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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

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Home arrow Blog arrow April 2010 arrow April 3, 2010

April 3, 2010
April 3, 2010: What the Shin Bet and Israeli Court Cannot Gag UPDATED: April 10, 2010 @ end: from Haaretz 

"The Shin Bet, you know, like the FBI and the Mossad, is like your CIA,"-Mordechai Vanunu explained to me in June 2005 during my first of seven trips to east Jerusalem. That was back when I was only an American citizen writing a book based on the memories of a 1948 refugee from the Galilee, a Palestinian Muslim who became an American citizen. Three weeks after that first trip to Israel Palestine, I became a citizen journalist because somebody had to report what the media was ignoring.


On March 27, 2010, the U.S. based, "Global News Service of the Jewish people" the  JTA, Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Anat Kam, a 23 year old journalist has been held under secret house arrest by Israel since last December based on allegations that during her military service she leaked classified documents suggesting the Israeli Forces violated laws dealing with targeted killings.


Kam was arrested in December 2009 and charged under Israel’s espionage and treason laws while she was working as a reporter for the Israeli site Walla, which had been partially owned by Haaretz until the week prior. The charges stem from when Kam served in the Israeli army, and it is alleged she photocopied sensitive documents.


“Bloggers speculated that the documents she allegedly photocopied served as the basis for a November 2008 article Haaretz story suggesting alleged army violations. Kam has denied the charges and her arrest has been under a gag order in Israel.


 “The military censor, which prevents publication of information that could harm Israel’s national security, approved the Haaretz story for publication. By contrast, Israeli courts have gagged not only the details of Kam’s arrest, but news of the arrest itself.” [1]




On April 1, 2010, The New York Times followed up with the JTA/Jewish Telegraphic Agency, because the JTA, "is not subject to the gag order...According to people familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the gag order, Kam is accused of copying classified documents while she was a soldier and leaking them to the Haaretz daily. The newspaper published a story that accused the military of defying an Israeli Supreme Court ruling against killing wanted Palestinian  militants who could have been captured alive. A November 2008 Haaretz story suggested the military had unilaterally loosened its rules of engagement and marked militants for assassination…




“Despite the gag order, Israeli media appear to be well-acquainted with the case. Yediot Ahronot, another Israeli daily, hinted toward the brewing saga for the first time Thursday with a story headlined ‘What does the Shin Bet not want you to know?’ and directing readers to the JTA's article on the Internet. The Shin Bet, Israel's internal security agency, declined to comment…



“Israeli courts are typically wary of allowing publication of material deemed sensitive to national security. While the mainstream media formally comply with the rulings, they often get around restrictions by citing foreign reports, and material often finds its way to the blogosphere.


“The secrecy surrounding Kam's detention is reminiscent of the arrest of Mordechai Vanunu [who] was kidnapped by Israeli intelligence agents in Rome and taken back to Israel to stand trial behind closed doors…Some details of the Vanunu affair are still under wraps domestically.” [2]



Haaretz's has filed a request to lift the gag order and court is scheduled for April 12, 2010 to hear the plea regarding the Kam affair.



Vanunu was released from 18 years in a tomb sized windowless cell on April 21, 2004 and as of this writing he is still waiting for the right to leave the state.


A total of 1,200 pages of transcript of Vanunu’s 1986 closed door trial have been released.

Defense witness and the Sunday Times journalist who broke Vanunu’s news in 1986, that Israel was a major nuclear power, Peter Hounam, said, "It is clear that, as far as Vanunu's accusers are concerned, the trial is not only about whether this decision to reveal the secrets of Israel's atom bomb amounted to treason and espionage, it is also about whether his decision to become a Christian was at the root of his alleged treachery".


Within minutes of emerging from his 18 years in jail-most all in solitary-Vanunu announced, "I am not harming Israel. I am not interested in Israel. I want to tell you something very important. I suffered here 18 years because I am a Christian, because I was baptised into Christianity. If I was a Jew I wouldn't have all this suffering here in isolation for 18 years. Only because I was a Christian man."


Vanunu told me, "All the secrets I had were published in 1989 in an important book, by [Nuclear Physicist] Frank Barnaby, The Invisible Bomb: Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East."

At Vanunu's closed door trial, Barnaby testified, "I found the fact that Vanunu was able to smuggle a camera and films into and out of Dimona and photograph highly sensitive areas in the establishment astonishing. I very vigorously cross-examined Vanunu, relentlessly asking the same questions in a number of different ways and at different times...I found Vanunu very straightforward about his motives for violating Israel's secrecy laws he explained to me that he believed that both the Israeli and the world public had the right to know about the information he passed on. He seemed to me to be acting ideologically.

"Israel's political leaders have, he said, consistently lied about Israel's nuclear-weapons programme and he found this unacceptable in a democracy. The knowledge that Vanunu had about Isreal's nuclear weapons, about the operations at Dimona, and about security at Dimona could not be of any use to anyone today. He left Dimona in October 1985 and the design of today's Israeli nuclear weapons will have been considerably changed since then…Modern nuclear weapons bear little relationship to those of the mid-1980."[4]

In a 2003, BBC documentary Peter Hounam noted, “Vanunu told the world that Israel had developed between one hundred and two hundred atomic bombs and had gone on to develop neutron bombs and thermonuclear weapons. Enough to destroy the entire Middle East and nobody has done anything about it since.”



On January 25, 2006, after nearly two years of speaking with hundreds, perhaps thousands of foreigners since his release from prison, Vanunu was convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court of 15 violations of a military order that had prohibited him from talking to non-Israelis.


Vanunu was also charged with attempting to "leave the state" while taking a cab from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to attend Christmas Eve mass at the Church of the Nativity in 2004. He has no passport or visa and was only carrying a Santa hat.


The original indictment included 22 different violations; Vanunu was charged with 19 and acquitted of four. He was acquitted of speaking to foreign nationals on the internet and via video and voice chats.



On July 2, 2007, Israel sentenced Vanunu to six more months in jail for speaking to foreign media in 2004.



On September 23, 2008, the Jerusalem District Court reduced Vanunu’s sentence to three months, "In light of (Vanunu’s) ailing health and the absence of claims that his actions put the country’s security in jeopardy."



On June 14, 2009, while I was in east Jerusalem, Vanunu and he told me, “The Central Commander of the General Army testified in court that it is OK if I speak in public as long as I do not talk about nuclear weapons.”



On July 6, 2009, Israeli Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish continued to deny Vanunu the right to leave the state claiming that, "case is still generating great interest, like any other security-related case. The media's attention he gets is proof of that."



I phoned Vanunu after reading that bad news and he said, "You have freedom of speech and freedom of movement. Do what you want. But I am not publishing anything. Everything is already on the Internet."



The very next day, July 7, 2009, my Facebook account was deactivated while I was posting my video interviews with Vanunu and posing the question, “Have you eyes to see and ears to hear Vanunu on video in 2005, 2006, 2008?’



Facebook never replied to my multiple email inquiries asking “why was I deactivated/deleted/censored while posting to a Cause and Group I created and was the only Administrator of?”



On December 14, 2009 Vanunu returned to the Israeli Supreme Court and I phoned him and learned he expected their decision regarding the three month sentence "in a few weeks" and he was confident he will be freed as "they have no case against me."



On December 21, 2009, Uzi Eilam, a former head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission stated Vanunu "served the regime because his revelations helped Tel Aviv intimidate others...I've always believed he should be let go. I don't think he has significant knowledge to reveal (about Dimona) now." [3]


On December 29, 2009, Israel arrested Vanunu again. His attorney Avigdor Feldman said, "Vanunu was arrested (for) a relationship between a man and a woman, with a Norwegian citizen, He is not being accused of giving any secrets."



Vanunu was placed under house arrest for three days and it will be six years on April 21, 2010 that Vanunu has waited for the right to leave the state and begin a life.




Israel's statehood was contingent upon upholding the UN UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS


Article 19:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 13:
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.




Vanunu has waited twenty-four years for governments and media to follow up on his 1985 photos of the Dimona and 1986 testimony regarding Israel's development of up to two hundred atomic bombs and the fact that Israel was already in process of developing neutron bombs and thermonuclear weapons.


Much more than enough to destroy the entire world and nobody has done anything about it since.











Haaretz Journalist on the run from Israel is hiding in Britain

April 1st, 2010

News Source:  Independent UK

London - An Israeli journalist is in hiding in Britain, The Independent can reveal, over fears that he may face charges in the Jewish state in connection with his investigation into the killing of a Palestinian in the West Bank.


Uri Blau, a reporter at Israel's liberal newspaper, Haaretz, left town three months ago for Asia and is now in London. Haaretz is understood to be negotiating the terms of his return to Israel with prosecutors, according to an Israeli source, who declined to be identified, because of the sensitivity of the situation.


The news of Mr Blau's extended absence comes just days after it emerged that another Israeli journalist, Anat Kam, has been held under house arrest for the last three months on charges that she leaked classified documents to the press while completing her military service.


Although no media outlet or journalist has been specifically named as the recipient of the classified information, there is speculation on Israeli blogs that Ms Kam gave documents to Mr Blau that formed the basis of a story he wrote in November 2008.


In his article for Haaretz, Mr Blau reported that one of two Islamic Jihad militants killed in Jenin in June 2007 had been targeted for assassination in apparent violation of a ruling issued six months earlier by Israel's supreme court. While not outlawing assassinations in the West Bank altogether, the ruling heavily restricted the circumstances in which they were permissible, effectively saying that they should not take place if arrest was possible.


In an unusual move, Israel has placed a gagging order on national media, preventing them from reporting any aspect of the Kam case. Israel's Channel Ten and Haaretz are expected to challenge this order on 12 April.


According to the court order, Ms Kam, 23, is being held on "espionage" charges. It alleges that she passed classified documents to a male journalist while working as a clerk in the Israel Defence Forces Central Command during her military service.


She was arrested more than a year after Mr Blau's report, which was cleared by military censors at the time of publication, when she was working for the news service Walla, until recently owned by Haaretz.


Ms Kam denies all the charges. Her trial has reportedly been set for 14 April and she could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. Mr Blau did not respond to requests for comment; his friends and colleagues refused to discuss the case in detail.


Dov Alfon, Haaretz's editor-in-chief, said in an emailed statement: "Haaretz has a 90-year-long tradition of protecting its reporters from government pressures, and Uri Blau is getting all the help we can provide him with."


The move to gag Israel-based media has sparked fevered debate on Jewish blogs, which have freely reported the story. Bloggers have railed against the blackout, saying it represents a critical challenge to the freedom of the press.


"I do not believe that a citizen can be arrested and tried for suspected security offences right under our noses without anyone knowing anything about it," wrote former Haaretz editor Hanoch Marmari in an eloquent cri de coeur on the Seventh Eye website.


"Trials do not take place here in darkened dungeons, nor do we have show trials behind glass or chicken wire. I have no doubt that such a strange, terrible and baseless scenario cannot take place in such a sophisticated democracy as our own."

Inter Press Service News Agency

Israel Gags News on Extra-Judicial Killings

Mel Frykberg

RAMALLAH, Apr 2 (IPS) - An Israeli journalist remains under house arrest and another lives abroad, after they broke news on Israeli undercover units carrying out assassinations or "targeted killings" of non-combatant Palestinian political opponents.

Anat Kam, 23, who used to work for the Israeli news site ‘Walla’, was arrested last December for allegedly copying secret Israeli Defence Force (IDF) documents during her compulsory military service.

These documents outlined how Israeli assassination squads would plan the killing of Palestinian political leaders and fighters months beforehand and then pass their deaths off as "mishaps" during "failed" attempts to arrest them.

Uri Blau, a reporter from the daily ‘Haaretz’, then wrote a piece on the copied documents and is refusing to return to Israel from Britain fearing that Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, will arrest him if he does.

Due to a military gag order the news has remained suppressed even as Israeli journalists fight the suppression order in court.

The news was broken several days ago by Donald McIntyre from Britain’s ‘Independent’.

The controversy has highlighted Israel’s extra-judicial killings which violate international law and have caused death and injury to thousands of Palestinian civilian bystanders despite the country having no death penalty.

Israel’s judiciary has approved "targeted killings" but only of militants who were allegedly involved in carrying out or planning armed attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians both within the Palestinian occupied territories and in Israel proper.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza says that during the period September 2000 to March 2008, 500 Palestinians suspected of being involved in military resistance to the Israeli occupation were executed.

However, the "collateral damage" during the assassinations included another 228 civilian bystanders - 77 of them children. Eleven Palestinians have been assassinated in the last two years.

"Israel is using disproportionate force. Civilians are paying the price. In the overwhelming majority of cases the targeted individuals could have been arrested and brought to trial without being killed. Many of them have been killed in cold blood," Jaber Wishah from PCHR told IPS.

"International law’s right to life says that state authorities are obliged to follow due process when they are in a position to arrest individuals," says Michael Kerney from the Ramallah-based rights organisation Al Haq which researched and documented many of the killings.

"Everybody is entitled to a fair trial and no state can dismiss this," Kerney told IPS.

Some of those targeted have included individuals who were "pardoned" by the Israelis after having agreed to give up armed resistance to the occupation.

Last December three pardoned members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a military offshoot of the Palestinian Authority (PA)-affiliated Fatah movement, were shot dead in Nablus in the northern West Bank following the death of an Israeli settler.

According to their families and the subsequent investigations of human rights organisations they had already surrendered and were unarmed despite Israeli claims that they had refused to surrender.

"By failing to produce any evidence linking the targeted individuals to attacks allegedly committed by members of the Palestinian resistance, as well as failing to utilise peaceful means in order to arrest and detain suspects, the soldiers assumed the role of both judge and executioner," reported Al Haq.

Furthermore, unarmed Palestinians, who have not been involved either politically or militarily in resisting the occupation, also continue to die in what some have called deliberate premeditated murder.

Several weeks ago four Palestinian teenagers were shot dead amidst dubious circumstances in two separate incidents in the villages of Awarta and Iraq Burin near Nablus.

According to medical reports they were shot at close range with live ammunition after clashes between Palestinian youngsters and Israeli soldiers had broken out.

However, the individuals concerned had not been involved in the clashes according to several investigations carried out by Al Haq, PCHR and Israeli rights group B’tselem.

One was shot in the back and another had a bullet lodged in the back of his skull despite Israeli soldiers saying they had only used non-lethal ammunition.

The Israeli military police declared they would investigate the incidents following contradictory testimony given by the soldiers involved.

However, when IPS visited one of the sites a week later with family members, approximately 20 spent cartridge cases, bloodied gloves, a saline solution kit and other bits of evidence lay on the ground undisturbed.

None of this is new. Israel has a history of assassinating political opponents predating its official establishment.

In 1944, the Israeli terrorist group, the Stern gang, assassinated Britain’s Lord Moyne, the military governor of Egypt, accusing him of interfering with Jewish migration to Palestine.

In 1948, Count Folke Bernadotte - a Swedish diplomat who had secured the release of 15,000 inmates from Nazi concentration camps while he was vice-president of the Swedish Red Cross – was also murdered by the Stern gang.

Stern gang members believed Bernadotte, as the U.N.’s Palestine mediator, to be too sympathetic to the Arabs. Yitzhak Shamir, later to become an Israeli prime minister, was one of the Stern gang’s leaders.

"Since the outbreak of the second Intifada, Israel has increasingly avoided accountability for the serious violations of the human rights of residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for which it is responsible," says B’tselem.

"This avoidance is seen, in part, in its policy not to open criminal investigations in cases of killing or wounding of Palestinians who were not taking part in the hostilities, except in exceptional cases, and in its enactment of legislation denying, almost completely, the right of Palestinians who were harmed as a result of illegal acts by Israeli security forces to sue for compensation for the damages they suffered."

Journalist accused of leaking secret IDF documents

Tel Aviv District Court clears for publication affair reported by foreign press over past few weeks: Former Walla website reporter Anat Kam, 23, placed under house arrest after allegedly stealing confidential material from Central Command chief's office during her military service, transferring it to Haaretz reporter

Ynet reporters

The Tel Aviv District Court has cleared for publication an affair reported by foreign media across the world over the past few weeks: An Israeli journalist is accused of serious offenses, including leaking secret information without authorization in an attempt to compromise the State's security and possession of classified information.


Nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu was accused of similar offenses in the past. The offenses are considered as serious espionage according to Israeli law. The maximal punishment for such offenses is life imprisonment.


The court cleared for publication on Thursday that Anat Kam, 23, who worked as a reporter for the Walla news website, leaked secret documents which she had stolen from the army, where she served in the office of then-Central Command Chief Yair Naveh.


Kam's attorney Avigdor Feldman said Thursday that his client acted out of moral concerns and not in an attempt to compromise state security and for this reason forwarded the materials to a journalist and not to hostile elements.


Nissim Duek, the public relations expert serving Kam said, "There is a very big gap between the media talk and the facts which will be revealed in court. The fact is that the court decided to place Kam under house arrest, despite the State's motion to arrest, her and allowed her to keep working as a reporter.


"Kam was exposed to documents together with hundreds of other junior soldiers, how is that to be explained if those were indeed so classified. How can one explain the fact that she was arrested over a year after the article's publication? The security elements are trying to paint her as an enemy of the state and she is not."


The affair began following a Haaretz report published by Uri Blau in November 2008, which discussed assassinations of Palestinians by the Israel Defense Forces. The article said that the army had held discussions which revealed that the IDF ignored High Court rulings in regards to the assassinations, and that the assassinations were carried out following orders issued by the Northern Command, even in cases in which the wanted terror suspects could have been arrested.


According to the article, the army's senior ranks, including the chief of staff, approved hurting innocent people as part of targeted assassinations.


The article, according to an indictment filed against Kam in January, was based in part on the material she had provided.  


Although the article was published in November 2008, Kam was only arrested by the Shin Bet in December 2009 following an investigation sanctioned by IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz. After being questioned she was placed under house arrest.


According to the investigation, Kam burned the files onto a CD and uploaded them onto her personal computer following her release from the army.


The investigation further revealed that in 2008 Kam offered the classified material to another journalist, but this did not result in any published reports. She allegedly transferred all or some of the material to Blau in September or October of 2008.,7340,L-3871981,00.html

April 9, 2010 Email from Jewish Peace News

This story has a number of components:

1- An Israeli woman, Anat Kamm, has been under a SECRET house arrest, accompanied by a gag order to the Israeli media, since December 2009. 

Here is the NYTimes coverage:

2-  The story that she's allegedly leaked to Ha'aretz correspondent Uri Blau in 2008, implicating top military staff, including Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi, in defying Supreme court (2006) ruling restricting targeted assassinations.  The Ha'aretz story, in Hebrew, can be found at

3-  The story of Israel's obedient media, and the Internet role in bringing it to the light.  To read one version of how things went, see Gila Svirsky's article below.

In reality, the internet response was more complicated.  We at JPN considered running a story published by Richard Silverstein on his blog (Tikkun Olam)a few months back, but - like many other news services - decided to avoid doing so because we were told that  Anat Kamm and her lawyer asked to keep the story under raps, hoping it'll help her negotiate a deal with the Shin Bet (Israel's secret service).

4-  The story exploded on the scene in the last few days, and as of today, the gag order was lifted (see below).

It's the next day, and it's probably fair to say that in the meantime all hell broke loose.
Here are a number of additional links, most of them provided by Rela Mazali.

Last update - 12:26 09/04/2010

This isn't just a war for my freedom but for Israel's image

By Uri Blau

"When you're warned 'they know much more than you think,' and are told that your telephone line, e-mail and computer have been monitored for a long time and still are, then someone up there doesn't really understand what democracy is all about, and the importance of freedom of the press in preserving it."

Last update - 04:10 09/04/2010

In Israel, reality hides under a 'top secret' stamp

By Akiva Eldar

"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. … To manage an occupation, a nation must raise obedient soldiers and officers [and, my addition: the obedient public that keeps on producing these soldiers and officers, Rela] - 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."

Legal Analysis / Key charge against Kam carries life sentence

By Ze'ev Segal

"The stringent statutes [being applied to this case, Rela] are essentially carbon copies of criminal laws enacted during the pre-state British Mandate in 1936. While the current laws were adopted for Israeli jurisprudence, this was done with minimal alterations. The current statute does not explicitly recognize the defense claim - that revealing classified information is permitted in cases where the data is of vital public interest.  …

Passing classified information to a media entity is considered "espionage," despite the fact that this term is only applied to cases where information is passed on to an enemy."

How I was almost accused of espionage

By Reuven Pedatzur

"there isn't a single military correspondent who doesn't commit this crime of espionage on a daily basis. … We can assume that the senior member of the defense establishment who wanted to use Section 113 against me did not really think that I was a spy, but intended to scare me and to convince me that I had better not continue to publish criticism of the body that he headed. … [Uri Blau] is being singled out because the article he published in Haaretz, which is what first brought the entire affair to light, was critical and exposed improper behavior on the part of senior officials in the defense establishment."
An article, in Hebrew, by Yossi Gurvitz.

Here is a partial translation by "The Magnes Zionist":

1. It's not espionage. Anat Kamm has been accused of spying, no less. But Shabak Chief Yuval Diskin does not claim that the Uri Blau Haaretz articles damaged Israeli security. (He can't, can he? After all, it passed military censorship) So he can only refer to the "thousands of documents" that Kamm has confessed to stealing, and which she passed to Uri Blau (according to Diskin). And what is the argument? "Those documents are full of security and operational secrets that would endanger the lives of soldiers were they to fall into enemy hands." But they haven't fallen into enemy hands, so this is not espionage, nor is there intent. They were leaked to a journalist who has them in his possession (according to the Shabak). So whatever Kamm did, it was not espionage.

2. The Shabak's history of exaggerated accusations. Gurvitz points out that Diskin in his briefing said that the media should not compare Kamm to Tali Fahima. And why not? Because in several well-publicized cases, the Shabak and the media initially painted the accused as endangering the security of the state -- only to see that accusation wither away. Tali Fahima was accused of being an enemy agent, and planning terrorists attacks. When the trial began, the prosecution said (generously) that they would not seek the death penalty. Pretty good move, since she ended up getting a few years in jail. And let's not forget Sheikh Raad Saalah who was arrested in a big public way for contacting foreign agents, and ended up being convicted of some minor money crimes. In other words, the tactic scare the accused to death, then get a plea bargain. Gurvitz asks how credible is the charge that Blau has in his possession documents that will damage IDF soldiers, and he is refusing to return them? It seems more likely that he has potentially damaging documents to the IDF brass.

3. Discrimination based on rank. Gurvitz points out that other IDF brass have removed documents from bases, and in one case, Elazar Stern, the head of the Education Corps leaked classified documents to Yair Lapid, a columnist. Some of these people were disciplined; Stern had to pay damages to the soldier whom he had ratted on; but nobody has been brought up on charges of espionage. Many other lower ranks of soldiers have "informed" against their superiors to human rights organizations, and their military careers have ended as a result (Gurvitz did that himself during the first intifada.) But none of these were considered more than minor offenses.

Racheli Gai.

Israel pulls gag order on Kamm case
April 8, 2010
WASHINGTON (JTA ) -- Israel's defense establishment agreed to lift a months-long gag order over an Israeli journalist's secret house arrest.

Representatives of the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet internal security service and the State Prosecutor's Office on Thursday asked Tel Aviv District Court for a partial removal of the gag order that has been in place for the last three-and-a-half months,.The request was granted.

The gag order revolves around Anat Kamm, 23, a journalist who was arrested last December and charged under Israel's espionage and treason for allegedly photocopying and leaking sensitive documents during her time in the IDF. The far-reaching gag order applies not only to the details of Kamm's arrest but to news of the arrest itself. Israeli media only have been able to refer to the incident as a “security-related affair.”

The documents alleged to have been leaked by Kamm formed the basis for a 2008 Haaretz story implicating top military staff, including Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, the military chief of staff, in defying Supreme Court rulings restricting targeted killings.

Though Israeli media was banned from reporting the story, foreign media and blogs not under Israeli jurisdiction have published details of the case. JTA reported the story on March 27.  Reportedly, the Supreme Court sent messages to the State Prosecutor's Office and the presiding judge, Ze'ev Hammer, hinting that situation was untenable.

“If the entire world knows about it, issuing a gag order is baseless," said Press Council President Dalia Dorner, a former Supreme Court justice. “Gag orders impinge on the freedom of the press, and this is allowed if publication is highly likely to cause grave damage to state security. But if the whole world knows, this alone constitutes a reason to withdraw the injunction.”

Gila Svirsky's account:

This story is a testament to the Internet. And to Anat Kam, the whistleblower, who is widely regarded in Israeli security circles as a traitor and will probably soon be charged with treason.

Anat (I’ll use her first name, though I don’t know her) is a 23-year old journalist who wrote for the popular Israeli portal Walla. Some months ago, Anat did the unthinkable: she passed on information that was decidedly newsworthy, but that the Shin Bet – Israel’s security services – did not want outsiders to have. It was a”hit list” – the names of Palestinians living in the West Bank who were on the Shin Bet’s “wanted” list. And it was a copy of the Shin Bet protocol stating that if these “wanted” figures are identified during the course of a military action, permission is granted to carry out “an interception”. Nice language for execution without trial. Reports are that Anat photocopied this classified information while serving in the IDF.

Anat allegedly passed on this classified information to Uri Blau, a journalist, who published it months ago as a major scoop in Ha’aretz. Now Ha’aretz has whisked Uri away to London to protect him from the Israeli authorities, who would love to interrogate him about his informant. Meanwhile, Anat has been under house arrest and held incommunicado for at least three months.

This is a big story, but until today no Israeli newspapers could publish it because a judge issued a gag order at the Shin Bet’s request. But go ask Henry Miller about banned books. Thanks to the ban and Israel’s inability to control cyberspace, the story has taken on vastly greater proportions. Every news outlet in Israel – newspapers, radio, TV, news portals – has front-paged the story now that the gag order was lifted. It would never have received such widespread attention had the Israeli authorities not tried to hide it in the first place. And had the Internet not cloned the story through every webpage eager to expose state secrets.

This is not the first time the Israeli authorities have arrested suspects and held them incommunicado for extended periods. It happens to Palestinians all the time. The best known case of an Israeli is Mordechai Vanunu, who blew the whistle on Israel’s nuclear warfare capabilities 24 years ago and was tried behind closed doors. More recently, Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Yaakov, an Israeli citizen now living in the U.S., was arrested on a visit to Israel in 2002, and a gag order placed on news of his month-long detention and interrogation. Yaakov, a key scientist in the development of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, was suspected of divulging some of Israel’s secrets, but eventually released without charge.

So Israel has managed to draw widespread international attention to a story it wanted to hush up. But why conceal the fact that the Shin Bet has a “hit list” and gives license to its commando units to carry out field executions? After all, doesn’t the U.S. do the same thing in its own so-called war against terror?

Israel, in my view, wanted to hide this information to avoid the legal and diplomatic ramifications of disclosures that its soldiers were once again breaking international law. Israel has been playing defense ever since the Gaza Campaign, trying to keep its senior politicians and officers out of European courts on charges of war crimes. Most recently (December 2009), opposition leader Zipi Livni cancelled a trip to London out of fear she would be arrested, thanks to universal jurisdiction of human rights violations. Similar arrest orders were deflected by other senior Israelis (Barak, Mofaz, and Almog). Publicity about a hit list and hit squads could only add fuel to the growing criticism of Israel and the fear among its leaders of being arrested on a visit to Europe. Not to mention the fact that Israel’s own Supreme Court outlawed such unprovoked assassinations just months ago.

But really, isn’t Israel still the “only democracy in the Middle East”? Concealing someone’s arrest and the charges against her are clearly pages from the annals of dark regimes. And the broader context is the growing McCarthyite culture inside Israel – the silencing of its critics, the squirreling away of its whistleblowers. We see this in the hate campaign against Israeli human rights organizations, which has now reached a new peak – a bill before the Knesset that would severely hamper these organizations from receiving funds from foreign states, one of their only sources of support as the Israeli government is not about to fund human rights activity.

What’s not to love about secrecy, lies, and human rights violations? Praise the whistleblowers and all those who turned on the Internet lights, making it impossible for the authorities to turn them off again.

Gila Svirsky
Jerusalem / Nahariya

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Harrass the IDF, not alleged whistleblower Anat Kam
By Gideon Levy 

Are Israelis entitled to know that the IDF's highest ranking officers gave advanced written permission to fire at innocent people during "targeted assassinations?" Isn't the media's supreme duty, not only its right, to report this?

Are Israel's citizens entitled to know that IDF commanders approved killing people even when it was possible to apprehend them, in blatant violation of the High Court's ruling?

Aren't we entitled to know about a secret Defense Ministry report saying about 75 percent of settlements construction has been carried out without a permit? That public structures in more than 30 settlements were built on private Palestinian land?

These are but few of the goings on exposed by journalist Uri Blau and which the state wanted to conceal. Now the state wants to settle the score with both the source and the journalist. In fact it wants to do more than settle the score.

Shin Bet security service head Yuval Diskin yesterday openly threatened, in the most scandalous way, that his organization will "remove its gloves" in dealing with this affair. "We were too sensitive to the media world ... that's the lesson we've learned from the affair," he said.

The lesson to be learned from the affair should be the exact opposite. A security service that destroys journalists' computers and threatens them has no place in a democratic state. The defense establishment is not trying (only) to keep state secrets in this case, but to cover-up grievous acts committed in the territories. These deeds were committed in our name, therefore we must know everything about them.

The violent, bullying defense establishment, which smashes computers, wants to settle the score with those who knew and would not keep silent; with those who witnessed the acts and would not take part in the cover up.

The Shin Bet has won again. Instead of dealing with the outrageous acts that were exposed, finding those responsible and bringing them to trial, everyone is preoccupied with persecuting the messengers and hunting down the whistleblowers. This is going on with the support of the security service's numerous mouthpieces in the media.

Anat Kam probably overheard corrupt discussions and should have been treated like any other whistleblower - the state should have protected her. The same applies to the journalist who exposed corruption. The witch hunt that came out yesterday after weeks of gagging - which also has no place in a democracy - is moving in the wrong direction, as the Shin Bet intended.

The GOC Central Command, in whose office the assassination meetings took place, should be the one in the heart of the furor. Instead, it's the one who reported them.

As usual with us, the marginal takes precedence over the primary, covered with layers of fake security arguments. The Palestinians already know the IDF and Border Police shoot to kill them even when they can merely arrest them.

But the IDF and Shin Bet don't want us to know that. It has nothing to do with security. It has everything to do with the kind of regime we're living in.

Yesterday a new Bus 300 affair began. Bus 300 was hijacked by Palestinians in 1984. Two of the hijackers, who were first reported to have been killed when security forces took over the bus, were in fact executed while in captivity by Shin Bet agents.

Then too, when the media published what happened, violating the censorship laws, some people found fault with the media instead of with the Shin Bet killers.

Consequently, the Hadashot newspaper, which published a picture of one of the hijackers being taken off the bus alive, was penalized and the killers received, eventually, a sweeping pardon. Only in time did it come out that the media was only doing its duty, and it led to cleaning the Shin Bet stables from lies and despicable acts of manslaughter.

It should be hoped that this time the public also understands that illegal, villainous acts must not be covered up by smashing the mirror (and computer).


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BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

Published 10/30/10

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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

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The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright

“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
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"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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