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Rachel Corrie Continues Towards Gaza: Will Obama Let Israel Attack?

How do you know when someone is serious about pursuing a strategy of nonviolent resistance until victory for justice is achieved?

When they refuse to turn back in the face of state violence. Damn the commandos. Full speed ahead.

The Irish Times reports:

The MV Rachel Corrie is ploughing ahead with its attempt to deliver aid to Gaza despite yesterday's attack by the Israeli navy on Gaza-bound ship the Mavi Marmara.

The cargo ship, which has four Irish nationals and five Malaysians aboard, is due to arrive in Gazan waters tomorrow, a spokeswoman for the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said.

The vessel became separated from the main aid flotilla after being delayed for 48 hours in Cyprus due to logistical reasons.

Nobel laureate Maireád Corrigan-Maguire, former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, and husband and wife Derek and Jenny Graham are the Irish nationals on board.

Speaking from the ship today, Mr Graham said the vessel was carrying educational materials, construction materials and some toys. "Everything aboard has been inspected in Ireland," he said. "We would hope to have safe passage through."

Might the Israeli military attack the Rachel Corrie, as the Israeli military attacked the Mavi Marmara? Would the Obama Administration permit such an Israeli attack on the Rachel Corrie, as the Obama Administration permitted the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara?

Note that in particular, under international law, an Israeli military attack on the Rachel Corrie in international waters would be an attack on the government and people of Ireland, because the Rachel Corrie is an Irish-flagged vessel. As former British Ambassador Craig Murray recently wrote:

 

Gaza Freedom Flotilla Shows Awesome Power of Nonviolent Resistance

Sometimes the Israeli occupation authorities and their allies try to project a "mad dog" image to their opponents: don't bother trying to resist our power, because we are ready to crush you by any means necessary, and no-one who matters to us will care what means we use.

But as the Israeli government reaction to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla shows, it ain't necessarily so.

Al Jazeera reports:

Some Israeli officials see the situation as potentially disastrous in terms of public relations.

"We can't win on this one in terms of PR," Yigal Palmor, a foreign ministry spokesman, said.

"If we let them throw egg at us, we appear stupid with egg on our face. If we try to prevent them by force, we appear as brutes."

You can read every word ever penned or spoken by Gandhi, King, or Thoreau, and you will never find such an eloquent expression of the power of nonviolence as the statement of the spokesman of the Israeli foreign ministry.

In the face of an effective act of nonviolent resistance, the oppressor faces two unappetizing choices: concede ground, thereby undermining the image of absolute power the oppressor wants to project, and therefore encouraging further resistance; or resist with force, thereby projecting the image of "brutes," and therefore encouraging further resistance.

You can see why the Israeli government spokesman would be irritated.

Another great power of an effective mass nonviolent resistance action is when it gives "bystanders" a choice of taking sides - whether they want the opportunity provided by that choice or not.

The government of Cyprus had the opportunity to take a side, and it decided to try to obstruct the flotilla.

JFP 5/28: 18 Senators Back Afghan Withdrawal; Obama letter shows US backed Iran fuel swap

Just Foreign Policy News
May 28, 2010

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18 Senators Back Timetable for Afghanistan Withdrawal
Eighteen Senators voted for Senator Feingold's amendment to the war supplemental requiring the President to establish a timetable for the redeployment of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan. This will spur efforts for a timetable in the House.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/eighteen-senators-back-ti_b_592148.html

President Obama's letter to President Lula
President Obama's April 20 letter to President Lula shows that the deal Lula got was the deal that Obama told him to get: 1200 kgs of LEU out of Iran (more explanation in Friedman piece, immediately below.)
http://www.politicaexterna.com/archives/11023

Tom Friedman's Yellow Journalism on Iran
Friedman's appeal for the U.S. to "support democracy" in Iran is really an appeal for war.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/regime-change-redux-readi_b_590677.html

Support a Timetable for Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan
Currently the McGovern bill has 92 cosponsors in the House.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern

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Eighteen Senators Back Timetable for Afghanistan Withdrawal

Today eighteen Senators voted for Senator Feingold's amendment to the war supplemental requiring the President to establish a timetable for the redeployment of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan. This could be a turning point in U.S. policy on the war in Afghanistan.

With this vote, the number of Senators on the record in support of the policy of establishing a timetable for military withdrawal just increased from two to eighteen: on Tuesday, Senator Boxer added her name to S.3197, Senator Feingold's bill that would have the same effect.

The other sixteen Senators who voted yes were Baucus [D-MT]; Brown [D-OH]; Cantwell [D-WA]; Dorgan [D-ND]; Durbin [D-IL]; Gillibrand [D-NY]; Harkin [D-IA]; Leahy [D-VT]; Merkley [D-OR]; Murray [D-WA]; Sanders [I-VT]; Schumer [D-NY]; Specter [D-PA]; Tester [D-MT]; Udall [D-NM]; and Wyden [D-OR]. (Noteworthy votes against included Senator Franken and Senator Feinstein. Last September, Feinstein called for a specific date for the withdrawal of American forces.)

This "surge" in Senate support for a timetable for withdrawal should make it easier to build support in the House for a withdrawal timetable when the House considers the war supplemental, as it is expected to do after the Memorial Day recess.

Already, 92 Members of the House have co-sponsored H.R. 5015, Representative McGovern's companion legislation requiring a timetable for withdrawal, including members of the House Democratic leadership, like Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. George Miller; if you add in Members who earlier this year supported Representative Kucinich's withdrawal resolution, more than 100 Members of the House are already on the record in favor of a timetable for military withdrawal.

18 Senators Support Feingold Amendment Requiring Timetable for Afghanistan Withdrawal

Today the Senate votes on Senator Feingold's amendment to the war supplemental, that would direct the President to establish a timetable for the redeployment of U.S. forces from Afghanistan: Senate Amendment #4204 to H.R. 4899.

Feingold's amendment was co-sponsored by Senator Durbin, Senator Boxer, Senator Merkley, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Senator Sanders.

Eighteen Senators voted yes. Baucus, Boxer, Brown (OH), Cantwell, Dorgan, Durbin, Feingold, Gilibrand, Harkin, Leahy, Merkley, Murray, Sanders, Schumer, Specter, Tester, Udall (NM), and Wyden.

Among others, Franken, Feinstein, and Burris voted no.

The text of the amendment is here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Timetable_Amend_420...

Regime Change Redux? Reading Tom Friedman in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo - New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is on the warpath. Not only against his "Great Satan" of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also against Brazil's President Lula and Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan, because they had the temerity to succeed in negotiating an agreement with Iran to try to de-escalate the confrontation between the United States and Iran over Iran's nuclear program without the subsequent approval of Washington. [Apparently Brazil and Turkey had White House approval to try - a week before the effort, but it seems that they did not have White House approval to succeed.]

Friedman claims that a May 17 picture of Iran's president joining Lula and Erdogan "with raised arms" after their signing of a "putative deal" to defuse the crisis over Iran's "nuclear weapons program" [does the New York Times do fact-checking on Friedman?] was "about as ugly as it gets."

If it's literally true that that picture was "as ugly as it gets," then presumably that would imply that it was at least as ugly - if not more ugly - than, for example, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, an invasion which was clearly illegal under the U.N. Charter, as former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan affirmed in 2004, an invasion which likely resulted in the deaths of more than a million Iraqis - and an invasion which Tom Friedman supported, as he explained to Charlie Rose in May 2003:

 

U.S. Media Censors U.S. Support of Iran Fuel Swap

Sao Paulo - If you get your information from major U.S. media, and you follow U.S. foreign policy, then you know that last week Iran, Brazil, and Turkey signed an agreement for Iran to ship about half of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, in exchange for subsequent Western supply of higher-enriched uranium to fuel Iran's medical research reactor - fuel Iran needs in order to treat Iranian medical patients, fuel to which Iran is entitled as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. 

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JFP 5/24: Brazil, Turkey: Obama Asked Us to Get the Deal

Just Foreign Policy News
May 24, 2010

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Tell Obama: Talk to Iran
As Senator Obama argued in his campaign for the Presidency, the U.S. should "never fear to negotiate." Urge President Obama to follow through on his promise to talk with Iran - and spread our video documenting President Obama's promises to negotiate.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/iran

Here comes the war supplemental
The White House wants the Afghanistan war supplemental by Memorial Day. Urge your Representative and Senators to 1) Support the Feingold McGovern bill, requiring the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal 2) Oppose the war supplemental.
Currently the McGovern bill has 91 cosponsors in the House.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern

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U.S./Top News

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JFP 5/20 - Kinzer: UN sanctions risk real progress on Iran

Just Foreign Policy News
May 20, 2010

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial support allows us to educate Americans about U.S. foreign policy and to create opportunities for Americans to advocate for U.S. policies that are more just.
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Here comes the war supplemental
The White House wants the Afghanistan war supplemental by Memorial Day. Urge your Representative and Senators to 1) Support the Feingold McGovern bill, requiring the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal 2) Oppose the war supplemental 3) join the "Out of Afghanistan Caucus" (see below.)

Email:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern
Call:
1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard.

Out of Afghanistan Caucus Formed
Rep. Conyers has established an "Out of Afghanistan" Caucus in the House.
http://conyers.house.gov/_files/OutofAfghanistanCaucusPrinciples.pdf

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) By reflexively dismissing the Brazil-Turkey-Iran deal, the US risks seeming unreasonable and petulant, writes Stephen Kinzer for GlobalPost. A wiser course would be to welcome the deal as a promising foundation, and seek positive ways to build on it.

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JFP News 5/18: Parsing the White House Statement on the Iran Fuel Swap Deal

Just Foreign Policy News
May 18, 2010

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial support allows us to educate Americans about U.S. foreign policy and to create opportunities for Americans to advocate for U.S. policies that are more just.
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Here comes the war supplemental
The White House wants the Afghanistan war supplemental by Memorial Day. Urge your Representative and Senators to 1) Oppose the war supplemental and 2) Support the Feingold McGovern bill, requiring the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal..
Email:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern
Call:
1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard.

Parsing the White House Statement on the Iran Nuclear Fuel Swap Deal
Unlike many commenters - such as the German government - the White House response leaves the door open for a negotitated deal, by focusing its objection on 20% enrichment, rather than enrichment per se; unlike the response of other critics, the White House response is at least consistent with the original spirit of the deal, the whole point of which was to open up a road for dealing with international concerns about Iran's nuclear program without recourse to the non-starter demand of suspension of all enrichment.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/581

Summary:
U.S./Top News

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