Spanish Authorities Refuse to Grant Avi Dichter Immunity

31 October 2010 — PCHR Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Press Release Ref: 99/2010

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) notes that the Spanish authorities refused to provide Avi Dichter, former Director of the Israeli General Security Services, with requested immunity prior to a planned visit to Spain. Mr. Dichter is currently the subject of a criminal lawsuit before the Spanish Courts in relation to his role in the Al Daraj assassination of July 22, 2002.

PCHR applaud this move, noting a welcome return to the rule of law. Spain, along with all other High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, is subject to a legal obligation to search for and prosecute all those suspected of committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

Spain’s move comes as a reaffirmation of the desire to ensure that Spain does not become a ‘safe haven’ where suspected war criminals can travel with impunity. However, PCHR note that following intense political pressure from the Israeli government, Spain recently modified its existing universal jurisdiction laws. Such political pressure has no place in the international legal order. All those suspected of committing international crimes must be investigated, and if appropriate prosecuted; victims’ rights must be upheld. PCHR urge Spain to repeal recent amendments to the universal jurisdiction law, noting that these amendments way violate Spain’s international obligations.

The Al Daraj case, brought by PCHR, Hickman & Rose (UK) and Spanish partners Gonzalo Boye, Antonio Segura, Juan Moreno and Raul Maillo, is currently pending before the Spanish Constitutional Court.

Background information relating to the Al Daraj attack

On 22 July 2002, at approximately 11:55 pm, an Israeli Air Force F16 fighter jet dropped a 985 kilogramme bomb on a three-storey apartment building. The attack was intended to kill Salah Shehadeh, the suspected leader of the Izzidin al-Qassam Brigade, Hamas’ military wing. The apartment building was located within the densely populated Al Daraj district, a residential neighbourhood in Gaza City. At the time of the attack, Shehade was on the upper floor of the building. As a result of the blast impact, eight other adjoining and nearby apartment buildings were completely destroyed, nine were partially destroyed, and another 21 sustained considerable damage. Excluding Shehade and his guard, a total of 14 civilians were killed, including eight children. Approximately 150 civilians were injured.

Israeli officials have acknowledged that they decided to drop the bomb on Shehadeh’s house knowing his wife was with him, intentionally killing her as well. The decision to attack apparently also took into consideration the possibility that, along with Shehadeh, approximately 10 civilians would also be killed.

This attack was planned in advance, targeted a densely populated residential area, and was conducted at a time when it could reasonably be expected that there would be an extremely high number of civilians present. This attack constitutes a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and as part of wide spread and systematic war crimes, it also classifies as a crime against humanity.

Those implicated include: former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, his former military advisor Michael Herzog, former IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Moshe Yaalon, former Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter, former Israel Air Force Commander General Dan Halutz, former head of the IDF Operation Branch Major-General Giora Eiland, and former Southern Command Chief Doron Almog.

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PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
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Israel: Apartheid South Africa is already here By Zvi Bar’el

31 October, 2010 — Haaretz

The government is trying to build a protected autonomy for the Jewish majority and a stunted autonomy for the Arab minority.

How could the Israeli public allow a few dozen racists go down into the lion’s den of Umm al-Fahm on their own? Do Michael Ben-Ari, Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir represent only themselves or just the fringes of the extreme right? After all, thousands of Israeli citizens agreed when they heard the thugs’ explanations of the reasons for their march.

Hundreds of thousands in Israel are pleased with the Citizenship Law, glad that the bill will, when it passes – and it will pass – allow discrimination against Arabs who will want to buy a home in a Jewish community, and the majority of the public considers MK Hanin Zuabi a traitor.

Where were all these people while the fascists marched through Umm al-Fahm? Suddenly they are not comfortable being seen with those who reflect precisely the zeitgeist?

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J7: 7/7 Inquests Blog: The Strange Account of Ross Mallinson

28 October, 2010 — J7: 7/7 Inquests Blog

Examining and documenting the proceedings of the Coroner’s Inquest into the London Bombings of 7 July 2005, including analysis of the hearing transcripts and the evidence presented.

In J7’s submission to the 7/7 Inquests, amongst the many questions we posed in relation to the events at Aldgate, we asked:

What train was Mr Mallinson on? Was an announcement made at Aldgate that there had been a bomb on a train?

In the morning session of 25 October Mr Keith questioned a Miss Melanie Jane O’Dell:

“MISS MELANIE JANE O’DELL (sworn)
Questions by MR KEITH
MR KEITH: Good morning.
A. Good morning.
Q. Could you give the court your full name, please?
A. Melanie Jane O’Dell.
Q. May I ask, is it Miss O’Dell or Mrs O’Dell?
A. Miss.”

….

“Q. Did you take Mr Henning with you, in fact, towards the rear of the train as well?
A. Yes, he wanted me to hold his hand and he wanted me to stay — he asked me to stay with him.
Q. And so obviously, because he was injured, you did so?
A. Mm, I was concerned there was another passenger called — whose name was Ross, and I was worried about him, because he wasn’t particularly coherent and he was quite quiet, and he was — he had quite a bad — what looked to me like a bad head cut.
Q. Presumably, he left the carriage along with the rest of you, did he, or did he stay —
A. Somebody else helped him.
Q. Could you see him being brought out?
A. I didn’t see him because he was behind us, but then I saw him — when I got to Aldgate eventually, I went over to Aldgate bus station and got on a double decker bus, I saw him being helped onto — into an ambulance.
Q. So you knew he had been removed from the train?
A. Yes.”

According to O’Dell’s account, Ross Malinson was aboard train 204 along with Michael Henning.

However, Mr Mallinson was one of the people on the list of survivors designated as Properly Interested Persons (PIPs) in the initial hearings to the Inquests, and also one that had received legal aid to be represented. Justice Hallett was later to make her ruling that PIP status for survivors was to be withdrawn and they were not to be represented at the Inquests proper, although they could be called as witnesses during proceedings.

Mr Mallinson is described in the footnotes to those initial hearing transcripts as follows:

80 The following applicants were not in the same carriage as the explosions: Michael Henning, Elizabeth Kenworthy, John Blundell, Joanne Cole, Jacqueline Putnam, Ellaine Young, Angela Ioannou, Susan Maxwell, Lesley Ratcliff, George Roskilly. Further Tim Coulson and Ross Mallinson were not travelling on the same train as the explosion, although Mr. Coulson entered the affected carriage and provided first aid.

O’Dell places Mallinson on Ciricle Line train 204, yet the Inquests’ own documentation states quite clearly that Mr Mallinson wasn’t on that train at all.

J7 would suggest that the reference to ‘her’ in the following Inquests transcript is an error as Mr O’Connor was not representing a female client travelling in another train. The only PIP who suffered the injuries described was Ross Mallinson and Mr O’Connor was his legal counsel:

[Mr O’Connor] carriage, and thus drawing a boundary about whether you’re in the same carriage or not would be arbitrary and irrational, and indeed, even not in the same train, one of our clients, madam, you will have seen suffered a very serious fractured skull requiring two operations and was actually in a train passing opposite the explosion. Such is the random impact, that it went through windows and injured her desperately seriously.

As can be seen in the Trackernet image in a previous article about the events at Aldgate, there appears to be no train ‘passing opposite the explosion’ on Circle Line train 204.
In an interview with The Age published in July 2005, it was claimed that Mr Mallinson was travelling on a train in front of Circle Line train 204, travelling between Aldgate station and Tower Hill:

Mr Mallinson was on his way to work as a computer programmer for an insurance company at Tower Hill when Shehzad Tanweer, 22, detonated the bomb on a train between Liverpool and Aldgate stations on the Circle Line. Minutes later, Mr Mallinson’s train, also on the Circle Line, began moving again, slowly passing Aldgate station, where an announcer warned passengers that there had been a bomb on a train, probably the one directly behind Mr Mallinson’s. His train continued to Tower Hill station, where two police officers carried him to the surface. He gave his mobile phone to a woman next to him and asked her to call his wife, Judy.

This would have huge implications if indeed this account is true. Firstly, the announcement at Aldgate of a ‘bomb’ whilst all the accounts heard at the Inquests this week have referred only to an ‘electrical explosion’ or ‘power surge’ in the first moments after this event and secondly, that the power was indeed on or had been reset after the explosion on train 204. The tracks would have to have been live after the explosion.
Not a word has been heard at the 7/7 Inquests of any other train ‘moving’ at Aldgate or in the vicinity of Circle Line train 204, apart from a Metropolitan Line train 447 which was going in the opposite direction and had only just begun to leave the station from platform 2 before it stopped suddenly. There has certainly been no mention of the explosion impacting ‘through the window of a passing train’ onto Mr Mallinson as referenced by his legal counsel, Mr O’Connor.

The driver of Metropolitan Line train 447 was not called to court to give evidence, instead the first of two statements that he made was read by Hugo Keith QC:

[Statement of MR MARK WILLIAMS] read “I then got on to train 447, which again is a Metropolitan Line train which was running on time. As I pulled away, I heard an extremely loud bang. At this point, I was about half a car length out of the station. I immediately stopped and, at the same time, the Underground electrical traction current turned off and the lights in the tunnel turned on. I did not open my doors as I was unsure of exactly what had happened. I then heard shouting from the station staff on the platform and the doors were being opened by two other train operators, Eldridge and Paul Haskins who were manually opening the doors. I could see this train was facing me in the tunnel, as it had just turned the corner. This was a C stock style train. I then went back through one car and got out of the train and joined the two other train operators, Eldridge and Paul Haskins.

Metropolitan Line train 447 appears to have been evacuated within 3 to 4 minutes and well before the evacuation of Circle Line train 204.
At yesterday’s hearing, Mr Mallinson was mentioned, not by a witness present to give evidence and answer questions but in a statement read to the court by Hugo Keith QC, from ‘rookie’ BTP officer, Robert Whyte:

[Statement of Mr Robert Whyte, dated 8/07/05, read] “Myself and PC Hatcher, along with the cycle officer, attempted to break open the door of the next carriage along from the badly damaged carriage. We were not successful in doing this. We then attempted to locate some sort of metal object that could help us in our effort to open the train doors. We could not find anything that could help us. “I then helped a male, who had a very severe head injury, who was holding a piece of bloodstained cloth tightly on the side of his head. The male, who I now know to be Ross Charles Mallison. He was shaking and kept telling me he was very faint. I took the male’s small suitcase in one hand and told the male to put his arm around my shoulder for support. I told the male it would be a short walk to the platform where we could get him some medical attention. I kept trying to reassure the male along the entire walk of the track. I walked the male to the exit of the station where I was joined by a firefighter. This firefighter took the male by the other arm for more support. I was informed by this firefighter that they were using double decker buses across the road as the places to sit down injured people. Myself and the firefighter walked the male over to the buses. We sat him down on the first bus. The firefighter then asked if I was okay. I said I was. The fireman then left. I asked the male to sit back down and try to relax and try to take deep breaths. A male sitting behind me then handed me a piece of clean cloth. I replaced the man’s cloth he had on his head with this piece of fresh cloth. A paramedic then came over and spoke to the male. He asked how he was feeling. I then asked the male if he was okay and he said ‘yes’ so I left the male in the hands of the paramedic on the bus.
“At this point, I decided to head back down into the station and try to help anybody else that needed help. Once again, I went into the station, headed downstairs to the left and on to the track. I came across a male and female that needed some help. I believe that they were boyfriend and girlfriend.

How curious that Mr Whyte was able to include the full name of Ross Mallinson apparently on 08/07/05 whereas he doesn’t name the ‘male and female’ to whom he also gave assistance.

Neither is there any mention of the place from which Mr Mallinson was rescued and aided. Nor any mention of him being rescued from a different train to Circle Line train 204. In fact, O’Dell’s account places him on the very train that the Inquests’ documentation claims he wasn’t. It may be worth noting at this stage that Miss O’Dell gave a statement in July 2005 and was asked by Lady Justice Hallett to prepare another statement, over five years later, in August 2010.

The fact remains that the evidence adduced to the Inquest from Mr Whyte & Ms O’Dell differs greatly from the original account of Mr Mallinson’s that he gave to The Age in July 2005 and that Mr O’Connor QC submitted to the Inquest.

Mr O’Connor QC had no option to question or challenge these statements on Mr Mallinson’s behalf, since survivors such as Mr Mallinson are no longer legally represented at the Inquests.

VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 30 October, 2010: Israel devours East Jerusalem

30 October, 2010 — VTJP

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israeli settlers burn church in Jerusalem
IMEMC – 30 Oct 2010 – Saturday October 30, 2010 – 09:11, A hundred year old church was burned Friday by right-wing Israeli settlers, who broke a number of windows of the church and hurled Molotov cocktails inside.

Ma’an News

Church officials say arson behind Jerusalem fire
10/30/2010 – JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers were initially accused of carrying out the torching of a church building in Jerusalem on Friday evening, destroying the interior of what was until 1948 the Palestine Bible College. Guardian for the Jerusalem Alliance Church, Zakariyya Al-Mashriqi, said there was evidence that a “group of extremist settlers broke a….

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Segregation of Jews and Arabs in 2010 Israel is Almost Absolute By Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu

30 October, 2010 — Information Clearing House: ICHHaaretz

For those of us who live here, it is something we take for granted. But visitors from abroad cannot believe their eyes.

Under the guise of the deceptively mundane name ‘Amendment to the Cooperative Associations Bill,’ the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee this week finalized a bill intended to bypass previous rulings of the High Court of Justice. If indeed this legislation is approved by the Knesset plenum, it will not be possible to describe it as anything other than an apartheid law.

Ten years ago, the High Court of Justice ordered the town of Katzir to accept the family of Adel and Iman Kaadan, Arab citizens of Israel, as members of the community. Seven years later, the court issued a similar ruling against the Galilee village of Rakefet, which, like Katzir, is Jewish. Now, however, the legislature has come up with a proper ‘Zionist’ response to the justices: If it becomes law, the amendment will give acceptance committees of communal villages the authority to limit residence in their towns exclusively to Jews.

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About those packages By Ann Althouse

28 October, 2010 — Information Clearing House

About Those Packages — that ‘credible terrorist threat’ — coming just before Election Day

It’s the big story. I haven’t written about it yet. I didn’t know what to say as the story was unfolding yesterday. I had the thought — and I immediately censored myself — what does this have to do with Election Day? I cut myself off from that line of thinking because, of course, the war on terrorism transcends the petty vicissitudes of partisan politics. I readjusted my consciousness to suit an image of myself as a decent person.

Last night, I was listening to the podcast of the day’s Rush Limbaugh show, in which he was seeing the news in real time and reacting out loud. He started where I did: the timing so close to the election. But he didn’t censor himself. And this is what I love about Rush. He keeps going, expressing those thoughts you might get to yourself if you let your mind run free:

No matter how you look at these packages-on-the-airplane stories, it’s either done by terrorists as a dry run or all of this is being hyped by our government. If it’s the terrorists, then who are they trying to help right before the election? What are they trying to affect here? And if it’s the government hyping it, then it’s clear the administration thinks that this will help them, that this will help Democrats.

I mean, this is being the done the weekend before the election. Who would Al-Qaeda being trying to help here? Clearly they’re imposing themselves on our election. If it’s the government hyping it, then it is clear the administration thinks this will help them. Right? One way or another, this is being hyped real big. All of the cable nets have gone wall-to-wall with this. Somebody is trying to say something here, and somebody is trying to affect the outcome of something.

This is thrilling radio, people. Completely unplanned. We get to watch — hear — the gears turn. This is bold thinking out loud, and he doesn’t know where he’s going.

The question is: Who’s trying to help who? If the terrorists are doing this, are they trying to stop the Republican progress or guarantee it? If it’s the administration, then they must think that this ultimately would help them.

He’s using the classic ‘who benefits?’ approach to reasoning. Why would it help the administration? Or, as Rush says, why would they think it would help them? I’d say that the 2010 elections have been focused on the economy and domestic policy. If we refocus on foreign threats, that at least keeps us from looking at what’s hurting the Democrats the most. Even if generally, people think the GOP is stronger on national security, if we suddenly feel very threatened, the reaction would be to unite behind the President, whoever he is, and to want to protect him from any weakening forces, like, perhaps, a hostile Congress.

If the threat of terrorism is present in our minds, then we place a much higher value on continuity and stability. Our hostility to things as they are suddenly flips and we love what we have and become vigilant lest anyone tear it away from us. Let’s coalesce behind our President and help. I know that’s what I felt on 9/11. I had never supported President Bush before that day, but then all I wanted was for him to do well, and I couldn’t tolerate the carping and the criticism that made his work more difficult than it already was.

The rest of Rush…

Now, is it a coincidence? The Democrats have always said that ‘cargo’ was a weak spot, that our ports and things like this were the weak spots, and that was the reason they wanted to kill the Dubai Ports Deal, because cargo is our weak spot. So the thing they have always claimed is being shown to be true, so how does this help them? The only way it can be shown to help them if you have a press conference from Obama saying, ‘We caught it, we stopped it, we’re vigilant, we care. (chuckles) I’m not a Muslim, I wouldn’t allow this.’ Whatever he says. We’ll just have to wait and see how the regime handles this.

Fortunately, folks, we don’t have to worry about the Obama regime using fear of terrorism to help him in the elections like the Bush team did, right? That was always the charge. Every time we got an increased threat level near an election, the charge always was, ‘It’s not true. This is just Bush trying to help himself in the election.’ Okay. We don’t have to worry about this with this bunch, right? They’re clean and pure as the wind-driven snow. They would never politicize something like this, right? So, you don’t need to have a bomb to commit terrorism. That’s what all this shows. Closing down and disrupting so much air travel without a bomb. This is terrorism, in a sense. They got everybody terrorized. Everybody’s scared now. What’s going on here? We’re talking about it. Everybody’s wondering about it. So clearly somebody is sending a message for some outcome. Somebody’s trying to affect something. So we’ll see.

Ann Althouse
I’m a law professor… and sometimes I write about law

VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 29 October, 2010: Anti-Arab Militia Latest Face of Galilee’s Judaisation

29 October, 2010 — VTJP

News

International Middle East Media Center

Caterpillar Corporation stops shipment of armored bulldozers to Israeli military
IMEMC – 29 Oct 2010 – Saturday October 30, 2010 – 03:25, Peace activists around the world are celebrating Friday’s announcement that the Illinois-based company, Caterpillar, has decided to hold off shipment of dozens of armored bulldozers to the Israeli military while a trial about the killing of Rachel Corrie is ongoing in Israel.

Female Detainee on Hunger Strike for Third Day
IMEMC – 29 Oct 2010 – Friday October 29, 2010 – 12:13, The Mandela Institute in the Occupied Territories reported, on Friday, that detainee Linan Abu Ghalama, imprisoned at the Israeli prison, Ha-Sharon, went on hunger strike three days ago demanding the prison administration to allow her to be joined with her detained sister.

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No More Waiting: Holmes And Watson Roll Again By the Winter Patriot

28 Oct 2010 — Winter Patriot

[I am familiar with Winter Patriot’s work but not with this, though the idea of writing an online serial is something I did a few years back with a novel I wrote in weekly installments called ‘XX’. You can read the first 21 chapters here, in PDF format. William]

holmes.jpg

Holmes and Watson on their way to Wales

I have been away for more than a week, and during that time at least three or four readers have been waiting patiently for Chapter 20 of my factual/fictional work-in-progress, in which Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are investigating the mysterious death of Welsh code-breaker Gareth Williams.

Fortunately for all of us, the wait is over. I am back at my desk on a more regular basis, and the 20th chapter is finished and posted.

I understand that following a serial-in-progress can be frustrating for those who prefer to read the last page of a mystery first. They want to see how it turns out before they read the rest of the book, and in this case it is simply not possible.

On the other hand, there may be some compensation in knowing that the last page of this story is not yet written — and that my readers will find out what happens immediately after I find out myself.

For those who have been waiting, here’s the newest: [Chapter 20: Unthinkable]

For those wishing to start at the beginning, this would be the link: [Sherlock Holmes and the Alderny Street Mystery]

Many thanks to those who have been encouraging me with respect to the “Alderney Street” project. I hope you will enjoy the newest chapter and those to come.

More soonest…

To comment on this post, please click here and join the Winter Patriot community.

VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 28 October, 2010: Suffering of Palestinian Children Rated Among Highest in the World

28 October, 2010 — VTJP

News

International Middle East Media Center

Rivlin: “Settlement Issue used by Palestinians as an excuse to End Peace talks”
IMEMC – 28 Oct 2010 – Thursday October 28, 2010 – 16:39, On Thursday, Israeli Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin lambasted the Palestinian leadership, accusing them of using the issue of Israeli settlements as an excuse to end peace talks currently on hold in Washington.

Hamas Minister To Be Forced Out Of His Village
IMEMC – 28 Oct 2010 – Thursday October 28, 2010 – 13:02, Wasfy Qabha, an elected minister affiliated with the Hamas movement, stated Thursday that Israeli soldiers and a senior security commander broke into his home and informed him that, starting next month, he will not be allowed into his village, Barta’a Al Sharqiyya, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

Desmond Tutu Calls to Boycott Israel
IMEMC – 28 Oct 2010 – Thursday October 28, 2010 – 12:40, On Wednesday, the Anglican Archbishop called to cancel the opera “Porgy and Bess” that the Cape Town Opera Company was scheduled to perform in Israel next month.

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A ‘Commonwealth of World Republics’ By William Gladys

28 October, 2010

In view of the outrageously prejudicial and iniquitous cuts that the Coalition government of the UK, – British Isles, is introducing, it is high time that the profligate, pampered, privileged royals and the highly undemocratic institution Monarchy of which they, at the tax-payers expense seek to sustain must be abolished. Removal would quickly usher in a new renaissance with fair and people friendly democratic Republicans in control.

Victimisation of the majority of British taxpayers.

*490,000 public sector jobs to be axed.

And yet the hundreds of servants at the twenty four hour beck and call of these royal profligates will continue to drain the Nation’s dwindling financial resources.

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