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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sinking the Mavi Marmara

(Gallo/Getty)

The following is my most recent piece for Al Jazeera.

The release of the findings of the UN panel of inquiry into the May 2010 Israeli attack on the Turkish Mavi Marmara, part of the Freedom Flotilla endeavoring to deliver aid to besieged Gaza, was recently delayed for the fourth time since the originally scheduled release date over three months ago.

Israel initially claimed the delay occurred at the behest of Turkey; Turkey claimed it happened at the behest of Israel. The latter version of events would seem to be validated by a Sunday report on Israel’s Channel 2, according to which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked the US to delay the release another six months. According to Haaretz, the UN panel’s findings will nonetheless be published this Friday.

Either way, the latest delay follows Netanyahu’s unsurprising affirmation that Israel will not apologise for the deaths of eight Turkish activists and one 19-year-old Turkish-American activist shot – most of them execution-style – by Israeli commandos (IDF) who intercepted the ship.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned of a Turkish “Plan B” in the event that an Israeli apology does not indeed materialise.

Inverting cause and effect

From the point of view of the Israeli regime, an apology is not required given that the IDF commandos, and not the slaughtered activists, were the victims of the encounter at sea.

This innovative approach to logic was presented by IDF spokeswoman Avital Liebovitch at a post-attack press briefing, during which she announced that the passengers of the Mavi Marmara had engaged in “severe violence against our soldiers”. Liebovitch’s alarming summary of premeditated passenger violence involving weapons “grabbed” from commandos did not address the issue of why the IDF had not thus thrown a wrench in the works by simply refraining from raiding the ship.

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The Islamo-Bolivarian threat

(EPA)

The following is my latest piece for Al Jazeera:

In early July, the US Congressional Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence held a hearing entitled “Hezbollah in Latin America – Implications for US Homeland Security“.

The line-up of witnesses consisted of Roger Noriega, visiting fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute; Douglas Farah, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center; Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council and journal editor for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs; and Brown University professor Dr. Melani Cammett, the only testifier who bothered to provide an accurate history of Hezbollah and to refrain from referring to the Lebanese political party and resistance movement as a terrorist organisation directed by Iran.

Cammett’s co-witnesses more than made up for her dearth of creativity. Given the quality of what is consistently allowed to pass as evidence of the threat posed to the US by the supposed love affair between Iran and leftist Latin American regimes, it is perhaps only surprising that the first three expert-propagandists did not invoke Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s joke in the Oliver Stone documentary “South of the Border” – in reference to a corn-processing facility – that, “This is where we build the Iranian atomic bomb.”

Stripped of its facetious intent, the comment would have proved an able companion to the clique’s existing arsenal of justifications for increased US militarisation of Latin America as well as potential military manoeuvrings against Iran.

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