Flotilla Fabrication

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?The average person believes implicitly that the photograph cannot falsify. Of course, you and I know that this unbounded faith in the integrity of the photograph is often rudely shaken, for, while photographs may not lie, liars may photograph.?
Lewis Hine 1909
Photographers often get defensive when reminded that many of them resort to ?digital manipulation? using the new tools currently available. Discussions about the limits of what is permissible regularly sparks off heated debates, particularly in contests. Jobs have been lost, awards cancelled, and credibility undermined when photographers have digitally manipulated photographs to create the image they have wanted.
Sadly, the arguments raised have largely dealt with issues of technique rather than issues of ethics. One school of thought suggests, ?if it was doable in a darkroom, then it can be doable in a computer?. Others claim that conventional darkroom techniques, such as dodging, burning, or changing contrast are acceptable, but inserting, taking away, or displacing visual elements are off limits (though these too were, and had been, done in the darkroom). More ?artistic? criteria suggest that the essential ?mood and character? of the original image must be preserved. None of this addresses the central issue Hine had brought up in 1909. Is the photographer lying?
I believe the discussion needs to shift from ?how? the image was altered to ?why? it was altered. Indeed, photographers have ?enhanced? their images by using filters to darken skies, dodged and burned in the darkroom to change relative emphasis of visual elements, sometimes even eliminated visuals that distracted from what was considered central to the photograph. Subtle changes in tonality and gradation altered the ?feel? of an image, affecting the emotional response one might have to the visual experience.? In the analogue days, the skill sets required hand-eye? coordination to a far greater extent than is needed today. The modern photographer needs to learn about pixels, paths and plug-ins. The software used, the amount of RAM and processor speed are the new vocabulary that replaces darkroom tools of yore. But even in the digital age, the skill of the practitioner often determines whether the change is detectable.
There are those who subvert the process and deliberately play on detectability of the process, confronting the viewer with their interventions, questioning her perception of what is acceptable, stretching her boundaries of credibility. Indeed, on occasions, flaunting these very norms to raise uncomfortable issues of how images are read. Early theorists like Professor Fred Ritchin, currently at Tisch School of The Arts, New York University, have eloquently analysed how this ?manipulation?, instead of undermining the credibility of the photograph, has returned the onus of authenticity upon the integrity of the author rather than the acceptability of the tools (human or mechanical).? One believes a photograph, as one believes a word, based on the reliability of the source, rather than the mode of production. The hugely talented pioneer of digital photography, the Mexican photographer Pedro Meyer, playfully, intelligently and skillfully, toyed with us, shaking the pillars of our age old beliefs, forcing us to question the process of seeing and believing.
Of course the photograph still retains the characteristic of being the primary source. ?I was there. I saw it with my own eyes. I have photographs.? It is precisely because the photograph or the video, is seen as an unmoderated fact, that it is so powerful. It is precisely the reason why lying through a video or photograph can be so effective.
In this age of spin, rhetoric and hyperbole, does the liar, by shaking our confidence in the medium, undermine the veracity of the one source that we still implicitly trust? In some ways of course it does, but by doing so, the liar does us a favour. It reminds us to question, not merely the medium but also the source.
Buddha, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed were believed because they were trustworthy. They had established their credibility. They had a track record that gave their word a respectability that others who said otherwise did not have. I have no way to vouch for the veracity of the incredible claims that they made. That is the basis of a very different discussion. But it is undeniably true that centuries after they have gone, there are people who live by their ideals and are prepared to die for them. The lives that they lived, made their words believable. We believed their actions, which led to us believing their words.

That brings me to the point of this article. The video of the attack on the flotilla. People have correctly pointed to the technical errors in the released videos. The fact that there were white frames inside the sequence, that consecutive frames did not match, that crude alterations revealed the manipulation where people are seen to be walking through metal pylons, the amateurish display of a catapult by turning towards a camera on a tripod and holding it high, in the middle of an attack by armed soldiers, the fact that a voice inserted in the video is that of a woman on another ship, all make the video a laughable piece of ?evidence?. Indeed, the detection of the tampering is what is being used as evidence of lies being told.
My argument is elsewhere. What if the Israelis had produced the perfect video, backing up their claims. What if their technicians had been more skilled, their computer animations more realistic, their actors more adept and telling their version of the story. Would that have validated their version of the story? I would like to return to who is telling the story. The veracity of the source.
Lies are more difficult to protect than the truth. If the version they had presented had been genuine, there would have been no need to confiscate all the visual material, releasing selective segments, with obvious tampering. If they had nothing to hide there would have been no need to jam the communications at the moment of attack, or to erase the audio from certain segments of the video. There would have been no reluctance to make all the evidence available and let the viewers decide. Suspicious behavior gives rise to suspicion. For a nation known for manipulating the truth at all levels, casting doubts on authentic data, vilifying honest citizens, persecuting every hint of dissent, it is the fact that the source is Israel that is the greatest reason for disbelief.
If a time were to come when Israel had a change of heart and for once spoke the truth, like Matilda in her burning house, there would be none to believe her. That fire is imminent and Israel?s house of lies might well be close to burning.
Other points of view.

BBC Panorama Video 1

BBC Panorama Video 2

“>Al Jazeera Storming of Gaza aid convoy

Legal assessment of Gaza Flotialla raid
Related links:
Military ties between India and Israel
In Defense of Helen Thomas
Human Rights Council Condemnation of Israeli Attacks
Adopted by a recorded vote of 32 to 3, with 9 abstentions.
The voting was as follows:
In favour: Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudia Arabia, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Uruguay;
Against: Italy, Netherlands, United States of America;
Abstaining: Belgium, Burkina Faso, France, Hungary, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

The Lone Ship of the Freedom Flotilla: The Rachel Corrie MV Continues to Sail Towards Gaza in Defiance of Israeli Threats

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by Michel Chossudovsky

Following Israel’s criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats.
In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
At noon today, I received the following message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie:
RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.
The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.
In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.
We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.
We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza.
Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie.
Sent on behalf of the humanitarian activists on aboard the Rachel Corrie – by PGPO land team (Ram Karthigasu and Christopher Chang)
In recent developments, the Netanyahu government is in crisis:
“Senior ministers [of the Netanyahu cabinet] have been sharply critical of the fact that the decision to seize control of the flotilla to Gaza was made after two meetings of the forum of seven senior ministers but without official deliberation by the inner cabinet, the body that has the authority to approve military actions of this scale.” What this suggests is that the actual decision to conduct the raids in international waters bypassed the Cabinet. (Haaretz.com headlines RSS
The question remains: if the Israeli cabinet did not ratify the operation, who ordered the raids and through what procedure?
What were the respective roles of Israeli intelligence and the IDF in planning these raids?
What role was played by Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, who had meetings with both Netanyahu and president Shimon Peres, respectively on May 26 and 27?
Did Rahm Emmanuel meet officials of Israel’s military and intelligence establishment?
Did the Obama administration give the Green Light?
It is important that this news gets out, with a view to ensuring that the Rachel Corrie MV safely reaches the coast of Gaza without encroachment, with a view to breaking Israel’s criminal embargo.
In this endeavor we shall prevail. Our hearts and minds are with those who continue to sail on board the Rachel Corrie MV.
It should be noted that Israel has not in any way modified its policy with regard to the Rachel Corrie MV: There are two more ships heading for Gaza including the Rachel Corrie MV. Israel has promised “to respond even more harshly”:
?Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
?We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war,? the officer said. ?That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.? (www.ynetnews.com)
The Rachel Corrie MV is in part supported by the Perdana Global Peace Organization under the helm of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky is a member of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.
Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky


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Editorial, The Electronic Intifada, 31 May 2010
Early this morning under the cover of darkness Israeli?soldiers stormed the lead ship of the six-vessel Freedom?Flotilla aid convoy in international waters and killed and?injured dozens of civilians aboard. All the ships were?violently seized by Israeli forces, but hours after the?attack fate of the passengers aboard the other ships?remained unknown.
The Mavi Marmara was carrying around 600 activists when?Israeli warships flanked it from all sides as soldiers?descended from helicopters onto the ship’s deck. Reports?from people on board the ship backed up by live video?feeds broadcast on Turkish TV show that Israeli forces?used live ammunition against the civilian passengers, some?of whom resisted the attack with sticks and other items.
The Freedom Flotilla was organized by a coalition of?groups that sought to break the Israeli-led siege on the?Gaza Strip that began in 2007. Together, the flotilla?carried 700 civilian activists from around 50 countries?and over 10,000 tons of aid including food, medicines,?medical equipment, reconstruction materials and equipment,?as well as various other necessities arbitrarily banned by Israel.
As of 6:00pm Jerusalem time most media were still?reporting that up to 20 people had been killed, and many?more injured. However, Israel was still withholding the?exact numbers and names of the dead and injured.?Passengers aboard the ships who had been posting Twitter?updates on the Flotilla’s progress had not been heard from?since before the attack and efforts to contact passengers?by satellite phone were unsuccessful. The Arabic- and
English-language networks of Al-Jazeera lost contact with?their half dozen staff traveling with the flotilla.
News of the massacre on board the Freedom Flotilla began?to emerge around dawn in the eastern Mediterranean first?on the live feed from the ship, social media, Turkish?television, and Al-Jazeera. Israeli media were placed?under strict military censorship, and reported primarily?from foreign sources. However, by the morning the?Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli soldiers who?boarded the flotilla in international waters were fired?upon by passengers. Quoting anonymous military sources,?the Jerusalem Post claimed that the flotilla passengers?had set-up a “well planned lynch.”
(“IDF: Soldiers were?met by well-planned lynch in boat raid”)?The Israeli daily Haaretz also reported that the Israeli?soldiers were “attacked” when trying to board the?flotilla. (“At least 10 activists killed in Israel Navy?clashes onboard Gaza aid flotilla”)?This narrative of passengers “attacking” the Israeli?soldiers was quickly adopted by the Associated Press and?carried across mainstream media sources in the United?States, including the Washington Post. (“Israeli army:?More than 10 killed on Gaza flotilla”)?Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon stated in a?Monday morning press conference that the Israeli military?was acting in “self-defense.” He claimed that “At least?two guns were found” and that the “incident” was still?ongoing. Ayalon also claimed that the Flotilla organizers?were “well-known” and were supported by and had?connections to “international terrorist organizations.”
It is unclear how anyone could credibly adopt an Israeli?narrative of “self-defense” when Israel had carried out an?unprovoked armed assault on civilian ships in?international waters. Surely any right of self-defense?would belong to the passengers on the ship. Nevertheless,?the Freedom Flotilla organizers had clearly and loudly?proclaimed their ships to be unarmed civilian vessels on a?humanitarian mission.
The Israeli media strategy appeared to be to maintain?censorship of the facts such as the number of dead and?injured, the names of the victims and on which ships the?injuries occurred, while aggressively putting out its?version of events which is based on a dual strategy of?implausibly claiming “self-defense” while demonizing the?Freedom Flotilla passengers and intimating that they?deserved what they got.
As news spread around the world, foreign governments began?to react. Greece and Turkey, which had many citizens?aboard the Flotilla, immediately recalled their?ambassadors from Tel Aviv. Spain strongly condemned the?attack. France’s foreign minister Bernard Kouchner?expressed “profound shock.” The European Union’s foreign?minister Catherine Ashton called for an “enquiry.”
What should be clear is this: no one can claim to be?surprised by what the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights?correctly termed a “hideous crime.” Israel had been openly?threatening a violent attack on the Flotilla for days, but?complacency, complicity and inaction, specifically from?Western and Arab governments once more sent the message?that Israel could act with total impunity.
There is no doubt that Israel’s massacre of 1,400 people,?mostly civilians, in Gaza in December 2008/January 2009?was a wake up call for international civil society to?begin to adopt boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)?against Israel similar to those applied to apartheid-era?South Africa.?Yet governments largely have remained complacent and?complicit in Israel’s ongoing violence and oppression?against Palestinians and increasingly international?humanitarian workers and solidarity activists, not only in?Gaza, but throughout historic Palestine. We can only?imagine that had former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi?Livni indeed been arrested for war crimes in Gaza when a?judge in London issued a warrant for her arrest, had the?international community begun to implement the?recommendations of the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report,?had there been a much firmer response to Israel’s?assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai, it would not?have dared to act with such brazenness.
As protest and solidarity actions begin in Palestine and?across the world, this is the message they must carry:?enough impunity, enough complicity, enough Israeli?massacres and apartheid. Justice now.

Israeli troops kill flotilla activists

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At least 16 dead as Israeli troops storm Gaza aid flotilla

Israeli commandoes have stormed a flotilla of ships carrying activists and aid supplies to the blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza, killing as many as as 16 of those on board.

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent and Matthew Kalman in Jerusalem
Published: 7:21AM BST 31 May 2010
Fighting broke out between the activists and the masked Israeli troops, who rappelled on to deck from helicopters before dawn.
A spokesman for the flotilla, Greta Berlin, said she had been told that ten people had been killed and dozens wounded, accusing Israeli troops of indiscriminately shooting at “unarmed civilians”. But an Israeli radio station said that between 14 and 16 were dead in a continuing operation.

“How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this?” Ms Berlin said. “Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?
“We have two other boats. This is not going to stop us.”
The Israeli government’s handling of the confrontation was under intense international pressure even as it continued. The Israeli ambassador to Turkey, the base of one of the human rights organisation which organised the flotilla, was summoned by the foreign ministry in Ankara, as the Israeli consulate in Istanbul came under attack.
One Israeli minister issued immediate words of regret. “The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities,” Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the trade and industry minister, told army radio.
But he added that the commandoes had been attacked with batons and activists had sought to take their weapons off them.
Israeli military sources said four of its men had been injured, one stabbed, and that they had been shot at.
“The flotilla’s participants were not innocent and used violence against the soldiers. They were waiting for the forces’ arrival,” they were quoted by a news website as saying.
The flotilla had set sail on Sunday from northern, or Turkish, Cyprus.
Six boats were led by the Mavi Marmara, which carried 600 activists from around the world, including Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the Northern Ireland peace protester who won a Nobel Prize in 1976.
It came under almost immediate monitoring from Israeli drones and the navy, with two vessels flanking it in international waters. The flotilla, which had been warned that it would not be allowed to reach Gaza, attempted to slow and change course, hoping to prevent a confrontation until daylight, when the Israeli military action could be better filmed.
But in the early hours of this morning local time commandoes boarded from helicopters.
The activists were not carrying guns, but television footage shown by al-Jazeera and Turkish television channels show hand-to-hand fighting, with activists wearing life-jackets striking commandoes with sticks.

The Israeli army said its troops were assaulted with axes and knives.
The television footage did not show firing but shots could be heard in the background. One man was shown lying unconscious on the deck, while another man was helped away.
A woman wearing hijab, the Muslim headscarf, was seen carrying a stretcher covered in blood.
The al-Jazeera broadcast stopped with a voice shouting in Hebrew: “Everyone shut up”.
Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza after the strip was taken over by the militant group Hamas in 2007. It has allowed some food and medical supplies through, but has prevented large-scale rebuilding following the bombardment and invasion of 2008-9.
The flotilla is the latest in a series of attempts by activists to break through the blockade. The boats were carrying food and building supplies.
Activists said at least two of the other boats, one Greek and one Turkish, had been boarded from Israeli naval vessels. Activists said two of the other boats in the flotilla were American-flagged.
The confrontation took place in international waters 80 miles off the Gaza coast.
It was attacked by the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.
“We call on the Secretary-General of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon, to shoulder his responsibilities to protect the safety of the solidarity groups who were on board these ships and to secure their way to Gaza,” he said.
Turkish television meanwhile showed hundreds of protesters trying to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul. The incident will be particularly damaging for Israel’s relations with what had been seen as its closest ally in the Muslim world.

“By targeting civilians, Israel has once again shown its disregard for human life and peaceful initiatives,” a Turkish foreign ministry statement said. “We strongly condemn these inhumane practices of Israel.

“This deplorable incident, which took place in open seas and constitutes a fragrant breach of international law, may lead to irreparable consequences in our bilateral relations.”

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