- While high stakes nuclear roulette continues, the fate
of Freedom Waves to Gaza activists hangs in the balance.
- On November 2, Canada's Tahrir and Ireland's Soairse
(Freedom) sailed from Fethiye, Turkey. Israel warplanes and naval vessels
shadowed them in international waters.
- Israeli warships interdicted them violently. Their boats
were nearly sunk. Some on board were injured. Twenty-seven participants
were arrested, roughed up, detained and imprisoned. All their possessions
- Some were released and deported. On November 9, a Tahrir
press release headlined, "Canadians face two months of incarceration
in Israel without trial," saying:
- In court, activists tasted Israeli-style justice. They
were told: sign voluntary deportation waivers admitting entering Israel
lawlessly and agree not to try breaching Gaza's siege again, or face two
months in prison uncharged without trial.
- Participants, in fact, were kidnapped in international
waters, then forcibly taken to Israel and imprisoned for trying to deliver
vitally needed medicines to Gaza.
- Most activists remain incarcerated. Canadian journalist
Jihan Hafiz recounted what happened:
- "There were three warships....four Zodiacs, four
water cannon boats, as well as four regular gunboats. All of the commandos
on all of these boats were heavily armed. It looked like they were taking
on an army from a foreign country."
- "Two water cannons started to pour lots of water
into the Irish boat, which flooded it, blew their sockets, and cut off
- Irish participants told Israeli commandos, "We're
taking on water. We're sinking. We're going to go down at sea if you continue
with the water."
- Hafiz explained how violently they were treated. Guns
were pointed at their heads. Participants were roughed up, mistreated,
strip-searched, and filmed naked. Personal possessions were stolen and
not returned, including journalists' equipment.
- Canadian Boat to Gaza organizer Wendy Goldsmith said:
- "Our friends have been assaulted, tasered, beaten,
kidnapped, robbed and imprisoned." Israel's threatening two months
detention. Why aren't Canadian officials helping?
- Canadian organizer Dylan Penner added:
- "We are disappointed, but not surprised, by the
inaction of (Foreign Minister) Baird and (Prime Minister) Harper. In its
failure to speak out against Israel's blockade of Gaza, the Canadian government
is condoning Israel's disregard for the human rights of the citizens of
Gaza and giving it impunity for its refusal to comply with its international
- On November 9, Ireland's Ship to Gaza said seven of its
14 participants were released and heading home Thursday, November 10. Others
are expected back Friday, and are available for press interviews on arrival.
- While 14 Irish nationals languished in prison for delivering
aid to besieged Gazans, they, in turn, face daily anguish in the world's
largest open-air prison, subjected to regular Israeli air, land and sea
attacks besides depravation isolation causes.
- Escalating Tensions on Iran
- Heated rhetoric followed release of IAEA's new report,
containing fabricated allegations about Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions.
- Defense Minister Ehud Barak stressed Israel's military
readiness. His counterpart, General Ahmad Vahidi, said marshaled Iranian
forces would deliver a "crushing response to those daring to attack."
- Press TV reported Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stressing
Iran's peaceful nuclear program. It also cited Ron Paul saying no "credible
evidence" suggests Iran plans hostilities against America.
- Appearing on Fox News Sunday, he said:
- "For them to be a threat to us and to anyone in
the region, I think it's blown out of proportion." He warned against
- In response to intensifying sanctions, he added:
- "When you put on strong sanctions, those are acts
of war." He advocates friendly relations, not force or other hostile
acts. Paul not only wants Washington's imperial wars ended, he wants assurances
new ones won't be launched, including sanctions harsh enough to risk it.
- Professor Flynt Leverett, New America Foundation Senior
Research Fellow, and wife Hillary, CEO of Strategic Energy and Global Analysis,
said IAEA's report in no way showed Iran's intention or capability to develop
and produce nuclear weapons. Rather, it affirmed Iran's nuclear material
- Unsubstantiated intelligence only proved IAEA's proclivity
to lie. It also showed which side it's on and against, no matter heightened
tensions able to spin out of control dangerously.
- America and Israel want tough sanctions stiffened enough
to make Iran's economy scream. Haaretz said Russia won't back them. Deputy
Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told Interfax news agency:
- "Any additional sanctions against Iran will be seen
in the international community as an instrument for regime change in Iran.
That approach is unacceptable to us, and the Russian side does not intend
to consider such proposals."
- Calling for dialogue and cooperation, Foreign Ministry
spokesman Hong Lei suggested China's opposition to sanctions. Holding that
position separately or with Russia may prevent Security Council passage.
- In contrast, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said
"convening the UN Security Council is called for," adding:
- "If Iran refuses to conform to the demands of the
international community and refuses any serious cooperation, we stand ready
to adopt, with other willing countries, sanctions on an unprecedented scale."
- Deputy armed forces chief Massoud Jazayeri said if Israel
attacks, Iran will target Dimona in response.
- High stakes nuclear roulette is too risky to chance.
Hopefully fake intelligence won't harm Iran like nonexistent WMDs destroyed
- China, Russia, and other nonbelligerent countries have
plenty of say to prevent it.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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