(Times are Thursday, April 8, GMT+2. Friday updates are here.)
2pm The gag order was finally removed, and now Israelis know what the rest of the world has known of some time – a young journalist, Anat Kamm, is suspected of acquiring as many as 2,000 classified documents, some of which were leaked to Haaretz reporter Uri Blau. The gag order removal was accompanied by the release of an abridged indictment, and a massive assault on Kamm in the media.
We’ll get to the media assault in a second, but first, the indictment. My translation is below. I would highlight a number of issues:
1. The charges are grave in the extreme. Although the documents were delivered by an Israeli soldier to an Israeli journalist, Kamm is charged with grave espionage – among other things, probably thanks to the infamous Shamgar ruling on the Vaanunu appeal, which effectively equated journalists to spies.
2. Apparently Kamm had first offered the documents to Yedioth Ahronoth’s Yossi Yehoshua, but “the delivery did not take place.” Yehoshua is slated to appear as a witness for the prosecution. His decision whether to appear or not, and whether to testify against his source, will be a historic test for dignity and integrity of Israeli journalism.
3. There’s a “third man” – note that she used someone else to copy the documents (3a in the indictment).
4. The investigation is led by the International Crimes Investigation Unit. It may have to do with the charge – espionage – or may hint she had tried to pass the documents abroad. I guess we’ll know soon enough.
5. Naturally enough, the indictment doesn’t mention the fact some of the documents she leaked contained evidence of war crimes and criminal offences carried out by her superiors.
6. Her home address has been rather sloppily obscured from the indictment and can be easily discerned (I did a better job of concealing it in the Hebrew original I uploaded)
Without further ado:
District Court of Tel Aviv Jaffa
Serious Crime Case 17959-01-10
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
The State of Israel
Anat Kamm (b. 1987)
(In house arrest since 15 December 2009)
INDICTMENT (for publication)
(Top Secret appendixes to this indictment will be served to the court in a sealed envelope. The court is asked to keep it (sic) in the safe).
A. The facts of the case :
1. Since August 2005 to June 2007, as part of her military service, the accused served as office clerk in the bureau of GOC Central Command (Hence: GOC). She was promoted to assistant head of bureau in April 2006.
2. As part of her work, the accused was exposed to many documents and presentations in various degrees of classification, authored in the various departments of the General Staff, the Chief of Staff’s office, and the various divisions of the command. The documents contained plans of military operations, summaries of discussions within the IDF, deployment and order of battle (ORBAT) of IDF forces, summaries of internal IDF inquiries, IDF situation estimates, IDF targets, and so on and so forth (hence: documents and presentations).
a. During her military service the accused stored in a special folder the documents and presentations and, near her discharge from the IDF, on or about May 2007, the accused, through another, copied the contents of the file onto two discs, one for documents and the other for presentations.
b. The accused did so out of ideological motivations and with the intent to damage the security of the state, among other means, through publishing the documents to the general public.
a. After copying the files, the accused took the disks and carried the document disk to her home, despite having on authorisation to do so.
b. In or about June 2007, the accused copied the document disk onto the mobile IBM computer at her home.
c. The document disk contained over two thousand documents, 700 of which were classified as “secret” and “top secret.”
d. All the documents as detailed in the document list in the top secret addendum to this indictment (marked – Appendix A).
5. In summer 2008, the accused offered the documents in her possession to journalist Yossi Yehoshua, but the delivery of the documents to Yehoshua never took place.
6. On or about September 2008, the accused, acting without legal authority and with the intention to harm the security of the state, delivered a large amount of documents to journalist Uri Blau (hence: Blau), including documents classified as “top secret” and “secret” (the lists of documents in Appendix B and Appendix C).
7. After delivering the documents to Blau, the accused had an unknown number of conversations with him to clarify, without legal authority and with intention to harm the security of the state, the contents of the documents, including operation names, codes, targets and dates, and so on.
8. Using the information revealed in some of the documents given to Blau by the accused, Blau published, beginning in November 2008, a number of stories in the Haaretz newspaper.
9. By her acts listed above the accused collected, held over two years and divulged secret information, without having the authority to do so, and all with the intention to harm the security of the state.
B. The charges against the accused:
1. Grave Espionage (divulging secret information with the intent to harm the security of the state) – an offence against clause 13b of the Penal Law 1977 (hence: The law).
2. Grave Espionage (gathering secret information with the intention to harm the security of the state) – an offence against clause 113c of the law.
C. Prosecution Witnesses
1-8 Officers of the National International Crime Investigation Unit [Due to time constraints I’ll publish the names of these witnesses later on today]
9. “Shaykeh” – Shin Bet (to be invited through the Tel Aviv District Prosecution)
10. Rani – Shin Bet (to be invited through the Tel Aviv District Prosecution)
11. “Steve” – Shin Bet (to be invited through the Tel Aviv District Prosecution)
12. Yossi Yehoshua, of 23 Hagalgal Street, Ramat Gan 52392
THE WITNESS LIST IS NOT FINAL.
7 April 2010, Tel Aviv
Senior Deputy A at Tel Aviv District Criminal Prosecution
Update 3pm: According to Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin, there had been an agreement between Blau and the Shin Bet: Blau would return the classified documents he used for his story, the computer on which he kept them will be physically destroyed (!) in his presence, and the state will provide him with a new computer. All this was carried out in December, but Blau “broke the agreement” and fled abroad with some documents still in his possession. Haaretz denied any wrongful conduct on part of Blau. I hope as hell Blau wasn’t naive enough to use a computer offered to him by the Shin Bet for his daily work.
Update 3:15pm: Kamm’s “associates” (probably friends, family or former employers) point out there are serious gaps between how the prosecution presents the leaked documents and their actual content. The fact that the court released Kamm to house arrest and allowed her to keep working as a journalist speaks for itself, they say.
Update 3:30pm: Predictably enough both the indictment and the media are trying to pin political, anti-state motives on what Kamm has done (“She’s left of Gideon Levy”, says Channel 10-owned Nana#mce_temp_url#). It’s important to stress Kamm’s politics are actually quite centrist and mainstream; consider, for instance, the scathing op-ed (titled “Refusnik, I’m ashamed of you!“) she wrote against her former schoolmate, conscientous objector and protest organiser Sahar Vardi.
To my mind, Kamm appears to be an earnestly patriotic woman who had faith in her country and trusted its authorities to follow the rules. In her military service, that very basic sense of decency was affronted by the fact the authorities couldn’t care less about the rules, and vigorously engaged gross violations of Israeli and international law; this is especially true about her superior, Brig Gen Yair Naveh. She decided to act on it, and did the most democratic thing she could have done: She yanked at the alarm bell. People coming from sincere faith to a rude awakening often become the most damning accusers.
With this in mind, I’d like to echo the words of analyst Noam Sheizaf, who writes today:
Anat Kamm did Israeli democracy a great service. She exposed the fact that senior IDF generals, including Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, knowingly violated our own supreme court ruling by ordering the assassinations of Palestinians even when it was possible to arrest them, and when it was known innocent people might be killed. Again, this is not about Left or Right. It is about generals defying court orders.
The IDF and Shin Beit want the world to forget this. This is why they wanted to keep this case in the dark, and this is why they will work twice as hard to turn the public against Anat.
Let’s make sure we never forget who’s the criminal and who’s the whistleblower in all of this.
(Times are Thursday, April 8, GMT+2. Friday updates are here.)