Archive for May, 2010

Israel’s latest state terrorism

By • on May 31, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Immediate thoughts on last night’s killing of between nine and 19 (depending on who you believe) violent or nonviolent (ditto) pro-Palestinian peace activists by Israel IDF commandos in international waters:

So far the best coverage I’ve found has been this day-long (their time) live blog by the Guardian UK. It speaks volumes that British, other European, and various other international English-language outlets (including Al-Jazeera English) have had much, much better and more comprehensive coverage of this incident and its aftermath than the US media. The comparison with British media is particularly appropriate since it’s also a holiday in the UK today. But the relative lack of prominence here (despite, or because of, the US being Israel’s biggest international military, economic, and diplomatic enabler); the straight face with which US is reporting conflicting and preposterous IDF justifications for the deaths (the peace activists attacked them with clubs and knives – no, wait, it was live fire from weapons seized from the commandos – no, wait, the commandos were ambushed by peace activists who brought the weapons with them!); and US media’s failure, unlike most other countries’ mainstream media, to have contacts with or representatives on the ships themselves or even to get quotes from domestic pro-Palestinian groups – it’s all a depressing reminder of just how separate an information universe most Americans live in compared to the rest of the world.

* This was an act of piracy, and murder. Plain and simple. International waters. Soldiers vs. civilians. Civilians, moreover, with a track record of nonviolence, flying a white flag over a flotilla of ships loaded with humanitarian supplies. This will be a very, very big deal internationally, even if the US response is (you read it here) lame apologetics and mush-mouthed outrage.

*Three of the ships and many of the casualties are Turkish. The Turkish government – after rightfully calling the attack “state terrorism” – is now threatening to send more ships, accompanied by the Turkish Navy. Turkey is a member of NATO, and the US is obligated by treaty to defend their military if attacked. Hang on.

* There are spontaneous protests happening all over the world. Even in the US – so far I’ve read of protests being convened in DC and Boston. Haven’t seen anything on a protest in Seattle yet, though no doubt there are people in Westlake Park at this very moment…

* This is redolent of the Mississippi Freedom Summer tactics, wherein Northern liberals didn’t much care about the lynchings and horrors of Jim Crow until it was white student activists getting beaten and shot by the Klan. Palestinians continue to die on a mind-numbingly regular basis, but it takes the murder of a few international activists (many Europeans are also part of the flotilla) to get the world appropriately outraged. That’s depressing. But predictable. Call it the Rachel Corrie Syndrome.

Perhaps with this latest bumper crop of martyrs, the deification of Corrie (after whom one of the ships in the flotilla is named) can be given a rest. Her 2003 death was deplorable and tragic. It was also one of thousands. The fact that she was American, or from our neck of the woods, shouldn’t make her special. Same with today’s deaths. The Gaza seige, the illegal military occupation of Palestine, and Israel’s war crimes and lawlessness are the issues. These latest sad deaths are just more, completely unnecessary evidence of Israel’s barbarism. And for those who think this is “different” because the murders occurred in international waters, remember that the West Bank and Gaza aren’t part of Israeli territory, either.


A commenter at another site points out that legally speaking, this wasn’t piracy, because Israel is a nation-state. This was, instead, an act of war against the country whose flags the ships were flying. (That would be Turkey, Sweden, Ireland, and at least a couple of other European countries.)

The US is, of course, legally obligated to defend its NATO allies against acts of war. Aside from his ability to string together complete sentences, it’s time to see if Obama is any more capable of responding appropriately than Bush was.


At the UN Security Council today, the US moved to block a UN investigation of the massacre, calling instead on Israel to investigate. (This is sort of like asking Gary Ridgway to “investigate” the Green River Killings.) Meanwhile, the US State Department comes very close to blaming the activists for the attack, and the US is virtually alone among even its NATO allies today in not condemning Israel.

So much for all of Obama’s rhetoric about getting tough with Israel. And so much for any progress Obama might have made in convincing the Muslim world that US policy under George W. Bush was an aberration. So much for change.

3 CommentsContinue»

More Articles

Plug the Well

By • on May 31, 2010 at 2:50 am

Comments OffContinue»

Work in progress!

By • on May 30, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Hey folks – welcome to our brand spanking new web site! As you’ll note, it’s still a work in progress, with more new features to come. (For some reason the ETS! kitchen crew is not anxious to work on this over the holiday weekend…) If you notice bugs or have suggestions, let us know in the comments or at

No Comments

Activist Calendar May 27-June 10

By • on May 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

With our new web site, the ETS! activist calendar will now feature continuously updated listings of events of interest in the coming 15 days. To get your event listed, e-mail us as For an excellent and much, much longer compilation of upcoming and ongoing progressive events in Seattle, check out Jean Buskin’s Peace Calendar: [...]

2 CommentsContinue»

Reclaim Our History May 27-June 9

By • on May 28, 2010 at 2:37 pm

May 27. 1963: Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion convinces President John Kennedy to circumvent the International Atomic Energy Commission requirement for inspections of its nuclear power facility at Dimona. President Johnson would later allow the Israelis to severely restrict inspections, resulting in the Israeli acquisition of nuclear weapons. May 28. 1974: Atomic Energy Commission reports 861 [...]

No CommentsContinue»

Focus on the Corporation: Round One to the Banks, More to Come

By • on May 28, 2010 at 2:34 pm

The Senate has now passed its Wall Street reform bill, having rejected probably the most important measure proposed to reduce Wall Street power, strengthen financial stability and fortify our democracy: breaking up the banks. By a 33-61 vote, the Senate defeated the Brown-Kaufman amendment, which would have forced the largest banks to get smaller. Three [...]

No CommentsContinue»

Nature & Politics: Nuclear Disarmament: Not What He Promised

By • on May 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm

It’s been an active year so far in the rhetoric of nuclear disarmament. First the “nuclear posture statement” of the Obama administration put out in early April. Then the non-proliferation meetings, then the START negotiations. What do they add up to, in terms of significant reduction of the threat of nuclear Armageddon? The answer is: [...]

No CommentsContinue»

May 29, 1940: Tyree Scott, 1940-2003

By • on May 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Many of Seattle’s activist icons have been strongly identified with a particular event or era. Anna Louise Strong is most often mentioned in the same breath as the 1919 Seattle General Strike; Edwin T. Pratt with the 1960s Open Housing movement. By contrast, Tyree Scott–although he, too, first made a name for himself in the [...]

2 CommentsContinue»

From the Kitchen: Our Brave New World

By • on May 27, 2010 at 9:32 am

By the time you see this, at long last, ETS! will have launched our brand new web site, bringing our brand of independent local journalism and opinion kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. A bit late, but worth the wait! With our new site ( comes a host of new features, including an expanded, updated activist calendar and “Reclaim Our History” column; a new blog from regular ETS! contributors and editors; and much, much easier navigation. Please take a look, and, as we work the kinks out, please give us some feedback as to what parts you like and what parts we could improve. And check back often: after this issue, the web site will be updated not just when a new print issue comes out, but far more frequently! (Coming soon: Swag from the new ETS! store!)

Meantime, time is running out on our effort to save our regular print edition. You’ll recall that two months ago we got a generous last-minute donation from Earth on the Air Independent Media, enough to print three more issues, plus a pledge to donate $100 a month if in those three months we could find enough other people who would be willing and able to pledge regular, monthly installments on the ETS! print bill.

Time for that offer is running out–in a month, to be exact. The third and last EOAIM print issue will be published June 24. So while we celebrate our long-overdue new web site, we’re also scrambling to try to save the print edition. If you are interested in helping, don’t delay…call us right now (unless it’s 4 AM, of course) at 206-719-6947, or e-mail and let’s see if we can keep an analog edition of ETS! going.

With this major new transition comes some other transitions. Mike Roberge is moving on after yeoman’s work the last couple of years as our Calendar Editor; we need a replacement! And we’ve also lost our long-time Distributor Extraordinaire, Jim Dobson, to a well-earned retirement. For as long as we continue to distribute our dead tree version, we very much need not just distributors (especially to replace some of Jim’s extensive North and central Seattle routes), but a distribution coordinator as well. Thank you to both Jim and Mike, and if you’d like to help out, those numbers again: 206-719-6947, and And don’t forget to visit the new, early and often! –The kitchen crew


How to Brainwash Your Children

By • on May 27, 2010 at 12:27 am

The first thing to do, as soon as your baby is born, is to talk to it like a baby. All the time. Don’t talk softly and happily to your child as if he or she could understand you–it must be a condescending performance. This isn’t the occasional prattish ape-face, nor the soft natural ahhs [...]

29 CommentsContinue»