December 23, 2010

Spies and lies, especially against your allies


Reports from the United States say that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to ask for the release of convicted spy Jonathan Jay Pollard. A report in the New York Times claims that Pollard's release will be the subject of a "public request" to President Barack Obama; he was convicted in 1987 of spying for Israel and received a life sentence.

Recent reports from Egypt speak of Israelis being charged in absentia of trying to recruit Syrian and Lebanese nationals for obvious purposes. There is no doubt that such things go on all the time around the world and we probably don't hear of most cases. What makes the Pollard case stand out is the fact that Israel recruited and employed a spy for espionage against its closest ally. While the whole spying business is very murky, you can at least understand why sworn enemies might want to spy on each other; but Israel spying on the United States of America? With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Moreover, Pollard is not the only person convicted of spying for Israel in the US; around the same time, another US citizen, Ben-Ami Kadish was doing the same thing; he wasn't charged until 2008 but due to his advanced age by then (eighty-four years old) he was fined instead of being sent to prison. A former chief of the US Justice Department's internal security section claims that between 1950 and 1980, "the Israeli intelligence service... was the second most active in the United States"; the Soviet Union was in number one spot.

There may well still be spies working in the US and passing secrets to Israel; the Zionist state's spy agency, Mossad, used forged passports of European allies in its assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh almost a year ago. Clearly, Israel has no qualms about treating its friends with contempt if it serves its own interests to do so. In fact, Israel has a history of this, sometimes with very bloody consequences.

In June 1967 during the Six-Day War, for example, Israeli jets and motor torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty in international waters 25 miles off the coast of Egypt. The Liberty was a floating intelligence platform - a spy ship clearly-marked and flying the US flag. The former ITN and BBC foreign correspondent Alan Hart wrote in his book Zionism: The real enemy of the Jews (volume two), that it had been sent there by the Johnson administration to let the Israelis know that it could monitor radio traffic and learn in advance of any plans to attack Syria; America feared Soviet intervention if that happened.

Victims of Israel's attack on the US ship which killed 34 men and injured many more. (Photograph: Popperfoto)

An Israeli reconnaissance aircraft flew over the ship on 8th June, so low that members of the crew waved and saw the co-pilot wave and smile back. During the subsequent attack on the Liberty, 34 US servicemen were killed and 174 were wounded. Despite that, nobody has ever been brought to justice by the US or Israeli governments, leading to accusations of a high-level cover-up of the lethal attack, described by one Israeli general as "pure murder". Only the officer who gave the orders - General Moshe Dayan, according to Hart   really knew the reasons why Israeli forces attacked a ship of its ally the United States. It could have had something to do with the plan to attack Syria and Dayan didn't want any witnesses, as Hart claims. However, it is known that while the Liberty was steaming up and down the Egyptian coats, using the minaret of the mosque in El-Arish as a reference point; Israeli troops were massacring Egyptian prisoners in the town.

According to James Bamford in his book Body of Secrets, "three days after Israel launched the [Six-Day] war, Egyptian prisoners in the Sinai had become nuisances. There was no place to house them, not enough Israelis to watch them, and few vehicles to transport them." What did the Israelis do? "Israeli soldiers turned the town into a slaughterhouse, systematically butchering their prisoners." Bamford quotes Israeli military historian Aryeh Yitzhaki   "he and other officers collected testimony from dozens of soldiers who admitted killing POWs". It is believed that as many as "1000 Egyptian prisoners in the Sinai," were killed by the Israelis, "including some 400 in the sand dunes of El-Arish."

Americans and Egyptians were not the only victims of Israeli crimes during that period. As the Israeli troops advanced across Sinai, they met "a convoy of Indian peacekeepers, flying the blue United Nations flag". The Indian UN observers pulled over to let the Israelis pass. "As the Israelis approached... One of the tanks rotated its turret and opened fire from a few feet away. The Israeli tank then rammed its gun through the windshield of an Indian jeep and decapitated the two men inside. When other Indians went to aid their comrades, they were mowed down by machine-gun fire."

When Israelis fired shells at UN compounds and schools in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008/9, they were repeating what their forebears had done in 1967: "In Gaza, Israeli tanks blasted six rounds into UN headquarters, which was flying the UN flag." Fourteen Indian UN peacekeepers were killed by Israel on that day.

One of Israel's senior officers just south of El-Arish at the time of the massacre of prisoners and the attack on the USS Liberty was a certain Ariel Sharon. In 1995, when he was addressing the issue of Israeli war crimes, Sharon said, "Israel doesn't need this, and no one can preach to us about it - no one".

In Body of Secrets, James Bamford says that "the extensive war crimes were just one of the deep secrets Israel had sought to conceal since the start of the [Six-Day War]." From the very beginning, he says, "an essential element in the Israeli battle plan seemed to have been to hide much of the war behind a carefully constructed curtain of lies. Lies about the Egyptian threat, lies about who started the war, lies to the American president, lies to the UN Security Council, lies to the press, and lies to the public". Thus, adds Bamford, as the American naval historian Dr. Richard K. Smith noted in an article on the Liberty for United States Naval Institute Proceedings, "any instrument [i.e. the USS Liberty] which sought to penetrate this smoke screen so carefully thrown around the normal 'fog of war' would have to be frustrated".

In the late nineties, during his first term of office, "Prime Minister Netanyahu's office declared: 'Israel does not use intelligence agents in the United States'." As Mr. Netanyahu prepares his "public request" for Jonathan Jay Pollard's release, one wonders how many other lies are being prepared to convince a very skeptical CIA and Obama administration that this will be in America's best interests. That won't bother Israel and the Israel lobby in the US, of course; their prime concern is the best interests of the Zionist state, regardless of who has to pay the price; allies, even one's most loyal supporter in every sense, are fair game. Spies and lies, especially against your allies is not only a snappy rhyming headline; for Zionists, it appears to be a way of life.


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Ibrahim Hewitt is the chairman of Interpal, a British charity Palestinian Relief and Development Fund.

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