State Department kicks can down the road on Israel’s crippling of Munib Masri

on 24 Comments

A case we’re following. Matt Lee of the AP again brought up Israel’s shooting of American citizen Munib Masri at the State Department yesterday, and Mark Toner said they’re aware of the case. Yes and the family is begging for American action. Where’s the action Jackson?

QUESTION:  Did you – yesterday, I asked about this American —

MR. TONER:  Yes. 

QUESTION:  — who was shot.  Do you have – have you managed to find anything out about him? 

MR. TONER:  Yeah.  We’re obviously aware of his case.  He doesn’t have – and you’re going to be thrilled at this.   He does not – he’s not signed a Privacy Act waiver, so we’re limited to what we can say.  But the consular personnel in Beirut are providing assistance in his case.  And obviously in any case of an injured U.S. citizen abroad, we’ll work to ensure that the individual in question receives appropriate medical care.

QUESTION:  Can you tell me when he was given the opportunity to sign a Privacy Act waiver? 

MR. TONER:  Normally, in the first meeting, they would offer him the opportunity to sign. 

QUESTION:  Well, normally, but in this case?

 MR. TONER:  I don’t know in this case.  I haven’t talked to the people in Beirut.

24 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    June 3, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Privacy Act sounds like a requirement for revealing medical information. How about — if this is true — he was unarmed,was among other people also unarmed, and he was shot by Israeli soldiers.

    DoS cannot say this? Does Israel have to sign a Privacy Act waiver before anyone at DoS can say what they’ve done?

    Do the American People have to sign a Privacy ac waiver before we can be told what our government is doing — or not doing — to protect Americans?

  2. Woody Tanaka
    June 3, 2011, 1:02 pm

    “I don’t know in this case. I haven’t talked to the people in Beirut.”

    Wow. You’ve got to hand it to the State Department. They’re really burning up the diplomatic wires on this case. En fuego.

  3. Walid
    June 3, 2011, 1:41 pm

    From Robert Fisk in The Independent:

    “… The US embassy sent a female diplomat to see his parents at the hospital, Munib’s mother Mouna told me. “I am devastated, sad, angry – and I don’t wish this to happen to any Israeli mother. The American diplomats came here to the hospital and I explained the situation of Munib. I said: ‘I would like you to give a message to your government – to put pressure on them to change their policies here. If this had happened to an Israeli mother, the world would have gone upside down.’ But she said to me: ‘I’m not here to discuss politics. We’re here for social support, to evacuate you if you want, to help with payments.’ I said that I don’t need any of these things – I need you to explain the situation.”

    Any US diplomat is free to pass on a citizen’s views to the American government but this woman’s response was all too familiar. Munib, though an American, had been hit by the wrong sort of bullet. Not a Syrian bullet or an Egyptian bullet but an Israeli bullet, a bad kind to discuss, certainly the wrong kind to persuade an American diplomat to do anything about it. After all, when Benjamin Netanyahu gets 55 ovations in Congress – more than the average Baath party congress in Damascus – why should Munib’s government care about him?

    full article:
    link to

    The poorly informed woman sent by the State Department offered the family to help with the money. Munib’s grandfather with the same name, is a former Jordanian cabinet minister and the richest Palestinian. He’s already talking to lawyers about taking legal action against Israel.

    • Danaa
      June 3, 2011, 2:50 pm

      Before one of our favorite ziobots rush to correct details – as is their wont, especially concerning numerics that are tangential to the story – let me the first to offer a correction:

      Netanyahoo received ONLY 29 bona fide ovations. He did however receive 55 claps (which include said ovations, naturally). I do not unfortunately have detailed intensity distribution profiles of the claps per congress member, or relative rise speed of the ovations.

      Now everyone can move on in peace to discuss the tragic case featured in the story (and ziobot can concentrate on assigning relative faults in the shooting of the American young man)

      Sorry for the side bar….

      • mhuizenga
        June 3, 2011, 6:47 pm

        I’m almost positive someone on this forum has brought this up before, but when I saw Congress at the AIPAC conference, I couldn’t t help but chuckle and think of the old Solzhenitsyn story about the gulag warning people to “never be the first one to stop clapping.” Sad what our reps have come to.

    • Citizen
      June 3, 2011, 3:49 pm

      Thanks for the update. More of the same lame response from our State Dept. BTW, how is the Corrie trial doing? And what help from our government has the Turkish American boy who was murdered on the Gaza flotilla received, and the American lad who got hit on the head , and Jewish American girl who lost her eye? I hope they’ve been getting more positive attention from Uncle Sam than the survivors of the USS Liberty. Shada.

    • Philip Munger
      June 3, 2011, 5:53 pm

      Munib’s grandfather with the same name, is a former Jordanian cabinet minister and the richest Palestinian.

      — could the IDF have possibly targeted him on purpose because of something having to do with his family?

  4. MRW
    June 3, 2011, 2:59 pm

    “consular personnel in Beirut?”

    There are no US consular personnel in Israel?

  5. Avi
    June 3, 2011, 4:39 pm

    So a young man is paralyzed, yet Toner and State haven’t bothered to inquire about the case?

    This is not surprising. When Rumsfeld sent soldiers to invade a country without any body armor, his excuse — when soldiers were coming back in body bags by the truckload — was You go with the army you have, not the army you don’t have. But, even American troops are nothing but cannon fodder for the Empire.

    Had Mr. Masri been shot by a Syrian soldier and the incident could be exploited for political gain, the US and Toner would have been all over the case.

    And that begs the question, for whose interests are those hacks working? The answer is unfortunately, big business, corporations. The individual has no value in American politics.

    Furkan Dogan, an American citizen, was murdered on the deck of the Mavi Marmara in international waters, and the US government didn’t bother utter his name lest it embarrass it’s best friend and ally.

    We are all but tiny little cogs in the Empire’s meat grinder.

  6. Potsherd2
    June 3, 2011, 6:01 pm

    I wonder if anyone would pay attention if the survivors of the USS Liberty were on board the upcoming flotilla to Gaza.

    • Duscany
      June 4, 2011, 3:03 am

      I’d hate to see the survivors of the USS Liberty get anywhere near Israel. They’d shoot them all over again.

      I was in the Navy when Israel attacked the Liberty (on June 8, 1967). It was a black day. LBJ committed treason. McNamara let our sailors die. And Israel permanently swore off being a US ally.

      • Citizen
        June 4, 2011, 5:58 am

        Duscany, some folks on this blog, such as hophmi and clencher, are telling us all that the USS Liberty incident was just an accident. They also say that the incident has been thoroughly investigated. Basically, they maintain that what you say is a hoax, long discredited. They don’t understand why any American would bring up the subject, and they ask rhetorically, why would Israel intentionally harm its good ally the US?
        We’ve countered this claim and gave them url sources showing what they say is itself the big lie, but they ignore us and cut and paste material that has long been discredited. They maintain there is no dispute as to the accidental nature of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty that is anything other than pure fiction. Coincidentally, if memory serves, both hophmi and clencher are American Israelis who live in the USA.

    • Emma
      June 4, 2011, 6:08 am

      There was a survivor of the USS Liberty on board one of the Gaza flotilla boats.

      link to

      • Potsherd2
        June 4, 2011, 10:19 am

        Well, THAT got a lot of publicity!

  7. mudder
    June 3, 2011, 8:26 pm

    God bless the Associated Press’s Matt Lee for his persistence. Let’s all resolve here to not forget this case. The U.S. State Department briefing transcripts are posted daily.

  8. Kathleen
    June 3, 2011, 8:43 pm

    Toner “we’ll work to ensure that the individual in question receives appropriate medical care.”

    Is that the same kind of concern that the US State Dept gave to the care of Rachel Corries dead body

    “Notorious Body Part Snatcher Dr. Hiss Autopsied Rachel Corrie – Parts Still Missing

    FDL, September 9, 2010

    Sometimes, reading an article about war, I want to puke. Recovering from Max Blumenthal’s latest bombshell from Haifa, that was my first impulse. Eventually, though, I merely cried:

    [Dr. Yehuda Hiss] also conceded to taking “samples” from Corrie’s body for “histological testing” without informing her family. Just which parts of Corrie’s body Hiss took remains unclear; despite Hiss’s claim that he “buried” the samples, her family has not confirmed the whereabouts of her missing body parts.

    Dr.Hiss came to attention because of this:

    The chief pathologist of Israel for a decade and a half, Hiss was implicated by a 2001 investigation by the Israeli Health Ministry of stealing body parts ranging from legs to testicles to ovaries from bodies without permission from family members then selling them to research institutes. Bodies plundered by Hiss included those of Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. He was finally removed from his post in 2004 when the body of a teenage boy killed in a traffic accident was discovered to have been thoroughly gnawed on by a rat in Hiss’s laboratory. In an interview with researcher Nancy Schepper-Hughes, Hiss admitted that he harvested organs if he was confident relatives would not discover that they were missing. He added that he often used glue to close eyelids to hide missing corneas.

    While Dr. Hiss’ testimony was part of the opening, back in March of the civil suit by the Corrie family against the Israeli Defense Forces and Defense Ministry, no writer wrote back then so compellingly as Blumenthal has now done, in his article posted today on the testimony and depositions given Sunday and Monday in the opening portion of the second half of the trail.”

    • Citizen
      June 4, 2011, 6:07 am

      Kathleen, has there been an update on the Hiss aspect of the Corrie suit?
      It’s been going on a year since the Corrie suit was expanded to cover Hiss’s conduct regarding Rachel’s corpse: link to

      • Kathleen
        June 4, 2011, 11:07 pm

        I think the Rachel Corrie site would be the best place to find out. Ed Teller (Phillip Munger) often kept folks updated on this issue. Amy Goodman is so great also.

  9. Cheryl
    June 4, 2011, 12:37 am

    While it is the responsibility of the State Dept. to provide assistance, it is also the responsibility of the State Dept. to determine if a Leahy Amendment violation occurred. It is illegal to use American funded weapons in human rights violations. This determination of human rights violations begins at the Embassy level.
    My sense is that if the Embassy keeps their involvement to a minimum, then they can honestly say that they have no evidence of Israel committing human rights violations. So it is in the State Dept’s. interest to keep their assistance at a American Citizen Services level, a sort of see no evil hear no evil response

  10. Djinn
    June 4, 2011, 1:28 am

    We’re here for social support, to evacuate you if you want, to help with payments

    I dont know about other countries but the Oz & UK govts will offer assistance to citizens injured overseas but any costs are incurred by the citizen, they make great pains about telling people to get travel insurance for this reason. Is this a normal offer from US (in which case damn I gotta get me a US passport I’d save a bundle in insurance) or was this a case of please take some money & don’t make embarrassing noises?

    • Cheryl
      June 4, 2011, 7:50 am

      I highly doubt the U.S. government was offering to pay for medical care.
      They may be offering to assist in making sure he is getting adequate medical care by offering names of doctors/hospitals etc . and thinking through how payment could be made but it is highly doubtful they were actually saying that the U.S. government would pay for such care. Now they might arrange a meeting or at least give suggestions to the family regarding who to meet with in the Israeli government in case the Israeli government wanted to offer some hush money or medical care money in hopes of preventing legal movement down the road.
      The more important point is that if we as Americans want to see justice pursued then it needs to be the Defense Attaches (Defense) or possibly other State Dept. departments (Political) that need to be involved. The American Citizens Service Department concentrates on taking care of personal needs, not justice.

  11. Walid
    June 4, 2011, 5:33 am

    Djinn, American help comes with strings attached; nothing is really free. When Israel started its war on Lebanon in 2006 and the evacuation of foreigners began, the US in the first 5 days was making Americans sign IOUs for the cost of the evacuation and the French were doing likewise until it became public knowledge that Canada was doing it for free and were embarrassed into following Canada’s example. A little under 13, 500 were evacuated by Canada of which about 2,000 were of other nationalities like of Spain, Belgium, Pakistan and consular staffs of other countries. Later back in Canada some rednecks bitched about the $43 million price tag because of those evacuated, most held dual citizenships but the PR that Canada got out of it was great.

  12. Cheryl
    June 4, 2011, 8:15 am

    Since an American citizen was injured by a foreign military at a nonviolent demonstration what should be watched for is an American call for an investigation into the incident. In this case, since he is a dual citizen and Jordan is a close ally it would seem plausible that both countries would expect to see an investigation.
    The next step of course is that the Israeli investigations to date have been self-serving and I would guess that many in the State Dept. know this and are uncomfortable by it. We know without a doubt that the Tom Hurndall and James Miller investigations were not credible. We know that the State Dept. itself has stated that without equivocation Rachel’s investigation was not credible and stood by that assessment on several different occasions. So the subsequent hurdle is to have an independent source collecting all information before the Israeli government decides how they will spin it to get ahead of the PR problem.
    So let’s say the Israeli’s do an investigation and it can be proven to be a sham. Then the next question is what does the U.S. and Jordan do about that. To date, the U.S. has done very little actively to support their citizens in realizing justice. Unless they are trying behind the scenes.
    However, the U.S. government itself becomes responsible if their funding/equipment is being utilized in committing human rights violations. State/Defense/Commerce all have oversight responsibilities in these areas. The trouble is, I believe, they are adept at circumventing these responsibilities if they do not want to intercede which we can assume is the case with Israel. So, they don’t collect required data, they don’t have experienced personal or investigational personal working on the specific case. They wait for the Israeli’s to do the investigation and after much time has lapsed and the public interest has died and facts have grown cold they can ignore the oversight requirements by not assessing the quality of the investigation or by stating that they themselves have no way to gather facts….many ways to not truly look at any individual case – even thought it is mandated by law that they do.

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