June 14, 2010
No surprises there, I know. According to The Guardian, Israel’s inquiry into the flotilla attack has the backing of Barack Obama. That of itself should show how useless it is going to be to those of us who want the truth out. But it gets worse.
Richard Silverstein in Tikkun Olam draws attention to what he calls a “searing editorial” in Ha’aretz bemoaning the fact that the head of the inquiry is actually opposed to its existence:
Netanyahu’s panel will have no powers, not even those of a government probe, and its proposed chairman does not believe in such a panel. In an interview to Army Radio, Tirkel said there is no choice but to establish a state committee of inquiry.
He opposed bringing in foreign observers and made clear that he is not a devotee of drawing conclusions about individuals and dismissing those responsible for failures. When a Haaretz reporter confronted Tirkel about these remarks, the former justice evaded the question saying, “I don’t remember what I said.”
The disagreements that erupted at the week’s end between Netanyahu and his deputy, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, over the question of whether Ya’alon was updated in time about the action underscored the suspicion of serious faults in the decision-making process with regard to the flotilla.
Instead of being part of the whitewash, Tirkel, whose dodging of his earlier statements does him no honor, should return his mandate to the prime minister and demand that Netanyahu establish a government committee of inquiry with real powers.
But even a searing Ha’aretz editorial doesn’t convey the fully farcical nature of the inquiry.
The Guardian reports that Obama is happy and that’s that. It mentions the international observers who are intended to soft-soap world opinion but says nothing of their backgrounds.
The observers are Lord (David) Trimble, former Ulster Unionist Party leader, and Ken Watkin, a former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces.
So what about Trimble? Here’s the BBC:
David Trimble recently joined an international “Friends of Israel” group set up by Dore Gold, a close associate of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
And what about Watkin? Here’s his Wikipedia entry:
Ken Watkin was implicated in the Canadian Afghan detainee issue, in which several detainees arrested by the Canadian Forces went missing or were tortured following their transfer to the Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security. According to a report in the Toronto Star, while acting as the Judge Advocate General, Ken Watkin advised the Canadian Forces command that they could be “criminally negligent” for transferring detainees to a risk of torture in Afghan hands.
Mr. Watkin refused to answer questions when called to testify in Canada’s House of Commons about whether he was directed to authorize the transfers or had knowledge of Canadian diplomatic reports of torture, and claimed that solicitor-client privilege owed to the Government of Canada prevented him answering the House’s questions.