Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Female Soldier Jailed for Leaking IDF Assassination Policy

Israel is punishing its kosher version of Bradley Manning, the fomer IDF conscript and online reporter Anat Kam, who was just sentenced to four and a half years behind bars, despite her lengthy secret house arrest.  But the journalist who reported on her leaked documents about the IDF's hit list, Uri Blau of Haaretz, is presently holed up in Britain --in an odd echo of Wikileaks' Julian Assange. Blau's not as defiant, though. In a plea bargain, he has returned all confidential documents to the Israelis.

So, what is the price of speaking truth to power inside Israel? The Independent of London's Catrina Stewart reports on this crime, its punishment, and the Israeli gag order:

Israel has sentenced a former soldier to four and a half years in prison for leaking classified documents to a journalist who used them to expose an alleged army policy to assassinate wanted Palestinian militants in violation of court rulings.
Anat Kam, 24, was convicted in February for copying 2,085 military documents on to a disc as she completed her mandatory army service and passing some of them to Uri Blau, an investigative reporter with the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper.
She escaped the much more serious charges of harming state security after reaching a plea bargain.
 Her case provoked a domestic uproar - in part because she was held for four months under secret house arrest with the Israeli media banned from reporting on it, but also because it was viewed as an assault on the freedom of the press. The Independent was the first newspaper to report on Ms Kam's arrest.
In passing sentence yesterday, the three-judge panel elected to send a clear message to other would-be whistleblowers. "If the army cannot trust the soldiers serving in various units and exposed to sensitive issues, then it cannot function as a regular army," the judges wrote. They said that Ms Kam's motive for taking the documents was "mainly ideological". Ms Kam has already served nearly two years of house arrest, which will not count towards her prison term, and she received a further 18-month suspended sentence.
As a clerk in the Israeli Defence Forces' central command, Ms Kam stumbled across documents that appeared to point to the premeditated killing of Palestinian militants in the West Bank, despite a Supreme Court ruling that severely restricted such operations, determining that the army should arrest suspects if possible.

 The photo of Anat Kam comes courtesy of SabbahReport, where reporter Gila Svirsky has probed into the scandal of the Shin Bet hit list, the gagging of the gag order, and the perils of whistle blowing.

Crossposted on Feral Beast

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