by Amy Goodman
"....I caught up with two veteran journalists who were covering the Gaza Freedom Flotilla for Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, chief correspondent Paul McGeough and his photographer, Kate Geraghty. They were in Istanbul, where they had been deported from Israel. They had spent time on most of the ships of the flotilla, but were aboard the smaller, U.S.-flagged Challenger 1 when the raid occurred.
Geraghty described how she was shot with a Taser: “I was photographing Israeli commandos coming up a ladder. There was a white flash, this thing hit my arm. I was thrown a meter and a half. It hurt, and I immediately became sick, began throwing up.” She yelled that she and McGeough were from The Sydney Morning Herald, and one of the commandos responded, in English with an Australian accent, “We know you’re from the Herald.” Despite her breadth of experience covering conflict zones around the world, she found her maltreatment by the Israelis “more personal. They knew who we were, they stole my gear, they falsely imprisoned us when we were in international waters covering a legitimate story.”.....
When journalists are free to function, they can report the truth. The Israeli military has been forced to retract its claim that passengers aboard the flotilla were agents of al-Qaida. An Israel Defense Forces press release sent out two days after the assault says approximately 40 flotilla passengers “are mercenaries belonging to the Al Qaeda terror organization.” The independent journalist Max Blumenthal says both he and an Israeli colleague asked the Israeli military press office to substantiate its claim. No evidence was provided, and one day later the press release was modified. The original headline was changed from “Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found to be Al Qaeda Mercenaries” to “Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found Without Identification Papers.”....."