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Freedom Flotilla II faces Shayetet13 in showdown at the naval siege of Gaza

Freedom Flotilla II - Stay HumanIt promises to be quite a showdown. Israel has repeated that it will let no ship through to Gaza, the IDF has promised “surprises” for the would-be blockade-runners, while this relief convoy is upping the ante with luminaries political and literary. The US boat is carrying novelist Alice Walker and a who’s who of peace activists, no less than Medea Benjamin, Kathy Kelly, Ray McGovern, and Ann Wright. There will be journalists from CBS, CNN and NPR, so you’d think Israel wouldn’t dare jam their signal and superimpose its own news package like it did with the Mavi Marmara, but maybe it won’t have to.

We’ve seen water hose on Freedom Riders before, only this time the blastees will be activist-squires. You might wonder what kind of sympathy they’ll garner, that is if an audience will see it at all. Will there be an independent media vessel cruising alongside the flotilla, with footage and equipment outside the jurisdiction of an Isreali commando raid? In the past the IDF was able to confiscate every scrap of evidence which could be used against them, at least until their doctored video could shape the official narrative.

Then too, with the absence of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Palestine-champions like Ken O’Keefe, the IDF’s interdiction may meet no resistance at all. Remember the MV Rachel Corrie, surrendering themselves with nary a ripple of media coverage?

Another less provocative strategy adopted by the US boat was not to carry any aid cargo, simply letters of support from American donors. I’m not sure why, except that the IDF cannot accuse them of smuggling anything past the blockade. But what does that make the Audacity of Hope exactly? The Freedom Flotilla is what, if it’s not a relief convoy?

There’s time before the flotilla leaves from Greece, please please please put something aboard to take to Gaza. Break the siege with SOMETHING. You can’t very well assert that Israel wouldn’t otherwise grant entry to all these American activists, many of the Jewish, through the formal border crossings, with or without stacks of correspondence.

I’ll spare further critique for now and wish Team Nonviolence the best success. NotMyTribe has complied a Twitter list of who to follow on the Freedom Flotilla II. Here is an incomplete listing of the passengers on three ships, Ireland’s MV Saoirse, Canada’s Tahrir, and USA’s The Audacity of Hope.

Ireland – MV Saoirse
National Coordinator Fintan Lane, Skipper Shane Dillon, John Hearne, Pat Fitzgerald, Paul Murphy, Hugh Lewis, Rik Walton, Mags O’Brien, Gerard Barron, Jim Roche, Zoe Lawlor, John Mallon, Charlie McMenamin, Philip McCullough, Hussein Hamed, Aine Joyce, Former Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews, Senator Mark Daly, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó’ Snodaigh, Sinn Féin councilor Gerry MacLochlainn, artist Felim Egan, rugby international Trevor Hogan. Representing the Irish Ship to Gaza campaign, the Free Gaza Movement, Irish Anti-War Movement, and Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Canada – Tahrir
Rifat Audeh, Stéphan Corriveau, Karen DeVito, Bachar Elsolh, David Heap, Miles Howe, Soha Kneen, Irene MacInnes, David Milne, Marie-Eve Rancourt, Jase Tanner, Kevin Neish, Dylan Penner (Independent Jewish Voices Canada), Vivienne Porzsolt (Jews Against Occupation in Australia), Harmeet Singh Sooden, Muhammed Hamou (the London Muslim Mosque), Robert Lovelace (Former Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and professor of Indigenous Studies at Queen’s University), Lyn Adamson (Canadian Voice of Women for Peace Co-Chair), Manon Massé (Quebec Solidaire representative), Sue Breeze, Kate Wilson, filmmaker John Greyson, Mary Hughes-Thompson, co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement), Sofia Smith, Amira Haas

US Boat – The Audacity of Hope
Medea Benjamin, Hedy Epstein, Ray McGovern, Kathy Kelly, Ken Mayers, Richard Levy, Henry Norr, Gail Miller, Ridgely Fuller, Robert Naiman, Linda Durham, Brad Taylor, Nic Abramson, Alice Walker, ?Libor Kožnar?, Hagit Borer, Kit Kittredge, G. Kaleo Larson

French
Two boats: Louise Michel & Le Dignité-El Karameh
Julien Bayou (co-founder, Black Thursday), Olivier Besancenot (NPA), Alain Bosc (Cimade), Annick Coupé (porte-parole et déléguée générale de l’Union Syndicale Solidaires), Ismahane Chouder (Participation et Spiritualité Musulmane), Jean-François Courbe (département international de la CGT), Nabil Ennasri (président du Collectif des Musulmans de France), Raymond Fabrègues (Coalition contre Agrexco et Confédération paysanne), Patrice Finel (Parti de Gauche), Georges Gumpel (membre du bureau national de l’UJFP et représentant de l’EJJP), Nicole Kill Nielsen (députée européenne EE-LV), Claude Léostic (vice présidente de l’AFPS), Jean-Paul Lecoq (député du PCF), Catherine Lecoq (Mouvement de la Paix et le Collectif 13 Un bateau pour Gaza), Jo le Guen (navigateur), Yamin Makri (Collectif 69 de soutien au peuple palestinien), Oussama Mouftah (Collectif 59 Palestine), Marie Jo Parbot (auteur de BD), Eugène Riguidel (navigateur), Thomas Sommer (CCIPPP), Henri Stoll (Collectif Palestine 68), Omeyya Seddik

Norway
Torstein Dahle, Stine Renate Haheim, Aksel Hagen, Mina Boldermo Eriksen, Bjørn O. Bjørnsen, Tove Henny Lehre, Bard Vegar Solhjell

Denmark
Gitte Seeberg
John Ekebjaerg-Jakobsen
Adam Qvist

(NOTE: This post will be updated an appended as more information becomes available.)

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