Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Peace Fleet for Gaza

From the Palestine Information Center (PIC)

Lebanese committee calls for sending peaceful fleet to break the siege on Gaza

BEIRUT, (PIC)-- The Lebanese national committee to break the siege on Gaza has called on all freedom loving peoples in the world to send a unified "peace fleet" to break the siege on the Gaza Strip.

The committee in a statement on Friday said that it was ready to provide all its potentials along with those of the Free Gaza movement, which coordinates with it to lift the siege on Gaza, before all those who wish to contribute to that fleet.

It said that the siege would not be lifted until all parties contributing to that siege sensed that the political, legal and media cost of such a siege was very "expensive".

The committee said that ships joining that fleet should set sail at a specific agreed upon date to display Arab, Islamic and international solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza and to expose Israel's aggressive nature and its "racist, terrorist mentality".

Meanwhile, Egypt continued to close the Rafah border terminal with the Strip for the tenth consecutive day after opening it before foreign delegations and humanitarian cases during and after the Israeli war on Gaza. more

Egypt doing to tunnels what the Israeli air force couldn't

We speculated yesterday that the Egyptian government may be moving to assume full control of the border.

It's actions are already having a severe impact on the import of essential goods into Gaza through the tunnels.

If this is not a prelude to opening the Rafah crossing then it is going to lead to the starvation of the Palestinian people in Gaza. How much money are the Americans and Europeans giving the regime to do their dirty work for them?

Mubarak deserves to go the way of his predecessor Sadat.

From the LA Times
A new enemy for Gaza smugglers

...the Palestinians' fury is directed at the Egyptian government, which in the wake of this winter's Israeli offensive has cracked down on the Gaza tunnel trade, choking the flow of goods...

..."No matter what the Israelis do, we're steadfast," one owner, who identifies himself as Abu Ahmed, says as he sits in an outdoor courtyard within sight of the border. "But this? This could slaughter our country and our economy."...

...Abu Baraa and other owners say they hope the current crackdown is just a temporary show by the Egyptians to satisfy international demands. They angrily warn that a serious long-term anti-tunnel effort would be a betrayal by Mubarak's government and risk a dangerous backlash...

"The Egyptian people are our brothers," Abu Baraa says. "The government is a collaborator."

Action Palestine student conference this weekend

Full itinerary here. Speakers from SOAS, Birzeit, Ben Gurion and Cambridge, Universities

Tickets are £10 per person. Limited availability please book early. Priority given to bookings through Palestine student groups. To book a place at the conference taking place at the School of Oriental and African Studies, please email: info@actionpalestine.org

(If you are unable to make it to the conference due to the travel cost or the ticket cost, please get in touch we might be able to sort something out)

Unfortunately the deadline to submit motions expired on Feb 14.

More details from SOAS - Palestine Society : palsoc@saos.ac.uk, www.palestinesociety.org

Viva Palestina convoy heads for Madrid

The convoy received a rapturous welcome in San Sebastian, the capital of the Basque Country where they laid on a civic reception. The convoy is now headed south to Madrid. The convoy is big news in the Spanish media.

[Off towards Madrid - will be staying as overnight guests of the mayor San Fernando de Henares - twitter.com/georgegalloway - 16 hours ago]

pictured: the convoy at Ramsgate, UK

Israel wants to give medals to war criminals

From Press TV
A top Israeli diplomat says that Israeli troops should get a medal for the recent war in Gaza, rejecting calls for war crimes investigations.

"I think the Israeli troops should get a medal for the way they conducted themselves in that war," Dan Gillerman said in an interview with Australian daily The Age on Monday.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has set up a committee to investigate Israeli war crimes and rother human rights violations in Gaza.

Convoy vehicles released but three still held with no charge as government creates a 'state of fear'

- Security services 'convoy plot' falling apart
- British government directed torture
- Britain in 'state of fear

Well the plot seems to be unraveling rather quickly - the police plot that is. Again, as predicted on this blog they have not found anything in the vehicles, and no doubt we will have the same result for the five house searches in Burnley.

As ex-spy chief Rimington points out - in a wonderfully apt juxtaposition at the BBC this morning - the government is creating a 'state of fear' with the terror laws. What she didn't say is that this 'convoy plot' is just one more example of this government's policy of fear mongering.

It's also been suggested that the the reason for the seizure was that the humanitarian aid included computers. So it is now also a crime to be a Muslim or anti-war activist while in charge of a vehicle and a computer. Hopefully the three people being held in custody are released soon. If any of them are charged we make another prediction - it's a fit up.

From the BBC
A former head of MI5 has accused the government of exploiting the fear of terrorism to restrict civil liberties.

Dame Stella Rimington, 73, said people in Britain felt as if they were living "under a police state" because of the fear being spread by ministers.

And also from the BBC today

Three vehicles seized as they travelled to join a Gaza aid convoy have been released by counter-terrorism officers.

The two vans and an ambulance were travelling to London to join the convoy when they were stopped on the M65 near Preston, Lancashire, on Friday.

But in addition to the repression above, yesterday also saw the introduction of a law under Section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 making it illegal to take a picture of a police officer in Britain, again in the name of the war on terror. More at Indymedia.

Most damningly for the government the Guardian reports today that the government had a direct hand in 'devising torture methods for British citizens and residents:
A policy governing the interrogation of terrorism suspects in Pakistan that led to British citizens and residents such as Binyam Mohamed (pictured), being tortured was devised by MI5 lawyers and figures in government, according to evidence heard in court...

...A medical student from London who was held for almost two months in a building opposite the offices of the British deputy high commission in Karachi says he was tortured while being questioned about the 2005 London bombings before being questioned by British intelligence officers. He was released without charge and is now working at a hospital on the south coast of England, but is thought to remain deeply traumatised.

So who the hell are these criminals in government that have flagrantly breached the international convention against torture?

It also transpires that the 42 US documents seen by the judges but not disclosed to the public who thought they had been leaned on by the US, were deceived. The British government in fact wrote to the US asking them to send a letter saying any disclosure would damaged security co-operation.