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Ann Wright

Col. Ann Wright (Ret.) resigned from the State Department on March 19, 2003 in protest of the invasion of Iraq

July 14th, 2011 9:43 AM

Gaza Flotilla: American and Spanish Activists Hunger Strikes & Israeli Flag flying over the US Embassy

American Hunger Strikers at US Embassy in Athens, Greece, Met with Detention

Late in the day on July 3, 7 Americans began a peaceful, non-violent hunger strike across the street from the US Embassy in Athens, Greece to protest the July 2 arrest and imprisonment of Captain John Klusmire, the captain of the US Boat to Gaza, the Audacity of Hope for his challenge to the Greek government’s capitulation to Israeli demands that boats of the Gaza flotilla in Greece not be allowed to sail to Gaza.

Captain John was put in a police lockup without food, water and a bed on the first day/night and subsequently was transferred to two other police jails in the four days he was held.  He was not visited by US Embassy consular officials for four days until the morning of his hearing on July 5.

The hunger strikers were also protesting the imprisonment of the boat itself at a US Embassy/Greek Coast Guard base in the port city of Keritsini.

By 1am on U.S. Independence Day, July 4, the Americans taken into custody and detained by Greek police with the approval of the US Embassy and moved to a Greek police station where they remained for 4 hours.  Not to be deterred, the activists returned later on July 4 to a park across the street from the Ambassador’s residence. Police immediately detained them and took them to the police station where they remained for another 3 hours.

Three days later, on July 7 at the U.S. Ambassador’s Independence Day gala evening event, at the direction of American Embassy security officials,  nine American citizen activists were chased from the Embassy area by ninja turtle Greek riot police.  The entire area around the Embassy and Ambassador’s residence had a huge number of undercover American and Greek agents who not so skillfully were taking photos of the 9 American citizens who were protesting the sixth day of imprisonment of the Audacity of Hope.

Spanish Activists Occupy the Spanish Embassy for 8 Days, Begin a Hunger Strike and Win their Demand for Release of their Boat

Meanwhile, on July 5, at the Spanish Embassy in Athens, following a scheduled meeting with the Spanish Ambassador, 12 Spanish citizen activists from the Spanish Boat to Gaza took over the ground floor of the Embassy intending to remain there until the Spanish Foreign Ministry interceded with the Greek government to release their boat and allow it to sail to Spain.

After six days of occupation, on July 11, six of the activists began a hunger strike inside the Embassy and two others participated in the hunger strike from Madrid stating  that they would fast until "the Spanish government shows some sign that it will intercede (with the Greek authorities) so that the Spanish boat to Gaza, the Gernika, may sail freely across the Mediterranean."

Hunger Strike Ends with Success for the Spanish

On July 13, fed up with the Embassy occupied and a hunger strike beginning, the Spanish Foreign Ministry and the Spanish Ambassador to Greece made a deal with the Greek and Israeli governments that Spanish boat would be freed and allow to sail to Spain!.

Audacity of Hope Still Imprisoned at US Embassy/Greek Coast Guard dock in Miserable Conditions

In contrast to the Spanish success with their government, the Audacity of Hope has been imprisoned by Greek authorities on behalf of the US and Israeli governments for 13 days at the very insecure and unsafe US Embassy/Greek Coast Guard dock in the fishing/industrial port of Keritsini near Pireaus.

With no shore power, in 100 degree heat,  with a Russian grain freighter blowing grain and dust over the area as it unloads its cargo into hundreds of trucks that transit the pier, health conditions onboard the boat are deteriorating.

American Embassy should fly the Israeli Flag

When a Greek shipping agent for the Russian grain ship asked us how long our ship had been detained and what our Embassy was doing to help us, he ended the conversation with “The American Embassy should fly the Israeli flag and our Greek government should fly both the Israeli and American flags.”

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