Friday, June 11, 2010

Somebody's lying about the Gaza flotilla. But who?

By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


I remember once testifying against the police, as a witness in court. The judge dismissed the charges because of contradictory testimony - the officer's and mine. On the way out, I kind of taunted the officer singing to the tune "Somebody's Lying": "Somebody's lying, who could it be? Is it the police or is it me?"

I recollect that incident in my younger days today as we listen to such vastly differing witness accounts of the Israeli Defense Forces interdiction of the Gaza flotilla.

Clearly, somebody's lying. But who could it be?

When American Gene St. Onge, who was on one of flotilla ships, joined me as my guest Thursday on News Talk Online on the Paltalk News Network, he said that on his boat, at least, the passengers passively formed a human barrier around the wheelhouse to protect the captain.

Of course, no one died on that ship.

Sadly, nine people died on the Marmara. Were the activists simply trying to protect the captain on that ship?

Apparently not, according to an interview with the captain.

In fact, the captain and the crew reportedly implored the activists before the boat was boarded to avoid violence and tried to stop it from occurring. Even to the point of throwing makeshift weapons overboard. But said that people associated with the group IHH took over control of the ship, ordering the passengers around.

What's disconcerting is that people on both sides of this issue rushed to judgment, and are now cherry-picking facts to support their preconceived points of view.

Israeli detractors refer to the IDF commandos as "pirates." The activists are being called "terrorists" by Israel supporters.

Israel said extreme restraint was used by the IDF even though the soldiers were attacked. The government maintains they fought back with paintball guns for 40 minutes before finally getting the authorization to use deadly force.

Some of the activists insist the commandos repelled from hovering helicopters - their guns ablazing.

Somebody's lying.

Neither side seems to be willing to accept any culpability. It's all the other guy's fault.

We won't know for certain until an investigation is completed. Of course, any investigation will be viewed with suspicion as well - and depending on its outcome - attempts will be made to discredit it.

St. Onge is calling for an independent investigation. I am too. But finding an independent panel that both sides accept is daunting.

Meanwhile, the war of words continues. And the rest of us are left knowing that somebody is lying. We just don't know who.

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