ISRAELI SPIES: Door-to-door spies in Utah County?

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Sales people working neighborhoods in Northern Utah County have been asking some odd questions that have nothing to do with making the sale. Folks are reporting that they’re asking about the new National Security Agency’s data center that is being built at Camp Williams.

The sales people say they’re Israeli art students and are selling their works to raise money for a gallery. Some have even produced what appear to be legitimate Israeli passports.

So, why would art students be interested in an NSA data center?

Blogs and even church bulletins are buzzing. One such bulletin sent out to LDS women in Highland said, “This is a scam! These are not art students and federal law enforcement groups are actually investigating their ties to organized crime and terrorist groups.” The note went on, “Part of their mission here is to gain information on the new NSA installation coming to our area.”

One Israeli artist knocked on Gail Black’s door in Eagle Mountain. She bought a painting from him knowing that the price was too high, but she explained that she felt sorry for him. I asked her if he looked like a Mossad spy, she laughed and said, “No, just a poor thirsty boy.” She said the subject of the NSA did not come up in their conversation.

Saratoga Springs residents have complained to their police department about the art students. Officer Matt Schauerhamer tracked down one group at a restaurant. He  does not know if they were spies, but they’re definitely not artists. “I told them, ‘If you’re actually an artist, why don’t you draw something?’ I gave them a piece of paper and gave them my pen. They produced a picture that was about on par with what my kindergartner could have done.”

Officer Schauerhamer cited the group for soliciting without a city business license and then passed along their information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He said ICE is investigating.

ABC 4 also contacted other agencies that might have interest in possible door-to-door spies. We were told by a spokesman for Utah Homeland Security that they were unaware of the Israeli artists and the FBI had no comment.

Ref: ABC4

Australia expels Israeli diplomat

Australia has ordered the explusion of an Isreali diplomat over the use of fake passports in the assassination of a senior Hamas commander in Dubai in January.

Australian investigators say Israel was responsible for forging four Australian passports that were used in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel.

“These investigations and advice have left the government in no doubt that Israel was responsible for the abuse and counterfeiting of these passports,” Stephen Smith, the Australian foreign minister, told Australia’s parliament on Monday.

Smitth said that the operation to kill Al-Mabhouh was not the first time Israel had forged Australian travel documents. He did not elaborate on previous incidents.

Australian investigators concluded the fake passports were the work of Mossad, Israel’s state intelligence agency.

“No government can tolerate the abuse of its passports, especially by a foreign government,” the foreign minister said.

“This represents a clear affront to the security of our passport system.”

Australia and Isreal had been close allies prior to the incident.

Furore

The scandal over the use of fake passports erupted after the January 20 murder of the Hamas commander.

Police in Dubai identified dozens of people involved in the assassination, who entered the country using fraudulent British, Irish, French, German and Australian passports.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Dubai police are also seeking the arrest of another British man in connection with the assassination.

Interpol is understood to have issued an arrest warrant for Christopher Lockwood, a 62 year old British national, following a request from the Dubai police.

Britian expelled an Israeli diplomat in March after also concluding that Isreal was responsible for forging 12 British passports to facilitate the killing.

In February, Avigdor Lieberman, the Isreali foreign minister, said there was no evidence to link his country to the assassination.

Ref: Al Jazeera

ANALYS: The Dubai Hit

THE TWO classic intelligence disasters occurred during World War II. In both, the intelligence agencies either provided their political bosses with faulty assessments, or the leaders ignored their accurate assessments. As far as the results are concerned, both amount to the same.

Comrade Stalin was totally surprised by the German invasion of the Soviet Union, even though the Germans needed months to assemble their huge invasion force. President Roosevelt was totally surprised by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, even though the bulk of the Japanese Navy took part in it. The failures were so fantastic, that spy aficionados had to resort to conspiracy theories to explain them. One such theory says that Stalin deliberately ignored the warnings because he intended to surprise Hitler with an attack of his own. Another theory asserts that Roosevelt practically “invited” the Japanese to attack because he was in need of a pretext to push the US into an unpopular war.

But since then, failures continued to follow each other. All Western spy agencies were totally surprised by the Khomeini revolution in Iran, the results of which are still hitting the headlines today. All of them were totally surprised by the collapse of the Soviet Union, one of the defining events of the 20th century.  They were totally surprised by the fall of the Berlin wall. And all of them provided wrong information about Saddam Hussein’s imaginary nuclear bomb, which served as a pretext for the American invasion of Iraq.

* * *

AH, OUR people say, that’s what’s happening among the Goyim. Not here. Our intelligence community is like no other. The Jewish brain has invented the Mossad, which knows everything and is capable of everything. (Mossad – “institute” – is short for the “Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations”.)

Really? At the outbreak of the 1948 war, all the chiefs of our intelligence community unanimously advised David Ben-Gurion that the armies of the Arab states would not intervene. (Fortunately, Ben-Gurion rejected their assessment.) In May 1967, our entire intelligence community was totally surprised by the concentration of the Egyptian army in Sinai, the step that led to the Six-Day war. (Our intelligence chiefs were convinced that the bulk of the Egyptian army was busy in Yemen, where a civil war was raging.) The Egyptian-Syrian attack on Yom Kippur, 1973, completely surprised our intelligence services, even though heaps of advance warnings were available.

The intelligence agencies were totally surprised by the first intifada, and then again by the second. They were totally surprised by the Khomeini revolution, even though (or because) they were deeply imbedded in the Shah’s regime. They were totally surprised by the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections.

The list is long and inglorious. But in one field, so they say, our Mossad performs like no other: assassinations. (Sorry, “eliminations”.)

* * *

STEVEN SPIELBERG’S movie “Munich” describes the assassination (“elimination”) of PLO officials after the massacre of the athletes at the Olympic Games. As a masterpiece of kitsch it can be compared only to the movie “Exodus”, based on Leon Uris’ kitschy book.

After the massacre (the main responsibility for which falls on the incompetent and irresponsible Bavarian police), the Mossad, on the orders of Golda Meir, killed seven PLO officials, much to the joy of the revenge-thirsty Israeli public. Almost all the victims were PLO diplomats, the civilian representatives of the organization in European capitals, who had no direct connection with violent operations. Their activities were public, they worked in regular offices and lived with their families in residential buildings. They were static targets – like the ducks in a shooting gallery.

In one of the actions – which resembled the latest affair – a Moroccan waiter was assassinated by mistake in the Norwegian town of Lillehammer. The Mossad mistook him for Ali Hassan Salameh, a senior Fatah officer who served as contact with the CIA. The Mossad agents, including a glamorous blonde (there is always a glamorous blonde) were identified, arrested and sentenced to long prison terms (but released very soon). The real Salameh was “eliminated” later on.

In 1988, five years before the Oslo agreement, Abu Jihad (Khalil al-Wazir), the No. 2 in Fatah, was assassinated in Tunis before the eyes of his wife and children. Had he not been killed, he would probably be serving today as the President of the Palestinian Authority instead of Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas). He would have enjoyed the same kind of standing among his people as did Yasser Arafat – who was, most likely, killed by a poison that leaves no traces.

The fiasco that most resembles the latest action was the Mossad’s attempt on the life of Khalid Mishal, a senior Hamas leader, on orders of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The Mossad agents ambushed him on a main street of Amman and sprayed a nerve toxin in his ear – that was about to kill him without leaving traces. They were caught on the spot. King Hussein, the Israeli government’s main ally in the Arab world, was livid and delivered a furious ultimatum: either Israel would immediately provide the antidote to the poison and save Mishal’s life, or the Mossad agents would be hanged. Netanyahu, as usual, caved in, Mishal was saved and the Israeli government, as a bonus, released Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the main Hamas leader, from prison. He was “eliminated” by a hellfire missile later on.

* * *

DURING THE last weeks, a deluge of words has been poured on the assassination in Dubai of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, another senior Hamas officer.

Israelis agreed from the first moment that this was a job of the Mossad. What capabilities! What talent! How did they know, long in advance, when the man would go to Dubai, what flight he would take, in what hotel he would stay! What precise planning!

The “military correspondents” and “Arab affairs correspondents” on screen were radiant. Their faces said: oh, oh, oh, if the material were not embargoed…If I could only tell you what I know…I can tell you only that the Mossad has proved again that its long arm can reach anywhere! Live in fear, oh enemies of Israel!

When the problems started to become apparent, and the photos of the assassins appeared on TV all over the world, the enthusiasm cooled, but only slightly. An old and proven Israeli method was brought into play: to take some marginal detail and discuss it passionately, ignoring the main issue. Concentrate on one particular tree and divert attention from the forest.

Really, why did the agents use the names of actual people who live in Israel and have dual nationality? Why, of all possible passports, did they use those of friendly countries? How could they be sure that the owners of these passports would not travel abroad at the critical time?

Moreover, were they not aware that Dubai was full of cameras that record every movement? Did they not foresee that the local police would produce films of the assassination in almost all its details?

But this did not arouse too much excitement in Israel. Everybody understood that the British and the Irish were obliged, pro forma, to protest, but that this was nothing but going through the motions. Behind the scenes, there are intimate connections between the Mossad and the other intelligence agencies. After some weeks, everything will be forgotten. That’s how it worked in Norway after Lillehammer, that’s how it worked in Jordan after the Mishal affair. They will protest, rebuke, and that’s that. So what is the problem?

* * *

THE PROBLEM is that the Mossad in Israel acts like an independent fiefdom that ignores the vital long-term political and strategic interests of Israel, enjoying the automatic backing of an irresponsible prime minister. It is, as the English expression goes, a “loose cannon” – the cannon of a ship of yore which has broken free of its mountings and is rolling around the deck, crushing to death any unfortunate sailor who happens to get in its way.

From the strategic point of view, the Dubai operation causes heavy damage to the government’s policy, which defines Iran’s putative nuclear bomb as an existential threat to Israel. The campaign against Iran helps it to divert the world’s attention from the ongoing occupation and settlement, and induces the US, Europe and other countries to dance to its tune.

Barack Obama is in the process of trying to set up a world-wide coalition for imposing “debilitating sanctions” on Iran. The Israeli government serves him – willingly – as a growling dog. He tells the Iranians: The Israelis are crazy. They may attack you at any moment. I am restraining them with great difficulty. But if you don’t do what I tell you, I shall let go of the leash and may Allah have mercy on your soul!

Dubai, a Gulf country facing Iran, is an important component of this coalition. It is an ally of Israel, much like Egypt and Jordan. And here comes the same Israeli government and embarrasses it, humiliates it, arousing among the Arab masses the suspicion that Dubai is collaborating with the Mossad.

In the past we have embarrassed Norway, then we infuriated Jordan, now we humiliate Dubai. Is that wise?  Ask Meir Dagan, who Netanyahu has just granted an almost unprecedented eighth year in office as chief of the Mossad.

* * *

PERHAPS THE impact of the operation on Israel standing in the world is even more significant.

Once upon a time it was possible to belittle this aspect. Let the Goyim say what they want. But since the Molten Lead operation, Israel has become more conscious of its far-reaching implications. The verdict of Judge Goldstone, the echoes of the antics of Avigdor Lieberman, the growing world-wide campaign for boycotting Israel – all these tend to suggest that Thomas Jefferson was not talking through his hat when he said that no nation can afford to ignore the opinion of mankind.

The Dubai affair is reinforcing the image of Israel as a bully state, a rogue nation that treats world public opinion with contempt, a country that conducts gang warfare, that sends mafia-like death squads abroad, a pariah nation to be avoided by right-minded people.

Was this worthwhile?

REF: Counterpunch

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

Ex-Mossad head defends Meshaal plot

Danny Yatom has held key military, security and political posts during major junctures in Israel’s history.

But he is perhaps best known for his stint as the director of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, and the organisation’s botched assassination attempt of Khaled Meshaal, Hamas’s political leader.

Yatom says the assassination plot was “a failure” but not “a mistake”.

In the first of a two-part interview, Yatom staunchly defends the assassination of Palestinians deemed “terrorists” by Israel, but said his country is ready to negotiate with Hamas – albeit indirectly – to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian fighters in June, 2006.

Al Jazeera: In 1997, during your tenure as director, Mossad tried and failed to assassinate Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas political bureau chief. In retrospect, was the attempt to assassinate Meshaal a mistake?

Yatom: I don’t think so because he was and still is the head of Hamas, and he was situated in Amman. Now he is situated in Damascus, but all the links between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank regarding Hamas and the terror attacks during those days … were to Khaled Meshaal.

The late Yitzhak Rabin [Israel’s former prime minister] requested that King Hussein shut Hamas headquarters in Amman down.

King Hussein refused. He said that his people can monitor Khaled Meshaal and his people better in Amman than if they were somewhere else. But the Mukhabarat [Jordan’s security agency] did nothing.

How so?

We had all the information. And Khaled Meshaal was the mastermind behind many attacks that claimed many lives.

Profile: Danny Yatom
Born – March 15, 1945.

1963 – 1996: Served in the Israeli army rising to the position of Israeli Central Command chief.

1996 – 1998: Head of the Mossad and served as security adviser to Yehud Barak, Israel’s former prime minister.

2003 – 2006: Elected to the Knesset on the Israeli Labour Party ticket, and re-elected in in 2006.

Yatom, in his capacity as an adviser, has taken part in nearly all major rounds of Arab-Israeli negotiations.
After terror attacks in Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister at the time, asked security chiefs to offer suggestions on how to fight Hamas – in addition to what Israel was then doing in the territories.

My suggestion was not Khaled Meshaal, and was not Jordan.

What was your suggestion?

Something else. Not in an Arab country.

Someone or something?

Something.

Netanyahu decided that my suggestion was not tough enough on Hamas. He asked me to go after one of the heads – one of the four. They were Meshaal and three others: Ibrahim Ghosheh, Musa Abu Marzouk, and a fourth one.

And when the option came, when the plan became real, due to many reasons, it was Khaled Meshaal.

We very much understood the sensitivity of doing something in Jordan, so we decided to do it in a silent way. But there was a failure. The agents were caught by the Jordanian police.

Israel continues to label Meshaal
as a ‘terrorist’ [AFP]
Immediately, when I got the information I took a plane and went to see King Hussein and told him the entire story and that we had an antidote [to prevent Meshaal from dying].

We offered him – I offered him – the antidote, because I understood that if Meshaal was going to die after our people were caught, it was only likely to make the situation more complicated.

The Jordanians refused to use it because they thought it was a [another] plot. Meanwhile, Khaled Meshaal was dying, so the Jordanians demanded that we give them more information about the antidote. We gave it to them, and they were convinced. They gave him a shot and since then he started to recover.

Would Israel assassinate Meshaal today?

The Israeli policy is that as long as there is terror, the terrorist must understand that anyone who executes terror will not enjoy immunity.

So Mossad carries out extra-judicial assassinations?

The way I will refer to it is that whoever deals with terror should not enjoy any immunity.

Without regard to international law?

With regard to what [former president] Bill Clinton said: there should be zero tolerance for terror.

What do you think Israel should do now?

Yatom, left, has wielded great influence
in the Israeli government [EPA]
I am against a large-scale ground operation because I don’t think that it will help – neither us, nor the Palestinians. It will only cause destruction and bloodshed and suffering.

But as long as Hamas fires rockets at our cities we will fight back, and what is being done today is the way we should operate.

I think we have to support and to develop dialogue, via the good services of the Egyptians, with Hamas – not directly.

I am ready to negotiate a ceasefire that will cease all hostilities on both sides – one that will also seal the border and the Philadelphia corridor [the narrow stretch of land on the Egyptian-Gaza border] so that the Hamas will stop smuggling.

But only a ceasefire in Gaza, not the West Bank.

Why?

Because they don’t control the West Bank. If there is an attempt to carry out terror in the West Bank, I don’t want them to say “Israel violates its agreement” if Israel strikes there. I cannot agree to that.

Hamas declared a unilateral ceasefire twice before and Israel did not honour it.

This is not true. What happened was that after a few days, rockets were fired at us by other [Palestinian groups].

A fully-fledged ceasefire means everything.

Do you think there is a military option in Gaza?

I am against it.

A recent poll by the Ha’aretz newspaper found that a majority of Israelis support talks with Hamas. Are you ready to engage Hamas, and if not, why did Israel allow them to participate in the elections?

We were forced by the Americans to allow Hamas to participate in elections, and it was a dramatic mistake because it was against what was written in Oslo – that only parties, not organisations, that accept our right to exist, will participate in elections.

But, it was under the pressure of President George Bush and Condoleezza Rice [US secretary of state], and Ariel Sharon [former Israeli prime minister] accepted it. The common understanding in Israel and the US was that Fatah would win. It was a surprise to all of us.

Secondly, as I told you, I am ready to talk to Hamas. But I am ready to talk to Hamas only on two issues and in an indirect way: One is a ceasefire [in Gaza], and the second one is the exchange of prisoners in order to get back Gilad Shalit.

Ref. Al Jazeera