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Gibbs questioned on Rachel Corrie

From Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 6/1/10

Q The aid ship the Rachel Corrie is scheduled to arrive in Gazan waters tomorrow and the Israelis are planning to intercept it. Would you consider calling on them not to do that?

MR. GIBBS: Let me get some information on the extent of that --

Q Will you get back to us on that?

MR. GIBBS: Sure, I will find that answer out.

Urge President Obama to "consider calling on them not to do that."

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JFP 6/3: Ex UN Official Urges Irish-Americans to Defend the Rachel Corrie

Just Foreign Policy News
June 3, 2010

Ex UN Official Denis Halliday Urges Irish-Americans to Defend the Rachel Corrie
Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday said it was imperative that the Obama administration support Ireland's call on the Israeli authorities to ensure safe passage for the Irish-flagged Rachel Corrie to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza, the Irish Times reports. Speaking by satellite phone from on board the Rachel Corrie, Halliday called on Irish-Americans to lobby the Obama administration.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/halliday-urges-irish-amer_b_598924.html

Tell Obama: Speak Up for the Free Passage of the Rachel Corrie to Gaza
In his speech in Cairo, President Obama urged the Palestinian people to press their claims for justice through nonviolence. Now that the Israeli military has attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, President Obama should follow through on his Cairo speech, and demand free passage to Gaza for the Irish-flagged Rachel Corrie.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/mvrachelcorrie

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Halliday Urges Irish-Americans to Defend the Rachel Corrie

Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday said it was imperative that the Obama administration supported Ireland's call on the Israeli authorities to ensure safe passage for the Irish-flagged Rachel Corrie to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza, the Irish Times reports. Speaking by satellite phone from on board the Rachel Corrie, Halliday called on Irish-Americans to lobby the Obama Administration: "We also feel there is a role for the Irish diaspora here, in the US and elsewhere to lobby politicians over this continued illegal blockade of Gaza, which is causing such hardship to the Palestinian people."

Halliday has some experience with this issue, having resigned from his position as UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq in 1998 over the impact of UN/US sanctions on Iraqi civilians.

The issue of the Gaza blockade has tremendous resonance in Ireland, partly because of Ireland's high degree of engagement in international humanitarian causes - John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, who had called on the international community to break the siege by sending ships loaded with aid, is also Irish - but also, of course, because the Irish people have some experience with the consequences for civilians of a colonial blockade.

JFP 6/2: Experts Urge Talks on Fuel Swap Deal

Just Foreign Policy News
June 2, 2010

Tell Obama: Speak Up for the Free Passage of the Rachel Corrie to Gaza
In his speech in Cairo, President Obama urged the Palestinian people to press their claims for justice through nonviolence. Now that the Israeli military has attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, President Obama should follow through on his Cairo speech, and demand free passage to Gaza for the Irish-flagged Rachel Corrie.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/mvrachelcorrie

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http://bit.ly/bEnnBj

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Video: Irish Labour Party Spokesman Says Gaza Blockade Illegal
Calls on the Irish government to press for the Rachel Corrie to pass unimpeded to Gaza.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzynO5YUrFE

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Nine high-profile experts, including former weapons inspector David Kay and former Under Secretary of State Tom Pickering, said world powers should seriously consider the Iran nuclear fuel swap, Reuters reports. "We urge the so-called Vienna Group (Russia, France, the United States, and the IAEA) to seriously pursue this proposal as an opening for further diplomatic engagement with Iran on outstanding issues of concern," the experts said.

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JFP 6/1: Rachel Corrie Presses On for Gaza

Just Foreign Policy News
June 1, 2010

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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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Rachel Corrie Continues Towards Gaza: Will Obama Let Israel Attack?
The Irish-flagged 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 Irish Times reports. The government of Ireland is calling on the government of Israel to let the Rachel Corrie pass. What will the government of the US say?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/rachel-corrie-continues-t_b_596014.html

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.
http://www.politicaexterna.com/archives/11023

Support a Timetable for Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan

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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

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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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...