You gotta hand it to Yuval Diskin. All of Israel has grown weary of the Shin Bet’s three-ring gag order circus. The Supreme Court was even writing notes asking what was the be gained by this laughingstock. And yet Diskin bounces right back like a Jack in the Box (pdf) ready for more obfuscation, mendacity and outrageousness. Here is a sampling:
“It is a dream of every enemy state to get its hands on these kinds of documents,” said Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin. “And we would be happy to receive these kinds of documents from the enemy.”
What kind of bulls(&t is this guy peddling? Does he really believe that the Palestinian families whose loved ones were murdered in cold blood by the IDF on the orders of the high command will gain some benefit from learning about the truth about how their loved ones were killed? That this knowledge will somehow help them in their jihad against Israel. If not, what specific benefit is he claiming these documents will provide “the enemy?” What is this guy smokin’?
Not to mention that every single report Uri Blau wrote for Haaretz using these documents was approved by the military censor. So if the censor didn’t find any damage to the State in the reports, is the Shin Bet interposing itself as a better arbiter of what will harm it? If so, why not depose the IDF censor and replace her with one approved by the Shin Bet?
The persecution of Uri Blau undermines a fundamental aspect of the social contract between a journalist and State organs in this sense:
…In Israel…we have military censorship that inspects every security-related report ahead of publication. This censorship frustrates journalists, but also protects them. An American journalist can publish anything and risk indictment for breaching state security, while an Israeli journalist whose report is approved by the censor has fulfilled his legal duty and is exempt from any liability. The censor, not the journalist, is in charge of preserving security.
This case shatters that tacit agreement and further weakens the status of journalist in Israeli society. Now, not only does he have to pass military censorship, but doing so gives him absolutely no sense of protection. In effect, this creates yet another suffocating layer of government oversight that stifles the public’s right to know and the journalist’s right to provide it.
Oh, and just in case you mistakenly believed that the gag order collapsed of its own weight and the 1,000 paper cuts wielded against it by Israeli bloggers and foreign press and blogs like this one, here’s Herr Diskin to enlighten you:
According to Diskin, after Moser [Haaretz’s lawyer] rejected a proposal offered to Blau by the Shin Bet and the state prosecutors, the agency decided to partially lift the gag order which had prevented Israeli media entities from reporting details of the story. In addition, Diskin said the Shin Bet will change its policy in terms of its handling of the affair and will apply more stringent measures in its investigative tactics in the imminent future.
Everyone and their brother knows the REAL reason this transparent attempt at secrecy and intimidation died, yet Diskin wants to piss on our backs and tell us its rain. Further, you have a known liar telling Israel that he promises the Shin Bet will do better in future; that it won’t embarrass the judiciary and even his fellow IDF military censor who was aghast at this gag order, by going on such wild goose chases in the future.
If I really believed him I’d cheer and open a bottle of champagne thinking that my blog had really promoted good government and a positive reform in Israel’s democracy. If only I could believe him. I would really like to. But I know that this, like so many words coming out of his mouth, is a lie. The Shin Bet will do whatever it feels is in its interests regardless of previous statements or agreements. So this, like the agreement the Shin Bet signed with Haaretz and violated almost immediately thereafter, isn’t worth a plug nickel (or shekel).
Here’s another lesson that Diskin has learned (pdf) ass-backward about this affair. Did the media serve any useful role? Of course not, just the opposite. We’re those lily-livered Commie pinkos who lurk behind every tree just waiting to hinder the work of servants of the people like him:
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.
Another reporter writing in today’s Haaretz reminds us that just after the 1967 war, Yeshia Leibowitz, perhaps Israel’s greatest public intellectual of the 20th century, prophesied that Israel’s Occupation would eventually turn it into a “Shin Bet state.” Leibowitz truly had the power of prophecy.