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Cynthia McKinney's Great Adventure


William Kelly
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Reports from Cynthia McKinney:

Hello!

First of all, I have to thank FreeGaza.org and Paul Larudee for tracking me down to extend the invitation to travel to Gaza to learn first-hand of the situation there, particularly since I had spoken out on it during the trip to Damascus to deliver my remarks and that never happened. I've since learned that one other US resident was delayed for three hours at the airport as she attempted to make it to Damascus. Seems I was being too kind to the ticket agents who seemed truly confused about where I was going and what I needed in order to get there--never once allowing me to proceed to security and to my transfer point, which was Paris. I thank her for letting me know that she, too, had the exact same experience with the ticket agents. She did, however, get to board her plane and made it safely to Damascus to participate in the event marking the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Right of Teturn contained in it.

Ooops, I knew I wasn't going to have much time to write. I will connect with you again when I can. I understand the undertaking that I am now involved in: humanitarian relief--medical supplies--to the residents of Gaza. I am being called to board my flight. I am now in Prague, first stop on a journey from which I hope to return and be able to tell you more.

Oh, by the way, I asked the young people here if they remembered Prague Summer, the Brezhnev Doctrine, or if they wanted protection by the U.S. with a missile shield. No, they don't remember Prague Summer; no, they don't remember the Brezhnev Doctrine, and no, they don't want to be protected by the U.S.

December 30 2008: Oh What a Day!

I'm so glad that my father told me to buy a special notebook and to write everything down because that's exactly what I did.

When we left from Cyprus, one reporter asked me "are you afraid?" And I had to respond that Malcolm X wasn't afraid; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't afraid. But little did I know that just a few hours later, I would be recollecting my life and mentally preparing myself for death.

When we left Cyprus, the Mediterranean was beautiful. I remember the time when it might have been beautiful to look at, but it was also filthy. The Europeans have taken great strides to clean it up and yesterday, it was beautiful. And the way the sunlight hit the sea, I remember thinking to myself that's why they call it azure. It was the most beautiful blue.

But sometimes it was rough, and we got behind on our schedule. We stayed on course, however, despite the roughness of the water and due to our exquisite captain.

There were no other ships or boats around us and night descended upon us all rather quickly. It was the darkest black and suddenly, out of nowhere, came searchlights disturbing our peace. The searchlights stayed with us for about half an hour or so. We knew they were Israeli ships. Who else would they be?

They were fast, and they would come close and then drop back. And then, they'd come close again. And then, all of a sudden there was complete blackness once again and all seemed right. The cat and mouse game went on for at least one half hour. What were they doing? And why?

Calm again. Black sky, black sea. Peace. And then, at that very moment, when all seemed right, out of nowhere we were rammed and rammed again and rammed again the last one throwing me off the couch, sending all our food up in the air; and all the plastic bags and tubs--evidence of sea sicknesses among the crew and passengers--flew all over the cabin and all over us. We'd been rammed by the Israelis. How did we know? Because they called us on the phone afterwards to tell us that we were engaging in subversive, terroristic activity. And if that if we didn't turn around right then and return to Larnaca, Cyprus, we would be fired upon. We quickly grabbed our lifevests and put them on. Then the captain announced that the boat was taking on water. We might have to evacuate. One of my mates told me to prepare to die. And I reflected that I have lived a good and full life. I have tasted freedom and know what it is. I was right with myself and my decision to join the Free Gaza movement.

I remembered my father's parting words, "You all will be sitting ducks." Just like the U.S.S. Liberty. We were engaged in peaceful activity, a harmless pleasure boat, carrying a load of hospital supplies for the people of Gaza, who, too are sitting ducks, currently being bombarded in aerial assault by the Israeli military.

It's been a long day for us. The captain was outstanding. Throughout it all, he remained stoic and calm, effective in every way. I didn't know how to put my life jacket on. One of the passengers kindly assisted me. Another of the passengers pointed out that the Israeli motors for those huge, fast boats was U.S. made--a gift to them from the U.S. And now they were using those motors to damage a pleasure boat outfitted with three tons of hospital supplies, one pediatrician, and two surgeons.

I have called for President-elect Obama to say something. The Palestinian people in the Gaza strip are seeing the worst violence in 60 years, it is being reported. To date, President-elect Obama has remained silent. The Israelis are using weapons supplied to them by the U.S. government. Strict enforcement of U.S. law would require the cessation of all weapons transfers to Israel. Adherence to international law would require the same. As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, let us remember that he said:

1. The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, and

2. Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.

I implore the President-elect to not send Congress a budget that contains more weapons for Israel. We have so much more to offer. And I implore the Congress to vote "no" on any budget and appropriation bills that provide more weapons transfers, period.

Israel is able to carry out these intense military maneuvers because taxpayers in the U.S. give their hard-earned money to our Representatives in Congress and our Congress chooses to spend that money in this way. Let's stop it and stop it now. There's been too much blood shed. And while we still walk among the living, let us not remain silent about the things that matter.

We really can promote peace and have it if we demand it of our leaders.

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

I'll be in DC at the Gaza protest on Saturday, January 10th and in NYC at the Ethical Culture Center on the 13th. I'll be in Northampton, Massachusetts on December 19th, Martin Luther King's Birthday, with journalist Keith Harmon Snow, the Green - Rainbow Party of Massachusetts, Friends of Congo, and other wonderful organizations.

Earlier today I was on Al Jazeera English, along with Clara Short, MP, who was able to make it to Gaza onboard the Dignity in its voyage before mine. Here is the link to that audio:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/urprky

Last night I got to spend time with my parents and tell them all about what happened. I'll make a full report to you on next steps when I've recovered. Thank you for all the kind messages. I read everything.

It's clear that our movement for peace and justice must not end. We all are needed and doing nothing is not an option.

US MEDIA REPORTS:

http://www.opednews.com/populum/print_frie...090101-433.html

January 1, 2009

Israel Stands Up to Hamas While Cynthia McKinney Almost Starts WWIII

By Kevin Gosztola

NEWS & POLITICS

And, remember Cynthia McKinney? She's the woman who, while in Congress, struck a Capitol Police officer. She believed in conspiracies surrounding the 9/11 attacks and she went on a boat to Gaza. We'll have Robert Robertson with us from the Good Foreign Policy Institution to talk about this move and what it could mean for civilians in Gaza.

Hello, I'm William Wilmington in for Dick Dixon. We're glad to have you with us on this New Year's Eve. It's time for another edition of the Government Record here on the Government News Network.

BARAK: Hamas operates from inside population concentrations and keeps explosive devices in civilian areas. While military could take out simply those who are spotted with rockets, Israelis do not deserve to have what is like lethal spit balls shot at them when they are trying to live peacefully. That those without power like us would challenge our dominion ---Well, you would stand up to this insult and do the same if it were your country.

QUIGLEY: No one from the White House or Obama's transition was available for comment. However, the White House Public Relations team released this statement.

"How would you like it if you were eating your dinner with family and a rocket intruded on what you may consider a precious moment of your day? As you can see, Hamas has inflamed the Israelis and until Hamas is cured and stopped from wiping Israel off the map we will support moves to create an environment where Israeli children can be safe and eat their food and sleep in their beds at night in peace."

(COMMERCIAL FOR SELAH EAU DE PARUM)

WILMINGTON: And, we're back. Cynthia McKinney took a trip to Gaza on a boat called the Dignity. Was this a stunt to draw attention or provoke an incident? Was a Gitmo detainee on board to further inflame Islamic extremism in the region? Were reporters from CNNi and al Jazeera on board to produce anti-Semitic propaganda? Exactly, why would a relief ship go into a hostile situation in the dark of the night?

Was Cynthia McKinney trying to lead a band of subversive thugs into the conflict so that World War III would break out? Joining us now is Robert Robertson from the Good Foreign Policy Institution.

Hello, Robert.

ROBERT ROBERTSON, GOOD FOREIGN POLICY INSTITUTE: Hello, William. It's great to be on the record.

WILMINGTON: Yes, we're happy to have you on the record. Now, tell me. What does this trip that Cynthia McKinney took---what does this mean for Americans?

ROBERTSON: Well, it's quite interesting, indeed. As you may know the boat she was on which was headed into Gaza with supplies was rammed by Israel. Israel treated them like terrorists. And, if one looks at the record of Cynthia McKinney and some of the other people on board like the Gitmo detainee, that's certainly a possibility.

WILMINGTON: Is Cynthia McKinney a terrorist?

ROBERTSON: Well…I…

WILMINGTON: Is Cynthia McKinney a terrorist? I'm asking you, Robert.

ROBERTSON: You know, I'm not sure I should...

WILMINGTON: Not sure you should what? Robertson, you are on the record. Now answer the question please.

ROBERTSON: She's...No, well…Look there's a pattern. She's expressed a certain desire to help people and when she spoke out about the Iraq War, people were tortured and hundreds of thousands of people died. She's spoken out about the climbing death toll in the central regions of Africa and 5.2 million were killed last year and 27,000 women and girls were forcibly raped.

She's spoken out for the genocide victims from Darfur and 430,000 have died. Now she's speaking out for those in Gaza and Americans have to wonder if she will bring a plague of death to all those who Israel would like to help survive by taking out Hamas.

WILMINGTON: You've collaborated on many policy works with people who are in the Bush Administration. You know the state of things and how it is necessary to keep the people of America safe. But, what do you say to people who do not like what is happening in Gaza? Is what Israel doing making America safer?

ROBERTSON: Umm, well, you know, Dick Cheney has this---Well, people refer to it as the "one percent doctrine." And it says that if there is even a one percent chance of something terrible happening, it must be stopped. To not stop it could be worse than what might happen if it is stopped.

Frankly, I believe in the "less than one percent doctrine." As you can imagine, this says if there's even a thought that something could take place---like say we imagine it---we must respond or else. You just never know in this day and age and the people do not want another 9/11. That was a terrible disaster for the homeland.

So, you see, it's the idea of Israel and I think possibly the idea of minds in the U.S. that Hamas could become anything. Right now, Israel's image has been tarnished by Hamas. And, Iran is ready to come in and take out Israel and Hamas must be removed so Israel can end this thing and prevent World War III from beginning.

WILMINGTON: Okay, so, just so our viewers at home get this straight. Is Cynthia McKinney and those onboard behaving in a manner that could ignite World War III? Has this trip started World War III?

ROBERTSON: It's tough to say. No, I mean, it's not likely but there's certainly that small chance that Hamas would see what is happening and feel empowered and then go recruit people and run into neighbors and start blazing up Israeli towns.

WILMINGTON: We could be witnessing the beginning of World War III?

ROBERTSON: Well, we could be seeing a great expansion of an already brutal conflict.

WILMINGTON: Stunning prospect, indeed. Obama did not run for president with plans to handle World War III. Thanks for being with us on this New Year's Eve.

ROBERTSON: Thank you.

Edited by William Kelly
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Emergency Town Hall Meeting - A Call To Act:

Stop The Israeli Massacre in Gaza.

We Condemn the U.S. Role in this War Crime.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009, 7:00 PM

New York Society for Ethical Culture

2 West 64th Street @ Central Park West NYC

$10 admission

Speakers:

Chris Hedges

Pulitzer prize winning journalist, former New York Times Mideast Bureau Chief, author of many books including Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi

Cynthia McKinney- 2008 presidential candidate, who was on a Free Gaza Movement boat bearing aid for Gaza

that was fired upon by the Israeli Navy on December 29, 2008

Alan Goodman- writer for Revolution newspaper who held a

banner at the Holocaust Museum stating, "After the Holocaust, the

worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel.

Adam Shapiro- filmmaker, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement

Peter Weiss- Vice President, Center for Constitutional Rights

Najla Said- playwright and actor, performing an excerpt from her play PALESTINE about a visit to Gaza in the early 1990s with her father Edward Said and family

Other speakers to be announced...

A great crime is being committed. The horror of Israel's invasion of Gaza mounts daily. The 1.5 million people of Gaza - fenced in on all sides - are being subjected to a brutal military assault from land and air. Civilian casualties are in the thousands. Food, medicine, and fuel are blockaded. Israel has declared this to be a "war to the bitter end." The United States has backed Israel both with new, sophisticated military weaponry and with full diplomatic support.

We, living in this country, have a great and urgent responsibility to act against what must be recognized as a War Crime by Israel with the full support of the United States. Too many who watch the assault on Gaza with horror and outrage, have remained silent. Too few have acted. This must, and can, change. On Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at this Emergency Town Hall Meeting at Ethical Culture Society, we will carve open space for the truth to be spoken and we will call on people to act now to stop the massacre in Gaza.

Whether the world sees political protest and resistance, and mass outpourings of opposition and outrage in different forms in this country...or whether it sees continued support for and passive complicity with these attacks coming from the people here...all this will matter greatly, not only here in the US, but to people all over the world.

Initiated by Revolution Books

Endorsed by:

James Abourezk

Brooklyn Greens

Henry Chalfant

Kathleen Chalfant

Linda Chapman

Mitchell Cohen

Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism

Kia Corthron

Shreen Elkenani

Daniel Ellsberg

Nina Felshin

Dennis James

Joel Kovel

Adam Shapiro

Michael Steven Smith

Leonard Weinglass

The World Can't Wait

To help, and for more information, call 917-548-4853

Revolution Books / Libros Revolución146 W. 26th Street, between 6th & 7th Aves., NYC

Open every day 12 noon to 7pm. Info: 212-691-3345 www.revolutionbooksnyc.org

Edited by William Kelly
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