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

It 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

See Ann Wright in action or at the PPJPC

COLORADO SPRINGS- The PPJPC is collecting money to bring noted antiwar activist Ann Wright to Colorado Springs. They're hoping to have her speak for a fundraiser. I've had a chance to meet the retired colonel/diplomat in person a number of times. You can too, with no fund-raising necessary. Go to an action. The first time I met Wright was in Crawford Texas when a delegation from Colorado Springs joined Cindy Sheehan's encampment outside George Bush's ranch. Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin were the primary organizers behind Sheehan's "Camp Casey" PR coup. When our group convened our own Camp Casey at Nevada Avenue and Dale Street, Wright was our liaison to the continued national effort. Most recently we ran into Wright at the DNC in August. Ann Wright brought the white faceless masks to the Denver demonstrations. She spoke at the rallies and participated in several marches. Even now, whether the issue is closing Guantanamo or saying no to the Fed, you'll see Wright's squad with their masks, representing the faceless victims of America's destructive imperialism. While I look forward to Ann Wright's upcoming visit, I think it is unfortunate that local energy for activism be dissipated with an in-house lecture. What would Wright rather see us doing? Hopefully she can illuminate the hole into which the PPJPC is burying its head. Perhaps a study of her successes can show that a nonviolent ethos need not limit one's actions to the avoidance of confrontation.

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