[Marxism] American professor is accused of spying for Hezbollah and Iran

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 27 07:25:07 MDT 2006


http://chronicle.com/daily/2006/07/2006072701n.htm

Today's News
Thursday, July 27, 2006
American Professor Detained in Israel Is Suspected of Spying for Hezbollah 
and Iran
By HAIM WATZMAN

Jerusalem

The case of Ghazi Falah, the geography professor from the University of 
Akron who has been under arrest in Israel since July 8, took a new turn on 
Wednesday, when an Israeli court removed a gag order that had forbidden his 
lawyer to speak to the press. According to a statement made in court by the 
security agency in charge of the case, Mr. Falah is under investigation for 
engaging in espionage in the service of Israel's enemies.

The gag order, which also forbade the Israeli press to report the arrest, 
was lifted in response to a lawsuit filed by Ha'aretz, an Israeli daily 
newspaper. Ha'aretz identified the enemies Falah is accused of spying for 
as Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, and Iran.

Mr. Falah, an Arab who holds dual Canadian-Israeli citizenship, arrived in 
Israel three days before his arrest. According to his son, Naail, he made 
an unplanned visit to the country of his birth when he learned that his 
mother, who still lives here, had been hospitalized with a brain tumor.

Hussein Abu-Hussein, Mr. Falah's lawyer, confirmed that Mr. Falah had been 
arrested while taking photographs at Rosh ha Niqra, an Israeli tourist site 
and post on the Lebanese border, where a naval base is also located.

When a security guard at the site told him to stop taking pictures, Mr. 
Falah began arguing with the guard, who called the police, Mr. Abu-Hussein 
said. Mr. Falah told the police that he was taking photographs of the 
border area in preparation for a conference he is organizing on Israel's 
borders. He also said that he had taken similar pictures on the other side 
of the border on an earlier trip to Lebanon. And he said that he had 
visited Tehran in an academic capacity.

Mr. Abu-Hussein said that Mr. Falah's argument with the security guard had 
been "a momentary act of foolishness." He also said that, when the police 
examined the pictures he had taken, they found that one included an antenna 
from a military installation in Nahariyya, a city just to the south of Rosh 
ha Niqra. Mr. Falah said that he had not realized that the antenna was a 
military one.

In a statement to Ha'aretz, Mr. Falah said, "I have never made any 
connections, secret or illegal, with intelligence or terror sources."

Mr. Abu-Hussein also noted that Mr. Falah had been arrested four days 
before the recent hostilities broke out between Israel and Hezbollah.

He said that the court had extended the arrest of Mr. Falah, who has not 
yet been charged with any crime, until Sunday. But a district-court panel 
will hear an appeal on Thursday. Mr. Abu-Hussein said he expected that Mr. 
Falah would be released shortly.

Naail Falah and some of Mr. Falah's academic colleagues have been 
conducting a public campaign calling for his release.

Paul Herold, a spokesman for the University of Akron, in Ohio, broke two 
and a half weeks of silence from the university on Wednesday. He confirmed 
that the administration had been providing officials in Canada and the 
United States with documentation of Mr. Falah's employment and academic 
credentials.

"We have been working through diplomatic channels both in the United States 
and Canada to provide helpful information that may help secure his return 
to the U.S.," said Mr. Herold.

For the first several days of Mr. Falah's detention, the university 
declined to comment on his predicament. "We've just been very conscious of 
the sensitivity of the Middle East situation," said Mr. Herold.

Mr. Herold said that Mr. Falah's colleagues at the university are very 
concerned for his safety.

John Gravois contributed to this article from Washington.

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