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1/1 Palestine: Cynthia McKinney-We Lived to Tell the Story: Lebanon Rescued Us

by Lee Siu Hin - Peace NO War Network Saturday, Jan. 03, 2009 at 10:12 AM
info@PeaceNOWar.net (213)403-0131 Los Angeles, CA USA

Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney says the aid ship she was on was rammed by an Israeli warship, an allegation Israel denies....

Palestine Watch - Projects of Peace NO War Network
http://www.palestinewatch.net
http://www.PeaceNOWar.net ACTIONS AGAINST MASSACRE! 1/1/09: Latest Lists of Worldwide Protest Against Israeli Attacks on Gaza!  >>Read More
12/30: Reports form Worldwide Protests Against Massacre in Gaza >> Read
 
Please send us your protest information and reports to: info@ActionLA.org
 
Latest Videos from Israel Attack Gaza at ActivistVideo.org >> View
 
1/1/09 Cynthia McKinney: We Lived to Tell the Story: Lebanon Rescued Us  
http://www.peacenowar.net/newpeace/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=491&Itemid=1
 
Videos: http://www.activistvideo.org/views.asp?id=549 Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney says the aid ship she was on was rammed by an Israeli warship, an allegation Israel denies. (CNN) http://www.activistvideo.org/views.asp?id=548 An Israeli patrol boat struck a vessel carrying supplies to Gaza. CNN's Karl Penhaul was on board the "Dignity."   From: Cynthia McKin ney (OFFICIAL)
Date: Jan 1, 2009 3:15 PM

January 1, 2009 - We Lived to Tell the Story:  Lebanon Rescued Us Yesterday, we met with the President of Lebanon, the Chief of the Military, and the Interior Minister who all thanked us for responding and risking our lives on a mission of mercy; we profusely thanked them for rescuing us.

What would we have done, stranded out at sea, prohibited from reaching our destination, low on fuel, with a badly damaged boat if Lebanon had not accepted us?  Lebanon sent their ships to find us.  Lebanon rescued us.  Lebanon welcomed us.  And we are truly thankful.

It's official now.  We've been told that the sturdy, wood construction of our boat, Dignity, is the reason we are still alive.  Fiberglass would probably not have withstood the impact of the Israeli attack and under different circumstances, we might not be here to tell the story.  Even at that, the report that came to us yesterday after the Captain and First Mate went back to Sour (Tyre) to inspect the boat was that it was sinking, the damage is extensive, and the boat will take, in their estimation, at least one month to repair.  Tomorrow, we will bring the Dignity from Sour to Beirut.  And now, we must decide what to do and from where we will do it and how we are to get back to wherever that might be.

My personal, and I know the group's, thanks must go to Al Jazeera, that allowed three of their reporters to be onboard with us on our voyage.  As a result, Al Jazeera carried the story of the Dignity live, from castoff in Cyprus when our spirits were high, right up through the manacing maneuvers of the huge, super fast Israeli ships before they rammed us, the Israeli calls on the ship phone after the ramming calling us terrorists and subversives and telling us to return to Cyprus (even though the Israelis later claimed that they didn't know who we were, they knew enough about us to tell us where we had come from), and the fact that we didn't have enough fuel to follow their instructions, right up to their threat to fire at us if we didn't turn around, ending with our beaten-up boat limping into Sour harbor in Lebanon.  Al Jazeera carried our story as "breaking news" and performed a real service to its audience and to us.  Al Jazeera called the Israelis to inquire about the incident right as it was happening and I am sure the Israelis were prepared to leave none to tell the story.  Al Jazeera told the story and documented it as it was happening.

One of those Al Jazeera reporters with us was Sami El-Haj, who was detained in Guantanamo by the United States for six incredibly long years.  What an honor to even exchange glances with such a humble man who had endured so much pain at the hands of the U.S. government.  I apologized to him that my tax dollars were being used in such a despicable way.  And Sami's crime according to the U.S.?  Born in Sudan, and reporting for Al Jazeera in Afghanistan, Sami was the wrong color, the wrong nationality, the wrong religion, reporting for the wrong news outfit, telling us the truth about a wrong war.  And for that he survived incarceration for six long years.  Sami El-Haj, Guantanamo prisoner number 345.

Another incredibly committed journalist who was with us was CNN's Karl Penhaul.   Karl reported the truth even when his own station was repeating Israeli disinformation.  The fact that we were traveling with these alert journalists added to the flat-footedness and obvious crudeness of the Israeli response.  Sadly, Israel has changed its story too many times to count, and that's because they are not telling the truth.

We lived to tell the story.   Karl's incredible reporting, just a portion of our story, can be seen on CNN at:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/gaza.aid.boat/index.html

where there's also video and a photo of our damaged boat.  A little more of the story and film of the extensive damage can be seen at:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/gaza.aid.boat/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

This video and the photos of Karl's report is particularly interesting given that Israel claims that our boat was only scratched and that, in actuality, our captain, while trying to outmaneuver them, damaged their warship.

I'm told that CNN only played my full statement once--and that's the time that it aired live.  Of course, they cut the reference to the U.S.S. Liberty.  What are they afraid of?

Last night I was on PressTV.com, along with others who were on the Dignity, and we debated a representative from WINEP, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  I reminded the audience that the Palestinians don't have nuclear weapons, depleted uranium munitions, white phosphorous, or F-16s, but the Israelis do.  The facts, however, tend to get garbled after being processed by the "Grand Wurlitzer" organ of state-sponsored disinformation utilizing the world's press.

With the truth clearly on our side, Israel has been reduced to releasing the ridiculous bombast below, given to me by a reporter who came to our hotel in Beirut for a visit.  With their multiple, conflicting stories, it is clear that the Israelis did not expect us to live to tell the truth. 

On the drive from Sour through Saida to Beirut, we were welcomed like heroes because our ordeal had been seen by everyone on Al Jazeera.    The mayor of Sour came to welcome us.  The mayor of Saida insisted that we stop there, on our way to Beirut, for a special ceremony.  But there was something else that was visible along our drive, and that is the devastation that Lebanon, itself, has received as a result of the Israeli war machine.  The scars of the war are still evident everywhere.  I will write more on that tomorrow.

And one final note, President-elect Obama roared like a mighty lion onto the political scene, but now he is as silent as a lamb in the face of the death and destruction that is happening in Gaza.  As we approach the birthday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let us remember what Dr. King said:

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

And after five days of aerial bombardment by Israel, the carnage in Gaza continues.

Here is the palaver that the Israelis put out for public consumption.  It is pitiful that a powerful and mighty country like Israel would be reduced to publishing something so petty and weak as the following press release dated December 30, 2008:


seal
Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast


Press Release     

Office of Media Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.30.2008

Israel continues to take its humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza seriously.  Border crossings into Gaza remain open, and every effort is being made to deliver aid to the Palestinian people.  Nearly 100 trucks carrying relief supplies entered Gaza on the 28th & 29th of December and additional shipments are arriving.  Israel is working closely with UNSCO, UNRWA, the Red Cross, and WHO to ensure the entry of the required aid, especially food and medical equipment.

Unfortunately, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has taken it upon herself to commit an act of provocation, leading a small boat of supposed assistants into the conflict zone.  She endangered herself, her assistants, and the vessel's crew.  The Israeli navy hailed Ms. McKinney but the former Congresswoman failed to respond, thereby leading to the incident.  We regret that during this time of crisis, while Israel is battling with the terrorist organization of Hamas and defending its citizens, that we are forced to deal with Ms. McKinney's irresponsible behavior.

Consulate General of Israel
to the Southeast
1100 Spring St NW, Ste 440
Atlanta, GA 30309-2823
   
Green Party condemns Israel's massive air attack on Gaza, calls on US to rein in Israel and seek a ceasefire http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=162 GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org Green presidential candidate McKinney is safe after the SS Dignity, carrying relief to Gaza, is rammed by an Israeli gunboat in international waters

Greens challenge Obama to press Israel to comply with international law and end the illegal occupation of Gaza and other Palestinian lands WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party of the United States calls for an immediate end to Israel's bombing attacks on Gaza, which in the past four days has already caused at least 364 deaths, including Palestinian women and children, with hundreds more wounded.

"It's clear that President Bush gave a green light for Israel's massive and disproportionate display of force. The Green Party demands that the US seek a bilateral ceasefire, with immediate pressure on Israel to stop the bombardment and end the occupation," said Rosa Clemente, the Green Party's 2008 candidate for Vice President of the United States (http://www.rosaclemente.com).

Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party's 2008 presidential candidate, had joined the Free Gaza Group (http://www.freegaza.org) on the SS Dignity, which sailed from Cyprus to deliver three tons of medicine and humanitarian aid to Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade. Ms. McKinney was safe after Israeli gunboats attempted to intercept the Dignity last night and one gunboat illegally rammed the vessel in international waters, 90 miles off the Gaza coast (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/30/israel-gaza-aid-ship). Despite damage sustained in the encounter, the Dignity has docked safely in Lebanon and Ms. McKinney is on her way to Beirut.

In an interview on CNN (http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/12/30/am.lebanon.aid.boat.mckinney.cnn), Cynthia McKinney said, "What we have gone through pales in comparison to what the people of the Gaza Strip are suffering." Ms. McKinney is challenging President-elect Barack Obama to condemn Israel's attacks on Gaza.

Greens noted that Hamas, the target of Israel's aerial bombardment, was democratically elected in 2006, and that Israel and the US have been trying to remove Hamas from power, especially by attempting to spark a civil war between Hamas and Fatah.

Since its election, Hamas has repeatedly offered to talk with Israel, but Israel has rejected all such overtures. Hamas had observed a five-month truce that was broken on November 4 when Israeli Defense Forces killed five Palestinians. In retaliation, Hamas responded with missiles which over the last month have injured one Israeli and caused property damage. The Green Party categorically condemns all violence visited on unarmed civilians.

"Palestinians are living under an occupation that has continued despite numerous UN directives ordering Israel to withdraw. Israel's latest lethal assault will only intensify the crisis and inflict further suffering on the Palestinian people. Two thirds of Gazans are refugees -- some doubly so, from 1948 and 1967 -- and all Gaza residents are living in conditions comparable to a medieval siege. Israel must comply with international law and ends its illegal military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, dismantle the illegal separation wall, make restitution to Palestinians whose lands have been seized, and recognize the Palestinian right of return. If President Obama wants to make history by resolving the Middle East conflict, he must press Israel to take these steps," said Hajja Romi Elnagar, Louisiana Green and member of the Green Party's International Committee (http://www.gp.org/committees/intl).

"The current assumption in the US media that this is a symmetrical conflict between equals is as absurd as the claim that Israel's bombs are not threatening women and children. Israel is the world's fourth most powerful military nation, a nuclear power that enjoys support from the US, while Palestinians are impoverished, with many living without electricity, water, food, and medicine for weeks," said Ms. Elnagar.

As a result of the Israeli blockade, 80% of Gazans live on less than two dollars a day. Unemployment hovers at 50-60% in Gaza, with only 195 factories, reduced from 3,900 in 2005. Israel has barred the delivery of UN relief to Gazans.

The Green Party has called for an end to US military aid to Israel and supports the movement for international boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until Israel ends the occupation, obeys international law (including Geneva Conventions and the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and guarantees full human rights for Palestinians. The party supports efforts by Palestinian and Israeli peace groups towards a nonviolent negotiated resolution to the conflict.

The Green Party also endorses complete regional (and, ultimately, global) nuclear disarmament to remove the threat of a nuclear exchange in the Middle East and Asia. Greens have expressed concern that Barack Obama will bow to demands from AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbies and maintain the Clinton and Bush administrations' uncritical support for Israel's military objectives and human rights violations.


MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
Tally of Green election victories http://www.gp.org/2008-elections/election-results.html
Green candidate news http://www.gp.org/2008-elections/candidate-news.php
Green candidate database for 2008 and other campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml
Green Party News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
Green Party Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
Green Party ballot access page http://www.gp.org/2008-elections

Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente 2008 'Power to the People' Campaign for the White House
http://www.runcynthiarun.org
http://votetruth08.com
http://www.rosaclemente.com

Green Party press releases:

"Greens call the 60th anniversary of Israel an occasion to affirm international law, enact human rights, and end the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories" (May 19, 2008)
http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=61

"Greens: Obama's AIPAC speech reveals he has embraced Bush propaganda on Iran, may support an attack" (June 12, 2008)
http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=67   search: lwcj, spol
 
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**"Report From Baghdad" CD-ROM**

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Please Visit the Web Site: http://www.BaghdadReport.net
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