Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Story Keeps Coming

The Anat Kamm story continues to supply interesting insights, so I'm still on it; apologies if I'm boring you.

A friend told me today that during a recent visit to Tel Aviv she saw graffiti from the gag-order period,encouraging pedestrians to "Google Anat Kamm": a way to spread the word as widely as possible. Yet it's becoming increasingly clear that the original story was false: long long ago, say, early last week, the line was that the entire story was well known outside Israel but gagged at home. By now it's clear that what was widely known abroad was a selective, carefully tailored story disseminated by Kamm's ideological fans, who were feeding foreign sources with the story they wished everyone to believe; once the authorities began releasing their version the story changed significantly.

Yesterday we saw the publishing of a court decision from February, when Kamm was sent to house arrest. This document contains various points of interest. Kamm is under mere house arrest, for example, not because the allegations aren't serious but because the assumption is that shorn of her special access to secret documents she isn't dangerous. If she's eventually convicted, she'll go to jail. She made two disks of copied documents, one of which she lost, and the other someone else lost (we aren't told who). The security measures in the general's office were so shabby as to be criminal; after having copied thousands of documents in a folder, Kamm simply asked a colleague to burn them onto disks, and it was done.

On the matter of her intent, it seems I was wrong. My initial reading was that she was out to promote her investigative abilities; apparently, she really did see herself as a whistle-blower - though on this point the story still seems to support both versions.
Regarding the prosecution's contention that Kamm intended to harm state security, the judge wrote that a high probability of harm to state security was enough to attribute such intent.
This is an interesting comment: when the probability of an outcome is plausible, the law sees action towards it as intent. Ponder that for a moment, because it isn't obviously so; one could easily argue that a plausible outcome is not enough to tell of intent to reach it; nor is the matter trivial. Any criminal proceeding that requires intent for conviction - and there are many such - will be influenced by it.

On the other hand, the judge cites Kamm's own words telling about her intent to uncover wrong-doing:
Hammer also referred to Kam's testimony regarding her motives to give material to Blau. He quoted her as saying, "there were aspects of the [Israel Defense Forces'] activity in the territories that I thought should be brought to the knowledge of the public."

"[When] I copied the materials I thought that as far as history is concerned, people who have warned of war crimes, they are forgiven .... I hadn't managed to sufficiently change enough of the things that were important to me at the time of my army service, and I thought exposing them would bring about change, so it was important to me to bring the IDF's policy in the territories to the knowledge of the public."

She said she contacted Israeli journalists because she assumed the military censor "would not allow publication of any material that was especially highly classified or [involved] danger in their publication." The judge noted that under questioning, Kamm had admitted that she knew of the practice of Israeli journalists to circumvent censorship by leaking information to the foreign media. (My italics: so she gave it to an Israeli journalist, knowing full well it might not go through the censor. So much for that argument).
From Kamm's perspective, the tragic part of the story is that she broke the law to warn Israelis their generals were breaking the law, when they weren't, but she was. She was so immersed in the lefty political narrative whereby Israel's military authorities are mostly wrong when dealing with Palestinians, that she was incapable of understanding that the actions she was warning about were in no way illegal. On the contrary. She was merely supplying documentation that the IDF indeed is acting within the law. She's now facing jail for bravely warning us from a danger that was invented by her friends and political colleagues, but which was never there at all.


Alex Stein said...

And you know this because you've seen the 2000 documents she's supposedly passed on?
(On reflection, I should point out that I agree with you re. the targeted assassinations allegations; I think this was a massive mistake, and Haaretz should think very, very carefully before it pulls a trick like this again)

Anonymous said...

how about Haaretz apologizing to me, its readership, for having tried to trick me?

Anonymous said...

Benny Morris has a lengthy review of a book by Yevgeny Primakov http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/the-party-line
containing a Golda Meir anecdote that made me ask: "do they still make them like that?"

"He vividly describes a meeting with the hard-nosed Golda Meir, Eshkol’s successor, in August 1971: “If there’s a [new] war, we’ll fight that war,” she told him. “If any aircraft get in our way, we’ll shoot them down”—obliquely referring to the downing, in the previous year, during the Israeli-Egyptian “War of Attrition” along the Suez Canal, of the Soviet-piloted MiGs—something that Primakov, out of embarrassment, does not mention. Primakov responded: “Could you clarify whose aircraft you intend to shoot down?” And Golda (according to Primakov) replied: “In 1948 we shot down five British planes.”"

Backseat Blogger said...

the last i heard of this story was reportage that Ms Kamm copied all this stuff because the IDF was doing targeted assassinations in spite of a court ruling to the contrary.

What happened to that aspect of the story?

Anonymous said...

the claim is not justified - if you read up Yaacov's thread you should find the explanation