. President Obama met with 80 influential Jewish donors (who each gave $25-35,000 to attend the private dinner with the President)and Obama assured them that the US has iron-clad commitment to Israel. He stated to them that any differences with the current Israeli government are not about goals and strategies but merely minor tactical differences among close friends and allies.
    Further, the despotic regimes in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco and elsewhere continue to torture, kill, and imprison their citizens who dare call for democracy. Greece is being threatened about its loans unless it joins the US/Israel to stop the freedom flotilla. Turkey’s elections consolidated power in the ruling party which now felt a bit freer (or so we are told) to bend to US/Israel pressure to a) stop the Freedom
    Flotilla II, and b) drop its demand for an apology and for lifting the siege
    on Gaza (after the execution of 9 Turkish passengers in International waters
    last year).

  56. Here is Prof Qumsiyeh speaking of his experience of entering Israel from Jordan last August, after visiting Turkey. Perhaps that is the reason why petty intimidation and humiliation were handed out to him in equal measure. Or was it because he speaks out on non-violent resistance to the Occupation?
    His CV

  57. Thanks Mary, this is very disturbing, Assad is seemingly walking into his own noose by being a bastard to his own people. Using Insurlik and other facillities in Turkey means that the US and Israel have a pincer position and a springboard to Iran set up, should the latter profess military support for Syria.
    The mechanism is in place and I feel that the outrage over reactions to come re: peace flotilla, could easily escalate into a major world wide flagration. If Syria and Iran are attacked simultaneously we will see most conflicts erupt and simmering ones come to the surface, more hardship and sorrow so our economies can just about keep themselves alive with arms dealing and manufacture of.
    This coincides with a dollar thats dipping wildly, a casm opening up in the EU and my garden being devastated through a new water main, its a bad summer all round.

  58. Lets hope that Israel’s secret talks with Turkey was not over the co use of Turkey’s NATO bases. Attacking Iran from Turkish bases, a possible mission creep outcome of a scrap with Syria.

    NATO is turning out to be one hell of a whore these days, letting anybody with the right money use it for whatever they like, like a very old elephant it should lay down and die.
    Why should Turkey cow tow to the demands of Israel, not a NATO country and in breach of multiple laws, regulations and UN conventions?

  59. Correction. I did not object to Mrs T because she attacked class privelege, which I have always detested and still do, but because she used the tool of sexual freedom to break the status quo, which damaged the whole of society. Yes Marxists would do the same, which is perhaps why New Labour’s intellectuals have so much in common with Thatcher.
    The new batch of plutocrats and scumbag New Labour politicians who have become millionaires by signing for the War on Islam for their Zionist banker sponsors, like chief bastard in chief Liam Byrne MP, want more class privelege without the moral responsibilities of their predecessors. They think that turning up at the mosque and praising religious practise, is the same as maintaining a moral, Christian fabric for family life. It definitely isn’t.

    There is however Islam, and it is a refuge for those who have realised that moral disintegration for the sake of neo-capitalism and neo-Marxism is a bum deal for the citizens of this country. We have benefits but no family life. We have mosques but no way to stop the killing of our fellow Muslims. We have cheap vegetables, but our houses are all owned by building societies.
    If you like Thatcherism you are measuring the wrong statistics. Why not look at the statistics from child protection agencies that the molestation of very small children( who have been deprived of the protection of the family) is now routine.
    May molten stones fall on the heads of all of those who dismantled family life in order to grasp the rungs of priveledge and who took bungs from the usurous bankers to attack Islam.

  60. Good thread on medialens regarding BBC News output includes info on Hague restoring the cut to the BBC Arabic service on the World Service.
    btw Helen Boaden Head of News defends Corbin’s Death in the Med (well she would wouldn’t she) as follows:
    /…Ms Boaden went on to describe Death in the Med as a ‘brave, thorough and highly forensic examination of what went wrong [on the Mavi Marmara]’, and described the programme’s presenter, Jane Corbin, as ‘one of our absolutely best reporters’.
    A BBC Trust inquiry into complaints about the programme found that it had failed to make use of the autopsies of the nine passengers killed by Israeli commandos, had failed to mention the mistreatment of passengers by Israeli troops, failed to mention the amount of aid being carried on the Mavi Marmara and unfairly dismissed the medical aid as being out of date.
    However, Ms Boaden reiterated the Trust’s comments that ‘it is unlikely that a current affairs programme such as this, covering such a contentious issue, would be found to be entirely flawless if it were subjected to the level of deconstruction and analysis that Death in the Med has undergone’.
    Sorry about your garden Ingo. Hope you don’t get charged for the water. I got s bill for £380 last Summer instead of the usual one of under £100. Your analysis of what is happening in the Middle East is spot on and alarming.

  61. Ah, right – a primary source of disagreement. Several, in fact: “the tool of sexual freedom” implies that a woman should have never become prime minister. This is of course silly – there should be more gender balance in political life, not less. New Labour have plenty to do with Thatcherism, yes – but it’s nothing to do with gender – New Labour moved to the right in tune with the requirements of capitalism as defined by the corporate-political-media class. Had they not done so, they may not have been voted in, since the public largely step to the media’s tune.
    The idea that New Labour is/was “Marxist” is so plainly untrue it’s hardly worth responding to. There is nothing ‘neo-Marxist’ about our current phase of neo-capitalism. Perhaps you should read some Marx? I think you’d like him. (I am reading Chris Harman’s “Zombie Capitalism” at the moment, but I am not sure I would recommend it – the prose is quite dense and technical, but I am persisting with it for now.)
    Another main point of disagreement is how you keep coming back to ride your religious hobby horse. The opposite of neo-capitalism is not Islam – the opposite of capitalism was the topic of my post on a past thread. That would be socialism, perhaps, or communism, or some economic system that involves central planning. There are lots of possibilities, as I outlined in that piece.
    Again, there is no war on Islam – not a real one, anyway. Our jingoist media has concocted one, certainly, and this is helpful when the West wishes to steal natural resources from the Middle East and Africa, as is becoming increasingly normal for the present phase of capitalism. But if those countries were all Jewish, the media would repaint Judaism as a source of extremism – given enough time – and the culture of suspicion against Muslims would melt away. Yesterday’s news would become un-news, I suppose – and our malleable public sphere would forget all about it, as they are required to.

  62. This is written by an American Jewish woman Jane Hirschmann who is on one of boats.

  63. Mary, you said, “Greece is being threatened about its loans unless it joins the US/Israel to stop the freedom flotilla.” – I didn’t know that and want to explore further – have you got a reference?

  64. Jon: “Angry, yes – Thatcher as “daughter of a greengrocer” showed her as an extraordinarily determined woman who rose to high office despite a working-class background. I would imagine that fact is used by conservatives to “prove” that capitalism is meritocratic, even though it was an unusual case. I wonder even that she might have believed this herself, strengthening her convictions in the free market (“if I can make it, anyone can!”).
    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen people prefer anecdotes to statistics to prove their case.”
    Well, the point is that if there were measures brought in by her to make things more meritocratic then she hadn’t benefitted from them because they were obviously non-existent before her time.
    I just meant that she was generally looked down on by those reactionaries who yearn for the return of the Feudal system as being “common as muck” and with no sense of noblesse oblige. It’s similar to the yearning by some reactionaries for the restoration of the Caliphate.
    And yes, I agree that anecdotes or samples of one are insufficient to prove most cases.

  65. “Mary, you said, “Greece is being threatened about its loans unless it joins the US/Israel to stop the freedom flotilla.” – I didn’t know that and want to explore further – have you got a reference?”
    It’s just made up, Mark. You know, like the “incontroverible facts” at Gage’s talk.

  66. Thjere is an internal struggle within the Conservative Party b/w the ‘Etonites’ – the old priveleged traditional power-brokers – and the ‘working-class Tories’ like Heath (teacher’s son), Thatcher, David Davies, Andrew Neil, etc. Davies resinged as Shadow Home Secretary in part because of this dynamic. Yes, he held to a principle wrt detention but this was the background. With the ascendance of Cameron et al, the Old Tories have reasserted their dominance over the Party. But angrysoba, that is a separate matter; many of these people benefitted from the grammar school system, etc. and from other progressive facts of early and mid-C20th policy. The irony was, they then, once in power, seemed to turn around and reverse much of that, rejecting progressive consensus polictics pulling-up the ladder. So, we have Andrew Neil presenting a programme on the subject, seemingly oblivious to the irony.

    Anno, you seem to have forgotten that the Prophet Muhammad was an employee of his wife, Khadija, and that this was why he was able to travel as a merchant and to meet so many variegated people. Both Fatima (the daughter of Muhammad) and Aisha (the latter-day wife of Muhammad) were leaders in their own right. So, clearly, by your standards of opprobrium, Muhammad, Fatima, Aisha and Khadija were feminists. To say that because Thatcher was Thatcher, women should not aspire to the highest office is just hilarious and incidentally flies in the face of important – and often nowadays, deliberately ignored – aspects of the history of Muslim peoples.

  67. KingofWelshNoir

    22 Jun, 2011 - 9:44 pm

    ‘I seem to remember that he believed in the JFK conspiracy…’

    I don’t think so. I seem to remember him concluding that the case for Lee Harvey Oswald being the lone gunman was ‘a slam dunk’.
    Slam dunk!
    Makes you wonder why there are so many books about it, really.

  68. ‘‘I seem to remember that he believed in the JFK conspiracy…’
    I don’t think so. I seem to remember him concluding that the case for Lee Harvey Oswald being the lone gunman was ‘a slam dunk’.’

    That’s right- Aaro admitted that his mother, around the time of the assassination, believed there was a conspiracy, but in Voodoo Histories & elsewhere he himself takes the Lone Nut line pretty consistently.

    ‘Makes you wonder why there are so many books about it, really.’- it also makes me wonder why the CIA devoted significant resources, at the height of the Vietnam War protests and inner city racial unrest, to rubbishing criticism of the Warren Commission !

  69. OK, great. So Israel cannot touch the boat while it is on the high seas. But once it gets within that 12 mile coastal limit, all your little legal games are thrown out the window, because it is then within territorial waters.

    Who started this whole mess, anyways? I seem to recall that it was the Arabs that invaded Israel………….on the very day it was founded. How is it that you people forget this very inmportant fact? Then they invaded them again in 56.

    What, are you just idiots? Israel is the bad guy here? I guess you just cant fix stupid.

  70. Thanks Suyahl – very interesting. I didn’t know that about Muhammad.

  71. Hi Lou – unlike many blogs, there’s a consensus around here of welcoming sharply differing views. However, if you want to convert people to your way of thinking, then – as with any topic – insulting people probably isn’t the way to go :)
    The question of “who started this mess” is complex. Was it when Israel was founded, in the country of another people? I guess there are many answers, depending on how far you wish to go!
    I have a theory also that the awful crime of the Holocaust has given the Israeli political machine a bunker mentality, much analogous to how slavery has affected black communities in the United States, and intensified the nature of black/white racism. The resultant political arrangements in Israel have become far-right, aggressive and extremely militarist as a result – precisely the opposite tendencies that are required for peace! (Of course, one could construct a similar case for sections of the Palestinian authorities, too – racist and militarist is not a good combination there either.)
    So, we are where we are. One solution would be: establish a Truth & Reconciliation commission to establish the crimes carried out on both sides, and lets ordinary people say how they have been affected by the violence. Israel retreats back to the 1967 borders, and Hamas renounces violence and recognises Israel. Minor border tweaks are made so that both parties have to give and take.
    Alternatively, merge the territories into one state, and call it by a new name. Agree that Palestinians may live anywhere within the territory, and allow the settlers to stay where they are. Establish a commission to ensure that Palestinians are able to integrate into existing Israeli state systems, and vice versa. This has the advantage that the 1967 borders issue is avoided – since Israel would find it hard to get domestic support for that anyway. The downside is that merging the two states will change the electoral game entirely, and ordinary Israelis would be outnumbered.
    What would you propose for peace?

  72. Jon, well said, make that an International peace and reconcilliation commission. Further such a meeting c/should also look at the integration of ‘new’ states into the international community, that they both agree to adher and act on UN rules and regs, etc.

    We have to expect some wild and wonderfull views on here, after all the re writing of history has had its desired effect on many, some have been told all sorts over the partition of Palestine, a great name for that single future country with no walls, btw.
    One country would also mean one law for all, no superior religious dispositions or laws, equallity amongst a diverse country of largely immigrants and Arabs.
    Israel has many options to change its stance, its could unilaterally take down the wall, disengage its illegal actions off the Ghaza coast and stop all building of bases in the west bank, some people call them settlements. They are unsustainable and largely build on stolen land, discontinuing of activities there can get positive responses from both Fatah and Hamas.
    Then there is East Jerusalem, a declaration as to its Palestinian nature from Israel is another good start to get back to the table.

    Fatah and Hamas should also pucker up and get themselves sorted into one single Palestinian assembly. Israel returning the tax records and giving back tax authorities to a unified Palestinian assembly marks another good point of re enrty into the peace process, unless off course, you do not want peace and assist a newly formed Palestinian Government by giving back its property.
    Thousands in prison could be released, a simple measure which woul

    Syria’s current internal problems could be defused to a certain extent, by starting negotiations over the return of Syria’s Gholan territories, rather than shooting civilians through the fence, another open invitation to dialogue, off course one has to want to talk.
    Interfering with vessels on the high seas carrying letters and goodwill wishes, attacking them with military state force, is untennable to the international community, now is the time to grow up.

  73. King, it seems we have got our wires crossed. I took it that you meant Aaronovitch was trying to be even-handed by admitting that he had ONCE believed in certain conspiracies and those are the ones I mentioned. Yes, of course he no longer believes in a conspiracy theory regarding the death of JFK because he later found that there was an overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to LHO’s guilt and not much in the way of a conspiracy.
    Anyway, interesting to hear that you read Voodoo Histories. Did you find it of any use at all or did it read exactly as you would expect an apologist for power and shady secretive organizations to do?

  74. No Mark other than what Prof Qumsiyeh writes which is re-linked several times on Google. I should imagine he is well informed on this matter and being a respected American and now Palestinian academic, would not write something he could not corroborate. He has had a bad time as you might know. I think he has been imprisoned by the Israelis about a dozen times because he stands for non-violent resistance.

  75. Jon – OK, I’ll be nice since you were.

    Peace? Boy thats a tough one. One the one hand, we have a younger generation in the Mideast that is not so tied to the Islamist agenda. Thats certainly a plus for the process. But then I saw a poll in Egypt recently where the majority still has a real problem with Israel, sorry I forget the exact context.

    Frankly, I dont have any answers. Yes, the Israelis have definitely developed a bunker mentality. Dont know that I can say I blame them. The culture of hate is now awfully deep. Someone needs to think outside the box. Is provacation ie these flotillas, the answer?

  76. I think you can read between the lines here.

    Foreign ministry urges Greek citizens not to participate in Gaza flotilla

    22 Jun 2011

    (Turkish protestors accompany by boats the Mavi Marmara passenger ship during its return ceremony in Istanbul after Israel’s deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza Strip on 31 May, in Istanbul, Turkey on 26 December 2010.
    Israeli commandos on 31 May 2010 stormed six ships carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists on an aid mission to the blockaded Gaza Strip, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens after encountering unexpected resistance as the forces boarded the vessels.)

    The Greek Foreign ministry urged Greek citizens not to participate in the new flotilla for the port of Gaza, as well as the ships and seafaring means of the Greek shipping register.

    A relevant announcement by the Foreign ministry on Wednesday calls for the appeal by the UN secretary general, the declared intention of the Israeli government not to allow the approach of vessels to the coast of Gaza, to be taken into consideration, as well as the direct dangers for human life and security entailed by participation in this undertaking, particularly in light of last year’s events.

    It is also pointed out that “the defining and exercising of the country’s foreign policy is the responsibility of the government, with the criterion of the promotion of the interests of Greece” and “in this crucial conjuncture all must show the corresponding responsibility or fully assume the responsibility for their actions.”

    Moreover, it stresses that “the planned operation does not tackle the essence of the humanitarian problem in Gaza”, adding that Greece and Cyprus have made specific proposals in the past in the direction of handling the humanitarian needs of the inhabitants of Gaza.

    “Greece actively supports the resumption of the peace talks which constitutes the only path for an overall and viable solution of the Palestinian issue,” the announcement concluded. (ANA)

  77. Really? Israel’s not involved in an armed conflict? Despite that Hamas does not recognize its right to exist, is dedicated to the destruction of the “Zionist entity” in its charter, and rains rockets down on Israeli civilians by the thousands? But, for you naive activists, I guess it is better to TRY to flag your ship US, because too many people recognized the absurdity last time of flying the Turkish flag in the name of human rights, and to have a Nobel Peace Prize winner aboard a ship flying the flag of a nation that has butchered hundreds of thousands of people with out a peep of outcry from the Islamic world. The timing of the flotilla is impeccable, too – worrying about Israeli abuses during an armed conflict as you willingly ignore the massacre of thousands of their OWN people by the neighboring Syrians.

  78. Hi Adam, I’m sure I’ll get a chance to answer more fully tomorrow. But for now, the issue as to whether Israel is involved in “armed conflict” is actually a legal one, under international law. My understanding of it – I believe derived from things Craig has written in the past – is that the Israeli administration itself has insisted that they are *not* involved in an armed conflict. It is possible they take this line because it would make them responsible for the protection of foreign civilians, and it is my view (sadly) that they are “deliberately careless” with the lives of Palestinians as part of their shock-and-awe policy against Hamas.
    I agree that Hamas are also guilty of putting civilians’ lives at risk, and for the record I condemn that too. Being part of this discussion board has helped me – I believe – develop a balanced perspective that tries to address Israeli security concerns whilst simultaneously condemning them, as the predominant power, for their breaches of international law.
    I wonder whether the other reason that Israel may choose to maintain that they are not in armed conflict is that military and governmental sites in Israel would then become legitimate targets, again according to the rules of conflict. I am however no expert on this, and would be happy to be corrected by someone who is! Perhaps Craig will chip in on that.

  79. Israel Proves that Flotillas Work

    Israel’s announcement of authorization for construction materials for 1,200 homes and 18 schools in Gaza is the latest achievement by the Freedom Flotilla, scheduled to sail next week.
    In the weeks leading up to the flotilla, Israel has taken a number of steps to try to address the concerns raised in the public eye by the Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human initiative. However organizers say that these steps are symbolic at best, fall far short of Israel’s obligations under international law, are insufficient to meet the needs of Palestinians in Gaza, and are fundamentally designed to maintain the occupation and system of control that Israel exerts over Palestinian lives. Ultimately, these measures fall short of the greatest test – that of freedom for Palestinians.
    In addition to the authorization of a limited amount of construction materials, Israel has also recently permitted 19 trucks of medicine to be delivered by Palestinian sources from the West Bank to Gaza. This was in response to an emergency announcement from health authorities in Gaza that crucial medicines had run out due to Israel’s illegal blockade. Prior to that, Israel increased the number of aid trucks entering Gaza to between 210 and 220 per day. However, this still falls 35% short of what is required by Gaza Strip residents.
    The pattern developing shows that as the sailing date of the Flotilla nears, Israel is increasing efforts to allow humanitarian goods into Gaza, including previously banned reconstruction materials. This proves three important things: (1) the Flotilla is effective in generating changes, even if they are insufficient, on the ground; (2) the ‘normal channels’ for delivering aid exist, but are useless without pressure on Israel to allow them to function; and (3) Israel’s standard excuse for preventing reconstruction material into Gaza is rendered baseless, given the approval to allow 1,200 homes and 18 schools to be constructed.
    Even as the Freedom Flotilla welcomes this latest achievement and proof of the necessity and effectiveness of the Flotilla tactic, we also reiterate that our effort is not simply about delivering humanitarian aid. The goal of the Flotilla is not aid; it is freedom for Palestinians in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories. As such, there are no ‘established channels’ for freedom – there is only one – an end to the Israeli occupation.
    Flotilla preparations continue apace, buoyed by the support of people around the world. Next week Freedom Flotilla 2: Stay Human sails for Gaza; our destination is freedom.
    Our message of peace is a call to action, for other ordinary people like ourselves, not to hand over your lives to whatever puppeteer is in charge this time round, but to take responsibility for the revolution. First, the inner revolution — to give love, to give empathy; It is this that will change the world. — Vittorio Arrigoni
    The real heart deep down doesn’t only stand up for what’s right but also helps others to learn to stand up for what’s right. — Mary Alfar (age 11)

  80. Now we have Ma Clinton applying pressure and intimidation on the US participants in the Flotilla.
    US advises its citizens against sailing to Gaza
    [ 23/06/2011 – 08:06 AM ]
    WASHINGTON, (PIC)– The US state department has warned its citizens against joining the humanitarian Freedom Flotilla 2 carrying relief material to the Gaza Strip after 36 Americans announced intention to take part in the fleet.
    The announcement pointed out that Israel would impose a 10-year travel ban to its territories on anyone participating in that flotilla.
    The warning on the state department’s website read:
    “The security environment within Gaza, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel. […] On May 31, 2010, nine people were killed, including one U.S. citizen, in such an attempt.”
    Organizers of the flotilla plan to set sail from European ports by the end of June and to arrive in the Strip in the first week of July. The Israeli navy has been preparing for intercepting the fleet for the past few weeks.

  81. KingofWelshNoir

    24 Jun, 2011 - 10:05 am


    Obviously this is not the place to go into detail, but in essence I found Voodoo Histories surprisingly naive. Here is the explanation of why it was a slam dunk that LHO was the lone gunman:
    If one reads the Warren Report, the circumstantial evidence that Oswald was the lone gunman seems overwhelming. He worked at the Texas School Book Depository, where, on the sixth floor, after the shooting, his rifle was discovered inside an improvised sniper’s nest. People had seen a man at the sixth-floor window, had seen the rifle barrel, had heard the shots. Oswald was the only employee unaccounted for after the shooting, and he was picked up shortly afterward in a cinema, having just shot a policeman looking for someone of his description. The words ‘slam dunk’ come to mind.
    Every single one of those facts is equally consistent with the alternative hypothesis that LHO was a patsy.

  82. Hi King, yes, that may be true but you have to add in a few extra and rather important details. LHO was photographed holding the rifle used to shoot JFK and also appearing with the pistol that was used to shoot Officer Tippit. The picture has been authenticated numerous times including most recently by a researcher called Hany Farid. And if that seems still unlikely to you then it should be pointed out that that picture was one of three (or four, I can’t quite remember) and that LHO’s wife has asserted on numerous occasions that she took the pictures.
    When the evidence is added together it does look rather slam dunk to me. The “evidence” such as it is that disputes this point away in various different directions. Given the fact that we’ll probably never know everything we should really go with the most compelling evidence and that is that LHO killed Kennedy and did it alone.

  83. KingofWelshNoir

    24 Jun, 2011 - 8:01 pm

    Well Angry, we’re never going to agree on the JFK issue, but I think we can both agree that the following sentence constitutes pretty lame ‘evidence’ that it must have been LHO:

    ‘People had seen a man at the sixth-floor window, had seen the rifle barrel, had heard the shots….’

  84. How strange. I always thought that Britain, France and Israel invaded Egypt in 1956. Anthony Eden and the British Army certainly thought they were invading Egypt. Clearly, Lou Stouch knows better than Eden and history. Poor little Israel, eh? Hmn. It’s certainly not straightfoward – not a tale of ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ – the treatment of Jews in Iraq during the 1940s, people who’d been there for thousands of years, was heinous, for example. But all one gets from too many self-appointed ‘defenders of Israel’, esp. those in the USA, is just more of the same arrogant denial. In their eyes, Israel can do no wrong and in their view everything Israel does is justifiable and must be justified. They are just as preposterous as those idiots who state, at every turn: “It’s the Jews!”. I would argue that the comforting state of denial indulged in by these people is actually counter-productive to Israel’s long-term security interests.

  85. Even the term such people tend to use, “The Arabs” somehow reeks of a disparaging attitude. They won’t call them Palestinians, you see. The Palestinians “don’t exist”, to acknowledge their existence would lend credibility to their land claims and to their dipossession. To refer to them as “Arab people”, for example, would acknowledge their common humanity, yes, Arabs are actually human beings you know; an acknowledgment of this is not something that comes so easily to those with a suprmeacist mindset. And so, we have this C19th image of “teeming Arabs” running up to the door of poor, beleaguered General Gordon of Khartoum, oh sorry, I mean poor, beleagured General Netanyahu of Tel Aviv-Jaffa with his hundreds of nukes and his sterling ‘First World’ conventional military forces. And these people turn round and tell the Egyptian people that they have an attitide problem! How amusing.

  86. @Lou – It depends on why the flotillas might be seen as provocative, I guess. Personally, I accept that the activists will be unarmed and committed to peaceful methods – which doesn’t sound at all threatening to me. One could make a case for respecting Israeli waters, but then equally there is a case for allowing Gaza control of its own water space, which of course Israel (as the occupying power) presently disallows.
    I sympathise with the activists in this case, since discouraging them from making the trip rather sounds like a call (a) to do nothing, (b) not to highlight Israel’s part in denying the entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza and (c) not to highlight the fact that Gaza is in a humanitarian crisis. If they shouldn’t sail, what should those activists do to encourage the international community to pressure Israel to permit aid to reach the Palestinians who need it?

  87. International law

    There is no legal basis for Israel to intercept ships and prevent them from delivering humanitarian supplies, say experts in international law.

    “Israel only has jurisdiction over its territorial waters of 12 nautical miles, and neither the waters off Gaza nor international waters are under its authority,” said Juan Soroeta, professor of international law at the University of the Basque Country.

    “No UN resolution authorises the Gaza blockade,” said Soroeta. “On the contrary, it is an illegal, unilateral measure imposed by force by Israel in the context of an equally illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.”

    UN Security Council Resolution 1860, adopted on January 8, 2009, calls for “the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment”.

    But reports from the international humanitarian organisations working on the ground there confirm that this point is not being fulfilled.

    “We have repeatedly urged our governments and international bodies to use observers to inspect the ships and the humanitarian cargo and passengers they are carrying, both at port and at sea, but no one has yet responded to this proposal,” Tapial said.

  88. King: “Well Angry, we’re never going to agree on the JFK issue, but I think we can both agree that the following sentence constitutes pretty lame ‘evidence’ that it must have been LHO:

    ‘People had seen a man at the sixth-floor window, had seen the rifle barrel, had heard the shots….’”
    Yes, I can agree to that but I find that a trivial point of agreement given that both of us know you have taken that sentence out of context. The point is that on top of the fact that LHO worked in the Book Depository and that his gun was found there there are witnesses who saw a man fire that gun three times and the gunshots were heard coming from there. This is important because some of the theories of a conspiracy are that the shots came from elsewhere rather than the very place Oswald worked and had fled from.
    There will never be enough evidence to satisfy everyone and the more evidence that comes to light confirming or at least pointing to Oswald’s guilt the more we will hear alternative versions cropping up like fungus that will push incoherent alternatives. In fact, as with creationists who create “God of the gaps” arguments against evolution by natural selection, the JFK conspiracy theories seem to emerge proportionate to the amount of evidence that supports “the official theory”.
    I think we’d also both agree that not all the conspiracy theories can be correct. Some of them are mutually incompatible.


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