22 thoughts on “IDF Chief Threatened Journalist With Espionage for Exposing Rampant Military Corruption – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Hi Richard,
    I just want to tell you, your latest post came in my spam box, that never happened before. I am not bothered, and will read your post a little later and access from an earlier post.
    I know little about these things, and I’m sorry to bother you with it. I hope you don’t mind me sharing. Thank you.

  2. Where is the scoop ?
    Dan Margalit and Bergman himself have been publishing the same since 2011. Margalit referred to the story in one of his latest Friday pieces in Israel Hayom.
    Old News.

  3. @ Major Scoop: It may be difficult for you to follow the nuances of the post. However, the elements that are new are that the IDF sought to file espionage charges against Bergman, and that Ashkenazi and his staff believed he would become the next Prime Minister of Israel after leaving the IDF. That’s news!

    I never claimed that everything included in the post was original. You might want to read with a bit more care next time.

      1. @ Major Scoop: As you stated gornisht. A lie. Why would Ronen Bergman come to me to publish material he’s already published with Margalit? Your claim doesn’t even pass the smell test. So first of all, Margalit did not publish the fact that Bergman was threatened with a charge of espionage. Nor did he publish that Ashkenazi’s staff told Bergman that the chief of staff expected to be Israel’s next PM.

        I dare you to find anything in any source you can dig up that reports what I wrote above. If you can’t shut up and stop nattering away here. If you can, do it. If you publish another comment in this thread other than offering a source that reports the two major originals details of my post, you will be moderated or banned.

        1. Here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO4k308jqgo (time marker 25:47) Boaz Harpaz tells Ayala Hason “At the end of 2009, begining of 2010, There was a group of people created around Ashkenazi who wanted to see him as the prime-minister of Israel this was the great startup” (Ayala Hason) “while he was the chief of staff ?” (Harpaz) ” Yes during the time he serves as chief of staff, and if you’ll cover newpapers from that time you can see which politician and news reporter were involved” (if you are wondering it was Shimon Peres)

          As for Espionage, Bergman himself told the story in an interview he gave Lady Globes back on April 6 2011 in which he said there was an attempt to charge him with espionage. Bergman said “At some point I asked them (the censor) to check themselves, because it made no sense that i would submit information to their inspection as a law abiding citizen and they would turn around and try to pin espionage charges on me, using the information i provided”
          “בשלב מסוים ביקשתי מהם שיבדקו את עצמם. בלתי אפשרי שעיתונאי יעביר חומר לצנזורה כאזרח שומר חוק, ואחר-כך החומר הזה שהוא העביר עושה סיבוב ומשמש כדי להגיש תלונה נגדו על ריגול חמור”
          http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1000636531

          1. @ Major Scoop: You may be forgetting that I write in English and that no English speaker knows what Ronen Bergman told Lady Globes. In other words, no one outside of those few who read Lady Globes (and no one in the U.S. or anywhere outside Israel) knew he’d been threatened with espionage. Further, even Lady Globes doesn’t say who specifically threatened him with espionage. I did.

            The YouTube video again isn’t relevant to my argument since I’m reporting that Ashkenazi’s men used the threat of Ashkenazi becoming prime minister to bolster their threat against Bergman. Again, this isn’t in your video and has not been reported anywhere.

            No more comments from you in this thread. Move on or be moderated.

    1. @ Pip: News flash! This is going to comes as a BIG shock, but I don’t write this blog for you, nor do I care what you think. In fact, if you said something I’d know pretty much the opposite was the case. So thanks for confirming my editorial judgment that this was a big deal. Not to mention when one of Israel’s best investigative journalists comes to me with a story, I sit up and take notice. Further, I trust his judgment about what’s a good story more than your own.

      As I said, it’s gonna come as a shock, but I trust you can handle it.

  4. Difficult to find an archived version of interview as original Haaretz article has vanished …
    A conversation with Ronen Bergman by David B. Green

    Ronen Bergman can be influenced by the mist of being an insider to the Israeli military leadership as I reckoned in January 2012 …

    Selling the views of Israeli hawks on Iran

    (The Guardian) – Clearly, Israeli has a motive in conveying the impression that an attack might be imminent, to stir up urgency in the West to confront Iran. Ultimately, as Bergman admits, only Netanyahu and Barak really know how much is bluff and how much real intention.

    That is a lot more interesting stuff in Bergman’s piece. He is bringing out a book this month, called The Secret War with Iran, (clarification: an updated English version of his 2007 book of the same title) which sounds like it will be a gripping read, and of course the NYT article helps drum up interest and sales.

    [The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Power by Dr. Ronen Bergman]

    1. @ Oui: I have a complex relationship with most Israeli security journalists. They either hate me, tolerate me, or grudgingly respect me. My relationship with Ronen has been through some of those vicissitudes as well. I criticized a piece about Iran he wrote in the NYT Magazine which clearly seemed to be sourced by Ehud Barak. But Ronen’s recent piece in Foreign Policy on assassinating Hezbollah leaders ended with a terrific critique of the effectiveness of targeted killings.

      Any security correspondent in Israel is going to have to maintain relationships with security sources. So you are dancing with the devil. The question is: is the devil malevolent or benign? Some security reporters manage to walk a fine line and don’t cross over into being stenographers for the security services. Some sell their souls to that devil completely. I don’t think Ronen is in the latter category.

  5. Corruption is corruption no matter the amount. The whole story is astounding but not surprising. SO glad you are able to break this story Richard, since most others are afraid of challenging Israel’s government. It used to be a lot like that here in the US when the Soviet Union and the Communist Hordes were the Demons of America. The government and the military was able to do everything. Now one might understand why the Israeli military establishment doesn’t want a peace to be finalized with the Palestinians. If they can have one Demonized people left, their continued corruption, immoral behavior and criminal conspiracy can continue in the shadows without anyone caring. Until someone like you helps to bring it out. Great job! RAY HANANIA

    1. For everyone out there who doesn’t understand nuance (which appear to be 2 or 3 of you): there is no mention anywhere in any publication including the one to which you linked that state that Ronen Bergman was threatened in a meeting with Erez Weiner and Avi Benayahu with being charged with espionage. THAT is a scoop. “Threatening” someone as Uri Misgav reported is one thing. Telling them they’ll be charged with espionage is much more frightening & hence newsworthy.

      As for Ashkenazi’s prime ministerial ambitions: there is quite a difference between having such ambitions and being convinced that you will be the next PM of Israel. Again, you may not get the nuance, but most others will. I ask you to stop nattering on this subject and move on.

  6. I can’t read Hebrew so I cannot offer much on this debate between Richard and his detractors on the facts. However the exchange reminds me of something that happened last June. Edward Snowden revealed through Glenn Greenwald a major story on NSA spying on the American people. I thought it was a bombshell story. However, throughout the Obama Dem blog sphere we heard voice after voice denigrating the revelations as old news that “everyone” who counted already knew it. Remember that?

    Of course we all know today that the story was not just a bombshell but probably the biggest story in the last fifty years. The NSA

    1. Yep, don’t rock the Dem boat as it may reflect on Obama. Secrecy and covert action is what will damage anyone’s “legacy.” Quite easy to attack the messenger and avoid the underlying message. Not even surprising smear tactics were used by “progressive, liberal bloggers.”

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