I usually try not to rant too much on my blog, but the Kamm fiasco has really gotten the best of me. Everyone involved in this thing has screwed up – big time. Simple as that.
I was a bit hesitant at first to write about this, seeing as how not all the details of the case have been revealed and I am currently relying solely on bits and pieces of information from the media and the indictment against Kamm.
But now that the ridiculous gag order has been removed, it’s time to deal with the real issues at hand. Everyone is taking sides: you’re either with the IDF, the Shabak and the State – or you’re with Haaretz, its reporter Uri Blau and the whistleblower, Anat Kamm.
But I’ve got beef with everybody.
The State and the Army
The most outrageous, utterly disgraceful aspect of this story is the conduct of State and the IDF. Based on Kamm’s leak to Blau, Haaretz reported in November 2008 that the Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, and other generals were basically saying: “Screw the Supreme Court. To hell with the rule of law. Down with democracy. I’m the Army and I’m calling the shots”.
What the Kamm Papers allegedly show is that IDF commanders approved targeted killings even when the targets could have been quietly arrested – in blatant disregard of the High Court of Justice that ruled against such measures in December 2006.
The fact that nothing has been done since November 2008 against the top brass in this case is ridiculous. What’s also ridiculous is the fact that then-Attorney General Meni Mazuz, when informed of the Papers, decided to help the IDF in its quest to find where the leak came from – instead (!) of investigating the Haaretz claim that Ashkenazi and his buddies are above the law!
Haaretz claimed then that senior legal experts believed that the IDF went specifically against the court’s orders. Why has nothing been done since then to prove this??
Furthermore, why did the military censor okay the Haaretz report in the first place if these Papers were so secret to begin with?!
The Shabak, together with the State, should also be ashamed, of course. First for the ridiculous gag that was finally lifted. Second, for leveling the grave charge of espionage against Kamm. Why is this espionage? All she did was hand them to a reporter – not to the Iranian intelligence service! The censor approved the article, as I said before.
And why is she being charged with espionage when other IDF officers who took documents out of bases got away with a mere slap on the wrist.
And why has the Shabak told every Arab intelligence agency in the world that Blau is walking around London with a mountain of classified documents? Amir Mizroch of the Jerusalem Post has an idea:
Why, if there is an Israeli journalist somewhere in London who has in his possession thousands of top-secret IDF documents, would Israel’s security agency want everyone to know?
Wouldn’t this information, disseminated around the world over the Internet, radio, TV and print, paint a big, bright bulls-eye on Haaretz journalist Uri Blau, waiting out the storm in London? Wouldn’t it make Blau an attractive target for enemy intelligence agencies and terrorist groups operating in the UK?
It’s almost as if Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, by releasing all of this information Thursday, was saying to Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Hizbullah and Iranian intelligence agents in London: ‘Yalla, be our guests, go get Uri Blau.’
And then, by this reasoning, wouldn’t Blau, sitting in a quiet café in Islington or Belsize Park, suddenly feel an overwhelming urge to make a beeline for the Israeli Embassy and seek safety within its walls?
I guess that’s one way to get their hands on him. But it may also prove that the Kamm Papers may not be extremely important to Israel, and as journalist Dimi Reider points out, they’re probably “only dangerous to top brass, and/or that the main objective of the authorities here is to get even.”
Anat Kamm had the right idea. I don’t know if it’s her age or other factors that came into play – but one has to ask: how could she be so reckless?! Was there really a need to take 2,000 documents to prove that targeted killings were taking place? Anat, couldn’t you have done a little filtering and given Blau one paper, or two, or three? Did you really have to copy and fork over 2,000?
If what the indictment says is true, that these papers include deployments orders, plans on future military operations, info on weapons – what does this have to with exposing the crime, with ideology, with your just cause to blow the whistle? The minute you did that, you weakened your moral act and made it easier to bash the left.
Anat, I can only imagine what tough a time this is for you – but if this turns out to be true, your cause was good but your gross negligence has hurt left wingers more than you think. As if it wasn’t hard enough for us already – now we’re all spies. Great.
Uri Blau and Haaretz
I’m a former employee of Haaretz and their website currently links to this blog. But Haaretz, yeah – you guessed it – has also screwed up in this case.
By hastily deciding to publish the classified documents, Haaretz Editor Dov Alfon and Blau gave up on being the responsible adults and taking care of their source – which should have been high on their agenda considering the nature of the documents and the age of their source.
Former Haaretz Editor, Hanoch Marmari, wrote in January:
“I have no doubt that it was possible to tell the story that was published in the Haaretz Weekend supplement without mentioning the documents. But even if there was a need to mention them, it could have been done in a manner that would not let the army know that any individual had seen them, and certainly not that someone is still holding them. Therefore, publishing the photocopied documents was a grave mistake. The first and almost certain meaning of this mistake is the targeted killing of the source.”
Oh, Haaretz… As if your image wasn’t tarnished enough already in the Israeli public. You’re in for a rough ride, for sure.
If you ask me, if there was such a thing as unisex jailhouses, I’d put Anat Kamm and Gabi Ashkenazi (if indeed he disregarded the court’s orders) in the same cell.
Kamm for 30 days.
Ashkenazi for 30 years.
Now, if you don’t mind, let me cool off and try to enjoy the Super-Clasico tomorrow.