Israel Refuses to Charge AbuSisi, Extends Detention, Family to File European Court of Human Rights Complaint
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A report ten hours ago from Assaf Kinzer which I just read on Facebook:
| ***** BREAKING NEWS *****
Israeli troops have now invaded northern Gaza, and are currently going from house to house. The sky is buzzing with armed Drones who have been in the air for hours, accompanied by Apache helicopters. The situation in Gaza is very tense, and the people are fearing the worst tonight.
Assaf is watching reports from Gaza TV. This Haaretz report only mentions Israeli air attacks but doesn’t refer to the far more disturbing development involving the commitment of ground troops and essentially an invasion.
This latest violence proves, to me, something I have said many times here, that there is no peace without Gaza, no peace without Hamas. You can pretend as long as you want that Abbas and the PA are Israel’s partners (that is, on the good days when Israel deigns to call them that). But there can be no real Palestinian partner who turns his back on Hamas and Gaza. And this rule holds true for the great powers like the EU and U.S. Ignore Hamas at your peril. If you wish unending bloodshed, continue with this benighted policy. If you want peace, talk to Hamas.
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Israel Refuses to Charge AbuSisi, Extends Detention, Family to File European Court of Human Rights Complaint
Today, the Israeli authorities held a hearing on the case of Dirar Abusisi, kidnapped by the Mossad from Ukraine last month, brought to Israel by rendition, and imprisoned there for unspecified reasons while being interrogated intensively by the Shabak. Though Israeli media sources reported that the security services and prosecutor would announce charges against him “in the coming days,” they did not do so today. Instead, after interrogating him for 34 consecutive days, they came to the court hearing with nothing. Here is what his attorney, Smadar Ben Natan reports:
The state came today with a request to extend the detention in additional 8 days, this was supported by an approval of the senior state attorney, Shay Nitzan, and with the explanation that the prosecution went through the evidence material and asked for 8 additional actions in order to complete the investigation.
We argued that if the state does not have enough evidence after 34 days of interrogation, where they should have had evidence to justify the outrageous arrest even before [it occurred], Derar should be released and returned to Ukraine. They were trying to justify the arrest by making him confess [to their] accusations.
The court allowed the detention until next Thursday.
Derar looked very tired and complained that he can’t stand it anymore and that they are just repeating the same questions over and over again, and trying to break him.
Dirar has lost weight during his ordeal. The food he is provided is unpalatable. The questioning is abusive at the very least.
I would ask any supporter of Israel, including those who disagree with my views: what good can possibly come of an outrageous breach of human rights like this? Is this the way you choose to allow your security services to operate?
So let’s say Dirar is the worst you can conceive. If you want to kidnap him and render him to Israel wouldn’t you have a case against him before doing so? In what kind of legal system do you arrest someone before having such a case built, and then attempt to figure out what to charge him with based on what he tells you during interrogation?
And let’s say he tells you something new you didn’t know during interrogation. Surely, you can file a basic charge and then amplify it with what you learn later. The fact that they have refused to file any charge at all is outrageous. The fact that they come and demand an extension is equally outrageous.
I’m just attempting to understand (though it is difficult, admittedly) the thinking of the secret police and those who aid and abet them in the Israeli legal system. Surely, this can’t be a model that any democratic country can hold up for praise.
I’ll tell you what all of this makes me believe: there is no case against Dirar. At least nothing sufficient to the charges they’d prefer to bring. Possibly Dirar is holding up better than they expected under the brutal forms of interrogation Shabak uses in such cases. They may’ve expected him to give them enough to bring such charges. At any rate, since you won’t charge him, free him. That has to be our demand.
Even if Israel frees him and returns him to Ukraine, it can still request extradition from that country and then prosecute legally using legitimate evidence in a trial that features due process, unlike the charade currently on parade. I’m sure Ukraine would be only too happy to oblige given their acquiescence in every Israeli depredation involving this case.
I urge the Israeli human rights community to protest outside Petah Tikvah court next Thursday to hold the security forces feet to the fire. Demand accountability. Deny impunity. Smadar also told me that there was a huge press gaggle outside the courtroom and she was interviewed by CNN, which promised a story. The Israeli press was out in full force and has finally decided it can cover a story it should’ve been aggressively pursuing a month ago. All of this is good for Dirar. As I’ve written here before, the security apparatus loves the dark and shuns the light. Light sends them cowering back into the shadows. Or at least forces a tactical retreat.
Veronika Abusisi, Dirar’s wife, who is in Ukraine, is pursuing legal remedies within that country, demanding that the government disclose what role it played in the kidnapping. She plans to file a court case. After the case goes through the rather discredited Ukrainian legal system, Yousef, Dirar’s brother, who is a Dutch citizen, would have recourse to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, where he plans to bring a complaint against Ukraine.
The Ukranian authorities might want to consider what impact this might have on their attempts to showcase their country as a model of European openness and accountability. I’ve mentioned the European Cup championship to be hosted by that country in 2012 and the multi-million dollar ad campaign attempting to bring hundreds of thousands of soccer tourists to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy. Trampling on the rights of foreign nationals who have come to Ukraine to apply for citizenship can’t help that process.
To rectify their misdeeds, I’d urge the Ukrainian Interior Ministry to approve Dirar’s application for citizenship and demand his return to Ukraine. Then, as far as I’m concerned bygones can be bygones.
So far, the Ukrainian authorities haven’t acquitted themselves very well. The Interior Ministry and security services rather lamely denied any knowledge or complicity in the kidnapping saying it was against Ukrainian law for any agent of the state to cooperate in such an action. As if, that would prevent anyone from doing such given the right incentive, whether monetary or political. A Ukrainian anti-immigrant crusader, Eduard Bagirov, who appears to be either an overt or covert mouthpiece of the authorities even posted the claim that Abusisi was really a Mossad double agent inside Gaza. In order to protect him from exposure, the Mossad arranged for him to travel to Ukraine, took him, and brought him back to Israel. A rather extraordinary level of imaginative powers is required to wrap one’s mind around that one. But this tell you the level of desperation these people face in covering up their dirty deeds.
Please considering joining the Facebook support group for Dirar.
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Let me get this out of the way: I’m a proud delegitimizer of the Occupation. And I expect, nay demand to be included among those investigated by the new IDF military intelligence unit created to monitor the evil deeds of Diaspora delegitimizers (like you and I).
Aman, IDF’s military intelligence unit, has come up with the single worst, most offensive idea to come out of Israel in–well, in at least a week or so. No actually and seriously this is one really big disaster of an idea. It’s so horrible, it’s hard to wrap my mind around just how bad it is:
Military Intelligence [Aman] is collecting information about left-wing organizations abroad that the army sees as aiming to delegitimize Israel, according to senior Israeli officials and Israel Defense Forces officers.
The sources said MI’s research division created a department several months ago that is dedicated to monitoring left-wing groups and will work closely with government ministries…
The undefined and potentially broad scope of such a venture, which IDF sources say is focusing on how to respond to maritime convoys aimed at breaching Israel’s Gaza blockade, has some Foreign Ministry officials concerned that the army is overreaching.
Now keep in mind, this is Avigdor Lieberman and Danny Ayalon’s MFA that is raising red flags about this noxious project. The most right-wing of the governing coalition even worries that the spooks may’ve gone overboard. That tells you something.
“We ourselves don’t know exactly how to define delegitimization,” said one ministry official. “This is a very abstract definition. Are flotillas to Gaza delegitimization? Is criticism of settlements delegitimization? It’s not clear how Military Intelligence’s involvement in this will provide added value.”
Wow, a voice of reason. Who’d a thunk it coming from the MFA.
Military Intelligence officials said the initiative reflects an upsurge in worldwide efforts to delegitimize Israel and question its right to exist.
Shall we challenge them to name a single group that denies Israel’s right to exist. Who does? BDS? Wrong. BDS is an attack on the Occupation, not Israel’s existence.
“The enemy changes, as does the nature of the struggle, and we have to boost activity in this sphere,” an MI official said. “Work on this topic proceeds on the basis of a clear distinction between legitimate criticism of the State of Israel on the one hand, and efforts to harm it and undermine its right to exist on the other.”
This is pure b(^^#)&t. No one in Aman, just as no one inside the Israel lobby makes any distinction whatsoever between criticism of Israel and undermining its right to exist. You and I know that in the narrow minded brains of these ideologues there is no difference. Unless, they’re saying that legitimate criticism of Israel comes from the likes of the Labor party or Kadima, but no one else. Under those narrow, twisted terms, I guess they’d be right.
The following passage contains possibly the most alarming, damaging admission. The new spook unit will not just monitor activity in Israel or from Israel, it will actively monitor groups in the U.S. and Europe. One presume that this means they might even do so on European or U.S. soil. I would hope a few of our more courageous Congress members might have a question or two about such activity. I’m wondering how many U.S. laws such spying would violate here. I hope at least a few.
If I didn’t know better, I’d also call for a Knesset investigation of this idiocy. But the Knesset IS the very type of people who think this is a neat idea. Why would anyone expect any sanity coming from its halls?
Personally, I find it deeply offensive that the State of Israel is going to keep tabs on groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and blogs like mine, Phil Weiss’ and others. I say “keep tabs.” You and I both know that Israeli intelligence doesn’t just keep tabs. It engages in active campaigns to smear the work of such people. In fact, I’ve even written here about my suspicion that some efforts to plant stories here may be more than the effort of wannabe pro-Israel spooks:
The new MI unit will monitor Western groups involved in boycotting Israel, divesting from it or imposing sanctions on it. The unit will also collect information about groups that attempt to bring war crime or other charges against high-ranking Israeli officials, and examine possible links between such organizations and terror groups.
…The unit’s other spheres of responsibility have yet to be clearly defined, but are expected to involve pinpointing the subjects that Israel’s other intelligence agencies should investigate, sources said.
Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser: delegitimizing the delegitimizers (whew, that was a mouthful!)
Did you hear that JVP, Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky and who knows how many thousands of others? You’re a target.
The quality of intelligence information about groups aimed at delegitimizing Israel has improved and the quantity has increased in recent months, said an official in the Prime Minister’s Office.
“There is a demand for such information,” he said. “Officials need information on such topics, and it hasn’t always been available in the past, because there was a lack of awareness pertaining to this topic in the intelligence community. The new unit’s orientation will be to collect information and carry out intelligence research for the Foreign Ministry and other government ministries.
The unit has the support of Brig. Gen. (res. ) Yossi Kuperwasser, the director general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry and a previous head of MI’s research division. During the second intifada, he pushed for the intelligence community’s large-scale involvement in public advocacy and diplomatic matters, a stance that was criticized by other MI officers.
Yet another mid-level spook seeking to advance his career with a cracker-jack program serving absolutely no useful purpose, and which will only further tarnish Israel’s reputation as a state which has lost any semblance of democracy. A state in which the lunatics have taken over the asylum. A state in which spies and security-obsessed freaks make the rules while the nation marches along in virtual lock-step.
What kind of Israel is this? For me, it’s an Israel for which I feel ashamed. Who is delegitimizing Israel? Israel is. Occupation delegitimizes. Killing Gazan teenagers playing soccer with a tank shell delegitimizes. The harm is not from the BDS community. It is from nitwits like Brig. Gen. Kuperwasser who think they’ve come up with a new way to spook the bad guys.
I say with pride that I will gladly sign up as one of the first on the list to be investigated. Not that I will willingly talk to or be interrogated by one of these goons. But to know I am actively being investigated as a delegitimizer of Israel’s Occupation is something devoutly to be wished.
In fact, I suggest that my readers and as many progressive bloggers and NGOs as we can sign up, should send e mails to Brig. Gen. Kuperwasser (doesn’t the guy’s name sound like something out of a Woody Allen New Yorker story?) demanding that we be included among the delegitimizers. Let me be the first to step forward. Can someone get me an e mail address for this tin pot spook?
In case you didn’t guess this already, Kuperwasser is a darling of the Israel lobby, listed as a published author or speaker for groups such as The Israel Project and and Dore Gold’s Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He’s appeared before the neocon Intelligence Summit. And he’s also a favored source of the Washington Times’ Eli Lake and Politico’s Ben Smith–surprise, surprise. His formal job and title is director of the Office for Strategic Affairs under hard-right Likud Minister Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon.
For those who would like to see an example of how such snooping would work in action, read Gideon Levy’s tale of an Israeli “spy” taking copious notes during a talk in Dublin, passing them on to his superiors in foreign ministry central, who redact it to excise anything favorable to Israel and highlight anything critical, and there you have it, a perfect picture of the intelligence state run amok:
About two weeks ago, I was invited to the Jewish Book Week in London, following the publication in English of my book “The Punishment of Gaza.” The Jewish establishment in Britain threatened to boycott the event, the organizers considered hiring security guards, and roughly 500 people, mainly middle-of-the-road Jews, filled the hall, asked questions and mainly, in their modest way, expressed great sympathy. I spoke, as I always do, against the occupation, the injustices and the damage it does to Israel and to the Palestinians, against the attacks on Israeli democracy as I have written in the hundreds of articles that have been published in Haaretz in Hebrew and in English, and as I did at the London School of Economics and Trinity University [ed. College] in Dublin.
As on previous occasions, a “spy” from the Israeli Embassy was sent to Trinity – this one, an Israeli student who was asked to write down what I said and convey it to the embassy. The embassy quickly dispatched a report to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, and the Foreign Ministry quickly leaked it to a well-known newspaper, which published only my harshest statements, without context – and there you have it: the indictment of a dissident.
One can ignore the way the embassy spies on journalists, evoking dark regimes. I would be glad to see a government representative at my lectures who was not under cover, if they have any interest. But one cannot ignore the message conveyed by such conduct – that of a witch hunt against a journalist whose opinions diverge from the party line.
If I were the rector of that university it would give me pause to know a student might’ve been placed at my school for just such a purpose to spy on visiting Israeli left-wing speakers and perhaps even faculty members who refuse to toe the Israeli government party line. I’m guessing the “paper” to which his story was leaked was the Jewish Chronicle, which would seem only too willing to smear someone like Levy. This too raises questions about the extent to which the Israeli intelligence apparatus uses sources, whether wittingly or unwittingly, to advance its own partisan, ideological agenda. It raises questions about whether universities and newspapers should carefully consider such activity and whether it violates ethical norms and the interests of their institutions. In this case, you have a student exploiting his position on campus to advance the interests of Israeli intelligence and you have a newspaper which accepts a deliberately manipulated account of Levy’s speech.
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The census in the UK is supposed to be completed soon. This Palestinian resident of the UK was in a quandary as to which country to say he was born in. Here’s The Independent:
Census took me home at lastAs a British citizen of Palestinian origin, stating my country of birth often poses a problem, and this came to a head when completing the Census 2011 form.My birthplace, Beit Jala, lies in what is now the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Until 1948 it was Palestine; when I was born in 1951 it was under Jordanian rule and I received a Jordanian birth certificate; it was occupied by Israel in 1967, and is now referred to by the UK Government as the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).The census form allows only 17 characters for the answer, so that officially sanctioned name does not fit. I wasn’t sure if “OPT” was a recognised abbreviation, so I called the census helpline.After much internal consultation, and reference to guidance notes, I was told that “We all know it’s occupied” and that I should simply write “Palestine”, which I have done, with considerable pride and satisfaction.It’s gratifying that at least Census 2011 is clear about the reality, even while the UK Government dithers. My British passport states my town of birth but mentions no country, presumably a diplomatic cop-out to avoid controversy. Let’s hope that the UK Government gets off the fence and properly recognises Palestine as a country.Johnny Rizq, London W3
I wonder if they do keep a list of official countries…