Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sirota: Blowback, A Flotilla for Gaza

From: <moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG>

.A Flotilla for Gaza

A flotilla of 9 ships is on its way with tons of humanitarian aid to break
the siege of Gaza. Israel has announced that no way will the boats be
allowed into Gaza. This is a further step in the campaign to free Gaza.

The Turkish passenger ship left yesterday from Istanbul to the next port to
pick up more passengers. The Irish/Malaysian ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, is
on her way to the Mediterranean. The Greek/Swedish cargo ship, the passenger
boat from the European Campaign and the Free Gaza passenger boats are ready
to leave Greece this week.

We will all meet in international waters off the coast of Gaza, turn and
steam into Gaza City port sometime between May 28 and June 1 depending on
the weather.

We will soon have a new page added to our website called witnessgaza.org.
You will be able to follow us as we journey to Gaza over the next two weeks.
You can watch our own 'video reports' twice a day, reports from the boats
and from Gaza. Everything on the page is connected to make it easier for you
to access TWITTER, Facebook, YouTube and FLICKR. Watch for it in the next
day or so.

The Israelis are nervous.

The Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to Gaza to the diaspora are

The internationals are determined.

The boats are ready.

The world waits.


[Istanbul, Turkey 22 May, 2010] Amid cheers and waving of Turkish and
Palestinian flags, the second ship to join the Freedom Flotilla left
Istanbul this afternoon.

Sponsored by the Turkish humanitarian organization, Insani Yardim Vakfi
(IHH), the ship will carry 600 passengers to Gaza as part of the blockade
busting flotilla. It joins eight other boats coming from three other
countries carrying 10,000 tons of supplies to the Palestinian people,
supplies that have been denied to them by Israel.

Boats will meet in the Mediterranean, then turn toward Gaza to arrive at its
besieged slice of beachfront by the end of May. Free Gaza Movements MV
Rachel Corrie is already on her way from Ireland and is presently off the
coast of Portugal loaded with cement, paper and supplies for school children
and medical equipment.

John Ging, Head of the United Nation's Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in
the Gaza Strip since 2006, said, We recommend the world send ships to the
shores of Gaza, and we believe that Israel will not stop these vessels
because the sea is open, and many human rights organizations have been
successful in previous similar steps, and proved that breaking the siege on
Gaza is possible.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is comprised of: Free Gaza Movement (FG),
European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi
(IHH), Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International
Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza, with hundreds of groups and
organizations around the world supporting the effort.

www.freegaza.org www.savegaza.eu www.ihh.org.tr

www.shiptogaza.gr www.shiptogaza.se



Blowback: Why They Try to Bomb Us

*Though we don't like to call it mass murder, the U.S. government's
undeclared drone war in Pakistan is devolving into just that. As noted by a
former counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus and a former Army
officer in Afghanistan, the operation has become a haphazard massacre.*

By David Sirota
Truthdig: May 14, 2010

Imagine, if you can, an alternate universe.

Imagine that in this alternate universe, a foreign military power begins
flying remote-controlled warplanes over your town, using onboard missiles to
kill hundreds of your innocent neighbors.

Now imagine that when you read the newspaper about this ongoing bloodbath,
you learn that the foreign nation's top general is nonchalantly telling
reporters that his troops are also killing "an amazing number" of your
cultural brethren in an adjacent country. Imagine further learning that this
foreign power is expanding the drone attacks on your community despite the
attacks' well-known record of killing innocents. And finally, imagine that
when you turn on your television, you see the perpetrator nation's
tuxedo-clad leader cracking stand-up comedy jokes about drone strikes—jokes
that prompt guffaws from an audience of that nation's elite.

Ask yourself: How would you and your fellow citizens respond? Would you call
homegrown militias mounting a defense "patriots" or would you call them
"terrorists"? Would you agree with your leaders when they angrily tell
reporters that violent defiance should be expected?

Fortunately, most Americans don't have to worry about these queries in their
own lives. But how we answer them in a hypothetical thought experiment
provides us insight into how Pakistanis are likely to be feeling right now.
Why? Because thanks to our continued drone assaults on their country,
Pakistanis now confront these issues every day. And if they answer these
questions as many of us undoubtedly would in a similar situation—well, that
should trouble every American in this age of asymmetrical warfare.

Though we don't like to call it mass murder, the U.S. government's
undeclared drone war in Pakistan is devolving into just that. As noted by a
former counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus and a former Army
officer in Afghanistan, the operation has become a haphazard massacre.

"Press reports suggest that over the last three years drone strikes have
killed about 14 terrorist leaders," David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum wrote in
2009. "But, according to Pakistani sources, they have also killed some 700
civilians. This is 50 civilians for every militant killed."

Making matters worse, Gen. Stanley McChrystal has, indeed, told journalists
that in Afghanistan, U.S. troops have "shot an amazing number of people" and
"none has proven to have been a real threat." Meanwhile, President Barack
Obama used his internationally televised speech at the White House
Correspondents Dinner to jest about drone warfare—and the assembled
Washington glitterati did, in fact, reward him with approving laughs.

By eerie coincidence, that latter display of monstrous insouciance occurred
on the same night as the failed effort to raze Times Square. Though America
reacted to that despicable terrorism attempt with its routine spasms of
cartoonish shock (why do they hate us?!), the assailant's motive was
anything but baffling. As law enforcement officials soon reported, the
accused bomber was probably trained and inspired by Pakistani groups seeking
revenge for U.S. drone strikes.

"This is a blowback," said Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mehmood
Qureshi. "This is a reaction. And you could expect that ... let's not be

Obviously, regardless of rationale, a "reaction" that involves trying to
incinerate civilians in Manhattan is abhorrent and unacceptable. But so is
Obama's move to intensify drone assaults that we know are regularly
incinerating innocent civilians in Pakistan. And while Qureshi's statement
about "expecting" blowback seems radical, he's merely echoing the CIA's
reminder that "possibilities of blowback" arise when we conduct martial
operations abroad.

We might remember that somehow-forgotten warning come the next terrorist
assault. No matter how surprised we may feel after that inevitable (and
inevitably deplorable) attack, the fact remains that until we halt our own
indiscriminately violent actions, we ought to expect equally indiscriminate
and equally violent reactions.

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books "Hostile Takeover" and
"The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at

E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com or follow him on Twitter@davidsirota.

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