Harper Government Sides with US and Israel Against Lebanon
In response to hotly contested claims that Hezbollah was responsible for bombing Israeli citizens in Bulgaria last July, immigration minister Jason Kenney called the Lebanese group a “vile anti-Semitic terrorist organization” and urged the European Union to “follow Canada’s lead in listing Hezbollah as a proscribed and illegal terrorist organization.”
Kenney’s comment last week is part of a concerted campaign against a group the Los Angeles Times has called “Lebanon’s largest political party and most potent armed force.” Stephen Harper blamed Hezbollah for Israel’s summer 2006 invasion, Israel’s fifth, of Lebanon, which left 1,100 (mostly civilian) Lebanese dead and much of the country’s infrastructure destroyed. The month after Hezbollah successfully held off the Israeli invasion, foreign minister Peter MacKay said: “Lebanon is being held hostage by Hezbollah. There can be no doubt about that. Hezbollah is a cancer on Lebanon, which is destroying stability and democracy within its boundaries.” For his part, public safety minister Stockwell Day claimed the “stated intent of Hezbollah is to annihilate Jewish people.” (Despite Day and Kenney’s claims, Hezbollah was created in response to Israel’s 1982-2000 occupation of southern Lebanon and its pronouncements suggest it is largely concerned with Israel’s occupation of Arab lands.)
Almost entirely ignored by the Canadian media, the Conservatives’ demonization of Hezbollah gathered steam when Daniel Bellemare, a Canadian official, took charge of the international investigation into the February 2005 assassination of five-time Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri. In November 2007 Bellemare, deputy attorney general and special advisor to the deputy minister of justice until October 2007, was appointed commissioner of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) into the bombing that killed Hariri and two dozen others. Concurrently, he was named prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which was set to continue the UNIIIC’s work beginning in March 2009.
Both the internal and international investigations into Hariri’s killing were far from conclusive. Initially, Syrian security officers were implicated in the killings and in the post assassination upheaval Syrian troops were driven from the country. Four Lebanese generals were also incarcerated for four years in the killings but they were released when the evidence against them was dismissed.
In 2010 the Netherlands-based STL began to point its finger at Hezbollah and in August 2011 four members of the Party of God were formally charged in the Hariri killings. But before the charges came down the international investigation was discredited in the eyes of many. A July 2011 survey of 800 Lebanese, sponsored by leading Arabic-language daily As-Safir, found that 60 percent of the country believed the international probe was politicized. The poll also found widespread distrust of Bellemare, who was accused of being pro-Israel and anti-Hezbollah. He also had suspiciously close relations with US officials.
Just after Bellemare issued the indictments against four individuals with ties to Hezbollah Lebanese daily Al Akbar published a detailed article on the Canadian titled “UN Tribunal: A Prosecutor’s ‘Tunnel Vision’” (translated by its English edition). “An example of this bias appears in paragraph 59 of the indictment, where Bellemare states that ‘all four accused are supporters of Hezbollah, which is a political and military organization in Lebanon. In the past, the military wing of Hezbollah has been implicated in terrorist acts.’ Bellemare does not offer a reference supporting his assertion that Hezbollah was involved in terrorism, and, so far, no international judicial body has issued a decision describing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In fact, there is no international consensus surrounding Hezbollah’s ‘terrorism’ status, and the UN does not recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Several countries, including the US, Israel, and Canada have officially labeled the group as a terrorist organization — though, notably, the European Union has not. Bellemare seemingly chose to include his personal political opinion and perhaps the views of some of his colleagues in an international indictment.”
Many Lebanese believe the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad had a hand in Hariri’s death yet Bellemare refused to say if he interviewed any Israeli suspects. A TV station linked to Hezbollah, Al Manar, claimed Bellemare “lost credibility” for his “politicized tribunal” because he was unwilling to investigate Israel’s possible implication in the killings. The “Israeli enemy is ‘innocent’ and will remain so in the eyes of the international community and the STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare.”
The most damning evidence against Bellemare came from the US State Department. A series of US diplomatic cables, released by Wikileaks, suggest he worked closely with the US embassy in Beirut. On one occasion Bellemare asked US officials for information on Syria and for help in convincing the British to assist an investigation committee. The former deputy attorney general also requested two temporary FBI investigators be paid by the US. An October 2008 cable from the ambassador in Beirut to Washington read: “Bellemare showed a good understanding of the problems [for the US] associated with complying … but his frustration was nonetheless evident: ‘You are the key player [he said]. If the US doesn’t help me, who will?’” The US embassy gave Bellemare “an ‘excellence’ preliminary assessment for his effort and determination, and we urge Washington to exert every effort to respond to the investigation committee’s request related to the information and support.”
Hezbollah claimed the Wikileaks cables confirmed that the US manipulated the probe. “The information leaked on meetings between the prosecutor and the US ambassador confirms what we have always said — that the US administration is using the court and the investigation committee as a tool to target the resistance [to Israel, i.e. Hezbollah],” noted Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah in December 2010.
In January 2011 the Lebanese government collapsed when 10 cabinet ministers and one presidential appointee withdrew over then Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s refusal to reject the STL. At the start of 2011 many feared that the STL’s expected indictment of Hezbollah members could re-ignite the country’s civil war, which lasted from 1975-1990. This didn’t bother Washington. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in favour of the STL and announced $10 million in added funding for the floundering tribunal. The US ambassador in Lebanon Maura Connelly said “the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is an irrevocable, international judicial process; its work is not a matter of politics but of law.” Even President Obama chimed in, saying the STL’s first indictment could end an “era of impunity” and that it was “a significant and emotional time for the Lebanese people.”
In the first 10 weeks of 2011 Foreign Affairs released three statements that dealt with the STL. On January 13 the ministry complained about the dissolution of Lebanon’s government over the matter. “These resignations are an attempt to subvert a safe and secure Lebanon and cannot be tolerated. Hezbollah’s actions in bringing down the government are a clear attempt to undermine the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Canada believes that the work of the Special Tribunal should go forward so that justice can be served.” A follow-up statement explained: “We urge the future Lebanese government to continue to support and cooperate with the Tribunal and to continue to uphold its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions on Lebanon.” In March 2011 the Conservatives gave a further $1 million contribution to the STL. “Canada has been a strong supporter of the Tribunal, having already contributed $3.7 million to the voluntarily funded Tribunal since 2007,” explained foreign minister Cannon.
An August 2011 Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) report, detailed in Montréal daily La Presse, found that “many Lebanese consider the work of the STL an inquest led by Canadians.” At the time more than 20 Canadians were involved in the Tribunal’s work and last March another Canadian replaced Bellemare. According to CSIS, this country’s association with the highly divisive tribunal increased the likelihood of Canadians being targeted.
The Conservatives latest salvo against Hezbollah is another reminder that the Harper government has sided with the US and Israel against most Lebanese.
Yves Engler’s latest book is The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s foreign policy
Israel’s Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday summoned the owners and top editors of country’s media establishments to forbid them from publishing reports on a prisoner who had been secretly jailed in 2010.
Haaretz reported that the office called an “emergency meeting” with the Israeli Editors Committee where they were reportedly ordered to “withhold publication of information pertaining to an incident that is very embarrassing to a certain government agency.”
The order comes in response to a new investigative report by Australia’s ABC TV news program Foreign Correspondent which alleges to have revealed the identity of a former inmate in Israel’s Ayalon Prison who was found dead in his cell in 2010.
The secret inmate, known as “Prisoner X,” was reportedly kept in a cell built for the man who assassinated former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Haaretz had earlier posted, then quickly removed a story linking to the Australian report, presumably under government orders.
At 12:38pm, the newspaper Tweeted the story, which was titled: “Report: Security prisoner who committed suicide in Israeli prison in 2010 was Australian.” Less than two hours later a user pointed out that the story had vanished.
No details had previously been released about the prisoner’s identity or reasons behind his incarceration.
The ABC report, which came out Tuesday, identified the man as Ben Zygier, an Australian citizen who had been living in Israel for 10 years before his death.
The report said it had found evidence to suggest that Zygier had been recruited by Israel’s Mossad spy agency, but that it remained unclear why he was being secretly held.
An Israeli court order – issued shortly after his imprisonment in 2010 – that barred media from covering the story remains in effect, the report added.
The prisoner was found hanging from his cell after being held for several months in an apparent suicide.
Media scholars have written on Israel’s tight media restrictions over issues it claims may compromise the security of the Jewish state.
In recent days, reports about an alleged Israeli-US bombing attack that would have allegedly destroyed a large portion of the Fordo nuclear enrichment plant in Qom were circulating in Western media. However, its falsehood was soon revealed by several sources.
The story first appeared on February 25th when an Iranian defector going by the pseudonym Reza Kahlili published an evidence-free article in the US site wnd.com, in which he claimed that the Fordo plant had been the target of a sabotage operation. The article claimed that a blast deep within Fordo had “destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 240 personnel deep underground”.
However, the first doubts came due to the personality of the author himself, as Kahlili, a defector, is widely considered as a liar because of his previous claims. He wrote some months ago that Iran actually had nuclear weapons.
Kahlili’s sole source was Hamid Reza Zakeri, another Iranian defector, who is also notorious for his lies against Iran. A US official has been quoted by some US media as saying that Zakeri was “a fabricator or monumental proportions”.
This is not the first time that defectors are used in order to launch false accusations against a country. In the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003, New York Times reporter Judith Miller (and some others) published several stories about Saddam Hussein´s non-existent weapons of mass destruction programs and these reports were used by the Bush administration as a pretext to launch the war. Later, all these allegations turned out to be false and the newspaper was forced to admit that Miller had based her reports on Iraqi defectors. In that sense, the case for the war on Iraq was built on a set of fabricated documents and deliberately manipulated intelligence that US media outlets uncritically reproduced.
Israel spreads the story
Shortly after the Fordo story appeared, Israeli sites and officials tried to make it pass as true. The website of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot repeated the claim and it was later echoed by the Times of London, which added that the story had been confirmed by Israeli intelligence officials. “We are still in the preliminary stages of understanding what happened and how significant it is,” one Israeli official told the London Times. “Israel believes the Iranians have not evacuated the (Fordo´s) surrounding area. It is unclear whether that is because no harmful substances have been released, or because Tehran is trying to avoid sparking panic among residents.”
For his part, Israeli acting Defense Minister, Avi Dichter, reacted to the story by saying that indeed any explosion in Iran was “good news”.
Of course, Israeli officials always knew that the story was false but it is clear that they wanted to feed the notion that they -with US help- were conducting a successful secret war against Iran in order to reinforce their own extremist stance. However, as these stories are revealed as lies, the effect is counterproductive to them because they expose themselves, once again, as liars before the international community, especially on the Iran nuclear issue.
However, two senior Iranian officials dismissed reports of the explosion. Deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi said there had been no explosion at the Fordo facility, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). The chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said they were “baseless lies” meant to impact talks on Iran´s nuclear program, reported IRNA.
The Iranians´ statements were then confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which claimed that there were no signs of any explosion whatever in Fordo. The IAEA has live cameras at the site and its inspectors regularly visit it, and, therefore, they would have known if it had been “in ruins with hundreds trapped within”. “We understand that Iran has denied that there has been an incident at Fordo. This is consistent with our observations,” IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said.
The White House also rejected the report as unreliable. “We have no information to confirm the allegations in the report and we do not believe the report is credible,” spokesman Jay Carney said in a briefing with reporters. “We do not believe those are credible reports.”
The false diagram
The Fordo false explosion was not the only Israeli fabrication on the Iranian nuclear issue. On November 27th 2012, the Associated Press agency published a report claiming that it had discovered the existence of alleged evidence of “Iranian work on a nuclear bomb”. “Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima”, the agency said.
This evidence, according to AP, was a “graph” which the agency said was “leaked” to it by “officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program” to “bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon”. Moreover, “an intelligence summary was provided with the drawing” claiming that “Iran is working not on isolated experiments, but rather on a single program aimed at mastering all aspects of nuclear arms development.”
Why did AP hide which country had delivered the diagram? It said that officials of that country wanted anonumity, so the agency gave it anonymity. However, everybody was certain it was Israel.
The author of the AP report, George Jahn is also notorious because every time there is a possibility of a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Iran´s nuclear program, he reports an “exclusive” anti-Iranian revelation, always provided to him by “an official of a country tracking Iran’s nuclear program,” or “an official of a country that has been severely critical of Iran´s nuclear program.”
Nevertheless, experts soon discovered that the diagram was fake and amateurish. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, it simply showed that “the bulk of the nuclear fission yield is produced in a short 0.1 microsecond pulse”, which is a common knowledge for any physics student. Later, it was equally discovered that it is widely available all over the Internet and in university textbooks. Even worse, the diagram contained huge errors, which were unlikely to have been made by research scientists who work in a state-run national program.
Scott Kemp, an assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), told IPS he suspects the graph leaked to AP was “adapted from the open literature”. He said he believed its authors “were told they ought to look into the literature and found that paper, copied (the graph) and made their own plot from it.”
After the hoax became exposed, Western diplomats privately accused Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, of being behind the leaks, which would be part of an effort to implicate a murdered Iranian in an alleged weapons program. The diplomats also said Mossad is becoming increasingly active in Austria, the home of the IAEA and the place where George Jahn works, in order to drive support for a war on Iran.
Therefore, what AP presented as a kind of highly specialized and very complex document was only a very common graph, which can be easily found on the internet. The agency helped create and spread a dangerous hoax and its credibility was severely damaged by this serious incident that demonstrated that it let itself be manipulated by officials “of an anonymous state” in order to incriminate Iran. The agency did not tell the public who gave it the false and misleading information with the evident goal of misleading the public into believing that Iran had a weapons programme.
Recently and after having scored a heavy defeat in the latest parliamentary elections, where he and his his right-wing partner Avigdor Lieberman lost 25% of their seats in the Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to hide his current political weakness by shifting the public´s attention to Iran. In his “victory speech”, he insisted that his first challenge would be “preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons”.
Of course, this rhetoric does not deceive anyone, as even the US and the IAEA reports recognize that Iran continues to use civilian enriched uranium only for civilian purposes. US officials have recently said that the assessment included in the 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, which claims that there is no evidence whatever of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, remains the consensus view of the US´s 16 intelligence agencies.
The international community is actually fed up with Israel’s false allegations and fabrications against Iran. Netanyahu and his Zionist supporters in the US probably know that the American and Western public cannot be manipulated into supporting an attack on Iran, as all the polls show.
Another for-Israel war in the Middle East would not benefit anyone but the far right in Israel, the pro-Israeli lobby in the US and its neocon agents. It would not only devastate the Middle East and kill hundreds of thousands, if not more, but it would also produce a decades-long conflict between the Muslim world and the West that would also destroy the West´s economy. Due to all this, the international community and the peoples of the world must confront these Zionist plots threatening the existence and hopes of humanity.
- IAEA Dismisses Reports of Explosion at Iran’s Fordo (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Tunisia – For the past three months, the Arab Maghreb countries have been witnessing a growing number of controversies and scandals concerning cells linked to Israeli espionage activities.
It began when an informants network was dismantled in Mauritania early this year. Then Mossad made the headlines in Algeria and Morocco in a string of reports, rumors, and hoaxes.
Finally, a new scandal reverberated across Tunisia last week involving a wide network of Mossad operations, including espionage centers using the country as a base to spy across the Maghreb region.
Abderraouf al-Ayadi, head of the Wafa Movement which split from the Rally for the Republic (RPR), caused a huge stir last week when he revealed that Mossad has stepped up its activities in post-revolutionary Tunisia.
He said that these activities were being conducted under the “cover of European and US NGOs that claim to be charitable, humanitarian, or cultural.”
This echoes earlier statements by the head of the Tunisian Workers Party (formerly POCT), Hamma al-Hammami, about “Israeli spy networks operating in post-revolution Tunisia that took advantage of the state of chaos and lawlessness that swept the country following president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s escape.”
The information revealed by Ayadi and Hammami coincided with a February report by the Yafa Center for Studies and Research focusing on Mossad activities in the Maghreb. The report said that the agency began concentrating its operations in Tunisia following the PLO’s exit from Beirut and relocation to Tunis in 1982.
Interest in the region declined after the signing of the Oslo accords, until the Tunisian revolution brought it back.
The report spoke about the post-Oslo Tunisian-Israeli rapprochement which became public with the establishment of a bureau for economic cooperation in 1996.
The relationship included a secret item about the “establishment of a system for security coordination between the Mossad and Tunisia by Shalom Cohen, a Tunisian Jew working in the North Africa section of the Israeli Mossad. In the same year, he became the director of the Israeli interest bureau in Tunisia.”
According to the report, Cohen used his diplomatic cover to build a “Mossad network” based in the capital Tunis, with branches in Sousse and Djerba.
The Yafa center information is consistent with that which Ayadi said he had received from a high-ranking Tunisian security source who reported the surveillance of a secret Mossad network “of around 300 agents” distributed over the three spying bases.
The first base was in the capital and run by a certain Nachman Jalboagh. It focused on Algeria by collecting information, monitoring targets, and recruiting agents.
The second is in Sousse and run by Doron Pierre. Its operations were primarily inside Tunisia, especially the monitoring the remaining Palestinians in Tunisia, Salafi movements, and groups opposing peace with Israel.
The third is in Djerba, run by Nurit Tsur, and focuses on Libya. It also acts to protect the Jewish sect in Tunisia, which is concentrated on the island, and collects information about Jewish archaeological sites and landmarks in Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya.
Tunisian authorities have remained silent despite the uproar caused by the revelations. The government has yet to take any public action concerning the issue.
Speaking to al-Maghreb newspaper, interior minister Ali al-Arid said “the statements concerning 300 Mossad spies in Tunisia, working under the cover of cultural NGOs and travel agencies, are unfounded and completely irresponsible.”
“They are intended to disturb the work of security agencies that toil night and day to protect Tunisia. Anyone who has information about the issue should contact the security agencies so they can confirm it,” he added.
Tunisian anti-normalization activists believe that the interior minister’s statements contradict information broadcast on official Israeli television in the first days of the Tunisian revolution.
Mossad had boasted about “a special operation in Tunisia, under the cover of European companies, to evacuate a group of Israelis who were visiting Djerba, the site of the oldest synagogue in the world, al-Ghariba temple.”
Tunisian activists suggest that “Mossad activities and crimes are not new in Tunisia. The most famous was the bombing of the Hammam al-Shat suburb in the autumn of 1985. It targeted the offices of late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. The Mossad also carried out numerous assassinations in Tunisia, including that of the mastermind behind the first intifada, Abu Jihad, in 1988.”
Following the Oslo agreement, nationalist and leftist currents, as well as anti-normalization associations accused Ben Ali of “facilitating Mossad operations and activities in Tunisia.”
This was highlighted in a documentary broadcast by Tunisian television following the revolution called “The State of Corruption.” The film exposed the significant role that Ben Ali played in setting the scene for the accords.
Following Oslo, the former dictator opened an Israeli economic cooperation bureau in Tunis. The office initiated its activities by contacting several Tunisian intellectuals and journalists to lure them into normalization activities. The majority refused to be involved.
The bureau was later closed due to popular pressure following the 2002 Israeli assault on the West Bank and the consequent siege of Yasser Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah.
The alarm sounded by Ayadi and Hammami is based on evidence and information corroborated by rights activist Ahmed al-Kahlawi, president of the Tunisian Association for Fighting Normalization and Supporting the Arab Resistance (TAFNSAR).
Kahlawi said that “several foreign organizations active in post-revolution Tunisia, such as Freedom House, play a major role in propagating the culture of normalization under the pretext of defending human rights.”
He also laid bare the schemes of an organization called “AMIDEAST, which teaches English under the supervision of the US embassy. It entices students to give up their animosity towards Israel and promotes programs that claim to call for peace and dialogue between cultures, but in reality it aims to foster normalization.”
“With the fall of Ben Ali, Israel lost a strong strategic ally in North Africa,” Kahlawi explained. He indicated that most Zionist leaders admit this openly, including Benjamin Netanyahu and Silvan Shalom, who is of Tunisian origins (born in the city of Qabis).
Ben Ali had officially welcomed Shalom in 2005 in a meeting that was not covered by the Tunisian media, coinciding with the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis.
Kahlawi said the latest revelations about Mossad’s role in Tunisia should be further grounds for the constituent assembly to ratify chapter 27 of the proposed constitution, related to crimes of normalization and prosecuting collaboration with the Zionist state.
He added that “al-Nahda had rejected the criminalization of normalization, with a demagogic argument contending that the Tunisian constitution will last longer than the Israeli state, which will inevitably perish!”
Most Tunisian anti-normalization activists suspect the real reason behind al-Nahda eschewing the criminalization of normalization to be “pressure from the US on the ruling troika, and specifically on the movement, to prevent the ratification of chapter 27, which had been proposed by anti-normalization associations.”
- Tunisia: Al-Nahda’s Failures Lead Sidi Bouzid to Rise Again (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- “Arab Spring” back to the beginning? (english.ruvr.ru)
By Maidhc Ó Cathail | September 24, 2009
By way of deception, shalt thou wage war. – motto of Mossad, Israel’s Intelligence Service
The scenes of flag-waving Libyans welcoming home Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the man known as the Lockerbie bomber, further discredited Muslims in the minds of many. For those whose knowledge of the story is derived mainly from TV news, it appeared to be a callous celebration of mass murder, lending credence to the belief that “Islam” and “terrorism” are virtually synonymous. A closer look at the facts surrounding the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, however, reveals a pattern of deception by those who have most to gain from making Muslims look bad.
While the news reports dutifully recorded the protestations of outrage by Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and others at what appeared to be an unseemly hero’s welcome for a convicted terrorist, they neglected to mention that Libyans were celebrating the release of a countryman whom they believe had been wrongfully imprisoned for eight years. Also omitted from the reports was any indication that informed observers of Megrahi’s case in Britain and elsewhere are likewise convinced of his innocence.
Robert Black, the University of Edinburgh law professor who was the architect of the trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, says that “no reasonable tribunal could have convicted Megrahi on the evidence led,” and calls his 2001 conviction “an absolute and utter outrage.” Prof. Black likens the Scottish trial judges to the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass who “believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Hans Köchler, a UN-appointed observer at the trial, states that “there is not one single piece of material evidence linking the two accused to the crime,” and condemns the court’s verdict as a “spectacular miscarriage of justice.” And Dr. Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was one of the 270 killed on December 21, 1988, dismisses the prosecution’s case against Megrahi and fellow Libyan Lamin Khalifa F’hima as “a cock and bull story.”
According to that “cock and bull story,” Megrahi, the head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA), conspired with Lamin Khalifa F’hima, the station manager for LAA in Malta (who was acquitted), to put a suitcase bomb on a flight from Malta to Frankfurt. At Frankfurt, the lethal suitcase had to be transferred to another flight bound for London Heathrow. Then in Heathrow Airport, it would have to be transferred for a second time onto the ill-fated Flight 103 destined for New York.
But for that rather implausible scenario to be true, the Libyans would have to have had an inordinate faith in the reliability of baggage handlers in two of Europe’s busiest airports at one of the busiest times of the year. Less optimistic would-be bombers would surely have slipped the bomb-laden suitcase on board in London. Fueling suspicions that this is indeed what happened, investigating police were told by a security guard at Heathrow that the Pan Am baggage storage area had been broken into on the night of the bombing.
The reported break-in at Heathrow was part of 600 pages of new and deliberately suppressed evidence that Megrahi’s defense could present at an appeal, which in 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, after a three-year investigation, recommended he be granted.
But before that appeal could be heard, the compassionate release of Megrahi, suffering from terminal prostate cancer, conveniently spared the potential embarrassment of all those involved in his dubious conviction. More significantly, it also averted awkward questions being raised, in the likely event of the Libyan being acquitted, about who actually planted the bomb, and why.
Reel Bad Muslims
Many of those who doubt Libya’s responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, perhaps not surprisingly in the current climate, tend to suspect other Muslim countries of involvement. The most popular theory is that Iran hired the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) led by Ahmed Gibril to avenge the “accidental” shooting down by the USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988 of Iran Air Flight 655, which killed all 288 civilians on board.
Others believe that Abu Nidal, the founder of the infamous Black September terrorist group, may have been involved. If they’re right, it raises disturbing questions about who was ultimately responsible for the Lockerbie atrocity. In his fine biography of Nidal, A Gun for Hire, British journalist Patrick Seale confirms long-held suspicions that many in the Middle East have had about the “Palestinian terrorist” who did more than anyone to discredit the Palestinian cause. “Abu Nidal was undoubtedly a Mossad agent,” Seale asserts. “Practically every job he did benefited Israel.”
Interestingly, one theory which has the PFLP-GC collaborating with Abu Nidal on behalf of Iran, has been espoused by a former Mossad staffer, Yuval Aviv, whose New York-based investigative agency, Interfor, prepared a report for Pan Am’s insurers on the Lockerbie bombing.
Writing under the pen name Sam Green, Aviv also authored Flight 103, a fictional account of the Lockerbie tragedy he claims is “based solidly on real-life facts,” in which the vengeful Iranians enlist a Palestinian terrorist, Ahmed ‘The Falcon’ Shabaan, to do their dirty work. Aviv, who inspired Steven Spielberg’s Munich, hopes his director friend will convert his Lockerbie tale into another Hollywood blockbuster.
Hardly any mainstream commentators, however, have questioned the trustworthiness of a former Mossad agent, who retains close ties with the intelligence service, fingering Palestinians and Iran for a terrorist attack which killed 189 Americans, thereby blackening the reputation of two of Israel’s greatest foes in the minds of those it wishes to convince that the U.S. and Israel face a common enemy.
Not everyone in the media has been as naive about Israeli machinations though. Writing in the Guardian just before the trial of the two Libyans, veteran American journalist Russell Warren Howe, in an excellent article titled “What if they are innocent?” analyses whether the Iranian government, Palestinian terrorists or Israeli intelligence were more likely perpetrators. Howe concludes, “Even if Megrahi and F’hima are found guilty of the most serious charges, there would still be a need for a new investigation: to decide what was Israel’s possibly major role in mass murder and deception of its main benefactor, the US.” Howe is suggesting that even if the Libyans, or other Arabs, had actually planted the bomb, they may still have been duped into doing so by Israeli agents.
Intriguingly, Howe cites a reference in Gordon Thomas’ book on Mossad, Gideon’s Spies,to a Mossad officer stationed in London who showed up in Lockerbie the morning after the crash to arrange for the removal of a suitcase from the crime scene. The suitcase, said to belong to Captain Charles McKee, a DIA officer who was killed on the flight, was later returned “empty and undamaged.”
Moreover, the idea of Libyan responsibility, Howe notes, seems to have originated in Israel. Again, he quotes Thomas, who says that a source at LAP, Mossad’s psychological warfare unit, informed him that “within hours of the crash, staff at LAP were working the phones to their media contacts urging them to publicise that here was ‘incontrovertible proof’ that Libya, through its intelligence service, Jamahirya, was culpable.”
It may also have been Mossad disinformation, Howe suspects, that induced the U.S. government to believe the Libyans were guilty. The day after the Lockerbie bombing, U.S. intelligence intercepted a radio message from Tripoli to a Libyan government office in Berlin that effectively said, “mission accomplished.”
Two years earlier, a similar message intercept had induced Ronald Reagan to order air strikes against Libya, killing over a hundred people, including Qaddafi’s two-year-old adopted daughter. But the message had been faked by Israel, according to Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad case officer, who described the operation in The Other Side of Deception, the second of two exposés he wrote about the Mossad after leaving the service.
Operation Trojan began in February 1986 when the Mossad secretly installed a communications device known as a “Trojan” in an apartment in Tripoli. The Trojan received messages broadcast by Mossad’s LAP on one frequency and automatically transmitted them on a different frequency used by the Libyan government. “Using the Trojan,” Ostrovsky writes, “the Mossad tried to make it appear that a long series of terrorist orders were being transmitted to various Libyan embassies around the world.” U.S. intelligence, as anticipated by the Israelis, intercepted the bogus messages, and believed them to be authentic — especially after receiving confirmation from the Mossad.
Within weeks of the Trojan being installed, two American soldiers were killed in an explosion at La Belle Discothèque, a nightclub in West Berlin frequented by U.S. servicemen. Assuming that Libya was responsible, nine days later the U.S. dropped 60 tons of bombs on Tripoli and Benghazi. Few suspected that the Americans had been tricked into the “retaliation” by Israel, whose subterfuge had punished Qaddafi for his support of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and further alienated the U.S from the Arab world.
Not all Americans are oblivious to Israeli wiles, however. Commenting on the Israeli intelligence service’s penchant for deception, Andrew Killgore, a former U.S. ambassador to Qatar, wrote in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, “Mossad’s specialty was dirty tricks… Its modus operandi had always been the same: pull off a dirty trick but make it appear somebody else had done it.”
As part of any new investigation to establish whether or not the Lockerbie bombing was another one of the Mossad’s “dirty tricks,” detectives might want to interview Issac Yeffet, the former chief of security for the Israeli airline, El Al, who in 1986 was commissioned by Pan Am to survey its security at a number of airports worldwide. As Killgore, in a separate article for the Washington Report, suggestively noted: “Yeffet may have been successful in maintaining perfect security for El Al at Ben-Gurion Airport. But his efforts at Heathrow Airport in London, one of the airports he surveyed for Pan Am, and to which he and his employees had full rein, failed to save Pan Am Flight 103.”
Still protesting his innocence, the dying Megrahi told reporters on his release, “The truth never dies.” That may be so. But as long as the Western media continue to believe that only Israel’s enemies would blow up a civilian airliner, the truth about Lockerbie is unlikely to ever reach a very wide audience.
Advocate Mostafa Olwan has submitted a notice to the Egyptian Attorney General in which he accuses former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan of passing maps of Egyptian security posts to Israel. According to Olwan, maps of the army post targeted in northern Sinai were handed over to Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency by Dahlan.
In a second notice, also submitted to the authorities in Cairo, Mr Olwan said that there is an organisation led by Dahlan in Sinai which is supported by Mossad. The notice was accompanied by documents allegedly proving the involvement of the former Fatah strongman in giving sensitive information to the Israelis, including details of the police stations in Rafah.
Previous attempts by Olwan to have such matters investigated were dropped, “intentionally,” he claims. “The reasons were unclear.”
Meanwhile, Quds Press has reported that investigations by the Egyptian military and public intelligence have revealed that two other members of Fatah, who fled the Gaza Strip in 2007, were also involved in planning the recent Sinai attack. Their names have not been released by officials, but they are believed to have been in contact with various renegade groups in Sinai in order to train them in sabotage techniques.
It is alleged that the two men had direct contact with Israeli intelligence which was well briefed about the plan for the attack last Sunday. The involvement of Sinai Bedouins is explained by the fact that their community has been marginalised by Cairo.
- Analysts say Sinai attack attempt to strain Egypt-Gaza relations (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel evacuated military outpost near Rafah hours before Sinai attack (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- August 5 Sinai Attack Bears All the Hallmarks of an Israeli False Flag (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt stated that Sunday’s attack against an Egyptian military base in the Sinai, “could be attributed to the Israeli Mossad”, adding that this attack aimed to foil efforts of newly-elected Islamist President Mohammad Morsi.
In an online statement, the Brotherhood said that Israel is trying to foil the achievements of the Egyptian revolution that removed former President Hosni Mubarak from power. The Brotherhood added, “this attack pushes all related sides into reconsidering the articles of the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement”.
The Brotherhood stated that after the Egyptian revolution several groups tried to sabotage popular achievements and began plotting against the country and its people.
“Yesterday, a group of criminals attacked our policemen, killed nearly twenty soldiers, brothers, in an ugly crime, before the criminals managed to hijack two armored vehicles and drove them towards the border”, the Brotherhood said. “Immediately after the attack, Zionist media agencies accused fighters in Gaza of being behind the criminal attack; the timing of the attack comes to create a rift between Gaza and Egypt”.
The Brotherhood also said that the attack aims to prove the failure of the new Egyptian government, formed just three days ago, “to foil the reform agenda of the newly elected Islamic president”.
“This crime carries the signature of the Israeli Mossad as Israel has been trying to sabotage the achievements of the revolution, especially when taking into consideration that just a few days before this attack was carried out, Israel called on its tourists to leave Sinai”, the Brotherhood added.
The Muslim Brotherhood further called on the Egyptian people to counter the criminal activities collaborators, and to stand with the newly elected president in his efforts to restore law and order, and to maintain a strong security situation.
- Analysts say Sinai attack attempt to strain Egypt-Gaza relations (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- August 5 Sinai Attack Bears All the Hallmarks of an Israeli False Flag (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Syria appears to be entering an even more chaotic and dangerous period in its civil war now that Israeli officials are concocting potential threats that must be addressed by Israeli intervention. The latest series of stories derives from U.S. and Israeli intelligence circles and suggests that Syria has a “vast stockpile” (Wall Street Journal) or “hundreds of tons” (Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News) of chemical weapons that could fall into the hands of Al Qaeda, Iran’s ayatollahs or God knows who, should Bashar al-Assad’s regime fall. Naturally, Israel would have to protect its interests and intervene to prevent this from happening:
Hundreds of tonnes of Syria’s stockpile of deadly nerve gas could fall into the hands of terrorist groups if the regime of Bashar al-Assad falls apart amid widening concerns that Israel could go to war to try to stop this ‘Doomsday threat‘.
The fact that this would give Israel a further opportunity to tweak its Iranian enemy and ensure the installation of a pro-Israel puppet regime in Syria would of course be entirely incidental and unintentional.
The Sky News report in particular seems to be pure garbage, claiming to know the locations of all chemical warfare labs in the country plus additional storage sites. The report provides no attribution or source, not even an anonymous one. According to Sky, Al Qaeda is not only active in Syria, but has specifically told its member to get their hands on chemical weapons. Again no quotations or source offered to bolster the claim. To hear Sky tell it, missiles filled with Sarin and other potent nerve gases are sitting on launching pads waiting either for Assad to launch them or for the rebels to get their fingers on the button. And of course the rockets can hit “any location in Israel,” the required hysteria inducing phrase harkening back to Saddam’s SCUDs and other visions of Zionist apocalypse.
Here is former Mossad chief Danny Yatom nicely hitting all the grace notes of hasbara interventionism :
Israel is deeply concerned that Assad may deliberately give Hezbollah chemical weapons – or that they could end up in the hands of other terror groups. In either case, this could lead to a regional war, Danny Yatom, the former head of Mossad warned.
“The conventional wisdom should be that we cannot exclude a non-conventional attack on Israel. We would have to pre-empt in order to prevent it. We need to be prepared to launch even military attacks… and military attacks mean maybe a deterioration to war,” he told Sky News.
Though on its face, Yatom is advocating for Israeli intervention, it’s also possible he’s playing the not so subtle game of pressuring the U.S. and its allies to act by threatening to act if they don’t do so first. The operative thinking would be saying to the Americans: if you don’t do something, we will; since you won’t like how we’ll handle this, you better take care of it yourself.”
Israel seems to be laying down its marker and saying it too has an interest in determining the nature of the next Syrian regime. Israel will go to very great lengths to ensure it does not have a proto-Iranian regime on its front doorstep, even to the extent of directly intervening. All of which would be devastating not just for Syria, but for the entire region. Israeli “intervention” into affairs in Iran, Lebanon and Gaza has greatly destabilized those countries and wreaked general mayhem. More of this sort of “help” the Middle East does not need.
Here’s more unfounded hysteria on behalf of interventionism:
There are widespread fears that a Gaddafi-style collapse of Syria into chaos, would mean that chemical weapons would spread around the globe.
Yes, of course widespread fears. So widespread we don’t even have to tell you who specifically is afraid and of what. People, we’ve seen this movie before and it was a stinker the first time. Do we need to see it again to know just how bad the sequel is? The original was called Bush Brings You Iraqi WMD. Remember those mushrooms clouds Condi Rice pictured for your visual delectation? Isn’t it a bit like having déjà vu all over again, to paraphrase Yogi Berra?
No less a Hero of Zion than Yair Naveh, IDF deputy chief of staff, is also getting into the act:
Major general Yair Naveh, the deputy chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Force, recently warned a private congregation at a Jerusalem synagogue that Syria’s chemical weapons posed a mortal threat to the Jewish State.
“As for Syria, we all hear the news … (if) Syrians … behave this way to their people it is clear … how they will behave towards us – to our sons – when they get the opportunity against us, with the largest chemical weapons arsenal in the world, with missiles and rockets that cover all of Israel”.
Naveh is also quoted more extensively in this AFP article. If the name sounds familiar, this is the same Yair Naveh who ordered the execution of unarmed Palestinians in contravention of Israeli Supreme Court rulings. News of which was leaked by Anat Kamm to Uri Blau, all of which landed both of them in court (and her in prison), while Naveh earned a promotion for his trouble.
Though the WSJ is also a Murdoch media trophy, it has slightly higher standards and actually notes how problematic this entire issue can be:
Because of the faulty intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction that were used to justify the Iraq war, U.S. officials are extremely cautious about using reports of Mr. Assad’s chemical stockpiles to support military intervention.
But note that this is precisely what the WSJ, Sky, and similar media reports are doing: ratcheting up pressure for regime change. The war hawk camp in the Obama administration makes no bones about this and beats the drums of war using every available weapon to do so:
“The regime has a plan for ethnic cleansing, and we must come to terms with this,” the first U.S. official said. “There is no diplomatic solution.”
But the statement simply has no basis either in fact or even in fantasy. But “ethnic cleansing” does have such a nice genocidal ring to it. Just the thing to rouse the quiescent world from its moral slumber.
Unnamed “opposition leaders” (and you know how reliable those folks have been lately) further buttress the ethnic cleansing meme:
Opposition leaders maintain there are increasing indications that the Damascus regime is trying to cleanse strategic areas, such as Hama and Homs, of Sunnis in order to set up an ethnic state that could be defended by the Assads’ Allawite [sic] ethnic minority.
No word on who these opposition leaders are or what the “increasing indications” specifically are. Of course not. What do you expect? Facts, evidence. C’mon.
To be clear, I harbor no affection for Assad and his regime. If there was an effective way to end his rule and guarantee the Syrian people would have a genuine representative government–I’d be all for it. But as it is, Syria is likely to get a domestic version of Ahmad Chalabi, rather than a real Syrian nationalist patriot to run its government. At least, that’s what I fear will happen if the west and Israel try to cast their typical spell on the country, bringing the “birth pangs of a new Middle East” as Israel did to Lebanon in 2006 (remember Condi’s infamous line?).
- Syria’s Chemical Secret: Israel Raises Alarm (news.sky.com)
- Report: Syria Removing Chemical Weapons from Storage (israelnationalnews.com)
- Israel may use military force ‘to secure’ Syria’s alleged chemical arsenal (blacklistednews.com)
- IDF brass warns of Syrian chemical weapon threat (timesofisrael.com)
Tehran – A new book reveals that a department known as Kidon within the Mossad has dispatched assassins into Iran in order to murder the nuclear scientists, thereby stunting the country’s nuclear energy program.
Authors Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman in their book Spies against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars state that the notorious spy agency has killed at least four Iranian nuclear scientists, including targeting them with operatives on motorcycles, an assassination technique used by the elite killers at Kidon.
The Kidon killers “excel at accurate shooting at any speed and staying steady to shoot and to place exquisitely shaped sticky bombs” and consider it their hallmark.
Kidon, known to be one of the world’s most efficient killing machines, is technically described as a little Mossad within Mossad.
Tasked with carrying out covert ops across the world, Kidon has embarked on a number of black ops and assassinations in different countries.
Those who kill for Kidon are selected either from within the Mossad spy agency or from among the natives of the countries where they plan to carry out assassinations.
For instance, in case of the nuclear assassinations conducted in Iran by Kidon, they basically hired people with Iranian or dual nationalities. One of the Mossad assassins was Majid Jamali Fashi who confessed he had cooperated with Mossad for financial reasons only.
Majid Jamali Fashi assassinated Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, a professor at Tehran University in January 2011 by blowing an explosive-laden motorbike via a remote-controlled device. He reportedly received training from Mossad inside Israel as well as $120,000 to assassinate the Iranian scientist. According to his confession, Jamali Fashi received forged documents in Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev Airport to travel to Tel Aviv.
He confessed, “I woke up early in the morning and as we were trained I went to the warehouse. I had to prepare the box which contained the bomb. I took the motorbike out of the house and reached a location that I had to contact them. I went to the alley [where the professor resided]. It was vacant. No one was there. I brought the bike to the sidewalk and parked it in front of the house. They told me that the mission had been accomplished and that I had to discard my stuff.”
Jamali Fashi was executed under the Iranian judicial system on 15 May, 2012. Parenthetically, Azerbaijan has in recent years become an apparent haven for Mossad spies and assassins.
Another Mossad operative of Iranian nationality has been identified as Ja’far Khoshzaban, alias Javidan, who has been working under the auspices of Azeri security forces and who has been involved in nuclear assassinations. The Iranian intelligence ministry has demanded the extradition of Mossad’s Iranian spy from Azerbaijan. Iran has reportedly obtained documents, suggesting that Azeri officials have aided and abetted Mossad and CIA agents in their targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists, namely Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan. As a matter of fact, the CIA is constantly mentioned along with Mossad as the main elements in the nuclear assassinations.
Ahmadi Roshan was assassinated on January 11, 2012 when an unknown motorcyclist attached a magnetic bomb to his car near a college building of Allameh Tabatabaei University in northern Tehran.
Using the same ‘sticking bomb technique’, the Kidon assassins attached bombs to the vehicles of Iranian university professors Majid Shahriari and Fereydoun Abbasi and detonated the explosives on November 29, 2010. Professor Shahriari was killed immediately, but Dr. Abbasi and his wife only sustained minor injuries.
As a rule, the Kidon kill team is comprised of four highly seasoned men: 1. Tracer 2. Transporter 3. Helper 4. Killer. The tracer spots the target. The transporter guides the assassination team to the target. The helper basically serves as the motorcycle driver who helps the killer and the killer is tasked with shooting the target or attaching magnetic bomb to the car of the victim.
According to the book Spies against Armageddon, the Kidon agents are well-trained in shooting and placing “exquisitely shaped sticky bombs” and consider it their hallmark.
These facts aside, it rather seems sort of naïve to disregard the role of the CIA-backed MKO terrorists in the nuclear assassinations and give all the credit to the Kidon agents. There is solid evidence which evinces the MKO role in the assassination of the Iranian scientists.
American commentator Richard Silverstein believes that the primary source of income for the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) comes from the assassinations the group conducts within the Iranian soil at the behest of the Mossad. He argues that “If you’re a terrorist on behalf of Israel, as MKO is, then you’re kosher as far as (US-based Israeli publicist) Dershowitz is concerned. And your money is golden. Where does the money come from? Possibly from the Iran assassinations the MKO performs on Mossad’s behalf, which undoubtedly pay well. Then there’s the possibility that the USD 400-million Bush allocated for destabilizing Iran in 2007 has found its way either to the MKO or Mossad (or both)”
More to the point, the CIA works in the same satanic league with the Mossad and MKO. Time and again, the officials in Washington have encouraged and even confessed to the killings of the Iranian nuclear scientists.
Former US senator Rick Santorum callously described the assassination of Iranian scientists as “wonderful,” threatening that those who work for Iran’s nuclear program “are not safe.”
“On occasion, scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly.”
He also said, “I think we should send a very clear message that if you are a scientist from Russia, North Korea, or from Iran and you are going to work on a nuclear program to develop a bomb for Iran, you are not safe.”
Also, former Bush administration ambassador to the UN John Bolton said on Fox News that the killing of an Iranian scientist and sanctions against Iran constitute only “half-measures in the quest to stunt Iran’s nuclear ambitions”.
Former White House Speaker Newt Gingrich has called for covert action, including “taking out their scientists” and cyberwarfare.
Quotations of this nature are legion and all these facts reinforce the idea that Washington has been making clandestine efforts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear energy program in cahoots with Tel Aviv and their lackey i.e. the MKO.
- Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian writer, Middle East expert, Iranologist and lexicographer. He writes extensively on the US and Middle East issues and his articles have been translated into a number of languages.
The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, said on Wednesday that one of its senior members was assassinated in Damascus, blaming the Zionist entity’s secret service for the attack.
The announcement, posted on the group’s official website said it was unknown who killed Kamal Ranaja.
Hamas said it was launching “an investigation to discover who is behind the despicable crime.”
The statement added that Ranaja “was martyred in the service of his cause and his people,” vowing that his blood would not be wasted.
For his part, A Hamas official in Lebanon blamed the Zionist entity’s Mossad for the death of Ranaja.
The leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that “a group of people entered the home of Ranaja (also known as Nizar Abu Mujhad), and killed him,” Israeli website Ynet reported.
According to information that we have gathered, the Mossad is behind the attack.”
Shortly after the assassination was announced, the new pan-Arabic television station, Al-Mayadeen, reported that he used to serve as aide to Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas member who was likely killed by Mossad in a hotel in Dubai in the year of 2010.
A delegation of senior Hamas politburo officials including Khaled Mashaal and Mousa Abu Marzook is set to arrive in Jordan to attend Ranaja’s funeral.
The group was meant to visit Jordan over the weekend or early next week but its members decided to push up their visit in order to attend the funeral. They are slated to meet Jordanian officials and possibly also King Abdullah II.
Abu Jihad coordinates with fedayeen (Palestinian guerrilla fighters) during the siege of Beirut in 1982. (Photo: Archive)
It took Israeli intelligence over two decades and many assassination attempts before they managed to hunt down the PLO’s military mastermind Khalil al-Wazir. On the 24th anniversary of his death, Al-Akhbar recounts his story.
When Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) began his endeavor in the early 1950s, Israeli intelligence had no idea he existed. At the time, he was the twenty-something leader of the Palestinian al-Haq Brigade in Gaza. His family had been displaced from Ramleh in 1948.
Back then, the security establishment in Israel did not believe that Palestinians were capable of organizing a resistance movement. Operations by the fedayeen (Palestinian guerrilla fighters) were believed to be entirely orchestrated in Egypt.
It took Tel Aviv about 10 years to begin to know al-Wazir, who would go on to play a major role in establishing the first and largest Palestinian national liberation movement. Moreover, he would coin the idea of “armed struggle” as the only path to liberate Palestine.
News of Abu Jihad first reached Israel in 1964 through a secret Mossad unit named “Ulysses” whose mission was to spy on Palestinian refugee communities in Arab countries. Operatives spoke about the creation of a Palestinian national liberation movement led by Yasser Arafat and al-Wazir and sounded the alarm in Israeli security agencies.
According to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot– which pieced together the story of the assassination of Abu Jihad based on public and private sources – the Mossad formed a secret unit in 1965. Its prime directive was to investigate methods of countering “Palestinian terrorism” and approve assassinations. It immediately suggested two primary targets: Abu Ammar (Arafat) and Abu Jihad.
The first assassination attempt was in Damascus when a planned car bomb operation was not executed properly. It was carried out by an agent of Unit 504 of the military intelligence, responsible for recruiting and running operatives.
Abu Jihad’s role in pushing for armed struggle against Israel became apparent, especially in the period following the naksah (the defeat of Arab armies in 1967). In 1970, Israeli prime minister Golda Meir retaliated by issuing him a “Red Card,” essentially a direct assassination order.
The Israeli secret service was adamant to settle scores with Abu Jihad and put an end to his dossier. In 1975, the Israeli air force raided a building in Beirut based on information of a Fatah movement meeting taking place there. In addition to Abu Jihad, Fatah leaders Arafat, Faruq Qaddumi, and Mahmoud Abbas were supposedly attending.
The Ben Hur operation missed the target and encouraged an escalation of attacks on Israel, coordinated by Abu Jihad, who was now the deputy chief commander of the Palestinian revolution.
On 11 March 1978, he planned the Kamal Adwan operation (named after a Fatah leader assassinated in Beirut in 1973), which was carried out by the Deir Yassin group led by Dalal Mughrabi.
The operation led to the death of 35 Israelis, with dozens more injured. It created a shock wave inside Israel especially following Abu Jihad’s announcement that the operation “demonstrated the ability of the revolution to reach Israel and carry out operations anywhere it wants.”
Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the PLO’s relocation to Tunisia, Abu Jihad attempted to reverse the setback in armed struggle.
He visited various Arab countries, exposing himself to three assassination attempts, according to the Israeli account.
Abu Jihad, for his part, was planning an “unprecedented” operation that would strengthen the PLO’s position and impose new conditions on the struggle with the Israelis.
Twenty resistance fighters were supposed to reach Yafa by rubber dinghies, hijack a bus, drive it to the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, and attack the entrance known as Gate Victor. But the Israeli navy surprised their ship and sank it on 20 April 1985.
Abu Jihad did not hesitate and pressed on with plans for another major operation. In 1988, he picked Dimona, the location of Israel’s nuclear reactor.
On March 7, three Palestinian commandos captured a bus carrying workers from the nuclear facility. The fighters were consequently killed along with three of the workers in an exchange of fire with an Israeli army unit.
The Mossad concentrated its resources on the pursuit of Abu Jihad, by now the number one wanted person in Israel. Defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, ordered a direct operation that would not resort to remote targeting such as an air raid. He wanted to send a message to the Palestinian movement that Israel can reach its enemies in their homes.
The Mossad surveilled al-Wazir’s home in Tunis, 4km from the beach. It began planning an assassination attempt and sent a unit from Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit) to the Tunisian shores.
It was to repeat the same scenario used successfully 15 years earlier against three Palestinian leaders in Beirut (know as the “Verdun Operation”).
On 13 April 1988, the quarter century chase after al-Wazir was almost over. Mossad agents carrying Lebanese passports arrived in Tunis and split into two groups.
The first group rented cars to transport the assassination unit from the beach to the targeted house, which was being closely watched by the second group.
In the meantime, Israeli navy vessels carrying the assassins were waiting at sea. In the evening, a unit of 26 Israeli commandos reached the beach and took the rented cars to al-Wazir’s home. After 23 years, they finally managed to assassinate him.
The next day, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was asked about Israel’s involvement in the assassination. Scowling, he replied, “I just heard about it on the radio.”
From Ramleh to Yarmouk
Khalil al-Wazir was born in 1935 in Ramleh and was expelled from Palestine along with his family in 1948. He studied in Alexandria University and then moved to Saudi Arabia.
Later, he went to Kuwait where he met with Yasser Arafat and joined him in creating the Fatah movement.
Leaving Kuwait in 1963, he founded the first Fatah office in Algeria, where he was allowed to establish the first Palestinian military camp.
He then moved on to Damascus in 1965 to establish the military command headquarters and coordinate with fedayeen cells inside Palestine.
During the 1967 war, he planned and executed operations in Upper Galilee, then became the head of the western sector of Fatah until 1982.
Abu Jihad strived to develop military capabilities throughout his struggle, playing a leading role in defending Beirut against the 1982 Israeli invasion.
In his meetings with the fedayeen, he would focus on tactics and also on ethics, telling them to save ammunition and explosives, not to be zealots, and not to steal.
One time, when he was ordering the fedayeen to avoid killing children, one of them replied, “Our children in Shatila and Sabra were the first to die… I lost 12 members of my family.”
Abu Jihad’s reply was clear, “In spite of this, we will not become like those fascists. We are not fascists. [The Prophet Muhammad’s second successor] Omar Bin Khattab commands us not to cut down trees or kill children.”
Memory of Resistance
Those who knew Abu Jihad speak of his special relationship with Imad Mughniyeh. At the end of 1978, a 16-year-old Mughniyeh joined the Fatah cell in Chiyah.
Bassem Haidar, who was in charge of the cell between 1977 and 1979, says that the boy was always with another young man, Ali Khodor Salama (Abu Hassan), assassinated by Israel in 1999 in Abra, near Sidon.
The newcomer soon caught the attention of the higher command of the Palestinian revolution, specifically Abu Jihad, due to his skill in planning ambushes in the area between Tayouneh and Asaad al-Asaad street (south of Beirut).
He was none other than Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s military commander who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.
“Mughniyeh was the only person able to provide the cell with the weapons they needed. He would go to the Fakhani neighborhood (PLO headquarters in Beirut) and get it,” Haidar remembers.
“Once, we needed 3.5 inch anti-tank missiles, so he was sent to get them.” Haidar continues, “Had Mughniyeh’s relationship with Abu Jihad not been good, he would not have been able to get them, since they pass directly through the leadership.”
In 1978, Mughniyeh left the Chiyah cell after “he was summoned by the leadership in Fakhani and began clandestine work in a secret security unit. We never saw him again.”
- Marwan Barghouti: A Decade of Defiance (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- What Marwan Barghouti Really Means to Palestinians (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The mounting threat of a US-Israeli military attack against Iran is based on several factors including: (1) the recent military history of both countries in the region, (2) public pronouncements by US and Israeli political leaders, (3) recent and on-going attacks on Lebanon and Syria, prominent allies of Iran, (4) armed attacks and assassinations of Iranian scientists and security officials by proxy and/or terrorist groups under US or Mossad control, (5) the failure of economic sanctions and diplomatic coercion, (6) escalating hysteria and extreme demands for Iran to end legal, civilian use-related uranium enrichment, (7) provocative military ‘exercises’ on Iran’s borders and war games designed for intimidation and a dress rehearsal for a preemptive attack, (8) powerful pro-war pressure groups in both Washington and Tel Aviv including the major Israeli political parties and the powerful AIPAC in the US, (9) and lastly the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (Obama’s Orwellian Emergency Decree, March 16, 2012).
The US propaganda war operates along two tracks: (1) the dominant message emphasizes the proximity of war and the willingness of the US to use force and violence. This message is directed at Iran and coincides with Israeli announcements of war preparations. (2) The second track targets the ‘liberal public’ with a handful of marginal ‘knowledgeable academics’ (or State Department progressives) playing down the war threat and arguing that reasonable policy makers in Tel Aviv and Washington are aware that Iran does not possess nuclear weapons or any capacity to produce them now or in the near future. The purpose of this liberal backpedaling is to confuse and undermine the majority public opinion, which is clearly opposed to more war preparations, and to derail the burgeoning anti-war movement.
Needless to say the pronouncements of the ‘rational’ warmongers use a ‘double discourse’ based on the facile dismissal of all the historical and empirical evidence to the contrary. When the US and Israel talk of war, prepare for war and engage in pre-war provocations – they intend to go to war – just as they did against Iraq in 2003. Under present international political and military conditions an attack on Iran, initially by Israel with US support, is extremely likely, even as world economic conditions should dictate otherwise and even as the negative strategic consequences will most likely reverberate throughout the world for decades to come.
US and Israeli Military Calculations on Iran’s Capability
American and Israeli strategic policy makers do not agree on the consequences of Iran’s retaliation against an attack. For their part, the Israeli leaders minimize Iran’s military capacity to attack and damage the Jewish state, which is their only consideration. They count on their distance, their anti-missile shield and protection from US air and naval forces in the Gulf to cover their sneak attack. On the other hand, US military strategists know the Iranians are capable of inflicting substantial casualties on US warships, which would have to attack Iranian coastal installations in order to support or protect the Israelis.
Israel intelligence is best known for its capacity to organize the assassination of individuals around the world: Mossad has organized successful overseas terrorist acts against Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese leaders. On the other hand Israeli intelligence has a very poor track record with regard to its estimates of major military and political undertakings. They seriously underestimated the popular support, military strength and organizational capacity of Hezbollah during the 2006 war in Lebanon. Likewise, Israel intelligence misunderstood the strength and capacity of the Egyptian popular democratic movement as it rose up and overthrew Tel Aviv’s strategic regional ally, the Mubarak dictatorship. While Israeli leaders ‘feign paranoia’ – tossing clichés about ‘existential threats’– they are blinded by their narcissistic arrogance and racism, repeatedly underestimating the technical expertise and political sophistication of their Arab and regional Islamic foes. This is undoubtedly true in their facile dismissal of Iran’s capacity to retaliate against a planned Israeli air assault.
The US government has now overtly committed itself to supporting an Israeli assault on Iran when it is launched. More specifically, Washington claims it will come to Israel’s defense ‘unconditionally’ if it is “attacked.” How can Israel avoid being ‘attacked’ when its planes are raining bombs and missiles on Iranian installations, military defenses and support systems, not to mention Iranian cities, ports and strategic infrastructure? Moreover, given the Pentagon’s collaboration and coordinated intelligence systems with the Israel forces, its role in identifying targets, routes and incoming missiles, as well as integrated weapons and ordinance supply chains will be critical to an Israeli attack. There is no way that the US can dissociate itself from the Jewish State’s war on Iran, once the attack has begun.
The Myths of ‘Limited War’: Geography
Washington and Tel Aviv claim and appear to believe that their planned assault on Iran will be a “limited war”, targeting limited objectives and lasting a few days or weeks – with no serious consequences.
We are told Israel’s brilliant generals have identified all the critical nuclear research facilities, which their surgical air strikes will eliminate without horrific collateral damage to the surrounding population. Once the alleged ‘nuclear weapons’ program is destroyed, all Israelis can resume their lives in full security knowing that another ‘existential’ threat has been eliminated. The Israeli notion of a war, limited in ‘time and space’, is absurd and dangerous – and underlines the arrogance, stupidity and racism of its authors.
To approach Iran’s nuclear facilities Israeli and US forces will confront well-equipped and defended bases, missile installations, maritime defenses and large-scale fortifications directed by the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian Armed Forces. Moreover, the defense systems protecting the nuclear facilities are linked by civilian highways, airfields, ports, and backed by a dual purpose (civilian-military) infrastructure, which includes oil refineries and a huge network of administrative offices. To ‘knock out’ the alleged nuclear sites will require expanding the geographic scope of the war. The scientific-technological capacity of the Iranian civilian nuclear program involves a wide swath of its research facilities, including universities, laboratories, manufacturing sites, and design centers. To destroy Iran’s civilian nuclear program would require Israel (and thus the US) to attack much more than research facilities or laboratories hidden under a remote mountain. It would require multiple, widespread assaults on targets throughout the country, in other words, a generalized war.
Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has stated that Iran will retaliate with a war of equivalence. Iran will match the breadth and scope of any attack with a corresponding counter-attack: ‘We will attack them at the same level as they attack us’. That means Iran will not confine its retaliation to merely trying to shoot down US and Israeli bombers in its airspace or launch missiles at offshore US warships in its waters but will take the war to equivalent targets in Israel and in US-occupied countries in and around the Gulf. Israel’s ‘limited war’ will become a generalized war extending throughout the Middle East and beyond.
Israel’s current delusional fetish about its elaborate missile defense system will be exposed as hundreds of high-powered missiles are launched from Teheran, Southern Lebanon and just beyond the Golan Heights.
The Myth of Limited War: Time Frame
Israeli military experts confidently expect to polish off their Iranian targets in a few days – some might think a mere weekend – and perhaps without the loss of even a single pilot. They expect the Jewish state will celebrate its brilliant victory in the streets of Tel Aviv and Washington. They are deluded by their own sense of superiority. Iran did not fight a brutal, decade-long war against the US-supplied Iraqi invaders and its western/Israeli military advisers, to just turn over and passively submit to a limited number of air and missile attacks by Israel. Iran is a young, educated mobilized society, which can draw on millions of reservists from across the political, ethnic, gender, religious spectrum, galvanized in support of their nation under attack. In a war to defend the homeland all internal differences disappear to confront the unprovoked Israeli-US attack threatening their entire civilization – its 5,000-year culture and traditions, as well as its modern scientific advances and institutions. The first wave of US-Israeli attacks will lead to ferocious retaliation, which will not be confined to the original areas of conflict, nor will any such act of Israeli aggression end when and if Iran’s nuclear research facilities are destroyed and some of its scientists, technicians and skilled workers killed. The war will continue in time and extend geographically.
Multiple Points of Conflict
Just as any US-Israeli attack on Iran will involve multiple targets, the Iranian military will also have a plethora of easily accessible strategic targets. Though it is difficult to predict exactly where and how Iran will retaliate, one thing is clear: The initial US-Israeli strike will not go unanswered.
Given Israeli-US supremacy in long and medium range sea and air power, Iran will probably rely on short-range objectives. These would include the highly valued US military facilities and supply routes in adjoining terrain (Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan) and Israeli targets with missiles launched from Southern Lebanon and possibly Syria. If a few Iranian long-range missiles escape the Jewish State’s much vaunted ‘anti-missile dome’, Israeli population centers may pay a heavy price for their leaders’ recklessness and arrogance.
The Iranian counter-strike will lead to an escalation by US-Israeli forces, extending and deepening their air and sea war to the entire Iranian national security system – military bases, ports, communication systems, command posts and government administrative centers – many in densely populated cities. Iran will counter by launching its greatest strategic asset: a coordinated ground attack involving the Revolutionary Guards together with their allies among the Iraqi Shia troops, against US forces in Iraq. It will coordinate attacks against US facilities in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the growing nationalist-Islamic armed resistance.
The initial conflict, centered on so-called military objectives (scientific research facilities), will spread rapidly to economic targets, or what US and Israeli military strategists refer to as “dual civilian-military” targets. This would include oil fields, highways, factories, communications networks, television stations, water treatment facilities, reservoirs, power stations and administrative offices, such as the Defense Ministry and headquarters of the Republican Guard. Iran, faced with imminent destruction of its entire economy and infrastructure (which occurred in neighboring Iraq with the unprovoked US invasion of 2003), would retaliate by blocking the Straits of Hormuz and sending short range missiles in the direction of the principle oil fields and refineries of the Gulf States including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, a mere 10 minute distance, crippling the flow of oil to Europe, Asia and the United States and plunging the world economy into deep depression.
It should not be forgotten that the Iranians are probably more aware than anyone in the region of the total devastation suffered by Iraqis after the US invasion, which plunged that nation into total chaos and devastated its advanced infrastructure and civilian administrative apparatus, not to mention the systematic obliteration of its highly educated scientific and technical elite. The waves of Mossad-sponsored assassinations of Iranian scientists, academics and engineers are just a foretaste of what the Israelis have in mind for Iran’s outstanding scientists, intellectuals and highly skilled technical workers. Iranians should have no illusions about the Americans and Israelis who seek to thrust Iran into the brutal dark ages of Afghanistan and Iraq. They will have no more role in a devastated Iran than their counterparts had in post-Saddam Iraq.
According to US General Mathis, who commands all US forces in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia, ‘an Israeli first strike would be likely to have dire consequences across the region and for the United States there’ (NY Times, 3/19/12). General Mathis “dire cost” estimate only takes account of the US military losses, likely several hundred sailors on warships within missile distance of Iranian gunners.
However the most delusional and self-serving assessment of the outcome and consequences of an Israeli air attack on Iran, emanates from top Israeli leaders, academics and intelligence experts, who claim superior intelligence, superior defenses and supreme (if also racist) insight into the ‘Iranian mind’. Typical is Israeli Defense Minister Barak who boasts that any Iranian retaliation will at worst inflict minimal casualties on the Israeli population.
The ‘Judeo-centric’ view of re-ordering the balance of power in the region, which is prevalent in leading Israeli war circles, overlooks the likelihood that war will not be decided by Israeli air strikes and anti-missile defenses. Iran’s missiles cannot be easily contained, especially if they arrive several hundred a minute from three directions, Iran, Lebanon, Syria and possibly from Iranian submarines. Secondly, the collapse of its oil imports will devastate Israel’s highly energy dependent economy. Thirdly, Israel’s principle allies, especially the US and the EU, will be severely strained as they are dragged into Israel’s war and find themselves defending the straits of Hormuz, their army garrisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their oil fields and military bases in the Gulf. Such a conflict could ignite the Shia majorities in Bahrain and in the strategic oil-rich provinces of Saudi Arabia. The generalized war will have a devastating effect on the price of oil and the world economy. It will provoke the fury of consumers and workers rage everywhere as factories close and powerful shocks throughout the fragile financial system result in a world depression.
Israel’s pathological ‘superiority complex’ results in its racist leaders consistently overestimating their own intellectual, technical and military capabilities, while underestimating the knowledge, capacity and courage of their regional, Islamic (in this case Iranian) adversaries. They ignore Iran’s proven capacity to sustain a prolonged, complex multi-front defensive war and to recover from an initial assault and develop appropriate modern weaponry to inflict severe damage on its attackers. And Iran will have the unconditional and active support of the world’s Muslim population, and perhaps the diplomatic backing of Russia and China, who will obviously view an attack on Iran as another dress rehearsal to contain their growing power.
War, especially an Israeli-US war against Iran is indissolubly linked to the asymmetrical US-Israeli relationship, which sidelines and censors any critical US military and political analysis. Because Israel’s Zionist power configuration in the US can now harness US military power in support of Israel’s drive for regional dominance, Israeli leaders and most of their military feel free to engage in the most outrageous military and destructive adventures, knowing full well that in the first and last instance they can rely on the US to support them with American blood and treasure. But after all of this grotesque servitude to a racist, isolated country, who will rescue the United States? Who will prevent the sinking of its ships in the Gulf and the death and maiming of hundreds of its sailors and thousands of its soldiers? And where will the Israelis and US Zionists be when Iraq is overrun by elite Iranian troops and their Iraqi Shia allies and a generalized uprising occurs in Afghanistan?
The self-centered Israeli policy-makers overlook the likely collapse of the world oil supply as a result of their planned war against Iran. Do their Zionist agents in the US realize that as a result of dragging the US into Israel’s war, that the Iranian nation will be forced to set the Persian Gulf oilfields ablaze?
How cheap has it become to ‘buy a war’ in the US? For a mere few million dollars in campaign contributions to corrupt politicians, and through the deliberate penetration of Israel-First agents, academics and politicians into the war-making machinery of the US government, and through the moral cowardice and self-censorship of leading critics, writers and journalists who refuse to name Israel and its agents as the key decision makers in our country’s Mid East policy, we head directly toward a war far beyond any regional military conflagration and toward the collapse of the world economy and the brutal impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people North and South, East and West.
- UK bows to Tel Aviv after warning it against attack on Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- The Real Nuclear Outlaws (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel snubs warnings against Iran attack (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Experts Mum on Iran Attack to Support Bibi’s Bluff (middleeastatemporal.wordpress.com)