Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nine Killed as Israeli Commandos Board Gaza-Bound Ships

A few days after a violent clash between Israeli commandos and Gaza-bound foreign activists in the Mediterranean killed nine and left dozens injured, some interesting facts are starting to see the light of day that seemingly derail the narrative that some well-intentioned do-gooders bringing food and clothes to the Gazans were arbitrarily attacked and roughed up by the Israeli military.

After announcing well in advance their intention to try and run the Israeli Naval blockade of the Gaza strip a few weeks ago, things came to a head over the weekend when 'activists' on the MV Mavi Marmara attacked Israeli Naval commandos boarding the vessel (other vessels in the six ship flotilla were boarded without incident). With members of the boarding party outnumbered and being beaten, stabbed or thrown overboard, the Israelis responded with deadly force, with 9 activists dead, an estimated 60 wounded and 10 of the commandos wounded when the dust cleared.

The ships and their cargo were eventually diverted to the Israeli port of Ashdod. From the onset, the goal of the 'activists' was likely more about scoring propaganda points against Israel than it was helping the Gazans. If you stop and think about it from that perspective, the two most likely scenarios put the flotilla organizers out ahead- either they'd succeed in running the Israeli blockade and show the world that they could come and go at will, or they could instigate a confrontation and garner sympathy and outrage from the ensuing bloodshed.

While there apparently weren't any firearms on board the ships, the IDF displayed pictures of bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, night vision optics and a rifle scope they claimed to have recovered from the MV Mari Marmara. Granted the IDF may not be considered impartial on the matter, but some more news came out earlier today that supports the notion that the 'Flotilla for Gaza' was more about propaganda than aid.

Now the flaw in the argument that da Jooooooos the Israelis were out for blood is the fact that they boarded the ship with paintball guns as their primary weapons (they did have pistols holstered and eventually ended up using them). If they were intent on massacring the 'activists', I suspect they would've boarded with something more potent than an Airsoft slung over their sholders.

A former high-ranking anti terror magistrate in France said that the Turkish aid group that organized the flotilla had ties to terror groups, including a plot to set off bombs in the Paris Metro and attack targets in the French town of Roubaix by an Algerian cell. Another member of the same cell was apprehended in December 1999 in Washington state with explosives in the trunk of his rented vehicle after crossing over from Canada via ferry. After Ahmed Ressam was arrested, he said the explosives were destined for Los Angeles International airport and to be detonated in the passenger terminal.

In an AP Interview, the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere, said that he was present when French and Turkish police raided the Istanbul headquarters of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms (Known by its Turkish acronym- IHH) in 1998. There, they found weapons and fake documents and it was determined that the IHH was a front for moving weapons, money and fighters to Bosnia and Afghanistan.

"It's hard to prove, but all elements of the investigation showed that part of the NGO served to hide jihad-type activities [snip] ...I'm convinced this was a clear strategy, known by IHH."

French investigators found in the 1990s that "several members of Fateh Kamel's network worked at the IHH as a cover," Bruguiere said. "It was too systematic and too widespread for the NGO (non-governmental organization) not to know" their real goal, he said
A US State Department spokesman said on Wednesday that they were aware of IHH representatives meeting with senior-level Hamas officials in Syria, Turkey and the Gaza strip since 2006 and that it was "obviously of great concern to us".

Spin, Strangeness and Charm has more on this, including the almost Pavlovian international condemnation of Israel just hours after the MV Mari Marmara incident and video shot at the scene.

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