Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Shamgar Commission Mislead Israelis

by Barry Chamish

Despite government insistence that no such photographs exist, some three years ago, I received a dozen photos of the backstage "sterile area" two minutes before and immediately after Yigal Amir shot his blanks at Yitzhak Rabin. The photos were acquired partly by chicanery, which some day I'll explain, and partly through a reliable source. One series of photos shows Shimon Peres conducting his nefarious murder plot stage by stage. Not one magazine or major internet site has ever published these shots and I can only guess why.

Another photo shows the moment Yigal Amir was arrested. The arresting officer's watch captures the exact time of the arrest; 9:31. The watch was blown up and highlighted before I released it and it was reprinted in dozens of Israeli magazines and websites alongside the conclusion of the Shamgar Commission that Rabin was shot at 9:50. The implication was clear to everyone; If Shamgar was telling the truth, which he wasn't, Amir was under arrest 19 minutes before Rabin was shot. Some alibi! In fact, Shamgar deliberately falsified the time of the shooting to protect Rabin's driver, who, otherwise, would have been driving for 22 minutes to complete the 2 minute hop to Ichilov Hospital. Previously, this photo had already been published in Yediot Achronot, the country's most popular newspaper, without anyone understanding the implications.

On November 3, '05, Israel's second tv channel broadcast a breakthrough documentary proving Rabin was shot a third time from the front. This was my claim of eight years and it appeared to vindicate my work. But the film's director, Naftali Glicksberg, could not allow that to happen. During the roundtable discussion which followed the screening, he viciously attacked my integrity without naming me. The photo of the arrest was a complete fabrication, he said, and someone, which had to be me, changed the watch to read 9:31 when in fact, in the original shot, the watch read 9:53. Some claim since my source never fabricated evidence and I sure didn't.

And this lie began gaining currency. A few days later I met a youthful reporter from Makor Rishon who was covering the Rabin murder conspiracy and offered him the full set of pictures. Young Jimmy Olsen of Makor Rishon turned down the offer claiming I had no right to offer the photos for publication, like they were copyrighted by the Shabak, and anyway, I had fabricated the watch shot.

The next week I was interviewed at great length by a genuine reporter, Yonathan Gat, of Israel's People magazine, Anashim. This publication is popular among the nation's media crowd and yuppies and the result was highly professional. For one thing, the magazine became the first to publish two of the backstage shots.

During the course of the three day interview, I received a visit from two gentlemen, today respected physicians, who in their youth briefly dabbled with Avishai Raviv. Raviv, as we know, has disappeared from Israel and no one knows where to find him. Except they spotted him in Budapest, Hungary working as a senior citizens' helper. I gave Gat the scoop and his magazine turned to the Shabak and asked its spokesman if the information was accurate. The Shabak refused to respond.

Gat then turned to a sensitive issue. He played me the tape of Glicksburg calling the watch photo a fabrication and asked for my reaction. Since I didn't fabricate it, I suggested that he contact the photographer. That could be done by phoning the photo dept. of Yediot Achronot. He did so and was greeted with hostility. The man on the phone was sick of fielding inquiries about the photo from journalists. The photo, though, was no longer in the Yediot archives but when it was there, the watch read 9:50.

So Gat took the next obvious step; he asked for the photographer's name and phone number. The name was Pablo Bichman but no number existed because Bichman committed suicide a few years ago, about the time I first released his watch shot.

My, my. Another "suicide" around Rabin. He joins such august company as three of Rabin's bodyguards, the Bar Ilan student David Newman, who on the night of the murder sent an e-mail with his suspicions about Amir to newsgroups, and Avishai Raviv's Russian companion, one Ariel, who "jumped" to his death from a building in Dimona. One can only imagine what Pablo Bichman's lens captured that led to his early demise.

Gat quizzed Oren Agmon, head of Yediot's photo bureau and he told him, "The real picture shows the watch at 9:50. Pablo Bichman left the paper well before he killed himself. Any attempt to connect the photo with a conspiracy about his suicide is ridiculous."

The Anashim article is essential reading about the Rabin assassination and treats me more than fairly. It's on the kiosk and supermarket stands until Dec. 6. Israeli readers, if you can't find it, order by e-mail at anashim1 -at - spotnik.com or call 03 6275566.


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