29 June 2010

Bryan Hemming: Masked, Missing and Mossad - Pt II

(The first part 'Bryan Hemming: Masked, Missing and Mossad - Are the Three Connected?' was published at this blog on 14 June 2010)

Last week, an unsolicited link to my last article Missing, Masked and Mossad, filed under the additional heading Disinformation, left me slightly bemused. Had I really joined the shady world of secret agents, government narks and spent hacks spreading lies and propaganda throughout the globe in order to confuse? Misinformed perhaps, ill-informed maybe, but does that amount to disinformation? Time to don the shades and search out a worn Burberry mac. I think not.

Where my speculations lack sufficient hard facts the fault lies with the deliberate withholding of evidence by the Israeli authorities. The eager complicity of the mainstream media to publish so much one-sided propaganda without question only compounded the problem.

More backhanded compliment, than serious charge, if anything, the additional heading proved counter-productive, serving to attract even more readers. After all, with much of it gleaned from official Israeli government public statements, any disinformation was based on disinformation from reliable sources. And we all know who they are.
Past masters of disinformation and self-delusion, the Mossad PR machine and its acolytes had been forced to drastically change course after the IDF had bloodied the decks of the Mavi Marmara with nine dead and many more wounded. The story of daring military success, they had been briefed to expect, had transformed into a nightmare for which none of them was prepared. And it showed.

Nevertheless, after a lot of mutual back-slapping and self-congratulation, within a week they declared themselves winners of the PR war. As if that were the point. Like the Eurovision Song Contest, where everybody gets to vote for their mates. And despite all evidence to the contrary, a slavish and sycophantic press - seeing an Israeli public relations victory as being its own - added to the impression we´d all been Eurovisioned up the Khyber. Anything else would´ve been an admission of failure, as compliant journalists played such a willing role in an ugly slugfest of self-congratulatory abandon.

But difficult questions remained. Not least of all, how can the unnecessary and illegal deaths of nine civilian activists be touted as any sort of success? If political and military successes are to be judged on realising objectives then the entire operation was a huge failure. Any success was won by those who braved the wrath of the IDF to deliver aid to Gaza.

Now the press claim even more successes for everybody, except the flotilla. ´International pressure´ - implying political leaders - forced a reluctant Israel into a promise of a partial lifting of sanctions, the new story goes. The truth is nothing of the sort. Nine men sacrificed their lives to bring to the world´s attention the illegal and inhumane blockade of the 1·5 million citizens of Gaza. Pressure from international leaders, or the MSM, had little to do with relieving it. To suggest otherwise is a despicable lie. The blockade was illegal from the start, and our leaders did virtually nothing against it. By doing nothing they encouraged more illegal acts by Israel.

And once forced to move, how slow they were to pick up the dying torch of freedom, how stingy their words. Boxed into a corner by public outrage they were left with little choice. Nevertheless, they still chose not to condemn Israel outright. ´Israel has the right to self-defence´ is still being touted, only weeks after that same right was denied the crew and passengers of a unarmed vessel sailing through international waters. That´s what disinformation is.

Disinformation is a communications blackout, turned into news blackout, it´s media outlets being commandeered, mobile phones, laptops, cameras and notebooks being stolen. Solely in order to prevent information being released. That´s disinformation. It´s kidnapping, and trying to force the kidnapped to sign papers saying they entered your country illegally. Disinformation is preventing alternative versions of events being heard while the PR machine tries to get the main protagonists reading from the same song sheet.

But, on such a large scale, there could never be enough time to make a bent story straight. Like a charging woolly mammoth forced to turn on a sixpence in a street crowded with shoppers, the machine had become too large and unwieldy. Extensive damage had become unavoidable.

Inconsistencies were always there for the seeing. Out of personal motives, Israeli government ministers and the military were a long way from speaking with one voice. Uncoordinated and incohesive attacks on the activists were cobbled together in a hurry, anything to distract attention from those who had planned and ordered the attack. A dizzying flurry of disinformation that would have us believe it was all a paintball game gone horribly wrong when a gang of Turkish bully boys stepped onto the playground. Or that a kindly group of elite commandos bent on charity work had abseilled onto to the decks of the Mavi Marmara to guide it into port and help distribute aid. But they were doomed to failure however many times they were repeated.

Possibly, the most cynical move of all, was the decoration for bravery of the soldier who proudly claimed to have shot six men at close range. All several times, and some between the eyes or in the back. No need for senior officer recommendations, no eyewitness accounts, no evidence of great valour required, just pin it on his chest. Something for the IDF to be proud of. Netanyahu´s eagerness to award it before knowing the full circumstances, smacks of a move to appease the men serving on the ground. I doubt all are impressed. However undeserved, awarding himself a medal couldn´t have been less perverse. As the main architect of the senseless slaughter, at least it would have been more honest.

But honesty is not Netanyahu´s strong point. Metaphorically, as well as literally, the prime minister of Israel is a balding man trying to convince himself, and the rest of us, he has a full set of hair. When image dictates political policy, we end up with hair mousse and orthodontology instead of coherent planning. To all intents and purposes, Israeli military strategy is now being run by an advertising agency.

Another sign of this can be seen with the Turkel Committee set up to investigate the attack on the Marmara. None of the members have any specialist knowledge of international maritime law or the laws of war according to Haaretz. Once again, these sages - as they have been dubbed - are more about PR than anything. But this time Netanyahu is taking no chances. A former supreme court justice takes the chair. Complete with wheels, the ninety-three year old buffer was pictured sitting in it, wearing pyjamas, in one Jewish daily. A smiling carer standing at his side, he might have just got out of bed for the photo shoot. At least one other member is over seventy. In a tight situation the sympathy vote can make a difference. In a further move to assure the Turks of impartiality his name is Jacob Turkel. Turk-el, geddit? If the committee gets it right no one can complain, if they get it wrong it´s because the senile old sods didn´t know what they were talking about. Works for me. Either way.

And for those who haven´t got it, Netanyahu and his cronies are covering their backs. A proper, impartial inquiry would lay the blame at their doors. Not only was the interception of a civilian vessel in international waters by armed commandos highly illegal, it was madness itself. Quite obviously, possible negative consequences were not on the agenda. Failure was not considered as an option. There was no plan B. Primarily, it was a publicity stunt. And if paintball guns were used, they were intended to add to the party atmosphere. What a laugh! Crew and passengers cowering on the deck before a couple of commandos with toy guns. Of course, they had to have real guns too. Just in case. The world would chuckle along with Israel at the daring of these lads. What they forgot was, that hand to hand fighting isn´t exactly the IDF´s forte anymore. They just send heavily-armed troops in to bulldoze and blast their way through these days, in the face very little resistance. No military officer worthy of his rank would try to land soldiers onto the deck of a ship in this way. Apart from anything, as evidence shows, they put their men at what could´ve been mortal risk were it not for the humanity of their captors. The slaughter started once they realised they were facing total humiliation. If the crew and passengers took even more men captive, which was very likely, they would be in the best bargaining position. Humiliation bred a callous and vindictive desire for bloody revenge. There is little doubt live ammunition was being fired prior to boarding to soften everyone up, but firing upwards from inflatables is not very effective. But once the extent of the disaster was realised, someone had to pay. Nine was the figure.

Attempt at further humiliation revealed the crew and passengers as dignified and courageous in the face of extreme adversity, something that cannot be claimed for the cowards who kicked and beat unarmed men and women after binding their hands behind their backs. Doesn´t paint a pretty picture. That´s why all the cameras, laptops and mobile phones were stolen. Nine men paid with their lives in what was nothing more than a failed publicity stunt. That´s what Netanyahu and Barak don´t want you to know. Both men must be made to understand any inquiry cannot only be framed to satisfy home consumption this time. The idea is for others to believe the propaganda, not the government employing it. If Israel fails to ask relevant questions it cannot suppose others won´t. Whether either likes it or not, Israeli is already on trial, and they should wake up to the reality of the situation

There are other things they don´t want you to know either.

Though hardly mentioned the Western media, Ultra-Orthodox Jews are starting to defy Israeli government in a manner that is threatening Israel´s extremely fragile appearance of democracy. There are things your newspaper isn´t telling you, but there are some that are. Despite difficult surroundings - unless you work under them you don´t know - Haaretz is often at the forefront of highlighting the dangerous precedent of pandering to extremists. Reports of demonstrations leading to violent confrontations with the Israeli police often feature in its columns. In a country where many civilians bear arms things could start to get very ugly.

According to Batsheva Sobelman and Edmund Sanders, reporting for Jerusalem for the the Los Angeles Times, in December Israel´s defence minister clashed publicly with a high-profile rabbi who was encouraging soldiers to disobey military orders to remove Jewish settlers (the italics are mine) from West Bank outposts.

Last week, huge demonstrations involving tens of thousands of Ashkenazi parents protesting at having to send their children to school with Sephardic Jews took place throughout Israel. Thousands of police officers had to be deployed in anticipation of violence. The parents have been accused of racism. Ashkenazis migrated to Israel from Eastern Europe mainly, whereas Sephardic Jews came from North Africa and the Middle East. Many Israelis see the Ashkenazi parents´ defiance as a key test of the Supreme Court and Israel´s commitment to rule of law. Retired Deputy Supreme Court President Mishael Cheshin called the case a "test of democracy". Tzipi Livni, leader of the opposition, not exactly known for lefty leanings, said that flouting a Supreme Court order put Israel "one minute before anarchy." Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) Jews are being seen more and more as a threat, and they don´t seem to care.

Due to an inherent weakness in a Likud desperate to cling onto power, the Knesset has surrendered control of government to a growing ultra-Orthodox right wing that wants to take Israel back to a nineteenth century that never existed. Not to be compared with Amish communities in the US, they have more in common with the Taliban than with the rest of their countrymen, many of whom are tiring of subsidising the extremist lifestyles of such a vociferous and demanding minority. Menachim Friedman of Bar-Ilan University, a sociology professor studying the ultra-Orthodox community, has said: "Netanyahu is dependent on the haredi politicians and he can´t divorce himself now. He will have to decide whether to surrender to the haredim or the Supreme Court decision."
Things are threatening to get out of control, and civil war could become a distinct possibility. With a nuclear first strike capability for the winners, the rest of the world has every reason to be terrified.

Israel has become like an extended family gathering at a reunion after many years apart. Against high hopes and expectations, family members are discovering how much they have grown to hate each other over the years. No longer under real threat from its neighbours the nation is turning in on itself, something it has successfully managed conceal from the rest of the world up until now. Through a series of deadly antics, Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to to focus attention on the domestic front, and things don´t look pretty. A nation deeply divided, constantly on the lookout for fragile compromises to keep themselves together, Israelis are starting to realise they don´t like each other, as much as they thought. Shared Jewishness is no longer a strong enough glue to hold them together. Feeling like foreigners in vast swathes of their own promised land, many liberal Israelis are beginning to accept they have far more in common with liberals in New York, Paris, London - or dare I suggest? - Beruit, Damascus, Istanbul and Tehran than they do with their next door neighbours.

Disinformation: the art of shooting yourself in the foot with one hand while stabbing your best friend in the back with the other.

Two useful links:



17 June 2010

US opposes ICC bid to make 'aggression' a crime under international law

Mmm. Is it even worth bothering asking why? Why should they oppose this?

The CSM itself gives us the reason in the subtitle: "because it could impact US military operations abroad".


In other words, aggression defines 'US military operations abroad', therefore it must be opposed.

However, we find there's nothing to worry about, according to State Department legal adviser Harold Koh, because "the US successfully negotiated the “aggression” statute’s wording so that US forces won’t be susceptible to it. “No US national can be prosecuted for ‘aggression’ while the US is not a signatory” to the ICC".

Phew! That's OK then.

They can carry on making aggressive wars to their hearts content...

14 June 2010

Bryan Hemming: Masked, Missing and Mossad - Are the Three Connected?

Masked, Missing and Mossad - Are the Three Connected?

Six passengers disappear without trace from the crowded deck of a ship. Normally, we might expect family members to report their loss in an incident beamed across the world. As yet, it appears no family members have come forward to report their disappearance. No government has inquired about the loss of its citizens. For all intents and purposes, we can suppose that nobody knew them; they were all loners without family or friends. But it seems impossible that the only ones who disappeared were precisely the same ones who nobody knew. By now, you have guessed the ship was the Mavi Marmara attempting to deliver aid to Gaza.

There is little doubt that when a small, but significant, number of people vanish without trace there has to be a reason. Yet, not a mention by the Israeli authorities of the disappearances, no denial of their existence; no affirmation. Puzzling, when it might be considered to be in Israeli interests to mention them. If they never existed in the first place, the claim they were missing could be touted as yet another piece of propaganda by Hamas to inflate the numbers of the dead.

There have been contradictory statements from other souces. A few days after the attack, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said there were no people missing. That was countered by Bulent Yildrim, chairmen of the Turkish relief organisation IHH, when he told reporters: "However, we have a longer list, there are still people missing". Presumably, he should know. In support of his claim that there was a list of passengers still unaccounted for, Libyan-Irishman Isam Bin Ali, - who had earlier been reported as missing - returned to Ireland and took part in a protest march to the Israeli Embassy. Whether his name was included among the missing six has not been confirmed. The Turkish Prime Minister may have had his reasons for his statement, which I will come to later.

Let´s assume for a moment there are six passengers still unaccounted for from the official passenger list, and try to assess what might´ve happened. The most obvious answer would seem that they went overboard, one way or another. Either they jumped, or fell accidentally, into the sea. They may even have been pushed. If we want to apportion blame, we can even go further and say their corpses were thrown overboard by the IDF in an attempted cover-up. But none of these explanations makes sense. The footage of passengers dropping one IDF commando onto the deck below has been played over and over again, yet nobody has come forward with photos, film, or even a reliable eyewitness account, of other bodies being thrown over the rails. And despite Israeli attempts to confiscate all material of the hi-jacking recorded by activists, a considerable amount managed to escape detection. Footage has been released showing, not only passenger dead and wounded being carried below decks for medical care, where appropriate, but also of injured Israeli soldiers being tended to by medics. None shows more corpses than those already reported and identified as killed. Let´s not forget, we are talking bodies here, not a body. The very lack of evidence belies suppostions that the six went missimg during the fray. The very same six who nobody claims.

There is absolutely no evidence pointing conclusively towards them going missing while the Mavi Marmara was at sea. Even though all passengers can be seen wearing fluorescent life jackets, no bodies have been washed up, nor have any sightings been reported so far. Not so much as a life jacket has been recovered. With such a lack of hard evidence, one would´ve expected someone might use it to demonstrate the six never existed. After all, apart from that pesky passenger list, there is very little to show they did. But, strangely enough, some proof of their existence has emerged from the most unexpected sources.

Within hours of news of the hi-jack reaching our TV screens, carefully controlled Israeli news bulletins, released information claiming the flotilla had been infiltrated by Islamic terrorists before it even left Turkey. Described variously as ´Al Quaeda´, ´Hizbollah´, ´Hamas´, ´Iranian´ and ´Turkish` in a pick ´n mix style of propaganda, they had boarded with the intent of ´lynching´ Israeli commandos as part of an audacious, pre-planned, attack, it was said. No proof of the claim has come to light so far.

By contrast, within days, Israeli sources were offering a completely different version of the same claim. The Washington Post quoted former Mossad agent, Victor Ostrovsky, as saying: "Mossad probably had more than one man on board." Senior IDF officer, Colonel Itzik Turgeman, told Haaretz: "they took care of" the engines of boats. The Guardian quoted an anonymous Israeli Defence Forces spokesman as saying ´grey operations´ were used against the convoy, in reference to the sabotage of at least two ships´ engines. On June 6th, none less than the Jerusalem Post reported Deputy Defence Minister, Manan Vilna'i, as hinting that Israel had sabotaged some of the ships which were meant to take part in a Gaza-bound flotilla.

As it is impossible to sabotage ship engines secretly, without boarding the vessels, it has to be considered the agents managed to escape detection by posing as passengers or members of the crews. Once aboard, it would´ve been so difficult to disembark before setting sail, without raising suspicions, as to be virtually impossible.

If we are to take all this information seriously, whether European, Jewish, Turkish or whatever in origin, it suggests that a number of passengers did go missing. But not at sea. And if they didn´t go missing at sea they had to have gone missing some time after being arrested, kidnapped, captured (choose which ever word suits you) and landed on Israeli shores. As there are no reports of passengers escaping, presumably, they were counted, imprisoned, and interrogated before being released. Just like everyone else. Or not quite like everyone else. Released and ´disappeared´. Some claims published in the media suggest that there could have been a number of agents from Egypt, Turkey and Iran mingling with the passengers (perhaps that might explain the Turkish PM´s statement I refer to earlier). But why not go the whole hog and say MI6, the CIA, and the Man from UNCLE were there? Perhaps everybody was a secret agent. However, as the disappearances could realistically have only occurred following docking in Ashdod, a Mossad presence is most likely.

To further that explanation, we must consider that, had they been members of a group designated terrorist by Israel, there would´ve been a watertight case for hanging on to them. The same would apply to Turkish agents. Apart from supporting the original plot claim -  that there existed a plot to attack the boarding commandos - the world´s press would´ve united in condemning the flotilla and praising the IDF for their daring. The deaths of the innocent would have paled into insignificance. The captured six would´ve been paraded before the world´s cameras in what would´ve been a sensational scoop for a press hungry for Islamic conspiracy.

However, despite Israel´s desperate attempts to sway it, public opinion remains deeply divided over the issue. While the pro-Israeli case descends into incoherent, inconsistent blame, claim and vehement denial; full of ridiculous attacks on friends and foes alike, the pro-Gaza case has been strengthened by dignity and restraint, in the main. If anything, the contrary accounts given by Israel in defence of its actions has spawned Israel´s worse nightmare. Since the attack, support for Gaza has increased immeasurably. The IDF is no longer regarded as invincible and, along with many of his ministers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is beginning to be seen as a liability to even his closest ally. The international isolation he imposed on Gaza, could become reality for Israel itself, as whispers for sanctions against it resound through corridors of power. In such a situation, any conclusive evidence of Islamic terrorist involvement would be plastered over front pages everywhere. We can only conclude there isn´t any.
As the question of whether the flotilla was infiltrated or not is no longer being asked, we can only look at the scant evidence provided so far to surmise which side did the infiltrating. Israel has never denied the ships´ passengers were infiltrated. Far from it, they were the first to suggest they had. Where the issue clouds is over who exactly did the infiltrating? They just seem incredibly uncertain of whether they themselves did it, or whether it was carried out by this or that group of Muslim extremists.

Evidence of a planned attack on the IDF by Islamic terrorists has been presented in the form of photos of knives, wrenches, poles, sticks, and even an axe. Yet, nearly all are tools and equipment to be found on large ships the world over. Most households possess examples of some, if not all of them. That such instruments could be used as weapons cannot be denied. Nobody is denying it. The only question being asked is whether they were used in self-defence or in pre-meditated attack. As further proof of pre-planned action, photos showing a few passengers wearing gas masks have been released. Israelis have claimed these as conclusive proof that these passengers came prepared for violence. On the face of it, it does look as though they came prepared for confrontation. But not necesarily the confrontation claimed by the Israelis. A gas mask only shows the wearer being prepared for a particular type of confrontation involving tear gas and smoke bombs. It does not in itself prove the wearer is bent on attack. Nevertheless, as the majority of passengers seem to have been taken completely by surprise by an attack deploying not only tear gas, but also live ammunition, the fact that some had gas masks, while most didn´t, raises questions. A cynic might suspect the ones wearing masks had more than an inkling of how and when the attack would take place. They might also wonder how they came by such information.

I haven´t counted the number of passengers actually on the deck, which armed IDF commados abseilled down onto, whilst conveninetly being filmed from from many angles, but I would guess they numbered less than fifty. Of those, possibly twenty or so were involved in a real attempt to defend the ship. Most of the others seem to be in a state of panic. If the six missing are dead, then one has to suppose they were in the thick of things. If they were, there is no evidence to show it.

Back to the masks. Donning a gas mask is quite common in military confrontations, especially in situations where it is known the risk of gas being deployed is a real threat. But a gas mask also conceals the face of the wearer. In a situation where many cameras are being brandished, it´s not such a bad precaution, if you don´t want to be recognised as one of the attackers. Yet, in a situation where the identities of the people on board are well-documented, it seems a trifle unnecesary. Unless you were travelling under an assumed identity, that is, and wanted to avoid detection. In a world where we are told identity theft is common amongst secret service operatives, the appearance a real name on a list doesn´t necessarily mean it belongs to the person using it. In the case of cloned passports, families of the missing wouldn´t report missing members as they wouldn´t have gone missing.

Of course, wearing a mask away from the action, as some passengers wearing them seem to have done, might cause so much discomfort, they´d want to remove them. Not removing them might suggest alternative motives for wearing them. There is another advantage to wearing a mask of sorts. As well as concealing identity it can equally serve to identify a person as someone not to be shot at. I have yet to hear of anyone on the Mavi Marmara being shot in the head through a gas mask. From all the evidence admitted so far, it seems none of those shot were wearing them, which suggests the majority were identified before bullets were fired through heads at close range. As no mention has been made of these questions being asked in the in-house inquiry proposed by Israel and the US government, it would appear the the framework has been set to answer only questions where convenient answers already exist. An inquiry where answers dictate the questions is no inquiry at all.

(Additional research by David Sketchley)

Update from Bryan Hemming, 16 July 2010:

In a recent interview with Greta Berlin posted on the Intifada-Palestine site she said that all passengers on the flotilla had been accounted for. She added that there were five seriously ill passengers in hospital, two of whom were not expected to survive. I am very surprised that nobody in the mainstream media bothered to follow the story up. They created it. This is the sort of misinformation and lack of information we constantly come up against. The MSM ignores false claims they make when they find them out to be untrue later. They just pretend they never said it. Nevetheless, they are always eager to publish them without checking fully. We who comment on what they say, or don´t say are held to blame for disseminating the false information they give us. As I have said previously, if it´s disinformation, it´s disinformation from reliable sources.

10 June 2010

The cold-blooded execution of 19 yr-old US citizen Furkan Dogan

Israeli SS stormtroopers cold-bloodedly execute US citizen Furkan Dogan:


Juan Cole's post "Video Shows Israeli Commando Executing American" and Tikun Olam's "IDF Executed Mavi Marmara Victims" both have similar takes.

The 'paintball gun' theory is pure hasbara propaganda...

05 June 2010

‘Israel is a Lunatic State’ – Finkelstein on Gaza Flotilla Attack

01 June 2010

Israel - Terrorist Gangster State

The criminal regime occupying Palestinian land is a putrid sore festering the world. After the attack by the pirate state on a Turkish ship in international waters, with the murder of Turkish nationals we have yet more proof. By their continuous criminal, terrorist actions, Israel has forfeited any legitimacy as a state. The state which was, and is, run by gangsters.

One cannot now stand idly by. The whole world must now stand up and  be counted. I propose that a massive effort be made to gather a massive fleet of hundreds of boats carrying thousands of people to do the same trip to Gaza all at the same time, carrying humanitarian aid to break the blockade. The Israelis will not be able to stop hundreds of boats at the same time.

Meanwhile I urge all who read this to sign the "BRussells Tribunal" petition:

"Appeal of the BRussells Tribunal (31 May 2010)
Please show your solidarity with the people of Gaza and the victims of Israeli killings by signing this appeal at http://www.petitiononline.com/GazaSol/petition.html
Israel’s killing of 19 innocents with 60 more injured must have maximal consequences
Israel impunity is a threat to all
Even for eyes burnt witnessing human suffering, there is something shocking, something impossible, about watching Israeli soldiers, armed and in gas masks, fast-roping from helicopters onto an aid ship filled with civilians journalists, parliamentarians, human rights activists, mothers, doctors headed to Gaza to break the inhuman siege that keeps 1.5 million people somewhere between life and death. 
The Mavi Marmara, carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid, was flying a white flag: a universal symbol of non-violence. It was also flying the Turkish flag, in international waters, giving it status as a sovereign extension of Turkey. Regardless, Israel attacked. For what does Israel fight? Its existence, or the continuance of a regime of collective punishment calculated to destroy the Palestinians? Or are these the same thing? Dead: 19. Injured: 60. Who gave the order? Will NATO react to an attack on one of its members? 
Simple public murder
The right to exist cannot be asserted through murder. The very acceptance of Israel into the United Nations System was in 1948 conditioned on the former recognising the equal rights of Arabs, in particular the right of return of Palestinians. Not only has Israel prevented the return of refugees, it took over by force and occupied in 1967 the rest of historic Palestine. From founding until now we have witnessed an unending catalogue of Israeli atrocities. By these countless atrocities, Israel has forfeited any claim to legality it is moreover a state that refuses to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or consider giving up its nuclear weapons. 
Gaza is both the world’s largest open-air prison and the 21st century’s undeclared concentration camp. Everybody knows it. The UN knows it. The US president knows it. Tens of thousands of civil servants in countries across the world know it. The siege is a way of sealing the exits, and of slow killing. It is an atrocity on the same level as genocide. Here every man and woman has a moral duty: inaction is complicity and a betrayal of humanity. All legal rights are with those who attempt to end this situation by whatever means. 
The Freedom Flotilla is such an attempt: it is a refusal of inhuman suffering. Its symbolism is more powerful than any navy. As such, it remains what it was as it embarked on its journey: a signal of the collapse of the blockade. Where earlier lone vessels tried to reach Gaza, now they go in groups. More will follow. When a thousand ships set sail, what would Israel do?
Israel on trial
Israel lost the battle for international public opinion a long time ago. None can forget the relentless strafing of a captive civilian population in Israel’s last war on Gaza. Who can Israel hope to persuade now? 
    We condemn the illegal, immoral and inhuman blockade on Gaza, and all who uphold it
    We condemn Israel
    We condemn Israel’s brutal attack on peace activists in international waters. We declare that 700 brave souls, from 50 nations, represent something real that Israeli propaganda cannot erase
    We mourn the 19 murdered and express hope and solidarity with the 60 injured. We demand of Israel the release of all activists detained
    We call on all international institutions including the UN, the EU and human rights agencies and organisations to declare themselves unequivocally on this latest Israeli atrocity and to work towards ending Israeli impunity
    We demand an international tribunal to judge all Israeli crimes, past and present. We call on the UN General Assembly to request of the International Court of Justice an advisory opinion on the legality of Israel within the United Nations System given its systematic and gross disrespect of international law and moral authority
    We support all efforts by all means to free the people of Gaza from their prison and their suffering, including sanctions and divestment against Israel, a general boycott, and the boycott by workers federations of all ships going to and from Israel
    We call upon people everywhere to express their solidarity with the dead and injured, and with Palestinians under occupation, in local expressions of outrage wherever it is deemed useful. 
We call on all associations, unions, parliaments, professionals and others to endorse this appeal and its demands. Please distribute and act upon it. 
The BRussells Tribunal Committee
Please circulate this appeal widely and show your solidarity with the people of Gaza and the victims of Israeli killings by signing this appeal at http://www.petitiononline.com/GazaSol/petition.html.  
For information contact: info@brusselstribunal.org