The Mavi Marmara Murders 139

I can claim to have had a small hand in instigating the legal complaint to the International Criminal Court by the Comoros Islands against the murders by Israeli troops on the Mavi Marmara. The Washington Post writes:

In a filing, lawyers from the Istanbul-based law firm Elmadag argued that the events that took place on the Mavi Marmari should be considered as having occurred on the territory of Comoros.

As though this were in any sense a matter of dispute. That crimes committed on any ship outside of territorial waters are under the jurisdiction of the flag state of the ship, is both customary international law of ancient standing and a fundamental provision of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Article 92:
Ships shall sail under the flag of one State only and, save in exceptional cases expressly provided for in international treaties or in this Convention, shall be subject to its exclusive jurisdiction on the high seas.

The Comoros Islands are a tiny state off the East coast of the continent. They are part of the disgraceful system where small or failed states lease out their shipping registers – often corruptly – to western companies who run them, enabling major shipping owners to evade safety, conditions, qualifications and pay regulations of more serious states. Liberia has been the most notorious example. The Comoros government therefore deserves huge congratulation for taking its flag state responsibility so seriously, and so bravely, in taking on Israel.

It is a responsibility Turkey deliberately shed just before the Mavi Marmara was attacked.

There is, in this regard, as I reported from my meetings with organisers and bereaved families of the Mavi Marmara in Izmir two years ago, something extremely disturbing about the case of the Mavi Marmara:

Shortly before sailing, the registration was switched from Turkey to the Comoros Islands. This exempted Turkey from the responsibility of jurisdiction. It also made discussion at NATO much easier for the US; if the Israelis had attacked in international waters a ship flying the flag of a NATO state, that would have been a much more difficult thing for the alliance to ignore.

It turns out that the change was made at the insistence of the Turkish Ministry of Transport. They carried out a number of inspections of the Mavi Marmara prior to the Gaza trip and made repeated demands for changes: mattresses and cushions had to have more modern, fire resistant foam. Internal walls had to be upgraded for fire resistance. Whatever changes were then made, the Ministry found new faults. In the end, the Ministry had said that the Mavi Marmara would be impounded unless it changed its registration, as it could not meet the safety requirements for a Turkish flagged ship.

The strange thing is that the Mavi Marmara had been Turkish flagged for years, and hade been running tourist cruises out of Istanbul. None of the faults the Ministry found resulted from any changes, yet none had apparently been a problem on past inspections. The family told me that, before the Mavi Marmara sailed, they had been in no doubt the Turkish government had been deliberately obstructive and had forced the change of flag.

Part of the Turkish state was insistent on giving the Mavi Marmara no protection. You have to ask the question, did these people know in advance the Mavi Marmara was to be attacked? The fatal shootings on board were mostly not random – they were targeted shots to the head of selected people. If Israel had planned this, how long in advance, where did they get their intelligence on who was aboard? If they had assistance from within the Turkish state, of course the Turkish state would want to ensure they did not have legal responsibility over the killings.

Let me be plain. I am not accusing the current government of Turkey. But they inherited a bureaucracy and political establishment riddled, especially at the most senior levels, with ultra-nationalists and relatives and connections of the Turkish military. The Turkish Foreign Office in particular is notoriously ultra and completely penetrated and corrupted by Israel. The Turkish government has had a most difficult job in changing the direction of the country without provoking violent nationalist reaction. That has been a process; and the result is that those apparently in power did not in reality get control of all the levers of power at once.

We are a long way yet from knowing the full truth about the Mavi Marmara: and Israel is not the only place to look.

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139 thoughts on “The Mavi Marmara Murders

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  • John Goss

    Duqu at 12.42 a.m. today. Quickly before I shoot off. The second link of Lars G Linder does seem to be in opposition to the Israeli occupation but Anna Ardin’s blog of the same 2009 trip is called “My veiled Taliban protest” and has nothing to do with Palestine liberation. Can you shed any light on why she would be protesting in Gaza about an Afghanistan “terrorist” or “freedom-fighting” organisation? Or did she mean Hamas?

    Interestingly her cousin was based in Afghanistan in a NATO role.

    Here is a short piece by Anna Ardin on Kristen Vanster’s Blog reporting how one of those on board the ship to Gaza, Mariam Osaman Sherifay, was submitting a letter to Brussels on behalf of the Brotherhood calling for an Inquiry.

  • Arbed

    Anna Ardin now removing tweets linking her to the Gaza massacre:

    If you follow the links provided you’ll see which ones (Duqu has caught some via the Wayback machine).

    She seems to make a habit of deleting embarrassing evidence (which I’m sure in some cases is a crime in itself): 7 Steps to Revenge; apres-‘assault’ tweets boasting of Assange association; nude ‘trophy’ photo on Facebook page; latterly, ‘penis shoes’; tweets comparing Assange to a paedophile; links to the forthcoming Alex Gibney documentary in which she appears. Here’s her latest pronouncement:


    väljer du mendax som alias bör du veta några synonymer; deceiving, dishonest, false, insincere, invented, made up, perverted, void of truth

    Seriously. She really thinks a good way to go about defaming someone is to spell out the meaning of their teenage nickname? Yeah, that’ll hold up in court when someone mentions you handed the police ‘evidence’ of a torn condom that has no DNA on it – not even your own.

  • axel

    Colonel (överstelöjtnant)Mattias Ardin, is Anna’s cousin. He was leading the Swedish troups in Afghanistan in 2006. He must have developed contact with all top Nato people then.

    Here is the agenda for a meeting with RUSI in november 2007. He was then Deputy Head of Operations, Swedish Joint Forces, Land Component Command 1415.

    A curiousity is this: Mattias Ardin is a member of “Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani”. På engelska “Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem”.

  • April Showers

    The Church of Scotland.

    Impertinent complaints politely sidestepped
    May 18, 2013

    The Church of Scotland’s revised report ‘The Inheritance of Abraham?’ has now been released ahead of their Assembly .

    The Church felt obliged to change some of it after Jewish leaders sought to interfere, one complaining that it was “an outrage to everything that interfaith dialogue stands for… and closes the door on meaningful dialogue”. Another said “it reads like an Inquisition-era polemic against Jews and Judaism.”

    The Israeli ambassador moaned that it belittled the deeply held Jewish attachment to the land of Israel in a way which was “truly hurtful”.


  • this

    Interesting post.

    The Turkish Foreign Office in particular is notoriously ultra and completely penetrated and corrupted by Israel.

    Does it make the British one look ever so independent then? 🙂

    The following case sheds some light on Israeli power in Turkey.

    In 2010, two Israeli airforce V-type Gulfstream spy planes flew over Budapest, in support of a Mossad assassination.

    The target was Bassam Trache, a businessman who had lived in that city for many years and held joint Syrian and Hungarian nationality. He was shot in the head and his briefcase was stolen.

    Goodness knows what the truth is about who in Hungary gave permission for the Israeli flights (there was the usual post-event fog), or what part of the alleged ‘permission’ only really arose after the event, but presumably someone did give the OK beforehand.

    At this point, you may be wondering how the Israeli planes got from Israel to Hungary. The answer is that they flew over Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania.

    Yes, Turkey. With permission from Turkish authorities.

  • Komodo

    I have been having fun reading the accounts for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Income £1.27m Spending >£3m

    Always brightens up a murky day. The TBFF (as I noticed earlier) has a strong US presence, which is nice for it as a lot of Americans are VERY religious, and often generous where the Lord is concerned. As far as I can work out, the TBFF exists to make the world more amenable to globalisation, and is heavily into supplying mosquito nets. Which could be done at twice the efficiency and half the cost by TB personally. He wouldn’t even notice it. The TBFF is, of course, squeaky clean, and it promotes the Tony Blair Image -nothing to do with the shitlicking toady who enjoys the company of a variety of dictators and “Lord” Mandelson, of course. As a charity, it doesn’t cost Tony any more than he needs to spend visibly – a few gestures like matching the income from selected chugging operations – it saves on PR and it keeps him up to speed with the other extremely rich rogues who use charity as camouflage for their other operations. (See the late Jimmy Savile)

    Tony Blair Associates is another matter entirely. There is no reason why an honest British ex-statesman should disappear his enormous income through a network of seven companies, in two parallel groups, each terminating in a limited partnership. Whose accounts are seen by no-one, least of all HMRC. It’s germane to this that Windrush Ventures No.2 LLP boasts as its partner Firerush Ventures No.2 LLP, and vice versa.
    Where does it go then? My guess is, via one or more companies based in a terrace house, run by a nominee director, to somewhere in the Caribbean. That name “Windrush” has to be significant.

    You might think that Tony, seeing the deep excrement in which his native country is enmired, might want to help by paying his taxes. Might you not? All right, you wouldn’t.

  • April Showers

    We could not have imagined in the days running up to the murderous attacks on our passengers on May 31, 2010 that the Israeli government, in spite of ordering the ramming of the DIGNITY and the vicious boarding of the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, would actually send armed commandos onto all six boats, beating up many passengers, wounding over 50 of them, and murdering nine, all while the boats were in international waters.

    Greta Berlin, Co-Founder, the Free Gaza movement
    Editor, Freedom Sailors

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Know that this thread is not being fair to Turkey, especially Erdogan.

    When the Ecevic government collapsed because of the fallout from he Izmtt earthquake – and don’t forget he got on Clinton’s kill list because he helped Milosovic during NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign – Erdogan followed an increasing anti-Israeli policy. It was so bad for Turkey’s generals that they plotted his overthrow, and Meir Dagan’s Mossad helped out with a bombing campaign. Remember that one of a synagogue, in Istanbul as I recall. Tel Aviv was willing to kill Jews who were willing to go along with its opponent.

    Everything changed after the Lake Van earthquakes started occurring – what created serious problems for Erdogan even remaining in office because of the growing opposition of its Kurds over them, especially when he refused any aid from Israel.

    The earthquakes only stopped after he changed his tune, and now he only has problems with Syria rather than Washington, Tel Aviv, and the Kurds

  • John Goss

    April Showers, thanks for the Greta Berlin article about the convoy to Gaza, from someone who was in a position to know. When the sabotage failed to stop the vessels the Israeli armed forces resorted, as ever, disproportionately. They murdered unarmed aid-workers.

  • April Showers

    Shut In, Shut Down, Shut Up: Three Years after Mavi Marmara
    Greta Berlin | 20 May 2013

    Three years ago, the Free Gaza movement was wrapping up final preparations for a flotilla of eight ships to head out to Gaza, determined to break Israel’s illegal siege on 1.5 million Palestinians shut into an open-air prison. Most of us were already in Cyprus or Turkey or Greece, as we were the primary organizers, having already sent eight voyages, five of them successful in 2008.

    Why a flotilla of boats?


  • April Showers

    Thanks John. As you see I have posted another piece from Greta which gives us chapter and verse on the attacks on the Free Gaza boats.

    The attacks on the Palestinians continue as before.

    This is the list for just one day.

    Posted by Lorca on 2013/5/22 13:17:41

    In Occupied Palestine
    Zionism in practice – Israel’s Daily Toll on Palestinian Life, Limb, Liberty and Property

    24 hours to 8am
    21 May 2013

    4 attacks – 28 raids including home invasions – 2 beaten – 5 injured – 8 acts of agricultural/economic sabotage – 12 taken prisoner – 11 detained – 107 restrictions of movement

    Israeli Navy opens fire on Palestinian fishing boats in three areas and robs fishermen of their boat

    Israeli Army shoots its way onto Gaza farmland and bulldozes crops

    Israeli Army destruction rampage: a well, homes, farm buildings and more

    Hebron: Israeli Occupation troops bulldoze Palestinian crops

    Israeli Army destruction in Jerusalem homes and business

    Israeli Army destroys a Palestinian well and livestock buildings and issues destruction order on four family homes

    Settlers set fire to Palestinian wheat crops as Israeli troops assault villagers defending a home from settler assault

    Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in refugee camp and 15 towns and villages

    The details are continued here.

  • April Showers

    Have a laugh at this attempt at deflection by Noam Weiner and read Greta’s comment.

    Published May 21, 2013

    Investigating Gaza flotilla deaths would sacrifice International Criminal Court’s legitimacy

    The violent takeover of the Mavi Marmara simply does not stack up to other violent mass executions of passive civilians. Referring a relatively minor incident to the ICC in the context of a highly politically charged conflict would confirm the suspicions that the court is no more than a political wolf camouflaged in the neutral trappings of criminal justice.

    By Noam Wiener

    The provenance of this outfit.

  • John Goss

    April Showers, I have left a comment too.

    “Noam Wiener has written this article with a clear agenda to detract from the fact that Israel murdered innocent and peaceful aid-workers. The language used shows this. Instead of “My intention is not to be disrespectful to the people who lost their lives trying to deliver aid to Gaza” we get “My intention is not to be disrespectful to the people who lost their lives trying to break into Gaza”. The use of “break into Gaza” implies that the aid-workers are the criminals. Although Weiner claims to support the ICC the US and Israel have not even ratified the ICC, probably because they want to keep breaking international law, with Guantanamo Bay and other obscenities. Israel has never complied with international law.”

  • A Node

    Oh, wait a minute, it’s Israeli snipers. President Obama says “Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorists”

    The online edition of the Israeli newspaper Maariv revealed on Sunday that the Israeli army has recently resumed using snipers units to disperse Palestinian demonstrations; a practice it had abandoned for a short period.

    The newspaper reported that this technique was used at the end of last week near the settlement of Beit El in eastern Ramallah. Tutu rifles (0.22 inch calibre bullets) were used injuring five Palestinian youths.

    The newspaper added that the soldiers carried out their commanders direct orders to open fire on the demonstrators after the army had exhausted the normal methods of crowd dispersal – tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. The soldiers asserted that they only acted after the Palestinian youth had moved forward towards the settlement.

    Maariv's website stated that the army's use of the sniping policy constitutes a return to an old policy used to disperse demonstrations in the West Bank. At the same time, it is an indication of an on-going escalation as the Israeli army had stopped using this technique, returning to it only after Operation Pillar of Cloud in Gaza."

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