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Year 2010 No. 30, June 7, 2010 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Militant Actions Demand an End to the Siege of Gaza and Zionist Crimes

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

Militant Actions Demand an End to the Siege of Gaza and Zionist Crimes

Gaza Events around the Country

Trade Unions in Letter to The Guardian Demand an End to the Siege on Gaza

A Week of Tragedies
Open Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Freed NUJ Member Speaks Out over Gaza Flotilla Attack

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Militant Actions Demand an End to the Siege of Gaza and Zionist Crimes

More than 20,000 people took to the streets of London on Saturday, June 5, to express their solidarity with the people of Palestine, especially Gaza, and to condemn the Israeli Zionist crimes. This number reflected the scale of the anger and opposition to Israel's actions and the renewed determination to lift the siege of Gaza. This demonstration was a part of a global day of action called by the Palestinian National Committee for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The marchers paid respects to the humanitarian aid workers kill by the commandos of the Israeli Occupation Forces on May 31, as well as expressing solidarity will all the activists who have been detained for aiming to break the blockade of Gaza.

In London, demonstrators marched from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy. The march reflected the breadth of opposition to the Israeli aggression and in support of Gaza. Speeches were given from a number of those who had been on the flotilla. There was also a minute's silence for those killed on the flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara.

Marchers heard eye-witness accounts from those returning from the flotilla, many of whom witnessed passengers dying of gunshot wounds and injuries, as Israeli forces ignored pleas for help. The Director of Campaigns of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Sarah Colborne, paid tribute to the nine Turkish citizens killed by Israel – Furkan Dogan, Ibrahim Bilgen, Ali HaydarBengi, Cevdet Kiliçlar, Çetin Topçuoglu, Necdet Yildirim, Fahri Yaldiz, Cengiz Songür, Cengiz Akyüz. She called on everyone to ensure they had not died in vain by renewing their efforts to end the siege on Gaza and the occupation of Gaza. It should be noted also that many eye-witnesses put the number killed at up to 20 and that other bodies were dumped in the sea. TUC General Council international spokesperson Sally Hunt also spoke at the demonstration.

In Edinburgh, some 5,000 protesters took to the streets in addition to the other local emergency protests that had taken place in dozens of cities and towns.

In Sweden, the Port Workers Union launched a week-long ban on off-loading any goods from Israel in response to the "unprecedented criminal attack on the peaceful ship convoy".

In South Africa, the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), at its Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting on June 4, unanimously endorsed a motion to immediately work towards every municipality in South Africa becoming an Apartheid Israel-free zone. In a press release announcing its decision, SAMWU stated: "As part of the global Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS) SAMWU has agreed to engage every single municipality to ensure that there are no commercial, academic, cultural, sporting or other linkages whatsoever with the Israeli regime. Every SAMWU branch will immediately approach municipal and water authorities to become part of the BDS campaign, and to publicly declare their solidarity with the Palestinian people."

These protests which have taken place around the world have also demanded that the Anglo-American backing and protection of the Israeli Zionists be ended, and statements have pointed out that the Anglo-US imperialists are ultimately responsible for arming the Zionists and then shielding them from international demands for justice.

Article Index

Gaza Events around the Country

From Stop the War Coalition News

Gaza Flotilla Eyewitness Accounts: Rally

This Wednesday, June 9, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign has organised a London rally, supported by many organisations, including Stop the War, at which Gaza flotilla eyewitnesses will report on the Israeli massacre, alongside other speakers. Released hostages have returned home to give accounts that differ greatly from that pushed by Israel in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Contrary to Israel's claim that its soldiers acted in self-defence, witnesses have described how the Israelis shot to kill, with at least four activists being intentionally shot in the head. It has emerged that the truth behind Israel's claim that activists on the boat were armed is that some passengers desperately tried to defend themselves with whatever was to hand after the Israelis began firing live rounds. Witnesses also described how the injured were denied medical treatment for several hours, as Israeli soldiers ignored pleas for help.


Film of Gaza Flotilla Activists' Return

When many of the peace activists returned to London Heathrow airport, film maker Harry Fear was there to record their message. Go to: http://bit.ly/ceEofr

Local Gaza Protests

For video of the Oxford demonstration on 3 June, by Harry Fear, see http://bit.ly/cqEaRV.

* REGIONAL DEMONSTRATION IN MANCHESTER Sunday 13 June: Remember our Fallen Heroes: Free Palestine Full details here: http://bit.ly/da7C7Y

* DEFEND THE GAZA PROTESTORS PUBLIC MEETING Called by the campaign to support those arrested after the demonstrations against Israel's attack on Gaza, December 2008-January 2009 (see http://bit.ly/cy96sL) Tuesday 15 June. 6.30pm. North London Central Mosque 7-11pm, St Thomas' Rd, London N4 2QH. Speakers include Jeremy Corbyn MP, families of defendants, defence lawyers and organisers of the demonstrations.

* BRIGHTON PROTEST SUPPORTING EDO DECOMISSIONERS The trial of the six people charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage at the ITT/EDO MBM offices, to "decomission" a factory in Brighton which produces armaments used by Israel in Gaza, began on 7th June at Hove Crown Court. A demonstration in support of the accused has been called for Wednesday 9 June 2010 at EDO MBM, Home Farm Road 4.00pm-6.00pm. (See http://bit.ly/9q2HGY for background and updates).

Article Index

Trade Unions in Letter to The Guardian Demand an End to the Siege on Gaza

We condemn the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla taking urgently needed aid to the blockaded Palestinian people of Gaza. We condemn the unlawful actions which led to the killing of at least nine peace activists and injuries to many more. We call for an immediate and unconditional end to the Israeli government blockade off Gaza. We call on the British government and the European Union to suspend the EU-Israel association agreement and to end their support for the blockade and collective punishment of the men, women and children of Gaza. We call for support for a policy of boycott of Israeli products, disinvestment from Israeli companies and sanctions against Israel until justice for the Palestinian people has been achieved.

Betty Hunter General secretary, Hugh Lanning Chair, Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Tony Woodley Unite the Union, Dave Prentis Unison, Christine Blower National Union of Teachers, Billy Hayes CWU, Bob Crow RMT, Mark Serwotka PCS

Article Index

A Week of Tragedies

Open Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Felicity Arbuthnot

June 7, 2010

The Prime Minister,
The Rt. Hon. David Cameron M.P.,
No 10 Downing Street.

Dear Prime Minister,

Last Wednesday, 2nd June, for reasons unknown, Derek Bird went on a shooting rampage in a quiet area of Britain's scenic Cumbria, killing twelve people and injuring others. You rightly responded by visiting survivors and those affected, in expression of solidarity and sympathy, with those bereaved and affected, in a tight knit community.

You expressed the bewilderment caused by the terrible, random killings as : "... so unfair and so cruel." The government, you said, "..needs to listen, show that it cares .. to answer questions that people have (been asking) quite legitimately, about these terrible events."

Two days before the Cumbria tragedy, twenty eight Britons were caught up in a "random act of killing", piracy, hi-jacking and kidnapping, on the ship Mavi Marmara, in an illegal act of enormity, on the high seas, in international waters. "Terrible events", indeed.

A known nine people were killed, though the number is thought to be higher. Up to sixty were injured, some seriously. The Britons, with six hundred and seventy eight others, from nearly forty countries, were abducted by armed personnel, from a total of six vessels.

All personal belongings, with money, cameras, laptops, film, notebooks, clothes, were stolen, as was the aid they were transporting and the vessels in which they were traveling. A crime of enormity, which Sabah Al Mukhtar, President of the Arab Lawyers Association states: " ... exactly fits the definition of piracy."

Daniel Machover, who is described in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession as one whose: ".. work in pursuing individuals accused of committing war crimes, torture and crimes against humanity across the world, has placed him at the forefront of the movement for universal criminal jurisdiction over the most serious human rights violations",is also unequivocal:

"Since the ship was flying a Turkish flag it was only subject to Turkish jurisdiction.

International law does provide that warships may interfere with the passage on the high seas of ships flying the flag of another State in limited circumstances. Article 22(1) of the 1958 Geneva High Seas Convention (which sets out customary international law, and to which Israel is a party):


"Except where acts of interference derive from powers conferred by treaty, a warship which encounters a foreign merchant ship on the high seas is not justified in boarding her unless there is a reasonable ground for suspecting:


a. that the ship is engaged in piracy; or

b. that the ship is engaged in the slave trade; or

c. that, though flying a foreign flag or refusing to show its flag, the ship is, in reality, of the same nationality as the warship." _

These exceptions were not relevant in this incident in that none of these grounds existed and there was no reasonable basis on which any of these grounds could be suspected. 1. (My emphasis.) Clearly, last week, the world witnessed a crime of enormity.

In Cumbria, you expressed concern at those with "terrible facial injuries" and commented on their "bravery." The killer, you learned, appeared to have deliberately aimed at the victims heads.

In an ironic coincidence, the British travellers also either suffered or witnessed such injuries - amongst other dreadful physical trauma injuries, and everyone involved, also exhibited extraordinary bravery, in the face of an unknown number of armed assailants.

The killers indisputedly - since autopsies have taken place of the dead and there are many eye witness reports - also "deliberately" aimed for passengers' heads.

The victims, of course, were those taking aid to the illegally blockaded people of Gaza, suffering under an illegal collective punishment, described by the United Nations, as a "mediaeval siege."

In the latter case, it is surely coincidental that Israel's spokespeople, those of President Barack "Nobel" Obama, Middle East "Peace Envoy" Tony Blair expressed mere "regret", as the world erupted - and the majority of its governments declared eloquently ballistic outrage - at what more than one described as act of "State terrorism."

Incredibly, on Friday, 4th June, another vessel transporting aid, the Rachel Corrie, named after another of Israel's Forces civilian victims, was also subject to another act of piracy. On board were distinguished passengers, including a former UN Under-Secretary General, a Nobel Peace Prize winner (who actually deserved hers for many acts of courage.) The Malaysian-Irish sponsored vessel also had on board a distinguished author and journalists and an eminent politician, list attached. 2.

The 1200-ton Rachel Corrie, was purchased through a special fund set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister and Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, and owned by The Free Gaza Movement. Its cargo included hundreds of tons of medical equipment and cement, as well as 20 tons of paper from the people of Norway, donated to UN-run schools in Gaza.

Your Foreign Secretary, William Hague expressed "disappointment" at lack of access to, or even names of those held or hospitalised. Relatives of those involved, publicly accused the Foreign Office of less than helpfulness and even of "obstruction." You both are declared Conservative Friends of Israel. If one is known by one's friends, as the saying goes, this government is not off to a glittering start.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, did a weak best at censure toward Israel, blowing it by his ridiculous caveat, relating to a flotilla of aid, including toys, crutches, wheelchairs and marbles, that: " ... of course, Israel has every right to defend itself and its citizens from any attack." Mr Clegg is another who seems to have lost his own marbles.

However, it can only be hoped that some weird beaurocratic blip overtook the new boys at the helm of the Ship of State, and that the you will speedily show equal support and concern for victims of an act of brigandry, arguably unparalleled, by a nation which prides itself on being "democratic" - inspite of a sixty two year rampage around the Middle East, wreaking untold death, destruction and misery, still delusionally repeating: "We are the only democratic country in the Middle East."

In January, last year, at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan was described as "storming out", in both sorrow and anger, after telling Israeli President, Shimon Peres: "You are killing people."

Ironically, these outrages on the high seas, have happened just days before the June 8th, anniversary of the destruction by Israel of the USS Liberty, with the loss of two hundred lives. One of the survivors, of that outrage, was Jo Meadows, who was again attacked by Israel at sea, as a passenger on the Mavi Marmara.

Whilst contributions to the Conservative Party coffers might drop a bit, surely government policy towards Israel should be in line with that toward any country which behaves outside all the legal norms. Your election slogans were: "Time for Change." Indeed.

Incidentally, the surviving passengers, kidnapped at gunpoint and taken to Israel, a country where they had never intended going, were required to sign documents stating they had entered the country illegally. George Orwell truly lives.

And the British Navy's patrolling against piracy off Somalia, seems somewhat misplaced.

I await your response with interest, but little hope.

Yours sincerely,

Felicity Arbuthnot.

1. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=vaaid=19577


*Mairead Maguire 66 Belfast, Ireland

Mairead Maguire is a Nobel Peace Laureate (l976) and Co-founder of Peace People, Northern Ireland. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace and a nonviolent solution to the Ethnic/political conflict in Northern Ireland. Mairead has travelled many times to the occupied territories of Palestine to support the nonviolent peoples’ movement for Human Rights, International Law,and Self Determination of the Palestinian people. Maguire was shot with a plastic bullet whilst participating with Palestinians/Israelis/Internationals in a peaceful protest March to the Wall in Bilin, in April, 2007. Mairead went on the maiden Voyage of Dignity in October, 2008, the second successful voyage for the Free Gaza Movement. She was also on Board 'Spirit’ when Israel hijacked the Boat in International Waters, taking all 2l humanitarian passengers to Israel, where they were arrested, detained for a week in an Israeli prison and then deported.

*Denis Halliday, Manhattan, NYC and Connemara, Ireland.

Denis Halliday was UN Assistant Secretary-General from 1994-98. Appointed by SG Boutros Ghali, he served as ASG UN Human Resources Management in New York and in mid 1997 to end 1998 as Head, Humanitarian Programme in Iraq to support the Iraqi people struggling under the genocidal impact of UN Sanctions.

Prior to that, as a development manager, Halliday served UNDP from 1964-94 in Iran, New York Hqts, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Samoa, New York again and finally as head of the UNDP Regional Office in Thailand

Since resigning from the UN in 1998, Halliday has delivered numerous parliamentary briefings, provided extensive media inputs and has given public/university lectures on Iraq, human rights, and the UN, in particular its reform. He was a visiting professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and teaches/speaks inter alia at universities in Ireland, Canada, UK and USA. Halliday is a graduate of TCD, has an honorary Phd, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and was awarded the UK Gandhi Peace Prize.

*Matthias Chang Wen Chieh 60, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia . Matthias Chang is a Malaysian of Chinese descent. He is a Barrister of 32 years standing and once served as the Political Secretary to the Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

He is the author of three bestsellers, "Future FastForward", "Brainwashed for War, Programmed to Kill", and "The Shadow Money-Lenders and the Global Financial Tsunami", published in the US and in Malaysia. Since his student days in England in the late 1960s, he was and still is, actively involved in the anti-war movement spanning a period of 41 years. He is a Catholic but enjoins all to promote inter-faith understanding.


*MP Mohd Nizar bin Zakaria is a Member of the Malaysian Parliament.

*Shamsul Akmar bin Musa Kamal 46 , Selangor, Malaysia

*Mr. Shamsul Akmar bin Musa Kamal is a journalist for over two decades, Columnist for The New Straits Times and The Star newspapers and is currently the Special Officer to Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. He holds a Masters Degree in War Studies from King's College, University of London.

*Mohd Nizar bin Zakaria 41 , Perak, Malaysia

*Abdul Halim Bin Mohamed 29 , Selangor, Malaysia

*Abdul Halim is a broadcast journalist for news and current affairs Malaysia TV3

*Mohd Jufri Bin Mohd Judin 33, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

*Mohd Jufri is a cameraman for news and current affairs Malaysia TV3.

List, courtesy, Ali Abunimah

Article Index

Freed NUJ Member Speaks Out over Gaza Flotilla Attack

Friday, 4 June 2010

NUJ member, Hassan Ghani – who was arrested when the Israeli military stormed the Gaza flotilla on Monday (31 May) – says activists had expected violence from the Israeli forces to stop their humanitarian convoy reaching Gaza, but not the ferocity of the attack which left nine civilians dead. 

Speaking to the NUJ for the first time since the incident, Hassan – who is originally from Glasgow, and now works for the Iranian broadcaster, Press TV – says he "doesn't ever expect to see" any of the video material he and other colleagues recorded of the moments when their ship was stormed just as some activists were completing morning prayers.  Along with more than 60 other journalists on board the flotilla, Hassan had his phone, camera, laptop and DV tapes confiscated by the Israeli security services.  He is today hoping he may be able to find his video camera among a mass of equipment which has been "dumped" in Istanbul, but, he adds, "we're told most of the kit has been smashed up by the Israelis".    

Hassan describes how the ship was stormed by troops at first using stun grenades and rubber bullets and that they had already opened fire with live ammunition when the activists tried to repel them, using water cannon, sticks and chairs. After their arrest, journalists were subjected to as many as three security searches for any images or audio recordings of the assault.  Hassan and others had their DV tapes taken from them.  However, he says some of the journalists have managed to store a limited amount of material on small memory cards and they are now discussing how to release this as "pooled" material, for use by all broadcasters.

The NUJ and the International Federation of Journalists are calling for an independent and credible inquiry into Monday's events.  The IFJ is compiling a full inventory of all equipment, images and other content which was impounded by Israel during the arrest and detention of journalists on the flotilla and is demanding its immediate return.  Hassan Ghani believes he may eventually retrieve some of his equipment, but he does not expect people will ever see the footage he shot, because the Israeli authorities do not want the outside world to know what went on early on Monday morning. "My over-riding memory is of those nine people being killed," says Hassan.  "The Israeli military has lost all sense of its moral bearings"

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