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Dignite Al Karama nears Gaza waters, reconnoitered by unidentified swiftboat UPDATE: Ship boarded, towed to Israel

3AM UPDATE: Israeli Navy has jammed communication, boarded Dignité, taken 16 into custody, and is towing vessel to Ashdod, Israel, actually occupied Palestine. Israel's enforcement of illegal blockade of Gaza confirms Gaza occupation. Sole remaining vessel of the "Say Human" Freedom Flotilla II, Dignite Al Karama, is expected to enter Gazan waters after daybreak Tuesday, July 19. The French leisure craft left yesterday without unanimous approval of flotilla steering committee, but carries passengers from multiple international delegations, intent to let nothing delay breaking the siege of Gaza. See latest pictures. The Dignite was boarded on international waters, at coordinates: 33º25 E, 31º25 N. The Flotilla II steering committee apparently wanted to close the books on the 2011 aid convoy, in line perhaps with the US Audacity of Hope's own five hour tour that left activists deserted on the Greek isles. Bravo to the Dignity for deciding that the freedom of Gaza doesn't need postponing until the next stillborn mission. Aboard the DIGNITY: Stéphan Corriveau, Coordinator of Canadian boat to Gaza; Dror Feiler, spokesperson of Ship to Gaza-Sweden, President of the European Jews for a Just Peace, artist, musician, composer; Jérôme Gleizes, France, Europe Ecologie Les Verts; Jacqueline Le Corre, France, Médecin-Collectif 14 de soutien au peuple palestinien, member of Parti communiste francais; Jean Claude Lefort, former MEP, French Communist Party –PCF, president France-Palestine Solidarity Association (AFPS); Claude Léostic, spokesperson of Un bateau français pour Gaza; Yamin Makri, France, Collectif 69 de soutien au peuple palestinien; Omeyya Naoufel Seddik, Tunisian, Fédération des Tunisiens pour une citoyenneté des deux rives (FTCR), and Ligue tunisienne des Droits de l'Homme (LTDH), Phd in Political Science; Thomas Sommer-Houdeville, spokesperson of Un bateau français pour Gaza, Researcher, Political Sciecnce, Middle East Studies, at the Institut francais du proche Orient; Vangelis Pissias, spokesperson of Ship to Gaza-Greece, Professor at Technical University of Athens; Amira Hass, Israeli journalist - Haaretz; Ayyache Derradji, Journalist from Al Jazeera; Stéphane Guida, Cameraman from Al Jazeera; with Zacharia Stylianakis, Captain; Hilaire Folacci, Mariner; Yannick Voisin, Mariner; Jo Leguen, Navigator

Next Gaza Freedom Flotilla will be an anti-globalist, anti-Apartheid Armada

Israel successfully defended its inhumane illegal siege of Gaza against the 2011 Freedom Flotilla, currently regrouping in Greece. Let's recap: the French Dignite Al Karama awaits permission to leave Crete, the Swedish/Greek MV Juliano overcame sabotage which crippled the Irish MV Saoirse and unconfirmed others. The Canadian Tahrir was boarded by Greek commandos and towed back to Athens. The US Audacity of Hope repelled a shouting match with the Greek Coast Guard then surrendered into custody. Ready to form the next flotilla are the Spanish Guernica, French Louise Michel, and the Stefano Chiarini, Freedom for All and Methimus II. In the wings of course await the Mavi Marmara and the Rachel Corrie. Will this grow to an Armada? Israeli intransigence and its Hasbarapocalypse guarantee it. Check these allied organizations to see how you can join the next voyage: Belgium to Gaza Canada: boat to Gaza Europe: Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza France: Un bateau français pour Gaza Germany: Initiative zum Bruch der Gazablockade Greece: Ship to Gaza Italy: Freedom Flotilla Norway: Ship to Gaza Palestine: Free Gaza Movement Palestine: International Campaign to End the OccupationScotland: Free Gaza Spain: Rumbo a Gaza Switzerland: Un bateau pour Gaza Turkey: IHH Humanitarian Aid Flotilla US to Gaza

Solo Gaza relief ship Dignite Al Karama presses on for the dignity of Palestine

Not only have nation states refused to sanction humanitarian relief missions to illegally besieged Gaza, events this week prove they are unanimous in prohibiting even citizens doing it themselves. Yet, one brave vessel has eluded sabotage, lawsuit, bureaucracy, and Greece's Coast Guard paramilitaries. French Freedom Flotilla II participant DIGNITE AL KARAMA presses on alone to break the siege of Gaza. Without media escort, television cameras or witnesses, the crew of eleven, joined by print reporter Quentin Girard, will have only their cellphones to apprise the world audience of their progress against the bellicose reception which Israel has promised awaits any transgressors of its 63 year occupation and subjugation of Palestine, including its open-air prison called Gaza.   UPDATES: Dignite incercepted by Greek Coast Guard while refueling in Ormos Kouremenos, Crete. Taken under escort to Xinthya, where it's promised they will be able to leave in the morning. Translation of French article below. Flotilla for Gaza: The "Dignity" intercepted by Greek coast guard. For two hours, late Wednesday afternoon, the "Dignity" is moored at Ormos Kouremenos, a small port in the far east of Crete. It needs to replenish fuel one last time before sailing to Gaza. Suddenly, as it has already replentished 1,000 liters and is awaiting a second delivery, a gunboat of the Greek coast guard emerges. The passengers immediately understand. In this small bay where there are only fishing boats made of wood, they know it is there for them. The gunboat approaches, also an unmarked car. The Coast Guard ask politely for our papers. Thus began a two-hour discussion and document control board where everything is carefully checked. Activists trample board. "It's too bad", everyone is thinking. This was the last step before the big crossing. A dozen men in uniform, very polite, surround the Dignity. The phone calls multiply, presumably to refer to a distant authority. The Coast Guard require passports, they carefully register the names. They don't find much wrong with the boat. The captain didn't have a logbook and the marina's entry fee, 30 euros, hadn't yet been tendered. Except that in this small fishing harbor, there was no place to declare one's arrival. We must wait. Passengers prepare to eat, the menu that night, chicken pasta, coppa and lentils. "We're Very Sorry" Eventually the Coast Guard announced that we must follow them to another port to sign authorizations and that the "Dignity" will be able to leave the next morning. It's 10PM. In the meantime they keep the boat's papers to make photocopies. They ensure that there is no problem. One of them apologized repeatedly: "Sorry." Omeyya Seddik, one of the passengers replied, "You're doing your jobs, that's normal." The "Dignity" is off again into the night toward the port of Xinthya, escorted by the Coast Guard boat which heads off without delay. Too fast. Many times it seems to disappear into the night as if really she doesn't want to be followed. The passengers do not know how to react. What to do? Keep a slim hope? Or immediately broadcast our circumstances and risk making

French craft DIGNITY breaks for Gaza, leads Flotilla II until rest allowed to go

UPDATED-- In a flurry of conflicting tweets, French Flotilla II member DIGNITE AL KARAMA made for the open sea, beyond the reach of Greek authorities currently detaining the AUDACITY OF HOPE, TAHRIR, LOUISE MICHEL, GUERNICA, JULIANO and others. Reporter Quentin Girard has been communicating the DIGNITY's progress, its eight activists electing last night to complete their run all the way to Gaza. The French vessel escaped Greece on a technicality, as a pleasure craft, the Dignity is not confined by the regulations being used to block the larger Flotilla participants. Aboard the Dignity with Girard, are Olivier Besancenot, Julien Rivoire, Omeyyaa Sedic, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Annick Coupé, Nabil Ennasr. (Both Coupé and Besancenot are registered on Twitter, but neither has communicated yet.) Girard's most recent tweets, translated: July 5, 3:02 All is well thank you :) but we were in an area where reception was bad. July 5, 3:15 Despite what we can read, the Dignity is still in international waters. It will be there in one hour. July 5, 7:41 The passengers of the Dignity have finally come to the decision (only now really) to go to Gaza. July 5, 8:19 TF1 should attempt to rejoin Dignity and embark. July 5, 8:43 We're moving again after a "media" pause on the high seas. 15 hours of sea left before I might go silent. Kisses! July 5, 12:19 Into the night the DIGNITY continues its advance. In the distance, small lights. July 5, 13:38 Not really enough beds for everyone, so I sleep under the stars on the upper deck. beautiful sky. In their original French: 05.07 3:02 tout va bien merci :) mais on était dans un endroit où ça captait mal. 05.07 3:15 Malgré ce qu'on peut lire le Dignité n'est pas encore dans les eaux internationales. Il y sera dans une heure. 05.07 7:41 Les passagers du Dignité viennent de prendre enfin (seulement maintenant vraiment) la décision d'aller jusqu'à Gaza 05.07 8:19 TF1 devrait tenter de rejoindre le Dignité et embarquer dessus 05.07 8:43 On bouge à nouveau après une pause "média" en haute mer. C'est parti pour 15h de mer, où je risque d'être silencieux. Des bises. 05.07 12:19 Dans la nuit le dignité avance toujours. Au loin, des petites lumières. 05.07 13:38 Pas vraiment de couchettes pour tout le monde, donc je dors à la belle étoile, sur le pont supérieur. Beau ciel Below is the Girard's July 5 article in the LIBERTE.FR (auto-translated, sorry, until I can review it) En route to Gaza, "Dignity" is appealing to the media The French ship of the "freedom flotilla" sailing in international waters off the coast of Greece. The crew decided to go to Gaza. By QUENTIN GIRARD special envoy on the "Dignity" 16 hours in Greece, somewhere in international waters, on Tuesday afternoon. After much discussion, the Dignity passengers finally made their decision. They will go to Gaza. A bit surreal moment where the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, they set up banners and make an official statement. When they left the industrial port of Salamina, Monday morning, they did not really know how far they try to go. There, as they finally arrived in international

Solidarity rally for Gaza Aid Flotilla II called off in Christian-Zionist Springs

Humanitarian rights activists aboard the Canadian Flotilla II aid ship bravely try to block the pilot's view as Greek forces commandeer the TAHRIR before it reached international waters. While Greece is denounced for its complicity with Israel, the international press offered no live coverage, so few Americans knew it was happening. Meanwhile predominantly Christian-Zionist Colorado Springs urged Team USrael to #sinktheflotilla! Sorry local Judeo-Christo-holes, no dialog.   While the maritime aid convoy looks sunk, to the degree it received attention, the Flotilla II did raise awareness about the besieged Gazans. But more, the blocking of the aid ships, by USA, Greece, Turkey, litigious NGOs and unknown intelligence operatives, suggests that Israel is not a rogue state after all. The Flotilla II revealed the illusion of democracy, the farce of sovereignty, and the inhumanity of our global governors. By international humanitarian aid being denied Gaza by state power we see: this is what a police state looks like, globalized. Arrest of those who blocked the wheel house. A sweet photo of the Canadian activists looking forlorn, for a brief moment. However unceremoniously, by this weekend's blocking of the Freedom Flotilla II, the cause of freedom for Palestine and for Greece is well advanced. And best news, precious activists didn't have to die by the hand of Israeli commandos, and live to repeat their promise, Gaza We Are Coming!

Irish MV Saoirse becomes 2nd victim of sabotage, cannot sail with Gaza Flotilla

So how do nonviolent, unarmed humanitarian activists protect themselves from weapons-wielding attackers? Not very well.   But they don't have to. Afterward, they don't even point a finger. And it's working. Via too many flat screens to stop, the world audience sees that Israel will stop at nothing to starve off its remaining Palestinians, neither violence, lawsuits, attempted murder, or slander, is too much to keep humanitarians from hindering Israel's designs on Judea and Samaria. Now I admit I favor just a little finger pointing, particularly when it's too early to say, concrete evidence-wise, because that brings out something even less attractive. Accuse Israel immediately and guess what, they'll indignantly try to put the blame on others. That's ugly. And they accuse you of antisemitism, even if you love Jews, but don't favor the Zionist, mass-murdering variety. Getting aid to the beleaguered Gazans may prove more difficult than a beeline Mediterranean cruise, but this mountain of a greater Palestinian cause is coming to Mohammed. Delegitimizing Apartheid Israel is becoming as easy as taking candy from a baby-candy-taker. While the internet hasbarapocalypse foams at the mouth applauding what may or may not have been IDF divers who rigged the MV Saoirse to sink in mid voyage, or what may or may not have been Mossad undercover agents who relieved flotilla participants of their cellphones, the eagerness of Stand-With-Israel fans to stand with such tactics is compounding with self-antisemitism. It's becoming more and more clear, with obstacles like the corporate media stacked against critics of Israel, that a nonviolent strategy is tantamount to success against a lawless foe. Remember our TSA considers nail-clippers to be a weapon. your average ocean-going cabin cruiser arms itself with at least a speargun or two if there becomes a need to fend off would-be petty pirates. God forbid the Gaza Flotilla be caught with tools like that. So how do flotilla activists keep a 24-hour watch against underwater demolition teams? How do elderly activists protect themselves from paid-hoodlums holding them up? The next flotilla will need an entourage of protectors I suppose, if this what happens to this flotilla doesn't break the blockade of Gaza for good.

First look! US Boat to Gaza, Flotilla II blockade runner The Audacity of Hope

Democracy Now Producer Aaron Maté took a quick photo of the American boat scheduled shortly to sail with the upcoming aid flotilla to Gaza. How will President Obama respond to an effort named after his presidential campaign bestseller Audacity Of Hope? I'd suggest, by renaming his book, which he has to do anyway, the Audacity of Empty Promises. Obama has urged Palestinians to remain nonviolent, yet condemns the nonviolent convoy sailing to break Israel's illegal siege and relieve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

IDF’s Anarchist Bible, Old Testament: sulfur as a weapon, mind you it stinks

FOR HOW-TO FANS: Israel's IDF says sulfur can be poured unto its soldiers to immobilize them, even used "to light them up like human torches" supposedly. Uh, sounds promising. References please? The Old Testament of course! Literally the proverbial fire and brimstone, I kid you not. The IDF is publicizing the biblical war making technology because it is accusing the Gaza Flotilla II activists of harboring this plan. The drawback, Israel disingenuously omits --because hey, who needs to explain the obvious-- a would-be victim can smell this attack coming. The smell of sulfur is inescapable, you wouldn't even have time to blame it on the police search dogs.

Press intimidation, frivolous lawfare, and sabotage, it’s hasbarapocalypse

You're looking at an underwater photo of the starboard propeller of the passenger ship "Juliano" berthed in Piraeus, Greece, waiting to sail with the "Stay Human" Freedom Flotilla II departing soon to break the siege of Gaza. Reports of sabotage babelfished, even as some flotilla participants quickly issued a retraction. As diver video documented, someone assailed the propeller shaft casing, luckily repairable, but Greek authorities could seize on the incident to delay the activists with an investigation, or insist on further inspections, using anticipation of sabotage to delay or forbid the voyage. Whodunnit? Sooner than point the finger at whoever took the intelligence contract, better to focus on the flotilla's irrepressible forward momentum. Notice how the Hasbara themes want to presage the relief effort's dwindling relevance? Sabotage would grant Israel too easy success. You can't kill activism but in the shadows. Fortunately the flotilla vessels are arrayed at various Mediterranean ports, and the identities are being kept secret, much as the internet chorus would like to track them by satellite. So far the flotilla organizer strategies have been impeccable. Media reports of nonviolence classes counter Israeli anticipation of violence. The American boat's decision to bring only a cargo of letters appears to have been a savvy maneuver around the US DOJ's predictable enforcement of its anti-terrorism statutes. Yes, Hamas was democratically elected, but on the books it's a terrorist entity and supporting it materially will result in charges. It seems inconceivable, but surprise seems to be a recurring judicial theme. The US delegation comprises the antiwar movements most luminary, I have to credit them now for not being too reckless. Where would the rest of us be, if they are behind bars? Next I expect we will see the wit behind naming their boat after President Obama's bestseller Audacity of Hope. What's that going to do for his Google-metrics? Obama won't be able to mention it again, without drawing reference to the Gaza relief mission he didn't support. The flotilla2 organizers don't hope to provoke Israel, nor shame the IDF to "Stay Human," they want to sail the the people of Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel asserts its right to besiege Gaza, to starve, harass and demoralize the Palestinians in hope that eventually they'll just want to leave. And that's why the flotilla must not pass.

French boat Dignite Al Karama first of Gaza Freedom Flotilla 2 to leave port as Greeks try to dash US Audacity of Hope

French humanitarian activists aboard LE DIGNITÉ-EL KARAMEH left Corisca today, bound for Greece, where they will join compatriots in sloop LOUISE MICHEL and the Freedom Flotilla II codenamed "Stay Human" which includes two cargo ships carrying aid to besieged Gaza. The departures of the US AUDACITY OF HOPE and the Canadian TAHRIR are threatened by private complaints of unknown origin, flagging the vessels as unseaworthy, causing Nation reporter Joseph Dana to declare Israeli assault on the Flotilla is well underway. Aboard the DIGNITY headed for Gaza: Olivier Besancenot, Julien Rivoire, Omeyyaa Sedic, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Annick Coupe, Nabil Ennasr, and AFP reporter Quentin Girard. The second French vessel, the LOUISE MICHEL, named for the famed leader of the Paris Commune. Tweeting from the already sailing DIGNITY is Thomas Sommer. Irish activists pose before embarking on "Staying Human" Flotilla 2. Team Ireland's MV SAOIRSE whose departure point is being kept secret to circumvent pressure being brought to bear on local port officials, as is happening with the US and Canadian vessels. USBoatToGaza participants rehearse nonviolent training in anticipation of IDF commando intervention. Both the Canadian and US organizers are insisting on a media moratorium on images of the TAHRIR and AUDACITY OF HOPE respectively, in hopes of limiting opportunities for sabotage efforts. There is of course the conflicting motive of circulating images as early as possible to have visuals with which to better promote and nurture media interest in the international aid effort. The Canadian boat TAHRIR will be covered by Toronto journalist Jesse Rosenfeld and Haaretz reporter Amira Haas.

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

Gaza we are coming

Plans are once again underway for another attempt to run the blockade of Gaza. Two ships are set to sail from Lebanon today or tomorrow, despite intimidation from Israel --which worked to prevent the aid ship INFANTS OF GAZA scheduled to leave from Iran. As a result, the Israeli navy is maneuvering to intercept, as it did for the recent Libyan AMALTHEA, and the Irish RACHEL CORRIE before that. Israel is even preparing "Flotilla 13," the Shayetet commandos who killed nine activists on the Mavi Marmara in May. If it does leave, the Lebanese convoy will consist of a ship named MARYAM, carrying only women and nuns, and the JULIA (the Naji Al Ali) carrying journalist and Reporters Without Borders. It's hard to imagine what reception the journalists are intent to document, Israel can hardly surpass itself with brutality, so will it be news? Meanwhile another flotilla is in the works for September, which may include Spanish footballers. Canadian activists have announced efforts to contribute a Canadian ship, and US activists are raising funds for an American ship, to be named "The Audacity of Hope," after President Obama's autobiographical self-promotion. Personally I think the pay-it-forward Nobel Prize to Obama paid squat. Obama couldn't even muster outrage over Israel's murder of the Freedom Flotilla activists, nor would he sanction an international investigation. Why credit him with any part of the rescue of the Palestinians of Gaza? The naming of "Maryam" or Mariam, after the Virgin Mary is already being resisted by the Israeli press, which is referring to the ship by its previous identity JUNIA. No doubt the all-woman ship will present a challenge to the brutality-prone IDF. The confusion over the identity of Julia/Junia may be part of the subterfuge meant to evade Israel sabotage which succeeded in hampering the Freedom Flotilla's CHALLENGER I and II. GAZA WE ARE COMING is the title of a documentary made about the earlier attempts to break the siege of Gaza by sea. The project is more complicated than you might think, having to avoid the MOSSAD at every turn. Each successive wave has involved bigger ships, so far, taken as prizes by Israel. Will a sovereign government finally step forward to provide official escort to a convoy? The United Nations has ruled the siege of Gaza to be illegal. Israel itself pretends that Gaza is autonomous, thus the naval blockade cannot be a pretext to protect Israeli waters. Debates in the media about who's in the right are merely charades.

Libyan humanitarian aid ship to Gaza undaunted by Israeli Navy death threat

While Israel releases redacted portions of its internal investigation of the Mavi Marmara Massacre, another aid ship steams toward the Gaza Blockade. The cargo ship Amalthea carries humanitarian aid from Libya and is due to cross into Gazan waters on Wednesday, barring interception by the Israeli navy in international waters. Israel was able to exert international pressure on various fronts to try to prevent the departure of the humanitarian cargo ship. It's flagged in Moldova, and had to port in Greece before making its run to relieve the Siege of Gaza.

Accounting for IDF missing intelligence

The results of Israel's self-investigation of the Mavi Marmara Massacre are in: surprise, the IDF commandos did no wrong, but were set back by a deficiency of intelligence. It's what many of us were already thinking, but there's another punchline which Israel invites by pairing the deadly raid with IDF "intelligence" assets gone missing. Six passengers of the humanitarian convoy are still unaccounted for. Rumors spread they may have been tossed off the ship, or languish in Israeli detention, but the trouble is, the six are also lacking for anyone missing them. Without friends or families registering concern, the convoy organizers can now deduce that the six were agents of Israel, who elected obviously to stay behind in Israel. Might this be because they were the principal provocateurs brandishing the pipes to give the IDF boarders pretext to fire upon the activists? That would be a "pretext" in hindsight of course, because the record is emerging that the Israeli commandos were firing on the ship well in advance of attempting a boarding party. One of the objectives Israel had in detaining the activists was to prevent their account of the raid from reaching public eyes before the IDF could inundate Youtube with clips of what it planned to pretend had happened. From the video spread round by the IDF, one gets the impression the Israeli soldiers were pummeled to within an inch of their lives. But in reality the soldiers emerged nearly unscathed. Is it possible the pipe-wielders were striking against the deck and serving also to keep the genuine activists at bay? In fact the video footage which the activists succeeded in spiriting past their IDF jailers show the same scene devoid of what Israel described as a "lynch." What may have looked like beatings, from Israel's thermal camera aimed from beside the Marmara, did not register at all from up close. Curiously stealthy choreography. While we look for the incriminating names, here are the US senators and congressmen who've signed on to letters drafted by AIPAC to show their support for Israel's raid on the humanitarian convoy, and to urge President Obama to use the Security Council veto power to block any effort to investigate the killings. Signatories to the Reid-McConnell Letter on the Gaza Flotilla Incident Total Number of Signatories: 85 As of June 18, 2010 Senator State Party Alexander, Lamar TN R Barrasso, John WY R Baucus, Max MT D Bayh, Evan IN D Begich, Mark AK D Bennet, Michael CO D Bennett, Robert UT R Bond, Christopher MO R Boxer, Barbara CA D Brown, Scott MA R Brown, Sherrod OH D Brownback, Sam KS R Burr, Richard NC R Burris, Roland W. IL D Cantwell, Maria WA D Cardin, Ben MD D Carper, Tom DE D Casey Jr., Bob PA D Chambliss, Saxby GA R Coburn, Tom OK R Cochran, Thad MS R Collins, Susan ME R Conrad, Kent ND D Corker, Bob TN R Cornyn, John TX R Crapo, Mike ID R DeMint, Jim SC

Gaza Flotilla & Knessit member Haneen Zoabi faces Facebook mob death threat

After her participation in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla aboard the Mavi Marmara, Palestinian-Israeli Knessit member Haneen Zoabi came home to a Facebook page which called for her death. "Execute MP Haneen Zoubi" it screamed with the graphic at right, and angry Israelis were friending the effort by the thousands. Making such a threat is of course illegal. An Israeli storekeeper has been reprimanded for offering free groceries for life to whoever would murder Ms. Zoabi. Shouldn't Facebook members who add their personal endorsement to Kill U with a "join", "friend" or "like", be considered accomplices to attempted intimidation?

Was Gaza flotilla infiltrated by agent-provocateurs? Plausible, but whose?

It's convenient to surmise that unexpected violence between activists and authorities must be the work of undercover provocateurs. With the fallout of the Mavi Marmara massacre reaching fever pitch, it's hard to believe Israel would have engineered it thus; and far easier to imagine IDF infiltrators trying to steer flotilla organizers clear of headline-grabbing provocations. I have a theory that terrorism-suspect and ultra-activist Ken O'Keefe is without doubt a provocateur. Working for whom? You and me. By ours I don't mean the us of A. I mean people of conscience. Ken O'Keefe is the former US marine who renounced his citizenship after fighting in the Gulf War. Among many actions he's participated in since then, O'Keefe led the bus caravan to Iraq during the lead up to that war, when it was hoped dotting Iraq with Westerners would be the human shield that deterred a US=British attack. O'Keefe was among those on the Mavi Marmara, in particular fending off the commandos. He recounts how he helped disarm the soldiers and stash their sidearms for later use as evidence. The clips weren't "emptied" into the Israelis at all, but stashed separately to prevent anyone from using or being accused of using the guns. If anything O'Keefe served as provocateur to the activists' courage, to step up a try to avert Israel's interception of the humanitarian aid. But on the theme of provocateurs, there are some schools of thought worth deliberating. (to be continued)

Mavi Marmara security camera footage released by Israel raises two questions

Following their murderous raid on the Gaza Flotilla, Israel seized everyone's photographic footage and released only a fragment which pretended to support the IDF version of the engagement. This clip from a surveillance camera on the Mavi Marmara purports to show activists preparing to batter the Israeli commandos. But the time stamp at the top edge indicates 4:31 AM, which means the sequence is actually after the flotilla reported its first casualties, a full half-hour befre Israel began its violent overtures. I chose this frame also because it depicts a convoy cameraman. Where are the media inquiries for HIS video evidence?

MV Rachel Corrie outsmarts Israeli navy, Hasbara pundits, US media, itself

All eyes are on the MV Rachel Corrie, but where are the pictures?! There hasn't been a photograph of the relief ship since she left Ireland, even then in darkness. Worrying everyone that her attempt to run the Gaza blockade would be cloaked like the USS Liberty, the Freedom Flotilla straggler has pulled a fast one and approached Gaza from the East, visible from the coast of Egypt, not really. At 4AM GMT one of her support groups Tweeted that the MV Rachel Corrie had passed Alexandria. Curious geometry that. By latitude, I could be said to round Malta everyday. The Corrie passed nothing and no one. Is it a testament to the Zionist influence over not just the US media but the international media, that there are no live correspondents awaiting the Rachel Corrie? Even paparazzi stringers could make a fortune if they hired a boat to accost what must surely be the most famous ship since the maritime misadventure of the Sea Shepherd Society's Ady Gil. The MV Rachel Corrie set off from Ireland in darkness, prohibiting a public sendoff and certainly any good pictures. Their strategy to confront the Israeli navy during daylight presumes they will be able to cache whatever footage they get of their interception. Without third party witnesses, whatever befalls the relief ship will never see the light of day, even in the light of day. I'll admit it, we held a local protest on Monday in response to Israel's violent attack on the Freedom Flotilla. It was a decent turnout for having been spontaneous, but I didn't take any pictures, and we got no press. The only evidence that it happened rests with the cars which drove by, the passersby who approached us to defend Israel being right no matter what, and our own memories of feeling like we did something. I hate that kind of activism. If an activist pushes a tree over in the woods, but nobody is there to see it, that gesture hasn't activated anyone. Photos of the Rachel Corrie have been so sparse that media outlets are still using the image used on the Corrie's unveiling, featuring a Photoshopped logo on her stern. Her previous name was still the Linda, but enthusiastic activists no doubt wanted to get the ball rolling. UPDATE 6/5: And there she is finally, we can now see her being guided into port by Israeli pilots. If the IDF account is to be believed, the activists offered the boarding party a ladder. So there it was, broad daylight, not a reporter present, in international waters where observers would have had every right to be. Was all the reaction to the violence visited upon the Mavi Marmara all bluster? Did the various Free Gaza enterprises receive additional donations or no? Italy ad Greece are teeming with multimillion dollar motor yachts with helipads which could have steamed to the scene. Apparently online fans didn't get the memo that the cruise of the Rachel Corrie was to come to naught. Neither Al-Jazeera,

Flotilla video evidence escapes Israel, IDF has to conduct pantie raids now

Norman Finkelstein mentioned anticipated photographic footage that may have escaped confiscation by Israel which has been monopolizing the narrative with their selective accounts. A released Irish activist recounts how nonviolent resistance on the Challenger allowed time for an Australian journalist to secret what she had filmed. We await the unveiling of her evidence in Istanbul. In the meantime some video has escaped from the Mavi Marmara.

19-year-old American killed on flotilla did not hold Israeli dual citizenship

Among the nine martyrs shot by the IDF as they attacked the Mavi Marmara --in Israel's nighttime preemptive enforcement of the enstranglement of Gaza-- was 19-year-old American Furkan Dogan, shot in the back and four times in the face. Well the US media is diligent to describe the doctor's son as "Turkish-American," holding dual citizenship with Turkey, and not "American," which might risk provoking nationalist indignation that IDF troops may have executed one of ours. Interesting distinction. The same pundits never disclaim the curious proportion of American government officials who hold dual citizenship with Israel. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Israeli-American, springs to mind, and... The Neocon cabal of Israeli-Americans: Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Dov Zakheim, George Tenet, Michael Chertoff, Michael Mukasey, Marc Grossman, Philip Zelikow, Ari Fleischer, Elliot Abrams, "Scooter" Libby, William Kristol, Henry Kissinger, Keneth Adelman, Robert Satloff, Richard Haass, Robert Zoellick, James Schlesinger, David Frum, Joshua Bolten, John Bolton, David Wurmser, Eliot Cohen, Mel Sembler, Steve Goldsmith, Adam Goldman, Joseph Gildenhorn, Christopher Gersten, Mark Weinberger, Samuel Bodman, Bonnie Cohen, Ruth Davis... And in the diplomatic corps: Daniel Kurtzer, Ambassador to Israel; Cliff Sobel, Ambassador to the Netherlands; Stuart Bernstein, Ambassador to Denmark; Nancy Brinker, Ambassador to Hungary; Frank Lavin, Ambassador to Singapore; Ron Weiser, Ambassador to Slovakia; Mel Sembler, Ambassador to Italy; Martin Silverstein, Ambassador to Uruguay... And the previous administration's Lincoln Bloomfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs; Jay Lefkowitz, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council; Ken Melman, White House Political Director; Brad Blakeman, White House Director of Scheduling.

Flotilla massacre then Old Testament: Israel exacts girl’s eye for its black eye

Palestinian solidarity volunteer Emily Henochowicz was protesting Israel's brutal raid on the Gaza relief convoy, to be more precise, she was acting as Western observer to protect the Palestinian right to protest, and she lost her eye when she was hit by an IDF teargas canister. You might have hoped Israel forces would temper their tactics after having shocked world opinion with the Mavi Marmara massacre, but no. Only the day after, IDF policemen aimed high velocity teargas rounds directly at the faces of the solidarity activists. Emily lost her eye and requires metal plates to reconstruct her face.

Which was more awesome: power of nonviolence, or right of self-defense?

Give praise to Allah where praise is due   As the Freedom Flotilla made its slow approach last week, a popular Huffpo article pronounced the convoy a testament to the awesome power of nonviolence. That sentiment went about as viral as activist-geeks can get. But the blockade running denouement proved something of the opposite, didn't it? I hope the sanctimonious pacifist will be brave enough to admit it. The Muslim Brotherhood bravely charging the Israeli navy was surely the definition of martyr, if anyone has ever earned it. Without pushing the IDF to bare its authoritarian fangs, there would have been no story, no outrage, the end. An entirely compliant convoy would have been led by the nose to Ashdod and diplomatic compromise. Neither Gandhi nor King nor Mandela gained without a massacre they didn't provoke. It's a slander to their legacy that nonviolent movements have been co-opted by religious purists who subordinate social justice to self-fulfilment, generally in the guise of your post-earthly reward. Labor organizers used to curse the industrialists' first line of union busters, the churches which practiced appeasement and promised "pie in the sky when you die, by and by." We may view and review the IDF night vision tapes which recorded the hardly nonviolent reception given Israel's would-be swashbuckling commandos. Those convoy defenders delivering the first blows may appear to be having way too much fun for our sense of propriety. But it's hard to begrudge men who've suffered under the Israeli boot, perhaps even Israeli torture, who've never gotten closer to their oppressors than an Israeli sniper's range would allow. Perhaps they have loved ones to avenge, or ideals higher than secular humanists can credit. Whatever hatred or anger, the bravery it took to lift metal pipes against modern firepower is undeniable. And just like the stone-throwers of their youth, this is the indomitable spirit that buoys their survival. Without this fight, their numbers would entropy to servitude and attrition, lifeless bodies suspended on their invader's web, to feed the occupier's young until they are gone. From our church pews and academic perches we can supplicate they heed the road most honorably traveled. What do Westerners know of pragmatics? At best our reality is theoretical. Really, who are we, we are always wrong. We can neither elect presidents who matter, nor pass legislation that does not agree with our corporate landlords. And we presume to advise on struggles that mean life and death. Am I saying that there is no efficacy to nonviolent action? Not at all. But I do say, give human nature and righteous anger its due. Nonviolent passivity is for sheep. It will lead us all to an unceremonious death. Wolves count on sheep that don't bite back. If humans can be divided between wolves and sheep, be upfront with the sheep and perhaps you'll rouse in some of them a wolf's courage. That is what will lift your collective humanity. At this moment a second wave of the Freedom Flotilla is poised

Flotilla not a Love Boat, it was a lynch, says Netanyahu, describing beating of IDF soldiers, not deaths of aid workers

What's a lynch? I find it intriguing that Israel's spin machine can drop an American pop culture reference like Love Boat, and simultaneously flub basic usage with "a lynch." According to Israel, that describes what befell their crack-troop Mavi Marmara party-crashers. What does "a lynch" mean? Apparently someone feels at liberty to shorten Lynch Mob, or Lynching, to coin a new threat to Israel. But doesn't it stretch credulity to imagine the IDF has never claimed to have been baited into an "ambush?" Every modern military with a propaganda office, when it suffers a setback, attributes it to an ambush. When the US and Israel do it, it's an attack; when our dastardly adversaries do it, it's an ambush. Let's set aside that the night watch on the Mavi Marmara's deck might have been defending themselves. For the moment the IDF version of events is the only one Israel is allowing. Ambush, trap, beating, getting jumped, wouldn't these be appropriate descriptions for what Israel is asserting its night-vision video depicts? To lynch someone -it's a verb- implies a hanging, extrajudicial, usually perpetrated by a crowd against a lone victim, unarmed. So where does the IDF get "lynch?" To my mind, the Israeli-accented tender of "lynch" is feigned bad English, stuttered -I hope in shame- as perpetrator blames victim, but stuttered conveniently, to make the accusation less preposterous. Isn't a rape victim who is too well versed in the crime perpetrated against her, less convincing than a victim who fumbles to comprehend the outrage she suffered? Poor Israel, its soldiers stepped into a, a, a lynch. Emitted from military spokespeople however, one projects a reflexive followup "-that's the ticket." I'm guessing grasping a straws like "lynch" is played for sympathy. And while I deconstruct the false unfamiliarity of otherwise precisely crafted English: PM Netanyahu's mention of "Love Boat" had a bumbling Bush "the internets" ring to it. Anyone old enough to know the television show about the enchanted cruise ship knows there's not "a Love Boat" but The Love Boat. If the newly nouned "lynch" is intended to define a hate crime unique to anti-Semites, the motive fits with Israel's insistence that first genocide, now holocaust, can only apply to Jews. Such an implication is aided by Netanyahu's suggestion that the lynch was "plotted." Because common understanding of mob misbehavior precludes a premeditated plot. This may reflect a naive dismissal of the responsibility of authorities who manipulated the lynch mobs and witch hunts, but dictionaries seldom chronicle the injustice of the victors who write the history. Conventional wisdom holds that lynchings were improvisational. Perhaps the English speaking viewers are meant to associate the implicit racism of the term. Ambush after all doesn't conjure the slightest whiff of antisemitism. But here's where Israel's liberal arts wordsmiths may have outsmarted themselves. While it's true that thousands of African Americans were lynched through our nation's history, to the average American who dwells not very often on shameful pasts, the definition of lynching encompasses simply an execution in lieu

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