[Today, along with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and 83 other U.S. Senators, Sen. Mark Begich signed a letter so rife with lies that it begs a very detailed and determined answer. Part of the reason I am posting this open letter here is that firedoglake, Blue America, Act Blue and the netroots community helped raise key money that brought Sen. Begich to office:]
Sen. Mark Begich
I wrote a letter to you on April 15th about your previous involvement in another letter, which had been crafted by people communicating with the same foreign government who ardently sought your signature on this one. You didn’t respond to that one.
This time, I will go down the elements of your letter, and describe what seem to be errors so blatant, they defy being categorized as the truth. Here is your letter (pdf), with my annotated comments:
President Barack Obama The White House Washington, DC
Dear Mr. President:
June XX, 2010
We write to affirm our support for our strategic partnership with Israel, and encourage you to continue to do so before international organizations such as the United Nations. The United States has traditionally stood with Israel because it is in our national security interest and must continue to do so.
Our history of relations with Israel does not support our and their so-called "security interests" as having been mutual since the downfall of the USSR. Rather, the growing perception in almost the entire world, is that our rather one-sided support of one right-wing government after another in Israel, which continue to illegally expand settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights (none of which the U.S. government views as legal) increasingly create problems for our national security.
1.) Our military involvement off the Lebanese Coast during the misguided 1982 Israeli invasion, led to the loss of many American servicemen, with no benefit to our security.
2.) The First Gulf War, in which Irael wasn’t an asset, nor much of a liability, was somewhat of a wash.
3.) Almost all attacks on American military installations abroad in the 1990s, up to Septamber 11th, were cited by the perpetrators as being fueled to a major degree by our unerring support of Israel.
4.) Our support of Israel was cited by Al Qaeda as a major reason for the attacks on American interests on September 11th, 2001.
5.) Many attacks on Americans since our unjustified Iraq Invasion and Occupation have been linked to people who sought justice for what they perceived to be the continuing erosion of Palestinian rights, which wouldn’t occur without our unflinching support.
6.) I can’t think of a military operation in the Middle East in which we might participate with this so-called "valuable ally" that would enhance American prestige in that part of the world.
Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East and a vibrant democracy.
Turkey is our strongest ally in the Middle East, unless one counts Israeli nuclear weapons as being something entered into the "strong ally" equation. Turkey is also a vibrant democracy, which like that of Israel’s, is in transition. The vibrancy of Turkish democracy is threatened by our blind support of one of these nations over the other.
Israel is also a partner to the United States on military and intelligence issues in this critical region.
And in our country. Would you consider requesting an investigation into Urban Moving Systems? Or into how the Israelis stole American plutonium and other important materials to create their nuclear arsenal?
That is why it is our national interest to support Israel at a moment when Israel faces multiple threats from Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the current regime in Iran.
Israel has invaded Lebanon multiple times, sometimes on almost no pretext, causing thousands of needless deaths, fracturing Lebanese society, destroying its economy and creating animosity that will last long past my life and yours. Israel helped create Hamas as a counter-poise to Al Fatah. They won what was generally considered to be a more transparent election in the occupied territories than most view our 2000 election to have been. They won because Palestinians want to be represented by a party that won’t accommodate further theft of their land and dignity, and isn’t as notoriously corrupt as is Al Fatah.
Hezbollah was an uprising against Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Once again, it wouldn’t even exist but for Israeli stupidity, intransigence and gratuitous military violence.
The current regime in Iran is, as with Hamas and Hezbollah, a product of reactions to violence and mayhem created by either Israeli or American military actions.
Israel’s opponents have developed clever diplomatic and tactical ploys to challenge its international standing, whether the effort to isolate Israel at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference or the recent effort to breach the naval blockade around Gaza.
First, the "clever diplomatic and tactical ploys" issue:
Israel’s international standing is based on its own clever diplomatic and tactical ploys. Right now, Mark, you are playing your part. You will be paid well for your dishonest efforts.
Second, the isolation of Israel regarding the NPT. Israel is isolated. They have chosen that. With a weapon program built on a mix of technologies that included multiple thefts through espionage and treachery, of items from our nuclear establishment, they continually act, as in the Baghdad reactor bombing, in ways that have since come to also increasingly define how the USA acts internationally.
You categorize countries concerned with Israel’s nuclear arsenal, stolen from America, as "opponents." Yet, as an elected member of our Senate, one might expect that recently declassified documents related to the level of espionage Israel committed to steal our nuclear materials for their first bombs suggests you would consider a hearing into this matter, instead of signing onto a letter crafted by the country that stole our fucking plutonium,and that criticizes our president.
We fully support Israel’s right to self-defense.
So do I.
In response to thousands of rocket attacks on Israel from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Israel took steps to prevent items which could be used to support these attacks from reaching Gaza.
Israeli drunk drivers, over the past decade, have killed far more people than the Hamas rockets, which are dreadful. When you were mayor, did you bomb bars and liquor stores? Did you hold all of Spenard accountable for what somebody who lived in that historic community did?
A majority of Hamas rocket attacks since 2007 have been stupid responses to equally stupid Israeli actions that were in violation of agreements Israel had made with Hamas.
Israel’s naval blockade, which is legal under international law, allows Israel to keep dangerous goods from entering Gaza by sea.
The United States has issued no legal rulings regarding the legality of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, so you are deferring to a view held by virtually no government on this planet save the one which has let you know that if you don’t sign this letter, you will have fundraising problems in the future. Once again, "clever ploy" comes into play.
The United Nations and several international agencies all agree that the blockade is illegal, harshly punitive and should be immediately ended. The International Red Cross – how many fundraisers for the Red Cross have you been to over the years, Mark? – issued a report this week condemning the blockade as inhumane.
Mark, kids in Gaza are suffering brain damage right now because of the illegal blockade. The kids that suffer brain damage tomorrow will have your imprint on that brain damage.
The intent of the measures is to protect Israel, while allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza.
The intent of the blockade is that, and to put Gaza on a diet that leads to lower births, lower birth weights and to the unfortunate strengthening of Hamas. Had Gaza been given more freedom after the Hamas election, I think that things might have gotten better, rather than markedly worse. But Israel needs for Hamas to be powerful. Just not too powerful.
Late last month when Israel learned that groups operating in Turkey wanted to challenge its blockade of Gaza, Israel made every effort to ensure that all humanitarian aid reached Gaza without needlessly precipitating a confrontation.
They did as little as possible, given the growing international, especially European, attention to the gathering flotilla.
Israeli forces were able to safely divert five of the six ships challenging the blockade.
Those ships all watched the assault on the MV Mavi Marmara from distances varying between a half mile and two miles. They were also much smaller.
However, video footage shows that the Israeli commandos who arrived on the sixth ship, which was owned by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (the IHH), were brutally attacked with iron rods, knives, and broken glass. They were forced to respond to that attack and we regret the loss of life that resulted.
This might be the most vile of the part of your letter, Senator:
Mavi Marmara was the first vessel, not the last. Clever ploy to call it "last," though.
The video footage to which you refer is highly selective. I followed the meetup of the flotilla, its problems and route as well as anyone in the USA. I watched other "video footage," as the flotilla tried to maintain a live stream of accurate information out to the world, as the Israelis tried to jam more and more output channels from flotilla vessels, through the night of the atrocity.
I read twitters, emails, and photos sent to me from the flotilla, as they came in. I followed the route of the vessels with transponders on the web. You rely on a few snips, edited by the military of a country that stole a lot of plutonium from us, yet allow that same country to either destroy or seize thousands of hours of video and perhaps hundreds of thousands of images from the flotilla participants. Many of the people who had their possessions stolen were American, Mark.
Your letter labels several worldwide parliamentarians, Nobel Peace prize recipients, prominent non-Muslim clerics, former U.S. Army officers, former U.S. diplomats, longtime Democrats and liberals as being directly supportive of a relief organization you want to now see be labelled as a terrorist organization.
Many Israeli maritime law experts believe the attack on the MV Mavi Marmara was a criminal act. The numerous cites of the San Remo Treaty defenders of the piracy throw about have never been put to the test, but they weigh little in the overall context of the way the attack on the Turkish ship went.
For you to characterize the attack upon a NATO ally’s vessel, in an action that resulted in the death of a young American, by a rogue country that has built a nuclear arsenal around materials stolen from us through espionage, as the Israelis being the ones attacked:
were brutally attacked with iron rods, knives, and broken glass. They were forced to respond to that attack and we regret the loss of life that resulted.
is a brutal assault upon the plain truth.
We are deeply concerned about the IHH’s role in this incident and have additional questions about Turkey and any connections to Hamas.
What is Turkey to do? Not have any relations with the elected government of an area that drains on waters important to Turkey?
Maybe help the water quality and sewage treatment experts into Gaza, Mark, so people feel less like shooting rockets?
The IHH is a member of a group of Muslim charities, the Union of Good, which was designated by the US Treasury Department as a terrorist organization. The Union of Good was created by and strongly supports Hamas, which has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department. We recommend that your administration consider whether the IHH should be put on the list of foreign terrorist organizations, after an examination by the intelligence community, the State Department, and the Treasury Department.
Mark, please read Max Blumenthal’s book, Republican Gomorrah. It’s got a lot more scarier stuff in it than the AIPAC-crafted bullshit you signed on to.
We commend the action you took to prevent the adoption of an unfair United Nations Security Council resolution, which would have represented a rush to judgment by the international community.
As opposed to the Israeli report that the White House has accommodated? I’m sure you’d be just as willing to have the Turks investigate an international incident, had the Turks been attacked instead of the Israelis? Do you really believe it was the Turks who attacked the Israelis?
We also deplore the actions of the United Nations Human Rights Council which, once again, singled out Israel. Israel has announced its intention to promptly carry out a thorough investigation of this incident and has the right to determine how its investigation is conducted. In the meantime, we ask you to stand firm in the future at the United Nations Security Council and to use your veto power, if necessary, to prevent any similar biased or one-sided resolutions from passing.
Mark, I’m so glad you deplore "one-sided" acts. Don’t you realize that that is exactly what you are participating in, in this letter?
Finally, we believe that this incident should not derail the current proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We hope that these talks will move quickly to direct negotiations and ultimately, to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
I’m sure they will. And thanks for that letter, Mark. The Israelis just announced another 600 housing units in East Jerusalem within minutes of being told your letter was coming through.
Your checks are already in the mail.
You need to ask yourself whether or not your signing on to this boilerplate lie, and the way it enables this nuclear-powered spoiled brat to act next, will help lead to more American deaths in the future, rather than less, Senator.