Category Archives: Mossad and Special Operations

Spotlight shines on Palestinian collaborators

Spotlight shines on Palestinian collaborators

Spate of recent films addressing collaboration with Israeli agents has brought the issue out from the shadows.

Jonathan Cook, Al Jazeera, 17 Feb 2014
Jerusalem – Fadi al-Qatshan is one of the latest casualties of a war taking place in Gaza’s shadows, as Israel seeks ever more desperate ways to recruit collaborators while Hamas, the Islamic movement ruling Gaza, enforces tough counter-measures.

The 26-year-old graduate died in November. He was killed not by a bullet or in a missile strike, but when a simple piece of medical hardware – an implant in his heart – failed. His repeated requests to the Israeli authorities over more than a year to be allowed out of Gaza for medical treatment had gone unheeded.

According to his family, Israeli security services knew his life was in danger but denied him a permit to attend a medical appointment at a hospital in East Jerusalem. Gaza’s own hospitals, in crisis after years of Israel’s blockade, warned him they could no longer help.

Following a request for a travel permit, his family says al-Qatshan received a call from someone identifying himself as from the Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence service. Speaking in Arabic, the man said he knew the device in his heart “might explode any minute”. He was urged to “cooperate” in return for a permit.

Al-Qatshan was told he could call the mobile phone number on his screen and arrange an appointment at Erez, the Israeli-controlled crossing that is the only way for ordinary Palestinians to exit Gaza. The agent reportedly rang off with the words, “See you in Tel Aviv”, Israel’s large coastal city. Al-Qatshan sealed his fate by deleting the number.

‘Terrible choices’

Issam Yunis, director of Al-Mezan human rights organisation in Gaza City, says his group regularly records cases of Palestinians in desperate need of medical treatment being approached to collaborate. “The choice for these patients is really a terrible one. It is to cooperate with Israel or die in Gaza.”

Although Israel is suspected of recruiting tens of thousands of Palestinians as collaborators since its creation in 1948, the practice has rarely attracted more than superficial attention. Palestinians are ashamed that cooperation with the Israeli security services is widespread, while Israel is loath to draw attention to the systematic violations of international law at the root of its system of rule in the occupied territories.

But the issue of collaboration is finally emerging from the shadows, assisted in recent months by a spate of films addressing the subject.

In the running for an Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony next month is Omar, a Palestinian film that places the awful dilemmas faced by collaborators at the heart of its love story.

Omar nudged out of the competition Israel’s own entry, Bethlehem, which features a similar story about the fraught relationship between a Shin Bet agent and a young Palestinian informant.

And last month the audience award at the Sundance Festival went to the Green Prince, an Israeli documentary based on the memoirs of Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a Hamas leader in Gaza who channeled information to the Shin Bet for 10 years before fleeing to the United States. His father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, was recently released from an Israeli prison.

With Palestinian collaborators a hot topic in Hollywood, they are also in the spotlight in the occupied territories.

A missile strike that killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari in November 2012 – the opening salvo in Israel’s eight-day attack on Gaza known as Operation Pillar of Defence – has been widely ascribed to intelligence provided by a collaborator.

In response, Hamas carried out public executions of several suspected informants in the streets of Gaza City, including dragging the body of one behind a motorbike.

‘Tightly classified’

According to Hillel Cohen, who has researched Israel’s recruitment of collaborators since the state’s earliest years, the extent of the problem is difficult to assess. Israel keeps most of the archives on its intelligence operations in the occupied territories “tightly classified”.

The use of collaborators, he says, was probably most extensive in the 1970s and ’80s, before Israel handed over areas of the occupied territories to the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords and before the advent of today’s more sophisticated surveillance technology.

Nonetheless, the practice has far from ended.

“Israel still needs people on the ground,” says Cohen. “If they want to place a bomb in a car or supply a phone with a hidden tracking device, someone has to do it. The technology can only help so much.”

According to Saleh Abdel Jawwad, a politics professor at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, there are many different types of collaborators.

In East Jerusalem, for example, where Israel hopes to prevent any future Palestinian control of the city, a feature of life are the “land dealers”, Palestinians who buy land in strategic areas, secretly on behalf of settler organisations.

Israel also uses economic collaborators, who, for example, act as contractors for Israel in selling its products in the occupied territories. Israel has also tried to recruit political collaborators, in an effort to place them in charge of Palestinian communities or weaken candidates Israel opposed.

But Israel prizes most highly the recruitment of active members of Palestinian national organisations, who can provide reliable information on resistance operations or the movements of Palestinian leaders.

Typically, these collaborators are “turned” after their arrest. They may agree to cooperate under torture or as a way to receive a reduced prison sentence, said Morad Jadalah, a researcher with Addameer, a prisoners’ rights organisation in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Children recruited

But the most common type of collaborator is the informant, who provides general information about the activities of political groups or the movement of individual activists, as well as the names of those taking part in demonstrations.

Jadalah says when Palestinians are arrested, as they try to cross a checkpoint or during a raid on their village, the weakest and most vulnerable – often children – are targeted during interrogation with a mix of threats, violence and inducements.

Long jail terms and the use of administrative detention – imprisonment on secret charges – are the most obvious threats, but there are other ways to pressure Palestinians in detention, says Jadalah.

“The interrogators may beat them, or threaten to beat or rape their mother or sister, or arrest a close relative. They usually already know something about the family, so they can threaten, for example, to revoke the father’s work permit. They may even threaten to spread rumours that the family are already acting as informants.”

In other cases, the Israeli security services may offer inducements. “Israel controls most people’s lives, including their ability to work and move around. Between 30 and 40 per cent of adults are unemployed. That gives Israel the leverage it needs to recruit collaborators.”

According to Jadalah, the Israeli security services usually want general information about the neighbourhood where the collaborator lives, or details about a specific person.

Reports suggest in recent years the Shin Bet has been using arrested children to gain information about the leaders of non-violent resistance movements in the West Bank. They have shown special interest in villages such as Bilin, Nabi Saleh and Budrus where well-publicised protests are trying to stop Israel’s efforts to build the separation barrier on Palestinian land.

Cohen says the benefit to Israel of controlling an extensive network of collaborators is not limited to the information they pass on.

“It encourages the atomisation of Palestinian society. It fosters mistrust within the society and between members of the political movements. When everyone becomes a potential suspect, political passivity is encouraged. That is, in fact, the main goal.”

‘Infiltrated society’

Yunis, of Al-Mezan, agrees: “We are an infiltrated society. When there is so much suspicion, organised and effective resistance to the occupation becomes extremely hard.”

In addition, Jadalah blames the Palestinian Authority for setting a bad example. “When it is clear that our leaders are working with Israel on ‘security cooperation’ and that they look to Israel for protection, a very powerful message is sent to Palestinian society that only Israel can offer such guarantees.”

Hamas, apparently fearful of its inability to organise in the face of extensive collaboration, has officially waged war on Gaza’s informants.

Early last year it offered a brief amnesty to existing collaborators, many of them recruited before Israel’s 2005 disengagement, allowing them to turn themselves in in return for lenient sentences and financial help for their families. However, it has vowed a policy of zero tolerance since.

Faced with a shrinking pool of collaborators in Gaza, says Yunis, Israel has increased its use of electronic surveillance, especially drones. But it has sought new ways to recruit collaborators too.

That includes exploiting increased opportunities to reach Palestinians in Gaza indirectly, through social media. In particular, youngsters, often those without jobs or whose families are in dire need, are approached via Facebook or receive a call to their mobile phone.

“The caller might introduce himself as a businessman and says he can help them to get a permit out of Gaza. Once they attend the meeting, they are ensnared,” says Yunis.

Fishermen are also reported to have been targeted since Israel tightly limited the extent of the waters they are allowed to fish. When they cross out of that zone, they can be picked up by a naval patrol and taken for interrogation in Israel. There they can be pressured to turn informant.

‘Desperate’ situation

But the most wrenching cases, says Hamdi Shaqura, director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, occur with patients such as al-Qatshan who need urgent medical treatment.

Because they are among the few cases that Israel still treats as humanitarian, they and the relative that accompanies them present the Shin Bet with a rare opportunity to try to recruit a collaborator directly.

“These permits from Israel become a tool for blackmail. It is a serious violation of international law. Because Israel still occupies Gaza, the welfare of these patients is fully its responsibility. Israel is obligated to facilitate their movement and access to proper healthcare.”

According to the World Health Organisation, about 150 patients from Gaza were called for a security interrogation by the Shin Bet last year, including a 16-year-old girl in November. In most cases they were denied a permit afterwards.

Israel also arrested five patients at Erez and six of their companions over the course of last year. They included Mohammed Saber Abu-Amsha, a 33-year-old patient with damage to his eyes, who has been held in prison in Israel since his arrest on December 4.

Amal Ziada, a researcher for Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, said her organisation was hoping to launch a new campaign to raise awareness among the Israeli public of the pressures being used against medical patients.

That included lobbying members of the Israeli parliament and taking high-profile cases to the Israeli supreme court.

“What these patients go through is a kind of torture,” she said. “The danger is that some of them avoid seeking medical treatment because they are afraid. They are worried about being arrested, or the suspicion among other Palestinians that they may have collaborated if they receive a permit.”

Guy Inbar, spokesman for COGAT, the Israeli military unit that coordinates civilian matters in the occupied territories, said he awarded permits to Palestinians for medical treatment based only on medical need and the applicant’s security record.

A senior Israeli security official said the accusation that Israel used the permit system to recruit collaborators was “baseless”. “There have been many recent instances where terror organisations have manipulated people needing humanitarian help so that they assist in carrying out terror operations.”

According to an Israeli human rights lawyer, Yadin Elam, most of the collaborators whose cover is blown and manage to flee the occupied territories do not receive the warm welcome in Israel they may have expected.

Israeli authorities divide collaborators into two groups, he says. Important collaborators, categorised as sayanim, or helpers, fall under the responsibility of the defence ministry and receive a salary and status inside Israel.

But most collaborators who reach Israel – numbering a few hundred, according to Elam – are classified simply as “threatened people”, referring to the fact that they might be killed if they return to Palestinian areas.

Elam says Palestinians in this latter category are usually left in a desperate situation, sometimes given a temporary permit to stay for a few months, but denied permits for their immediate family or the right to work. Typically they live underground in Israel with their families and drift into crime.

Elam says these collaborators’ insecurity, and their frequent arrests, provide an ideal opportunity for Israel to keep up the pressure.

“When things are so desperate, it is easier to persuade the family, including the children, to continue working for the intelligence services.”

Lebanese in Shock Over Arrest of an Accused Spy

Lebanese in Shock Over Arrest of an Accused Spy

The New York Times, February 18, 2009
Al al jarrah

MARAJ, Lebanon — For 25 years, Ali al-Jarrah managed to live on both sides of the bitterest divide running through this region. To friends and neighbors, he was an earnest supporter of the Palestinian cause, an affable, white-haired family man who worked as an administrator at a nearby school.

To Israel, he appears to have been a valued spy, sending reports and taking clandestine photographs of Palestinian groups and Hezbollah since 1983.

Now he sits in a Lebanese prison cell, accused by the authorities of betraying his country to an enemy state. Months after his arrest, his friends and former colleagues are still in shock over the extent of his deceptions: the carefully disguised trips abroad, the unexplained cash, the secret second wife.

Lebanese investigators say he has confessed to a career of espionage spectacular in its scope and longevity, a real-life John le Carré novel. Many intelligence agents are said to operate in the civil chaos of Lebanon, but Mr. Jarrah’s arrest has shed a rare light onto a world of spying and subversion that usually persists in secret.

Mr. Jarrah’s first wife maintains that he was tortured, and is innocent; requests to interview him were denied.

From his home in this Bekaa Valley village, Mr. Jarrah, 50, traveled often to Syria and to south Lebanon, where he photographed roads and convoys that might have been used to transport weapons to Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group, investigators say. He spoke with his handlers by satellite phone, receiving “dead drops” of money, cameras and listening devices. Occasionally, on the pretext of a business trip, he traveled to Belgium and Italy, received an Israeli passport, and flew to Israel, where he was debriefed at length, investigators say.

At the start of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli officials called Mr. Jarrah to reassure him that his village would be spared and that he should stay at home, investigators said.

He was finally arrested last July by Hezbollah, which now has perhaps the most powerful intelligence apparatus in this country. It handed him to the Lebanese military — along with his brother Yusuf, who is accused of helping him spy — and he awaits trial by a military court.

Several current and former military officials agreed to provide details about his case on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss it before the trial began. Their accounts tallied with details provided by Mr. Jarrah’s relatives and former colleagues.

It is not the family’s first brush with notoriety. One of Mr. Jarrah’s cousins, Ziad al-Jarrah, was [allegedly – webmaster, see note below] among the 19 hijackers who carried out the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, though the men were 20 years apart in age and do not appear to have known each other well.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, declined to discuss Mr. Jarrah’s situation, saying, “It is not our practice to publicly talk about any such allegations in this case or in any case.”

Villagers here seemed incredulous that a man they knew all their lives could have taken money to spy for a country that they regard with unmixed hatred and disgust.

Many maintained his innocence. But Raja Mosleh, the Palestinian doctor who was his partner for years in a school and health clinic near here, did not.

“I never suspected him before,” Dr. Mosleh said. “But now, after linking all the incidents together, I feel he’s 100 percent guilty.”

“He used to talk about the Palestinian cause all the time, how he supported the cause, he supported the people, he liked everybody — this son of a dog,” Dr. Mosleh added, his voice thick with contempt.

Mr. Jarrah would often borrow money to buy cigarettes, apparently posing as a man of limited means. Investigators say he received more than $300,000 for his work from Israel.

Only recently did he begin to spend in ways that raised questions. About six years ago, neighbors said, he built a three-story villa with a terra-cotta roof that is by far the grandest house in this modest village of low concrete dwellings. Outside is a small roofed archway and a heavy iron gate, and on a recent day a German shepherd stood guard.
Dr. Mosleh asked him where he got the money, and Mr. Jarrah said he got help from a daughter living in Brazil. It is a natural excuse in Lebanon, where a large portion of the population receives remittances from relatives abroad.

Mr. Jarrah also had a secret second wife, according to investigators and his former colleagues. Unlike his first wife, Maryam Shmouri al-Jarrah, who lived in relative grandeur with their five children in Maraj, the second wife lived in a cheap apartment in the town of Masnaa, near the Syrian border. This apparently allowed Mr. Jarrah to travel near the border in the unremarkable guise of a local working-class man.

Mr. Jarrah has said he was recruited in 1983 — a year after Israel began a major invasion of Lebanon — by Israeli officers who had imprisoned him, according to investigators. He was offered regular payments in exchange for information about Palestinian militants and Syrian troop movements, they said.

After Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, thousands of Lebanese from the occupied zone in the south were tried and sentenced — mostly to light prison terms — for collaborating with Israel.

Far from the border, a different class of collaborators, rooted in their communities, persisted. A few have been caught and sentenced.

Mr. Jarrah’s motives remain a mystery. He said he tried to stop, but the Israelis would not let him, investigators said.
It all came to an end last summer. He went on a trip to Syria in July, and when he returned he said he had been briefly detained by the Syrian police, his first wife said. He seemed very uneasy, not his usual self, she said.

He left the house that night, saying he was going to Beirut, and never returned, Mrs. Jarrah said. Only three months later did she get a call from the Lebanese Army saying it had taken custody of him.

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Jarrah said, she was allowed to see him. He looked terrible, exhausted, she said.

Lebanese security forces released a photograph of Mr. Jarrah, taken before his arrest. In it, he appears against a blue and white backdrop, dressed in a formal dark shirt, wearing an enigmatic smile.

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon, and Ethan Bronner from Jerusalem.

Note by webmaster:  There is no evidence that Ziad Jarrah participated in the attacks of September 11, 2001.  The US authorities have never produced any authenticated document that placed Ziad Jarrah in an aircraft designated as Flight UA93, nor has anyone seen him board that flight.  For details see Chapter 2 of Elias Davidsson’s “Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11 (Algora Publishers, New York, 2013).

Israel official: We struck in Sudan

Israel official:  We struck in Sudan

Official quoted by TIME Magazine confirms strike, says ‘it’s not our first time there.’ Al-Jazeera says Palestinian, Iranian killed in Tuesday’s bombing, later changes its report. Sudanese FM: We’ll complain to UN

Elior Levy, Ynet, April 6, 2011

A senior Israeli military official told TIME Magazine Wednesday that the Jewish state was behind a mysterious air strike in Sudan Tuesday that killed two people.


“It’s not our first time there,” the official was quoted as saying, apparently referring to the 2009 airstrike that demolished an arms convoy near the border with Egypt.


The Al-Arabiya news channel reported on Wednesday that one of the two men killed in the airstrike on Sudan, which some claim was carried out by Israel, was an Arab national who was responsible for arming Hamas.


The network later changed the report to say that police sources confirmed that both men were Sudanese arms dealers.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese government said it would file a complaint against Israel with the United Nations Security Council over the strike.


Al-Jazeera also filed its share of conflicted reports on the incident. The Qatari news network first cited an anonymous security source saying that one of the men who were killed was Palestinian, while the other was Iranian. Later, an Al-Jazeera reporter in Sudan said that both of the victims were Sudanese, and that one of them was a notorious arms dealer.


‘Proof that Israel behind attack’

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Karti accused Israel of carrying out the strike. He said in a press conference in Khartoum that his government “has proof Israel carried this attack. We are absolutely certain of it, but we don’t know the reason.”


Karti also claimed that Israel is attempting to harm Sudan’s chances of being removed from the United States’ list of terror-sponsoring nations.


According to Sudanese reports, a foreign aircraft entered the African nation’s airspace around 10 pm on Tuesday from the Red Sea. Sudanese forces reportedly fired at the aircraft, chasing it away. Eyewitnesses said they heard loud explosions and saw two helicopters flying by.


In January 2009, a convoy of arms smugglers was hit by unidentified aircraft in Sudan’s eastern Red Sea state, a strike that some reports said may have been carried out by Israel to stop weapons bound for Gaza.


Roi Kais and Reuters contributed to this report

Mossad – The World’s Most Efficient Killing Machine

Mossad – The World’s Most Efficient Killing Machine
By Gordon Thomas
December 9, 2002

[The following account by Gordon Thomas defies credibility. For that reason, the webmaster searched for Gordon Thomas’ credentials.  The following wikipedia entry provides information about this author, whose books have apparently been translated into numerous languages and whose access to Israeli Mossad leaders is not questioned – The Webmaster]
Standing on a canteen table in down-town Tel Aviv, Israel’s spymaster studied the men and women of Mossad.
In the few weeks since taking over Mossad, Meir Dagan knew he already commanded something his recent predecessors never managed. Respect.
Barely raising his voice he spoke.
“When I was fighting in Lebanon, I witnessed the aftermath of a family feud. The patriarch’s head had been split open, his brain on the floor. Around him lay his wife and some of his children. All dead. Before I could do anything, one of the murderers scooped up a handful of brain and swallowed it. This is how you will all now operate. Otherwise someone will eat your brain.”
His every word held them in thrall – even if they sent a shudder through some of his listeners, hardened as they were.
In the canteen were those who had killed many times already. Killing enemies who could not be brought to trial because they were hidden deep inside Israel’s Arab neighbours.
Only Mossad could find and kill them. Rafi Eitan, the legendary former Operations Chief of Mossad told me when we sat together in his living room in a north Tel Aviv suburb:
“I always tried to kill when I could see the whites of a person’s eyes. So I could see the fear. Smell it on his breath. Sometimes I used my hands. A knife, or a silenced gun. I never felt a moment’s regret over a killing.”
Meir Amit, when he had been director of Mossad, later insisted
“we are like the official hangman or the doctor on Death Row who administers the lethal injection. Our actions are all endorsed by the State of Israel. When Mossad kills it is not breaking the law. It is fulfilling a sentence sanctioned by the prime minister of the day”.
We spoke as he walked me through Mossad’s own unique memorial in Tel Aviv to the dead – a concrete maze shaped in the form of a brain. Each name engraved on the concrete was of an agent who had been killed while trying to destroy Israel’s enemies.
Some of those agents had one thing in common. Amit had sent them to their deaths.
“We did all we could to protect them. We trained them better than any other secret service. Sometimes, out on a mission, the dice is against you. But there will always be brave men ready to roll the dice,” he said.
Dagan, his listeners in the canteen knew, was cast in the same mould. He would protect them with every means he knew – legal or illegal. He would allow them to use proscribed nerve toxins. Dum-dum bullets. Ways of killing that not even the Mafia, the former KGB or China’s secret service use. But he would not hesitate to expose them to death – if it was for the greater good of Israel.
That was the deal those in the canteen had accepted when they were recruited. They, too, were ready to roll the dice.
Dagan, only the tenth man to head Mossad and bear the title of memune – “first among equals in Hebrew” – reminded his listeners sat on their plastic-form chairs what Meir Amit had once said. Then Dagan added:
“I am here to tell you those days are back. The dice is ready to roll.”
Dagan jumped down from the table and walked out of the canteen in total silence. Only then did the applause start.
Shortly afterwards came the Mombasa massacre of eleven days ago. An explosive-laden land-cruiser drove into the reception area of the island’s Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel.
Fifteen people died and 80 were seriously injured. Two shoulder-fired missiles nearly downed an Israeli passenger plane bringing tourists back to Tel Aviv from Kenya. Two hundred and seventy-five barely missed a Lockerbie-style death.
Meir Dagan immediately suspected it was the work of Osama bin-Laden’s al-Quaeda and that the missiles had come from Iraq’s arsenal.
But to suspect and prove would be the greatest challenge Mossad had faced since the War on Terrorism was launched by President Bush.
“Mossad would not be operating in its own backyard against suicide bombers. It would be working 1,500 miles away in a hostile environment. There would only be lip-service support from the authorities on the ground. Other intelligence services would be trawling through the evidence looking for clues that would fit their agendas. The CIA for a fix on bin-Laden. MI6 for a lead back to a threat to Britain. The same for the Germans,” a senior intelligence man in Tel Aviv told me.
But for Meir Dagan it was time to roll the dice. Every person with proven field experience was on a plane to Kenya within an hour of the massacre.
They would sift and search the wreckage, using sophisticated equipment to do so. Detectors that could detect a sliver of metal deep inside a corpse – metal that would show where the explosives came from. And much else.
The team who would “roll the dice” travelled separately – as they always did. They had their own aircraft, their own pilots. They were the men and women of kidon, Mossad’s ultra-secret assassination unit.
Their sole job in Mombasa was to find and kill the perpetrators of the massacre: those behind the three bombers who had gone to their deaths laughing. The kidon would kill the planners of the massacre after they had traced them to their lair – wherever it was. It might take months – as it had with avenging the murder of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. But the kidon would find the men behind the Mombasa outrage and kill them.
They would use a small laboratory of poisons, sealed in vials until the moment came to strike. They had long and short-blade knives. Piano wire to strangle. Explosives no bigger than a throat lozenge capable fo blowing off a person’s head. An arsenal of guns: short-barrel pistols, sniper rifles with a mile killing range.
The team chosen to go to Mombasa had local language skills. They could pass for Arabs or for Indian traders. Between them, they spoke Swahili and other dialects. They dressed the part; they looked the part. They also understood the closed language of their world.
They had learned how to memorise fibres – precise physical descriptions of people. Neviof , how to break into an office, a bedroom, or any other given target and plant listening bugs – or a bomb. Masluh, the skill of shaking off a tail.
The women had learned how to use their sex. To be ever ready to sleep with someone to obtain vital information. The link between intelligence work and sexual entrapment is as old as spying itself. Meir Amit had said when he was Mossad’s chief:
“Sex is a woman’s weapon. Pillow talk is not a problem for her. But it takes a special kind of courage. It is not just sleeping with an enemy. It is to obtain information.”
The kidon team had passed the two years course at the Mossad training school at Henzelia, near Tel Aviv. They had been sent to a special camp in the Negev desert. There they had learned to kill.
“They are taught how to use the weapon appropriate for the target. Strangulation with a cheese-cutter if the victim is to be killed at night. A handgun fitted with a silencer. A nerve agent delivered by an aerosol or injection,” explained Victor Ostrovsky, a former member of kidon.
Ostrovsky, who today lives in Arizona, will not say who he has killed. But he quit Mossad – saying he could not “stomach the way they did things”.
My sources in Mossad say he is “long past his sell-by date. We do things differently now”.
And, by all accounts, more ruthlessly.
The man known to Mossad as “The Engineer” was a top Hamas bomb-maker. He lived on the West Bank, protected by gunmen.
One day he received a visitor – a distant cousin from Gaza. The young man spoke like so many from that hotbed of Islamic fanaticism.
Over mint tea, the two men spoke far into the evening. Finally, The Engineer invited his guest to stay over. The offer was accepted. The youth asked if he could use The Engineer’s mobile phone to call his own family to say they should not worry.
He asked if he could make the call from outside the house to improve reception. The Engineer nodded. The call over, the two men fell asleep on the floor.
Next day, the youth left to return to Gaza. That morning, The Engineer received a call on the mobile. As he put the phone to his mouth and started to speak, his head was blown off.
The youth had been recruited by Mossad to plant a powerful explosive inside the phone. The detonation signal had come from a kidon half a mile away.
No one had seen him arrive. No one saw him go.
Over the past years, Mossad have killed scores of Israel’s enemies by such methods.
“We try to never use the same method twice. Our technicians spend all their time devising new ways to kill,” a Mossad source told me last week.
Their roll-call of Mission Successful includes; Fathi Shkaki, the leader of Islamic Jihad, and Gerald Bull, the rogue Canadian investor of Saddam’s supergun.
The usual composition of a hit team is four. One is the “target locator”. His task is to keep tabs on the victim’s movements. Another is the “transporter”, to get the team safely away from the killing area.
The remaining two men perform the execution. In the case of Gerald Bull they knocked on his front door late in the evening. The ballistic expert had just moved in. He had been assured he was safe by his Iraqi minders. But they had been lured away by some of the kidon back-up team.
These are known as sayanim – the Hebrew word for helpers. Throughout the world there are tens of thousands. Each has been carefully recruited to provide the kind of help that the kidon unit required to kill Bull.
The assassination was simple. Both kidon wore FedEx courier uniforms. One carried a package. The other knocked on the door. When Bull opened it, the package was thrust at him. As he stepped back he was shot – once in the forehead and once in the throat. He flew backwards into the hall. The package was retrieved, the door closed behind the dead Bull. Both men calmly walked away to where the “transporter” was waiting. In hours, the team was back in Tel Aviv.
Preparation for an assassination can take weeks, even months. The hit team, once selected, is moved to a Mossad safe house, one of many in Israel.
Eli Cohen, a former Mossad agent, told me that “a safe house looks like it was furnished from a car boot sale”.
It was in one such safe house that the plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein was prepared.
It was elaborate even by Mossad standards. It revolved around killing Saddam during a visit to one of his mistresses.
Mossad agents in Baghdad had discovered that the woman, the widow of a serving Iraqi officer who had died mysteriously, would be driven from the palace to keep a tryst with Saddam in a desert villa outside the city.
Heavily guarded, the villa would be a hard target to hit.
But Mossad believed there was a window of opportunity between the time Saddam would land in his helicopter near the villa and enter its well-protected compound.
The plan to kill Saddam has long been on Mossad’s agenda. But previous attempts had failed due to Saddam’s obsession with changing his movements at the last moment.
Mossad believed he would not do so this time.
“The woman is irresistible,” said a report from one of its Baghdad undercover agents.
Mossad had scouted an air corridor through which it believed a kidon could be flown in below Iraqi radar.
A final rehearsal was held in the Negev desert. Israeli commandos doubled as Saddam and his bodyguards – a party of five.
As they landed close to a replica of the villa, the kidon were in position. They were equipped with specially adapted shoulder-firing missiles. But their weapons were to only fire blanks for the rehearsal.
In a tragic mistake, one of the missiles had been replaced with a live one. It killed the make-believe Saddam and his bodyguards.
The operation was cancelled.
But last week Meir Dagan was said to be considering adapting it to once more try and kill Saddam.
After eleven days investigation, his teams in Mombasa confirmed the massacre had all the hallmarks of being an Iraqi-sponsored act carried out by al-Quaeda.
How and when Mossad will strike against Saddam is, understandably, a closely guarded secret.
But an intelligence sources suggested to me that a successful assassination of Saddam could see the looming threat of war recede.
“With Saddam out of the way there is no reason to invade Iraq. The people themselves will rise,” said the source.
Dagan, the Mossad chief who could possible achieve that was born on a train between Russia and Poland. He speaks several languages. He is an action man, working 18 hour days. His private life is simple: he eschews the trappings of power that goes with the job of running MI6 or the CIA. His salary is a fraction of what their directors get. Three months into the job, he is adored by his staff.
In the past years, Mossad has experienced many publicised failures, a loss of morale and, worst of all, growing public criticism among its own people.
All that Meir Dagan is determined to change.
In his open neck shirt and chain store pants and sneakers, Dagan is no James Bond. The only spy fiction he is known to read is John Le Carre – because, he has told friends, he can at least empathise with its hero, Smiley.
Meir Dagan is also an avid reader of history of other intelligence services. It is said he knows more about the CIA and MI6 than many of its current employees.
He constantly reminds his staff that action cannot wait for certainty. That motive and deception are at the centre of their endeavours. That they must create situations which seek to draw fact out of darkness. For him the art of informed conjecture is an essential weapon.
Since Mombasa, Dagan has virtually worked and slept in his office. Its windows look eastwards to the Judean Hills. Beyond are the tribal badlands of Pakistan – where Dagan is convinced Osama bin-Laden is hiding – and the desert of Iraq through which Dagan believes Saddam will try and escape if war starts. The Mossad chief will be waiting.
Meantime, he is preoccupied with the latest news from Mombasa – and all those points east where his kidon team are tracking the planners of the outrage.
Some have gone to the Philippines. Others to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Mossad’s scientists and pathologists, as well as field agents, katsas, have combed and bagged the clues from the Paradise hotel disaster area.
Every day an El Al plane has flown northwards to Israel with the evidence despite behind-the-scene protests by the Kenyan intelligence service.
Mossad agents in Nigeria have provided important details on al-Quaeda in that country. Katsas in South Africa have joined colleagues in Mombasa. From Rome, Malta and Cyprus, other Mossad agents sped down through Africa into the country’s fierce heat.
Dagan’s men are polite to the counter-intelligence officers from the CIA, MI6 and European services.
“But these are Israelis who are dead or injured. This is Mossad’s job. And everybody had better remember that,” said one Mossad source.
Mossad has made no friends on the ground. They rarely do. That is their style: go it alone. They believe they know more than anyone else in fighting terrorism. And they may be right.
In Tel Aviv, having done all he could for the moment, Meir Dagan waits.
The 57 years-old, battle-hardened hero of past wars in Lebanon, in all those places in the Middle East where the alleys have no names, has earned his reputation as a no-holds barred leader. In those days, with a handgun in his pocket and his dog at his heel, he had led from the front. Twice he had been wounded, so that nowadays he sometimes uses a walking stick. He dislikes doing so. He detests any sign of weakness in himself or in others.
Dagan is a blunt man, proud and imperious and prepared to stand on his record. He crushed the first Intifada in Gaza in 1971. Two years later he fought in the Yom Kippur War.
For him, Mossad, and ultimately Israel, the Mombasa massacre is a test – to show that Mossad is back on centre stage with a vengeance.
No other intelligence service has a better history of operations in Central Africa. In the 1960s Mossad drove out the vaunted Chinese Secret Intelligence Service. It stopped Cuba’s Fidel Castro exporting his revolution into Africa. It beat the KGB at its own plans to turn the Congo into its playground. It was a dirty and deadly war.
A terrorist group ambushed a Mossad katsa in the Congo and fed him to the crocodiles. They filmed his last, threshing moments in the water – and sent the footage to the local Mossad station chief. He retaliated by placing a two-pound bomb under the toilet seat of the terrorist leader. It blew the villa apart. Twelve terrorists died.
Mossad built up a relationship with BOSS, the security service of the South African apartheid government. It sent a team to Pretoria to teach BOSS the art of sophisticated methods of interrogation. Israeli instructors showed them the black art of sleep deprivation, hooding, forcing a suspect to stand facing a wall for long hours, and mental tortures such as mock tortures.
“The one certainty is that if the Mombasa killers are caught Mossad won’t bother with mock executions,” said a Mossad source.
The methods Mossad uses are often outside the law. They have a unit that specialises in burglary – using far more sophisticated means than those employed by the infamous Watergate burglars. Their ineptitude led to the downfall of President Nixon.
They have a special team of scientists working at the Institute for Biological Research in Tel Aviv. They prepare the deadly toxins for the kidon.
Where other intelligence agencies no longer allow their agents to kill, kidon have no such restraint. They remain fully licensed to assassinate in the name of Israel once they have routinely convinced the incumbent prime minister of the need to do so.
Ariel Sharon needs little convincing.
Mossad’s assassins routinely witness some of Israel’s leading forensic pathologists at work so as to better understand how to make an assassination look like an accident.
They learn how a pinprick or small blemish left on a victim’s skin can be a give away. They are shown how to ensure against this.
It makes them probably the most sophisticated lawfully-approved killers in the world.
This morning (Sunday) Meir Dagan, as he has done every day since the Mombasa attack, will awaken from a combat veteran’s light sleep. This squat, barrel-chested man will take his customary cold water shower and eat his daily breakfast of natural yogurt, toast spread with honey washed down with several cups of strong black coffee.
Next he will study the latest reports from not only East Africa – but from all those areas where his team of hunters have now moved.
After briefing the prime minister on the scrambler phone that links Dagan to Ariel Sharon, the memune may spend an hour at an easel in the corner of his office – touching up one of the watercolour paintings which are the only known passion in his life.
But like everything else about him, they will remain under lock and key. Just as with his plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein, the first the world will know, if Mossad is successful, will be after it has happened.

“Israel advises the US on how to control civilians and interrogate them”

May 5, 2004 
The Guardian (UK),3604,1209555,00.html 

This torture started at the very top 

By Ahdaf Soueif 

The media in this country is politely shocked at photos of Iraqis being 
tortured and humiliated by US and British soldiers. A BBC1 news presenter 
says the pictures seem to have been “merely mementos”. That’s all right, 
then. The folks at home will have a good laugh and paste them into the 
family album. 

In the first half of the last century, the French in Algeria and Morocco 
used to send home postcards of prostitutes posing sullenly, with breasts 
bared and skirts pulled up to their thighs, over captions like “Le harem 
Arabe” or “Fille Mauresque”. The Americans have pushed it further: their 
pornography of occupation is at once more childish, playful, crude and 
sinister than that of “old Europe”. Also, we assume the prostitutes were 

BBC commentators and British politicians have been reminding us that the 
soldiers’ activities “do not compare with Saddam Hussein’s systematic 
tortures and executions”. Hussein is now the moral compass of the west. 

The media are fearful that these images will go down badly in the Arab world 
because “they show Muslim men being humiliated by American women”. Again the 
not-so-subtle reduction of the Arab world to an entity that reacts only to 
religious prodding. Actually the photographs have confirmed people’s belief 
that the US and Britain are not in Iraq as an act of goodwill. They have 
strengthened the feeling that there is a deep racism underlying the 
occupiers’ attitudes to Arabs, Muslims and the third world generally. 

It was only a matter of time. In the past year the world has seen photos of 
many Iraqis stripped with their wrists tied behind their backs with plastic 
cord. At first we could look into their eyes and bear witness to what was 
happening. Then they were bagged. At no point was there an outcry. 

We have grown used to seeing Arab men bound and hooded, in the occupied 
territories and Gaza. Israel advises the US on how to control civilians and 
interrogate them. Ariel Sharon has made the Israeli army’s “rules of 
engagement” available to the US military. The world notes the similarity 
between the practices of the US army in Iraq and those of the Israeli army 
in Palestine. There is evidence that scenes like the ones now shocking the 
world have been common in “Facility 1391” (Israel’s secret prison), and some 
say in other jails. We just haven’t seen the photos. 

It is no use for US spokesmen to talk about “rogue elements”, how 
“contractors” are not answerable to the military and how Staff Sergeant Chip 
Frederick had not read the Geneva conventions before taking charge of 
prisoners at Abu Ghraib. This abuse is going to turn out to be widespread. 
Amnesty International has already said it is systematic. 

The acts in the photos being flashed across the networks would not have 
taken place but for the profound racism that infects the American and 
British establishments. At squaddie level, Sarah Oliver reports in the Mail 
on Sunday that “the British soldiers loathe the dirtiness of Iraq and the 
native population’s slothfulness, kleptomania and determination to do as 
little as possible for themselves”. 

There have been reports of US troops outside Falluja talking of the fun of 
being a sniper, of the different ways to kill people, of the “rat’s nest” 
that needs cleaning out. Some will say soldiers will be soldiers. But that 
language has been used by neocons at the heart of the US administration; 
both Kenneth Adelman and Paul Wolfowitz have spoken of “snakes” and 
“draining the swamps” in the “uncivilised parts of the world”. It is 
implicit in the US administration’s position that anyone who does not agree 
that all of history has been moving towards a glorious pinnacle expressed in 
the US political, ideological and economic system has “rejected modernity”; 
that it is America’s mission to civilise and to punish. 

I’ve seen a photo of a young American soldier with two Iraqi boys. There is 
no nakedness or torture, but it is no less nasty for that. The boys are 
holding a cardboard sign. They and the soldier are smiling and doing a 
thumbs up. He is pointing at the cardboard sign, on which he’s written: 
“Lcpl Boudreaux killed my Dad. then he knocked up my sister!” Imagine the 
scene: Lance Corporal Boudreaux, a soldier on a liberating, civilising 
mission, asks the natives to pose for a “memento”. He gives them the sign to 
hold. What lie did he tell them about its message? “Iraq is liberated”, or 
“Mission accomplished”? And who, in this scene, is the more civilised? 

The one good thing in all of this is that there are soldiers in the US and 
British armies who could not live with what was happening and who blew the 
whistle. The world needs to see the photos coming out of Iraq not as 
“deviant” but as an authentic message from the heart of the thought system 
that is seeking to control our planet. 

Ahdaf Soueif’s collected essays will be published by Bloomsbury in the 

Mossad does interrogations in Iraqi jails: human rights group

Mossad does interrogations in Iraqi jails: human rights group

People’s Daily Online(China), 23 May 2010

The Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) said on Saturday that Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad is interrogating Arab prisoners in Iraqi jails.

“I received calls from Jordanian prisoners at Iraqi jails and they informed us that Mossad is interrogating them and other Arab prisoners in jails in Iraq,” Abdul Karim Shreideh, head of the prisoners and detention centers committee at AOHR, said in a press conference in the Jordanian capital of Amman Saturday.

“The prisoners said Mossad gives them the option to work with the agency as their agents and thus be able to leave the prisons or remain in jail,” Shreideh told reporters at the conference held to launch the AOHR’s annual report on situation of human rights in Jordan in 2009.

According to the organization, there are 33 Jordanians jailed in Iraq and thousands of Arab prisoners in Iraqi jails.

In the press conference, the AOHR President Hani Dahleh urged the Jordanian government to intensify steps to secure the release of Jordanians jailed abroad.

There are 250 Jordanians jailed in Syria, 41 in Saudi Arabia, 37 in Israel, seven in the United States, five in Iran and one in Kuwait.

The Jordanian government has repeatedly stressed that the issue of Jordanians jailed abroad tops its priorities and that it is exerting its utmost efforts to follow up on the issue. 


Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq

Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq

Julian Borger in Washington
Tuesday December 9, 2003

Israeli advisers are helping train US special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of US special forces, and according to two sources, Israeli military "consultants" have also visited Iraq.

US forces in Iraq's Sunni triangle have already begun to use tactics that echo Israeli operations in the occupied territories, sealing off centres of resistance with razor wire and razing buildings from where attacks have been launched against US troops.

But the secret war in Iraq is about to get much tougher, in the hope of suppressing the Ba'athist-led insurgency ahead of next November's presidential elections.

US special forces teams are already behind the lines inside Syria attempting to kill foreign jihadists before they cross the border, and a group focused on the "neutralisation" of guerrilla leaders is being set up, according to sources familiar with the operations.

"This is basically an assassination programme. That is what is being conceptualised here. This is a hunter-killer team," said a former senior US intelligence official, who added that he feared the new tactics and enhanced cooperation with Israel would only inflame a volatile situation in the Middle East.

"It is bonkers, insane. Here we are – we're already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we've just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams."

"They are being trained by Israelis in Fort Bragg," a well-informed intelligence source in Washington said.

"Some Israelis went to Iraq as well, not to do training, but for providing consultations."

The consultants' visit to Iraq was confirmed by another US source who was in contact with American officials there.

The Pentagon did not return calls seeking comment, but a military planner, Brigadier General Michael Vane, mentioned the cooperation with Israel in a letter to Army magazine in July about the Iraq counter-insurgency campaign.

"We recently travelled to Israel to glean lessons learned from their counterterrorist operations in urban areas," wrote General Vane, deputy chief of staff at the army's training and doctrine command.

An Israeli official said the IDF regularly shared its experience in the West Bank and Gaza with the US armed forces, but said he could not comment about cooperation in Iraq.

"When we do activities, the US military attaches in Tel Aviv are interested. I assume it's the same as the British. That's the way allies work. The special forces come to our people and say, do debrief on an operation we have done," the official said.

"Does it affect Iraq? It's not in our interest or the American interest or in anyone's interest to go into that. It would just fit in with jihadist prejudices."

Colonel Ralph Peters, a former army intelligence officer and a critic of Pentagon policy in Iraq, said yesterday there was nothing wrong with learning lessons wherever possible.

"When we turn to anyone for insights, it doesn't mean we blindly accept it," Col Peters said. "But I think what you're seeing is a new realism. The American tendency is to try to win all the hearts and minds. In Iraq, there are just some hearts and minds you can't win. Within the bounds of human rights, if you do make an example of certain villages it gets the attention of the others, and attacks have gone down in the area."

The new counter-insurgency unit made up of elite troops being put together in the Pentagon is called Task Force 121, New Yorker magazine reported in yesterday's edition.

One of the planners behind the offensive is a highly controversial figure, whose role is likely to inflame Muslim opinion: Lieutenant General William "Jerry" Boykin.

In October, there were calls for his resignation after he told a church congregation in Oregon that the US was at war with Satan, who "wants to destroy us as a Christian army".

"He's been promoted a rank above his abilities," he said. "Some generals are pretty good on battlefield but are disastrous nearer the source of power."

Israel’s bombing of the USS Liberty in June 8, 1967

Israel’s bombing of the USS Liberty in June 8, 1967

    These web sites are dedicated to the memory of thirty-four fine young men who gave their lives on June 8, 1967, defending the USS Liberty against a sustained air and sea attack by the armed forces of the State of Israel

    During the Six Day War between Israel and the Arab States, the American intelligence ship USS Liberty was attacked for 75 minutes in international waters by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats. Thirty-four men died and 172 were wounded.

    James M. Ennes Jr.: The Assault on the USS Liberty Still Covered Up After 26 Years
    Reverdy S. Fishel: The Attack on the USS Liberty

Norway reopens Mossad case of mistaken identity

Norway reopens Mossad case of mistaken identity

Patrick Cockburn, Norway reopens Mossad case of mistaken identity.

Independent, 11-26-1997, pp 12.

Almost a quarter of a century ago, Israel’s intelligence agency killed a Moroccan waiter in Norway in the belief that he was a Palestinian leader. Now Norway wants Israel to interrogate the chief suspect.

Patrick Cockburn in Jerusalem examines why thecase has been reopened.

The chief suspect, Mike Harari, was a Mossad veteran who went on to an inglorious career as arms dealer in Latin America and confidant of General Noriega, the dictator of Panama.

It was in July 1973 that a team of Mossad agents arrived in the town of Lillehammer in Norway, believing they had finally tracked down Ali Hassan Salameh, the "Red Prince", whom Israel held responsible for planning the killing of 11 Israeli athletes inMunich a year earlier.

The gunmen followed the supposed Palestinian leader around Lillehammer for several hours on 21 July and then shot him dead in front of a pregnant woman as he returned home from a film. Only later did they learn that the dead man was, in fact, a Moroccanwaiter called Ahmad Bouchiki, and the woman was his Norwegian wife.

The leader of the assassination squad was Mike Harari, according to Israeli books on the attack, now aged 70 and living in Tel Aviv. Norway reopened the investigation into the Bouchiki’s death last month. They made little effort at the time to locate MrHarari, who went on to enjoy a lucrative career as an arms dealer.

Why it has taken Norway so long to act is unclear. The Mossad operation was the most disastrous in the organisation’s history until September this year, when two of its men were arrested in Jordan as they tried to assassinate Khalid Meshal, a leader ofthe Hamas Islamic militants.

Two of those involved in killing Bouchiki in Lillehammer had rented cars under their own names, Dan Ert and Marianne Gladnikoff. They were arrested when they returned them at Oslo airport. Once they had provided the address of an flat used by Mossad,six other agents were arrested. Mr Ert turned out to suffer from claustrophobia and confessed everything to the Norwegian police in return for a larger cell.

The Israeli government paid compensation to the Bouchiki family two years ago, but without admitting responsibility for the killing. Five of the Mossad agents served short terms in prison and were pardoned. Mr Harari and his fellow agent and girlfriendwere almost alone in escaping. Another of the Mossad agents married her Norwegian lawyer. Mr Harari later sold Israeli arms worth about $500m to Latin America in the 1980s.

Mossad’s Blunders

Mossad’s Blunders 

Yossi Melman

  What is a spy to do when the world around him has changed? 
It’s time to re-invent intelligence work
Los Angeles Times, 10-12-1997, pp M-1.

TEL AVIV–Gen. Danny Yatom’s days as head of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign-espionage agency, are numbered. His boss, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rejected his first offer to resign following the botched assassination of a Hamas leader in Amman, Jordan. The next time, Netanyahu may have no choice but to let him go.

Yatom, upon his nomination, was regarded by some, including Netanyahu, as too cautious, too unimaginative to run the Mossad. Ironically, he may have approved the operation against the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, to show that he could be as daring and imaginative as any of his predecessors. Yatom, in short, wanted to be more Mossad than the Mossad itself.

But the Mossad is no longer the agency of legend. Terrorism, and the fear and sudden death associated with it, have created the impression that the Mossad is merely a kind of hit team that tracks, hunts down and executes Palestinian terrorists. Its intelligence-gathering skills have accordingly suffered. The question is whether today’s Israel needs to reinvent the Mossad or reclaim its original mission.

Israel, on the eve of its 50th anniversary as an independent state, is a totally different society from what it was as recently as two decades ago, when the Mossad was more intelligence gatherer than terrorist hunter. Israelis walk a thin line between secularism and a religious orthodoxy that seeks to thrust them back in time and history. They are a strange mixture of liberalism and fierce narrow-mindedness. The effort to maintain democratic values is increasingly difficult when continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and counterterrorism require security measures that restrict personal freedom and contradict the rule of law.

That conflict has affected the Mossad, whose Hebrew name helps reveal the nature of the problem: Institute for Intelligence and Special Roles.

The Mossad has two assignments, then: to collect information on the military, economic and political capabilities of Israel’s enemies and their preparedness for war, and to carry out, on occasion, special missions, including kidnapping and assassinations.

…With the rise of Palestinian political aspirations on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Mossad’s assignments have shifted toward fighting the war against Palestinian guerrillas and terrorism. The results have been painful and traumatic. The intelligence community, for example, failed to anticipate the surprise attack, in October 1973, by Syria and Egypt. Since the late 1970s, moreover, the agency has been slow to grasp the significant accumulation of weapons of mass destructions by Iraq, Syria and Iran.

Instead, the Mossad, reflecting the prevailing mood of Israeli governments and society, has become obsessive about the war against terrorism. Its special units and its departments of operation, code-named Caesaris and Kidon (bayonet), which handles assassinations, have been correspondingly strengthened at the expense of the collection (code-named Tsomet) and research departments.

This shift of emphasis is not the result of any fundamental change in Israel’s security situation. Rather, it has more to do with psychology.

Israelis are impatient and hedonistic. They look for short-cuts, quick satisfaction and immediate results; they desire almost magical solutions to complex political and military problems. The Mossad’s assassination attempt in Jordan was, in part, a response to these societal dynamics.

Yet, by pursuing terrorists, the Mossad has magnified the importance of terrorism–and further whetted Israelis’ desire for easy and fast answers.

Within Mossad, the trend toward special operations has not gone unchallenged. Some Mossad operatives opposed the hunt, ordered by Prime Minister Golda Meir, for the terrorists who murdered 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympic games. "Eliminations and assassinations have nothing to do with intelligence work," the dissenters contended. "If these methods are needed in order to create a balance of terror between us and them, to spread fear, to take revenge and obstruct terrorist structures, let’s have the army’s special forces do the job, not the Mossad."

These officials were muffled, and embarrassing consequences soon followed. In July 1973, in Lillehammer, Norway, six Mossad agents, under various non-Israeli covers, were arrested in connection with the slaying of Ahmed Bouchikhi, a Moroccan waiter mistakenly identified as a master terrorist of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The fiasco was one reason why the Mossad’s pursuit of Palestinian terrorists came to a halt.

But in 1977, Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered the Mossad back on the terrorist track.

Since then, successive Israeli governments, right and left, have reflexively reacted to terrorist attacks by condoning, if not ordering, the liquidation of terrorist leaders and activists. But Palestinian terrorist organizations have remained undeterred. Only rarely, when the target was a "one-man organization," did assassination benefit Israel.

The most recent example of this involved Dr. Fathi Shikaki, the leader of a small Islamic Jihad organization believed responsible for several suicidal attacks against Israeli citizens between 1994-96. He was killed by Mossad agents in October 1995, on orders from Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin.

Israel is the only democratic nation to accept the legitimacy of assassination as a tactic to deal with terrorists. The nearly instinctive Israeli proclivity to retaliate to terrorist attacks is the main reason behind the blunder in Jordan, the worst failure in the history of the Mossad. The lack of judgment and sensibility displayed by both Netanyahu and the Mossad in carrying out the attack have exposed the weakness of Israel’s most celebrated agency. Far graver is the possibility that the Mossad, by using poison in its attempt to kill the Hamas leader, has let the world know that Israel is involved in the research and production of biological and chemical weapons at a time when most nations are trying to eliminate them.

The failed assassination attempt also says something about how Israelis have changed. They are different from the Zionist founding fathers and their followers, with their pioneering spirit, idealism, sacrifices and asceticism. The Mossad has always epitomized the prevailing spirit of Israeli society. It still does today: tired, clumsy, less motivated, self-righteousness and complacent.

The surest–and quickest–way to rehabilitate the Mossad is to restore its mission as an intelligence-gathering agency. Chasing terrorists around Europe and the Middle East with exotic means of extermination will not make Israel more secure, nor prepare it for real military threats posed by Syria and Iran.

Israel?s Darkest Secrets

Israel’s Darkest Secrets


(The New York Times OP-ED, Wednesday, 25 March 1998, page A23. Written by Yossi Melman, who covers intelligence issues for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz):


Tel Aviv ? In televised remarks last week, Ariel Sharon, a senior minister in the Israeli Government, warned that Israel would eventually assassinate Khaled Meshal, the leader of the Muslim fundamentalist group Hamas. Mr. Meshal has already survived one assassination attempt, six months ago when Israeli agents sprayed him with poison in Amman, Jordan.


The announcement by Mr. Sharon, who is the Infrastructures Minister in the Government of Benjamin Netanyahu, was the most explicit confirmation ever uttered by a top Cabinet official of Israel’s policy on political assassination. In the last four decades Israel has been blamed for the deaths of several dozen Palestinian terrorists, Nazi war criminals and foreign scientists who were employed by Arab countries to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. But the Israeli Government has never publicly claimed responsibility for these acts.


Though it was not his intention, Mr. Sharon has contributed to a much-needed opening of debate about Israel’s unspoken policy of using assassination as a political and security tool. Now is the time for the Israeli Government to admit its past actions and to reconsider whether assassinations have succeeded in accomplishing its goals at all.


Four weeks ago, an Israeli parliamentary subcommittee on intelligence and security services issued a carefully worded report on the botched attack on Mr. Meshal. "The committee found that for many years, Israel’s Government did not formulate a policy for fighting terrorism, a policy which should have been based on profound consideration and on logical, consistent and continuous line of thought," the report said. "In the absence of such a policy the element of responding to terrorist attacks has come to carry disproportionate weight."


This ambiguous phrasing might be read as criticism of the Government’s use of assassinations. But the report does not express opposition to assassination on moral or ethical grounds. It only implies that Israel needs to re-examine its use as a means of achieving the nation’s political and security goals.


Isser Harel, who was head of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, from 1952 to 1963, recently told me in an interview that on several occasions Cabinet ministers and other intelligence officers encouraged him to have Israeli traitors and spies killed. Mr. Harel claimed that he adamantly refused to do so and that he believed the fate of suspected spies and traitors should be determined by a court of law, not a band of assassins.


But he did not feel the need to give non-Israelis the same privilege. In the early 1960s, Mossad agents assassinated or tried to kill German scientists who helped Egypt develop rockets and chemical and biological weapons for use against Israel. In 1965, a Mossad hit team killed Herbert Tzokors, a Latvian who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.


The most extensive and systematic use of assassinations followed the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in September 1972. Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered the Mossad chief, Gen. Zvi Zamir, to take revenge and hit any Palestinian directly or indirectly connected to the murders. This campaign resulted in the murder of 11 members of the Black September terrorist group.


During the 70?s and early 80?s, the Mossad planned the killing of most of what Israel considered the "master terrorists" of the Palestinian movement. The wanted list included Yasir Arafat, Abu Nidal, George Habash and Ahmed Jibril. The Mossad and the Israeli Army failed to assassinate those leaders, but succeeded in killing many others on the list: Zoher Mohsin, leader of the pro-Syrian group A-Saika, was killed in 1979 in France. Abu Jihad, who was Yasir Arafat’s deputy in the Palestine Liberation Organization, was killed in 1988 in Tunis. Abbas Moussawi, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, was killed in 1992 in Lebanon. And most recently, Fathi Shiqaqi, the leader of the Islamic Holy War, was killed in 1995 in Malta.


With the single exception of the liquidation campaign against the terrorists who killed the Olympic athletes, the purpose of the Israeli policy of assassination has not been vengeance. Mossad operatives claimed in the recent parliamentary subcommittee hearings that revenge is an unworthy motive in battling terror. They explained that the only reason they used assassination was to frighten and deter terrorists and to disrupt their plans for future violence.


But if that was the declared goal, it seems that the policy has not succeeded. Those who were assassinated were soon replaced and terrorism resumed, sometimes more ferociously than before.


Now, with the lessons of the bungled operation in Jordan and the criticism arising from the recent hearings still fresh in memory, the Israeli Government needs to rethink its policy on assassinations. Except for Mr. Sharon and Prime Minister Netanyahu himself, most Cabinet ministers and many senior Mossad officials publicly and privately acknowledge the ineffectiveness of assassination as a weapon in the war against terrorism. More effective, they believe, are economic sanctions against states that support terrorists and better international cooperation in pursuing terrorists.


The Israeli Government may not be ready today to pass a resolution that would put an end to the assassination of its enemies. But at least Israel’s leaders are now opening up discussion about one of the nation’s oldest taboos.

U.S. Army Officers Say: ‘Mossad May Blame Arabs’

U.S. Army Officers Say: ‘Mossad May Blame Arabs’

Sometimes “the most likely suspect” in an act of terrorism is actually a “false flag” working for-or otherwise “framed” by- those who are responsible.

Exclusive To American Free Press

By Michael Collins Piper
Top U.S. Army analysts believe Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, is “ruthless and cunning,” “a wildcard” that “has [the] capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act.”

This eye-opening assertion about America’s supposed closest ally was reported in a front page story in The Washington Times on September 10-just one day before the terrorist attacks in America that are being blamed on “Arabs.”

The Times reported that this serious charge by U.S. Army officers against the Israelis appeared in a 68-page paper prepared by 60 officers at the U.S. Army’s School for Advanced Military Studies, a training ground for up-and-coming Army officers.

Then, just hours after the terrorist tra gedies, a well-known pro-Israel analyst, George Friedman, proclaimed Israel as the primary beneficiary.

“The big winner today, intended or not, is the state of Israel,” wrote Fried man, who said on his Internet website at that “There is no question ” that the Israeli leadership is feeling relief” in the wake of the terrorist attack on America as a result of the benefits that Israel will glean.

Considering the U.S. Army’s questions about possible provocations by Israel, coupled with this noted intelligence analyst’s suggestion that Israel was indeed “the big winner” on Sept. 11, a previous report in the Aug. 3, 1993 issue of The Village Voice that Israel’s Mossad was perhaps involved in (or had foreknowledge of) the previous “Arab terrorist” attack on the World Trade Center, takes on new dimensions.

The events of Sept. 11 do require careful attention in light of the fact that Israel has had a long and proven record in planting “false flags”-orchestrated assassinations and acts of terrorism for its own purposes and pinning those atrocities on innocent parties.

Perhaps the best-known instance in which Israel used a “false flag” to cover its own trail was in the infamous Lavon Affair. It was in 1954 that several Israeli-orchestrated acts of terrorism against British targets in Egypt were carried out. Blame for the attacks was placed on the Muslim Brotherhood, which opposed the regime of Egyptian President Gamul Abdul-Nasser. However, the truth about the wave of terror is found in a once-secret cable from Col. Benjamin Givli, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, who outlined the intended purpose behind the wave of terror:
[Our goal] is to break the West’s confidence in the existing [Egyptian] regime. The actions should cause arrests, demonstrations, and expressions of revenge. The Israeli origin should be totally covered while attention should be shifted to any other possible factor. The purpose is to prevent economic and military aid from the West to Egypt.

Ultimately the truth about Israel’s involvement became public and Israel was rocked internally in the wake of the scandal. Competing political elements within Israel used the scandal as a bludgeon against their opponents. But the truth about Israel’s use of a “false flag” had come to international attention and demonstrated how Israel was willing to endanger innocent lives as part of its grand political strategy to expand its influence in the Middle East.


A shadowy “right wing” group known as “Direct Action” was accused of the attack on Goldenberg’s Deli in Paris on Aug. 9, 1982. Six people died and 22 were injured. The leader of “Direct Action” was Jean-Marc Rouillan who had been operating in the Mediterranean under the cover name of “Sebas” and had been repeatedly linked to the Mossad. All references to Rouillan’s Mossad links were deleted from the official reports issued at the time.

However, the Algerian national news service, which has ties to French intelligence, blamed the Mossad for Rouillan’s activities. Angry French intelligence officers were believed to have leaked this information. Several top French security officials quit in protest over the cover-up of Mossad complicity in Rouillan’s crimes. However, other Mossad false flag operations also took place on French soil.


On Oct. 3, 1980, a synagogue on Co pernicus Street was bombed in Paris. Four bystanders were killed. Nine were injured. The media frenzy which followed the incident was worldwide. Reports held that “right wing extremists” were responsible. Yet, of all the “right wing extremists” held for questioning, none was arrested. In fact, all were released. In the upper echelons of French intelligence, however, the finger of suspicion was pointed at the Mossad.

According to one report: “On April 6, 1979, the same Mossad terror unit now suspected of the Copernicus carnage blew up the heavily guarded plant of CNIM industries at La Seyne-sur-Mer, near Toulon, in southeast France, where a consortium of French firms was building a nuclear reactor for Iraq.

“The Mossad salted the site of the CNIM bomb blast with ‘clues’ followed up with anonymous phone calls to police-suggesting that the sabotage was the work of a ‘conservative’ environmentalist group-‘the most pacific and harmless people on earth’ as one source put it.”


o On June 28, 1978, Israeli agents exploded a bomb under a small passenger car in the Rue Saint Anne in Paris, killing Mohammed Boudia, an organizer for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Immediately afterward, Paris police received anonymous phone calls accusing Boudia of involvement in narcotics deals and attributing his murder to the Corsican Mafia. A thorough investigation subsequently established that Mossad special-action agents were responsible for the terrorist killing.

o In October 1976 the same Mossad unit kidnapped two West German students named Brigette Schulz and Thomas Reuter from their Paris hotel. Planted “clues” and anonymous phone calls made it appear that a Bavarian “neo-nazi” formation had executed the abduction. French intelligence established that the two German youths had been secretly flown to Israel, drugged, tortured, coerced into a false “confession of complicity” in PLO activities, and then anonymously incarcerated in one of the Israeli government’s notorious political prisons.

o In February 1977 a German-born, naturalized U.S. citizen named William Jahnke arrived in Paris for some secretive business meetings. He soon vanished, leaving no trace. Paris police were anonymously informed that Jahnke had been involved in a high-level South Korean bribery affair and “eliminated” when the deal went sour. A special team of investigators from SDECE, the leading French intelligence agency, eventually determined that Jahnke had been “terminated” by the Mossad, which suspected him of selling secret information to the Libyans. Along with other details of this sordid case, the SDECE learned that Jahnke had been “fingered” to the Mossad by his own former employer, the CIA.


One of Israel’s most outrageous “false flag” operations involved a wild propaganda story aimed at discrediting Libyan leader Muamar Qaddafi. In the early months of the administration of President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. media began promoting a story that a “Libyan hit squad” was in the United States to assassinate the president. This inflamed public sentiment against Libya.

Suddenly, however, the “hit squad” stories vanished. Ultimately it was discovered that the source of the story was Manucher Ghorbanifar, a former Iranian SAVAK (secret police) agent with close ties to the Mossad. Even the liberal Washington Post acknowledged that the CIA itself believed that Ghorbanifar was a liar who “had made up the hit-squad story in order to cause problems for one of Is rael’s enemies.”

The Los Angeles Times had already blown the whistle on Israel’s scare stories. “Israeli intelligence, not the Reagan administration,” reported the Times, “was a major source of some of the most dramatic published reports about a Libyan assassination team allegedly sent to kill President Reagan and other top U.S. officials . . . Israel, which informed sources said has ‘wanted an excuse to go in and bash Libya for a longtime,’ may be trying to build American public support for a strike against [Qaddafi].”

In other words, Israel had been promoting the former SAVAK agent, Ghorbanifar, to official Washing ton as a reliable source. In fact, he was a Mossad disinformation operative waving a “false flag”-yet another Israeli scheme to blame Libya for its own misdeeds, using one “false flag” (Iran’s SAVAK) to lay blame on another “false flag” (Libya).

The Mossad was almost certainly responsible for the bombing of the La Belle discotheque in West Berlin on April 5, 1986. However, claims were made that there was “irrefutable” evidence that the Libyans were responsible. A U.S. serviceman was killed. President Ronald Reagan responded with an attack on Libya.

However, intelligence insiders believed that Israel’s Mossad had concocted the phony “evidence” to “prove” Libyan responsibility. West Berlin police director Manfred Ganschow, who took charge of the investigation, cleared the Libyans, saying, “This is a highly political case. Some of the evidence cited in Washington may not be evidence at all, merely assumptions supplied for political reasons.”


On April 18, 1986, Nezar Hindawi, a 32-year-old Jordanian man was arrested in London after security guards found that one of the passengers boarding an Israeli plane bound for Jerusalem, Ann Murphy, 22, was carrying a square, flat sheet of plastic explosive in the double bottom of her carry-on bag.

Miss Murphy told security men that the detonator (disguised as a calculator) had been given to her by her fiancee, Hindawi. He was charged with attempted sabotage and attempted murder.

Word was leaked that Hindawi had confessed and claimed that he had been hired by Gen. Mohammed Al-Khouli, the intelligence director of the Syrian air force. Also implicated were others including the Syrian ambassador in London. The French authorities warned the British prime minister that there was more to the case than met the eye-that is, Israeli involvement. This was later confirmed in reports in the Western press.


In 1970, King Hussein of Jordan was provided incriminating intelligence that suggested the Palestine Liberation Organization was plotting to murder him and seize power. Infuriated, Hussein mobilized his forces for what has become known as the “Black September” purge of the PLO. Thousands of Palestinians living in Jordan were rounded up, some of the leaders were tortured, and in the end, masses of refugees were driven from Jordan to Lebanon.

New data, coming to light after the murder of two leading Mossad operatives in Larnaka, Cyprus, suggested that the entire operation had been a Mossad covert action, led by one of its key operatives, Sylvia Roxburgh. She contrived an affair with King Hussein and served as the linchpin for a major Mossad coup designed to destabilize the Arabs.

In 1982, just when the PLO had abandoned the use of terrorism, the Mossad spread disinformation about “terror attacks” on Israeli settlements along the northern border in order to justify a full-scale military invasion of Lebanon. Years later, even leading Israeli spokesmen, such as former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, admitted that the reports of “PLO terrorism” had been contrived by the Mossad.

It is also worth noting that the attempted assassination in London of Israeli ambassador Shlomo Argov was initially blamed on the PLO. The attempted assassination was cited by Israel as one excuse for its 1982 incursion into Lebanon. In fact, the diplomat was one of Israel’s “doves” and inclined toward a friendly disposition of Israel’s conflict with the PLO and an unlikely target of PLO wrath.