Local Call Threatened

On 3 November 2016, Israeli news site Local Call published an article entitled “Major General (Res.) Israel Ziv, in response to a Local Call investigation: In southern Sudan, I am only involved in an agricultural project“. The following in an English translation of the article:

By John Brown with Nadav Frankovich and Yael Marom

About two weeks ago, we published a comprehensive investigation into the involvement of Israeli companies in South Sudan. The investigation revealed that Global CST, owned by Major General Israel Ziv, recently signed an agreement with the government of South Sudan. Global CST, a company whose main activity in recent years has been security consulting, says that the company’s activities in the country are limited to an agricultural project. On the other hand, in our article we also presented a number of testimonies that came to our attention which indicate the possibility that the firm is indeed engaged in the security realm in South Sudan.

Despite many attempts to get their response, Global CST and Israel Ziv did not respond with a comment before the publication date. After publication, Ziv contacted us via his attorney, Moshe Kahn, and demanded that if we remove the article in its entirety, he will not file a libel suit against us. This threat is still pending. After a brief correspondence, and without retracting the threat, Attorney Kahn submitted the following response for publication:

“Mr. Israel Ziv opposes the insertion of his name and the insertion of the name of the firm that he owns, Global CST, in an article on your website that deals with criticism of security activities by Israeli firms in South Sudan. Mr. Ziv and the firm he owns are only involved in a comprehensive agricultural project in that country, and therefore the insertion of his name in the article with the objective of presenting him as involved in the security realm in that country, while using fraudulent older articles published on the internet years ago, amounts to damage to his reputation and a violation of libel law. The article contains facts that are patently untrue and it was publicized without giving Mr. Ziv proper opportunity to respond to it. It is unfortunate that the article’s author, who hides behind a pseudonym, did not bother to verify the accuracy of the statements before publicizing them. Mr. Israel Ziv demands that the article be removed or at least corrected so that his name and the name of the firms owned by him and any connections to them are not mentioned, and if this does not occur, he will be forced to consider taking legal actions against all involved. By the way, it should be noted that the article lists the name of the author as “John Brown”, which is only a pseudonym, and it is odd that your website allows articles to be published under a pseudonym.”

It should be noted that despite Kahn’s claims, two of the article’s authors signed off on it under their real names, and Mr. Ziv and Global CST were given many opportunities to respond to the article by e-mail, telephone and text messages.