Welcome

Reflections – August 2014

Friends: See my last post for the end of my legal battles on Iraq.

Below is a lengthy exchange of emails between the Israeli Consul General, San Francisco, and me. The fonts, formats, and colors are as in the emails; I’ve removed email addresses. I hope you find them interesting. My added comments are between {} marks. For limited reading, go to the first and last emails.

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From: Bert Sacks
Date: Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 11:45 PM
Subject: Fwd: the siege of Gaza
To: Andy David

Consulate General of Israel, San Francisco

Dear Andy David,

I am the fellow who asked you a question about the siege of Gaza today at Temple Beth Shalom. I thank you for discussing this with me. Here is some of the information I have. I’m glad to hear what you know.

I’ll focus on one issue, Israel’s restriction of food into Gaza as a means of coercion to weaken or overthrow Hamas.  Here is the first piece of information that came my way.  (I read later that Dov Weissglas claimed he didn’t say what’s in the article or that it was simply a joke.)  From Ha’aretz, Feb. 19, 2006.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/as-the-hamas-team-laughs-1.180500

Next is an article by Richard Falk from the midst of Operation Cast Lead.  He writes, “During the ceasefire the Hamas leadership in Gaza repeatedly offered to extend the truce, even proposing a ten-year period and claimed a receptivity to a political solution based on acceptance of Israel’s 1967 borders. Israel ignored these diplomatic initiatives, and failed to carry out its side of the ceasefire agreement that involved some easing of the blockade that had been restricting the entry to Gaza of food, medicine, and fuel to a trickle.”  From the Huffington Post, Jan. 2, 2009.  My emphasis.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-falk/understanding-the-gaza-ca_b_154777.html

And below is a document from the IDF.  It documents the shipments of medicine, food, and misc. allowed by Israel into Gaza.  You can see that during what is called “Period of Lull “– otherwise known as the ceasefire — Israel failed to ease its blockade.  During Cast Lead itself, 577 shiploads of food were allowed even while the fighting was going on.  During the ceasefire, only 92 shiploads were allowed, or 16% of what was the amount of normal shipments.

tinyurl.com/IDFonFoodToGaza

Finally, here is an article which describes the Israeli Ministry of Defense calculation of the minimum calories needed to prevent starvation.  It was claimed to be used to determine which foods — and how much — would be allowed into Gaza.  Israel could easily put an end to the claims it was using food as a weapon by declaring that any amount of any foods would be allowed.  As far as I’m aware, Israel has never declared this.  Why not?  From the New York Times, Oct. 17, 2012.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/18/world/middleeast/israel-counted-calories-needed-for-gazans-in-blockade.html?_r=0

I trust that you will respond to the content of these articles and not make ad hominem charges that Gideon Levy, Richard Folk, Gisha, and I are all self-hating Jews or haters of Israel.  I actually am writing what I’ve said many times — including to my U.S. Congressman — that the policy of a siege on Gaza — plus maintaining occupation and continued building of settlements — is a long-term danger to Israel’s future.  It is out of that concern — and concern for the Palestinian people as well — that I write you. 

I genuinely invite your reply.

Sincerely,

Bert Sacks

{The article in Ha’aretz and the IDF plot are especially important about Gaza.}

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P.S. Here’s a statement from President Obama which applies as much today as then:

(From a commentary byBy David Bromwich,Professor of Literature at Yale, in theHuffington Post online, datedMay 19, 2009)

Finally, Gaza was much in President Obama’s mind and on
his conscience at this meeting; so much so that he
broke decorum and stepped out of his way to mention it:

The fact is, is that if the people of Gaza have no
hope, if they can’t even get clean water at this
point, if the border closures are so tight that it
is impossible for reconstruction and humanitarian
efforts to take place, then that is not going to be
a recipe for Israel’s long-term security or a
constructive peace track to move forward.

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Attached is a paper I found very interesting by a panel of Israelis.  I include it because it discusses the “Dahiye Doctrine” (okayed by the Ministry of Defense) which says a lot.

enclosure: IsraelisAgainstTortureReport_no_second_thoughts_ENG_WEB_Nov09.pdf

available at: http://tinyurl.com/IDFnewDoctrines

{It’s sufficient but important to read the last page Summary of the IDFnewDoctrines.}

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From: Bert Sacks
Date: Sun, Aug 3, 2014 at 7:04 PM
Subject: Re: the siege of Gaza
To: Andy David

Consulate General of Israel, San Francisco

Dear Andy David,

One week ago I sent you the email, below.  I regret that I have not heard anything back from you (or your office) in response.  I can appreciate that you must be quite busy these days.  But a simple answer to the question I asked (even without any supporting evidence) would be useful.

To remind you, that question was: “Israel could easily put an end to the claims it was using food as a weapon by declaring that any amount of any foods would be allowed.  As far as I’m aware, Israel has never declared this.  Why not?”

If I do not receive a response to my email and question, I will have to conclude that Israel has used food as a weapon against the people of Gaza — and likely continues to do so.

I will say again, I genuinely invite a reply on this issue.

Sincerely,

Bert Sacks

{The Consul General never replied to my question above in bold font.}

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From: Press – Consulate General of Israel – San Francisco
Date: Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 2:26 PM
Subject: Re: ‘The Siege of Gaza’

Dear Mr. Sacks,

Thank you for your e-mail. Firstly, let me address the accusations regarding Israel’s policy on Gaza since Hamas’ violent takeover in June 2007.

Any discussion of Israel’s policy on Gaza must acknowledge the context of continuous warfare waged against Israel by Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza, despite Israel’s total withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005. I refer to the UN’s Palmer Report:  ‘Israel has faced and continues to face a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. Rockets, missiles and mortar bombs have been launched from Gaza towards Israel since 2001. More than 5,000 were fired between 2005 and January 2009, when the naval blockade was imposed…a blockade in those circumstances is a legitimate exercise of the right of self-defence.’  Failing to acknowledge this is a unfortunate practice of “ not connecting the dots”.

The blockade is not, as you claim ‘a long-term danger to Israel’s future’, but, on the contrary, helps to bolster Israel’s security while Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel rather than capitalizing on the golden opportunity to build a prosperous and peaceful Palestinian society in Gaza from 2005.

Contrary to Richard Falk’s bogus claims, Israel repeatedly dispatched letters to the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council drawing attention to the rocket attacks of Hamas which were gross violations of the truce reached in June 2008. Israel exercised great restraint in refraining from military action in response to the incessant rocket attacks, and launched Operation Cast Lead only once it was clear that neither Israel’s diplomatic overtures, nor its pleas to the international community, nor even sanctions imposed by numerous countries, were able to stop the indiscriminate rocket attacks.

On the subject of humanitarian considerations pertaining to the blockade, the UN said ‘it would be illegal if its imposition was intended to starve or to collectively punish the civilian population. However, there is no material before the Panel that would permit a finding confirming the allegations that Israel had either of those intentions or that the naval blockade was imposed in retaliation for the take-over of Hamas in Gaza or otherwise. On the contrary, it is evident that Israel had a military objective. The stated primary objective of the naval blockade was for security. It was to prevent weapons, ammunition, military supplies and people from entering Gaza and to stop Hamas operatives sailing away from Gaza with vessels filled with explosives’.

Since May 2010, Israel has implemented significant measures to ease restrictions on goods entering Gaza, but it is clear that Hamas has misappropriated materials intended for civic development and used them to enhance its terror infrastructure. With the amount of cement Hamas used to build its terror tunnels to attack Israelis, it could have built two hospitals, 20 clinics, 20 schools, and 100 kindergartens.

We hope that Hamas will observe the current ceasefire, despite its violations of ceasefires (brokered by Egypt, the UN, the ICRC and others) on July 15th, 17th, 20th, 26-27th, 28th and 30th.

Once quiet for the citizens of Israel is restored, I think any fair-minded person will agree that the international community must do its utmost to support the goal of linking the rehabilitation and development of Gaza to its demilitarization.

Sincerely,

Consul General Andy David

{This reply confuses the naval blockade of weapons with the land-based restriction of food.}

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From: Bert Sacks
Date: Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 11:55 AM
Subject: Re: ‘The Siege of Gaza’
To: Andy David
Cc: Press – Consulate General of Israel – San Francisco

Consul General of Israel, San Francisco

Dear Andy David,

Thank you for your response of April 5th to my earlier email.  It addresses a number of issues related to Gaza.  Unfortunately, it fails to speak to the one issue I was seeking further information on from your office.

I had written, “I’ll focus on one issue, Israel’s restriction of food into Gaza as a means of coercion to weaken or overthrow Hamas.”  To avoid any further confusion, I’d like to restate this as two simpler questions:

1) Has Israel restricted the amount or type of food which it allows to enter Gaza — and does it still do so today?

2) If yes, what explanation does Israel offer for such restrictions — whether they have been relaxed or not?

At this time, I do not want to clarify my ‘long-term concern’ about Israel’s future — so as not to ‘muddy the waters’ — until I receive your answer to these two questions.  I thank you again for your willingness to engage in a civil exchange of information about a difficult but important issue.

Sincerely,

Bert Sacks

{My ‘concern’ is well expressed by Jewish leader Henry Siegman on DemocracyNow! 7/30-31/14.}

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From: Consul General- Consulate General of Israel – San Francisco
Date: Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 3:59 PM
Subject: RE: ‘The Siege of Gaza’
To: Bert Sacks
Cc: Press – Consulate General of Israel – San Francisco , Dcm -Consulate General of Israel – San Francisco

Dear Bert,

There is no restriction of food into Gaza. From the Israeli side we do not mind if 1, 10, 100, or 500 trucks will pass per day. The limiting factor is not on our side but on the absorbing side.

Please see this 2 videos, there are hundreds like them. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tguUmv-hJk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQAVes9qDto

I’m very much confident that no matter what I will write or tell you, or whatever facts I will show you, you will not be convinced, since you read stories in the media, and we all know that all the media is always right, never biased, and always accurate.  If people were starving, do you think that there wouldn’t be a world outcry?

 Mark Twain — ‘It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.’

I think I will stop here.

I wish you all the best.

Andy

{My reply is below; I’m glad that I didn’t respond by being rude or sarcastic back to him.}

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From: Bert Sacks
Date: Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 1:03 PM
Subject: Re: ‘The Siege of Gaza’
To: Consul General- Consulate General of Israel – San Francisco
Cc: Press – Consulate General of Israel – San Francisco , Dcm -Consulate General of Israel – San Francisco

Consul General of Israel, San Francisco

Dear Mr. David,

I conclude that I was naive to expect you and your staff to address the first part of my simple question, Has Israel restricted the amount or type of food which it allows to enter Gaza?  The refusal to speak to the information I conscientiously gathered and sent in my first email is itself an answer: I conclude sadly that Israel has denied food to Gaza.

You did reply to the second part of my question, does it still do so today?, saying that “there is no restriction of food into Gaza.”  I need to remind you of your assurance to me at Temple Bet-Shalom that Israel supplies 100% of electricity to Gaza and there is no electrical-generating plant in Gaza.  I trust by now that you have realized this is not true.

As to the evidence you offer for your assertion about no restrictions on food, the first of the two videos you’ve attached show plenty of food after Cast Lead.  But the IDF plot I sent shows that for every one truckload of food into Gaza during the ceasefire before Cast Lead, 28 truckloads of food entered after the immense destruction of Cast Lead.

You state that this was only due to Gaza’s capacity to absorb food; that is beyond belief.

You also write, “If people were starving, do you think there wouldn’t be a world outcry?”. Dov Weissglas and the others who approved the ‘diet’ for Gazans know that mass starvation might create a world outcry.  But malnoutrition and vitamin deficiency due to a limited amount and kind of food weakens children and makes them vulnerable to disease.

It is terrible that we are already hearing reports of cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and simple diarrhea causing deaths in Gaza due to the unsafe water.  The destruction of electrical-generating plants to pump safe water and process sewage is one cause.  (This is exactly what the U.S. did to Iraq in 1991.  The following year the New England Journal of Medicine reported 46,900 excess deaths of Iraqi children in 1991 … with little outcry?)

I think I will stop here.

I also wish you well.

Bert Sacks

P.S. I too wish to offer you a Mark Twain quote: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”  (to Mrs. Foote, 12/2/1887)

And related to that quote, when you find yourself under less pressure you might like to read about Carne Ross, a man who did understand something despite his job.  It’s available at http://billmoyers.com/content/carne-ross-why-i-left-the-foreign-service/

{The Carne Ross interview is inspiring, showing how integrity can manifest in anyone unexpectedly.}

 

79 Responses to Welcome

  1. Sara Cloud says:

    Hello Bert,.
    Just wanted to make sure you know about the book recently published by Harvard University Press–Invisible War, The United States and the Iraq Sanctions. Perhaps your story is in it, it sounds pretty comprehensive.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Hi Sara — Thanks for pointing out Professor Joy Gordon’s fine book. I’ve mentioned it on our References page — also on the Blog page I quote from her recent article about sanctions from the Madison Capitol paper. She has consistently written about sanctions with great clarity over many years.

  2. Abdi says:

    Dear Bert, thank you for your integrity and for the work you have done for peace for so many years.

  3. Maryam Borghey says:

    Dear Bert: Thank you for being the voice of sanity in an insane world.

  4. K. Parker says:

    Dear Bert: Rock on !! As one of my favorite YouTube economic forcasters says “Last decade was the decade from sin. This will be the decade from Hell.” Integrity is the road less travelled, but you will be able to look at that Man in the Glass. As we roll into our grim future, let us hope that you are joined by millions on that road, because surely now the bill for our country’s policy sins is coming due. Satyagraha.

  5. David Schiess says:

    Hi, Thanks for what you are doing. How can we start a movement to end this Terrorism of the world by the United States Gov.?

    • Bert Sacks says:

      David — I’m sorry to be so late (a whole month) in replying to your key question. The plan is to devote my March 11th posting to the question of What can we do? and How can we do it as effectively as possible? I believe it is only nonviolence — and the concomitant commitment to truth — that holds the power we need. In the meantime, encourage people to sign-up for a once-a-month mailing and spread the word. All of this will require sharing our collective wisdom and compassion.

  6. Qwerty says:

    I want to THANK YOU for being a true HUMANITARIAN in our Dark Times. Please keep up your good work, and keep reminding us of our conscience!

  7. Maryrose Asher says:

    Bert, you always have led by example. Thank you for being a “beacon of light” in what seems to be a world of darkness.

    • Felicity Arbuthnot says:

      I second Maryrose Asher’s comment, it could not have been put better. Thank you Bert for indeed lighting the darkness.

      Please also at some point do credit in your wonderful writings, to Madeleine Albright (12th May 1996 – it is etched in one of the fragments of my broken heart) “We have heard that over half a million children have died, more than died in Hiroshima, is the price worth it?” (To – illegally – get rid of Saddam.) Albright: “It is a hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.” She now “regrets” her comment. Not the sentiment, but that she expressed it. The comment should be engraved on her tombstone.
      Love and solidarity, Bert, f xx

      • Bert Sacks says:

        Felicity — If you look at the video at IraqiKids.org/media you’ll see that Democracy Now! gave me a chance to “address” Madeleine Albright. It made me glad that I’d looked at her memoir and could speak to the issue of what she and James Baker were doing.

  8. Wendy John says:

    I’ve seen you and heard you speak many times at Seattle events and want you to know you are someone who walks the talk. Your courage and conviction are inspiring.

  9. Larry Kerschner says:

    Bert – Thanks for this site. You remain one of my heroes. Peace.

  10. Ellen Murphy says:

    Bert,

    Congratulations on your new web site. Bellingham is already spreading the word. We remain in solidarity with you and your case, and in gratitude for your determination and courage in active nonviolence.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Ellen, and all the good folks in Bellingham. Spreading the word would be a great help to start this project off on a strong footing. I hope others reading this will help in this same way.

  11. Bernie Meyer says:

    Bert,

    I remember when you made the trip and events following. It’s a long road. I’ll pass the word. Keep moving.

    Peace, Bernie

    PS. My trips to India has opened to me the like realities to the adivasis and villagers in India. Genecidal.

  12. David Heywood says:

    Thank you, Bert, for all the time you spend doing these good things toward peace and justice.

  13. Beth Alderman says:

    So glad that you got the medical care you needed. I know you have paid for your beliefs with your body, in the best tradition of kenosis…are you sure you’re not a Christian :)?

  14. Gordy says:

    We should add your story to the Blowback series by Chalmers Johnson. Yet another reason why “they” don’t like US.

  15. Hello Bert,

    I appreciated what you did then and what you are doing now. I have just shared this page on Facebook (over 600 FB friends), changing the title to, ‘Fined for saving the lives of Iraqi kids.’ Also shared the link on my website, too.

    I included mention of your story in an early effort, back when I got fed up and started my website in 2008:

    http://www.mcloughlinpost.com/jan1608IraqKucinichandDemDebate.html

    Look forward to reading your articles.

    Regards,

    Diane

  16. Dear Bert,
    Your blog is so well documented and so much needed. As always, your work is thorough, important and timely. I hope you give Voices Education Project permission to republish your pieces each month and direct our membership back to your site. We must spread the word.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      O, Yes, Marilyn. Of course Voices Education Project may have permission to use anything — especially my monthly articles — that’s on the website. And I thank you back for all of your fine work with Voices!

  17. Jan Bush says:

    Thank you for simply being on this earth. Now it’s clear to me why you’re my hero!

  18. Fran Korten says:

    Bert–I so appreciate your unwaving courage in speaking the truth

  19. alex jimenez says:

    Let the truth prevail and those who speak the truth be blessed… Bert Sachs, you are blessed! You have chosen to take on the powerful dark forcess that are inflicting crimes against our very own humaninty and you should know you are not alone… We are with you and urge you to continue writting. Looking forward to reading more of your outstanding work… Education is the solution to all our problems… Alex

  20. Bill Bichsel says:

    Bert,Thank you for your compassion and for being a faithful servant to the Iraqi kids. Bix

  21. Thank for the invitation Bert. Your continued effort to open the eyes of the American people on the tragic number of deaths and the horrible suffering “our impose sanctions” have had on the poor people of Iraq, especially the women and children, is very inspiring. You have many friends who respect and honor you for your since of justice, your kindness and love of your fellow human beings. It is high time we help you by telling everyone we know your courageous story and of how proud we are to know you as a wonderful example of person who loves his neighbor as himself.

  22. Linda says:

    Dear Bert,
    You truly are satyagraha personified. You are so right, “Nonviolence is the only way”.
    This website is a brilliant idea!! I will help spread the word

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Linda. On my 3rd emailing (3/11/11) I will try to deal with satyagraha — on the deepest level that I can, since that’s where I believe the real strength of truth-force comes from.

  23. Barbara says:

    Dear Bert,

    Thank you for not giving up on us!

    Ever grateful to you,
    barbara

  24. Farah Muhsen says:

    Dear Bert,

    On behalf of all Iraqis that have lived under and suffered severely from the imposed sanctions on nour country Iraq, I want to thank you and greet your bravery for speaking up the truth about what actually the sanctions were and how of a political tool it was to pressure the change of a regime on the expense of the millions of children, men and women in Iraq. My father have died as a consequence of the imposed sanctions, and my health conditions declined for the same reason during those years. I never thought nor imagined that there will be a time when our voices would be heard, but with your effort I have faith that my story and the stories of millions of Iraqis will hopefully reach the hearts and minds of the American people. Shukran.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Farah — I am deeply moved by your comment. As I wrote to a friend who has also traveled with me to Iraq, your expression of thanks makes that long 12-hour ride from Amman to Baghdad seem even more worthwhile. I reply to your thanks with my own back to you: Shukran Jezeelan.

  25. Weldon says:

    Thanks so much Bert for your tireless commitment to peacebuilding in the formidable face of endless warmaking! You are a prophet and an inspiration. I thank God for your peaceful presence and friendship.

  26. Sunil A says:

    Thank you, Bert, for this amazing compilation of damning evidence. Thank you for clinging to the truth. Now your message will spread even further. –Your old roomate

    • admin says:

      Sunil, thanks for your kind words. And yes, I think the evidence is damning. But if you think this is damning, search for “Joy Gordon” and then “Robert Fisk” on our site’s Home page. They have written so much, so well, and so damning that it really is a wonder their work is so little known (here, at least). Always good to see you, as at the WPSR dinner.

  27. jill allison says:

    thank you for standing strong against injustice. The forces (corporations) of the rich and powerful have lost any humanity they might have had in some past times. These are dark times.

    I believe there is currently an unspoken movement to decimate the population by attacking the health and well being of the average person on this planet. The poisoning of our environment has caused untold dis-ease cancer anxiety suicide mass murder-that most of us refuse to talk about but too many are now falling for this to be ignored much longer. I only wish I had your courage so that I might stand strong and be a voice for reason.

    thank you again for your integrity and strength

  28. J.B. Gerald says:

    Appreciation and respect.
    I’ve posted a referral to your site and case, amid a note
    on application of the Convention on Genocide, at Night’s Lantern: http://www.nightslantern.ca/2011bulletin.htm#jan15 .
    Bart

  29. Tim Chavez says:

    Thank you for your sacrifice by helping the citizens of Iraq. I feel humbled by your actions. Peace.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Tim. But I have to say that I don’t see what I’ve done as a sacrifice. Working on this issue has been, overall, very positive in my life. I’ll try to write more about this in my March posting. Best Wishes, Bert

  30. Patrick Leahey says:

    Thank you for your work. Sometimes, it seems like the world is such a dark place. It is good to see some light. It seems like we can do nothing, then someone like you come along.

  31. Dana Visalli says:

    Bert;
    We remember you fondly and your two visits and presentations in Twisp. Thank you,
    as ever, the for good, humane work you do. Dana

  32. If the definition of the word HUMANITY still has its meaning, it’s because of people like You.
    I cannot say thank you enough for your being here.

  33. rewinn says:

    Thanks and good luck.
    I’ve tweeted, blogged at http://rewinn.blogspot.com/2011/01/fined-for-helping-iraq-children-wtf.html and will pass on via Facebook.

    I guess one lesson here is that even “liberal” administrations are just fine with killing children who they are ostensibly liberating, just so long as you don’t offend the sovereign privileges.

    (You know who this case reminds me of? Don Seigelmann -( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Siegelman ) – another guy who should be free of government persecution but the “liberal” Obama Administration continues to persue. Maybe you could play tag-team some time!

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Randy, for all your posting, tweeting, and in general spreading the word. I’m happy to tell you that this site has received comments from Sweden, Germany, and the UK, along with comments from a lot of supportive people in this country. It’s very heartening.

  34. Brittany says:

    It was nice meeting you today on the bus. Thank you for all the great resources. I’m looking forward to reading the Alfie Kohn book you suggested.

    I read your article and it’s very inspiring. :)

  35. John DuBois says:

    Thanks for your courage and sense of responsibility.

  36. David Berrian says:

    Dear Bert,
    So what support can we offer you? Any gift that you might request or that we might offer is, of course, is a gift to all of us. We are all enriched by sustaining your courage and compassion. All of us must walk in your footsteps when we turn away from cooperating with state terrorism.
    So many federal, state, and international laws prohibit our support of terrorism. The Patriot Act makes it a crime to provide even financial support to acts of terror (possible confiscation of property, $1,000,000 fine, and life in prison). Yet how many of us still pay federal taxes that allow our policies of terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran to continue?
    I have such gratitude for your on-going leadership and moral clarity.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Dear David — Thank you for your expression of support. On March 11, 2011, I’ll send out my general thoughts about where we are and what we can most skillfully do to make a positive difference. In the meantime, I think the most helpful thing which folks could do is to spread the word about IraqiKids.org. It seems that no one else is raising the issue of our legal definition of international terrorism with regard to U.S. foreign policies. (Instead, rather like in Orwell’s 1984, people are simply throwing the word around like a smear without regard to its specific meaning. The destruction of language must be opposed to hold on to the rule of law.)

  37. Jonathan Betz-Zall says:

    Thanks, Bert, for keeping the faith on this issue. Governments are supposed to be servants of the people but it’s clear that even this one, which pretends to be ruled by law, will stop at nothing to achieve its political ends. Good for you for standing up and speaking the truth.

  38. Dennis Lane says:

    Thank you for helping us to become more aware of the impact that terrorism has on the innocents. Everyone’s heart is with you.

    Dennis

  39. Hi Bert! Good to hear from you. We met in Baghdad, I think 2002. Keep up the good work!!! Wage peace, -Yusha

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Yusha. We all need to try to wage peace … actually, as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, to become peace. (That’s a great book of his — “Being Peace” — which I was told about 20 years ago, and which has been a positive influence on my life.)

  40. Randall Mullins says:

    Thank you, thank you Bert for keeping the hope for more truth alive after these many years about the genocidal US-UN Sanctions against the people of Iraq. You continue to be a channel of light for me with your durable and beautiful blend of compassion, truth-telling and justice.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Dear Randall — I’m sure you’ll remember your accompanying me on the first delegation I led to Iraq … and the skill with which you conceived of our action in the Ameriya bomb shelter which gathered much media attention (NYT, CBS Nightly News, others). So you have a significant part in my history — and I’m grateful for that.

  41. Rosemary LeVasseur says:

    I am very impressed with both the content and layout of your website Bert. Recent events in Egypt have proven once again that non-violence is very effective. I look forward to supporting you through the trial. Thanks for your dedication to the people of Iraq.

    • admin says:

      Thank you, Rosemary. I am just now working on my February posting, which I’ll end with some comments about nonviolence — in anticipation of my March column.

  42. Betty Enright says:

    Bert…It was by chance that I came across one of your interviews today. I am in awe of the work you do. You have given me much to think about.. I look forward to your monthly articles. ……Thankyou! …….Betty

    • admin says:

      Betty, I’m very glad that you found the interview useful (or at least interesting). A good way to follow is to sign up for a once-a-month mailing. Sounds like maybe you have. Bert

  43. Janette Brown says:

    Glad to see this site. I plan to be at the trial in September. Will you update here with any date or time changes?

  44. Janette Brown says:

    PS Found the trial update in the Timeline!

    Mark’s & my interest and great respect, Bert.

  45. Evan A. Sugden says:

    Bravo, Bert! Your effort to expose the atrocities of the U.S. against Iraqi civilians is a brave and selfless effort. But I am also applauding your recognition of the untold reality of the 9/11 tragedy, an even more difficult thing to accept, and your connecting it with so much of the adversity that we have experienced in the past decade. Contrary to Obama’s admonition that we should not look backward, this country is starving for justice, and you can’t have it without looking behind. We absolutely must expose the truth and let justice take its course. Thank you for being part of the effort, we are much stronger with you on board.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Evan, thank you very much! I am grateful for your words of support. I’ve been pleased that there has only been one ‘negative’ response to me — and a very respectful one at that! — where the writer would have none of the possibility that WTC 7 did not come down by fire, but was a case of controlled demolition. I think we all have an obligation to be thoughtful and conscientious before we express our opinions … but then to speak the truth as best we can determine it, even if it falls outside the pale of our mainstream media.

  46. Bert, you are a true American hero. When you see and read about the injustice and corruption of so many institutions including our government all around us in our country it makes you want to start fighting like our founders did. Yet, you hold the course using good sense, let’s keep beating drums and wake up enough people that a mass movement of our people will eventually make the changes and help rebuild a country we can be proud of. I only wish we could clone you ten million times.
    My best,
    J. Glenn Evans

    • Bert Sacks says:

      J. Glenn, I think that you exaggerate. But rather than argue, I’d like to say that I think a “secret” to persisting in difficult situations is to hold on to an image of how I would like people to respond in such circumstances … and then try to practice acting that way. In other words, to use what comes “down the pike” as a challenge to be the kind of person I would like others to be. Whether I succeed or not, the act of trying is itself a useful act. That’s because I don’t have to berate others for not acting a certain way — or even myself if I fail but am willing to keep trying. Hardly a secret!

  47. Thank you for being a good example to us, Bert. It’s an honor to work with you.

  48. Sarah Baluchestani says:

    Hello, my name is Sarah
    I’m an Iranian living in Canada. I’m working with some friends to help the lives of my friends and family members living in a refugee camp called camp Ashraf in Iraq. The Iraqi government wants to close down the camp by the end of the year and this will lead to a serious massacre. There are 1000 women living in the camp.
    We are holding a rally on December 12 in DC to protest this. We wanted to invite you to join us an be the voice of these refugees who have escaped the Iranian tyranny and are now facing another threat.
    Sarah Baluchestani

  49. Janette says:

    YES! Here’s to your steadiness and persistent dedication to what’s true. It has prevailed; and I trust it will continue to.

  50. Suleiman Shahin says:

    Bert,

    You are a very brave and conscientious man. While the world stood silent, you decided you could not. You braved the powers at the top and went the 7,000 miles carrying aid to the helpless people of Iraq.

    The best part of this is the example you set for the rest of us.

    Sincerely

    Suleiman Shahin

  51. Bert Sacks says:

    Dear Suleiman,

    Thank you for your exceptionally kind words. Indeed we are all examples to each other, and if I have been a positive example in some small way, that gives me much pleasure.

    Sincerely,
    Bert

  52. Rick McDowell says:

    Hi Bert,

    Congratulations on the dismissal of the government’s case against you. Tragic you did not have your day in court. Criminal that not a single US government official has been held accountable for the massive loss of Iraqi lives during the endless years of sanctions – for crimes against humanity.

    It’s been a long time since we traveled together to Iraq in 1996. We remember hospital wards filled with dying children and the heroic efforts of the doctors to save their lives. After so many years of sanctions, war and occupation, the lives of the vast majority of Iraq’s children and families remain imperiled. The Iraqi people deserve better.

    Stay “Great”

    Rick

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thanks Rick. It seems like lifetimes ago that I joined you on my first trip to Iraq. That was a very important moment in my life, and of the start of my efforts — that you and I and Voices in the Wilderness and others were making — to draw attention to what our country had been doing to the people of Iraq. I wish I could say that things are better now, or that we have really understood what has come out of our violent policies towards Iraq. But we can only keep working, and keep transforming ourselves in the direction of deep nonviolence.

  53. John Keegan says:

    Bert, it was a pleasure to meet you recently at the showing of “The Law in These Parts,” at the Seattle International Film Festival. Given your interest in worldwide justice, it was no surprise to see you at a film which attempts to reveal the “rules” of occupation under which the Palestinians live. Your campaign for the IraqiKids is inspiring. I didn’t know anything about this episode until meeting you.

    John Keegan

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, John. It was a pleasure — and fun! — to visit with you and your wife before and after the SIFF showing of “The Law in These Parts.” I’d be happy if our conversation has been helpful. Unfortunately in general our media does not do a very good job in explaining conflicts, especially those involving Israel and those we are involved in. Best, Bert

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