Shin Bet to Announce End of Kam Gag Order
Noam Sheizaf reports that finally, humbled by the disdain of the entire Israeli nation, the Shin Bet will announce tomorrow morning the end of the gag order on the Anat Kam-Uri Blau case. This is a feeble attempt at damage control, as every major Israeli media outlet has heaped scorn and derision on the police, courts and intelligence services for their attempt to prevent the nation from knowing formally what almost every Israeli knows informally: that Anat Kam leaked top secret IDF memos which revealed senior commanders flagrantly disregarded a Supreme Court directive limiting targeted killing of Palestinians. In fact, the top brass not only thumbed their nose at the Court, they lied about the assassination and claimed the victims resisted (meaning they got what they had coming to them), which they did not.
Everything about this case reeks to high heaven, except the good citizens who leaked the document (Kam) and her journalist-collaborator, Uri Blau, who published the expose in Haaretz in 2008. It reeks even more because the Court has done nothing to force the issue and the IDF remains accountable to virtually no one on this and most other security issues.
We must keep the Israeli public’s eye on the fact that the wrongdoers here are neither Kam nor Blau, who remains in exile in London because the IDF and Shin Bet want a piece of him as well. The wrongdoers are the ones with medals and epaulets. To the extent that the police continue pursuing the whistleblowers, we will continue to make them pay a price for that by pointing out that such a pursuit is inimical to the values of a free, democratic society, which Israel likes to claim it is.
If and when Uri Blau returns to Israel he should be feted by any Israeli, even ones opposed to his views, as someone who embraced values of skepticism in the face of government power. I doubt it will happen, but it should.
The next major milestone is the Kam trial scheduled to start on April 14th if she doesn’t work out a plea bargain with the prosecution first.
15 thoughts on “Shin Bet to Announce End of Kam Gag Order – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Yes, the gag order is about to be gone. The reason is simple: iIn the last few days there has been SO MUCH media (TV and Print) discussion in Israel of the “prohibited affair” and there has been formed aconsensus among all the stake holders (politicians, media, NGO, and of course, the government itself), that the situation has become rediculously unbearable: that it turned into a national farce, domestically and internationally. It became apparent that embarrassment must be stopped, NOW.
Tomorrow, at that Police/GSS/Fraklitut joint press conference it will become clear what is the State’s position on the factual and legal sides of the affair, and whether they would ask to impose the full severity of the secrecy law on Anat.
My own gut feeling (whatever its worth) is that they would be willing to go for a relatively lenient sentence (but it is all depends on the factual side of the case which we are not yet clear as of now). … See More
I think that at this point the state wants to reown the case, the legal and public aspecs of it, and to present Israel as a rule of law state.
The real intriguing thing is what the state will do with Uri Blau’s evidence that the IDF circumvent the judiciary.
You were relentless and vigilant in dealing with this affair. You were quite instrumental in removing this gag order, Richard. Kol Hakavod.
Parallels to the Wikileaks video of the helicopter jocks joyfully mowing down a bunch of Iraqis.
Thanks for doing your good part on this story!
Unfortunately, though, I think that “humbled by the disdain of the entire Israeli nation” is quite an overstatement. And, following the link on your blog, I don’t believe that Noam Sheizaf is actually saying that. I think that, sadly, we’re going to find out soon enough that most Jewish members of “the entire Israeli nation” are going to side with the military authorities, including punishing the “whistle blower” like the authorities did to one Mr. Vanunu – who, unlike this case, revealed little that hadn’t been already known. (I wish my assessment of the likely punishment were similar to that of Avner Cohen. I think they’re going to go after both reporters big way.)
I’m sure you noticed that the same “entire Israeli nation,” with few and rare exceptions, remains mostly silent on the subject matter behind this, namely, Israel’s on-going policy and practice of assassinations – both “domestically,” in the Occupied Territories, and abroad where it is an essential “foreign policy” component. Thus Israel is practicing murder as an alternative to peacemaking, which is entirely possible but would involve “painful sacrifices” — e.g., compliance with international law and UN resolutions — that no Israeli leader (“Left” or “Right”) is prepared to accept.
Even in the US, the focus of discussion remains “Israeli censorship,” not the numerous assassinations that Israel has carried out since the early 1970s (and recently in Dubai).
Of course, none of this would have been possible without active US support — military, financial and diplomatic — including, lest we forget, that of our very own newly-minted Nobel Laureate president, who could stop a great deal of this on very short notice. But he hasn’t, and isn’t going to.
So, now that you’ve contributed your part to shedding light on this case, I hope that you will move to the substantive side of what was behind the reporters’ story: Israel’s policy, practice (and history) of assassinations. It should make a great story, and will earn its author a greatly deserved attention.
I only meant to say that those who requested the gag order have been humbled by the disdain of the nation for it. I didn’t mean to say that Israelis as a whole support Anat Kam or Uri Blau; or that they oppose the IDF’s targeted killings, etc. I was only talking about the farce that the gag has become. We both are saddened I know that more Israelis don’t feel as we do about all these issues.
I invite you to explore this blog where you’ll find that many of the issues you urge me to write about are precisely the issues I’m most interested in & HAVE written about. I welcome more Israelis reading this blog & have always wondered why I didn’t have a larger readership (of course there is a language barrier). I should add that my blog is ranked in the top 20,000 Israeli blogs so it’s not like I have no Israeli readers. I think my reporting on this case will go some ways to rectifying that.
I think you may be naive though about how much deserved attention I do receive for these subjects I DO write about. The media world isn’t exactly beating a path to my door. Though it is nice to be linked in the Times, quoted in the J. Post, interviewed for Russian TV & now Swedish Radio. Maybe things are changing?
Thank you, Richard.
The farce you are referring to, important as it was to expose it (and I already said that it was), is merely a facade. Looming behind it is the 43-year long Israeli Occupation, Israel’s greatest crime of all, in which assassinations are a routine, nearly daily, affair.
Now that the facade has been exposed, it is time to focus on the Occupation. I sincerely hope you do so.
Here’s how we chose to cover this important subject, in the context of a commentary on today’s Haaretz story:
You’re quite right in that the occupation is the background both to this farce and the assassinations in general. However, as it would be naive and myopic to reduce this story on the censorship angle, it would be just as naive to paint a picture of an Israel innocent as a newborn until 1967, when it suddenly was spoiled by The Occupation, and that only the latter had to be ended to return the country to its previous blissful state. The elephant in the room is 1948, and as long as that isn’t addressed, it will continue having its way with the china.
Whatever the facts in the case, however it ultimately turns out, we can thank Richard for his diligence and persistence to hang in there and expose it all to his American readership.
I do not think much will be changed, just as I don’t think the release of the Wikileaky video of the slaughter in Iraq will do much. Our perceptions may be changed, but policies will remain the same. I hope I’m wrong.
Anyhow, if there were a Daniel Elsberg prize, it should certainly go to Richard this year.
You’re so kind, Gene. Really, it means a lot. To be mentioned in the same breath w. Daniel Ellsberg is an honor.
Bravo Richard! The outcome of your efforts appear more promising every day. Your persistence is paying off. Journalists have a duty to the truth and protecting the rights of the people and democracy. You can feel pride that you are doing just that.
no one cares about this storyline
You should see my site stats. They give the lie to yr malarkey. And 70% of my visitors are Israeli when normally the rate is 3% if that.
how I like people who comment to say no one cares – funniest kind of talkbackers.
Yes, what they are saying is that THEY don’t care & wish no one else would. Too bad for them few others agree.
Actually they do care enough to let the whole world know they don’t care, lest anyone might mistakenly think they do – anyone who would never have known of their existence, that is.
A bit like the stand-up comedy routine of someone shouting at the top of their lungs that they’re CALM AS HELL AND NOT UPSET AT ALL.
Compliments to Richard!
Could someone describe what is happening on her page in the Hebrew Wikipedia: ענת קם? Might get regular now, after the gaglift.