The flotilla that set sail for Gaza from Greece, Turkey and Ireland late May was the latest, biggest attempt to break the siege of Gaza and sound the alarm over Israel’s impending genocide of Palestinians. The successful ventures in 2008 came to a halt when the Israeli Navy rammed the Dignity on the eve of Operation Cast Lead. The boat barely made it to port in Lebanon. Aboard were Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and Green Party US Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, along with Members of the European Parliament and volunteers. If Israel had no compunction about murdering such dignitaries in international waters, what chance the next sea attempt to break the siege of Gaza wouldn’t meet a similarly violent fate?
The months of dedicated preparation that went into making this mission possible is testimony to the courage and conscientiousness of those few willing to lead by example. In many ways breaking the siege of Gaza is really about breaking the siege of man’s mind. The shock and revulsion Israel’s slaughter at sea has generated the world over gives us hope that small persistent efforts can ripple outwards in unexpected ways.
I met the skipper of one of the boats at a town hall meeting. The sailor gave an account of the Free Gaza movement’s earlier voyages to the open-air prison. What he saw there shook him to the core and he vowed to return with a cargo ship of building materials and essential medical equipment for Gaza’s homeless, dying population.
I was skeptical about the success of such a mission. Even if the volunteers could succeed in raising the funds to somehow acquire a cargo ship and fill it with thousands of tonnes of needed supplies, I pointed out that the Israelis simply would not let that ship near Gaza. The captain and his crew were aware of what they were up against after the experience with the Dignity and then the Spirit of Humanity, when they were abducted by the Israeli navy and imprisoned for a week in June 2009. This was something they decided they must do. If they couldn’t physically break the siege, they could at least bring the world’s attention to the crimes against humanity being perpetrated in Gaza. Networking with other grassroots movements throughout the world they found the support they needed. With a little help from the Universe (in the form of a successful bid for an impounded cargo ship at a discount price) they had their vessel and their cargo. Inspired by their efforts, other groups in the US, Turkey, Sweden and Greece enlisted and by April a flotilla of 8 boats carrying over 700 volunteers, journalists and dignitaries from the US to Malaysia and from Norway to South Africa, was ready for a joint aid mission to Gaza.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised at Israel’s behaviour. After all, they did actually threaten to send out “half” their Navy to stop the flotilla. Among the heroes of the Freedom Flotilla was American Joe Meadors. This was the second time he has been attacked by the Israelis at sea. 43 years ago he was part of the crew on the USS Liberty, a US Navy electronic intelligence-gathering ship that was attacked by Israeli jets and torpedo boats during the Six Day War in 1967, one of Israel’s countless wars of aggression. Thirty-four Americans were killed and more than 170 were wounded in the attack. His government tried to forget this notorious incident, but Joe never forgot. Israel’s deceitful misinformation campaign in the week running up to the slaughter saw its foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman tell the Israeli press that “Israel will not allow a violation of its sovereignty at sea” and that there is “no humanitarian crisis in Gaza” because of course Israel conducts itself impeccably there. Later that night, Israeli air raids bombed Gaza’s airport and completely destroyed a mosque on the night of May 26. Israelis were treated to a barrage of propaganda suggesting that Gaza’s inmates have never had it so good and that Turkey was now in league with its enemies who were behind this sneak attempt to “deliver weapons to Hamas.” On May 27 the Israeli Navy Commander briefed his forces ahead of launching a military operation to intercept the Freedom Flotilla. Incidentally, US Chief-of-Staff Emmanuel Rahm was in Israel at this time for meetings with Psychopath-in-Chief Benjamin Netanyahu and President Psychopath Shimon Peres. Netanyahu was invited to the White House to kiss and make up following their (choreographed?) spat in March over Israel’s relentless colonisation of the West Bank. We can only assume that Emmanuel was also there to give Israel the green light for what was to follow.
The Freedom Flotilla had planned to rendezvous in Cyprus and pick up more passengers before setting sail in convoy for Gaza. However, several of the vessels were sabotaged and at least two had to cancel their voyage altogether. Then the Greek Cypriot authorities reneged on their agreement with the flotilla’s organisers and prevented them from entering their waters at the last minute, forcing the damaged boats to limp towards northern Cyprus where Turkish authorities permitted passenger transfers to take place. In retrospect, it’s worth asking, did the Greek-Cypriot authorities know what was coming down the pike? Greek and Cypriot members of the flotilla were furious with their government’s apparent betrayal, but perhaps the authorities there were anxious to wash their hands of complicity ahead of the ensuing bloodbath?
Israeli propaganda has gone into overdrive to ‘legitimize’ the illegitimate by claiming it couldn’t be certain there were no weapons on board. The cargo of the Mavi Marmara was thoroughly checked and vetted by Turkish customs officials: there were no firearms on board and no “smuggled weapons for Hamas.” Ramzi Kysia of the Free Gaza Movement explained the impeccable efforts made by the volunteers to broadcast their pure intentions:
All ships were thoroughly searched by local port authorities in Greece and Turkey prior to their departure. Additionally, the coalition hired an independent security firm to search the ships and certify that no weapons were on board. All passengers went through nonviolence training and were likewise searched for weapons prior to boarding. The Turkish government, a member-state of the NATO alliance, vetted all the Turkish passengers to insure there was no one with ties to extremist groups. These precautionary steps were deliberately taken to prevent Israeli propaganda officials from ever being able to claim that the Freedom Flotilla posed any ‘security risk’ to Israel.
There was a live satellite feed broadcasting the voyage from the Mavi Marmara, as well as GPS transponders showing the exact location of the flotilla at all times to anyone viewing the coalition website.
If the Israelis’ account of what happened could stand on its own two feet then it would have been unnecessary for them to block all communications in the area. In the interest of transparency and goodwill the flotilla provided multiple channels of communication. The volunteers went out of their way to demonstrate that they had nothing to hide. But Israel prefers to do things in the dark. Can’t have the world watching as the filthy deed is done, now can we? They ‘cloaked’ the area in order to ensure a ‘clean slate’ upon which to proffer their version of events afterwards.
Initially they said the volunteers had opened fire first. When nobody but the US bought that, they said that their commandos were only armed with “paintball guns”, but that some of them were also armed with their personal handguns, two of which were swiped by the volunteers and then used against the Israeli forces (who then returned fire in “self-defense”). Perhaps sensing that the world was not buying that preposterous scenario, they dropped the issue of “who fired first” and chose to focus on the other “weapons” found on board. Photos of marbles, sling-shots, knives, bullet-proof vests (with Turkish flags emblazoned on them for good effect) and an angle-grinder were issued to the media. But the meta-data of these images revealed them to be photographs taken and doctored long before the event. The only “weapons” confirmed thus far by anyone who was present on the Mavi were sections of the ship’s railings which some of the volunteers used to disarm the commandos with after many of their comrades were mowed down with automatic gunfire and left lying in a pool of blood on the ship’s deck. One of the volunteers, an Irish-American and former US marine named Ken O’Keefe, still covered in blood from the beating he received at the hands of Israeli agents whilst imprisoned at the port of Ashdod, told the press upon his arrival at Istanbul’s airport that some of the volunteers had indeed disarmed at least three Israeli commandos:
I said this straight to Israeli agents, probably of Mossad or Shin Bet, and I say it again now, on the morning of the attack I was directly involved in the disarming of two Israeli Commandos. This was a forcible, non-negotiable, separation of weapons from commandos who had already murdered two brothers that I had seen that day. One brother with a bullet entering dead center in his forehead, in what appeared to be an execution. I knew the commandos were murdering when I removed a 9mm pistol from one of them. I had that gun in my hands and as an ex-US Marine with training in the use of guns it was completely within my power to use that gun on the commando who may have been the murderer of one of my brothers. But that is not what I, nor any other defender of the ship did. I took that weapon away, removed the bullets, proper lead bullets, separated them from the weapon and hid the gun. I did this in the hopes that we would repel the attack and submit this weapon as evidence in a criminal trial against Israeli authorities for mass murder.
I also helped to physically separate one commando from his assault rifle, which another brother apparently threw into the sea. I and hundreds of others know the truth that makes a mockery of the brave and moral Israeli military. We had in our full possession, three completely disarmed and helpless commandos. These boys were at our mercy, they were out of reach of their fellow murderers, inside the ship and surrounded by 100 or more men. I looked into the eyes of all three of these boys and I can tell you they had the fear of God in them. They looked at us as if we were them, and I have no doubt they did not believe there was any way they would survive that day. They looked like frightened children in the face of an abusive father.
But they did not face an enemy as ruthless as they. Instead the women provided basic first aid, and ultimately they were released, battered and bruised for sure, but alive. Able to live another day. Able to feel the sun over head and the embrace of loved ones. Unlike those they murdered. Despite mourning the loss of our brothers, feeling rage towards these boys, we let them go. The Israeli prostitutes of propaganda can spew all of their disgusting bile all they wish, the commandos are the murderers, we are the defenders, and yet we fought. We fought not just for our lives, not just for our cargo, not just for the people of Palestine, we fought in the name of justice and humanity. We were right to do so, in every way.
O’Keefe’s testimony is worth reading in full. The accounts from Israeli Member of the Knesset Haneen Zuabi and Al Jazeera reporter Jamal Elshayyal stand in stark contrast to Israel’s lies: two Israeli warships approached the Mavi in international waters, one from each side, shortly after 4am local time on Monday 31 May. They fired tear gas and plastic-coated steel bullets onto the ship’s deck. First one, then a second helicopter hovered overhead, dropping a combination of smoke bombs, gas bombs and flash bombs onto the deck, followed by live ammunition fired from machine guns, randomly sprayed on the unarmed civilians below. Then from a third helicopter commandos began abseiling down onto the deck. Some of the terrified volunteers, wondering if they would all be slaughtered at sea with nobody else around to hear their pleas for help, gang-rushed some of the descending commandos and managed to disarm at least two of them. The volunteers then took cover from more live fire and exploding flash bombs (which sound no different than a real grenade detonating). That was the ‘opening round.’ The terror didn’t end there. Many passengers were then ‘tasered’ with electric shock weapons and had guns pointed at their heads as the Israeli terrorists refused medical treatment for the wounded. An Australian man was left to bleed to death and only survived thanks to his wife’s first aid.
The discrepancy between the Israeli figure of 9 dead and the 20 figured by the activists may have a horrifying explanation: witnesses saw at least four of the wounded being thrown overboard, so some of the dead may have met a similar fate. Forensics of the 9 Turkish men confirmed dead have revealed that they were all shot at close range, 5 with bullet wounds to the head. Dr Haluk Ince, chair of Turkey’s council of forensic medicine (ATK), said: “Approximately 20cm away was the closest. In only one case was there only one entrance wound. The other eight have multiple entrance wounds. [The man killed by a single shot] was shot just in the middle of the forehead with a distant shot.” The oldest victim was 60-year-old Ibrahim Bilgen, a Turkish politician, engineer and activist who was married with six children. He had been shot once in the right temple, once in the right side of his chest, once in the back and once in the hip. The youngest was Furkan Dogan, an American citizen, shot 4 times in the head and once in the chest, apparently from close range.
Amidst the chaos volunteers picked up a death list that had apparently fallen from one of the commando’s pockets. It appeared to list names and faces of those on board who were targeted for assassination. This would explain why the men were shot at close range, some of them in their beds. In a darkly logical way, it makes sense that Israel saw this as a military mission. The Press TV reporter on board has said that the first fatality was “a person that had helped the press get internet access on the ship, it was his job to help setup laptops on the ship.” An Israeli soldier just walked right up to the man and shot him square between the eyes. He had to be taken out first as part of the initial stage of the operation to ‘disarm’ the ship’s communications. Again, this suggests that the commandos had a premeditated plan to execute those selected for elimination. Michel Chossudovsky strongly suspects US intelligence was of assistance to the Israelis in this regard.
The Israeli “communications blanket” thrown over the flotilla wasn’t entirely successful. An Al-Jazeera reporter managed to broadcast from the Mavi Marmara soon after Israeli Navy commandos stormed the ship in terrifying fashion. News spread of up to 20 killed and many more wounded. Why was the Mavi Marmara singled out for severe treatment? An Israeli colonel told Israeli media that “it had to be boarded because it was too big to be stopped.” Although there were no fatalities on the smaller boats, returning volunteers report that stun grenades were fired on these vessels also, before commandos boarded and beat passengers senseless. Their eyes were taped, their heads hooded, arms handcuffed so tight it cut off blood circulation, then abducted to Israel where they were again beaten, made to stand in stress positionsunder the baking sun, stripped of their possessions and told to sign false confessions if they ever wished to see their families again. The media was not allowed to speak with the detained volunteers. Their version of events is only now emerging piecemeal as they are gradually released thanks to consistent diplomatic pressure from their home countries.
Israeli media spokesmen are even claiming links between the mythical ‘al-Qaeda’ and the flotilla, based on “intelligence” put forward by Danish security services, who accuse the Turkish humanitarian group IHH of “funding international terrorism.” This is interesting because the Danish Security Services have long been doing dirty work for the Mossad in Europe. In The Other Side of Deception, his autobiographical sequel to By Way of Deception, former Mossad man Viktor Ostrovsky recounts his experience working on the “Danish Desk”.
From what I found in the Danish secret service file, I could see that we had a “good friend” in Denmark, much friendlier and more cooperative than the Israeli Shaback was to us [Mossad]. The Danes had a small service that wanted to play in the big leagues but didn’t have the know-how or financial backing to do so. On the other hand, they could gather information inside Denmark and do things that we couldn’t dream of. In return for getting things done for us, we made them feel important (pp 36 – 37).
The worldwide revulsion with Israel’s despicable deeds have sadly been neutralised somewhat by the deployment of its massive PR machine aka Hasbara Zionist propaganda. Until people grasp the simple truth that Israel always lies, even when it tells the truth, its lies will find space in which to anchor in normal people’s minds. By withholding all information about the numbers dead or wounded, withholding access to lawyers or consular representatives, keeping the status of prisoners’ condition under severe media censorship, stealing their possessions and essentially cutting them off from the outside world, Israel created a vacuum of information into which it poured its version of events via Zionist controlled media to ensure that there was no contradiction to its account in those critical first few days after the massacre. With the help of an army of internet bots 40,000 strong equipped with ‘Megaphone’ spamming software and the disabling of the flotilla Twitter account, Israel was also able to marshal online coverage of the event. In a pathetic attempt to tarnish the activists with the slur of ‘anti-Semitism’, the Israeli government inserted fabricated audio recordings into a video of some radio communication between one of its naval vessels and the flotilla’s crews. We know they were fabricated because the Israeli government admitted as much! The same video had already been released to journalists several days previously with no “Shut up, go back to Auschwitz” line in it. The added comments were so comical and puerile that I wonder if the Israelis were actually mocking the world with this stunt. They certainly were with their next trick. An abominable music video produced by former member of the IDF and columnist for the Jerusalem Post Caroline Glick, featured the so-called “Flotilla Choir” dressed in Arab garb, mocking the world’s ‘overreaction’ to the massacre and implying that everything the activists reported was lies. Lines such as, “There’s no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the biggest bluff of all” implied that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is non-existent. They gave it the title “We Con the World” and it’s set to the tune of the 1985 hit “We are the World”. The Israeli Government Press Office actually posted it on its website, defiantly flipping its middle finger at the world.
Demonstrations were called by Palestinian groups throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories in response to this barbaric assault. They were met in predictable fashion. An American student lost an eye when she was shot in the head with a tear-gas canister by the IDF at a protest at the Qalandia checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah. 5 Palestinians were shot dead during protests in Gaza. Meanwhile Israelis celebrated this “victory” with counter-demonstrations at the Turkish embassy in Tel-Aviv.
[youtube ZWha0aMGIlQ Israelis Celebrate IDF Flotilla Attack ]
Delayed by Israeli sabotage, the Irish-Malaysian team aboard the Rachel Corrie, supported by a demand from the Irish government calling on Israel to let its ship pass through the illegal Israeli blockade, bravely sailed from Malta the following weekend. It got to within 35 miles of Gaza’s coastline before being intercepted and forcibly diverted to the gulag of Ashdod, its crew abducted and its cargo impounded. The media is presenting this latest act of piracy in the best light possible, describing how the situation was “peacefully resolved.” You know the world is upside down when being forced to do something against your will at the barrel of a gun is considered “peaceful.”
Worldwide protests were united in their total condemnation of Israel:
[youtube N36aNpvMwk8 Flotilla World Protests]
Former US Ambassador Edward Peck, who was on board one of the smaller vessels, spoke at a demonstration in front of the White House upon his return to Washington DC, and reminded Americans that “when this kind of thing happens off the coast of Somalia, we call it piracy.” And yet when Israel does it, the US government says, “Israel has a right to defend itself.” No prizes for guessing which country suggested that any investigation should be led by Israel when the UN Human Rights Council voted overwhelmingly to send an international team to probe the assault. Backed all the way by the US, Israel immediately dismissed the UN’s statement, with the fantastical claim that 50 Turkish soldiers were “secreted away in the ships hold, heavily armed with grenades and weapons.” Mark Regev, that asinine spokesman for the Israeli government, publicly thanked the US for its efforts “to water down the U.N. statement at the Security Council.” What else should we expect given that every single appointee to the American government must endure a thorough background check by the American Jewish community because Israel wants to make sure that no one with even a mildly independent view on Middle East affairs gets appointed to the US government or becomes a member of Congress or the Senate. The Young Turks presenter Cenk Uygur rightly highlights that this brings up important questions for Americans who think that their government works for them:
[youtube M4xY0dW3OxY Obama Helps Obstruct Israel Investigation]
[youtube LiCGD793na8 US Citizen Executed In Israeli Flotilla Raid?]
If Israel was seeking to terrorise civilians into never again sailing for Gaza, the move has backfired spectacularly. The flotilla’s charities have already raised funds for sending more aid ships. A group of German Jews are planning to send a boat to Gaza in July. Tireless campaigner George Galloway has announced that a convoy by both land and sea will head for Gaza this summer. Iran has also said it is prepared to either send aid ships under military escort or protect the next civilian convoy to do so. I hope its regime is bluffing because such a move would surely lead to war.
[youtube -orgcWTpwJM George Galloway – Zionist Grip of Israel Days Now Numbered]
Although it’s refreshing to hear some world leaders call for an end to the siege of Gaza, politicians are ultimately hamstrung by their worship before the altar of Zionism. The people, however, are not. They are making their voices heard by way of their actions. Fresh momentum has been injected into the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to isolate Israel. Swedish dockers have announced they will blockade Israeli ships for two weeks from June 15. Rock bands are cancelling their performances in Israel (prompting the Israelis to label this “cultural terrorism”!)
Turkey has long been a regional ally to Israel, but its moves towards regional alliance with Iran and Syria since Operation Cast Lead are threatening to Israel. As a member of NATO Turkey has a strong card to play. For the moment it is calling the attack on the Freedom Flotilla “an act of piracy”, but it could shift tactics and label it an act of war. This would activate Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, putting the US and European members of NATO in the awkward position of having to choose where its allegiances lie: to each other or to the racist enclave that seeks to pit the whole world against itself. The Turkish government has reduced all ties with Israel “to a minimum”, cancelling joint military exercises and halting all state energy and water projects with Israel.
Given that an act of piracy on a vessel carrying its flag had just occurred in international waters, giving it jus in bellum under the international laws of war, Turkey’s measured response thus far has been admirable. Just four hours before the Freedom Flotilla was violently hijacked, a rocket attack killed 6 at a Turkish naval base in Iskenderun, close to the Syrian border. The PKK, a Kurdish terrorist group with close ties to Israeli Mossad, claimed responsibility. The day before, simultaneous attacks by PKK gunmen also left 6 security personnel dead. The Kurdish people have legitimate grievances with the Turkish government, but their ‘army’ has become a tool of foreign intrigue. Who else but their Israeli sponsors could have prompted the PKK to deliver Turkey these side blows at just the right time to distract its government and remind Prime Minister Erdogan that “we can strike you anytime.” For his part, Erdogan sounds like a man who is finally coming to terms with the fact that Israel is not a democracy ruled by humans, but a pathocracy ruled by psychopaths, operating beyond the bounds of any moral restraint. It is imperative that Turkey does not respond in the way that Israel would like. Israel is seeking to perpetuate the cycle of terrorism in order to further its futile quest for global hegemony. He thus joins Iran’s Ahmadinejad and only a handful of other world leaders prepared to highlight the poisonous mortal threat posed by this horrendous anti-social experiment of inhumanity:
[youtube bWoflsoTJOo Turkish Prime Minister Warns Israel]
Israeli-born musician and author Gilad Atzmon summed up this despicable deed as follows:
Once again it is devastatingly obvious that Israel is not trying to hide its true nature: an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by paranoia. […]
What we saw yesterday wasn’t just a failure on the ground. It was actually an institutional failure of a morbid society that a long time ago lost touch with humanity. […]
Israel is now officially mad and deadly. The Jewish State is not just careless about human life, as we have been following the Israeli press campaign leading to the slaughter, Israel actually seeks pleasure in inflicting pain and devastation on others.
The utterly schizoidal “Rabbinical Council of Judea and Samaria” has issued a statement saying that the global condemnation
[…] “places us at the beginning of the Gog and Magog process where the world is against us, but which ends with the third and final redemption. […]
“The legitimacy of our people is not derived from the nations of the world and their poisonous traditions, rather from the Torah of Israel which teaches us that [Israel] ‘is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.'”
This is Israel’s vengeance. Vengeance against the US for betraying its nuclear secret. Vengeance against the UN for encouraging it to join the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Vengeance against the Palestinians for resisting subjugation. Vengeance against humanity for its failure to accept that there can only be one victim: Israel. What has become clear is that, in Israel, we are witnessing the effects of a severe paranoid personality disorder, writ large.
There can be no doubt now for those with eyes to see that Israel is the primary source of anti-Semitism in the world today, and endangers all Jews. Proclaiming itself the “Jewish State” but acting as a rogue state, Israel exposes all Jews to revulsion and retribution.
The murder of Gaza peace activists shows that the actual goal of Zionism is not to protect Jews from anti-Semitism but to create anti-Semitism.
The purpose is to make Jews a pariah unto the nations.
This is the psychopaths’ vengeance against normal humanity.