One wonders whether some humans become so accustomed to killing things that soon enough any flimsy excuse or rationale will do, even for killing human beings, as if it were just another day at the office. . . or as if they were like young wolves habituated to killing unprotected livestock in another day on the range.
In This Edition (Edited 5/31/10; 6/1):
- ODFW Issues Murder Warrants for Two Wolves Involved in Wolf Killings; Additional Kill Permits Issued for Wolves Caught in the Act
- Israel Commits Another Barbaric Attack--This Time on Civilian Humanitarian Convoy in International Waters
- ODFW Issues Murder Warrants for Two Wolves Involved in Wolf Killings; Additional Kill Permits Issued for Wolves Caught in the Act
For Immediate Release May 31, 2010
ODFW authorizes lethal removal of wolves
Breeding pair to be protected
ENTERPRISE, Ore.—ODFW is authorizing USDA Wildlife Services to kill two wolves from the Imnaha pack, which are responsible for five confirmed livestock losses in the past few weeks.
Wildlife Services has been authorized to kill only two uncollared wolves. This selective removal is meant to protect the alpha male and alpha female, Oregon’s only known breeding pair of wolves at this time. Protecting the collared wolves will also help ODFW, USDA Wildlife Services and ranchers continue to monitor wolf activity. (The alpha female was collared in July 2009 and the alpha male was collared in February 2010.)
ODFW confirmed two additional wolf-caused livestock kills in the upper Wallowa Valley area on Saturday, May 29. (The other three confirmations occurred May 6, May 21 and May 28.)
The lethal action is aimed at killing wolves that are showing an interest in livestock, not wolves simply in the area, and will be limited to an area where three of the confirmed livestock kills are clustered. Under the terms of the authorization, the wolves can be killed a) only within three miles of three clustered locations with confirmed livestock losses by wolves and b) only on privately-owned pasture currently inhabited by livestock. ODFW’s authorization will be valid until June 11, 2010.
Through these specific terms, ODFW aims to protect the breeding pair and the Imnaha pack’s den site, where the alpha female may be caring for new pups. (Wolf pups are typically born in mid-April, though ODFW has not visually observed any new pups this year.)
The authorization for lethal removal is consistent with the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and associated Oregon Administrative Rules, which guide ODFW responses to livestock losses by wolves. After non-lethal measures have been used and there are two or more losses on adjacent properties, the department may authorize its own personnel or Wildlife Services to kill wolves.
The non-lethal measures tried include removal of livestock carcasses and bone piles that can attract wolves; radio telemetry monitoring of wolves; use of radio activated guard box; aerial hazing of wolves; the hiring of a wolf technician to haze wolves and monitor wolf activity nightly; and increased presence around livestock.
ODFW has also issued two additional “caught in the act” permits to the landowners with losses confirmed on Saturday, May 29. The permits give landowners the legal authority to shoot wolves “caught in the act” of biting, wounding or killing livestock. Last week, ODFW issued five of these permits.
The Wolf Plan, first adopted in 2005, is currently undergoing a five-year review. Ranchers, conservationists and others with comments about the process for responding to livestock losses or other issues may provide public comment.
To comment, please send an email to ODFW.Comments@state.or.us. Comments received by June 30, 2010 will be considered for the draft evaluation, which will include any recommended changes to the plan. The draft evaluation should be available for preliminary review by the public in August. ODFW will present the results of the evaluation and any recommendations to amend the plan to the Fish and Wildlife Commission (the state’s policy making body for fish and wildlife issues) at their Oct. 1 meeting in Bend.
For more information on wolves in Oregon, visit
Israel Commits Another Barbaric Attack--This Time on Civilian Humanitarian Convoy in International Waters
After the bloody and barbaric Israeli invasion of Gaza near Christmas of 2008, in which 1,400 Palestinians were murdered, Jewish historian Norman Finkelstein deplored the attack in his book, "This Time We Went Too Far." At the time, servant of AIPAC and then president-elect Barak Obama, avoided any moral condemnation or other criticism of Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians. Since then it has been business as usual for American foreign policy and Israel. Obama did nothing, Bush did nothing, most of the entire corrupt, so-called "international community," did nothing.
Early on May 31, Palestine time, as they have regularly been doing since the original ethnic cleansing of Palestine in the late 40's, the Zionists and the now State of Israel, again went too far. They boarded a humanitarian flotilla of ships in international waters carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid intended for Palestinians--just as they had done in previous humanitarian missions--but this time they slaughtered at least 20 civilians and injured dozens of others, many severely. Yep, once again they went too far. [The number murdered has been adjusted downward to 9 as of June 1st. Hard to know with any certainty due to Israel's near total control over news concerning the incident since shortly after the attack began. - Chris]
They once again killed many innocent civilians, They again broke international law by seizing ships in international waters. They again seized the humanitarian aid that was intended to break their illegal, immoral, and concentration camp style siege of the people of Gaza.
Will those with power in the corrupt western nations, America and the EU, do anything effective to change Israel's behavior? My first inclination is to say "Of course not!" But history in not always a good guide for or predictor of the future, as reliable as it sometimes is. So, there is always hope, but don't cross your fingers or hold your breath.
Amnesty International has issued a call for an international investigation led by the UN, and has condemned the Israeli siege of Gaza, so anybody who had a momentary convulsion of conscience can feel like something is being done and get back to the holiday and the usual spring things. It is really the kind of rights group action that just supports the status quo, while giving, for the moment, the illusion that something is being done: yet another nearly useless investigation that no matter how critical, will change little, because there will be no follow through.
I do think it is safe to say that America will do little, because the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and their Zionist supporters are in control of our Middle East policy, at least as it relates to Israel and the Palestinians. Obama will huddle with his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, whose father was born in Israel, or his top political advisor, David Axelrod, who while Jewish, is not rabidly Zionist, and a few others, and they will work out some statement that keeps the AIPAC money rolling in while pretending to be critical of Israel but even-handed (i.e. doing nothing serious to change Israeli behavior). The smart thing for Obama politically might be to try and put the responsibility for changing policy on Congress, which will do just about anything AIPAC wants it to.
Internationally, the US, as it always does, will block any effective action from the UN with a veto or other shenanigans in the UN Security Council. Both Israel and the US will be pulling strings and applying pressure on Western nations and client states to subdue any other possible effective action, and that will be the end of it until the next barbarity issues forth from the Israeli government.
So, whatever comes out of Washington or the UN, I simply cannot imagine it will be something aimed at truly offending AIPAC or Israel. Israel's psychopathic criminality will likely continue. - Chris
International solidarity and the Freedom Flotilla massacre
" enough impunity, enough complicity, enough Israeli massacres and apartheid"
Editorial, The Electronic Intifada, 31 May 2010
Early this morning under the cover of darkness Israeli soldiers stormed the lead ship of the six-vessel Freedom Flotilla aid convoy in international waters and killed and injured dozens of civilians aboard. All the ships were violently seized by Israeli forces, but hours after the attack fate of the passengers aboard the other ships remained unknown.
The Mavi Marmara was carrying around 600 activists when Israeli warships flanked it from all sides as soldiers descended from helicopters onto the ship's deck. Reports from people on board the ship backed up by live video feeds broadcast on Turkish TV show that Israeli forces used live ammunition against the civilian passengers, some of whom resisted the attack with sticks and other items.
The Freedom Flotilla was organized by a coalition of groups that sought to break the Israeli-led siege on the Gaza Strip that began in 2007. Together, the flotilla carried 700 civilian activists from around 50 countries and over 10,000 tons of aid including food, medicines, medical equipment, reconstruction materials and equipment, as well as various other necessities arbitrarily banned by Israel.
As of 6:00pm Jerusalem time most media were still reporting that up to 20 people had been killed, and many more injured. However, Israel was still withholding the exact numbers and names of the dead and injured. Passengers aboard the ships who had been posting Twitter updates on the Flotilla's progress had not been heard from since before the attack and efforts to contact passengers by satellite phone were unsuccessful. The Arabic- and English-language networks of Al-Jazeera lost contact with their half dozen staff traveling with the flotilla.
News of the massacre on board the Freedom Flotilla began to emerge around dawn in the eastern Mediterranean first on the live feed from the ship, social media, Turkish television, and Al-Jazeera. Israeli media were placed under strict military censorship, and reported primarily from foreign sources. However, by the morning the Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli soldiers who boarded the flotilla in international waters were fired upon by passengers. Quoting anonymous military sources, the Jerusalem Post claimed that the flotilla passengers had set-up a "well planned lynch." ("IDF: Soldiers were met by well-planned lynch in boat raid")
The Israeli daily Haaretz also reported that the Israeli soldiers were "attacked" when trying to board the flotilla. ("At least 10 activists killed in Israel Navy clashes onboard Gaza aid flotilla")
This narrative of passengers "attacking" the Israeli soldiers was quickly adopted by the Associated Press and carried across mainstream media sources in the United States, including the Washington Post. ("Israeli army: More than 10 killed on Gaza flotilla")
Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon stated in a Monday morning press conference that the Israeli military was acting in "self-defense." He claimed that "At least two guns were found" and that the "incident" was still ongoing. Ayalon also claimed that the Flotilla organizers were "well-known" and were supported by and had connections to "international terrorist organizations."
It is unclear how anyone could credibly adopt an Israeli narrative of "self-defense" when Israel had carried out an unprovoked armed assault on civilian ships in international waters. Surely any right of self-defense would belong to the passengers on the ship. Nevertheless, the Freedom Flotilla organizers had clearly and loudly proclaimed their ships to be unarmed civilian vessels on a humanitarian mission.
The Israeli media strategy appeared to be to maintain censorship of the facts such as the number of dead and injured, the names of the victims and on which ships the injuries occurred, while aggressively putting out its version of events which is based on a dual strategy of implausibly claiming "self-defense" while demonizing the Freedom Flotilla passengers and intimating that they deserved what they got.
As news spread around the world, foreign governments began to react. Greece and Turkey, which had many citizens aboard the Flotilla, immediately recalled their ambassadors from Tel Aviv. Spain strongly condemned the attack. France's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner expressed "profound shock." The European Union's foreign minister Catherine Ashton called for an "enquiry."
What should be clear is this: no one can claim to be surprised by what the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights correctly termed a "hideous crime." Israel had been openly threatening a violent attack on the Flotilla for days, but complacency, complicity and inaction, specifically from Western and Arab governments once more sent the message that Israel could act with total impunity.
There is no doubt that Israel's massacre of 1,400 people, mostly civilians, in Gaza in December 2008/January 2009 was a wake up call for international civil society to begin to adopt boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel similar to those applied to apartheid-era South Africa.
Yet governments largely have remained complacent and complicit in Israel's ongoing violence and oppression against Palestinians and increasingly international humanitarian workers and solidarity activists, not only in Gaza, but throughout historic Palestine. We can only imagine that had former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni indeed been arrested for war crimes in Gaza when a judge in London issued a warrant for her arrest, had the international community begun to implement the recommendations of the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report, had there been a much firmer response to Israel's assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai, it would not have dared to act with such brazenness.
As protest and solidarity actions begin in Palestine and across the world, this is the message they must carry: enough impunity, enough complicity, enough Israeli massacres and apartheid. Justice now.
Gaza Aid Convoy Attack: Israel’s Murderous Sea Piracy a Horrendous Moment of Truth for US Policy
Monday, May 31, 2010
This time, the Israeli war machine may have gone too far for international public opinion to stomach. In the early hours of 1 June, before daybreak, Israeli commandos stormed the international civilian aid convoy heading for Gaza. Between 20-24 volunteers onboard have been killed and at least 50 injured, according to various reports, but the number of casualties has risen rapidly from the initial reports of two dead. The final death toll could be greater.
The actions by Israeli forces have been condemned by governments around the world. European governments, including those of Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Norway and Sweden have summoned their respective Israeli envoys over the incident. Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan is reported to have cut short a trip to South America and his country is said to have recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest.
In a tired-sounding script, Israeli government spokespeople claimed that its forces were acting in self-defence after they were attacked by aid workers wielding knives when they boarded the main ship – a Turkish vessel – in the six-ship convoy. One Israeli commando was stabbed, Israeli TV reported.
Within minutes of the interception, Israeli forces blacked out all communications from the flotilla, which is carrying 700 civilians from 50 countries, including Britain, Ireland, Turkey and the US. The aid convoy – dubbed the Gaza Freedom Flotilla – had a high-profile assembly in Turkey last week before departing from Cyprus for the Palestinian coast on Sunday. Backed by several governments, including that of Turkey, and counting among its numbers at least four European MPs, a Nobel laureate and journalists from various news media, the aid convoy had declared itself to be a civilian, humanitarian relief operation.
The flotilla was attempting to ferry some 10,000 tonnes of aid material, ranging from medicines, building materials to school equipment, for the 1.5 million Gazans who have been besieged by Israeli military for three years, ever since they democratically elected the Hamas government. After the Israeli onslaught on Gaza during December 2008 and January 2009, in which more than 1,400 people – mainly civilians – were killed, the Palestinian territory remains a disaster zone, with its population living under tents and having to resort to smuggling vital materials via underground tunnels, which the Israeli air force frequently bombard. The Gazans’ only other lifeline is via tunnels into Egypt on their southwestern border, but these, too, are routinely attacked by Egyptian forces.
The Israeli government had denounced the Freedom Flotilla as “provocative” even before it departed and warned that it would be intercepted – despite the fact that the convoy had declared that it would be entering Palestine from international waters in the Mediterranean, well away from Israeli territory.
While the Israeli naval interception was clearly well planned, its accompanying blackout of communications was evidently not swift enough, failing to prevent Turkish satellite TV footage broadcasting for several minutes what was taking place. Those images relayed by international media nail the lie in the Israeli version of events. (Whether the US media do so will be telling.)
Taken from different angles on various positions of the vessel, the TV images show the following:
The convoy was intercepted at around 5am local time, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza in international waters.
Israeli commandos are seen hauling themselves on to the aid ship. The commandos were armed with assault rifles and handguns, wearing helmets and full body armour. It appears that the passengers and crew are unaware of the intrusion. The Israeli personnel were able to assemble without any opposition; they seemed casual in their movements, then raising their guns in assault mode, covering each other with pointed weapons before filing off to their intended target area on the ship. Other images show an Israeli military helicopter hovering over the convoy and high-speed marine dinghies approaching.
Chaotic scenes ensue. Aid workers are seen lying on decks wounded with what appear to be gunshots. Some of the injured – all clearly civilian in appearance – are lying motionless and unconscious, presumably dead. Other aid workers are shown trying to assist the wounded. One woman is seen carrying a blood-soaked stretcher amid the mayhem.
Some of the footage shows a melee of aid workers scuffling with Israeli commandos. None of the civilians are shown to be carrying knives.
Of course, there is hardly anything new here – Israeli forces using disproportionate violence, killing civilians with impunity. But on this occasion, the murderous incident is not in some poor ghetto in the Gaza Strip hidden from the full view of the world. Up to now, Israeli disinformation could afford just enough wriggle room to sow doubts over such events. The cynical phrases of “terror suspects” and “self defence” parroted by the western mainstream media served to give the Israeli government and its backers in Washington a degree of political cover for otherwise heinous conduct.
Hence, the United Nations’ Goldstone report on human rights violations by Israel during the Gaza offensive could be rebuffed by Tel Aviv and Washington because Israel was responding “in self defence to rocket attacks”. The crushing to death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie in 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer was “a tragic accident”. The assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhoub by Mossad agents in a Dubai hotel in January of this year could be brazened out because, well, the victim was an official of Hamas – the government of Gaza whom the Israelis and the Americans refuse to legitimise and treat as “terrorists”.
Nevertheless, all of these crimes – in addition to the warmongering towards Iran over trumped allegations of nuclear ambitions from the only state in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons and possess them illegally – has seen the political and moral position of Israel and its US patron gradually diminish to the point of contempt in the eyes of the world.
In attacking the Freedom Flotilla, Israel and the US are now in danger of losing whatever shred of credibility or pretence they may have had with regard to the roots of conflict in the Middle East.
What the world has witnessed is an outrageous act of sea piracy bordering on an act of war that transgresses the diplomatic rights of 50 countries and the premeditated, cold-blooded murder of civilians.
At the same time that world powers are demanding a tough response to the alleged attack by North Korea on a South Korean warship in which 46 seamen died, public opinion will likewise see the appropriate demand for the same legal standard applied to Israel.
The US government stands to be severely exposed by this latest, most glaring crime against humanity. No mealy-mouthed US censure of its client will placate world anger that is inevitably pushing governments, especially the increasingly critical governments of the non-aligned movement, including Turkey and Brazil, to apply international law on the US-Israeli war machine.
Washington is so bound up by mendacious contradictions in its support for the Israeli war machine while at the same time posturing for international standards to be imposed on others such as Iran and North Korea – this latest outrage by its favourite criminal client will surely impose a diplomatic manoeuvre on Washington that even the great escape artist Houdini could not defy.
The Gaza flotilla and the ironies of history
Richard Irvine, The Electronic Intifada, 30 May 2010
No one can accuse history of not having a sense of irony. Sixty-three years ago in July 1947 a passenger ship destined for Palestine and named The Exodus was stopped and boarded by the British Navy. The ship was crowded with Holocaust survivors determined to make a new life for themselves in British controlled Palestine but did not have official immigration permits. Facing terrorism by Zionist organizations, waves of illegal immigration by Jews fleeing the displaced persons camps in post-war Europe, and resistance by Palestinian Arabs to the increasingly powerful and belligerent Zionist movement emboldened by its growing numbers, Britain was determined to stop the ship. Accordingly when the Royal Navy boarded the ship twenty miles out from Haifa a full scale battle ensued. Three of the immigrants were killed and dozens injured as British troops beat the passengers on to three separate prison ships. From there these Holocaust survivors were transported back to Germany and were once again placed in camps. The world was horrified; an American newspaper ran the headline, "Back to the Reich." Delegates from the UN Special Commission on Palestine who watched what occurred were similarly shocked; the Yugoslav delegate cited that what happened to The Exodus "is the best possible evidence we have for allowing Jews into Palestine."
Since then the fate of The Exodus has achieved legendary status: Leon Uris used it as the basis of his 1958 bestseller of the same name; an award winning film starring Paul Newman came out in 1960. Indeed, The Exodus the book and film, painted an exceedingly favorable portrayal of the Zionist movement and the fledgling state, arguably helping the US and Europe to overcome their guilt for historic anti-Semitism and inaction during the Holocaust by supporting Israel. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban drew a direct link between The Exodus story and the ending of British rule in Palestine. Tellingly a 1996 documentary celebrating the story is entitled, Exodus 1947: The Ship That Launched A Nation.
Today another small flotilla of ships is making its way to Palestine. Crammed with humanitarian aid and some 600 international peace activists and human rights workers it is set for Gaza.
Synonymous with violence and poverty Gaza is home to 1.5 million dispossessed and imprisoned Palestinians. Under Israeli control since 1967 Gaza has seen it all and been through it all. Yet the events of the last two years are without precedent. Under blockade since 2007, bombarded in a three week long assault that is called a war, its people have been barely subsisting since. As Dov Weissglas, an advisor to then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained in 2006, Palestinians were to be "put on a diet." Today much that is essential for everyday life in Gaza is banned -- for either "security reasons" or because they are "luxury items": cement is banned, pencils banned, paper banned, toys banned, medicines and food restricted.
Of course you can agree with all this and say it is "the terrorist" organization Hamas that is to blame. You can say that even though all this is illegal under international law it is necessary for Israel's security. Or you can ask how banning toys is fighting terror?
Like Mary Robinson after the war you can be shocked of course: "Their whole civilization has been destroyed, I'm not exaggerating ... It's almost unbelievable that the world doesn't care while this is happening." Or you can believe Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: "There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Despite Hamas' war crimes against Israeli citizens ... Israel continues to respond in the most humane way possible."
Regardless of whom you choose to believe, this weekend you are likely to see another example of Israel's humanity. Reportedly a quarter of Israel's Navy has been mobilized to ensure the aid flotilla does not get through. The Israeli press reports that just like the British all those years ago, plans have been made to stop the aid flotilla twenty miles out to sea and transfer the passengers to holding camps or prisons inside Israel before deporting them. For Israel's foreign minister this is not an aid convoy, but "a blatant provocation" and "violent propaganda." Which is odd really since the convoy, if left unimpeded, will not go near Israel.
However, even if Israel does stop the convoy it should be aware that its position on blockading a whole people is not sustainable. At the time of The Exodus affair future Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared: "To Britain we must say: it is a great illusion to believe us weak. Let Great Britain with her mighty fleet and her many guns and planes know that this people is not weak, and that its strength will stand it in good stead." Replace Great Britain with Israel and the same applies today.
Richard Irvine teaches a course at Queen's University Belfast entitled "The Battle for Palestine" which explores the entire history of the conflict. Irvine has also worked voluntarily in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and taken part in olive planting and harvesting in the West Bank.