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We Lived to Tell the Story: Lebanon Rescued Us


By Cynthia McKinney

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#cnnST...

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

Michael Printy Arthur
Director of Media Affairs
404.487.6511
media@atlanta.mfa.gov.il

For additional information, please visit our website.

--
The shock, awe and heart attacks that followed Madoff's confession that he was 'running a Ponzi scheme' drew as much anger for the money lost and the fall from the moneyed class as for the embarrassment of knowing that the world's biggest exploiters and smartest swindlers on Wall Street, were completely 'taken' by one of their own. Not only did they suffer big losses but their self-image of themselves as rich because they are so smart and of 'superior stock' was utterly shattered: They saw themselves as suffering the same fate as all the schmucks they had previously swindled, exploited and dispossessed in their climb to the top. There is nothing worse for the ego of a respectable swindler than to be trumped by a bigger swindler. As a result, a number of the biggest losers have so far refused to give their names or the amount they lost, working instead through lawyers fighting off other losers.
--James Petras

"And advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool."
--PNAC, Rebuilding America's Defenses, p. 60

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.
--Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time

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Thank you Cynthia for showing the world that not all people in the US are as corrupt, deceitful, and destructive as our military-industrial power elite and their partners in Israel. My New Years "celebration" was dedicated to the suffering of the Palestinians, and every "Happy New Year!" call and contact I had got an earful of the suffering and crimes being committed in our names.

You're a True American Hero Cynthia McKinney!

Iran's President Ahmadinejad was quoted in Pakistan Daily today as saying, "Moses would punish Israel". Good article:

http://www.daily.pk/world/middle-east/8932-moses-would-punish-israel-.html

Why do I have to visit http://www.russiatoday.com/en , http://www.daily.pk/world.html , http://english.pravda.ru/ , and http://english.aljazeera.net/ to get fair and balanced anything concerning Israel? Media Fascists, owned and/or controlled almost entirely by today's Israeli-Nazi's, plain and simple. Same reason these same groups refuse to cover 911truth! We will not get fair elections, government policy, budget priorities or begin to heal our image in the world as long as we fail to get back control of the western corporate press. We're being eaten alive from the inside by mass-deception channeled through our public airwaves while our skin and our dignity is ripped away with every new military aggression... this one's gonna cost us!

If I'm not mistaken, the main speculation as to why Israel is committing these war-crimes right now is because of the upcoming election between the "right and the far right". But it is also possible that the intention is to provoke Iran, Syria and others into reactions that can be used to engulf the entire Middle East in general and thereby tie Obama's hands to a military agenda. One more dagger in the back of change.

Obama better be deceiving the MIC through false-hawkishness and not the people through his silence, I tell you. Small, hopeful note sounded off by Brzezinski yesterday when he slapped down Scarborough here: http://crooksandliars.com/node/24918 . Maybe the fascists "know" Obama intends to draw down after getting in, maybe they really believe they need a retaliatory response from Iran and Syria if they're gonna continue their largess... maybe.

ixoxi

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