martedì 11 ottobre 2016

Il terrorismo e l’informazione in Israele a tempi del «gag order»


Il terrorista palestinese con il volto camuffato perché – per le regole israeliane – non si può pubblicare per almeno 30 giorni (foto da Facebook)
C’è lui, l’aggressore, che arriva dalla Cisgiordania. Ci sono loro, le vittime (tra morti e feriti), israeliane. C’è la dinamica. Ci sono i fermi. L’inchiesta. Il solito codazzo di polemiche, politiche e militari. Poi c’è l’informazione. Che quando ha il marchio di cronisti come quelli di Haaretz e Yedioth Ahronoth, Maariv e Jerusalem Post, Canale 2 e Canale 10, ecco ha una qualità e un’attendibilità che molti – in Europa – si sognano. Soprattutto quando c’è un ordine della magistratura che invita sì a raccontare il fatto, ma senza rivelare troppi dettagli, senza aggiornare sulle indagini, senza fare vedere foto di volti. Soprattutto: senza rendere pubblici i nomi e cognomi. Dei carnefici e delle vittime.
È successo anche domenica 9 ottobre 2016. Il periodo dell’informazione istantanea e dei social network. Un palestinese ha attaccato diverse persone lungo il percorso del tram a Gerusalemme. Due israeliani hanno perso la vita. Altri cinque sono ricoverati in ospedale. L’aggressore è stato poi ucciso dalla polizia. Hamas si è congratulata: «È la reazione naturale ai crimini perpetrati da Israele», ha detto un suo portavoce.
In parallelo la polizia israeliana ha inviato un messaggio ai media: «Tutti i dettagli dell’inchiesta in corso, i nomi dei feriti, dei morti e del terrorista sono sotto un gag order», cioè un obbligo di non pubblicazione. Piccolo particolare: nel frattempo i giornalisti israeliani e stranieri avevano già raccontato la storia. Avevano scritto nomi e cognomi. La notizia aveva preso il sopravvento su Facebook e Twitter. «Più di un giorno dopo il nome del palestinese 39enne che si è messo a sparare alle 10 di domenica mattina non si può scrivere», commenta Judah Ari Gross su Times of Israel evidenziando la contraddizione nell’applicare le vecchie regole al nuovo mondo dell’informazione.
Ari Gross ricostruisce anche le fasi del «gag order». Alle 11.15, un’ora e un quarto dopo l’attacco, la polizia chiede e ottiene da un giudice di Gerusalemme il via libera a imporre il divieto di non pubblicazione. «Chi viola la decisione sarà denunciato», è la minaccia. «Ma tre ore dopo gli stessi poliziotti pubblicano il nome dell’agente ucciso, Yosef Kirma, due sue foto e le informazioni relative alla vittima sia via mail che sull’account Twitter», scrive Ari Gross. «Poco dopo succede lo stesso con la seconda vittima, Levana Malihi, 60 anni».
Non bastasse è lo stesso ufficio del ministero della Difesa a mettere, su Twitter, la foto del terrorista (anche se modificato per renderlo irriconoscibile), salvo poi eliminare il cinguettio. Da lì è un diluvio di immagini postate sui social. Tutte in violazione del «gag order». Divieto di pubblicazione che, ufficialmente, resta valido per un mese (30 giorni). Ma che, fa intendere Ari Gross, forse dovrebbe essere rivisto.

 תיקון עולם|Di Richard Silverstein
 he above video shows the final minute of Misbah Abu Sbeih’s life after he was cornered by Israeli police, who killed him in a hail of bullets. I want to especially thank two Israelis who noticed that something didn’t quite smell right about Israeli reporting on today’s terror attack in which a Palestinian gunman opened fire on Israelis wounding four and killing two.  Usually in such attacks, the press report all the facts immediately including the identity of the gunman, his home village and a few personal details.  But in this case, the press didn’t report the killer’s name.  Abu Sbeih was a 39 year-old from Silwan, the East Jerusalem village under siege by Israeli settlers intent of Judaizing it by expelling its current residents house by house.
The first word I received when I inquired was that a gag is normal procedure in terror attacks.  But at that point my source inquired further and realized that such a gag was not normal.  In fact, the last such gag order was imposed in the case of Nasha’at Milhem, whose father was a Shabak informer.  Milhem, who came very close to killing the Shabak agent who “ran” his father, was motivated by revenge against the agency.  The gag order was invoked to protect Shabak from the embarrassing revelation that its own collaborator’s family had exacted revenge against it, and that innocent civilians were murdered because of the actions of a Shabak spymaster.
abu sbeih palestinian attacker
Abu Sbeih with his three sons
The case of Abu Sbeih has a similar outcome, but the details leading to it aren’t the same.  In his case, he was tasked by the Shabak with infiltrating the Murabitun, the Palestinian activist group which arose in response to the Israeli crackdown on Muslim access to the Haram al Sharif.  The Murabitun were the most prominent among the Palestinian community and became the backbone of opposition.  Naturally, any spy agency would want access to such a group.  Abu Sbeih was Shabak’s ticket in.
But Shabak didn’t bargain for Hamas discovering his activity.  When they did, they offered him two choices, according to my Israeli security source: either face execution as a collaborator or exact revenge on those who persuaded him to betray his people.  Hamas promised him that if he chose to attack Israelis they would recognize him as a shaheed and his betrayal would never be mentioned.  He chose the latter.  When the militants learned he’d agreed to the attack they provided him with the automatic weapon he used in the shooting spree.
When you recruit a collaborator you place him in grave danger.  If exposed, you have signed his death warrant.  That is what happened in this case.  Shabak pressured Abu Sbeih to inform for them, then left him exposed.  The only question was how would he die: at the hands of Palestinian avengers or Israeli police?
The day before the attack, Abu Sbeih gave a detailed interview to Maan News offering a far different explanation: he told the reporter that he’d suffered ongoing harrassment from the Israeli police, was threatened with administrative detention, had been imprisoned for a Facebook post.  Finally, he told the reporter he planned to report to the Ramleh police station the next day to begin serving a jail sentence for his activism.  Instead, he launched his assault.
My guess is that the interview was an elaborate ruse to throw the Shabak off the trail.  They would think he was going to behave himself like a nice little boy.   All the while he was plotting a terror attack.  The interview guaranteed his tormentors would be lulled into quiescence.
The dead were First Sgt. Yosef Kirme, 30 ( a member of the riot police unit), and a woman, Levanah Malichi, 60.  It is no coincidence that the attack happened during the High Holidays.  This is the period last year during which Israeli police began denying Muslim access to the Haram al Sharif.  As a result, a third Intifada broke out which has so far taken over 200 Palestinian lives and nearly 40 Israeli.
Another interesting aspect of this case is that the attacker chose Jerusalem police headquarters on Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill as the target of his attack.    If his claim that the police were harassing him and compelling him to report for a prison sentence, he may’ve been angry that his role as informant didn’t offer him protection from such persecution.  So his attack may’ve been directed specifically at his tormentors, the police.  A second possibility is that there are Shabak offices in the police HQ and he may’ve been killing two birds with one stone by attacking it.
Thanks to the Israeli nanny state, Israelis cannot know any of these details (here’s a typical Israeli censored report).  The closest a mainstream journalist can get to the truth is the vague hints in this Yossi Melman article.  Undoubtedly, he knows some or all of what I know.  Now compare what I’ve written to what he’s written & see what censorship does to Israeli media and society.  Israelis can’t even know Abu Sbeih’s name, lest some reporter figure out something that might lead to his role as collaborator and further embarrass the Shabak.
Final note: My source says that Hamas militants discovered Abu Sbeih’s betrayal.  I have not been able to confirm independently the affiliation of those who exposed the attacker.  I note that blaming Hamas for this incident would prove that Hamas is still engaging in terror attacks.  This is a narrative that’s favorable to the Israeli intelligence apparatus and the far-right government, which seeks to criminalize Hamas.  So I’m slightly leery of this aspect of the information my source provided.  But confident in all the rest.
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