Monday, June 28, 2010
Perdana Menteri berkata beliau mahukan semua rakyat Malaysia merasakan sebagai satu keluarga 1Malaysia dengan memberikan sokongan mereka untuk negara mencapai hasrat yang lebih tinggi.
"Saya memegang kepimpinan untuk menunjukkan bahawa saya serius, komited dan dedikasi. Saya boleh beri jaminan kepada anda, sebagai Perdana Menteri anda, saya akan lakukan yang terbaik untuk mengubah Malaysia.
"Tentulah perjalanan ini, saya tidak boleh lakukan seorang diri, saya perlukan rakan saya dalam kerajaan, semua kita dalam sektor awam dan swasta. Saya perlukan setiap rakyat Malaysia, di mana anda berada bersama saya untuk mencapai sesuatu yang luar biasa. Ini semua mengenai hasil pencapaian," katanya dalam blognya www.1malaysia.com.my terkini di sini hari ini…
Ulasan: Rakyat ternanti-nanti bila pula PM nak bersihkan nama baiknya? Eloklah melalui mahkamah tempatan walaupun tidak mahkamah luar negara.
Perdana Menteri mengambil contoh bagaimana peserta dalam sukan mendayung perlu bergerak senada dalam satu kumpulan untuk muncul sebagai pemenang dalam pertandingan.
"Kita lihat sukan mendayung, ia membawa pengertian dan hikmah tersendiri. Mendayung dalam satu kumpulan kelihatan mudah tetapi anak kuncinya ialah tenaga, kecergasan dan lebih penting kita boleh nampak mereka mendayung serentak, senada dan mengikut masanya.
"Kalau kita bertindak senada dalam satu kumpulan maka kita boleh mencapai Petunjuk Prestasi Utama (KPI) atau Bidang Keberhasilan Utama Negara (NKRA) kita akan mudah tercapai," katanya.
Beliau berkata demikian ketika berucap merasmikan penutup Kejohanan Mendayung dan Hari Keluarga Jabatan Perdana Menteri (JPM) 2010 di Kompleks Sukan Air Putrajaya, Presint 6 di sini hari ini…
Ulasan: Rakyat sukakan sukan tapi kerajaan SUKA kepada judi sukan. Bersama-sama kita pilih kerajaan baru yang menghormati agama rakyat.
Reputasi UMNO memang diketahui umum tercalar sangat teruk dengan isu kelulusan judi bolasepak ini. Didalam keadaan prestasi bolasepak Malaysia yang lagi teruk daripada Tanzania ini, sememangnya langkah kerajaan tidak bersangkut-paut langsung dengan usaha meningkatkan mutu bolasepak negara.
Sekalipun Najib selaku Perdana Menteri dan Presiden UMNO telah mengumumkan menarik balik sebarang kelulusan lesen judi bolasepak, tindakan kerajaan Malaysia gagal memahami dosa dan kesalahan judi ini benar-benar menyebabkan rakyat Malaysia terutama golongan atas pagar 'berfikir semula' sokongan mereka kepada UMNO. Malahan ahli-ahli UMNO sendiri ramai yang mendesak agar kerajaan mengkaji semula tindakan tersebut.
Didalam suasana yang kelam-kabut inilah sekonyong-konyongnya UMNO mula bercakap mengenai perlunya kumpulan ulama' didalam UMNO. Entah bagaimana mereka mendapat ilham tidaklah diketahui tetapi jelas ini adalah suatu tindakan seolah-olah cuba melenyapkan persepsi rakyat yang mula meragui akan keperihatinan UMNO terhadap hukum-hakam Islam.
Untuk mengatakan UMNO memainkan isu ulama' ini untuk memadamkan reputasi PAS sebagai Parti yang bertunjang Islam adalah mustahil kerana dasar perlembagaan UMNO sendiri meletakkan bangsa Melayu sebagai asas perjuangannya! Manakan mungkin Islam mampu didaulatkan melalui perjuangan kebangsaan? Hakikatnya sejak merdeka sehingga sekarang UMNO jelas gagal mendaulatkan Islam malahan telah 'berjaya' menghancurkan sahsiah umat Islam di Malaysia yang bermajoritikan bangsa melayu.
Pada pendapat penulis, usaha UMNO dengan mengusahakan kemasukan kononnya 40 orang ulama' sebagai bukti UMNO serius mahukan Islam adalah suatu retorik yang sangat sia-sia! Manakan mungkin ulama'-ulama' muda ini mampu mereformasikan 'Islam' UMNO sedangkan sekian banyak golongan agama yang akhirnya menjadi 'tukun tiruan' didalam organisasi UMNO.
Nama-nama seperti Firdaus di Pulau Pinang, Masyitah di Kedah dan Najmuddin Elias di Perak adalah antara nama-nama besar golongan agama yang terbukti hanya digunakan oleh UMNO dalam usaha meng'halal'kan apa-apa tindakannya menentang arus hukum-hakam Islam.
Kesimpulannya, usaha UMNO membawa berpuluh agamawan ini adalah suatu usaha yang pastinya akan sia-sia kerana Islam adalah agama kebenaran. Kepura-puraan dalam Islam adalah suatu yang tidak mungkin akan secocok-cocok dengan kemenangan dan adalah mustahil Islam akan berjaya didaulatkan didalam UMNO.
Seringkali UMNO menuduh PAS menggunakan Islam sebagai alat tetapi hakikatnya kini UMNO melihat kebenaran Islam yang dibawa oleh PAS sebagai senjata yang mampu menghancurkan asabiyah mereka!
Sumber: sunsnake@budakbalun 27062010
Ulasan: Rasululah SAW pun tidak menggunakan kaedah bekerjasama dengan pemimpin besar Quraisy seperti Abu Jahal dan bapa saudaranya Abu Lahab walaupun pihak Quraisy bersetuju untuk menerima Rasulullah SAW sebagai pemimpin tertinggi/raja.
"Saya terkejut dengan kenyataan Datuk Seri Rais Yatim yang sekarang menganggap dirinya pakar hal ehwal Cina dengan menyatakan bahawa adalah perlu untuk menghalalkan judi bola kerana hanya dengan menghalalkan judi barulah kita boleh menghormati dan mengiktiraf hak-hak kaum Cina dan India," katanya mengulas kenyataan luarbiasa Rais itu. Lim yang juga setiausaha agung DAP berkata, dakwaan itu langsung tidak berasas.
"Saya ingin tanya sama beliau, manakah dan siapakah pertubuhan Cina yang memohon kepada kerajaan pusat sebelum ini untuk menghalalkan judi bola. Kerana dalam pengetahuan saya tidak ada sebarang pertubuhan Cina yang meminta judi bola dihalalkan. Saya nak tahu saja," katanya yang juga ahli parlimen Bagan. Beliau turut menegaskan, masyarakat Cina tidak pernah meminta judi dihalalkan kononnya untuk mengiktiraf hak mereka.
"Saya ingin nyatakan di sini bahawa masyarakat Cina tidak meminta bahawa judi bola dihalalkan sebagai tanda hak-hak mereka dihormati dan diiktiraf. Saya ingin menekankan di sini permintaan daripada masyarakat Cina atau India atau masyarakat bukan Melayu, Iban, Kadazan adalah sama dengan semua permintaan masyarakat Malaysia iaitu berteraskan prinsip kebebasan, keadilan, kebenaran, kebajikan kepada rakyat dan ketakwaan kepada Tuhan. Itulah permintaan daripada masyarakat Cina,” katanya.
Lim berkata Umno seolah-olah begitu berminat untuk menghalalkan judi berbanding masyarakat bukan Islam.
"Bukan seperti yang Umno cakap bahawa berkisar ke atas judi sahaja. Nampaknya Umno lebih minat dengan judi daripada orang-orang lain. Tapi jangan pula cakap itu permintaan masyarakat Cina dan hanya dengan memberikan judi bola barulah masyarakat Cina, India dan bukan Melayu dapat dihormati. Saya memang tidak bersetuju dengan pandangan sedemikian,” katanya. - Malaysiakini
Dicatat oleh Tarmizi Mohd Jam di Jumaat, Jun 25, 2010
Ulasan: Kerana duit, UMNO sanggup menghalalkan yg di haramkan Allah selama ini.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Protesting Israel at the Oakland Docks
By SUSAN GALLEYMORE
Long before 5:30 a.m. on June 20 about 800 protesters traveled the mile from West Oakland's BART station, near San Francisco, to Berth 57 of the Oakland docks. The early risers were determined to block the gates and discourage longshoremen from unloading a Zim cargo ship. Zim is an Israeli shipping company.
A second shift of more than 200 hundred protesters kept the gates closed for the 4:30 p.m. work crew too.
Gloria La Riva organized the personal vehicle shuttle service that transported both waves of protesters.
She said, “There is a provision in their contract that states workers do not have to cross a picket line if their health or safety is at stake. The arbitrator -- who is always on call for these kinds of situations -- twice reviewed the lines of protesters in the morning. At about 9:15 a.m. he decided that it wasn't safe for the workers. We consider it a great victory that the arbitrator ruled in the union's favor and the men did not have to work.”
Since they had already been dispatched and the arbitration ruled in their favor the men will be paid.
* * *
For La Riva this was another full day of dedicated service to her life-long commitment to justice... along with some dejá vu, too.
Back in June 1984, when San Francisco still was a commercial container dock, La Riva supported the ILWU longshoremen who took an official action at Pier 80 and refused to unload apartheid South Africa's Ned-Lloyd ship. Union members held firm for ten days -- the longest political cargo stoppage in West Coast history -- despite the multi-million dollar fines levied against them.
Back then, South Africa's racist apartheid regime was under pressure. As its defense forces cracked down ever more brutally on black South Africans, including women and children, the eyes of the world riveted on images of white policemen shooting black children in school yards and in poverty-stricken segregated townships.
Now Israel is under pressure. On May 31, that country's navy violently boarded ships in international waters and attacked passengers delivering food, building materials, and medical aid. Nine passengers are dead and six are still missing.
But international anger has been simmering for some time against Israel's actions in Palestine. The bombardment of Gaza over Christmas and New Year 2009 was an act of sustained brutality that riveted the world. Since then, images of desperate Palestinians are hard to miss. They include babies and children living in what is referred to by some as the “world's largest open-air prison”.
Israel's blockade of Gaza extends beyond its land borders. Fishermen are allowed within only 5.5 km of their own coast. Some sneak into Egyptian waters to fish but doing so puts their lives at risk.
Israeli officials insist there is no humanitarian crisis. United Nations aid workers inside Gaza, however, speak of 80 per cent of the people depending on food hand-outs. UN data draws disquieting images: 14 per cent of children suffer stunted growth due to malnutrition.
* * *
At one of three gates blocked at the docks, protester Catherine Orozco puts down her sign (it reads “Let Gaza Live”) and says, “I visited Israel and Palestine in 2002. I went to Jenin and saw the results of the massacre and buildings and homes destroyed. I went to Jerusalem and saw people evicted from their life-long homes. I am very concerned about the disaster Israel is visiting upon the people of Palestine. While we Americans tend to be more concerned about our own troubles like the economy and oil spills, it opens up a lot of peoples' eyes to see peace ships carrying humanitarian aid attacked in international waters and human rights activists killed.”
As the United States sinks deeper into debt, President Obama insists that Israel is a “true friend” whose security is “top priority...sacrosanct …non-negotiable.” On June 4, less than a week after Israel's act of piracy in international waters, Obama declared a “strong commitment” to ensure “the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, unbreakable tomorrow, unbreakable forever.” Then he authorized a further $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade. (President Bush authorized $13 billion during his presidency.)
These days, the word “apartheid” is linked regularly with Israel. Indeed, the parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa are clear to anyone who visited both places or studied this form of politics.
In the clear sunshine that poured over the Oakland docks on June 20, it is apparent that ever more people of all ages and backgrounds are looking into the face of this new version of apartheid. What they see makes them unafraid of the omnipresent threat of being labeled “anti-Semitic” or “self-hating Jew.”
If the Israeli government follows the directive of just one sign in evidence on this day – “Boycott Israeli Ships and Goods” – it would consider deeply apartheid South Africa's history. Then it would steer its ship of state toward a different star...and full speed ahead.
Susan Galleymore is author of Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak about War and Terror, host of Stanford University's Raising Sand Radio, and a former “military mom” and GI Rights Counselor. She was born in apartheid South Africa, lived in Israel from 1975 to 1977, and visited again in 2005. Contact her at email@example.com.
Padang (ANTARA News) - Lima atau semua calon gubernur/wakil gubernur (cagub/cawagub) yang akan bertarung dalam Pilkada Sumatera Barat (Sumbar) menyatakan siap mengundurkan diri dari jabatannya jika saat memimpin terbukti melakukan tindak pidana korupsi.
Lima pasangan cagub/cawagub itu adalah, Ediwarman-Husni Hadi dicalonkan 24 partai kecil tergabung dalam Koalisi Partai Maju Bersama, Marlis Rahman-Aristo Munandar dicalonkan Partai Golkar, Fauzi Bahar-Yohannes Dahlan diusung koalisi Partai Amanat Nasional dengan Partai Persatuan Pembangunan.
Selanjutnya, pasangan Endang Irzal-Asrul Syukur dicalonkan Partai Demokrat didukung Partai Gerindra dan pasangan Irwan Prayitno-Muslim Kasim yang didaftarkan Koalisi PKS dan Hanura.
Dalam sambutannya dalam debat tersebut, ke lima pasangan menyatakan siap menghadapi apapun kemungkinan, jika dipercaya memimpin Sumbar lima tahun depan, termasuk meletakan jabatan jika terbukti secara hukum melakukan tindak pidana korupsi dan siap dihukum.
Masing-masing pasangan juga siap memberi pelayanan terbaik terhadap rakyat jika dipercaya sebagai pemimpin dengan memangkas birokrasi dan tidak akan ada nepotisme.
Dalam pernyataannya Cagub Irwan Prayitno menyimpulkan, hal penting akan dilakukannya jika terpilih adalah memberikan penjelasan pada setiap pegawai dan memberikan contoh seharusnya bertindak dan melayani masyarakat.
Sedangkan Cagub Endang Irzal mengatakan, langkah pertama dilakukannya adalah memperhatikan dan pahami kondisi birokrasi dan pegawai serta memerlukan pengawasan yang jelas, agar terhindar dari korupsi.
Cagub Fauzi Bahar menyebutkan, pelayanan publik diinginkan rakyat adalah mempercepat urusan birokrasi, termasuk dalam mendapat pendidikan, kesehatan dan kebutuhan ekonomi.
Sementara itu, Cagub Husni Hadi lebih menekankan pada kode etik PNS dan diperlukan perbaikan sistim birokrasi.
Cagub Marlis Rahman menyebutkan, pelayanan publik telah mempunyai pedomannya yang memerlukan kepastian, kepercayaan dan kesederhanaan.
Saat pembukaan debat, Ketua KPU Sumbar Marzul Veri menyebutkan, melalui debat cagub ini masyarakat dapat menentukan pilihannya, karena rakyat dapat mengetahui program dan mau dibawa kemana Sumbar ke depan jika salah salah satu calon terpilih pada Pilkada Sumbar yang akan digelar 30 Juni 2010. (H014/K004).
Ulasan: Di negara kita?
Desakan itu dikemukakan kepada Presiden Barack Obama semalam, supaya mencontohi tindakan rejim Yahudi yang melabel IHH sebagai pengganas, awal bulan ini…
Ulasan: Buktinya mana? Demikianlah pengaruh Zionist menyebabkan negara hebat terpaksa menari mengikut negara kecil buatan yang menjadi penjajah Palestin.
Masa: 9.00 pagi - 6.00 ptg
Lokasi: Perkarangan Masjid Negara dan kemudian berarak ke Istana Negera
Himpunan Besaran - besaran pada 3 Julai 2010 akan diadakan di perkarangan Masjid Negara dan kemudian berarak ke Istana negera mengiringi pimpinan Pemuda Pakatan rakyat untuk menyerahkan memorandum bantah Lesen Judi serta merayu campur tangan Raja - Raja Melayu untuk mendesak agar Kerajaan memansukhkan Lesen Judi Bola atau sukan tersebut .
Presiden GPMS, Jais Abd. Karim berkata, pengeluaran lesen judi tersebut hanya akan membawa lebih banyak keburukan daripada kebaikan kepada rakyat.
"Judi merupakan gejala tidak baik dalam mana-mana masyarakat termasuk dalam masyarakat bukan Islam sendiri.
"Sekiranya lesen judi diberikan ia pasti akan menimbulkan pelbagai kesan negatif seperti masalah sosial dalam masyarakat pelbagai kaum di negara ini," katanya ketika dihubungi Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini…
Ulasan: Apakah PM masih tidak sedar bahawa rakyat membenci judi?
Untuk menyedarkan PM bahawa rakyat membenci judi, sila lapangkan masa ke
Himpunan Membantah Lesen Judi Bola
Masa: 9.00 pagi - 6.00 ptg
Lokasi: Perkarangan Masjid Negara dan kemudian berarak ke Istana Negera
Himpunan Besaran - besaran pada 3 Julai 2010 akan diadakan di perkarangan Masjid Negara dan kemudian berarak ke Istana negera mengiringi pimpinan Pemuda Pakatan rakyat untuk menyerahkan memorandum bantah Lesen Judi serta merayu campur tangan Raja-Raja Melayu untuk mendesak agar Kerajaan memansuhkan Lesen Judi Bola atau sukan tersebut .
Ulasan: PM masih tidak sedar?
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
PKS semakin mengokohkan diri sebagai partai terbuka di Musyawarah Nasional yang digelar di Jakarta sejak 17 Juni 2010 lalu. Dengan semboyan "PKS untuk semua", partai Islam ini pun siap menerima siapapun warga negara Indonesia yang berminat masuk.
Sebelumnya, PKS menyatakan diri sebagai partai inklusif dan siap menerima anggota non-muslim dalam jajaran pengurusnya. Pilihan kontroversi PKS itu makin bertambah heboh saat Ketua Majelis Syuro-nya ditanya apakah itu berlaku pula untuk Ariel dan Luna Maya yang sedang diguncang skandal video seks? Hilmi pun menjawab, "iya".
"Kami tidak masalah Ariel, Luna, siapapun dia, asal ada komitmen membina diri, " kata Ketua Majeis Syuro PKS, Hilmi Aminuddin menjawab pertanyaan itu di sela-sela Musyawarah di Hotel Ritz Carlton, Jakarta, kemarin.
Hilmi menegaskan, PKS adalah partai dakwah yang berkomitmen membina integritas pribadi.
"Kalau Ariel memenuhi secara integritas pribadi, tak melihat seniman atau bukan," kata Hilmi.
Hilmi menyatakan, PKS bukanlah partai malaikat."Manusia tentu ada kesalahan. Ada kesalahan, ada mekanisme memperbaiki, mengingatkan, amar ma'ruf nahi mungkar, "kata Himi.
Tapi, Hilmi menunggu sampai proses hukum bagi keduanya selesai. "Biar selesai dulu proses hukumnya. Siapapun kalau sudah selesai proses hukumnya silakan bergabung, tapi biarkan proses hukumnya berjalan, baru kita komentar,"katanya.
Namun tentu tidak mudah bagi Ariel dan Luna untuk bisa mencapai kategori kader inti PKS. Berdasarkan AD/ART PKS, Ariel harus melewati setidaknya empat jenjang/peringkat keanggotaan untuk bisa menjadi pengurus atau dicalonkan sebagai anggota legislatif dalam Pemilu 2014. (muslimdaily/nonstop)
Felda terbangun dari keringat dan azam politik. Dalam membangun warganya, terdengar suara rungutan seakan ada penindasan dalam bantuan. Jika tidak dengan lingkungan terkongkong, barangkali warganya telah jauh lebih makmur.
Namun, sedikit peraturan yang kurang memihak kepada warga yang keringatnya ditumpahkan dikatakan mustahak untuk menghasilkan kejayaan kolektif dalam bentuk lembaga besar Felda yang kaya raya.
Tekanan itu disamakan dengan pengorbanan.
Hari ini, jika warga Felda yang telah berkorban itu dikhianati, wajarkah kita berdiam diri?
Hari ini, tanda-tanda Felda telah dikhianati muncul satu demi satu, tetapi jawapannya yang memuaskan hati tidak muncul seperti dinanti.
1. Benarkah Felda telah melabur RM 500 juta, ulang, RM 500 juta di Boston & Cincinatti di Amerika tiga tahun lalu? Apa jadi dengan pelaburan dalam Twin Rivers INC?
Benarkah pelaburan ini telah hangus?
Benarkah RM 500 juta ini bukannya pelaburan tetapi cara untuk wang Felda 'dileburkan'?
Tentulah pelaburan sebesar itu dibuat dengan pertimbangan yang halus dan sebab yang menasabah. Kerana pelaburannya besar, jawapan yang terang sangat dinantikan.
Jika pelaburan itu dibuat dengan pertimbangan teliti, mustahil ia boleh lesap begitu sahaja.
Jika pertimbangannya hanya kerana mengikut telunjuk satu dua orang sahaja, kita tidak tahu berapa banyak lagi wang Felda 'lebur' dengan cara ini. Apa lagi, jika 'peleburan' itu memang dirancang dan ada yang girang mengaut keuntungan darinya.
2. Kenapa Felda mengambil keputusan membina bangunan ibu pejabatnya di premis termahal sehingga kosnya melambung? Adakah Felda merasa ia telah menjadi elit ekonomi dan perlu mengasingkan diri di tempat ekslusif dengan membelanjakan wang titik peluh lebih seratus ribu warganya yang setengahnya masih merempat?
Dari asalnya kos hanya sekitar RM 220 juta, kini meningkat melebihi RM 660 juta. Apakah faedah yang akan diperolehi oleh para peneroka Felda?
Adakah Felda memerlukan bangunan bertaraf tujuh bintang setaraf dengan KLCC?
Siapakah yang membuat keputusan ini? Apa asas keputusan ini?
Jawapan telus dan berterus teranglah yang akan membantu Felda terus utuh dan harapan warga Felda tidak punah.
Pengakuan Kerajaan di Dewan Rakyat bahawa akaun Felda telah merosot berbillion ringgit dalam sekelip mata membuktikan berita-berita tentang wang Felda diurus sesuka hati mula menampakkan ada kebenarannya.
Namun, penjelasan Kerajaan hanya mengukuhkan apa yang kita dengar. RM 2 billion yang kononnya surut kerana digunakan untuk program tanam semula semacam mengiyakan wang sebanyak itu memang telah hilang.
Bagi menjawab wang iu memang telah hilang tetapi mengelakkan warga Felda melenting, ia dikaitkan dengan tanam semula. Padahal, tabung tanam semula telah sedia wujud dari potongan para peneroka dan ia telah diletakkan dalam akaun yang berasingan. Satu perkara dua kali kira.
Rakyat, terutama orang Melayu perlukan jawapan. Jawapan yang paling baik ialah melantik odit bebas dengan satu laporan di Parlimen diperlukan. Bukan hanya jawapan politik Ketua Penerangan UMNO Malaysia.
Lagi pun, Felda bukan milik UMNO. Felda tidak harus dibenarkan 'cair' bersekali dengan trend bocornya kerugian satu demi satu konglomerat negara kita.
Datuk Paduka Husam Musa,
Exco Kerajaan Kelantan.
Ulasan: Ceritanya sama sepanjang 53 tahun UMNO memerintah negara – pemimpin mereka dalam pelbagai peringkat menghabiskan duit rakyat untuk menambahkan harta peribadi melalui kroni. Masanya sudah tiba untuk rakyat menjadi hakim dan memilih hanya orang yang berakhlak dan berwibawa menjadi pemimpin yang mentadbir negara kita.
Pembunuhan, rampasan, dan penculikan penumpang kapal-kapal yang membawa bantuan kemanusiaan ke Gaza yang turut disertai oleh sukarelawan Malaysia, menjadi satu peringatan kepada semua rakyat Malaysia bahawa Israel melakukannya dengan bebas daripada hukuman, mengingkari undang-undang antarabangsa dan menghina pendapat awam dunia.
Kapal-kapal itu cuba untuk menghantar bantuan ke Gaza yang kini terkepung oleh Israel sejak 2006. Kepungan yang bertentangan dengan undang-undang ini telah menafikan penduduk Palestin kemudahan asas bagi keperluan harian mereka yang secara tidak langsung menjadikan mereka hidup dalam kebuluran.
Makanan, ubatan, air, simen, malah pensil dan sabun tidak dibenarkan masuk ke Gaza oleh pihak berkuasa Israel. Pada hakikatnya Israel telah berjaya dalam memusnahkan ekonomi Palestin; menjadikan 80% daripada penduduknya bergantung kepada bantuan makanan dan 90% hidup dalam kemiskinan; lebih separuh daripada isirumah makan hanya sekali sehari; lebih 60% kanak-kanak menghidap anemia dan kekurangan zat makanan; meracuni tanah dan airnya dan menyebabkan beribu-ribu penduduk kehilangan tempat tinggal sejak serangan tentera pada 2008-2009. Penduduk Palestin terperangkap di Gaza dan beratus orang lagi mati kerana mereka tidak dibenarkan keluar untuk mendapatkan rawatan perubatan yang dapat menyelamatkan nyawa.
Kita jangan lupa peranan Amerika Syarikat (AS) dan Kesatuan Eropah (EU) dalam tragedi ini apabila mereka mengenakan sekatan ekonomi yang menyokong kepungan Israel untuk menghukum penduduk Gaza kerana memilih Hamas pada Januari 2006 dalam pilihan raya yang bebas dan adil.
Kepungan yang tidak berperikemanusiaan ini diperkukuhkan lagi apabila AS mendalangi rampasan kuasa yang gagal terhadap kerajaan yang diketuai Hamas di Gaza pada 2007. Dengan kerjasama rapat dari Mesir, Israel berjaya menukarkan Gaza kepada penjara terbuka untuk 1.5 juta penghuninya. Mesir kini menguatkan lagi penjara itu dengan menutup terowong bawah tanah yang digunakan untuk membawa makanan dan kemudahan lain ke Gaza.
Kita perlu jelas bahawa masalah Palestin bukanlah hanya krisis kemanusiaan. Isu utama ialah pendudukan tentera Israel secara haram dan perampasan ke atas penduduk Palestin. Kini hampir empat juta rakyat Palestin hidup di bawah pendudukan yang paling kejam dan lama dalam sejarah moden.
Di bawah pendudukan ini rakyat Palestin mengalami keganasan, pembunuhan, dan kekejaman di tangan tentera Israel pada setiap hari. Lebih 40 tahun Israel mengepung seluruh penduduk di sebalik halangan dan pusat pemeriksaan; merampas tanah dan air mereka; memusnahkan rumah, perniagaan dan tanaman mereka; memindahkan penduduk; membunuh orang awam dengan sewenang-wenangnya melalui serangan bersenjata untuk membunuh mereka yang disyaki militan; menjalankan penculikan, membunuh, menyiksa dan menghukum secara kolektif.
Pembunuhan dan jenazah golongan muda dan bayi yang terbunuh oleh serangan bom dan peluru senjata Israel menjadi satu pemandangan biasa pada setiap hari. Kanak-kanak dibunuh di pusat pemeriksaan, di jalan raya, dalam perjalanan ke sekolah dan di rumah mereka. Perangkaan ini kurang menarik berbanding pengeboman bunuh diri. Itulah ketidakadilan, penghinaan, penderitaan, dan keganasan yang terpaksa dihadapi oleh rakyat Palestin di tangan tentera Israel.
Malangnya kita tidak dapat membaca kekejaman dan pencabulan hak asasi manusia ini di dalam media korporat Barat kerana laporan mereka yang berat sebelah.
Israel terus mengembangkan penempatan haram di wilayah yang diduduki yang melanggar undang-undang antarabangsa. Ia telah membina tembok pemisah di dalam tanah Palestin yang jelas melanggar undang-undang dan sesuatu yang tidak bermoral menurut Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa.
Keganasan sistematik terhadap penduduk dan tanah mereka jelas merupakan strategi untuk menafikan rakyat Palestin terhadap tanah mereka dan menghapuskan budaya, geografi, identiti, masyarakat dan sejarah kewujudan mereka.
Pencerobohan Israel selama tiga minggu ke atas Gaza pada 27 Disember 2008 – 20 Januari 2009 membunuh lebih 1,400 penduduk Palestin, di mana lebih 80% daripadanya merupakan orang awam. Enam ribu empat ratus buah rumah musnah dan kira-kira 75% bangunan musnah sehingga hari ini akibat kepungan yang berterusan.
Sepanjang pembunuhan ini tiada satu pun kuasa Barat yang mengutuk kekejaman itu. Presiden AS Barack Obama yang baru dilantik tidak dapat melakukan apa-apa kerana ia adalah rencana bekas Presiden Bush.
Kemusnahan ke atas Gaza dicapai dengan penggunaan teknologi ketenteraan AS: F-16, helikopter Apache, fosforus putih, depleted uranium, bom kluster, dan senjata baru seperti dense inert material explosives (DIME) yang menyebabkan kecederaan yang tidak pernah dirawat oleh doktor sebelum ini. Senjata ini disediakan oleh AS yang kebanyakannya sebagai geran ketenteraan. Pada hakikatnya Gaza digunakan sebagai makmal untuk menguji keberkesanan pembunuhan dengan senjata baru ini.
Pada September 2009, Misi Mencari Fakta diketuai oleh Hakim Richard Goldstone mendapati terdapat beberapa bukti menunjukkan pencabulan serius oleh Israel terhadap hak asasi manusia antarabangsa dan undang-undang kemanusiaan di Gaza dan Israel telah melakukan satu jenayah perang serta jenayah terhadap kemanusiaan.
AS mengutuk Laporan Goldstone dan menganggapnya ‘cacat’ dan ‘tidak seimbang’. Sekutu Eropah juga gagal untuk mengesahkannya. Pentadbiran Obama juga telah menyekat sebarang pertimbangan Majlis Keselamatan berhubung laporan itu bagi memastikan Israel dilindungi daripada siasatan terhadap jenayah perang.
Dalam episod terbaru, di mana Israel telah membunuh sekurang-kurangnya 10 orang awam, sokongan AS yang berterusan kepada Israel yang jelas mencabuli undang-undang antarabangsa sekali lagi dapat dilihat. Majlis Keselamatan PBB gagal untuk mengemukakan resolusi terhadap Israel malah AS hanya mengeluarkan ‘kenyataan presiden’ yang mengkritik dengan lemah sepertimana yang dianggap oleh Menteri Luar Turki sebagai ‘perompak dan lanun’ dan ‘pembunuhan yang dilakukan oleh sebuah negara’.
Amat jelas sekali sikap dwistandard yang diamalkan oleh kuasa Barat menunjukkan kepada kita bahawa undang-undang antarabangsa tidak tertakluk kepada mereka dan rakan-rakan. Oleh sebab itu, Israel terus menikmati perlindungan AS dan sekutu Eropah dan tidak tertakluk kepada sekatan atau resolusi Majlis Keselamatan.
Tetapi terdapat berita baik untuk kita semua. Warga dunia kini dapat melihat dasar hipokrit dan pengecut kerajaan mereka terhadap Palestin dan kegagalan PBB dalam mendukung undang-undang antarabangsa berhubung Israel.
Tidak lagi sekadar sokongan kemanusiaan, kini pergerakan perpaduan global semakin berkembang untuk memulakan kempen boikot terhadap Israel. Rakyat biasa dan pengguna menggesa supaya tindakan diambil terhadap Israel sepertimana yang dilakukan terhadap rejim apartheid Afrika Selatan dengan ‘boikot, menarik pelaburan dan sekatan’ (boycott, divestment and sanctions, BDS).
BDS yang dimulakan oleh pertubuhan awam Palestin pada 2005 untuk mengakhiri sikap Israel yang bebas daripada hukuman dan mendukung hak asasi manusia sejagat kini mendapat sokongan komuniti dunia melibatkan kesatuan sekerja, ahli akademik, pihak gereja, individu dan NGO.
Sudah pun terdapat banyak kejayaan terhadap boikot pengguna seperti penolakan produk makanan di Eropah: Di Britain pihak Sainsbury dan Tesco menerima tekanan untuk mengenal pasti produk ‘petempatan’ yang mana penjualannya melanggar klausa hak asasi manusia dalam perjanjian perdagangan EU dengan Israel.
Kempen terhadap produk kecantikan Ahava buatan petempatan haram Tebing Barat memaksa syarikat itu menggugurkan duta selebriti Kristin Davis bintang dalam Sex in the City. Produk Ahava kini sedang diboikot di Eropah.
Kempen BDS lain ialah mensasarkan Caterpillar yang mana jentera beratnya digunakan oleh tentera Israel untuk memusnahkan rumah rakyat Palestin.
Di Ireland, bantahan terhadap Veolia (dikenali di UK kerana menjalankan kereta api Connex dan kontrak sanitasi) kepada Dewan Bandar Raya Dublin meminta supaya majlis bandar raya itu tidak memperbaharui atau menandatangani sebarang kontrak dengan syarikat itu. Di Australia, Veolia kehilangan bidaannya untuk loji penyahmasinan bernilai berbilion dolar. Kontrak Veolia untuk mengendalikan sistem metro di Stockholm juga tidak diperbaharui. Veolia adalah syarikat Perancis yang merancang untuk membina sistem keretapi di Baitulmuqadis dan membina secara haram kawasan pembuangan sampah Tovlan di Tebing Barat.
Menarik pelaburan daripada syarikat yang melakukan perniagaan di Israel dan syarikat Israel sudah pun berlaku. Gereja Presbyterian AS mengundi untuk ‘proses memilih menarik balik pelaburan dalam perbadanan multinasional yang menjalankan perniagaan dengan Israel’. Pelajar Berkeley, Universiti California meluluskan usul dalam senat universiti menggesa ditarik pelaburan daripada syarikat yang membekalkan Israel dengan bahan yang digunakan oleh tenteranya.
Norway mengeluarkan syarikat Elbit Systems Ltd., Israel yang membina tembok pemisah di wilayah yang diduduki daripada portfolio dana pencen global negara itu. Elbit Systems membina sistem elektronik bagi pengawasan, perisikan dan komunikasi. Gereja England juga telah memutuskan untuk menarik pelaburan £2.2 juta daripada Caterpillar.
Kempen BDS telah memberikan momentum sejak 22 hari Israel melakukan pembunuhan di Gaza.
Seminggu selepas pembunuhan Israel di Gaza, South African Transport dan Allied Workers Union enggan untuk memunggah muatan daripada kapal Israel di Durban.
The Scottish Trade Union Congress turut mengikut langkah South African Trade Union Federation COSATU dan Irish Congress of Trade Union untuk melaksanakan BDS terhadap Israel. The British Trade Union Congress mewakili lebih 6.5 juta pekerja juga turut melakukan boikot.
Pergerakan BDS turut menggesa artis di mana sahaja tidak ke Israel. Santana telah membatalkan jelajahnya dan U2 juga turut memutuskan untuk ke sana. Kumpulan rock AS Pixies turut membatalkan konsert di Tel Aviv minggu ini akibat desakan daripada hasil kempen di dalam Israel.
Jenayah perang Israel yang didedahkan di Gaza bermakna pemimpin politik dan tentera Israel kini terpaksa memeriksa dengan peguam dan ejen pelancongan mereka sebelum membuat perjalanan ke negara yang mempunyai undang-undang universal jurisdiction. Pada Disember 2009, majistret London mengeluarkan waran tangkap terhadap Tzipi Livni, bekas Menteri Luar Israel kerana jenayah perang di Gaza. Pada September, ‘imuniti diplomatik’ telah menyelamatkan Ehud Barak, Menteri Pertahanan Israel ketika pencerobohan Gaza daripada ditahan oleh Scotland Yard.
Kempen terhadap mereka yang bertanggungjawab terhadap jenayah perang di Gaza untuk dibawa ke muka pengadilan merupakan bahagian penting daripada kempen keadilan untuk Palestin.
Kini Malaysia telah menyaksikan dan mengalami sendiri keganasan Israel, apa yang diperlukan ialah menguatkan perpaduan kita dengan rakyat Palestin dan menyokong kempen BDS. Dengan turut menyertai penentangan tanpa keganasan global, kita turut menyuarakan kekejaman kuasa Barat dalam dasar penghapusan etnik Israel di Palestin. BDS hanya satu-satunya harapan untuk memaksa Israel mengakhiri pendudukan mereka.
Sehubungan itu, kami menggesa Menteri Pengangkutan mempertimbangkan dengan serius dasarnya memandangkan terdapat pendedahan yang menyatakan pelabuhan Malaysia turut memberikan perkhidmatan kepada kapal-kapal Israel. Dasar kerajaan Malaysia dan sokongan kepada Palestin mestilah padu dan boleh dipercayai.
SM Mohamed Idris,
Persatuan Pengguna Pulau Pinang.
1.0 Majoriti dari industry judi di Malaysia adalah milik UMNO
2.0 Orang2 seperti Vinsetan, Anandha Krishnan dsbnya digunakan oleh UMNO sebagai “trustee” (pemegang amanah) sahaja.
3.0 Dengan kata lain, UMNO menggunakan nama-nama bukan Islam ini untuk menjalankan perniagaan judi yang sebenarnya milik UMNO.
4.0 Raja Petra telah menyaksikan pengakuan ini dibuat antara wakil UMNO (Ahmad Sebi) dengan Vincent Tan di pejabat Ahmad Sebi sendiri
5.0 Semua lesen judi di Malaysia dikeluarkan oleh UMNO dan bukan dari parti2 lain
6.0 UMNO tidak pernah berusaha menurunkan kadar judi di negeri2 yang mereka perintah. Malahan, Sarawak di bawah PBB pernah mengharamkan judi sama sekali. Penang di bawah DAP menolak Judi Bola tajaan Najib Tun Razak
7.0 UMNO sejak sebelum merdeka telah memulakan aktiviti ekonomi mereka dengan projek “Loteri UMNO”. Tak hairanlah UMNO tidak pernah memberhentikan perangai cintakan judi mereka sejak merdeka.
8.0 Perjanjian Vincent Tan menjadi proksi dan pemegang amanah kepada UMNO dalam industry judi dilakukan antara wakil UMNO, Ahmad Sebi dan Vincent Tan sendiri. Pada waktu yang sama, Daim Zainuddin (Qarun) menjadi Menteri Kewangan Malaysia pada masa itu. Ini menerangkan bagaimana mudahnya Vinsetan mendapat pinjaman bank bagi syarikat Sports Toto beliau. Rupanya, Sports Toto ini pemilik sebenarnya adalah UMNO bukan Vinsetan.
9.0 Pada saya, segala wang yang dibelanjakan sewaktu pilihanraya, sebagaian besarnya datang dari syarikat-syarikat judi dan arak seluruh Malaysia. Patutlah UMNO tidak pernah berusaha mengurangkan aktiviti judi dan arak di Malaysia.
10.0 Syukur kerajaan perpaduan tidak jadi antara PAS dan UMNO. Kalau tidak terpaksalah PAS menyokong usaha judi sukan tajaan Najib Tun Razak ini.
11.0 UMNO telah sebati dengan judi dan arak sejak sebelum merdeka lagi. Jadi, kenapa kita hendak tertipu dengan sandiwara mereka kononnya mereka memperjuangkan Kalimah Allah?
12.0 Najib Tun Razak luluskan judi sukan kerana kajian dari Mayban Securities menunjukkan untung yang boleh diperolehi dari judi sukan berjumlah RM1.7 billion sehari.
13.0 Setakat Vincent Tan derma RM525juta tu, hanya sekadar keuntungan sehari Judi Sukan sewaktu Piala Dunia di Afrika Selatan sahaja.
14.0 Vinsetan juga bertanggungjawab merasuah TImbalan Speaker Perak dengan membayar RM25 juta bagi membolehkannya melompat. Segala aktiviti2 membeli pemimpin PKR dibiayai dengan duit judi ini.
Kesimpulannya, sekiranya anda penyokong judi dan arak, dipersilakan memberi sokongan kepada UMNO/BN kerana judi dan arak adalah halal untuk UMNO.
Rujukan: Raja Petra Kamarudin (Saturday, 05 June 2010). How Vincent Tan became the Gaming King of Malaysia. THE CORRIDORS OF POWER.
Ulasan: Pilihlah calon bukan dari BN/UMNO dalam pilihan raya akan datang.
Kronologi adalah seperti berikut:
7 Jun 2010 : Najib menafikan pemberian lesen Judi Sukan pada Berjaya Group di Parlimen
11 Jun 2010 : Berjaya Group mengeluarkan “Medium Note” bagi tujuan meraih dana yang berjumlah RM800 juta bagi tujuan pembiyaan operasi Judi Sukan seluruh Malaysia di 220 cawangan Sports Toto
12 June 2010 : Ascott Sport mengeluarkan kenyataan bahawa mereka telah mendapat kebenaran dari Kementrian Kewangan untuk mengoperasikan Judi Sukan seluruh negara
15 June 2010 : Najib sekali lagi menafikan lesen judi sukan telah dikeluarkan dan meminta
supaya jangan ditanya lagi akan soalan ini.
Ertinya, Najib sedang cuba bermain silap mata. Mana mungkin Berjaya Group boleh mengeluarkan sebuah dokumen 200 mukasurat meminta wang dari pelabur-pelabur sebanyak RM800 juta kalau mereka tidak mempunyai kebenaran bertulis dari MoF?
Juga, dokumen 20 muka surat bagi tujuan (“Medium Note”) itu, BERJAYA kerap mengulangi hakikat bahawa Ascot Sport telah pun diberi kebenaran oleh Kerajaan Malaysia (baca: UMNO) untuk menjalankan Judi Sukan itu.
Penasihat kepada Berjaya Group di dalam pengeluaran “Medium Note” ini adalah Maybank. Manakala, pentadbir kepada operasi “Medium Note” ini adalah AmInvestment Bank dan Maybank Investment Bank. Mustahil Maybank, AmInvesment Bank serta Maybank Invesment boleh membenarkan perkara ini berlaku sekiranya benar-benar tiada kebenaran dari Kerajaan. Mustahil sama sekali.
Dokumen ini diedar kepada para pelabur 4 hari selepas Najib memberitahu Parlimen kononnya tiada lesen yang telah dikeluarkan kepada Berjaya Group.
Ertinya Najib cuba bermain silap mata. Tidak mungkin Berjaya Group, di atas nasihat Maybank serta kelolaan Aminvestment Bank dan Maybank Invesment Bank, boleh berani membuka peluang melabur sebanyak RM800 juta KALAU KERAJAAN UMNO TIDAK MEMBERI KELULUSAN. Ianya MUSTAHIL.
Apa yang mungkin berlaku adalah UMNO telah mengeluarkan surat kebenaran, namun hanya dokumen “lesen” itu sahaja yang belum dikeluarkan. Tetapi dengan surat kebenaran itu, UMNO tiada pilihan melainkan mengeluarkan lesen tersebut apabila Berjaya sudah bersedia untuk menjalankan Judi Sukan tersebut.
HIDUP UMNO!!, HIDUP APCO!!, HIDUP JUDI!!.
Ulasan: Negara kita akan jadi lebih baik bila rakyat mengundi parti selain BN dalam semua pilihan raya akan datang. Selamat memilih parti yang prihatin dengan masalah rakyat bukan yang amalkan rasuah.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Kevin Neish of Victoria, British Columbia, didn’t know he was a celebrity until he was about to board a flight from Istanbul to Ottawa. “This Arab woman wearing a beautiful outfit suddenly ran up to me crying, ‘It’s you! From Arab TV! You’re famous!’” he recalls with a laugh. “I didn’t know what she was talking about, but she told me, ‘I saw you flipping through the Israeli commando’s book! It’s being aired over and over!’”
A soft-spoken teacher and former civilian engineer with the Canadian Department of Defense, Neish realized then that a video taken by an Arab TV cameraman in the midst of the Israeli assault on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza of him flipping through a booklet had been transmitted before the Israelis blocked all electronic signals from the flotilla. The booklet had pictures and profiles of all the passengers, and he'd found it in the backpack of an Israeli Defense Force commando.
Neish, 53, was on the second deck of the flotilla’s lead ship, the Turkish Mavi Marmara, with a good view of the stern, when the IDF, in the early morning darkness of May 31, began its assault with percussion grenades, tear gas and a hail of bullets. He then moved to the fourth deck in an enclosed stairwell, from which he watched took photographs as casualties were carried down past him to a makeshift medical station. Several IDF commandos, captured by the passengers and crew, were also brought past him.
“I saw them carrying this one IDF guy down,” he recalls. “He looked terrified, like he thought he was going to be killed. But when a big Turkish guy, who had seen seriously injured passengers who had been shot by the IDF, charged over and tried to hit the commando, the Turkish aid workers pushed him off and pinned him to the wall. They protected this Israeli soldier.”
That was when he found the backpack which the soldier had dropped. “I figured I’d look inside and see what he was carrying,” Neish says. “And inside was this kind of flip-book. It was full of photos and names in English and Hebrew of who was on all the ships. The booklet also had a detailed diagram of the decks of the Mavi Marmara.”
Meanwhile, he says, more and more people were being carried down the stairs from the mayhem above—people who'd been shot, and people who were dying or people already dead. “I took detailed photos of the dead and wounded with my camera,” he says, adding, “There were several guys who had two neat bullet holes side by side on the side of their head--clearly they were executed.”
Neish smuggled his photos out of Israel to Turkey despite his arrest on the ship and imprisonment in Israel for several days. “I pulled out the memory card, tossed my camera and anything I had on me that had anything to do with electronics, and then kept moving the chip around so it wouldn’t be found,” he says. “The Israelis took all the cameras and computers. They were smashing some and keeping others. I put the chip in my mouth under my tongue, between my butt cheeks, in my sock, everywhere, to keep them from finding it,” he says. He finally handed it to a Turk who was leaving for a flight home on a Turkish airline. He says the card ended up in the hands of an organization called Free Gaza, and he has seen some of his pictures published, so he knows they made it out successfully.
Neish says that claims that the Israeli commandos were just armed with paint guns and 9 mm pistols are “Bullshit--at one point when I was in the stairwell, a commando opened a hatch above, stuck in a machine gun, and started firing. Bullets were bouncing all over the place. If the guy had gotten to look in and see where he was shooting, I’d have been dead, but two Turkish guys in the stairwell, who had short lengths of chain with them that they had taken from the access points to the lifeboats, stood to the side of the hatch and whipped them up at the barrell. I don’t know if they were trying to hit the commando or to use them to snatch away the gun, but the Israeli backed off, and they slammed and locked the hatch.”
“I never saw a single paint gun, or a sign of a fired paint ball!” he says.
He also didn't see any guns in the hands of people who were on the ship. “In the whole time I was there on the ship, I never saw a single weapon in the hands of the crew or the aid workers,” he says. Indeed, Neish, who originally had been on a smaller 70-foot yacht called the Challenger II, had transferred to the Mavi Marmara after a stop in Cyprus, because his boat had been sabatoged by Israeli agents (a claim verified by the Israeli government), making it impossible to steer. “When we came aboard the big boat, I was frisked and my bag was inspected for weapons,” he says. “Being an engineer, I of course had a pocket knife, but they took that and tossed it into the ocean. Nobody was allowed to have any weapons on this voyage. They were very careful about that.”
What he did see during the IDF assault was severe bullet wounds. “In addition to several people I saw who were killed, I saw several dozen wounded people. There was one older guy who was just propped up against the wall with a huge hole in his chest. He died as I was taking his picture.”
Neish says he saw many of the 9 who were known to have been killed, and of the 40 who were wounded, and adds, “There were many more who were wounded, too, but less seriously. In the Israeli prison, I saw people with knife wounds and broken bones. Some were hiding their injuries so they wouldn’t be taken away from the others.” He also says, “Initially there were reports that 16 on the boat had been killed. The medical station said 16. There was a suspicion that some bodies may have been thrown overboard. But what people think now is that the the other seven who are missing, since we’re not hearing from families, may have been Israeli spies.”
Once the Israeli commandos had secured control of the Mavi Marmara, Neish says the ship’s passengers and crew were rounded up, with the men put in one area on deck, and the women put below in another area. The men were told to squat, and had their hands bound with plastic cuffs, which Neish says were pulled so tight that his wrists were cut and his hands swelled up and turned purple (he is still suffering nerve damage from the experience, which his doctor in Canada says he hopes will gradually repair on its own).
“They told us to be quiet,” he says. “But at one point this Turkish imam stood up and started singing a call to prayer. Everybody was dead quiet--even the Israelis. But after about ten seconds, this Israeli officer stomped over through the squatting people, pulled out his pistol and pointed at the guy’s head, yelling ‘Shut up!’ in English. The imam looked at him directly and just kept singing! I thought, Jesus Christ, he’s gonna kill him! Then I thought, well, this is what I’m here for, I guess, so I stood up. The officer wheeled around and pointed his gun at my head. The imam finished his song and sat down, and then I sat down.”
While the commandeered vessels were sailed to the Israeli port of Ashdot, the captives were left without food or water. “All we were given were some chocolate bars that the Israelis pilfered from the ship’s stores,” says Neish. “You had to grovel to get to go to the bathroom, and many people had to just go in their pants.”
Things didn’t get much better once the passengers were transferred to an Israeli prison. He and the other prisoners with him, who hadn’t eaten for more than half a day, were tossed a frozen block of bread and some cucumbers.
On the second day, someone from the Canadian embassy came around, calling out his name. “It turned out he’d been going to every cell looking for me,” says Neish. “My daughter had been frantically telling the Canadian government I was in the flotilla. Even though the Israelis had my name and knew where I was, they weren’t telling the Canadian embassy people. In fact the Canadians--and my daughter--thought I was dead, because people had said I’d been near the initial assault. The good thing is that as they went around calling out for me, they discovered two Arab-born Canadians that they hadn’t known were there.”
“Eventually they got to my cell and I answered them. The embassy official said, ‘You’re Kevin? You’re supposed to be dead.’”
After being held for a few days, there was a rush to move everyone to the Ben Gurion airport for a flight to Turkey. “It turned out that Israeli lawyers had brought our case to the Supreme Court, challenging the legality of our capture on international waters. There was a chance that the court would order the IDF to put us back on our ships and let us go, so the government wanted to get us out of Israel and moot the case. But two guys were hauled off, probably by Mossad (the Israeli intelligence agency). So we all said, ‘No. We don’t go unless you bring them back.’”
The two men were returned and were allowed to leave with the rest of the group.
“I honestly never thought the Israelis would board the ship,” says Neish. “I thought we’d get into Gaza. I mean, I went as part of the Free Gaza Movement, and they had made prior attempts, with some getting in, and some getting boarded or rammed, but this time it was a big flotilla. I figured we’d be stopped, and maybe searched. My boat, the Challenger II, only had dignitaries on board including three German MPs, and then Lt. Col. Ann Wright and myself.
At one point in the Israeli prison, all the violence finally got to this man who had witnessed more death and mayhem than many active duty US troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. “I broke down and started crying,” he admits. “This big Turkish guy came over and asked me, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘Sixteen people died.’”
“He said to me, ‘No, they died for a wonderful cause. They’re happy. You just go out and tell your story.’”
DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of the new independent collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper ThisCantBeHappening.net
The propagandists for the Israel Lobby, who occupy the Wall Street Journal editorial page while pretending to be journalists, are determined to remove Helen Thomas from the annals of journalism. In case you have already forgotten, a few days ago the distinguished career of Helen Thomas, the 89-year-old doyen of the White House Press Corps, was ended by the Israel Lobby, which made an issue about her opinion that immigrant Jews should leave Palestine and go back to their home countries.
The White House Correspondents’ Association fell in line with the demands of the Israel Lobby, and the cowardly president of the organization added the association’s disapprobation to that of the neoconservative cabal.
Having removed Helen Thomas from the journalism scene, the Israel Lobby is now working with its agents on the Wall Street Journal editorial page to eliminate the Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Society of Professional Journalists.
A nonentity in the world of journalism, James Taranto, apparently is associated with the Wall Street Journal editorial page, although Wikipedia reports that he was incapable of graduating from journalism school at California State University, Northridge. On a Wall Street Journal web site, Taranto writes: “We’ve been calling Thomas ‘American journalism’s crazy old aunt in the attic’ for years,” and he asks who would now accept the Helen Thomas award after Ms. Thomas revealed she really was crazy by criticizing Israel.
I would for one. Of course the Society of Professional Journalists would never give the award, assuming the distinguished award survives the assault of the Israel Lobby’s assassins, to a critic of Israel. Helen excepted, American journalists are cowards. With the concentrated ownership of the corporate media today, no independently-minded journalist can have a career in print or TV media. You defend the Washington/Tel Aviv line, or you are out of work.
The absence of independently-minded journalists on the Wall Street Journal editorial page is an extraordinary change from my days as Associate Editor of that page. The editorial page editor, Robert Bartley was ambitious and forced himself to tolerate talented colleagues. Mere opinion was not our task. Often we scooped the reporters on the news side of the paper. Our editorials reported new developments and provided factual analysis.
I was hired as Jude Wanniski’s replacement. Jude, Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, was fired, allegedly because the journal’s brass caught him handing out election campaign literature on a train platform, but if you believe American journalism was ever that pure, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.
Jude was fired, because the neoconservatives got rid of him by telling Bartley that Wanniski was over-shadowing him. That was too much for Bob’s ego. Jude, of course, being a real journalist, was objective toward the Palestinians and thus had earned the enmity of the Israel Lobby.
Once Bob was rapidly declining with prostate cancer, neoconservatives engineered the takeover of the editorial page. Today the once proud Wall Street Journal editorial page is a leading apologist for Israeli/American war crimes and police states.
To return to the nonentity, James Taranto, who wants to throw Helen Thomas down the memory hole: Helen Thomas’ opinion that Israelis should stop stealing the villages, homes, and lands of Palestinians, while confining Palestinians to the equivalent of the Warsaw Ghetto, is equated by Taranto to the advocacy of “ethnic cleansing” by Helen.
Of course, it is the Israelis who are doing the ethnic cleansing. Many Jews have documented Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, such as Uri Avnery, a former member of the Israeli terrorist organization, Irgun, Ilan Pappe, Israel’s most distinguished historian and author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, and the Israeli peace group, ICHAD, who have been my house guests. The Israeli newspaper, Haaratz, is far more critical of Israeli policy than Helen Thomas, and so is MIT professor Noam Chomsky, the distinguished British journalist and film maker John Pilger, and the distinguished scholar, Norman Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors.
But Taranto prefers an 89-year old adversary.
Israel is an unnatural state. It was created by terror that was accommodated by craven British and US “diplomacy.” Israel exists for one reason only: the US government provides the money, weapons, and diplomatic protection. Any other government that murdered thousands of civilians in other countries, as Israel does routinely in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank, would have its entire government and military on trial before the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague. Israelis have no worst enemy than their own government.
Every time the rest of the world tries to hold the Israeli government accountable for its crimes, the US vetoes the UN resolution. America has become the enabler of the Zionist-hijacked Israeli government. And the Israeli government knows it. Israeli government leaders have publicly bragged for decades about their control over the US government. US Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after whom the F-14 “Tomcat” jet fighter was named, declared publicly: “No American President can stand up to Israel.” Apparently no American journalist can either.
I am a critic of Israel’s heartless policy toward the Palestinians, but I do not want Israel destroyed. I want it moved or reformed. Bring the small number of Israelis to America before there is a nuclear war over the fact that they are where they should not be. To try to claim a land and dispossess its people on the basis of a spurious two thousand year year old deed is an audacious act of conquest and dispossession.
My proposal to relocate Israelis in the US is rhetorical, but why not insist that the Israelis, who are heavily dependent on US largess, reform? Why should Americans support an apartheid racist state that denies citizenship to the rightful inhabitants? What kind of morality, if any, does the Wall Street Journal editorial page represent when it defends Israelis who force Palestinians into ever-shrinking ghettos, deprived of water, food, medical care and schools? Why must Palestinians live in dread of Israeli bulldozers arriving to flatten their homes in order to create space for Zionist “settlers.”
Allegedly, the US is a superpower, but in fact it is a puppet state of the Israeli government. Witness, for example (the examples are numerous), the fate of the Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes committed in Israel’s assault on Gaza during December 2008-January 2009. Goldstone is a Zionist Jew and a distinguished judge. He was given the task by the United Nations to investigate the Israeli attack on Gaza. Being an honest person, he provided evidence of Israeli war crimes.
What was the result? The bought-and-paid-for US Congress voted, on the instructions of their master, the Israel Lobby, to deep-six the Goldstone Report by a vote of 344 to 36.
Amazing, isn’t it, there were only 36 US Representatives who were not owned by the Israel Lobby.
Of course, James Taranto serves the Israel Lobby. The Wall Street Journal editorial page, not even a shadow of its former self, when it speaks, speaks for Israel and for the Bush/Cheney militarist police state.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page has fallen into the low ranks of Brownshirt propaganda. The fact that management tolerates the continuation of totally nonobjective journalism shows why print newspapers are failing everywhere.
The hubris of Taranto, a mere propagandist who will never come close to the league in which Helen Thomas resides, causes him to think that he is fit to pass judgment on a real journalist. Taranto epitomizes the hubris of the neoconservatives. Not a single one of them has the smallest accomplishment. Yet, blinded with arrogance, they remain in ignorant bliss of their status as prostitutes.
Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
A video first published on a US-based online news collective over the weekend is thought to capture the killing of a 19-year-old Turkish-American during an Israeli commando raid on a flotilla of humanitarian aid ships in international waters late last month.
American journalist Dave Lindorff posted a video over the weekend on news website ThisCantBeHappening.net that shows Israeli soldiers brutally beating an aid volunteer before shooting him. The 21-second video depicts Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) commandos punching and kicking at someone on the deck of the ship and then firing four shots in the same direction. Observers say the victim is in all likelihood young Turkish-American peace activist Furkan Doğan; an autopsy on Doğan's body revealed that the man was shot five times from less than 45 centimeters away -- in the face, the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back, The Guardian reported.
A frame from a recently leaked video clip allegedly captures IDF commandos beating defenseless Turkish-American peace activist Furkan Doğan before shooting him multiple times.
The video also matches up with forensic accounts given by Turkish authorities to the victim's father, Ahmet Doğan, who told the press: “They told me: ‘Your child was shot at close proximity. Such wounds could be caused by a powerful weapon and a close shot.' However they said that they couldn't give me the full report until the official version has been published.”
In his report, Lindorff said: “This smuggled video, showing IDF commandos brutally kicking their captive, who is clearly posing no threat to them, and then firing four shots downward, shows these commandos were on the ship with intent to kill and injure, and that is what they did. They were certainly not kicking and shooting here to protect their lives. This looks more like a Rodney King moment than self-defense.”
Indeed, the video is among a growing batch of evidence, as footage captured by journalists aboard the flotilla slowly leaks out to the public, that the official Israeli version of the raid -- the commandos met with fierce resistance while boarding the ship and were forced to fire in self-defense, which has been universally contradicted by eyewitness reports from peace activists on board the Mavi Marmara -- simply isn't true. These latest images of a defenseless American being beaten mercilessly and then shot have created a stir. The clip was shared on social networking website Digg.com 975 times, and viewed by thousands. In comments listed under the clip and in reactions posted elsewhere online, angry Americans have called upon the US government to take action against Israel for the killing of its citizen under such circumstances.
Their complaints may go unheeded, however, as the US administration continues to respond only timidly to the actions of its ally Israel, no matter how illegal or inhumane they are. As Lindorff wrote in his report, “So far, President [Barack] Obama and the White House and State Department have made no condemnation of Israel's illegal and murderous attack in international waters on a civilian ship … of a NATO ally.” It remains to be seen whether this video will become a smoking gun in the evidence against the Israeli army, proving that the soldiers boarded the aid-laden ship of volunteers not just illegally, but with murderous intent.
17 June 2010, Thursday TODAY’S ZAMAN İSTANBUL
"Tindakan itu akan menyebabkan negara akan kehilangan sebuah pangkalan pertahanan di tengah bandar sedangkan ia merupakan satu elemen penting kepada pertahanan nasional yang menepati konsep dan perlaksanaan pertahanan menyeluruh (Hanruh).
"Amat tidak wajar pangkalan pertahanan yang begitu strategik digadaikan semata-mata untuk memenuhi kepentingan kroni pihak yang berkuasa sedangkan pangkalan pertahanan udara seperti di Sungai Besi masih dikekalkan di kebanyakan negara maju," katanya.
Ahli Parlimen Pokok Sena itu menegaskan, pangkalan TUDM di Sungai Besi bukannya sekadar ruang-ruang pejabat malah ia adalah pusat operasi tentera udara serta pusat integrasi maklumat radar pertahanan udara di bawah tanah dengan hubungan terus dari Butterworth di utara, Kuantan di timur dan maklumat radar mobile dari Bukit Ibam yang mana masa yang begitu lama terpaksa diambil untuk memastikan sistem tersebut betul-betul berfungsi dengan baik dan tepat.
"Pangkalan itu juga merupakan pusat sistem MADGE (Malaysia Air Defence Ground Environment) yang menggunakan sistem Hughes Air Defence Radar," katanya.
Mahfuz juga mempersoalkan apakah jaminan kerajaan tentang jurang masa pemindahan (transfer gap time) yang mana akan melibatkan beberapa tahun lagi untuk proofing dan commissioning.
"Itu belum lagi diambilkira kosnya sedangkan segala kos yang tersembunyi dalam proses pemindahan itu akhirnya terpaksa ditanggung oleh TUDM, angkatan tentera dan rakyat Malaysia," katanya.
Beliau juga mempersoalkan tentang risiko pemindahan Electronic Warfare Support Centre (EWSC) memandangkan fasiliti tersebut amat sensitif dan kritikal sehingga terpaksa membuka kasut untuk masuk ke dalamnya.
"Mengapa kerajaan buat-buat tidak sedar mengenai perkara itu sedangkan electronic warfare amat penting dan kritikal untuk pertahanan masakini.
"Tidakkah pemindahan demi kepentingan komersil beberapa kroni itu akhirnya akan menjejaskan keupayaan sistem tersebut dalam mengumpul, menafsir, menyebar data-data dan memprogramkan semula electronic warfare termasuk dalam tindak balas elektronik dan langkah-langkah sokongan," Mahfuz mempersoalkan.
Beliau juga yakin, oleh kerana pengkalan tersebut merupakan pusat operasi tentera udara (POTU), akan wujud tempoh tertentu yang mungkin panjang di mana negara kehilangan kawalan semasa proses pemindahan fasiliti penting itu.
Beliau juga mempersoalkan mengapa tiada sebarang maklumat ke mana pemindahan akan dibuat dan Menteri Pertahanan, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi hanya mengumumkan pangkalan tersebut akan dipindahkan ke satu tempat yang telah dikenal pasti dan beliau akan umumkan apabila tiba masanya kelak.
"Bagaimana pula maklumat tentang kos perolehan , kos tidak langsung dan pampasan?" soal beliau.
Mahfuz juga mempersoalkan, adakah kerajaan akan mengulangi kesalahan yang dilakukan berkali-kali sebelum ini apabila ia menyisihkan komuniti tentera dari bandar seperti menjual Kem Majidee, Kem Transit Ampang, Markas 2 Div di Pulau Pinang, Kuarters Tentera di Batu Uban sehingga mengakibatkan negara ketiadaan fasiliti back up yang penting untuk keselamatan negara.
"Adakah tentera negara kita hanya layak tinggal di pedalaman dan dalam kuarters flat tanpa halaman?
"Mengapa hendak dimusnahkan keadaan pangkalan Sungai Besi yang kemas dan tersusun dengan binaan kuarters yang selesa dan dengan infrastruktur yang tersedia untuk memberi pulangan kepada beberapa kroni untuk membuat binaan konkrit yang bakal menjadi satu lagi projek gajah putih memandangkan ruang pejabat di Kuala Lumpur pun berlebihan tanpa mengambil kira ruang-ruang yang pejabat yang tidak digunakan di Bangsar South, Petaling Jaya, Cyberjaya dan lain-lain," Mahfuz mempersoalkan lagi.
Penggadaian pangkalan TUDM di Sungai Besi yang begitu established memusnahkan peninggalan sejarah yang penting dalam pertahanan negara sedangkan ia adalah pangkalan udara yang pertama di negara ini, kata beliau.
Ulasan: Perang masa depan bukan lagi di hutan kerana kroni telah mempupuskan hutan. Negara maju sedar mengenai hal ini dan bersedia menghadapinya. Kita pula mundur tidak, maju pun tidak, perasan sendiri sudah maju tapi pemikiran yang ada ialah untuk jual tapak strategik pertahanan negara untuk membuncitkan perut sendiri dan kroni. Minda masih kolot walaupun fizikal rasa macam maju.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
That conclusion rests on the Israeli government' status as an occupying power in Gaza, which assigns it certain obligations to the people of Gaza.
Those obligations are spelt out in detail by the Fourth Geneva Convention. At their most basic, though, they require Israel to provide for the basic needs of the people, particularly food and medical care.
To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.
The convention also requires the occupying power to allow sufficient shipments of aid - food, clothing, medical supplies and other essentials - and to take steps to preserve the health care system in the occupied territory.
Many Gazans rely on generators for power; their improper use has killed more than 100 people
Israel does not meet those basic requirements, according to many observers. Eighty per cent of people living in Gaza rely on food aid to survive; 14 per cent of children suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition.
Power cuts are routine: 98 per cent of the population copes with routine blackouts. Fuel supplies are heavily restricted.
More than 100 basic medicines are unavailable in Gaza, and the territory’s few remaining hospitals - several were damaged during the 2008-2009 Israeli war in Gaza - lack basic supplies and equipment.
But didn't Israel withdraw from Gaza? How is it still an occupying power?
It’s true that the Israeli government no longer has a presence inside the Gaza Strip. Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon ordered the withdrawal of all Israelis (including both soldiers and settlers) from the territory in his 2005 "unilateral disengagement plan".
But the Fourth Geneva Convention applies whenever a state has "effective control" over a territory. The Israeli government still controls Gaza’s airspace, and its land and sea borders. The only goods and people allowed into Gaza are those approved by the Israeli government.
Last month’s raid on the aid flotilla bound for Gaza is an instructive example. The organisers of the flotilla say their boats were on course to travel through Gazan waters, not Israeli waters. But the Israeli army still attacked the flotilla to prevent it from entering Gaza - showing that Israel maintains control over Gaza.
If there was no occupation, would the blockade still be illegal?
The principle of “proportionality” is central to international law: The military advantage gained by an action must outweigh the harm caused to the civilian population.
Douglas Guilfoyle, a maritime legal expert, says the blockade does not meet the proportionality test.
The blockade does not meet this test. It imposes hardships on the entire population of Gaza - 1.5 million people - purportedly in order to achieve a limited military aim: preventing Hamas from firing rockets at Israel.
What’s more, documents revealed last week by the Israeli human rights organisation Gisha show that the blockade actually has a political aim, not a military one. A written statement from the Israeli government described the blockade as "economic warfare" and said it was intended to break Hamas’s control over the government in Gaza.
What about the Egyptian government?
The Egyptian border crossing with Gaza, at Rafah, has been mostly sealed since Hamas took power in June of 2007. (The Egyptian government reopened the crossing earlier this month following Israel’s raid on the aid flotilla.)
But Egypt is not an occupying power in Gaza - it does not exercise "effective control" over the territory - so, whatever the moral and political arguments against its blockade, it is not required to apply the same legal standard as Israel.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has described Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip as a violation of the Geneva Conventions and called on the Israeli government to lift it.
In a statement released on Monday, the organisation called the blockade "collective punishment", a crime under international law. It described Gaza as a territory plagued by frequent power cuts, a ruined economy, and a collapsed health care system.
"The closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is about to enter its fourth year, choking off any real possibility of economic development," the ICRC said.
"Gazans continue to suffer from unemployment, poverty and warfare, while the quality of Gaza's health care system has reached an all-time low."
Israeli officials insist that they provide enough "humanitarian aid" to cover Gaza's basic needs.
But the ICRC said the meagre list of goods allowed into Gaza doesn't meet the needs of the territory's 1.5 million inhabitants.
Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, the head of the ICRC's Middle East operations, told Al Jazeera that the organisation - which traditionally remains neutral - was reluctant to publicly criticise the blockade. But she said three years of quiet efforts to ease the embargo did not result in any progress.
"The result has not been what we expected, and we thought that after three years the situation was dire enough, serious enough, to speak out publicly to try to break this closure of Gaza," she said.
The shortages are particularly dire in Gaza's health care system, where the ICRC said more than 100 essential medicines - including chemotherapy and hemophilia drugs - are unavailable. Many basic medical supplies, like colonoscopy bags, are also barred from Gaza and routine blackouts cause damage to medical equipment.
"The state of the health-care system in Gaza has never been worse," Eileen Daly, the ICRC's health co-ordinator in Gaza, said.
"Thousands of patients could go without treatment, and the long-term outlook will be increasingly worrisome."
'Unacceptable and counterproductive'
In Luxembourg on Monday, foreign ministers from the European Union condemned the Gaza blockade as "unacceptable and counterproductive," and called for immediate and unconditional opening of crossings for humanitarian aid.
"The most important part of what we can do is to try and provide support to actually get the crossings open and to ... help people rebuild their homes, to provide for businesses, to try to support everyday things," Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign affairs chief, said.
Tony Blair, the EU's Middle East envoy, expressed hope that an agreement with Israel could be reached within days to allow more material goods into Gaza.
"I hope we are now in a position to move forward in this way. First of all ... whilst Israel will maintain the blockade on weapons and combat material coming into Gaza, that we will change the situation so that those goods that are necessary for ordinary civilian life are brought into Gaza," Blair said.
In other words, we change from the so-called permitted list of items, where things only come in if they are on that list, to the prohibited list - where things come in unless they are on that list."
B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, released its own report on Monday documenting dire conditions in the Palestinian territories. The group noted that 95 per cent of Gaza's factories have closed, that 98 per cent of residents suffer from blackouts, and that 93 per cent of Gaza's water is polluted.
Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, on Sunday called for an end to the blockade.
But the bulk of the ICRC's criticism was directed at Israel's blockade. In addition to the health care problems, the ICRC noted that 40 per cent of Gaza's residents are not connected to a sewage system, and that restrictions on movement have driven many farmers and fishermen into poverty.
One-third of Gaza's farmland is located in a "buffer zone" controlled by the Israeli army, and boats are only allowed to fish within three nautical miles of Gaza's coast.
The ICRC demanded that both Israel and the Hamas government "allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage" of aid shipments to Gaza. Hamas has refused to accept 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid seized from the flotilla of aid ships attacked last month by the Israeli army….
The details of the report indicate that the Israeli government set up a team to contact the Jewish community and another team to contact the media. The aim of the efforts was to win over the public through sharing the Israeli version of the story. The public diplomacy center set up various websites and opened accounts on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc., to defend the Israeli government’s actions. In the media, it was stated that the Israeli government did not want to identify the websites as official sites.
On Saturday Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan castigated some Turkish media outlets for their pro-Israeli coverage of the story. Some Turkish journalists also accused Hurriyet, the most influential daily, of taking a stand with Israel. I am sure Israeli officials from the contact center reached out to the Turkish Jewish Diaspora to defend the Israeli government’s action. What I am not sure of is how much of the Turkish media reporting is influenced by the Jewish community in Turkey.
When it comes to the mechanics of the Israeli PR campaign, it seems that they would get a positive outcome. With this strategy the Israeli government would win some support from leaders as well. Yet when it comes to the language of the PR campaign, Israel is not on the side of the winners. There are a few problems in the Israeli PR language.
First, the Israeli government tries to portray the Turkish human rights activists as terrorists. I have been closely monitoring the activities of the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH), who cannot be labeled terrorists. Such language would only help al-Qaeda or other terror organizations justify their actions. In fact millions of Turks consider the İHH to be a humanitarian organization and would not buy such an argument. Once a country like Israel or the US starts accusing organizations like the İHH of being a terror organization, it would automatically make people think, if the İHH is a terror network, who are the terrorists? Not distinguishing the İHH from terrorists would harm the US war on terror around the world, as well.
Second, the government of Israel, thanks to Erdoğan’s angry rhetoric, tries to portray the flotilla incident as if it is a problem between Turkey and Israel. Israel will not be the winner of this strategy because the continuing confrontation between Israel and Turkey would benefit the Erdoğan government and make it stronger than ever. It means that Israel would have to wait yet another four years to have normalized relations with Turkey.
Third, the continuation of the crisis is increasing the pressure to have normal relations with Israel. As the confrontation continues, the Turkish press is digging down into the history of the bilateral relations and is finding tons of absurdities in favor of Israel. The deepened relations during the Feb. 28, 1997 coup period are especially full of absurdities. For instance, the Turkish press has found that Turkish military facilities were open to Israeli soldiers. In a normal country it would perceived as part of a common procedure but In Turkey, noncommissioned military officers and many Turkish citizens are not allowed enter into those facilities. If the Israeli government thinks that Israel could afford to lose Turkey, they should continue to use the tone of language they have been using in the last two weeks. But if they think that at any time in the future Israel may need Turkey, they should reconsider their language and try to dampen the tone of the rhetoric they have been using.
15 June 2010, Tuesday
by EMRE USLU
Monday, June 14, 2010
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 June 2010 17.33 BST
Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara, May 31st 2010 // 15 min. from Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo. Warning: contains graphic scenes
New footage has emerged of the Israeli assault on a convoy of aid ships headed to Gaza in which nine activists were killed.
The high-quality film was reportedly recorded by New York-based documentary maker Iara Lee aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship that bore the brunt of the Israeli attacks.
Israel attempted to confiscate all footage recorded by participants in the Gaza Freedom flotilla – including taking away mobile phones – but Lee managed to smuggle one hour of video out of the country by hiding it in her underwear, it was reported.
The 15 minutes of film posted online shows the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos' assault on the Mavi Marmara.
At one stage, the captain of the boat can be heard over the public address system saying: "Do not show resistance … They are using live ammunition … Be calm, be very calm." Gunshots can be heard.
The film includes footage of an Israeli inflatable boat carrying commandos, and troops can be seen rappelling from a helicopter on to the Mavi Marmara. While they do so, two men on the Marmara can be seen using catapults aimed at the soldiers, who are high above them, although the projectiles they are firing cannot be ascertained.
At one point, a passenger on the boat says to the camera: "[The activists] hold two soldiers down here, bleeding and wounded." One soldier can be seen being carried down the stairs of the vessel. In an interview with Democracy Now, Lee said the soldiers were injured in the commotion. "They got treatment by our passengers," she said.
A number of passengers are shown in the video receiving medical treatment for wounds, including one man being resuscitated. He does not appear to respond. At the end of the footage a woman can be heard shouting: "We have no guns here, we are civilians taking care of injured people. Don't use violence, we need help."
Lee described the attack as terrifying. "[The Israelis] came to kill," she said. "They wanted to take over the ship."
More than 600 pro-Palestinian activists were detained by Israel in the 31 May raids on the aid convoy. There was global condemnation of the assault but Israel claimed its troops acted in self-defence after coming under attack from members of an "extremist" Turkish group.
It announced on Monday it would conduct an internal investigation into the incident, defying pressure for a thorough international inquiry.
The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions said any inquiry set up by Israel should include "all video and other records of the incident, including those confiscated from civilians". Philip Alston said it must be able to interview all key witnesses, including military personnel.
"Any inquiry set up by Israel to investigate the Gaza flotilla incident must be given a genuine capacity to find the facts. Without that capacity an inquiry will simply not be considered credible."
Alston said the inquiry must be independent of government, have full legal authority to investigate and make its final report open to the public
After the news hit Israel that commandoes stormed the aid flotillas and seized control, Israeli civilians threw impromptu celebrations. They waved Israeli flags and honked their car horns. Later, official parades and demonstrations by grade school kids filled the streets, extolling the heroism of the commandoes who stopped relief aid from entering Gaza.
We sound just like Israel. Henry Siegman, in Haaretz, says he called a lifelong friend in Israel after the flotilla attack. He wanted to know the mood of the country. Knowing that his friend was an Israeli right-winger, Siegman says he was still unprepared for his response. The friend said, "in a voice trembling with emotion," that the world's condemnation of Israel was just like the days of Hitler. Siegman was shocked because he, like most of the world, recognizes the tremendous evil and injustice being perpetrated by Israel. To those inside Israel, however-like those inside the American pro-Zionist camp-the truth seems nowhere to exist!
"A million and a half civilians have been forced to live in an open-air prison in inhuman conditions for over three years now, but unlike the Hitler years, they are not Jews but Palestinians," Siegman writes, seeming astonished. "Fully 80% of Gaza's population lives on the edge of malnutrition, depending on international charities for their daily nourishment. According to the UN and World Health authorities, Gaza's children suffer from dramatically increased morbidity that will affect and shorten the lives of many of them. This obscenity is a consequence of a deliberate and carefully calculated Israeli policy aimed at de-developing Gaza by destroying not only its economy but its physical and social infrastructure while sealing it hermitically from the outside world."
Israel reoccupied Gaza and the West Bank in the 1967 war and has remained in power there ever since. The UK Mirror calls it "one of the most desperate places on earth." Lack of medical supplies and training keep Gazans in crisis. The Mirror's June news story tells of a woman whose newborn died because she couldn't reach the Israeli hospital-one hour away. "Gazans must pay extortionate rates to buy essential items like lightbulbs, kettles and tea, which are smuggled from Egypt at extortionate prices. Around 300 tunnels have been dug from Egypt into Gaza to do this." Egypt is currently building a steel underground wall to prevent even this exploitative relief.
Americans moan about "The Great Recession" with national unemployment at less than 10 percent. Gazans would shake their heads at us. Their unemployment rate is at least 45 percent."Hundreds of Gazans have not been able to rebuild homes destroyed in the invasion as they cannot obtain the building materials, and children are forced to attend school in shifts. Farmers are unable to plough their lands and fishermen are restricted to a tiny area now empty of fish. And much of Gaza's sewage is pumped into the sea because sanitation facilities are poor."
Harmony Daws is a staff writer and researcher for the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.
by Berdal Aral
Berdal Aral, an international law expert who teaches at İstanbul’s Fatih University, has said that Israel has been increasingly criticized by the world community and that it is more vulnerable than before because of its actions.
“Israel now has committed new crimes and is not as untouchable as before. Almost all countries in the word have been critical of its latest attack in one way or another,” he told Today’s Zaman for Monday Talk regarding Israel’s attack on May 31 which killed nine people and wounded several dozen on an aid ship carrying activists from more than 30 countries.
Israel claims that it acted in self-defense while attacking the ship, which was in international waters and carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
The Turkish government said that it will implement several measures against Israel and will seek options to have the Israeli officials responsible for the tragedy tried in court.
Aral responded to our questions regarding what those options might be.
Would you first explain what legal violations occurred in Israel’s attack on the aid flotilla?
There are two dimensions to it. One of them is the dimension of piracy. There was a military attack on a vessel in international waters. At the end of the attack, the ship was confiscated, people were dead and wounded, force was used while bringing people to the Israeli port, the freedom of communication of the people in the vessel was restricted, they were arrested and they were badly treated while under arrest. And we know that the nine people who were killed were Turkish. So we can talk about the applicability of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) here. There is a great harm inflicted on the Turkish citizens.
‘Israel now has committed new crimes and is not as untouchable as before. Almost all countries in the word have been critical of its latest attack in one way or another. Israel was morally condemned, and intellectuals and the press have been critical of it’
What is the second dimension?
In international law, there is a category of “crimes against humanity.” We know that there were at least nine people murdered and about 50 people wounded. Indeed, this is state terror against people who were carrying out a nonviolent humanitarian mission.
The Turkish prosecutors have taken the testimonies of the activists who were released by Israel and returned Turkey. Do you expect them to file a case?
In order to open an investigation, the Justice Ministry must request one under the relevant TCK article. The defendants here would all be officials, from the Israeli defense minister and other high-level officials who made the decision to the generals who implemented that decision. The TCK’s Article 76 -- on genocide crimes -- and Article 77 -- crimes against humanity -- allow action against Israel’s crimes, but again a request from the Ministry of Justice is needed. These articles exist in Turkey’s recently revised TCK as part of its efforts to come in line with universal legal standards. As a result of any decision to try Israeli officials, those Israeli officials would be banned from entering Turkish territory, and of course there would be political consequences.
We see that there has not yet been such a demand from the Justice Ministry. What does that indicate?
There has not been yet a widespread realization that you can go to national courts for crimes against humanity. This is a fairly new phenomenon. And there is another factor in that Turkey has become a more democratic country in the last 10 years and has adopted universal legal norms in its laws. I don’t know if the Justice Ministry would act out of concerns regarding the law or if it will make a political decision. Turkey’s decision will also depend on Israel’s stance. If Israel continues its stubborn stance and does not care about international law, refuses to apologize and does not accept an international investigation into the incident, then Turkey could bring Israel to court. This also depends on whether Turkey wants to burn bridges with Israel or not.
‘There were nationals from 32 countries in the vessel; Israel committed crimes against humanity there’
What can Turkey do in the international arena?
The government has some options. Turkey already went to the United Nations Security Council, which released a statement, although it was not as harsh of a condemnation as Turkey had demanded. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence, called for “a full investigation to determine exactly how this bloodshed took place” and urged Israel to “provide a full explanation [of the matter].” He also said that the underlying problem behind the raid was the blockade of Gaza, which he described as “counter-productive, unsustainable and wrong.” Turkey also demanded removal of the blockade of Gaza. Turkey has seen this crisis as an opportunity to lead to the lifting of the blockade of Gaza. The Turkish Parliament’s declaration states that “economic, political and military actions are expected to be taken.”
Can Turkey ask the UNSC to consider sanctions on Israel?
This is possible, but the United States would not support it. And if one permanent member of the UNSC opposes a UNSC draft resolution, that resolution does not pass. Turkey could go to the UN General Assembly. There were nationals from 32 countries in the vessel; Israel committed crimes against humanity there. As there has been a huge reaction from the world, if the UNSC could not pass a resolution regarding sanctions against Israel, then the General Assembly could be called to convene to discuss how to handle this act by Israel. The General Assembly can pass a resolution recommending an embargo against Israel with a two-thirds majority. This embargo can be economic, political or can be about suspending diplomatic relations with Israel.
‘The government has some options. Turkey already went to the United Nations Security Council, which released a statement, although it was not as harsh of a condemnation as Turkey had demanded. Turkey also demanded the removal of the blockade of Gaza.’
Ankara plans on appealing to the International Crimes Court [ICC] in The Hague to ask it to launch an investigation into the Israeli raid of the Gaza aid flotilla. Are there any problems with that?
Neither Turkey nor Israel endorsed the Rome Statute of the ICC; 110 states are party to the statute. The court can exercise jurisdiction only under some circumstances: where the person accused of committing a crime is a national of a state party or where the person’s state has accepted the jurisdiction of the court; where the alleged crime was committed on the territory of a state party or where the state on whose territory the crime was committed has accepted the jurisdiction of the court; or where a situation is referred to the court by the UN Security Council. Israel is not a party to the statute and the crime was committed in international waters. The UNSC could refer the situation to the court, but will it happen? Turkey is probably going to request that.
But is it possible to be taken seriously while Turkey still refrains from endorsing the Rome Statute of the ICC?
The important thing here is the endorsement of the statute by the defendant, which is Israel. If Israel had endorsed the statute, it would not matter whether or not Turkey did. There is no legal aspect of this discussion, but there is of course a moral argument.
‘UNSC has had more than 230 resolutions against Israel since its foundation’
Can other states file cases in their own countries regarding the situation?
They can because this is a crime against humanity. Every country has authority in that regard. Additionally, different civil society groups all over the world could come together and enforce an embargo on Israel by not using Israeli products, or academics all over the world could choose not to communicate with Israeli academics. In the UK, for example, some British unions do not communicate with their Israeli colleagues. The logic is that a majority of the Israeli public supports Israel’s policies of aggression. Public opinion polls show that 90 percent of the Israeli public had supported Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza.
What does international law say about interference on a vessel in international waters?
International law does provide that warships may interfere with the passage of ships flying the flag of another state in limited circumstances on the high seas, such as if there are reasonable grounds to suspect it of engaging in piracy or the slave trade. This provision is included in the 1958 Convention on the High Seas, to which Israel is a party.
The London-based Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights group says that the International Maritime Organization’s 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation -- to which Israel is also a party -- likely also renders the Israeli navy’s actions unlawful.
The convention indicates that any person commits an offense if that person unlawfully and intentionally seizes or exercises control over a ship by force or threat thereof or any other form of intimidation or performs an act of violence against a person on board a ship if that act is likely to endanger the safe navigation of that ship or injures or kills any person.
In the end the important thing would be what was done rather than what was intended, right? Israel would not care much about just words.
Israel has not been punished by the international community for its reckless acts. The UNSC has passed more than 230 resolutions against Israel since its foundation. In these resolutions Israel was either condemned or banned for doing something -- it condemned Israeli’s attacks against Lebanon, demanded immediate Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and deplored Israel’s changing of the status of Jerusalem. These are the resolutions. There are also a number of draft resolutions vetoed by the United States. The issue which probably kept the UNSC the most busy in the last 60 years is the actions of Israel, which has only 25,000 square kilometers of land. The UNSC has also adopted a number of resolutions saying that the strategic relationship with the United States encourages Israel to pursue aggressive and expansionist policies and practices.
Meanwhile, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) has called on the European Union and European governments to immediately ban the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) on the basis that “organizations affiliated with and used as a front for terrorist groups like Hamas and al-Qaeda must be outlawed, with immediate effect.” How do you evaluate this?
The İHH is not an armed group. Everybody knows that. It is a civil society organization that has aid operations in more than 100 countries. It does not bring aid only for Muslims. It has done many surgical operations in Africa to aid the impoverished. It digs wells and provides educational activities in Latin American countries. The Jewish organization’s efforts show that they lack morality and respect for the law. They have the courage to say the complete opposite of the facts that are known by everybody. This is very bad news for Israel, that some organizations supporting Israel’s policies are drifting far away from the international community.
‘Goldstone report demanded end to Gaza blockade’
When there are brutal killings by Israel, which has all the weapons and power, it is hard to talk about the other side’s sins. But there is an issue that remains open for discussion. It is about how leaders or countries are selective regarding it. The famous Goldstone report details how brutal Israel’s attacks were in Gaza, and at the same time it accused both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan talks about only one side’s wrongs. Doesn’t he need balance here?
The Goldstone report talks about Hamas’ rockets that fall on Israelis. No matter how primitive those rockets are, they have a psychological effect on the Israeli side even if they don’t always kill people. Erdoğan must have told Hamas not to launch such attacks. The thing is that Israel forces Palestinians to respond to its brutality, and when Palestinians do respond the Israeli side tells the world, “See, I told you they are terrorists.”
What do you expect next? Is there a possibility that Israel could accept an international investigation into its latest attack?
Israel already said that it wouldn’t accept an international investigation. Israel did not cooperate at the time the Goldstone report was prepared. But the report created a worldwide uproar. It is an important report because it was accepted at the UN General Assembly. Secondly, Richard Goldstone is of a Jewish background, he has had close ties with some Israeli institutions before, he has prestige and credibility. His report was 600 pages and detailed Israel’s war crimes, supported by evidence. The report demands that the Gaza blockade by Israel should end. It also demanded that the issue of Israel’s war crimes in Gaza should be independently investigated in Israel, and if not the issue should be brought to the UNSC, and that the UNSC should open the way for an ICC trial. Israel, now that it has committed new crimes, is not as untouchable as before. Almost all countries of the word have been critical of its latest attack in one way or another. Some of them responded harshly -- like Nicaragua, which severed its diplomatic ties with Israel -- and some of them were not so harsh in their reactions, like the European states. But Israel was morally condemned, and intellectuals and the press were critical of it. It is the beginning of an end for Israel. Turkey also had a big role as a catalyst to spur the international community to action in that regard. We have to wait and see what else the Turkish government is going to do.
What are the expectations?
If the government does not implement the measures that it has been talking about, it would lose its credibility. If Israeli soldiers continue to train in Turkish airspace, if Israeli firms continue to be selected for defense projects, if Israel has communication stations in Turkey, etc., then the government’s believability would be harmed.
14 June 2010, Monday
YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN İSTANBU
[PROFILE] Berdal Aral:
He has been a professor at Fatih University since 2000 concentrating on international law. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow in 1994. His first book, “Uluslararası Hukukta Meşru Müdafaa Hakkı” (Right of Self Defense in International Law), was published in 1999. He also published “The Geopolitical and Economic Transition in Eurasia: Problems and Prospects” in 2004 (together with Vildan Serin and Hızır Murat Köse). His most recent publications are “Reading International Law through the Invasion of Somalia” in Text Vol. 5, No. 1, Nov. 2009, and “Turkey in the UN Security Council: Its Election and Performance” in Insight Turkey, Vol. 11, No. 4, Nov. 2009.