28 thoughts on “Far-Right Israeli NGO Brags It Induced Greece to Detain Audacity of Hope – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Greece is a socialist country and this is politicing.

    but

    when at war we must look at the assets that Terrorist use to obtain their products of killing especialy from the banks that support their activities. Silimalar to the Japanese in world war 2 against Australia, all Japanese asserts were frozen during these times and outlawed, 1942-45 Japanese attack upon Australia, Heidiki tojo

  2. I must say that I am at a loss to understand the IRS. In what way is Shurat Hadin in line with the mission of PEF, which is to give ” GRANTS TO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS FOR SUCH PURPOSES AS: PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION, SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, SPECIAL NEEDS OF WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND FAMILIES IN DISTRESS, DRUG ABUSE, RELIEF FOR HANDICAPPED, ARTS PROMOTION” – which is language that appears on their tax filings with the IRS.

    Do frivolous lawsuits count ore as education, research, or drug abuse? Or is it more relief for the ethically-handicapped, morally-destitute Shurat Hadin? Or is it a distorted form of promotion of the art of deceit?

    And why do they get to do it on my dime?

  3. Mr. Silverstein, Your claim that Shurat-Ha-Din tried to sue the sponsors of Audacity of Hope on behalf of an American Jewish terror victim alleging the ship somehow is responsible for a 2002 attack on the victim. is simply not true.

    from the website of Shurat-Ha-Din (you linked to):
    “The plaintiff, American biologist, Dr. Alan Bauer, who along with his son Jonathan was seriously injured in a Palestinian suicide bombing on March 21, 2002 in Jerusalem, alleges that FGM and other American-based anti-Israel organizations have raised funds in the United States to outfit the Gaza Flotilla ships. The lawsuit contends that furnishing and outfitting the ships, which are being used for hostilities against a U.S. ally, violates American law.”

    would you be able to show where Shurat-Ha-Din claimed a connection between the boats and the 2002 terror attack ?

    1. Would you show me what direct connection the alleged victim of the alleged terror attack has to the Audacity of Hope and what tort he’s suffered from the Flotilla that justifies his participation in the lawsuit? Under tort law, you have to have suffered damage or injury in order to sue someone. Where’s the damage?

      And can you offer a shred of evidence that the ships “are being used for hostilities” against Israel? Hostilities is a very specific word that has very specific connotations. And using that term in the context of this lawsuit is an outright lie. And a disgusting smear.

      1. Mr. Silverstein,
        I am not a lawyer, and can not provide and insight about the nature of the lawsuit, if you wish to be provided with more information i suggest you will contact the Israel Law Center using their contact page.

        as for your second question, challenging a blockade is an hostile act. I Understand that since you do not see this blockade as legal you may have a different opinion on the matter, but you failed to provide a reference to any legal ruling on the matter (nor the subject was ever challenged at any court – to the best of my knowledge), hence all we have is your opinion, as well as many others who support the direct opposite.

        1. Anybody with money can make citizen’s complaints and lift civil lawsuit in western courts. Lifting a civil lawsuit only tells that that the case is not a suitable for criminal or administrative proceedings.

          In many of these civil lawsuit cases there is for the accuser no intention or possibility to win. The only aim is to silence the weaker and poorer side by using the court system in the wrong way. The defender must use his financial resources and his time for his defence, so having no possibility to do something “productive”. The aim of many civil lawsuits is to get in the news that the process has started. A lawsuit is like the famous “have you stopped beating your wife” question. The one who is accused has to use its/his resources to prove it is not guilty. The accuser has only be prepared to pay the costs of his layers, and if the court process is not successful the losses are in the end minor considering the damages (propaganda and finance) made to the accused side.

          If we approve this kind legal war in western countries against Palestinians, Iran and whoever the Zionist at each time see as their enemy, then we then must consider equal legal actions against Israel and Israeli interests as appropriate. What then when Palestinians and Arabs have the financial resources and “access” to top layer firms and the lift civil law suits against everything which is related even remotely related with Israel an Zionism. Israel is more than Palestinians relying on export and its public image, so it much more vulnerable to these kind of warfare in courts.

        2. challenging a blockade is an hostile act.

          If you’re a paranoid military force like the IDF it is. But somehow the U.S. managed a blockade of Cuba without killing anyone & the stakes were MUCH higher. If the blockade is illegal under international law then challenging it is a point of honor & I so honor those who are breaking the Israeli siege.

          nor the subject was ever challenged at any court

          That should change come Sept. if Palestine is recognized by the GA as a state, which would bring the new state under the ICC. Then Palestine would certainly challenge the siege in the ICC & then we’ll see if you’re singin’ the same tune.

          all we have is your opinion

          You mean you can really say with a straight face that you don’t know that scores of experts in international law have opined on the illegality of the Israeli blockade. Is that really yr claim?

          1. “You mean you can really say with a straight face that you don’t know that scores of experts in international law have opined on the illegality of the Israeli blockade. Is that really yr claim?”

            I see, you mean experts like Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, who support Israel Stands ? (http://tundratabloids.com/2011/06/zeit-online-israel-cannot-let-aid-ships-into-gaza.html)

            or Reuters that states that the blockade is legal based on 1909 Declaration of London ?
            (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2010/06/02/us-israel-flotilla-gaza-idUSTRE65133D20100602)

            Or the score of US officials ? Obama ? Clinton ? State Department ?

            Or professor Ruth Lapidot ? and many others.

            can you claim with straight face that you do not know that the US recognize the legality of the blockade ?

          2. I said “experts on international law,” I didn’t say “pro-Israel hacks.” One of my readers is researching this and we’ll offer you enough names and links that if you bothered to read them all would keep you occupied for at least the next few months. But in the meantime, this should keep you going for a while:

            The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Lawyers Guild’s International Committee, Istanbul Bilgi University’s Law Department Dean Turgut Tarhanlı and other experts have concluded that the blockade was itself illegal, or agreed with University of Dundee international law professor Robin Churchill that the boarding on the high seas was illegal even if the blockade were lawful, or agreed with international law professor Said Mahmoudi that the use of force was disproportionate and the raid was therefore illegal even if the blockade and the boarding in international waters were lawful. An investigation by a panel of legal experts convened by the UN determined that the use of force by the Israeli military was disproportionate, that the Israeli military violated international law, and found clear evidence sufficient for war crimes prosecutions under the Fourth Geneva Convention – which defines humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone and prohibits total war.

            Douglas Guilfoyle, a maritime legal expert at the University College of London
            Amnesty International: “As a form of collective punishment, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law.”

            José María Ruiz Soroa, a Spanish maritime law scholar and co-author of the legal commentary Manual de derecho de la navegación marítima,[33] said that Israel is not entitled according to international law to constrain the freedom of navigation of any ship on the high seas…

            Yes, there are a few figures like Alan Dershowitz and Eric Posner with decidedly pro-Israel views who take a different approach. But their views are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of opinions by other scholars who find the blockade illegal and the Mavi Marmara massacre to have violated international law.

            I don’t think the U.S. has ever made an explicit statement recognizing the legality of the siege. If it has, I’d like to see it. But even if it has, is that supposed to cow me in my opposition to it? Because Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton may say that the siege is legal, that means something? What does it mean? That their views on this issue are bought & paid for by Aipac & the pro-Israel lobby.

          3. Mr. Silverstein you said:
            “Yes, there are a few figures like Alan Dershowitz and Eric Posner with decidedly pro-Israel views who take a different approach”

            so from an article published by Barak Ravid in Haaretz on 06/26/2011 http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1232559.html

            The draft of the UN special committee presented to both Israel and Turkey about 45 days ago, accepted , adopted, almost entirety, Israel’s claims. The committee concludes that the Blockade on Gaza, is legal and conducted according to the international law. The committee further concludes that the actions which led to the incident on the Mavi Marma was legal.

            טיוטת הדו”ח שהועברה לישראל ולטורקיה לפני כחודש וחצי קיבלה באופן” כמעט מלא את טענותיה של ישראל לגבי אירועי המשט. הוועדה קבעה כי הסגר הימי על עזה חוקי בהתאם לדין הבינלאומי ולפיכך גם הפעולה לאכיפת הסגר ולעצירת המשט היתה חוקית

            So to summarize your standing on this specific matter:
            State department – do not have a clue
            Obama – does not have a clue
            Ban Ki-Moon – does not have a clue
            UN Special Committee ?

            Let’s move on the another related subject, is there a war between Israel & Hamas, the official US standings on the matter came from VP Biden who maintained that because Israel is at war with Hamas, it “has a right to know
            whether or not arms are being smuggled in.”

            needless to say that if Israel is at War with Hamas, the blockade and the actions taken are legal.

          4. First, Barak Ravid, as usual, provided absolutely not sources to verify what he claimed was true. In fact, I seriously doubt the final UN report will saying anything like what Ravid’s anonymous sources claim. When the rpt. actually comes out or you see a copy of it, then we can talk. Till then, Ravid is talking shtus.

            I asked for experts on international law & the laws of war who supported Israel’s claim that the siege is legal & you offer Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama & even Ban Ki Moon. These are experts on the laws of war? In fact, these are political leaders & so their opinions are not based on objective criteria but rather on politics & lock step support of Israeli policy.

            And you’re claiming Joe Biden is an expert on anything related to the I-P conflict? Really? And Joe Biden gets to tell us whether the Israeli blockade is legal?

            And finally, I don’t believe any of these figures have said the siege is legal, which is what you appear to be claiming. You’re implying or infering it fr. their opposition to the Flotilla, but that’s not reasonable since there may be many reasons for them to oppose the Flotilla not having to do w. the siege itself.

          5. Mr. Silverstein, If you could i would like you to provide a guide to understanding Barak Ravid articles, You claim and you are right that ” Barak Ravid, as usual, provided absolutely not sources to verify what he claimed was true”

            But that fact didn’t deter you from writing a post based on an article circulated by the same Barak Ravid in which you stated “Barak Ravid, ever the trusty stenographer for the IDF and other government sources, continues his tradition of poodle journalism by reporting today’s lies the IDF is spewing about the Gaza flotilla.”

            so can we or can’t we trust Mr. Ravid statements ? i am a bit confused.

            as to Joe Biden, he is no expert, but his opinions represents the opinions of the administration, and are based on the opinions of experts who work for the administration.
            Unless you wish to claim that the administration have no idea about subjects they opine about.

          6. You continue simply, willfully & in bad faith having no reading comprehension whatsoever. I’m getting very tired of addressing this nonsense. Barak Ravid is generally not a reliable source as to the truth. When he’s reporting information he receives from gov’t sources of course he conveys that information accurately because those are his masters & he’s doing their bidding. But that doesn’t mean he’s conveying the truth. It means he’s conveying what they tell him to convey.

            Is it possible that Ravid writes other articles that are accurate & truthful? Sure. Even a broken clock tells correct time twice a day. So does Ravid.

            i am a bit confused

            MOre than a bit.

            his opinions represents the opinions of the administration, and are based on the opinions of experts

            Not at all. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama devise policy concerning Israel almost entirely on political, rather than technical or expert criteria. And yes, often these politicians utter complete nonsense & do so w. a straight face.

          7. Mr. Silverstein, i don’t know why you think i am speaking in bad faith.
            The Fact that Barak Ravid specifies a time frame, tells me that he got that story from his gov’t sources. Furthermore the fact that NRG circulated the same article more or less (today) emphasis on the fact that most likely the item was given in a formal briefing by the gov’t.

            I understand what you say about the administration, and i do not have enough information to form an opinion, You as an american knows more.
            But If you take the flotilla for example, if the administration got it wrong, and Ban Ki-Moon got it wrong, And almost every gov’t in the western world got it wrong , then who got it right ? who is a source for credible, reliable information on the matter ?

          8. The only thing these individuals got wrong was the notion their citizens shouldn’t sail on the Flotilla. And that’s not the whole world since many governments have taken no position on the flotilla.

            Hardly any of these people have taken a position supporting the siege.

    2. Itai L, the political branches of the US government adopt the laws and determine which acts are illegal, not our courts.

      International law is constantly evolving in the same way that the Congress is constantly changing the body of municipal law. For centuries there were no international courts, and there still aren’t any with mandatory or comprehensive criminal or civil jurisdiction. International laws, like the “law of nations” which are incorporated in the US Constitution, are simply the rules that States have adopted to govern their mutual relations. Enforcement is the responsibility of the political departments of individual governments, e.g. an Attorney General, or recognized treaty bodies established for that specific purpose.

      The United States government and the other signatories of the Geneva Conventions have formally agreed to accept the legal competence of the ICRC to act as a “Protecting Power” and as a “watchdog of international humanitarian law”. See for example the discussion of the role of ICRC in section 6.2 Enforcement Of The Law Of Armed Conflict, “6.2.1 The Protecting Power” and “6.2.2 The International Committee of the Red Cross” (page 6-3) in “The Commander’s Handbook On The Law Of Naval Operations Edition July 2007 (United States Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard)

      The ICRC is also one of the”Protecting Powers” cited in Article 103 of the San Remo Manual. It has declared the blockade to be an illegal form of collective punishment and deprivation that cannot be addressed by simply providing humanitarian aid. Nonetheless, that declaration triggers the obligation of Israel under articles 102.3 and 103 of the San Remo Manual “to allow relief shipments to gain access to the coasts of the blockaded belligerent.” Israel has a right to visit and inspect, but there is no inherent right to divert shipments to its own ports or those of Egypt where berthing fees of $30,000 per ship are collected. In fact it has an obligation to provide “free passage”to foodstuffs and other essential supplies under the San Remo guidelines. Richard has written previous articles about documents obtained by Gisha and public statements about putting the people of Gaza on a diet which illustrate that Israel aims to punish the civilian population. Hillary Clinton and the State Department can talk about “legitimate and efficient mechanisms to get aid in to people of Gaza”, but so long as the ICRC says Israel’s blockade is an illegal collective punishment, they are merely attempting to put lipstick on the proverbial pig. The US State Department has no physical presence in Gaza and the determinations of the iCRC remain legally dispositive.

      The British Prime Minister described Gaza as a “Prison Camp” and the British Ambassador to Egypt wrote that the international community is fed-up with Israel’s blockade and that it should have lifted it long ago under the terms of UN Security Council resolution 1801 and other international law.

      Judge Stephen Schwebel was a member of the UN special committee that developed the “Definition of Aggression” which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1974. He commented that it had been the result of half a century of intense and intermittent negotiations. In the Nicaragua v United States case, the ICJ held that it reflected customary international law. The adoption of that same definition into the body of conventional law by the State Parties to the Rome Statute during their own review conference in 2010 marked a major evolution in international law. The new article does not require a determination or referral from the Security Council to trigger an investigation by the Prosecutor. When it enters into effect it will mark nearly a century of effort to criminalize unilaterally imposed military occupations and blockades or any other threat of use of force against states that opt-in to the ICC protection.

      It is interesting to note in connection with the crime of aggression that in 1967 Israel’s Prime Minister sent a cable to President Johnson which claimed that the closure of the Straits of Tiran was an “illegal blockade” and that during the Cuban Missile Crisis the US took great care to explain that it was imposing a “quarantine” on nuclear missile shipments to Cuba – and that there was no intention whatever of imposing an effective blockade on either communications or commerce. See for example the discussion in section “3.2.3 Quarantine” (page 3-2) of the Commanders Handbook. It was generally understood in both cases that members of the international maritime community could still exercise the right to freedom of navigation and that it could not be interpreted as a hostile act. The US and UK had even announced plans to act as neutral protecting powers in order to escort ships through the Straits of Tiran. Secretary of State Rusk advised that there were those with considerable international legal background who felt that, as long as the UAR maintained an illegal state of war the other parties concerned, including Israel, could not “commit aggression” against the UAR.

      There are many examples where initiating a war in violation of international agreements has constituted a punishable criminal offense. For example, Articles 227-230 of the Treaty of Versailles simply indicted Germans for waging a war in violation of treaties and morality and directed that a special tribunal be established to prosecute the individuals who were responsible. The London conference during WWII acted in a similar fashion and the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal once again declared that waging wars in violation of international treaties and widely accepted laws and customs was either a crime against peace; a war crime; or a crime against humanity.

      Here is a short list of legal experts in the field of international criminal law who have investigated the situation in Gaza on behalf of competent treaty bodies. They have concluded that Israel’s blockade constitutes illegal collective punishment:
      *Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour (served as Justice on Canadian Supreme Court and as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia)
      * UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay (served as Justice on High Court of South Africa, Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and Judge in the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court in The Hague)
      *Richard Goldstone (former Justice on Transvaal Supreme Court, Justice on Supreme Court of South Africa, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda)
      *Karl T. Hudson-Phillips (served as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs for Trinidad and Tobago, served as Judge in the International Criminal Court)
      *Desmond Lorenz de Silva (served as Chief Prosecutor in the Special Court for Sierra Leone)

      I’ve got errand to run this afternoon, but I’ll try to post an analysis of the filing and exhibit in Dr. Bauer’s civil case here this evening.

  4. “Let these shmoes worry about their own country’s laws and not stick their noses where they not only don’t belong, but where they’re interfering with the rights of American citizens”

    This comes from a man who built his Internet career largely on fighting Israeli laws and preaching for their annulment. How do you spell hypocrisy?

    “Of course, the tone of the article is unrestrained pride at the successes without any shred of objectivity in the reporting.”

    Of course your account of the events is completely objective journalism, not with the slightest shred of prejudiced emotional reporting. There’s a Hebrew expression for this kind of behavior: “Tol Kora MiBain Einecha”. Lookup Matthew 7, 3-5, or better still ask your lady friend to translate.

    “What these sources are really saying is that the IDF will use violence if, and when it deems violence appropriate, NOT that it will respond to violence from the activists who’ve consistently said they will not offer any.”

    No, that’s what YOU are saying. There’s a big difference between the actual words people reiterate and the words you BELIEVE you hear or WISH them to say. The fact is, despite the dehumanizing efforts of some, the Israeli Navy soldiers aren’t the blood-thirsty brutish kill squad most of you imagine. They are not sent to the flotilla guns-a-blazing to kill everyone on board. All of the participants who so proudly boast of their fearlessness confronting certain death and physical harm can just relax. Though it might be good for the publicity and even your own sense of pride it is nothing to do with reality. If these passengers will truly abide their own non-violent declarations, not a single drop of blood will be shed. I’m sure at least most of them will. I don’t see the grandmas on the Canadian boat throwing punches with the soldiers.

    1. So let’s clarify a few things shall we? America is more or less a democracy. It has a free press with diverse political debate. It has a civilian controlled military. There is a balance between Dem. & Repub./liberal & conservative. But in the areas where it’s deficient I’m happy to criticize it & demand it do better.

      Israel on the other hand is not fully a democracy. Its press is routinely censored & gagged. It is beholden to the military & political elites & often does their bidding. The Israeli state is dominated by the military-intelligence elites. Political life is dominated by the hard right. All of which means that it’s often difficult for Israeli journalists & activists to either report what they know, or in some cases to even know what I know. That’s why what I do is important. It would give me immense pleasure & turn this blog into a world music mp3 blog likely, if Israel became a full democracy, gag orders & censorship ended, & there was a political debate that respected views of the left, right & center.

      But until that happens, there’s an important role for me to play.

      Further, unlike Shurat HaDin, I’ve never warned an Israeli they would be prosecuted by an Israeli court. I have warned about prosecution in an international court, but I feel that’s reasonable since I am a citizen of the world and subject to the ICC as well (or at least would be if my own country signed the ICC treaty).

      Of course your account of the events is completely objective journalism

      It’s a funny thing about objectivity. When the reporting of others is relatively unbiased you feel you can afford to be careful & balanced as well. When you read partisan slanted stuff like what was in Ynet, you tend to react in kind. Besides, I’m not Ynet. I critique Ynet, but I don’t confuse myself with it. I never claimed I’m objective. But I’m a whole lot more truthful & precise than that article was. Bloggers need to be truthful & accurate, but they don’t need to be journalists.

      There’s a big difference between the actual words people reiterate and the words you BELIEVE you hear

      That would be true if Israel’s pronouncements were uniformly found to be true, accurate & precise; and if Israel behaved in a way that was proportionate and cautious. If Israel hadn’t murdered nine activists a yr ago & looted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of personal property fr. Flotilla members, you might be right. Unfortunately, none of those things I wrote in the leading sentence of this paragraph are true so erring on the side of doubt when it comes to Israeli military or political pronouncements is the better course to take.

      the Israeli Navy soldiers aren’t the blood-thirsty brutish kill squad most of you imagine

      Gosh darn, that must’ve been a bad dream I had a yr ago of nine Turkish activists killed at pt blank range by IDF commandos. Whew, glad that never happened because it was a bloody nightmare!

      All of the participants who so proudly boast of their fearlessness confronting certain death and physical harm can just relax.

      I tell you what, we’ll all chip in & buy you a tkt to the nearest Flotilla port so you can join my Israeli friends Joseph Dana, Mya Guarnieri & Yonatan Shapira & then you can lay the meiseh above on us. Till then, I think I prefer to believe my friend Mary Hughes Thompson, co-founder of the entiire Flotilla movement, who tells me she’s in mortal fear of what the IDF could do to her and her comrades. You see, she’s there. She’s been through this drill before on previous voyages. You? Not so much.

      1. “Mary Hughes Thompson, co-founder of the entiire Flotilla movement, who tells me she’s in mortal fear of what the IDF could do to her and her comrades. You see, she’s there. She’s been through this drill before on previous voyages. You? Not so much.”

        was she on the marmara last time?

        you know, the one ship on which passengers did not passively resist the Israeli forces taking control of the ships, the one ship where israeli solders were stabbed, clubbed and taken to the levels below?

        becoase if she wasn’t on that ship, she was most definetly NOT though that drill before.

        1. If any Israeli soldiers were wounded, other passengers rescued them & took them below where they were treated by medics who were passengers. But there is a little problem people have when commandos armed to the teeth violently attempt to hijack a neutral ship in international waters. It annoys some people. Don’t know why, but it just does. But other people actually believe in non violence & when they see those same armed commandos attacked rescue them & provide them medical care. That spoils yr hasbarist narrative though doesn’t it?

          1. whatever.

            that’s not a reply to my question. that demagogary.

            there was extreeme violance on ONE ship. was she on that ship?

            “If any Israeli soldiers were wounded”

            you need a new slogan for this blog: Tikun Olam: making this world better by closing your eyes and liying.

          2. closing your eyes and liying [sic]

            Actually I do have a slogan of sorts. THey are the comment rules & one of cardinal ones is thou shalt accuse me of lying. Next time you do that you’re toast.

          3. I appologize for that liying part.

            that said. you’re still dodging.

            was she on the marmara? (if so, was she on the top deck?) did she get hurt?

          4. I’m not my sister’s keeper. I’m sure she was on the Flotilla is all I can say. She’ll have to answer for herself. And as the co-founder of the entire Flotilla movement it’s safe to say that she knows an awful lot about what happened whether she was there or not.

  5. Thank you for this update Richard. Wonderful.

    Here is Max Blumenthals take on the Shurat Hadin, note Hagee’s connection to the funding. This is very important, as the funding for these extremist Israeli organisations come from the USA. There is a also a good video, as usual excellent, as is all of Max’s work on this Hagee menace

    Spread the word, far and wide, deep into the bowels of the internet!

    Israel Law Center behind harassment of flotilla funded by homophobic End Timer Pastor John Hagee

    http://maxblumenthal.com/2011/06/israel-law-center-behind-harassment-of-flotilla-funded-by-homophobic-end-timer-pastor-john-hagee/

  6. At least the blocking of “Audacity of Hope” has come through to the European MSM. I just switched on the joint French-German channel ARTE and saw the end of a report on a kind of sit-in in Athens. I recognized Medea Benjamin, and there was a short interview with Ann Wrigth. I don’t know whether the reasons for the blockade were mentioned, though.

  7. The filing in Bauer v Mavi Marmara et. al. is a civil lawsuit in rem (against a thing) for the forfeiture of a list of foreign vessels and the Audacity of Hope. It is not a criminal prosecution, although the basis of the plaintiff’s civil claim arises from being an “informer” under a provision of the foreign relations criminal code dealing arming vessels for use by foreign powers. The same chapter of the code deals with registering foreign agents, private correspondence with foreign governments (the Logan Act), and maintenance of US neutrality.

    Bauer’s complaint and the attached exhibit, consisting of a fax sent to Attorney General Eric Holder, (are available here). Bauer alleges that the ships are subject to forfeiture in accordance with:
    *US Code Title 18 – Crimes And Criminal Procedure;
    **Part 1 – Crimes,
    ***Chapter 45 – Foreign Relations,
    ****
    § 962. Arming vessel against friendly nation

    This statute has no obvious application to unarmed humanitarian aid ships. § 962 is not a terrorism or money laundering statute. It only applies to specific acts committed “within the United States” with the intent to arm, or furnish armed ships, for use in the service of a foreign power against a nation or people with which the United States is at peace. The statute has been brought forward in various revisions of the US codes from an act of June 5, 1794 (1 Stat. 381, c. 50) which was intended to preserve the neutral relations of the United States in cases of war between two foreign powers, nations, or peoples.

    The in rem civil case is the domestic counterpart of warfare prize laws, which are now obsolete and considered a historical curiosity in international law. It is generally agreed that it is difficult to envisage any circumstances in which prize law might ever come into operation again. So, it is extremely unlikely the Federal Courts will apply this particular statute to the foreign ships listed in the complaint. That is especially true if they did not visit or have work performed within the United States. There is almost no chance that a foreign court would ever enforce a prize judgment on behalf of Mr. Bauer.

    It is unlikely that the United States will prosecute any of the flotilla organizers in connection with § 962, but a criminal conviction is not a prerequisite for the civil forfeiture of the Audacity of Hope. Under US maritime and warfare prize law, running a foreign blockade is not really “taking part in hostilities”. It is not one of the enumerated unlawful acts in § 962. US publicist Francis Henry Upton commented in his book “On maritime warfare and prize law”, 3d ed. New York, 1863 that naval captors had sometimes mistakenly treated blockade runners as prisoners of war. However, he noted that “the penalty, and the sole penalty . . . is the forfeiture of the property employed [in blockade running].” Passengers and crew aboard the blockade runners were not to be treated as prisoners of war. Persons aboard blockade runners could only be temporarily detained as witnesses, and after testifying, immediately released (page 441).

    The Bauer complaint cites the U.S. Supreme Court case “The Three Friends”, 166 U.S. 1 (1897) involving Florida Governor Broward’s famous tugboat that had cruised as a gunship and filibustered on behalf of the Cuban rebels against the Spanish authorities. Much of the Court’s ruling was a discussion as to whether or not the disturbance in Cuba had “acquired such head as to have demanded the recognition of belligerency”. BTW, that is exactly what eventually happened in the case of the Cuban rebellion..

    The subject of “recognition of belligerency” has come up here at Tikun Olam before. For example, I’ve pointed out that the US State Department has a web page which explains that blockades have historically resulted in belligerent recognition, because they are “a weapon of war between sovereign states.”

    Legally, Hamas cannot be described as an “insurgent” government. Israel signed the Oslo Accords in which it agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian government on part of the occupied territory. Then Hamas participated in, and won, the internationally supervised 2006 elections. The United States covertly backed local forces under Muhammad Dahlan in a widely publicized attempt to overthrow the elected government. That’s not the kind of “neutrality” Eric Holder wants to defend in a federal criminal or civil case. The US has employed similar tactics against the governments of Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, and other countries in the past. For its own part Israel declared Gaza an “enemy entity” and imposed a blockade, but Wikileaks revealed that Israel’s former Military Intelligence Director, Amos Yadlin, told the US that Israel would be “happy” if Hamas took over Gaza because the IDF could then deal with Gaza as a HOSTILE STATE. (emphasis added). every time a rocket falls in the desert, Israel complains to the UN as if Hamas were already a state with all the rights and responsibilities of UN membership. See President Shimon Peres tells Ban ‘UN cannot remain neutral in light of the rockets fired from Gaza to Israel.’

    In the Targeted Killings case, the Israeli Supreme Court declared under the heading of “International Armed Conflict” that:

    “between Israel and the various terrorist organizations active in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip (hereinafter “the area”) a continuous situation of armed conflict has existed since the first intifada.”

    Given those facts, Ti-chiang Chen explained that under US practice and international law:

    Once the decision has been taken to recognize an insurgent government as belligerent, the legal consequences of the decision are not limited to its concession of belligerent rights. So long as it maintains an independent existence, the insurgent government is considered to have all the normal rights and liabilities of a State. Its legal position is not merely that of a military occupant as defined by the Hague Convention No. IV, of 1907. — See “The international law of recognition, with special reference to practice in Great Britain and the United States”, Nabu Press, 2010, page 307-308.

    Chen also explained why non-recognition of statehood and collective punishment are not an acceptable solution:

    It cannot be denied that a belligerent community enjoys actual supremacy in the territory under its control and that individuals living therein can have no choice but to submit to such supremacy. A third state cannot, without causing grievous hardships and inequities to the local inhabitants, deny the legal validity of the acts of the belligerent community which regulate life within its territory

    It’s unlikely that Dr Bauer or his counsel realized that US maritime cases involving blockades and prizes also could lead to recognition of the statehood of a belligerent government.

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