Victoria's Neish Receives a Hero's Welcome
by C. L. Cook
Recently released human rights worker, Kevin Neish told the press tonight 16 people were killed the night Israeli commandos attacked the Mavi Marmara off Gaza in the small hours of Monday. Until now, Israel and the western media have reported only 9 were killed.
Neish says he say evidence of what he described as 'execution-style' wounds on some of the victims deposited in the medical emergency alcove near his assigned spot in the stern of the Marmara. He also said he had smuggled out photographic evidence of the wounds his dead colleagues received by removing the memory chip, before disposing of his camera. He said people found with cameras and mobile phone cameras had their devices confiscated and were themselves strip-searched by the IDF soldiers.
Neish promised a news conference Monday were he would better be able to speak to the many questions yet to be answered about the fatal incident at sea after resting.
An enthusiastic crowd of supporters waited in Victoria International Airports austere Arrivals foyer Saturday night for the return of the local human rights hero. Strains of sixties protest anthem, 'We Shall Not be Overcome' greeted befuddled fellow passengers emerging the domestic flight from Toronto delivering Kevin Neish home from a six-day ordeal that saw him in the middle of the now infamous raid against the Gaza freedom proponents.
Acting as peace observers, essentially putting themselves between aid shipments destined for the besieged Gaza Strip, the hope is Israel would not dare harming the more than 700 internationals taking part in the six boat flotilla, and allow the foods, medical equipment, and building materials into the isolated enclave. Israel bombed the Gaza Strip for 22 days over Christmas 2008 and into January, and since has policed strictly a broad embargo against Gaza that was deemed by United Nations' rapporteur Richard Goldstone "collective punishment." That designation makes what Israel is doing in Gaza a crime under international law.
For its part, Israel claims its "self-defense" is paramount and justifies the siege and its enforcement.