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Ukrainian Professors Deflate Israeli Charges Against Abusisi – OpEd

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Dirar Abusisi’s academic advisors in Ukraine have further dented the Israeli charges against him which claim that he led an undercover life as Hamas’ chief rocket designer in Gaza. The two professors who supervised his actual research on electrical power plants have both said neither of them had any involvement with rocket technology as the indictment claims and that neither taught at the military school which Israeli intelligence claimed schooled him to become Hamas’ Rocket King. In fact, the school doesn’t exist. When asked to explain the discrepancies by Haaretz the prosecutor spoke eloquently: No comment. Speaks volumes, no?

Former professors of a Palestinian engineer captured in Ukraine and sent to Israel to face charges that he built missiles for the militant group Hamas, have refuted allegations in his indictment that he was taught weapons systems during his university studies.

…Konstantin Petrovich Vlasov told The Associated Press that Abu Sisi was his doctoral student in civilian electricity systems at the Kharkiv National Academy of Municipal Services in the mid-1990s, but denies he was taught about weapons.

…Vlasov, an expert in civilian electrical and mineral processing systems, said he had no connection to the military, never sent any of his students to a military academy and has never even seen a missile.

“This is all lies, there isn’t a single word of truth in it,” Vlasov, 80, said in a telephone interview.  ”I have never lectured at any military academy and never had anything to do with anything military. I have only seen missiles on TV.”

Vlasov initially supervised Abu Sisi’s doctoral work, then moved to the Russian city of St. Petersburg and handed AbuSisi over to another professor at the academy, Filipp Govorov.

Abu Sisi’s dissertation on the use of transformers in city electricity grids, viewed by the AP at Ukraine’s national library, lists Govorov as Abu Sisi’s Ph.D. adviser.

Govorov also dismissed the charges against Abu Sisi.

“They said that he allegedly dealt with rockets, but what we did had nothing to do with it,” Govorov told the AP.

I reported this here weeks ago and it’s good to hear Abusisi’s faculty advisors confirm it.  Now, let the Mossad disprove what these teachers claim by displaying photos of them standing next to missiles or of their classroom blackboards filled with calculations about rocket fuel and navigation systems.  They should be able to provide such evidence if the story they’ve concocted has any validity.

The AP story also repeats a fact first reported here that the main professor accused in the indictment isn’t even named properly.  It entirely omits his last name using instead his patronymic (father’s name).  It would be as if someone called me “Richard son of John.”  Who could tell who this was?  Again, very sloppy work by the intelligence goons who patched this story together.

The accused/victim’s lawyer, Tal Linoy, has revived an interesting theory explaining the Mossad’s pursuit and rendition of Abusisi, one that we heard quite a bit earlier in the history of the case.  It was a theory expounded by Israeli reporters never offering any other proof than the rumor they heard, likely from an intelligence official.  The story goes that Abusisi, through his affiliations with Hamas, somehow had privileged information about the whereabouts of Gilad Shalit.  We never heard any substantiation for this belief and it was never raised in the indictment.

But if the Mossad did believe Abusisi knew something about Shalit this would explain the extraordinary lengths it went to kidnap and render him from Ukraine to Israel.  It’s this part of the kidnapping I’ve never understood:

Abu Sisi’s Israeli lawyer, Tal Linoy, says he believes Israeli authorities detained Abu Sisi based on an erroneous tip that he had information about the whereabouts of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by the Gaza militant group Hamas nearly five years ago.

After that proved wrong, the government is now trying to save face, the lawyer said; he provided no evidence for his theory.

“I think they took him by mistake,” Linoy said. “Now this fire needs to be put out, because … the image of the state, the government and Israeli special services is at stake. They needed to dig something up.”

I was tickled by all the naysayers and doubters who wrote comments here accepting at face value the claims of the State about the victim.  Of course, the argument went, it justified kidnapping him if he was the mastermind behind all those rockets hitting Sderot.  But, I replied, what if he wasn’t?  And he isn’t.

I knew the charges to be false based on my own research.  The professors’ statement hammers even more nails into the coffin of the prosecution.

As I reported earlier, the Israeli indictment is a tissue of lies which Dirar’s brother, Yousef, told me he concocted under the duress of interrogation.  The reason why the story is full of discrepancies and invetions is that Dirar created a fiction that would satisfy his interrogators.  Apparently, the investigators didn’t bother to do even the remotest due diligence to verify the “facts” Dirar offered them.  That’s why Israel put out such an embarrasssing legal document.  But only embarrassing to those of us who know better.  Israeli intelligence operatives apparently aren’t so easily embarrassed.

I wondered why the professors haven’t made such a statement before this until I thought that they teach at state-affiliated educational institutions, which could make their positions untenable if they brooked the authorities.  Given that very senior Ukrainian ministers and intelligence officers have been implicated in this affair, it can’t have been easy for these professors to come forward.

Both Israel and Ukraine will face international demands for accountability in this matter.  If the prosecution is shown to be false and Israel is shown to be covering up its original error it will redound to both nations disfavor.  There will be legal cases brought and demands for compensation just as Turkey has brought against Israel for the Mavi Marmara disaster.  From the looks of it, both countries may be paying for their egregious behavior for years to come.  Ukraine stands the most to lose since it is a signatory to European treaties which cover such illegalities as its agents and officials engaged in.  But Israel will not get off easily either.

This article first appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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