The Road to Hope Convoy

Uploaded by TheSOTTReport on 17.11.2010

I'm Joe Quinn and this is The Sott Report.
Today, I want to talk about Egypt
and its relationship to the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza.
First, a few facts on Egypt.
Egypt is a military dictatorship
ruled by 81 year old General Husnai Mubarak
Like so many other dictators around the world,
Mubarak was placed into power by the Americans in 1981.
Since then he has ruled Egypt with an iron fist,
outlawing opposition groups and individuals
and crushing all dissent through torture and murder.
Now, if you live in the Western world, especially in the US,
you won't have heard much about this.
In fact, any time the American media refers to Mubarak and Egypt,
they generally fawn over him
and highlight the "good relationship" that Egypt has with the US.
Without exaggerating, it can reasonably be stated
that the governments that are condemned most loudly in the US
are generally the ones that stand up for national sovereignty and independence
and against US imperialism.
The governments that are lauded as "close allies"
are the ones that are virtual police states.
As George W. Bush said a few years ago,
"The United States has a close and meaningful relationship with Egypt,
that relationship is the cornerstone of our policy in the Middle East."
So having donated billions of dollars to the Mubarak regime
to facilitate its continued repression of the Egyptian people's freedom,
the Americans and Israelis are naturally a little worried
about who's going to replace the aging 81 year old dictator.
After all, one tin pot dictator, has to be replaced by another.
So as you can imagine,
if you can imagine how a psychopath thinks,
it gives the Americans and Israelis nightmares
to think that the will of the Egyptian people might be respected
and a truly Democratic Egypt might emerge.
As regards Gaza and the Palestinians,
it's no surprise that Mubarak tows the neoliberal and Zionist line
out of Washington and Tel Aviv.
For many years now, Mubarak has ensured
that the Egyptian crossing into Gaza remains closed,
denying vital supplies to the one and a half million people
who live in Gaza.
Now, most people have probably heard about the Mavi Marmara,
the international aid ship that attempted to sail to Gaza in June this year
to deliver tons of humanitarian aid.
Most of you also probably know how it ended.
The Israelis stormed the defenceless ship
in the middle of the night
and murdered 9 aid workers in cold blood.
Hey, that's how the psychopaths in the Israeli government roll.
But the Mavi Marmara was just one of several aid ships and convoys
that have attempted to break the vicious Israeli siege of Gaza.
Most recently, the Road to Hope convoy set off from London
on 10th of October with a few dozen vans
and £500,000 in aid for Gaza.
After travelling 4,500 miles through the UK, France,
Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya
the convoy was stopped at the Egyptian border on October 26th
because Mubarak,
in keeping with Israeli policy to try and starve the Gazan population,
refused to allow the convoy land access to Gaza
and insisted that it would have to go by sea.
As a result the convoy leaders had little choice
but to secure a ship at significant extra expense and delay.
So, they wired payment to a Greek shipping company
and the ferry arrived.
Then on the night of Thursday 11th November,
the ferry arrived and the captain lowered the tail gate.
But, after the very first van drove on
with a number of aid workers,
the Greek captain began to close the tail gate
and then proceeded to put out to sea,
ripping the massive ferry along the harbor wall in the process.
On board were 10 aid workers and seven Libyan police officers,
all of whom had effectively been kidnapped.
Eventually they arrived in Greece,
without passports and separated from the rest of the convoy back in Libya.
I talked to one of the convoy members,
Ken O Keefe today in Athens.
Ken was ont the Mavi Marmara
when it was attacked in the night by Israeli soldiers,
he is also an ex US marine, an ex US citizen,
now the proud holder of an Irish passport instead.
Here's what he had to say about the situation from Athens:
We've been watching the news pretty closely
on your progress
What we've been seeing in the media is that
you and a couple of the other aid workers
on the convoy have been charged by Greek authorities
with something. Is that true?
Well, the charge was made by the captain
and the owner of the ship
But is was ridiculous, stupid charges
While we were being kidnapped
one or two of the brothers
wrote on a white board in a marker
the captain is crazy
It's been erased
And based on that, there was a charge of
criminal damage or
vandalism or something
The prosecutor, the District Attorney here in Greece
saw it for what it was--a joke
and they've released us.
The Greek owner of the ship
and the captain are in jail
right now
under kidnapping charges.
But you guys are free to go basically, yeah?
Yeah, we're free.
Are going to be able to return to Libya
to the rest of the convoy?
The problem was that we were kidnapped
and we didn't have our passports
The Libyan government has our passports
and we've now requested that the Irish console
the Irish embassy
request that the Libyan government forward the two Irish passports
to the Libyan embassy here in
We want to get back to Libya as quickly as possible
It's unfortunate that there's Eid coming up
the biggest holiday in Islam
So the Libyans are going to be able to hide behind that fact
and not send out our passports
Unless they get it done today,
it's probably not going to happen.
We could fly back to Ireland and get new passports
But that takes a bit of time
and it's a lot of extra expense.
Ken, I wanted to ask,
do you think there was something more to this
than just a crazy boat captain?
There are a lot of powerful people
in Israel, obviously
who would really like to see the convoy
not reach Gaza
I mean, it just seems a little bit coincidental to me
that this major hiccup has happened
We can't discount that possibility yet
As you say, the most powerful people in our world
are backing the Israeli, Zionist project
and the Egyptians are obviously collaborating
We know the motive is there
We can't prove that is why it happened
but it's certainly very plausible.
I mean, it's no secret that the Egyptian regime of Mubarak
is closely allied with Israel and the U.S.
Did they give you any specific reason why
they wouldn't let you cross into Egypt from Libya?
Well, their policy is that the
land crossing is not open to convoys.
If you're a tourist,
you can drive into Egypt, no problem.
But if you're on a humanitarian aid convoy
delivering much needed, desperately need aid
to the Palestinians in Gaza
you're blocked. That's their policy.
That's their policy.
Well, that kind of says it all about the Egyptian government.
Their job is to lock the Palestinians in
I mean, let's just be frank
We all know it.
The only reason why Raffa was open at all
is because of the intense pressure
put on the Egyptian government by their people
based on the anger from the Mavi Marmara attack
That's the only reason why Raffa is open at all.
OK well, listen Ken,
thanks for talking to us
There's a lot of people rooting for you out here
for you and all of the convoy members
We're going to keep a close eye on your progress
and maybe we'll talk to you again
We wish you godspeed.
Thank you my brother
We're certainly doing our best
But yeah, there are very powerful interests
putting one obstacle
after another in front of us
But we'll will do our best
and hopefully we'll succeed
What I find amazing about all of this
is that we live in a world where it is ordinary people
who have to take responsibility
for bringing aid to an oppressed people,
and that they have to go through such hardships and struggles to do it.
Then again, maybe I shouldn't be surprised.
Horrified, but not surprised.
Because the very fact that the Road to Hope Convoy
is attempting to bring aid to 1.5 million people in Gaza
who are being effectively starved into submission
by so-called Democratic states like the US and Israel,
is evidence enough that we live in a world
ruled by psychopathic criminals.
So, all people of conscience need to do what they can
to support the Road to Hope Convoy.
Blog about it, post links on Facebook,
check out Ken O Keefe's Facebook page
where you can find details of how to donate via paypal.
In doing so, you'll be helping a huminatarian mission
to bring food and supplies to starving children,
and you'll be taking a stand against oppression and the crimes
of the US and Israel.
This is The Sott Report.
We'll be back next week.