Irish aid boat holds course towards Gaza despite Israel warning

The final boat in the Gaza aid flotilla was sailing at full speed towards the territory’s coast tonight despite warnings that it would be intercepted by Israeli forces.

The MV Rachel Corrie, a 40-year-old cargo ship bought by the Irish arm of the Free Gaza Movement, was delayed and avoided capture during Monday night’s assault. Tonight it was still in international waters about two days from Gaza, carrying a consignment of aid and 19 activists and crew, among them five Irish nationals, the organisation said.

The Irish taoiseach, Brian Cowen, warned Israel tonight that he expected no violence against those on the Rachel Corrie.

“If any harm comes to any of our citizens it will have the most serious consequences,” he said, calling on Israel to guarantee the vessel safe passage through the military blockade of Gaza.

The ship, named after the 23-year-old American killed in Gaza in 2003 while trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian home, had halted in the Mediterranean following the assault while those on board – among them the Nobel peace laureate Máiread Maguire and Denis Halliday, a retired senior UN diplomat – discussed whether they should continue.

It was now carrying as a “second wave” of the flotilla, said Niamh Moloughney, who organised the sailing in Ireland.

READ THE REST

In raw video, reporters claim Israelis fired on activists before boarding ship

In what could be a serious blow to Israel’s narrative on the killing of at least nine humanitarian activists making their way to Gaza through international waters, raw video by an Al Jazeera producer, who was filming during the raid, appears to provide evidence that the IDF opened fire on the flotilla even before boarding it.

Israeli forces assert they came under attack by the pro-Palestine civilian group, and video released by the IDF appears to show one soldier being tossed overboard amid a scuffle with unidentified individuals wielding melee weapons, like clubs and chairs.

However, in raw video captured by an Al Jazeera producer and published to YouTube late Monday, two journalists provide a play-by-play of the harrowing event as pops and cracks echo in the background. Even before the Israeli forces were aboard, one says, they were pelting the boat with tear gas and stun grenades, injuring numerous people.

Then he confirms the first death, saying the individual was killed by “munitions,” but not specifying whether it was a bullet or something else. Then he confirms that Israeli forces were boarding the ship.

READ THE REST

Q&A: Israel’s blockade of Gaza

When did Israel impose the blockade?

Israel hermetically sealed Gaza in June 2007, when Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic group, violently seized the enclave from the rival secular Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, the western-backed Palestinian president. Israel’s aim was to weaken Hamas, which it – along with the US and European Union – considers a terrorist organisation. It also wanted to end rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israeli communities and secure the return of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Gaza militants a year earlier. Israel, which controls all of Gaza’s border crossings except for Rafah, which is managed by Egypt, has since allowed the entry of what it terms as basic humanitarian supplies while forbidding any Gazans except for patients in need of medical care, a few businesspeople and some university students from leaving or entering the strip. Egypt has also kept its crossing mostly shut to people or goods.

So what’s not allowed into Gaza?

Israel keeps secret its guidelines on how it differentiates between humanitarian necessities for Gaza’s 1.5m residents and non-essential luxuries, citing security reasons. Its choices, however, are often baffling. Food products prohibited from entering include jam, chocolate, biscuits, potato chips, fresh meat, coriander and industrial margarine, according to human rights groups. Other banned goods include musical instruments, pens, notebooks, toys, cars, fridges and computers, as well as building materials like cement, iron, gravel, marble and some wood. Additionally, Israel only allows in just over half the weekly industrial fuel needs for Gaza’s only power plant, as well as less than half of the region’s necessary monthly gas supply, according to activists.

READ THE REST

Gaza flotilla drives Israel into a sea of stupidity

Of course the peace flotilla will not bring peace, and it won’t even manage to reach the Gaza shore. The action plan has included dragging the ships to Ashdod port, but it has again dragged us to the shores of stupidity and wrongdoing

By Gideon Levy

The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs its hopeless frenzy. It has distributed menus from Gaza restaurants, along with false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle, which it might have been better off never starting. They want to maintain the ineffective, illegal and unethical siege on Gaza and not let the “peace flotilla” dock off the Gaza coast? There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy the web of explanations, lies and tactics.

Only in Israel do people still accept these tainted goods. Reminiscent of a pre-battle ritual from ancient times, the chorus cheered without asking questions. White uniformed soldiers got ready in our name. Spokesmen delivered their deceptive explanations in our name. The grotesque scene is at our expense. And virtually none of us have disturbed the performance.

The chorus has been singing songs of falsehood and lies. We are all in the chorus saying there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We are all part of the chorus claiming the occupation of Gaza has ended, and that the flotilla is a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty – the cement is for building bunkers and the convoy is being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The Israeli siege of Gaza will topple Hamas and free Gilad Shalit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy, one of the most ridiculous of the propagandists, outdid himself when he unblinkingly proclaimed that the aid convoy headed toward Gaza was a violation of international law. Right. Exactly.

It’s not the siege that is illegal, but rather the flotilla. It wasn’t enough to distribute menus from Gaza restaurants through the Prime Minister’s Office, (including the highly recommended beef Stroganoff and cream of spinach soup ) and flaunt the quantities of fuel that the Israeli army spokesman says Israel is shipping in. The propaganda operation has tried to sell us and the world the idea that the occupation of Gaza is over, but in any case, Israel has legal authority to bar humanitarian aid. All one pack of lies.

READ THE REST

This article appeared in Haaretz yesterday–before the flotilla was terrorized and stopped.

Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country’s siege on Gaza.

At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: “This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves.”

Footage from the flotilla’s lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.

Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, on board the Mavi Marmara, said Israeli troops had used live ammunition during the operation.

READ THE REST

Israel is just a brutal, thuggish rogue state.  It is disgusting that we ally ourselves with these barbarians.

Libertarian Party of KY: Rand Paul is not a Libertarian

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF KENTUCKY REITERATES: RAND PAUL IS NOT A LIBERTARIAN

The Libertarian Party of Kentucky again reiterated today that Rand Paul is not a Libertarian.

“I have heard Rand Paul speak at TEA Party events, and I can assure you that his positions are that of a Republican,” said LPKY Chairman Ken Moellman. “While the GOP is going through an identity crisis, the Libertarian Party has stood firm upon the same principles since its founding.”

“As head of the membership committee, I assure you that [Paul] has never been a Libertarian,” said Ronald Seiter, Louisville native and Libertarian Party of Kentucky Vice Chairman. “He has neither signed our statement of principles, nor contributed to the Party in any way.”

The Libertarian Party agrees with portions of both the Democratic and Republican Party platforms; though, not always for the same reasons. The ‘non-aggression principle’ guides the Libertarian Party. Signing an oath to adhere to that principle, along with annual dues, is a requirement for full membership in the Party or to run as one of its candidates.

The Libertarian Party of Kentucky will begin to announce its 2010 candidates for office around the state in the next few months. Kentucky law creates separate procedures for anyone not running as a Democrat or Republican. “That shouldn’t be a surprise. They wrote the rules to keep others out. But the political atmosphere has changed, people are tired of politics as usual,” Moellman said. “And I think we’re going to have some very good results in November.

The Libertarian Party of Kentucky is the official state affiliate for the Libertarian Party. Founded in 1971, the Libertarian Party believes in achieving liberty through economic freedom and social tolerance, and is the nation’s third-largest political party. More information is available at their respective websites: http://www.lpky.org/ and http://www.lp.org/