A detailed analysis of the Israeli terrorist attack against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla 1 year ago on 31 May 2010 in international waters, with a focus on the lies that Israel’s massive propaganda machine spewed after the massacre.
BACKGROUND ON GAZA
Israel maintains a land, air, and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, supposedly to prevent the smuggling of arms into the hands of militant organizations based there. However, Israel also blocks food, construction material, fuel, toiletries, and a long etc, claiming that these items have a “dual-use”, i.e. that they can be used to make weapons.
Israel’s isolation of Gaza can be traced back to at least 1967, but it was after Hamas won a majority in transparent democratic elections in 2006 that Israel created a ruthless blockade of the Gaza Strip. When Hamas took power after clashes with Fatah in June 2007, Israel’s blockade was tightened further. A ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel in mid-2008, in which Hamas would prevent rocket attacks and Israel would lift the blockade, was dishonored by Israel while it prepared for its murderous Operation Cast Lead.
On 27 December 2008, the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead, which not only killed some 1400 defenseless Palestinians, but also destroyed vital infrastructure leaving the Gazans with critical water and sewage problems. Repair of the infrastructure has proved impossible as Israel has prevented the entry of construction materials and fuel.
With 1.5 million inhabitants and as one of the world’s most densely populated areas, Gaza is currently dealing with serious health issues due to the 80 million litres of sewage being released into the environment and Mediterranean Sea each day. The World Health Organization has warned of a possible cholera epidemic if nothing is done rapidly to resolve this sanitation crisis.
The sewage leakage has affected almost all clean water sources. According to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: “Between 90% and 95% of the aquifers in the Gaza Strip are not safe for drinking.” The primary cause of the current problem originates from the destruction, during Operation Cast Lead, of “20 kilometers of water pipes, 7.5 kilometers of sewage pipes and 5,700 mobile water tanks”.
The Egyptian dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak was an accomplice in this malevolent, inhumane blockade, by closing the border between Gaza and Egypt, known as the Rafah crossing. This forced Palestinians to risk their lives digging long tunnels underneath the border to get into Egypt and bring supplies back into Gaza. The Mubarak government started constructing a steel wall deep into the ground to destroy Gaza’s tunnel economy. But the new military junta of Egypt, under heavy pressure by the Egyptian people who have so far seen little change after Mubarak’s ouster, announced on 25 May 2011 that Egypt will permanently open the Rafah crossing. But Palestinians are not holding their breath. It might not last for long.
Israel, of course, claims there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. A humanitarian crisis documented by every human rights group to ever enter Gaza in the last few years since the blockade began.
BACKGROUND ON THE FLOTILLA
The Free Gaza Movement is a human rights group that has sailed several times to Gaza to try to break Israel’s criminal stranglehold on 1.5 million Palestinian civilians. They entered Gaza successfully five times in 2008, but ever since Israel’s slaughter of 1,400 Palestinians in Operation Cast Lead, the FGM were violently intercepted on its 3 voyages prior to the 31 May 2010 lethal attack on the Mavi Marmara.
The late May 2010 flotilla was the largest attempt to date, with 6 civilian boats carrying 700 human rights activists from over 40 nationalities along with some 30-40 journalists from around the world sent to report on the flotilla’s mission. The six-ship flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid for the artificially impoverished people of Gaza. The flotilla was a joint effort by the FGM and the IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi, or Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, an Islamic aid group based in Turkey), which sponsored a large passenger ship and two cargo ships.
The Mavi Marmara was the large passenger ship carrying hundreds of activists that was sponsored by the IHH. Israel has claimed for years that the IHH has ties to Hamas, implying that it “supports terrorism.” This is of course another lie, as Israel and the Israel-firsters in politics and the media always label any Arab or Muslim they attack as “terrorist” or “terrorist sympathizing”, and anyone else as the tired old canard of “anti-Semite”.
In response to the flotilla mission, the Israeli government threatened to send out “half” of its Naval forces to stop the flotilla, using force if necessary. Israel had already launched a disinformation campaign against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla long before the 31 May 2010 attack.
Among the activists on the Mavi Marmara was Joe Meadors, survivor of the Israeli terrorist attack on the USS Liberty on 8 June 1967, also in international waters, which killed 34 Americans in a false flag operation intended to get a war started between the US and Egypt. The parallels between the two attacks are many, but the most notable is that the US government and media refuse to condemn the killing of American citizens. For a personal eyewitness account of the attack on the USS Liberty, read What I Saw That Day, by USS Liberty survivor Phil Tourney.
Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Monday, May 31st, 2010, about 4.30am: about 15 speedboats with some 20 Shayetet 13 IDF commandos on each, began shooting paintball ammunition, followed by tear gas canisters into the Mavi Marmara ship and proceeded to board the deck from three Black Hawk helicopters hovering above the ship. Aside from dropping soldiers down to the deck, they shot at passengers from the choppers (possibly as a response to slingshot hits, but possibly planned) killing at least two. The helicopters probably also served to provide intelligence to the commandos on the boats and on deck. The Israelis had also jammed the satellite communications, making all phones inoperable (there is no terrestrial coverage in international waters).
The official story remains that Israeli commandos responded initially with non-lethal weaponry before resorting to live fire, when in fact they started sniping out passengers from the choppers before most of the commandos had boarded the deck. The Israelis claimed that live fire was directed at them, but the most the activists had was a few slingshots (and guns taken from the commandos which they didn’t use).
Turkish autopsies would reveal on 4 June 2010 that the 9 victims on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times, and 5 were killed by gunshot wounds to the head. This meant that about half of the victims were executed with shots to the head, disproving Israel’s story that the commandos were only defending themselves. A United Nations fact-finding mission later confirmed in September 2010 that 6 of the 9 victims had been “summarily executed,” two after they had already been severely injured and were incapable of defending themselves. This should have shattered Israel’s cover story, but the media narrative remained unchanged (more on this later).
The Israelis handcuffed everyone on board and brought them out to the external decks, where the usual Israeli mistreatment of prisoners occurred. Most were forced to kneel for hours. Random kickings, verbal abuse and threats were commonplace throughout the ordeal. For example, one Malaysian man was pleading that his handcuffs were too tight and were causing him great pain, so an Israeli soldier tightened them further. For long periods, prisoners were deprived of food and refused to go to the toilet.
Early during the raid, 3 commandos were overpowered and thrown from the roof onto a lower deck, causing heavy injuries. The Israelis got this on video and made good use of it as propaganda to “prove” the malevolent intention of the peace activists. Once rendered harmless without their guns, the captured commandos begged for mercy, thinking that the activists would apply the principle of “an eye for an eye.” Some of the angry activists beat up the commandos, understandably so after seeing the other commandos executing several of their shipmates, but did not kill them. They could easily have shot them, but instead they threw the weapons off the ship, and the activist medics on board subsequently treated the commandos for their wounds. In contrast, the IDF soldiers denied medical treatment to wounded activists who died shortly thereafter (presumably the 3 that were not summarily executed).
Former US Marine Ken O’Keefe was one of the activists who disarmed and then safeguarded the captured commandos. To show their appreciation, O’Keefe was later badly beaten while under IDF custody. In an article condemning the BBC’s criminal Zionist propaganda, O’Keefe explains with these powerful words:
And yes the poor Israeli commandos were beaten, just as any invader in any capable persons home would be beaten. I take no issue with that fact.
But truth be told, the commandos we captured should thank us for their lives. I ask the Israeli’s, British and American people specifically, if your home was invaded, your family being murdered, would you be willing to disarm, completely control, and then set a murderer of your family free???
You can lie to yourself if you like, bury that head right down deep in the sand, but that ship was our home, and we were all brothers and sisters, aunties and uncles, united, a family, engaged in a most righteous cause, with the vast majority of the planet behind us. The primary beneficiary of our mission, over 800,000 innocent children.
For those lost in a pit of ignorance and indoctrination, those currently stripped of all reason, absent of conscience, duped and hoodwinked, I know you very well because I was once you, a US Marine robot volunteering to kill or be killed. I see my past self in the Zionist who has no capacity at this moment to think, for in that state it is all about regurgitation, independent thought is but a possibility. For you I maintain no hate, for nobody actually, rather it is pity, pity for you that you sacrifice the greatest gift of all, the gift of humanity.
And so it is that the BBC, absent of integrity, contemptuous of humanity, attempts in this [Panorama 'Death on the Med'] program to turn disarmed, helpless Israeli commandos into heroic self-rescuing commandos who managed to Superman their way out of a circle of well over 100 very motivated men whose brothers lay murdered with multiple gunshot wounds. That is what we call a bald-faced lie. Big time lie, in your face lie, you in the audience are a bunch of drooling idiots lie.
Returning from the Zionist alternate universe, we held in our power the fate of three boy commandos who may well have been murderers on that night. Think about that, under these circumstances, we let them go. That is what we call preserving life.
The Israeli Navy also took over the other five, smaller, ships of the flotilla. Many of the passengers were beaten up, some of them requiring hospital treatment. The commandos used tasers, plastic bullets, and stun grenades, but at least they didn’t kill anyone.
The Israelis rerouted the ships, reaching Ashdod at about 8 p.m. the next day. When the Mavi Marmara prisoners passed through the lower deck, they saw the Israelis had been busy ransacking all their belongings — “[c]lothes were everywhere, bags emptied, as if it were the aftermath of an earthquake,” recounted a British al-Jazeera journalist.
Not surprisingly, the Israelis confiscated every recording and communications device they could find, in addition to cash, credit cards, cameras and other personal belongings (soldiers were later arrested for selling laptops and using debit cards and cell phones stolen from the flotilla). But filmmaker and activist Iara Lee, one of the few Americans aboard the flotilla, managed to smuggle out a tiny camera memory card with little over 1 hour of footage. The raw 1-hour footage or a 15 min. version can be watched on Youtube. The 15 minute version is embedded below:
When they came off the ship they were searched again and then put on a bus and sent to Beer Sheva prison, where they spent the night. During their stay they were photographed, profiled, fingerprinted, DNA tested, interrogated, deprived of sleep, beaten (some several times), and made to sign off on deportation orders written in Hebrew (most of them involuntarily). For a meal they were given frozen slices of bread and potatoes. Over the next 7 days they were deported (“expelled” is another word used by some media outlets) to their respective countries. As one imprisoned American activist and co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement Dr Paul Larudee noted, “at no time did the prison authorities allow daily outdoor exercise, access to telephones, or access to a lawyer. This is illegal even under Israeli law.”
In all, 9 peace activists were murdered, and many more injured. Among those seriously injured, 54 passengers were admitted to Israeli hospitals. The patients’ families were not allowed any information about the status of their loved ones, and the hospital staff were presumably banned from talking about it to the outside world. One flotilla passenger is reportedly in a coma, and might die, bringing the total number of victims to 10.
For personal witness accounts and analyses by some of the English-speaking members on board the ship, read Midnight on the Mavi Marmara (2010), edited by Moustafa Bayoumi. Here is a description of the book:
As their testimonies indicate repeatedly, Israeli soldiers confiscated laptops, cameras, and other recording devices when they arrested and detained the activists for several days. This enabled Israeli public relations officials to fill a vacuum of information about the event and the parties involved with a media campaign described by filmmaker and flotilla activist Iara Lee as “aggressively dishonest.” Every eyewitness account in the book attests to several key facts. The activists carried no weapons. The Israeli soldiers boarded at night in international waters, which means that they were by definition aggressors who cannot claim to have acted in self-defense. They fired on the flotilla before boarding and without warning, and several of those killed were shot multiple times from close range in the back or back of the head.
Journalist Max Blumenthal and other contributors, however, illustrate how Israeli officials propagated false or misleading claims that “al-Qaeda mercenaries” were among those aboard the ships, that the passengers were carrying weapons (using photographs of kitchen knives and boating equipment as evidence), and that the activists were yelling anti-Semitic slurs (accompanying this claim with a doctored audio clip). Blumenthal describes drawing confessions from IDF officials that such claims were baseless, even while these and other reports have persisted without retraction in Israeli and Western media outlets. To this end, Midnight on the Mavi Marmara represents a critical re-litigation of the events that reclaims the activists’ humanitarian intentions.
Within hours, outrage at Israel’s action echoes around the world. Spontaneous demonstrations in Europe, the United States, Turkey, and Gaza itself denounce the attack. Turkey’s prime minister describes it as a “bloody massacre” and “state terrorism.” Lebanon’s prime minister calls it “a dangerous and crazy step that will exacerbate tensions in the region.”
In these pages, a range of activists, journalists, and analysts piece together the events that occurred that May night, unpicking their meanings for Israel’s illegal, three-year-long blockade of Gaza and the decades-long Israel/Palestine conflict more generally. Mixing together first-hand testimony, documentary record, and illustration, with hard-headed analysis and historical overview, Midnight on the Mavi Marmara reveals why the attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla may just turn out to be Israel’s Selma, Alabama: the beginning of the end for an apartheid Palestine.
The attack was indeed condemned by all decent people in the world. But for some people, Israel can do no wrong, no matter what.
REACTIONS IN ISRAEL
The reaction in Israel seems to have been almost unanimous. A wave of chauvinistic fervor took over before the facts of the incident could be established. Jewish journalist Max Blumenthal documented the reactions in the Israeli street:
Somehow videos like these didn’t make it on CNN or BBC. What would the “corporate” owners of the MSM have to lose by airing videos like these?
But let’s give credit where credit is due: some “left-wing” Israelis, reportedly up to 6,000 citizens, gathered to protest in front of the Israeli Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv. Smaller protests took place in other cities like Jerusalem, where a 21-year-old Jewish-American peace activist lost an eye when she was hit in the face by an Israeli tear gas canister. Sadly, these voices were drowned by those shown in the video above.
As for the Israeli government, IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi defended his troops’ use of lethal fire, as did the openly racist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the arch-terrorists Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the elder President Shimon Peres. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintained that the terrorist attack on the humanitarian activists was “a clear case of self defense”, and that it complied with international law. On 26 Oct 2010, Netanyahu visited the Shayetet 13 headquarters to personally thank and praise the terrorists. “Gaza has turned into an Iranian terror base,” Netanyahu claimed, adding that the troops had acted “courageously, morally and with restraint” and that the raid had been “crucial, essential, important and legal”.
MK Haneen Zoabi, the only female Arab member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) was on board the Mavi Marmara. When a day or two after the massacre she tried to deliver a speech to the Knesset, she was almost eaten alive by the other MKs when trying to speak about the flotilla raid and the inhuman siege on Gaza.
“The Only Democracy in the Middle East”!
At first, it looks like the chairman of the Knesset is in favor of letting her speak, by constantly calling out the many interrupting MKs who were calling her a terrorist, but it looks like he soon realizes that he is making too many enemies.
Soon after, the Knesset revoked “key priviledges” but retained her status as MK so that they can still hang on to the absurd claim that Israel is a democracy.
A Facebook group entitled “execute the MK Haneen Zoubi” appeared, and one Israeli was offering a reward of free groceries for killing Zoabi until he was arrested.
Most (all?) other Arab/Muslim MKs received an avalanche of death threats and hate mail, “extraordinary in both quantity and vitriol.”
Others wasted no time with trivial matters, thinking big. The J-Post reported on 16 June 2010 that:
A group of Israeli left-wing activists who were angry about the Turkish attacks on IDF soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara two weeks ago decided Monday to cancel the flotilla that they were planning to Cyprus to protest the Turkish occupation of the island’s northern half.
The Jerusalem Post reported exclusively on June 5 about the planned flotilla, which was to be led by former MK Alex Goldfarb (Tzomet, Yi’ud) and Modi’in Meretz activist Pinhas Har-Zahav.
The story made headlines in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and throughout Europe, and some 800 supporters of the flotilla joined its Facebook group.
But Israeli government officials persuaded the activists to cancel the voyage, because they were worried that the media attention would remind international media of the Gaza flotilla when most of the world’s attention had shifted to other issues like the British Petroleum spill and the World Cup.
“The publicity we already received did its part in reminding the world [that the Turks are occupiers],” one of the organizers of the flotilla said. “Personally it’s depressing for me that we didn’t get to go. But the government officials we spoke to were professionals, and they told us that doing it now was not right for the state, so we listened to them.”
So killing Turkish peace activists in international waters is OK because the Turkish military “occupies” Northern Cyprus. That Israel’s occupation of Palestine is far worse than the Turkish role in Northern Cyprus is not even considered in this propaganda stunt. Somehow, the hypocrisy escapes them.
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was a response to a Greek military coup planned by the brutal CIA-supported military junta that had staged a coup after Gladio false flag bombings caused chaos and increased anti-Communist sentiment in Greece. Had Turkey not intervened, Greece would probably have declared the annexation of Cyprus, and its citizens, especially the Turkish Cypriots, would have been subject to the repressive regime that had killed thousands and its infamous CIA-trained intelligence service, KYP, known for its extensive use of torture. Unfortunately, Turkey used the opportunity to further its pan-Turkish Kemalist (faux nationalist) ambitions, displacing some 150,000 Greek Cypriots, and continues to this day to be the only nation to recognize Northern Cyprus as a sovereign nation. However, the Turkish military presence in Northern Cyprus is, comparatively speaking, not very repressive in nature. The invasion and military occupation of Palestine by the Jews, in contrast, was and continues to be an absolute disaster for the Muslim and Christian people of Palestine.
Similarly, the Israeli National Student Union announced their intention to set sail toward Turkey, supposedly in an effort to bring humanitarian aid to the “oppressed people of Turkish Kurdistan” and to members of the “Turkish Armenian minority.”
Prior to the flotilla massacre, Israeli propagandists like “StandWithUs” had boats departing from the port of Ashdod to “counter” the ships of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Each of the boats had journalists from major international media outlets. The Zionist activists carried signs and shirts saying “Free Gaza from Hamas”, booklets with the outdated (and probably edited) Hamas charter, and other Zionist nonsense of that nature.
REACTIONS IN THE WEST
Protests were held in capitals and major cities around the world. Some 800 angry protesters in the UK attacked the BBC’s Manchester offices for their shameless pro-Israel reporting.
With (relatively) few exceptions like B’Tselem, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (who announced they would send a boat with school supplies and humanitarian aid to Gaza), and Neturei Karta, the overwhelming majority of Jewish groups worldwide supported the Israeli position unconditionally. Would it be unfair, therefore, to say that the majority of Jews support terrorism? If it were Muslims supporting a Hamas operation, surely this question would be raised by much of the media, or at least the “right-wing” media.
In several major American cities, fanatical Zionist Jews held pro-Israel demonstrations, showing their unconditional support for a foreign country which most of them have never even visited.
In a few cities such as San Francisco, a smaller number of Jewish peace activists held protests condemning Israel, receiving death threats from the pro-Israel crowds. “We will sink the next flotilla with you on it”, rambled one of the Jewish fanatics.
Here is a photo that summarizes the typical Zionist demonstrations:
Let’s blow up that anti-Turkey sign:
“Turkey = Murder Inc. Stop your terror armada. Admit Armenian Holocaust.” And a bomb has been added to the Turkish flag for good measure.
These foolish Zionists should have done a bit of research to discover that Murder Inc. was about 0% Turkish and about 95% Jewish, and that the Armenian Holocaust, masterminded by the Young Turks and members of the Committee of Union and Progress, were as much Jewish as they were Turkish, if not moreso. Of course, pointing out these facts is anti-Semitic, but making false statements about Turks and Turkey is OK — at least if you’re Jewish.
Also notice the black woman to the left of the sign. The poor brainwashed goy does not realize that half of the people there (and that’s being generous) dislike her merely because it is visually observable that she cannot possibly be of Jewish extraction.
Aside from the Jewish Zionists, some of the American Christian Zionist leaders called for war on Turkey and the Muslims. To paraphrase John Hagee’s apocalyptic, delusory speeches: “Israel is being attacked while Iran and Hamas and now Turkey plot the destruction of the Jewish people, we must take action now!”
ISRAELI PROPAGANDA MACHINE – ISRAELI GOVERNMENT DIVISION
Within a few hours of the raid, the IDF started posting videos on Youtube, trying to portray the peace activists as “rioters” and terrorists. Some of the videos were apparently fake. The Israelis expected that no footage would make its way out of the sea, having destroyed all SD cards they could find and thrown the cameras into the sea. For example, one video that shows a stun grenade thrown into one of the speedboats looks like computer-generated graphics. Another one showing activists preparing for a confrontation appears to have been recorded not on the Mavi Marmara but during an IDF ship raid training session. The most famous of the videos, broadcast by all media outlets, which appears to show the activists beating soldiers with metal bars and other weapons, lacks the Mavi Marmara name at the top and the various flags on the side.
On June 4th, 5 days after the attack, the IDF posted on Youtube a fake audio recording which has the flotilla activists saying “go back to Auschwitz” and “don’t forget 9/11″. The IDF titled the tape Flotilla Ship to Israeli Navy: “We’re Helping Arabs Go Against the US, Don’t Forget 9/11 Guys”. The tape is so inequivocally doctored that it is probably a “deliberate mistake”, perhaps an attempt to make Israel seem incompetent at propaganda.
The doubtful video of the activists beating soldiers with metal pipes helped Israel’s image more than anything else. The next step was to claim activists had “links to terrorism.”
Israel and its many mouthpieces claimed that the IHH is connected to Hamas and is therefore a connected to a “terrorist organization”. The only source for this claim is a 2006 paper on IHH from the Danish Institute for International Studies. But that report was penned by a young, mysterious American named Evan F. Kohlman, a supposed “terrorism expert” but in fact a Zionist Jewish supremacist who hates all Arabs and Muslims the same. He cites a former French judge who also seems to find terrorists under every rock. But no matter how tenuous the claim, it was sufficient for much of the media to parrot the claim.
Not content with lying about the IHH, the IDF posted a blog on 6 June 2010 titled “Specific Flotilla Passengers Linked to Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Other Terror Organizations”. Of the 5 people they list — Fatimah Mahmadi, Ken O’Keefe, Hassan Iynasi, Hussein Urosh, and Ahmad Umimon — only 1 or 2 are from the IHH.
According to the IDF, Ken O’Keefe is “a radical anti-Israel activist and operative of the Hamas Terror organization”, despite his solid, even heroic, track record as a campaigner for peace. And Hussein Urosh of the IHH was not there to bring aid to the people of Gaza either, no, he was there to “assist in smuggling Al-Qaeda operatives via Turkey into the Strip”.
The conclusion we can draw from this is that the IDF and the Likud government no longer care about trying to make their lies credible. But why should they, when their fellow Zionist Jews have a “stranglehold” on the media, as Billy Graham put it in 1972. They can point to the aforementioned Danish intelligence report as a tangible IHH link to Hamas, but to accuse non-Muslim peace activist Ken O’Keefe of being an “operative of the Hamas Terror organization”, and claim that IHH member Hussein Urosh was involved in smuggling “Al-Qaeda” operatives into Gaza, is beyond ridiculous to anyone but the most ardent supporter of the terrorist state of Israel.
ISRAELI PROPAGANDA MACHINE – US GOVERNMENT DIVISION
While the Turkish government rightfully called the act a brutal crime and the perpetrator a terrorist state, not so much a word of serious condemnation was uttered by the top brass of American politicians.
President Barack Obama made some vague remarks that he “deeply regrets the loss of life” (without condemning “the use of violence”, which would’ve been one step up), before reiterating “Israel’s right to defend itself.” Netanyahu told Obama to veto any UN Security Council condemnation, but he stood up to him and said no. But the US did block demands for an international inquiry. Vice President Joe Biden was even more supportive than Obama, showing an incredible level of shameless ignorance. No mention was made of the American citizen killed by the White House.
Imagine that! An American citizen, a young humanitarian activist, is assassinated by the military of a foreign state, and the American government and media do not even condemn the act! What foreign state could get away with this? Could Britain? France? Canada? Probably not.
As would be expected, US Congresscritters were quick to show their unwavering support for the terrorist act. “Israel has the right to defend itself from unprovoked attacks,” yadda yadda yadda. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell co-authored a letter signed by 85 other senators arguing for the legality of the blockade and the raid and calling on the President to support Israel. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) said those on the flotilla should be banned from entering the United States.
The ADL (American Defamation League) sent a letter to Hillary Clinton pointing to both the IHH and a coalition of which it is a part, the Union of Good, as groups that should be viewed as terrorist entities alongside Hamas, Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda. Congresscritters followed the orders and tried their best to get the IHH listed as a terrorist organization, but failed because the claim is ludicrous. Only Israel added IHH to its “terror watch” list.
Needless to say, had the Mavi Marmara been an Israeli ship attacked by Hamas or Iran, the screams for blood in the US Congress would’ve been unrelenting.
ISRAELI PROPAGANDA MACHINE – ISRAELI MEDIA DIVISION
The Israeli media prepared the public for the event well in advance. As peace activist Gilad Atzmon wrote as it was happening: “For days the Israeli government prepared the Israeli society for the massacre at sea. It said that the Flotilla carried weapons, it had ‘terrorists’ on board. Only yesterday evening it occurred to me that this Israeli malicious media spin was there to prepare the Israeli public for a full scale Israeli deadly military operation in international waters.”
Another indication of pre-planning was this report by Yedioth Ahronoth, the biggest newspaper in Israel:
Turkish authorities are accusing Israel of “ordering” a terror attack carried out by Kurdish rebels on the same day the Israeli Navy raided a Turkish-owned Gaza-bound ship last week in revenge for Ankara’s involvement in the incident, Turkish newspaper Zaman reported Sunday.
Seven Turkish soldiers were killed in Monday’s attack, which took place at a Turkish navy base in the southern city of Iskenderun. It occurred several hours after the Israel Defense Forces’ raid on the Marmara vessel left nine activists killed.
According to the report, published by one of Turkey’s most important newspapers, Ankara’s intelligence services are looking into the possibility that the Kurdish PKK attack was “ordered by Israel’s secret services, which sought to convey a message to the Turkish leadership.
“The same terrorists were trained by Israeli intelligence officers and trained to infiltrate the cities in the best way possible. The Israeli government is trying to present the Turkish leadership as radical and close to Hamas in order to influence the global public opinion. The Kurdish rebels are Israel’s sub-contractors.”
So in addition to 8 Turkish citizens and 1 American citizen, Israel may have had its PKK proxy kill 7 Turkish soldiers.
The early Israeli media coverage, including “left-wing self-hating” media like Haaretz, took the official IDF line as always, praising the soldiers as “noble” and “restrained” and calling the aid workers “brutal activists” or even “mercenaries” who had pre-planned a confrontation.
The narrative quickly became that the peace activists were nothing but, that they were really terrorists and terrorist sympathisers hoping for a confrontation to paint Israel in a bad light. The heroic Israeli commandos were only carrying paintball guns, and the evil militants/mercenaries pretending to be peaceful activists were armed with metal bars, bats, knives, glass bottles, and chairs — and even axes, stun grenades, and high-tech communications devices by some accounts. The highly-trained commandos stood no chance against such weapons once the terrorists realized that their opponents were armed with nothing but paintball guns.
The (“far-right”, Murdoch-owned) Jerusalem Post quoted “a top Navy commander” saying “Next time we’ll use more force”, and quoted one Shayetet 13 commando saying he singlehandedly killed six men. This highly-trained lying criminal, identified only as “S.”, the J-Post says, “is being considered for a medal of valor”. Here is his (and the IDF’s early official) version of events:
“When I hit the deck, I was immediately attacked by people with bats, metal pipes and axes,” S. told the Post. “These were without a doubt terrorists. I could see the murderous rage in their eyes and that they were coming to kill us.”
S. does not look like a hero. Well-built, like all commandos in the Shayetet, he is also soft-spoken and stingy with words, but his commander Lt.-Col. T. fills in the blanks.
“S. did a remarkable job,” T. said. “He stabilized the situation and succeeded in hitting six of the terrorists.”
Based on preliminary results of its investigation into the navy’s takeover of the Mavi Marmara, which ended with nine dead passengers and more than 30 wounded, the IDF said on Thursday that the commandos were attacked by a well-trained group of mercenaries, most of whom were found without IDs but with thousands of dollars in their pockets.
The group was well trained and was split into a number of squads of about 20 mercenaries each distributed throughout the upper deck, the IDF said. All of the mercenaries wore gas masks and ceramic bulletproof vests and were armed with either bats, slingshots, metal bars, knives or stun grenades.
The IDF’s understanding is that the mercenaries mainly chose dual-purpose items of this sort rather than guns, since opening fire would have made it blatantly clear that they were terrorists and not so-called peace activists.
Nevertheless, the IDF suspects that the group did have some guns of its own. Israeli forensic experts who examined the ship found casings belonging to a weapon that was not used by the commandos, and the Turkish captain of the ship later told the IDF that the “mercenaries” threw their weapons overboard after the commandos took control of the vessel.
T. said he realized the group they were facing was well-trained and likely ex-military after the commandos threw a number of stun grenades and fired warning shots before rappelling down onto the deck. “They didn’t even flinch,” he said. “Regular people would move.”
Each squad of the “mercenaries” was equipped with a Motorola communication device, the IDF said, so they could pass information to one another. Assessments in the defense establishment are that members of the group were affiliated with international global jihad elements and had undergone training in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The “left-wing” Israeli media were 100% supportive of the IDF raid, but the “right-wing” media was just plain delusional, trying to mantain the “paintball guns” fable even after the IDF stopped promoting that lie.
ISRAELI PROPAGANDA MACHINE – WESTERN MEDIA DIVISION
The Western media was not interested in covering the Gaza Freedom Flotilla at all. They were avoiding the event entirely until the massacre occured.
While the activists were held prisoners unable to make themselves heard, Israeli spokespeople like Mark Regev were given free reign over the airwaves by the English-language Western media, but especially the US media. Not as much a peep of criticism or questioning was heard by the US media talking heads of CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, and most of the smaller networks. They were every bit as supportive of the “raid” or “intervention” as the Israeli media.
Jewish journalist Glenn Greenwald eloquently pointed this out to Zionist Jew Eliot Spitzer in an MSNBC interview:
The distortions in the print media were no less astounding. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting provides a few specific case examples from the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press.
What could possibly motivate the top American journalists and TV news anchors to avoid any criticism of Israel even after a deadly attack on courageous peace activists trying to bring food and supplies to people in need? Is it that they are all heartless monsters? Or is it that they are careerists who want to keep their million-dollar annual salary jobs? Sure that for most of the TV talking heads it may be a much of the former also, but even these heartless crooks care about their public image, which would improve if they showed some humanity when the chance presents itself.
And yet some people who voiced their outrage, mainly liberal types but also some conservative types of good conscience, still insist that the media problem is best defined as “corporate”, and that the Jewish domination of the US media (and to a lesser extent the British media) has nothing to do with it. No, that would be anti-Semitic to even point out!
An American citizen is executed by soldiers under the orders of the Israeli government, and the American government doesn’t say a peep. But worse yet, the “American” media doesn’t even report the UN findings (that the American citizen and 5 others were “summarily executed”). Are we supposed to believe that “corporate interests”, and not Zionist Jewish interests, are behind this censorship?
And the fact that they were able to do the same in 1967, when they tried to sink the USS Liberty to get a war started, doesn’t seem to concern the “left independent media” either, spineless cowards that they are.
The result of the US media’s unapologetic support for Israel was 49% of Americans believing the peace activists were entirely to blame, and only 19% blamed Israel, according to a Rasmussen poll.
The BBC — which along with CNN is broadcast all around the world — was no less criminally complicit, with its appalling Panorama programme (broadcast 16 Aug 2010) showcasing the extent of its Zionist deception:
This BBC Panorama programme was such an outrageous case of Zionist propaganda that some people gathered outside the BBC HQ to protest, but turnout was low as it was months after the massacre. The BBC had previously refused to run a humanitarian commercial for helping the people of Gaza after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead bloodbath.
ISRAELI PROPAGANDA MACHINE – INTERNET DIVISION
The single most influential source on the Internet on most subjects, particularly in the long term, is Wikipedia. The Wikipedia talk page on the flotilla raid is/was full of editors complaining that they found themselves powerless when trying to make the article more neutral (to comply with Wikipedia’s NPOV policy). An anonymous Wikipedia editor wrote:
“There is a reason why many of these articles are pro-Israel. Zionist movements are learning their people how to play the system that is wikipedia:  They are getting courses about how to fight their ‘zionist war’ on wikipedia, what the rules are and how to find the loopgholes. There is no solution to this until their force is neutralized by people in Gaza doing the same thing. But of course those people have nothing, let alone a computer.”
Indeed, large numbers of Israeli settlers and other Jewish extremists have been taking part in Wikipedia “Zionist editing” courses. This barely made the news, whereas a “Jihadist editing course” would be 24/7 news for a week. One of the organizers, Naftali Bennett, who represents Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, said: “if someone searches [for] ‘the Gaza flotilla,’ we want to be there; to influence what is written there, how it’s written and to ensure that it is balanced and Zionist in nature.” To motivate the volunteers, the organizers are offering a prize for the “Best Zionist Editor” — “the person who over the next four years incorporates the most “Zionist” changes in the encyclopedia,” Haaretz wrote. A participant is quoted as saying that the first subjects she will edit are the Turkish flotilla, MK Haneen Zoabi, and the settlements.
Worse yet, some of the most active Wikipedia administrators, such as “Jayjg”, spend inordinate amounts of time policing the Israel-related articles to make sure they reflect the Zionist view. “Jayjg” is known for always having his way, and banning persistent editors who try to revert his edits. You can find his name on almost every talk page for articles related to Israeli and “anti-Semitic” topics.
Hasbara groups also got busy telling their volunteers to post pro-Israel messages on news sites, blogs and forums, and to flag Youtube videos complaining that they are — you guessed it — “anti-Semitic” and “hateful”.
The Palestinians have no such representatives. Most don’t even have reliable electricity, let alone a computer with an Internet connection.
Other influential sources in the early days after an event are news wires of commonly used services, such as Google and Yahoo. Documenting censorship in these areas is difficult, but Google News was reported to have ignored coverage of the flotilla raid. The AFP and AP news wire services are sympathetic to Israel and their short headlines reflected that.
Aside from being an act of terrorism in international waters, it was a crime against Turkish and American citizens. Most of the victims were Turkish, but one victim, 19-year-old activist Furkan Dogan (whose murder was apparently caught on tape), was an American-born US citizen of Turkish descent and not a member of the IHH.
After asking the US to open an investigation to no avail, the father of Furkan Dogan is suing the Israeli government. Imagine the press coverage this would get if the plaintiff was an Israeli-American rather than a Turkish-American and the defendants were Hamas or Iran rather than Israel.
Turkish-Israeli relations soured very quickly. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has been uncomfortably close to Israel in the view of most Turks, but he was quick to demonstrate that he is not a total puppet like Obama and Bush.
“Nine Turkish martyrs on the ship received 21 bullets from Israeli soldiers in their bodies, we provided post mortem reports and even the pictures to the EU and U.S. but Washington is not ready to condemn the state terrorism of Israel against Turkey which means that the U.S. is supporting an international terrorist who killed our citizens in international waters,” Erdogan said.
Reportedly, the intelligence agency of Turkey (National Intelligence Organization) and Israel’s Mossad, which once enjoyed close cooperation, stopped exchanging intelligence and conducting joint operations.
Feeling the pressure from angry Egyptians, Zionist puppet dictator Mubarak ordered the Rafah Border Crossing with the Gaza Strip opened for a while. Humanitarian and medical aid was allowed through, but no construction materials.
As mentioned, the US didn’t even condemn Israel, much less consider any punishment. But not only did the US take absolutely no action against Israel — neither did NATO. Turkey, a member of NATO, is attacked by a non-member, and NATO does nothing, demonstrating once again that NATO is controlled by Israel’s obedient puppet, the USA. Former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray explained:
What I was being told last night was very interesting indeed. NATO HQ in Brussels is today a very unhappy place. There is a strong understanding among the various national militaries that an attack by Israel on a NATO member flagged ship in international waters is an event to which NATO is obliged – legally obliged, as a matter of treaty – to react.
I must be plain – nobody wants or expects military action against Israel. But there is an uneasy recognition that in theory that ought to be on the table, and that NATO is obliged to do something robust to defend Turkey.
Mutual military support of each other is the entire raison d’etre of NATO. You must also remember that to the NATO military the freedom of the high seas guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a vital alliance interest which officers have been conditioned to uphold their whole career.
The flotilla massacre serves as undeniable proof that NATO is an obsolete institution utilized to drag smaller member nations into wars started by the Zionist warmongers.
The International Fact-Finding Mission to Investigate the Israeli attacks on the Flotilla, established by the UN Human Rights Council and chaired by Karl Hudson-Phillips, concluded in September 2010 that “six of the deceased were victims of summary executions”, that “the Israeli security forces demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary violence”, and, not surprisingly, that “two requests for cooperation information from the Israeli government proved fruitless.”
Rejecting calls from the United Nations and governments all around the world for an independent investigation of the events, the Israeli leaders opted instead to investigate themselves. Around January 2011, its Turkel Committee released its 245-page report whitewashing the crime. The conclusions reached by the Turkel Committee completely contradict international law and the findings of the UN Human Rights Council mission.
The Turkel investigation, as expected, was a complete sham that “cleared the government and military of wrongdoing” and claimed that the “passengers were to blame for the violence.” Judge Jacob Turkel himself said during proceedings that “the people of Gaza have brought this hardship on themselves”. Another panelist repeated the ludicrous lie that “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza”. They had 2 non-Jewish but “Israel friendly” military law experts who acted as “international observers” to give the whole charade a semblance of legitimacy.
The only place where the Turkel report was taken seriously, aside from Israel, were the Zionist occupied territories known as the US Congress, the White House, and the US media studios.
SUBSEQUENT AID FLOTILLAS
Just 6 days after the Mavi Marmara massacre, Israel boarded yet another aid ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, which was part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla but was unable to join the other six ships in the flotilla because of mechanical problems (probably due to Israeli sabotage) that forced it to undergo repairs. Named after the young American activist who was crushed to death by an American-made bulldozer when trying to prevent it from demolishing a Palestinian home, the Rachel Corrie set sail from Ireland, flew a Cambodian flag, and was sponsored by money raised by the great Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia. Among the passengers were two well known Irish citizens, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and Denis Halliday, a former UN assistant Secretary-General.
Israeli commandos boarded the ship from speedboats at around noon on 5 June 2010, again in international waters. The Israeli commandos seized control, and the ship and its passengers were again diverted towards the Israeli port of Ashdod. After an inspection, Israel reportedly delivered the entire cargo to Gaza, but there is no way to know if they really did.
On 14 July, a Libyan charity organization headed by Saif al-Islam, the son of Muammar Gaddafi, chartered the MV Amalthea to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through Egypt’s Rafah crossing. The ship carried food, medical supplies and pre-fabricated houses.
On 16 May 2011, Israel prevented another humanitarian ship from reaching Gaza. The MV Finch, nicknamed the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, left Greece on May 11th, carrying plastic sewage pipes (unsuitable for weapons, so Israel has no excuse) to help restore the devastated sewerage system in Gaza (which is increasingly causing diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis A). The mission was sponsored by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), chaired by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad.
Once Spirit of Rachel Corrie entered Gaza territorial waters, an Israeli Navy ship circled the humanitarian ship twice while firing warning shots. One of the 12 crew members was almost hit by a bullet, causing a panic and heightened fear. In addition, the vessel developed engine trouble and lost its steering capability. This was apparently due to a fishing net and not due to Israeli sabotage.
After calling the Egyptian army for help, an Egyptian naval vessel came to the scene, causing the Israeli boats to leave, but not before warning that “next time, we will land on your ship.” The ship was then escorted to Egyptian waters and anchored off the Egyptian port of Al Arish. Matthias Chang, spokesman for the mission, said that “the Egyptian foreign minister has given his assurance that we will be allowed to unload our humanitarian cargo and that it will be taken by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency into Gaza.” This was the original intention, but Egypt didn’t answer the original request, so the humanitarian activists decided to try to enter Gaza by sea, even knowing the savagery the Israelis are capable of.
In 2011, 25 vessels are set to sail to Gaza carrying 1,500 activists, up from 6 vessels and 700 activists last year. The IHH will be represented by only 100 activists.
The latest aid flotillas are scheduled for the third week of June 2011. The AP reports that “Israeli military officials have confirmed that preparations are under way to stop any new flotilla while avoiding casualties, and that they would use different tactics this time around.”
How nice of them to try to avoid casualties. The only decent thing to do, of course, is to let them through, and lift the blockade completely. Now that Egypt is opening the Rafah crossing, it’s the only logical thing for Israel to do.
Will Israel do the logical (and moral) thing? Don’t count on it.