Doron Zahavi, who still can be called only ¡°Captain George¡± in the Israeli media, has gone public with his grievance against the IDF, which employed him to torture kidnapped Arabs who were thought to have intelligence about affairs in Lebanon or Syria, specifically Israeli prisoners of war. Among those he worked his wonders on was Mustafa Dirani, who was thought to have specific knowledge of the whereabouts of Ron Arad. Yossi Gurvitz reports ( in Hebrew) that Zahavi ordered one of his subordinates to undress and rape Dirani. Another Zahavi subordinate, who blew the whistle on the whole military torture complex he ran, says his commander sodomized Dirani with a nightstick.
The brave torturer has the effrontery to claim that the anal lacerations Dirani suffered were due to ¡°constipation,¡± for which they gave him a laxative that caused him to soil himself. The victim says he was forced to wear a diaper constantly even when it contained excrement. And such treatment, as Gurvitz confirms and as I¡¯ve reported here previously is SOP for the Israeli torture apparatus.
There are those who applaud the Israeli Supreme Court for outlawing torture in a landmark ruling. But unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, the Israeli rulings appear to be only advisory and not declarative. The security apparatus feels emboldened to act as it wishes, court ruling or no. That¡¯s why IDF Gen. Yair Naveh ordered Palestinian militants murdered in cold blood though they were unarmed, in direct violation of a Supreme Court ruling. Note, that the brave justices, when offered an opportunity to review Naveh¡¯s brazen violation of their ruling, refused to do so, in characteristically timid fashion.
Israeli prison guard offering Mustafa Dirani a hearty `a votre sante` on his release from prison (Life)
Gurvitz notes that, like the CIA tapes of waterboarding of Al Qaeda suspects which were erased, the Dirani interrogation tapes mysteriously disappeared. They must¡¯ve thought where there¡¯s no smoke there can be no fire. If the tapes had survived the fire might have burned not just Zahavi and his boss, but a very senior IDF commander, Amos Gilad. That¡¯s pretty high up the food chain. Zahavi claims Gilad was watching the interrogations in real-time.
Despite the destruction of key evidence, the IDF didn¡¯t bargain for a disgruntled subordinate stricken by conscience for the horrible things he did there, would spill the beans and expose the whole sordid mess publicly. That whistleblower himself has been threatened with state prosecution for perpetrating some of the alleged crimes of which he charges Zahavi. The Israeli motto seems to be: let no good deed go unpunished.
On the strength of this claim and the notoriety that derived from it, Zahavi¡¯s notorious Unit 504 was disbanded (only to re-emerge in recent months in all its former glory), Dirani was freed, and the IDF officer was cashiered. Though he resurfaced as the Israeli police¡¯s chief anti-Arab enforcer for East Jerusalem. He has the title of ¡°liaison¡± to the Palestinian community. But Jouad Siam knows first hand what that means. Zahavi threatened to destroy the home of the Silwan activist and to destroy the community organization he founded if he refused to inform on his fellow Palestinians.
Dirani is now suing the Israeli government for the abuse he suffered and the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the trial may go forward. Zahavi too is suing the government because it didn¡¯t give him a medal for the dirty work he did on its behalf. He wants a tidy sum in return for keeping his mouth shut. He even says he¡¯d take a job in Alaska (I didn¡¯t know there were any IDF outposts there or any torture victims for him to work on) if they¡¯d at least treated him with the respect he deserved. This reminds me of a Martin Scorsese mafia pic in which the disaffected made-guy goes to the don and whines about being cut out of the spoils and not getting what he has coming to him. Usually the guy is offed in the next reel, though I¡¯m not sure the IDF has gotten to the point where it gets rid of its own rotten apples in that fashion.
Lest you doubt he is a rotten apple, take a peek at this:
¡°If this goes to court, what I told you today is just the teaser,¡± he threatens, ¡°Trust me ¨C no one really wants me to climb up to the stand. If I have to stand there and speak of Dirani, you¡¯ll find out I have plenty more to say about how the apparatus acts when it needs to hide all sorts of things [¡] and everyone is a liar, which is why the country is where it is today, no deterrence, nothing. And in the end? I¡¯m the apparatus¡¯ scapegoat.¡±
If he doesn¡¯t get the Israel Prize for torture he¡¯s going to sing all day on the stand and tell the world how dirty the IDF and security apparatus is. Now, this could be the disgruntled ravings of an extortionist who¡¯s bluffing; or this guy has the goods and he¡¯s willing to tell the world just how vile and dirty the entire Israeli security system is. I¡¯d say the truth is somewhere in between. My guess is that while he does have plenty of dirt, that he¡¯s more interested in upping the price for his silence than telling all the dirty little secrets. He¡¯s too much a company man and probably too much a blowhard and coward to really tell it all. But that¡¯s just a guess.
Gurvitz¡¯s closing paragraph is poignant and compelling:
The Dirani-George case, had it been treated properly, may have become the 300 Line affair of the 504 unit. This did not happen, simply because the public does not wish to know. In 2012 Israel (as in 1994 Israel, as in 1984 Israel) the idea that every person ¨C even Dirani, even George ¨C is a human being, which must not be deprived by reducing him to quivering piece of meat, lying in its own excrement, is still a radical one.
I would only add that the only reason the 300 Line affair was exposed was that a senior IDF commander was accused of a crime he didn¡¯t commit and while the entire government apparatus closed ranks behind the lying scumbag of a Shin Bet chief who perpetrated the coverup, the military officer wouldn¡¯t go quietly. Also, there were a few brave media outlets which defied censorship and reported the scandal. In the Zahavi case there are no IDF sacrificial lambs, nor is there a brave media ready to defy the censor and spill the beans. But Gurvitz¡¯s main claim is correct: the Israeli public doesn¡¯t give a crap about the suffering of an Arab. Let Dirani rot in hell would be the prevailing wisdom.
I noticed something very peculiar about Yossi¡¯s post when it was republished at 972 Magazine. The link to my own post which exposed the name of Doron Zahavi, which Yossi graciously included in his own blog post, was gone once it was republished at 972. It¡¯s fairly easy to figure out why. The 972 editor who republished made a judgement that merely by linking to my post they might bring the wrath of the Israeli security services on them.
Now, to be clear, it is not illegal (yet) in Israel to link to a foreign source which exposes the identity of an Israeli security officer. In fact, Zahavi is no longer in the IDF and so isn¡¯t even protected by the traditional proffer of anonymity offered to military and intelligence officers in the media. But 972 figured self-censorship was the better part of valor. It¡¯s what I call pre-emptive self-censorship. Linking to my blog may not be illegal yet, but let¡¯s err on the side of caution and not give the security goons an excuse to go after us. I understand the dangers faced by the dissenting media inside Israel. But still, if they don¡¯t have courage, who will? So I think it was essentially a cowardly act.
Yossi¡¯s act of linking to me was brave such principled blogging is why he¡¯s been interrogated by the police for his blog. As for 972? Not so much.
If anyone has a photo of the real Captain George, please let me know. He deserves to have his name and image up in lights.
Let¡¯s add to this an only tangentially related matter that another 972 writer, Dimi Reider took a nasty potshot at me that was riddled with inaccuracies in his own 972 column. When I asked Noam Sheizaf for the right of reply in a 972 post he never answered. So much for progressive solidarity and fairness.
UPDATE: Noam Sheizaf and Dimi Reider have replied to my criticisms above: Sheizaf says the link to my Doron Zahavi post was replaced when it was republished at 972 through an ¡°innocent mistake¡± that will be corrected. I made the assumptions I did above based on what I saw on the website. In response to his question why I didn¡¯t bother to contact him directly before speaking publicly about it, I reminded him of his lack of response to my last message. We¡¯re all human beings and base our judgments and responses on how others treat us. Sheizaf apparently feels I¡¯ve gored his and 972¡äs ox, but doesn¡¯t seem to understand that others may feel their own ox has been gored as well.
There is another possible explanation for the disappearance of that link. That is that Yossi republished the article with the link and someone else removed it. Possibly someone motivated by pique at my strong response to Dimi Reider¡¯s post. If that¡¯s the case, then the motives are even pettier than the reason I ascribed above.
Reider says one of my main criticisms of the innacuracy of his characterization of my claims about the drone strike resulted from a ¡°typo¡± on his part.