“Peace is Terror, Protest is Terror”
– The Israeli Ministry of Truth

Eric Blair, a.k.a. George Orwell, is often wrongly thought to have been writing science fiction in his seminal novel, 1984. In fact, he was simply warning about certain tendencies in governmental practice as actually observed not only in the mass authoritarian regimes but often in his own Britain.

Thus, newspeak, whereby the government calls things by their opposite, is an arrow in the quiver of the abject everywhere. So when the far rightwing government of Israel names anti-war peacenik Kenneth O’Keefe a “terrorist”, it is being Orwellian, but only in the sense of behaving as the worst governments typically do in contemporary times, not in the sense of resembling a dystopian future.

Rightwing Zionism is one of the more dangerous purveyors of newspeak nowadays. Former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz tried to invoke anti-terrorism laws forbidding attacks on US troops to keep peaceful protesters away from US military bases.

And it isn’t just governments. Israeli music promoter Shuki Weiss referred to the rash of cancellations by Western bands such as the Pixies of their scheduled appearances in Israel this summer as “cultural terrorism.” The musicians are protesting the aid flotilla massacre, in which 9 innocent persons were killed and 30 wounded. Come on. I’m not big on cultural or academic boycotts myself, but ‘cultural terrorism?’ How is declining to come a way of inspiring fear in someone? Maybe you could call it cultural passive-aggression. But terrorism?

By the way, one of the musicians now boycotting Israel is Gil Scott-Heron, who performed the classic “The Revolution will Not be Televised.” What he did not realize was that it couldn’t be televised because the Israeli navy jammed the signals.

But back to the serious. The tendency of the modern national security state is to recategorize peace work as a form of terrorism, and the Bush administration placed many peace workers on the no-fly list.

The implication of the Israeli government that a corps of ‘trained terrorists’ pre-planned an assault on the Israeli troops that illegally boarded their vessel in international waters is rejected by all the eyewitnesses.

A kind reader pointed out that Israeli troops and the Israeli authorities have now admitted to firing bullets at the deck of the Mavi Marmara before the commandos landed, and I think the evidence is that these bullets wounded some passengers and provoked the resistance to the landing.

“T. said he realized the group they were facing was well-trained and likely ex-military after the commandos threw a number of stun grenades and fired warning shots before rappelling down onto the deck.”

The NYT also reported that the Israeli military fired rubber coated steel bullets before landing on the ship.

Alarmingly, there is now good evidence that the Israelis systematically erased much of the photographic evidence of their aggressive assault on the ship after they confiscated it from the passengers and journalists.

No wonder the Israelis are rejecting an independent commission to investigate the massacre– it would find that not only were crimes committed, but that there was then a concerted cover-up.

19 Responses

  1. “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past”

    This quote is also from Orwell’s 1984. This is exactly what they are trying to do with the confiscated video evidence and photographs. They selectively pick and choose things to show to the public and thus trying to shape the way in which is this tragedy remembered.

  2. .
    Just to be clear, “stun grenades” are also sometimes lethal. And when attacked with one, a target sure thinks it’s a lethal attack.
    .

    • Even if they aren’t usually seen as being lethal, the role of the stun grenade is to blind, disorient, and incapacitate long enough that the attacking side can obtain tactical advantage over the enemy; and what the attacker does with that tactical advantage — injure you, capture you, shoot / stab / hit you repeatedly — as the victim, you’re not in a position to react, resist, or protect yourself. Because your adversary — you being the defender — seeks to gain this advantage over you by using these devices, it is difficult to see the use of stun grenades as anything else but a prelude to much further violence against you.

      These weapons have a much greater effect on enemy personnel (from the perspective of the attacker) than on their surroundings, so they’re relatively safe to use in buildings and near equipment (compared to concussion or fragmentation grenades). and their activity is relatively short compared to lachrymators like tear gas (which can stay active for long periods and affect both parties), but devastating nonetheless.

      The use of stun grenades against unarmed civilians is plainly violent, and most certainly indefensible.

  3. Orwell was writing science fiction. Commenting on the world of the present day is one of the things science fiction is for.

  4. Juan another home run. Spreading through the blogs. Hopefully you will not have been arrested for “terrorism” before I get back to read your next piece. Thanks so much for helping us widen our perspectives based on facts and your scholarly views.

  5. I think NPR is an off shoot of Israel’s “Ministry of Truth”

    this morning NPR did Israel’s work for them

    In the coverage this morning on the tragedy. Steve Inskeep called all of those shot Turkish before Jackie Northrums piece.

    Not once did Steve of Jackie whisper about how the 9 had been executed and that one of them was an American. Not once

    the audio is not up yet.

    Jackie Northrum seemed to be an agent for the Israeli government. Almost sounds like they wrote the script.

    she focused on IIHS. Never touched how these people were executed. Bullets to the back of the head. The young Turkish American man with four bullets to the head. Linked the group to Hamas, referred to both IIHS and Hamas as terrorist groups.

    Did not touch that Barak and Bibi had planned this tragic raid. Or how these people were executed . Did not even touch how many people were on the other ships and who they were. Silence on how the 9 were executed by Israeli soldiers.

    Jackie Northrum and NPR should get their checks in the mail from the Israeli lobby. Oh that is all ready happening through NPR funding

    Hope you will listen to this Prof Cole and give us your take on this spin

    Raid Shines Light On Turkish Humanitarian Group
    [4 min 39 sec]

    Hope you will listen to this
    link to npr.org

    • Thanks for exposing NPR. I had previously posted a similar comment stating that NPR is more dangerous than Fox because of NPR’s brand recognition as an impartial source of information. Alas, NPR is anything but impartial. After having complained to them on several occasions with very specific examples and after having received no response, several years ago I had stopped being an NPR member. So sad….

  6. This is an excellent piece. Well done – though it’s important to recognize that, while Israel is ahead on the curve to out and out fascism, the US and UK are not far behind, and they operate on a much, much, much larger scale. In particular, the reaction of the Obama administration to the Flotilla Massacre makes it painfully obvious that this movie will be coming to a theater near you. They may be offended a bit by the bad publicity, but they aren’t offended by the principle.

  7. Julian, there has been talk of an assasination list of activists, soldiers shot between the eyes and in the back of the head look like executions, anyhting behind this.
    Further the chap who leaked the helicopter wiki pics and video from Baghdad has been shopped by some hackers and arrested.

    There are not many good blogs now, ideally they should link up with each other and alternative news providers plus those few who still have their ears to the ground.

    Marcy wheeler, Craig Murray, ‘Emptywheel’ are all good sites, times will get harder and some must keep their head above water and inform the greater public ineptness of the next great calamity and the facts as they really are.
    I feel that we must promote a new agenda of mutuality with the causes in the middle east, we cannot accept the status quo anymore, it is untennable to the lives and rights of 1.5 million and more people in the middle east. The EU/UN should contemplate establishing an aid base in either Rafah or at a port within Gaza.

    Israel should be held responsible for all its follow on actions from here on, they are mere reactions to its own deliberate, false and bungled attrocities committed against a fellow NATO country.
    Would it not be a good idea if we would all promote a more wider EU/UN commitment in Gaza and lets see this concentration camp opened to trade and aid.

    thanks again for your apt words.

  8. Could you please elaborate on why you’re not big on cultural and academic boycotts? I see bands cancelling shows getting a fair amount of press right now and see that press as a good thing, but would love to hear your take.

    Thank-you for the great post!

  9. “the Bush administration placed many peace workers on the no-fly list. ”
    The list is still there. My understanding is that it is expanding (i.e. via the new “intelligence-based” profiling).
    Has Obama taken peace workers off the list? Is this still happening or not?

  10. The terrorism accusations remind me of when the commander of the Guantanamo detention camp characterized the suicides of inmates as “an act of assymetrical warfare against us”.

    • And the most recent evidence is that those three Gitmo prisoners were murdered.
      Great post, Mr. Cole.

  11. If there were an international commission of inquiry, and were it to find the Israeli government at fault for the killing of civilians, it would just be the standard routine response — Israel’s government would denounce the report as unfair, anti-Israel, and fraudulent, its backers in the U.S. would agree, the authors’ reputations would be smeared, the U.S. Congress would vote for a resolution against it, the U.S. would express its regret that a one-sided report had been released, and, in any case, Israel and the U.S. would ignore any international reaction to the report, and in the end there would be no more consequence with the report than without it.

  12. Just for the sake of complete accuracy: the New York Times article which is cited above only says the Israeli’s were firing “rubber bullets from above”. It was Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal who said they were firing “rubber coated steel bullets”. It is not surprising that the Times omitted this bit of information.

    • Robert, all rubber bullets are rubber-coated steel bullets. The point of calling them the latter is to make it clear that they can be lethal even so.

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