07 June, 2010

what happened to the 6 missing GAZA SHIP protestors??

here is a report about what happened to the 6 missing protestors

Activist Idris Simsek, who was on board one of the six ships of the Freedom Flotilla during the Israeli attack, claims that four wounded activists were thrown into the sea.

The Israeli troops also put immense psychological pressure on the activists of the Freedom Flotilla, the Turkish daily Today's Zaman quoted Simsek as saying in an article published on Saturday.

Simsek said they expected some harassment from the Israeli forces but did not expect an armed attack.

He went on to say that he witnessed that the person who waived the white flag to surrender was shot by the Israeli troops.

Erol Demir, another activist who was on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, said there is film footage of the chaos and the carnage on the ship and stated that the footage will show the real face of the Israeli military to the entire world.

.They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,. he added.

Hakan Albayrak, a journalist from the Turkish daily Yeni Safak who was also on the ship, said, .It was an outright massacre what Israel did out there. They attacked us in international waters. We had no weapons. I think we lost more people..

The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea early on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the six ships and injuring about 50 other people.

The fate of three other Freedom Flotilla activists is still unknown.

Press TV - 2010-06-05 IRAN
(which is no worse than fox, new york times or CNN/BBC

The death toll of nine is likely to rise, because some activists remain missing;
(The Guardian UK)


Missing Scot had warned of bloody outcome

* 9326591

* Haq Ghani, whose son Hassan was on board ship stormed by Israeli commandos, speaks in George Square. Picture: Lenny Warren

BACKGROUND: Alison Campsie
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1 Jun 2010

The last message left by Hassan Ghani from on board a ship that formed part of the Gaza aid flotilla contained a clear warning of the threat he was facing: .Israeli ships sighted on radar. Approaching..

Glasgow-born Ghani, 25, has not been heard from since. The update was posted on his Facebook page from the Mavi Marmara passenger ship on Sunday night, shortly before Israeli commandos dropped from a helicopter on to the deck, later opening fire on those on board.

The Stirling University graduate, now a London-based journalist for Iranian TV station PressTV, had been covering the Gaza aid attempt for the past week. His reports warned of a potential bloody confrontation should Israeli forces intercept it.

Now an information blackout has left Ghani.s family juggling conflicting reports about his safety. No Facebook updates have been made and mobile phones remain dead.

His father, Haq Ghani, yesterday drove 600 miles from England to Glasgow to be with his family as they desperately awaited official word on his son.s whereabouts.

Mr Ghani, 60, said: .I have been told that no British passengers are among those who have been murdered, but it has not been confirmed. I have tried contracting the Foreign Office, but they have no power or status in Israel..

Ghani.s sister Khadija added: .There have been so many rumours, saying one minute that he.s dead and another that someone has heard he.s fine. We.re all over the place at the moment..

The aid flotilla was one of the biggest ever to flout the blockade placed on Gaza, which has prevented all exports and confined imports to a limited supply of humanitarian goods.

The blockade has been in place since 2007 and aims to weaken the influence of Hamas, which seized power that year. The end result has been appalling living conditions for Gaza.s 1.5 million residents.

The UN has said that 60% of households are short of food, with the same proportion of residents having no daily access to water.

The Mavi Marmara was carrying 100 tonnes of cargo including concrete, medicines and children.s toys, some of which had been collected from the Scottish public. Ali El-Awaisi, 22, an estate agent from Dundee, but Palestine-born, was also on board the Mavi Marmara, chartered by Turkish humanitarian group Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), when it was attacked.

He was planning to deliver 13 palettes of goods collected in the city in just a fortnight, a load with an estimated value of £30,000. It was also a personal mission for El-Awaisi, who has never met his seven aunts who live in Gaza.

His brother, Dr Khalid El-Awaisi, said they were both due to travel on the convoy but he let Ali take the only available space on board.

The Dundee University history and politics lecturer, who last spoke to his brother on Friday, said: .I was hoping to go along with him but then we heard that only one person could go. Now I wish I was there with him, just to make sure he is all right.

.Everyone was in high spirits, everyone was happy, positive that they were trying to get the aid into Gaza. The worst [thing] for us now is being completely cut off from what is going on. We are completely distressed about what has happened to our brother..

Post officer worker Theresa McDermott, 43, from Edinburgh, was sailing on a smaller passenger boat that was part of the flotilla.

She left for Crete two weeks ago to train up new recruits to the aid mission.

McDermott was detained last year in Ramleh Prison by Israeli forces who intercepted the Lebanese cargo ship on which she was travelling on another aid mission. She made a second voyage on another ship, Dignity, and was aboard when it was rammed by the authorities, Carl Abernethy, who co-founded Free Gaza Scotland with McDermott, said he strongly rejected reports from the Israeli Government that those on board the Mavi Marmara were armed when the forces landed on the ship.

.This voyage was about ending the siege of Gaza and if this huge operation was successful in doing this, then the idea was to do it every month,. Abernethy said. .It wouldn.t be in anyone.s interests to sabotage this one..

Abernethy said goods taken to Ireland by McDermott before she joined the flotilla in Crete had been checked for weapons by port authorities there and by representatives of the Free Gaza movement.

Abernethy added: .Theresa was excited but she was worried that if she was arrested and not back in Edinburgh on time her job might be on the line.

.Our concerns now are not only the plight of the people of Gaza, but also the families of those on board who have been murdered..

The shootings follow a number of failed attempts to get aid to Gaza. Last year, the Spirit of Humanity was surrounded by Israeli Navy gunboats and ordered to turn around and return to Larnaca in Cyprus.

Last June, the same ship was apprehended and taken into custody in Israel. Cargo and the vessel were confiscated and the crew and passengers arrested and deported.

An editorial in the Palestine Telegraph last month argued that the Free Gaza organisation was pushing the limits and putting volunteers in danger by going ahead with the latest voyage at a time when the Israel Navy was in training to deal with the flotilla.

Also on the board the flotilla stormed yesterday were 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, of Northern Ireland, crime author Henning Mankell and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 85.


Delivering aid: the reporter, estate agent, postal worker and IT specialist

Hassan Ghani

A 25-year-old Stirling University graduate, from Glasgow, who was reporting from the aid ship when it was attacked. Ghani was with PressTV, an Iranian cable channel. His father Haq, who lives in Partick, spoke at a pro-Palestinian rally in the city last night.

Ali El Awaisi

The 22-year-old Dundee estate agent was on the ship to deliver supplies collected in the city, including a large consignment of concrete. A Palestinian by birth, he moved to Scotland just over 20 years ago and is a former history and politics student at Dundee University.

Theresa McDermott

A postal worker from Edinburgh and a veteran campaigner for human rights in Palestine was imprisoned in Israel last year after the navy intercepted a cargo of aid. The 43-year-old was on a smaller vessel in the flotilla and had gone to Cyprus to train new recruits on the aid mission.

Hasan Nowarah

A father-of-three and a Glasgow-based campaigner who had collected medicines.

The IT professional, 45, was born in Palestine but moved to Scotland 20 years ago. He was known to be travelling with the flotilla, but it is not clear if his boat was attacked by Israeli forces.

Also missing is Ali Awaisi, 21. Last night, Ali.s brother, Khalid, said his family were .very anxious. over the safety of the estate agent from Dundee. .We have been calling but the Israelis have clearly blocked all the numbers,. he said. It is his first aid mission to Gaza.

Sakir Yildirim and Cliff Hanley, both members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign from Bristol, were also on the boats and nothing has been heard from them since the violence.

While the convoy was anchored on Sunday, Mr Yildirim said: .In the past, Israel has been ruthless and unlawful with boats heading for Gaza. They.ve threatened to fire on them, rammed or boarded them, and imprisoned everyone on board. So obviously everyone is a bit tense right now..

Scottish journalist and film-maker, Hassan Ghani, 24, was on board the Turkish vessel broadcasting for the satellite station PressTV as the commandos took control.

In footage posted on YouTube, he said: .We.ve had several injuries here, one is critical. He has been injured in the head and we think he may die if he doesn.t receive medical treatment urgently..

He added: .Another person being passed in front of me right now has been seriously injured..

A spokeswoman for the Israeli Interior Ministry said that the Britons were among 16 passengers detained at Ashdod Port after the first ship, Challenger 1, was towed to shore. Despite being given the option of immediate deportation, 15 chose to stay and face prison, including both UK nationals.

Denis Healey, 55, skippered the Challenger 1, which was flying the American flag. The marine engineer, who originated from Portsmouth but lives in Cyprus, captained the yacht which carried three German MPs, a Swedish MP, and a US former colonel, along with three Irish campaigners named as Dr Fintan Lane, Fiachra O. Luain and Shane Dillon. It is believed that one of the Irish passengers is injured.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was unable to confirm how many British citizens were aboard the flotilla, or whether they were among the dead.

Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, the Northern Irish Nobel peace laureate, was on board the Irish ship MV Rachel. She had previously been arrested and detained in 2009 after attempting to sail aid to Gaza.

Four Scottish passengers are missing, including Hassan Ghani, a 24-year old reporter for the Iranian Government.s news channel, Press TV.

Mr Ghani.s father Haq Ghani, 60, from Glasgow, said he was .fraught. with worry, and condemned the Israeli military.s .disproportionate and aggressive. actions.

He said he had not heard from his son for six or seven days, but that last message posted on his Facebook site mentioned that Israeli ships had been spotted on radar.

Mr Ghani, an activist with the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, added: .He like all of them on board was an innocent bystander. These were not mischievous people; they were in international waters over which the Israelis have no jurisdiction.

.The Government has a duty to see that this entity they created does not go about hijacking people like pirates on the high seas without compunction..

The other Scots have been named as Ali El-Awaisi, 21, from Dundee, and Hassan Nowarah, a Palestinian who has lived in Glasgow for up to 20 years. A fourth, Theresa McDermott, 43, from Edinburgh, is an activist with the Free Gaza campaign group. The Glasgow MSP, Sandra White, said she had received a text message sent on behalf of Ms McDermott at 5am this morning saying .Flotilla attacked, 10 dead.. Ms White said she had desperately tried to get hold of Ms McDermott without success.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said that it had not heard from three volunteers sent out from Britain, two of them British citizens. Sarah Colborne, the group.s director of campaigns and operations, was on board the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara. Cliff Hanley, an artist from Bristol was also missing last night. He had flown out to Turkey this week with Sakir Yildrim, who lives in Southville but is originally from the Black Sea. They joined the flotilla as part of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

A pizza shop owner, Gehad Sukkur, from Altrincham, Cheshire, was orginally from Gaza but had lived in the UK for ten years. Shop worker Adel Lamine said that Mr Sukkur, who has a wife and children, had joined the flotilla to visit family, as well as deliver aid. .We know he was in Crete before going to Cyprus because he was seen on television there on Al Jazeera,. he said. .I don.t know what boat he was on. None of his friends have heard from him yet, we are really worried..

Kevin Ovenden, a prominent member of the Socialist Workers Party on board the flotilla representing British-based charity Viva Palestina is also still missing.

On Sunday, he wrote a blog post describing the atmosphere on board the Mavri Marmara as .calm and determined . thanks in large part to the drive and discipline of the Turkish delegation..

He added: .In fact, the bellicosity coming from Israel is more likely to lead some of those who continue to support it to fall out of love with it..

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posted by u2r2h at Monday, June 07, 2010

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