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US captain of Gaza ship held in 'shocking conditions'
Published Sunday 03/07/2011 (updated) 05/07/2011 11:29
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Israeli left-wing protesters hold signs during a demonstration against the Greek
authorities' decision to ban a Gaza-bound flotilla from setting sail outside the
Greek embassy in Tel Aviv. Jumpy activists on the ill-fated mission to Gaza insist
the evidence is mounting that Israeli secret services are behind the slew of
mishaps that have dogged the flotilla. [AFP/David Buimovitch]
ATHENS (AFP) -- The captain of a US vessel intercepted after it tried to defy a ban and sail for Gaza from Greece was being held in "shocking conditions" Sunday and has not received consular assistance, a lawyer said.

Captain John Klusmer was arrested when the US boat Audacity of Hope -- the flagship in a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists -- attempted to leave Greek waters on Friday after Athens banned all Gaza-bound ships from setting sail.

Klusmer was charged with two felonies and ordered to appear in court Tuesday. The US Boat to Gaza organization said he was being held in jail in "shocking conditions" and as far as it was aware, had not yet received consular assistance.

New York lawyer Richard Levy -- a passenger on the boat who has visited Klusmer in jail in a port town near Athens -- told enraged US activists that "he had no bed or toilet in his cell, and is receiving no food or water".

"We've offered to pay his bail," said passenger Robert Naiman, from the Washington-based Just Foreign Policy organization. "But we have had no indication at all that he will be allowed out of jail before Tuesday."

The US embassy in Athens was not available for comment.

The Audacity of Hope -- which was carrying 3,000 letters of support for Palestinians -- set sail without warning, leaving behind nine other ships that had hoped to sail together to challenge Israel's naval blockade on Gaza.

It was quickly intercepted by a coastguard vessel with masked, armed men on board. After a stand-off, the boat turned back to a small naval port.

Passengers were free to go but initially chose to stay on board in defiance of the Greek authorities.

Sunday morning they were back in Athens to "do what we can to help the captain", including "reaching out to members of the US Congress" for help in getting Klusmer released or improving the conditions in which he is held.

The flotilla has been beset with bureaucratic problems and two cases of "sabotage" over the last week and only four of the initial 10 boats -- two French, one Spanish and one Canadian -- were in the running Sunday.

Organizers said three of the boats planned to set sail Monday morning, despite the Greek ban which is in place "until further notice". Activists said they were "resigned" to being intercepted by the coastguard.

A fourth boat, the French Dignity, was going to attempt to sail Sunday, but was thought to be heading for Crete, not Gaza.

The ships will be sailing illegally because they have not resolved a series of bureaucratic issues and some have had key documents confiscated by the Greek authorities.

Israel credited its "diplomatic efforts" for the delays and setbacks that have kept the vessels grounded.

"I welcome all the efforts that have been made to stop the flotilla," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday.

"The success... is the fruit of intensive contacts with states in the region and the international community," he said.
1 ) Mags O' Brien / Ireland
03/07/2011 18:19
Disgraceful conduct by Greeks, they are now morally bankrupt - sold for 30 pieces of silver!! US should also hang thier heads in shame. We sailed for the sake of Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, Greeka nd US actions are for money. SHAME ON BOTH GOVERNMENTS - SHAME ON ISRAEL

2 ) Paul / Greece
03/07/2011 20:54
As a Greek, I'm ashamed of what this Greek government is doing both to my people and to the Flotilla. Papandreou is desperate to make friends where there are none for Greece after the collapse of the economy. In his dsperation, he is shaking hands with the Devil, otherwise knows as the Zionist Netanyahu regime in an attempt to garner favour.

Papandreou, not only are you a traitor to the Greek people, but you are a traitor to freedom itself.

3 ) Robert Haymond / Canada/Israel
03/07/2011 21:21
More dishonest reporting from the deceptive left! By this time, the coterie of non-believers is growing and the socalled "human rights activists" are becoming thouroughly discredited; just look at recent current events and their aftermath including, but not limited to, the "Freedom Flotilla". Belief in what the leftist/Islamic propaganda machine is being ground down and that is as it should be.

4 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
03/07/2011 21:53
This flotilla fiasco with the Greeks is so badly sunk it's pathetic. While I fully support the Greeks in stopping the boats, it's obvious that our government has been calling the shots. So now the American captain is in jail ??? ... RELEASE HIM TO THE U.S. EMBASSY ON CONDITION HIS BUTT IS SENT BACK TO AMERICA !!! Next, tell Ann Wright (I think she's a former U.S. military officer) to ORDER all the crap on board to be inspected for banned items and then SEND IT to the Red Crescent !!!

5 ) Tippol Aleihem / UK
03/07/2011 21:56
“New York lawyer Richard Levy -- a passenger on the boat who has visited Klusmer in jail in a port town near Athens -- told enraged US activists that "he had no bed or toilet in his cell, and is receiving no food or water".
Now compare and contrast this to the Club Med atmosphere that Israel is providing to Palestinians terrorists in Israeli prisons.
Like Bibi said the party is over, no more privileges granted to them

6 ) Mhara Costello / complicit uk
03/07/2011 22:14
Isreal ; cowardly scum of the earth. Greek government - no money, no honour.

7 ) Janet / Americas
03/07/2011 22:19
So what is left to achieve Palestinian freedoms? The UN is closed to them, the legal courts are closed to them, non-violence is closed to them, armed struggle is closed to them, fair/equal negotiations are closed, world body is closed to them..what is left for them to get their rights and end Israel/US/EU/Arab occupations over them. All channels are closed to these people...really what is left to achieve freedoms?!

8 ) myassar Atyani / Palestine
03/07/2011 23:12
What a bout Lieberman saying "the Israeli Foreign Minister" ( I welcome all efforts that have been made to stop the flotilla ) he was happy that their deplomatic efforts to stop the and delay the it but they cant stop the solidarity from all of you with us with Gaza .

9 ) Kevin Gallagher / USA
03/07/2011 23:34
What are you so afraid of Zionist Israel, that a few elderly people on boats speak truth to your power? It is shameful what you do to the Palestinian people, and shameful the example you give to the children of Israel.

10 ) George / USA
04/07/2011 00:04
1) Mags O' Brien/Ireland; Don't forget Britain. Irish People and Palestinians share the same cause and the same adversary. Palestinians' dispossession and misery under occupation are the result and consequence of Balfour promise in 1917. Thumbs up to the Irish freedom fighters. Love you Mags.

11 ) Outsider / EU
04/07/2011 01:48
1) Difficult to disagree with your comment. One of the more bizarre and least commendable actions of a Greek government. What were they thinking?

12 ) Takwa Tissaoui / Tunisia
04/07/2011 01:55
i'm not surprised at all because zionists want to stop flotilla at any cost . besides all goverments around the world are puppets in the hands of zionists . i'm not expecting anything from them to support the palestinian case.

13 ) popeye / disney
04/07/2011 02:17
blow me down, i am so proud to see common sense takes over childish whimps

14 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
04/07/2011 02:26
Sorry, Mags. The Greek gov is doing the bidding of the US, as ordered by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Obama and Clinton no longer even pretend to set US foreign policy. Greece is broke. And it is a US holiday weekend. He may be in bad shape, but survival without water is possible for a few days. When he gets home, Israel will tell our Justice Department what to try him for. They also will have to figure out how to circumvent our trial by jury system. Or they may drop it.

15 ) Joe Fattal / USA
04/07/2011 04:23
The Greece should have offer a navy escort to the ships sailing for Gaza. Israel wouldn't have dare firing on Greek ships. If they did they would have had probably every country in the Mediterranean navy ships on their beaches. And that's how you break the blockade, not sending activists with no knowledge of sea war in their belt. They want to do it, do it and enforce it not sail and expect Israel will meet with open arms. By now they all should know, you can't negotiate with Israel.

16 ) David E. Mynott II / United States
04/07/2011 04:57
Has the world gone insane? Or rather, is it still so? This is a simple, straightforward, diplomatic mission of unarmed peace activists delivering relief supplies. My country's government, in league with Israel (& heaven know who else), is committing outrageous breaches of international law to prevent suffering people from receiving desperately-needed aid. A situation that Israel, the US, & others have deliberately created. How can we allow this evil—the shame of the world—& call ourselves men?

17 ) Yoko Vidal Carril / Argentina
04/07/2011 05:38
Shame on Greece. Prostitutes of IsraHell

18 ) John Macyntire / England
04/07/2011 06:29
I've seen lots of pretty convincing evidenceihe United Nations has concluded that the maritime siege is legal in international law. It's bizarre to see so many well meaning people in service of Hamas. Is is it just naivete?

19 ) Robert1234 / USA
04/07/2011 06:32
Mostly, shame on Greece for being a puppet for Israel/USA. Some "home of democracy, etc." When you talk to the Greek embassy, emphasize that you will NOT be visiting Greece EVER. Greece is hugely reliant on tourist trade, so telling them Americans won't visit a repressive and anti-American nation like Greece will have an effect on them. But, they are going bankrupt and being controlled by the E.U. and IRM anyway so maybe they don't care? Their country is dead and now it stinks.

20 ) BJAF / UK
04/07/2011 12:01
I suspect at some stage we will find out how much morally bankrupt facist Israel paid to financially bankrupt corrupt Greece in order to get the greeks to forget their humanity.

21 ) YonTam / Isr
04/07/2011 13:14
#16: "activists delivering relief supplies"? please look at the article - "carrying 3,000 letters of support for Palestinians" this is a political envoy, trying to break a legal meritime blockade, unless of course you expect the ppl of Gaza to eat the letter for their fiber content.

22 ) SubversiveBrighton / UK
04/07/2011 14:10
Meanwhile Gaza continues to be a concentration camp and Isreali war crimes go unpunished.

23 ) Filipe / Portugal
04/07/2011 14:20
I am sure that Captain Klusmer is receiving the same treatment and living in the same conditions as any other person being held in a Greek jail. What did he and his passengers think would happen when they defied a direct order from the Greek authorities?

24 ) AKUS / USA
04/07/2011 14:53
There is nothing shocking about the captain's imprisonment. Those are just the normal conditions Greek provides to criminals it arrests.

25 ) alex / usa
04/07/2011 15:20
If the palastinians want peace why do they fight against israel? Just be peaceful and stop murdering jews. they don't want peace because they are all a bunch of animals that can't think of anything but killing jews or killing themselves in the process of killing jews how sick. Just like the japs in ww2. A few well placed bombs solved that problem.

26 ) Impidel / USA
04/07/2011 18:10
Greece, look how they turn on you. You supported the Palestinians for year after year and look what they think of you, look how they thank you. You refuse them one thing and you become dirt to them. This is the gangster mentality Israel must deal with every day. Do what they want or you are "corrupt", "prostitutes", "pathetic" and worse. Greece, look how they treat you in your time of difficulty, look how they remember all you have done for them. Remember this.

04/07/2011 18:42
Give it up losers! Turkey, Greece, the Dutch walk-offs ... no one really cares that your little left wing adventure tour is fizzling. Looks like you will have to make up a batch of new t-shirts with new slogans for the next "important cause". But you can wear your old ones to parties to show you were martyred. Your insults to Greece (who was your friend) and bizarre conspiracy theories just prove to everyone you are pathetically childish or seriously delusional. But we knew that already.

28 ) Colin Wright / USA
04/07/2011 19:31
To Robert Haymond #3 'More dishonest reporting from the deceptive left...' Greece has been suddenly swept by pro-Israeli sentiment that extends even to allowing Israel to conducts acts of sabotage on her territory. Sure, Robert. It is you that are dishonest, and you even have to be dishonest with yourself. As I've pointed out, this is pretty much a prerequisite for supporting Israel. No one can argue on her behalf without immediately resorting to lies.

29 ) Colin Wright / USA
04/07/2011 19:34
I persist in thinking that Israel could hardly have influenced Greece directly to this extent. Indeed, there's no evidence that she did. What strikes me as the only plausible explanation is that Israel influenced the UNITED STATES -- and influenced her to tell Greece the IMF plug would be pulled unless she stopped the flotilla.

30 ) Ben Alofs / UK/Netherlands
04/07/2011 21:07
To John Macyntire/England @ 18.
The UN and the ICRC supported by numerous human rights groups, issued a statement in June 2010 that collective punishment is a violation of international humanitarian law.
Israel has wrecked Gaza's economy, making export of Gaza produce impossible and restricting any imports to a bare minimum, causing great suffering for the poorest, incl. the children (unemployment 45%, 300.000 people on a dollar a day). The cruelty of Israel is reprehensible.

31 ) Fatilall Joe / gaza
04/07/2011 23:25
good golly miz molly, what a noise around a bunch of antishemites

32 ) popeye / disney
04/07/2011 23:33
ha, it is so nice to meet the twisted enemies of humanity in this board a lovely reminder that plain antishemite, freedom hater lefties are so piss off

33 ) Janus / UK
05/07/2011 01:53
Thumbing one's nose at the laws of the land of which you hold citizenship is one thing, thumbing your nose at the laws of other sovereign states is quite another. May each and every protestor be prosecuted, for giving aid & comfort to terrorist hamas, 2 the full extent of the law of both the country of their citizenship, AND the laws of the land from whence they sought to depart to run a legal, legitimate maritime blockade imposed by the sovereign State of Israel, over the port of gaza.

34 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Canada
05/07/2011 08:29
Ben Alofs: For a physician you do lack balance and objectivity. I read your posts in Ynet but even there you aren't so astonishingly ignorant as your post here on Maan. Of course you know of the 9,700 rockets and mortars launched into Israeli territory between 2005-2008 and the loss of 29 civilian lives, the last being a teenager in a yellow school bus. Somehow, to a man like you, Jewish lives (like Gilad Schalit's) are of no value whatsoever. It's called good old-fashioned anti-semitism, Ben
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