With history repeating itself, just as the United States government did not hold Israel accountable for its attack on the USS Liberty, now 45 years later, the US government has not held the Israeli government accountable for the death of an American citizen Furkan Dogan, one of the nine who was assassinated/executed by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara.
father testified at the court hearing, telling the Turkish court that the United
States government has not held an independent investigation of the murder of his
son, but instead US State Department officials told him that the United States
government would rely on the investigation done by the Israeli
government. He testified that the autopsy of his son revealed that
he was shot five times and three of the shots were considered lethal including
two in the head at very close range. The autopsy conclusion was that Furkan was
killed by bullets that caused fractures of his skull, his ribs and limb bones
that caused internal bleeding, cerebral hemorrhage and brain tissue
Ahmet Dogan, father of Furkan Dogan being interviewed outside the court building
I, as a retired US Army Reserve Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to President Bush's war on Iraq, had travelled to Gaza in 2009 after the 22-day Israeli attack on Gaza. I had helped organize three trips to Gaza in 2009 for concerned international activists and also assisted with the Gaza Freedom March that brought 1,300 Palestinian supporters to Cairo in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza in December, 2009, one year after the Israeli attack on Gaza.
I was on the Challenger 1 vessel with 17 other passengers. Our boat was off the port stern of the Mavi Marmara and we witnessed the percussion grenades hitting the ship and heard pings that later turned out to be live rounds fired by Israeli commandos into the ship.
On the Challenger 1, the Israeli commandos fired percussion grenades into the windows breaking them out and sending glass flying onto the deck. Commandos tasered a woman journalist and fired paint balls directly into the face of another woman passenger, barely missing her eye, and causing her nose to bleed profusely. Commandos threw two women passengers onto the deck, smashed their faces into the glass, then put hoods on their glass-pocked faces.
At the airport, we had to run a gantlet of uniformed military and police officers from the bus in which we had been imprisoned for five hours with no water, food or toilet facilities. As we began climbing the stairs into the airport, one of the police leaned out from their crowd and slapped one of our women passengers causing a near riot.
Ann Wright giving an interview outside the Istanbul court building
But it was the testimony in the court of passengers on the Mavi Marmara that told the story of the murders of nine and wounding of 50. Journalist Hassan Ghani told of seeing the body of Cevdet Kiliclar, who oversaw the press room of the ship. He had been shot a point-blank range through the forehead and with fellow passenger kneeling beside Cevdet trying to put his brains back into his skull. Canadian Kevin Neish told of finding a "hit" list that had fallen from the backpack of an Israeli soldier and of helping carry the injured and wounded down the stairways to the tiny medical office.
Laura Aura of Spain told of passengers having to kneel on the outside deck for hours in the intense sun with helicopters hovering overhead sending salt water spray onto them. Commandos refused to let passengers use the bathroom and many had to soil themselves.
Summaries of many other witnesses who testified in Turkish are found here.
If the Turkish court convicts the accused, then international arrest warrants can be issued and INTERPOL would be required to arrest them if they leave Israel, for virtually any country other than the United States. The Turkish judgment could also be used as a basis for further judicial proceedings in the International Criminal Court, although Israel, like the United States, is not a signatory to the ICC.
The next court hearing in Istanbul is February 21, 2013.
However, the fact that a court has looked at the evidence of the events on the Mavi Marmara that resulted in the deaths of nine and the wounding of fifty is a major step in attempting to hold accountable those who planned the attack.
Today, as Israel continues to attack the people of Gaza, on behalf of the civilian populations, we plead for governments to use their influence on the Israeli government to end their attacks and we plead with the militants in Gaza to stop firing rockets into Gaza.