Canadian Boat Update

12.35 pm Wednesday, 6th July, 2011.

Cheers! our friends have been freed!!!

From Australians for Palestine

Editor’s Note:  As the French boat makes its way to Gaza alone, the rest of
the flotilla is still trying to find ways of leaving Greece.  The captain of
the US boat has been released from prison and the charges have been dropped..  
The passengers of the Canadian boat the “Tahrir” Michael Coleman and Soha
Kneen have also been released from custody and will appear in court in the
morning and will receive suspended sentences.  Although Sandra Ruch has been
released, she faces the charge of allowing the boat to leave port without
proper authorisation. (Sandra, a Jewish-Canadian on the “Tahrir”  is
refusing to surrender the boat’s registration papers.)  Spanish activists
have taken over the Spanish embassy in Athens

Thank you to everyone who wrote or telephoned the Greek embassy and
consulates.  Some managed to get through while others found that some of the
emails bounced back.  The emails and phone numbers were correct, but
embassies/consulates are known for changing their contact details.

Related Links

Navy braced for Gaza-bound French boat sailing from Greece

The Israel Navy is prepared to stop a French vessel that set sail from near Greece on Tuesday and that is believed to be heading to the Gaza Strip in an effort to break an Israel-imposed sea blockade, said government officials.

On Tuesday afternoon, organizers announced that the small French yacht named Dignity had left waters near Greece with eight passengers on board en-route to Gaza.

Meanwhile Tuesday, John Klusmire, the captain of the US-flagged ship Audacity of Hope who was arrested last week for trying to sail to Gaza, was released from custody.

About 20 Spanish activists, from the ship Guernica, occupied their nation’s embassy in Athens on Tuesday to protest against the ban and demand their government’s support.

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7.35 pm Tuesday, 5th July, 2011.

In the harbour office in detainment on charges are Australian Michael Coleman, with 1 charge, Canadian Soha Kneen on 1 charge, and Sandra Ruch who is faced with 3 charges. Please use the information here to pressure the relevant Greek embassies and consulates, your local and Federal MPs and let’s help our good friends out of this situation and back on their mission.

You can gain up to date information by following @CanadaBoatGaza and @GFFAusGroup on twitter, and their Facebook groups CANADIAN Boat to Gaza and Gaza Freedom Flotilla Australia

The French Freedom Flotilla boat is underway, having eluded the Greek Coastguard! to be off Gaza in a day or so.

Edelstein: Israel Ready for Any Scenario in Pro-Arab Fly-In – but is he ready for the French!

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Circa 1pm Tuesday, 5th July, 2011.

From Australians for Palestine

Editor’s Note: Australian participant on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza
Michael Coleman has been arrested by Greek Police for attempting to block
their pursuit of the Canadian boat the “Tahrir” as it left port. Michael
and Soha, another Canadian Flotilla team member, were in two kayaks beside
the “Tahrir”. As soon as the boat’s motors started, Michael and Soha
paddled to the immediate prow of the coastguard and managed to stay there
for at least 5 minutes which prevented the coastguard from stopping the
Tahrir from leaving. Eddie O’Loughlin, who has provided this latest update,
says that a Canadian Flotilla team member has assured him that a legal team
is working on freeing Michael. They are still not sure as to what the
specific charges against Michael will be.

Please telephone or write to the Greek embassy in Australia and also the
consulates asking them to pressure Greek authorities to release Michael
Coleman and to allow the Freedom Flotilla to continue its mission to
Gaza. Also letters and calls to our own government representatives are
important asking them to pressure the Greek government to release Michael
Coleman and the Tahrir.

Greek Embassy in Australia
Tel: +61-2-6273-3011
Email: gremb.can@mfa.gr

Greek Consulate (Sydney)
Tel: +61-2-92212388
Tel: +61-2-92211453
Email: grconsyd@telpacific.com.au

Greek Consulate (Melbourne)
Tel: +61-3-98664524
Tel: +61-3-98664525
Email: grcons@bigpond.com.au

Greek Consulate (Adelaide)
Tel: +61-8-82118066
Email: consulgr@picknowl.com.au

Greek Consulate (Brisbane)
Tel: +61-7-32927421
Tel: +61-7-32927422
Email: greekcon@ozemail.com.au

Australian Embassy in Greece
Tel: +30 210 870 4000
Email: ae.athens@dfat.gov.au

Also contact your own member of parliament (you can find their details
here http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/mi-elctr.asp)
and/or
The Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd
Tel: (02) 6277 7500
Email: Kevin.Rudd.MP@aph.gov.au

We need to keep the pressure up on the Greek Government and our own.

Sonja Karkar
Editor
Australians for Palestine
http://australiansforpalestine.com

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TWITTER UPDATES

Three @CanadaBoatGaza humanitarians charged: Soha Kneen (1 charge), Michael Coleman (1 charge), Sandra Ruch (3 charges) #flotilla2

RT @CanadaBoatGaza: We can confirm that Sandra Ruch is facing 3 charges. We are working to confirm details of these charges. #flotilla2 #Canada4Gaza

RT @CanadaBoatGaza: We can confirm that Soha Kneen of Canada and Michael Coleman of Australia are facing one charge each. #Canada4Gaza #Flotilla2

RT @GFFAusGroup: DFAT chasing Aussie arrest report in Greece #Flotilla2 http://j.mp/lin4Ct

RT @SoulFya: Canadian ConsulateThessaloniki: 2310-256350 E: petmezas_canada@thessalaw.gr Demand release of Michael & Soha(Canadian citizen)

RT @CanadaBoatGaza: @INTLRevolver We can confirm @SmithSofia (Soha Kneen) is facing one charge, working to get details. #flotilla2 #

RT @Mivasair: @CanadaBoatGaza Met today w Consul General of Greece in Vancouver. Greece will play hardball. Needs $$ from Israel. Very clear abt this. #

RT @GFFAusGroup: A union has organised lawyers for us.Michael and Soha have been detained but not charged #flotilla2

Hurrahh! RT @GFFAusGroup: We’ve been told the local municipal authorities are calling on the harbor master to release our boat. #flotilla2

RT @GFFAusGroup: Journalists are reluctant to leave the boat without assurances their photos won’t be confiscated. #flotilla2

RT @GFFAusGroup: They are also refusing to sign any documents, should they be asked to do so #flotilla2

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Statement of the Greek Government on their site

Foreign Ministry Announcement regarding Greece’s intention to undertake the task of transporting humanitarian aid

Despite the request of the Secretary General of the United Nations, the recommendations of the EU reflected in the conclusions of the European Council, yesterday’s relevant appeal of the Quartet and the Greek Foreign Ministry’s urging not to participate in the flotilla attempting to break the Gaza blockade, certain groups of Greek and foreign citizens, without having received the necessary permission required according to the rules of safety, insisted to go through with the enterprise.

In light of these developments and concerned primarily with the protection and safety of human life, the Greek Government decided to ban the departure from Greek ports of vessels with Greek or foreign flags bound for Gaza.

Greece’s stance regarding the need to lift the Gaza blockade and to improve the humanitarian conditions in the area is known and remains unchanged. Greece’s positions of principle for the need to respect international law and not to resort to the use of force are also well known. Greece, as it is widely known, actively supports the resumption of peace talks, which constitute the only road to a comprehensive and viable resolution of the Palestinian issue, with the creation of a Palestinian state that will coexist peacefully with the state of Israel. These positions have been made clear to all concerned parties.

In this context, Greece reiterates its willingness and proposes to undertake the task of transporting the humanitarian aid, with Greek vessels or other appropriate means, through the existing channels as requested by the Secretary General of the United Nations.

To this avail, Greece will come into immediate and direct contact with the UN and all the concerned parties, in order to render the mission feasible on behalf of our country.

In this critical conjuncture, we should all demonstrate a sense of responsibility or assume entirely and exclusively the responsibility for our actions. The Government will act as it must in an orderly fashion and according to the laws of the State.

Related Links

Why Is Greece Hindering the Gaza Flotilla?
What’s the Impact of Israel’s Natural Gas Find?
DFAT chasing Aussie flotilla arrest report
Canadian activist slams Greece for turning back Gaza-bound vessel
Australian in Gaza flotilla detained: reports

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Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi looks at an organisation that is out to influence how the Middle East is seen in the rest of the world’s media.

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