ISRAELI intelligence agents photographed members of the Rachel Corrie aid mission before the ship left dock in Dundalk, the first mate of the vessel has claimed
In an interview with the Sunday Tribune, Derek Graham maintained that during their time in Israeli custody they saw photographs of several members of the group clearly taken in Ireland.
“They had people in Dundalk taking pictures. I would say it is standard. They would be either Mossad or IDF intelligence,” he said.
“There was a picture of Jenny [his wife] and when she saw it she knew it was taken in Dundalk because of the background. That is where we bought the ship and got it ready and got it loaded.”
The claims are significant in light of the recent controversy surrounding a suspected Mossad operation in Dubai in which Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated.
Those involved in the murder used fake passports, some of which had authentic Irish serial numbers.
“It wasn’t startling because we had an idea that we were being watched,” said Graham.
“I have done this [humanitarian aid missions] for three years and I had them outside my house in Cyprus and following us to the shops.
“I don’t mind the ones that you can see – they are there for intimidation or just to let you know [you are being watched]. But it’s the ones you can’t see that I don’t like.”
Graham believes the Israeli authorities had carried out considerable research on the party before they left for Gaza.
Aside from photographing members of the aid mission, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) was also aware of the original name of the MV Rachel Corrie and refused to address it by its new one.
“They had their research done to know it was called the MV Linda before we renamed it,” he said.
Nobody in the Israeli embassy could be reached for comment yesterday.
Labour’s spokesman on foreign affairs, Michael D Higgins said that such actions could be seen as a potential diplomatic incident.
“If it was true, and taken in the context of all the other actions that have taken place [involving clandestine Israeli operations], it has to be part of the judgement of Micheál Martin in terms of what is done on the passport issue,” he said.
“It would be of the same category of action and impropriety as the use of Irish passports [by Israeli agents]. These are not the actions of countries with friendly diplomatic relations.”
I write to inform you that last night the Israeli Defence Force issued a statement identifying Ken O’Keefe as an ‘Active Terror Operative’. Ken was labelled ‘…a radical anti-Israel activist and operative of the Hamas Terror organisation.’ They went on to accuse him of ‘attempt(ing) to enter the Gaza Strip in order to form and train a commando unit for the Palestinian terror organisation.’
Ken responded by making a counter charge. From his hotel room in Istanbul this morning, he issued a statement in which he called the US, Britain and Israel ‘the greatest terrorists of our time’.
Ken attempted to enter Gaza aboard the Mavi Marmara. He intended to meet with officials from the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce in relation to his role as company director for Aloha Palestine, a social enterprise established to conduct SafeTrade between Cyprus and Gaza. Ken felt strongly that AP should not have any political undertones, and that the company would “not deviate from its commitment to trade in goods that build security and promote peace. Aloha Palestine will not trade in weapons or instruments of violence of any kind ever.”
Four other individuals were identified as terror operatives, including two Turkish citizens. There are concerns that these five individuals are now ‘marked’ as targets of future assassination attempts by Mossad, Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations.
The IDF identified Ken O’Keefe as an American and British citizen, despite dealing with Irish consular officials in relation to his deportation from Israel.
Please call +44 7890 140 170 to arrange an interview with Ken.
Ken’s statement in full:
“In response to the Israeli government’s claims that I, Ken O’Keefe, am an operative of Hamas who intended to train terrorists in Gaza, I make a counter charge; Israel and the United States, along with their British partner, are the greatest terrorists of our time. Selling, distributing and using more weapons of mass destruction than all other nations combined. When I speak of terrorism I am using the Black’s Law Dictionary definition of the word, with that definition it is clear that the United States is the number one terrorist of the 20th and 21st centuries. There are over 800,000 innocent children in Gaza that are among the victims of Israel’s terrorism, in fact the entire population of Palestine is victim of said terrorism. I do not say this as inciteful rhetoric, I say it as a moral, thinking human being who is capable of seeing the truth.
Despite the threats and slandorous charges I will not repeat the sickening pattern of rejecting the legitimate right of self defense, I wholeheartedly support that right.
As for the charges made against me, the truth lies within my actions in life. I am available for interviews and will happily discuss my associations and actions. My path in life is an open book, and one that I am blessed and proud to have walked.”