Saturday, November 27, 2010

Manuel Tapial's Facebook account has been disabled.

1 & 2.- Facebook has decided to close Manuel Tapial's account. Marked as #1 we can read the address of his account, while marked as #2 we can read as follows:
"The requested page couldn't be found."

3, 4, 5 & 6.- An event has been created in Facebook in order to support Manuel Tapial. Its title and one of the explanatory texts (marked as #3 and #4) read as follows:
"In favor of the reactivation of Manuel Tapial's Facebook account."
There are two other texts, marked as #5 and #6, which respectively read as follows:
"It has been 35 years since fascism died along side with Franco or this is what we think. We have overcome repression and censorship. We demand Facebook to adhere to democracy and to reactivate Manuel Tapial’s account."
"This is a virtual event. When you confirm your attendance you are declaring yourself in favor of freedom of ideas and the ability to show solidarity with those who do not have a voice, in this case, Manuel Tapial, activist and defender of Human Rights."
These texts are also available in Spanish and Arabic.

7 & 8.- A Facebook page has been created in order to support the activist, under the title Against censorship of Human Rights. Manuel Tapial Come Back. The text marked as #7 reads as follows:
"Those who pretend to shut up the voices of the defenders of the Palestinian People will must use other methods but they won't succeed because We Are Decided to denounce DAY AFTER DAY the serious violations of Human Rights and International law committed by the Terrorist State of Israel."
The photo marked as #8 shows Spanish activists Manuel Tapial (left) and Laura Arau (right) during a demonstration (presumably against Israel).

Now I'll ask those who are reading this article just a simple question. Could be the decision by Facebook to disable Manuel Tapial's account considered unjust or illegal when the activist has sistematically shown attitudes such as those collected here, here and here? Please notice that these attitudes are forbidden by Facebook.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Manuel Tapial's activities on Facebook (III).

Manuel Tapial, one of the three Spanish activists who were on board the Mavi Marmara, runs his own Facebook account. Surprisingly, he was confronted by one of his friends, Julio Belmonte García (a Honduran citizen), on his Wall. Now I'll provide a first excerpt from the debate between Tapial and Belmonte. Some comments were monitored a few minutes after having been posted. Translations are available, made as accurate as possible and between quotation marks.

1 & 2.- Manuel Tapial suggests in a veiled way to disrupt relations with Israel. Julio Belmonte García answers the activist as follows (text marked as #1):
"I consider it sincerely difficult.
I mean, if we had to cut relations with a country when it had committed violations of human rights, we'd have to turn everything upside down. We could establish relations neither with Israel nor with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Morroco, the United States, China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Colombia, Malaysia, Indonesia and many others."
This is Manuel Tapial's answer to Belmonte (marked as #2):
"Julio, there are countries which not only commit human rights violations but also promote values which have nothing to do with us. There are also countries whose societies are subjected to inclusion and whose dissidents are contacted by us, and we can enhance our relations with them. And which is completely inadmissible, Julio, is Iran and Cuba being considered demons and also isolated and punished by the E.U. while Israel, Morroco, and Colombia are considered 'our friends' letting them to do what they want with their dissidents with any consequence.
Furthermore, the favoritism which these countries enjoy from our governments when they attack our nationals make these governments to appear as puppets in the hands of their owner."

3, 4 & 5.- Julio Belmonte answers Manuel Tapial as follows (marked as #3):
"And wouldn't be more logical not to isolate Israel, Cuba and Morroco, but to keep them with us, as well as to enhance our relations with Cuba and Iran? That's my point."
Manuel Tapial's answer to Belmonte reads as follows (marked as #4):
"Julio, in my point of view, a dialogue is useful to someone who pretends to be integrated or to try to gain access to what he has not access to... Regarding those cases you bring up now, they gained too much access. Why would they change their policies at this moment if they weren't to see their current privileges revoked? .... It's just my opinion... and as said by Eradna [Delastro Sol, a Manuel Tapial's friend], I think our government is on the devil's side.
Julio Belmonte answers Manuel Tapial as follows (marked as #5):
"However, isolating despotic regimes is equally useless. For example, Cuba and Saddam Hussein's Iraq didn't change their repressive policies in spite of the American blockade and the U.N. sanctions, respectively. Moreover, the subsequent economic weakening suffered by these countries were useful to both dictators in order to implement their policies. I'll explain myself.
When a country is subjected to isolation and it affects the economy, the degree of development and the quality of life, its population tends to divide itself into two opposing groups: the adepts to the system and its opposers. Both conflicting groups have been existing since before, and the new situation distances them much more.
The adepts to the system let themselves to be deceived by it and feel themselves attacked by the foreign entities which proceed to isolate their country. At the same time, the isolation suffered by the country makes difficult the entry of foreigners (N.G.O.'s, diplomatic representatives, journalists, etc.), the exit of nationals and the entry and exit of information, which derives on more repression because it can be performed more inadvertently.
All of this has a consequence: the regime which we pretend to destroy through the isolation of the country becomes stronger.
I'll add that if such an isolation drives to the political instability of the affected country, this one will act more aggressively. Could really be considered that forcing Israel to act more aggressively is the best solution? Due to all of this I propose to try to change a country (e.g., Israel or Morroco) from a friendly perspective."

6 & 7.- This is an excerpt from Manuel Tapial's answer (marked as #6) to Julio Belmonte:
"The isolation of these countries is possible and necessary. There are cases like South Africa, in which Boycott, Sanctions and De-investments made the Apartheid to fall, and it's true that there was much repression, but the outcome was positive for the natives. Sadly there are no leaders able to communicate and to take brave decisions in view of the so hostile contexts in which we evolve, we have representatives of the system and not politicians guided by noble ideals, and that put all of us in danger."
Julio Belmonte answers Manuel Tapial as follows (marked as #7):
"I personally dissent from some of your observations. Saddam Hussein's Iraq wasn't the most advanced country in terms of freedom in the Middle East; this one was Israel (something which doesn't legitimate abusing [the Palestinians], of course). According to all the indicators of freedom it's above all the countries of the zone. Lebanon and Jordan also were above Saddam Hussein's Iraq in terms of freedom. Hussein is usually compared with Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao and Stalin, among others, and that's suggestive of something.
Regarding the end of the apartheid in South Africa, it's difficult to believe seriously that the embargo was what ended it. Firstly, sanctions against South Africa weren't respected; for example, France sold Mirage III and Mirage F1 fighter aircraft [to South Africa] during the 60s, the 70s and the 80s. I think that was the internal opposition what favoured the end of the regime, while the international condemnation and the sanctions were accessory to the success achieved in 1993 [please note that the South African apartheid actually ended in 1994].
Furthermore, regarding a boycott against a country, it's doubtfully legal. The European Court of Human Rights of the Council of Europe sentenced that boycotting a country is an illegal form of discrimination. I'll bring you the sentence:
As a democratic person, I obey the law and the jurisprudence."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Former Spanish President of the Government on the policy of targeted killings.

Felipe González Márquez was Spain's President of the Government between 1982 and 1996 with the P.S.O.E. (Partido Socialista Obrero Español or Spanish Socialist Workers' Party). His mandate thus coincided with one of the most turbulent periods of E.T.A.'s terrorism. And also during his mandate, a counter-terrorism group appeared and began to act: the G.A.L. (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación or Antiterrorist Liberation Groups).

This squad was created by officials of the Spanish Government and among its members there were Spanish police officers and foreign mercenaries. The G.A.L. worked between 1983 and 1987, kidnapping and killing several dozens of individuals, many of them unconnected with E.T.A. G.A.L.'s existence and actions were discovered by the Spanish press and several police officers and Government officials were arrested and imprisoned due to their role in the so-called guerra sucia (dirty war) against the Basque terrorist group.

This guerra sucia was one of the major scandals of the P.S.O.E.-led Spanish Government along with many others, including that of the embezzlement of public funds by individuals related to the G.A.L.

It has been always reported about a mysterious Sr. X (Mr. X), who would be the main figure behind G.A.L.'s network; and it has been always suspected that Sr. X was González himself, although nothing was proved against him.

On Sunday, November 7, 2010, an interview with Felipe González by Juan José Millás was published in El País. Among González's statements, we can find this excerpt from an answer to the question "And what about the embezzlement of public funds?" (translated as accurate as possible, between quotation marks):

"The other discussion, an absurd one which drives oneself to the melancholy, is how the reserved funds are handled, those which I was responsible for, which by definition are reserved and which started a ridiculous debate because it was said that they had to have receipts of those provided funds. That is, the informers or the infiltrators who were working for the police after having been paid for their fight against terrorism had to sign the receipts of the money they were being given. We got to this ridiculous [point] in our country! By definition they can't do it, and by definition it's impossible to know whether the guy who has to provide those funds to the informer to give the information to you, or to bring you a [terrorist] commando, is actually providing those funds. Or [whether] he is providing a half while he is taking the other [half]. Here and everywhere. Those are the State's guts. It's been a long time since I'm not in the Government but I'll tell you something that maybe will surprise you.
Even now I still don't know if I did right or wrong, I'm not bringing a moral problem up to you, because I'm still not sure. In my life I had just an opportunity to give an order to liquidate the whole E.T.A.'s leadership. Before [Philippe] Bidart's [leader and founder of Iparretarrak, a Basque nationalist terrorist organization operating in the French Basque Country] fall, in 1992, they wanted to spoil the Olympic Games, to have a universal influence... I don't know how much time before, maybe in 1990 or 1989, some information was given to me, it had to be given to me due to its importance. It wasn't about ordinary operations regarding the fight against terrorism: our people had detected -I don't tell who [were those people]- the place and the day of a meeting of E.T.A.'s leadership in southern France. The whole leadership. An operation which they had been waiting for much time. We had the place and the day, but our chance to arrest them was inexistent, they weren't in our territory. And the possibility that the operation was to be done by France was very low. Now it would have been easier. Although if it had been detected by our services, if the whole E.T.A.'s leadership had met in a French location, France['s authorities] would have fallen on them. [But] not at that moment. At that moment we only had the possibility to blow them up altogether in the house they were to meet. I will not even explain you the consequences of acting in French territory, I'll not explain you the whole issue, but the fact was: a possibility to blow them up and to leave E.T.A. without its leaders did exist. The decision was between 'Yes' and 'No'. I'll simplify it, I said: 'No'. And I'll add this: I don't already know if I did right. I'm not telling you that I'd never do it for moral reasons. No, it's not true. One of the things that tortured me during the following 24 hours was how many murders of innocent people could I have avoided within the following four or five years. That's the matter. But I said 'No'."

This is the way in which former Spain's President of the Government Felipe González justified the policy of targeted killings. Please notice that he had to decide whether to blow E.T.A.'s leadership up, due to the fact that at that time Spanish authorities were unable to apprehend the terrorists, who were hiding in the territory of a country which was doing absolutely nothing to arrest them; please notice also that González decided not to do it for diplomatic reasons, not for moral ones.
The case is that former Spain's President of the Government Felipe González at least considered whether to commit a targeted killing in order to fight a terrorist organization. Some people have argued that these statements prove that González really was Sr. X, the main figure behind the G.A.L.'s network.
Were G.A.L.'s activities illegal? Yes, they were. Although Spain had to deal with a terrorist organization at the time, this problem didn't happen in the context of a war, so in that case the policy of targeted killings and kidnappings was illegal. And even if this was not the case in strict legal terms (many would justify such a policy in this case arguing that France neither was fighting against E.T.A. in its own soil nor allowed Spain to apprehend the terrorists in French territory), the fact is that in practice, G.A.L.'s activities were performed foolishly and took many innocent lives.
But what about a sovereign State which suffers terrorism in the context of a war? Does constitute a punishable offense to kill your enemies when you're at war with them? No, it doesn't, especially if the members of those terrorist organizations hide and operate in the territory of a country which neither apprehends them nor allows the affected sovereign State to act appropriately. And is not the policy of targeted killings even more justifiable when in the context of a war the country where the terrorists hide and operate actively support them? In such a case, is not actually the country which supports the terrorists participating in the hostilities against the affected sovereign State? And is not the affected sovereign State entitled to defend itself through a policy of targeted killings if necessary?

Monday, November 8, 2010

What about Malmö's Jews?

Malmö is Sweden's third largest city, and it has been suffering a continuous increasing of hate crimes for the last years. These hate crimes have been suffered both by Jews and inmigrants from African and Asian countries.
Jew-hatred in Malmö increased to the extent that approximately a half of the city's Jewish population decided to leave their place of origin, having emigrated to other Swedish locations or to the State of Israel. As reported early this year, they're less than 700, and for the last years they suffered not only vandalism, harassment and threats, but also at least two bomb attacks: one at a burial site and other at the city's only synagogue.
These attacks are being committed mostly by extremist muslims and radical left-wingers, and to a lesser extent, by radical right-wingers. And Malmö's mayor Ilmar Reepalu's response to this problem was inappropriate and shameful.
At the same time, a series of shootings against people with dark skin and non-Swedish appearance have been happening in Malmö at least since 2009, but the authorities consider now that the case could date back as far as 2003. The multiple shootings have resulted in at least one person killed and many more people injured. A man has been arrested recently but the case is still far from being solved and closed. This case coincides with the Sverigedemokraterna's (Sweden Democrats) entry into the Riksdag (Sweden's legislature).
This political party proposes strict regulations concerning inmigration, especially from muslim countries. It is supported especially in southern Sweden, where Malmö is located. This city comprises a large inmigrant population frequently associated not only with the aforementioned Jew-hatred, but also with violence in general, especially in the district of Rosengård, so the Sweden Democrats' political rise is considered to be partly responsible for the shootings.

Once a man has been arrested in connection with the racist shootings in Malmö, laSexta Noticias has broadcasted a report on them on Sunday, November 7, 2010. The report can be watched here, from the minute 19:39 to the minute 20:08. Meanwhile, the Jew-hatred which affects Sweden's third largest city is still ignored by laSexta Noticias.
Ironically, the aforementioned report is followed by another about racism, while for laSexta Noticias, Malmö's Jews are not important enough to be mentioned.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Manuel Tapial's activities on Facebook (II).

As explained before, Manuel Tapial was one of the three Spanish activists who were on board the Mavi Marmara, and he runs his own Facebook account. There we can find multiple examples of his political ideology, and now I'll provide eight of them. Click on the images below to watch them in high resolution. Translations are available, made as accurate as possible and between quotation marks.

1.- Manuel Tapial writes about an Israeli politician, Avi Dichter, who refused to travel to Spain due to his concerns about the possibility of being arrested or interrogated. Manuel Tapial's friend Pedro Luis Ruiz Sanchez comments below, among other things (comment marked as #1):
"... if he is guilty of serious crimes he should be hanged as Sad[d]am [Hussein] before and his vice-president Tarek Aziz now were, or can't the Jews be hanged? because if they kill and they're not tried it's normal that terrorism does exist in that occupied zone, and well, it was told in the past and it still prevails, even God doesn't want the Jews."
This anti-Semitic remarks, liked by Manuel Tapial's friend Farid Hach, haven't been erased by the activist.

2 & 3.- Manuel Tapial links from the wall of his own Facebook account to a Facebook page titled Demand Egypt let the Road to Hope convoy through (the link is marked as #2). If we follow the link and read the information of this Facebook page we will be able to read (the text is marked as #3):
"The Road to Hope convoy has been sitting on the Libyan/Egyptian border for over one week now.
We demand the inmediate and safe passage so the Road to Hope convoy can deliver humanitarian cargo to the people of Gaza."
This demand seems to be supported by Manuel Tapial since he has joined this Facebook page. I'd like to ask him why would be right to send humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip by land through Egypt, while sending humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip by land through Israel is not. After all, when the Gaza flotilla was en route to the Gaza Strip, Israeli authorities gave the activists a chance to do it, which was rejected by them.

4 & 5.- The map marked as #4 was found by the Tzahal during the Operation Cast Lead. It was made by Hamas and shows Hamas' tactics during the aforementioned clash, which included the use of civilian population and infrastructures as shields. Much more complete and detailed information on Hamas' tactics during the Operation Cast Lead is available here.
Regarding to the map, it was uploaded by Jorge Casas Bermúdez (not a Manuel Tapial's friend) to a Facebook page titled Rumbo a Gaza (On the road to Gaza), the name given to an initiative which pretends to send another flotilla to the Gaza Strip. This Facebook page was created by Manuel Tapial.
Jorge Casas Bermúdez claims to have received the map through an anonymous e-mail by which he was also told that it's important to the aforementioned initiative, so the map, which is in Arabic, should be translated (presumably into Spanish or English). Manuel Tapial, unable to translate the map, asks Jorge Casas Bermúdez who has been received the map from. Amar Hachemi (not a Manuel Tapial's friend) writes in Arabic, but later makes the translation into Spanish (marked as #5) as follows:
"it's palastine's flag and the girl [who made it also] made a drawing begging peace and love".
Well, the truth is that, as explained before, it's a map (not a Palestinian flag with a drawing) made by Hamas (not by a girl) which shows its criminal tactics, so this evidence against Hamas and in favour of Israel is available on the wall of this pro-Palestinian Facebook page.
It's curious, isn't it? Let's see how much time will the map still be available there without them having realized it!

6.- As reported before as a rare example of an unbiased report on Israel, an Israeli rabbi has allowed female Mossad agents to engage in sexual intercourse when necessary to achieve a mission. According to this ruling, such activity wouldn't constitute a sin according to the Jewish religious laws.
On the wall of his own Facebook account, Manuel Tapial warns (statement marked as #6) his friends against being lured by female Mossad agents. This warning is followed by some blue jokes and a comment by Manuel Tapial himself (not shown here but still available there) defending Mordechai Vanunu, who was lured by a female Mossad agent, apprehended and smuggled into Israel. Vanunu revealed nuclear secrets to the British press.
Does Manuel Tapial really think he is important enough to attract Mossad's attention upon him? Well, he probably does think so. After all, he claimed his last cell phone was probably hacked by Israel, warning his friends to erase his cell phone number from their datebooks (read here, at point #1).

7.- Pilar Rahola, a Spanish journalist and former politician from Catalonia, was awarded the Daniel Pearl Award for her defense of Israel. Here, Manuel Tapial writes his disagreement with the Award being given to Pilar Rahola. Manuel Tapial's friends Amparo Amparito and Wadi Nasrallah-Daghestani also disagree (marked as #7). The first one demands Pilar Rahola to be censored while the second one describes the Catalonian journalist as human scum.
Other comment (not captured here but still available there) by Pedro Luis Ruiz Sanchez (already mentioned in this same article at point #1) calls her to search for psychological and psychiatric treatment and to hit the Western Wall with her head in order to hurt herself.
Other insults against Rahola are still available on his wall and haven't been erased by Manuel Tapial.

8.- Manuel Tapial claims here (marked as #8) that the police took a Palestinian acquaintance of his own during two hours in the city of Almería. He also claims that this Palestinian individual was interrogated about the reasons of his trip to the city and whether he had the intention to attend a conference by Manuel Tapial there.
Manuel Tapial is thus accusing the Spanish authorities of intimidating those related to his cause.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Jerusalem Post on Casa Sefarad-Israel's study about anti-Semitism in Spain.

The Pew Research Center published a report about anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Spain, Poland, Russia, Germany, France, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The report dates from 2008 and showed that 46% of the Spaniards had unfavourable views towards the Jews; concerned about this fact, the Spanish Government made Casa Sefarad-Israel to study the problem, releasing the data contained here.
The Jerusalem Post's response to the report can be read here (in English).