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Rachel Corrie Civil Suit – D-9 Driver Won’t Be Able to be Seen in Testimony

11:16 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The concluding phase of the wrongful death lawsuit by the Corrie family, over the death Rachel Corrie in March 2003 began in Haifa Thursday, with the Government of Israel being granted their request to have some testimony in this phase shielded from view from the audience, and from the plaintiffs:

The Haifa District Court on Thursday granted a government request to allow soldiers to testify behind a screen in the lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza.

The order includes the driver of the bulldozer that killed Rachel, who is slated to testify later this month. However, Judge Oded Gershon ruled that both the commander of the unit and the second soldier in the bulldozer that hit Rachel would testify in plain view, because their faces were already publicly known.

In asking for the highly unusual protective measures, state attorneys argued that they were necessary to protect the soldiers’ safety and prevent their images from being circulated. They based the request on an overbroad security certificate issued by Defense Minister Ehud Barak in 2008, but did not provide concrete evidence to substantiate their concerns for the soldiers’ safety or security.

Corrie attorneys opposed the motion, arguing that allowing the soldiers to testify behind a screen infringes upon the right to an open, fair and transparent trial. They asked to dismiss the request, filed just 48 hours before the first soldier’s testimony. Alternatively, the lawyers asked the court to allow the family to see the witnesses even if the public could not, but their request was denied. Lawyers for the Corrie family plan to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Israel.

The irony of this situation was not missed by Rachel Corrie’s father, Craig:

"While Rachel stood in front of a wall to protect the two families huddled behind it, the state is now making the soldiers hide behind a wall that denies us the opportunity to see them," said Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother. "The State of Israel has been hiding for over seven years. Where is the justice?"

Where is the justice, indeed? I have to say, though, that I’m somewhat surprised the Israeli government hasn’t managed to quash this trial. I’m becoming more convinced every day that the Government of Israel has considered itself at war with the United States of America since July 14th, 1954, when Israeli agents firebombed the U.S. Information Agency libraries in Cairo and Alexandria.

I’m just finishing reading James Scott’s definitive book, The Attack on the Liberty. The number of U.S. officials who believed then and still believe the attack on that ship was intentional is overwhelming. Just one of many examples:

[Secretary of State Dean] Rusk channeled his hostility over the attack into a stinging three-page letter to the Ambassador [of Israel, Avraham Harman]. Aided by Katzenbach and Walt Rostow, Rusk left no doubt he didn’t believe Israel’s assertion that its forces had attacked in error.

Elsewhere (in his memoir), Rusk has been cited:

I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous.

Every surviving member of the U.S.S. Liberty’s crew believes that the attack was deliberate, and meant to kill everyone on the ship.

In 1983, the Israeli Government had pre-knowledge of the impending attack on the U.S. Marine barracks near Beirut airport, but intentionally failed to pass it on:

On October 23, 1983 – at 6:20 a.m. – A truck packed with explosives slammed into US Marine barracks at Beirut Internation Airport – killing 241 Marines, mostly aseleep. A few minutes later, a similar explosion blew up a French military barracks – killing 56 French soldiers. Israeli Mossad acknowledged that it had prior information on these terrorist activities – but its chief Nahum Admony – decided not to warn Israel’s ally in details: “No. We are not going to protect the Americans. They’re a big country. Send only the regular information.”

Consistent with this sort of M.O. – that of a nation at war with the U.S. and its citizens – in the matter of this ongoing trial, is the way the IDF handled the surveillance of the area where Corrie was killed, at the time she was killed:

Also testifying on Thursday was the head of the Military Police Special Investigative Unit, Shalom Michaeli, who oversaw the investigation into Rachel’s killing. He told the court that he stood by his 2003 investigation and saw no reason that anyone should have been prosecuted.

Michaeli was also in charge of the investigation into the killing of Iman al Hams, a 13-year-old Gaza school girl who was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier in Rafah as she lay injured on the ground in October 2004. A military police internal investigation subsequently found major failures in Michaeli’s investigation, saying it was conducted unprofessionally and with negligence. The solider who killed al Hams was court-martialed but subsequently acquitted – in part because of this flawed investigation.

Michaeli’s cross-examination revealed similar flaws in the Corrie investigation. These flaws support the family’s claim of government negligence, for allowing soldiers and their commanders to act recklessly using armored military bulldozers without due regard for the presence of civilians.

Michaeli said that he ordered only a partial transcript of radio transmissions because he did not think it important to transcribe the full audio.

He said he did not go to the site of Rachel’s killing because it was dangerous, the terrain had already been altered, and the vehicles removed by the Israeli military. He acknowledged that he could have gone to the scene in an armored vehicle, but chose not to.

Michaeli testified in his written affidavit that when he inspected the bulldozer he did not find any signs of blood or other evidence that the vehicle had injured anyone. However, in court testimony he said the bulldozer could have been washed “or even painted” before he inspected it.

Michaeli said he knew, prior to opening the investigation, there was a video camera recording the area around the clock. But he failed to obtain the tape until March 23, a week after the incident, because it had been previously taken by senior commanders.

When questioned about his failure to interrogate the camera operator, who panned away from the scene only minutes before Rachel was killed, he said he did not think it was relevant.

When asked whether he questioned the bulldozer crews about an Israeli military manual for low intensity conflict that states bulldozers should not be operated near people, Michaeli said the manuals were not relevant. He added that bulldozer operators could not be expected to follow such procedures in this zone. He went on to say that he believed the Israeli army was “at war” with everyone in the area, including the ISM peace activists.

Michaeli still heads the Military Police Special Investigative Unit, but has since been promoted from Sergeant Major to Warrant Officer.

“Today I was struck by the lead investigator’s failures – his failure to look for evidence, to secure evidence, to resolve conflicting evidence, and to turn evidence over to this court,” said Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father. “This is not what we and the U.S. government were promised by the government of Israel when Rachel was killed and it is not what we will accept now.” [emphases added]

The IDF clearly states here, that it considered itself to be at war with U.S. citizen Rachel Corrie. I suppose that is how the IDF considered itself to be with U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan, when he was murdered in cold blood for merely attempting to document IDF atrocities:

The report of the fact-finding mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla released last week shows conclusively, for the first time, that US citizen Furkan Dogan and five Turkish citizens were murdered execution-style by Israeli commandos.

The report reveals that Dogan, the 19-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, was filming with a small video camera on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara when he was shot twice in the head, once in the back and in the left leg and foot and that he was shot in the face at point blank range while lying on the ground.

The report says Dogan had apparently been "lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time" before being shot in his face.

The forensic evidence that establishes that fact is "tattooing around the wound in his face," indicating that the shot was "delivered at point blank range." The report describes the forensic evidence as showing that "the trajectory of the wound, from bottom to top, together with a vital abrasion to the left shoulder that could be consistent with the bullet exit point, is compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on the ground on his back."

Based on both "forensic and firearm evidence," the fact-finding panel concluded that Dogan’s killing and that of five Turkish citizens by the Israeli troops on the Mavi Marmari May 31 "can be characterized as extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions." [emphases added]

Quite troubling in this context, is the information – covered at The Seminal yesterday by CTuttle, of apparent attempts by Israeli agents, fueled by a new report by the Reut Institute, that will probably target blogs like firedoglake and diarists here such as CTuttle, Markfromireland and me as "existential threats":

The evolution of the Delegitimization Network. This network aims to turn Israel into a pariah state so it will ultimately cease to exist. It is based in a number of metropolitan cities (US!), within which a relatively small number of individuals and organizations mobilize the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. The Delegitimization Network’s success lies in its ability to harness the Western liberal and progressive elite. It does so by employing a variety of means aimed at blurring its true intentions; [...]

11. These groups are leading a systemic and systematic attack against Israel’s political and economic model, which has already had strategic consequences and may become existential if ignored or inadequately addressed.

40. It takes a network to fight a network – The delegitimization campaign against Israel is carried out by a network of NGOs based in a number of international metropolitan cities. Disrupting this network should become the main anti-delegitimization focus.

60. The Reut Institute contends that combined, these forces represent a political-diplomatic strategic threat that may become existential. Resistance Network leaders repeatedly and publicly declare their goal of causing Israel’s implosion inspired by precedents set by the Soviet Union, South Africa, and other countries. This logic is ripening into a strategy that is yielding tangible gains. [emphases added]

While not clearly targeting pro-Palestinian rights bloggers, this document, along with others that have leaked out of Israel over the past year, indicate that efforts to delegitimize the delegitimizers is increasingly being linked to the Israeli model of total war.

As the delightful IDF Col. Yossi declared last month, "There are no civilians in wartime!"

Rachel Corrie Civil Suit to Resume in Haifa Thursday October 7th

8:30 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The concluding portion of the wrongful death civil suit brought against the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli Defense Ministry, by the family of Rachel Corrie, begins this Thursday, in Haifa. Sessions are scheduled for October 7th, 17th, 18th and 21st. The family of the young American activist, killed in March 2003, hopes for justice. So far, the trial has revealed neglect, ineptitude and probable criminal activity of IDF members, both in Corrie’s death, and in its coverup.

Among the horrific details to emerge, perhaps the most disturbing was the role of the notorious Dr. Yehuda Hiss in Rachel Corrie’s autopsy. Here’s Max Blumenthal’s description:

Corrie’s body was transported to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv where the notorious Dr. Yehuda Hiss autopsied her.

Who is Dr. Hiss? The chief pathologist of Israel for a decade and a half, Hiss was implicated by a 2001 investigation by the Israeli Health Ministry of stealing body parts ranging from legs to testicles to ovaries from bodies without permission from family members then selling them to research institutes. Bodies plundered by Hiss included those of Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. He was finally removed from his post in 2004 when the body of a teenage boy killed in a traffic accident was discovered to have been thoroughly gnawed on by a rat in Hiss’s laboratory. In an interview with researcher Nancy Schepper-Hughes, Hiss admitted that he harvested organs if he was confident relatives would not discover that they were missing. He added that he often used glue to close eyelids to hide missing corneas.

When Craig and Cindy Corrie learned that Hiss would perform an autopsy on their daughter, they stipulated that they would only allow the doctor to go forward if an official from the American consulate was present throughout the entire procedure. An Israeli military police report stated that an American official did indeed witness the autopsy. However, when the Corries asked American diplomatic officials including former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzner if the report was true, they were informed that no American was present at all. The Israelis had lied to them, and apparently fixed their own report to deceive the American government.

I’ll be compiling a list of items of interest that have come up so far in trial for Thursday. But now it might be important to take a quick glimpse of the progress of the most important work of art dedicated to Corrie to yet emerge, the one-woman play, My Name is Rachel Corrie. It opened on September 24th in Portland, Oregon, and will continue there at the Stark Street Theater through October 30th. The production is getting excellent reviews:

perhaps inevitably, and aptly, it is Corrie’s own way with words — at times witty, self-aware, sparkling with idiosyncratic metaphors; at others grave and righteous — that gives this portrait such vividness. It’s the voice of someone trying to find a path to doing the right thing. And whether or not Corrie got far enough down that path, that’s a voice we all could stand to hear.

As is always the case with productions of the play in the USA, there have been demonstrators and pamphleteers outside the theater before each performance. And like other US performances of the play, editorial space was offered soon after the production began, to a representative from the Zionist expansionist point of view. In this case, to Bob Horenstein, community relations director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, in Oregon Live.com:

Corrie was killed after unlawfully entering an area where Israeli forces — seeking to protect Israeli civilians who had been terrorized by repeated rocket attacks — were destroying tunnels used by Palestinian terrorists to smuggle arms illegally from Egypt into Gaza. Corrie wasn’t shielding innocent civilians; rather, she was interfering with the Israeli army’s efforts to demolish an empty house used to conceal one of these tunnels. According to an autopsy report, Corrie wasn’t crushed by a bulldozer, as widely alleged; she was killed (no less tragically) by falling debris.

While Corrie’s death garners much of the attention, there are other fallen Rachels whose stories are also tragic. British journalist Tom Gross, a former Jerusalem correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, has referred to these as the "Forgotten Rachels," victims of the so-called "armed resistance" supported by Corrie’s ISM. They belong in this discussion, too: Rachel Levy, 17, blown up in a Jerusalem grocery store; Rachel Thaler, 16, blown up in an Israeli pizzeria; Rachel Levi, 19, shot to death while waiting for a bus; Rachel Gavish, 50, killed at home celebrating a Passover meal; Rachel Charhi, 36, blown up in a Tel Aviv cafe, leaving three young children; Rachel Shabo, 40, murdered with her three young sons while at home; Rachel Ben Abu, 16, blown up outside the entrance of a Netanya shopping mall.

Rachel Corrie’s death was unfortunate, but she had to have known of the risks of entering a military zone off-limits to civilians. In other words, she chose to put her life in danger for a cause in which she believed. By contrast, the forgotten Rachels — and Sarahs and Rivkahs and Devorahs — didn’t choose to have their lives cut short by Palestinian terrorists.

When will we ever see a play to commemorate any of their lives?

Regarding Corrie, Mr. Horenstein’s op-ed is so full of lies and distortions, I’ll turn them over to a page titled Rachel Corrie: Myths and Facts.

Regarding the question, "When will we ever see a play to commemorate any of their lives?" I agree totally with Horenstein. This meme started in early 2004, when I first attempted to perform The Skies Are Weeping in Anchorage. The meme about the Rachels was created by an Israeli blogger. At the time, when I was asked, "Why not write music about the OTHER Rachels?" I decided to find out if any of these women’s families were interested in me writing music about their tragically killed loved one. None were.

So, since then, my reply to questions posed by people such as Bob Horenstein has been, "Write it, compose it, commission it! I’ll help you produce it."

Meanwhile, the play that militant Zionist expansionists tried to stop from being performed in the USA has now been produced almost countless times, even at colleges. It has been performed in English, Swedish, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish and other languages.

Notorious Body Part Snatcher Dr. Hiss Autopsied Rachel Corrie – Parts Still Missing

8:23 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Sometimes, reading an article about war, I want to puke. Recovering from Max Blumenthal’s latest bombshell from Haifa, that was my first impulse. Eventually, though, I merely cried:

[Dr. Yehuda Hiss] also conceded to taking “samples” from Corrie’s body for “histological testing” without informing her family. Just which parts of Corrie’s body Hiss took remains unclear; despite Hiss’s claim that he “buried” the samples, her family has not confirmed the whereabouts of her missing body parts.

Dr.Hiss came to attention because of this:

The chief pathologist of Israel for a decade and a half, Hiss was implicated by a 2001 investigation by the Israeli Health Ministry of stealing body parts ranging from legs to testicles to ovaries from bodies without permission from family members then selling them to research institutes. Bodies plundered by Hiss included those of Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. He was finally removed from his post in 2004 when the body of a teenage boy killed in a traffic accident was discovered to have been thoroughly gnawed on by a rat in Hiss’s laboratory. In an interview with researcher Nancy Schepper-Hughes, Hiss admitted that he harvested organs if he was confident relatives would not discover that they were missing. He added that he often used glue to close eyelids to hide missing corneas.

While Dr. Hiss’ testimony was part of the opening, back in March of the civil suit by the Corrie family against the Israeli Defense Forces and Defense Ministry, no writer wrote back then so compellingly as Blumenthal has now done, in his article posted today on the testimony and depositions given Sunday and Monday in the opening portion of the second half of the trail.

Also catching us up on details of this week’s proceedings is Nora Barrows-Friedman, writing for Al Jazeera. In her article, Barrows-Friedman writes about the statement of Col. "Yossi" from the IDF, about whom I wrote on Tuesday:

"During war there are no civilians," that’s what “Yossi,” an Israeli military (IDF) training unit leader simply stated during a round of questioning on day two of the Rachel Corrie trials, held in Haifa’s District Court earlier this week. “When you write a [protocol] manual, that manual is for war,” he added.

For the human rights activists and friends and family of Rachel Corrie sitting in the courtroom, this open admission of an Israeli policy of indiscrimination towards civilians — Palestinian or foreign — created an audible gasp.

Yet, put into context, this policy comes as no surprise. The Israeli military’s track record of insouciance towards the killings of Palestinians, from the 1948 massacre of Deir Yassin in Jerusalem to the 2008-2009 attacks on Gaza that killed upwards of 1400 men, women and children, has illustrated that not only is this an entrenched operational framework but rarely has it been challenged until recently.

The blog Mondoweiss has reprinted Max Blumenthal’s article in entirety. They often partner with Max. Earlier in the week, there were a few articles at that Israel/Palestine-centric blog about whether or not the four civilians recently gunned down near Hebron on illegally seized land on the West Bank, were legitimate targets. The consensus there was that the militant settlers were not "legitimate targets." Commenting there, I sided with that view, but observed that Col "Yossi’s" testimony at the Corrie suit hearing this week, weakens the argument of those who condemn the recent settler shootings unequivocally. If all of Gaza, or large parts of Gaza are war zones in which there are no civilians, how does that differ conceptually from lands on the West Bank, illegally wrested from the rightful Palestinian owners by armed Israeli thugs?

In the midst of these moral dilemmas, what does one do? Blumenthal relates, in today’s article, the common sense of Craig Corrie:

Among the most disturbing aspects of Corrie’s case is the abuse of her body by Israeli authorities after she was killed. Craig Corrie recalled to me a panicked phone conversation he had with Will Hewitt, a friend and former classmate of Rachel Corrie who had just witnessed her killing.

“It’s getting dark over here and there are no refrigeration units for her body in Gaza,” Hewitt told Craig Corrie.

“Just leave it until tomorrow,” Craig replied. “We don’t want you or anyone else to get killed.

“But her body is starting to smell,” Hewitt pleaded.

Another family exhibiting common sense, even in the weird environment of what is done with these poor bodies of Israelis, Palestinians and Americans killed in such senseless violence, is the Salhout family in East Jerusalem, as told in this story:

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – On 27 August, a Palestinian four-year-old, Abdul-Hayy Salhout, fell from a balcony at his family’s home in the Jabal Al-Mukabbir village in occupied East Jerusalem.

Doctors at the Hadassah Medical Center spent eight hours trying to revive the toddler in the intensive care unit, where he died six days later. Abdul-Hayy’s parents decided at the time to donate his organs.

According to the Israeli news site Ynet, the boy’s liver has since been successfully transplanted to a critically ill seven-year-old Israeli boy. A kidney was given to an eight-year-old girl, also Israeli, whose body has accepted it. The other kidney went to a 55-year-old Israeli man, and he is in good condition too despite concerns of rejection due to the age difference.

"My son arrived at the hospital in very serious condition, and it was impossible to save his life. But we’re so happy to see him alive inside other people," Abdul-Hayy’s father told Ynet. "It makes no difference to us whether the recipients speak Arabic or Hebrew, because saving a human life is the same."

(emphases added)

Rachel Corrie Civil Suit in Haifa – Israeli Colonel: “There Are No Civilians in War Zones”

10:49 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I. Anyone reading through the transcripts and findings or articles about the first phase of this suit and what is emerging now, who then continues to believe the U.S. government should allow the Israeli Defense Forces and Defense Ministry to be the ones conducting the investigation into the death of American citizen Furkan Dogan – which is exactly what your congress and senate have demanded your president actually do – is abdicating a serious responsibility we hold toward our injured or killed citizens to an unfair, inadequate process.

After all, in the case of Mr. Dogan, here’s the wan statement Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued, regarding his murder:

Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental responsibility of our government and one that we take very seriously. We are in constant contact with the Israeli Government, attempting to obtain more information about our citizens.

It has been over 100 days now, and what has this "constant contact" resulted in? Somebody please remind Secretary Clinton.

II. The first half of the second phase of the wrongful death civil suit brought by Craig and Cindy Corrie against the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli Defense Ministry, concluded Monday in Haifa. Testimony on both days of this portion of the trial, which was attended by "representatives from the US Embassy, Human Rights Watch and Adalah, a legal and human rights organization," clearly indicates that there was no "investigation" of Corrie’s March 16th, 2003 death near Rafah in the Gaza Strip worthy of being termed thorough or fair. Although there had been additional testimony (the State is presenting its rebuttal to the Corries’ March 2010 presentation) scheduled for September 21st, the trial will not resume until October, when it is set for the the 7th, 17th, 18th and 21st.

In the testimony of Sunday, September 5, it was unmistakable that the IDF had an enormously unqualified young, 20 year-old soldier conduct the most important parts of the early investigation:

Oded confirmed that a commander of the unit involved in Rachel’s killing interrupted the questioning of the bulldozer operator, telling him that Doron Almog, head of the Israeli military’s Southern Command, had ordered that the questioning cease. He also said that, in his experience, interference of this nature from military commanders was not uncommon.

When asked why he did not challenge the intervention, Oded said that as a junior investigator, it was not his place to do so. He was 20-years-old at the time, with only a high-school education and three-months of training in investigation.

Corrie’s case was the first civilian killing that Oded investigated from beginning to end.
Like El’ad, Oded stated that neither he nor any other investigator visited the site of the killing.

Oded said that he did not obtain the video-audio recording from the military surveillance camera which filmed 24/7 until March 23, a week after he began the investigation.

Oded said he did not request the video-audio recording with radio transmissions of the 2 bulldozer drivers and commanders from the hours leading up to the incident, transmissions which might have provided further context to the killing. Oded stated he did not believe they were relevant, even though Rachel and her friends from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were protesting the bulldozer activity for several hours prior to her death.

When military police transcribed the radio transmissions, they failed to include an exchange in Arabic in which one soldier said, “Yem mawatu!” which in English means, “What, Did you kill him?!” and another soldier replied, “Allah Yerhamo,” “May God have mercy on him.” When asked about the discrepancy, Oded said that he did not understand Arabic and the investigation team did not think it was important. Oded testified that none of the investigators interviewed any of the Palestinian witnesses – including medical personnel who examined Rachel immediately following the incident. When asked why, he said he did not think they could provide any useful information.

There have been unanswered questions about the missing video surveillance tapes and audio of radio conversations between command control and the two people in the bulldozer that killed Corrie since the March phase. None have yet been answered in this current two-day episode. Have they been destroyed, or are they merely being deemed "classified"?

Monday’s proceeding featured what appears to have been an incredibly haughty IDF Colonel, who most reminds me of the Argentine Colonels of the late 70s and 80s, who justified the murder of tens of thousands of liberal and progressive men and women there, because their whole nation was "a war zone."

One of the witnesses, known to the court as Yossi, was a Colonel in the Engineering Corps. He was responsible for writing operating manuals for military bulldozers and other equipment. He also conducted a simulation of what the bulldozer driver would have been able to see. In his testimony:

He repeatedly insisted that there are no civilians in a war zone. His assertion disregards the reality in the Palestinian Occupied Territories as well as international humanitarian law, which was created to protect civilians in armed conflict situations.

Yossi contradicted his own March 2003 testimony, given to military investigators, that the armored personnel carrier (APC) at the incident was intended to protect both soldiers and civilians. Today, he said the APC was there only for the safety of the drivers.

In his affidavit, Yossi wrote that he conducted a reenactment of the incident. However, he testified today that he did not reenact the scene, but rather filmed a bulldozer of the same model with a bulldozer operator, and another soldier, to get a sense of what the operator at the incident might have seen. He also said he did not view the military’s surveillance video of the incident in creating his simulation.

Yossi claimed that the manual on operating instructions for mechanical engineering equipment in low intensity conflict did not apply to real conflict situations, but rather only in training and administrative activities.

Yossi stated that the bulldozer driver and commander have the exact same field of vision and that the commander sat at the same level as the driver, contradicting the government’s expert witness, who stated that the commander had a better field of vision because he sat higher.

Another witness for the state, Major Yoram Manchori, testified as an expert witness on the bulldozer’s field of vision. He was responsible for purchasing heavy engineering equipment and readying it for military use. In May 2010, he created an animated simulation of what the bulldozer driver and commander’s vision might have been.

Manchori insisted he used in the simulation a bulldozer identical to the one that killed Rachel. However, the bulldozer he used had multiple bars on its windows, whereas the bulldozer that struck Rachel had no bars. Upon being informed of this discrepancy, he claimed that the bars did not impact visibility.

He conducted his simulation on terrain that was very different than the terrain at the scene.

He determined the simulated location of the bulldozers based on eyewitness recollections given over 7 years after the incident. He did not cross-check them with eyewitness accounts from the time of the killing, nor did he view the military surveillance video of the incident.

Manchori testified that the price of a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer is currently $700,000 and the cost of arming it is an additional $200,000 – $250,000, figures not previously disclosed. In light of this, it is now known that the cost of mounting a camera, which is often cited as being prohibitively expensive, would be less than 10% of the price of the bulldozer itself.

Manchori testified that after Rachel’s death the Israeli military installed cameras on one bulldozer but due to the high cost, limited increase in field vision and other problems, the installation was discontinued.

Manchori testified that prior to Corrie’s killing, the Israeli military tested the D9R bulldozer field of vision and that he personally had sent three charts of the results to the military investigators in March 2003. In court today, the Corries’ lawyer requested to obtain a copy of this report, stating that he needed it in order to analyze the bulldozer visibility claims made in the military police investigation of Rachel’s killing. The State argued that the report was classified and should not be allowed into evidence, although the Israeli Supreme Court previously ruled that this report was relevant to the case. Judge Gershon upheld the State’s argument.

After Monday’s hearing, regarding the "no civilians in a war zone" statement, Cindy Corrie was quoted as saying, "This was startling to our family, and to others in the courtroom. Rafah is a densely populated town. In fact, Rachel was killed defending the home of two Palestinian families-a pharmacist, an accountant, their wives and small children. It was extremely troubling for their existence to be categorically denied.”

III. An interesting development in the coverage, or lack thereof, of this trial, is the reporting by a source of pro-Israeli information, IMRA, or Independent Media Review and Analysis. As was shown in the MV Mavi Marmara incident, the IDF and Defense Ministry are getting quicker at throwing their propaganda out there and seeing what sticks to the wall than had been the case until 2010. As Max Blumenthal was easily able to demonstrate in the aftermath of that tragedy, accuracy was not an issue with the IDF. Were it not for the incredible courage of Iara Lee and others aboard the MVMM, more of the IDF crap would have stuck to the wall.

In the IMRA coverage of the trial, they now spend a lot of time on the "research" done by American writer and journalist Joshua Hammer in 2003. At that time, working for Mother Jones magazine, he "hammered" what he had hoped would be the definitive nails into Rachel Corrie’s coffin:

Corrie herself has faded into obscurity, a subject of debate in Internet chat rooms and practically nowhere else.

That was September 2003. Phan Nguyen, writing then for Counterpunch, tore Hammer’s piece to shreds, in an article titled Mother Jones Smears Rachel Corrie – Specious Journalism in Defense of Killers.

In early 2004, I corresponded with Phan Nguyen about his article and Hammer’s. I attempted to get in touch with Hammer, but he didn’t respond. I wrote to some of those Nguyen observed Hammer had stolen material from, and they were surprised, though – being right-wing Christian Zionists – they were disappointed to have ended up in what one called "the leftist MoJo."

I wrote about the Hammer-Nguyen contretemps for an April 2004 lecture I delivered in Anchorage. In that lecture I left out my suspicion from researching Hammer’s sources that he had been fed a lot of his 2003 material from an Israeli governmental source or sources, most likely the Mossad or another intelligence-gathering group. Hence, his inability to handle the way he had ripped off American right-wing bloggers in the "leftist MoJo" article. I speculate now that he didn’t even know it was a rip-off, because he probably merely reprinted stuff given to him by his contacts as his own, without checking it.

The way IMRA is sanctifying Hammer’s long-ago blown material now only reinforces what I felt in 2004.

Rachel Corrie Civil Lawsuit Resumes Today in Haifa

1:49 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The two-phase civil lawsuit, brought by Cindy and Craig Corrie against the Israeli Defense Forces and Defense Ministry, seeking a judgement of wrongful death in the matter of their daughter Rachel, near Rafah, Gaza, on March 16, 2003. resumes today in Haifa. In this phase, the defendant government will seek to rebut the plaintiff’s case, presented last spring.

According to Jack Khoury (how’s that for irony), writing for Haaretz:

Among the witnesses to appear today, tomorrow and after the holidays, are two Military Police investigators who in March 2003 decided, together with the southern district prosecutor, to close the case. The state will also present an expert witness who will give his opinion as to the bulldozer driver’s field of vision.

The state submitted 13 affidavits, including that of the driver who ran down Corrie, his commander and other military officials involved in the case.

As in just about everything having to do with Rachel Corrie’s death, our American media will not cover this trial more than it has to. At least, unlike Furkan Dogan, our press won’t continually list Rachel as being a foreigner in their page B-25 coverage’s terse, short, pro-Israeli paragraphs.

Jack Khoury’s article, just posted, is already eliciting the predictable comments at Haaretz:

Can the driver of the bulldozer sue the Corries for emotional damage. Can you imagine the horror he has to deal with every day to know she threw herself in front of his bulldozer.

I hope to blog about this at The Seminal throughout the second phase of the suit, even though I’m committed to keeping somewhat aloof to I/P issues here for a while. I covered it here during the first phase. The Rachel Corrie Foundation’s site offers good coverage, and Haaretz has been the most even-handed of the Israeli media on this important issue, so far.

A summation of documents having to do with the first phase can be found at the niche at the Rachel Corrie Foundation devoted to the trial. Before the civil suit began, I felt strongly that Corrie had died in an unfortunate event. But the patterns of IDF communication uncovered during the first phase indicate to me that she was intentionally killed.

IDF Released Several Faked Photos – How Can They Be Trusted in ANY Investigation?

1:28 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Proof has surfaced today that many of the so-called "evidence" photographs being distributed by the Israeli government as examples of terror weapons on board the Gaza aid flotilla date back years:

The bulletproof vest photos on the Israeli flickr page are dated February 2006.

The axe photo was taken in 2003.

The pepper spray photos – 2003

The iconic pictures of knives and other weapons on the Saudi flag and other stuff:

Hi. Just to confirm that the EXIF metadata points to this photo being taken in 2006:
barney@benchwood:~$ identify -verbose farm5.static.flickr.com/4047/4662965686_a91f8 bab2e_o_d.jpg | grep Date
exif:DateTime: 2010:06:02 10:38:47
exif:DateTimeDigitized: 2006:02:07 05:52:19
exif:DateTimeOriginal: 2006:02:07 05:52:19

And on and on…..

Absolutely, this is strong evidence that by allowing the Israeli government to be trusted in any aspect of the investigation of these high seas crimes will be foolhardy and negligent.

The most recent evidence we have of how the Israeli government deals with crime scenes where American lives have been put in jeopardy is in the ongoing civil suit brought by Rachel Corrie’s family against the Israeli government. Testimony will resume some time – or not. The Israeli government is trying to stop the trial. But so far, here’s some of what has come out that reflects on the ability of the Israeli government or military to conduct honest investigations:

March 24: Military investigator testifies that head of IDF Southern Command instructed bulldozer operator not to cooperate with investigation.

March 15: Eye Witness Testifies: Israeli Military Investigator Tried to Influence My Statement.

March 14: Autopsy doctor admits to violating court order in Rachel Corrie autopsy.

Essentially, aspects of IDF conduct involving their handling of the death of Corrie clearly violate Israeli law, and call for trial, possible conviction and imprisonment of all officers involved:

But now evidence has emerged in the civil suit that Israel’s then Gaza commander obstructed the military police investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death.

The apparent intervention of Major-General Doron Almog, then head of Israel’s southern command, is documented in testimony taken by Israeli military police from the commander of the bulldozer a day after Ms Corrie was killed.

The handwritten affidavit effectively puts the entire state of Israel on trial. Is it willing to tolerate Maj-Gen Almog’s gross interference in the investigation or will it hold him to the three years’ imprisonment the law accords for such an offence?

In the affidavit, the commander of the D-9 tells military police investigators that he did not see Ms Corrie before she was wounded.

However, Alice Coy, now a nurse in Glasgow, and an ISM volunteer activist who was near Ms Corrie during the incident, said in an affidavit to the court that “to the best of my knowledge the bulldozer driver could see Rachel while pushing earth over her body”.

The D-9 commander, a reservist named Edward Valermov, was in the middle of his testimony when a colonel dispatched by Maj-Gen Almog entered the room and ordered him to stop speaking, according to the document.

The military police investigator wrote: “At 18:12 reserve Colonel Baruch Kirhatu entered the room and informed the witness that he should not convey anything and should not write anything and this at the order of the general of southern command.”

In his testimony before he was stopped, Mr Valermov said that the bulldozers, manned by two people, were ordered by their company commander to continue their work despite the presence of the ISM protesters.

He said that troops in an armoured personnel carrier threw stun grenades, used tear gas and fired shots toward the ground in order to scare the protesters away.

“It didn’t help and therefore we decided to continue the work with all possible delicateness on the orders of the company commander,” he added.

Mr Valermov testified that the protesters nearly touched the bulldozers, making it impossible to advance, but that after the company commander’s order “we started moving with the D-9, we continued laying bare the area from all of the things that were there.

“It was only when we moved the D-9 backwards that I saw her. The woman was lying in a place where the instrument had not reached. As soon as we saw the harmed woman we returned to the central corridor, stood and waited for orders.”

Mr Valermov’s last statement before Maj-Gen Almog’s interdiction was, “my job was to guide. The driver cannot guide himself because his field of vision is not large.”

In a phone interview from Olympia, Washington, Rachel’s father Craig Corrie termed Maj-Gen Almog’s intervention in Mr Valermov’s testimony “outrageous”.

Maj-Gen Almog has angrily denied halting Mr Valermov’s testimony.

Moshe Negbi, legal commentator for the state-run Voice of Israel radio, said of Maj-Gen Almog’s interdiction: “If a commander prevents a witness from testifying than it is disruption of an investigation, a criminal offence whose penalty is three years’ imprisonment.”

By deciding Maj-Gen Almog’s fate, Israel will be deciding if it is a state of law or a state of the generals – past and present.

Anyone who thinks the officers involved in the Corrie coverup will be held accountable is a fool. Anyone who thinks that the Israeli government will conduct an impartial investigation of Sunday morning’s tragedy is even more foolish, especially in light of mounting evidence that the Israelis are already disseminating totally false images as examples of some sort of forensic evidence.

It is time to put pressure on our government to demand the truth, rather than accept criminally motivated bullshit and lies.

Can The MV Rachel Corrie Heal the Wounds Left in the Wake of the USS Liberty?

12:31 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Here’s an idea:

The MV Rachel Corrie should plan on reaching the exact point at which the USS Liberty was attacked by the Israeli Navy on June 8th 1967, on June 8th 2010.

They should ask for permission to lay wreaths and garlands from the families of those killed at that site 43 years ago.

They should ask that now, and continue to idle in the area north of Egypt.

They should also ask the U.S. government and Navy if they would like to send a vessel to be at the site for the wreath laying ceremony.

They should invite foreign dignitaries to charter vessels from Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and other countries to come to the site to witness the wreath laying.

They should invite American congressional leaders to come honor the dead from a brutal battle that earned the skipper of the Liberty the Medal of Honor.

They should invite rabbis, imams, ministers, priests, shamans and witches from all faiths to pray earnestly for peace. Atheists, too.

And then,

They should be allowed to proceed to the port of Gaza, unhindered.

How Will the Global and U.S. Media Deal with the Gaza Flotilla’s Encounter with the Israeli Navy?

12:58 am in Foreign Policy by EdwardTeller

I. Were I the commodore of the flotilla of eight or nine vessels preparing to head straight from Cypress to the Gaza coast near the end of May, I’d want Joe Meadors next to me on the bridge. He’s joining the flotilla. Joe’s one of the survivors of the brutal Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, for which Joe’s previous skipper won the Congressional Medal of Honor. Joe says "It’ll be like old home week."

I’d want Joe on the bridge of the MV Rachel Corrie with me. Along with every other living survivor of the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, Joe believes the Israelis meant to sink a U.S. ship and somehow cover up the evidence.

The MV Rachel Corrie is not a U.S. ship, but several U.S. citizens are joining the flotilla, including two former high-ranking State Department officials:

Ambassador Edward L. Peck, who served as a paratrooper during two tours of wartime active duty; spent 32 years in the Foreign Service; including stints as Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania, Deputy Director of the Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism at the Reagan White House, and State Department Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon; and after retirement was Executive Secretary of the American Academy of Diplomacy.

and:

Mary Ann Wright is a retired United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Other Americans will be participating, along with hundreds of Europeans and some Turkish peace activists.

But none are as important as Joe Meador.

II. When it comes to that moment when, in international waters (as was the case with the Liberty) the flotilla, which will have been monitored since untying from Cypress by aircraft and helicopters, half the Israeli Navy and the flotilla come over opposite horizons and into view with each other, nobody can foresee what will happen next. The Israelis claim they have a right to intercept the convoy. The backers of the convoy are subject to whatever the skippers of the small flotilla deem to be most prudent as the scene rapidly unfolds. They are licensed mariners who have agreed to abide by certain rules to obtain and keep their professional credentials.

Essentially, they have to be as careful when the Israelis approach them as a similar flotilla might have to be should Somali pirates hail them on the high seas. Should the flotilla attempt to keep on steaming straight toward the Gaza wharves, the Israeli Navy has announced that it is in training for the encounter.

Will it try to pick them off one by one?

Should the large MV Rachel Corrie be used as a 21st Century ram at the head of a frantic charge, hoping that one of the Israeli torpedo or missile boats doesn’t have a projectile with the word "Caterpillar D-9" painted onto its dull, deadly metal?

III. I don’t know the answers. But I would like to see some of the media attention on this show that the reporters are informed enough about the context of the flotilla to give us some honest journalism.

As the flotilla passes Malta, a lot of pressure will be brought upon those responsible for the joining of vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean, to pursue some channeled plan or to disband. Will the U.S. take a role in this? The vessels are flagged at a lot of places, none of them in the USA.

The European media, which is sort of lurking around this story, will be onto it once the MV Rachel Corrie passes Gibraltar, which will be soon.

The US media will ignore it as long as possible.

The MV Rachel Corrie Has Set Sail for Gaza

12:32 pm in Culture, Foreign Policy, Politics by EdwardTeller

The 1,200-ton cargo vessel, MV Rachel Corrie, laden with a hold full of "much-needed reconstruction material, medical equipment, and school supplies, " has untied from a dock in Dundalk Ireland, and has now faced its bow toward the Straits of Gibraltar. It will be joined by seven other vessels, with their similar cargoes, and about 600 passengers, including some of the world’s leading peace and human rights activists.

Two navies, the two most powerful in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, are likely to get involved in the last leg of the voyage to the Gaza coast – The Turkish Navy and, of course, the Israeli Navy. Turkey’s Prime Minister, Tayyib Erdogan, recently expressed his support for “breaking the oppressive siege on the Gaza Strip…which is at the top of Turkey’s list of priorities." His belief that the blockade should be broken may be reinforced by the resolve of a proud government that was intentionally humiliated by Israeli diplomats back in January, "torpedoing" Turko-Israeli relations, as the web site Tikun Olam then put it.

Earlier in May, "John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, …. called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with desperately needed supplies to the beleaguered territory. "We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and human rights organizations have been successful in similar previous operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible."

But the Israeli Navy is training for a confrontation of a far larger scale than what they have crudely dealt with in past open attempts to break the illegal and cruel blockade:

ISRAEL IN TRAINING TO BLOCK FREEDOM FLOTILLA
May 13, 2010 by irishingaza
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel’s naval forces are allegedly in training to prepare to seize eight boats scheduled to dock in the Gaza Strip on 24 May from Europe, Arabic-language media reported on Wednesday.

“About half of the Israeli naval forces will participate in an operation that was approved by the cabinet. [Israeli] Defense Minister Ehud Barak will supervise the operation,” an Israeli official told the Arabic-language satellite TV station Al-Hurra.

An Israeli security source told Ma’an that authorities will prevent the arrival of the boats “at any price.”

The Freedom Fleet is scheduled to set sail from the UK, Greece and Turkey. The European Free Gaza campaign said Israeli authorities informed them that the flotillas would be prevented from docking in Gaza.

The boats will be loaded with prefabricated homes, cement, and medicine and will be accompanied by 600 individuals in a bid to break the siege on Gaza.

On Sunday, Jamal Al-Khudari, head of Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege, said Israeli threats to open fire at the boats reveal Israel’s weakness.

“Such threats reflect the occupation’s failure and embody state terrorism against peaceful individuals who come to support a people under siege and aggression,” a statement issued by Al-Khudari said.

Under international law, the activists attempting to dock in Gaza have the right to participate in breaking the siege, Al-Khudari added, saying the threats will not deter participants from arriving in Gaza.

The popular committee organizer said the group was coming well-equipped, and would be ready should the Israeli navy surround them for a long period of time.

The Freedom Flotilla announced plans in late April, saying a group of ships would depart from several corners of the Mediterranean and gather in international waters with the intent to deliver some 5,000 tons of building and medical supplies to the population under siege.

According to flotilla organizers, 600 activists will sail three cargo ships and five passenger boats for Gaza in what a statement called the “biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israeli’s ongoing occupation, aggression, and violence against the Palestinian people.”

I’ll be following this story closely. I was informed last week, that some of the crew loading the MV Rachel Corrie, have been playing MP3s of The Skies Are Weeping as they work.

My heart, along with my music, is with all the hundreds of peace activists who are involved in this humanitarian effort.

March 17th Rachel Corrie Civil Trial Testimony

6:01 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Apparently, the ongoing Civil Suit in Haifa District Court, regarding the circumstances of American College student Rachel Corrie’s death in Rafah on March 16th, 2003, took that same day off, so that Corrie’s parent could travel to Ramallah for the dedication of a street, named after their daughter. But the trial resumed Wednesday. Once gain, here is the report from Dave at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice:

Today March 17, 2010 the Haifa District Court saw a fourth day of testimony in the civil lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza. Rachel Corrie, an American human rights defender from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003 by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer. She had been nonviolently demonstrating against Palestinian home demolitions with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct action methods and principles.

An Israeli military police investigator, who was part of the team that investigated Rachel’s killing, testified today. In his testimony he stated that:

He never inspected the site where the killing occurred; nor did he ever sit inside the D9 bulldozer to see for himself the view the driver had and what the field of vision was.

He admitted that the Israeli military’s D9 bulldozer regulations state that the D9s should not be operated with civilians in close proximity. He failed to question the bulldozer driver about these regulations or make them part of the military police investigation file.

He received a court order authorizing Rachel’s autopsy under the condition that an official from the U.S. Embassy be present, and at the time informed the court that the condition would be upheld. Subsequently, he made no effort to ensure that this condition was upheld, nor does he know if anyone else did, stating he did not consider the follow-up his responsibility. He also failed to forward the final autopsy report to the court, even though this was required, stating that his commander did not require him to do so and that he simply “did not pay attention” to the court order. Dr. Hiss ultimately performed the autopsy without an American Embassy official present.

To his knowledge, no ISM member was arrested the afternoon of March 16 for interfering with Israeli military activities.

American eyewitness Gregory Schnabel, the fourth and last eye-witness called to testify, also testified today, providing his account of the killing of Ms. Corrie. Gregory testified that he saw Rachel climb to the top of the pile of dirt being pushed by the bulldozer and that she was visible to the driver. He also testified that a bulldozer had come close to himself and another ISM member that afternoon, stopping just short of hitting them, which led him to believe that the demonstrators were visible to the driver.

The trial will resume on Sunday, March 21, 2010, at 9 a.m. at the district court in Haifa.