Interim Court injuction freezes boycott to Israel

Court Injunction in Spain Stops BDS Boycott

Madrid, March 10, 2016.

Yesterday Court number 4 of Oviedo ordered the immediate suspension of any operation concerning the decisions that the City Council of Langreo (Asturias) passed on 28 January 2016, declaring this coal-mining town of 42,000 inhabitants, an ‘Israeli Apartheid Free Space’, while endorsing cooperation with the campaign to boycott Israel.

The injunction was issued in a summary proceeding for the protection of constitutional rights filed by Angel Mas —chairman of ACOM (Action and Communication on the Middle East)— who upholds that such Council decisions were in breach of the rights to academic freedom, equality before the law, non-discrimination, free speech, academic freedom, and the right to not be compelled to make any statement about ideology, religion or beliefs.

The Public Prosecutor supported the suspension of the BDS campaign as petitioned by the chairman of ACOM, who warned that the boycott is heavily charged political activism, with a deterrent effect for businesses who having any relation with Israel may intend to become public tenders, while hindering the rights of anyone who does not agree with the boycott’s inflammatory goals, to take part in municipal activities.

Court number 4 of Oviedo regarded that ‘risks of significant damage are apparent as the impugned decision of the City Council not only adheres and engages its support to a particular political campaign, but also orders action to regulate public procurement, and the adoption of the most diverse set of agreements, even encouraging cooperation with the movement called BDS (Boycott, divestment and sanctions)’.

‘The reach of this injunction is formidable’ —said Ignacio-Wenley Palacios, the lawyer who represented the petitioner in the proceeding brought against the Council of Langreo— ‘as the legal reasoning applies equally well to every other country in the European Union, where EU directives on public procurement, and the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) impose a legal obligation on public authorities when awarding contracts to treat EU and GPA suppliers such as Israel, equally, and not discriminate by the country of origin of any tender’.

The boycott campaign to Israel will remain in hold throughout the proceedings until the Court rules on the definitive annulment of the boycott campaign.

Having achieved a previous Court judgment in late February, that annulled a boycott in the town of Aviles, ACOM’s lawyers who already won an indemnity of €100,000 for Ariel University after it was arbitrarily excluded from an international architecture competition, and are now bringing criminal charges on hate crimes against a number of BDS activists who last summer targeted the American reggae singer Matisyahu, are setting up a framework to share the legal grounds of their successful court actions with foreign institutions and NGOs, both in Europe and in America, that fight anti-Semitism and discrimination.

‘The boycott to Israel is thinly disguised anti-Semitism that reeks of discrimination. Legally, the endorsement of BDS campaign by public bodies breach every core civil liberty. It is inappropriate outside the field of international legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions that only the UN Security Council may take. ACOM is determined to put an end to this campaign that hiding under the false flag of Peace of Human Rights, denies a negotiated solution for the Middle East Peace Process’ – said Angel Mas, President of ACOM.

Hostis humani generis

From the occasional regard during the age of Queen Elizabeth, of privateers and buccaneers as 'heroic' gentlemen adventurers of 'shrewd' mercantil venturers, piracy is now considered an offense of universal jurisdiction, such that any state may board and seize a ship engaged in piracy, and any state may try a pirate and impose sanctions according to that state's own law. Piracy is defined in article 101 of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the 1958 Convention on the High Seas also regulates this exercise of jurisdiction.
Sarah Barringer on Enemies of Mankind: The Image of Pirates in 18th-Century England, walk us through how Admiralty Law, before public international law, held maritime pirates —some of whom were in spite of their cruelty,  formidable navigators— and slavers to be beyond legal protection, and ready to be dealt with by any nation, even if that nation had not been directly attacked.

New Business Cards. Yee-haw!

Belated news: My new business cards were delivered yesterday. I have chosen PVC with a frosted finish and a simple font. Both the text of my name and the website's are transparent. A disadvantage —I hope it to be marginal— is that the my name is invisible against a white background. Nonetheless, this only entices to look at it more closely.

The cards were printed in Slovenia by Pinkograf, an Italian firm. They are commendable, and easy to work with.


As a tool for sharing large files, I've dropped WeTransfer for MinBox. Here, speed and simplicity are king, with Minbox transferring files of unlimited size and three times faster than Dropbox. Minbox lets your files queue, and emails the link in the same step; while the drag-and-drop transfer method is simple to use.

In short, Minbox is the fastest and most feature-rich WeTransfer alternative for sending and receiving large files that I have tried. It cuts the stress out of uploading big files by offering unlimited file size transfers. And I do not have to wait for the files to upload before I can move on to my next taso. When the file upload is complete, the recipient simply receives a link to the files in a clean, responsive web gallery. Files can be viewed from any device and I can communicate with my recipients in real-time.

Another advantage that makes it friendly for use in mobile phones is that your recipients can view your files instantly without downloading.

For Mac users there is a very small OS X application to ease up exchange of large files, without any limitations. The Minbox app sits in OS X’s menu bar. To share a file, you will need to drag-and-drop it onto Minbox’s menu bar icon. This will make a small floating-looking window appear, where you’ll need to enter the recipient’s e-mail and an optional message. And after you click “Send”, you can forget about this file. The rest of the job will be done by Minbox in the background, and recipient will receive an e-mail which contains link to a shared file only after upload is done.

Minbox’s Mac app makes the task of sharing even more seamless and fast. From screenshots and screen recordings to using keyboard shortcuts to grab links to files, it is a perfect tool for power-users.

Minbox doesn’t bring anything revolutionary, but by being more convenient and having a faster upload rate, it dramatically eases up workflow surrounding large file sharing.  For free, you receive unlimited file transfers, storage and management. Using WeTransfer you have to upgrade to WeTransfer Plus to get more out of the service and still file transfer size will still be limited to 10GB.

Files are stored for 30 days, but the Pro version ($19.99 a month) stores files for as long as you want, adds enhanced security features, personalised URLs and branding.

The Wrongful Arrest of Ships.

I recently came across a delightful paper published in issue 6, 2011 of the Journal of International Maritime Law by Dr Aleka Mandaraka-Sheppard, the author of the indispensable ‘Modern Maritime Law’, a barrister and maritime arbitrator, and the Chairman of the London Shipping Law Centre.
The case argues a reform of the standards to allow claimants to proceed in rem against a ship. Under English law, the test for wrongful arrest, as derived from the old authorities of the Privy Council, The Evangelismos and The Strathnaver, requires proof by the owner of the arrested ship of mala fides or crassa negligentia, implying malice. on the part of the arresting party. This test elaborated and well settled for more than 150 years, is sustained by reasons that claimants are to be protected by affording them the right to arrest a ship to obtain security for their legitimate claims against companies that often have but one tangible asset moving from one jurisdiction to another, that can be either sold or lost at sea. Beside, there is a policy that English jurisdiction should be amenable to claimants and such a low threshold of the test for possible wrongful arrest does not discourage them from bringing their claims to this jurisdiction.
The rigid English test provides claimants with immunity from being sued for damages as defendants are discouraged from seeking compensation for wrongful arrest. However, the phenomenal damages that may develop from a ship’s arrest, and the cases were defendants have been coerced without a shadow of reason into caving into unreasonable demands against illegitimate claims beggars the need without yet a decision of the Supreme Court on the issue, to introduce cross-undertaking in damages.
However, three years after this paper was published the new Act 14/2014, of Sea Going Navigation has brought a sensible solution to this matter in the jurisdiction of Spain, achieving a balance between the interests of claimants and owners. This however would only move frivolous or malicious claimants to bring their actions in England. But, being Christmas Eve, let me write more about it later.

Safe berth.

Claims for damages in marinas are not uncommon, and rarely welcomed by foremen or port managers who almost invariably, seek to dodge responsibility either by blaming an inept mooring, unsuitable hawsers or mooring lines, citing port  regulations, contending that there is no obligation of custody of the ship, or calling on an act of God.
Well, in Spain although the Supreme Court holds that unless the contract mooring states so, there is no obligation of custody or supervision of vessels inside the marina, there is enough Court cases and legal basis to establish the liability of the marina in the following cases:

  • Damage to a vessel for falling onto the ground in strong winds, due to a lack of support while on a slipway or a dry dock,
  • Theft of a boat at the dry dock,
  • Lack of maintenance of a mooring chain which caused a ship to drag her anchor and move out of the harbor in rough seas formed by a tornado,
  • Rodent infestation,
  • Fire started in other vessels berthed nearby,
  • Fire started in the dry dock facilities or caused by the negligence of employees,
  • Damage caused by the displacement of ships berthed nearby,
  • Injuries sustained from slipping on a jetty or floating dock.

Admiralty Oar Maces.

Admiralty Oar Mace. National Maritime Museum.jpg

It is one of the many dear symbols in Admiralty Courts to have an oar mace placed on a stand as a ceremonial symbol of the authority of Admiralty courts. There are records of oar maces in seventeenth century accounts of trials for piracy and murder; and it was established practice to carry the oar at executions ordered at Admiralty sessions, including the execution of the pirate Captain William Kidd in 1701.
The Admiralty mace seems to find its origin in maces used in battle in England in the twelfth century. The oar mace of the English Admiralty Court was first mentioned in a letter describing Court proceedings in 1459. The first representation of the mace can be found on the tomb of Doctor Lewis, an Admiralty Judge in the sixteenth century.
The photo above shows a parcel-gilt Admiralty oar mace from 1819 exhibited in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. The lower half of the shaft is plain silver with a globular terminal button, the upper half is fluted silver-gilt, terminating in a three-dimensional open crown. The shaft unscrews to reveal a gilt oar, which is inscribed on one side: “Admiralty of England”.


The Shakespeare.

It happens often. I beg to believe that inadvertently, a ship is referred to as for instance: “The MV Nisshin Maru”, when whaling vessel MV Nisshin Maru sounds just right. There is indeed no need for the definite article “the” before a ship’s name, with the exception of the article being already part of the name itself. For example, if the container ship “Maersk Batur” enters a port, it is better to say “Maersk Batur” entered port, rather than “The Maersk Batur entered port”.
The grammar behind it is that the definite article is not normally used with names. It is very much as writing that the Shakespeare wrote “Hamlet”.