Gaza Freedom Ships Attacked by Israel after Threats

Crisis at Sea, Gaza Ships attacked by Israeli Commandos
Produced by Dori Smith
Talk Nation Radio special

UPDATE 6-7-10 Video, in French, is clearly different from video provided by Israeli Military. See it here

6-4-10, recorded public opinion in Hartford, CT and will edit for the show. People were very concerned, and also angry. There was a reading of the names of those killed on board the Turkish aid ship that was part of the Gaza freedom flotilla.

Nora Barrows Friedman writes “Four days have passed since the outrageously illegal and lethal Israeli raid on the humanitarian aid flotilla, as the blood dries, the facts are boiling to the surface. And they don’t look good for Israel”. She posted a few paragraphs of a piece by Max Blumenthal from Tel Aviv:

“Statements by senior Israeli military commanders made in the Hebrew media days before the massacre revealed that the raid was planned over a week in advance by the Israeli military and was personally approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. The elite Israeli commando unit known as Unit 13 was tasked with carrying out the mission and its role was known by the Israeli public well before the raid took place. Details of the plan show that the use of deadly force was authorized and calculated. The massacre of activists should not have been unexpected”.

“On May 28, three days before the raid, top Israeli military officials revealed details of their strategy to Maariv, Israel’s most widely circulated paper. The caption of the Maariv article reflected the military command’s plan to use force: “On the way to violence; one of the boats is on its way”. See, The Flotilla Raid was Not Bungled, Max Blumenthal.

Updating 6/3/10 (write talknationradio@gmail.com with information)
Sheikh Raed Salah was wounded on board the Turkish ship, and there was fear of an even deeper crisis had he died. He has survived his wounds and is discussing what happened.

Alternet and other publications now publishing eye witness accounts of Israeli commando attack on passengers on board the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, the Turkish ship: here and here as well as here.

Will Israel ‘permit’ an independent investigation? Their record on this involving both the Gaza attacks on the UN compound and killings of internationals and journalists is not good.

From Jodi Evans at Codepink, 5 Actions you Can Take here in Response to Israel’s Attacks on the Gaza Flotilla.

Interview with Dr. Stephen Zunes, U. San Francisco, expert on the Middle East here at Archive.org and at Radio4all.net or click/play here:

TRT: 29:29
Produced by Dori Smith

5:30 PM EST: We will be conducting interviews as long as people contact us to provide them, during this international emergency in the Middle East. We are preparing to upload audio of interviews with Dr. Stephen Zunes, and Frank Barat, of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Freedom Flotilla Attacked by Israel, troops land shooting. as of 4:49 PM Eastern Time, an update here at Truthout.org. Also note that Mosaic, LinkTV, and Democracy Now will be covering this story intensively, check their sites for video updates.

“We expected that they might try to stop us, they might try to board us. We never expected that they would shoot. What they didn’t understand is that when they came on board the Turkish ship we had live streaming video. So when they landed, and they came off the helicopter, you can see them come off the helicopter, turn around, look at each other and start to shoot. Now, this is at 4:30 in the morning this morning when everybody is asleep. There was no resistance, there was nobody there who was threatening them…” Greta Berlin, a founder of Free Gaza Flotilla.

Even Israel has backed down on earlier comments that there were weapons, according to Free Gaza’s, Greta Berlin.

They repel down to Italian vessel, at least 9 DEAD, (some reports have said 16 to 20) with many wounded.. we hear from Greta Berlin, founder of Free Gaza, as she give us breaking news on events on board the Turkish passenger ship, the Mavi Marmara, and a European vessel, both attacked, and towed by Israel. Some 700 people detained by Israel. They did not have weapons, states Berlin. And Israel has confirmed that this is the case. No weapons. Broadcast available here. This interview includes part of a longer interview with Prof. Stephen Zunes, (length: 29 min) upload asap on that.

TRT: 20:12
Download at Archive.org and Radio4all.net

Confirms, European Campaign Vessel also attacked, no word on casualties. Sheik Salah

We are trying to get whatever information we can for a Talk Nation special on events in international waters off Gaza. As many as 15 people are said to have been killed, dozens wounded, after Israeli commandos stormed an Italian vessel with the Gaza Peace Flotilla. Democracy Now has an interview here.

Obama administration concerned about Gaza “incident”.
Photo from AP, partial caption: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, shakes hands with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, during their meeting in Jerusalem, Wednesday, May 26, 2010. President Barack Obama’s chief of staff has invited the Israeli prime minister to the White House next week”.

The US State Dept. is working on a statement now, after receiving messages in “bits and pieces” out of Tel Aviv, according to spokesperson Fred Lash. He said he was not in a position to confirm that Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador from Israel.

See: ANKARA, Turkey — “Turkey’s deputy prime minister says Turkey is withdrawing its ambassador to Israel, canceling three joint military drills and calling on the U.N. Security Council to convene in an emergency session about Israel”.

Quotes: PRIOR to the shootings

“This is nothing more than media provocation and has nothing to do with actually providing aid to residents of the Gaza Strip,” said military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch. “They have everything they need.”

Speaking at a Monday news conference in Tel Aviv, Ehud Barak called the aid flotilla a “political provocation” by anti-Israel forces. He said the sponsors of the flotilla are violent.

Al Jazeera video, Live Coverage here: their reporter on board Gaza Freedom Flotilla ship says Israeli commandos still shooting. White Flag Raised. As many as 16 people may be dead. 1:59pm: The Israeli army has released its first official version of today’s events, including an aerial video of the first commandos landing on the Mavi Marmara. The IDF statement says the commandos “first employed riot dispersal means, followed by live fire.”

Haaretz updates: Muslim leader Raed Salah may be among the dead. see Maan New Agency here too that he was shot on the head. Earlier reports listed him as wounded, Israeli officials saying he lived injuries sustained when Israelis opened fire.

Live image from the flotilla shows that Israeli soldiers from the helicopter and a number of speedboats boarded one of the ships at night. Activists wearing life vests were treating what appeared to be injuries for unknown reasons.– Israeli navy on Sunday night sighted the pro-Palestinian “Freedom Flotilla” bound for the Gaza Strip and ordered the convoy to dock at an Israeli harbor. — The flotilla, originally made up of nine ships from Turkey, Britain, Ireland, Greece, Kuwait and Algeria, were carrying around 10,000 tons of aid including cement, water purification systems and wheelchairs. One of the ships had not arrived and two others had been damaged.

Earlier this morning:

Al Jazeera reporter on board ship says as many as 16 people may be dead. Israeli commandos reportedly lowered themselves onto the ship and opened fire. Peace activists deny anyone attacked the Israelis.

Al Jazeera reporter notes, the white flag has been raised, a woman can be seen carrying a ‘white flag’ (it was a white cloth deck chair) that is stained with blood.

more soon, as we hope to conduct interviews.

Smith talknationradio@gmail.com

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