There simply cannot be enough praise for brother Vik, he was a man who exemplified what it is to be human, to be a loving, courageous, full fledged human being. I am blessed till the end of time for knowing him; I will love him to the day I die. And the greatest way to honour Vik is to never give up, to never abandon Palestine, to seek truth and justice at every turn, to shed the fear and never accept the unacceptable.
On this one-year anniversary of his murder I say to his family, thank you so much for producing this warrior for justice, this brother to humanity. He is with us always; he is among the greatest Palestinians who have ever lived. TJP – Stay Human
Carrying on from the ludicrous claim by the Israeli Defence Forces (Offence Forces) that I am a ‘terrorist operative for Hamas’, myself and a US citizen, along with the IHH humanitarian aid organisation and several Turkish nationals are named as having ‘known links to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations’ in a US Congressional Bill now being processed through the traitorous US Congress. Here is the applicable paragraph;
‘(9) In 2010, IHH organized a flotilla that included the ship Mavi Marmara carrying 40 IHH members, including Fatima Mahmadi, Ken O’Keefe, Hassan Iynasi, Hussein Urosh, Ahmad Umimon, and others with known links to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations who were armed with 100 metal rods, 200 knives, 150 military self-defense vests, 50 wooden clubs, gas masks, and a telescopic sight for a gun.’
Read the entire bill here.
It seems we are living in Orwell’s ’1984′.
In the last year and a half alone I have been jailed and/or interrogated five times by four governments under Orwellian terrorism pretexts; once by the Israelis (in which I was beaten), once by Canadians (held for two days), once by the Americans, and twice by the British. That is just the last 18 months. So what happened 18 months ago? The Israeli massacre on the Mavi Marmara in which I was involved in disarming two of their commandoes. Israeli power brokers and Zionist agents have hated me ever since. Even more so when I referred to “Israel’s best” as “cowards”, on BBC HardTALK .
Following on, we have the British government, Israels alter-ego, doing their part in the ongoing slander campaign against me by arresting me on bogus ‘Fraud by misrepresentation’ allegations; allegations that were made by the hijackers of my Trade Not Aid mission. A mission that addresses the needs and desires of the Palestinian people to escape charitable dependancy and live a dignified life.
So the UK police have used blatantly spurious allegations as the excuse to arrest me and steal my property for the second time in six months. They have also stolen my DNA (by forcefully removing 15 strands of my hair), a gross abuse of human rights and useful ‘evidence’ to frame me in the future. Oh but they wouldn’t do that now would they?
In the last eighteen months I have had my personal property stolen and/or seized five times, once each by Israel, Canada and the US, twice by the Brits. Each time of course everything on my hard drives is copied and scrutinised with a fine tooth comb by ‘intelligence agencies’. These agencies are in fact terrorist agencies of the highest order, especially when we look at Mossad, the CIA and MI6. Imagine having all of your business and private matters in the hands of such enemies? Continuously. So right now it is the Brits’ turn, having stolen and retaining possession of my property for over two months, with an eye to keeping it until April 2012. Keep in mind this is the second time in less than six months the Brits have done this. They have two of my computers and several hard drives, plus my phone, personal documents and even my camera.
There is always a way for governments to violate the rights of the people, in this case the facilitators are Catherine Myles, Jez Cuthbert and Cath Jenkins, primary agents in the hijacking of my Trade Not Aid mission. These crooks falsely alleged that I had defrauded them by saying my mission was a “charity” when in fact it is and always has been a non-profit social enterprise. Their actions fit the classic profile of infiltrators aligned with or working directly for Special Branch, a notorious element of the UK police who make infiltration, subversion and even murder their business.
The likelihood of Special Branch involvement is made harder to ignore given that the allegations against me hold absolutely no weight whatsoever, never mind the fact that they are made by provable fraudsters.
Let us look to my press conference in Gaza last May, a press conference the police have been made aware of, it makes clear that my method of effecting positive social change is, once again, through TRADE… NOT AID, via “social enterprise”;
Additionally, my bank statements prove that I take no pay. So who is the “fraudster” exactly? The police, government, mass-media and the banksters perhaps?
The fact is that my history of activism, social enterprise and ability to articulate the crimes of the powers that be is what has made me a target. In terms of where I invest my time, the majority of it is dedicated to social enterprise. Accordingly, I won a fellowship position with the prestigious London School for Social Entrepreneurs in 2010. I was also featured in Social Enterprise Magazine twice. Both times highlighting my Aloha Palestine trade mission for Gaza.
So the record shows my position over and over and over again, Trade, Not Aid, is what is needed in Palestine and what I have spent years to develop. This is completely undeniable and a matter of public record. Yet the police arrested me because they saw merit in Catherine Myles, Jez Cuthbert and Cath Jenkins claiming I said I represented a “charity”. It is the most pathetic, transparent excuse to steal my property and thwart my humanitarian work and why should any of this surprise us? It shouldn’t, because the British government is every bit as traitorous in its bend over subservience to the Apartheid state of Israel, as is the American government; traitors all.
So I have no money, again 100% verifiable, because I take no salary and do not even cover my expenses. In fact I have incurred provable debt for the work I have done. In particular with the playground I built in Gaza for the Samouni children.
Whats more, although I have the legal and moral right to take some pay for the work I do, from the money I raise no less, I have not taken any pay since early 2009 and that was a pittance which was agreed by the donor who supported the launch of Aloha Palestine. How many directors of charities, organisations or social enterprises work for free? I don’t know but I have, and the reason I do not take pay is because there is never enough money to do all that needs to be done. So I do the best I can with the limited resources I have got.
What is even more astonishing is that I have absolute proof that Catherine Myles, Jez Cuthbert and Cath Jenkins are guilty of the fraud they accused me of. The police know this because proof has been given to them beyond what I have posted here. Despite this, the police have used the allegations of fraudsters who are 100% provably guilty of soliciting donations for a charity that did not exist, as the basis of arresting/harassing me on that very same charge.
What’s more, these same people have attempted to give cover for their theft of Trade Not Aid cash, donated items and vehicles by launching an un-Godly slander campaign in which they have said I am a thief, conman, womaniser, adulterer, that my children are illegitimate, that I am a ‘Nazi’ and a ‘white supremacist’, that I was nearly arrested in Gaza twice, that my Palestinian wife is ‘worse than me’ and that I have effectively stolen from the Samouni family in order to fatten my pockets.
This is a classic example of ‘Ritual Defamation’ as practised most effectively by the greatest liars and defamers of our time, the Zionists.
I have never referred to Aloha Palestine, the Samouni Project or Trade Not Aid as charities and I have taken no wages for my work since early 2009, and yet I have been arrested by one government for fraud, accused of or linked to terrorism by two others.
Will the UK police arrest the real fraudsters? Not a chance. Why? Because their objective is the same as Israel and Americas, perpetual harm for the people and nation of Palestine. Anyone in or from these nations who seriously endeavours to effect justice in Palestine is in effect, regarded as an enemy of the state.
Back to the pitiable traitors Myles, Cuthbert and Jenkins, here they are soliciting money for the non-existent charity ‘Palestine Aid’.
With initial cover by the UK police, Palestine Aid is what these same scoundrels attempted to turn Trade, Not Aid, into. And this attempted transformation reveals something extremely important to understand if we truly care about the people of Palestine, and that is that a trade mission like mine is hugely problematic to the Zionist/EU partnership. Why? Because my Trade Not Aid mission will aggressively expose the EU’s disgustingly immoral trade with the Apartheid state of Israel, trade that amounts to over 25bn Euros annually, while the people of Gaza live in abject, donor dependent poverty.
Make no mistake there is massive money made within the ‘Aid Industry’ as I call it. Money to be lost by Israel should it lose its grip over the captive market of Gaza that survives on the aid dependency tit that Israel controls. The EU’s role in providing cover for the collective punishment of the people of Gaza, which includes over 800,000 children, is massively important to Israel. As I have said my mission intends to highlight the EU’s criminal complicity and active support for Israeli crimes in a bold and damning way. And it is through shaming the EU that we shall open up trade for real and end the blockade of Gaza.
We as people who claim to care about Palestine have done no favours to its people by investing so, so much of our energy into aid. We are reinforcing the aid culture that Israel wants and the EU facilitates. Well I listened to the people in Palestine, and they never told me “we want more aid”. They talk about justice and dignity, and that is why I created Trade Not Aid.
Given that my mission seriously threatens the status quo, I find no favour at all with the government or their police in the UK. But Catherine Myles, Jez Cuthbert and Cath Jenkins most certainly do, hell they seem to hold a ‘get out of jail free card’, and that pretty much says it all.
But hold on, it gets even better.
Not only can we establish that those accusing me of fraud are in fact fraudsters and thieves, but the police have been informed by myself, my solicitor and others that the primary fraudster, Catherine Myles, has had at least £10,000 (but probably twice that or more) deposited in good faith to her account for the benefit of the Trade Not Aid mission, and that money is still completely unaccounted for. The UK Police have the authority to verify what we have alleged, and if they were not stooges for the powers that be they would have established beyond any doubt that Catherine Myles has zero credibility, and furthermore she is a thief who has stolen over £10,000 of donations, holding it for purposes unknown for over 6 months now… with police cover no less. So who are the fraudsters?
It has become crystal clear to me that the whole reason for this travesty is to justify the police stealing my property and casting doubt on my integrity. At this point it looks like the UK police will conclude their sham investigation by returning my stolen property after six months and saying it was all a “civil matter”. At which point I have to rely on the corrupt UK “justice” system to recoup this stolen money and property. This all takes time and money and more importantly it delays the mission. Which is the whole point now isn’t it, to get me to give up or at the very least to delay it all, water it down, Zionize it and make it another bullshit band-aid on a gushing wound ‘aid mission’.
Watch this video to see what I am talking about when I refer to the ‘aid industry’ and how those running it are doing so to inflict massive harm to Palestine;
Here is the truth, the British, US and Israeli governments are one and the same, a true ‘Axis of Evil’ comprised of puppets of the powers that be. The police within these nations have proven over and over again that they are servants to these traitors and tyrants. “Just following orders” as it were, like any good Nazi would.
Catherine Myles and Saeb Shaath have played the critical roles in thwarting the Trade Not Aid mission. Myles was the key infiltrator, subverter, Shaath was the Palestinian turncoat who gave false legitimacy to the hijacking. He is also responsible for attempting to turn ‘Trade Not Aid’ into ‘Palestine Aid’, a non-existent charity focussed on bringing more second hand shoes and stuffed animals to Gaza. Ultimately these people are victimising the already terribly victimised Samouni family, all the while using disgusting slander to support their treachery. This has put innocent women in grave danger in Gaza, once again all done with the UK police providing cover.
The point of all this madness is to intimidate me, it has not worked. Listing me as a terrorist is meant to scare me. It has not worked. Stealing my property and copying every last bit of my business and personal files is meant to frustrate me and stop me from carrying on. Once again, not happening.
While these bastards in MI5-6 and/or ‘Special Branch’ are copying every single file I have ever saved, looking into every single thing I have ever done, I say to them you are shameless cowards all. Good luck to you in doing your personality profiling of me, trying to find any weakness in me, any area to exploit, good luck.
And of course, if there was even a shred of evidence that I was a fraudster, they would lock me up in a heartbeat.
And if I was Arab or Muslim? I would have been put away long ago, or outright assassinated. But I am white, making things just a little bit trickier.
And so these pathetic minions will have to make something up. When and if I am judged by my maker, I have absolutely nothing to fear. I am not one of the traumatised, fear induced masses, I will die with honour no matter what fraud or threat is used against me.
But I want this to be clear as well, for the honourable ‘intelligence’ agents or police reading this, I extend respect to you. I know you are there and I like many am counting on you to do the right thing when your orders amount to treason against the people. To the military, same thing. You are caught up in a machine that is using you, dishonouring you, and at some point you will know this and in order to redeem yourself you must speak out and disobey your unlawful, immoral orders.
The lesson here? The lesson is that when the ultimate fraudsters and terrorists call you a fraudster, terrorist, womaniser, thief, Nazi, conman, etc., you must be doing something right. So regardless of the effort to stop me from doing what I do, the next phase of the Trade Not Aid Mission will be launched, and we will see just how much damage to this cause the Zionist slander tactics have had. Either way I will never turn my back on my Palestinian family, whether it is my wife and children who have Palestinian blood, or my extended Palestinian family who I love deeply; there will be justice in Palestine.
For now however the world remains upside down, it is up to us to turn it round and make it right. Until such time I will take the accusations, arrests and harassment as a badge of honour.
PS – On the bright side, I filmed 26 stories in Gaza that have been edited and will be published on YouTube in the next few weeks. With the initial editing done we need only finish them off to the standard I require. Thankfully this entire job was made possible because I transferred all the video files to a friend before the police stole my property. For sure however this theft has prevented me from doing some important work, and of course that is part of the plan. I do not have my most vital piece of equipment, the laptop I use for all sorts of business, most notably my videos. I have had to borrow a machine to do this as I do not have the money to replace my equipment once again.
To join the March to Gaza click here
There is much talk about who and what is behind the popular revolts in the Arab world and I find such talk as interesting as anyone. But more than talk I am interested in action. Indeed that is why tears of joy streamed down my face as I watched the Egyptian people cleansing themselves of the shame brought upon them by Mubarak and his fellow thieves and traitors. Clearly however, the job is far from complete.
The Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions are not actually Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions as much as they are part of a Global Revolution. For no matter how much effort is exerted by the powers that be to divide the masses, we are all connected. And within the Western nations lie the very same justifications for revolution. The truth is we are hard pressed to find a government that honours its people; the real question is to what degree does a government disrespect and violate it’s people? And does it confine it’s crimes to it’s own population? Or does it export these crimes as well? I am obliged to mention that in this latter category the world champion of global oppression is of course, my birth nation, the United States of America.
And they have junior partners in the global tyranny business, and Egypt has been, and remains at this moment, one of them. Ever since the so-called peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, Egypt has become a key partner in America’s greatest export, terror. For more than 30 years Mubarak was little more than a pimp and a prostitute, ordering the people of Egypt to bend over while the American imperialist machine penetrated the Egyptian people as a rapist does his victim.
Meanwhile Mubarak mocked the people of Egypt, his henchmen (Omar Suleiman) tortured and terrorized them while he and his family plundered the nation and swallowed American bribe money by the billions; all the while the comatose American taxpayer paid this pimp and his family those billions.
For a little comic relief, listen to what you, the American taxpayer are being told about how you’re hard earned tax dollars go to work in Egypt;
“For over three decades, the United States has worked to improve the quality of life of all Egyptians through programs supporting economic development and regional stability. USAID assistance has totaled $28.6 billion since 1975. Current programs focus on economic growth; education; healthier, planned families; and democracy and governance.” – USAID website
And so, for the bargain basement price of $28.6 billion the American people managed to buy Egyptians a lifestyle of deep poverty in which 40% of the 80 million plus of them live on less than $2 a day. Way to go America!
I am curious to know how many reading this are like me; tell me, when you see Obama or Hillary Clinton dare to talk of Egyptian “democracy” and solidarity with “the people”, do you wish as well that someone would walk up, stare them square in their eyes and slap them with a thundering clap right in the face? I sure do. And I damn sure wish that famous and heroic Iraqi shoe thrower hit George Bush right in his mouth. One can dream.
Ah but we can do better than wish for things that will likely never happen, we can act, we can create our own reality; just as the Egyptians and Tunisians and many others are showing us right now. We can do anything we set our minds to, ANYTHING!
And that leads me to the people of Palestine. As I sit here in Gaza I can tell you that these people are as deserving of real support as any people on Earth. For decades our actions (or lack thereof) have translated to a brutal existence with perpetual trauma and violence. Despite this the people of Palestine have not become the monsters that imprison and slaughter them. They remain Palestinian; among the most generous and hospitable people you will ever meet. And so I say to the world, now is the time to begin acting as brothers and sisters and commence to the liberation of the people of Palestine.
To everybody who knows injustice, everybody who knows tyranny, we are all brothers and sisters with the people of Palestine. Let us act like it and let us march on Gaza on February 26th, 2011. Let us amass in the greatest numbers possible, and let us march week after week if necessary, to make Rafah Crossing and open border. To achieve this would be to render the Israeli/American lead blockade useless. That would signal another mortal blow to American Imperialism and Israeli Zionism. If that isn’t worth fighting for then I have no idea what is.
I realize this was not the primary objective of the peoples revolt in Egypt, but it can become a primary result of it. Why not? Is it not possible? Of course it is. Egyptians have just shed their puppet dictator; they rendered his weapons and henchmen impotent. We can now remove one of the most shameful policies of this dictator; I say again, we can do whatever we desire, if we are serious that is.
I am serious, and I know many more who are serious as well.
Let us take note, lower ranking Egyptian commanders disobeyed direct orders by Mubarak and his generals to murder the people in Tahrir Square. So the Army did not slaughter the people as ordered, so clearly there is honour within the Egyptian military. But it cannot be ignored, there are still higher-ranking officials who followed Mubarak’s orders and themselves ordered the lower ranks to commit mass-murder.
Let us remember that it is such people that were punished by death as a result of the Nuremberg Trials. And let us realize that for the moment such people still hold positions of power and influence in Egypt. And let us not be fools, they remain of course the servile minions of their Zionist and American imperialist masters. Let us not ignore the fact that the American bribe money is still flowing.
To rest, to allow them to corrupt the will of the people into a new dictatorship is to abandon our role in the Global Revolution.
As I have said, this is not an Egyptian/Tunisian Revolution, their battle is ours and vice versa, and it intertwines with Palestine directly.
I know this for sure; there is not one Egyptian in their right mind that would endorse a continuation of the Egypt under Mubarak blockade of Gaza. To the contrary, it has shamed the people of Egypt for far too long. Why not end it now?
Is there any sane, right-minded person who supports the blatant and brutal collective punishment of the people of Gaza? So why would it carry on? There is only one reason, because we allow it. I say we carry on with what the people of Egypt started, they got rid of the dictator, let us, people of conscience, once and for all smash to pieces the abominable Egyptian blockade of Gaza.
Let us commence to exposing anyone intent on subjecting the 800,000 plus children of Gaza to this cruel and inhuman blockade.
I say shame on us all if we do not march on Gaza with significant numbers and soon. I see no reason why sufficient numbers cannot be mobilized for February 26th. If our lives or the lives of our loved ones depended on it, we would mobilize by the thousands.
As I write this there are people in Gaza who will likely die soon if they cannot access medical treatment outside of Gaza. Among them is a 14 year-old boy who needs a kidney transplant, which his father is ready to provide. Shall this boy be left to die?
There are students being denied access to education abroad. There are building materials needed yet denied, and thus the rebuilding of Gaza remains impossible. All of this preventable suffering and death continues, day-by-day, a human caused catastrophe, due to the Egypt under Mubarak blockade of Gaza. But there is no Mubarak, so there is no excuse.
Having met children all over Gaza I can tell you that virtually every one of them has been and continues to be traumatized by the ongoing blockade and terrorism of Israel. All of this is compounded massively by the blockade. If this were your child you would not rest until there was justice. But if you see them as I do, you would see them as your children, and with that comes a duty. Let us not fail. We cannot do too much for the children of Gaza; to do less then everything within our power is the continuation of collectively dishonouring ourselves and degrading our humanity.
It seems at this stage in human development the only way to make sure that governments serve the people, is to ensure that they fear the people. If indeed that be the case, let them fear us. Let them feel the wrath of our will and let them know that the Egyptian blockade of Gaza is in its dying days. If this inevitability requires bloodshed then it will be because those entrusted to serve the people have instead chosen to serve the Israeli/American tyranny under which Mubarak ruled. If that be the case then there shall be an absolute need for Nuremberg Trials of today.
But I think none of that is necessary. I think the Egyptian Military can honour the people rather than the paymaster. We shall see.
Here is what I propose: People of conscience, supporters of Palestine and Egypt, wherever you come from, come to Egypt in the days leading up to February 26th. Travel to the port city of Al Arish and prepare to march on “The Day of Liberation” for the people of Palestine in Gaza. From the Egyptian side we shall march from Al Arish to Rafah Crossing (about 35 km/22 miles). On the Gazan side we shall demonstrate in support of this peoples liberation and we shall greet the marchers when they arrive.
Transportation via taxis can easily be arranged for those unable to walk such a distance. The goal will be to enter Gaza with the full cooperation of the Egyptian Military/officials. We seek no confrontation, but we demand the end of the Egypt under Mubarak blockade of Gaza.
If the marchers are blocked, attacked or arrested, we will do as the people of Egypt have done, a Tahrir style camp will be created as close to Rafah Crossing as possible. We will maximize exposure of the march via social media such as Twitter and Facebook and the world will surely be watching if we do what we are clearly capable of doing. People will camp out and more marchers will come, if we do as we are capable of doing our numbers will swell and our power increase. Each and every day will bring us closer to the end of the Egypt under Mubarak blockade of Gaza.
Power to the people – Global Revolution 2011 – TJP
To join the March to Gaza click here
I arrived in Gaza with 45 others from 16 different countries on August 23, 2008 as part of the Free Gaza Movement. For this we are guilty of exercising the inherent human right to travel as outlined in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Gaza I have met with and expressed solidarity with those who resist the occupation and for this I am guilty of affirming the lawful right of self-defence. I have also met with, expressed solidarity and initiated work directly with Palestinians who choose non-violence and law as their means of struggle. In this choice we are guilty of conspiracy to expose the truth about the Zionist need for conflict; which explains why people of peace are unwelcome in the eyes of the Israeli Government.
I learned this lesson several years ago when I was jailed by Israel for “illegally attempting” to enter Gaza. In 2004 I came as the founder of P10K (www.P10K.net), a plan that involved an ‘Agreement in Principle’ between the three major resisting factions and 1000 international observers. The agreement proposed that upon the arrival of these international observers, the resisting factions (Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades) would enter into a self-imposed cease-fire. My logic being that the presence of these international observers would shine a bright light on Palestine and expose the ongoing crime of occupation, thus compelling meaningful change. I stand by this belief to this day. This agreement was also intended to prove that the resisting factions were not unreasonable; to the contrary, Hamas has since proven its willingness to participant in a non-violent political process.
Likewise, in a deal brokered through the honourable Mohammed Hourani of Fatah, Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades committed to the agreement in principle back in 2004. With that I headed to Gaza with good reason to believe that signed approval from Islamic Jihad and Hamas was forthcoming, but fate and Israel had other plans. I managed to slip past Israeli security at Erez crossing, make it into Israeli Gaza and ride on a settler bus to the sea. I made it as far as the security zone in the north between Israeli and Palestinian Gaza. At that point I was halted at gunpoint by the Israeli Defence Forces. So instead of a ceasefire agreement I was jailed for 20 days and deported on the basis of secret testimony… as a “security threat” of course. Flat out, the Israeli Government wants no part in peace and it makes sure that Palestinians and internationals do not threaten their maintenance of violent conflict. This is a critical truth that must be exposed if there is any chance of a just settlement.
The truth is that back then, as now, Gaza was inaccessible to anyone not approved by Israel; until the Free Gaza Movement that is. Israeli approval inherently means that anyone critical of Israel, no matter how peace minded they are, is extremely unlikely to be permitted by Israel to enter Gaza. Archbishop Desmond Tutu being a perfect example. Making matters worse the people of Gaza cannot get “approval” from Israel, to exit Gaza. But it is not only Israel, it is shamefully the Arab brothers and sisters of the Egyptian Government who collude with Israel in the policy of collective punishment; which results in 99% plus of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza being imprisoned.
So now I write these words as an honoured inmate of Gaza Prison; and I am proud to be with my brothers and sisters in Palestine. But prison is a generous word for Gaza; western prisons provide medical care, three meals a day, clean water and at least limited access to family. Israeli prisons, at least for Israelis, offer the same. In Gaza however few have these basic needs, while virtually none have all of these needs. Furthermore, prisons are supposedly for criminals, so a place where you are locked up simply for being a particular nationality, is not rightly called a prison. According to the Dictionary.com definition, a concentration camp is;
‘a guarded compound for the detention or imprisonment of aliens, members of ethnic minorities, political opponents, etc., esp. any of the camps established by the Nazis prior to and during World War II for the confinement and persecution of prisoners.’
So in the interest of truth, I shall from this day onward refer to Gaza as an Israeli Concentration Camp for Palestinians.
While in Gaza Concentration Camp I myself can afford three meals a day and clean water, not true for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. But if I am shot I might well die (as many Palestinians do) because adequate medical care will not be possible. If I fall ill, I may die from a completely treatable ailment for lack of medicine. Physical access to family outside of Gaza is impossible, as it is for the 1.5 million people of Gaza.
But Israel and its partner Egypt do me personally a great service by denying me exit through their corrupted lands, they have gifted me with a small taste of what it is to be incarcerated in Gaza. They have forced me to see the glaring truth; the way in and out of Gaza, is by the sea. Poetic to a person like myself, considering the fact that my first love, is the sea.
So here I am in Gaza, on yet another peaceful, lawful mission. And I am guilty; guilty of acknowledging that Israel has nuclear weapons and is dangerous enough to use them; guilty of knowing that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a threat to all life on planet Earth. I am guilty of acknowledging that the formation of Israel involved the Black’s Law definition of terrorism and can additionally be defined as ethnic cleansing if we use Bosnian ethnic cleansing as a standard. I am guilty of knowing that Israel has wiped large areas of Palestine, including hundreds of villages, “off the map”. I am guilty of acknowledging that the root cause of so-called “terrorism” includes but is not limited to, occupation, theft of land, denial of human rights, extrajudicial killings and of course mass murder.
Most of all I am guilty of rejecting the role of the cynic who pretends that we as people are powerless. Thus I am guilty, guilty of conspiring to commit acts of consciousness and humanity with like-minded people such as those of the Free Gaza Movement. And I repeat, 46 people, have proven one powerful truth, one undeniable and glaring truth, that Palestine is accessible via the sea.
Think about it, 46 people have proved that the Israeli siege of Gaza is breakable. What could 500 of us do, or perhaps 1000?
There are roughly one billion people in the west, .000001% of that population equals 1000. Are there 1000 such people in the West, people who are ready to act in unison, intelligently and without fear? Would we be ready to train as international observers and sail right into Gaza according to the rights protected by International Public Law? International Observers is what P10K requires and now more than ever I believe it is possible to transport them to Palestine. And so it is that I work now with those who are ready to purchase the ship that will make this a reality.
Wake up world, it is the people of conscience, minority that we are, that offer the real potential for a better world, a world of justice and peace. It is time to renounce powerlessness and act with the power of love in this cause. Only then, will there be peace; let us please stop pretending as if peace is possible amidst the terrible injustice of our world.
As for me I have little doubt that I will soon reunite with my family, and I plan to do so by way of the sea, travelling through Gaza’s territorial waters, into international waters and on to Cypriot territorial waters, which are controlled by a most honourable government. I expect to return as I came, never once needing approval from Israel or Egypt. Only 46 people in the world are confirmed to have done this by sea, and so we shall do it again, but more importantly, we shall do so by the thousands. I cannot think of a better way to visit the people of Palestine, people who bless me every day that I am here.
And special thanks to the Israeli and Egyptian Governments for the unexpected yet welcome extension to my Gaza experience. As a matter of courtesy I shall express my gratitude by pushing for the purchase of a passenger ship capable of carrying thousands of Palestinians and internationals to and from Gaza. This, inshallah, shall be my gift to you… and the people of Palestine of course.
1. “Boats With Pro-Palestinian Activists Reach Gaza”, By Ibrahim Barzak of the Associated Press, August 23, 2008 http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=5638134
2. “Statement by Archbishop Desmond Tutu”, May 29, 2008 www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/Statement_by_Archbishop_Desmond_Tutu.pdf
Departing Cyprus I felt, as did many of us, relief that we were finally setting off for Gaza. I can honestly say that I always believed that we had a better chance then not of making it to Gaza. But I did start to lose a bit of confidence in the couple of days leading up to departure, due to statements by Israeli officials. Now the boats were filled to capacity, the media (including Al Jazeera) were onboard, and our destiny was soon to be revealed.
Because we were already well past our scheduled departure date it was decided to leave Cyprus without delay. As it turned out the weather was just a bit rough and now those with little or no experience at sea (about 9 out of 10) were feeling miserable. The trip lasted roughly 32 hours so this was true agony, I felt very fortunate to feel fine the whole time. By the time we had traversed international waters and approached Gazan waters the passengers were well ready to reach dry land.
The plan had always anticipated the possibility however of a stand off at sea; this prospect was not lost on anyone. But we had what would become a very comical event. All the way from Cyprus we had no contact or sighting of the Israelis, although we do have every reason to believe that they were using electronic sabotage on our satellite equipment, making live transmission over the Internet impossible. When we reached Gazan territorial waters (approximately 22 miles out from Gaza) we stopped and attempted to rendezvous with a media boat. That led to the idea of wait and see what happens rather than simply continue on course to Gaza, the rationale being that this would attract more media attention and thus we should wait. But eventually it was unanimously decided on the Free Gaza that there was no need to wait, as we had not been confronted Israel. I certainly agreed although I was fine to stay at sea longer if there was good reason.
So the free Gaza pushed on and the Liberty followed. Each mile closer the excitement grew. Keep in mind it had been decades since any ship or boat had travelled the open sea to Gaza, it has been prohibited by Israel and the only attempt in all this time was by Palestinians who never even set sail as their boat was sabotaged and their leaders killed by Israel (as “terrorists” of course). What we were attempting to do was and is truly historic. Most never thought it would happen. I truly did, as much as I believed then and now that the Human Shield strategy I initiated for Iraq could indeed stop the invasion of Iraq. The keys to success are mass media exposure and western nationals in sufficient numbers. For Iraq the numbers needed to be much bigger, but for the Free Gaza Movement 46 was enough in my mind.
As it turned out we never even saw the Israeli’s. They had said they would stop us. We had been told there were mines in the Gazan waters. We were threatened with arrest but the Israelis never showed up. To me the reason is clear, the liability of stopping a peaceful, lawful, internationally exposed mission comprised of western nationals intent on exposing the siege of Gaza made the Israelis impotent. They certainly never wanted us to do it; they just could not stop it, that is the power of strategy.
When we first sighted Gaza’s skyline it really started to sink in that we might very well make it. As we got closer that belief developed confidence and by the time we were just 3 miles offshore it seemed that everyone knew we had made it. It is hard to describe the feeling as the first small boat greeted us about one mile out. The Palestinians aboard were beside themselves. And we were likewise. I had the honour of piloting the Free Gaza into Gaza Port so my experience was a little more reserved, but emotional nonetheless. Then the next boat appeared from the harbour, and the next, and next, and… More than one boat was bursting at the seams, challenging the load that such a boat could carry. All of the people were in a state of euphoria. It is not an exaggeration to say that we truly provided a bright light of hope in a place where desperation and grief are daily and grinding.
When we entered the harbour you could see that the jetties were completely filled with people. It was a standing room only outdoor event. You simply could not fit any more people in the harbour. As we pulled in boats surrounded us, I doubt I will ever experience anything like it again both as a spectator and a Captain. I was continually concerned about the children who were in the water and impossible to see much of the time. Boats and people were everywhere, thankfully it turned out to be a harmless game of bumper boats. Boats came alongside and people started to pull themselves up onto our boat. Before you knew it we were mobbed by overjoyed Palestinians, hugs and handshakes were going on everywhere. I was caught between the extreme joy of it all and concentrating on keeping the boat out of harms way. Eventually we sort of migrated over to the dock.
Once we tied to the dock we were joined by even greater mobs of happy people with Hamas security joining in; I will never forget this day, I will cherish it forever. Nobody will ever be able to erase this day. Despite all the terrible injustice, pain and death of Gaza, this was a day of pure joy for the vast majority of Gazans and Palestinians in the West Bank and abroad. There was reason to hope for a better day, Free Gaza has proven the sea offers passage into and out of Gaza/Palestine. I only hope that we do not rest on our laurels, if we do not relent, if we maintain sustained, intelligent and united pressure, we will truly break the siege and more than that, we will prove once more the immense power of people of conscience in action.
Leaving Sitia Port in Crete we finally confronted the test of the boats that would include a minimum of 20 hours straight in the open sea. But the departure from Crete was picture perfect; conditions to the next port on the island of Megisti were magical, mostly glassy seas and picturesque Greek Islands along the way. Megisti had a port that was nothing short of intoxicating, made famous in the1991 Oscar-winning movie Mediterraneo.
While only in Megisti for less then 24 hours I was able to run our Zodiac after seeing that the island had some impressive sea caves. Myself, Peter and Courtney set out on an impromptu trip around the island. The scenery was quintessential Greece, absolutely spellbinding. Peter was so enthusiastic he jumped into the turquoise blue water and forgot the mobile phone in his pocket. Didn’t matter, it was worth it. It was sad to leave this place, I would love to return.
The journey from Megisti to Cyprus was a bit rocky for some but overall we once again had favourable weather. Time at sea is tiring however, especially if you are on watch behind the wheel. Rocking and rolling, standing and having to keep very attentive in darkness and light, life at sea is hard and I have much respect for those who choose such a life. And the sea is nothing to be fooled with, this was one thing underestimated by the organizers of Free Gaza in my opinion. The plan as a whole was brilliant, that is why I joined. But understanding of a Captains role was somewhat absent. This is a small criticism given all the praise I have for them, but I say it for those who may consider a similar action involving sea travel. Get yourself a Captains opinion and expertise before you make any inflexible plans involving sea travel.
Along the way I put the Hawaiian flag prominently under the Palestinian flag on the bow of the Free Gaza. Of course I was going to need to explain the Union Jack within a Hawaiian flag (Hawaii was a protectorate of the British, and the British so honourably did nothing when America stole Hawaii in 1893).
On the other end of the honour spectrum, we arrived at Larnaca Port in Cyprus to a most honourable Cypriot Port authority. It cannot be underestimated how much this government was under pressure by Israel and likely America to stop our journey. As far as any of us could tell they were having none of it, they helped us and provided security and escorted us to international waters when we left. Credit to the Cypriots, they have not forgotten their direct ties to the Palestinians.
We also arrived in Cyprus to a group of people who were weary for a different reason then sea travel, they were weary from waiting. We arrived in Cyprus on August 20, over two weeks later then our scheduled departure date. The whole group finally united and we prepared for the ultimate test of the mission, the journey from Cyprus to Gaza.
The Free Gaza Movement had already been delayed for various reasons including lack of funding, probable interference from Israel in the purchase of a boat, the death of one of the contributors (Riad, a lovely man), etc. So the August 5, 2008 departure date was eagerly sought for all the organizers and I arrived in Greece on July 22 with the intention of meeting that departure date. When it came down to it however it became impossible and the delays were exacerbated by the fact that crewmembers were waiting in Cyprus for the August 5 departure. Greece to Cyprus for the two boats (Liberty and Free Gaza) was an adventure in itself and much could be written about it, but I will just summarise the Greece to Crete leg.
The journey was full of challenges, not least of which was the continual pressure from the Israeli Government to the Greek Government that was intended to stop our journey through bureaucratic means. To the credit of the Greeks they did not cave in and overall they were helpful to our cause. However, they were very interested in getting us out of Greek waters ASAP, and that made the stress of dealing with boat repairs and typical challenges associated with long haul boat journeys that much more stressful. For me the greatest stress was a sort of limbo I was put in as to whether I would serve as Captain or not. This was an issue due to the fact that although I was a licensed U.S. Captain beginning in 1999, in 2001 I lawfully renounced my U.S. citizenship. So as a result I was compelled to let my Captains license expire in 2004 since the license was acquired as a U.S. citizen. My renunciation of citizenship was no frivolous act so I could not claim the benefit of a U.S. license while not agreeing to the terms of citizenship… and I most certainly do not agree. The sacrifice was I lost the license; this was the issue regarding the Free Gaza mission. Although my situation was unique, and all I would have needed to do to renew my license was sign the renewal papers, I was technically not licensed.
Even though we were not a commercial enterprise and strictly by law we did not require a licensed Captain, we did not want to give Israel any excuse to stop our mission. As it turned out I did Captain the boat for some of the journey, but when it came to the Cyprus to Gaza leg another Captain was called in. I was disappointed by this reality but I understood it.
Anyway, the trip from Greece to Cyprus meant meeting new people who joined us once the boats reached Crete. Crete was brilliant, the people were very supportive and the port of Chania was lovely. That was where I met Aki (of the band Fundamental), Yvonne Ridley, Jeff Halper (our only Israeli crew member), Vik from Italy (“Come on!”), several others and Lauren Booth (Tony Blair’s sister in law). Lauren came up to me at a typically hot and hard working moment where I was perhaps just a bit tired of some of the stresses, she came and stood right in front of me and announced that she was “reporting for duty Captain”. I did not know who she was but offered a hello, she jokingly said something like “nice reception mate” and offered me a drink of water, it was hot and I was thirsty so I took a drink, it ended up being a Greek liquor that you will definitely feel as it goes down. I laughed, told her she would get that back, and we hit it off from that point on.
While in Chania I was able to have a good dance, which always inspires me. I also ran into Leone who I met as part of the TJP Human Shield Action to Iraq. He was with his lady Marianthi and together they made us a great meal at the squat which overlooked the port. All the people of the squat were lovely as well, thanks to all of you for your hospitality. Eventually we set off for Iraklio and did some minor repairs, then off to Sitia on the Eastern edge of Crete. We had now covered a good portion of the journey to Cyprus but the longest open sea leg was before us. To be continued
Free Gaza Movement
I first heard about the Free Gaza Movement via an email from a friend who sends me such info from his email list. The first moment I read about it I had the utmost respect and I decided right away that I would endorse the action and volunteer my services if they were desired. So I sent off an email and within a few days I had a response, the immediate answer was not to be however, the organizers of the action were committed to allowing only those who had direct experience with the organizers or others close to the action in other direct actions… my respect grew stronger. My experience with the Human Shield Movement I created in 2002 made painfully clear that “volunteers” are all too often agents of the enemies of justice, specifically working for the CIA, MI6 and other such government agencies who deal in the business of deception masqueraded as “national security”. So I supplied all the information requested and although my name has been stained to a degree by those within the Human Shield Movement who consider me the devil incarnate, my record of activism and thoughtful response won out and I was accepted as a volunteer for the Free Gaza Movement.
It became clear that my experiences as a boat captain and as a U.S. Marine were most valuable for the mission and the needs it required so I was charged with security issues and possible service as a boat captain. The action was scheduled to set off from Cyprus on August 5 and I was asked to set off early to Greece (Athens), where the vessels had been purchased and preparation for the journey to Cyprus was needed. I arrived in Greece on July 22, one day after my birthday. There I met two of the primary organizers, Paul and Bella. I was excited to meet all of the people, especially the organizers as I had considered their organizational intelligence to be of a very high standard. As per usual I found much in common with them, and our Greek hosts were all an absolute joy. At the same time I found some disagreement with strategic direction in a couple of key areas and as always I expressed my alternate view. At the end of the day however I did not come as an organizer and I fully appreciated the fact that I was not a decision maker, I myself had done the hard work for Human Shields which they were doing for Free Gaza. I have experienced first hand those who think simply showing up to the action warrants equal say in the strategic decision making process. I was not going to do as had been done to me, I was there to work for the boat preparation and journey to Cyprus and I was happy to do just that.
It was apparent however that the workload for the person who was leading virtually the entire boat prep and all the enormous political hurdles it involved had not the time to provide the tools and materials needed for the others who were to work with me in the preparations so I asked my wife and soon to be mother of my child Fadwa to join me in Greece, a place she had already visited six times and loved very much. This was a great blessing as the one thing wrong with the Free Gaza Movement for me was the timing for me personally (child on the way). I am very sad to not be there for the woman I love during this pregnancy, her first, and my first time as a father. I can only thank her thank her for supporting my commitment to this cause. The down time I had with boat work allowed for some consolation as I was able to swim in the Mediterranean Sea with my lady and have some truly quality time.
But our time was short and the hard work of preparing the boats and setting off for Cyprus was upon us. To be continued.