The Haaretz Spy Scandal

The Jerusalem Post’s commentator Caroline Glick comments on Israel’s leftist-agendized media as epitomized by the Haaretz spy scandal:

When the gag order was revoked last Thursday, Israelis… learned that Anat Kamm, a reporter hired by the Walla Web portal when it was partly owned by Haaretz, had been under house arrest for four months. She is on trial for acts of espionage with the intent of harming national security that she committed not as a reporter, but during her service in the IDF… She continued reporting for Walla, while under house arrest until the end of March.

Haaretz staff reporter Uri Blau fled the country not to protect a source, but to evade punishment for possessing classified military documents in breach not only of the law but of a plea bargain agreement with the Shin Bet.

Kamm served in the IDF from 2005 to 2007 as a secretary in the office of the commander of Central Command. In the weeks before her release from service, she copied about 2,000 highly classified IDF documents onto two CDs and uploaded them to her home computer. After her release, she shopped the documents around to various military reporters and eventually gave them to Blau…. Such information in the hands of Israel’s enemies could cause the death of thousands of Israeli soldiers and civilians…

The Shin Bet launched its investigation of stolen IDF documents, which led it to Blau and then to Kamm after Blau published articles in November 2008 based on the documents he received from Kamm. At the time, the Shin Bet asked that Blau return all the classified documents in his possession. In return for his agreement to do so, the Shin Bet agreed not to prosecute him for illegally possessing classified materials. Blau returned 50 such documents and asserted that he had no more documents in his possession.

But then the Shin Bet found Kamm. And after confessing to stealing the 2,000 documents, she told them that she gave them all to Blau. When Blau found out that the Shin Bet knew he lied, and still illegally possesses thousands of classified documents, he decided not to return to Israel…

With the knowledge that their reporter lied to the Shin Bet and fled the country Haaretz chose to pay his living expenses in London and his legal expenses in Israel.

In her statements during her investigation published in court documents, Kamm revealed that she is a messianic leftist. She came to the army not to serve the country, but to transform it. It was only when she realized that she had failed to bend the IDF to her will that she decided to reveal its secrets.

Kamm’s treachery is a deeply disturbing comment on the mindset of the radical Left in Israel. But her crimes are even more alarming when we realize that Kamm is not a lone renegade. In her treasonous activities, she enjoys the support of a massive organization…

Haaretz has demonstrated that leftist traitors have a powerful sponsor capable of exacting painful revenge on the State of Israel for daring to prosecute them.

As for the State of Israel… the Haaretz spy scandal demonstrates is that the state is utterly unwilling to deal with this dangerous state of affairs. Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin stated that Israel will not change its screening process of candidates for military service. In the post-Kamm IDF, religious youths will continue to be grilled about their willingness to expel Jewish Israelis from their homes, and radical leftist youths will not be questioned about their loyalty to the state and willingness to keep the IDF’s secrets.

Ma’ariv and Globes both reported that thousands of Israelis canceled their subscriptions to Haaretz this week. Haaretz denied the reports. But really, it doesn’t care. Haaretz’s target audience is not Israeli. It is global. And there it remains the champion of those who seek an Israeli affirmation of their anti-Israel attitudes.

Once again, the real problem is not the bad apples in the barrel but the vast numbers of people that support them (and vote for them).

New York Man Sentenced in Terrorism Financing Case

The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday the sentencing of a New York man convicted in a terrorism financing case:

A New York businessman was sentenced Monday to more than 10 years in prison for trying to funnel money to a terrorism training camp in Afghanistan through an undercover agent posing as a wealthy Middle Easterner.

Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari pleaded guilty in September to charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Alvin Hellerstein sentenced him to 121 months, plus three years of supervised release. He faced up to 20 years behind bars.

Alishtari was operating a phony loan investment program when he met the undercover agent. Prosecutors said he accepted an unspecified amount of money from the agent to transfer $152,500 he believed was being sent to Pakistan and Afghanistan to support a terrorist training camp.

Alishtari, also known as Michael Mixon, thought the money would be used to buy night vision goggles, medical supplies and other equipment and advised the agent he had to be “three steps away” from the money so it could not be traced back to him.

Alishtari also pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars from victims through the fraudulent loan investment program. The judge ordered him to pay restitution to victims in the scheme, but a figure has not been determined.

The judge said at sentencing Alishtari knew what he was doing.

“You knew these ends were assisting terrorism that was of a type, that it was on the edge of causing substantial death and destruction to people like you and me,” the judge said. “The very fabric of civilization is endangered by terrorism.”

Syria, Hezbollah and the Next Mideast War?

In light of the recent disclosure by Israeli president Shimon Peres that Syria has shipped Scud missiles to Hezbollah, Wall Street columnist Bret Stephens considers recent actions by Syria, Hezbollah and how they could ignite the Next Mideast War:

In the matter of Syria’s alleged shipments of Scud missiles to Hezbollah, it bears noting how often the fate of the Middle East has turned on seemingly trivial or nearly imperceptible events…

Why would Syria risk war with Israel by transferring the sorts of weapons it doubtlessly knows could provoke a sharp Israeli reprisal?

It is no secret that since Israel’s summer 2006 war with Hezbollah, Syria has helped to rearm its Lebanese ally with as many as 50,000 rockets and missiles, many of them hidden-at the unwitting recommendation of last year’s Goldstone Report-in homes, hospitals and schools. But the transfer of Scuds, which can be tipped with chemical or biological weapons, poses a threat to Israel of a different order of magnitude.

The prosaic answer is that Syrian President Bashar Assad has a reckless streak. He was reckless in allowing Syria to become a way station for Iraq-bound jihadists, reckless in (almost certainly) ordering the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, reckless in attempting to build a covert nuclear facility, and reckless in pursuing a no-wriggle-room alliance with Hezbollah and Iran.

Then again, Mr. Assad has never had to pay the ultimate political price for those gambles…. Another destructive war over Lebanon might just be sufficient to topple Beirut’s fragile pro-Western governing coalition, enhance Hezbollah’s prestige, and perhaps give Damascus the cover it needs to re-enter Lebanon militarily by posing, as it so often has in the past, as a force for “stability”…

What does the Obama administration do? So far, it hasn’t helped matters by giving the impression of a clear wedge between Israel and the U.S. Nor has the administration’s assiduous courtship of Damascus done anything other than embolden Mr. Assad’s taste for adventure.

In 1967, a series of seemingly minor events, tactical misjudgments, and particularly an Arab perception that the West would not honor its international commitments or come to Israel’s defense triggered a war the consequences of which have defined the Middle East ever since. We are adrift in those same waters today.

Iran Nuclear Scientist Defects to US

ABC News is reporting that an award-winning Iranian nuclear scientist has defected to the United States:

An… Iranian nuclear scientist, who disappeared last year under mysterious circumstances, has defected to the CIA and been resettled in the United States, according to people briefed on the operation by intelligence officials. The officials were said to have termed the defection of the scientist, Shahram Amiri, “an intelligence coup” in the continuing CIA operation to spy on and undermine Iran’s nuclear program. A spokesperson for the CIA declined to comment. In its declassified annual report to Congress, the CIA said, “Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons though we do not know whether Tehran eventually will decide to produce nuclear weapons.” Amiri, a nuclear physicist in his early 30s, went missing last June three days after arriving in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage, according to the Iranian government. He worked at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, which is closely connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, according to the Associated Press.

The Daily Alert, prepared by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs adds this note mentioned in the above video:

Amiri has been extensively debriefed since his defection. One Iranian web site reported that Amiri had worked at the covert Qom facility.

Retired US Officers: Israel “Important to US Middle East Policy”

A group of highly-ranked retired U.S. officers have stated that Israel is “highly important to U.S. Middle East Policy”:

Close to 50 generals and admirals have signed a letter that termed
Israel a key element in U.S. global strategy.

…The retired officers, who have toured Israel, said the Jewish state was highly important to U.S. policy in the Middle East and Mediterranean region.

“We brought with us our decades of military experience and, following unrestricted access to Israel’s civilian and military leaders, came away with the unswerving belief that the security of the State of Israel is a matter of great importance to the United States and its policy in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean,” the letter, released on April 2, read. “A strong, secure Israel is an asset upon which American military planners and political leaders can rely.”

“…We also recognize that the important countries of the region won’t like us any better if we shed Israel as an ally.”

“They will wonder how quickly we will shed them when they are inconvenient.”

JINSA [the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs] has been lobbying the Defense Department and U.S. military regarding Israel since the early 1980s. In January 2010, the organization released a report that asserted that Washington was denying Jerusalem — the largest recipient of U.S. military aid — a range of weapons in what could harm Israel’s military superiority over its Arab neighbors.

….The retired senior officers said they could not rule out the prospect that “political differences may be allowed to outweigh our larger mutual interests.”

“As American defense professionals, we view events in the Middle East through the prism of American security interests,” the letter said. “In the Middle East, a volatile region so vital to U.S. interests, it would be foolish to disengage — or denigrate — an ally such as Israel.”

The admirals and generals said Israel and the United States have engaged in defense and military cooperation at all levels. The letter cited training, law enforcement, counter-insurgency as well as research and development.

The United States would require Israeli cooperation for a range of threats, the officers said. They said this would include nonconventional and ballistic missile proliferation as well as CI [counterintelligence] operations.

Unfortunately, the great strategic importance of Israel to the US and the unreliability of the Arabs is something that has to be learned over and over by new American administrations, usually the hard way.

Abbas Promotes Terrorist Mastermind to Major General

Recalling that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was the financier of the Munich Massacre and other murderous terror attacks against Israel, it should come as no surprise that Abbas has promoted a terrorist who masterminded the murder of 3 Americans (and many others) to Major-General rank (2 stars):

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has promoted a man who commanded a Palestinian terror unit to the rank of major-general. Mahmoud Damra, commander of Yasser Arafat’s personal guard and terror unit called Force 17, was responsible for the planning and logistic coordination of numerous terror attacks in which many people were killed. Among those killed in the terror attacks he commanded were US citizens Esh-Kodesh Gilmore and the couple Binyamin and Talia Kahane in the year 2000. He has been imprisoned by Israel since 2006.

The following is from the Palestinian daily Al-Quds:

“President Mahmoud Abbas decided to promote the prisoner Mahmoud Damra, [known as] Abu Awad, commander of the ‘President’s Security Force 17,’ to the rank of major-general.” [Al-Quds, March 6, 2010]

As an interesting aside, in most armies Major Generals typically command divisions (10,000+ soldiers) or at least brigades (usually around 5,000 soldiers). It is clear that Damra, who merely commanded a terror unit, will never command that many troops even if Israel makes the mistake of releasing him from prison. So the rank is either purely ceremonial or an example of the fantasy rank-inflation seen in many third-world despotic cultures. See, for example, Manuel Noriega of Panama, who promoted himself to be a full, 4-star general despite commanding only 16,000 troops. This is the same rank as Eisenhower had for much of the time he was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

In contrast, Israel has more normative ranking of its commanders, with the Israeli Chief of Staff being the IDF’s only Lieutenant General (3 stars). Moshe Dayan, Israel’s chief of staff in the 1950’s when the army was smaller, had the rank of Major General.

JihadJane Co-Conspirator Charged in US Terror Plot

A few weeks ago, this blog cited reports that an American “JihadJane” has been apprehended for recruiting Muslim terrorists via the internet. Now comes a report about a co-conspirator with “JihadJane” who has been charged in the US terror plot:

Federal prosecutors filed terrorism charges Friday against a pregnant American woman in the so-called Jihad Jane case. The two American women are accused of plotting online to attend a terror training camp.

Jamie Paulin-Ramirez flew from Ireland Friday to Philadelphia, where she was arrested by agents with the joint terrorism task force there. Her 6-year-old son flew with her and was placed in the custody of child protective service workers.

Last month, authorities in Ireland detained Paulin-Ramirez, originally from Colorado, and six others as they investigated an alleged plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist whose drawing had offended many Muslims.

Those seven suspects in Ireland were linked to Colleen LaRose [a.k.a. JihadJane — ed.], a 46-year-old woman who had traveled to Europe but was arrested last fall when she returned to the United States.

The new indictment charges that LaRose and Paulin-Ramirez, 31, separately traveled to Europe to support violent jihad, or Muslim holy war. The court papers also say that once LaRose was in Europe, she invited Paulin-Ramirez to join her to attend a “training camp.”

Paulin-Ramirez, prosecutors charge, accepted the invitation and asked to bring her 6-year-old son with her. She and the boy traveled to Europe last September and on the day of her arrival, she married a co-conspirator whom she knew only from online discussions, authorities said.

Last August, Paulin-Ramirez and LaRose allegedly had a computer conversation in which LaRose said “when our brothers defend our faith (and) their homes, they are terrorists … fine, then I am a terrorist and proud to be this.”

According to the indictment, Paulin-Ramirez replied, “that’s right… if that’s how they call it then so be it I am what I am.”