Rachel Corrie Illegally Boarded 206

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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206 thoughts on “Rachel Corrie Illegally Boarded

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  • Neil Barker

    Or maybe privileged. Either way, Craig, you have made a fortune at the taxpayer’s expense. How much did you get paid when you were a British ambassador? Who footed the bill for your wine?

    What a hypocrite you are!

  • ScouseBilly

    Neil Barker at June 6, 2010 2:46 PM

    You could create your own (at the tax payers’ expense) Fortune 500.

    Where do you think Craig would appear (if at all) in the top 500?

    Where might Blair or Mandelson or Middleton appear?

    What constitutes a fortune to you?

    Are you angry about and envious of others fortunes?

    I suggest your own motivations are, at the very least, suspect.

  • Michael Petek

    Craig, you can call me a violent fanatic all you like, but it’s not a matter of principle that I resemble one.

    It is that the jihad always provokes the crusade.

    And I say again: Hamas must either change their religion, or emigrate with their possessions and their sins, or else.

    I don’t doubt that the Turkish Navy is very good indeed. So is the Israeli Air Force. Israel can launch its nuclear weapons as easily to the north as to the east.

    Don’t forget, a people convinced that the world is against it and that it’s God’s chosen people is never going to say sorry, even if it has to go down in flames while taking as many enemies with it as possible.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Neil Barker, hello. You never answered my politely asked question about what part of the world you’re in. So I’ll ask it again: what part of the world are you in? What country? You’d suggested that you were in a ‘poor’ country. Where is that? Just out of interest.

    You also seem to have a personal grudge against Craig Murray, yet you ask him to send you a book, free-of-charge. How very odd. Can you elaborate?

    Michael Petek, really, you’re sounding more and more shrill by the post. In this, you’re tending to fulfill some others’ expectations of the caricature of someone who supports Israel’s every action, right or wrong. It doesn’t actually help your arguments, indeed it detracts from them.

  • Mae

    Monty – the first thing one should note when examining both photographs is that the photographer is standing in a different place, slightly more to the front, for the second one. It’s certainly the same kay, but there is a different sky and slightly more wind in the second; in the background of the repainted one is what looks like a low barge, in the “Linda” photo two people are on the deck. The “Rachel Corrie” photo has the foremost ropes going in a slightly different direction. The most likely explanation is the simplest – “Rachel Corrie” was painted over the previous name after a small area was painted over with new blue paint – the cheapest, quickest and most effective way to get the new name on.

    I’ve photoshopped plenty of shots, some for publication (legitimately, before you get worked up about it) and while it is possible that the second photograph itself has an original which was then manipulated in some way, the two photographs you point to are emphatically not the same. It’s much more likely that the proud new owners of the MV “Rachel Corrie” took before and after shots.

    P.S. It’s quite difficult to distort the letters in “Rachel Corrie” properly (you can see the distortion due to the shape of the hull in the photo quite clearly) and if you had the skill to do that, you’d also manage to clone the blue much more convincingly rather than in a very flat patch.

  • Michael Petek

    Suhayl Saadi, you still don’t understand what kind of people you’re dealing with.

    If the Israelis know or think they’re in a fight for their very existence, they will kill as many people as it takes to protect themselves.

    If they know or think their struggle is hopeless, they will do what they did at Masada two thousand years ago, or resist to the last soul as they did in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

    Either way, they will take as many enemies with them as they can.

  • arsalan

    Michael Petek You are right, this is what it is all about:

    “Don’t forget, a people convinced that the world is against it and that it’s God’s chosen people is never going to say sorry, even if it has to go down in flames while taking as many enemies with it as possible.”

    It is about people who think they are better than everyone else. Not due to good deeds, but due to birth.

    A people who are argant enough to assume God has choosen them, them alone. While the rest of Humanity are not chosen.

    “even if it has to go down in flames while taking as many enemies with it as possible.”

    And I agree, this is the dirrection Israel has choosen for itself. This is absolutly clear now.

    Israel has choosen the Direction of Nazi German. So like Nazi German they will go down, because they must go down.

    The world can not under survitude to Israel. So nucelear weapons or not Israel will be stopped, because it must be stopped.

    Your racism will end.

    All of Humanity are the chosen people, but racists like you are too stuped realise that.

  • Michael Petek

    Tell me Arsalan, why according to Islamic law must Muslims be on top, and everyone else under their feet as dhimmis, if they’re allowed to live at all.

    “You have been the best nation that has been raised up for mankind. You enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah. If the People of the Book believe [in Islam], it would be better for them; there are believers among them, but most of them are backsliders. (3.110) They will not harm you but a slight hurt. If they fight you, they shall turn their backs to you [to flee], and they shall not be helped. (3.111) Abasement has been imposed on them wherever they are found, except under a covenant with Allah and a covenant with men, and they have become deserving of wrath from Allah, and humiliation is made to cleave to them. This is because they disbelieved in the verses of Allah and slew the prophets unjustly. This is because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits. (3.112) They are not all alike; among the People of the Book there is an upright party; they recite Allah’s verses in the nighttime, falling prostrate. (3.113) They believe in Allah and the Last Day, they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and they hasten to good works. Those are among the righteous. (3.114) Whatever good they do, they shall not be denied it. Allah knows the pious. (3.115)”

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Look, we could debate all millennium about religious texts, and all of that simply boils down to: “My god’s better than your god, so there!” It’s diversionary; I’m not saying it’s deliberately diversionary – people have all kinds of interests – but it’s nothing to do with the subject. This thread, and those associated with it, is about the illegal boarding of Gaza-bound humanitarian vessels in the eastern Mediterranean and the killing of people on board one of those vessels earlier this week.

  • Michael Petek

    Suhayl, let’s get back to the beginning then, shall we.

    Israel declared Gaza to be a hostile entity on 19 September 2007, because their legal advisors told them they had to in order for a blockade to be lawful.

    Hamas received and understood it as a declaration of war.

    The rest of the world was then on notice that there was a war going on, and that there were places it wasn’t safe to sail to.

    Israel is a belligerent, so is Hamas, as a non-State entity.

    International law regulates relations between Israel as a belligerent, and the Comoro Islands as the neutral flag-state of the Mavi Marmara.

    So the San Remo Manual applies.

    Now, can someone tell me: where in the Manual does it say that the rules apply to armed conflicts of an international character only?

  • technicolour

    Astonishing posts on Gaza and Palestine. I suggest any new poster who thinks that life there is acceptable might watch ‘To Shoot an Elephant’, a documentary filmed during ‘Operation Cast Lead’ (for which read ‘Operation Illegal Use of White Phosphorous on Civilians’) before posting, but then I’ve recommended it before.

    Also incredible ‘my god is better than your god’ stuff, I agree. Don’t you think it would be better to let the gods fight it out, somewhere on a mountainside, perhaps, with the rest of us as spectators?

    Patriarchal religious extremism, fascistic thought and sadism; all linked.

    Meanwhile, Afghanistan. Average life expectancy, 44.21 years. Just in case anyone was forgetting.

  • Mae

    “Israel declared Gaza to be a hostile entity on 19 September 2007, because their legal advisors told them they had to in order for a blockade to be lawful.”

    The UN called this an illegal and provocative act, violating the Geneva Convention. An occupying power cannot declare war on the territory it occupies. Whatever the Israeli government claims, if one country is in full control of another’s territory, it is legally an occupying power.

    Israel has had full control of Gaza’s borders since before it first tightened its ongoing blockade in January 2006, immediately following Hamas’ election win.

    Btw, it was Israel and the US who insisted on the election being held, even though regional observers from the various organisations working there counselled against it and told them that Hamas would win. Certain their money and influence could prop up the corrupt but suitably impotent Fatah party, they chose to ignore those warnings.

    After Hamas won, in an effort to weaken support for the democratically elected government by punishing the electorate, Israel drastically reduced the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza, tightening their ongoing blockade, and the EU and other aid givers cut off their aid as they had threatened they would in the case of a Hamas victory.

    They then demanded that Hamas, who won a clear majority, share power with Fatah in order to prove their willingness to further the peace process and have the aid reinstated. Unexpectedly, Hamas conceded and formed a coalition government with Fatah.

    As reported in Vanity Fair in 2007, the USA and Israel then proceeded to arm Fatah members within Gaza (incidentally, these weapons were used to fight against the IDF during “Operation Cast Lead”), training them and preparing them to overthrow the legitimate government. Yet another botched job, the coup failed and Hamas defended its position (rather brutally, I’ve read the human rights reports on this, too, just to let you know I am fully aware of what Hamas and Fatah supporters did to each other and to civilians during those weeks).

    Immediately following this disastrous Israeli/US attempt to achieve through violence what they failed to manage with political means, Israel closed off the Gaza strip completely, in an effort to force the civilian population itself to overthrow Hamas. By then, Israel was also the only supplier of electricity to the strip, having bombed Gaza’s only power station to smithereens in 2006, so they were now in the optimum position to try and starve the only Palestinians still resisting the Israeli occupation into submission.

    So to recap, first, as an occupying power, Israel cannot legally declare war on the occupied territory or blockade it, which is why the International community has never accepted it as legal. Second, the blockade had been in force far longer than the date mentioned by you, indeed, this declaration had nothing to do with the blockade but with planned military strikes by the IDF. Third, Israel is supposed to either provide Gazans with sufficient food, clothing (which includes shoes btw) and housing or allow others to do so without hindering them.

    And finally, but most importantly, if Israel was legally at war with Hamas, (which they don’t want to be as it would have other legal and undesired consequences), and it legally imposed a blockade in an international armed conflict (which this isn’t unless they recognise Gaza or Palestine as a state), the law states unequivocally that humanitarian aid ships must be allowed through the blockade and into the blockaded port.

    Of course, Israel is allowed to inspect any ship claiming to carry humanitarian aid, but they are not allowed, under all those rules Israel invokes to defend the blockade, to unload the ship and arrest its passengers and crew.

    Israel is also not allowed to decide what constitutes humanitarian aid, as they do, and change it about at will, or to hold up aid until it is unusable as they did last year with donated blood, for instance, which they left in the sun, without refrigerating and then handed over to the UN in Gaza (which is also why nobody, who wants the aid to reach its destination, wants to hand it to Israel in the first place, seeing as they also auction off the (illegally held) donations that haven’t been ruined in Israeli storage).

  • Eduard

    Within this thread’s many twists and turns, including off topic, among the nuggets of thoughtfulness found here, I wish to address three plus:

    Courtenay Barnett, in quoting another, I wish to say thank-you to your longer posting spelling out that people who disagree with one another need not be disagreeable in doing do. How true! And further to your site, in the words of a black South African I caught on our news during the Apartheid years stated equally eloquently “to deplore and do no more is not enough”. I wish your project well and perhaps privately, I would like to know by what tools (means or levers of power to actually affect positive change) you hope to achieve “JUSTICE REQUESTS REPARATIONS”?

    Suhayl Saadi, under less than agreeable circumstances, thank-you for modelling how to voice your disagreement in kindness. How you and so many have the time for so much engagement as witnessed here, I do not understand. More power to you…

    Craig Murray, I empathise with you on how in this thread alone

    you gave voice to at least 3 different types of attack, all of which underlines the question whether those who throw stones, or threaten to do so, have ever thought of addressing the arguments instead of abusing those who offer them and argument?

    Furthermore, instead of simple black and white assessments; Craig, I much appreciated your two-pronged June 5, 2010 9:08 PM statement: “Israel’s behaviour to the Palestinians is unconscionable… (adding) But the Palestinians – like all arab nations – have also suffered from their own corrupt, incompetent and venal leaderships whose agendas are personal gain rather than the good of their people.”

    This latter insight of a people being hard done by, not only by a common enemy, but by their very own leadership as well, surely is not limited to the Palestinians? Is your country’s leadership, earlier and now, mine and many others including my neighbour any more virtuous than the Palestinians?

    I ask the latter question rather rhetorically, as I wish to lastly draw attention again to my two statements within this thread somewhat earlier. Namely the politics of mutual self-destruction should they not get their unilateral way as advanced by some on this same thread, may be representative of some within the Israeli government, however in the words and assessment of the Palestinian I quoted earlier, it is Israeli’s PR system which aids and abets very unrepresentative people gaining access to the levers of government power and that their actions, like our own government’s actions are very much out of step with significant numbers of citizens who are neutered into silence through the illusion of what in all of these countries are described by those in power as democratic elections.

    There are still peaceful ways before us by which we can still avoid unnecessarily repeating the history of our own earlier governments “leadership” in their own advocating some form of a fight to the finish, with one of these then rewritten as the war to end all wars.

    May we learn, while still able…

  • anno

    The Qur’an at least is self-explanatory and only perverted minds could try to represent the disgraceful violence perpetrated by Israeli soldiers on the blockade breakers as the work of pious, God-fearing people. The trouble is, the minds of the Israelis are perverted by fifty years of propaganda, until some of them really believe that these acts of violence are acts of piety, and the rest of them, if not uncomfortable about the violence, are deeply confused.

  • Michael Petek

    Mae, would you please read the San Remo Manual. I have, and I can’t find any support for your position.

    International law distinguishes only between armed conflicts of an international character (between states) over which the UN has jurisdiction, and armed conflicts not of an international character (in which one or both belligerents are not states). The UN has no jurisdiction over these because international law does not govern them exceptas to jus in bello.

    The fact that Hamas was democratically elected doesn’t make its armed struggle just. Since it is a jihad – a holy war to impose Islamic law on a state it intends to destroy – it is unjust and criminal out or hand.

    Actually, the Gazans do have sufficient food, in fact every year the population is larger than it was the year before due to normal growth. They’re not dropping dead from starvation as the Russians were during the siege of Leningrad.

    Compare this with what happened in 1915-1917. The number of Armenians alive in the Ottoman Empire was 2.2 million to start with. At the end of the period there were only 800,000.

    If it were Hamas besieging Ashdod, they wouldn’t be so kind. They would storm the city, and as shari’a prescribes for rebellious dhimmis they would kill all the men and enslave all the women and children. Just like in southern Sudan and East Timor.

    Don’t forget, Hamas regard Jews as yids, kikes and the offspring of apes and pigs.

  • Mae

    Michael Patek, spare me the religious jabbering, please, I do not subscribe to it.

    For your questions regarding the applicable laws, the San Remo Manual refers only to armed conflict at Sea, I was arguing about the legality of declaring war and imposing a blockade on an occupied territory. You’ll find that there are other laws applicable, specifically the Geneva Conventions.

    I recommend you read Craig’s post discussing why the San Remo Manual does not apply, furthermore, plenty legal opinions can be found on the subject on-line (from actual lawyers and law experts). You’ll find that the vast majority disagree with your position.

    As for the things you allude to in regard to living under Muslim rule as a non-Muslim, I have studied enough history to know that non-believers in Christian lands often suffered worse fates than those in Muslim lands and that the rules you refer to were often more acceptable than their counterparts in Europe.

    Most importantly, though, sizeable Jewish communities prospered and lived peacefully in Muslim lands, while they were being hounded out of one European country after another, for centuries. Despite the rigid structures of Muslim societies, the persecution of the Jewish people was an obsession of Christians not Muslims.

    Although I have responded to your cockeyed use of statistics in order to deny the suffering of the Gazan population with my own counter arguments previously, this time I will say only this: Anyone who can summarily dismiss the suffering of more than three quarters of A MILLION CHILDREN by pointing to some historical conflict and saying “they had it worse” betrays a lamentable shortfall in the most basic human quality one expects to find in others. Compassion for the suffering of children is usually lacking in the most damaged minds only and I hope you get help, soon.

  • Michael Petek

    Mae, the San Remo Manual does refer to blockades, as you’ll find out if you go to the Red Cross site and read it. I did read Craig’s post about it, and he missed the fact that Israel had declared war, which Hamas received as such.

    What legal experts, and where on line? Post a link.

    Regarding the treatment of Christians and Jews in Muslim lands, their treatment varied enormously from time to time and from place to place. You could say that Blacks were better treated in South Africa than in, say, Uganda, but that doesn’t change the fact that Hamas want to impose a religiously-sanctioned apartheid on non-Muslims, and that’s if they allow them to live at all.

    For example, in Morocco and Yemen centuries ago Jews weren’t allowed any footwear outside their segregated quarter, and in Iran weren;t allowed to go outdoors on rainy dau=ys.

    The point is, what would be the consequence of Hamas rule today? Women would have fewer rights than men, non-Muslims than Muslims.

    Non-Muslims would not be allowed to own land, and they wouldn’t be allowed to sue a Muslim in court or give testimony.

  • Monty

    Mae – re: photoshopped ship name. Of course, it is not the same photo, that is not what I said. I have examined both photos on Free Gaza Org’s Flickr page in detail and I still strongly maintain that the two photos were taken minutes apart from slightly different positions on the quay and the Rachel Corrie name was digitally added.

    It seems I am not the only one to think this. Below is from Notmytribe.com:

    QUOTE”Photos of the Rachel Corrie have been so sparse that media outlets are still using the image used on the Corrie’s unveiling, featuring a Photoshopped logo on her stern. Her previous name was still the Linda, but enthusiastic activists no doubt wanted to get the ball rolling.” ENDQUOTE

    No other photos show the Rachel Corrie name in block capitals in that location.

  • Michael Petek

    Mae, where’s that (those) link(s) I asked you for?

    I just had a thought this morning. Someone – Craig I think – said on this blog that what the Israelis did on the Marmara a week ago was unconscionable.

    Since the only consciences that matter are those of the commandos who did the shooting, there’s a strong possibility that it wasn’t.

    The nine people who were shot and killed were Muslims who had explicitly said beforehand that they were seeking martyrdom. If that’s their ‘deen’ I suppose we have to respect it. When the Israelis killed them it’s possible they were acting according to theirs.

    [‘deen’ = (Arabic: ‘way’, ‘religion’)]

    As I remember from my diversity training:

    ‘Listen up brother, me iz Ali G.

    If ya see da big tooled-up Izra-e-li.

    Do not impoze ya morality.

    Maximum respec da diversity.

    If ya wanna be a shaheed ‘im drill ya fa free.


    PS. When ya say ‘Rachel Corrie illegally boarded’, how come it iz illegal to bone a Julie? Iz dat Islamic law, or what? Duz it apply in Staines as well?

  • Mae

    Monty – ah, I misunderstood your post then. Like I said in my reply to you earlier, it is entirely possible that the photograph with the new name “Rachel Corrie” on the hull was manipulated. Looking at it again, I still consider it unlikely, but you could be right about it, of course.

    Seems like we might have to wait until we get some newer photos for confirmation, or do you think it’s still sailing with the old name painted on?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Eduard, many thanks.

    Mae, go for it! Your pieces on this blog are wonderful.

    The basic situation, of course, is that Israel is exerting sustained and intensifying colonial oppression on a population and now, last week, has carried out what I consider to have been a very deliberate, pre-meditated (after all, that is the definition of murder) act of mass murder in international waters in pursuance of this policy.

    The more far-fetched the constructed moralities (which are really constructed positions of amorality) evinced the variegated supporters of Israeli state policy, the deeper into overt mendacity they sink.

    The empereror has not been wearing any clothes for some considerable time. Thank you for pointing out his nakedness in so lucid a manner.

  • Michael Petek

    I see, Suhayl. It’s colonial oppression when Jews do it, but not colonial oppression when Muslim Arab armies invaded the Roman Empire in the 7th century in a war of aggression.

    The Caliph isn’t wearing any clothes either.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Michael, the Caliph has been non-existent since 1923 and was nude for many centuries prior to that. What the Dickens has this to do with caliphs, anyway? I am not interested in the caliph or the sultan or the snake-charmer or Hasan-i-Sabah or the Old Man of the Mountains or Douglas Fairbanks (Junior or Senior).

    I am interested in the variegated manifestations of European colonialism and neocolonialism as it has manifested, largely via the capitalist economic system, since the C17th. and most particularly since C19th. This is what defines our world today. It is to this rubric that the problems and conflicts Middle East most closely align.

    Really, in your recent post, you are beginning to sound a little like Nick Griffin of the BNP.

  • Michael Petek

    Suhayl, I was cribbing your reference to the Emperor wearing no clothes!

    Comparing me to Nick Griffin is a bit over the top. I detest the man myself.

    If Israel is a colonial outpost, whose colony is it? Is it British? French? Dutch? German?

    52-54 per cent of Israeli Jews are of North African or Middle Eastern descent, so how can they be colonials?

    How about Arab colonialism in Lebanon at the expense of the Maronites, in Iraq at the expense of the Assyrians, in Egypt at the expense of the Copts, and in Morocco at the expense of the Berbers?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Look, are you denying that Israel is enormously oppressive on Gaza and the West Bank? I think so.

    I realise you are likely to harbour deeply negative feelings about Muslims – you’re not alone in this – and it colours everything you write, Michael. You therefore assume, wrongly, that everyone feels the same about those of other faiths, ethnicities, etc.

    Israel is behaving in a colonialist manner – and has done so since at least 1956 with the invasion of Egypt (along with France and the UK) – because it is part of the ‘corporate body’ of the US hegemon to the extent that in general it aggressively furthers US policy objectives in the Middle East in alliance with corrupt elites in Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, for example. But Saudi Arabia is a colony ruled by a local elite, whereas Israel is an intrinsic part of the colonial apparatus. It doesn’t really matter, in that sense, whether its population consists of Chinese Malays, Iraqis, Moroccans, American ex-pats or Falasha, or whatever. The actions of the state of Israel – remember, I am talking here of states, not of individual human beings – are in essence and in reality, in political science and historical terms of a deeply colonial nature.

    I really don’t know why you seem to think I would bear any allegiance towards what Morocco might do, or what the Prime Minister of Lebanon might do. Well, you know that Lebanon was created by the French colonial power out of a piece of the Ottoman province of Syria very deliberately to act as a colonial outpost. I am sure that there is tension and unfairness in Mongolia and many other places, too. Is it just because I have a Muslim name, you think I’ll rush to defend the King of Morocco or the Sultan of Brunei? Or the Algerian military regime which killed how many of its own people – fully supported, incidentally, by France and the USA – in order to scupper the results of a democratic election?

    I hate all of these things and more. I hate injustice and pain, I hate killing. I don’t give a damn what someone’s religion is, or their ethnicity, or their politics.

    Well, you will most definitely know, Michael, that there are Saadis who are Jews, too. And Christians. One of the major commentators on the Sefer Yitzirah was an Egyptian named Saadia Gaon who, in his later years, lived in Baghdad.


  • Michael Petek

    I certainly don’t have any negative feelings towards Muslims, Suhail. Only towards Hamas. And I’m saying the same things about them today as I said about Serbs during the wars in Yugoslavia during the 1990s, and for much the same reason that they were bloodthirsty savages. On that occasion the Muslims were not waging jihad, but a war for secular purposes only.

    I’d say the same thing about Muslims who waged jihad in East Timor, cutting its population by a third. And about those waging jihad against Christians in Nigeria today, and in Egypt.

    In Egypt, the Copts don’t take any nonsense from their oppressors. They resist.

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