How the Israelis control news reporting regarding the Gaza aid flotilla

June 9, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

The Israelis don’t trust other people to describe what really happened.  Therefore, they seized the evidence. Amy Goodman reports:

Who frames the narrative? After the Israeli military raided the Gaza aid flotilla and killed nine of the activists onboard, they detained almost everyone else—700 activists and journalists—hauled them to the Israeli port of Ashdod, and kept them largely out of communication with family, press and lawyers for days. The Israeli government confiscated every recording and communication device it could find, devices containing almost all the recorded evidence of the raid. The Israelis selected, edited, released footage they wanted the world to see.

Here’s more, including discussion by Paul McGeough, chief correspondent, Sydney Morning Herald and Kate Geraghty, photographer with the Sydney Morning Herald:

KATE GERAGHTY: Yes. I was photographing, standing right next to Paul. And I was looking over the side of the boat, as the commando came—an Israeli commando came up towards us. So I was photographing and basically got hit on the arm just above my elbow, which knocked me about a meter, about a meter and a half. And then, I was immediately sick. And then the commando came toward me and—

AMY GOODMAN: Sick, you mean—you mean you were throwing up?

KATE GERAGHTY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then a commando wrestled my camera off me. And they had guns, so, you know, we just said basically, as Paul mentioned, that we’re Australian journalists, we’re with the Sydney Morning Herald. And that didn’t make any difference.

AMY GOODMAN: Kate, you and Paul have covered many war zones around the world. You’re experienced journalists. How did this compare?

KATE GERAGHTY: Well, this, for me, personally, it was—you had nowhere to go. I mean, you couldn’t run anywhere. You couldn’t hide. We were doing our job. And it wasn’t respected. So, yeah, I did not appreciate it.

AMY GOODMAN: Paul, we only have a minute, but talking about framing the story, you were detained, like the others, for more than three days. They confiscated all of your equipment? What did you have? How were you able to get word out? Or weren’t you able to?

PAUL McGEOUGH: Well, before they came on the ship, we were able to do our jobs as our contracts require of us. We were filing regular reports. We had satellites. We had handheld sat phones. We had computers that linked into those satellite phones. We had Kate’s very expensive cameras. Anywhere between $60,000 and $80,000 worth of equipment was confiscated from us, and we have not seen it. We were not given receipts for it.

But the thing that—talking to people who were on all of the boats, while we were in detention, the systematic attempt and very deliberate first priority for the Israeli soldiers as they came on the ships was to shut down the story, to confiscate all cameras, to shut down satellites, to smash the CCTV cameras that were on the Mavi Marmara, to make sure that nothing was going out. They were hellbent on controlling the story. If you go back to the Dubai disaster, where the story played so badly for the Israelis in January with the murder of the Hamas operative, they are so concerned and so aware of the importance of controlling the narrative at any volatile point in the crisis that their first priority was, as I said, to shut down any other story.

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Category: Censorship, Media

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Niklaus Prirsig says:

    I recently found out why the Israeli government wants the Gaza strip so bad that they are intent on the complete extermination of the Palestinian population there.

    Natural gas.

  2. Brynn Jacobs says:

    Niklaus-

    Can I ask for a link to what brought you to that realization? I found this article, but was wondering if you had something more contemporary?

    I have long believed that a majority of the impetus behind international foreign policy is increasingly motivated by the need to access energy sources.

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