Ma’an is all over this unpleasant development…

Captain of American boat jailed in Athens

…John Klusmer is being charged with two felonies, organizers of the boat told reporters at a news conference in the Greek capital. The investigation will begin Tuesday, they said.

Klusmer was handcuffed and jailed Saturday afternoon. He and the organizers initially understood the charges to be misdemeanors. They later discovered the charges to be felonies upon arrival at the station.

The captain’s four-member crew is being detained on the boat. While passengers are free to go, they are staying on the Audacity of Hope as a show of solidarity with their captain and crew.

US Boat to Gaza organizer Jane Hirschmann told reporters the captain was charged with disobeying a police order not to leave the port and disturbing sea traffic.

The latter charge drew laughs from reporters.

Hirschmann responded, “That’s an interesting one, isn’t it?”

Hirschmann said the second charge was the result of a complaint lodged against the US Boat to Gaza by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli law center which is funded by American activist and pastor John Hagee.

Hagee is a fundamentalist Christian who operates a pro-Israel group in the US.

Hirschmann called the charges “bogus” and added that “We hope to move on this before Tuesday and try to make sure that that [our captain] gets out.”

She says the flotilla is not seeking a new captain for the Audacity of Hope.

Passengers “are very worried about the captain and feel responsible for the captain. But they’re also very determined people on the boat. They chose to stay on the ship,” Hirschmann said.

Hirschmann and other organizers said the ships that make up the flotilla would not sail alone.

When asked if the US boat had been effectively sidelined, Hirschmann responded, “We don’t know, we’re the Audacity of Hope and the audacity of hope triumphs over the audacity of violence and the audacity of threats. And our boat has not been impounded. Yet.”…

I did posit early on, that it would be ‘trumped up’ charges he’d face, I just didn’t realize it would be that trumped up…!

More from Ma’an…

Greece says ban on ships for Gaza to protect activists

Greece said it acted to protect pro-Palestinian activists when it banned all Gaza-bound ships from leaving the country’s ports for a second day Saturday.

The Civil Protection Authority confirmed the ban on departures of ships “with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza” was in place “until further notice.”

The ban had been imposed in light of “the need to protect national interests” as well as “the immediate dangers to human life posed by the attempt to break the blockade,” a statement from the Greek authority said.

It cited Israel’s “declaration to use violence against those who attempt to break the blockade,” as well as a UN plea for member states on the Mediterranean “to use their influence to discourage” the mission.

The sheer hypocrisy of the Greeks’ words and deeds are staggering, indeed…!

From the latest press release from the US Boat to Gaza about the latest shenanigans…

U.S. Boat to Gaza Seized by Greek Authorities and Captain Jailed
Passengers Determined to Free Captain and Set Sail Again

…Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel, responded strongly to the arrest of the American captain of the U.S. Boat to Gaza. “I think it’s outrageous what the Greek government is doing to our captain who was taking a group of Americans to challenge the illegal Israeli blockade. We call on the Greek government to release our Captain and dismiss all charges.”

Yonatan Shapira, a crew member on The Audacity of Hope and former Israeli Air Force captain, said the captain of the U.S. Boat should be praised, not condemned for his actions. “The captain acted out of concern for the safety of the passengers and boat by taking us away from the Greek port where other flotilla boats are being sabotaged,” Shapira said.

After five days of stalling, the Greek authorities produced the results of the inspection of the boat, which took place on Monday, June 27. The Greek government inspected the boat on the basis of an anonymous complaint alleging that the boat is not seaworthy. The anonymous complaint later turned out to have been filed by the Israel Law Center. The list of infractions cited on the inspection report included such things as technical details regarding the construction material of the hull and the fact that the private inspection report emailed to the authorities was unsigned. “None of these alleged infractions are actually regulations that boats are required to meet,” said group’s Greek lawyer Emmanuel Stephanakis. “It’s obvious that these are politically motivated, baseless charges calculated to stop the U.S. Boat to Gaza from sailing.”

“This shameful chapter in Greek history is symbolized by Prime Minister Netanyahu thanking his Greek counterpart Prime MInister Papandreou for his cooperation in helping thwart the flotilla, and by the fully-armed and masked Greek commandos at sea, pointing their guns at unarmed American civilians singing “We are a gentle, loving people,” says passenger Medea Benjamin…

I’m thoroughly disgusted by the sad actions the Greeks have taken, by kowtowing to Mammon, particularly, when the Greek ‘unwashed’ masses couldn’t be any more pissed at their Politicians’ blatant $ell-out to the MOTU’s…!

On the flip side, I happen to agree with 972+’s intrepid, Noam Sheizaf…

Triumphant over flotilla, Netanyahu is stronger than ever

With no threat from his political rivals and no pressure from Washington, the Israeli PM is enjoying the best weeks of his career. Yet his rightwing politics are likely to bring a much bigger change than his supporters care to imagine

…Yet the Middle East has a strange way of turning your victories against you. Netanyahu has no vision, and his politics resemble troubleshooting. It’s no wonder that his goals are the subject of an endless guessing game.

It seems that ultimately, Netanyahu wishes to secure Israeli control over as much as possible of the West Bank, understanding that he won’t be able to control it all forever. If that is the case, his policies are likely to backfire: It was Netanyahu’s rejectionism that got the world’s attention to nature of the occupation; it’s his backing of the settlements that will ensure Israel is unable to force a quasi-state on the Palestinians (since there will be no room left for even this kinda of a state); it’s Netanyahu’s successful manipulation of the US Congress that proved the limits of the administration’s and the State Department’s ability to serve as an honest broker between Palestinians and Israelis and left Jews in the States torn apart and bitter; and it’s his coalition’s anti-democratic legislation that shows the need to an overhaul reform regarding the Jewish character of the Israeli state.

In short, The Prime Minister is winning every battle on his way to lose the entire war. As long as his poll numbers are high and his republican backers are happy, I guess he would be the last to care.

As one commenter had wryly quipped; ‘The Titanic was “unsinkable” until it hit the iceberg’…

One can only hope…!

Again, God Bless and God Speed…!