MP Calls for Paper’s Closure Over Leak
Reports have emerged over the past few weeks that Israeli reporter Anat Kam has been held under secret house arrest in the nation since December of last year, but the reports have been confined to the Western media as, despite the story appearing in papers the world over, the Israeli government had forbidden domestic media from reporting on the matter until today.
Kam is facing charges of “treason” for leaking copies of classified military documents to Uri Blau, a reporter for Haaretz who has often been critical of the Israeli military. Blau has written several stories over the past few years, mostly based around the Israeli military flouting orders about rules of engagement by the High Court, based on the documents. One of the articles involved an “arrest” mission that ended in the deaths of three Islamic Jihad members. Soldiers admitted in the classified data that they were ordered to kill, not arrest the three.
Blau has since fled the country and is said to be in Britain. Haaretz has defended publishing the stories and says it will support Blau in the matter. The Israeli Justice Ministry has vowed to use “all possible” means to return Blau to Israel to face charges of his own and interrogation by Shin Bet. Shin Bet declared today that Blau must submit to interrogation, and that his possession of classified data is a “direct threat” to national security.
But this could be just the beginning of the fallout for Haaretz, a popular leftist newspaper in Israel which often publishes articles critical of government policy. One opposition MP has urged patriotic Israelis to cancel their subscriptions to the paper. Another MP in the ruling coalition, National Union’s Michael Ben-Ari, has called on the Interior Ministry to close the newspaper down entirely in the name of national security. Yisrael Beiteinu MP David Rotem called for Kam and potentially others involved in the leak to have their citizenship taken away. Other members of the Israeli parliament condemned the paper as “anti-semitic” and alleged that the leaks were a plot by the ideological left to see Israel handed over to “the Arabs.”
Haaretz for its part claims to have had a secret deal with Shin Bet allowing them to reveal the data, but says Shin Bet has since broken the deal by attempting to capture Blau. It has defended Kam’s actions as that of a whistleblower and even published an article likening censorship in Israel media to that in Iran. Source
No Freedom of Speech, No Freedom of the Press. How Israeli is that?
Typical of Israel however. They try to remove all Freedom of Speech or Press around the world. The anti-semitic propaganda is what Israel calls everyone who criticizes Israel, Even other Jews or Jewish groups are called anti semitic. It doesn’t hold water. It is just a typical talking point used to silence the truth.
It has been used to death by Israel. To a point of nausea. What ever turns their cranks. No one is going to fall for the BS anymore. Well not anyone who has an independent though at any rate. They may be able to brainwash those in Israel, but not the rest of the world.
Assassinations/Murders are illegal. They have been getting away with murder far to long.
The rest of the world is fed up with their illegal actions on many fronts.
Assassinations/Murders, False Flags, abuse of other countries passports, Manufacturing reasons for wars….. ETC ETC ETC. The list is so long it would take me all day to write it.
Israel is anti Semitic, they hate Arabs most of whom are the ” Real Semites”.
Update April 9 2010
Israeli court lifts gag order on military espionage case
By Joel Greenberg in Jerusalem
April 9 2010
Some of the documents showed that top military officers approved killings of wanted Palestinians in what were ostensibly arrest operations in the West Bank, in violation of strict limits imposed on such assassinations by the Israeli Supreme Court.
Anat Kamm, 23, the former soldier, had been under house arrest since December, but the Israeli media was barred from reporting the case under a sweeping gag order obtained by the Israeli authorities. The restrictions were eased after details of the case were reported by foreign websites and newspapers, including The Independent, and a growing chorus of critics in Israel said that the blackout on local media coverage was a violation of press freedom and the public’s right to know.
The gag order had been challenged in court by the Haaretz newspaper and Israel’s Channel Ten television channel.
An indictment revealed Thursday alleges that Kamm copied some 2000 classified documents while she worked in the office of the military’s top West Bank commander, and after her discharge passed some of them to a Haaretz reporter, Uri Blau. About 700 documents were classified as top secret.
Some of the documents were cited in a 2008 article by Blau which reported that top officers of the army and leaders of the Shin Bet security service had authorized killings of wanted Palestinian militants in operations in which they could have been arrested, in violation of the Supreme Court ruling. The article was approved for publication by the Israeli military censor.
Blau is currently in London, out of reach of Israeli prosecutors, and Haaretz said on its website that it was negotiating with the Israeli legal authorities for his return. Yuvak Diskin, the chief of the Shin Bet, told reporters Thursday that Blau was suspected of holding classified documents obtained from Kamm, and that the Shin Bet wanted them recovered. “It’s the dream of any enemy state to get their hands on such documents,” he said.
Kamm, who became a media columnist for an Israeli website after completing her military service, faces charges that carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. She has been charged with espionage – possessing and passing classified information with the intent of harming state security.
Eitan Lehman, a lawyer for Kamm, asserted that his client had caused no harm to state security and had no intention of doing so. “All the newspaper stories were published with the consent of the military censor,” he said. “If she had posed a threat to national security, she would not have been allowed to stay home and continue working.”
A hearing in court in which Kamm will be formally charged is scheduled for April 14. Source
Blau-Kamm case exposes the dark underbelly of Israel’s security state
By Jonathan Cook,
April 9 2010
What is misleadingly being called in Israel the “Anat Kamm espionage affair” is quickly revealing the dark underbelly of a nation that has worshipped for decades at the altar of a security state.
Next week 23-year-old Kamm is due to stand trial for her life — or rather the state’s demand that she serve a life sentence for passing secret documents to an Israeli reporter, Uri Blau, of the liberal Haaretz daily. She is charged with spying.
Blau himself is in hiding in London, facing, if not a Mossad hit squad, at least the stringent efforts of Israel’s security services to get him back to Israel over the opposition of his editors, who fear he will be put away too.
This episode has been dragging on behind the scenes for months, since at least December, when Kamm was placed under house arrest pending the trial.
Not a word about the case leaked in Israel until this week when the security services, who had won from the courts a blanket gag order — a gag on the gag, so to speak — were forced to reverse course when foreign bloggers began making the restrictions futile [including notably Richard Silverstein]. Hebrew pages on Facebook had already laid out the bare bones of the story.
So, now that much of the case is out in the light, what are the crimes supposedly committed by Kamm and Blau?
During her conscription, Kamm is said to have copied possibly hundreds of army documents that revealed systematic law-breaking by the Israeli high command operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, including orders to ignore court rulings. She was working at the time in the office of Brig Gen Yair Naveh, who is in charge of operations in the West Bank.
Blau’s crime is that he published a series of scoops based on her leaked information that have highly embarrassed senior Israeli officers by showing their contempt for the rule of law.
His reports included revelations that the senior command had approved targeting Palestinian bystanders during the military’s extra-judicial assassinations in the occupied territories; that, in violation of a commitment to the high court, the army had issued orders to execute wanted Palestinians even if they could be safely apprehended; and that the defence ministry had a compiled a secret report showing that the great majority of settlements in the West Bank were illegal even under Israeli law (all are illegal in international law).
In a properly democratic country, Kamm would have an honorable defence against the charges, of being a whistle-blower rather than a spy, and Blau would be winning journalism prizes not huddling away in exile.
But this is Israel. Here, despite a desperate last-stand for the principles of free speech and the rule of law in the pages of the Haaretz newspaper today, which is itself in the firing line over its role, there is almost no public sympathy for Kamm or even Blau.
The pair are already being described, both by officials and in chat forums and talkback columns, as traitors who should be jailed, disappeared or executed for the crime of endangering the state.
The telling comparison being made is to Mordechai Vanunu, the former technician at the Dimona nuclear plant who exposed Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal. Inside Israel, he is universally reviled to this day, having spent nearly two decades in harsh confinement. He is still under a loose house arrest, denied the chance to leave the country.
Blau and Kamm have every reason to be worried they may share a similar fate. Yuval Diskin, the head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, which has been leading the investigation, said yesterday that they had been too “sensitive to the media world” in pursuing the case for so long and that the Shin Bet would now “remove its gloves”.
Maybe that explains why Kamm’s home address was still visible on the charge sheet published yesterday, putting her life in danger from one of those crazed talkbackers.
It certainly echoes warnings we have had before from the Shin Bet about how it operates.
Much like Blau, Azmi Bishara, once head of a leading Arab party in Israel, is today living in exile after the Shin Bet put him in their sights. He had been campaigning for democratic reforms that would make Israel a “state of all its citizens” rather than a Jewish state.
While Bishara was abroad in 2007, the Shin Bet announced that he would be put on trial for treason when he returned, supposedly because he had had contacts with Hizbullah during Israel’s attack on Lebanon in 2006.
Few experts believe Bishara could have had any useful information for Hizbullah, but the Shin Bet’s goals and modus operandi were revealed later by Diskin in a letter on its attitude to Bishara and his democratisation campaign. The Shin Bet was there, he said, to thwart the activities of groups or individuals who threatened the state’s Jewish character “even if such activity is sanctioned by the law”.
Diskin called this the principle of “a democracy defending itself” when it was really a case of Jewish leaders in a state based on Jewish privilege protecting those privileges. This time it is about the leaders of Israel’s massive security industry protecting their privileges in a security state by silencing witnesses to their crimes and keeping ordinary citizens in ignorance.
Justifying his decision to “take the gloves off” in the case of Kamm and Blau, Diskin said: “It is a dream of every enemy state to get its hands on these kinds of documents” — that is, documents proving that the Israeli army has repeatedly broken the country’s laws, in addition, of course, to its systematic violations of international law.
Diskin claims that national security has been put at risk, even though the reports Blau based on the documents — and even the documents themselves — were presented to, and approved by, the military censor for publication. The censor can restrict publication based only on national security concerns, unlike Diskin, the army senior command and the government, who obey other kinds of concerns.
Diskin knows there is every chance he will get away with his ploy because of a brainwashed Israeli public, a largely patriotic media and a supine judiciary.
The two judges who oversaw the months of gagging orders to silence any press discussion of this case did so on the say-so of the Shin Bet that there were vital national security issues at stake. Both judges are stalwarts of Israel’s enormous security industry.
Einat Ron was appointed a civilian judge in 2007 after working her way up the ranks of the military legal establishment, there to give a legal gloss to the occupation. Notoriously in 2003, when she was the chief military prosecutor, she secretly proposed various fabrications to the army so that it could cover up the killing of an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, Khalil al-Mughrabi, two years earlier. Her role only came to light because a secret report into the boy’s death was mistakenly attached to the army’s letter to an Israeli human rights group.
The other judge is Ze’ev Hammer, who finally overturned the gag order this week — but only after a former supreme court judge, Dalia Dorner, now the head of Israel’s Press Council, belatedly heaped scorn on it. She argued that, with so much discussion of the case outside Israel, the world was getting the impression that Israel flouted democratic norms.
Judge Hammer has his own distinguished place in Israel’s security industry, according to Israeli analyst Dimi Reider. During his eight years of legal study, Hammer worked for both the Shin Bet and Israel’s Mossad spy agency.
Judge Hammer and Judge Ron are deeply implicated in the same criminal outfit — the Israeli security establishment — that is now trying to cover up the tracks that lead directly to its door. Kamm is doubtless wondering what similar vested interests the judges who hear her case next week will not be declaring.
Writing in Haaretz today, Blau said he had been warned “that if I return to Israel I could be silenced for ever, and that I would be charged for crimes related to espionage”. He concluded that “this isn’t only a war for my personal freedom but for Israel’s image”.
He should leave worrying about Israel’s image to Netanyahu, Diskin and judges like Dorner. That was why the gag order was enforced in the first place. This is not a battle for Israel’s image; it’s a battle for what is left of its soul.