Tuesday, June 8, 2010

U.S. now wants international investigation of Gaza flotilla attack (and about a hundred reasons Israel can't investigate itself)

Ha'aretz is now reporting the the United States wants an international investigation rather than an entirely internal Israeli probe into the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre:
" "International participation in investigating these matters will be important to the credibility that everybody wants to see," said U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley on Tuesday. "We are discussing with Israel and others the prospective nature of international participation in the investigation. And we're sharing different ideas on how to best accomplish that." "We want to see an impartial, credible, prompt, thorough investigation. We recognize that international participation, which lends itself to countries and entities being able to vouch for the results of the investigation - will be an essential element to putting this tragedy behind us," he went on to say."
That means that emails calling for an international investigation are more important than ever in order to bolster this effort--click here to send an email! This news comes as evidence continues to accumulate that the Israeli government has been putting out a heavy batch of misinformation, doctored evidence, and outright lies to defend its attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Here's a few of the most egregious reasons why the Israeli government can't be trusted to investigate itself: 1) Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com covers the way in which Israel confiscated journalist's footage, released heavily edited footage, refused to release raw footage, and other journalistic manipulations. The Guardian has more on Israel's footage tampering. 2) Inter Press Service covers the Israeli media blackout of abducted journalists and wounded flotilla activists, as well as contradictions between eyewitness accounts and the version of events being propounded by Israeli pundits. 3) Max Blumethal reports on the IDF's admission it doctored an audio clip purported to be a radio communication between Israeli naval vessels and the flotilla, and comments that "The lesson of the debacle is that nothing the IDF says can be trusted by anyone." Blumenthal also notes that Israel was forced to retract its claim that activists on board the flotilla were affiliated with Al Qaeda, although the "terrorist" smear is still being used in an attempt to discredit activists. The Washington Post quotes Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan in response to this allegation: "If there were any terrorists, then why were they set free?" The U.S. State Department, in a press briefing on June 2, noted that the United States could not validate any links between the Turkish humanitarian organization IHH and Al Qaeda, contrary to Israeli claims, and that IHH is not listed as a terrorist organization by the United States. So much for the vaunted intelligence sharing between the U.S. and Israel? 4) Israeli military claims about the nature of the military response have also repeatedly proven to be inaccurate or deliberately misrepresented. These include Israeli claims that soldiers were armed only with paintball guns, that they were shot at from the ship, and that they did not shoot until attacked. In addition to eyewitness accounts that the Israeli military fired on the flotilla ship before boarding, no evidence that soldiers were fired on has been produced; the early claim that an IDF soldier had been shot with a non-IDF gun was later contradicted by an IDF soldier who claimed he drew his 9mm to shoot at an attacker (the same gun that supposedly was not an IDF weapon); and autopsies show that most of those killed were shot multiple times at point-blank range in what the Guardian says "undermines Israel's insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists." 5) Finally, numerous reports point to the misrepresentations and propaganda that the Israeli government has put forward about the situation in Gaza. This post by Charles Davis at the firedoglake blog sums it up well: "So all the equipment the IDF found was equipment they regularly allow to enter Gaza, except for all the equipment they found that they regularly forbid to enter Gaza." Of course, all of this is almost secondary to the main point--if the Israeli government has proof that it acted in self-defense and in accordance with international law, why not submit that proof to an independent, international investigation? Instead, the Israeli government is insisting on releasing heavily edited, incomplete footage, distorting evidence, and propagandizing--proving, in case there was any doubt, that a transparent, fair, and accurate "self-investigation" is out of the question. The fact that the Israeli government is going to such lengths to distort the record just reveals a deep seated fear of international law. E-mail the White House and Congress now, and let them know that Israel can't investigate themselves any more truthfully than BP can.