First Real News 24/7
Posting: November 27, 2003
BBC documentary proves
Israeli army murdered Rachel Corrie
by Christopher Bollyn
The BBC has released a
remarkable film about the killing of three international peace activists
by the Israeli army in the occupied Gaza Strip. Documentary evidence
provided in the film strongly suggests that the American Rachel Corrie - and
two British activists - were murdered.
Last spring, within a period of seven weeks, one British and one American
peace activist were killed by the Israeli army in Rafah, a Palestinian town
at the southern end of the occupied Gaza Strip. A second Briton was shot in
the head leaving him brain-dead. In two of the cases the Israeli army is
being blamed for murder; the third is considered "attempted murder."
An Israeli military
bulldozer crushed the 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie, who
was the first to die on March 16, as she tried to prevent it from
demolishing a Palestinian doctor's home.
British photographer Tom Hurndall, 22, was left brain dead after being shot
in the head by an Israeli soldier on April 11. British cameraman James
Miller, 34, was shot by an Israeli sniper as he left a house with two other
journalists on May 2.
A recently released 50-minute "hard-hitting" program produced by the British
Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) investigated the three killings and provides
crucial video evidence. "That's murder," an Israeli soldier said after
viewing footage from the film, When Killing is Easy.
When Killing is Easy was shown 4 times to a worldwide audience on the
commercial BBC World television network on November 22 and 23. Some cable
television viewers in the United States would have been able to view the
The three international observers died, or nearly died, at the hands of the
Israeli military between the middle of March and the first week of May.
Hurndall was shot in the head as he took a Palestinian toddler, who had
frozen under Israeli fire, into his arms. Today, Hurndall is brain-dead and
is kept alive on life-support equipment.
Tom's father, Anthony, is a lawyer in the City of London. After six weeks of
investigation, Hurndall has come to the conclusion that the shooting of his
son by Israeli forces is "a case of attempted murder. If Tom dies, and that
is a likelihood, then it will be murder," he said.
Jocelyn Hurndall wrote to The Guardian after an Israeli government check for
about $12,000, sent to the Hurndall family to pay for "a fraction of the
expenses incurred," bounced. When the check finally arrived after five
months of negotiations with the Hurndall family, the Israeli government
check was not "honored" by the Bank of Israel, Hurndall wrote. "Insufficient
funds' was the reason given.
According to evidence provided in Sweeney's film, the IDF report on the
shooting of Hurndall is completely wrong about where he was, what he was
wearing, and what he was doing when an Israeli soldier shot him in the head.
"It is a mind-numbing task to understand the morality and to use the logic
of the Israeli government," Hurndall wrote. "What hope do Palestinians have
when such profound disregard and disrespect is shown to humanity,
collectively and individually?"
The BBC film was
produced by John Sweeney, whose article on the killings, "Silenced
Witnesses," was published in The Independent (UK) on Oct. 30.
"Making our film, When Killing is Easy, has been the most harrowing
ordeal of my professional life," Sweeney wrote. "But it is vital that it is
evidential - and that is really tough when the Israeli government and the
Israeli Defense Force (IDF) have refused to speak to us."
Rachel Corrie, the first of the three to die, was using her body to defend
the home of Dr. Samir Nasser Allah from an American-made bulldozer used by
the Israeli army to demolish the homes of Palestinians. Corrie was a member
of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). ISM members stand between
the Israeli bulldozers and the homes that the IDF wants to flatten.
Israeli bulldozers have razed thousands of Palestinian homes in the occupied
Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The bulldozers are primarily made by the
Illinois-based Caterpillar company.
Tom Dale, an ISM eyewitness, had a clear view of the incident: "He [the
driver] knew absolutely she was there. The bulldozer waited for a few
seconds over her body and it then reversed, leaving its scoop down so that
if she had been under the bulldozer, it would have crushed her a second
time. Only later when it was much more clear of her body did it raise its
"MY BACK IS BROKEN"
"My back is broken,"
Rachel told Alice Coy, a fellow ISM activist who was with her.
Israeli pathologist, Dr. Yehudah Hiss, noted that Rachel appeared to have been
run over by the bulldozer, Sweeney wrote. Hiss found the cause of death to be
"pressure to the chest." Her shoulder blades had been crushed; her spine was
broken in five places and six ribs broken. Her face was apparently slashed by
the bulldozer blade.
The IDF produced a report that says, "Corrie was not run over by an
engineering vehicle." It added, "for good measure" Sweeney says, that Corrie
was "hidden from view of the vehicle's operator."
The footage seen in the BBC film proves these statements to be false. The
family of Rachel Corrie believes the IDF report to "be a blatant fabrication,"
The British cameraman James Miller was shot dead by an Israeli sniper as he
left a house in Rafah with two other journalists on the night of May 2. An
Associated Press TV News (APTN) cameraman filmed the entire scene.
One of the three journalists held a white flag; Miller was shining a light on
the flag and a third journalist held up her British passport. There was no
shooting and the area was quiet as the audio track of the film clearly proves.
The three had walked about 60 feet toward an Israeli armed personnel carrier
to request safe passage to leave the area when the first shot was fired. "We
are British journalists," Saira Shah cried out into the darkness.
"Then comes the second shot, which killed James," Sweeney wrote. "He was shot
in the front of his neck. The bullet was Israeli issue, fired, according to a
forensic expert, from less than 200 meters [600 feet] away."
The IDF maintains that Miller was shot during crossfire, although no shooting
is heard on the APTN tape apart from the two shots fired from the Israeli
When the APTN tape was shown to an Israeli soldier, who is shown in the film,
he said the television team did not look like Islamic terrorists and
concluded: "That's murder."
Christopher Bollyn is a regular
contributor to American Free Press
"Should international communism ever complete its plan of
bringing civilization to naught, it is conceivable that SOME FORM OF WORLD
GOVERNMENT in the hands of a few men could emerge, which would not be
communism. It would be the domination of barbarous tyrants over the world of
slaves, and communism would have been used as the means to an end."
(The Patriot (London) November 9, 1939; The Rulers of Russia,
Father Denis Fahey, pp. 23-24)
Links of related interest:
"Silenced witnesses," an article by John Sweeney
BBC-TV (The documentary When Killing is
Easy is not presently listed on the BBC's website—has Israel pressured the
network to drop it? We are looking into this matter and ask anyone with
information to please contact us at our e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
International Solidarity Movement:
Israeli Defense Force:
Concerning Rachel Corrie:
Concerning Tom Hurndall:
Concerning James Miller:
Concerning Brian Avery (a fourth victim of the
The Brian Avery
shooting: When will we realize that there can't be this many "accidents"?
Other concerned groups:
Jews for Justice for Palestinians