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Revealed: Documents Show How Obama Administration Turned Its Back On American Citizen 'Executed' By Israel

The U.S. government abandoned one of its own citizens who was killed by the Israeli military on board the Mavi Marmara ship trying to break the Gaza blockade.

An undated photo of Furkan Dogan, a US citizen who was killed by the Israeli Navy on board the Mavi Marmara ship in 2010.
Photo Credit: Free Gaza/Flickr


In May 2010, 18-year-old American citizen Furkan Dogan was shot at point-blank range by Israeli naval commandos as he was standing on the deck of a ship and filming the violent raid on the flotilla to Gaza. It took three days for the U.S. to contact his family--and that was after the U.S. made repeated inquiries to the government of Israel for information about his death.

That information was  recently revealed by the Center for Constitutional Rightsafter obtaining documents that have now been published as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests to the U.S. government. The documents reveal new details on the U.S. government’s actions in the aftermath of the flotilla.

In the immediate aftermath of the flotilla raid, Ahmet Dogan, the father of Furkan, desperately called U.S. officials to inquire about the whereabouts of his son, who was a passenger on the flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza. Ahmet did not know where his son was, but was extremely worried after he saw news reports stating that the Israeli military had violently raided the ship in international waters and killed 9 passengers in the early morning hours of May 31, 2010. On June 3, 2010,  Ahmet Dogan identified his son’s body as being amongst the dead after he saw his son’s body riddled with bullets in Turkey.

That same day,  e-mail messages between U.S. officials in Istanbul and Washington concerning the death of Furkan Dogan were being sent back and forth. One morning message from Richard Appleton, the U.S. Consul General in Ankara, Turkey, confirms that by then the U.S. government knew about the death of Furkan. “Here is what we know,” wrote Appleton in an e-mail. “Turkish-American Furkan DOGAN DOB 20OCT91 was one of the killed in the Gaza Flotilla event.” In a separate e-mail sent in the afternoon of that day, Appleton wrote that “his family had been calling at least twice a day for several days...Before we contact we are going to get confirmation thru [the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs].”

Appleton and other U.S. officials repeatedly said they would speak with Ahmet Dogan only after talking to the Israeli government. (After the Israeli government failed to give details to the U.S. about the death of Dogan, Appleton finally decided to contact Ahmet Dogan.)

The e-mails are a telling snapshot of the larger story of how the U.S. government abandoned one of its own citizens who was killed by the Israeli military and deferred to Israel. And just as the U.S. failed to pressure Israel over the death of Furkan Dogan, they failed to pressure Israel over the returning of property, like electronic equipment, to American citizens who had also taken part in the flotilla. While this narrative is by now well-known, the documents show conclusively how the U.S. treats its citizens who challenge the Israeli government’s rule over Palestinians.

The e-mails from Appleton and other U.S. government documents were published by the CCR, which has been working with the Dogan family and other American citizens to try and obtain accountability for Israeli human rights violations committed in the course of the takeover of the Mavi Marmara. Other  revelations include the fact that Federal Bureau of Investigation counter-terrorism squads had conducted research on 561 individuals involved with the flotilla, though the details of the FBI investigation are largely redacted.

“The documents related to Furkan reveal that the U.S. has an unquestioning deference to the government of Israel, even when the life of an American teenager is at stake,” Jessica Lee, a lawyer working with the CCR on the aftermath of the flotilla, told Mondoweiss. “Despite this barbaric murder...the U.S. declined to investigate and deferred to Israel.” Though Ahmet Dogan repeatedly demanded a U.S. investigation into his son’s killing--and at one point wondered whether the U.S. didn’t care about Furkan because he was a Muslim--the U.S. has refused to do so.

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