Dear Secretary of State Clinton,
I am a retired US Army reserve colonel with 29 years in the US Army and Army Reserves, and a former US diplomat who resigned after 16 years in the US State Department in opposition to the war on Iraq.
I was one of fourteen American citizens on the Gaza flotilla.
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On June 14, 2010, I delivered to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of American Citizen Services a letter to you requesting investigation of the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla in which one unarmed American citizen was killed by Israeli commandos and fourteen other American citizens were kidnapped from international waters and taken to Israel against their will, imprisoned, and their personal possessions stolen by Israeli commandos.
Despite numerous inquiries to the State Department about the status of the response to my letter, after seven weeks I have not received a response to the letter, nor to the 80 questions that I requested that the United States government pose to the Israeli government concerning their attack on the Gaza flotilla.
As an American citizen, I am distressed that no one in the State Department government will respond to this request for assistance.
As a former US diplomat who worked for 16 years in the State Department and served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan (I helped reopen the US Embassy in December, 2001) and Mongolia, and who received an award for heroism from the State Department for actions during the evacuation of the US Embassy and the international community during the Sierra Leone civil war, I am deeply saddened by the lack of professionalism in my former organization in responding to such a request.
Now that your daughter Chelsea’s wedding is over, could you please ask the State Department’s inspector general to determine why after seven weeks there has been no response to my June 14, 2010 letter?
Could you also determine if the State Department has made a demarche to the Israeli government concerning the circumstances surrounding the commandos deadly shooting of unarmed 19-year-old American citizen Furkan Dogan, who was shot 5 times, several times to the head?
Of much less importance, but still of concern because of evidence contained, I want to know if a demarch was made for the return of our personal possessions, including cameras, cellphones and computers taken when the Israeli commandos forcefully boarded all six of the ships in the flotilla.
We returned to the United States with the clothes on our backs and our passports. Despite lists of our possessions being given to US consular officers during a June 2 visit to us while we were in prison in Israel, and to US consular officers in Istanbul, Turkey, during our brief stay after being deported from Israel and to American Citizen Services officials at the State Department in Washington, DC, virtually nothing has been returned to us (I did receive a diary sent from the US Consulate in Istanbul, but nothing else – no computer, camera, cellphone, clothing, handbag, address book, $800 in cash, backpack, suitcase, etc.). Phone calls in Israel have been made on cellphones in the possession of the Israeli government.
In case the State Department bureaucracy did not make you aware of my June 14, 2010, letter to you, I am copying it for you below.
Ann Wright, former US diplomat and retired US Army Reserve Colonel
June 14, 2010
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Department of State
Washington, DC 20001
Dear Secretary Clinton,
I am a retired US Army reserve colonel and a former US diplomat (deputy chief of mission at U.S. Embassies in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia) who resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.
I was one of twelve US citizens that were on the Gaza Flotilla. I have just returned to the United States from having been kidnapped and imprisoned by the Israeli government.
I appeal to you to institute a US investigation into the murder by Israeli military forces of American citizen Furkan Dogan, a 19-year-old high school student on the Mavi Marmara ship.
I also ask that the United States demand the return of one US-flagged vessels that were seized in international waters in an act of international piracy by the Israeli military.
I ask that the State Department assist in the location of the personal possessions that were stolen from American citizens in international waters by the Israeli military including computers, cameras, cell phones, identification, credit cards (one credit card has been used in Israel for over $20,000 in purchases), clothing, miscellaneous items such as notebooks, diaries and other personal papers.
I also ask that the United States demand that the Israeli government cooperate with the offer of the European Union to inspect ships and cargo destined for Gaza, which would allow the siege to end and commerce to begin.
I ask that an investigation into whether US made military equipment or equipment purchased with/through US funding was used in the attacks on the six civilian, unarmed vessels, and if so, that sanctions against Israel available through the U.S. Arms and Export Control Act be implemented.
I am attaching a list of 80 questions that an inquiry should answer. The list of questions comes from Uri Averny, who heads the Israeli human rights organization Gush Shalom.
I also ask that US funding for the reconstruction of Gaza be disbursed immediately. There are many non-governmental organizations in Gaza that can assist in the reconstruction activities if they have funding.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826