The U.S. Boat to Gaza calls for pressure on the U.S. State Department
People around the world are rallying for the release of the boats that Greece is preventing from sailing to Gaza. We call on you to show your solidarity and support for the flotilla as a whole, and in particular for the captain of the U.S. boat, John Klusmire.
Over the past two weeks, two boats of the international flotilla to Gaza have been sabotaged while docked at Greek ports. No one has claimed responsibility for the damage done to these boats. 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.
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, the results of that inspection has not been shared with the captain and his crew. Those results were not shared until the Hellenic Coast Guard stopped The Audacity of Hope some 20 minutes after it had left the dock on Friday, July 1. The Hellenic Coast Guard intercepted the ship and ordered that the ship stop. This order was obeyed. 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.
Captain Klusmire faces two charges: disturbing sea traffic and endangering passengers; and moving away from the dock in violation of an order not to do so. He is being held in a cell without a bed and does not have access to toilet facilities. The only food and water he has had has been brought in by visitors. He has not been visited by anyone from the U.S. Embassy even though he is entitled to such a visit by international law.
The U.S. Boat to Gaza campaign urges you to immediately take the following actions. Even though it is a holiday weekend we urge you to make these calls now, and if necessary to place calls again on Monday and Tuesday.
Contact your members of Congress and urge him or her to pressure the Greek authorities to drop the charges against Captain Klusmire.
Contact the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Greece. Insist that they fulfill their duty to advocate on behalf of Captain Klusmire and that they demand the release of the U.S. boat by Greece so it can freely sail to Gaza.
Sect. of State Hillary Clinton: 202-647-5291
Kim Richter, Consular Affairs, Overseas American Citizens Services, U.S. State Dept: 202-647-8308
Greek Desk, U.S. State Dept: 202-647-6113
U.S. Embassy in Athens: 011-30-210-721-2951, fax 011-30-210-645-6282, website: athens.usembassy.gov
Activate your emergency response network to publicly demonstrate support for Captain Klusmire and our call for Greece to let the flotilla sail! Pass along this action alert as widely as possible.