Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NIF Fellow, Shamai K. Leibowitz, receives 20 month jail term

NIF Fellow, Shamai K. Leibowitz, (Yeshayahu Leibowitz's grandson) who worked as a linguist for the FBI was sentenced Monday to 20 months in prison for leaking secret documents to a blogger.
But federal prosecutors in Maryland have remained mum about exactly what was contained in the classified papers that Shamai K. Leibowitz, 39, gave the unnamed blogger in April 2009, while he worked on contract for the FBI. According to court records, the documents concerned "communication intelligence activities."

During a Monday hearing in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dunne said Leibowitz "betrayed the FBI when he worked there," but offered no details.

U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. said the response of federal authorities convinced him Leibowitz committed a "very, very serious offense." But the judge said even he does not know what information Leibowitz, a Hebrew scholar, disclosed.

"I don't know what was divulged, other than some documents, and I don't know how it's compromised things," Williams said in court.

Leibowitz, who worked as a lawyer in Israel and has dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, said in court papers that he worked for the U.S. State Department in 2006, teaching Hebrew and Israeli law and culture to American diplomats. He said he then was hired as a contractor by the U.S. Department of Defense at its Defense Language Institute. (WaPo)
A bit about Leibowitz and the NIF from NGO Monitor:
Leibowitz's anti-Israel activity could hardly have come as a surprise to the NIF Leibowitz came out in favor of economic warfare against Israel several years ago. At the October 2002 Second National Student Conference on the Palestinian Solidarity Movement at the University of Michigan, Leibowitz accepted an invitation to argue for divestment alongside the likes of Sami al-Arien (under indictment for his longtime activities in the service of the Palestine Islamic Jihad terrorist organization).

Leibowitz's legal work in Israel prior to his Fellowship is notable primarily for its political quality, rather than its devotion to civil rights. For several years, Leibowitz has served as counsel for International Solidarity Movement activists who illegally enter the state of Israel in order to foil anti-terror operations. Leibowitz has also attempted to intimidate reporters into silence through libel suits, such as the one he filed on behalf of I.S.M. activist Radhika Sainath against Jerusalem reporter Judy Balint for writing of Sainath's efforts to help Palestinians avoid security checks (The suit was ultimately dismissed.). Employment of the law in order to chill political reportage is generally thought of as inimical to the promotion of civil rights.

Leibowitz achieved public recognition in Israel for his decision to represent Marwan Barghouti, West Bank leader of the terrorist al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in his murder trial in Israel. Leibowitz apparently took on the representation because of his admiration for his client, and he claimed that trying Barghouti was immoral, since Barghouti was the Palestinian Moses leading his people to liberty (Ha'aretz, 4 Oct. 2002). Leibowitz expanded on the theme in a column published by the Israeli news website, where he argued that the proper understanding of the Exodus story is that the Almighty acted as a terrorist, killing Egyptian children and innocents as punishment for Egyptian arrogance in lording it over another nation, and it would behoove Israel to ask itself how it has become the Egyptians.

To their credit, NIF has apparently removed all traces of their relationship with Leibowitz, and he doesn't appear on their "Where are the NIF Fellows now?" webpage.

I haven't found any trace of what type of classified information Leibowitz gave to the blogger, or who the blogger is.

Anyone out there know?

I would think that the same way the lefti-wing establishment has disconnected itself from Leibowitz, they should do the same with Anat Kam if she's found guilty.

Leibowitz still writes a blog...I wonder if he'll keep it going in prison? (I think it's his)

hat-tip: DF

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jonathan becker said...

so this guy got busted for what, exactly? even the judge says he doesn't know! and he's a linguistic scholar (like noam chomsky) and a grandson of leibowitz! and barghouti's lawyer! well, well well!

i can't believe that in this day and age a canny blogger like jameel can't find out what he leaked or to whom.

get on the case son! inquiring minds want to know!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jonathan: Its not like I can call up a good Samaritan and find out ;-)

jonathan becker said...

jameel, seriously- the information was leaked to a blogger- one of your own. and leibowitz still has his own blog up, which you were good enough to link to. i thought there were no more secrets in the internet age? how can it be that even the judge who sentanced him doesn't know what he wrote? the sentance is short enough that it doesn't seem that major state secrets were involved. so what gives? how have the "powers that be" managed to conceal the crucial information from us?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jonathan: Well, maybe the FBI received a presidential directive in the name of "national security" to quash the story.

If Jack Bauer wasn't personally on the case, it could be the info will never get out.

I'm sure the FBI knows "who the blogger is" and the blogger was probably "convinced" to keep their mouth shut if they knew what was good for them.

If the Shabak paid you a personal visit, you would probably listen to them as well, wouldnt you?

jonathan becker said...

you trying to make me into a conspiracy theorist now? :)

it doesn't say specifically that the anonymous blogger actually posted whatever it was but, knowing bloggers :) it probably was. in which case it became public domain. i'm just asking, how did everyone miss it? and there are no references on his blog? i haven't bothered to check yet, but whoever does will get all the glory. why not you?

jonathan becker said...

ok i checked out his blog briefly. first, it seems like a quality production, including divrei torah, along the lines of dovbear where you like to post. in fact i hardly see a difference.

second, his most recent post (from yesterday) seems to provide a wealth of clues as to what is really going on here.

but i'm old, and tired. why don't you go read between the lines and come up with something? i just don't have the energy, or the connections, or the websavvyness to do it for you. but you brought it up, don't just leave us hanging.

jonathan becker said...

jameel: you say the leftwing establishment has "disconnected itself" from leibowitz. any evidence of that, that would be interesting (sez me).

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

J Becker:

1. I'm looking for more info that was leaked from Leibowitz.

2. The NIF has sanitized its website, removing any reference to him, or any mention whatsoever that he was a NIF Fellow (you can search the website yourself).

jonathan becker said...

well, your efforts are appreciated. i wouldn't bother criticizing if i didn't think you were worth it. :)

Shmilda said...

Some relevant links:

The feds claim that the blogger published the documents in April 2009.

Shmilda said...

And some interesting hints at the end of this piece:

Very Curious said...

The name Ali Abunimah and Electronic Intifada keep popping up in connection to the leibowitz name. Not that it means anything concrete.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I also got a lead about "Electronic Intifada" this evening.

Will keep looking...

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Shamai Leibowitz doesn't deserve a day less than Jonathan Pollard's sentence.

BPBP said...

Maybe DovBear and Shamai Leibowitz are the same?

They both have Divrei Torah on their blogs, and espouse a leftist viewpoint towards Israel.

Anonymous said...

Dear G-d, Jameel! Leibovitz has been disconnected from the NIF for donkey's years.

What troubles me more is when are you going to drop your pathetic campaign full of unsubstantiated facts? first the item about the ballet and now this? no wonder all your less than hardline readers are leaving you in droves.

Fred said...

Anonymous: Dear G-d, Jameel! Leibovitz has been disconnected from the NIF for donkey's years.

That's right, his past affiliation is entirely irrelevant, and we should all studiously avoid making any mention of it. I mean, what significance could it possibly have? Let's all just try to ignore the unpleasant fact that the NIF attracts self-hating Jewish traitors like Leibowitz the way dog excrement attracts flies.

Anonymous: What troubles me more is when are you going to drop your pathetic campaign full of unsubstantiated facts?

So now you're saying that it's "unsubstantiated" that Leibowitz was an NIF Law Fellow? That's funny, since Leibowitz himself says that he was. (And he's quite proud of it, too.)

Anonymous: no wonder all your less than hardline readers are leaving you in droves.

Nu, so what the heck are you still doing here?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Dear G-d, Jameel! Leibovitz has been disconnected from the NIF for donkey's years.

donkey's years? He was a NIF fellow in 2004. Does 6 years mean "donkey's years?" (Thats a maximum of 6 years...I dont know how long NIF has been avoiding him).

What troubles me more is when are you going to drop your pathetic campaign full of unsubstantiated facts? First the item about the ballet and now this?

1. Unsubstantiated? The ballet story was copy/pasted and hyperlinked to the source: YNET. Your complaint is with them, not with me.

2. The NIF story IS substantiated, so I don't know what your problem is.

3. I actually congratulated NIF on their decision to purge their website any link to Shamai, as I'm sure it's of major embarrassment to them.

Let's look at the following: When a settler wacko, like Jack Teitel is arrested, the settler movement bends over backwards to disassociate from him, and condemn his actions.

When Shamai is arrested, the New Israel Fund SHOULD do the same! They should try to distance themselves as much as possible (which it appears they do).

However, when the Israeli Left continues to support Anat Kam, instead of distancing themselves from someone allegedly guilty of espionage, it damages their cause, challenges their loyalty to the State of Israel, and makes them look bad.

no wonder all your less than hardline readers are leaving you in droves.

Hmmm. Does that mean I should criticize NIF for distancing themselves from Leibovitch?!

I'm confused what you think I should be doing...

Please elucidate!



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