Boeing crash victims’ families accuse US of offering company “sweetheart deal” – National & International News – TUE 2Jul2024


Crash victims’ families accuse US of offering Boeing “sweetheart deal”.

Gaza doctor released from Israeli prison describes months of torture.


Crash victims’ families accuse US of offering Boeing “sweetheart deal”

An attorney representing the families of 346 people killed in two Boeing 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 has accused the Department of Justice of offering a “sweetheart deal” to the airplane manufacturer to settle a deferred prosecution agreement. The DOJ is due to announce soon whether it will seek to prosecute Boeing for violations of the agreement which was struck in 2021. However, the families’ attorneys have already been advised that the government plans to offer Boeing a plea deal, which would see the company pay a fine, serve three years of probation, and agree to closer government oversight.

Attorney Paul Cassell, who represents 15 of the families, said, “The memory of 346 innocents killed by Boeing demands more justice than this”. Other attorneys representing families expressed similar outrage. The families have long called for real accountability and transparency from Boeing and US regulators over the failings that led to the 2018 Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in 2019. Both planes nosedived soon after takeoff due to flaws in the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

The families contend that this flawed system and Boeing’s reluctance to address the problem were a result of poor safety culture at the company, as well as the US government’s willingness to turn a blind eye to Boeing’s lapses.

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Gaza doctor released from Israeli prison details months of torture

The head of Al-Shifa Hospital in central Gaza, which has twice been besieged by Israeli troops since Oct. 7 and is now reduced to rubble, was recently released from a secretive Israeli military prison after seven months in detention. Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya was released Monday alongside 54 other prisoners from Gaza, apparently part of an effort to reduce rampant overcrowding. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized Israel’s secret police for releasing Dr. Abu Salmiya, which Netanyahu says was a “serious mistake”.

Netanyahu’s ire was due to Dr. Abu Salmiya’s candid revelations about repeated torture and beatings he and other Palestinian detainees suffered at the hands of his Israeli captors. Speaking to members of the press following his release, Dr. Abu Salmiya spoke about conditions in the military prisons: 

All the Palestinian detainees are suffering. I left them in a very dire condition. My message is that their issue must be part of any negotiations until all the Palestinian detainees are released. Al-Shifa Hospital will be rebuilt and it will be once again a beacon of healthcare for all the Palestinians, not only Gazans. I will resume my duties as soon as it is feasible.

Israel arrests everyone, including medical teams. There are prisoners who died from torture, and there are physicians and medical staff members who are still being held and in need of treatment. We are happy about the release but we left behind thousands who are enduring indescribable suffering.

Dr. Abu Salmiya described “almost daily” torture including attacks by dogs, psychological torture, deprivation of basic medical care as well as food and water. He also described detainees having to have limbs amputated as a result of being constantly cuffed with zip ties. All of these abuses have been corroborated by previous reports from Israeli whistleblowers

42 forms of torture

Since Oct. 7, the Israeli military has kidnapped thousands of Palestinians from Gaza and taken them to secretive military prisons in Israel. Detainees including men, women, elderly people, children and medical workers. Dr. Salmiya’s statements are not the first indications that Israel is systematically perpetrating torture against Palestinians in these prisons at a vast and almost industrial scale. 

Back in May, human rights group Euro Med Monitor had documented 42 forms of torture Israel is reportedly using against Palestinians, based on testimonies from over 100 prisoners who had been released. To name but a few, these included: electrical shocks, various kinds of sexual abuse, denial of food and water, vicious dog attacks, severe beatings that shattered teeth and bones, life-changing injuries, and everything up to and including willful murder.

In June, the New York Times reported forms of torture not even included by Euro Med Monitor, including male prisoners being sodomized by searing hot metal rods. The UN Relief and Works Agency, which oversees aid to Palestinian refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and elsewhere, had previously reported on this form of torture. According to the testimony of one detainee, who had himself suffered this torture, another prisoner had died of an infection after suffering this form of torture.

At least two other doctors from Gaza have died while in custody in these Israeli prisons. In November Dr. Iyad Al-Rantisi, the head of a women’s hospital in northern Gaza, died while being questioned by Israeli police 6 days after being detained at Shikma prison in Ashkelon. Dr. Al-Rantisi’s family only recently learned of his death. Israel has apparently still not released his body to his family more than seven months later.

More recently, Dr. Adnan Al-Bursh, head of Al-Shifa’s orthopedic department, died after receiving severe beatings during 4 months at Ofer prison in the West Bank. Doctor Al-Bursh’s body still has not been released, but representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) who were able to view the body said it showed signs of torture.


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