‘New York Times’ fails to interview a single flotilla member about killings

on 14 Comments

This is amazing.  The Israeli government held the hundreds of illegally-arrested people from the Gaza Flotilla incommunicado for several days to give Israel’s version of the deadly raid time to harden.  But yesterday, Israel started to release and deport the prisoners.

The London Financial Times then did exactly what a newspaper is supposed to do; it asked the detainees for their side of the story.  In a short article, Vita Bekker found people like Norazma Abdullah, from Malaysia, who challenged the Israeli account:

[The Israeli commandos] fired with some rubber bullets, but after some time they used live ammunition.  Five were dead on the spot, and after that we surrendered. 

Let us turn now to The New York Times.  In today’s print edition, the main article, on page 1, is not directly about the Gaza Flotilla at all — but a dispatch from Washington quoting "senior American officials" suggesting Israel should relax the blockade.  Inside the paper, on page 4, we do see a story about the actual events, written by Michael Slackman, with contributions from 4 other Times reporters.  The story repeats the Israeli version, that

soldiers opened fire when they said they were attacked by passengers with chains, knives, bars and clubs.

But none of  The Times’s army of correspondents found a single activist to interview The Times did manage to locate Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, and a couple of Israeli experts, but not one of the people who had just seen (at least) 9 people killed were worthy of inclusion.

The current online version of the Times story still has no direct quotes from the actual participants, although it adds the news that one of the dead may have been an American citizen (of Turkish background).  But it does include an intriguing revelation,

The senior Turkish official also said forensic examination of the bodies showed that one of the dead had been shot at very close range.

This startling new fact is buried in the 7th paragraph of the online article. 

Will The Times pursue this angle?  Or will we continue to have to look at other publications to find out the simple truth?

P.S. Keith Olbermann interviewed Ambassador Peck yesterday, Peck was aboard.

14 Responses

  1. Les
    June 3, 2010, 8:29 am

    When the Times has to make the choice between being a newspaper delivering journalism or being a member of the Israel Lobby, the choice is always clear.

  2. Citizen
    June 3, 2010, 8:38 am

    Keith O actually allowed Peck to speak sans interruption; Peck detailed that on his boat the IDF commandoes simply walked on board, and very shortly, after some passive resistence causing severe arm and shoulder wrenching the boat folks were subdued–the commandoes had machine guns; and a few of them had paint ball guns. Peck said also that a survivor of the USS Libery was aboard, and Keith allowed Peck to tell the audience about the attack on the USS Liberty. I had written off MSNBC on the I-P conflict–now I will have to tune in to Keith’s show to hopefully see more of the non-hasara POV.

    • Les
      June 3, 2010, 9:02 am

      Well detailed report on Israel’s attack on USS Liberty

      link to thelibertyincident.com

    • Les
      June 3, 2010, 9:06 am

      Regarding the USS Liberty, when President Johnson, not once but twice called black Navy planes sent to investigate what was happening to the ship, Johnson empowered the Israel Lobby by ceding to it the power it sought thus giving to the US forever what we know today as the Israel Lobby.

  3. Julian
    June 3, 2010, 8:53 am

    Here is an interview with a flotilla member:
    link to youtube.com

    • Walid
      June 3, 2010, 10:41 am

      What’s the big deal, Julian? So what if the guy has some religious quirk or fantasy he wants to live out but these will not take away from the viciousness of the Israeli forces, religion or no religion. Try another angle to justify Israel’s crime.

  4. Oscar
    June 3, 2010, 9:07 am

    The spin is furious, and Netanyahu knows all his usual American MSM channels are fully and subserviently available for the Ministry of Hasbara, but the canned talking points are only calling attention to the fact they are lying.

    The Times has no credibility now that Bill Keller violated the recommendation of the paper’s ombudsman and all but admitted it’s a Pravda-like organ of the Israeli government. As Ali Abunimah tweeted this morning, who knows if Ethan Bronner’s kid took part in the raid as a commando? If he did, how would that affect Dad’s reporting of the subject?

    • Walid
      June 3, 2010, 10:37 am

      So far I have heard at least 15 people interviewed on what happened and all 15 had the same version of the story that was almost identical to Peck’s. The 4 Lebanese were asked by the Israelis to sign papers that they would never set foot in Israel again and all 4 refused categorically to sign it. One of them yelled all sorts of profanities at them and they didn’t react to him; it was Mohammed Shukur that lost his wife and 4 children to an Israeli bomb in 2006. The Syrian captive mentioned yesterday that she saw Israelis throwing a body or bodies overboard but I haven’t heard it from anyone else.

  5. talss
    June 3, 2010, 9:49 am

    The NYTimes are just fails,
    the CNN and many other medias have successfully interviewed people from the flotilla.

  6. lysias
    June 3, 2010, 10:44 am

    The victim shot at close range was presumably the 19-year-old U.S. citizen, Furkan Doğan, as he took four shots to the head and one to the chest.

    • Walid
      June 3, 2010, 11:09 am

      On the subject of spin, I’m sure everyone here remembers the Israeli PR campaign that was formulated by Gillerman months in advance of the planned assault on Gaza. This is just a small refresher; from the Guardian, a week or so into the assault and it gives an insight on what PR stunt Israel is now pulling, especially with the silence of papers like the NYT:

      Chris McGreal reports on Jan 4, 2009 from Jerusalem on Israel’s hidden strategy to persuade the world of the justice of its cause in its battle with a bitter ideological foe

      Months ago, as Israel prepared to unleash its latest wave of desolation against Gaza, it recognised that blasting Hamas and “the infrastructure of terror”, which includes police stations, homes and mosques, was a straightforward task.

      Israel also understood that a parallel operation would be required to persuade the rest of the world of the justice of its cause, even as the bodies of Palestinian women and children filled the mortuaries, and to ensure that its war was seen not in terms of occupation but of the west’s struggle against terror and confrontation with Iran.

      … A new information directorate was established to influence the media, with some success. And when the attack began just over a week ago, a tide of diplomats, lobby groups, bloggers and other supporters of Israel were unleashed to hammer home a handful of carefully crafted core messages intended to ensure that Israel was seen as the victim, even as its bombardment killed more than 430 Palestinians over the past week, at least a third of them civilians or policemen.

      … Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the UN until a few months ago, was brought in by the Foreign Ministry to help lead the diplomatic and PR campaign. He said that the diplomatic and political groundwork has been under way for months.

      “This was something that was planned long ahead,” he said. “I was recruited by the foreign minister to coordinate Israel’s efforts and I have never seen all parts of a very complex machinery – whether it is the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the prime minister’s office, the police or the army – work in such co-ordination, being effective in sending out the message.”

      In briefings in Jerusalem and London, Brussels and New York, the same core messages were repeated: that Israel had no choice but to attack in response to the barrage of Hamas rockets; that the coming attack would be on “the infrastructure of terror” in Gaza and the targets principally Hamas fighters; that civilians would die, but it was because Hamas hides its fighters and weapons factories among ordinary people.

      link to guardian.co.uk

      • Les
        June 3, 2010, 12:08 pm

        On Amy Goodman’s interview during today’s Democracy Now
        Huwaida Arraf said all their cell phones and videos were seized by the commandos who then brought out their own video cameras and then started filming. With the American experience in pr, I wonder how much the US media was involved in the advance planning. It sounds like a newsworthy story.

  7. zebra
    June 3, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Now there is at least three witnesses who claim that Israel started shooting before boarding.

    Link 1. link to youtube.com

    Link 2
    link to youtube.com

    The statements above is supported by a swede who was on board.

    Link 3 link to svt.se (it is in swedish.)

    VIDEO (Video from aljazeera. But i dont know why they were allowed to keep this.)
    link to youtube.com

  8. RoHa
    June 3, 2010, 7:43 pm

    O.K. You mention the Financial Times , the New York Times, and The Times.

    Very confusing. In the real world, The Times and the Financial Times are London papers. If you had only mentioned the NYT, then we would be able to guess that when you say “the Times” you meant the NYT, but since you mentioned the FT, we have to guess when you mean the NYT and when you mean the FT or the Grey Lady herself.

    Why not just stick to the real names?

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