“Israel accuses some of the passengers of fighting back.”

Juan Cole is keeping tabs on the testimony of witnesses from the Turkish humanitarian aid ship, the Mavi Marmari, as they are released. Stuff keeps coming out that appears to contradict what looks to be Israel's spin on the attack. International waters anybody.

This brief piece is entitled: “The Ship Turned into a Lake of Blood”: Israeli Commandos Used Beatings, Stun Guns, Live Ammo

June 1, 2010

The humanitarian aid workers taken hostage by Israel on the high seas are beginning to be released, and they describe to the Associated Press a horrific scene when Israeli troops boarded the Mavi Marmara.

Norman Paech of the German Left Party said, “”Moments later, we heard detonations and then soldiers from helicopters above us dropped down on board . . . The soldiers were all masked, carrying big guns and were extremely brutal.”

Witnesses speak of seeing dead bodies scattered on the deck. Several of the dead are said to have been Turkish.

Passengers spoke of being beaten with batons and shocked with stun guns, as well as being shot at with both rubber bullets and life ammunition. AP writes:

‘Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin told reporters in Istanbul that she and her baby son were hiding in her cabin’s bathroom on the Marmara when Israeli soldiers rappelled onto the ship. “There was a massacre on board,” Cetin said. “The ship turned into a lake of blood.”

Israel accuses some of the passengers of fighting back.

http://www.juancole.com/2010/06/the-ship-turned-into-a-lake-of-blood-israeli-commandos-used-beatings-stun-guns-live-ammo.html

I'm trying to keep a straight face. 9-19 killed. Israel is apparently not releasing the number and names of the killed.

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21 Comments

And here is the biggest, most proposterous contention of all. Reported by Mondoweiss.
Ynet: 75 percent of flotilla passengers had a ‘knife in hand’

Ira Glunts/June 1, 2010

This is the latest and "greatest" Israeli version of events. It has been on the Hebrew site at YNet for hours. Funny, the English version makes it more clear that the captain is referring to all of the hundreds on board when he says "each one with a knife in his hand."

How does he know this?"

'I cocked my weapon when I saw that one was coming towards me with a knife drawn and I fired once. Then another 20 people came at me from all directions and threw me down to the deck below'

In the first interview since he was wounded in Monday's raid on the flotilla, Captain R, who commanded the troops who boarded the Marmara via helicopter, spoke of the battle that took place on vessel.

According to R, hundreds of people who were on the boat took part in attacking him and his soldiers and they were forced to use weapons because of danger to their lives.

It has to be complete BS, but Israel is good at selling BS. By the way, it's playing well with the Hebrew Ynet readers (from the comments.)

The commander R praises the mission and even gives the old "purity of arms" gloss: "R said that some 75% of the people in [sic] the vessel resisted violently, 'each one with a knife in his hand.'"

Update: Washington Post is saying the same stuff!!! Its editorial:

THE ISRAELI commandos who landed on the deck of the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara off the coast of the Gaza Strip early Monday were totally unprepared for what they encountered: dozens of militants who swarmed around them with knives and iron bars.

 

When it comes to Israeli hasbara (propaganda), the bullshit just never ends.

by MainStreet 2010-06-01 09:57PM | 0 recs
Look I will do my best to keep everyone abreast of the BS as it becomes available.

One reason, my supposition, why many of the flotilla participants are not being released is that they are being interrogated in order to find how to spin a story around their future testimonies about what happened.

by MainStreet 2010-06-01 10:01PM | 0 recs
There is something that ails the US

There has been extensive reporting in the Guardian from eyewitness accounts regarding the carnage on board the Marmari, but I am yet to see a single US newspaper interviewing any of the people there. Their response to this is as tepid and docile as that of the administration. On TV it is the same thing. FNC is now the official mouthpiece of the Likud party, while MSNBC is trying to catch up fast, the closest they came to giving a voice to an Israel critic was when Greenwald was on Dylan Ratigan's show today (hosted by Eliot Spitzer who basically made the show a platform for Likud propaganda). Neither Rachel Maddow nor Keith Olberman even addressed this issue for a fleeting second. I don't watch CNN, but I am guessing they are no better or worse.

But one cannot rest all the blame on the administration for their tepid response, it is becoming more and more evident that both sides of the aisle are deep in the pockets of the Israel lobby, whether it be a liberal like Weiner or a conservative like Cantor. The race is on to show who can make the last stand with this Likud government. Gone are the days when a politician like James Baker could speak his mind (yes GHWB was the last president to try and honestly broker a peace deal, since then it has been extremely lopsided), unfortunately he got labeled as an "anti-semite", as would any politician who would try to stand up to the Israel lobby.

Which brings me back to the reason for this lop-sided coverage. I can only speculate that some of it is the extreme myopia of the majority of American Jews when it comes to Israel. As far as the general public goes, it is easier to hate brown-skinned Palestinians and buy in to the myth that they are but primitive and violent people, compared to the overwhelmingly white Israelis. But that's just my opinion, because nothing else can explain the lack of any outcry in the US in face of this atrocius act. Imagine what the reaction would be if this were the Cubans, or Iranians, or for that matter any state other than Israel.

by tarheel74 2010-06-01 10:48PM | 0 recs
RE: There is something that ails the US

The American media does indeed have a proIsrael bias, although some NPR coverage did try to appear fair and impartial. It would take a deep study by a team of investigators to put together the reasons for it. To make claims that the Lobby controls the media, as it appears to control Congress and the presidency, without substantiation would indeed bring forth charges of anti-Semitism.

But in terms of can be factually known, the media in this country did indeed look the other way, so to speak, and as you contend.

 

by MainStreet 2010-06-01 11:00PM | 0 recs
Honestly

When you credit the eyewitness testimony of someone who was hiding in a cabin by their own admission, there's not much else to say.

There are a whole lot of bad people in this story, but as a parent, what I really can't grasp is that someone brought a 1-year old baby on a blockade-running mission.

by Steve M 2010-06-02 12:31AM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

Are we again blaming the aid activists for victimizing the Israeli troops?

The oldest person among the passengers in the flotilla was 88 years old. One could ask the same question? Why let old people come on a "blockade-running" mission? And then there was Hedy Epstein, the 85 year old Holocaust survivor, who was in Cypress but never made it. Ask the same question once again.

See Glenn Greenwald's article below. Did you see the Israeli video? They actually let photographers rappel down from a helicopter to take pictures of Israeli soldiers killing peace activists? Notice the angle of some of the footage. ???? We await an external investigation, which might help to keep this story in the news.

 

by MainStreet 2010-06-02 05:08AM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

Like I said, extreme myopia when it comes to Israel makes it difficult to have a rational discourse, people seem to lose their sense of right and wrong. If it had been any other nation there would be talks of war, international tribunals, piracy etc.. Anyway I think the Guardian has done a fair job thus far:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/02/gaza-flotilla-raid-gunfire-ship-blood

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/02/gaza-flotilla-activists-deported-jordan

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2010/jun/02/israel-releases-gaza-flotilla-activists-live-coverage

Also as a side note this was in the last link:

The Israeli army has all but admitted that the activists did not have guns of their own before the raid. Army spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said two pistols were seized from activists but these had been taken from the troops raiding the boat. She claimed the magazines of both weapons had been emptied before they were seized back.

Once again it seems odd that somehow US newspapers cannot or will not interview eyewitnesses.

by tarheel74 2010-06-02 08:35AM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

Great newspaper. There's not one in the US that immediately comes to mind that is comparable.

Pretty much its the internet mags like The Nation and blog newspapers like Huffington Post that one has to rely on.

by MainStreet 2010-06-02 08:59AM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

Speaking of the US media, here is a piece on The Nation all about it.

US Media Pulls Punches on Flotilla Assault Esther Kaplan"The mildest word I can come up with to describe US media coverage of the deadly Israeli assault on a Gaza aid flotilla would be “credulous.” But one could reasonably use far harsher terms. The central preoccupation at our papers of record seems to be how Israel’s unprovoked commando operation in international waters, which my colleague Roane Carey appropriately calls “madness,” will rebound against Israel.

The outrageousness of the event itself is remarked only second hand, by noting the street protests the incident has sparked around the globe and the strong diplomatic retaliation from Turkey. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler is perhaps typical. He devoted most of his news analysis this morning to how this global condemnation will “complicate” Obama’s relationship with the Israeli  prime minister. Gaza itself doesn’t merit a footnote."

READ ON HERE: http://www.thenation.com/blog/us-media-pulls-punches-flotilla-assault

 

by MainStreet 2010-06-02 09:08AM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

Now Daily Kos with its million daily visitors cannot be described as a blog newspaper, but its contributing diarists often keep on current events that go beyond the blog's left wing political purpose of electing Democrats. Here's an interesting diary that focuses on Israeli spin on the flotilla attack.

 

Israeli spokesman: BARE HANDS = threat to Israel, invokes 9/11 by Florida DemocratWed Jun 02, 2010

This is an incredible and candid admission of just how Israel thinks, even when it is trying to do PR damage control, now going as far as invoking 9/11 by talking about "box cutters". Israeli embassy spokesman just cited "hands" as "national security risk" in response to a question about the ship's content.

Question: The weapons cited by the IDF--metal poles, knives, etc.--don't look to be threats to Israel's national security. Rather, they look like fairly standard maritime tools, no?

Jonathan Peled: Weapons are weapons. Knives can kill, iron bars can kill, even hands can kill. We've seen in America the damage that simple boxcutters can cause. The issue was not the people onboard, but the need to ensure that no weapons or terrorists enter the Gaza Strip, reaching the hands of Hamas. This scenario would, in fact, pose a national security risk to Israel, and this is the reason for the blockade.

Jonathan Pelad, Israeli Embassy spokesman, June 1, 2010.
Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

The Washington Post may be just as bad as the NYT in propagating Israeli propaganda. Well, we have known about the proIsrael bias of these newspapers, which is why the American people are continually being snookered. Stories in these lead papers are then republished in smaller ones around the country.

 

by MainStreet 2010-06-02 10:00AM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

That's an interesting defense of the choice to bring a 1-year old baby, but I don't agree with your logic.

by Steve M 2010-06-02 09:33AM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

Steve, it seems that when you are not preoccupied with knocking the diarist or commenter, you are focused on trivial details, which is some how supposed to nullify the reality.

Who knows why this woman brought her 1 and a half year old child on the trip. Maybe she couldn't find a babysitter. Does it matter? Like the other participants, she was likely sympathetic to the plight of the Gazans, who are slowly being starved by Israel, under some ridiculous idea that the hungry people would rise up and overthrough Hamas. After all, Hamas is a terrorist organization of Israel's creation, mainly because it does not recognize Israel.

When the hell did Israel ever recognize Palestine?

Several months ago I wrote a diary: The Likud Charter: wiping Palestine off the map. The Likud Charter (but also the Labor and Kadima political platforms) do not recognize the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own in their own (occupied) country. All Israeli governments, no matter what party has been in control, have pursued the colonization of Palestinian lands with the sole purpose of declaring eventually, Greater Israel.

And Israel has engaged in state terrorism in order to maintain this trajectory to eliminating the Palestinian people as a political entity.

THE PROOF: http://mydd.com/users/mainstreet/posts/the-likud-charter-wiping-palestine-off-the-map

 

by MainStreet 2010-06-02 10:19AM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

I don't think the fact that you cite a supposed eyewitness who was actually hiding in the bathroom is a trivial detail.  Basically, your narrative style is to write off every Israeli statement as propaganda, assume that every anti-Israeli statement is the gospel truth, and present the sum total as a clear and indisputable version of "what really happened."

The end result is that even when "what really happened" is a very sympathetic story for the side with which you sympathize, you end up presenting a propagandistic storyline (a ship full of Gandhilike figures who would never dream of resorting to violence, brutally massacred with no provocation whatsoever!) that is nothing more than a mirror image of the tales the other side tells.  It's persuasive only to the true believers.  To everyone else it simply looks like another "he said, she said" story where neither side is believable, a bad outcome when you could win plenty of sympathy just by telling the truth.

It is impossible to claim, in light of the massive amount of video available, that the passengers on the sixth ship were engaged in nothing other than unarmed nonviolent resistance.  But you just can't help but tell the story that way.  It doesn't speak well of you.

It's a nice touch that you made a point of mentioning in that last comment that the baby was one and a half, not just one.  That does make a difference.

by Steve M 2010-06-02 11:05AM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

You may be having a reading problem. Quoting Cole:

Norman Paech of the German Left Party said, “”Moments later, we heard detonations and then soldiers from helicopters above us dropped down on board . . . The soldiers were all masked, carrying big guns and were extremely brutal.”

Witnesses speak of seeing dead bodies scattered on the deck. Several of the dead are said to have been Turkish.

Passengers spoke of being beaten with batons and shocked with stun guns, as well as being shot at with both rubber bullets and life ammunition.

Then AP quoted this activist with a baby, who went into hiding after the Israeli soldiers rappelled onto the ship.

All she was quoted as saying, "There was a massacre on board"...“The ship turned into a lake of blood.” I would suppose at some point after leaving the bathroom, she looked down. I presume the blood was from the nine activist murdered and the 50 or so of them who were wounded.

But I'm sure that you find your critique profound: it is all propaganda.

 

by MainStreet 2010-06-02 12:04PM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

Can you point me to a youtube of this video, wherein the passengers are beating or lynching the commandos ?

by Ravi Verma 2010-06-02 12:37PM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

I didn't say they were lynching the commandos.  Don't put that right-wing bullshit in my mouth.

by Steve M 2010-06-02 03:23PM | 0 recs
I apologize

Honestly, my intention was not to goad you, or to put words in your mouth.  Obviously, I shoudl have been more careful with my words.

 

But, I would still like to see a video of what you are referring to.  I have not seen any so far.   I can read that the Israelis are claiming that the commandos were being lynched (which is probably where my poor choice fo words came from), and the activists claiming that they had 2.5 wooden sticks between them.

by Ravi Verma 2010-06-02 04:07PM | 0 recs
the dead baby strategy at its best

amazing isn't it how people will kill their kids just to attack the Jews.

by Lakrosse 2010-06-02 12:57AM | 0 recs
Glenn Greenwald: Why Is Israel Keeping Ships’ Passengers From Speaking Out?
"Reuters reported today that Israel has barred journalists from access to the hundreds of activists arrested on the aid flotilla attacked Sunday, prompting Glenn Greenwald to ask: if Israel is, as always, the completely blameless victim of aggression, why detain the ships’ passengers and deny them access to the media?" http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/06/01/glenn-greenwald-why-is-100-totally-blameless-israel-keeping-passengers-from-speaking-out/
by MainStreet 2010-06-02 04:51AM | 0 recs
by Lakrosse 2010-06-02 05:52AM | 0 recs
Plot sickens as the hasbara effort kicks off
The hasbara machine is running on empty but it's running all the same.
Ynet seems to be the leader with a ludicrous claim that the Israeli commandos were ambushed. I kid you not. Here's the headline: A brutal ambush at sea. Yes, they are claiming that people on boats ambushed their men in helicopters.
The Guardian is riding the two horses of being a newspaper of record whilst doing what it can for the zio war criminals. It seems to have wound down its minute by minute updates and the comments to them are closed but the bullet points to the article are now as follows:
• IDF says footage shows activists attacked troops
• Thousands protest in cities around the world
• Binyamin Netanyahu cancels White House trip
• Turkey recalls ambassador from Israel
Note how the first bullet point contains a link to a zio propaganda video but none of the other bullet points contain links at all.
The BBC is helping Israel all it can too by giving more prominence to Israeli versions of events than any others but it too has an issue with the medium of record problem.

But by and large this latest atrocity by Israel has the hasbara brigade in open panic as a glance at the comments at Harry's Place shows.
And no one is really fooled by hasbara any more. Certainly not this guy. Levi9909/Jews sans frontieres
by MainStreet 2010-06-02 07:38AM | 0 recs

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