Maccabi Haifa striker Mohammed Ghadir believes that he and Beitar Jerusalem, the bad boy of Israeli soccer, are a perfect match.
“I am well suited to Beitar, and that team would fit me like a glove. I have no qualms about moving to play for them,” Mr. Ghadir is quoted by Israeli daily Ha?aretz as saying. Beitar has a large squad, a significant fan base, wide media coverge and lacks talented strikers, he says.
There is only one hitch: Beitar doesn?t want Mr. Ghadir. Not because he?s not an upcoming star and not because they wouldn?t need a player like Mr. Ghadir but because the striker is an Israeli Palestinian. “Our team and our fans are still not ready for an Arab soccer player,” Ha?aretz quotes Beitar?s management as saying. The club prides itself on being the only top league Israeli club to have never hired a Palestinian player in a country whose population is for 20 per cent Palestinian and in which Palestinians play important roles in most other top league teams. Continue reading “Taking Beitar to task: Mohammed Ghadir”
Israeli commandoes have stormed a flotilla of ships carrying activists and aid supplies to the blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza, killing as many as as 16 of those on board.
By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent and Matthew Kalman in Jerusalem
Published: 7:21AM BST 31 May 2010
Fighting broke out between the activists and the masked Israeli troops, who rappelled on to deck from helicopters before dawn.
A spokesman for the flotilla, Greta Berlin, said she had been told that ten people had been killed and dozens wounded, accusing Israeli troops of indiscriminately shooting at “unarmed civilians”. But an Israeli radio station said that between 14 and 16 were dead in a continuing operation.
“How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this?” Ms Berlin said. “Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?
“We have two other boats. This is not going to stop us.”
The Israeli government’s handling of the confrontation was under intense international pressure even as it continued. The Israeli ambassador to Turkey, the base of one of the human rights organisation which organised the flotilla, was summoned by the foreign ministry in Ankara, as the Israeli consulate in Istanbul came under attack.
One Israeli minister issued immediate words of regret. “The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities,” Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the trade and industry minister, told army radio.
But he added that the commandoes had been attacked with batons and activists had sought to take their weapons off them.
Israeli military sources said four of its men had been injured, one stabbed, and that they had been shot at.
“The flotilla’s participants were not innocent and used violence against the soldiers. They were waiting for the forces’ arrival,” they were quoted by a news website as saying.
The flotilla had set sail on Sunday from northern, or Turkish, Cyprus.
Six boats were led by the Mavi Marmara, which carried 600 activists from around the world, including Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the Northern Ireland peace protester who won a Nobel Prize in 1976.
It came under almost immediate monitoring from Israeli drones and the navy, with two vessels flanking it in international waters. The flotilla, which had been warned that it would not be allowed to reach Gaza, attempted to slow and change course, hoping to prevent a confrontation until daylight, when the Israeli military action could be better filmed.
But in the early hours of this morning local time commandoes boarded from helicopters.
The activists were not carrying guns, but television footage shown by al-Jazeera and Turkish television channels show hand-to-hand fighting, with activists wearing life-jackets striking commandoes with sticks.
The Israeli army said its troops were assaulted with axes and knives.
The television footage did not show firing but shots could be heard in the background. One man was shown lying unconscious on the deck, while another man was helped away.
A woman wearing hijab, the Muslim headscarf, was seen carrying a stretcher covered in blood.
The al-Jazeera broadcast stopped with a voice shouting in Hebrew: “Everyone shut up”.
Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza after the strip was taken over by the militant group Hamas in 2007. It has allowed some food and medical supplies through, but has prevented large-scale rebuilding following the bombardment and invasion of 2008-9.
The flotilla is the latest in a series of attempts by activists to break through the blockade. The boats were carrying food and building supplies.
Activists said at least two of the other boats, one Greek and one Turkish, had been boarded from Israeli naval vessels. Activists said two of the other boats in the flotilla were American-flagged.
The confrontation took place in international waters 80 miles off the Gaza coast.
It was attacked by the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.
“We call on the Secretary-General of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon, to shoulder his responsibilities to protect the safety of the solidarity groups who were on board these ships and to secure their way to Gaza,” he said.
Turkish television meanwhile showed hundreds of protesters trying to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul. The incident will be particularly damaging for Israel’s relations with what had been seen as its closest ally in the Muslim world.
“By targeting civilians, Israel has once again shown its disregard for human life and peaceful initiatives,” a Turkish foreign ministry statement said. “We strongly condemn these inhumane practices of Israel.
“This deplorable incident, which took place in open seas and constitutes a fragrant breach of international law, may lead to irreparable consequences in our bilateral relations.”
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality,”
an unnamed Bush official told reporter Ron Suskind,
quoted by Eric Alterman, Bush’s War on the Press, The Nation (2005)
Even when the US hadn’t been the only empire around, powerful members of the American administration had collectively attempted to create their “own reality.” One such plan, Operation Northwoods, consisted of staging terror attacks. To justify the launching of a war against Cuba. To (of course) defend America.
The secret plan was drafted by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962, signed by its Chairman, and sent to Robert McNamara, secretary of defense. Declassified in 1997 by a federal agency overseeing records relating to president John F Kennedy’s assassination, the plan proposed real or simulated actions against various US military and civilian targets: landing `friendly’ Cubans to attack US base (Guantanamo). Sinking a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida. Building a Soviet MIG aircraft to be flown by an American pilot, which would attack and destroy a US military drone aircraft. Launching a wave of violent terrorism (bombings, hijackings) in Washington D.C. In Miami. Elsewhere, too. The desired result? To convince Americans and the larger western public that the Cuban government was not only “rash and irresponsible” but a threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere. That America had no option but to `retaliate.’
Operation Northwoods was not implemented because, as the story goes, Kennedy had rejected it. But other false flag operations designed to create America’s own reality?to deceive the public, to manufacture support?have been successfully conducted. Of course, America is not the only culprit, as history attests. The Japanese blew up a section of the railway to annex Manchuria in 1931; kidnapped one of their own soldiers to invade China proper, 1937. The Soviets shelled their own village near the Finnish border, 1939. The Israelis secretly sponsored bombings of US/British interests in Cairo to sour relations between Egypt and the West, 1954.
Central to America’s “our own reality” story are two myths: it is America’s enemies who are `sneaky.’ The government goes to war only to `save the lives’ of US soldiers. Historical research proves otherwise: president Roosevelt let the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor (1941). Nearly three thousand American service men including civilians were killed which by fuelling public outrage at Japan’s so-called sneak attack, enabled FDR to overcome massive opposition to war.
According to America’s ideologues, if Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not been bombed?still described in official history as the “least abhorrent choice”?the lives of 500,000 American soldiers would have been at risk. But in reality, as people connected to history know, Japan was ready to surrender.
Dissenting opinion did exist, and in powerful circles, too: Japan was already defeated, dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary (Dwight Eisenhower). The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare are frightening (Admiral Leahy, chief of staff to presidents Roosevelt and Truman). The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul. (Herbert Hoover, 31st US president). There was no military justification. I was not consulted (General Douglas MacArthur).
More than 103,000 people died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were unrecorded deaths. There were slower deaths, caused by radiation.
But surely, just because previous US administrations have committed false flag operations, it doesn’t mean that 9/11 too, is an inside job? Granted. True. Except that when one looks at the mass of evidence, including oral testimonies, diligently gathered by physicists, pilots, architects, structural engineers and a host of other professionals (firefighters, whistle-blowers) over these last couple of years, also by grassroots people, under the rubric of what has come to be known as the 9/11 truth movement, even the blind are bound to be convinced.
What persuaded me most was the strange response of the Bush administration. Why was the government reluctant, why should family members of 9/11 victims have to insist that a commission be established to investigate the failures that made 9/11 possible? Why did Bush want someone as disreputable as Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state (who should be tried for war crimes in Bangladesh and Cambodia for starters), to head the Commission? Why should Bush and vice-president Cheney agree to testify before the Commission on the condition that they should not have to take the oath, that their testimony should not be electronically recorded nor transcribed, nor made public? Why did the Commission co-chairmen allege later that the CIA had not cooperated with the Commission? Why did NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) officials provide inaccurate information in their testimony to the Commission, and in media appearances? Why should the Commission have to use subpoenas and force NORAD and FAA to release evidence? Why did the Commission chairmen say that the Commission was “set up” to fail? Why did the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) not hold enquiries into any of the 4 plane crashes, which is required by law?
Another thing that I find odd, like many others, were the words blurted out by Bob Kerrey, a 9/11 Commission member. Several months ago he was pressed by a member of We Are Change who said, according to the constitution, a cover-up of an act of war is treasonous, the Pentagon continually changed its story, the country needs to get to the bottom of 9/11 etc., etc.,
Bob Kerrey: It’s a.. the problem is that it’s a 30 year old conspiracy.
Jeremy Rothe-Kushel: No, I’m talking about 9/11.
Bob Kerrey: That’s what I’m talking about too. Well anyway, I gotta go.
Listening to Kerrey reminded me of what the Bush official, who I quote at the head of the column, had gone on to tell Suskind, “And while you’re studying that reality?judiciously, as you will?we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
General Leonid Ivashov, former joint chief of staff of the Russian Armed Forces did just that. Having found the free-fall collapse of the towers disturbing, he instructed his staff to search for answers. Three days later he came to the conclusion that the 9/11 attack was the result of “a clash of interests among US leaders.”
While more recently, a Vietnam war veteran, former director of studies of the US Army War College, Dr Alan Sabrosky, has come out with the bold statement that 9/11 was not only `an inside job,’ but more specifically, a CIA-Mossad job. Nine-eleven would have been impossible to stage without the full resources of the CIA and the Mossad. Its Building 7, he says. It was not hit by a plane but still went down. “If one of the buildings was wired for demolition, all of them were wired for demolition.”
And it was my column on Sabrosky that yielded me accusations of being anti-Semitic. I wonder whether part of the problem lies in the strong western belief, an indissoluble one, that `the government loves them.’ Despite the history of false flag operations.
May be the Bush official, utterly contemptuous and disdainful as he was, knew what he was talking about. We create our own reality. And our people fall for it.
First published in New Age