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

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.

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29 Responses

  1. “Israel accuses some of the passengers of fighting back.”
    So when one is being attacked, one has to give in and not fend for his. her life . This is not 39-44 or being under Communism . “Lest we forget”…….

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

    As is always the case Israel flipping the script, pointing at others…their fault…not us. Don’t look at our brutal and violent ways..it’s them over there

    Will be so interested in what Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Ed and the rest have to say about this massacre. They along with the rest of the MSM (Diane Rehm, Terri Gross, Neil Conan) completely ignored the International flotilla headed toward the Gaza last week. Not a whisper…silence. When the spotlight is turned on such a critical issue like this those who have a tendency and a history of being very violent (Goldstone Report) will be less likely to be violent when the spotlight is on them. But no MSNBC, NPR,CNN are generally not interested until there is violence. And for weeks now they have had the Gulf of Mexico oil coming out of their ears, eyes and mouths

  3. Israel accuses some of the passengers of fighting back.

    How dare they defend themselves!

  4. As for Israel accusing those onboard of ‘fighting back,’ I can only answer with a distic from my early childhood. It’s in French, so, pardon my French…

    It read:
    “Cet animal est très mechant.
    Quand on l’attaque il se defend”

  5. oooooooh….Those Israeli soldier are really tough guys…attacking an unarmed ship loaded only with food and supplies…and how dare those activist protect themselves!

  6. I’d be curious to know if anyone sees any plausible future scenario that does NOT involve massive, cataclysmic bloodshed, ’cause I ain’t seein’ it…

    My read of history is that for the most part politics don’t matter one whit to most people’s lives. However, when politics does intervene, it usually means war, famine, genocide, etc. I fear we are getting to one of those historical moments…

    • .
      You be the judge of plausibility, Jim.
      Just as he has surrendered command of the military to Bush’s Generals,
      President Obama has put two violent radical extremist Zionists in charge of US foreign policy, Messrs. Emmanuel and Ross. In fact, one of them was in Tel Aviv planning this pirate attack last week. The leadership necessary to get the world community out of this mess cannot originate in the Obama White House.

      My hope is in the “Israel Caucus” in Congress. They are the only ones who can lead the nation out of this morass.
      If they can see that:
      *** an emboldened Apartheid Israel will force the US into more preventive wars, more wars of choice, more wars against Islam;
      *** and that such belligerence will invite retaliation on a much larger scale, visited on the American homeland;
      *** and if they can also see that a chastened Israel will stick its metaphorical finger down its own throat to vomit out its own terrorist government;
      *** and if they will put US interests ahead of facilitating the criminal conduct of Israel’s criminal government;
      —- then they will get the Congress to lead this nation to lead the world community toward a more secure era, and incubate a new option in Palestinian-Israeli relations, the option of accommodation.

      Israelis have a fundamental right to be safe. As long as the US is fully invested in Israeli-on-Palestinian terrorism, the threat level for retaliation is ratcheted up so high that the terrorist Netenyahu government looks like a smart choice. A peace-seeking Peres government would never do, when the only communications between the two sides involve ordnance.

      Israel would be much safer if it was a democracy, if it recognized that Arabs are human beings, if it allowed Arabs to live as human beings. As long as Israeli voters live in fear of the reign of terror facilitated by US funding and abetted by our tolerance of Israeli evil, there is no path to a better future.

      But if the US Congress, led by the large Jewish contingent, were to reproach the terrorist Netanyahu government, and make continued US taxpayer subsidy of Israeli industry, civil service, higher education, research, military weapons, agriculture, public housing and social security programs (about $7,000 per Israeli per year) contingent on the Israeli people voting in decent people to lead their government,
      it would be a Nixon-to-China moment.
      Such a bold move would have to be in response to a deep crisis. Is this high-seas piracy a big enough crisis ? The Turks have done all they can, as a faithful ally to both the US and Israel, to precipitate a sweeping change. Will our Congress capitalize on this rare opportunity ?

      ps: in the era of photoshop, even video can lie. We really need an independent investigation to know what happened. It looks bad, but we really don’t know. Israeli cooperation is necessary to get to the bottom. The US Congress is seen as a friend of the criminal Netanyahu government. They could do this investigation. It could be led by Joe Lieberman.

  7. Juan Cole, “Israel accuses some of the passengers of fighting back.”

    Israel always does or kill in self defence.
    Does passengers have right to fight back in self defense?

  8. I went to a demonstration in Sydney last night, among the speakers were several members of Australia’s Greens Party. One of them, a senator I believe, announced her intention to demand the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador.

    The event has reconfirmed for me that ending my lifelong support of the Labor Party in favour of the Greens is the right thing to do. I am convinced that Rudd’s and Gillard’s contemptible defence of Israel’s right to murder civilians … sorry “self-defence” in 2008-9 contributed to this be reassuring Israel that Eurocentric governments were still in lockstep with them.

    Gillard’s trip to Israel following that slaughter to deepen trade relations even moreso.
    Thankfully some of our politicians have spines.

    • Thanks for the report. The MV RAchel Corrie still headed for the Gaza
      link to palsolidarity.org

      here is a great idea for the MV Rachel Corrie
      Can The MV Rachel Corrie Heal the Wounds Left in the Wake of the USS Liberty?
      “The MV Rachel Corrie should plan on reaching the exact point at which the USS Liberty was attacked by the Israeli Navy on June 8th 1967, on June 8th 2010.

      They should ask for permission to lay wreaths and garlands from the families of those killed at that site 43 years ago.

      They should ask that now, and continue to idle in the area north of Egypt.

      They should also ask the U.S. government and Navy if they would like to send a vessel to be at the site for the wreath laying ceremony.

      They should invite foreign dignitaries to charter vessels from Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and other countries to come to the site to witness the wreath laying.

      They should invite American congressional leaders to come honor the dead from a brutal battle that earned the skipper of the Liberty the Medal of Honor.

      They should invite rabbis, imams, ministers, priests, shamans and witches from all faiths to pray earnestly for peace. Atheists, too.

      And then,

      They should be allowed to proceed to the port of Gaza, unhindered”
      link to seminal.firedoglake.com

  9. A completely barbaric act by Israel, completely criminal. Piracy and slaughter of innocents in international waters.

  10. US Capitualtes to Israel Again – Who runs the US Foreign Policy: AIPAC or the White House?

    The Israeli attack on unarmed ships carrying relief goods for Gaza has been squarely condemned by Governments around the world, except the US Government, which has not had the courage to call a spade a spade.

    Attacking ships in international waters is piracy under the international law. After this incidence, there is no difference between Somali pirates and Israeli forces attacking ships in international waters – except that Somali pirates don’t usually kill.

    It is appalling that US has blocked and watered down the UN Security Council resolution in a most shameful manner. Instead of a resolution condemning Israel’s actions, it has tabled a watered down resolution that is utterly meaningless.

    US also blocked efforts to call for an international investigation, instead it insisted on Israel holding the investigation. This is akin to asking a shooter who has just killed several people to head an investigation into his own actions!

    Who controls the US foreign policy, the White House or Israel i.e. AIPAC. It is unfortunate that US has surrendered its sovereignty to Israel. Being the largest super power in the world, it has a moral duty to do the right thing – condemn what is wrong and applaud what is right. By taking a one sided position, it is lowering its stature in the world. Such actions are only likely to strengthen the hands of hate mongering terrorists, who propagate that US is not an honest broker.

    Great nations do not surrender their sovereignty to other countries, history has shown us that nations who take unjust actions ultimately lose their power in the world.

    Hillary Clinton, being in charge of US foreign policy should show grit and resign to demonstrate her unhappiness at the US foreign policy being hijacked from under her feet.

    • Ajaz

      Dennis Ross pulls all the strings; if it was Iran doing something funny you would have seen how fast both Hilary and Rice will run to the microphone to condemn

    • Yes, Dennis is a face if you need one, but the problem at the heart of this mess runs deeper.

      Were the US able to treat the I/Pal conflict in an even-handed way it might be possible to have progress toward peace, but we cannot, and its because of AIPAC etal. Why?

      1-Because AIPAC, etal, work the system, with an ability to flood $ to the congressional districts of anyone who does not ACTIVELY and UNQUESTIONINGLY support their cause. Individual congressmen or a President who wants to keep his job/majority cannot go against them or fail to support them. These guys are holding a political gun to Obama’s head. To be fair, this is how the game is set-up and we (america first, anyone?) only have ourselves to blame.

      2-Regularly, senior members of the administration come before AIPAC to kowtow personally. Members are senstive to sincerity as well as words and the very tone of these presentations is carefully parsed by the real powers that be. Such demonstrations of absolute fealty are NEVER mailed in or infrequent. In the last 2 months, Jim Jones the National Security Adv, and Ms. Clinton, both came to reassure their masters that “there was NO distance between the US and Israel”. Obama tried to get tough (in a tellingly closed meeting) with Netanyahu after he so pointedly and in public put the stick to poor Joe Biden (does anybody still remember this stuff? It was several weeks ago now), but Benny just talked him down and apparently was able to gently return him to Step ‘N Fetch mode.

      3-How could our putative leaders address this underlying problem, and simply deal with everybody in a even-handed manner? Thinking about it critically, it’d be political suicide for O to do anything more than what he’s doing with the mid-term elections looming, not to mention the DIRECT pressure from his masters. He can hope to finesse the problem, since Israel really is of no concern to the US except to the extent it is such a liability; letting Turkey do the heavy lifting may somehow work but he’s got to be indirect. He has no other choice, but (perhaps) not get in the way.

      4–There is nothing else O could do other than this. Looking past the immediate symptons, If you properly see how undue political influence has corrupted our political system, think about how to press for an Article V on the US constitution. This mess is symptomatic of a problem that is larger and runs deeper.

  11. I hope that this attack does to Israel and the US what the attack on black marchers at the bridge in Selma Alabama did to the white southern racists. I do not have much hope though.
    The world is very reluctant to hold the US responsible for the actions of its 51st state.

  12. I plan to call my Congressmen tomorrow, and will urge them to work to cut off all U.S. aid to Israel until the blockade is lifted. Also, I will urge them to push the Administration to try to start negotiations with Hamas that might lead to some kind of rapprochement with Israel . A good use of our military power would be to send our navy along with these humanitarian flotillas, to guarantee that these supplies would reach their destination.

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

    From what I’ve been able to gather, the Israeli commandos were firing into the flotilla for five minutes before finally descending from the helicopters. I imagine they passengers thought they had to fight back because their lives were threatened. It’s not even your standard SWAT raid, where the police will enter your property, break down your door, and point a gun at you. The Israeli Commandos – in this analogy – started their raid by shooting into the house before the entered.

  14. In ynet, and most Israeli news sources, the claim is not that the passengers “fought back”, but that the passengers were actually terrorists, and as soon as the Israeli fighters boarded, they attacked them with metal rods, threw them overboard, and etc., before the fighters even made a single move. More so, they say the fighters only boarded with paint guns, not rifles, for intimidation, and as they were being lynched they waited for approval to use their pistols for self defense. This is the video in support of these claims link to youtube.com

    Now, I’m pretty sure I don’t condone the fighters even boarding at all. Heck, I’m pretty sure I don’t support the blockade as well, and in this sense, support the flotilla.
    But so far I’ve heard nothing from Cole on this claims from the Israeli army, on the behavior of the passengers.

    I trust Cole, so this is why these questions concern me. I ask honestly. Do you think they are outright lying? Is the video improper evidence, and am I misreading it? These are very serious charges, which is not to say I will not hear them, but that I need them laid out.
    Do you think the context of what the passengers did is completely irrelevant?
    I can maybe understand the viewpoint of seeing a preemptive attack from the passengers as justified, or as understandable, given the anger and hostility between the 2 parties. But I still think it is important to mention – not mentioning it, I think, is a very serious omission, as it provides context for the actions of the Israeli soldiers. (On the other hand, I’m quite certain the Israeli news sources are sourly lacking in coverage of harm done to the passengers… Most articles have been on how and with what the Israeli fighters were attacked)


    • The Israelis have running video of the whole operation from beginning to end. They have released one snippet showing someone on the Mavi Marmara resisting the commandos. We don’t know what came before this snippet. It could have been commandos blowing shooting members of the crew in the head, thus provoking them. Context is everything in a narrative. Many eyewitnesses on the ship confirm that the Israelis laid down suppressive fire before boarding, which is the context missing.

  15. Anthony Weiner should have the sense to be ashamed.

    Helen Thomas is the only journalist in the Washington Press Corpse.

    Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow need to get a spine transplant and report this story.

    • It is and was a humanitarian exercise . A mother should take care of her baby -whether it is for breastfeeding or even being close to one child. I know of single parents from World Bank with babies working in Gaza city . The “military blockade” is the definition of Israel commandos and military.

  16. If Israel thought what they were doing was legal why block satellite connections for the ship? Why collect all recording equipment of the activist? Why not allow the event to be recorded from beginning to end. Show the world what they did if they thought it was legal.

    Israel and the Israeli lobby are spinning this to hell and back. They have to justify this violence

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