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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Blinding the Witnesses

There is something way too literal about Israel shooting out the eye of a witness to its crimes.
This photograph of Emily Henochowicz's bandaged face needs to be seen by the world. LinkHere

While the Obama administration has refused to condemn the Israeli flotilla raid outright, survivors of the assault continue to challenge Israeli military claims that soldiers acted in self-defense after rappelling onto the lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara. We speak to two passengers who were aboard the ship: Kevin Neish of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and Kevin Ovenden of Viva Palestina. [includes rush transcript]
Joe Meadors was on one of the other Free Gaza boats that was seized early Monday morning. For Meadors, this marks the second time he has been aboard a ship attacked by Israeli forces in international waters. In 1967, Meadors was a signalman aboard the USS Liberty, a US Navy electronic intelligence-gathering ship that was attacked by Israeli planes and torpedo boats in 1967. Thirty-four Americans were killed and more than 170 were wounded in the attack. [includes rush transcript]
Thousands Mourn Turkish Victims of Flotilla Attack
Up to 20,000 people gathered in Istanbul on Thursday to pay tribute to the nine activists killed in the attack. The coffins were carried through central Istanbul draped in Turkish and Palestinian flags. The youngest of the nine victims was nineteen-year-old US citizen Furkan Dogan. Dogan was born in Troy, New York and moved to Turkey when he was two years old. An autopsy showed he was shot at close range, once in the chest and four times in the head.
Passenger: Israeli Troops Fired at Unarmed Passengers, Ignored SOS Calls
As the dead are laid to rest, survivors of the flotilla attack continue to speak out about the assault on the Mavi Marmara. After returning to London, British peace activist and flotilla passenger Sarah Colborne said Israeli troops ignored SOS calls from the passengers aboard the ship.
Sarah Colborne: "We wrote a sign in Hebrew saying, 'SOS! Need medical assistance. People are dying. Urgent.' Hanin Zoabi, who’s a Knesset member, an Israeli Knesset member, took that sign to the front—to the back of the boat, where the soldiers were pointing at her. They ordered her to go back."
Colborne says she also witnessed Israeli troops shooting unarmed passengers and handcuffing medics accompanying the aid mission.
Israeli Military Retracts Claim Passengers "Al Qaeda Mercenaries"
The Israeli military, meanwhile, has been forced to retract its claim that passengers aboard the flotilla were agents of al-Qaeda. An Israel Defense Forces press release sent out two days after the assault says approximately forty flotilla passengers "are mercenaries belonging to the Al Qaeda terror organization." The independent journalist Max Blumenthal says both he and an Israeli colleague asked the Israeli military press office to substantiate its claim. No evidence was provided, and one day later the press released was modified. The original headline was changed from "Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found to be Al Qaeda Mercenaries" to "Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found Without Identification Papers." Commenting on the retraction, Blumenthal writes, "The more Israel’s claims about the flotilla’s terrorist links are challenged, the more they fall apart."
Swedish Dockers Boycott Israeli Goods, Ships in Flotilla Protest
Israel continues to face worldwide protest over the flotilla assault. In Sweden, the Swedish Dockers’ Union has announced a more-than-week-long boycott of all ships and goods originating from or destined to Israel. We’ll have more on the flotilla assault after headlines.


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