[News] Looting the Victims of the Raid on the Gaza Flotilla

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 18 12:37:12 EDT 2010


http://www.counterpunch.org/heller06182010.html
June 18 - 20, 2010


Looting the Victims of the Raid on the Gaza Flotilla


Grand Theft Flotilla

By STANLEY HELLER

"There's been three or four reports from passengers that Israelis 
then went out with their credit cards and bought beer with it." 
That's what Greta Berlin of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla told me about 
what happened with the possessions of people who were on the seven 
boats of the Flotilla.

The deaths so far have been given major attention (nine at the moment 
and two so badly injured that they're unlikely to live). The 40 or 50 
wounded or beaten (many in Israeli jails) less so. For those who 
appreciated last week's CounterPunch piece by the amazing Kenneth 
Nichols O'Keefe they should see 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeUhwELoKWo&feature=player_embedded>his 
interview when bloodied and beaten as he was let out of Israeli custody.

However, the facts about what the Israelis did with the personal 
possessions of the passengers have received scant notice. This can be 
summed up in a few words: theft, malicious destruction and seizure.

First there's good news, the supplies. It's reported that the U.N. 
will transport " the entire cargo" of the Turkish ships to Gaza [they 
say] . Hopefully the same will happen with the supplies from the 
non-Turkish ships. It's a bitter triumph for the Free Gaza Movement 
and a sign that despite the thousands organized by the Israeli soccer 
club Betar to spew hatred in front of the Turkish Embassy in Israel 
and the opinion polls there showing overwhelming support for the 
raid, Netanyahu is rational enough to see he has to make a concession.

What about the personal property, cameras, computers, Iphones, and 
luggage? According to Greta Berlin some of the electronics were 
returned, all smashed up. Others were not given back at all. The 
Israelis selectively used snippets of passenger video to advance 
their case that the poor Israelis rappelling from the skies were set 
upon by well armed terrorists. The rest of the videotape and flash 
memory cards are kept back, no doubt for THE INVESTIGATION or perhaps 
they were pre-emptively "lost".

Berlin said she received a report from a lawyer working for a Turkish 
organization that over $3.5 million dollars in equipment had been 
destroyed. Clothing, personal items. If a passenger wants to see if 
their luggage was returned they can go to a Turkish warehouse and 
pick though the suitcases packed with random clothing and gear and 
see what they can recover.

They flat out stole money and credit cards. Not a dime has been 
returned of the cash and as has been mentioned some security 
officials are merrily tippling their Lowenbraus and laughing at their 
unwitting benefactors.

Many of the passports have not been returned, especially those from 
Palestinian Israelis. Now, whatever could they do with passports? 
What Mossad bunker have they been shipped to be examined and 
refashioned for use in the next assassination?

Then there are the ships, big expensive ships this time, not the 
little boats of the first few voyages. They sit in Ashdod harbor. 
Supposedly they were to be returned to Turkey within ten days. The 
Free Gaza Movement is afraid the Israelis will demand they first sign 
a pledge never to use them again to bring things to Gaza. They won't 
sign any such pledge of shame. They will be going back. Right now the 
ships sit in the port along a Free Gaza ship the Israeli navy stole last year.

Stealing is not such a big thing. Look at the olive trees that now 
dot the settlements, fine decorations. It used to be that the Israeli 
pioneers would plant fir trees of Europe "to make the desert bloom". 
But with all the olive trees available, with the hundreds of 
thousands being bulldozed out as they army builds the Wall and 
whatnot, why just waste them, why not put them to good use. So the 
fashion is established.

Why doesn't Netanyahu get it over with? Remove the Star of David and 
blue bars from the Israeli flag and hoist up the Jolly Roger.

Piracy pays.

The fly in the ointment is the fact that the Flotilla Massacre 
survivors are speaking out. Or they're trying to. Several of the 
survivors are attempting to speak at the U.N. and at events in the 
U.S. However, a group of powerful NYC politicians are demanding the 
U.S. State Department keep them out. No, it's not neo-cons slandering 
the survivors as having "ties" with terrorists. It's what passes for 
New York liberals.

The New York Daily News says Representative Carolyn Maloney has 
pledged to deliver a petition with more than 23,000 signatures 
demanding the State Department do visa checks of Mavi Marmara ship 
passengers planning a speaking tour. The Congresswoman says she's 
defending the country from "Hamas". At the press conference 
Congressman Jerome Nadler made the claim that the IHH which organized 
the Turkish ships "has long been known for its ties to Hamas and al-Qaeda".

The paper quotes Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel as saying, "Use 
extra caution. Take this threat seriously." What threat, the threat 
that survivors might rip through the steady stream of Israeli 
propaganda? What irony. We have the Congressman from Harlem defending 
the outrageous lies of a country headed by a President (Shimon Peres) 
who in the heyday of apartheid offered to sell nuclear weapons to 
South Africa. This foremost Black Congressman pledges on his website 
"unwavering support" to a country where racism (against Palestinians) 
is open and pervasive.

Malcolm and Martin must be spinning in their graves.

Stanley Heller is host of the news magazine "The Struggle" which can 
be seen at <http://www.TheStruggle.org>www.TheStruggle.org He can be 
reached at <mailto:mail at TheStruggle.org>mail at TheStruggle.org




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