File:Israeli embassy case.pdf
Chapter 14 of “Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers”
ISBN 185776952X By Annie Machon
The Israeli Embassy bombing and the Gagging Orders
In October 1997, David and the MoS made their first submission under the injunction. The then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, was rather oblique in his response. However, it still opened up a whole can of worms, which may yet rebound on ministers, judges and MI5.
When you step into any issue relating to the Middle East conflict, you will inevitably be accused of taking sides, of becoming a pawn in a political game. Some Jewish people have, for example, accused David of making his disclosures with regard to the Israeli Embassy bombing out of sympathy for Palestinian terrorists. So, first, let me state that David and I support the state of Israel (within 1967 borders) as the only true democracy in the Middle East. We have enormous respect for the Jewish people and their values, while condemning the Israeli government’s continued flouting of UN resolutions mandating them to withdraw from the Occupied Territories.
Where innocent Israelis are victims of terrorism or their security is threatened, we have spoken out. This is why we felt that David should speak out about MI5’s failure to prevent the Embassy bombing in July 1994. We believed that MI5 was incapable of protecting the Israeli Embassy — a high profile target at the best of times — from terrorist operations in the same way that the service was incapable of protecting the British people. This is why David spoke out about the MI6 funding of Al Qaeda in Libya. If that country had become the first vehemently anti-Western Islamic extremist state, then only Egypt would have stood between Al Qaeda and Israel.
Directly because of David’s allegations about MI5’s bungling in the run up to the Israeli embassy bombing, the case of the two Palestinians convicted of conspiracy to carry out the attack, Samar Alami and Jawed Botmeh, was referred to the Court of Appeal and later the House of Lords. MI5 — and a number of other organisations — failed to disclose to the trial judge a document vital to their defence, so vital that any jury member who had seen it would have been obliged to acquit the two. The trial judge never reached the stage of considering whether these documents would qualify for a Public Interest Immunity certificate or “gagging orders”1. Alami and Botmeh were therefore convicted in a wholly unfair trial.
At the time, David believed this was a cock-up on the part of MI5:
“I don’t believe MI5 deliberately hid the document away to pervert the course of justice or cover up, for example, Mossad’s unofficial activities in Britain, as some have suggested,” he wrote in Punch magazine, “. […] I do believe, however, that it was an honest mistake on the part of MI5 and others. “Mistakes happen in the services just as they do anywhere else. The difference is the reaction to them. Where other organisations deal with problems, MI5 routinely uses secrecy to cover up its cock-ups. […] I cannot be so sure that Mossad did not frame the two, as there is evidence to indicate that they did.”
Samar Alami and Jawed Botmeh have remained behind bars for ten years because they were denied access to not one but two pieces of evidence, which could have proved their innocence. At the same time, senior British judges in the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords failed to quash the conviction in the light of the new and compelling evidence. Continues.....
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