News Release Archive - 2011

Abdullah: Asad Should Step Down

AP reports: “Jordan’s King Abdullah said [today] that Syrian President Bashar Assad should step down, making him the first Arab ruler to issue such a call over the regime’s deadly crackdown on an 8-month-old uprising. The surprising statement comes as Arabs close ranks against Damascus. On Saturday, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria over attacks on protesters that the U.N. estimates have killed 3,500 people since mid-March.”

BASSAM HADDAD, bhaddad at gmu.edu
Haddad, director of the Middle East Studies Program at George Mason University, is author of the just-published book Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience. He is co-founder of Jadaliyya Ezine.

Haddad said today: “I would not actually place a lot of emphasis on the Arab League’s decision. On the one hand, it’s important that the Arab League has done that, because it is consequential for other players, in the sense that the Arab League’s decision is a signal or a prelude to some sort of international intervention, which will be detrimental to all parties involved, including the Syrian people, especially if it takes a military dimension or a military tone. So, on the one hand, this is basically still an open game; on the other hand, the violence of the Syrian regime must be condemned with the strongest possible language.

“One wonders, however, who are the actors that are going to bring about an end? All the actors involved — including the Arab League and the member states — are a club of autocrats and oligarchs that are not actually fit to push for this kind of a resolution. They themselves have actually oppressed their own people, and they have now basically shown that there is this desire to end the violence in Syria, but it is not clear how they would actually themselves deal with their own people in the case of a revolt. The talk of external intervention in the Arab League’s decision, which might be a prelude to external intervention, and the Arab League’s decision to speak on behalf of democracy, is in many ways extremely hypocritical. It is basically like Israel speaking on behalf of equal rights or the United States speaking on behalf of international law.

The Syrian regime has actually survived based on a combination of strategies, including violence, but not limited to violence. … Between 1970 and 2005 … the state actually came together with top business elites to literally hijack the economic policy-making process and create a major part of the cause of what we are seeing today, which is the disenfranchisement of most Syrians as a result of the social polarization that these networks created in society between rich and poor, between haves and have-nots, and between regions, which is actually how we witnessed the revolt proceed from the countryside, from the periphery, as opposed to the center, which has been severely neglected.”

Military Trials “Crushing Egyptian Revolution”

Protests are resuming today in Cairo. AP is reporting: “The mother of a prominent blogger jailed by Egypt’s ruling generals has gone on a hunger strike to protest her son’s detention and the military’s increasingly heavy-handed approach against critics.

“The strike by Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s 55-year-old mother could turn into a major embarrassment for Egypt’s military three weeks ahead of landmark parliamentary elections, the first since the uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak nine months ago.”

SHERIF GABER, sgaber at gmail.com
Gaber recently graduated from law school at the University of Texas at Austin and, back in his native Egypt, has been active with the group No Military Trials for Civilians. He said today: “Since, Jan. 28, 2011, we’ve seen at least 12,000 civilians tried in military courts. At least 8,000 have received prison sentences, at least 18 have received death sentences. We know of at least 58 minors tried and sentenced as adults. Activists, journalists, demonstrators and others have been targeted by this system to stifle criticism of the army and put down those who would seek to continue the goals of the revolution. The military trials issue is one of the largest obstacles currently facing the Egyptian revolution right now, they are infact in the process of crushing it.

“With respect to [today’s] protest, it is the 40-day remembrance of the Maspero massacre, where 27 people were killed as the army brutally and unprovokedly attacked a peaceful demonstration in front of the state TV building (Maspero). The massacre has been covered up by the army and state media (which itself incited a great deal of violence against the demonstrators at the time), 29 people have been given prison sentences in connection with the incident through the military tribunal system and 29 others are being questioned by the military prosecutor. Alaa Abd El Fattah is one of these and he has rejected the military tribunal system for its injustices and lack of impartiality in investigating events in which it is itself implicated.

“So the demonstration [Friday] is both in remembrance of those killed on the 9th of October, and a statement against the continued cover-up of the massacre demanding an independent investigation. So far, many of those who have asked for the same, and have criticized the army and state media for perpetrating this massacre have been terrorized by the military tribunal system, this also has to stop.

“To perhaps nobody’s surprise, for all of the flowery rhetoric about democracy and the like that we hear from the U.S. government right now, they’re still playing the same game of defending their own strategic interests in the region by backing autocratic strong men with a penchant for repression. The U.S. is giving well over a billion dollars year to the Egyptian army directly, and while it may act upset at each new violation or abuse by the army (and the U.S. rarely even bothers to go that far), it seems completely comfortable with their rule for political and economic reasons. We don’t want intervention, but at the same time openly supporting the counter-revolution is obscene. On the other hand, many ordinary Americans, particularly those involved in the ‘occupy’ movement, have shown us real support and solidarity, making the U.S. government’s two-faced position on democracy seem all the more hollow.”

See the video “The Maspero Massacre | 9/10/11 | What Really Happened

An “International Day of Solidarity” is taking place on Saturday, with protests in London, New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Oakland, Eugene, Paris, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Geneva, Stockholm, Oslo and Manila.

Also see the webpage “Global Solidarity with Egypt

Gaber tweets.

Ten Years Since U.S. “Coup” Order

MICHAEL RATNER, ratner at michaelratner.com,
Also via Jen Nessel, JNessel at ccrjustice.org
Available for a limited number of interviews, Ratner is president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights. His latest book is Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in 21st Century America. He said today: “Nov. 13 is the ten-year anniversary of President Bush’s issuance of Military Order #1. I call it the coup d’état order as the president took for himself the control of all three branches of our democracy. Under that order the resident gave himself the authority to direct the capture of any non-citizen anywhere in the world allegedly involved in international terrorism, and detain that person indefinitely without access to the remedy of habeas corpus. Trials, if any, were to be held in front of yet to be minted military commissions. At CCR we were shocked and were the first — and for a long time, the only — human rights organization willing to represent the detainees who were soon seized and taken to Guantanamo. We did so understanding that what was at stake was fundamental: that no one — even those Donald Rumsfeld labeled the ‘worst of the worst’ — should be imprisoned without charges and a trial.

“Today, it’s discouraging that Guantanamo remains open 21 months after the date President Obama promised it would be closed. One hundred seventy-one men remain imprisoned of which 89 have been cleared for release, but with no release in sight. The authority Bush granted himself and Obama continued may even now be expanded and given a congressional imprimatur. Ten years ago I never expected to see preventive detention and military commissions become a permanent part of our legal landscape — sadly they have. All of us have the obligation to hold Obama to his promise and fight a shocking and inhuman descent into medievalism.”

Beyond Penn State: The Failure of the University

HENRY GIROUX, henry.giroux at gmail.com
Giroux’s books include the recently-released “Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability?” and “The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex.” He said today: “There is a lot of talk about the culture of silence as if it is simply an offshoot of the need to protect the wealth and power of those in control of Penn State’s football empire, but the fact of the matter is the real issue is that higher education has been corrupted by big money, big sports, corporate power, and the search for profits for some time, except that in the age of unabashed free market fundamentalism, it has gotten worse. The issue here is not simply about a morally depraved culture of silence, it is about a university surrendering its mission as a democratic public sphere where students learn to think critically, hold power accountable, and connect knowledge and social relations to the social costs they enact. A university needs real leadership for this type of task, not managerial clones who confuse education with training and engaged research with Pentagon and corporate handouts. Penn State is now a managerial model of corporate influence and power and the arrogance and bad faith this model breeds is evident in the ways in which everyone acted in the face of this crisis, from Paterno to its ethically challenged president, Graham Spanier. What the public should be asking about this crisis is not what has happened to Penn State but how have so many universities arrived at a similar place in time and history when they are just like any other mega factory and slick shopping mall, divorced from any viable notion of learning and, as we see with Penn State University, any viable sense of ethical and moral responsibility.” Giroux holds the Global TV Network chair in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Canada.

Iran: An Iraq-WMD Redux?

Reuters is reporting: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an International Atomic Energy Agency report, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, confirmed long-standing concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

GARETH PORTER, porter.gareth50 at gmail.com
Porter is an investigative journalist and historian specializing in U.S. national security policy. His investigative piece on the IAEA report on Iran is forthcoming. He said today: “The report of the IAEA published by a Washington D.C. think tank Tuesday repeated the sensational claim previously reported by news media all over the world that a former Soviet nuclear weapons scientist had helped Iran construct a detonation system that could be used for a nuclear weapon.But it turns out that the foreign expert, who is not named in the IAEA report but was identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko, is not a nuclear weapons scientist but one of the top specialists in the world in the production of nanodiamonds by explosives.” Porter’s most recent book is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.

MUHAMMAD SAHIMI, moe at usc.edu
Sahimi just wrote the piece “The IAEA Report on Iran’s Nuclear Program: Alarming or Hyped?

He said today: “The allegations are not really new. They are mostly based on documents that supposedly existed in a laptop, stolen from Iran in 2004. Iran has rejected the allegations based on the laptop, saying it is false. What is new is that the IAEA now claims that it has corroborating evidence for those allegations ‘supplied by 10 member states.'” Sahimi is a professor at the University of Southern California and lead political columnist for the website PBS/Frontline/Tehran Bureau.

RAY McGOVERN, [in D.C] rrmcgovern at gmail.com
McGovern, who was a U.S. army officer and CIA analyst for 30 years, said today: “What’s really new, if anything, in the IAEA report? And why are some U.S. officials, belatedly, playing it down after a lot of pre-release ballyhoo? Does this reflect a nervous attempt to rein in the ‘crazies’ in Tel Aviv and their neocon friends in Washington? If so, is it likely to have that effect? Poor Obama, who was recently overheard complaining, ‘I have to deal with him [Netanyahu] every day.’ When he talks to him today, will our President’s words be guided by the [Israeli] Lobby and his fixation on Election 2012, or by a less crass, more mature awareness of the huge dangers involved if Israel provokes hostilities with Iran?”

McGovern’s recent pieces include “Israel’s Window to Bomb Iran,” “Switching Focus from Iraq to Iran” and “Petraeus’s CIA Fuels Iran Murder Plot.”

Also see “An Iraq-WMD Replay on Iran?” by Robert Parry.

And “Reading the Iran Nuke Leaks” by Peter Hart.

Italy: Run by the European Central Bank?

ANTONIO TRICARICO, (in Rome) atricarico at crbm.org
Tricarico is coordinator of the Italian NGO CRBM (Campaign for World Bank Reform) based in Rome and has been the economic correspondent of Il Manifesto at several international summits. He was recently at the G20 Summit in Cannes. Tricarico said today: “The Berlusconi era is finally coming to an end, but the economic legacy of his government’s decade will stay for a long time. A new coalition government, likely based on the principle of national unity, is set to guarantee the implementation of harsh austerity policies non-democratically imposed by the European Central Bank and the European Commission — and more recently by the IMF in Cannes. This would be a tragedy for Italy, leading to depression and a crisis of its banking system.

“The time has come to question the responsibility of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the German government in taking Europe to the brink of the collapse. These institutions have forged a wrong economic integration of Europe centered around an export-led model, at the disadvantage of those weaker economies in the EU not able to compete with Germany and forced to accept the German trade and financial surplus. This has been coupled with the implementation of strict fiscal and monetary policies for supporting a ‘strong’ Euro, which in turn produced higher public and private debt in the periphery countries.

“Greece might leave the Euro, but Italy is too big too fail for the Eurozone. So the Euro is at risk and might even collapse, but also the whole EU project based on regional solidarity risks dying as well. As was true 50 years ago, new visionary thinking reclaiming public finance and public policies is needed, starting with the reform of the European Central Bank and its policies.

“In this emergency situation it is necessary to restore capital controls and introduce financial transaction taxes in Europe, while mobilizing national and regional resources to support the economy and prevent a collapse of the banking system. It is inevitable that some banks under stress should go under public control and this should be used as an opportunity to restart the economy as well as to promote a public debt audit to expose who benefited and who lost from the Euro and its management failure. This would be the first step in reviewing the Euro architecture. Saving the EU project through solidarity action should come first rather than saving the Euro just for the sake of financial markets.”

SALVATORE ENGEL-DI MAURO, engeldis at newpaltz.edu
Engel-Di Mauro is editor of the book The European’s Burden: Global Imperialism in EU Expansion, associate professor of geography at SUNY New Paltz and editor of the journal Capitalism Nature Socialism. He said today: “For the many in Italy, especially those that are young or are denied basic political rights (such as immigrants), the fall of Berlusconi will mean little to nothing, as it will not change their life of precarious employment, meager wages and general social marginalization. …

“Unable to garner internal agreement over how to slash public funds, the Berlusconi government is now teetering more than ever on its way towards implosion. Nov. 15 might signal the end of the Berlusconi leadership if ‘stability package’ budget cuts are not approved. This could mean the assertion of a technocratic interim government with early elections. Such an unelected body would likely pass all sorts of unpopular measures that would then undermine any subsequent government attempting to redistribute wealth, as happened under Dini and Amato in the 1990s. In part this situation is due to power struggles internal to the coalition ruling parties (made up of straightforward misogynists, racists, homophobes, crypto-fascists and free-marketeers), including over the fate of Berlusconi, and in part because of a lot of outside pressures from large domestic and foreign businesses.

“The latest financial speculation on Italian government bonds is the most recent manifestation of pressures by large foreign and domestic investors (hedge funds, banks, etc.) to force extremely unpopular cuts in public spending through extra-parliamentary means. Some such measures had been introduced and approved this summer in the Senate, under pressure from a secret letter from the European Central Bank, but they could not meet with final approval of all ruling coalition parties, especially with respect to the issue of pensions.

“The many protests and strikes that have occurred over the past four to five years, due to threats to social spending or cuts that have been implemented, have had almost no representation through opposition parties. These are largely preoccupied with showing a moderate or centrist face so as to ensure votes (in the face of business class extremism and police brutality). In the past, such parties, while in government, promoted or enacted right-wing legislation (much as Clinton did for the U.S.) that enabled right-wing parties like those in Popolo della Libertà to become as influential as they have (this includes enabling Berlusconi to retain media and financial corporate monopolies throughout his political career).

“The lack of political alternatives and waning standards of living have only disaffected more people from mainstream politics (which could be a positive effect) and have exacerbated mounting tensions, many of which blew up in the Oct. 15 protests in most major Italian cities. The rush to further reduce an already low level of welfare provisions (Italy, among the wealthiest countries in the world, is below the EU average in welfare provisions) makes it all the more painfully obvious that the large public debt has more to do with serving corporate interests, through such mega projects as the Val di Susa high-speed train and the expansion of military interventions (including bombing Libya), than with serving social needs.”

* New Movie Highlights Continued BP Gulf Crisis * More Offshore Oil-Drilling

AP reports today in “BP Wants U.S. Probes Barred from Oil Spill Lawsuits” that “The companies involved in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history are trying to prevent government investigations blaming them for the disaster from being used against them by the people and businesses who are suing them.”

JOSH TICKELL, REBECCA HARRELL TICKELL, via Nicole Landers, nicole at greenplanet3d.com
Josh Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell, filmmakers who are releasing their latest documentary feature film this week exclusively in Los Angeles starting this Friday, 11/11/11, “The Big Fix.” Recently called by the New Orleans Times-Picayune: “An explosive, attention-demanding, feature-length film focusing on the environmental fallout of the BP oil spill.”

They had a news conference this morning in Los Angeles with Tim Robbins, the award-winning actor and executive producer of “The Big Fix,” Margaret Bryne Curole, a former commercial Gulf shrimper with a 20-year career, Jean Michel Cousteau, founder of Oceans Future Society (and son of Jacques Cousteau, the famed explorer) and others. The trailer and other information on “The Big Fix” .

HUGH KAUFMAN, hughbkaufman at comcast.net
A noted expert at the Environmental Protection Agency, Kaufman is featured in “The Big Fix.” He said today: “Last year many working-level scientists at the EPA — and others not on oil company payroll — were concerned that the handling of the spill, especially the use of toxic dispersants, would cause major health effects on marine life and the public. Now we are seeing marine life dying and people suffering, even dying. Just like after the 9/11 environmental fallout, there’s no program to help alleviate the suffering. And just like after 9/11, responders were not allowed to wear respirators because it would ‘look bad.'”

ABC News is reporting “White House Expands Off-Shore Drilling.”

TYSON SLOCUM, via Barbara Holzer, bholzer at citizen.org
Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program, Slocum said today: “The Department of the Interior’s five-year offshore oil-drilling plan, announced today, is bad news for the environment and oil workers. Environmentalists and workplace safety advocates who reasonably anticipated regulatory reform of the oil industry in advance of any new offshore oil-drilling policy are deeply disappointed. According to the Obama administration, new areas in the Gulf of Mexico will be explored and drilled, as will the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the Arctic Ocean and the Cook Inlet off the coast of Alaska.

“This plan was made in the absence of new safety rules designed to protect workers and the environment. We haven’t updated offshore drilling laws since 1978 – well before we had a deepwater or robust arctic drilling industry. We already know what happens when the oil industry is inadequately regulated. For 87 days in 2010, the nation watched helplessly as millions of barrels of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico after an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and killed 11 workers. Taxpayers remain responsible for major spills, because current law caps spill liability for oil companies at $75 million. …

“With DOI’s announcement, it is clear that the administration is willing to override the serious safety concerns raised by its own oil spill commission formed in response to the BP oil disaster. It is unconscionable that new offshore oil drilling will be undertaken without any congressional reform of drilling rules and safety regulation. Congress should enact reform now. Today’s move will only raise the liability exposure for drillers and, ultimately, the financial obligation that always falls to taxpayers.”

Background on BP disaster:

Local Louisiana paper Houma Today reports: “Dead dolphins have washed ashore in the hundreds along the central Gulf Coast, prompting federal officials to launch an open-ended investigation.”

See: “Health concerns persist over Gulf coast oil spill.”

Obama administration’s scientists admit alarm over chemicals

Analysts Denounce 100 Reps. Urging Super Committee Austerity

Fox News features a piece claiming “Moderate Lawmakers Lead Insurrection, Urge Super Committee to Defy Leadership and Go Big.” Fox states: “As the Super Committee butts against a hard and fast deadline for reducing the deficit, a Republican and a Democratic lawmaker on Sunday say they must be willing to buck their leadership and go big on both cutting spending and adding revenues. Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Heath Shuler, D-N.C., are leading a group of 100 representatives who crafted a letter to the Super Committee calling for all options to be laid on the table in the quest to shave the federal debt. They are urging the panel to go past its mandate of $1.2 trillion over 10 years and find $4 trillion in debt reduction.”

Following their appearance on Fox, Sam Husseini questioned Shuler and Simpson, asking: “Most Americans want to see an increase in taxes on the wealthy and corporations, ending the wars, and Congress doesn’t do that. Is that because Congress is basically bought and paid for?” See transcript and video.

JONATHAN TASINI, jtasini at economicfuturegroup.com
Tasini wrote the ebook It’s Not Raining, We’re Getting Peed On: The Scam of the Deficit Crisis. He recently wrote a piece “Capitulation: 60 House DEMOCRATS Embrace Austerity, Sign-Off on Medicare Cuts, Defunding Government,” which states: “In today’s installment of stupidity, crass political calculations and the desperate need to be inducted into the Washington Post’s circle of Very Serious People, I present to you a list of 60 House Democrats who now say they are willing to lock arms with the people who seek to destroy Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and a sane society–all in the name of embracing the phony deficit and debt “crisis”. What the hell is happening here?

The Stupendously Stupid Sixty, who signed a letter, along with a band of Fanatically Foolish Forty Republicans, to the Catfood Commission II — also known as the ‘super committee’ — have essentially said, ‘we’re on board with cutting Medicare, funding for basic research, veterans benefits–as long as we also raise some taxes.'” Tasini says of the Democrats signing the letter: “The list is pretty much dominated by Blue Dog Democrats — but, without calling out people by name, you can see people who call themselves ‘liberals’ or even ‘progressives.'” The Democrats include Emanuel Cleaver, who had originally called the super committee a “Satan Sandwich.”

NANCY ALTMAN, njalt at aol.com
Altman is co-chair of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a coalition of over 300 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans and author of the book “The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble.” She said today: “With the so-called super committee within weeks of its reporting deadline, the drumbeat for cuts in the nation’s most effective, important social programs is growing louder. Rather than cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as other programs that provide a foundation of support to the nation’s lower and middle class, the government should be focused on putting people back to work on building bridges and other needed activities. But that is not what is happening; instead, Congress is poised to make cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid through an undemocratic, secretive, and accelerated process.”

Greece: From the Frying Pan, Into the Fire?

MARK WEISBROT, mweisbrot at cepr.net; also via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net
Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and is just back from Europe. The group recently released a statement: “G20 Continues With Failed Policies in Europe, Putting Regional and Global Economy at Risk.”

COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS, [in NYC] cpanayotakis at gmail.com
Panayotakis is associate professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology at CUNY and author of the forthcoming book Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy. He said today: “Far from ending the Greek and eurozone crisis, the announcement of a new coalition government in Greece will signal the continuation of the harsh austerity policies that have thrown the country and large parts of Europe into a deepening depression. To add insult to injury, media reports indicate that Greece’s new prime minister is likely to be a banker, Lucas Papademos, who enjoys the trust of European political and economic elites much more than elected politicians who might on occasion feel compelled to pay attention to what Greek citizens feel about the destructive impact of the harsh austerity measures that the latest European agreement requires of Greece.”

Panayotakis recently wrote the piece “Change the World, Occupy that Square.

He also wrote the piece “Greeks on the Move: Capitalism’s Wreckage and the Demand for Real Democracy.”

Israeli Forces Commandeer Gaza Boats

The group U.S. Boat to Gaza has just released a statement that begins: “Canadian and Irish ships, the Tahrir and the Saoirse, sailing with Freedom Waves to Gaza have been illegally boarded by the Israeli military in international waters, about 50 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza, around 9:30 am EDT. The IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] spokesperson confirmed that the vessels were taken to the port of Ashdod, and the passengers were taken into custody by the Israeli police. Although the IDF spokesperson claimed they took ‘every precaution to ensure the safety of the activists,’ Freedom Waves to Gaza organizers have been unable to communicate with the ships since soon after the vessels were approached by Israeli warships earlier this morning.”

JANE HIRSCHMANN, kaneri46 at gmail.com, also via Felice Gelman, rosahill at gmail.com
U.S. coordinator of the group, Hirschmann said today: “Had the passengers been permitted to proceed to Gaza rather than being stopped on the high seas by armed force, there would have been no threat to their safety. The IDF’s statement is like the mugger promising to escort his victim home safely.” The group states: “The Canadian boat Tahrir confirmed that the Israeli navy had contacted them asking for their destination at around 7 a.m EDT to which Ehab Lotayef, an activist on board the ship, replied ‘The conscience of humanity.’ When the Israelis again demanded to know the destination of the ship Lotayef replied ‘The betterment of mankind.’ … Passengers on the boats are citizens of Canada, Ireland, the U.S., Australia, and Palestine. The U.S. citizen on the Tahrir is Kit Kittredge of Quilcene, Washington. She is a massage therapist and emergency medical technician.” The passengers of the boats are now apparently being detained by the Israeli military.

ROBERT NAIMAN, naiman.uiuc at gmail.com
Currently in Cairo, Naiman is policy director of Just Foreign Policy. He intended to sail on the Canadian boat Tahrir, but was blocked when the Turkish authorities limited the number of passengers allowed on (the boat sailed from Turkey). Naiman said today: “As the Red Cross has clearly stated, the blockade of Gaza’s civilians is illegal under international humanitarian law. And as long as the blockade remains, civilians of other countries will continue to challenge it.” Naiman recently wrote the piece “Shalit Is Free. Lift the Siege of Gaza Now.

RAY McGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com
McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served a total of 30 years as a U.S. Army officer and then a CIA analyst, and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He was a passenger on the U.S. Boat to Gaza the Audacity of Hope that was blocked in July. McGovern recently wrote “Israel’s Window to Bomb Iran,” which examines Israeli policy in light of its actions against peaceful flotillas.