Run Silent, Run Deep

The title of this post, Run Silent, Run Deep, is taken from a 1958 American WWII movie starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. The title refers to "silent running", a submarine’s stealth tactic. Given the apparent twists, turns and smoking mirrors of Case 300, I thought the title appropriate.

Run Silent, Run Deep describes submarine warfare in the Pacific Ocean and deals with themes of vengeance, endurance, courage, loyalty, and honor and how these can be tested during wartime. It could be argued that some of these themes appear in various disguises in Case 300.

I don't give a flying fig one way or another about Benjamin Netanyahu and his involvement in Case 3000 (or for that matter the other cases he is involved in). I suspect that he had some involvement in Case 300, either directly or otherwise, although of course I have no way of knowing for sure but based on the adage that those who sit close to the plate eat best, I suspect that there is some veracity in the accusation.

What interreges me is the fact that three of the original (Blue & White) Four Horsemen (leaving aside Yair Lapid) are ex-IDF Chief of the General Staff; Moshe Ya’alon 2002/2005, Gabi Ashkenazi 2007/2011 and Benny Gantz 2011/2015.

(It should be noted that sandwiched between Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi was Dan Halutz 2005/2007. Halutz, a former head of the airforce was promoted to Chief of Staff during the premiership of Ariel Sharon (2001/2006). Sharon himself acted as both PM and minister of defense. The assumption being that as a former highly decorated and successful general, Sharon would be the de facto Chief of Staff with Halutz simply carrying out Sharon’s orders. This arrangement came unstuck when Sharon was taken ill and Ehud Olmert became PM, and the Second Lebanese War (2006) broke out. Simply put, without Sharon in the picture, Halutz was not able to command the IDF in wartime as required. Hence his short tenure and the drafting-in of Gabi Ashkenazi, who had retired from the IDF and was director-general of the ministry of defense.)

I am not suggesting that these three gentlemen, Ya’alon, Ashkenazi, and Gantz had any involvement, direct or otherwise in any underhanded activity regarding Case 300. That said, before their appointment to CoS, they attended senior military officers' meetings, were involved in all aspects of the defense of the State of Israel, and yet, it would seem, had no idea of what was going on around them concerning the accusations of Case 300. Did they know, suspect, and turn a blind eye? Hard to believe. Maybe they took their eye off the ball and the various alleged shenanigans took place under their noses without them seeing, hearing, being aware? Perhaps it was just the sheer pressure of IDF Chief of the General Staff duties, which allowed others to profit from this purported capper.

It is not clear to me if the inquiry set-up by Benny Gantz is a formal Israeli government inquiry and will report its findings as other such board of inquires have, or whether this is simply an internal ministry of defense initiative. Even if it is the latter, I assume its finding will be made public.

If and when the board of inquiry does report, and if it is shown that various people were involved in underhand activities, whether illegally or morally wrong, will a lesson have been learned? Will the same or similar happen again tomorrow or in the future? And, if there were shenanigans, and Case 300 is proved partially or in full, who is to blame? Who was the ringmaster?

What to my mind, Case 300 shows is that poor governance breeds corruption, and with it a rise in economic crimes, which Case 300 would appear to be.

(For what it is worth, in the recently released 2020 list of the top 10 Most Corrupt Politicians in The World, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not ranked.)

For anyone who has had their head in the sand for the past couple of years – the following is a matter of public record, and much more can be found on the internet - Case 300 revolves around a deal to purchase an advanced Dolphin-class submarine for the Israeli Navy, it's sixth. The deal, according to the media, was pushed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on taking office (again) in March 2009 and officially signed with ThyssenKrupp (of Germany) in 2012.

It should be noted that Case 3000 does not directly involve Benjamin Netanyahu, but, rather, people with professional and personal ties to him, in connection to the deal made between Israel and Germany for the purchase of three Dolphin-class submarines and four Sa'ar 6-class corvette warships.

The suspicion in Case 300 refers to swaying the deal in ThyssenKrupp's favor for the personal gain of several of the people involved. Netanyahu's cousin and personal lawyer David Shimron, who represented ThyssenKrupp in Israel, and is accused of using his status and closeness to the prime minister to push Israel to buy nuclear-capable submarines and naval patrol boats, is one of the main suspects.

The accusation is that David Shimron received suspicious payments amounting to 270,000 shekels (£59,000) which were defined as a “reward for success” and for “opening the doors”, police said. He was given the money by an Israeli businessman and Thyssenkrupp’s former local agent, Miki Ganor, who first turned state witness but later recanted his testimony.

Israel’s state prosecutor plans to indict several associates of Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption concerning the contentious £1.5bn deal to buy the German-made submarines. In addition to Ganor and Shimron, David Sharan, a former head of staff for Netanyahu, is also due to be indicted, as is the former head of the Israeli navy (2007/2011), Admiral Eliezer Marom.

Shimron will be charged with money laundering, while Ganor, Sharan, and Marom will also face bribery indictments. All deny any wrongdoing.

In total seven men have been charged with various criminal offenses, including bribery, money laundering, and fraud.

After the alleged scheme was uncovered, Thyssenkrupp suspended its ties with Ganor and launched an internal investigation that found no evidence of corruption in its handling of the contract. However, it said the results of the investigation were provisional.

(In simple English, what does provisional mean? Thyssenkrupp did find evidence of malpractice by its employees/agents and do not know how or want to deal with the matter?)

Could the board of inquiry set-up by Gantz backfire and indirectly implicate one or all of the former IDF chiefs’. Seem unlikely that Gantz would set-up an inquiry if there was even a remote chance of this happening, but again, I ask what do the three gentlemen know about the goings-on surrounding the deal which led to Case 300?