Google+ Followers

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The World Medical Association Colludes in Israel's Use of Torture

Sir Michael Marmot - President of the WMA - Colluding in Israeli Torture
Letter from Sir Michael Marmiot to IMA Confirming a Refusal to Examine Evidence of Torture
The World Medical Association Supports the Israeli Medical Association’s Endorsement of Torture

Like the CIA’s doctors, who oversaw the physical and psychological torture of detainees,  Israel’s doctors have, for a very long time, been integrally involved in the torture of Palestinian prisoners.  The Israeli Medical Association has been actively complicit in protecting them.  Their response to those who accuse them of a gross dereliction of their duty is to accuse them of ‘lies’.  At no stage has the IMA investigated the involvement of Israeli doctors in the torture and ill-treatment of prisoners.  They routinely refuse to accept the testimony of Palestinians who have been tortured and they are quite explicit about this.

Dr Derek Summerfield and Dr Chris Burns Cox and 69 other doctors wrote to the World Medical Association recently asking them to take up the issue of torture in Israel and the complicity of the IMA.  The correspondence below shows that once again, the WMA have refused to investigate the matter despite copious evidence having been submitted to them.

The only conclusion one can draw is that the WMA is deliberately turning a blind eye to the involvement of Israeli doctors in the torture of detainees, in much the same way as they have been complicit in the involvement of American doctors in CIA torture.

Tony Greenstein

Israeli Medical Association - Covers Up for Torture in Israel
 2 Feb 2016

Dear Sir Michael Marmot

We write as lead signatory and convenor on behalf of 69 other UK medical signatories. Barely 2 weeks ago we submitted to you as WMA President a substantive evidence-based case on the systemic complicity with torture of WMA-member the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) and individual Israeli doctors attached to interrogation units. We received a brief email from you on the 18th January to say "I did receive your letter and have forwarded it on".  We sent the dossier to your UK academic address because of our experiences in the past with the WMA secretariat, who had never responded and had simply shielded the IMA.

We and others observing the WMA on this issue are staggered to see a letter written by you (and attached here for other parties) dated 25 January- just 7 days after your emailed acknowledgement of receipt- to Dr Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. In it you appear to offer unconditional exoneration of the IMA. You write that when the WMA has asked the IMA to respond to allegations in the past, "investigations have revealed no wrong doing or mishandling of the cases by the Israeli Medical Association." Naturally, when asked the IMA would say this, which is why we call for a transparent examination by neutral parties. See attachment 2 (part of our submission 2 weeks ago) for an example of an IMA 'investigation', which was no more than a blanket refusal to even consider the testimonies of Palestinian detaineees. 
Israeli Hospital Mt. Scopus
You go on to say to the Wiesenthal Centre that "we have trust that our Israeli colleagues will stand firm on our values and the protection of human rights. They have repeatedly affirmed their commitment to the policies and positions taken by the WMA". The IMA have indeed repeatedly affirmed such things but the evidence says that actual practice is otherwise, and consistently so over many years. You then go on to say that the IMA are against force feeding, which has nothing to do with our case. 
Your letter has been widely quoted on the Internet as a rejection of our case and affirmation of the probity of the IMA. You appear to endorse Dr Zeev Feldman, chairman of the IMA World Fellowship who told a Knesset Science and Technology Committee last week that our charges were "lies". We also note that Dr Feldman misrepresented us as claiming that Israeli doctors carried out "medical torture" (sic), a strategic move no doubt since this conjures up a fantastical and inherently unbelievable image.
A medic looks at blood stain of a Palestinian man who was killed by Israeli undercover forces during a raid at Al-Ahly hospital in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on November 12, 2015. (Reuters)
Your email acknowledgement to us that you had forwarded our dossier to the WMA secretariat appears to make it clear that there has been no examination of the evidence we submitted (much of it from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, an exemplary body) of any kind has taken place. Did you  read the evidence? You make no mention of due process and indeed we would ask you to tell us what the due process is in this situation, given that the WMA is mandated to ensure its members are not themselves in violation of its tenets- in this case the anti-torture Declaration of Tokyo. We are in the era of evidence-based medicine yet the evidence we attached cannot have been examined properly in a few days.  You have instantly accorded the Israeli Medical Association the support and approval of the WMA, and of yourself as its President. This puts the WMA itself in collusion with these practices. We find this extraordinary. We are looking to you as a medical academic of international standing to offer the moral leadership that would change all this.

Israeli Doctors Collude in Torture
 WMA affirmation of the IMA strengthens its will to maintain the policy position (unconditional support for the State in all its actions) they have held for many years; you are endorsing the appalling ethical example the IMA offers individual Israeli doctors posted to interrogation units; you are bolstering the impunity which interrogators enjoy in their treatment of Palestinian detainees.  Physicians of Human Rights-Israel have long said that if Israeli doctors were withdrawn from interrogation units, torture as state policy in Israeli could not continue.  The nearby presence of doctors confers moral and medical legitimacy on what is happening in the interrogation rooms.

A brief reminder of some of the evidence we attach:

In the November 2008 annual report to the UN Committee Against Torture, the UAT Coalition, a coalition of 14 Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations, concluded that "since the Committee last reviewed Israel, the practice of torture and ill-treatment has continued unabated.  The UAT Coalition wishes to inform the Committee that in its opinion the use of torture and ill-treatment by Israeli authorities against Palestinians is both widespread and systematic.  The UAT Coalition has recorded evidence of acts, omissions and complicities by agents of the State at all levels.....until this culture of impunity is addressed this situation is unlikely to improve".

Secondly, in  "Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim: the Involvement of Medical Professionals in Torture and Ill-treatment in Israel (2011), the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel/Physicians for Human Rights-Israel conclude that "there are serious doubts that the IMA is willing to enforce these rules: persistently repeated requests by PCATI/PHRI calling the IMA's attention to cases arousing suspicion of doctors' involvement in torture and cruel or degrading treatment, have not been dealt with substantively."   PCATI/PHRI note that the IMA's ethical code contains clauses which do not accord with the fundamental principle of medical ethics, which is that the well-being of the patient should be the doctor's sole concern.  IMA codes require the doctor to respect "the good of society as a whole and its right to protect itself", authorising the doctor to assist the security authorities upon their request, even when this may harm the rights of the patient....  "With these clauses, the IMA enables the needs of the security apparatus to be seen as coming before the ethical duties of doctors".  Detailed case studies follow, outlined by us in our submission.

We ask you please to confirm to us, and to the editors of the BMJ, and Lancet, that you will institute a due process to examine the evidence in a matter of such gravity for the moral reputation of the medical profession, the WMA and indeed yourself.

Yours sincerely
Dr Chris Burns-Cox, lead signatory
Dr Derek Summerfield, convenor.
And 69 other UK doctors.

Subject: Re: our evidence-based submission on collusion of IMA/Israeli drs on torture

 Dear signatories/supporters
see below further submission to WMA President, concerned with transparency of process within WMA.
IMA Response to Accusations of Endorsement of Torture - Note the Refusal to Accept the Evidence of Prisoners Who Have Been Tortured Even Though Torture is Now Accept as Standard Interrogation Procedure by Shin Bet
                                                                                                                                                    26 Jan 2016
Dear Sir Michael Marmot

Thank you for your acknowledgement of receipt of our submission backed by 71 UK doctors (the WMA at no time acknowledged our 2009 submission!). We trust you also received the newly published paper on sexual torture sent a few days later as an addition to the archive of evidence to which we point.

We are writing regarding the matter of due process at the WMA. We are concerned that since the IMA is the accused party, they should not be allowed to take over, manage or divert the due process of examination which the WMA is mandated to institute. We say this because on a previous occasion 4 years ago, when we had eventually got the BMA to raise the issue of Israeli doctors and torture at the WMA, the IMA responded by saying that this was an internal Israeli matter and they would address it when back home. Nothing of course happened. It is scandalous that they were allowed to get away from this. We are concerned to note from an article in the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post of 20 January 2016 (see link below) that Dr Zeev Feldman, stated to be chairman of the IMA World Fellowship, told a Knesset Science and Technology Committee that the evidence against the IMA/Israeli doctors regarding torture was "lies", and that "we are engaged in a dialogue with the WMA......" The UK medical signatories are expecting a transparent process conducted at WMA by parties with no vested interests, parties who owe no loyalty to the IMA and will soberly examine the evidence we submitted, and we look to you as President to ensure this. We would appreciate your reassurance on this count.

Dr Feldman betrays more than he intended, which is the fixed and deeply unethical position the IMA has held for many years on this matter. The evidence he is calling "lies" comes from the Israeli nongovernmental organisation Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), and the IMA  has been perfectly well aware of the publication and dissemination of “Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim” since 2011. It carries rigorously documented and named cases (summarised in our submission) and even the names of some of the Israeli doctors who dealt with these detainees in ways that obviously violate the WMA Declaration of Tokyo. It is an ethically exemplary piece of work: if such work counts as insufficient evidence, then no evidence anywhere in the world could ever count and the international regulation of medical ethics is a dead letter. The IMA will not act on such evidence because their longstanding position is to support and shield Israeli government policy, even when this is torture. Thus their pre-determined position is that documentation proving the use of torture and complicity of doctors and the IMA must be slated from the outset as "lies" (and when originating from an organisation outside Israel- like Amnesty or Defence of the Child International- as ‘anti-semitic’ lies). This has been going on for decades. The IMA condemns itself out of its own mouth.

We are copying this to Hadas Ziv of PHRI, and to the editors of the BMJ and The Lancet.

Yours sincerely
Dr Chris Burns-Cox, lead signatory
Dr Derek Summerfield, convenor
(on behalf of 69 other UK medical signatories).

Quisling Palestinian Authority Arrests Dissident Professor in the Service of Israel

Professor Quassem
Usually national liberation movements wait until they achieve national liberation and form the government before they start persecuting dissidents or their own people.  The African National Congress first overthrew Apartheid before it formed an alliance with the mining companies, gunning down 34 miners at the Marikana mine. 
Mahmoud Abbas - Palestineian Quisling President - believes co-operation with Palestinian security is 'sacred'
The quisling Palestinian Authority is different.  It presides over a fictitious ‘state’ and plays a diplomatic game in which it invites other countries to recognise a non-existent Palestinian ‘state’.
So it is that a distinguished professor at Nablus University, Abdel Sattar Qassem, was arrested for ‘slander, vandalism, incitement, insulting the president and “hurting the national feeling.’  It is difficult to understand how someone can insult that apology for a Zionist footstool,  Mahmoud Abbas, when he does such a good job himself.  Someone who could describe the collaboration by his Palestinian Preventive Security Force with the Israeli military as ‘sacred’ is beyond doubt a traitor to the Palestinian national cause. 
Abdel Sattar Qassem (via Indymedia)
If there were any justice in the Ramallah bantustan then the charge of ‘hurting the national feeling’ would be levelled against Abbas, Dahlan and the other cronies and collaborators in the PA.  Perhaps the real reason why Professor Qassem was arrested was because he called for the prosecution for treason of Palestinian traitors.  Unfortunately, if that were to happen, then it would be inevitable that the first candidate for prosecution would be Mahmoud Abbas.

It is essential that Palestinian solidarity groups in Britain and internationally call for the immediate release of Professor Qassem and the prosecution of those responsible for his arrest and detention.
In Britain we should go a step further.  It is a disgrace that nationally Palestine Solidarity Campaign retains friendly relations with the office of the Palestinian Authority in London, headed by Professor Hassassian.  The Anti Apartheid Movement in Britain did not have relations with Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom Party, which collaborated with the Apartheid regime.  There is no reason why PSC should retain normal relations with the PA, whose record is as bad if not worse than Buthulezi’s.

Tony Greenstein

 5 February 2016
Palestinian Security Forces trained by the Americans, vetted by Israel and employed to suppress Palestinian resistance
A Nablus court on Thursday extended the detention of a prominent Palestinian scholar and longtime dissident whose arrest earlier this week has led to accusations that he is being politically persecuted by the Palestinian Authority.

At around 11pm on Tuesday, Abdel Sattar Qassem, a 68-year-old professor of political science at Nablus’ An-Najah National University, and a father of four, was taken from his home, where he had been staying alone. His wife, Amal al-Ahmad, was not informed of the arrest and concerned neighbors broke down a door at her prompting to check whether Qassem had suffered an accident.
I called him several times but his mobile phone was closed and I got no answer from the landline,” al-Ahmad, a program coordinator at the Women’s Study Center, told The Electronic Intifada.
Palestinian security thugs
Her fears were compounded by the fact that Qassem’s car was parked outside as usual. “I was scared that he might have suffered a heart attack or that he might have been kidnapped,” she said.
It was only after checking a camera in the family’s home that it became clear Qassem had been apprehended by Palestinian police. And it took hours still before she received a phone call from the police telling her that her husband was in detention.

Outside the court on Thursday, where Qassem’s detention was extended for another 15 days, a group of civil society activists and friends of the professor held a vigil demanding his release and an end to political detention and persecution.

His lawyer, Ahmad Sharaab, the only person to have visited Qassem in detention so far, is planning an appeal.

Qassem faces numerous charges including slander, vandalism, incitement, insulting the president and “hurting the national feeling.” According to Adnan al-Damiri, spokesperson of the PA’s security forces, the arrest came following complaints that Qassem had been inciting to kill PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian police attack demonstration in West Bank
The charges relate to an interview Qassem gave on Al Quds TV, broadcast from Beirut, in which he called for implementing the Palestinian Basic Law which limits presidential terms to four years.
He also called for the implementation of the Palestine Liberation Organization revolutionary law, not adapted by the PA, which calls for charges of treason to be brought against collaborators with Israel, punishable by death.

His appearance fomented a wave of incitement against him by figures allied with the Palestinian Authority, which remains presided over by Mahmoud Abbas, even though his elected mandate expired in 2009.

Constant harassment

Al-Ahmad says the arrest is only the latest episode of a concerted official persecution of her husband.
“The PA targets my husband because he has repeatedly described security coordination and collaboration with Israel as grand treason,” al-Ahmad said. “There is no democracy under the PA. Security forces arrest anyone who freely expresses his opposition to authority policies.”

Qassem writes regularly for Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language website about Palestinian and Arab affairs. One of his most recently published articles, titled “The Orphan Uprising,” discusses the current Palestinian uprising, its challenges, limitations and the failure of the Palestinian leadership to live up to the sacrifices of the youth.

A staunch opponent of the Oslo accords and negotiations process with Israel, Qassem, who is not affiliated with any political faction but is often associated with left-leaning Arab nationalist views, has been a target of the Palestinian Authority ever since its establishment. He accused former leader Yasser Arafat of corruption and regularly condemns Abbas’ security coordination and contact with the Israeli occupation.

Qassem’s work at An-Najah University also did not stop him from criticizing the school’s administration. He spoke out against what he perceived as corruption at the institution, which until recently was headed by Rami Hamdallah, now the appointed PA prime minister. He also published an article criticizing the university’s refusal to implement a Palestinian court decision halting the expulsion of four students.

That criticism led to his arrest in August 2011 on libel charges brought by the university. That was his second detention by the PA; in April 2009, he was arrested by the PA security forces.

All charges were eventually dropped.

But arrests are only a part of the pattern of repression his wife cites. Qassem survived an assassination attempt by unknown gunmen shortly after being released from his latest stint in Israeli prison, where he spent a week in July 2014; he was shot in his car while driving to give a television interview condemning Israel’s massive military assault on Gaza at the time.

The attempt on his life came after several death messages made against him for his criticism of the PA and Abbas, and following previous assaults by Palestinian security services, including after his appearance on Al Jazeera at the outset of the Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt in January 2011. The forces broke into and vandalized the local television station from where Qassem gave the interview.
He has seen everything: he was shot; his car was burnt; he was beaten. But he still refuses to be silenced,” al-Ahmad told The Electronic Intifada.

His political views and his insistence to speak truth to power has put him under constant threat from all sides,” she added. “But it hurts more when this threat comes from the Palestinian Authority. They claim to defend us while jailing and persecuting Palestinians who resist the occupation.”
Lonely struggle
Since her husband’s latest arrest by the PA, al-Ahmad says she has not received a single message of support from Qassem’s colleagues at An-Najah.

He had a hearing on 3 February, but only a few family members joined al-Ahmad outside the jail.
I don’t count on professors and intellectuals to support my husband,” al-Ahmad lamented. “Those people benefit from the PA and they are not prepared to sacrifice their privileges and face the risks of supporting their colleague.”

Two of Qassem’s colleagues contacted for this article refused to comment on his court case until it runs its course.

Al-Ahmad does, however, count on the thousands of Qassem’s former students to support their professor. Some of them turned out for Thursday’s court hearing, during which Qassem was in high spirits, his wife said.

A coalition of civil society organizations and some political factions are protesting Qassem’s arrest, putting out a statement calling for his immediate release as part of the “commitment to preserve civil liberties and defend freedom of expression.”

Both the Change and Reform Bloc of parties in parliament — which includes Hamas — as well as the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have also condemned the arrest as an attempt to silence independent voices, while Mourid Barghouti, the Palestinian poet based in Cairo, urged scholars and writers to speak up against his arrest.

Lifelong dissident

Born in the Tulkarem-area village of Deir al-Ghusoun in 1948, Qassem graduated from the American University of Cairo with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1972. During that period he sought to become engaged in the Palestinian struggle for liberation. That involvement, however, saw him grow disillusioned with the Palestinian leadership.

He went on to study at the University of Missouri, where he earned a master’s degree in economics and received a PhD in political science in 1977.

Qassem has been a professor of political science at An-Najah in Nablus for more than three decades and despite persecution by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, he has written numerous books, academic papers and articles.

These cover a variety of issues ranging from political philosophy to Palestinian history, Islamic studies, women in Islamic thought, contemporary Arab politics, the demise of Arab intellectuals and US imperialism. He also wrote a book, Days in Naqab Prison, about his experience as a political prisoner held by Israel, significantly contributing to prison literature produced by Palestinian authors.
Budour Youssef Hassan is a Palestinian writer and law graduate based in occupied Jerusalem. Blog: Twitter: @Budour48 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Israel’s Ambassador Daniel Taub is Recalled Because of Child Sex Scandal

'I prefer pigs myself'
First it was Grovel Janner, notorious serial paedophile and former President of the  Board of Deputies of British Jews and mainstay of Labour Friends of Israel and now Daniel Taub, Israel’s former Ambassador to the UK and a religious Zionist.  How many more skeletons are there in the Zionist cupboard?  What is it that leading Zionists find so attractive about paedophillia? 

When one adds this to the those, like Manis Friedman, a senior rabbi with Lubavitch, who acts as an apologist for paedophiles comparing paedophillia to having diarrohea and on record as saying it taught victims a useful lesson one wonders what it is  about paedophillia that is so attractive to Zionist big whigs.  
'Don't worry Daniel, I have problems with my son, Andrew too'
I would suggest that one of the reasons why many Zionists are attracted to having sexual relations with children is that it is a consequence of basing your life on the domination and exploitation of others.  Either way Taub must have found himself at home in London given the widespread tolerance of the practice in ruling class circles.

Needless to say it was only after Richard Silverstein broke the story that other papers such as the Guardian and Ha’aretz broke the story (though both papers refused to credit Silverstein).  See 

Taub was refused his request for an extension to his term as Ambassador because of the scandal and was recalled to Israel.   This explains the hurried nature of the appointment of Israel’s Goebbels, Mark Regev, as Ambassador to St. James.

Tony Greenstein

February 3, 2016 By Richard Silverstein

Tonight, Tikun Olam breaks the story of the Israeli ambassador who cheated on his wife with men and boys–inside the ambassador’s residence!

Israel’s former ambassador to the UK has been accused of inviting men and boys for trysts late at night when his wife was not home.  A British policeman filed a complaint with Israeli authorities about the incidents.  A further investigation by the foreign ministry’s inspector general found that UK-born Ambassador Daniel Taub, who was ambassador from 2011-2015, violated security protocol by not notifying his chief of security of the identity of the visitors.  The purpose of recording visitors is in order to prevent Israeli diplomatic personnel from being blackmailed or compromised.  Since MI5 knew of Taub’s activities, the Israeli foreign ministry was concerned that he might be compromised by them or that one of his paramours might attempt to extort payments from him.

Diplomatic security is provided by the Shabak, which would be aware of the incident.  But my attempts to elicit comment from an Israeli security source were met with silence.  Though the story has been reported in the Israeli media, no one has yet identified Taub by name.  This is peculiar because there is no judicial gag order against reporting his name.  This is one hot potato!

When questioned about the matter, Taub claimed he had never invited a minor into the residence.  He added that the visitors were all adults and that their purpose was “therapeutic” (!) in nature.  Though none of the Israeli reports have spoken outright of sexual activity, how could there not be?

When asked to explain why the police officer would claim minors entered his residence if that wasn’t the case, Taub claimed that he and the policeman had exchanged words and the officer had been offended by something the ambassador had said to him.

For some odd reason, Taub’s explanation satisfied the Inspector General and the investigation was suspended.  But when Taub requested that his posting be extended, the foreign ministry refused and he was summoned back to Israel.  That’s why Mark Regev, Bibi Netanyahu’s foreign media spokesperson was recently appointed to take up this post.

Officials in the government see Taub’s behavior as a grave violation of “ethical-moral norms” (!).  As a result, a report of the incident was noted in Taub’s personnel file.  The former ambassador was slated for promotion but his candidacy for any of these positions had been delayed while a deeper investigation is undertaken.

It’s a good thing the Queen knew nothing of Taub’s proclivities when she had this conversation with him when he presented his credentials to her on taking up his new post:

…The Queen asked him how it felt to be serving as ambassador in the land of his birth. He replied: 

I said that I felt tremendously privileged that it fell to me to raise my children in their historic homeland after two millennia of exile, but I am also aware that in that arc of 2,000 years the greatest period of opportunity for my family was found here in Britain, and I hope to express my appreciation for that by deepening ties of cooperation between our countries."

Who knew what sorts of “opportunities” he had in mind?

Back in 2011, when then foreign minister appointed Taub, there was a furor among the ranks of the diplomatic corps, since he was a junior official who’d never served overseas in any capacity nor supervised a diplomatic staff.  Critics of the appointment said that Lieberman ran his ministry as a local branch of Yisrael Beitenu, rewarding his cronies and pals.  The appointment seems to have been blessed by Lieberman’s then number-two, Danny Ayalon.  If only the complaints had been heeded, so much scandal and embarrassment could’ve been avoided.

According to Haaretz’s Amir Oren, Bibi Netanyahu, who is the acting foreign minister, knew of the Taub scandal last summer.  The prime minister was more concerned with closing the lid on the incident rather than getting to the bottom of it.  He feared it would tarnish both the foreign ministry’s and his own reputation.

In fact, Oren says after Taub returned home, Bibi nominated Taub to take up a highly sensitive, senior foreign ministry position.  Though Yediot’s report said that any promotions have been put on hold.  The Haaretz reporter also says that Netanyahu’s legal advisor has not objected nor has the Shabak raised its voice regarding the matter.  Apparently, it’s par for the course in this corrupt, lawless government.

What’s all the more startling is that Taub is an Orthodox Jew, married and has six children.  He appears to be gifted intellectually and attended Oxford, wrote a well-regarding TV show about relations between secular and Orthodox Jews.  Before his appointment, he was a junior advisor in the legal affairs unit of the ministry.  Though I’m not privy to information about his personal life, it appears this is an example of the repression of such sexual impulses which is almost guaranteed by an Orthodox upbringing, as homosexuality is a grave sin among traditional Jews.

Unfortunately, the Israeli diplomatic corps has been prone to many similar scandals over the past few years.  I reported here that Israel’s ambassador to Norway, the late Druze poet Naim Araidi, had made improper sexual advances to one of his Norwegian house staff.  She reported this to Israeli authorities, who recalled Araidi from his post.  In that case, the Norwegian press took up my reporting and published the story in the local press.  I am seeking British journalists who will do the same in this case.  Araidi, who was in his 50s, died three months ago after a short bout with cancer.
Israeli consul general Aryeh Scher (l.) and George Schteinberg, suspects in child sex ring
A few years ago, Israeli consul general, Aryeh Scher, was found to be part of a pedophile ring operated by an Israeli expatriate, George Schteinberg.  The latter was arrested.  But the Israeli managed to spirit himself out of the country in order to avoid a serious embarrassment to Israel.  The foreign ministry permitted him to return to diplomatic service, shipping him off to Australia, where presumably he’d move to molesting Australian children.  Australians weren’t too keen on the idea and raised a stink, causing Scher to withdraw from consideration.
George Shteinberg, Israeli arrested by Brazilian police for leading child sex ring.
I only learned about all this after Schteinberg tweeted to me that my mother was a “whore” and that he would like to “piss” on my grave.  Though Twitter has made a big show of banning hate speech and abuse in its Twitter feeds, it refused to take any action regarding Schteinberg’s tweets.  Perhaps it bans hate speech when the media takes notice and embarrasses them.  Otherwise, this policy appears not to be enforced.  Schteinberg’s Twitter profile features a picture of him with little children on his knee holding candy and various presents he appears to have offered them.  Twitter appears to have no problem with accused pedophile flaunting their proclivities in their Twitter profiles.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Saudis Overturn Death Sentence on Palestinian Poet Ashraf Fayadh - Flogging & Prison Instead

Ashraf Fayadh

Mahmoud Abbas and the PA's UK Representative Manuel Hassassian Keep Silent

Whilst it is welcome that the death sentence on Ashraf Fayadh has been overturned, the sentence of 8 years in prison and 800 lashes is nonetheless a barbaric outrage.  It speaks volumes that the British Government has supplied some $3 billion of weaponry to aid this savage medieval state in its war against the Yemeni people.

We have a government without a shred of shame.  Of course New Labour wasn’t an iota better and it was the war criminal  himself, Tony Blair, who personally intervened to prevent a prosecution of BAA for bribing various Saudi royals to obtain contracts.  It was in the interests of ‘national security’ we were told, since the Saudi royals objected to the evidence about them being a bunch of thieving bastards being made public.

It is noticeable that the President of the so-called ‘Palestinian state’, Mahmoud Abbas, has not uttered a whisper about this case nor called for Ashraf to be freed.  I thought that diplomatic interventions like this were the only justification for pretending that a Palestinian state existed.  Obviously not.
Nor has His Excellency Professor Manuel Hassassian, the ‘Ambassador’ of the fictitious Palestinian state in London had anything to say about Ashraf Fayadh.  I did send a message to him via the web site  of the Palestine mission but for some unknown reason I haven’t received a reply!  I can only assume that the matter of the proposed execution or now flogging and imprisonment of a fellow Palestinian poet is too embarrassing for the quisling Palestinian Authority.

However you can bombard both the Saudis and the representative of the ‘Palestinian state’ with calls for Ashraf to be freed unconditionally.  And to also bombard Cameron and his clone Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to speak up and cut the arms supply to this wretched regime.

Tony Greenstein
self portrait

Ashraf Fayadh
I stand naked every day without any judgment, without anyone needing to blow any last trump, because I have been sent on in advance. I am Hell’s experiment on the planet Earth.The Hell that has been prepared for refugees.            Ashraf Fayadh ~ ‘The Last of the Line of Refugee Descendants

Yesterday, a panel of judges in Saudi Arabia overturned the death sentence of Palestinian artist, curator, and poet Ashraf Fayadh but upheld the verdict of the crime of apostasy and sentenced him to eight years in prison and 800 lashes. Fayadh was ordered to disown his writings, repent and apologize on official Saudi Arabia national television. His sentence calls for the lashings to be carried out “50 lashes at a time per session”.
A statement by Fayadh’s attorney, Abdulrahman Al-Lahim, in response to the ruling.

Stressing Fayadh’s innocence, his lawyer, Abdulrahman al-Lahim posted the details of his sentence on Twitter yesterday after presenting the court with an application for Kayadh’s release on bail and announced they would launch an appeal.

The document concludes with the statement (translated from Arabic):

The defense appreciates the department’s going back on its previous sentencing decision, and at the same time we would like to emphasize our conviction of the innocence of the poet Ashraf Fayyad from all the charges presented against him. He is in a legally sound position and stands by his defense that has already been previously heard in the sentencing objection document.

The Guardian cites Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch:

“Instead of beheading Ashraf Fayadh, a Saudi court has ordered a lengthy imprisonment and flogging. No one should face arrest for peacefully expressing opinions, much less corporal punishment and prison. Saudi justice officials must urgently intervene to vacate this unjust sentence.”

And UK author Irvine Welsh said:

“When this twisted barbarism is thought of as a compromise, it’s way past time western governments stopped dealing with this pervert regime.”

Fayadh’s previous November 17, 2015 sentence of execution by beheading was met with international outrage and calls for his requital. A world wide reading of his poems and other writings sponsored by International Literature Festival Berlin (iLb), supported by poets, artists, and intellectuals around the world including several Nobel Prize for Literature laureates, took place in January, and people from all over the world began uploading videos of themselves readings his poems on Youtube.

Fayadh was originally detained by Saudi Arabia’s religious police in August 2013 after he had an argument with another artist who alleged he had cursed Allah and the prophet Muhammad. The religious police claimed his 2008 book of poetry  Instructions Within promoted atheism. Fayadh said his book was “just about me being [a] Palestinian refugee … about cultural and philosophical issues. But the religious extremists explained it as destructive ideas against God.”

Thanks to Zeina Azzam
Thanks to diaspora for Arabic translation