Saturday, 5 June 2010

Dear Stephen Mosley, new Conservative MP for Chester.

You have replied to my query via Amnesty International supporting human rights, but you did not reply to my question about the right to detain and try War Criminals that land on UK shores: here follows a link to an article by Robert Fisk which details not only the abuses of the Israeli Government, but the lies it tells.
In connection with the illegal assaults on unarmed aid ships, the last this morning, the Israelis have produced highly edited audio 'evidence', including 'evidence' in which the voice of an activist - Huwaida Arraf, known personally to me, who was not present on the Mavi Marmara, but was on Challenger 1 as confirmed by Newsnight - is heard, supposedly from the Mavi Marmara, to support their case. Their audio file is transparently a racist attempt to blacken the Peace activists. The doors to the wheelhouse on the Mavi Marmara were locked, only the crew were in there, which would not include Ms Arraf in any case: This is evidence given by Journalists on board the ship. Please note that the Israelis have searched. both bodily and materially, for all evidence from the voyagers and have destroyed all other videos taken on board, (although the foregoing link gives a summary of what the reporters say), and stolen the personal belongings of every individual that was forced to go to Ashdod. Most significantly, the Israelis have released no footage of any of the deaths or woundings, including of their own soldiers, although an Israeli soldier shooting a hand gun can be clearly seen in the last three seconds of this video:
Can you please confirm for me that:
1 You are not, or are no longer, a member of the Conservative friends of Israel
2 You will support the arrest and trial of Israel policy-makers responsible for these crimes of piracy and ethnic cleansing, if evidence is put before a magistrate by any citizen that makes a prima facie case to that effect, as is allowed under the current law. You will not change the current law.
3 That these deaths both ongoing in Gaza, and on the boats, and the cover up by this one sided onslaught of lies on the media by Israel will be condemned by you unequivocally.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Where Next? It's a surreal world.

I predicted a while ago on my blog that the involvement of Turkey would be crucial, even wondering if they would send a warship - and some sources now say that they will next time. But Turkey is not going to go off and do one, its hysteria is carefully controlled. It has far more leverage staying involved with Israel, if only to show the west - the US and The EU, that it is not a mullah run hysteria factory (Yes I know that Iran isn't either, but image is everything).
I really believe that we have a chance to end the siege of Gaza in practical terms as a result of this action. Egypt has opened its borders, and although they'll close again, they will not close as tightly. If Turkey restricts itself to outrage only in the specific area, then it will succeed in getting Nato to require Israel to allow independent patrols of the Gaza coast to stop ships and inspect for weapons, but weaponless ships of all trade will be permitted.
I floated this possibility with some Hamas low rankers in Gaza when I was there, and they insisted that the right to have arms is essential for a nation state, and so would resist independent shipping controls - what do you all think? An Independent Nation needs all its rights for sure, and Free but regulated trade would probably see the UN become the effective government of Gaza. It would be very hard for Hamas to motivate resistance from a prosperous community, which is one reason why I think that this is the route that Obama will take. But giving trade rights will eventually lead to a withering of controls and a drift into statehood after some years,whatever government runs it, in my opinion. But that is only Gaza.

Far more worrying is the the plan to absorb only the West Bank into a single state. Inbuilt Arab Minority, no way to stop the expansion of settlements and the impoverishment of arabs, no land or marriage rights, and job discrimination - One state only works if Arabs have a reasonable shot in a secular state of influencing the democratic process: Freedom is meaningless without access to power! But the west might be attracted to a solution that incorporates the west bank into Israel and gets rid of Gaza to loose international control, which would include Egypt, of course. (Ideally the Israelis would like to give Gaza away to Egypt, but Egypt won't do that, because the radical Gaza tail would wag the Egyptian dog). Can Palestine ever be united again with Israel's main nuclear plant directly geographically inline between them, and Fatah and Hamas being separated by such a large distance politically?

Moshe Arens, former Defense Minister, and noted Israeli hawk, has endorsed a one-state solution for Israel/Palestine. It can be achieved in a matter of months. Israel should formally annex the West Bank and offer the Palestinians citizenship. As he puts it:

Adding another 1.5 million Muslims, the population of Judea and Samaria, to Israel's Muslim population would of course make the situation considerably more difficult. Would a 30-percent Muslim minority in Israel create a challenge that would be impossible for Israeli society to meet? That is a question that Israeli politicians, and all Israelis - Jews and Arabs alike - need to ponder.

Unlike the dire predictions heard so often, Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria would not be the end of the State of Israel, nor would it mean the end of democratic governance in Israel. It would, however, pose a serious challenge to Israeli society. But that is equally true for the other options being suggested for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This option of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria merits serious consideration.

I'm glad that Britons are all safe, but why have they been sent to Turkey? Have you noticed that the media, and Israel, is making this entirely into a spat with Turkey? What about the appallingly weak British Reaction:

We need to maintain the pressure of international action, all forty countries. We have to let our government know that WE were involved, and we want them to care. There is no doubt that Israel would like to shunt all the anger through Turkey, and the propaganda has already started about the Turkish Islamic Relief Organisation IHH being a terrorist organisation. This talk must not be allowed to become the norm in the West.

Israel's strategy is clear - exploit the differences between the new Islamism in Turkish Society which sees IHH as a positive force for good, and the secular Old Guard, especially in the army, who see themselves defending Ataturk's legacy against religion, and are suspicious of Islamic institutions being successful. They will seek to promote civil war in Turkey, rather than accede to International sanctions, exactly as they have done in Lebanon, and of course, in Palestine itself.

If the Turks can be persuaded to fight amongst themselves, even just in the media, that will provide the route for the marginalisation of the current Government, and the excuse that the Zionist West wants to forget the whole thing. We will start hearing that Turkey is an undemocratic state etc.

The Foreign Secretary William Hague was very complimentary about Turkey in Parliament Yesterday, praising its mediation role with Iran and Syria, and almost criticising Israel for failing to make peace with Syria. There is no doubt that the anger at these deaths has made a deep and lasting change to the politics of Israel, and is all that is keeping natural zionists like Hague onside.

But when they are not being unutterably stupid, the Israeli Government will be attempting to explore the fault lines I've mentioned. We must keep our government up to speed with our anger, and onside with the Turks - its the best route for the Palestinians, I feel sure.

What Happened on Board the Mavi Marmara

OK, it's become clear, now, what happened on the Mavi Marmara. A Helicopter arrived, Four soldiers rappelled down onto the Mavi and were captured and disarmed, and these events were the ones that the Israelis filmed from above and that Turkish TV filmed from the ship. A second Helicopter then brought in more soldiers who fired directly onto the crowd before they landed. In other words, indiscriminate fire on unarmed civilians. There is little film of this from the boat for the obvious reason that the cameramen went inside when the firing started, but the Israelis will have it, just not releasing it.
This, of course only describes the events on boarding. Witnesses have consistently said, about all the boats, that the Israelis fired stun grenades, sound bombs and fired at them before even coming alongside.
Of course, it also explains how an Israeli soldier got shot by his own side. He was in the first wave, and he got shot by the second wave. Nobody is sticking to the original Israeli story about guns on board, the Israeli story now is it was an IOF weapon that was taken off a soldier.
Question: if the voyagers had wanted to kill the Israelis, and they had them in custody, then why didn't they just kill them?
Silver Lining: At least four Israeli Occupation Force Soldiers know, just for 2 minutes, what it's like to be a Palestinian. And if you whine and whinge like this when you are manhandled by unarmed civilians, IOF, then just think how a Palestinian Youth feels when he is assaulted by a Soldier with a taser, bayonet and machine gun. Now can you think of any reason at all why the world is very pissed off with you? NO?

Testimony of Reporters on board the Mavi Marmara: I have changed this link reference, as Al Jazeera seem to have altered their pages -- Please don't do this Al Jazeera!!!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

I have read and re-read this poem today, and it helps me to shed the tears that it is necessary to shed for the dead. But I believe that they have not died in vain, though their families may disagree, for I believe that this marks the beginning of the end - albeit a long slow end - for Israel. Too often have they killed from a wanton lust to kill, to exterminate those inferior and in their way, but, really, the future belongs to those dead - and Death really has no Dominion, as these dead live on in the actions of the world. To Israel it will come to seem that they live even in the wind that blows the soil away, and in the face of the moon as it shines down on them, because they have died for the love of an oppressed people, killed by the envy and hatred of those responsible for the theft and dispossession of Palestine.
The link is to an article by Robert Fisk about the cowardice of Western Leaders, but these dead will haunt them forever.

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas

ere is why I think it's appropriate:
This is not a poem about religious themes in any way. It is not about survival of the soul after death, and there is no redemption. No redemption except...... transcendently for the Human Race, ideas, even life itself. It is easy to read this as a poem in praise of the blindness of Evolution, the survival of life as a whole, not of any individual.
Even the transcendent survival of, say, Dylan's own poetry is not what this is about. It is about the lust of life itself, of love especially, and hunger and adversity as well as hope and joy, and the mad surreality, of the world in which it all takes place.

This is the reason that I have dedicated this poem to the dead on the Free Gaza boats that were attacked by Israel on 31st May 2010. They, "lying long, shall not die windily, twisting on racks when sinews give way, strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; Faith in their hands shall snap in two, and the Unicorn evils run them through; Split all ends up, they shall not crack; And Death shall have no dominion."

Now they are dead, what they are can no longer be subjected to torture and recantation, the meaning of their lives is fixed in the meaning of their death, and they shall not feel the blows of a hard world trying to weaken them anymore - 'age shall not weary them' as Binyon said. Their achievements are now set in stone, and the meaning will live as long as people remember them, and, actually, longer than that.

"Where blew a flower may a flower no more lift its head to the blows of the rain; though they be mad and dead as nails, heads of the characters hammer through daisies; Break in the sun till the sun breaks down, and Death shall have no Dominion".

Life will succeed no matter what is done to stop it, when a flower dies, another grows, and it grows with the character of the land, the soil, the place where it is planted. It grows with the soul of the dead, who gave them birth, though they were never a father nor a mother, still they shape the future, and they speak beyond the grave, not even needing words.
We are all heroes, we all change society, and not even death can change it back, nor stop the hunger for life that drives us forward, and our children, and their children, and the rats that eat us, and evolution itself. The world will change, change by the actions of its heroes, and death will not defeat them. That is why this is such a fitting tribute to the Anonymous Dead of the Israeli Assault on the Free Gaza Humanitarian Flotilla.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Obama's big opening.

The BBC has moderated its story, but at the time of writing this, it still slants the story from the Israeli propaganda perspective, continuing to fail to mention that the boat was in international waters, even though it gives the distance off shore as 40 miles, it doesn't spell out the consequences of that for readers who don't realise that means it's outside Israel's jurisdiction. Its video is cut from the Turkish video streamed live from the Mavi Marmara - the Turkish Aid Boat - and seems to show a Passenger hitting a soldier who has just landed on board with a baseball bat, although it also shows other passengers being herded around by soldiers. This seems to justify its outrageous comment saying 30 passengers were injured (it doesn't mention the dead again after the headline) but 10 Israelis were injured - one badly!!! Actually 16 Passengers were gunned down by those poor injured lambs, BBC, were their injuries strained trigger fingers? If the weapons used by those on the boat were so vicious, why don't the Israelis get rid of their guns and use baseball bats instead?
If someone invaded my boat on the open sea, I would sure take to hitting them until they gave up their gun, I think. It is the responsibility of the invading force to save lives, the defenders have the right to defend themselves at all costs, although they had told the world that they were in fact unarmed, and would not start shooting. I'm damn sure that if Somali pirates killed crew members who were resisting their invasion with baseball bats, the international community would try the Somalis for murder, and give medals for bravery to the crew. What's different?
And so it is good to see that the International Relations Minister for the EU has said that the EU will have an Inquiry into these events, having previously said that the EU requires restraint by Israel and that the siege is illegal. Remember Turkey is a European power, with Candidate status in the EU. This Inquiry will certainly delay response to Israel for some time into the future, and nothing will happen unless the Americans give the lead - Spineless EU. But the range of sanctions available, such as the option of canceling preferential trade agreements would be a serious threat to Israel, hanging over their heads until the Inquiry is resolved. So if enough pressure is applied, Israel is going to have to make concessions.

Which makes all this Obama's great opportunity to show world leadership. When Netanyahu visits Obama this week, this is what Obama should say:
"We've told you before that the siege of Gaza must end, and normal life be permitted to begin there. We have offered ships to search merchant vessels for arms, but you have declined, saying you insist on doing the job yourself, because Gaza is a threat to you that fires rockets at you. So we took you seriously and have given you, for free, a rocket defence system which you extensively and successfully tested just last week. So now you don't have any need to be afraid of attack from Hezbollah or Gaza, so if we let you carry on like this, it begins to look to the world as if are complicit in collective punishment of Gaza, with repercussions for our relations elsewhere in the world - so you have simply got to learn the lesson that civilian lives cannot be terminated without consequences.
"Furthermore you have refused to even participate in a regional Nuclear Free Middle East Conference, and give up or at least declare your nuclear arsenal. The US has put significant resources into restraining Iran, at your request, and has voluntarily reduced nuclear arms to bring confidence to the rest of the world. So now its time for Israel to play ball. Stop behaving like a spoilt child and get behind all the International treaties that you haven't yet signed, like the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
"Attacking ships with US flags and citizens in International waters is unacceptable, and we will be stationing ships, jointly with our core ally Turkey - which has behaved with dignity and restraint - in the Mediterranean to ensure that it never happens again, and that while we will stop arms to Gaza, trade in everything else to Gaza will be FREE. This is for your own good, because you are our most important ally in the world, and we want to protect your image."
But will he? I don't think it is as wide of the mark as many of you who read this blog will. If good can come out of the decomposing bodies of the Turkish dead, this is it. Let's see.
If not, the struggle will go on. The struggle to end oppression is greater than the lives of any individual, including mine, and here is my epitaph to the Dead, in the words of Dylan Thomas:
"And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

The Unbearable Lightweightness of the BBC

Israeli Commandos descended from a piece of String onto the Turkish Charity IHH's boat the Mavi Marmara 90 miles out to sea, as attested by the GPS aboard the flotilla's boats, being transmitted live to the world, and in full view of live TV coverage shoot unarmed passengers, without provocation.
But to the spineless BBC, the exact location of the interception is unclear, but Israel had warned the boats not to enter its waters, and the Israeli soldiers are 'fighting to control passengers'. Despite updating its news story to report that Israeli TV indicates 14 Dead, it forgot to update the bit that says : 'The footage showed a number of people, apparently injured, lying on the ground. This was part of its initial report that 'unconfirmed reports that 2 people are dead have been received'.
The BBC obviously beleives that Israeli TV can be quoted as a substantial source whereas Al Jazeera, Turkish LIVE TV and Live positional updates from the Boats themselves can be ignored. So long as Israeli propaganda is reported as if it is news, and news from Arab or other non Western sources are treated as propaganda even when they are actually filming live news, then we will never be able to trust this previously world renowned broadcaster.
Fuck you BBC, you disgust me beyond any sensible words.

I hope every one else will do what the Turks are doing very forcibly - protesting vigourously to your local Israeli Embassy. Here they are: