While the REAL TERRORIST continues to terrorize

Flotilla passengers deny ‘terrorist’ charges

On Sunday the Israeli military named five passengers on the Gaza aid flotilla it said to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations.

The five were all on board the Mavi Marmara, the passenger ship where Israeli commandos killed nine people during a dawn raid last week. After the raid, they were detained and then released along with approximately 700 other people from the six ships in the flotilla.

The Israeli military said they were “known to be involved in terrorist activity.”

This claim is unravelling under media scrutiny, as the people named in the statement deny the charges, and the Israeli military refuses to produce any evidence.

Robert Mackey, writing in The New York Times’ “The Lede” blog, pointed out that Israel’s press release itself contained factual errors. He also interviewed one of the accused passengers, Fatima Mohammadi, who called the accusation “incredibly comical.” Mackey reports:

Fatima Mohammadi, an American lawyer from Chicago, and Ken O’Keefe, a former American marine, were both on a list of “Active Terror Operatives,” posted on the official blog of the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday. The I.D.F. statement, which named five passengers on board the Mavi Marmara “known to be involved in terrorist activity,” included factual errors about both Ms. Mohammadi and Mr. O’Keefe.

The Israeli statement misspelled Ms. Mohammadi’s first and last names, calling her “Fatimah Mahmadi”; said she is “an active member of the organization ‘Viva Palestine’ ” — she is a former employee of Viva Palestina; and called her “a United States resident of Iranian origin.” She is an American citizen who was born in Tehran in 1979 and moved — with her American mother and Iranian father — to Boise, Idaho, after the Iranian revolution that year.

In an e-mail interview on Tuesday, Ms. Mohammadi — whose Facebook page lists “Rabble Rousing” under “Activities” — told The Lede that the Israeli authorities made no such claims to her while she was in their custody, “though they were very interested in the fact that I was born in Iran.” She added:

I saw the statement on Sunday afternoon after I arrived in the U.S. and I was shocked. On one hand, it’s incredibly comical because it’s so illegitimate and unfounded, but on the other hand, I am angered that they would attempt to discredit humanitarian aid workers in such a fear-based manner.

The Israeli statement also claimed that Ms. Mohammadi “attempted to smuggle forbidden electronic components into the Gaza Strip.” Ms. Mohammadi said:

I have no idea what they’re referring to as the only electronics I had in my possession or in my bag were personal items: a camera, a video camera, and my personal phones. All electronics, including laptops, were confiscated at our arrest while on board the ship and none have been returned. Any cameras that did make their way to Turkey were either smashed or, at the very least, stripped of their memory cards.

Meanwhile, Max Blumenthal reports that he pressed Israeli military officials to produce any evidence at all to support their claims, and they refused.

Much attention so far has focussed on one of the people named in the Israeli military statement, Ken O’Keefe, an ex-US Marine who renounced his American citizenship and once helped organize a campaign of human shields ahead of the US invasion of Iraq.

O’Keefe denied Israel’s accusations in an interview with Al Jazeera:

Written by Jared Maslin

A previous report follows……

Ann Wright: Israel expected flotilla confrontation

Israel could have expected a confrontation when it sent commandos to board the six ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip last week, former US diplomat Ann Wright told reporters on Tuesday.

“I think they anticipated and were prepared to kill innocent civilians,” Wright said on a conference call on Tuesday morning organized by the New York-based Institute for Middle East Understanding,

The Israeli government has blamed the passengers onboard one ship, the Turkish-owned passenger ship Mavi Marmara, for the violence during last Monday’s dawn raid. Israel’s military has even claimed that the commandos who seized the ship only wanted to talk to the passengers.

While Israel said it only resorted to lethal force when passengers attacked soldiers, those onboard the ship said that Israeli commandos were already shooting at the ship when they surrounded the ship with helicopters and Zodiac speed boats.

Wright, who is a retired US Army colonel, said Israel’s decision to raid the ships in the pre-dawn darkness was surprising.

“To me as a military officer, [the dawn raid] made little sense, you knew that you were going to have a confrontation,” she said. “The easier thing would have been to wait until daylight.”

Wright said Israeli planners ”certainly knew how many people were onboard the ship.” Since the Mavi Marmara was launched at a highly-publicized event in Turkey, “Everybody knew that there were at least 600 people onboard that ship.”

In stopping the ship from reaching Gaza, Wright said the Israeli military also could have used different tactics, for example simply blocking the slow-moving ship’s progress. The Mavi Marmara is a large vessel and was only moving at a speed of seven knots at the time of the raid. “They could have stopped it and said ‘you can wait here until your water and food runs out,’” she said.

Jared Maslin


  1. June 9, 2010 at 21:05

    […] ‘KNOWN TERRORISTS’ DENY RIDICULOUS CHARGES BY ISRAELI MILITARY « Desertpeace. June 9th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed | […]

  2. June 10, 2010 at 21:55

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Rivero, Michael Rivero. Michael Rivero said: ‘KNOWN TERRORISTS’ DENY RIDICULOUS CHARGES BY ISRAELI MILITARY http://bit.ly/bfVJ4t #gaza #freegaza #flotilla #israel […]

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