Assassinated CIA agents worked for "contractor" active in Venezuela… By Eva Golinger

31 December, 2009 —

Eva Golinger: At least eight US citizens were killed on a CIA operations base in Afghanistan on Wednesday … a suicide bomber infiltrated Forward Operating Base (FOL) Chapman located in the eastern province of Khost, which was a CIA center of operations and surveillance. Official sources in Washington have confirmed that the eight dead were all civilian employees and CIA contractors.

Fifteen days ago, five US citizens working for a US government contractor, Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), were also killed in an explosion at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) office in Gardez. That same day, another bomb exploded outside the DAI offices in Kabul, although no serious injuries resulted.

The December 15 incident received little attention, although it occurred just days after the detention of a DAI employee in Cuba, accused of subversion and distribution of illegal materials to counter-revolutionary groups.

DAI president and CEO, Jim Boomgard, issued a declaration on December 14 regarding the detention of a subcontractor from his company in Cuba, confirming that, ‘the detained individual was an employee of a program subcontractor, which was implementing a competitively issued subcontract to assist Cuban civil society organizations.’

The statement also emphasized the ‘new program’ DAI is managing for the US government in Cuba, the ‘Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program.’ DAI was awarded a US$40 million contract in 2008 to help the US government ‘support the peaceful activities of a broad range of nonviolent organizations through competitively awarded grants and subcontracts’ in Cuba.

On December 15, DAI published a press release mourning ‘project personnel killed in Afghanistan.’

‘DAI is deeply saddened to report the deaths of five staff associated with our projects in Afghanistan … on December 15, five employees of DAI’s security subcontractor were killed by an explosion in the Gardez office of the Local Governance and Community Development (LGCD) Program, a USAID project implemented by DAI.’

DAI also runs a program in Khost where the December 30 suicide bombing occurred, although it has yet to be confirmed if the eight US citizens killed were working for the major US government contractor. From the operations base in Khost, the CIA remotely controls its selective assassination program against alleged Al Qaeda members in Pakistan and Afghanistan using drone (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) Predator planes.

A high-level USAID official confirmed two weeks ago that the CIA uses USAID’s name to issue contracts and funding to third parties in order to provide cover for clandestine operations. The official, a veteran of the US government agency, stated that the CIA issues such contracts without USAID’s full knowledge.

Since June 2002, USAID has maintained an Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Venezuela, through which it has channeled more than $50 million to groups and individuals opposed to President Hugo Chavez. The same contractor active in Afghanistan and connected with the CIA, Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), was awarded a multi-million dollar budget from USAID in Venezuela to ‘assist civil society and the transition to democracy.’

More than two thousand documents partially declassified from USAID regarding the agency’s activities in Venezuela reveal the relationship between DAI and sectors of the Venezuelan opposition that have actively been involved in coup d’etats, violent demonstrations and other destabilization attempts against President Chavez.

In Bolivia, USAID was expelled this year from two municipalities, Chapare and El Alto, after being accused of interventionism. In September 2009, President Evo Morales announced the termination of an official agreement with USAID allowing its operations in Bolivia, based on substantial evidence documenting the agency’s funding of violent separatist groups seeking to destabilize the country.

* In 2005, USAID was also expelled from Eritrea and accused of being a ‘neo-colonialist’ agency. Ethiopia, Russia and Belarus have ordered the expulsion of USAID and its contractors during the last five years.

Development Alternatives, Inc. is one of the largest US government contractors in the world. The company, with headquarters in Bethesda, MD, presently has a $50 million contract with USAID for operations in Afghanistan.

* In Latin America, DAI has operations and field offices in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

This year, USAID/DAI’s budget in Venezuela nears $15 million and its programs are oriented towards strengthening opposition parties, candidates and campaigns for the 2010 legislative elections.

Just two weeks ago, President Chavez also denounced the illegal presence of US drone planes in Venezuelan airspace.

Eva Golinger

Bilderbergs of the world unite! By William Bowles

31 December 2009

“In Post-War Iraq, Use Military Forces to Secure Vital U.S. Interests, Not for Nation-Building” — The Heritage Foundation

And just in case you still haven’t got the point, the same Heritage Foundation document, dated 25 September, 2002 went on to tell us,

“Protect Iraq’s energy infrastructure against internal sabotage or foreign attack to return Iraq to global energy markets and ensure that U.S. and world energy markets have access to its resources.”[1]

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Kiyes nou ye? | Jean Jacques Dessalines, Haiti’s liberator and his three ideals | Paying Homage to Father Gerard Jean Juste: Yon Gwo Mapou Tonbe

30 December, 2009 — Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

Ezili Dantò’s Note:
These links and pages are posted on the occasion of the 206th anniversary of Haiti’s Independence. We remember we are a BLACK nation with a Vodun culture from mother Africa. We remember Jean Jacques Dessalines, Haiti’s liberator and his three ideals. We remember Dessalines’ Law and that Blacks were the original peoples on the planet, including the Americas. We pay homage to Father Gerard Jean Juste who passed away in 2009: Yon Gwo Mapou Tonbe.


Dessalines’ Law:

“…Never again shall colonist or European set foot on this soil as master or landowner. This shall henceforward be the foundation of our constitution.”

Jamais aucun blanc ni Europeén ne mettra pied sur ce territoire à titre de maitre ou de propriétaire. Cette résolution sera désormais la base fondamentale de notre constitution. (Liberté ou La mort, Jean Jacques Dessalines, April 28, 1804)

“…No whiteman of whatever nation he may be, shall put his foot on this territory with the title of master or proprietor, neither shall he in future acquire any property therein…” (Jean Jacques Dessalines, 1805 Haitian Constituion, Art. 12.)

“…Aucun blanc, quelle que soit sa nation, ne mettra le pied sur ce territoire à titre de maitre ou de propriétaire, et ne pourra à l’avenir acquérir aucune propriéte.” (Jean Jacques Dessalines, 1805 Haitian Constituion, Art. 12.)

Dessalines’ Law laid down for Haiti to survive in a hostile environment as translated by Moriso Lewa: “The only good white is the white that shoots the bad whites – Sèl blan ki bon blan se blan k met fizi sou move blan yo” (Moriso Lewa – from “Blan Mannan”)

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Obama bombs Yemen again, as he claims to stand “with those who seek their universal rights.” By Mozhgan Savabieasfahani

30 December, 2009 — Palestine Think Tank

What a charade!

obama-yemen.jpgI learned the word “charade “ from my Texan English teacher in Teheran long ago. I later found out she was the wife of a U.S. military advisor for the Shah’s puppet regime. I still remember my teacher’s meticulous attention to English pronunciation and her glittering diamonds. Many such U.S. military families fled Iran when the 1979 revolution arrived.

Obama, like his predecessors, got on T.V. yesterday to declare his love for freedom and universal human rights. What a charade! Do you, Mr. Obama, expect us to embrace your calls for people’s universal rights as you continue to illegally occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, as you continue to bomb Pakistan, as you tighten crippling sanctions on Iran, and as you shamelessly talk of destabilizing politically independent nations? And as you continue your full support for Israel and its criminal acts in Palestine?

Do you expect us to believe you care for people’s universal rights as you start another war in Yemen?

So what about Yemen, you ask?

Suddenly Obama has introduced us to his latest “enemy”: Yemen.

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Escalating War in Afghanistan Apt to Hurt Fragile U.S. Economy By Sherwood Ross

25 December, 2009 — Global Research

If Iraq war spending helped plunge the U.S. economy into its worst slump since the Depression, what does President Obama think his escalation of the Afghan war will do it?

Besides forcing taxpayers to cough up fresh billions to enable the Pentagon to chase down a few hundred Taliban fighters, the Afghan war is liable to continue to inflate oil prices—-and this means more than the ongoing swindle of motorists at the pump.

Higher oil prices also slow the global economy, causing our trading partners to buy fewer Made-in-USA goods, thus reducing demand for our products and leading to layoffs.

Spending money on war also siphons billions of dollars from truly productive uses.

“Today, no serious economist holds the view that war is good for the economy,” write Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard government finance expert Linda Bilmes in their book “The Three Trillion Dollar War: the True Cost of The Iraq Conflict.”

Referring to Iraq, they write, “The question is not whether the economy has been weakened by the war. The question is only by how much.” They note, “Oil prices started to soar just as the war began, and the longer it has dragged on, the higher prices have gone.”

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Haiti Newslinks for 30 December, 2009

30 December, 2009

This is a new departure for Creative-i. Formerly I used InI to network these daily compilations of newslinks, so we’ll see whether it’s worth the daily effort to do it here. I’m starting with Haiti as it’s a grossly under-reported country and yet another forgotten disaster of the Empire’s making. They are in no particular order and represent a variety of opinions.

See also Haiti Report for December 30, 2009

Miami-Dade Mayor To Host Fifth Annual Haitian Independence Month Celebration
South Florida Caribbean News
MIAMI – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, in collaboration with
Ayiti History and Resources, is inviting the public to the Fifth Annual
Haitian …

Republic of Haiti Independence Day
US Department of State
On behalf of President Obama and the people of United States, I
congratulate the people of the Republic of Haiti as they celebrate their
206 th anniversary …

Kansans Pack Food for Haitian Schoolchildren
Kansas CW
“We’re packing up food to send to Haiti,” explained volunteer Christy Pray.
The food will go to children these 200 volunteers have never met, and
probably …

Roslindale’s Hebrew Rehab donates 120 beds to Haitian hospital
Wicked Local (blog)
AFYA then ships these donations to medical facilities with proven, solid
infrastructures throughout Africa and Haiti. “We have saved over 300 tons
of waste …

Working Together: Partnerships move Haiti forward
Staunton News Leader
When Americans go to help in Haiti, they take goods. What they bring back,
they don’t pack in a suitcase. Sometimes, however, a gift from Haiti comes
in an …

Child Labor (Slavery) The Norm In Haiti
Hip-Hop Wired
Around 225000 children living in Haiti undergo their daily lives as
undocumented domestic workers, nothing more than modern-day slaves. …

Police kill four alleged gangsters in St Elizabeth
Jamaica Observer
Brown said the police were able to confirm that the men left Jamaica for
Haiti in late November to early December. He said police intelligence
picked them …

A giant step back in the fight against world hunger
A woman organizes onions to plant in her yard outside Port-au-Prince,
Haiti, where food riots in the spring of 2008 brought down the government.

Feed My Staring Children seeking volunteers
Shakopee Valley News
Gather family and friends to come pack meals for starving children in
Haiti. Children grade three and up can participate with restrictions on
adult/student …

Reality strikes: Day-to-day living is no walk in the park
Muncie Star Press
By JERI REICHANADTER • • December 29, 2009 Editor’s Note: Star Press
journalist Jeri Reichanadter traveled to Haiti with World Renewal
International and …

December 29, 2009 Editor’s Note: Star Press
journalist Jeri Reichanadter traveled to Haiti with World Renewal
International and …

Notes from Haiti: Restaveks “ Gherkins & Tomatoes
By Cynthia Bertelsen
A recent Huffington Post article, “Report Says 225000 Haiti Children Work
as Slaves,” contains no real new information. Poor families – and in
Haiti there are many — give up their children for small sums of money or
just to have one …

Tortuga Island Port Morgan Solutions For Haiti
Tortuga Island Port Morgan Solutions For Haiti, greg not had time to read
all the posts but I like your ideas and would have to agree with the thrust
of them im not sure that idea that.

A-N-T-E-N-N-A-S: Haiti’s Ghetto Biennale
By eddie_the_wheel
Haiti’s Ghetto Biennale · Posted by
eddie_the_wheel at 12:15 PM. 0 comments: Post a Comment · Older Post Home.
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom). there is no art. Blog Archive …

Haiti Report for December 30, 2009

30 December, 2009 — Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY

The Haiti Report is a compilation and summary of events as described in Haiti and international media prepared by Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY. It does not reflect the opinions of any individual or organization. This service is intended to create a better understanding of the situation in Haiti by presenting the reader with reports that provide a variety of perspectives on the situation.

To make a donation to support this service: Konbit Pou Ayiti, 7 Wall Street, Gloucester, MA, 01930.


  • – Prime Minister Pierre-Louis Removed and Replaced with Jean-Max Bellerive
  • – Charles Arthur, Haiti Support Group: New Government Won’t Bring Change
  • – Upcoming Elections in February
  • – Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas Party Barred from February Legislative Elections, Along with Other Parties
  • – UN Peacekeeping Mission Urges Officials to Justify Barring Lavalas and Other Parties
  • – Opposition Groups Threaten to Disrupt Elections
  • – Aristide Speaks Out Against Possible “Selections” instead of “Elections”
  • – OAS will Monitor Election but Won’t Help Organize
  • – HAITI Don’t honor tainted election, BY BRIAN CONCANNON JR. and IRA KURZBAN
  • – Statement of the Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN): “Haiti: Flawed election in the making”
  • – Lawyers Worldwide Warn Against Danger of “Electoral Charade” in Haiti
  • – U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters Criticizes Electoral Council
  • – New Hotels Rising in Port-au-Prince
  • – Italian Journalist Mortally Wounded During Robbery
  • – Environment News
  • – Solar Energy Brings Light to Boucan Carre Hospital in Haiti
  • – Environment Minister Germain at Copenhagen Climate Summit
  • – Haiti and the Dominican Republic Sign Agreement to Protect Lakes on the Border
  • – President Rene Preval Remarries
  • – Brazil Spending More in Haiti Than the UN is Refunding

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Viva Palestina Update 30 December, 2009

30 December, 2009

[The Ed’s comment: The depressing state of affairs that has come about in Cairo precisely illustrates the bankrupt nature of the ‘left’ in the so-called developed world, which argues and scores points of one kind or another whilst the Zionists continue to kill with impunity! I am especially disappointed with Code Pink’s behaviour having applauded their imaginative work around the invasion/occupation of Iraq. When will we learn? Also, I’ve not formatted these email texts, just reordered them, putting Keith Hammond’s analysis first. The rest concerns assistance that some South African comrades need (from their own government!)]

From: Keith Hammond []
Sent: Wed 30/12/2009 12:14
To: Nur Masalha
Subject: RE: ????? ?????: The Good out of the Misery Re: [middle_east_alum] First Report from Cairo: Freedom Marching in Circles While Winding Our Way to Gaza

The problem has been this :

On first arriving we had a legal ban placed on us. Europeans have organised on a basis where we do not take any notice of the law. Codepink have used those activities to put pressure on the Egyptian authorities.

The French for instance – around 300 – mobilised on the basis of resistance. The Spanish tried to get to al Arish in different ways. Similar actions were taken by others. Some of the activities in Cairo have been extremely high risk – for instance at the Journalist’s Syndicate. It was like World War III: riot police everywhere. Meetings have been bust up. Proprietors threatened. Hotel arrests. People being followed everywhere and so on and so on. Whilst the Codepink people have simply put pressure on the authorities to get all the right permission to press on in a tiny group.

The French who have had it very rough have not even had a visit from the Codepink. They have been demonised as though they were the extremists, dispupting things for everyone. I have spent a lot of time with the French and they are simply determined to expose the Egyptian role in this whole business.

What is going on right now is meetings, lots of wind and blaming the Codepink for a lot of the duplicity and betrayal. They have had hell of a job to get enough people to go with them and the Egyptians have exploited their compliance something terrible. So now the media here is full of this story about the moderate, reasonable Americans who are working in complete harmony with the Egyptians whilst the rest of us are extremist anarchists who disobey law as a matter of routine.

There has been no unity … How could there be … So what is happening now is people are finally coming around to a single position where we march en masse … Legal or no legal we make a stand and oppose the Egyptian authorities … It will be all or nothing. In the mean time there are loads on hunger strikes here. Different contingents are staying close to the collective as well as starving or fasting.

Many of us have been chased around, followed, questioned and Christ knows what until we are dizzy. We have made our way from one part of the city to the next and been hammered and shoved about until we are not of this world Nur. The intensity and pace has been relentless. Some groups like the French and the South Africans have been outstanding. Nothing frantic and nothing waffley … There are others who want to talk and talk … So really what has gone oon is not unusual. The usual suspects have come to the fore.

Codepink have set things back considerably. But everyone – in all the different groups – have made huge experiences. Some of this has to be thought through … and translated into new organisational insights. We have made invaluable experiences and it has been sooooo difficult at times. But there will no progress on Palestine until we expose places like this and build alliances with the local unions and so forth … And of course we must keep Palestinians safe. I am just hoping that there are not casualties in Gaza …

But there is no doubt that Mubarak must be shown to be the partner of Israel that he has shown himself to be. He has supported Israel way beyond anything that might have been expected … He has hammered us … done everything short of real jail and deportations. That will be next … things will now get even more fierce. There is everything still being fought out … Meetings everywhere …

All best,

Keith – exhausted but on my feet !!!

From: Keith Hammond []

Sent: Wed 30/12/2009 09:57
To: Nur Masalha
Subject: RE: The Good out of the Misery Re: [middle_east_alum] First Report from Cairo: Freedom Marching in Circles While Winding Our Way to Gaza

This is very important. The South African delegate are escorted [by] two cops at a time out of their hotel and to wherever they go … It is now warming up EVEN MORE and they need a legal contact here in Cairo ….

Can you help ?

The contact is Judge Siraj Desai and his number is 0836339673 ….

His email is

There is another email with contact details that I am sending …. But these people are high profile and they are definitely a target …

The next email will follow
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Bolivia: We Must Support a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth By Pablo Solón and Comrac Cullinan

30 December, 2009 — Bolivia Rising

For Bolivia, December marked an important and historic step forward in climate change politics. We are of course not referring to Brokenhagen, where we saw the worst of intransigent, undemocratic and cynical tactics from the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide. The interesting action happened in a completely unreported event in New York when on 22 December, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution which put the issue of Mother Earth rights as an item on the UN agenda.

This might sound rather esoteric, when you consider that in Copenhagen, it was the failure of rich nations to set ambitious and binding specific targets that led to the conference’s rightly discredited conclusion. For Bolivia, which is already facing unprecedented droughts, disappearing glaciers and water shortages, the difference between a target of 2 degrees or 1 degree is a matter of life and death for many. But we also believe that even if we had succeeded in achieving consensus on these important issues, we would still have left with a flawed agreement.

This is because the UN climate change framework does not deal with the root causes of climate change and the wider problem of environmental exploitation. Climate change is like a fever that is symptomatic of an underlying disease which must be cured before the fever will dissipate. The underlying cause is the belief that humans are separate from, and superior to, nature and that more is better. These beliefs have fueled the misconceived and doomed attempts of industrialized, consumer-based societies to achieve lasting human well being by exploiting and damaging Earth.

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Viva Palestina rebuts Egyptian ‘bungle’ allegations

30 December, 2009 — Viva Palestina

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit claimed at a press conference on Tuesday (December 29) that his country was willing to assist the Viva Palestina convoy’s entry into Gaza. He cited two letters sent by the Egyptian embassy in London on November 10 and December 10. What he does not say is that the conditions laid down were totally unacceptable, as convoy organiser George Galloway responded in writing at the time.

Specifically, these were that Viva Palestina co-ordinate ‘with the Israeli authorities on the passage of aid’, that land convoys would not be admitted and that the convoy should not arrive until the second week of January 2010.

“Egypt may be at the beck, call and command on Israel, but Viva Palestina is not,” said George Galloway. “We refuse to co-operate with a country which continues to illegally hold Palestinian lands, builds even more settlements in the teeth of world opinion and which, just a year ago, slaughtered 1400 people in the Gaza Strip and devastated the infrastructure. Israel refuses to let through one brick, pane of glass or nail to help rebuild the carnage its warplanes caused.”

Galloway added that the land convoy to Gaza was symbolic because its arrival was due to coincide with the first anniversary of the war on Gaza, “which the Egyptian authorities have done all they can to thwart”.


For further comment contact Alice Howard on Tel: 07944 512469 or via email:

Below are copies of recent correspondence with the Egyptian embassy in London.

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GAZA FREEDOM MARCH Only 100 people allowed into Gaza; sounds like a lot of marchers are angry

30 December, 2009 — Combined Reports

Latest update from the GFM Coordinators:

Gaza Freedom Marchers,

There seems to be a lot of misinformation and confusion going around about the recent events. In integrity to process we are trying to communicate as best we can with extremely limited timing. We had to submit a list of 100 delegates to go to Gaza tomorrow by 10:30 pm this evening, so the list is now closed. The officials say names not on the list will not be allowed but perhaps something will change. You can come tomorrow morning to support those going, to give in your humanitarian aid, or to try to get on the bus. Here is the address of where to go: 33 Ramsis, by the 6 Oct Bridge, at the Al Gona Bridge.

Haidar Eid, the coordinator of the Gaza Freedom March Steering Committee in Gaza talked with one of the GFM coordinators Tighe Barry and said that he understood that it would not be 1300 delegates, but was elated to hear that there will be 100 people coming tomorrow to represent the over 40 countries. Their group will meet the delegation at the border and will march as planned, in solidarity with the march in Cairo, in Israel at the West Bank, in the West Bank, and around the world. The world community will come together around Gaza. We wish that all would be there by tomorrow night but will not give up trying to get more and more groups in in the days to follow.

Actions will continue in the days to come – update on actions coming later.

We must recognize this concession on the part of the government as a window of opportunity and a tribute to our protests and pressure over the past days. The decision to allow in 100 delegates also belies the government’s pretext for not allowing our group in based on security – if 100 can go, why not 1000?  Let’s recognize this government concession as part of a larger process to lift the siege of Gaza.

Gaza Freedom March Coordinators

Comment by Enrique:

OK, the government here was very clever: they give free passage to the leadership, and the rest 1300 may enjoy the Egyptian antiquities…

It is obvious that they were fed up with our actions, and now they can get rid of us.

The Palestinians cannot risk a huge march as it was foreseen, so maybe 6,000 instead of 50,000 because only 100 internationals aren’t enough to take the head and protect too many people.

I read Rae’s message, and I’m not sure whether it is the right decision.

But Israel will be extremely happy avoiding to face the crowds.

Unfortunately I’m afraid many won’t take the trouble to join actions like this one in the future. Perhaps a creative non-violent tactic has been burnt out. I see people here very angry. What remains to be seen is if the benefit of providing this small delegation compensates the debacle of the march as foreseen.

First Report from Cairo: Freedom Marching in Circles While Winding Our Way to Gaza

What has gone on here with CODE PINK is a historic betrayal of huge magnitude.

The CodePink group are some of the main organizers behind the Gaza Freedom March – the GFM being around fourteen hundred internationals.

Whilst the internationals were lobbying and picketing and endless other activities, Code Pink as a group negotiated their way into Gaza – a group of 100. They offered a couple of places to each international delegation. Most told them a clear no.

They rejected everyone’s position and went ahead making a bilateral decision to accept an offer from Mubarak’s wife (I think) and just rode steam roller over the views of fourteen hundred who have gone through hell ….

There has been a build up of publicity and yet they have quietly accepted the first offer that divided everyone. There have almost been street fights here the divisiive impact of these people has been brutal.

So that is at the stage we are at… I plowed up to their rooms at the hotel where they are based and they are locked up. They left at dawn. The French, the Scottish, the Greeks, the Spanish etc etc have all rejected the idea of two delegates – WHICH THEY OF COURSE PICK ON THE QUIET ….

Endless despondency. Endless sadness. Endless feeling of betrayal … Can you please convey this message to BRICUP – I am in a rage at the moment and going over to talk with the French…They are still held in confinement at their Embassy.

No end to the betrayal and despondency that they have created.


Gaza, We’ll Never Forget – a video by Haitham Sabbah

29 December, 2009 — Palestine Think Tank

It only lasted 23 days, but following several years’ blockade, the affect was devastating to the Palestinians penned into Gaza, part of Occupied Palestine. The total destruction meted out by the Israeli Army, with the backing of citizens of the Jewish State and the approval of their international friends and supporters, including the USA and EU, can be seen in this video. No one and nothing was secure, infants, women, the elderly, places of shelter, worship or education. No street, no home was left unscathed. No family was left in peace. There was no refuge, no shelter. We will never forget the carnage, the violence and the inhumanity of the Israeli “operation”.

Haitham Sabbah is an uprooted Palestinian blogger. He is the webmaster and editor of Palestine Blogs, also webmaster and co-editor of Palestine Think Tank. His personal blog is Sabbah’s Blog

Egypt Approves Gaza Freedom March Passage, Viva Palestina Blunders Paperwork and Blames Egypt By Haitham Sabbah

29 December, 2009 — Palestine Think Tank

Ahmed-Aboul-Gheit.jpgIn a press conference conducted earlier this evening, the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced some threats, warnings, surprises as well as some good news. The press conference that aired on Egyptian official TV a few hours ago was boiling with Aboul Gheit’s very firm and angry answers to the journalists’ questions who did not spare him a topic. They asked about the peace process, Hamas, Rafah tunnels and the Iron Wall besides the questions about the Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina.

To my surprise, it seems that the mainstream media are so far ignoring this press conference and no one has published any of the surprises or the good news which he carried for the Gaza Freedom March and the surprise he had for Viva Palestina. Not even those directly concerned, the activists themselves. Instead, searching the mainstream media today you will only get news about Egypt’s arrest of activists in Cairo, the activist hunger strike, Viva Palestina’s redirection to Syria, and so on.

Therefore, to be fair with Egypt and Egyptians, I’ll try to translate the important parts of the press conference.

To start with the good news, Aboul Gheit announced that the Egyptians approved a limited number of Gaza Freedom March members to pass through and reach Gaza, Palestine, in the coming few days. He said (translated from Arabic here):

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U.S. Citizens attacked by Egyptian Riot Police in Cairo in front of U.S. Embassy By Cindy Sheehan

29 December, 2009

Call the U.S. Embassy to demand the release of those detained/that permission is granted for the March to cross into Gaza: Telephone: (202) 2797 3300.

[A couple of you have written to say that this number Telephone: (202) 2797 3300 does not work as a DC number. It is the number of the American Embassy in Cairo. Ironically, it has the same prefix as DC.

If you dial the number (and dialing on SKYPE if you have an account is very inexpensive), make sure you have a 00 in front of the 202. SKYPE will do that for you.

Also, the Americans have been released, but this is a good number to keep, because the story is not finished. Please hold on to the number. We may need it again.


One of my friends, Joshua Smith, just texted me from Cairo and said that some U.S. citizens of the Gaza Freedom March went to the U.S. Embassy today there to try and implore the staff there to intercede on behalf of the March to help get them into Gaza—they were not so warmly welcomed.

Recently, almost 1400 people from around the globe met in Cairo to march into Gaza to join Gazans in solidarity and to help expose their plight after years of blockade and exactly a year after the violent attack in what Israel called “Operation Cast Lead” that killed hundreds of innocent Gazan civilians. So far the Marchers have been denied access (Egypt closed the Rafah crossing) and their gatherings have become increasingly and more violently suppressed.

In my understanding of world affairs, embassies are stationed in various countries so citizens who are traveling can seek help in times of trouble, but this doesn’t appear to be so right at this moment in Cairo.

Josh reports, and I also just got off the phone with my good friend and Veterans for Peace board member, Mike Hearington, that about 50 U.S. citizens were very roughly seized and thrown (in at least one case literally) into a detention cell at the U.S. embassy. We are talking about U.S. citizens here being manhandled by Egyptian riot police. According to Josh and Mike (who both just narrowly escaped), it appears that people with cameras are especially being targeted. Another good friend of mine, and good friend of peace, Fr. Louis Vitale is one of those being detained. Fr. Louis is well into his seventies!

Josh posted this on his Facebook wall about his near-detention experience:

We just got away. They were trying to drag me in but we kept moving… And most were dog piling another guy. Then they drug him into the parking lot barricaded riot police zone, lifted him up and threw him over the police and down into the zone. And attacking those taking pictures or attempting to.

When I was talking to Mike he said that an Egyptian told him that all Egyptians are in solidarity with the Marchers and with the people of Gaza/Palestine, of course, but the “Big Boss” (the U.S.) is calling the shots.

Egypt is third in line for U.S. foreign aid (behind Iraq and Israel) and its dictator for life, Hosni Mubarek, is a willing puppet for his masters: the US/Israeli cabal. Israel could not pursue its apartheid policies without the U.S. and it’s equally important for this cabal to have a sold-out ally as its neighbor.

Today also happens to be the anniversary of the 1890 U.S. massacre of Native Americans (Lakota Sioux) at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. It is sad enough that we are also living on stolen land, but also that the Israeli government had good teachers in disposing of its indigenous population!

What are the Israeli settlements on the West Bank, if not stolen land from the indigenous population and what is Gaza if not a mega-reservation? As at Wounded Knee 119 years ago, the Israeli siege and attack on Gaza is nothing more than big bullies shooting fish in a barrel.

Call the U.S. Embassy to demand the release of those detained/that permission is granted for the March to cross into Gaza: Telephone: (20-2) 2797 3300.

Weren’t things supposed to “change” in the Age of Obama?

Gaza Freedom Marchers walled in behind police barricade in front of UN office in Cairo

28 December, 2009 — Codepink

Cairo – Hundreds of activists staged a sit-in outside the United Nations building in Cairo demanding that the world body intervene to facilitate their entry into Gaza.

Egyptian security forces surrounded the demonstration while protesters chanted slogans calling for an end to the Israeli siege. A delegation headed by Filipino senator Walden Bello held negotiations with UN representatives to ask for safe entry into Gaza for all marchers. UN attempts to reach out to the Egyptian government did not yield results, but the UN officials agreed to try to set up a meeting with the Foreign Ministry’s Chief of Staff and to deliver the groups’ letter to President Mubarak.

Protestors dispersed at the end of the day promising to return with more creative actions. Eleven marchers – four Spanish, three Egyptians, one German, one Italian, one American and one northern Irish – vowed to spend the night at the UN building. Egyptian forces are surrounding them and there are fears for their safety.

Meanwhile, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 85, began a hunger strike to call the world’s attention to the current impasse. She was joined by eleven other hunger strikers.

“We are determined to enter Gaza, the criminal siege cannot continue”, said Ziyaad Lunat of the Gaza Freedom March organizing committee.

Viva Palestina convoy re-routed through Syria By Saed Bannoura

29 December, 2009 — IMEMC News

viva-pal-imemc.jpgViva Palestina members in Aqaba, Jordan (photo from viva palestina)

A humanitarian aid convoy on its way to the Gaza Strip has been re-routed through Syria after it was turned away at the Gulf of Aqaba.

The ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy consists of 250 vehicles including trucks, ambulances and buses filled with medical and school supplies for the people of Gaza.

This is the third Viva Palestina convoy to travel to Gaza since the Israeli invasion last year. British Parliament member George Galloway is leading the convoy, which includes four hundred fifty participants from a number of European and Arab countries.

It is one of two major convoys scheduled to enter Gaza this week, on the anniversary of Israel’s massive invasion one year ago. The other is the Gaza Freedom March, which is scheduled to cross into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing on Friday, with over 1400 participants from 42 countries.

Anton Abagama, who is a participant on the Viva Palestina convoy, told the IMEMC, ‘Egyptian authorities have given a very hostile reception to the convoy. They are not willing to negotiate, they are not willing to even think of any alternative. There have been many prime ministers, ex-prime ministers, and Members of Parliament who have contacted the Egyptian authorities on behalf of Viva Palestina. But to no avail. So now, we have to turn back to Syria, and hope we get through at Al-Arij….Egypt is being pressured from two sides: by Israel and by the US, to take the stand that they are taking.’

Viva Palestina Update: Gaza aid convoy to change course

28 December, 2009 — Viva Palestina

gaza-egypt.jpgEgypt accused the French protesters of lying and trying to embarrass it [AFP]

Organisers of Viva Palestina aid convoy, which is trying to reach the Gaza Strip, have now agreed to go via Syria en route for Egypt.

The agreement came after a Turkish mediator reached a deal with the Egyptian consul in Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba.

The convoy will now head to the Syrian port of Latakia to sail from there to the Egyptian port of El Arish, and then to Gaza.

Viva-Palestina which have been stranded in Aqaba for five days is led by George Galloway, a British MP.

Turkey dispatched an official on Saturday to try convince the Egyptians to allow the convoy to go through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba, the most direct route to Gaza after Egypt insisted that the convoy can only enter through El-Arish, on its Mediterranean coast.

Viva Palestina and another convoy, The Gaza Freedom March, were planning to arrive on Sunday to commemorate the first anniversary of Israel’s war on Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Meanwhile, at least 300 French participants of the Gaza Freedom March spent the night camped out in front of their embassy in Cairo, bringing a major road in the Egyptian capital to a halt as riot police wielding plexiglass shields surrounded them.

Egypt angry

Hossam Zaki, an Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, accused the French protesters of lying and trying to embarrass Egypt.

In depth

‘Fighting to break Gaza siege’
Video: Gaza aid held up in Jordan

“They claimed they had aid to carry to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which is a lie,” the MENA news agency quoted Zaki as saying.

“They want media exposure and to pressure and embarrass Egypt,” he said.

On Sunday, police briefly detained 38 international participants in the Sinai town of El-Arish, organisers said.

“At noon (1000 GMT) on December 27, Egyptian security forces detained a group of 30 activists in their hotel in El-Arish as they prepared to leave for Gaza, placing them under house arrest.

“Another group of eight people, including American, British, Spanish, Japanese and Greek citizens, were detained at the bus station of El-Arish in the afternoon of December 27,” they said.

On Sunday, Egyptian police also stopped some 200 protesters from renting boats on the Nile to hold a procession to commemorate those who died in the Gaza war.

On December 31, participants are hoping to join Palestinians “in a non-violent march from northern Gaza to the Erez-Israeli border,” the organisers said.

Source: Agencies

Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK – Administration Manager
Tel: 07944 512 469

Viva Palestina members start hunger strike

28 December, 2009 — Viva Palestina

Members of the Viva Palestina international aid convoy heading to the blockaded Gaza Strip have made the decision to go on hunger strike in protest at the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the convoy entry into its territory.

“Volunteers on the convoy are on a hunger strike and will only take fluids until the Egyptian side gives them the nod,” said the convoy’s press officer, Alice Howard.

She said the hunger strike began at 11:25 on Sunday, marking the first bombs Israel dropped on the besieged population of Gaza on December 27, 2008.

Israel’s relentless three-week offensive against Gaza from December 2008 to January 2009 left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, more than half of them civilians, according to medical sources. The Israeli assault also led to the destruction of schools, mosques, and houses as well as UN compounds, inflicting $1.6 billion damage on the Gaza economy.

The Viva Palestina aid convoy has been stranded in Aqaba, Jordan since Christmas Eve, when Egyptian authorities prohibited the convoy from docking at the Egyptian port of Nuweiba. Diplomatic negotiations are also taking place between the Turkish and Egyptian governments over the convoy’s entry into Egypt.

“Israel has kept Gaza under siege for three and a half years against international law. It has not allowed aid or rebuilding materials in following its attack on Gaza earlier this year. Our convoy is determined to break the siege and take in urgently needed supplies. Spirits are high in our camp in Aqaba, and we are going nowhere except to Gaza,” said British MP George Galloway, who is travelling with the convoy.

The third international convoy to Gaza departed from London on December 5, 2009. The convoy is made up of volunteers from Britain, Ireland, Belgium, and Malaysia who have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in their local communities to pay for ambulances, minibuses, vans, and lorries and to fill them with medical and other aid that is desperately needed in Gaza.

The Viva Palestina convoy was organized to direct the world’s attention to the fact that Israeli war criminals committed horrendous crimes in Gaza as well as to the courageous Palestinian resistance.