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Life and Death on the Mavi Marmera
Canadian aid worker Kevin Neish was one of 581 passengers on the Mavi Marmara, the lead vessel of the Gaza freedom flotilla that was attacked in international waters on May 31, 2010, while on a mission of mercy to deliver aid to residents of Gaza. Israeli commandos boarded the ship, killed nine of its passengers, arrested the others and confiscated their cameras and film-making equipment. Neish, however, hid the memory card from his camera and smuggled it to safety. In this special photo report, ColdType publishes many of the pictures for the first time, along with Neish’s story of how he managed to get the photographs away from his interrogators
UN Commission Flotilla Massacre Report - by Stephen Lendman
Despite irrefutable evidence, including the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) concluding last September that Israel committed serious "violations of international law, including international humanitarian law" by massacring nine Gaza Flotilla activists, injuring dozens more, in international waters, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appeased Israel by appointing his own commission.
Denying Palestinian Children Education - by Stephen Lendman
In July 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a new report titled, "Education Denied: Israel's Systematic Violation of Palestinian Children's Right to Education," even though it's a fundamental human right.
Israeli/Washington Peace Process Rejectionism - by Stephen Lendman
Pretending to restart Israeli/Palestinian peace talks, Quartet representatives met in Washington on July 11. Attending were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and former UK Prime Minister/reinvented war criminal/current Middle East envoy Tony Blair.
Israel Terrorizing Palestinians Lawlessly - by Stephen Lendman
Palestinians bear witness daily to Israeli state terror. Complicit Western and regional nations, in fact, condone it through silence or failure to condemn what never is tolerable and must end.
For nearly a week, Israeli aircraft struck Gaza preemptively. As a result, fear of a new war grows.
Dignité is outside Port Said, Egypt
According to a satellite-report from Ship to Gaza Sweden's spokesman Dror Feiler the French boat Dignité / Karama is northwest of Port Said, about 20 sea miles from land. The waters are full of drilling platforms for gas. The boat is currently headed to southeast. The idea is that within a few hours go to a point just outside Egyptian territorial waters, between Port Said and El Arish, where the night will be awaited. During the next day they will put full speed towards Gaza.
The ten passengers on board see themselves as representatives of the Freedom Flotilla, whose other vessels due to different manipulations - bureaucraticle obstacles, sabotage, sudden government ban, withdrawal options - forced to remain in the Greek ports.
By Ann Wright
Yea, Greek activists visited the Audacity of Hope yesterday and today. Several returned from Crete with the Greek-Swedish boat Julianno and didn't even go home, but came to see how we were faring.
Other activists who didn't realize we were still on the boat (or even where the boat was), facebooked into the early morning hours about how they could support us.
I admit I overestimated the strength of Greece’s democracy. Or let me put it this way: I didn’t see how thin the varnish of what we call Israeli democracy really is.
I will try to summarize this year's Gaza flotilla. Everyone knows that the goal this time was to return with more unarmed ships and a more representative selection of people and organizations. Last but not least, we would return with more MPs. We succeeded in organizing this.
The French boat "Dignité/Karama" (Dignity) left the Greek island Kastellorizo around 8:30PM local time on Saturday July 16, 2011, heading south. The ten passengers onboard view themselves as representatives of the whole Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human. The rest of the Flotilla's ships have been detained in different Greek ports, through bureaucratic obstruction, sabotage, sudden restrictions and withdrawals of flags.
The Dignité, sailing under a French flag, left Corsica on June 25th, and has, over the past weeks, been in Greek waters. It has now left- so far without being followed by the Greek coast guard or Navy.
Neocons Fume Over US Boat to Gaza
Editor Note (Consortiumnews): At the behest of Tel Aviv and Washington, Greek authorities stopped a small flotilla from sailing to Gaza in a challenge to Israel’s four-year blockade of the narrow strip of land and its 1.6 million people. Now, apologists for Israel’s right-wing Likud government are heaping scorn on the passengers, as Ray McGovern notes.
By Ray McGovern
July 16, 2011
My co-passengers and I of the U.S. Boat to Gaza have now gone from “High-Seas Hippies,” according to the right-wing Washington Times, to participants in a flotilla full of “fools, knaves, hypocrites, bigots, and supporters of terrorism,” says Alan Dershowitz in his usual measured prose.
The following letter was delivered to the Greek Government on July 12, 2011 making it clear that the people of Gaza seek freedom and respect for their human rights, including their right to lead a dignified life, not charity. Seemingly deaf to their call, yesterday a spokesman for the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Delavekouras, repeated the Greek Government's "generous offer" to deliver limited humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza - instead of helping them gain the freedom that is rightfully theirs.
Gaza Flotilla: American and Spanish Activists Hunger Strikes & Israeli Flag flying over the US Embassy
By Ann Wright
American Hunger Strikers at US Embassy in Athens, Greece, Met with Detention
Late in the day on July 3, 7 Americans began a peaceful, non-violent hunger strike across the street from the US Embassy in Athens, Greece to protest the July 2 arrest and imprisonment of Captain John Klusmire, the captain of the US Boat to Gaza, the Audacity of Hope for his challenge to the Greek government’s capitulation to Israeli demands that boats of the Gaza flotilla in Greece not be allowed to sail to Gaza.
Captain John was put in a police lockup without food, water and a bed on the first day/night and subsequently was transferred to two other police jails in the four days he was held. He was not visited by US Embassy consular officials for four days until the morning of his hearing on July 5.
The hunger strikers were also protesting the imprisonment of the boat itself at a US Embassy/Greek Coast Guard base in the port city of Keritsini.
By Felice Gelman
Each time you call, they provide a little electricity to The Audacity of Hope. Then it is cut off. Our calls are effective and, if we can keep them up, can free the boat to go to another, civilian marina where it will be safer.
Please keep calling and forward this email. All the facts are below in a letter sent to the harbourmaster by Ann Wright.
You can call and email:
The Greek Embassy and Consulates and the U.S. State Department today! Tell them to free our ship from the military dock! Hillary Clinton will be visiting Greece later this week. One word to her Greek counterparts and our boat would be free.
Greek Embassy: 202-939-1300
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: 202-647-5291
Greek Desk, US State Dept: 202-647-6760
US Embassy in Athens: 011-30-210-721-2951
US Consular Services: Kim Richter 202-647-8308 -- write or text
Sample Phone Script
By John Grant
What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? ... You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell. Me, I was part of the nastiness now.
--Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
Lately, I find myself reading “noir” crime fiction and thinking about the genre as a way to explain the world. It may have something to do with the fact I’m an American critical of my government and losing hope that positive change is even possible. As hope evaporates, there seems less and less space between political reality and the criminal underworld. Or maybe it's the obverse of a militarist obsession with Tom Clancy and War On Terror thrillers.
The adherents of wealth, power and violence seem so entrenched and in control that those without power become doomed to ineffectual marginalization and, if they poke their heads up too far, in danger of having their intentions and actions criminalized.
Freedom Flotilla II: Final Thoughts - by Stephen Lendman
Palestinian analyst/advocate/author and former journalist Nadia Hijab is right, saying "(i)t was never about aid."
In her article titled, "Freedom Flotilla II: No to a Kinder, Gentler Siege," she said like earlier and new initiatives to come, it's "a political act" against Israel's illegal occupation/Gaza blockade - forced isolation, in fact, since 1988 "permit system" terrorism was instituted.
In 1991, closures began, "institutionalized" in 1993, then a 1994 electronic wall, and continued repression by lawless incursions, air attacks, home demolitions, targeted assassinations, mass arrests, daily intimidation, Cast Lead, and virtually anything Israel can dream up to collectively punish 1.6 million people, guilty of being Arabs, not Jews.
By Ann Wright
This morning at 10am, the shore electricity was cut off to the Audacity of Hope, the US Boat to Gaza , that has been impounded at the US Embassy/Greek Coast Guard dock, near Piraeus, Greece, just outside of Athens.
Its over 100 degrees and a Russian grain ship loading grain is spewing grain and dust over the entire.area-it is miserable! Six women that are staying onboard to protect the boat' four are over 60 years old.
The Greek Coast Guard is probably caught in the middle--they are probably ready to release us, but the political part of the government wants to keep us in port to suck up to the Israeli government even more!.
Call the Greek Embassy in Washington and .the Greek consulates around the Country and the State Department-Kim Richter Write a text message 202-647-8308
Embassy of Greece
2217 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Consulate General - New York
69 East 79th Street
Dueling UN Flotilla I Commissions - by Stephen Lendman
Two earlier articles discussed them in detail, accessed through the following links:
Last September, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), issued its damning findings on Israel's Flotilla I massacre, killing nine and wounding dozens of peaceful humanitarian activists heading for Gaza with aid.
As a result, HRC:
"concluded that a series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation."
The Audacity of Hope, the U.S. boat among a small flotilla seeking to challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza, was turned back by Greek authorities doing the bidding of Washington and Tel Aviv. However, for ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who was among the passengers, the endeavor demonstrated the commitment of Americans from a variety of backgrounds to fight injustice.
By Ray McGovern, Consortium News
We passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza represent a cross-section of America. Yet, if there is an emblematic trait that sets us apart from “mainstream” America, it is a common, radical determination to take risks to bring Justice for the oppressed — in this case, the 1.6 million people locked in an open-air prison on a narrow strip of land called Gaza.
Freedom Flotilla II: Blocked but not Defeated - by Stephen Lendman
On July 7, Israel National News writer Elad Benari headlined, "Failed Flotilla: Only 2 Ships Leave for Gaza," saying:
Only "two ships have so far been able to leave (Greece) on their way to Gaza." On July 5, the French boat MVDignite/Al Karma broke out and sailed. On July 7, Press TV, Gaza TV and other news sources said Greek commandos on Crete blocked it from proceeding.
Organizer Claude Leostic told AFP that their vessel "was taken to Sitia in Crete by the Greek Coast Guard after being stopped in a nearby port (for) refueling. The authorities (gave) various administrative reasons" for doing so, none of which are justified.
On July 6, Ynet News.com writer Aviel Magnezi headlined, "Juliano ship (with Greek, Norwegian and Swedish activists on board) heads for Gaza," saying:
This Friday, July 8, hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists are planning to fly to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport in a display of solidarity with Palestinians living in the occupied territories.
According to organisers, at least 500 people have already scheduled flights to Israel, including Palestinians that will fly from Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa.
Let Us Sail to Gaza - by Stephen Lendman
Freedom Flotilla II participants demand their lawful right to deliver vital humanitarian aid to Gaza. However, an Israeli/Washington/Greek conspiracy block them. Nonetheless, they persist, trying to overcome imperial ruthlessness and succeed.
A June 27 Jerusalem Post (JP) editorial called their mission "Ships of fools," saying:
Organizers "seem to be foolishly throwing caution to the wind, and appear bent on pushing ahead with plans for a confrontation on the open seas with the Israeli Navy."
Of course, they want nothing of the sort. Israel's Navy plans confrontation with them if they sail, perhaps intending another high-seas massacre like in May 2010, and regularly through air and ground attacks against occupied Palestinian civilians.
ATHENS — A small French pleasure craft slipped out of Greek waters Tuesday in an attempt to break Israeli's naval blockade on Gaza, reviving an international campaign that appeared to have ground to a halt.
'Thirty captains' on intercepted Canadian boat for Gaza
Thirty pro-Palestinian activists on a Canadian boat bound for Gaza that was stopped out of a Greek port Monday for breaking a ban, defied authorities by claiming they had all captained the ship.
Canadian boat to Gaza just escaped the port in Greece by putting kayaks in the way of Greek military ships that had tried to pen them in!
Greek Coast Guard is closing to their ship FAST!!!!!! Hope they don't have the commandos on their tail!
USTOGAZA, Sunday, July 3, 2011
Action Alert Update
Just got word from Athens: the 8 people who were fasting in front of the U.S. Embassy have been arrested. They are Ken Mayers, Carol Murry, Medea Benjamin, Paki Wieland, Ray McGovern, Brad Taylor, Kit Kitteridge and Kathy Kelly. We will not have any more news until the morning.
In the meantime, let’s keep the pressure on Washington. They need to pressure the Greek government to release our captain, our boat and now these 8 people as well! Let them sail to Gaza!!!
Throughout this country people have responded to our call to contact the U.S. State Department to demand that they take the steps necessary to ensure that the Greek authorities immediately release the captain and let our boat sail to Gaza. In fact, there has been such a strong response that we are hearing their voice mailboxes are full! That’s great, but of course frustrating for those of you trying to make those calls.
Here are some other numbers and email addresses to try:
* State Department general number: 202-647-4000 – ask for the Overseas U.S. Citizen Services Duty Officer and you’ll get a live State Dept. official who has to hear you out.
* The voicemail for Kim Richter – also at the State Dept. – says she’s out of the office for several days, and that callers with urgent issues should contact a colleague at 202-647-4578.
* You can email the U.S. Embassy in Athens at: email@example.com or you can send an email to them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
* If you can place an international phone call, the number for the U.S. Embassy in Athens is 011-30-210-721-2951.
Please also try to call, fax or email your members of Congress as well.
Help us keep the pressure up!!
USTOGAZA, Sunday, July 3, 2011
On eve of U.S. Independence Day, U.S. passengers on flotilla start open-ended fast at U.S. Embassy in Athens
Demand that U.S. government pressure Greece to free their boat and captain, and allow boat to sail to Gaza
July 3, 2011, Athens, Greece
Members of the U.S. boat to Gaza have begun an open-ended fast calling on the U.S. government to defend our right to sail out of Greece. The fast has begun in front of the U.S. Embassy at 91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue in Athens. Fasters delivered an urgent letter to the Embassy and plan to sleep overnight outside the Embassy gates.
Passengers and U.S. boat organizers participating in the fast are: Medea Benjamin, Ken Mayers, Paki Wieland, Kathy Kelly, Ray McGovern, Helaine Meisler, Nic Abramson, and Carol Murry.
Passenger Kathy Kelly said, “We call on officials at the U.S. Embassy in Athens to publicly acknowledge our right to sail and to call on the Greek government to free our ship and its captain immediately.”
There will also be a march in support of the flotilla beginning at 7 pm organized by Greek activists who have been protesting the government’s austerity measures in Syntagma Square. The march will include a demand on the Greek government to let all of the boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2 sail to Gaza and to free the captain of the U.S. ship, who has been held in jail.
The departure of the U.S. boat to Gaza – The Audacity of Hope – was first delayed by a complaint filed by the Israel Law Center and shown to be frivolous. Greek authorities then inspected the boat but, until the boat set sail five days later, the results of that inspection has not been shared with the captain and his crew.
The Greek Coast Guard stopped The Audacity of Hope some 20 minutes after it had left the dock on Friday, July 1. The Coast Guard ordered the captain to stop the ship, which he did. Commandos with drawn rifles ordered the ship to return. It is now impounded at a military dock in Athens and the captain has ben arrested.
Over the past two weeks, two boats of the international flotilla to Gaza have been sabotaged while docked at Greek ports. The potential danger to the U.S. boat was obvious to the captain, the crew and the passengers: there was a clear possibility that the U.S. boat would be sabotaged next.
Greek consular officials in the U.S., when besieged with calls by angry Americans, told callers that they should direct their protest to U.S. officials because they were ultimately responsible. “We know that the U.S. government has been supporting Israel’s underhanded efforts to thwart the flotilla, and has been pressuring the Greek government to stop us. This is a disgrace,” said passenger/faster Medea Benjamin. “On July 4, it’s time for our government to declare independence from Israel and start supporting its own citizens.”
We note that on June 24, passengers on the U.S. boat to Gaza visited the Consul General in Athens, Deputy Consul General Kate Brandeis agreed that the U.S. boat “had a right to sail to Gaza.”
Brandeis assured the passengers that the consulate was there to assist U.S. citizens that run into difficulty while in Greece. To date, we have received no assistance from the U.S. Embassy and the captain of our boat, a U.S. citizen, remains in jail and has yet to be visited by anyone from the U.S. Embassy.
By Dave Lindorff
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day that the nation’s founders, gathered in Philadelphia a few miles from my house (which as it happens was already standing and about 28 years old already at the time), at great personal risk, signed the Declaration of Independence, with its ringing declaration that all men--Americans and everyone else, too--are born equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Five years ago at this time, I was just starting my road trip promoting my book, The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), which documents the wholesale assault, by then President George W. Bush, and his chief consigliere, Vice President Dick Cheney, on those bold concepts and on the subsequent Constitution and Bill of Rights which those same founders set up as the guiding principles of this nation.
Israeli Freedom Flotilla II Terrorism - by Stephen Lendman
Daily, Israel keeps proving its lawless rogue credentials, notably by blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza. As a result, it finds new ways to show contempt for human rights, rule of law standards, civility, fundamental Judaic tenets, and its very legitimacy as a nation state, established by mass slaughter and displacement of indigenous Palestinians from their homeland.
Today, its war against humanity dirty tricks/state terrorism arsenal includes propaganda, intimidating lawsuits, pressure on other governments, sabotage, subversion, cold-blodded murder, and whatever else it takes to ruthlessly commit slow-motion genocide against nearly 1.7 million Gazans, besides daily crimes against others in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
No wonder growing numbers of fed up Jews are leaving, voting with their feet, including studies showing half or more there actively consider it, and why not.