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Was the Obama Administration involved in the Planning of the Israeli Attack?

Michel Chossudovsky | 07.06.2010 09:28 | Flotilla to Gaza | Anti-militarism | Anti-racism | Repression | World

The Broader Military Agenda

The Israeli Navy Commando had prior knowledge of who was on the Turkish ship
including where passengers were residing in terms of cabin layout. According
to Swedish author Henning Mankell, who was on board the Marmara , "the
Israeli forces attacked sleeping civilians."

May 26 meeting between Rahm Emmanuel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
May 26 meeting between Rahm Emmanuel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

R. Gates & Israel's Minister of Defense E. Barak, Press Conference, April 27
R. Gates & Israel's Minister of Defense E. Barak, Press Conference, April 27

The Israeli Navy Commando had prior knowledge of who was on the Turkish ship
including where passengers were residing in terms of cabin layout. According
to Swedish author Henning Mankell, who was on board the Marmara , "the
Israeli forces attacked sleeping civilians."

These were targeted assassinations. Specific individuals were targeted.
Journalists were targeted with a view to confiscating their audio and video
recording equipment and tapes.

"We were witnesses to premeditated murders," said historian Mattias Gardell
who was on the Mavi Marmara.

"...Asked about why activists on the Turkish ship had attacked the Israeli
soldiers, Gardell stressed "it is not as if Israel is a police officer whom
no human being has the legitimate right to defend him or herself against":

"If you are attacked by commando troops you of course must have the right to
defend yourself ... Many people on this ship thought they were going to kill
everyone. They were very frightened ... It's strange if people think one
should not defend oneself. Should you just sit there and say: 'Kill me'?" he
said." (See Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Detailed Compiled Eyewitness Accounts
Confirm Cold-Blooded Murder and Executions by Israeli Military [1] , Global
Research, June 1, 2010)

"They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They
told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot," (quoted by Press
TV [2] )


The Israeli Commando had an explicit order to kill.

What was the role of the United States?

The raids on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, bear the mark of previous Israeli
operations directed against unarmed civilians. It is a well established
modus operandi of Israeli military-intelligence operations, which is tacitly
supported by the US administration.

The killing of civilians is intended to trigger a response by Palestinian
resistance forces, which in turn justifies Israeli retaliation (on
"humanitarian" grounds) as well as a process of military escalation. The
logic of this process was contained in Ariel Sharon`s "Operation Justified
Vengeance" initiated at the outset the Sharon government in 2001. This
Operation was intent upon destroying the Palestinian Authority and
transforming Gaza into an urban prison. (See Michel Chossudovsky, "Operation
Justified Vengeance": Israeli Strike on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is Part of
a Broader Military Agenda [3] , Global Research, June 1, 2010).

The Israeli attack of the Flotilla bears the fingerprints of a military
intelligence operation coordinated by the IDF and Mossad, which is headed by
Meir Dagan. It is worth recalling that as a young Coronel, Dagan worked
closely with then defense minister Ariel Sharon in the raids on the
Palestinian settlements of Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut in 1982.

There are indications that the US was consulted at the highest levels
regarding the nature of this military operation. Moreover, in the wake of
the attacks, both the US and the UK have unequivocally reaffirmed their
support to Israel.

There are longstanding and ongoing military and intelligence relations
between the US and Israel including close working ties between various
agencies of government: Pentagon, National Intelligence Council, State
Department, Homeland Security and their respective Israeli counterparts.

These various agencies of government are involved in routine liaison and
consultations, usually directly as well as through the US Embassy in Israel,
involving frequent shuttles of officials between Washington and Tel Aviv as
well as exchange of personnel. Moreover, the US as well as Canada have
public security cooperation agreements with Israel pertaining to the
policing of international borders, including maritime borders. (See
Israel-USA Homeland Security Cooperation [4] , See also Michel Chossudovsky,
The Canada-Israel "Public Security" Agreement [5] , Global Research, 2 April

The Role of Rahm Emmanuel

Several high level US-Israel meetings were held in the months prior to the
May 31st attacks.

Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's White House chief of Staff was in Tel Aviv a week
prior to the attacks. Confirmed by press reports, he had meetings behind
closed doors with Prime Minister Netanyahu (May 26) as well as a private
visit with President Shimon Peres on May 27.

[Picture 1]

Official statements do not indicate whether other officials including
cabinet ministers or IDF and Mossad officials were present at the Rahm
Emmanuel-Netanyahu meeting. The Israeli press confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel
had a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whose Ministry was
responsible for overseeing the Commando attack on the Flotilla. (Rahm
Emanuel visits Israel to celebrate son's bar mitzvah - Haaretz Daily
Newspaper | Israel News [6] , 23 May 2010). The White House also confirmed
that Rahm Emmanuel was to meet other high-ranking Israeli officials, without
providing further details. (Rahm Emanuel in Israel for Son's Bar Mitzvah,
May Meet With Officials [7] )

"Our Man in the White House"

While born in the US, Rahm Emmanuel also holds Israeli citizenship and has
served in the Israeli military during the First Gulf War (1991). Rahm is
also known for his connections to the pro-Israeli lobby in the US. The
Israeli newspaper Maariv calls him "Our Man in the White House" (quoted in
Irish Times, March 13, 2010). Rahm Emmanuel gave his support to Obama in the
November 2008 presidential elections following Obama`s address to the
pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC. At the time of Rahm Emmanuel's confirmation as
White House chief of staff, there were reports in the Middle East media of
Rahm Emanuel's connections to Israeli intelligence.

The exact nature of Rahm Emmanuel's ties to the Israeli military and
intelligence apparatus, however, is not the main issue. What we are dealing
with is a broad process of bilateral coordination and decision-making
between the two governments in the areas of foreign policy, intelligence and
military planning, which has been ongoing for more than 50 years. In this
regard, Israel, although exercising a certain degree of autonomy in military
and strategic decisions, will not act unilaterally, without receiving the
"green light" from Washington. Rahm Emmanuel`s meetings with the prime
minister and Israeli officials are part of this ongoing process.

Rahm Emmanuel's meetings in Tel Aviv on May 26 were a routine follow-up to
visits to Washington by Prime Minister Netanyahu in March and by Minister of
Defense Ehud Barak in late April. In these various bilateral US-Israel
encounters at the White House, the state Department and the Pentagon, Rahm
Emmanuel invariably plays a key role.

While the pro-Israeli lobby in the US influences party politics in America,
Washington also influences the direction of Israeli politics. There have
been reports to the effect that Rahm Emmanuel would "lead a team of high
octane Democratic party pro-Israel political operatives to run the campaign
for the Defense Minister Ehud Barak" against Netanyahu in the next Israeli
election. (Ira Glunts, Could Rahm Emanuel Help Barak Unseat Netanyahu? [8]
Palestine Chronicle, June 2, 2010)

The April 27 meeting between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Defense
Minister Barak pertained to "a range of important defense issues" directly
or indirectly related to the status of the Palestinian territories under
Israeli occupation:

"As President Obama has affirmed, the United States commitment to Israel's
security is unshakable, and our defense relationship is stronger than ever,
to the mutual benefit of both nations. The United States and our ally Israel
share many of the same security challenges, from combating terrorism to
confronting the threat posed by Iran's nuclear-weapons program.

For years, the United States and Israel have worked together to prepare our
armed forces to meet these and other challenges, a recent major example
being the Juniper Cobra joint exercise held last October. Our work together
on missile-defense technology is ongoing, and the United States will
continue to ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge."
(Press Conference with Secretary Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Barak,
April 2010 - Council on Foreign Relations [9] April 27, 2010)

These consultations pertained to ongoing military preparations regarding
Iran. Both Israel and the US have recently announced that a pre-emptive
attack against Iran has been contemplated.

Washington views Israel as being "'integrated into America's military
architecture,' especially in the missile defense sphere." (quoted in Emanuel
to rabbis: US 'screwed up' [10] Jerusalem Post, statement of Dennis Ross,
who is in charge of the US administration's Iran policy in the White House,
May 16, 2010).

Targeting Iran

The attack on the Freedom Flotilla, might appear as a separate and distinct
humanitiarian issue, unrelated to US-Israeli war plans. But from the
standpoint of both Tel Aviv and Washington, it is part of the broader
military agenda. It is intended to create conditions favoring an atmosphere
of confrontation and escalation in the Middle East war theater;

"All the signs are that Israel has been stepping up its provocations to
engineer a casus belli for a war against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in
Lebanon. Tel Aviv sees as unfinished business its inconclusive wars: the
first in Lebanon in 2006, and the second in Gaza in 2008-09." (Jean Shaoul
Washington Comes to the Aid of Israel over Gaza Convoy Massacre [11] ,
Global Research, June 4, 2010)

Following Israel's illegal assault in international waters, Netanyahu stated
emphatically "Israel will continue to exercise its right to self defence. We
will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza," suggesting
that the Gaza blockade was part of the pre-emptive war agenda directed
against Iran, Syria and Lebanon. (Israeli forces board Gaza aid ship the
Rachel Corrie - Telegraph [12] , June 5, 2010, emphasis added) .

Moreover, the raid on the Flotilla coincided with NATO-Israel war games
directed against Iran. According to the Sunday Times, "three German-built
Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed
in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline." (Israel Deploys Three Nuclear
Cruise Missile-Armed Subs Along Iranian Coastline).

While Israeli naval deployments were underway in the Persian Gulf, Israel
was also involved in war games in the Mediterranean. The war game codenamed
"MINOAS 2010" was carried out at a Greek air base in Souda Bay, on the
island of Crete. Earlier in February, The Israeli air force "practiced
simulated strikes at Iran's nuclear facilities using airspace of two Arab
countries in the Persian Gulf, which are close territorially with the
Islamic republic and cooperate with Israel on this issue." Ria Novosti,War
Games: Israel gets ready to Strike at Iran's Nuclear Sites [13] ,, March 29,

Also, in the wake of the final resolution of the 2010 Review Conference of
the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation directed against Israel's
nuclear weapons program, the White House has reaffirmed its endorsement of
Israel's nuclear weapons capabilities. Washington's statement issued one day
before the raid on the flotilla points to unbending US support to "Israel's
strategic and deterrence capabilities", which also include the launching of
a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran:

"a senior political source in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel received
guarantees from U.S. President Barack Obama that the U.S. would maintain and
improve Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities.

According to the source, "Obama gave [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu
unequivocal guarantees that include a substantial upgrade in Israel-U.S.

Obama promised that no decision taken during the recent 189-nation
conference to review and strengthen the 40-year-old Nuclear
Non-proliferation Treaty "would be allowed to harm Israel's vital
interests," the sources said. Obama promised to bolster Israel's strategic
capabilities, Jerusalem officials say - Haaretz Daily Newspaper) [14]

[Picture 2]

The Turkey-Israel Relationship in Jeopardy?

The actions of Israel against the Freedom Flotilla have important
ramifications. Israel's criminal actions in international waters has
contributed to weakening the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.

The bilateral Israel-Turkey alliance in military, intelligence, joint
military production is potentially in jeopardy. Ankara has already announced
that three planned military exercises with Israel have been cancelled. "The
government announced it was considering reducing its relations with Israel
to a minimum."

It should be understood that Israel and Turkey are partners and major actors
in the US-NATO planned aerial attacks on Iran, which have been in the
pipeline since mid-2005. The rift between Turkey and Israel has a direct
bearing on NATO as a military alliance. Turkey is one of the more powerful
NATO member states with regard to its conventional forces. The rift with
Israel breaks a consensus within the Atlantic Alliance. It also undermines
ongoing US-NATO-Israel pre-emptive war plans directed against Iran, which
until recently were endorsed by the Turkish military.

From the outset in 1992, the Israeli-Turkish military alliance was directed
against Syria, as well as Iran and Iraq. (For details see See Michel
Chossudovsky, "Triple Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on
Lebanon [15] , Global Research, 2006)

In 1997, Israel and Turkey launched "A Strategic Dialogue" involving a
bi-annual process of high level military consultations by the respective
deputy chiefs of staff. (Milliyet, Istanbul, in Turkish 14 July 2006).

During the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between
the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This "triple alliance", which in
practice is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and
coordinates military command decisions between the three countries
pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military
ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong
bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

Starting in 2005, Israel has become a de facto member of NATO. The triple
alliance was coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement
which included "many areas of common interest, such as the fight against
terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with
NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to "enhance Israel's
deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly
Iran and Syria." ("Triple Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on
Lebanon [15] ).

The Issue of Territorial Waters

Israel's blockade of Gaza is in large part motivated by the broader issue of
control of Gaza's territorial waters, which contain significant reserves of
natural gas. What is at stake is the confiscation of Palestinian gas fields
and the unilateral de facto declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza's
maritime areas. If the blockade were to be broken, Israel's de facto control
over Gaza's offshore gas reserves would be jeopardy. (See Michel
Chossudovsky,War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore
Gas Fields [16] , Global Research, January 8, 2009. See also Michel
Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, [17] Global
Research, July 23, 2006)

[Picture 3]

[Picture 4]


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