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Ear to the Ground

Greeks Waylay U.S. Ship in Gaza Flotilla

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Posted on Jul 1, 2011
Flickr / Zingaro. I am a gipsy too.

Supporters of the Freedom Flotilla aimed at easing the plight of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip rally in Rome in May.

The Audacity of Hope, an American ship in the defiant Freedom Flotilla 2, tried to set sail for Gaza on Friday afternoon but was stopped by the Greek coast guard shortly after leaving port.

Twitter reports said those aboard were held at gunpoint and forced to turn back. The Greek government had been under heavy pressure from Israel and the U.S. to prevent the ship from leaving.

Journalist Joseph Dana, aboard the ship, describes the electrifying scenes leading up to the crew’s departure, including a news conference plea for permission to sail from Athens amid the roar of Greece’s austerity riots, and efforts to protect the ship from sabotage. Flotilla vessels docked elsewhere have been damaged, many suspect by Israeli forces. With U.S. support, Israel has vowed to use any means necessary to prevent the fleet from reaching Gaza.

Dana’s breaking reports on the progress of the Audacity of Hope can be found here. —ARK

The Nation:

On Thursday, the passengers of the Audacity of Hope, the US boat in the “Freedom Flotilla 2” to Gaza—a convoy of ten boats, two cargo ships and some 300 civilians—emerged from their hotel on the edge of an Athens turned upside down. The air was heavy from the stench of garbage and tear gas, after two days of a general strike and fighting between police and demonstrators protesting the latest austerity measures. But the dramatic urban landscape barely caught the passengers’ attention as they boarded a chartered bus to a distant Athenian port, kept secret until then due to security concerns.

Standing in front of more than seventy journalists from around the world, the thirty-five passengers called on the Greek government to allow their boat to sail. The idea was that if the government were to continue its efforts—coming after intense Israeli lobbying—to prevent the boat from sailing, it would be forced to do so in front of the world media, and thus might back down. But just one hour before the press conference was set to begin, the captain of the US boat announced that he was abandoning the mission, saying that he risked losing his maritime license and could face jail time if he didn’t. But this was only the latest setback for the flotilla.

... Israeli officials claim the mission is an “anti-Israeli public relations stunt.” If that’s the case, then the PR battle has resulted in largely positive exposure for the flotilla organizers, who have maintained the upper hand in the media war. Careful not to leak any sensitive information, the US organizers have been inconsistent in dealing with journalists planning to travel on their boat. And the gulf between the Israeli government’s organized media campaign and the haphazard and largely disorganized campaign of the US organizers has been evident. But the bellicose Israeli strategy has helped to publicize this story in ways the flotilla organizers could never have orchestrated themselves.

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By john crandell, July 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

Secretary of State Clinton: what exactly was your role in the 1972 McGovern

When did your first know about it and then what did you do about it, because and
regardless of the fact that you’re now ages past having exhibited any capacity for
constancy or moral sanity, it’s now high time that you be brought up on charges
of zionist prostitution at The Hague.

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By gerard, July 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Too bad Frederick II wasn’t still the King of Sicily and sometime-King of Jerusalem. The flotilla could
have docked there and he would have made it his business to notify his friend, the Sultnn of Egypt by carrier pigeon, and all would have gone well. In fact Frederick might even have sent some of his Muslim courtiers along to help the crew with navigating. Just one more example to justify Hedges’ assumption that “civilization” or liberals or a large number of somebodies have failed—though I’m still not ready to admit it!  Give it another week or so.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, July 2, 2011 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

This plan will backfire and soon a thousand ships will sail.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., July 2, 2011 at 2:20 am Link to this comment

John R., July 1 at 7:02 pm

I believe Ahroni has a set script on how to answer
Amy’s questions.

And whom is instructing him in his answers?

Thank you for the link THX 1133.
You’re welcome. I’m happy you actually listened to it;
it appears you heard as I did…

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By john from ojai, July 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please watch yesterday’s Democracy Now video from a former Israeli air force pilot.

Please watch Democracy Now frequently for news that the power elite in the US will not allow in the mainstream media.

Please contact the Greek Embassies, the Israeli Embassies, the US State Dept. and President Obama to request that the boats be allowed out of the Greek harbor and that the war crime blockade of Gaza be halted.

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John R.'s avatar

By John R., July 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

After listening to Amy Goodmans’ interview it seems as if a peaceful resolution is completely off the table. As if, Ahroni’s responses would not allow any type of peaceful resolution or even to consider that this may be a turning point that may lead to a peaceful resolution.

I believe Ahroni has a set script on how to answer Amy’s questions.

And whom is instructing him in his answers?

Thank you for the link THX 1133.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., July 1, 2011 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

This is a link to Amy Goodman’s interview with the
Israeli consul general in New York, Ido Aharoni;

Listen carefully to Amy’s questions and Aharoni’s
answers; very telling.

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By Steve E, July 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Israel will not back down and will continue it’s genocidal behavior towards Arabs
no matter what happens.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, July 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

The Greek people really need to overthrow this puppet regime. What an embarrassment to the cradle of philosophy and Western civilization.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, July 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

Through this act, Greece, the birthplace of democracy has lowered itself to lapdog of tyrants.

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By Rubiconski, July 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Docking in Greece was a huge mistake. The Greek president is an Israeli lap dog.

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