WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA BASEOS
I left the below comment under this piece (http://www.salem-ews.com/articles/july102012/rizzo-lies-sd.php).
Christina Baseos July 11, 2012 7:01 am (Pacific time)
Mr. Davis, In regards to the few paragraphs mentioning my name and making reference to the R2H’s convoy and the shipping incident that took place in Libya, please note that I can prove your claims false. In light of this, the admins of this page are kindly requested to advise how I can upload a couple of pictures in the comments section. If uploading pics is not possible, please let me know and I will give you the link to an external page where you can redirect yourselves in order to see them. Thank you.
Given that I haven’t received an answer from SN’s admins, I post here my response to Mr. Davis, who, given that he’s a a ‘fan’ of this blog, will read it.
First of all, let’s make clear that we do not know each other. We have never met and none of us have the slightest idea on each other’s existence. Just as I know nothing about you, you know nothing about me as well. For the purposes of this comment and just for the sake of good order, please note that I’m a shipping professional (and not a lawyer as falsely claimed by Ms. Merton in one of the below pictures). Moreover, please note that, unlike the hundreds of people who posted & commented back in 2010 about the R2H shipping incident in Libya, I was the only one (except for the infamous “Gaza 10” of course) who was there, on board the vessel, together with Ken O’ Keefe and the rest of the 9 members of the convoy and their Greek lawyers and all involved authorities. I was also there when the “Gaza 10” were arrested on the ship, brought to the port authorities and then to the court house.
Ken O’ Keefe and myself talked while they were all on the ship and I also talked to other members of the convoy, as well as to their lawyers. I believe Ken O’ Keefe will have no objection whatsoever to confirming the above, should you feel the need to cross-check this.
The reason I’m stating that I was there is in order to clarify that I don’t talk on behalf of anyone else, except for myself, and I certainly do not rely on third parties’ words, in order to take a position on this issue.
Having said this, let me cut to the chase, but before I do, note that I will not respond para by para to your ‘analysis’ of the alleged kidnapping incident in relation to Mary Rizzo’s article. I will though make an effort to explain some things, for the umpteenth time, which they should make you reconsider your stance on this, if you are indeed objective as you say and if you indeed base your thesis on facts & proof.
1) You claim that I was rightfully blocked by the R2H Facebook page due to my “repeated comments”, which as per your own admittance you only “assume” that they were “repeated” and that it would have been better if I had just left a post and left. Moreover, you claim that you “would have travelled half-way across the world to sue if not strangle someone who would have eased my concern only to find my loved one dead from a shipping incident”.
Since you “assume” that I repeated the same comments over & over and that they were annoying or misleading or false or whatever it is you’re insinuating, I refer you to the below 2 screenshots. One is a PM exchanged between the sister of one of the convoy’s members on board the ship, and myself. As you can see yourself, according to a FAMILY MEMBER, the info I left on R2H’s FB page was indeed relieving to the families and most importantly accurate, since according to that family member the info I posted were confirmed to her by the Foreign Affairs. Just for the record, I’m telling you that this family member did indeed call me the day she sent me the PM and I indeed handed my phone to her brother in order for them to speak.
(N.B. The last name of this lady, as well as the tel numbers shown in this PM, have been erased on purpose and substituted with “xxx” for privacy reasons).
In regards to repeating comments over & over again and that being somehow an abuse of ‘freedom of speech’, I will only ask you to have a look at the screenshot concerning Ms. Ellie Merton (R2H’s official liaison at that time), where she posted 10 times in less than 2 minutes the same comment (simply by copy/pasting it), falsely claiming that I am a “legal counsel”, which is not true as I have no relation to the legal profession whatsoever and this can be verified by anyone on this planet, and asking people not to liaise with me as I am ‘dangerous’. I will not comment on the second part of her post and if I’m dangerous or not, as Ken O’ Keefe and the rest of the convoy members can tell you directly if any of them were directly or indirectly endangered by me. As far as it concerns the first part of Ms. Merton’s repetitive post, please tell me Mr. Davis, given that you are a man of facts and proof, since I am not a legal counsel, how would you call Ms. Merton’s claim? Does it fall within the defamatory/libel category according to your criteria?
2) The so called “pre-contract” saga: What Mary Rizzo calls “pre-contract” is what is officially called in shipping a “firm offer”, which just for your guidance is an offer a shipowner makes to the potential charterer of the vessel (charterer in shipping = client in commercial business), which basically includes the freight the shipowner is asking for in order to execute a voyage, i.e. the carriage of a cargo between two destinations. A firm offer, except for the freight, includes a number of other terms & conditions, which are negotiated between the shipowner and the charterer and IF the two parties come to an agreement, then the fixture (as it’s called in shipping) is deemed concluded and a Charter Party (charter party in shipping = contract in commercial business) is then drafted and signed by both parties. In a few words, the ‘pre-offer’ was the shipowner’s firm offer. Note above that I said that a C/P (stands for Charter Party) is signed after the negotiating parties have reached an agreement. In the case of R2H, the charterer and the shipowner never reached an agreement, therefore all negotiations were dropped and eventually there was no fixture.
There are trails of exchanged messages between the shipowner, the charterer and their broker, which clearly show that the negotiations failed and that there was no agreement. Ken O’Keefe (and Ellie Merton) have a copy of these exchanged messages and it is THIS copy Ken O’Keefe sent to Mary Rizzo and he falsely named it as “contract”. Note, that it can only be the exact same copy of messages that was sent to Mary Rizzo by myself, as there were no other existing documents concerning the charter that could be sent, only it was named correctly by myself as “exchanged messages” and not “contract”, since it was not a contract.
At some point in your text, you write:
“…without giving any notice of if the agreement that Ken and his crew believed they had would be honored”.
Note the word you used: “BELIEVED”, i.e. the agreement Ken O’ Keefe thought he had. If he was so sure that there was an agreement and moreover if there was a breach of this agreement from the shipowner’s side, why do you insert the word “believed”? Mr. Davis, have you seen any of the proof you claim that Mary Rizzo doesn’t have in her hands, not to mention that according to you they are totally non-existent? Have you seen any document, whatever that is, with your own eyes? If you haven’t, then I suggest you check your facts first before you make any comments and if you have, then I suggest you read carefully the contents of these documents and make sure to consult a shipping professional to explain to you the process of a shipping negotiation, the meaning of a firm offer and a C/P.
3) A few words on your comments about the NATO’s involvement (or to be more specific, the non–involvement), your example of a taxi driver (although, thankfully, you admit yourself that this analogy is different by a few standards), the “international incident” and your comments about my ‘credentials’.
Ken O’Keefe admitted that he commandeered a ship’s radio and contacted a neighboring vessel seeking for help/intervention. For the sake of clarity, the vessel he contacted was a commercial one (a ship belonging to OOCL’s fleet) and not a NATO vessel. He also admitted that he made a distress call. I suggest you find out yourself the meaning & essence of a “distress call” in shipping. Anyhow, as we all saw from O’ Keefe’s own video, he sought help from a neighboring vessel claiming that he and another 9 persons were being kidnapped. FYI and because I suspect you once again have no proof of what you are claiming, all communications between the commercial ship of OCCL, which was the recipient of the distress call, with all relevant port authorities as well as the SRCC of the Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs are recorded. Copies of the recordings are available upon request made to the relevant authorities. I presume, and I emphasize on the word presume, as I do not have firm knowledge on this, that the ‘Gaza 10’ lawyer has already obtained a copy of those recordings for the purposes of supporting their case in court. Since Ken O’ Keefe inadvertently (NOT), left out from his video the response he got from the OOCL ship, maybe you should check for yourself what it was and rest assured all your questions on why NATO wasn’t involved will be answered.
Nice try with your taxi-driver example although when you attempt to make an analogy, you should first make sure that the standards are the same. Your example is wrong by default and I will not explain why here, in the comments section of a webpage, as this would require speedy lessons on shipping and I’m not willing to give such lessons in the internet and especially not for free! I would advise you, if I’m allowed, to learn some basic shipping principles first, as well as shipping law, in depth instead of copying/pasting articles of the penal code from sources irrelevant to shipping and more importantly from irrelevant jurisdictions.
With regards to whether this incident was an “international” one and whether it almost lead to a diplomatic fallout between the involved countries, please note that Mary Rizzo, myself and I presume (again….I presume) the ‘Gaza 10’ lawyer have in our hands a document addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, marked as “Confidential and Urgent” and issued by the Maltese authorities (you might ask why the Maltese? Because the ship’s flies the Maltese flag, ergo it falls under the Maltese jurisdiction…please feel free do your research on the relationship between a ship’s flag and her jurisdiction or alternatively ask Ken O’ Keefe, who according to him is a Captain himself, therefore he should have knowledge on this), where it clearly describes all efforts made by the authorities of the Maltese, Libyan and Greek Authorities in order for a diplomatic fallout between the governments of those countries not to occur. Just for the sake of good order, Mary Rizzo was requested by me to not publish this document, as it is a confidential one, however just as the shipowner’s lawyers have it in their hands, I assume the lawyer of the ‘Gaza 10’ has it as well.
Lastly, as far as it concerns my ‘credentials’, to the best of my knowledge you Mr. Davis never asked me for them, however they are not secret. And since you wonder if Mary Rizzo sought my credentials before she,as you claim, almost entirely based her whole article on my report, I hereby inform you that she did ask for them and she did cross-check them well in advance. As far as I’m concerned, Mary Rizzo did show due diligence with regards to my credentials, in stark contrast with you, which you never did.
To conclude this long comment, I kindly request you Mr. Davis to check your facts first and have proof of your claims before you start analyzing cases, at least when they are related to shipping. Actions speak louder than words, therefore I would expect from someone who claims that he’s all about facts, proof and objectiveness to practice what he preaches.
As I said in the beginning of this comment, you Mr. Davis do not know me, just as I don’t know you; therefore you have no right to question my credibility, credentials and whatever else you question, without having firm knowledge of the actual facts and evidence of your claims. It is a paradox for someone who accuses a journalist for not having checked her facts or gathered evidence to support her writings, to question the credibility of another person, without having showed his own due diligence first.
There are numerous other inaccuracies in your statements above, with regards to R2H fiasco, but as I said, I will not respond to each & every one of them as it is of no merit and since all of them have already been addressed in the past and are posted in public fora. With regards to the rest of your piece, I have not read it as I’m in no way the right person to comment on any part of it, as I don’t have knowledge of the actual facts. The impression I have is that all this is an orchestrated attempt (if not a campaign) to discredit Mary Rizzo, in every way, on behalf of Ken O’ Keefe. I can’t help but wonder why you Mr. Davis are discrediting one person with such passion? I wonder if this orchestrated attempt is an effort to form a negative public opinion about Mary Rizzo a priori to some “big event”? Perhaps, Mr. O’ Keefe is planning his big come back to Gaza and deems necessary to prepare the ground in case Mary Rizzo dares to criticize again any of his future actions? But as I said, this is just an impression I have, in no way am I claiming that I’m right in my assumption…….
You wrote that Mary Rizzo deserves any character assassination results and you also advise her to learn what ‘character’ is.
Ken O Keefe is a great guy in my opinion. You and Kim were wrong to believe anyone is blindly following him. Thus you martyred him and now the truth is out and you all deserve whatever character assassination results. It is called responsibility.
Well, according to the Collins English Dictionary, ‘character assassination is the act of deliberately attempting to destroy a person’s reputation by defamatory remarks” and at when it comes to the R2H fiasco, your claims, comments, statements, etc are not only false but also defamatory as you don’t provide proof of your claims. I must admit though that it must have taken you some courage to admit publicly that you indeed exercise character assassination. Remember, Mr Davis, ‘Verba volant, scripta manent’.
And if that applies for Mary Rizzo, then it applies for you as well. Elbert Hubbard said that “Character is the result of two things: mental attitude and the way we spend our time”. Judging from the length of your piece, it’s crystal clear how you spend your time…as for the mental attitude, I’ll refrain myself from saying more in an attempt to keep things civilized.