Larry Johnson

Media blitz aimed at preventing troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

The cover of the August 9 edition of Time magazine was designed with shock and awe in mind. It shows a picture of Bibi Aisha, a young woman from Afghanistan whose nose and ears had been cut off. The photo was accompanied by the headline: “What happens if we leave Afghanistan”.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Gen. David Petraeus almost simultaneously began giving interviews to The New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC, Meet the Press and others voicing his opinion that a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan would be unwise.

Normon Solomon wrote an article in Common Dreams.org today, “Gen. Petraeus Goes to Media War,” which says: “Let’s be clear about what’s happening here. The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, with the evident approval of the White House, has launched a fierce media blitz to cripple the policy option of any significant military withdrawal a year from now. Riding high in what is supposed to be a civilian-run military, Petraeus is engaging in strategic media operations to manipulate what should be a democratic process on matters of war and peace.” http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/16

Solomon, author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death” and president of the Institute for Public Accuracy http://www.accuracy.org/, visited Kabul last year.

Lucinda Marshall said Monday, “On Meet the Press on Sunday, Petraeus cited the recent Time cover story featuring a young Afghan woman with her nose cut off.  Said Petraeus: “If you lose, it has, I think, some significant repercussions, not just for this country, although they would be enormous, and start with the cover of Time magazine for starters.”

Marshall is director of the Feminist Peace Network, which just posted the article “Time’s Story About Afghan Women – Questions Raised About Author’s Vested Interests And Accuracy Of The Story.”

See also: “Time Magazine Once Again Trots Out the Tired and Inexcusable ‘We’re in Afghanistan (and Have to Stay) to Protect Women’ Mantra”

But you don’t have to be an American to see the dangers of the military setting a nation’s agenda.

This is from an article by Tony Iltis in Green Left, an Australian-based alternative weekly that describes itself as “a proudly independent voice committed to human and civil rights, global peace and environmental sustainability, democracy and equality.” Tony’s article was headlined, accurately, I believe, “‘Time’ exploits victim to promote war.”

“…what happened to Aisha took place in Afghanistan under Western occupation.

“In return for allowing Time to publish her photo, Aisha was flown to the US for reconstructive surgery. However, although Time ensured her mutilated face was seen worldwide, they appear less keen for her voice to be heard.

“I heard Aisha’s story from her a few weeks before the image of her face was displayed all over the world”, Ann Jones, author of Kabul in Winter, wrote in the August 12 Nation. “She told me that her father-in-law caught up with her after she ran away, and took a knife to her on his own; village elders later approved, but the Taliban didn’t figure at all in this account.

“The Time story, however, attributes Aisha’s mutilation to a husband under orders of a Talib commander, thereby transforming a personal story, similar to those of countless women in Afghanistan today, into a portent of things to come for all women if the Taliban return to power.”

In March, Wikileaks published a CIA document that outlined a strategy to counter growing opposition in Europe to participation in the US-led occupation. It recommended using a narrative about the oppression of women in Afghanistan that highlighted the Taliban’s misogynist violence while ignoring that of the pro-occupation warlords and the occupation armies.

Afghan feminist Malalai Joya condemned the pro-war media manipulation. “During the Taliban’s regime such atrocities weren’t as rife as it is now and the graph is hiking each day”, she told France 24 on August 1.

“Eighteen-year-old Aisha is just an example and cutting ears, noses and toes, torturing and even slaughtering is a norm in Afghanistan

“ … The US used the plight of Afghan women as an excuse to occupy Afghanistan in 2001 by filling television screens, internet pages and newspapers with pictures of women being shot down or beaten up in public.

“Once again, it is molding the oppression of women into a propaganda tool to gain support and staining their hands with ever-deepening treason against Afghan women.”

Malalai Joya, who also is a politician the BBC called “the bravest woman in Afghanistan” for denouncing the warlords in the parliament, toured the United States earlier this year in an effort to get support for pulling out U.S. troops from her country.

This was her message to Americans:

“Democracy will never come to Afghanistan through the barrel of a gun, or from the cluster bombs dropped by foreign forces. The struggle will be long and difficult, but the values of real democracy, human rights and women’s rights will only be won by the Afghan people themselves.

“So do not be fooled by this façade of democracy. The British and other Western governments that claim to be bringing democracy to Afghanistan ignore public opinion in their own countries, where growing numbers are against the war.

“In my tours to countries that have troops in Afghanistan, I’ve met many bereaved parents who have lost their loved ones in the war in my home. I am very sorry to see governments putting the lives of their soldiers in danger in Afghanistan in the name of bringing democracy. In fact the soldiers are serving the strategic and regional interests of the White House and the consequences of their occupation so far have been devastating for my people.

“The worst casualty of this war is truth. Those who stand up and raise their voice against injustice, insecurity and occupation have their lives threatened and are forced to leave Afghanistan, or simply get killed.

“We are sandwiched between three powerful enemies: the occupation forces of the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban and the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai.

“My people are fed up. That is why we want an immediate end to the U.S. occupation.”

But, of course, the current media blitz by Gen. Petraeus and his willing media accomplices isn’t aimed at the people of Afghanistan. It’s aimed at us.

Where do you stand? What will you do?

Battle over Arizona immigration law goes beyond legalities and borders

From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.

The following material about what it means to be an American is an excerpt from an article by Valeria Fernández, at 90DAYSTOPHOENIX. You can read the full story here. This is part four of an ongoing series of videos I’m using with permission. To read part one, click here; to read part two, click here; for part three, click here.

90DAYSTOPHOENIX.com is an independent media project that has been documenting Arizona’s ongoing struggle to “sift through the truth and lies behind the immigration debate.” Journalists, photographers, filmmakers and others are working together to give a real-time on-the-ground account of Arizona’s controversial new immigration law – SB 1070 – that will take effect tomorrow. Another goal of the project is to show as large an audience as possible how this new law will effect people throughout the state.

According to the Associated Press,  “A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration law from taking effect, delivering a last-minute victory to opponents of the crackdown. The overall law will still take effect Thursday, but without the provisions that angered opponents — including sections that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws. The judge also put on hold parts of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places.”

 

 

What does it mean to be an American?

Is it defined by being born in a place? Is it the color of your skin? Is it the papers you carry? Is it marked by the desire to defend the Constitution? Or is it to be a Tea Partier?

More important, can a person who crosses the border illegally be an American?

Our politicians don’t think so. They want to banish 460,000 people, some of whom have lived here for decades, for not having the papers to prove that this is where they belong.

I have seen the anti-immigrant climate escalate over the past three years as I’ve worked on a film about the politics of immigration in Maricopa County with director Dan DeVivo. And recently we created wwww.90daystoPhoenix.com to document the three-month period before SB 1070 goes into effect on July 29, barring a successful court challenge.

Latinos have a reason to be upset, worried and even fearful about a law that is breeding hatred and resentment against them.

Yes, I know there are provisions in SB1070 supposedly intended to prevent racial profiling, but the other language of the law encourages it. I donʼt believe that all police officers in the state want to racially profile people. But they are required to enforce SB 1070, and if they don’t, their bosses–the cities, counties and the state itself–face citizen lawsuits.

The police find themselves between a rock and hard place.

Just watch this video of Juan Miguel Gonzales, a U.S. citizen whose wife was detained and deported after they were pulled over for a questionable traffic infraction last month. Despite being a U.S. Citizen he feels this will result in his own “deportation” because now he has to leave Arizona to reunite with his wife.

 

 

Other harsh immigration laws in the state target the economic migrant and mistakenly racially profile Latinos citizens too. Such cases have already made their way into federal courts in Arizona.

A law like SB 1070 didn’t  happen overnight, it took a long time for politicians to convince Arizona voters with the idea that we are being invaded by “illegal aliens” who sell drugs, cause mayhem and take American jobs and deplete public benefits.

These lies have become sound bites that voters believe. In truth, crime is down in Arizona and unauthorized migrants are barred from most public benefits.

For more information on the 90DAYSTOPHOENIX project, click here.

Civil disobedience begins in Arizona over new immigration law

From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.

This video, made by Jason Aragon from PanLeft, shows one of the many acts of civil disobedience taking place in Arizona as the date for SB 1070 to go into effect comes close.

This is part three of an ongoing series of videos I’m using with permission. To read part one, click here. To read part two, click here.

90DAYSTOPHOENIX.com is an independent media project that has been documenting Arizona’s ongoing struggle to “sift through the truth and lies behind the immigration debate.” Journalists, photographers, filmmakers and others are working together to give a real-time on-the-ground account of Arizona’s controversial new immigration law – SB 1070 – scheduled to take effect July 29.

Another goal of the project is to show as large an audience as possible how this new law will effect people throughout the state.

 

 

Seven people were arrested by Phoenix Police on Thursday outside the U.S. District Court in Phoenix while the federal government was presenting arguments against the new law that makes it a state crime to be an undocumented immigrant. Activists are calling for widespread nonviolent actions all across the state on the day the law goes into effect.

 

For more information on the 90DAYSTOPHOENIX project, click here.

Arizona’s new immigration law has no protection for minors

From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.

90DAYSTOPHOENIX.com is an independent media project that has been documenting Arizona’s ongoing struggle to “sift through the truth and lies behind the immigration debate.” Journalists, photographers, filmmakers and others are working together to give a real-time on-the-ground account of Arizona’s controversial new immigration law – SB 1070 – scheduled to take effect July 29.

Another goal of the project is to show as large an audience as possible how this new law will effect people throughout the state. This is part two of an ongoing series of videos I’m using with permission. To read part one, click here.

 

 

Civil Rights Attorney, Richard Martinez explains how Arizona’s SB 1070 differs from Federal Immigration Law.

Martinez is one of the attorneys involved in two lawsuits representing police officers in Phoenix and Tucson that believe the new law would force them to violate the U.S. Constitution. It would specially put them in a difficult situation when they come in contact with minors on schools, said Martinez.

“There’s nothing that protects minors, it compels all persons there’s no age distinction on 1070,” he added.

The first hearing took place last Thursday in front of judge Susan Bolton. The impact to students was raised as a key concern by the litigants.

Independent media project focuses on Arizona’s tough new immigration law

From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.

90DAYSTOPHOENIX.com is an independent media project that has been documenting Arizona’s ongoing struggle to “sift through the truth and lies behind the immigration debate.” Journalists, photographers, filmmakers and others are working together to give a real-time on-the-ground account of Arizona’s controversial new immigration law – SB 1070 – scheduled to take effect July 29. Another goal of the project is to show as large an audience as possible how this new law will effect people throughout the state.

The law, which now faces a federal suit, has been called one of the ‘toughest legislations in the nation.’ It means that all immigrants in Arizona must now carry their alien registration documents and it means that police can question anyone they think may be in the United States illegally. It will also address people that knowingly hire illegal immigrants or who transport them.

In two separate hearings in a Phoenix courtroom on Thursday, attorneys representing a broad coalition of civil rights groups and the U.S. Department of Justice argued that portions of SB 1070 need to be enjoined because they usurp the federal government’s authority to regulate immigration law. Judge Susan Bolton gave no indication of when she might rule on the case.

While we wait for a decision, I will (with permission) be re-posting some of the videos produced by the 90DAYSTOPHOENIX project.

 

 

In this video, independent journalist, Valeria Fernandez, put’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s 287g illegal immigration enforcement powers into perspective. What is 287 County?  287g County, aka Arizona’s Maricopa County, is the home of 500,000 undocumented immigrants. They account for about 8% of the state’s workforce. In the wake of a series of new laws that target undocumented labor and empower the local police to enforce federal immigration laws, immigrants and their families are subject to daily persecution. In Maricopa, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has the largest police force in the nation enforcing a section of immigration law known as 287(g) that allows the federal government to deputize local police to act as immigration agents.

Amnesty International: ‘Break the silence, buy radios for Burma’

From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.

 

The junta in Myanmar, also known as Burma, has announced plans for the first elections in two decades and Amnesty International UK has launched a campaign to raise money for portable radios to help people get information on the vote and on political parties.

The online campaign called “Break the silence” wants to get 4,000 radios, 60 walkie-talkie kits and 6 satellite kits into Burma by mid-July. Each radio costs $18.50, and that includes batteries and the cost of getting it into the country.

The Associated Press reports:

“So far, 33 new political parties have been approved by the Election Commission and five existing parties have reregistered to contest the polls. Global criticism has failed to win the freedom of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose now-defunct party overwhelmingly won the last election in 1990, but was never allowed to take power.

“Under recently enacted election laws, Suu Kyi and other political prisoners — estimated at more than 2,000 — are effectively barred from taking part in the polls. Her National League for Democracy party has called the laws unfair and undemocratic and is boycotting the vote. The party was disbanded after refusing to register for the elections by a May 6 deadline.”

 

Break the silence, buy radios for Burma from Amnesty International on Vimeo.

The elections have been denounced as a sham designed to reinforce military rule, and the junta hasn’t announced an exact date for the vote, but others see this as a chance to call for change.  Even a faction from within the disbanded NLD has applied to form a new political party, to be called the National Democratic Force, in a bid to advance the movement’s two-decade campaign to end military rule.

Amnesty organizers say:

“In Burma’s harsh media environment a number of courageous individuals work hard to break through the wall of censorship. Although millions tune into broadcasts daily, not everybody in Burma has access to the crucial information they provide. With your help we can break the silence for many more.”

The site says, “The humble radio can play a vital role in empowering the voting public. One radio could help a family or community learn about their rights and show them the international solidarity that Burma’s military regime works so hard to silence.”

About 12 people will use each radio, so if Amnesty reaches its target, 50,000 more people inside Burma will have access to independent news broadcasts.

Donations can be made online, but if you want to send a check with your donation you can send it to:

Supporter Care Team

Amnesty International UK Section

The Human Rights Action Centre

17 – 25 New Inn Yard

London

EC2 3EA

Add a note saying that it’s for the Burma radio campaign.

For more information, see:

Break the silence, buy radios for Burma

Zapatista corn attacked in ‘hate crime’ – replanting celebration planned

From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.


A corn field planted in San Diego, Calif. on Earth Day 2010 in solidarity with the Zapatista movement of Chiapas, Mexico, has been destroyed by vandals.

Supporters say the “corn seed for this planting was donated by Mayan farming families to publicize their resistance to genetically modified – GMO – corn and to seek sanctuary for their heritage corn seed which is now threatened with GMO contamination.”

The destruction of the corn field might not seem like a big deal, but those who helped plant the corn say they believe the attack is a “hate crime” and can been seen as part of the same anti-immigrant and anti-Mexico “hysteria” that has been spreading across the U.S. recently.

They also say, “As a symbol of hope and life, this tiny GMO-free corn field must be replanted to provide continued sanctuary to corn from Chiapas, Mexico.”

They are asking people to join them to replant the field on Sunday, June 27, from 2pm to 4pm at the Zapatista Milpa on Park Avenue near Balboa Park’s World Beat Center in San Diego.

“We want to make this replanting a joyful and celebratory event so bring shovels and musical instruments; bring food and drink to share; bring seeds and poems to swap, but mostly bring your hearts and your friends. If you live nearby, it will be wonderful if you can join us in the flesh. If you are far away – join us in your heart by sending love and hope.

“We hope those who stomped and uprooted the living garden of Mayan corn in Balboa Park can find a way to heal. Specifically we invite them to join us at the replanting celebration on June 27. Everyone who believes the Mayan people of Chiapas have a right to save their GMO-free, heritage corn – those who work in community or school gardens, those who work on organic farms or backyard gardens – please consider a solidarity planting of Zapatista ‘Mother Seeds in Resistance.’”

For additional information about the Zapatista resistance to GMO-contamination in the birthplace of corn, click here:

http://www.schoolsforchiapas.org/english/projects/ecological-agricultural-education/mother-seeds-in-resistance-gmo-free-chiapas.html

To obtain Zapatista corn seed for planting in your own garden or to learn more about the “Zapatista Milpa” in San Diego, or for more general information, you can call Libby Navarro at  619-232-2841 or email her: Libby@SchoolsforChiapas.org

Aid ship Rachel Corrie seized by Israel, passengers ‘unharmed’

The Israeli military seized the aid ship MV Rachel Corrie early this morning, preventing the delivering of over 1000 tons of medical and construction supplies to besieged Gaza.

The Free Gaza Movement said all the passengers “are believed to be unharmed.”

The Rachel Corrie carried 11 passengers and 9 crew from 5 different countries, mostly Ireland and Malaysia. The passengers included Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, Parit Member of the Malaysian Parliament Mohd Nizar Zakaria, and former U.N. Assistant Secretary General, Denis Halliday.  

On Monday elite Israeli military commandos stormed six humanitarian aid ships taking part in the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ to Gaza, killing at least 9 civilian passengers and injuring dozens more while the ships were in international waters. The Rachel Corrie was part of the flotilla but had to stay behind in Malta for repairs.

Earlier, Halliday had said that everyone on board the Rachel Corrie was prepared to cooperate with the Israeli military if they boarded.

“When they tell they are about to board we will cooperate because it’s too dangerous not to do so, particularly as you say it may be at night which is the usual tactic. We’re not fools, we’re not about to throw away our lives,” Halliday told ABC News on Thursday.

Israeli military confirmed on Saturday noon, Gaza time, that the Rachel Corrie had been boarded without incident. An Israeli Defense Forces spokesman said the ship would be directed to dock at Israel’s southern port of Ashdod.

 

 

The Rachel Corrie is a converted merchant ship bought by pro-Palestinian activists and named after the 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, set off Monday from Malta. The ship carrying medical equipment, wheelchairs, school supplies and cement, a material Israel has banned in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

According to organizers of the aid effort, the Freedom Flotilla was an effort by a coalition of human rights and humanitarian organizations to nonviolently break through Israel’s illegal blockade, and deliver much needed humanitarian and developmental aid to the Palestinians of Gaza. The United Nations and activists who have recently visited Gaza, say the Israeli blockade, in place since 2007, denies residents of Gaza the basic needs of life: a variety of foods, building materials, electricity, fuel, medicines and school supplies.

2nd UPDATE (Friday night): Aid ship Rachel Corrie shadowed by Israeli navy but near Gaza

 

UPDATE 10:05:

Greta Berlin, of the Free Gaza movement, says the MV Rachel Corrie is being tailed by the Israeli navy, according to reports. But, at this point, no one has tried to come on board.

Berlin says the ship is now about 25 miles from Gaza’s shores.

“There were two warships in the back of them … and a smaller boat was approaching,” Berlin told the Belfast Telegraph from the movement’s headquarters in Cyprus, citing a passenger on board.

There are 20 people on board the Rachel Corrie, including five Irish nationals, six Malaysians and nine crew members.

 

 

Update 9:25: p.m. Friday:

The Free Gaza Movement, one of the organizations behind the flotilla of ships that has been trying to take aid to Gaza, just reported that the MV Rachel Corrie is being boarded by Israelis.

According to one of the passengers on the ship, Jenny Graham, Israeli ships had been following them for about 2 hours, and that in the last few minutes 2 ships were approaching from the port side.  Graham also said that equipment on board had been jammed by the Israeli navy, and that they expected their satellite phone to be jammed soon as well.

 

EARLIER REPORT:

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David told ABC News today that the MV Rachel Corrie, which may be off the coast of Gaza as early as Friday, will be prevented from entering the blockade area.

“The Rachel Corrie will not be allowed into Gaza,” David said. “We are watching it and waiting to see what will happen. Hopefully, the people on board will direct to the port in Ashdod. The naval blockade is still in effect and the ship will not be allowed to enter into the naval blockade area.”

On Monday elite Israeli military commandos stormed six humanitarian aid ships taking part in the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ to Gaza, killing at least 9 civilian passengers and injuring dozens more while the ships were in international waters. The Rachel Corrie had been part of the flotilla but had to stay behind in Malta for repairs.

 

 

According to organizers of the aid effort, the Freedom Flotilla was an effort by a coalition of human rights and humanitarian organizations to nonviolently break through Israel’s illegal blockade, and deliver much needed humanitarian and developmental aid to the Palestinians of Gaza.

The United Nations and activists who have recently visited Gaza say the Israeli blockade, in place since 2007, denies residents of Gaza the basic needs of life: a variety of foods, building materials, electricity, fuel, medicines and school supplies.

Former U.N. assistant secretary-general Denis Halliday, who is on board the Rachel Corrie, told ABC News that they do not intend to stop their mission or head to the Israeli port of Ashdod instead.

“It’s a totally unacceptable embargo. There’s no justification for it, there’s no legality for it, it’s not endorsed by the U.N., it’s not endorsed by anybody else. It’s an Israeli military zone which is without legal status,” he said from the ship today in a phone interview with ABC.

“When they tell they are about to board we will cooperate because it’s too dangerous not to do so, particularly as you say it may be at night which is the usual tactic. We’re not fools, we’re not about to throw away our lives,” Halliday said, according to ABC.

He said the Rachel Corrie expects to be boarded by the Israelis Friday when they are approximately 80 miles off coast. Some organizers of the aid ships are still saying that the Rachel Corrie may wait until Monday or Tuesday to try to run the blockade. There have been reports that Turkey may send a warship to accompany the aid ships.

The Rachel Corrie is a converted merchant ship bought by pro-Palestinian activists and named after the 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, set off Monday from Malta. The ship is carrying medical equipment, wheelchairs, school supplies and cement, a material Israel has banned in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Passengers on the Rachel Corrie, which embarked from Ireland, include Northern Irish Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire and several other Irish citizens. Corrigan-Maguire is a Northern Irish peace activist who co-founded, with Betty Williams, the Community of Peace People, an organization that worked for a peaceful resolution to the fighting in Northern Ireland. The two women received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

 

RELATED 

Prior story: Aid ship Rachel Corrie still heading to Gaza

Commentary: Israel rejects UN investigation into convoy killings

Prior story: Israelis gun down activists on boat carrying aid to Gaza

Aid ship Rachel Corrie still heading for Gaza

From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.

The MV Rachel Corrie, a converted merchant ship bought by pro-Palestinian activists and named after the 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, set off Monday from Malta.

The organizers – the Free Gaza Movement – said their intent remains to break Israel’s blockade of the 1.5 million people in Gaza.

Rachel Corrie was killed while undertaking nonviolent direct action to prevent Israeli bulldozers from demolishing the home of a Palestinian family.

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the ship is Irish-owned.

“The government has formally requested the Israeli government to allow the Irish-owned ship … to be allowed to complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza,” Cowen told parliament in Dublin.

Israel has said it is prepared to block the ship.

Organizers say that passengers on the Rachel Corrie include Northern Irish Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire and Denis Halliday, an Irish former senior UN diplomat, and several other Irish citizens. Corrigan-Maguire, is a Northern Irish peace activist who co-founded, with Betty Williams, the Community of Peace People, an organization that worked for a peaceful resolution to the fighting in Northern Ireland. The two women received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

Israel’s Army Radio reported that the ship would reach Gazan waters by Wednesday, but activists say it might not attempt to reach Gaza until early next week.

The Rachel Corrie is carrying medical equipment, wheelchairs, school supplies and cement, a material Israel has banned in Hamas-ruled Gaza, organizers said.

Mark Daly, a member of Ireland’s upper house of parliament who had been due to join the convoy but was refused permission to leave Cyprus, told Reuters in Dublin that the ship had fallen behind the rest of the aid convoy that was attacked by Israel early Sunday morning because it was slower.

Passengers aboard it had heard about the Israeli attacks that killed at least 10 people but decided not to turn back.

Meanwhile, Adam Shapiro who is on the board of the Free Gaza Movement, said yesterday: “CNN is looping footage of mayhem on one of the ships, but is not giving the context that the Israelis had killed someone already at that point. The ship was in international waters, there was no plausible rationale to take it over by the Israelis. The ships were not going to Israel, they were going to Gaza, they had no plans to enter Israeli waters. All this could have been avoided if Israel had let the ships deliver their aid to Gaza.”

Richard Falk, a professor of international law emeritus at Princeton University and the Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories for the United Nations Human Rights Council, said yesterday: “The Israeli naval and helicopter lethal attack on the Freedom Flotilla bringing needed humanitarian relief to the civilian population of Gaza is a shocking crime against humanity. Some of the facts are contested, but an Israeli military attack on the high seas is an act of aggression, and those on board the ships had a legal right to act in self-defense.”