ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

June 30, 2009

2009.06.30: Urgent Action: Israel Attacks Humanitarian Boat, Kidnaps HR Workers, Confiscates Medical Aid

Filed under: International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 11:38 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 11:38 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Urgent Action: Israel Attacks Humanitarian Boat, Kidnaps HR Workers, Confiscates Medical Aid

[Please forward widely; What you can do below**]

30 June 2009


For more information contact:
Greta Berlin (English)
tel: +357 99 081 767 /

Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish):
tel: +357 99 077 820 /

[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] – Today Israeli Occupation
Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF
HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries,
including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman
Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers).

The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our
boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission
to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman
and presidential candidate.

“President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction
supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We’re asking the
international community to demand our release so we can resume our

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report
released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in
despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier
during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without shelter
despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses
to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip.

The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs
of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.

“The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza,
hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to
transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools,
hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of
“Cast Lead”. Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we
stand by them and that they are not alone” said fellow passenger
Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in
Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza
Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage,
stated that: “No one could possibly believe that our small boat
constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and
reconstruction supplies, and children’s toys. Our passengers include a
Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat
was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port
Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach
Israeli waters.”

Arraf continued, “Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on our
unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand
our immediate and unconditional release.”



CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340
fax: +972 2646 6357

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
tel: +972 2530 3111
fax: +972 2530 3367

CONTACT Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office at:
tel: +972 5 0620 3264 or +972 2670 5354

CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for their
assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human rights
workers and help in securing their immediate release!

Red Cross Israel
tel: +972 3524 5286
fax: +972 3527 0370

Red Cross Switzerland:
tel: +41 22 730 3443
fax: +41 22 734 8280

Red Cross USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021
fax: +1 212 599 6009

Kidnapped Passengers from the Spirit of Humanity include:

Khalad Abdelkader, Bahrain
Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable Association
of Bahrain.

Othman Abufalah, Jordan
Othman is a world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.

Khaled Al-Shenoo, Bahrain
Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.

Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV.

Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
Fatima is a relief=2 0worker and community activist from Bahrain.

Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
Juhaina is a journalist & human rights activist.

Huwaida Arraf, US
Huwaida is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation
co-coordinator for this voyage.

Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
Ishmahil is a Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker and
founder of the Rice & Peas film production company. His documentaries
focus on international struggles for social justice.

Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
Kaltham is a community activist.

Derek Graham, Ireland
Derek Graham is an electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate
aboard the Spirit of Humanity.

Alex Harrison, UK
Alex is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to
do long-term human rights monitoring.

Denis Healey, UK
Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity. This will be his fifth
voyage to Gaza.

Fathi Jaouadi, UK
Fathi is a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation
co-coordinator for this voyage.

Mairead Maguire, Ireland
Mairead is a Nobel laureate and renowned peace activist.

Lubna Masarwa, Palestine/Israel
Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and Free Gaza organizer.

Theresa McDermott, Scotland
Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza
to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Cynthia McKinney, US
Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social
justice issues, as well as a former U.S. congressperson and
presidential candidate.

Adnan Mormesh, UK
Adnan is a solidarity worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to
do long-term human rights monitoring.

Adam Qvist, Denmark
Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He is traveling to Gaza to
do human rights monitoring.

Adam Shapiro, US
Adam is an American documentary film maker and human rights activist.

Kathy Sheetz, US
Kathy is a nurse and film maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights


June 15, 2009

2009.06.15: Weds. 6/17: Hands 4 Gaza f/ George Galloway & Immortal Technique

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 9:37 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 9:37 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Weds. 6/17: Hands 4 Gaza f/ George Galloway & Immortal Technique

New York Hands 4 Gaza:
Host: Harrabic Tubman/Existence is Resistance (Harrabic,Mariam, Ayman, Alejandro)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
6:30pm – 8:30pm
$20 w/RSVP (
135 West 41st Street
New York, NY

Phone: 212 810 0617

Join us with Honorable MP George Galloway and Rosa Clemente!!!! Performers include Immortal Technique, Rebel Diaz, Lowkey (London), G.O.D., Aalikes, Marcel Cartier, S.O.U.L. Purpose, Mohammad (PR Rappers), and music by DJ Vega Benetton. Hands For Gaza is working to raise over $10,000 for Gaza which will be donated to the Viva Palestina Convoy set to leave the USA July 4th. Mr. George Galloway will be attending himself and giving a speech.

June 5, 2009

2009.06.05: Musical Concert at Asia Society

Filed under: International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 4:39 pm

From:  [R.]
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 4:39 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Musical Concert at Asia Society

Dear Friends,

World-renowned Palestinian singer Kamilya Jubran is scheduled for two exclusive concerts entitled Kamilya Jubran: Maqam and Beyond. on June 11th and 12th, 2009 at The Asia Society in Manhattan.

The former lead singer of the influential musical group Sabreen, Kamilya’s solo career continues to receive international acclaim for her original musical arrangements combining Arab tradition with Western music. Her musical prose emphasizes resistance against oppression and brings varied rhythm and tempos, epitomizing her boundless imagination and hypnotic vocalization. Singing modern poetry from Palestine, Iraq, and beyond, Kamilya gives voice to a passionate and personal program that explores the idea of place in shaping the stages of life.

Please circulate widely to your friends and lists. Tickets are available here.

Presented by: The Asia Society and ArteEast with support from The Make Agency

WHEN: Thursday June 11 at 9:30pm
Friday June 12 at 9:30pm
Free pre-performance lecture on both nights at 6pm

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY
Tickets: $25 members, $35 general public Tel: 212-517-ASIA

2009.06.05: Viva Palestina: A Lifeline from the U.S. to Gaza

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 8:59 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 8:59 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Viva Palestina: A Lifeline from the U.S. to Gaza

Please notify me if you want to help provide food and housing and/or other support for members of this humanitarian convoy, which will depart from NYC on July 4.


Palestina USA Email Update — June 3

Dear Friend,

We were all moved to tears of grief and anger when Israel launched its murderous bombardment against the people of Gaza in December and January. Millions of us took to the streets in unprecedented protests around the globe. Each and every one of us has asked ourselves what more we can do to help stop the suffering.

The inspirational anti-war and pro-Palestinian British MP, George Galloway, decided that while it is necessary to speak out — in his case with great force and eloquence — it is actions that speak louder than words.

While the bombs were still showering down on what has been called the largest open-air prison in history, Galloway decided to organize a humanitarian convoy that would start in Britain, drive through France and Spain, and across North Africa to arrive in Gaza with aid, even as all borders to the devastated region were under complete blockade. In just five short weeks, he pulled together 107 vehicles — including ambulances and a fire engine — 255 people and $2 million of aid, which set off from London on February 14. Some 23 days and 5,500 miles later it arrived in Gaza to tumultuous acclaim.

The fact that so many people come from Britain whose government had, along with George W Bush, backed the Israeli aggression had an enormous impact on the besieged people of Gaza.

Now, Galloway is heading a second convoy — this time from the USA. The Vietnam War veteran, Ron Kovic, whose experiences in the war led him to become a life-long advocate of a more just US foreign policy, has readily agreed to be co-leader of the convoy.

The convoy’s aim is to take hundreds of US citizens in 500 vehicles, bearing $10 million in medical aid from Cairo to Gaza. Convoy participants will leave from JFK airport on July 4, bearing the simple yet powerful message that Palestinian independence is as precious as US independence. The group will organize the convoy in Cairo and proceed to Gaza the following weekend, proudly waving US and Palestinian flags, as well as banners declaring thousands of supporting organizations and institutions.

This is set to be the biggest single aid effort for Palestine ever to leave US shores. It will be a source of great strength and hope for the Palestinian people. It will also have a major impact here in the United States, helping to stir US public opinion about the conflict in the Middle East and to bring about a permanent shift in government policy.

The US has a chance right now to step into a more progressive role in the world. But Viva Palestina USA needs your help to make this venture successful and to get this aid through the siege that has been strangling the people of Gaza for three years.

What YOU can do to help:

1) Circulate this email to everyone you know through your listserv/contacts list, Facebook and any other means to which you have access, share the brilliant documentary detailing the UK Convoy with your friends, family and coworkers: Viva Palestina US Media/Resources AND add our donation link to your website, blog, or email: Donate to Viva Palestina Now!

2) Donate towards the $10 million target! Every penny makes a difference! Donations are being handled by Viva Palestina’s not-for-profit fiscal sponsor, the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), and are tax deductible. The funds will be used for medical aid and the entire convoy is within the restrictions and guidelines laid out by the US authorities governing such activities.

You can donate on our webpage Viva Palestina US or, to link directly to our donation page, click here: Donate to Viva Palestina Now!

You can also make a check payable to Viva Palestina – IFCO and send it to:

Viva Palestina USA
47 West Polk Street
Suite 100 – 403
Chicago, IL 60605-2085

3) Come as a delegate on the convoy! To register, visit: Viva Palestina US Join the Convoy. You’ll need to raise the funds to cover the costs of your flight to and accommodations in Egypt, and commit to raising aid towards our target goal. See our website Viva Palestina US for further details and answers to any questions you might have.

4) Endorse and/or Sponsor the convoy! Details can be found on our webpage, but generally: sponsorship for national organizations is $1,000; state, $500; local chapters and individuals, $100, and endorsements require you/your organization’s contact information and a written, publishable statement of endorsement.

5) Contact your local and state media to tell them why you support the Viva Palestina USA convoy. If you need help communicating with the media or if you have media contacts who would like to speak with a convoy leader, contact us at:

6) Send us stories, pictures and videos of your efforts to support Viva Palestina USA. We’ve heard amazing stories of creative fundraising efforts and events from around the country and we encourage your unique participation in the movement for justice for Palestine!

Together, we WILL break the siege, we WILL deliver much-needed aid to the people of Gaza, and we WILL help free Palestine! VIVA, VIVA PALESTINA!

In solidarity,
Viva Palestina USA

June 4, 2009

2009.06.04: Urgent Action: Send a Message to Stop the Execution of Troy Davis

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 9:08 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 9:08 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Urgent Action: Send a Message to Stop the Execution of Troy Davis

Troy Davis

Troy Davis currently has a final appeal before the US Supreme Court. If that is rejected, his case returns to Savannah, Georgia, where a new District Attorney will have some life or death decisions to make. DA Larry Chisolm was elected in 2008 and campaigned on a platform to “increase the sense of fairness” in his office. Call on DA Chisolm to do everything in his power to prevent an execution, and urge him to reopen the case against Troy Davis, since most of the witnesses responsible for his conviction have now recanted.

To send your message, click here:

June 1, 2009

2009.06.01: Bk CDD Investigator Charles Billups Denounces Racist NYPD Shooting

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 10:21 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 10:21 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Bk CDD Investigator Charles Billups Denounces Racist NYPD Shooting­newyork/ny-­nyshar3112823935may30,0,­4643968.story
Sharpton, marchers seek ‘unbiased’ probe of shooting


9:53 PM EDT, May 30, 2009

Drawing attention to his call for state and federal officials to investigate the fatal shooting of a black plainclothes off-duty New York City police officer by a white officer, the Rev. Al Sharpton Saturday led marchers through Harlem to the spot where the officer was killed.

Sharpton marched to 125th Street and Second Avenue with scores of people to highlight his plea for Gov. David A. Paterson or U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene and investigate the shooting of Officer Omar Edwards.

Edwards, 25, was killed Thursday night in East Harlem by another officer who didn’t know that Edwards was a fellow officer who, with his gun drawn, was pursuing a suspect who had broken into Edwards’ car.

Andrew Dunton, 30, of Ridge, fired six shots, hitting Edwards three times, in the left arm, side and back, police said. Dunton is a four-year veteran of the force.

At the spot where Edwards was shot, Sharpton and the marchers held a one-minute vigil of silent prayer. Then Sharpton said he and his group were praying “for the right to grow up in our community and be law enforcement without fear.”

“We need an impartial and unbiased investigation,” Sharpton said later.

At a park dedication in Harlem Saturday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed confidence in the Manhattan district attorney.

“As with all these things, he will do an investigation, and if the federal government wants to do something that’s up to them, but I think [District Attorney] Bob Morgenthau has shown over many decades that he is independent and will do a thorough and competent investigation.”

Before the march, Sharpton shared the stage at the headquarters of his National Action Network, a civil-rights group, with city politicians, including Rep. Charles Rangel and City Council members John Liu, Charles Baron and Bill de Blasio.

Sharpton drew a connection between Edwards’ killing and other shootings of plainclothes black and Latino officers by other officers, calling the shootings “a pattern.”

Rangel said that, in his 79 years, he’d never heard of a white officer shooting another white officer.

“If we have a problem, let’s face up to the problem and let’s have outside help so we can tell this family that this will never happen again,” Rangel said.

Along 125th Street, across from Harlem Hospital, Charles Moody, 70, of Harlem, called Edwards’ killing “another situation of racial profiling and police overreacting to black men.”

Saturday, Charles Billups of the Guardians Association, a fraternal organization of black police officers, was skeptical of the city Police Department’s ability of investigate the killing.

“The fix is in,” Billups said. “Who’s going to stand for Omar?”

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