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July 1, 2011

Breaking: Greek Coast Guard Has Stopped 2011 Flotilla/US Boat to Gaza (Ongoing)

By Rob Kall

It looks like Israeli influence, and perhaps US influence as well, has reached Athens, where the US Boat to Gaza was stopped within 20 minutes of leaving dock.


The U.S. Boat to Gaza which set sail today from Greece in order to challenge the blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel and to offer support to the Palestinian people has been stopped by the Greek Coast Guard according to live reports by activists and journalists on the scene.

(updates below image)
Another photo of #Greek commandos earlier 2day trying 2 stop ... on Twitpic
Greek commandos approaching "Audacity of Hope," photo from The IMEU
Twitter @usboattogaza @ibnezra

This is a fluid situation and OEN invites readers to help keep track of what's going on by posting in the comments.

Read Joseph Dana's recent article at the The Nation, The Battle Over The Gaza Flotilla

See Updates Below

Video of interaction between Greek Coast Guard and Audacity US Boat to Gaza. Includes footage of Armed Commandos. Women speaking are Ann Wright, then Medea Benjamin

* Update 10:

This afternoon, after The Audacity of Hope was blocked and turned back by the Greek Coast Guard, the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) checked in with passenger Medea Benjamin for a "live update from the ground." Listen to it here.

* Update 9:

* Update 8:

US Boat to Gaza, reports that Greek authorities "most likely going to bring some type of charges against the captain of our boat." 

* Update 7:

Freedom Flotilla spokeswoman Greta Berlin said the international movement to challenge Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip will not be stopped. After more than a week of threats, sabotage, dirty tricks and intense propaganda, and despite the fact that "The Greeks are cooperating with Israel as much as they can," Berlin said their plan has not changed to "move the boats by July 5 to get to our rendezvous point no later than July 6 or 7." She said the Greek authorities had not yet allowed the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, to leave the port of Piraeus, and added that nine boats were now hoping to take part in the mission, compared with original plans for up to 15 ships.

"We will go with what we have," Berlin said.

* Update 6:

According to the Jerusalem Post, late Friday evening, the US boat, The Audacity of Hope, was turned back to a Greek port after it was intercepted by Greek commandos Friday evening, organizers said through their Twitter feed. The boat was brought under Coast Guard escort to a closed Coast Guard base in Greece. The Post reported...

"Minutes before initially being intercepted, organizers said that the ship's passengers were preparing to 'non-violently resist any efforts to stop the boat,' saying moments later that the boat 'is about to set sail,' followed by a message saying that the ship had departed. Through the boat's twitter feed, organizers said that a Greek Coast Guard vessel approached The Audacity of Hope as it was pulling away from the dock but then sped away.

Since The Audacity of Hope is now under Greek Coast Guard control, the Post said it is "not immediately clear how the boat's departure would affect the overall flotilla plans."

* Update 5:

It's "show time" for Israel, and possibly the United States, in their continued inhumane blockade of Gaza.
The Greek government is saying that "the departure of ships with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza has been prohibited." Although Greece says it is only trying to prevent a "breach of Israel's naval blockade," surely they realize they have been set up to be the "fall guy" if violence erupts and there are casualties.

Check back often at Audio Feed From The Boat. 

* Update 4: 

Israeli-American journalist, Joseph Dana, reports that the US Boat to Gaza is currently in an Athens Coast Guard port and surrounded by barbwire. Dana has been reporting live from the vessel since they left a Greek port bound for Gaza Friday afternoon. Passengers on the boat determined to remain on the boat for the night.
The US Boat to Gaza twitter feed reads that the boat is currently being held by Greek police.

* Update 3: (http://ustogaza.org/)

U.S. Boat to Gaza has reported that a second Greek Coast Guard boat with "more heavily armed forces" has arrived and that after discussions the decision was made to return to shore. They are calling for supporters to contact the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC.

Audio Feed From The Boat.

Video of the boat leaving.



  Joseph Dana  

  Joseph Dana  

  Joseph Dana  

Update 1: 

Activists aboard boat report that the captain is refusing to turn back and that the passengers are preparing for a raid. Argue that Greek authorities have no right to enforce an illegal blockade.

Reports coming in that Greek commandos are pointing weapons at the boat. 

Activists calling for emergency protest. Directing supporters to http://ustogaza.org/emergency-support-actions/


Writer and journalist, Joseph Dana, reports via Twitter:  This standoff is going to last awhile and I think that the commandos will have to board the US boat




Plz RT: In or near DC?? Join the demonstration at the #Greek embassy (2217 Mass Ave) and tell them: LET THE #FLOTILLA2 SAIL! @USBOATTOGAZA

19 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Greek foreign ministry spokesman, Dimitris Delavekouras, tells #CNN Greece has banned all boats from sailing to #Gaza @USBOATTOGAZA @ibnezra

Palaestina Voice from Palestine


Our Captain is currently explaining to the Coast Guard that we have all papers and inspections necessary to sail  

  Medea Benjamin  

  Voice from Palestine  

  Trendsmap DC  



  Voice from Palestine  

  Ali Abunimah  



  أبو كار  
  The IMEU  

  Ali Abunimah  

  Nancy Kricorian  

from twitpics:  @USBOATTOGAZA
  +972 magazine  

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Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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