Rachel Corrie Steaming toward Gaza
Likud Vows it will Not Arrive

Oh, oh. Part Deux. The Rachel Corrie Gaza aid ship is now steaming toward the Gaza coast, and its communications may have been already jammed. It is flagged as an Irish vessel, and the far right Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman have vowed that it will not be allowed to reach Gaza.

It likely will be boarded and diverted without incident. It is increasingly clear that the violence on the Mavi Marmara came about in part because it was a large five-deck ship and could not easily be boarded from the sea. The Rachel Corrie is a smaller vessels and presents no such tactical challenge.

The new ship carries 19 activists including a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is named for an American peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was deliberately run down by an earth mover at the order of the Israeli military while attempting to stand in the way of a punitive house demolition. A play about Corrie was prevented from being put on in New York by the Israel lobbies. The censorship was later initially repeated in Toronto, though ultimately the play was put on there.

Paul McGeough, one of our great war reporters and investigative journalists, has constructed one of the first rounded accounts of the boarding of the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos and the way it turned into a game of shooting fish in a barrel. McGeough was on one of the other ships and could see some of the events by moonlight. He then conducted interviews with the aid workers while they were imprisoned in Israel and on the plane to Istanbul. He reveals that an initial attempt to board the Mavi Marmara from an Israeli vessel failed. Then an initial attempt to land commandos on the deck also failed, when the commandos were captured, and some beaten until the captain and others intervened to stop it. Their weapons were confiscated and thrown overboard. At that point live fire was deployed, apparently both by helicopter gunship onto the top deck and by rappelling commandos. Unarmed people were shot between the eyes, shot in the top of the head, shot in the back of the head, shot in the chest, shot in the back, and shot in the legs. Other accounts say the wounded were piled up in a room by the commandos without any first aid and many left to bleed out. Then all the passengers were kidnapped and sequestered and silenced, and the Israelis confiscated and cherry-picked all the video and photos to show one moment of resistance to the first landing and erase all the subsequent murders by Israelis of unarmed passengers.

Fully six of the aid workers killed on the deck were shot by a single out-of-control commando, who is in line for a medal for bravery from Israel. Although he claims that Israeli commandos had already been shot by passengers, the aid workers deny this and since he’d be up on murder charges if he fired on unarmed people, he has a reason to paint the situation as already dire when he began his shooting rampage.

Glenn Greenwald details how the Israeli army managed the US mass media and shaped their narrative.

My favorite such moment was when CNN’s Tony Harris interviewed a flotilla survivor who had been released and asked her a lot of aggressive questions coming out of Israeli propaganda. She complained that he was working off the Israeli narrative. He threw a fit and pointed out that he was being nice enough to put her on the air and denied that he was working off the Israeli narrative.

His next question? So it is charged that the flotilla had links to al-Qaeda. How do you respond to that accusation?

I fell off my chair laughing and weeping all at once.

19 Responses

  1. It is flagged as an Irish vessel

    Minor correction: sailing from Ireland, Irish joint effort with Malaysians, flag Cambodia. (Ship originally confiscated by Irish authorities due to owners’ failure to pay sailors, then bought, renamed, and repurposed.)

    Incidentally, Denis Halliday, one of the Irish on board, is the guy who resigned as UN Assistant Secretary-General because of the child-killing sanctions on Iraq.

  2. What Israel has been doing to the Gazan people is beyond any shame. Now though there is a massacre in international waters.

  3. As this attack clearly took place in international waters, would it not be possible for the captain of the Mavi Marmara (or the surviving ranking officer if, as reported, the captain was killed) to lodge murder charges against one or more of the attacking Israelis in the ship’s country of origin? Witnesses exist. Would not a legal trial in absentia be possible?

  4. Rachel Corrie was murdered at the instructions of the IDF trying to protect a home from destruction, anything else is disinformation if not downright lies. Spades being spades.

  5. Israel is insane, in their eyes they must do something to deter other boats to follow.
    I therefore suspect they might apply some new tactics we haven’t seen yet.
    They might arrest the the activists and then sink the ship or even blow it up.
    We shall see.

  6. This is of course very shocking, but lest we forget the US did this sort of thing to hundreds of thousands of civilians during the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and still has almost zero remorse about it. Let alone Hiroshima. It’s small wonder their client and convenient lightning rod thinks it’s somehow OK.

  7. Is it not time to put the US media on trial? I looked at the NYT again today – once again it accepts the Israeli viewpoint without question – Israel’s offer to take the cargo off the MV Rachel Corrie and transport it to Gaza. Consistently it mentions Hamas attacks on “unarmed civilians” while of course not mentioning ongoing and much more effective attacks by the Israelis on Palestinians both in Gaza and the West Bank. Though I have to admit they at least allow a spokesperson for Free Gaza to say that Hamas was “democratically elected”- usually the MSM say that Hamas gained power by overthrowing Fatah. On the other hand it allows the liar-in-chief Mark Regev to say that: “These are not human rights activists” and talk about Hamas’ “appalling human rights record”. Now that from an Israeli requires some Chutzpah!

  8. “It is increasingly clear that the violence on the Mavi Marmara came about in part because it was a large five-deck ship and could not easily be boarded from the sea”.

    I know what you are trying to say, but the fact is that the violence on that ship came about because it was boarded by Israeli soldiers who were intent on siezing control of the ship in international waters, illegally as I believe. That is the reason for the violence.

    Trying to pretend that there is any other reason for the violence – eg. that different military tactics, or a different design of ship, or different reactions by the people on board would have prevented violence – is simply to excuse what happened. It is easy to slip into, but it should be avoided, or the fundamental shape of thses events is going to be obscured.

  9. ref : “How the Israeli army managed the US mass media and shaped their narrative.” Naomi Klein, Blinding the Witnesses «There is something way too literal about Israel shooting out the eye of a witness to its crimes. This photograph of Emily Henochowicz’s bandaged face needs to be seen by the world. Like many of us around the world, Henochowicz, a 21-year-old Cooper Union art student, joined protests on Monday against Israel’s outrageous attack on the humanitarian flotilla. But unfortunately, the protest Emily attended was in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and like so many protests in the West Bank, it was violently attacked by the IDF. According to a report from the International Solidarity Movement, Emily “was hit in the face with a tear gas projectile fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during the demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint today.” This courageous young woman is now the wrenching embodiment of a policy that systematically targets witnesses and human rights advocates — from Stop the Wall’s Mohammad Othman, arrested on his way back from a European speaking tour, to the vicious smear campaign waged against Justice Richard Goldstone…»

  10. Is the Turkish Navy escorting the Rachal Corrie? I can’t imagine they aren’t at least nearby keeping an eye on things.

  11. The pattern that we see repeatedly, with both US and Israeli deployment of force, is that a situation which maximizes the potential for violence is apparently deliberately set up, and then soldiers are sent into it. Something like this seems to have occured at Abu Graib, for example. An extreme situation is arranged, unclear orders are given, and hyperviolence predictably erupts. The result is maximal ability to blame the grunts.

    It’s just not credible that the folks who ‘planned’ this operation did not understand that their approach to the Mavi Marmara would create a situation with great violence potential. They almost certainly counted on it. The one guy who did most of the killings is the most obvious candidate for scapegoat, should the pr situation deteriorate to the point where Israel’s hard line leaders need one, though presumably it won’t get to that, and right now they are doing the usual ‘support the troops’ bit.

    Incompetence is the oldest cover there is. Oops, I didn’t mean to hit you, my hand slipped. Oops, I didn’t mean to create conditions conducive to hyperviolence on the Mavi Marmara. It just sort of happened.

    The Israeli leadership wanted violence, presumably to intimidate future flotillas.

    • The Isreali’s deliberately targeted the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship , in revenge for the Davos inccident, remember also their trying to humiliate the Turkish Ambassador by seating him on a low chair. Unfortunately they only have a pre-school mentality and like any badly behaved spoilt child need to be punished, not protected as they are by the U.S.

  12. I’m following the events on Twitter as they happen tonight. Clearly the IDF is letting the Corrie get a lot closer to Gaza than they did the earlier ships. They want to avoid the charge of assaulting a boat in international waters.

  13. The IDF has also repeated its request to bring ship to Ashdod, saying they will transfer the aid materials over land crossings. What they did NOT say is whether that included the construction materials or other items that they have banned from Gaza. Clearly, the Corrie passengers cannot trust the ambiguous IDF promises.

  14. The IDF Spokesperson on Twitter told me just now that Israel has repeatedly offered to transfer the aid overland after a security inspection. I then asked if that specifically included banned items, such as construction materials. We’ll see.

  15. I was watching Tony Harris interviewing Greta Berlin in a very subdued voice on the subject of 9 to 19 peace activists killed by Israeli commandos after they invaded Turkish ship carrying Aid items to Gaza strip people. Every question of Tony Harris was Israel said this, Israel said this, Israel said this, Israel said this & Israel said this, what you say to this.

    After she said something like you are using Israeli talking points. The sudden change in attitude, mood and anger in the voice of CNN Anchor Tony Harris, gave me the biggest laugh & anger of the day in the middle of a very serious topic.

    I am so glad Greta what you said. Tony Harris should use his own mind, not the talking points of Israel or AIPAC.

  16. As Prime Minister Erdogan has said he will send Turkish Navy ships to escort the next flotilla of Aid ships to break the Gaza siege.

    I think he should do it for the following reasons:

    If Israeli commandos shoot Turkish Ships, Turkey being a NATO member should be helped by other NATO members according to NATO charter. (USA & Canada are NATO members). If NATO members do not help Turkey, what Turkey’s membership is worth? It is worthless.

    Mr. Erdogan should quit NATO. He will be a much bigger hero. He should form Islamic alliance starting with Turkey, Iran & Pakistan. NATO countries will have no face to accuse Iran, if Iran chooses to come out off IAEA, since NATO did not abide by its own rules by not standing with Turkey.

    Other Muslim countries should join Islamic alliance from Morocco to Indonesia. 52 Islamic countries, 1.5 billion strong, should have one voice, one platform, one agenda.

    It can change the world politics. Economically, socially & politically. Muslim blood will have value. It will not be as easy to spill as it is now.

    Gaza should be liberated. The blood of Rachel Corrie, the AID & freedom activists & others should not go in vain.

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