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Flotilla Updates: French Boat Set Sail! Greek Boat Sabatoged! Calls Needed to Release US Boat!
June 27th, 2:30pm PST: In spite of Israel's threats of violence (snipers, attack dogs, sound bombs) against unarmed people on unarmed ships, threats from the US government of legal action against American participants, and the Obama administration's clear permission granted to Israel to attack the boats, including the American-flagged "Audacity of Hope", the FLOTILLA HAS SET SAIL! The French ship Dignity just left Corsica with a French MEP on board. The French Government didn't block the boat. The French boat sails to meet the other 9 boats, two cargo ships and 7 passenger boats, including the Audacity of Hope, in the Mediterranean, and on to Gaza with 3000 tons of aid for that destroyed region.
At this time, the Audacity of Hope is still being held in the Athens port but organizers believe they may be close to success in their attempts to persuade the Greek government to allow their boat to leave the Greek port to join the others in the Flotilla. The Greek government has been under tremendous pressure from the US and Israel, including financial in the midst of their failing economy, to prevent the flotilla boats from leaving.
We just learned that the Greek passenger boat has been sabotaged -- it's propeller axle having been cut. The ship is jointly owned by Swedish, Greek, and Norwegian activists. The crews of all of the boats in the port are now on high alert watching for scuba divers that might be trying to disable other boats.
The US boat is perhaps the most dangerous to Israel because of the possibility of American passengers being injured or killed in an attack on the boat in international waters, and they are concerned about how that might play. A number of high profile people are on the boats, including cabinet members, writers, and well-known journalists . Among the passengers on the Audacity are writer Alice Walker, retired Colonel Ann Wright, non-violent activist Kathy Kelly, Code Pink's Medea Benjamin, former CIA analyist Ray McGovern and an Israeli former Air Force pilot. About 25% of the passengers are Jewish, and almost 20% of the American boat are over 60, the oldest being 81 and 86.
Things you can do:
Until the boats are released from greek ports, call or email the Greek embassy, asking that they be released, and that Greece not succumb to pressure to prevent aid from reaching a desperate people on unarmed ships.
consulate [at] greekembassy.org
Call the State Department to demand the US end the pressure on Greece, and particularly that they retract the permission they gave to Israel to attack this unarmed flotilla. (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told the world that "Israel has a right to self-defense" against the flotilla, even though they know the boats and people are unarmed, and will sail only in international waters despite Clinton's geographically challenged statement.
202-647-4000 (the "mailbox is full", as a rule)
Monitor the flotilla on the internet and by Twitter. We have a Rapid Response network in place to set off the emergency resonse in case of attack on any boat in the flotilla. Some suggested sites:
Come out to the Response Demo when it's called:
*On the day following an attack* (or boarding) of any ship in the Freedom
Flotilla 2- Stay Human, we invite all people of conscience to gather outside
the Israeli Consulate at 456 Montgomery St., #2100. San Francisco, Ca 94104
at 5:00 pm.
In San Jose: gather outside the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Library (San Jose Public Library) at 150 East San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA 95112 at 5:00 pm
If Israel responds with violence - as they did last time - there will be a peaceful protest in Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa from 6:00 to 7:00 the evening of the incident.