Boston artist Steve Mills - realistic painting

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Asassinations in the occupied West Bank-Israeli journalist to go on trial

1. Israeli journalist to go on trial for treason over leaked papers

Mya Guarnieri

April 3, 2010
TEL AVIV // Anat Kam, 23, an Israeli journalist, goes on trial this month on charges of treason and espionage for leaking classified military documents to another Israeli journalist, who is now reportedly staying in London to avoid prosecution.
Ms Kam was detained in December and is under house arrest, but a gag order imposed by the military has meant there has been little news of her detention, at least not in Israel.
Prosecutors are allegedly seeking a 14-year sentence for Ms Kam, although because of the media blackout, there has been no comment from the government or the military on the case.
The gag is unusual in that it not only bans the Israeli media from reporting the details of Ms Kam’s arrest, but it also imposes a complete blackout on the fact that she has been detained.
Her arrest came to light early last month. It quickly spread through blogs and social media sites. But out of concern that the publicity might harm her case, and for their own personal freedom, most authors took their posts down.
Many have speculated that Ms Kam’s arrest is linked to a 2008 story in Haaretz that cited classified military documents ordering the targeted assassination of Palestinian militants – in direct violation of a 2006 Supreme Court order.
Ms Kam is alleged to have photo-copied the documents while working in a top general’s office during her mandatory national service a few years earlier, and supposedly passed those documents to the journalist, Uri Blau, who wrote the Haaretz story.
Mr Blau left Israel in December, around the same time that Ms Kam, then a reporter at the news website Walla, was arrested.
Mr Blau initially went to China, but is now reportedly in London. Some have said he is the one Israeli authorities want and that Ms Kam is the scapegoat.
Dov Alfon, the editor-in-chief of Haaretz, has said the suspected connection between Mr Blau and Ms Kam is "absurd".
Haaretz and several other media outlets have challenged the media blackout and their appeal will be heard in a Tel Aviv court on April 12, two days before Ms Kam is to go on trial.
"Haaretz asked the court to lift the gag order, not just in the public interest but also to allow us to defend ourselves from this absurd allegation," Mr Alfon told the Jewish Telegraph Agency, a US-based news agency.
"More than a year passed between the publication and her arrest, a year in which Uri Blau published several other front-page articles criticising the army’s conduct."
A source with intimate knowledge of Ms Kam’s case confirmed that the state’s charges involved Mr Blau’s article.
The source added that Ms Kam had been arrested because of activities that allegedly occurred during her army service, not during her work as a journalist.
Eytan Lehman, one of Ms Kam’s lawyers, said he could not confirm or deny any details.
The gag order, he added, was imposed at the request of the prosecution and has been respected by his client and him.
"All of the leaks did not come from our side," Mr Lehman said. "We can only suspect that they came from the other side."
"While the gag is valid, I cannot speak about the case," he said. "But I can say that it brings up very important issues of free speech and freedom of the press."
These values, Mr Lehman said, are cornerstones a democratic state. "This case has a lot of importance in that aspect."
The wall of silence surrounding Ms Kam’s detention has drawn sharp criticism from some journalists and free press advocates.
Lucie Morillon of Reporters without Borders, the Paris-based press freedom group, said: "We are worried by this gag order, we are calling for it to be lifted."
Ms Morillon said it was "ridiculous" that while the rest of the world is talking about the issue, the Israeli media must remain silent.
"It’s a violation of free speech to prevent the Israeli media from discussing this issue," she said.
Orly Halpern, a freelance journalist and Middle East analyst based in Jerusalem, agreed. "I am very worried that Israel would arrest a journalist – or anyone for that matter – and prevent people from knowing about it. These are the actions of an oppressive regime, not a democracy," Ms Halpern said.
"Israel should have some kind of a protection for whistle-blowers," another Israeli journalist said. "Even if they go against the state or the system, what [Ms Kam allegedly exposed] was the army breaking the law."
The journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, said the blackout was one of the most worrisome aspects of the case. He said there had been an increase in such orders recently.

2. The So Called 'Only Democracy in the Middle East’

by Gilad Atzmon

April 3, 2010

In Israel, the so called 'only democracy in the Middle East’, a journalist has been held under house arrest since December for leaking a story of Israeli barbarism. In the Jewish Democracy another prominent Journalist had to run for his life for telling the truth about Israel’s murderous policies and its chief war criminals.
The Guardian reported today that Anat Kam, 23, an Israeli journalist "has been under secret house arrest since December on charges that she leaked highly sensitive classified military documents that suggest the Israeli military breached a court order on assassinations in the occupied West Bank."
Seemingly, in the 'Jews only democracy’, people are put under house arrest even when they are trying to suggest a breach of the state’s High Court’s orders. (Even kosher citizens)
Anat Kam, 23, goes on trial in two weeks on treason and espionage charges and could face up to 14 years in jail. In the 'democratic’ Jewish state, a court-imposed gagging order is preventing media coverage of the arrest and charges in Israel. I am left puzzled here as it seems Israelis can be prosecuted for reporting illegal activities.
A Haaretz leading journalist, Uri Blau, who has also been linked to the case, has had to escape Israel. He is now in London, apparently for fear he will be targeted for his reporting.
In November 2008, Blau reported in Haaretz that the IDF had been carrying out assassinations of Palestinian militants in the West Bank in contravention of an Israeli high court ruling, which said efforts should be made first to arrest suspected militants rather than assassinating them.
According to Blau the IDF chief General Gabi Ashkenazi allegedly approved the assassination operations. The Haaretz piece was accompanied by copies of military documents but it was approved by the military censor before publication.
I am here to suggest that if America still insists to 'democratize the world’, it may have to start with its 'best ally’. Time may also be ripe for Neocon British Foreign Secretary David Miliband who advocates 'liberal interventionalism’, to face the fact that the Jewish state, the state that lists him as one of its Propaganda (Hasbara) authours, is no less than a Tyranny inspired by a deep Talmudic intolerance.

3. Israel Gags News on Extra-Judicial Killings

By Mel Frykberg

RAMALLAH, Apr 2, 2010 (IPS) - An Israeli journalist remains under house arrest and another lives abroad, after they broke news on Israeli undercover units carrying out assassinations or "targeted killings" of non-combatant Palestinian political opponents.
Anat Kam, 23, who used to work for the Israeli news site 'Walla’, was arrested last December for allegedly copying secret Israeli Defence Force (IDF) documents during her compulsory military service.
These documents outlined how Israeli assassination squads would plan the killing of Palestinian political leaders and fighters months beforehand and then pass their deaths off as "mishaps" during "failed" attempts to arrest them.
Uri Blau, a reporter from the daily 'Haaretz’, then wrote a piece on the copied documents and is refusing to return to Israel from Britain fearing that Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, will arrest him if he does.
Due to a military gag order the news has remained suppressed even as Israeli journalists fight the suppression order in court.
The news was broken several days ago by Donald McIntyre from Britain’s 'Independent’.
The controversy has highlighted Israel’s extra-judicial killings which violate international law and have caused death and injury to thousands of Palestinian civilian bystanders despite the country having no death penalty.
Israel’s judiciary has approved "targeted killings" but only of militants who were allegedly involved in carrying out or planning armed attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians both within the Palestinian occupied territories and in Israel proper.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza says that during the period September 2000 to March 2008, 500 Palestinians suspected of being involved in military resistance to the Israeli occupation were executed.
However, the "collateral damage" during the assassinations included another 228 civilian bystanders - 77 of them children. Eleven Palestinians have been assassinated in the last two years.
"Israel is using disproportionate force. Civilians are paying the price. In the overwhelming majority of cases the targeted individuals could have been arrested and brought to trial without being killed. Many of them have been killed in cold blood," Jaber Wishah from PCHR told IPS.
"International law’s right to life says that state authorities are obliged to follow due process when they are in a position to arrest individuals," says Michael Kerney from the Ramallah-based rights organisation Al Haq which researched and documented many of the killings.
"Everybody is entitled to a fair trial and no state can dismiss this," Kerney told IPS.
Some of those targeted have included individuals who were "pardoned" by the Israelis after having agreed to give up armed resistance to the occupation.
Last December three pardoned members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a military offshoot of the Palestinian Authority (PA)-affiliated Fatah movement, were shot dead in Nablus in the northern West Bank following the death of an Israeli settler.
According to their families and the subsequent investigations of human rights organisations they had already surrendered and were unarmed despite Israeli claims that they had refused to surrender.
"By failing to produce any evidence linking the targeted individuals to attacks allegedly committed by members of the Palestinian resistance, as well as failing to utilise peaceful means in order to arrest and detain suspects, the soldiers assumed the role of both judge and executioner," reported Al Haq.
Furthermore, unarmed Palestinians, who have not been involved either politically or militarily in resisting the occupation, also continue to die in what some have called deliberate premeditated murder.
Several weeks ago four Palestinian teenagers were shot dead amidst dubious circumstances in two separate incidents in the villages of Awarta and Iraq Burin near Nablus.
According to medical reports they were shot at close range with live ammunition after clashes between Palestinian youngsters and Israeli soldiers had broken out.
However, the individuals concerned had not been involved in the clashes according to several investigations carried out by Al Haq, PCHR and Israeli rights group B’tselem.
One was shot in the back and another had a bullet lodged in the back of his skull despite Israeli soldiers saying they had only used non-lethal ammunition.
The Israeli military police declared they would investigate the incidents following contradictory testimony given by the soldiers involved.
However, when IPS visited one of the sites a week later with family members, approximately 20 spent cartridge cases, bloodied gloves, a saline solution kit and other bits of evidence lay on the ground undisturbed.
None of this is new. Israel has a history of assassinating political opponents predating its official establishment.
---In 1944, the Israeli terrorist group, the Stern gang, assassinated Britain’s Lord Moyne, the military governor of Egypt, accusing him of interfering with Jewish migration to Palestine.
---In 1948, Count Folke Bernadotte - a Swedish diplomat who had secured the release of 15,000 inmates from Nazi concentration camps while he was vice-president of the Swedish Red Cross – was also murdered by the Stern gang.

Stern gang members believed Bernadotte, as the U.N.’s Palestine mediator, to be too sympathetic to the Arabs. Yitzhak Shamir, later to become an Israeli prime minister, was one of the Stern gang’s leaders.
"Since the outbreak of the second Intifada, Israel has increasingly avoided accountability for the serious violations of the human rights of residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for which it is responsible," says B’tselem.
"This avoidance is seen, in part, in its policy not to open criminal investigations in cases of killing or wounding of Palestinians who were not taking part in the hostilities, except in exceptional cases, and in its enactment of legislation denying, almost completely, the right of Palestinians who were harmed as a result of illegal acts by Israeli security forces to sue for compensation for the damages they suffered."

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