Tuesday 15 June 2010

Middle East News - June 15, 2010

Film footage of the Raid on the Freedom Flotilla made public
Over one hour of unedited, uncensored film footage of the Israeli raid on the Freedom Flotilla of aid and aid activists is now available.
Over one hour of unedited, uncensored video from Israel’s raid on the Mavi Marmara Gaza Flotilla is now in the public domain, thanks to the efforts of Brazilian filmmaker Iara Lee.

Lee posted the video on the website Cultures of Resistance, the umbrella advocacy organisation housing her media production company, Caipirinha Foundation.

Lee, who has lived in the United States for many years, screened the video for journalists on Thursday at the United Nations, but has now posted the raw video online for viewing by anybody who is interested.

Lee was on the Mavi Marmara with a film crew shooting a documentary about the voyage.

She says after the raid, Israeli soldiers confiscated thousands of dollars of her video equipment and media, but that she smuggled out the images contained on a memory card hidden underneath her clothes.

Lee wrote an opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle titled ‘What’s happening to us is happening in Gaza.’

Here is a link to a 15 minute clip
Here is a link to the ~1 hour film

More Aid Ships On Their Way
2 Iranian ships are now on their way to Gaza now, bringing aid - construction material, food and toys for children.

Israeli Turkel Commission to 'investigate' the raid on the Freedom Flotilla
Israeli peace movement, Gush Shalom, is appealing to the Israeli supreme court over the appointment of the Turkel Commission, by the Benjamin Netanyahu government to investigate the raid on the Freedom Flotilla. Gush Shalom states that the terms of reference of the commission exclude all the points that need to be investigated.

The commission will NOT be looking into the following key points:
  • The decision making process that resulted in the raid and those responsible for ordering the raid
  • What actually happened on the boats during the raid. They will not be allowed to interview any of the soldiers. And, they most likely will not interview the passengers either. They are going to take the Israeli military's report as fact (without investigating).
See also: A Cover-Up Commission, Toothless and Powerless

The commission is comprised of 3 Israelis - retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, 75, will head the commission, and the other two are Amos Horev, 86, a retired major general, and Shabtai Rosen, 93, a professor of international law. The outside observers, who will have no vote on the commission and who will also most likely be denied access to information, are David Trimble, 65, an Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner; and Ken Watkin, 55, former judge advocate general of the Canadian military.

Background on the 2 outside observers chosen by Netanyahu:

David Trimble - Protestant Unionist leader from North Ireland – expressed his allegiance just two weeks ago by joining a "Friends of Israel" group established by Netanyahu loyalist Dore Gold. In addition, Trimble is a veteran member of the Henry Jackson Society, an international organization linked with the American "neo conservative" circles and which advocates the "spreading of democracy" by way of military incursions and invasions. At Trimble's side, this society's membership includes such people as Richard Perle, who under the Bush Administration was among the main initiators of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as well as William Kristol who is the main neo-conservative ideologue.

Ken Watkin - a retired Canadian Army general and until recently Judge Advocate General. Watkin's name is associated with a sensational affair in Canada, regarding cases of Canadian forces in Afghanistan transferring dozens of prisoners to the custody of the Afghan government's security service – where they were tortured and some extra judicially executed. Watkin refused to testify to the Canadian Parliament regarding the advice he had given to the military commanders on this issue, arguing that there existed between him and the Canadian government a privileged attorney–client relationship. This behavior does not bode well for Watkin 's willingness or ability to participate in exposing facts which might prove embarrassing to the Government of Israel.

What questions would a real inquiry ask? See Who is afraid of a real inquiry? - 81 questions that get to the heart of the matter.

French passengers of the Freedom Flotilla to sue the state of Israel for war crimes
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak cancelled a trip to an arms trading fair in France after French passengers of the Freedom Flotilla attacked two weeks ago said they plan to file a lawsuit against the state of Israel for war crimes.

The French humanitarian aid activists said they will file the lawsuit against Israel in the International Court of Justice in the Hague for the actions of Israeli forces which boarded and attacked ships in international waters on a humanitarian aid mission, killing nine. They demanded that French police have Barak arrested at the airport upon his arrival in the country.

Norwegian Port Union Boycotts Israeli Ships
... The workers will not be loading or unloading Israeli ships docking in their ports.
The decision came coherent with the stances of ports workers, while polls in Norway revealed that nearly half of the Norwegians support this act.
... Workers Unions in Palestine welcomed the stances of Norwegian, Swedish, Greek, British, Canadian and South African unions in rejection and denouncing the Israeli attack against the Palestinians and the activists, and the ongoing illegal Israeli siege on Gaza.

More News on Gaza
Red Cross: Gaza Blockade Illegal

Q&A: Why Israel's Siege Is Illegal

Time to end, not 'ease' the siege

Abuse of Palestinians 'widespread'

Hebron child hospitalized after being attacked by Israeli Soldiers

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