Who else is withholding information on the Israeli MIAs?

December 24, 2010

The three Israeli MIAs missing in the battle of Sultan Yaqub since 1982

In an article entitled “Foreign Office says no to MIA report” (16 December 2010 ) the Jewish Chronicle reported that:

“The British government is refusing to release documents which could shed light on the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982 because it says sensitive information could harm diplomatic relations with Syria.

This statement seems to intimate that the Syrians have a hand in the 28-year ongoing travesty of human morality and decency.  This is not surprising, given Syria’s track record of human rights.  The fact that the British government is a partner to this travesty is somewhat more surprising.

Graphic showing the Freedom of Information ActDon’t assume that the British are the only ones withholding information about the three Israeli soldiers missing in action.  On 2 August 2009 I submitted a formal request from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Security Service (CSS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding the Israeli MIAs.  In the request I wrote:

Persuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), I hereby request the following information that exists or is archived in NSA:

  • Information related, or pertaining, to all Israeli MIAs (“Missing In Action”) in the Sultan Yakoub (or Sultan Yaqub) battle in Eastern Lebanon on June 11, 1982, the sixth day of the Israel-Lebanon War.
  • Intelligence reports related to any of the Israeli MIAs referred to, from 1982 to the present date.
  • The request is specific to all, or all, of the following MIAs:
    • Zack Baumel
    • Zachary Baumel
    • Zecharia Baumel
    • Tzvi Feldman
    • Zvi Feldman
    • Yehuda Katz

A week later I received NSA’s reply (page 1 and page 2) in the mail.  The relevant part said:

“We have determined that the fact of the existence or non-existence of the materials you request is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with Executive Order 12958, as amended.  Thus, your request is denied … the FOIA does not apply to matter that specifically authorized under criteria …”

I suspect that behind the legalese lies the fact that NSA/CSS is privy to information regarding the Israeli soldiers, but political expediency prevents the Americans, like the British, from doing what is morally correct.

It remains to be seen if WikiLeaks will shed any further light on this perversion of human decency.  In any case, here’s one person who wishes Miriam Baumel the best of success in releasing the British report on her son and the other MIAs.

oreign Office says no to MIA report


“Play the C sharp and just think the B flat”

February 12, 2010

Julian Bream playing classical guitarIn this week’s Torah (old testament) portion, Parashat Mishpatim, read on Shabbat (Saturday) in synagogues around the world, we encounter an example of a homonymic antonym: words that sound the same but have opposite meanings.

In this blog I’d like to illustrate the concept of homonymic antonyms with some examples from the Torah, wrapping it all up with a surprisingly related anecdote from the musical world of Benjamin Britten, Julian Bream, and the classical guitar. Read the rest of this entry »