Monday, November 08, 2010

The Death Rachel Corrie: Why Aren't The International Solidarity Movement And Gaza Hospital Being Investigated?

This is not just about Rachel, but something bigger.
Cindy Corrie, Rachel Corrie's mother

The above quote, taken from yesterday's The New York Times covers a number of meanings--including the deliberate falsification of evidence by Corrie's supporters:
The day that Ms. Corrie was killed, her fellow activists sent two photographs of her to news agencies that were then transmitted around the world. The first one showed her standing in an orange jacket with a bullhorn addressing an approaching bulldozer, and the second showed her crumpled on the ground, near death. The clear implication was that the two pictures were sequential, whereas the first was shot hours earlier with a different bulldozer.
Following the link takes you to a March 17, 2003 NYT article, sure enough, there is a correction:
Correction: March 26, 2003, Wednesday A picture caption on March 17 with an article about an American protester who was crushed by an Israeli Army bulldozer in Gaza referred incorrectly to the bulldozer shown. It was one that the protester, Rachel Corrie, had earlier tried to stop from destroying a Palestinian home. It was not the one that killed her.
It took 9 days for the correction to be made.

As pointed out by The Muqata, not only were photos deliberately misleading--at least one of the photos provided by the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement was photoshopped:

The photo provided by ISM:

Photo with explanation:
In 2003, The International Solidarity Movement had the following article on their site--providing eyewitness testimony that contradicts what they have been saying since:
The closest eye witness account on the murder of Rachel Corrie
by Tom Dale
March 17, 2003

...I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing signs of brain hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries. She was a brilliant, bright and amazing person, immensely brave and committed. She is gone and I cannot believe it.
But the accounts are very different, depending on whom you speak to. Judy Lash Balint notes the conflicting stories on where and when Rachel Corrie died:
The real issue is, was Rachel alive when she was taken by Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance to Martyr Mohammed Yousef An Najar Hospital? In other words, where did she die? Were adequate efforts made to save her in the hospital?

Again, there are conflicting stories. Joseph Smith [an alias used by American ISM activist Joe Carr] tells me in a telephone interview the day after the tragedy, "She died in the hospital or on the way to the hospital." CNN also reported that Rachel died there. (Israeli bulldozer runs over 23-year-old woman. CNN, Monday, March 17, 2003)

In his account posted on, ISMer Tom Dale has a slightly different story. On March 17 he writes: "I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing signs of brain hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries."

But Dr. Ali Mussa, director of Martyr Mohammed Yousef An Najar Hospital where Corrie was taken, seems confused. On the day of the event, Dr. Mussa tells AP Gaza reporter Ibrahim Barzak that Rachel died in the hospital. (American Killed in Gaza. AP. March 16, 2003)

One week later, in a telephone interview, Dr. Mussa states definitively to me that Rachel died at the scene, "in the soil," as he puts it. The main cause of death was suffocation, Mussa asserts. There were no signs of life, no heartbeat or pulse when she arrived at the hospital, he says. Mussa states that Rachel's ribs were fractured, a fact determined by X-rays.

Doesn't quite jive with the photo essay on the pages of the Electronic Intifada website for March 16, 2003. (Photo story: Israeli bulldozer driver murders American peace activist by Nigel Parry and Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 16 March 2003.)

A caption under one photo of doctors leaning over a female patient reads: Rachel arrived in the Emergency Room at 5:05 p.m and doctors scrambled to save her. By 5:20 p.m, she was gone. Ha'aretz newspaper reported that Dr. Ali Mussa, a doctor at Al Najar, stated that the cause of death was skull and chest fractures. Dr. Mussa told me he was one of the treating physicians, yet he alone maintains that Rachel was dead before she was put into the ambulance.

To further complicate matters, on that same website, a report from the Palestine Monitor is cited. Here, the writer says that Rachel fractured her arms, legs and skull. She was transferred to hospital, where she later died, says this report.

...A few days after the incident, ISM Media Coordinator Shaik tells me by phone from Rafah that three ISMers, Tom, Alice and Greg were in the ambulance with Rachel. She died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, says Michael.

But Greg Schnabel, 28, who is quoted in numerous wire service and newspaper stories, never says he witnessed the death of his comrade in the ambulance. In his account published a few days later on the ISM website, he carefully states that she died twenty minutes after arriving at the hospital.
As far as I know, there has been no interest in resolving the contradictory stories involving the hospital and whether the physicians there did in fact take proper care of Rachel Corrie or in any way contributed to her death.

The contradictions just seem to pile up. Lenny Ben-David, who has written exhaustively about this, notes that accounts contradict testimony given in March that Rachel Corrie was standing in front of the bulldozer:
At the trial in Haifa last week, Corrie’s colleagues testified that Rachel stood in front of the bulldozer and the driver intentionally drove over her. Israel has been saying for seven years that the driver couldn’t see her. Again, careful review of news accounts and statements made by ISMers immediately after her death prove that Corrie was squatting down amidst the rubble, thus minimizing her profile:

“When the bulldozer approached a house today,” wrote the New York Times, “Ms. Corrie, who was wearing a bright orange jacket, dropped to her knees.”

“The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went,” an ISM friend stated in 2003. “She knelt there, she did not move.”

Another colleague related: “She did not ‘trip and fall’ in front of the bulldozer. She sat down in front of it, well in advance.‎“

He added: “Corrie dropped her bullhorn and sat down in front of one of the bulldozers. She fully expected that the driver would stop just in front of her.”

The conclusion: Corrie’s ISM colleagues may have committed perjury by insisting that she was standing.
Unfortunately, Rachel Corrie had no reason to have such an expectation, based on the close calls other members of ISM had:
According to one of Corrie’s colleagues, whose recollections were published three days after her death (emphasis mine):
For two hours we attempted at great risk to ourselves to obstruct and frustrate the bulldozers in their work.
Another ISM colleague stated:
Our group began to stand in front of these bulldozers in an attempt to stop them. Generally they did not stop when we stood in front of them, but continued to push the earth up from underneath our feet to push us away. Several times we had to dive away at the last moment in order to avoid being crushed. This continued for about two and a half hours. … At one point, Will from the United States was nearly crushed between the bulldozer and a pile of razor wire. The bulldozer stopped at the last minute in Will’s case. If it had moved any closer he would have been impaled by the razor wire.
Besides “Will,” Newsweek’s Hammer reported on “Jenny’s” close call:

An Irish peace activist named Jenny was nearly run down by a D9. “The bulldozer’s coming, the earth is burying my feet, my legs, I’ve got nowhere to run, and I thought, ‘This is out of control,’” she told me. “Another activist pulled me up and out of the way at the last minute.”

On that day in March 2003, the ISM internationals had decided to play a game of Russian roulette with the Israeli army, and Corrie lost.
The New York Times article concludes:
Cindy Corrie added, “An Israeli colonel said at this trial that there are no civilians in a war zone. But there are. If that hadn’t been the army’s attitude, maybe my daughter would still be with us.”
The sad fact is that the colonel is right and Mrs. Corrie is wrong. Under the coaching of the International Solidarity Movement, Rachel Corrie and others entered an area where civilians should not have been and put themselves in danger.

If Cindy Corrie really wants justice, she should investigate the responsibility of the International Solidarity Movement which deliberately put Rachel Corrie in harms way and look into what actually happened at that hospital in Gaza.

Unfortunately, that is unlikely.

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