This is precisely one of the reasons why I said that Obama’s presidency is going to be a failure. Because America’s domestic policy is governed by special interest groups, their presidents often end up making the wrong decisions, both domestically and internationally. That is what Obama must change and I don't think he intends to do so, hence his silence over events taking place in the Middle East. For those who want to know exactly how interest groups manipulate US policy especially the Israeli lobby, I would recommend reading the last chapter in Stephen M. Walt's excellent book Taming American Power as well as Chapter 8 of Amos Wilson's sterling work Blueprint for Black Power. Then you can better understand why there can be no peace in that area. Hort
Obama and Gaza: It's Time for the President-elect to End his Silence
By Don DeBar
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
NEW YORK - I was awakened this morning at about 4:35am ET by an urgent call from a long-time civil rights activist and academic who also happens to be an associate of former Congressional Representative - and this past year's Green Party presidential candidate - Cynthia McKinney.
After gathering my few remaining senses, I was able to determine that the purpose of the call was to inform me that a boat upon which Rep. McKinney was sailing from Cypres to Gaza was intercepted and rammed by the Israeli Navy this morning, who also reportedly had fired upon it. The caller said there was a reporter on board who was the student of a former student, and that she reported that the boat was taking on water some 40 miles off-shore.
The caller added that it was unknown if McKinney was still alive.
I hung up and did a quick search for news reports - there was nothing. My first report on WBAI - for the 6 O'clock hour headlines - reported the few facts that I had at that point and promised updates as they became available.
At about 6:40, I found a report from Palestine News Network which included information from one or more reporters on board. The boat, called the SS Dignity, carried McKinney, a reporter from CNN, reporters from Al Jazeera and elsewhere, and a number of physicians, including a pair of pediatricians. It also carried 4 tons of urgently needed medical supplies.
At the time of departure, the passenger manifest - which included McKinney's name and other information - was faxed to the Israeli press secretary. In other words, the Israeli government was informed that the boat carried a former Member of of the US Congress and former presidential candidate prior to its departure from Cypres. This is an important fact which I shall return to momentarily.
The SS Dignity put out from Cypres towards Gaza after a press conference announcing its mission - to deliver the urgently-needed medical supplies to wounded children in Gaza, where a months-long embargo imposed by Israel had created a dire lack of same, leaving doctors ill-equipped to deal with the many hundreds of civilian casualties resulting from the air- and land-based Israeli siege of the past three days.
At a point about 90 miles outside of Gaza, clearly outside of the territorial jurisdiction of Israel and clearly in international waters, Dignity was surrounded by Israeli warships. Aside from this hostile move, there was no communication whatsoever from the Israelis of their intentions.
The Israelis accompanied Dignity for about 30 minutes. Then, still well within international waters, one of the Israeli ships rammed Dignity, crushing its hull at the fore and causing it to begin taking on water. Dignity's captain sent out an SOS.
At that time, the Israelis began firing in the vicinity of Dignity, spraying fire all around it. They then ordered Dignity back to Cypres, informing it that, upon Dignity's failure to comply, the Israelis would fire directly upon it.
A short time into the 7 O'clock hour, CNN reported that somehow - it is still, at the time of this writing, unclear to me how - the captain made arrangement to put in in Lebanon, and Dignity limped into port with its passengers (more or less) physically intact.
Let me recap - this morning, the Israeli Navy intercepted a small leisure craft traveling in international waters after the Israeli government was informed that it was carrying a former US official, a CNN reporter, doctors and medical supplies. The naval armada then rammed the small craft without warning, rendering it unfit for the water more than 40 miles off-shore, and then threatened to blow it out of the water.
President-elect Barack Obama will take office three weeks from today. His fashion tastes, likes and dislikes, economic bailout plans and a host of other things have been planted in the media over the past weeks, incessantly carried everywhere. But for some reason, thus far, he has stayed out of the public discussion about the siege of Gaza. Now, a former colleague of his from Congress has come under direct fire from the Israeli military, illegally and in full view of the world.
It's time for Obama to end his silence. Given what nearly happened this morning, in fact, it's past time - WELL past time.