View Full Version : Did banned Haaretz article foretell of Gaza war crimes?

Carsten Wiethoff
04-08-2010, 07:36 AM
Free Israeli journalist Anat Kamm

?http://thejc.com/files/pictures/picture-3599.jpgBy moshetzarfati2 (http://thejc.com/users/moshetzarfati2)
April 4, 2010
An Israeli journalist, is under arrest in Israel, "the only democracy in the Middle East", for doing her job. You can read about it here (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7086417.ece). Here, in Israel, the press is banned from telling you about it. Remember, this is happening not in Iran, China or Myanmar.
Israel has placed a former soldier under house arrest for allegedly leaking details of a controversial policy to kill wanted Palestinian militants, and has slapped a gagging order on the national media to prevent it from covering the story, according to sources in the Jewish state and abroad.
The moves are being challenged by the media in a country that prides itself on its freedom of speech. An appeal is expected to be lodged this month by a television news channel and by the centre-left newspaper Haaretz, while the mass-market daily Maariv has satirised both the gag and the lack of media defiance by declaring: “Due to a gag order we cannot tell you what we know. Due to laziness, apathy and blind faith in the defence establishment we know nothing at all.”
The case centres on a 23-year-old former soldier, Anat Kam, who was arrested in December after finishing her national service, which is compulsory in Israel. She is reportedly charged with having copied classified documents that showed that Israeli troops had broken their own rules of engagement by killing three Palestinian militants in the West Bank. Six months earlier an Israeli court had all but banned the practice of so-called targeted killings, permitting them only in cases where the wanted suspects could not be safely arrested.
The story was subsequently published in late 2008 by Haaretz. The paper said that the military had apparently made a unilateral decision to relax its rules of engagement and returned to the practice of assassinating militants, a frequent occurrence in the early days of the second intifada, which began in 2000.
According to the report, in March 2007 Major-General Yair Naveh, who was the senior Israeli commander in the West Bank at the time, allowed his men to shoot three leading Palestinian militants even though they did not pose a clear threat. The order was judged to be illegal by experts interviewed by the Haaretz journalist Uri Blau.
Blau is in hiding in London.


Jan Klimkowski
04-08-2010, 05:03 PM
Carsten - an important story. Thank you for posting it here on DPF.

Fwiw - here's Haaretz's contribution, and the claimed chronology of the involvement of Israel's "national security" censor:

'IDF censor okayed Haaretz articles in Anat Kamm case'

By Haaretz Service

Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Dov Alfon on Thursday defended the newspaper's publication of a series of exposes regarding the Israel Defense Forces' lax rules of engagement, after a gag order was lifted on the security incident which had already been reported worldwide.

"Haaretz correspondent Uri Blau exposed over the last two years a series of affairs pertaining to the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces and branches of the defense establishment in the Palestinian territories," said Alfon.

These included "an investigative report in November 2008 which revealed the result of discussions in which participated IDF Chief [Gabi] Ashkenazi - who was then the GOC Central Command - and the heads of the Shin Bet, which essentially gave instruction to carry out activities in violation of an order from the High Court of Justice," said Alfon.

"All of the articles which were published in Haaretz were sent to the censor and received its full permission for publication," said Alfon.

"In September of 2009, Haaretz reporter Uri Blau was summoned to the offices of the Shin Bet and was told to hand over the documents on which he based the articles.

"Following this incident, a lawyer appointed for Haaretz and Uri Blau began a dialogue with the Shin Bet's legal adviser regarding the return of the documents. The dialogue was meant to guarantee the confidentiality of the reporter's sources and freedom of action, without harming Israel's security.

"On September 15, 2009, these discussions led to an agreement under which Uri Blau transferred to the Shin Bet dozens of documents that were in his possession, and in exchange the Shin Bet committed to refrain from investigating the reporter regarding his journalistic sources, refrain from investigating the reporter as a suspect, and refrain from using the documents as evidence in legal proceedings against the person responsible for leaking the information.

"Once all the conditions were agreed upon and the documents were transferred, the Shin Bet requested Uri Blau's personal computer. Haaretz agreed, and the computer was destroyed.

"A short time later, the Shin Bet arrested Anat Kamm, a former soldier in the IDF Central Command, on suspicion that she was Uri Blau's source. In January 2010, the Shin Bet informed Blau's lawyer, Mibi Mozer, that his client was wanted for investigation. Mozer said that the demand contradicted the conditions of the agreement and that he would advise Blau not to comply.

"From that point on, the Shin Bet refused to fulfill the conditions of the agreement it had signed. The Shin Bet also rejected Mozar's proposal to draft another agreement that would highlight the Shin Bet's goal of protecting Israel's security, while still preserving the conditions of the former agreement.

"Haaretz regrets the sudden change in the Shin Bet's position and its consequences, which have resulted in threats and heavy pressure on a reporter who was just doing his job."


Jan Klimkowski
04-08-2010, 05:06 PM
Before it gets "edited", here's wiki:

Anat Kamm (Hebrew: ??? ???, born 1987) is an Israeli journalist who most recently worked for Walla!, an internet news portal owned, until recently, by Haaretz. She was secretly put under house arrest in December 2009 by the Shin Bet for allegedly leaking classified information from the IDF, about targeted killings of militants in the Palestinian territories[1][2][3][4][5][6]. The Israeli police secured a gag order prohibiting Israeli media from reporting on Kamm's arrest and the reasons for it. They could not even report the existence of the gag order itself.

In 2008, Uri Blau of Haaretz published a report[7] based on these documents which showed that the IDF senior command planned and executed targeted killings that violated an earlier 2006 ruling of the Israeli Supreme Court limiting the circumstances in which such a tactic could be used. This report caused chagrin and embarrassment among the military upper echelon, though the Supreme Court still has not taken further action in light of these revelations.

During Kamm's military service, she worked in the office of the head of Israeli Central Command, Major General Yair Naveh, one of the officers referred to in the Haaretz report.

Despite the fact that numerous foreign media outlets have reported on the case and her identity, there was an almost ironclad gag within the mainstream media. No newspaper has published her name though many have published reports criticizing the authorities for imposing the gag and preventing them from telling their readers about this major story. The first overseas reporting on the case[8] came in the Tikun Olam blog, which collaborated with Israeli bloggers and journalists to bring the story into the public consciousness.

The gag order was removed on April 8. On April 14th, Kamm's trial is scheduled to begin unless her attorneys arrive at a plea bargain with the prosecution.

Though the prosecution originally sought the gag order, in this case Kamm and her attorneys felt it was in her interest to honor it as well. She has exerted great pressure on her supporters not to publicize her arrest or the charges against her. She successfully got Hebrew Wikipedia to remove the article about her[9], which raised controversy both within the Hebrew Wikipedia community and among free speech and free press advocates within Israel and abroad.

The case raises profound questions about the balance between national security and press scrutiny[citation needed]. Advocates for human rights and democracy both within Israel and outside are closely monitoring the case. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders issued a statement saying that "Defence of national security is a legitimate objective but censorship must not be used to prevent the Israel Defence Forces from being held responsible if they broke the law."[10]

[edit] References
^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jsXiuL8wFexj9wC2OoDPmDI-EAsgD9EQQ18G0
^ http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/03/29/1011331/israel-gags-news-of-journalist-under-house-arrest
^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israeli-leak-suspect-held-in-secret-house-arrest-1930672.html
^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/journalist-on-the-run-from-israel-is-hiding-in-britain-1934015.html
^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/02/israeli-journalist-anat-kam-house-arrest
^ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7086417.ece
^ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1041160.html
^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/middleeast/07israel.html
^ Discussion in Hebrew; Note that some of the voters cited Kamm's request as a reason to delete the article.
^ http://www.rsf.org/Israeli-media-forbidden-to-report.html


Magda Hassan
04-09-2010, 11:08 PM
Inside The Media Blackout Scandal in The Middle East’s Only Democracy

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/where-are-you-anat-kam.jpgGraffiti in Israel: “Where are you, Anat Kam?”
Imagine that the US military ordered the arrest of the person who leaked the now-notorious video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik) depicting US soldiers mowing down two Reuters journalists and a crowd of innocent Iraqis. Then imagine that a court then imposed a gag order forbidding all American reporters and bloggers from even mentioning the arrest of the leaker. What would the media blackout say about the state of American democracy?
Of course this hypothetical scenario would be unthinkable in a country like the US, which boasts a grand tradition of whisteblowing, and which has shield laws in 36 states. The reason I raised it was to dramatize the outrageous nature of a gag order in Israel that has forbidden journalists and bloggers from reporting on the so-called Anat Kam affair. Who is Kam and why is speaking her name a crime in the Israeli media?
To make a long story shorter, Kam is a 23-year-old Israeli journalist who allegedly procured (http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/04/04/anat-kam-the-israeli-story-that-dare-not-speak-her-name/) confidential documents while she worked in an Israeli Army general’s office during her mandatory military service. The documents revealed that in 2007, Israeli Army forces assassinated a Palestinian Islamic Jihad member in direct contravention of a Supreme Court order that banned the killing of wanted militants if there was a reasonable chance to arrest them first. Two top Israeli military officials, former Central Command Chief Major General Yair Naveh, Operations Directorate Head Major General Tal Russo, and Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who directed the assault on Gaza in 2008 and 09, are said to have been incriminated (http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Ffreedomofsearch.blogspot. com%2F2010%2F04%2Fblog-post.html&sl=iw&tl=en&hl=&ie=UTF-8) in the documents (http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/03/29/1011331/israel-gags-news-of-journalist-under-house-arrest).
Kam is believed to have photocopied the documents and passed them on to Uri Blau (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israeli-leak-suspect-held-in-secret-house-arrest-1930672.html), a top national security reporter for the Israeli daily, Haaretz (Haaretz’s editor in chief has called (http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/03/29/1011331/israel-gags-news-of-journalist-under-house-arrest) any link between Kam and Blau “absurd,” however). Blau proceeded to publish an article detailing the contents of the documents, provoking the ire of the Israeli military, which since 1988 has demanded that journalists submit all “material relevant to the security of the state” to the military censor for review, and which compels all journalists seeking an official Israeli press card (GPO card) to sign on to the censorship policy. (http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/PM+Office/Departments/GPO.htm) By all accounts, Blau submitted his article for review to the censor and was cleared for publication.
Kam was detained last December (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/02/israeli-journalist-anat-kam-house-arrest) and placed under house arrest. However, news of her arrest only began to seep out into the news in March. Kam now awaits trial for treason and espionage, charges that could land her in prison for as long as 14 years.
Meanwhile, Blau is hiding ou (http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=273353)t in London. According to multiple sources, Blau is terrified to return to Israel. His hard-hitting reports on Israeli Army abuses in the occupied West Bank have made him the bane of the military establishment. “At least ten journalists inside Israel have told me [Blau] is the real target,” a reporter working in Israel and Palestine told me. “And everyone is saying they’re simply prosecuting Kam to make an example out of her.”
Seeking to suppress discussion of the scandal, Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, secured a gag order on the media from an apparent rubber stamp judge (http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/04/05/cozy-relationship-between-israeli-judiciary-military-facilitates-gag-orders-other-free-speech-violations/) who had spent almost her entire career in military courts. The order, issued in January, forbade journalists and bloggers in Israel not only from reporting on the details of Kam’s prosecution, but from even acknowledging that she had been detained. A reporter I spoke to was publishing stories on the scandal under an anonymous byline. The New York Times has done the same (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/middleeast/07israel.html), meaning even Ethan Bronner might be afraid of the Shin Bet.
The gag order was leaked tonight (http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/04/06/anat-kam-gag-order/) on the blog of Richard Silverstein. According to Israel’s Channel 10, its contents had been kept from secret at the personal insistence of Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin — even the Speaker of the Knesset was not allowed to see it.
A friend has helped me translate the salient portions:
The order identifies Superintendent Saar Shapira as the police official who went to court to request it; the plan to arrest Kam is referred to as “Operation Double-Overtake.” The most notable piece of information is that Israel’s National and International Serious Crimes Unit spearheaded the investigation into Kam’s conduct. The involvement of this unit, which in the past has gone after Israeli journalists (http://www.ifj.org/en/articles/israel-talking-peace-and-prosecuting-journalists-not-acceptable-says-ifj-as-reporters-face-jail-thre) for traveling to designated enemy nations like Syria, and therefore seems primarily concerned with crimes committed abroad, raises the question of whether Kam leaked documents to reporters besides Blau who work for international papers.
While American bloggers like Richard Silverstein have been reporting on the Kam affair for weeks, some Israeli bloggers have taken down their posts, fearing that they could harm Kam’s defense — and possibly place themselves in danger — by provoking the Shin Bet and reactionary political elements. Kam’s defense team has allegedly urged bloggers to take posts down in hopes of lessening her sentence. The fact that the contents of the gag order were not shown to anyone until tonight only added to the climate of confusion and fear.
There are exceptions to the blackout, however. The Israeli reporter Mya Guarneri has written about the Kam affair at The National, (http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100403/FOREIGN/704029822/1002) a foreign paper. And the scandal has received in-depth treatment (http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=273353) from the Palestinian news service, Ma’an News (http://www.maannews.net/eng/Default.aspx), which recently lost a top editor, Jared Malsin (an American graduate of Yale University), when Israeli security services ordered his deportation (http://www.imemc.org/index.php?obj_id=53&story_id=57694) on the grounds that he had published damaging reports about Israeli military conduct in the Occupied Territories. Besides a few vigilant Israeli bloggers (http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/04/04/what-kam-case-says-about-sorry-state-of-msm-critical-role-of-blogs-in-breaking-national-security-stories/), a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=107551342612354&ref=ts) devoted to Kam’s case is hosting what blogger Didi Remez calls “a de facto civil disobedience campaign.”
Two major papers in Israel have tried to find their way around the gag order. Yedioth Ahronoth satirized the media blackout (I’m not sure if the satire was intentional), submitting Judith Miller’s report about Kam to the military censor, then publishing a redacted version of the article (see it here (http://www.scribd.com/doc/29471585/Yediot-Apr06-10-Judith-Miller-Anat-Kamm)). And Haaretz has run an interview (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1161345.html) with a former Supreme Court Justice, Dalia Dorner, who mocks the order as pointless in the age of the internet. “If the entire world knows about [the Kam affair],” Dorner said, “issuing a gag order is baseless.” However, the article does not mention Kam directly or describe the details of her case.
While the media blackout casts the darkest shadow over Israel’s already withered democratic institutions, the fact that Kam is being charged with treason is nearly as disturbing. While she may be guilty of leaking confidential documents, she is only accused of malfeasance for exposing a much greater crime, an illegal assassination that appeared to have been authorized at the highest levels of the IDF general command. She is a whisteblower in the tradition of Mark Felt and Daniel Ellsberg. In Netanyahu’s Israel, however, she is being treated as an enemy of the state.
If reporters can be prosecuted or intimidated by the state for exposing acts that the Israeli Supreme Court has declared illegal, then the court holds nothing more than symbolic authority. By voiding the rulings of the court without a second thought, Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus has demonstrated the preeminence of its power. At the same time, its reliance on gag orders has revealed a growing sense of desperation. What else is the IDF hiding?

Magda Hassan
04-10-2010, 12:36 AM
It was spring 1983, the height of the first Lebanon War. A young officer appeared at my door and placed two documents in my hand that had been stamped "Highly Classified."

One was an intelligence evaluation that found, unequivocally, that no diplomatic or security purpose was being served by Israeli troops' continued bloodletting on the mountains around Beirut. The second was a plan for the approaching 35th Independence Day parade in Jerusalem. In a bid to raise the nation's flagging morale, prime minister Menachem Begin and outgoing defense minister Ariel Sharon were considering spending tens of millions of shekels from state coffers to bring tanks into "unified" Jerusalem.

The young officer said his conscience had brought him to my home, as he hoped to publicize the files' contents and save precious blood and money.
http://haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif Advertisement

The label "highly classified" does not automatically turn a document into a security concern, the leaking of which constitutes espionage or treason. In most cases, the designation is intended simply to ensure that the file's contents do not reach the public's view. The more highly classified a document, the smaller the list of readers and the higher the penalty for leaking it.

Some of the same prominent politicians and security figures who are today expressing shock at Kam's alleged misdeeds have, during my decades of journalism, in fact given me material for countless articles related to strategic issues. The difference between the journalist who thrives off of access to classified material and the kind who earns his livelihood printing the statements of spokespeople is akin to the difference between a democratic state and a totalitarian regime. A democratic government does not, as a rule, stem leaks. Nor does it interrogate journalists.

In the summer of 1967, Yeshayahu Leibowitz prophesied that Israel's occupation would corrupt the country and turn it into "a Shin Bet state." As early as the first intifada, we understood there is no such thing as an enlightened occupation. One nation cannot rule over another for 43 years without behaving cruelly toward the helpless, without executing people without trial, without embittering the lives of women and children, the sick and elderly.

To manage an occupation, a nation must raise obedient soldiers and officers - the kind who sit quietly while ideas are floated on how to circumvent the rulings of the supposedly leftist High Court, how to keep prying journalists at bay and how to deceive the meddlesome state comptroller. Without collaborators within the establishment, dozens of "legal" settlements wouldn't be built on "state lands," nor "unauthorized outposts" on private Palestinian territory.

Right now, hundreds of clerks and officers are sitting in the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the army lacking the courage to contact a journalist and divulge that the ministers or commanders in charge are endangering their children's future.

Some are keeping to themselves the real story behind the big lie peddled by Ehud Barak, Shaul Mofaz and Moshe Ya'alon - the falsehood that "Yasser Arafat planned the intifada," which gave rise to the disastrous "there is no partner" ideology. The real story, of course, is contained in documents stamped with the words "Top Secret".

Keith Millea
04-13-2010, 06:08 PM
April 13, 2010
Whistleblowing Israeli Journalist Treated as "Fugitive Felon"

Mossad Operation Threatened Against Reporter

in Nazareth.
An Israeli journalist who went into hiding after writing a series of reports showing lawbreaking approved by Israeli army commanders faces a lengthy jail term for espionage if caught, as Israeli security services warned at the weekend they would “remove the gloves” to track him down.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, said it was treating Uri Blau, a reporter with the liberal Haaretz daily newspaper who has gone underground in London, as a “fugitive felon” and that a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

Options being considered are an extradition request to the British authorities or, if that fails, a secret operation by Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, to smuggle him back, according to Maariv, a right-wing newspaper.

It was revealed yesterday that Mr Blau’s informant, Anat Kamm, 23, a former conscript soldier who copied hundreds of classified documents during her military service, had confessed shortly after her arrest in December to doing so to expose “war crimes”.

The Shin Bet claims that Mr Blau is holding hundreds of classified documents, including some reported to relate to Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s attack on Gaza in winter 2008 in which the army is widely believed to have violated the rules of war.

Other documents, the basis of a Haaretz investigation published in 2008, http://www.counterpunch.org/cookclash.jpeg (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0745327540/counterpunchmaga)concern a meeting between the head of the army, Gabi Ashkenazi, and the Shin Bet in which it was agreed to ignore a court ruling and continue carrying out executions of Palestinian leaders in the occupied territories.

Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet, who has said his organisation was previously “too sensitive with the investigation”, is now demanding that Mr Blau reveal his entire document archive and take a lie-detector test on his return to identify his sources, according to Haaretz. The newspaper and its lawyers have recommended that he remain in hiding to protect his informants.

Haaretz has also revealed that, in a highly unusual move shortly before Israel’s attack on Gaza, it agreed to pull a printed edition after the army demanded at the last minute that one of Mr Blau’s stories not be published. His report had already passed the military censor, which checks that articles do not endanger national security.

Lawyers and human rights groups fear that the army and Shin Bet are trying to silence investigative journalists and send a warning to other correspondents not to follow in Mr Blau’s path.

“We have a dangerous precedent here, whereby the handing over of material to an Israeli newspaper … is seen by the prosecutor’s office as equivalent to contact with a foreign agent,” said Eitan Lehman, Ms Kamm’s lawyer. “The very notion of presenting information to the Israeli public alone is taken as an intention to hurt national security.”

The Shin Bet’s determination to arrest Mr Blau was revealed after a blanket gag order was lifted late last week on Ms Kamm’s case. She has been under house arrest since December. She has admitted copying hundreds of classified documents while serving in the office of Brig Gen Yair Naveh, in charge of operations in the West Bank, between 2005 and 2007.

Under an agreement with the Shin Bet last year, Haaretz and Mr Blau handed over 50 documents and agreed to the destruction of Mr Blau’s computer.

Both sides accuse the other of subsequently reneging on the deal: the Shin Bet says Mr Blau secretly kept other documents copied by Ms Kamm that could be useful to Israel’s enemies; while Mr Blau says the Shin Bet used the returned documents to track down Ms Kamm, his source, after assurances that they would not do so.

Haaretz said Mr Blau fears that they will try to identify his other informants if he hands over his archive.

Mr Blau learnt of his predicament in December, while out of the country on holiday. He said a friend called to warn that the Shin Bet had broken into his home and ransacked it. He later learnt they had been monitoring his telephone, e-mail and computer for many months.

In a move that has baffled many observers, the Shin Bet revealed last week that Mr Blau was hiding in London, despite the threat that it would make him an easier target for other countries’ intelligence agencies.

Amir Mizroch, an analyst with the right-wing Jerusalem Post newspaper, noted that it was as if Israel’s security services were “saying to Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Hizbullah and Iranian intelligence agents in London: ‘Yalla, be our guests, go get Uri Blau’.” He added that the real goal might be to flush out Mr Blau so that he would seek sanctuary at the Israeli embassy.

Ms Kamm is charged with espionage with intent to harm national security, the harshest indictment possible and one that could land in her jail for 25 years. Yesterday another of her lawyers, Avigdor Feldman, appealed to Mr Blau to return to Israel and give back the documents to help “minimise the affair”.

“The real question is whether this exceptionally heavy-handed approach is designed only to get back Kamm’s documents or go after Blau and his other sources,” said Jeff Halper, an Israeli analyst. “It may be that Kamm is the excuse the security services need to identify Blau’s circle of informants.”

Mr Blau has already published several stories, apparently based on Ms Kamm’s documents, showing that the army command approved policies that not only broke international law but also violated the rulings of Israel’s courts.

His reports have included revelations that senior commanders approved extra-judicial assassinations in the occupied territories that were almost certain to kill Palestinian bystanders; that, in violation of a commitment to the high court, the army issued orders to execute wanted Palestinians even if they could be safely captured; and that the defence ministry compiled a secret report showing that the great majority of settlements in the West Bank were illegal even under Israeli law.

Although the original stories date to 2008, the army issued a statement belatedly this week that Mr Blau’s reports were “outrageous and misleading”. No senior commanders have been charged over the army’s lawbreaking activities.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, said its research had shown that “in many cases soldiers have been conducting themselves in the territories as if they were on a hit mission, as opposed to arrest operations”.

It added that the authorities had “rushed to investigate the leak and chose to ignore the severe suspicions of blatant wrongdoings depicted in those documents”.

A group of senior journalists established a petition this week calling for Mr Blau to be spared a trial: “So far, the authorities have not prosecuted journalists for holding secret information, which most of us have had in one form or another. This policy by the prosecution reflects, in our view, an imbalance between journalistic freedom, the freedom of expression and the need for security.”
However, media coverage of the case in Israel has been largely hostile. Yuval Elbashan, a lawyer, wrote in Haaretz yesterday that Mr Blau’s fellow military reporters and analysts had in the past few days abandoned their colleague and proven “their loyalty to the [security] system as the lowliest of its servants”.

One, Yossi Yehoshua, a military correspondent with the country’s largest-circulation newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth, who is said to have been approached by Ms Kamm before she turned to Mr Blau, is due to testify against her in her trial due next month.

Chat forums and talkback columns also suggest little sympathy among the Israeli public for either Ms Kamm or Mr Blau. Several Hebrew websites show pictures of Ms Kamm behind bars or next to a hangman’s noose.

A report on Israel National News, a news service for settlers, alleged that Ms Kamm had been under the influence of “rabidly left-wing“ professors at Tel Aviv University when she handed over the documents to the Haaretz reporter.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0745327540/counterpunchmaga) (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1848130317/counterpunchmaga)” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net (http://www.jkcook.net/).

Helen Reyes
04-13-2010, 09:13 PM
Last night both jpost and ha'aretz were covering the story on the front page of their webpages, but with ha'aretz there were reports going around that visitors to the site were getting popup windows announcing some virus on their computer and the inevitable solution to the problem: to download THE REAL virus. Interesting.

I haven't followed this story but from what I gather Shin Beth is sure Blau has a safety-cache of all the sekrit dox, insurance, and wants them back before the idea dawns on him to just upload them all to wikileaks. oops. well, he won't read this anyway.

Magda Hassan
04-16-2010, 05:25 AM
For more on this also see this:

Did banned media report foretell of Gaza war crimes?
Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 15 April 2010

An Arab member of the Israeli parliament is demanding that a newspaper be allowed to publish an investigative report that was suppressed days before Israel attacked Gaza in winter 2008.

The investigation by Uri Blau, who has been in hiding since December to avoid arrest, concerned Israeli preparations for the impending assault on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead.

In a highly unusual move, according to reports in the Israeli media, the army ordered the Haaretz newspaper to destroy all copies of an edition that included Blau's investigation after it had already gone to press and been passed by the military censor. The article was never republished.

Blau has gone underground in London after the Shin Bet, Israel's secret police, demanded he return to Israel to hand back hundreds of classified documents they claim are in his possession and to reveal his sources.

He published several additional reports for Haaretz in 2008 and 2009 that severely embarrassed senior military commanders by showing they had issued orders that intentionally violated court rulings, including to execute Palestinians who could be safely apprehended.

Haneen Zoubi, an MP who previously headed an Israeli media-monitoring organization, said it was "outrageous" that the suppressed report was still secret so long after the Gaza attack. She is to table a parliamentary question to Ehud Barak, the defense minister, today demanding to know why the army suppressed the article and what is preventing its publication now. Barak must respond within 21 days.

She said publication of the article was important both because Israel had been widely criticized for killing many hundreds of civilians in its three-week assault on Gaza, and because subsequent reports suggested that Israeli commanders sought legal advice months before the operation to manipulate the accepted definitions of international law to make it easier to target civilians.

"There must be at least a strong suspicion that Mr. Blau's article contains vital information, based on military documentation, warning of Israeli army intentions to commit war crimes," she said in an interview.

"If so, then there is a public duty on Haaretz to publish the article. If not, then there is no reason for the minister to prevent publication after all this time."

Zoubi's call yesterday followed mounting public criticism of Haaretz for supporting Blau by advising him to stay in hiding and continuing to pay his salary. In chat forums and talkback columns, the reporter has been widely denounced as a traitor. Several MPs have called for Haaretz to be closed down or boycotted.

A Haaretz spokeswoman refused to comment, but a journalist there said a "fortress mentality" had developed at the newspaper. "We've all been told not to talk to anyone about the case," he said. "There's absolute paranoia that the paper is going to be made to suffer because of the Blau case."

Amal Jamal, a professor at Tel Aviv University who teaches a media course, said he was concerned with the timing of the Shin Bet's campaign against Blau. He observed that they began interviewing the reporter about his sources and documents last summer as publication neared of the Goldstone report, commissioned by the United Nations and which embarrassed Israel by alleging it had perpetrated war crimes in Gaza.

"The goal in this case appears to be not only to intimidate journalists but also to delegitimize certain kinds of investigations concerning security issues, given the new climate of sensitivity in Israel following the Goldstone report."

He added that Blau, who had quickly acquired a reputation as Israel's best investigative reporter, was "probably finished" as a journalist in Israel.

Shraga Elam, an award-winning Israeli reporter, said Blau's suppressed article might also have revealed the aims of a widely mentioned but unspecified "third phase" of the Gaza attack, following the initial air strikes and a limited ground invasion, that was not implemented.

He suspected the plans involved pushing some of Gaza's population into Egypt under cover of a more extensive ground invasion. The plan had been foiled, he believed, because Hamas offered little resistance and Egypt refused to open the border.

On Monday, an MP with the centrist Kadima Party, Yulia Shamal-Berkovich, called for Haaretz to be closed down, backing a similar demand from fellow MP Michael Ben-Ari, of the right-wing National Union.

She accused Haaretz management of having "chosen to hide" over the case and blamed it for advising Blau to remain abroad. She said the newspaper "must make sure the materials that are in his possession are returned. If Haaretz fails to do so, its newspaper license should be revoked without delay."

Another Kadima MP, Yisrael Hasson, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet, this week urged Haaretz readers to boycott the newspaper until Blau was fired.

A petition calling on the Shin Bet to end its threat to charge Blau with espionage has attracted the signatures of several prominent journalists in Israel.

"We believe the Blau case is unique and are concerned this unique case will create a dangerous precedent," their letter states. "Until now, prosecution authorities have not sought to try reporters for the offense of holding classified information, an offense most of us are guilty of in one way or another."

A group of Israeli human rights organizations is due to submit a letter this week to the government demanding that the investigation concentrate on lawbreaking by the army rather the "character assassination" of Blau and his sources.

Yesterday, the supreme court tightened restrictions on Anat Kamm, one of Blau's main informants, who has been under house arrest since December for copying up to 2,000 military documents while she was a soldier. She is accused of espionage with intent to harm the state, a charge that carries a tariff of 25 years in jail.

The papers copied by Kamm, 23, included military orders that violated court rulings and justified law-breaking by soldiers.

Judge Ayala Procaccia said: "The acts attributed to the respondent point to a deep internal distorted perception of a soldier's duties to the military system he or she is required to serve, and a serious perversion from the basic responsibility that a citizen owes the state to which he or she belongs."

Kamm, the court decided, must not leave her apartment and must be watched by a close relative at all times.

Media coverage of the case in Israel has been largely hostile to both Kamm and Blau. Gideon Levy observed in Haaretz today: "The real betrayal has been that of the journalists, who have betrayed their profession -- journalists who take sides with the security apparatus against colleagues who are doing their job bringing light to the dark."

Calling Israel "a Shin Bet state," Levy added: "If it depended on public opinion, Kamm and Blau would be executed and Haaretz would be shut down on the spot."

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0745327540/theelectronic-20) (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1848130317/theelectronic-20) (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net (http://www.jkcook.net/).

A version of this article originally appeared in The National (http://www.thenational.ae/), published in Abu Dhabi.


David Guyatt
04-16-2010, 08:45 AM
You couldn't make this stuff up:

Judge Ayala Procaccia said: "The acts attributed to the respondent point to a deep internal distorted perception of a soldier's duties to the military system he or she is required to serve, and a serious perversion from the basic responsibility that a citizen owes the state to which he or she belongs."

Black is white and white is any colour we say it is. Understand.

Jan Klimkowski
04-16-2010, 06:49 PM
The whole affair reveals the true totalitarian nature of C21st democratic states.

The suggestion appears to be that Israel was intending ethnic cleansing of Palestintians from Gaza as part of the manufactured "War on Terror".

Anat Kamm and Uri Blau sought to expose this, and are now demonized.

Helen Reyes
04-16-2010, 09:08 PM
The strange part is, Anat Kamm was working under the assumption Nuremberg was binding international law, and she was disobeying orders in order to serve a higher cause and stop war crimes.

The Israeli Supreme Court didn't see it that way. Too bad for her she couldn't have had a surname like Demjanjuk, she might've got away with murder if she had.

Jan Klimkowski
02-06-2011, 10:38 PM

Israeli soldier faces long jail term for passing secret papers to reporter

Docments leaked from general's office show officials authorised killing – rather than arrest – of Palestinian militants despite

Harriet Sherwood guardian.co.uk, Sunday 6 February 2011 14.39 GMT

A former Israeli soldier is facing a long prison sentence after admitting that she passed thousands of classified military documents to a newspaper reporter.

Anat Kam, 24, has been under house arrest since she was charged in January 2010 with espionage and intent to harm state security with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. In a plea bargain, that charge was dropped when she admitted to collecting and passing on secret information. She faces a maximum sentence of 15 years, but prosecutors are reportedly asking for about nine years.

Among the documents leaked by Kam to the Haaretz reporter Uri Blau were papers showing that Israeli military and security officials had authorised the killing of Palestinian militants in operations where they could have instead been arrested. Kam made copies of 2,000 documents, including 700 marked top secret, during her national service as a clerk in the office of a top Israeli general.

Blau published an investigation revealing the content of the documents in November 2008. The assassinations contravened an Israeli high court judgment which ruled that militants must be arrested where possible.

Blau's article was approved by the military censor, and Kam was not arrested for more than a year after publication. The Haaretz journalist remained in London, where he was at the time of Kam's arrest, for many months, fearing he would face prosecution if he returned to Israel. He flew back in October after his lawyers struck a deal with the Shin Bet security service under which he returned the documents.

After Kam's arrest, the Israeli authorities imposed a gagging order on the reporting of the case, which was lifted last April.

Kam admitted the lesser charge of possession and distribution of classified information at Tel Aviv district court. She declined to comment beyond issuing a brief statement.

"We agreed to a plea bargain today," she said. "Out of respect for the court, I don't intend on discussing the sentence. Today I admitted to committing the crimes attributed to me. I'm not thinking about the punishment. What's written in the law is out of my hands."

Eytan Lehman, Kam's lawyer, urged a "proportionate" punishment. "What we said from the beginning is true – there was no intention of harming Israeli security," he said. A harsh sentence would damage Israeli democracy, he added. "If people are afraid to speak out about things that happen that should not happen, this is very dangerous."

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 11 April, but Lehman expected the sentencing to take place some weeks after that. Kam will remain under house arrest.


Magda Hassan
07-24-2012, 12:54 PM
Haaretz journalist Uri Blau was convicted under a plea bargain on Tuesday of possessing classified information. The two sides agreed on four months of community service.
One of Blau's legal representatives Jack Hen said, "This is a precedent-setting prosecution of a journalist for doing his job, according to which the public's right to know and freedom of the press were seriously damaged by the decision to put a journalist on trial for these reasons."
He said that the decision to put Blau on trial was not easy, and that an indictment should not have been served against him. Hen added that all of Blau's articles had been approved by Israel's military censor.
He repeated that, to his knowledge, no journalist – or anyone for that matter – had been put on trial for possession of classified documents with no related offenses.
Blau asked to speak during the trial, and told the judge that the case had taken over his life: "The fact that I have been convicted of a criminal offense and the fact that Anat Kamm is serving a harsh punishment are things that I did not wish for."
In his words, it is his duty as a journalist to keep the public informed. "This is the meaning of free press in a democratic country, and this is how I see my role as a journalist," he said.
The State Prosecutor's Office reached a plea bargain with Blau (http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/haaretz-journalist-uri-blau-to-admit-to-holding-secret-idf-info-in-plea-bargain.premium-1.449029), after he was accused of possessing classified Israel Defense Forces documents (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/anat-kamm-to-be-sentenced-sunday-over-alleged-espionage-case-1.392190) earlier this month. The accusations came a little over a month after the state had announced its intention to indict him.
As part of the plea bargain deal, Blau agreed to admit to holding secret intelligence, without intent to harm national security.
The deal was reached between representatives of the Tel Aviv district of the State Prosecutor's Office, Ariela Segal and Hadas Fuhrer-Gafni, and Haaretz legal representatives Mibi Mozer and Jack Hen.