Friday, July 1, 2011

  • U.S. Ship in Freedom Flotilla Attempts to Leave Greece for Gaza, Despite Threats and Risk of Sabotage

    Gaza_boat

    The U.S.-flagged ship "The Audacity of Hope" left a Greek port today bound for Gaza, but the status of the 10-boat flotilla remains uncertain. At least one boat has already pulled out due to sabotage. Another is still being repaired. All 10 ships were supposed to set sail earlier this week, but the Greek government, already facing a financial crisis and public uproar over austerity measures, blocked the ships’ departure under international pressure. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is entitled to stop the flotilla as part of its “full right to operate against efforts to smuggle” weapons into Gaza. Democracy Now! producer Aaron Maté and videographer Hany Massoud are in Greece covering the journey of “The Audacity of Hope.” They were there Thursday as it was publicly unveiled. They spoke with novelist Alice Walker, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein and others. [includes rush transcript]

  • Israeli Official Condemns Gaza Flotilla, Refuses to Deny Israeli Role in Sabotage of Boats

    Consul_part_2_sabotage

    Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, defends the Israeli government’s campaign against the flotilla, claiming there is no need for humanitarian aid to be shipped to Gaza now that Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing. Aharoni also refuses to deny Israel played a role in the sabotage of two boats in the flotilla and refuses to promise that Israeli officials will not arrest the Democracy Now! journalists on board the flotilla if Israel intercepts the ship. "I can tell you that the whole idea of the flotilla is unnecessary, and we have no interest in dealing with it. And hopefully, the flotilla will not leave to be on its way to Israel,” Aharoni said. [includes rush transcript]

  • Ali Abunimah Responds to Israeli Claims that Gaza Flotilla is a "Provocation"

    E_i_withbook

    As the 400 international activists wait to set sail from Greece to Gaza on the Freedom Flotilla, Israeli media has been full of reports speculating about the activists’ character and motivations for participating in the humanitarian aid mission. Israeli newspapers have charged that the flotilla is carrying sacks of chemicals on board because passengers plan to kill IDF soldiers. The reports come after Foreign Ministry officials informed Israeli cabinet ministers that there was no information about members of "terrorist groups" planning to take part in the flotilla. "Israel is trying to present the flotilla as a military threat, whereas nobody in the world believes that," says our guest, Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, "not even Israeli cabinet ministers." [includes rush transcript]

  • Hundreds of Thousands of Greek and British Workers Stage Strikes as Governments Push Austerity Cuts

    Greek_uk_protest

    More than 750,000 British public sector workers staged a 24-hour strike Thursday in a standoff with the government’s plans to reform public sector pensions. The reforms come as the government tries to trim its deficit and would require public workers to work longer, pay more toward their pension, and receive less upon retirement. Meanwhile, in Greece, thousands of workers staged a 48-hour strike, and many took to the streets after the Greek Parliament approved a raft of austerity measures that include spending cuts, tax increases and privatizations as a condition for a massive bailout to avert the eurozone’s first default. "There is a common theme to the protests that are taking place across Europe, and that is not just the public sector workers defending their pension rights, but also a generation of young people for whom quite a stark picture is being painted of their future," says our guest Paul Mason, an economics editor for BBC Newsnight who just returned from reporting in Greece. We also speak with David Graeber, author of "Debt: The First 5,000 Years." “Most revolutions in our history have been about debt,” says Graeber. “It is a perennial tool by those who are powerful to make the victims of structural inequalities feel that it is somehow their fault.” [includes rush transcript]