Saturday, March 10, 2018

2018-03-10 Jailed Israeli blogger Lori Shem-Tov, Freedom of Speech, and judicial fraud

Jailed Israeli blogger Lori Shem-Tov, Freedom of Speech, and judicial fraud
Lori Shem-Tov, an Israeli blogger and anti-judicial corruption activist, is jailed prior to trial for over a year now.  A recent judgment in her appeal in a separate case, redefines Freedom of Speech in Israel.  The judgment made up a novel 'flexible formula' for distinguishing between protected speech and criminal activity. As applied, the "flexible formula" aimed at protecting corrupt government officers against exposure. Moreover, establishing a flexible, vague and ambiguous standard for determining criminality should be deemed a serious violation of Human Rights. This is the latest in a series of Israeli court rulings of recent years that undermine Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and the Right to Protest.
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Figure.  Bloggers Lori Shem-Tov and Moti Leybel, Israeli anti-judicial corruption activists, were jailed in late February 2017. Leybel was released to house arrest a couple of months ago, but Shem-Tov has remained in jail prior to trial to date.

Figure. The February 25, 2018 Tel-Aviv District Court Judgment in Lori Shem-Tov's appeal was published under the names of Judges Raanan Ben-Yosef, Shy Yaniv, and Zvi Gurfinkel.  The Judgment redefines Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and the Right to Protest. Worse yet, the judgment record appears as a fake, sham court record, another case of Fraud upon the Court.

Tel-Aviv, March 10 - blogger Lori Shem-Tov is a central activist in the protest against corruption of the family courts and welfare system in Israel. Specifically - regarding taking children from poor families for adoption or surrogacy, a large-scale phenomenon in Israel.  Lori has been jailed now for over a year in prior to trial - an unprecedented, if not unlawful act, perceived as retaliation by the judiciary. [1] The case is generally blacked out by media in Israel.
During her detention, Lori's appeal in a separate criminal case has been denied.  In this case, Lori was convicted of violating the Protection of Privacy Act.  The underlying issue was Lori's publication in 2014, that CEO of the Welfare Ministry, Yossi Silman, systematically failed to pay, or got away with not paying parking tickets in various cities. [2]
In her appeal, as in the trial court, Lori claimed that the publication was protected speech, part of her journalistic work.
Appeal judges Raanan Ben-Yosef, Shy Yaniv, and Zvi Gurfinkel, rejected such claims, and ruled:
'A matter of public interest', which justifies the violation of a person's privacy through publication, is a matter, knowledge of which provides the public some benefit, either by crystallizing opinions in public matters, or by bettering life...  This is a relatively flexible formula. Its meaning should be determined, based on the objective perspective of the court...  Such interpretation carries with it, in our opinion, a harsher approach to media...
The development by the judiciary of a vague "flexible formula", for their own discretion, to distinguish after the fact between protected speech on the one hand, and criminal conduct on the other hand, is nothing less than judicial chutzpah. As the judges themselves note, such "flexible formula" would have a chilling effect on media.  Moreover, establishing a flexible, vague and ambiguous standard for determining criminality should be deemed a serious violation of Human Rights.
This judgment should also be considered part of a series of Israeli court rulings of recent years, which suppress Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press and the Right to Protest, and retaliate against whistle-blowers and protest activists - all in the context of the widening public protest against government corruption in Israel. [3]
Worse yet, the Judgment in Lori Shem-Tov's appeal in the Tel-Aviv District Court appears as another example of a fake court record - invalid, deceitful and fraudulent.  
A Request to Inspect, which has been filed this week in the Tel-Aviv District Court notes: [4]
a) The record states that the judgment was read in front of the three judge panel, assigned to the case - as required by law.  However, eye witnesses reported that only two judges were present at the hearing - Judge Raanan Ben-Yosef, who was indeed assigned to the case, and Judge Avraham Heiman, who was not assigned to the case at all.
b) Court Calendars show false entries, indicating that all three judges were present in the hearing. Court Calendars are one of the "Books of Courts", which define the lawful hearings of the court. Therefore, false Court Calendars in this case undermine the validity of the hearing and the judgment.
c) Israeli law requires that Defendant's Counsel be present in all hearings. The Judgment record itself notes that Lori's Counsel was not present in the hearing.
d) Today, there is no way for the public and parties in court cases in Israel to determine the validity of court records.  Published judicial record bear only "graphic signatures" (cut and paste images), which are held invalid by the judges themselves. At the same time, the judges routinely deny access to inspect their electronic signatures, which are deemed by the judges the valid signatures.  Review of the judges electronic signatures in a series of other cases shows that judges routinely generate, serve, and publish unsigned, fake court records. [5]

Figure. Inspection of the electronic signature of a Jerusalem Magistrate Court decision, recently rendered, served, and published, shows "The record signature is invalid".  Israeli judges routinely engage in such deceit - generating, serving, and publishing decisions and judgments records, which they themselves hold invalid "drafts".

The law in Israel is clear: "Any person is permitted to inspect decision records, which are not lawfully prohibited for publication". Moreover, the 2009 Judgment of the Israeli Supreme Court [Association for Civil Rights in Israel v Minister of Justice et al ( 5917-97)] further clarifies that no Request to Inspect is required for inspection of published judicial records. The same Judgment also declaring that such inspection is "a fundamental principle in any democratic regime... constitutional, supra-statutory".  The law in the US is similar - as clarified by the US Supreme Court in the landmark case of the Nixon tapes - Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc.,  435 U.S. 589 (1978)  
Regardless, a long series of attempts over the past several years to exercise the right to inspect judicial records in various courts, including the Supreme Court, documented that the courts disregard the law, and deny access to inspect the authentic judicial records, even after they were published.  
The denial of access to inspect electronic signatures of judicial records is particularly troubling, in the wake of the "Fabricated Protocols" scandal of 2011. In that scandal, Tel-Aviv District Court senior Judge Varda Alshech falsified court records in order to retaliate against an attorney, who had appeared before her. Investigation concluded that Judge Varda Alshech had never electronically signed the false records, and therefore, the records were considered merely "drafts"...  However, that fact could not be distinguished by others involved in the matter. Judge Alshech has never been held accountable... [6]
Israeli attorneys often claim that they do not understand the E-sign Act (2001), and the matter is insignificant.  Such attorneys should be deemed incompetent at best.  
The Israel Bar Association acts as an agent, providing attorneys the electronic signature instruments, as well as software for their execution and inspection (denied to the public at large).  The Israel Bar Association was also the complainant in the Judge Varda Alshech scandal. And yet, even after the Judge Varda Alshech scandal the Bar has never taken any action to stop the faking of court records by judges.  Therefore, the Bar, a statutory body, should be deemed complicit in this matter.
The judges, as a group, should be held the perpetrators.  Electronic systems in the Israeli courts were developed, established, and are operated by the judiciary (as is the case in the US) with no adequate public oversight. However, no competent judge can be ignorant of the fraud routinely perpetrated in the operation of these systems.
In contrast, Hebrew University Computer Science Professor Amnon Shashua, co-founder of Mobileye, [7] has recently wrote about research into computer fraud in the Israeli courts "very important work".
The generation, service, and publication of fake, simulated court records - which are not deemed by the judges themselves valid and effectual - but with the intention that others would accept their authority - is a phenomenon, which is well-known worldwide for generations in incompetent or corrupt courts.  In US federal law, the matter falls under Fraud upon the Court.  In various state laws, this conduct is defined as "sham" or "simulated" court process. [8] Regardless of the law, the practice is common also in the US courts. [9]
The practice of generating, serving and publishing fake, simulated electronic court records is also the matter underlying an appeal, which was filed in the Israeli Supreme Court on October 1, 2017. [10] The appeal also originated in fake court records, pertaining to the ongoing detention of Lori Shem-Tov.  Therefore, the fundamental question underlying instant Appeal pertains to the right of a person, who was delivered purported service of an electronic document, which appears as a court record in a criminal process, to inspect the electronic signature of the same document, in order to verify its authenticity as a valid judicial decision record. Otherwise stated:
Is a court permitted, in a criminal process, to serve a person documents with the intention that the recipient accept their authority as valid court decisions and judgments, and at the same time hold the authenticity of the same records as valid court records a riddle?
Immediately upon filing, the Supreme Court imposed sealing on the court file with no due process of law.  The sealing has not been removed to date, regardless of repeat requests and regardless of a protest letter by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.  
The Supreme Court has also failed to rule on the matter to this date.
However, a ruling of sort was issued in the recent 2018 UN Human Rights High Commissioner report on Israel. The report incorporated by reference the Human Rights Alert- NGO submission, and summarized it as follows:
... serious deterioration in integrity of law and justice agencies as a consequence of the implementation of e-government systems... the validity and integrity of any legal and judicial records of Israel should be deemed dubious at best.
One must wonder how such circumstances could emerge and prevail in Israel, which advertises itself as "high-tech, startup nation", almost a decade after implementing electronic file systems in the courts, and almost two decades after the Israeli E-sign Act went into effect.  

[1] 2017-10-29 Israeli bloggers and the vengeful judges -- ongoing detention and chaos in the courtroom   |
2017-05-05 Court observers scuttle Israeli judge's attempt to hold a closed doors hearing in protesters' criminal prosecution |
2017-03-18 [Video] The remedy for Israeli judicial corruption is repression of social protest |
[2] 2014-06-18 Blogger Arrested for Revealing Official's Finances  | Haaretz
[3] 2017-05-21 Police Violence, Closed Doors Hearings in Israeli Protest Against Corrupt AG (Videos)  |
2017-05-11 Israeli Supreme Court Justice Uri Shoham fakes an arrest warrant on whistle-blower Shuki Mishol  |
2017-01-17 ISRAEL: [Video] Arrested for singing in the rain...  |
2016-12-25 Police violence on Christmas Eve in Tel-Aviv |
2016-08-14 Israel: anti-judicial corruption protester placed under compulsory psychiatric hospitalization |
2015-06-28 When it comes to the First Amendment - Israel scores an "F"  |
2014-09-29 ISRAEL: Attorneys from a non-existent law-firm appeared as Public Defenders for whistle-blower Rafi Rotem... |
[4] 2018-03-08 Shem-Tov (Detainee) v Tel-Aviv District Attorney – Criminal (29531-02-17) in the Tel-Aviv District Court – Request to Inspect e-signature data on February 25, 2018 Judgment record [bi-lingual - Hebrew-English filing]
[5] "Incompetence and/or corruption of the courts and the legal profession, and discrimination by law enforcement in Israel" | Human Rights Alert -NGO submission - UN Human Rights Council Submission - 29th session (2018)
[6] 2017-04-16 E-government in Israel -- transformation into the Post-truth Era |
E-government in Israel - transformation into the post-truth era| ECDG 2017 17th European Conference on Digital Government, pp  270-278 (2017)
[7] Amnon Shashua | Wikipedia
[8]  Texas Penal Code - PENAL § 32.48. Simulating Legal Process
[9] 2014-09-07 Robbing Argentina in the US court in Manhattan - fraud of medieval style and proportions |
2014-01-06 Duplicitous US judges: Jed Rakoff, Richard Leon |
2012-09-26 Large-scale fraud in US court records is linked to failing banking regulation |
[10] 2017-01-04 Israel: The bloggers and the vengeful judges |
[11] Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: Summary of Stakeholders’ submissions on Israel (2018)