Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Capturing the Wind

I haven't had anything to say yet about the Anat Kamm case. Nor do I have anything intelligent to say now, since too many important details are still unclear.

On the adjacent story, however, of how our court has allowed a gag order to be applied even as the story is swirling around the Internet, I'm going on record as agreeing with Haaretz: sheer idiocy. Nor does this make me a brave voice of dissent or any such tosh: there's no danger in my saying so, it's not brave, it's simply common sense.

(I can add one small piece of information no-one else knows: one of her lawyers was once a student of mine. But I can't take credit even for his role in the matter).


NormanF said...

One may find fault with the court order.

What I find fascinating in all this the same treasonous Left in Israel that is all gung ho about respecting the judiciary and its rulings, is all up in arms about this gag order. Turns out they're rather selective about what court rulings they think should be obeyed.

Whether the gag order makes sense or not is beside the point here - a court issued it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about Israeli gag order habits but would say from a gut point that a sovereign state has a right to keep her security secrets secret and gag leakers without having to tolerate being accused of "Iranian-style censorship" by a journalist who happens to run her own "campaign" to get shield laws for journalists to publish anything they can lure deluded leakers into supplying them with.

Israel or Haaretz? doesn't have to receive each and every accusation with a "mea culpa" or "how stupid of us" - if the situation was murky before the holidays it may well have been wise to put them on hold till everybody is back on board (aren't you a despicable state, not run at full capacity because of some holidays? ;-)))) so that poor poor Judtih Miller had to do her evil-style "reporting" without a chance to verify much or anything at all with officials and had to rely on insinuating stuff all over her piece.


Gavin said...

If I read this right then this is pretty serious stuff Yaacov. This lady's actions may badly undermine your compulsory military service. If Israeli citizens can't be trusted with confidential information while undergoing their military service then you've got some serious problems.

An interim gag order may be appropriate here. If she has really copied thousands of documents then she's not just blowing the whistle on a few misdeeds she discovered. That many documents can't possibly be all incriminating so one has to ask just what were her motives here and what information did she steal. She was serving her country when she stole that information, it looks to me she has betrayed her country's trust.

The Israeli press should be worried, and a bit angry, here. What's Israel to do... forbid all media people from serving in the IDF because they clearly can't be trusted?

Regards, Gavin.

Yaacov said...

Well, friends, keep in mind my formulation: I haven't had anything to say YET...

Once there are more facts and fewer innuendo, well, y'all know me. I'll have something to say.

Anonymous said...

Hey Yaacov,

just wanted to let you know I noticed is listing your "Israels Existenzkampf" with a typo. It says "Israles" instead of Israels.

Greetings from Germany,

Sylvia said...

It seems to me that the left is already campaigning to de-criminalize the theft of confidential security documents on ideological grounds.

The present situation reminds me of the case of Udi Adiv, who spied for Syria and had his jail term reduced following public pressure - on ideological grounds.

Legal experts are getting into it. Professor Kamnitzer is already calling to restrict the law relative to leaking state secrets.
That law defines what Anat Kamm is alledged to have done, stealing secret documents and passing them to the Israeli media (a "non-enemy"), as espionage, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 15 years in jail.What Professor Kamintzer would like to see, is for that definition to be amended to cover the passing of secrets only to the enemy. In other words, it should be OK to leak secrets to the Israeli press, as if the enemy doesn't read Haaretz and doesn't listen to Israeli radio.

Regarding the case itself, we already know that it is not the Government Censor but rather the Shabak who insist on maintaining the gag order in order to protect whatever is left of an ongoing investigation. And the Shabak could care less about public opinion, whether here or abroad so I would speculate that they are less likely to cave in to pressure than the governement Censor, until they complete their investigation.

Having said that, media pressure is indeed the real story here. The seriousness of the acton is minimized and some even find it funny, while at the same time emphasizing the stupidity of those who still think in terms of gag orders in the inernet era, going as far as send listeners to a "fake-anat-kamm" twitter account for information (this on Israeli public radio).

Sylvia said...

Karmnitzer article

Sylvia said...

Elements of the case that we already know are being released overthe radio, as well as some information that the Kamm-Blau side didn't care to leak to bloggers. She stole more than 2000 secret documents between the years 2005-2007 when she was a soldier. They include IDF deployment, methods and operations executed and planned, and strategies. The IDF have had to change some of their methods after they realized what happened. She was charged not for leaking the documents as a journalist but for espionage activiti4es while serving in the military. Uri Blau made a deal to return some 150 documents in his possession, but didn't honour the bargain, didn't return the documents and fled the country. The elements of the case under investigation which have not been disclosed so far are still under the gag order. Anat Kamm is charged with extreme espionage activity.
What is most curious is that the information passed censorship before it was published in Haaretz.