Endangered Press Freedom in Israel
Freedoms are fast disappearing in Israel
by Stephen Lendman
America and Israel both wage wars on free and open expression. Whistleblowing journalists are targeted. Threats give others pause. Bradley Manning and Julian Assange understand Washington's wrath.
So dooes Israeli journalist Anat Kam and Haaretz's national security reporter Uri Blau.
Originally charged with espionage, Kam last year was convicted of collecting, holding, and passing on classified information without authorization while performing mandatory military service.
She'll spend 54 months in prison. Another year and a half sentence was suspended. Earlier she was under house arrest for two years. She gave Blau thousands of documents. They showed high-ranking IDF officers lawlessly approved targeted assassinations of wanted Palestinians.
Doing so violated a Supreme Court order. On December 14, 2006, Court President Justice Aharon Barak ruled no one should be assassinated or harmed in lieu of nonviolent workable alternatives. "In other words," he said, "a person should not be assassinated if it is possible to arrest him, interrogate and indict him."
No one should be assassinated for any reason. International and Israeli law prohibit it.
At the time, Israeli General Yair Naveh was quoted saying, "Don't bother me with High Court orders." In other words, rule of law inviolability and Supreme Court rulings don't matter. Washington operates the same way.
Kam's documents provided information for Blau's December 4, 2008 Haaretz article headlined "License to Kill."
It provided evidence that then IDF Central Command head, General Yair Naveh, and IDF Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, marked Ziad Subahi Mahmad Malaisha and Ibrahim Ahmed Abd al-Latif Abed for death.
In addition, "the most senior IDF echelons approve(d), in advance and in writing, the harming of innocent Palestinians during the course of the assassination operations."
Exposing crimes or intent to commit them should be commended. Israel calls doing so espionage or unlawfully passing on classified material without authorization.
Bradley Manning faces 22 counts under America's Espionage Act, as well as Articles 92 and 124 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. They include aiding the enemy. It's a capital offense.
Prosecutors said they won't seek the death penalty. Manning could face life in prison. He and Julian Assange received Nobel Peace Prize nominations.