Daily archives: June 5, 2010

Rachel Corrie Illegally Boarded

The Rachel Corrie has now been illegally boarded by the Israeli military in international waters.

As usual the BBC’s immediate reaction is simply to retail Israeli propaganda. The Rachel Corrie has been boarded “with the full compliance of the crew”, BBC News tells us. That is almost certainly not true, unless you count without violent resistance as “full compliance”.

If that were true, you might wonder why Israel had jammed – again contrary to maritime law – all the Rachel Corrie’s communications with the outside world, and why they are still jammed. The BBC did not mention that.

The organisers have just posted this:

“For the second time in less then a week, Israeli naval commandos stormed an unarmed aid ship, brutally taking its passengers hostage and towing the ship toward Ashdod port in Southern Israel.”


But the BBC is much more concerned to help ensure that the Israeli version has unquestioned domination of the initial news.

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The US Justification for Extra-Judicial State Murders Outside of Jurisdiction

Sometimes I come across bloggers who are much better than me. This is one of those times.

This is an absolutely brilliant post from emptywheel. The argument is this. Israel claims its standoff with Hamas is the equivalent to an armed conflict in international law, entitling it to take naval action on the high seas. Equally, the US claims its “War on Terror” is equivalent to a formal armed conflict, justifying its extra judicial killings particularly by aerial drone.


This US argument has just been comprehensively rejected by the United Nations in a comprehensive legal report issued this week.

Read the emptywheel piece, and then consider this from the Washington Post:

Commanders are developing plans for increasing the use of such forces in Somalia, where a Special Operations raid last year killed the alleged head of al-Qaeda in East Africa. Plans exist for preemptive or retaliatory strikes in numerous places around the world, meant to be put into action when a plot has been identified, or after an attack linked to a specific group.

The surge in Special Operations deployments, along with intensified CIA drone attacks in western Pakistan, is the other side of the national security doctrine of global engagement and domestic values President Obama released last week.

One advantage of using “secret” forces for such missions is that they rarely discuss their operations in public. For a Democratic president such as Obama, who is criticized from either side of the political spectrum for too much or too little aggression, the unacknowledged CIA drone attacks in Pakistan, along with unilateral U.S. raids in Somalia and joint operations in Yemen, provide politically useful tools.

Obama, one senior military official said, has allowed “things that the previous administration did not.”


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