Lawsuit filed to seek information on US role in deadly flotilla attack

The Center for Constitutional Rights launched a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today seeking documents regarding the US government’s knowledge and role in the deadly Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla this time last year.

Amongst the nine civilians killed in the raid in international waters was 18-year-old Furkan Dogan, a US citizen, “who was shot several times as he was filming the 4:00am raid, and then shot in the face at point blank range as he lay there wounded,” according to the Center for Constitional Rights’s press release. “Fifteen other U.S. citizens participated in the flotilla, including five who traveled on a U.S. registered boat; many were beaten and injured,” CCR adds in its press statement.

The statement adds:

The federal lawsuit, Center for Constitutional Rights v. Department of Defense, et al was filed in the Southern District of New York against the Defense Department as well as numerous other federal departments, including Justice and State, and various components of the U.S. military. The initial FOIA requests were filed nearly 11 months ago: only two agencies responded, and their responses were wholly inadequate, according to the suit.

The Israeli commandos also seized the property of US citizens aboard the ships, one of which was registered in the US. CCR stated that:

The Center further seeks any documents that could show what steps the Department of State, Department of Justice and other agencies have taken to ensure that Furkan’s death be properly and independently investigated. The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission concluded that the refusal of Israel to return this personal property is, “a deliberate attempt by the Israeli authorities to suppress or destroy evidence and other information related to the events of 31 May.”

The complaint and description of the case can be read on the Center for Constitional Rights’ website.

Furkan Doğan’s father, Dr. Ahmet Doğan, and his attorneys said in an interview with The Electronic Intifada earlier this year that they were “considering all their options,” including filing a civil case against the Israeli authorities.

The Electronic Intifada reported:

Since the flotilla attack on 31 May 2010, Doğan has received scant information or help from US officials. Out of four letters requesting meetings sent to the US consulate in Istanbul and the US embassy in Ankara, Doğan received one response — a form letter stating his letter had been received …
A letter sent last fall to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains unanswered. “We’re disappointed with the approach of the US,” Doğan said … “The fact is, the United States does not protect its citizens.”

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I might add that the US did not even have the respect nor the courtesy to issue a "regret" let alone a condemnation for the death of one of its own citizens on the open seas (tantamount to an act of war against the US and Turkey by Israel) or issue a need for an investigation. Its silence implies complicity, underscoring the need for an impartial investigation. And we have the effrontery to accuse other countries like Iran of human rights abuses.

Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.