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Keeping up with the State Department!

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by Lawrence Davidson

One of the problems with operating a blog that deals with U.S. foreign policy (among other issues) is that it is often hard to keep up.  From the perspective of those who see that the emperor wears no clothes, stupidity and hypocrisy appear almost daily. Take the piece pasted below which has just appeared via Reuters. To be brief, it shows the U.S. State Department once more taking the "let's blame the victim" stance necessited by the fact that the real culprits are the Israelis. As a consequence our government now threatens fines and imprisonment to those who dare defy Israel's illegal blockade in order to bring humanitarian aid to 1.5 million people who have been systematically reduced to despair. Yet again the term "proud to be an American" is confirmed as a very bad joke.

U.S. warns against new Gaza flotilla plans
Fri, Jun 24 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday warned activists against plans to send a new aid flotilla to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying it would be irresponsible and dangerous.

"Groups that seek to break Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their passengers," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement, adding that there were established ways to move humanitarian aid to Gaza.

"We urge all those seeking to provide such assistance to the people of Gaza to use these mechanisms, and not to participate in actions like the planned flotilla," Nuland said.

Israel on Wednesday said it had warned the United Nations that a new aid flotilla -- which activists say could depart from European ports in coming days -- could result in "dangerous consequences.

Israel has made clear it will prevent any new flotilla from reaching Gaza. A year ago, nine Turkish activists, including one with dual U.S.-Turkish nationality, were killed in an Israeli raid on a similar convoy.

The Israeli military came under fierce criticism for the May 2010 raid, which led to a severe deterioration of its ties with Turkey.

The United States, Israel's most important ally, has backed Israel's blockade of Gaza, which the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group seized from forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

Palestinians believe the Israeli sea blockade is illegal and say it is helping strangle Gaza's underdeveloped economy.

Nuland said there were "established and efficient" mechanisms for getting humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the situation there had improved significantly over the last year with a broader range of goods and materials available.

But she said that recent weapons seizures and periodic rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians illustrated the ongoing necessity for Israel to screen Gaza-bound cargo.

"We underscore that delivering or attempting or conspiring to deliver material support or other resources to or for the benefit of a designated foreign terrorist organization, such as Hamas, could violate U.S. civil and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration," Nuland said.

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There is nothing more un-American, indeed, anti-American than this threat thrown out by the State Department to prevent the very declarations of American rights that President Obama claimed just two days ago as the motivating principle of his administration's policies. This same threat was made a year ago when I planned to be on board the flotilla from Lebanon that never made it out of port. This coercion caused that ship never to sail. Americans have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and should live by the belief that all peoples have rights to dignity and respect, and no occupier can or should be allowed to subjugate others at will and against international law. Yet here is America defending and protecting just such an occupier by eliminating the rights of Americans to protest. Hamas is a duly democratically elected government that the U.S administrations has declared a terrorist organization; if Americans do not adopt this declaration they can go to jail of have their citizenship revoked. How ironic. It's the U.S and Israel that destroy other peoples and other nations; it's the U.S. and Israel that invade at will, occupy and deny even the world's nations united in condemning the atrocious, corrosive and inhumane behavior of its protected nation that is the crime. The rest of the world knows this and condemns it. We alone defend our actions and therefore, regardless of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we do what we will and all others be damned.

William A. Cook, Ph.D.

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