Kamm Agrees to Plea Bargain, Israel’s Assange Gets Nine-Year Sentence
In a plea bargain that could serve as a precursor for what might be in store for Julian Assange should he ever be extradited to the U.S., Anat Kamm agreed to a plea deal with Israeli authorities by which she agrees to plead guilty to leaking top secret IDF documents to Haaretz journalist, Uri Blau. Her maximum sentence could be 15 years under these charges, though the prosecution has agree to nine years.
Under the original charges of damaging national security, she could’ve received a life sentence. Like Ameer Makhoul, who also received a nine-year sentence in a security case, Kamm clearly foresaw her own conviction and the possibility of spending decades behind bars. The difference between justice in Israel and the U.S. is that Daniel Ellsberg fought and won against similar charges levelled against him by our government. Kamm knew she hardly had a chance. As I’ve written here, if you’re a security detainee your odds are 1000 to 1 (or better) for conviction. Do you roll the dice with the conviction that you’ll be that 1 in 1,000? Or do you play the odds and plead out?
Kamm leaked 2,000 army documents about targeted assassination operations that violated Israeli Supreme Court rulings. She also revealed documents which pointed to the scorched earth policy followed by the IDF senior command during Operation Cast Lead. She has said that she was motivated to do what she did because she suspected her commander, Yair Naveh, recently promoted to deputy IDF chief of staff, and other officers were guilty of war crimes. There are numerous examples of IDF officers and politicians leaking top-secret documents to the Israeli media and facing no punishment. In cases where IDF soldiers have done so penalties have amounted to being confined to base for 30 days. In one case, someone received a two-year jail sentence. So Kamm is being singled out for blowing the whistle on IDF top brass and their participation in potential war crimes. That’s the sole reason why she now passes with her personal liberty.
This puts Kamm in the category of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning as a world-class whistleblower. That she will spend nine years in an Israeli prison as a figure reviled by many Israelis as a traitor gives a clear indication of the skin-deep nature of Israeli democracy. In the U.S., Daniel Ellsberg is a hero to many who champion civil liberties and freedom of the press. In Israel, Ellsberg would’ve gone to prison.
Anat Kamm deserves to be an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience. And she deserves the support of all who support the principles of Ellsberg, Assange and Manning. Israel and the Shabak deserve opprobrium for putting her behind bars for years.
Recently, in a panel discussion moderated by Israeli journalists, Yuval Diskin had this to say about Kamm, Uri Blau and the relationship between the media and the secret police:
“My organization supports press freedom and the public right to know. The work the press does in a democratic country has existential importance and is no less important than the work done by the security service and the intelligence community. But I expect that the press will respect the the work of the security services and act responsibly when dealing with material of this sort.”
Diskin revealed that one of the prime motivating factors in investigating Blau was because he and his editors displayed an actual top-secret IDF document in the story they published about the targeted assassinations. He seemed to imply that this act crossed a red line. Which accords with my own criticism of Haaretz editors at the time, since it’s widely understood that Shabak agents used the published images of the documents to trace them back to Kamm herself.
What doesn’t pass the smell test though is Diskin’s claim that pursuit of Blau was not an act of revenge. Of course it was. Blau is probably the best investigative reporter inside Israel. One who consistently unearthed dirt that bloodied the noses of the IDF brass and secret police. Getting Blau had to priority number 1 for someone like Diskin. And Diskin’s words of warning at this press symposium were deliberately meant to lay down the law to the press and tell them they’d better be good little boys and girls or end up like Kamm and Blau.
40 thoughts on “Kamm Agrees to Plea Bargain, Israel’s Assange Gets Nine-Year Sentence – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
Richard – you’ve jumped the gun here:
So far Anat Kamm has only been found guilty as part of a plea bargain in which the important part of the indictment was erased – intent to cause harm to the securuty of the state. She admitted to holding and passing on top secret documents.
This she obviously did do!
The plea bargain limits the prosecution to ask for 9 years (instead of the possible 15) but the defence may ask for less.
The pleadings will only be in a month’s time, and, by agreement with the prosecution, only after the result of the trial of Uri Blau.
Justice ia and may still be seen to be done. Or do you believe that no military document can ever be secret or sensitive enough to warrant its being withheld from the public’s knowledge? She was in a position of trust and betrayed that trust – that is what the punishment will be for.
Shmuel: “The pleadings will only be in a month’s time, and, by agreement with the prosecution, only after the result of the trial of Uri Blau.”
You mean after the state attorney’s office makes a decision whether to file a criminal indictment against Blau, right?
Yes, Meni, my error.
So you’re claiming there’s a chance she’ll be sentenced for less than 9 yrs.? And after Makhoul got the max. for his alleged “crime?” Puh-leeze. Let’s see how much time the judge gives her.
Here’s what I’m claiming. If she deserves any jail time for her “crime” then give every Israeli general & pol who does precisely what she did the same amt. of jail time. Then, & only then, does she deserve time. In my book, she’s an Israeli Profile in Courage & deserves the award the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation hands out ea. yr for that honor. In fact, if she’s eligible, I might nominate her myself if I can.
So do you agree & will you work to ensure prosecution of every govt official who does no less than what she did? If this were to happen then hundreds of top Israeli officials over the yrs would end up in jail. So don’t give me any of this hypocrisy about betraying trust. You know as well as I that ministers do it every day. They betray that trust for personal & partisan political gain.
The seriousness of Kamm is the amount of documents (about 1500-2000) and the breach of trust since she worked with the documents – I agree that all leaks should be punished equally in similar circumstances. If some general was found to have leaked a similar amount of sensitive documents expecting them to be published, I would expect him to receive an even greater punishment as he should know better and had greater breach of trust. But I don’t recall there being such a case.
Makhoul’s plea bargain allowed the defence to plea for 7 years jail and the prosecutor for 9 years. Kamm’s allows the defence to plead for no jail at all. The judge in Kamm’s case will have much more leeway should he accept the plea.
Nonsense, Manning leaked far more.
More nonsense. Not a word regarding Naveh’s breach of trust? His culpability for not putting in place security systems to prevent precisely this sort of breach? Naveh is as culpable as she is. He should lose his command & be demoted. Yet he won’t.
Of course there wasn’t such a case. That’s precisely my pt. When you have proteksia you won’t be prosecuted. You can leak to yr heart’s content, & top secret docs as well. Kamm’s mistake was to leak w/o having such proteksia.
He has accepted the plea. But he hasn’t yet sentenced her. Mark my words, she’ll get very close to 9 yrs. If she recieves less then it will only prove that Jews, even alleged traitors, are treated more leniently than Israeli Palestinians.
Well Richard you’ve created a “catch22” situation here
You say that if Kamm gets less than Makhoul then it’s because the judges are racist and are more lenient with Jews than Arabs. If she gets the same then the Israeli system is corrupt and unmerciful to “innocent” peace workers. As usual in this blog Israel can never do right. You’ve laid the carpet perfectly.
Can you give a single example of any general or politician who was even suspected of leaking this sort of info in any large way? If no one was ever prosecuted at least show a link to someone who was suspected. I know of none.
Yes, we agree that Naveh should be investigated for not having a secure enough security system in his office. But leaving a hole for the thief is not nearly as bad as the thief himself. There were probably tens of other soldiers who had access to the info and did not break the rules just because they could.
The essential difference of opinion between us is whether any government is entitled to fix rules for what things should or should not be made public knowledge, and whether a whistleblower is henceforth a hero or a criminal.
To me Kamm and Pollard are the same – both released classified documents that they were entrusted with and passed them to others for their discretionary use. Uri Blau published, Pollard passed to Israel. Same difference, both reached people whose eyes should not have seen.
I did no such thing. Did I decide to prosecute Makhoul or Kamm? No. Both prosecutions are entirely unjust & violate any semblance of due process or judicial fairness under western democratic standards. But yes, once Israel decides to put these individuals in prison then it IS damned if it does & damned if it doesn’t.
As for top secret leaks, you read yr own media even more than I & I’ve seen this claim made so many times by reputable Israeli journalists both in writing about Kamm & in other situations that it should be self-evident to you. I will, since you appear to be ignorant of what your own press says on this topic ask friends to find sources for you. But I view this as a waste of my time. All you need to so is do a Google search in Hebrew on the equivalent key words to “Israeli politician general leaks” or combinations & you’ll come up w. the info yrself. I really can’t stand when people ask me to do research they should be doing themselves. You’re a lawyer. You should know how to do legal research. IT’s not that diff. than doing this research. So stop being lazy.
Absolutely wrong. Naveh is a general responsible for the security of all his soldiers & all the secret material in his material. HIs repsonsibility is far greater than Kamm’s. She exploited a major security breach which he allowed to exist. Sorry, he stands to endanger far more people & material than she. If he’d done his job she wouldn’t have been able to exploit his lax security. He didn’t. Bad on him. You don’t base security on presuming that people will be good & getting made when someone isn’t. Security should be based on ensuring that only the right people have access to secret material & that they only have access to what they need to do their job & nothing more. And certainly that they have no ability to copy thousands of documents & remove them fr. the premises.
Pollard stole the docs for Israel, not to prevent a war crime. There was no compelling moral principle in his theft unless you see betraying the U.S. on behalf of Israel as a high moral principle. I don’t.
Shmuel, one important difference is that Pollard did it for the money.
Intention matters – we have no trouble accepting that in cases of homicide, distinguishing between 1st, 2nd degree murder, voluntary, involuntary manslaughter, self-defence and so on; as a matter of course the same should apply to lesser crimes.
If the courts close their eyes to government lawbreaking – as they’ve done – and on the other hand throw the book at lesser mortals trying to expose government corruption, then they serve not the law but the powers that be. And that’s the end of “rule by law”, as we knew it.
Richard – I googled as suggested, and could only come up with a Yossi Melman article from 10 months ago (originally censored) which has a gem or two.
It’s certainly an eyeopener, I conceed, but still does not point to systematic wide scale leaks by generals and politicians as you suggest, but rather two major incidents
(sorry hebrew only)
Both Manning and Kaam stole something from their employer, for that they are being punished.
Compare that to a bank employee that steals monies, would you be as adamant in protecting him?
And Just FYI, Kaam stole the document for one reason only. She had a deal with Haaretz that she would become a reporter, and while arrested she was working as a reporter for walla (owned by haaretz) all the conscious statement she made is nothing but BS.
So far Manning isn’t even charged with, let alone convicted of a crime. Until that happens, nobody has any business punishing him. I’m also not aware (correct me if I’m wrong) that the appalling treatment his jailers at the Quantico brig subject him to is legally designated as punishment for the offence he’ll likely be charged with (or any other offence, for that matter).
As I’ve already written to Shmuel, hypocritical nonsense. You know as well as I that gov’t employees leak top secret documents regularly. It’s widely reported in the Israeli press which, unless you don’t read it, should tell you you’re writing utter nonsense.
You have absolutely no proof that there was any quid pro quo involved in her leaking. That is Rotter quality rumormongering & should be beneath you. And if there was why isn’t Haaretz under indictment as well for promising her a reward for her alleged crime. That seems easily a legal offense that should be prosecuted.
What do you think should be the punishment for a soldier who steals a tank ? what about a soldier who steals ammunition ?
or a solider that steals a compass ?
Kaam did the same, same principal. and she is being punished because everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. even if Richard from Seattle doesn’t agree.
The damage potential of her actions will dictate the punishment.
as for Haaretz, if you ask for my own opinion, Haaretz should have been a side to the suite, at lease blau should have been. neither was obviously because there was no legal ground for it, despite the deal that was made between haaretz and kaam.
And you know that there was a deal between Haaretz and Kamm because…?
This analogy only works if you believe that information concerning your country and its actions is the same as private property. It’s not. Citizens in a democratic state have a right to know what their government and their military are up to. This information doesn’t ‘belong’ to the IDF in the way that compasses or ammunition do. If Kamm was aware that something bad had gone on and that lies were being told, she had a moral duty to share what she knew. You can argue that her motives weren’t pure, but that doesn’t change the fact that Israeli citizens have a right to know if their government is telling lies and concealing crimes.
Agree, also information is different from tangible goods in that it can be shared without taking it away from the owner/keeper. I understand that, thanks to her boss’ notion of data “security”, Kamm was able to copy the data without at any time denying the army access.
That’s rather uncharted legal territory, I think. Even the copyright mafia has, AFAIK, only ever claimed indirect damages (lost revenue), not theft of the actual music or movie files.
You answer by not answering. I want to know what punishment you’re willing to mete out to the thousands of other Israeli politicians & generals who’ve violated precisely the same law as Kamm w/o being charged with ANY crime whatsoever? When you tell me you’re in favor of them going to prison too then we can talk about what should happen to Kamm. Till then, don’t waste yr breath.
She didn’t steal a weapon. She leaked a document. She was a obeying a moral conviction that the IDF engaged in war crimes. That trumps any pissant charge you want to mention like stealing ammunition. The targeted assassinations were arguable war crimes. Cast Lead plans, which she also leaked, are also arguably war crimes.
The damage she did? She did no damage. In fact, she did Israeli democracy a favor. She was a watchdog and whistleblower against IDF atrocities. She is the Daniel Ellsberg of Israel.
1. i have no idea what thousand of other Israelis you are referring to, please link to some samples.
2. There is a different between what Kaam did and a background conversation a General / Politician is conducting with a reporter.
3. Anyone who steals document should face the same punishment.
4. There is no difference between stealing a weapon and stealing a document, both are entrusted to you as a soldier. Kaam betrayed that trust. stealing is stealing is stealing.
5. Kaam stole more then 2000 document classified as secret / top secret. out of the 2000 documents 1 related to a moral conflict she may had. others involved logistics, cast lead, the IDF plans of defense against an eastern front threats and other documents. I will ask the judge that he will take her conscious into consideration and will deduct from her punishment the conscious part.
6. as for your statement that there was no damage – you really live in a LaLa land don’t you ? Kaam caused damages valued in millions as the IDF had to alter many of its plans, due to the reason that some of the documents are missing to date.
Sorry, Yuval Diskin said that Uri Blau returned ALL the secret documents he had. Do you know what ALL means? Or are you claiming that Kamm retained and lost documents she never gave to Blau, a claim I’ve never heard anywhere?
There is no difference between Kamm leaking a top secret IDF document to a reporter and a general or politician leaking the contents of a top secret document to a reporter. None. As for the “millions” you claim, Shabak knew that the documents went nowhere other than Blau’s & Kamm’s hands & didn’t change one iota of its plans. Can you provide any real credible evidence of such a change to a military plan? Not just a claim by Yuval Diskin or Gabi Ashkenazi, but actual specific evidence?
The only thing I’ll grant they prob. changed or should have is their security procedures. But they should’ve done this before the leak happened.
1. Diskin Said that Uri Blau returned all the documents he had in his possession at the time he returned them
“את כל המסמכים הסודיים שהחזיק בידיו” which is different then all the documents he received.
Again you ‘re trying to argue that kamm had files she either lost or didn’t convey to blau & i’ve simply never read that anywhere credible except perhaps at rotter, which of course is generally not credible unless u know the member to be reliable.
When I’m informed correctly, Anat Kamm had stolen all available documents to be investigated later by Uri Blau who – and not she – had the knowledge of the useability, the value of the robbed infos. If so, she has done a crime without any doubt! What they discovered about breaking orders of the supreme court by the IDF was only a kind of collateral damage.
I have no idea what this means. Sounds like nonsense to me fr. what little I can understand. She herself says she leaked documents because she suspected her superiors of possible war crimes. Does that sound like someone who didn’t know anything about the material she was leaking?? Bradley Manning leaked far more. Did he do so w/o having any knowledge of what he was leaking??
Sorry, for not expressing me understandably, Richard;-))
I mean, when I’m stealing a bunch of documents to see with the help of a experienced jounalist, wether there is something “sellable”, sensational in it, than I’m a thief with simple commercial interests.
But when I KNOW, there IS the proof for crimes in this stolen documents, than I’m an heroe who had to steal to proof the crime.
I can imagine, that one of this two points of view, will play an important role if this case came to trial…
Hope this was more understandable, Richard?
Yes, thanks for clarifying. Sorry I didn’t follow you.
Can get 9 years…..She probably will go for less than 9 years to jail.If we could only read some Iranian stolen documents or Syrian Or maybe North Korean documents….Then we could get the whole picture.
Hmmm what have Syria and North Korea to do with this case? Why not compare for example to the punishments in Finland and Holland? Well I agree that for present day’s Israel the right comparison group is the “Iran and North Korea” group.
By the way, why has the Israeli leadership including the PM been for years demanding the release of Pollard. What did Pollard steal? He did not give the “borrowed” material to a single journalist. If Annat Kamm had another passport should the leaders of that country begin loudly and aggressively to demand the release of Kamm after a couple of years?
If you already mentioned Pollard, then Israel never claimed he should not be imprisoned or that he was wrongfully convicted, but rather that after so many years of imprisonment (many more than the 9 years of Makhoul or, maybe, Kamm), there is reason to release him on compassionate grounds only. (He’s been imprisoned for 25 years until now).
Israel has never dared to “demand” his release but rather requested it from successive presidents of the USA – so far to no avail.
Here also Pollard agreed to a plea bargain to avoid life imprisonment (like Makhoul and Kamm), but the American court didn’t accept the plea bargain as did the Israeli court in Makhoul’s case, and probably will too in Kamm’s case.
For the record, I think that all traitors to their countries who betray trust and help foreign powers by leaking secrets should receive long sentences whether their name is Pollard, Makhoul, Kamm or Vanunu
Tant pis, baby. Pollard is reported to be one of the most damaging spies in 20th century American history. He stole documents the Israelis later traded to the Soviets. Sorry, no sympathy for him here. What military secrets did Makhoul steal that ended up in the hands of our enemies? Oh, that’s right, he reported to Hezbollah on which days Barak did his gym workouts so Hezbollah could sneak an assassin in to the gym to kill him, right? For readers not in the know, there actually is an Israeli Palestinian in prison who made the mistake of working in the same gym where a top Israeli official did his workouts. For his trouble, he’s now in prison too.
And Kamm? And pls. don’t argue as some self-serving knaves like Diskin have that Kamm’s secrets ended up in the hands of Hamas. Stuff n’ nonsense & you know it.
I also have little sympathy for Pollard, but don’t think that any crime other than murder, GBH or rape deserves such a long sentence. Even if the secrets were subsequently sold to the Soviets (not actually sustantiated, tho’ probably true) then Pollard himself, as a rabid right winger, would be horrified to discover this.
Also the Soviets fell about 20 years ago so are no longer the “enemy”.
Compassion should transcend political and ideological arguments
I’ve read that Israel used Pollard’s secret material to trade for Soviet Jews’ freedom. Is that what you meant by “sold” or did you hear there was an actual payment involved?
Compassion? For Pollard? I have none. I’m an American. He sold out his country, my country. If he wanted to help Israel he should’ve made aliyah & gone to work for the IDF in military intelligence. He made his commitment and his bed, now let him lie in it.
If there was a deal, she will not sit in her cell for more than maximum four years! That’s a truly high price, but the IDF needs finally a kind of retaliation as an example for others…
“KAMM AGREES TO PLEA BARGAIN, ISRAEL’S ASSANGE GETS NINE-YEAR SENTENCE”
Assange? Kamm’s case is much more similar to Bradley Manning’s: she obtained the secret documents as a soldier, exploiting the access to classified information that her military service afforded her; though she claims to have been motivated by concerns for international law, she stole thousands of completely unrelated documents- because she could; Kamm passed the documents on to a third party, an act that was her undoing; she’s a citizen of the country whose documents she leaked etc.
Why oh why would you push the Assange\Ellsberg analogy while scarcely mentioning a much more striking parallel? Kamm will walk free in 3-4 years. Perhaps she will visit Manning in his “maximum custody” military prison.
Your attempts at preaching democracy to the natives are boring. Focus on actual journalism.
Because it’s true perhaps?
First, Manning released documents much more damaging to U.S. policy than Kamm did & hundreds of times more such docs. Second, I think his sentence will end up being roughly comparable to hers, perhaps even less than nine years.
Um, might that be why my blog is ranked 7,900 among all Israeli blogs (comprising over 12% of my total audience)? If the natives are bored why are so many reading? You wouldn’t perhaps really be saying that one particular right wing pro IDF Israeli feels his ox is being gored and is trying to take it out on me, would you?
Your claim of being ranked 7900 in israel is meaningless
unless you will provide your audience few more numbers
1. Total daily hits
2. Daily hits by country
3. do not forget that most israelis that write in your blog, actually argue with you, on almost every point. some are doing it more politely then others.
I know one thing for certain, it was the huffington post that was purchased by AOL (325 million) and not Tikun Olam.
I know its different type of journalism one is delivering facts and the other delivers opinions.
Look up my site at alexa. Again this is something easy enough for a fairly intelligent person to do w/o needing me to hold yr hand. THE ranking is certainly not meaningless unless you’re arguing that alexa’s rankings are meaningless.
You also don’t understand blogs and readership at all. THERE ARE 2 regular israeli readers who post regularly disagreeing w me. There 5-6 Israelis posting semi regularly who agree. The rest of my Israeli readers simply don’t comment. Commenters are no reflection whatsoever on overall readership. I have 1,500 Facebook friends many of whom are Israeli & sympathetic.
Then there are all those visitors fr the mfa & I presume Shabak & Mossad!
As i said, most of the Israeli’s who read your site actually oppose your point of view
how do i know that ? because according to Alexa 60% of your upstream traffic comes from google.com.
13.3% comes from rotter.net ( a crazy right winger site)
11.7 % comes from google.co.il
but i see that you monitor your traffic using stat counter why don’t you just publish the daily statistics you get from them ?
Ilan, you don’t know anything about HuffPo. If you think it delivers “facts” here are a few of the current headlines there:
How Blue Valentine’s Director Killed Michelle Williams & Ryan Gosling’s Marriage
WATCH: Teen Sleeps With Tiger
Jennifer Aniston Opens Up About Angelina — To Perez Hilton
Bristol Palin For President?
Need I say more?
Arianna Huffington earned $315 million because she created a strange mishmash of an online new aggregator that combines a bit of politics and a lot of salaciousness, doesn’t make you think too hard, etc. It’s a little bit of everything for almost everyone. For the first few yrs of its existence she didn’t even write her own news. She aggregated fr. others. That’s not my model, not my niche, not my anything.