Rashomon on the High Seas

We spent a few hours Monday night trying to nail down a few facts — any facts— about Israel’s raid on the “Freedom Flotilla” heading for Gaza.

We gave up.

It’s not just that every fact is disputed — it’s that every fact is part of a larger politically charged narrative, and part of an immediate land rush following the incident. Whoever wins the facts, wins the story.

How bad is it? Well, there are disputed facts about the raid itself. There are disputed facts about Israel’s right to conduct the raid in international waters. There are disputed facts about Israel’s right to blockade Gaza, and disputed facts about Israel’s conduct of that blockade.

Hell, there are even disputed facts about the ships in the flotilla.

We thought we’d spare ourselves a long detour into post-Ottoman Middle East history by focusing on that last fact — the flotilla’s provenance — but even that led us back to Turkey.

In particular, one of the flotilla’s sponsors, a Turkish organization known as the “Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief,” or IHH. Depending on who you talk to — or who shouts at you today — they’re either an Islamic humanitarian group, or a terrorist front. Or both.

Trying to nail down that one little fact is what consumed most of our time, and led to our ultimate derangement of the senses. For underlying that disputed fact was yet another disputed fact: the authority of the “terrorism expert” who wrote what’s being offered (and disputed) as the definitive backgrounder on the subject.

His name is Evan Kohlmann. He was born in 1979. He came to cable-news fame post-9/11, as a go-to soundbite jockey. NPR profiled him in 2006, observing that he ran his “Globalterroralert.com” website out of his Manhattan bedroom, sitting in his pajamas. Spinwatch calls him “the Doogie Howser of terrorism.”

There — right there — is where we gave up. Because when you start with an Israeli raid and end up with Doogie Howser, it’s time to put down the iPad and go snort some blow off a hooker’s ass.


Mossad’s (the unCIA of intelligence agencies as they were known to be competent!) outsourced their intelligence to bloggers?

8 balls are very easy to find in israel. jus sayin

@baked: I always wanted to copy the bit from Jules and Jim, I think it is, where the aggrieved party lies in wait with a very scary looking handgun. When the trigger is pulled, a red flag saying BANG unfurls. With any luck she’d be scared enough to mess her pants. On the other hand, when we’re talking sabras, there’s always the chance she’s carrying a real handgun. Better not to think about her at all as well as you can manage it, and devote all your mental energies to the darling critters. XXOOXX.


good point.
i just got off the phone with israel (yes, the entire country) a kid who works for him. i asked him WTF ? he doesn’t understand my confusion.
the israeli’s are never wrong about anything doncha know? ugh.
and i have to go back there. hard not to think about her when an israeli accent makes me homicidal. thanks, lynn. xoxo

@Nojo: I’d say this is a pretty effective deterrent for your plan B.

One of the inventors of Trivial Pursuit, Chris Haney (of Canada City!) has died.

Thanks for allowing me to lay the beatdown on my family and thus earning the lifetime ban from family Trivial Pursuit games.

I think some facts about this operation are perfectly clear. It’s known, for instance, that the Israeli military was heavily armed and boarded a ship of unarmed civilians engaged in a classic example of civil disobedience, bringing humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. It is known that the Israeli military gunned down between 10 and 20 activists.

These are typical Israeli heavy handed tactics. Sending machine guns and tanks to gun down youths armed with sticks and stones.

Ans sadly, Obama is letting Netanyahu make him his bitch.

@Serolf Divad: Its also known that this flotilla was organized by a Turkish islamist group, and was undertaken for purposes having to do with Turkish internal politics (discrediting the Turkish secularists), as much as for the obvious motive of provoking Isreal (never a difficult thing, just stand in front of a Palestinian’s house, they’ll crush you to death with a tank) into doing something that will enrage world opinion and further alienate Israel.

The Palestinians are ever the pawns in other people’s games.

@Prommie: Between this, the blow to the planet in the Gulf, the repositioning of Israeli subs off Iran, the Norks making some noise, the Fundie end of the world crowd has got to be pissing on themselves and hyperventilating in anticipation.

In the meantime, please enjoy “I’m on a Boat” (NSFW).


Ha. Silly me, I always thought that word was “Fakatka”. Dumb goy.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Fakatka and the Dumb Goys. Didn’t they just win the Eurovision?

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Mine is a phonetic spelling. The Litvaks pronounce it differently than the Galitzianers, and the German Jews, well, feh.

@Serolf Divad: I think Bibi sized up Obama as weak right away. The Israelis aren’t changing their behavior as to the settlements or East Jerusalem. Maybe when we have a Jewish President, she can get tough with them.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is busy gutting Miranda:
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that suspects must explicitly tell police they want to be silent to invoke Miranda protections during criminal interrogations, a decision one dissenting justice said turns defendants’ rights “upside down.”
Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, Sotomayor the dissent.

Breaking hard: CNN reports that Al and Tipper are splitting up. The over and under for the intern (who is sure to be involved) being 22 is 3.

@Dodgerblue: Was Tipper pestorking an intern or fuckface Al?

@FlyingChainSaw: I don’t know, but what better place for snarky speculation than right here?

@Dodgerblue: It was a three-way with a guy intern and Tipper remarked when the kid climbed off of her that ‘she came like she never came before’ and Al got all huffy and offended and ended up in a fist fight with the kid who beat Al handily while Tipper jeered, ‘Just like 2000, you fucking cunt! Yeah! No stomach for the long fight, or long fuck for that matter, you piece of shit!’ Then, apparently, Al figured out his married life was less than optimal.

How’s that? You have a better interpretation of the facts?


Loved the “I’m on a Boat” video – but I’ll raise you an I’m on a Mac video… :)

@FlyingChainSaw: Were they listening to Zappa’s “Hot Rats”?

@Dodgerblue: No. They were listening to Joe’s Garage Acts and Al balked at fucking a vacuum cleaner. Tipper beat him unconscious with the hose and the intern left a hot lunch on his face.

@FlyingChainSaw: That like a “hot karl?”

@FlyingChainSaw: I’d bet the farm on Al. He’s rocking a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar nom, going stone Hollywood, these last years, you know the ladies gots to be getting up in his f-schnizzle (did I do that right?).

@FlyingChainSaw: No, like in Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage.”

Re: Supreem Kort

Nobody hates our Constitution more than the people in charge of upholding it.

@Mistress Cynica & @Prommie:

Why would the police or military arrest someone (or blow them up) if they weren’t totally 100% guilty in the first place?

Reminds me of that Richard Gere movie Red Corner in which his Chinese “defense” attorney says something like “You’re assumed guilty until proven innocent. How would you like to be executed?”

Oh here’s the actual quote:

Shen Yuelin: “If you plead not guilty, you will be sentenced to death. And, unlike in your country, Mr. Moore, sentences are carried out within a week. You will be shot, and the cost of the bullet will be billed to your family. ”

Nice that we have that efficiency to look forward to. I’m sure Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, scAlito, and the Other One are thrilled to hear about this Chinese “justice” system and can’t wait to improve ours.

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