In the aftermath of the Israeli raid on Freedom Flotilla that began before dawn on Monday, we were informed that the only one of the six ships on which there had been violence was the large Turkish-owned passenger ship Mavi Marmara (carrying at least 600 persons, including one baby, and almost the entire accompanying press corps).
The Israeli military apparatus controlled the whole process from the moment of the raid at sea until Tuesday afternoon, when the first small group of released Flotilla participants arrived home and began talking. More were released on Wednesday.
Once the Israeli government mobilized and ordered all detainees returned, it became clear how fast the country can move, when they really want to — in fact, they can turn on a dime.
By this morning, almost all of the 700 or so detainees have left Israel.
Until then, we were told there was violence on only one ship, the Mavi Marmara. “The remaining five ships docked at Ashdod as requested and have followed IDF instructions”, the Jerusalem Post reported late on Monday, here.
Now, from reports trickling out, we know that there was violence on all the ships, and during the entire processing process afterwards. Passengers (some, often targetted randomly) were beaten indiscriminately. What were initially called “electric prods”, now being referred to as “tasers”, were used abundantly — even on journalists trying to finish up their last reports on board the Mavi Marmara.
The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia — whose photographer, Kate Geraghty, was “tasered” when Israeli commandos boarded the Challenger on Monday morning — has done a sidebar on the tasers, published today and entitled Victims get more than a stunning, in which the paper’s Health Editor writes: “TASER victims are incapacitated by pulses of electricity that trigger muscle spasms and such overwhelming pain they invariably fall over. And while the manufacturer, Taser International, portrays the gun-like devices as a gentler form of law enforcement – designed to block ”co-ordinated actions” while protecting vital organs – they have been associated with heart irregularities, miscarriage and eye damage. Taser’s barbed electrodes, which shoot from the device at 55 metres per second and deliver up to 50,000 volts of electricity, have penetrated people’s brains, lungs and throats, and have been associated with sudden deaths. They do not have to make contact with the skin as the electrical jolt can penetrate thick clothing…