By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of the

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:19 am

7. Hairpiece

IT WAS OCTOBER 27, 1984. My colleagues and I had just finished our term as junior katsas, or trainees, in the headquarters building, and were about to enter the operational intelligence officers' course back at the Academy. This time, we would be working in a large room on the second floor of the main building. The original group of 15 had dropped to 12, but went back up again with the addition of three men left over from previous courses, where too few trainees had been left to make finishing the course worthwhile. Our three new colleagues were Oded L., Pinhas M., and Yegal A.

There were other changes, too. Araleh Sherf had left as head of the Academy to take over the Tsafririm, or "morning breeze," department and had been replaced by David Arbel, former head of the Paris office but late of the infamous Lillehammer affair - the one who had told all to local authorities. Shai Kauly was still there, but Oren Riff had been transferred to the office of the head of the Mossad. bur new course leader was Itsik E., [1] another katsa with a less than distinguished career - one of the two men overheard by the PLO speaking Hebrew at Orly airport after loading a valuable agent on a flight to Rome.

Arbel, a white-haired, short, timid, and bespectacled man, did not exude or inspire confidence. Itsik, on the other hand, played to the gallery as a capable, straight-from-the-field katsa who had just finished a tour as second-in-command at the Paris station. He was fluent in French, English, and Greek, and immediately took a shine to French-born Michel M. The two men, always speaking to each other in French, developed an instant camaraderie that only added to the dislike the others had begun to feel for Michel. My clique had once been close to him, but we had been growing apart - mainly because he was using his language to ingratiate himself with Itsik and malign the others, including me.

We used to call Michel "frog," though not to his face. When somebody saw him coming, they'd make a hand signal of a frog jumping across their palm. Michel could never stop talking about how great French food was, French wine, French everything. We had one joke we liked about the Israeli going into a French restaurant. "Do you have frogs' legs?" he'd ask. "Yes, sir, but of course." "Then do me a favor and hop into the kitchen and get me a hummus."

By this time, Michel was no longer in my clique, though Yosy and Heim still were. We were a leaner and meaner group then, a bunch of real bastards. We thought we knew all the tricks of the game. The idea now, they said, was to teach us the essence of intel1igence. Until now, we had studied behavior and information-gathering at a lower level. Now we had to get down to the nuts and bolts of gathering.

The first thing we were shown, by security man Nahaman Lavy and a man named Tal, was another Mossad Productions movie entitled "All Because of a Little Nail," the famous story of how an army lost a war because of a nail that was missing from the commander's horse's shoe, the point being that no detail is too small. No matter how insignificant it seems, a detail left unchecked can unravel a whole operation. This was part of a four-hour session that also included a lecture on secured behavior, security, and reliability.

After that, we spent an hour with Ury Dinure, our new instructor on NAKA. Next we began an extensive course in international business, learning how a business is run, how to do mail purchasing, managerial structures, the relationships between executives and shareholders, the duties of a board chairman, how the stock exchanges work, preparing overseas contracts, shipping goods C.O.D. or E.O.B., everything we needed to understand how a company works when we were using it as a cover for operations. This business course ran the entire length of our last term, with two-hour lectures at least twice a week, as well as numerous tests and papers to be completed.

By now, Itsik had embarked on a new exercise teaching us how to operate an agent down to the last detail. In a new twist, one exercise showed us how to assassinate an agent who had· gone astray, if we were in a situation where we could not rely on Metsada to send in the kidon unit for the job. We were divided into three teams of five each. Each team had a different "subject" on whom to gather data and devise a plan for elimination.

My team took three days to gather the necessary information. The only consistent thing our subject did was to buy two packs of cigarettes from his local grocery store every day at 5:30 p.m. You could set your watch by it. That was obviously the best place to pick him up. We had a driver; another man and I sat in the back seat. When I called out to the agent, he recognized his katsa and readily joined us in the back. We drove out of town and, at a planned spot, effected putting an ether mask over his face to knock him out. The whole thing was, of course, a simulation exercise.

The rest of the plan was to make the "hit" look like an accident. We would have hidden his car near a cliff, then put our unconscious man in it; then we would have poured vodka (which burns well) down his throat through a newspaper funnel, waited a little while for the alcohol to be absorbed into his bloodstream should anyone check later, put him behind the wheel, pour the rest of the vodka on the seats, and put a lighter and a cigarette butt beside him. That would be seen as the "cause" of the fire. As the car burned, the idea was to shove it off the cliff.

One of the other teams found their man liked to go to a club every evening. They took a more direct approach, walking up to him on the street near the club. Using blanks, they "shot" him five times, got back into their car, and simply drove away.

In the meantime, we were working more and more on our covers, learning how to use various passports. We could be walking down the street with one identity and be arrested, back up our story under interrogation, be let out, meet a bodel with a new passport, and bingo, a different cop would arrest us and we'd have to back up the new identity.

We were now also learning about Tsafririm and the "frames" set up as a defense mechanism by Jews around the world. In this area we had a problem, or at least some of us did. I just couldn't agree with this concept of having guard groups everywhere. I thought frames in England, for example, where kids learn how to build slicks for their weapons to protect their synagogues, were more dangerous than beneficial to the Jewish community. I brought up the argument that even if a group of people had been oppressed, with attempts made to exterminate them - as with the Jews - they had no right to act obstructively in democratic countries. I could understand this happening in Chile or Argentina, or any other country where people disappear off the streets, but not in England or France or Belgium.

The fact that there are anti-Semitic groups, whether real or imaginary, is definitely not an excuse, because if you look into Israel's own backyard, you'll see anti-Palestinian groups. Did this mean we thought the Palestinians therefore had the right to store weapons and organize vigilante groups? Or would we call them terrorists?

Of course, any talk of this sort within the Mossad was not regarded as smart, especially within the context of the Holocaust. I know the Holocaust was one of the gravest things ever to happen to Jews: Bella's father, for one, spent four years in Auschwitz and most of her family was eliminated by the Germans. But remember that close to 50 million other people died, too. Germans tried to eliminate Gypsies, various religious groups, Russians, and Poles. The Holocaust could have been, and I think should have been, a source for unity with other nations rather than a tool for separation. But that was just my opinion, and it didn't help much to express it.

Our weekly "sports" program also changed dramatically, to include a new sport potentially hazardous to our health. We would go to a building in a military camp near Herzlia and run up and down the stairs firing live bullets and being shot at by a machine with wooden bullets that hurt if they hit you at close range. The idea was to practice ducking and shooting, getting used to your gun and exercising your body at the same time.

We also practiced rappelling - coming down the side of a building by rope, pushing yourself off, dropping a bit, pushing off again, all the way to the ground. And we practiced descending from a helicopter by rope, plus other commando-style exercises such as the "jump and shoot" technique of firing at a hijacker inside a bus.

Another segment of the course was called "recruiting an agent with a friendly agency," that is, mutual recruitment, say with the CIA. The lecturer began by saying that was the purpose of the lecture. "How is it done?" he would ask, then quickly reply, "It's not. We don't do that. We will assist them if they have a subject and make it look like it's mutual, but if we can do it alone, we will."

He taught us how to steal an agent from a friendly agency by starting him off as a mutual operation, then eventually changing his country of operation, giving him separate instructions and notifying the friendly agency of a loss of contact with the mutual agent. It was a simple procedure. I'd meet him and, if he was perceived as worth it, whisk him off and double his pay. Then he'd be our agent, what we called "blue and white," the colors of Israel's flag.

One particularly intriguing aspect of the course was a movie called, "A President on the Crosshairs," a detailed study of the November 22,1963, assassination of John F. Kennedy. The Mossad theory was that the killers - Mafiosa hit men, not Lee Harvey Oswald - actually wanted to murder then Texas governor John Connally, who was in the car with JFK but was only wounded. Oswald was seen as a dupe in the whole thing and Connally as the target of mobsters trying to muscle their way into the oil business. The Mossad believed that the official version of the assassination was pure, unadulterated hokum. To test their theory, they did a simulation exercise of the presidential cavalcade to see if expert marksmen with far better equipment than Oswald's could hit a moving target from the recorded distance of 88 yards. They couldn't.

It would have been the perfect cover. If Connally had been killed, everyone would have assumed it was an attempt on JFK. If they'd wanted to get Kennedy, they could have got him anywhere. A single bullet is supposed to have gone through the back of Kennedy's head, out his chest, and into Connally. If you look at the film, you'll see those points were not aligned. If ever a bullet could do the Waltzing Matilda, that was it.

The Mossad had every film taken of the Dallas assassination, pictures of the area, the topography, aerial photographs, everything. Using mannequins, they duplicated the presidential cavalcade over and over again. Professionals will do a job in the same way. If I'm going to use a high-powered rifle, there are very few places I'd work from, and ideally I'd want a place where I held the target for the longest possible time, where I could get closest to it, but still create the least disturbance. Based on that, we picked a few likely places, and we had more than one person doing the shooting from more than one angle.

Oswald had used a mail-order, bolt-action, clip-fed 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, with a four-power telescopic sight. He'd bought it through a catalogue for $21.45. He also had a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver. It was never determined whether he had fired two rounds or three, but he used regular military full-jacketed cartridges with a muzzle velocity of 2,165 feet per second.

During the simulation exercise, the Mossad, using better, more powerful equipment, would aim their rifles, which were set up on tripods, and when the moment came they'd say "bang" over the loudspeakers and a laser direction-finder would show where the people in the car would have been hit, and the bullet exits. According to what we found, the rifle was probably aimed at the back of Connally's head, and JFK gestured or moved just at the wrong moment - or possibly the assassin hesitated.

It was just an exercise. But it showed that it was impossible to do what Oswald was supposed to have done. He wasn't even a professional. Look at the distance, from the sixth-floor window of a building, the kind of equipment he had. He didn't even reinforce the bullets. The guy had just bought the rifle. Anyone knows it takes time and skill to adjust the telescopic sights on a new rifle. The official version just isn't believable.

* * *

Someone we did believe, however, was a man who arrived one morning at the end of the first month of this final term. Only about five foot six and squarely built, the man began with, "My name is irrelevant, but I'm going to tell you all about something I participated in, along with a gentleman named Amikan. I was, for a time, with a unit called kidon and my team received instructions to take out the head of the PLO station in Athens and his assistant. I mention Amikan because he was a religious man, a big man, about six foot six, solid like me. He looked like a door."

The speaker was Dan Drory, and the event he described was called Operation PASAT, a successful Mossad operation in the mid-70s in Athens.

Drory, who obviously loved his work, then opened an attache case and said, "I like this one," pulling out a Parabellum, a German pistol similar to a Luger, and placing it on the table. "I like this, too, but they won't let me carry it," and he put an Eagle on the table, an Israeli-made magnum with an air-cooling system. But I can use this, too," he said, pulling out a Beretta high-powered .22 caliber. "The advantage of this is that you don't need a silencer."

He paused, then said, "But this is my favorite of all." He brandished a stiletto, the deadly dagger with a narrow blade that widens near the end, then narrows again into a point. "You can stick it in and pull it out and there's no external bleeding. When you pull it out, the flesh closes back. The advantage of this is you can stick it between the ribs, and then when it's inside, you can twist it so that it tends to rip everything apart. Then you just pull it out."

Finally, he took out a claw with a special glove that held one blade along the thumb and another along the index finger. He put it on, attached the two blades - one could be compacted like a Swiss army knife, the other looked like a carpet knife - and he attached the claw, saying, "This is what Amikan likes to use. You catch the guy on his throat and just close your hand. It's like scissors. It cuts everything. It keeps the guy quiet. It's total, yet it's not immediate, which makes Amikan happy. It will take the guy a while to die. But to use this, you have to be a very strong person -like Amikan."

I knew immediately I didn't want to meet this guy Amikan. He was a very hands-on person.

Amikan, as a deeply religious man, insisted on always wearing his yarmelke. Since his work was undercover, and normally in unfriendly places, Amikan could hardly wear a traditional yarmelke without attracting some unwelcome attention. So he shaved a bald spot on the top of his head at the back and wove in a yarmelke made of hair - a hairpiece that served as his undercover yarmelke.

When their instructions came to get the two PLO men, Drory, Amikan, and the rest of their team went to Athens. The two targets were located. Both men had apartments in the city, and while they held regular strategy meetings, they did not socialize with each other.

Because the Institute was still hurting at the time from the embarrassing publicity of the Lillehammer debacle, where the wrong man had been killed, the new head of Mossad. Yitzhak Hofi, wanted personally to verify the hits and give final approval on site. He wanted to see the victims before they were shot.

For simplicity's sake, I'll call the station chief Abdul, and his assistant Said. After the situation was studied, it was decided the job could not be done at Abdul's apartment. How- ever, the two held their meetings at a hotel on a fairly major street - usually every Tuesday and Thursday, along with a few other PLO officials. The two men were tailed for nearly a month before any decisions were made.

Both men were repeatedly photographed and their files checked and rechecked to make sure there was no mistake. Indeed, as a young man, Abdul had been arrested in East Jerusalem by Jordanian police, and after the Israeli occupation, his file had been kept. So, they even obtained a glass Abdul had used in the hotel in order to check his fingerprints against that old file. It was him all right.

After the meetings, Abdul always left the hotel and drove to the house of one of his girlfriends. Said went his separate way. He would arrive for .the meetings in casual clothing, then afterward drive the 20 minutes to his apartment in an upper-class suburb and change into more formal clothes before going out for the evening. He lived on the second floor of a two-story, four-apartment building. There were four parking stalls off a driveway underneath the building at the side. He parked in the second stall from the end, then walked back down the driveway and in the front door. There was a lamppost directly across from the parking stalls and also lights on the walls where the cars parked.

While Abdul was the more political and had little personal security, Said was involved in the military arm. He shared his apartment with three other PLO members, at least two of them his armed bodyguards. It was a kind of PLO safe house.

The road in front of the hotel had two lanes in each direction with a median in the middle. It was not a particularly busy area, with few pedestrians. There was parking lot at the side for people using the restaurant, which was where Abdul and Said both parked, and one at the back for hotel guests.

After considering all the factors, Drory and Amikan decided to take the men out after a particular Thursday evening meeting.

There was a pay phone across the street and down half a block from the hotel, and also one within sight of Said's apartment. Since Said always left the hotel meeting before Abdul, the idea was to take Abdul out at the hotel, then signal the man waiting on the phone near Said's apartment that he should be hit when he returned home.

Amikan was in charge of the unit responsible for Said. He was instructed to use a 9 mm pistol and his commander double- checked to make sure the bullets he used were not dumdums. The Mossad is known to use them, and they wanted to pin this double hit on one of the PLO factions rather than take the blame - or credit - themselves.

On the appointed night, a small van was parked directly across from the hotel facing up the street on the other side of the median. One man was sitting in the lobby while Drory was to approach the front door from the side parking lot, closely followed by Yitzhak Hofi. Drory and Hofi were to wait in their car until being signaled over small walkie-talkies -- by a series of clicks - that it was time to move.

For some reason, however, both Abdul and Said came out at the same time that Thursday - the first time they had so nobody moved. The would-be assassins just watched the two men get in their cars and leave.

On the following Tuesday the team set up again. This time, Said left the meeting at about 9 p.m. and headed for his car. The Mossad men moved their car forward a bit, as if we had just arrived and were parking it, as Said started up and drove away.

About two minutes later they heard the telltale clicks from their man inside the lobby: Abdul was on his way out. The hotel had a revolving door at the front with a standard door beside it. To make sure Abdul used the revolving door, we had jammed the other one shut.

The Mossad man planted in the lobby came through the revolving door directly behind Abdul, stopping on the outside and holding the door so that no one else could turn it. Another man was at the pay phone down the street, on the line with his counterpart near Said's apartment.

Abdul walked down the steps and turned left toward the parking lot, just as Drory came up to him, with Hofi directly behind. Hofi said, "Abdul?" As he replied yes, Drory fired two bullets into his chest and one through his head, leaving him dead on the sidewalk. Hofi was already on his way across the street to the van, which had started to move slowly forward, and the man on the phone down the street said, "It's done," signaling his party that the Said phase of the operation was now on.

For his part, Drory simply turned and walked back into the side parking lot where he got into his car and drove off. The man who had been stationed in the lobby went back in through the revolving "doors, crossed the lobby, and left by the back door, where he, too, had a car waiting. The whole thing took only about 10 seconds; if anyone had been watching from the lobby, it would simply have looked as if the man had gone out the revolving door, forgotten something, and come back into the hotel. It was almost 10 minutes before Abdul's body was found in the parking lot.

When Said pulled up to his parking stall at his apartment, Amikan was waiting in the bushes between the two apartment houses. The lamp across from the stalls was burned out, but through the back window and against the lights on the wall of the stalls, Amikan could see that Said had picked someone up on the way home. His problem, of course, was that he couldn't tell from there which of the two was Said, so he took the view that his enemy's friend must be his enemy, too. He walked up to the back of the car and, using an extended magazine on his 9 mm pistol, fired 11 rounds through their heads, pumping quickly back and forth from one man to the other.

Then he stepped around the driver's side of the car to make sure both were dead. Because he had fired from behind, neither man had a front to his head anymore.

The shooting was quick, but fairly noisy. Though Amikan had used a silencer, the crash of glass and thud of bullets hitting the wall attracted Said's bodyguards. They came out on the second-floor balcony, the light from the apartment at their backs, peering down into the darkness and shouting Said's name. Another member of Amikan's team, who had been staked out in front of the apartment building as a backup if needed, shouted to them in Arabic, "Get down! Get down!" and they did. In the meantime, both he and Amikan ran across the street, got into the car with the man who had been on the phone, and drove off into the night.

I remember best the way Drory described the operation. It was the way you'd describe a good meal, when you've really enjoyed yourself at a good place. Like a superb dinner. I'll never forget the way Drory described the hit part. He lifted his hands in front of him as if he had a gun and then shot it. It was scary. I've been shot at and seen a lot of things. But the face Drory made at that moment is something I'll never forget. He was so excited he was grinding his teeth.

During a short question period later, Drory was asked how it felt to shoot someone when it wasn't self-defense or on a battlefield. "This was national self-defense," he replied. "He wasn't shooting at me, but he was figuratively holding a gun at my nation. Feeling has nothing to do with this. Besides, I wasn't feeling that badly."

Asked what his colleague Amikan might have been thinking as he lurked in the bushes waiting for his prey to come home, Drory explained that he said he'd kept looking at his watch because it was getting late and he was hungry. He wanted to get it over with and get out of there and grab something to eat - just like anyone else whose job was keeping them from dinner.

We didn't ask him many questions after that.

* * *

We were soon to begin an extensive course in photography, learning the use of various cameras, and how to develop film, including a method of using two chemical tablets to make a solution with lukewarm water and soak a film for 90 seconds so that it is not fully developed - that can be done later - but can be checked to make sure the required image is there. We also experimented with various lenses and with taking photographs from various hidden devices, such as side bags.

Pinhas Maidan, one of the three newcomers who had joined the group for this final term, decided to turn his photography lessons into a handsome profit.

There is an area along the beach north of Tel Aviv called Tel Barbach, not far from the Country Club, where all the hookers hang out waiting for men to come along in their cars, pick them up, go behind the sand dunes, do their thing, and drive oil. Pinhas decided to take his night photography equipment and set up on a hill by the sand dunes, photographing men in their cars with the hookers, and thereby collecting some explicit photos, thanks to the high-quality equipment and powerful telescopic lenses. We had already been taught how to invade the police computer - plugging into it without police knowledge or permission - so Maidan simply ran the car license plates through the computer to find the owners' names and addresses, and began blackmailing them. He'd phone, say he had some compromising photos, and ask for money.  

He boasted that he was making quite a bit. He didn't say how much, but eventually someone complained and he was reprimanded. I thought he'd be kicked out. But apparently somebody regarded this as showing initiative. I guess when you're rolling so deep in the shit, you don't notice when something smells bad.

Of course, to the Mossad's way of thinking, the production of such photos could sometimes be a powerful persuader in recruiting - and sometimes not. A story was told of one senior Saudi Arabian official who was photographed in bed with a hooker who had been given instructions to situate herself and her bedmate in such a way that the camera recorded both his face and the actual penetration. Later, the Mossad confronted him with the evidence of his sexual escapades, spreading the photos on a table and saying, "You might want to cooperate with us." But instead of recoiling in shock and horror, the Saudi was thrilled with the photos. "This is wonderful," he said. "I'll take two of those, three of that," adding he wanted to show them to all his friends. Needless to say, that particular recruiting effort failed.

The course went on to deal with intelligence units in the various Arab countries, and the trainee katsas also spent some time talking to security officers in hotels, learning about their point of view. Because we operated a lot in hotels, we had to know what to avoid in terms of drawing the attention of security - those little things. For example, if a maid knocks on the door, comes in, and everybody stops talking while she's there, she'll probably tell security there's something going on in that room. But if everyone just goes on talking as if she wasn't there, no suspicions would be raised.

We also sat through a series of lectures on all the European police, force by force, analyzing them, understanding them, learning their strengths and weaknesses. We studied the Islamic bomb and visited various military bases, as well as the nuclear plant at the Dimona research center in the Negev, about 40 miles northeast of Beersheba. It was initially disguised as a textile factory, then a "pumping station," until the CIA obtained photographic evidence from a U-2 flight in December 1960 that it housed a nuclear reactor. There was also a much smaller reactor called KAMG (the abbreviation for Kure Garny Le Machkar, or Nuclear Research Facility) in Nahal Sorek, inside an air-force base just south of Tel Aviv. I visited both plants.  

After its secret got out in 1960, David Ben-Gurion formally announced Israel's "peaceful" atomic project, though much of it remains anything but peaceful.

In 1986, a Moroccan-born Israeli named Mordechai Vanunu who had worked at Dimona from 1976 to 1985 before moving to Australia revealed that he had smuggled a camera into the establishment and had 57 photographs of the top-secret processing plant, located several levels below the surface, which at that time had stockpiled enough weapons-grade plutonium to arm 150 nuclear and thermo-nuclear devices. He also confirmed that the Israelis had helped South Africa detonate a nuclear device in September 1979 in the southern end of the Indian Ocean over the uninhabited islands of Prince Edward and Marion.

For his trouble, Vanunu ended up being sentenced to 18 years in jail for espionage after a closed-door trial in Jerusalem. He was captured by the Mossad after being enticed by a beautiful agent to a yacht in the Mediterranean off Rome. The London Sunday Times had been preparing to publish his story and the photos, but Vanunu was drugged, smuggled aboard an Israeli ship, swiftly tried, and jailed.

In fact, the kidnapping was a sloppy job. Vanunu wasn't exactly a pro or a danger, yet because of the way the job was handled, the public knew about it. The operation got Vanunu back to Israel, but the Mossad couldn't have been very proud of it.

From my personal observation of the Dimona plant, Vanunu's description was very accurate. Not only that, his interpretation was also accurate. He said they were building those bombs and they'd use them If needed. That's true. It was no secret, either, within the Institute that we helped South Africa with its nuclear program. We supplied them with most of their military equipment. We trained their special units. We worked hand in hand with them for years. These are two countries that regarded themselves as needing the doomsday machine and were prepared to use it.

While security at Dimona was extremely tight, it was also ringed with Hawk and Chapparal surface-to-air missiles. The joke when we visited the Hawk sites was that the missiles were just rotting away. They wouldn't have protected anything. Yet they were sold to Iran later. We laughed about that a lot.

The junior katsas also learned about an international communications system, particularly the Mediterranean cable that emerged at Palermo, Sicily, where it tied into satellites transmitting most of the Arab communications. Israel was linked into that through Unit 8200 and got access to almost everything the Arabs sent.

The other regular feature of our course was a "sociometric" paper written every couple of weeks, whereby each of us would list everyone else in the course in order of preference in various categories: operations, trustworthiness, reliability, friendliness, cordiality, and so on. I didn't do badly in that, but it wasn't honest. You weren't supposed to know the results, but we did. If you didn't like somebody, you naturally put him at the bottom. And since we were all a bit short on trust, Yosy, Heim, and I checked each other's lists just to be on the safe side.

Now we were ready for the final exercise. In just two weeks, we would be full-fledged katsas.

_______________  

Notes:

1. See PROLOGUE: OPERATION SPHINX
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:27 am

8. Hail and Farewell

ONE DAY BEFORE the beginning of the final two-week exercise, I got a call from my colleague Jerry S. At the time, I could not have imagined the profound significance of this seemingly innocent phone call.

Jerry, then 32, was an American citizen. He had a beard, mustache, and grayish hair. He was slim and had been a lawyer in the private law office of Cyrus Vance, U.S. president Jimmy Carter's secretary of state. At the time, Jerry and I were friends, though I was certainly aware of rumors that he was homosexual. At one point, he had told everyone he had a girlfriend who had flown over from the States and was staying at his place, but she had to go back because she was married. Since no one ever met her, the rumors persisted. Jerry had been at my house many times, and vice versa. I often helped him build his cover. Apart from the odd minor disagreement, we got along well. So there was nothing unusual about his asking me over to his apartment. He said he just wanted to talk to me and show me something. I said, fine, why not?

When I arrived, he made us his favorite drink, a concoction of vodka, ice, and strawberries, crushed and mixed in a blender. Before he sat down, he put on a video cassette.

"I've got something I want to show you," he said, "but before I do, I want to tell you that I have an inside source, and from now on, before an exercise, I will know if we're being followed. I'll be able to tell you when or where. We don't need that kind of hassle anymore."

"I'll be honest with you, Jerry," I told him. "I'm not worried about being followed. Actually, I quite like it. It's exciting."

"Listen," he said. "I told Ran H. [another classmate, who had serious problems with APAM], and he was happy."

"I'm not surprised. But who do you think you're doing a favor?"

"Well, you still have to find out how they're following you," said Jerry, getting edgy.

"Okay, Jerry, you do your thing," I told him. "I don't care. If you think that's going to help you, fine. But I am curious. How do you get that kind of information?"

"Well, there's this woman that Itsik is screwing," he said. "She's the famous number four. I'm having a small affair with her myself, and she's giving me all this data."

"You're kidding me."

"I knew you wouldn't believe me, so why don't you sit there and relax, and let me show you the video?"

Some time earlier, Jerry had dropped by Itsik's house and happened to see a woman leaving. She was attractive, with tanned skin, light brown hair, and a magnificent body. Jerry watched her leave, waited a while, then went to see Itsik, whose wife was not at home. He didn't say anything about the woman.

Yarid, the team that handled European security, naturally practiced its techniques in Israel. One of the best ways to practice was to test their skills tailing the junior katsas. These teams used numbers, not names, and the katsas weren't supposed to know who they were. The yarid team was told the day before whom they would be following, the time, the starting point, and they were shown a picture of the subject. This particular woman was called number four.

Jerry had spotted her during an earlier exercise, and although he didn't know who she was at the time, had put it in his report. Then when he saw her leaving Itsik's house, he'd put two and two together. After she left, he watched her get into her car, wrote down the plate number, and checked it later through the police computer, getting her name and address.

He wanted to take advantage of his knowledge. For one thing, he knew what people were saying about him and wanted to quash the rumors. He also wanted to get to know who was going to be followed any given day of the exercise so he wouldn't have to continually worry about APAM. He wasn't good at the exercise, so he wanted to short-circuit it because it was so important to the course. A katsa can't go abroad without passing APAM.

His apartment, which had every electronic device imaginable, also featured a large exercise machine called a Soloflex, which has a bench and a bar suspended from a frame. One of the exercises is to wrap hard rubber attachments around your ankles, then hook them onto the bar, and pull yourself up and down, exercising your stomach muscles while hanging upside down from the bar.

Another vital piece of equipment was a small audio-visual camera unit built right into an attache case - a camera they used in many exercises. It could be borrowed from the Academy as needed. Not only were the stars of these movies unaware of their status, the high quality of the equipment resulted in broadcast-quality pictures.

The movie began with a wide-angle shot of the room. The curtains were drawn, but there was a lot of light. There was a pale wooden wall cabinet and a dining-room table to the side, but the Soloflex dominated the center of the room.

At first, Jerry and number four were talking. Then they began kissing and fondling each other. "Let's exercise," he said, and started putting the rubber straps around her ankles, once she'd taken off her sweatpants. Then he attached her upside down to the bar.

I couldn't believe it. I thought, my God, this can't be true. But it was.

As she hung there suspended, Jerry stepped back, spread his arms, as if for the camera, and said, "Ta-da!"

Naturally, her shirt had fallen over her head and her breasts were still hanging free. Jerry pulled her shirt off, bent over, held her up, and the two began kissing each other. Then he put his hand under her panties and began to fondle her. After doing that for a while, Jerry took his own clothes off, and the last few minutes of the film showed her hanging upside down giving him a blow job as he sat nude on the bench.

"Jerry, you didn't need to make a movie to get her to cooperate," I told him after it was over.

"Maybe not. But I figured if she wouldn't cooperate, I'd show her the movie and then she would. It's arousing, isn't it?"

"Yes, in a way," I replied cautiously.

"You know what they've been saying about me in the office?"

"What, that you're a homo?"

"Yes."

"That's your problem, not mine. I'm not here to judge you."

At that point, he sat down next to me. Close. "Look, you saw I'm not a homo."  

"Jerry, why are you telling me this?" I asked him, now getting a little nervous.

"Listen, I like going both ways," he said. "I think we could have more fun that you can imagine."

"Jerry, do I understand what you're telling me?"

"I hope so."

I was befuddled, but getting angry. I got up from the couch and walked to the door. Jerry put his hand on my shoulder to stop me. At this point, I saw red. I threw his hand off my shoulder and hit him. I'd never punched anybody that hard in the stomach before. I ran downstairs and out into the street to get air. I ran for about 40 minutes all the way to the Academy - probably four or five miles. I wasn't in the best of shape. I was coughing, but I kept going.

Inside the Academy, I ran into Itsik. "Itsik, I've got to tell you something," I said. "This has to stop."

"Come into my office."

I told him the entire story. I can't say I gave him a completely coherent version, for I was babbling. But it was clear enough. I told him Jerry had a video of himself fucking his girlfriend, and that he'd made a sexual advance toward me.

"Calm down, calm down," Itsik said. "Let me give you a ride home."

I thanked him, but told him my bike was there at the Academy and I wanted to ride it home.

"Look," said Itsik. "You told me. Now forget it."

"What do you mean, forget it?"

"I mean forget it. I don't want to hear about it anymore."

"What kind of horse [inside booster] does this guy have?" I said. "The Trojan horse?"

"Forget it."

There was little I could do. For Itsik to tell me to forget it right off the bat, without checking the story, was incredible. Then he added, "And I don't want to hear this repeated through anybody. Don't tell Heim or Yosy or anybody else. Understand?"

"Okay, I'll forget it. But I'm going to give it to you in writing, and I want a copy-to-file."

"Fine, do that."

A copy-to-file meant that a copy of a letter sent to someone for his eyes only could be placed in a sealed envelope and sent to a computer file, where it remained sealed. But the recipient had to sign to indicate that he had read it, and the date was registered. Suppose a katsa told his superiors that the Syrians were going to attack the following week, but his warning was ignored. Then when they did attack, people would ask why they hadn't been notified. If the katsa had a copy-to-file, he'd simply produce it to show that he had tipped them off.

On the way home, I stopped by security chief Mousa M.'s house and told him the whole story. "You should change the program and take the girl off," I said.

"Did you tell Itsik?

"Yes."  

"What did he say?"

"He said forget it."

"I guess I can't take the girl off," Mousa said, "because then Itsik will know you told me."

* * *

The first order of business the next day, when the final three-week exercise began in mid-October 1985, was for the three teams of five each to settle into our apartments. One team was in Haifa, another in Jerusalem, and mine was on the third floor of a building near the Mugraby movie theater near Allenby and Ben Yehuda streets, in the south-center of Tel Aviv - a slightly grotty section where the hookers hang out.

Besides Jerry, my team consisted of Arik, Oded L., and Michel. After we had built our slick in a cupboard and prepared all the other necessary security work for our safe house/station, we were given passports, taken to the airport, and told to go through customs and security as if we were just arriving in Israel. I had a Canadian passport.

After that, I took a cab from the airport to the apartment, scouted the area, learned where the public telephones were, and so on, arriving in plenty of time for the 1 p.m. briefing. (From time to time, we were allowed to go home from this assignment, but it was on a rotation system because someone always had to be at the apartment at night.) When I got back to the apartment, it was as if nothing had happened between Jerry and me, except now I knew that I could neither "touch" him nor protect myself from him. His horse was too powerful.

The first field exercise was to go to the Grand Beach Hotel, at the corner of Dizengoff Street and Ben-Gurion Avenue, across the street from what used to be the Sheraton. The old Sheraton was handed over to the Americans who were building airfields in the Negev as part of the Camp David peace deal when Israel gave up airfields in the Sinai. I rented a room at the Grand Beach by phone, while Jerry was supposed to meet a contact in the lobby of that hotel. The contact had documents in an attache case in his car trunk, and the idea was to get the case, take pictures of the documents, and return it to the trunk with no one noticing.

We already had the car key, and the vehicle was supposed to have been parked six stalls down from the former Sheraton Hotel entrance. As it turned out, it was only three stalls away, in clear view of the old Sheraton's doorman.

Jerry's assignment was to talk to the contact in the upper lobby at the Grand Beach, while sitting in a position where he could see me enter with the attache case and carry it across the lobby to the elevators. When photos of the documents had been taken in the hotel room, everything was to be returned, the case wiped clean of fingerprints, and 1 would take it back out to the car. Once the case was back in the trunk, 1would signal Arik who in turn would signal Jerry, and he could then let the man go. All this activity was going on without the contact's knowledge.

The only hitch in the whole exercise was that the car was too visible to the doorman. And so, 1asked Arik if he had a wallet, told him to take everything out of it, except some cash which he could leave sticking out, then go up and tell the doorman he'd found it and wanted it taken to the lost and found. That way, he'd be elsewhere while 1removed the case from the car trunk.

By the time I came back downstairs, Arik already knew the doorman's name, so he made an urgent phone call to him. While the doorman went inside to take his call, I put the case back into the trunk.

Two hours later we all met back in the apartment. Everyone was quiet, but there didn't seem to be a problem. Soon Itsik and Shai Kauly entered. We all gave a full description of what had happened, but when everyone had finished, Jerry turned to Itsik and said, "I want to file a complaint about Vic's behavior."

I was dumbfounded. Ihad exceeded what was expected of me, and here was this little twit filing a complaint.

But Jerry continued. "When Victor was working for the Smerfs in Kaisarut, he hosted some Africans in this hotel. By doing this exercise in a hotel where he's known, he has endangered the entire operation."

"Wait a minute," I said. "We've done exercises in every bloody hotel in town. Anyway, hypothetically, for purposes of this exercise we are now in Paris, and I'm not known in any hotels in Paris."

No matter, Itsik listened, then wrote in his book: "A point well taken."

I turned to Kauly. "Shai -"

"Look," Kauly replied, "don't involve me in this."

* * *

The next day, I asked to start my second assignment right away. It would give me the opportunity to be outside the safe house for several days. I was already sick of being in the same place as Jerry.  

What I had to do was make contact with a British diplomat who was in charge of maintaining all our military graveyards (mainly from World War I) in Israel. He had an office in Ramlah, just east of Tel Aviv, site of a large cemetery, and an office in the British embassy in Tel Aviv. The man had been spotted several times by the Shaback stopping his car on the highway, taking pictures of military installations, then driving off. We suspected he was either in intelligence himself or working for someone else. As a result, the Shaback had sent in a request to have him checked out.

My first order of business was to concoct a reason to meet this man. Why not a movie again? After booking a room at the Carleton Hotel, just across from the Marina in Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Street, I went to a monument near the spot where British general Allenby's troops had crossed the Yarkon River during World War I, ending four centuries of Ottoman rule over the Holy Land. With the dates of the battles in mind, and the names of the brigades that had fought, I then headed for another large British cemetery outside Haifa, searching tombstones until I found one with the name of a soldier (McPhee) who had fought and died at that time.

Posing as a Canadian from Toronto, complete with business cards, I said that I would be doing a movie about a family that had moved to Canada from London, but had one member who'd died in the battle to free the Holy Land. First I called the office in Ramlah and told the story to a Christian Arab woman there. She gave me the target's phone number at the embassy, so I called him, told him the story, gave him McPhee's name (saying I didn't know where he was buried), said I was staying at the Carleton Hotel, and wanted a meeting. No problem.

Sure enough, the Britisher showed up along with another man, and the three of us talked for two and a half hours. The diplomat was a landscaper by profession and really anxious to help me. He came with the name and exact directions for where to find the grave. He'd just assumed it was all legitimate and we even began discussing hiring him to stage the big battle scenes I supposedly wanted to make. I told him I would be leaving shortly, but that I'd contact him within a month. My instructions had been not to carry it beyond making contact and opening a door.

My next assignment was to contact a man in East Jerusalem who had a souvenir shop on Salaha Adin Street. I scoured the area, took pictures with a hidden camera, and became really friendly with the guy, a PLO, which was why they wanted to know more about him.

On another assignment, Itsik took me to an apartment building in Tel Aviv and said there was a man in the third-floor apartment who had a guest with him and that I had 20 minutes to strike up a conversation with the guest.  

"This is chutzpah," I said.

"Define chutzpah," said Itsik.

"You shit in front of the guy's door, then you knock on his door and ask for toilet paper. That's chutzpah."

I went to a nearby store and bought two bottles of Mouton Cadet claret. I went into the building and checked the names on the board, pressed one buzzer, and said I had a parcel to deliver for a woman.

"Oh, you're probably looking for Dina," said the voice.

"Is Dina married?" I asked.

"No," came the response.

I buzzed Dina's apartment, but happily, she wasn't home. I got into the building and started walking up the stairs: it was one of those buildings where you pass every door on the way up. When I got to the third floor, where my targets were, I took one the wine bottles, held it up high, then dropped it, making a loud crash right in front of the designated apartment. I knocked on the door.

"I'm really sorry," I said when the door was opened. "I went upstairs to meet Dina, but she wasn't in. Now I've dropped this bottle. Do you have something I can clean it up with?"

The man and his guest both helped. I suggested we might as well share the other bottle, and I stayed there for two hours, getting to know both their life histories. Mission accomplished.

In the meantime, the team in the Haifa apartment was concentrating on the UN peacekeeping troops, particularly the Canadians. Canadians were a great target. They were friendly. They tended to be nice people. They felt in Israel as if they were in a Western country, so they were quite comfortable - a lot more so than in an Arab country. I mean, if you're going to have fun, where would you go, Damascus?

There were several Canadian duvshanim (literally honey pies, UN peacekeeping forces paid to transport messages and packages) transferring packages back and forth over the borders for us. Two exercises involved breaking into police stations, once at the headquarters of Mador on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, the other time at the special investigative police headquarters in Jerusalem. A man named Zigel headed a large, special fraud investigative unit there. One of the cases he was working on at the time was called the "Peach File" (Tik Afarsek in Hebrew).

When we broke into the headquarters, we brought along an "expert with handles" who told us which files to take. The Peach File turned out to be about an investigation involving a veteran religious cabinet minister called Yosef Burg, one of the oldest members of parliament in Israel. Burg had been around so long we used to tell a joke about three archaeologists, an American, a Brit, and an Israeli, who stumbled across a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy. When they opened the tomb, the mummy woke up and said to the American, "Where are you from?"

"America. It's a great country across the oceans. The most powerful country in the world."

"I've never heard of it," the mummy said, turning to the British archaeologist and going through the same routine.

Finally he turned to the Israeli. "Where are you from?" "Israel," came the reply.

"Oh yes, Israel. I've heard of that. By the way, is Burg still a cabinet minister?"

I don't know what was in the File or what the investigation was about, but I do know the Peach File was taken after a request from the prime minister's office, and the whole investigation collapsed because of lack of documentation. Whether it was Begin, Peres, or Shamir, it didn't matter. Once you got a tool that you could use, you would use it. And the Mossad always did.

While the junior katsas did only a few exercises of that nature, the men training for neviot were doing them on a regular basis. When you want an exercise against a secure place, you choose one. And a police station is a secure place.

I was upset about this practice and asked why we did such things when they were against our own regulations. We were supposed to work outside the country, not inside.

Oren Riff, who I'd thought was a friend, replied, "When you look for something, you look where it is lost, not under the light," a reference to the story of the man who lost something in the dark but went looking for it under the light. When asked why he was looking there instead of where he'd lost it, he said he couldn't see in the dark, but he could see under the light.

"You'd better just shut up and do your job," Riff said, "because it's none of your business." Riff then told me the story of the man who came from the desert and was standing on the railroad tracks. He heard the whistle of. an oncoming train, but didn't know what it was. Gradually he could see this large thing coming at him, but he didn't know what a train was, either, so he stayed there and got hit. Somehow he survived, and after a long stay in the hospital, he was taken home and his friends had a party for him. Somebody put on a kettle to make some tea, but when he heard the whistle from the boiling kettle he jumped up, grabbed an ax, ran into the kitchen ,and smashed the kettle. When asked why he did that, he said, "Let me tell you something. You have to kill these things when they're small!"

Oren then said to me, "Now, you listen to me. Stop whistling now. You can whistle when you're bigger than the guys you're whistling about."

Furious, I replied, "Kiss my ass!" and stormed out of the office. I thought I was right. When I was talking to the other guys in the office, small potatoes like me, they would all agree with me. But nobody wanted to open his mouth because everybody was in line to go abroad, and that's all anyone cared about. With that kind of attitude you're going to fuck up. You can't make it work.

* * *

When we finished the course in mid-November 1985 and finally became katsas - it had taken three years in all - the atmosphere was so bad that we didn't even have a party. Oded didn't graduate, but became a communications expert for the office in Europe. Avigdor didn't graduate, either. He was lent as a hit man through Mike Harari to some people in South America. Michel went to Belgium and Agasy Y. went to be in liaison in Cairo. Jerry went to Tsafririm to work with Araleh Sherf. The last I heard of him, he was planning to start an operation in Yemen to see if he could bring some Jews into Israel. Heim, Yosy, and I were all assigned to the Israel station.

I had done well in the course, but had made some powerful enemies. Efraim Halevy, for example, the head of liaison, called me "a pain in the ass."

Still, I was scheduled to go to Belgium, a great honor for a rookie, to join the attack katsa pool. That annoyed Itsik. After all, there weren't that many openings. When I went, I would be locked in for three to five years.

In the meantime, I was in the jumper pool under Ran, until he had to go to Egypt on a recruiting mission. Egyptian television had shown a movie critical of the Mossad called "The Man with the Teasing Eyes," containing a lot of inside information. But instead of offending everybody, it had brought a flood of volunteers to the embassy wanting to work for the Mossad.

Two weeks after I joined the Israel station, I was told to transfer a parcel that had arrived on an El Al flight from the Far East to an address in Panama provided by Mike Harari. I drove over for it in a 5uburu, but when I got to the airport I was astounded to find a large, 612 x 10 x 5-foot parcel all wrapped in plastic, with many small packages inside - far too large for the car. 50 I called for a truck to collect it, take it to the office for repackaging, and send it to Panama.

I asked Amy Yaar what was in the packages.

"It's none of your business," said Yaar. "Just get on with it."

At the airport, the parcel wasn't loaded on a Panamanian plane, as I had been told it would, but on an Israeli air force plane. I said there must be some mistake. They said, "No, no. The plane is on loan to Panama."  

It was a Hercules transport carrier. When I returned to the office I complained. I knew what we were sending. I wasn't that stupid. We weren't middlemen for weapons from the Far East. It couldn't have been anything else but drugs.- So I asked why we had to use an Israeli airplane, and was told that the guy running the Panamanian air force was Harari, so what was the problem?

I was heard talking at lunch and in the office, complaining about why we were supporting Harari in this sort of activity. There was a complaint-box system inside the office where you could complain by computer and it would go to internal security. I complained formally. The problem with the system is that if you file a complaint, high-ranking officials had access to it; so Harari would have found out about it.

It was the straw that broke the camel's back. My action hit a weak spot with Harari. He didn't like me to begin with, because we had a history.

***

At the time there was a case unfolding that resulted in my being sent to Cyprus. I wasn't really supposed to go, but Itsik wanted me to. I was as surprised that he wanted me to go abroad as I was excited.

My task was to pose as the middleman in an operation that was already in motion. I knew little about the details, but was supposed to meet a man and set up a system whereby he would receive assorted explosives equipment in Europe. I didn't even know the contact's name. He was European and in Cyprus liaising with the PLO and making arms deals at the same time. The idea was to nip all this in the bud. The man's buyers were arms dealers and we figured if we could get them, they'd think the militant PLO factions had turned them in.

I had to make sure the men involved would come to a certain rendezvous point in Brussels to receive the goods. The deal was set for Brussels because the explosives and detonators were sent from Mossad headquarters in Tel Aviv to European headquarters in Brussels through the diplomatic pouch. Because of its status, Brussels' diplomatic pouch was frequently very large.

The buyers were equipment merchants from Belgium and Holland. The idea was to tie them in, get an investigation going by the police in their own countries, and let them take it from there. Naturally, the police wanted proof. The Mossad, unknown to the police, were supplying the proof.

Part of the scheme involved using Michel, because of his perfect French, to phone in tips to the police over a period of time, building up to the point where the deliveries would actually be made.

I was staying at the Sun Hall Hotel overlooking the harbor in Larnaca. The equipment was to be transferred to Belgium and placed in a car. I had a set of keys to give to one of the men in Cyprus, telling them they'd be notified exactly when and where to pick up the car. They wanted to meet me on Butterfly Hill, but I insisted on handing over the keys at my hotel.

The men were caught red-handed by Belgian police as they approached the car, including the man I had given the keys to, on February 2, 1986. More than 200 pounds of plastic explosives and 200 or 300 detonators were confiscated.

After that, I was ready to go home. I didn't realize I had actually been sent to Cyprus for another purpose - as part of an operation I was slightly familiar with from working on the office computer.

My new orders were to stay put in my hotel and wait for a phone call from a Metsada combatant who was watching the airport in Tripoli, Libya. The magic message was: "The chickens have flown the coop." Once I received that, I was to turn on a beeper every 15 seconds, constantly repeating, "The chickens have flown the coop." This would be picked up by a nearby missile boat and passed to the Israeli air force, which would have airplanes in the air waiting to force a Libyan Gulfstream 11 executive jet to land in Israel.

The "chickens" in question were some of the toughest, most wanted PLO terrorists in the world, specifically: Abu Khaled Amli, Abu Ali Mustafa, Abdul Fatah Ghamen, and Arabi Awad Ahmed Jibril of the PFLP general command. Jibril did the Achille Lauro hijacking and was the one who so worried U.S. Colonel Oliver North that he bought an expensive security system to guard his home.

Libyan strongman Moamer al Kadhafi had called a three-day meeting in Tripoli of what he called the Allied Leadership of the Revolutionary Forces of the Arab Nation, with representatives of 22 Palestinian and other Arab organizations at his stronghold, the Bab al Azizia barracks. Kadhafi was reacting to U.S. naval maneuvers off the Libyan coast, and the delegates approved creation of suicide squads for commando attacks against U.S. targets in America and elsewhere if the U.S. should dare to launch an aggression against Libya or any other Arab country.

Naturally, the Mossad was monitoring the event. Just as naturally, the Palestinians assumed they would be. And so word was leaked that the senior PLO officials planned to leave early on their jet and fly over the southeastern coast of Cyprus to Damascus. The Mossad had two combatants, who didn't know each other - which is quite normal - waiting on a phone line. One watched the airport. He was supposed to see the men board the plane and take off, then tell the other combatant, who in turn would notify me by phone. Then I would pass the message via beeper to the missile boat.  

I had entered Cyprus under the name Jason Burton. Taken halfway by an Israeli PT boat, then picked up by a private yacht from the harbor, I had my entrance visa stamped as if I had come in through the airport.

It was cold and windy, and there weren't many tourists around. There were, however, a number of Palestinians staying in my hotel. After I'd finished my first assignment and was simply waiting for the phone call, I had nothing much to do. I could leave my room but not the hotel, so I simply told the desk to pass on any calls to wherever I was in the hotel.

It was the evening of February 3, 1986, when I spotted the man in the lobby. He was very well dressed, wore gold-rimmed glasses, and three large rings on his right hand. He had a small goatee and mustache, and looked about 45. His black hair was beginning to turn white. He wore expensive leather shoes and a well-tailored wool suit of high quality.

He was sitting in the lobby looking at an Arabic magazine, but I could see he had a copy of Playboy tucked inside it. I knew he was an Arab and I could tell he felt he was important. I thought, what the hell, I have nothing else to do, so I made contact.

The contact was direct. I simply walked up to him and said in English, "Do you mind if I look at the centerfold?"

"I beg your pardon?" the man replied, his English heavily accented.

"You know, the chick. The girl in the middle."

He laughed, then showed it to me. I described myself as a British businessman who had lived most of my life in Canada. We had a very friendly conversation and after a while decided to have dinner together. The man was a Palestinian who lived in Arnan and, like my "cover person," was in the import/export business. He loved to drink, so after dinner we adjourned to the bar where he began to get drunk.

In the meantime, I expressed strong sympathy for the Palestinian cause. I even mentioned losing a lot of money in a shipment to Beirut because of the war. "Those bloody Israelis," I said.

The man kept talking about business deals he was doing in Libya, and eventually, spurred on by the booze and my apparent friendliness, he said, "We're going to make the Israelis eat shit tomorrow."

"Great, great. How are you going to do that?"

"We heard from a source that Israel is following this PLO meeting with Kadhafi. We're going to do a trick at the airport. The Israelis think all these top PLO men are going to get on a plane together, but they're not."

I was fighting to keep calm. I was not supposed to initiate contact but I had to do something. Finally, at about 1 a.m., I left my "friend" and went back to my room to call an emergency number. I asked for Itsik.

"He can't be reached. He's busy."

"I've got to talk to him. It's an emergency. I'll talk to the head of Tsomet."

"Sorry, he's busy, too."

I had already identified myself as a katsa by my code name, but' incredibly, they wouldn't put me through. So I called Araleh Sherf at home, but he wasn't there. Then I called a friend in naval intelligence and asked to be patched through to where all his bosses were; a war room set up by Unit 8200 in an air-force base in the Galil.

Sure enough, Itsik came on the phone. "Why are you calling me here?"

"Listen, the whole thing is a trick. Those guys are not going to be on the plane."

"How do you know?"

I told him the story, but Itsik said, "This sounds like LAP [psychological warfare]. Besides, you weren't authorized to make contact."


"That's not your call to make," I said. By now we were yelling at each other. "This is ridiculous!"

"Look, we know what has to be done. You just do your job. Do you remember what you have to do?"

"Yes, I do. But for the record, I want you to know what I said."

"Okay. Now do your job."

I didn't sleep all night, but about noon the next day, the message finally came. "The chickens have flown the coop." Unfortunately for the Mossad, they hadn't. Still, I passed the message on, then immediately left the hotel, walked down to the harbor, boarded the private yacht, and was taken to a standby PT boat for the trip back to Israel.

* * *

That day, February 4, the Israelis forced the private jet to land at the Ramat David air-force base near Haifa. But rather than the big-name PLOs, the nine passengers were minor Syrian and Lebanese officials, a major international embarrassment for both the Mossad and Israel. Four hours later they let them go, but not before Jibril held a press conference, announcing: "Tell the world not to board American or Israeli planes. From this day onward, we will not respect civilians who take such planes."

In Damascus, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al Shara'a demanded an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. It was held that week, but the United States vetoed a resolution condemning Israel. In Syria, Major General Hikmat Shehabi, the army's chief of staff, said, "We will answer this crime by teaching those who committed it a lesson they will not forget. We will choose the method, the time, and the place." Kadhafi then announced he had ordered his air force to intercept Israeli civilian airliners over the Mediterranean, force them to land in Libya, and search them for "Israeli terrorists." Libya blamed the U.S. Sixth Fleet, as well, for taking part in the operation.

An embarrassed Prime Minister Shimon Peres told the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee that because there was information that a high-ranking Palestinian was aboard, "we decided we had to verify whether he was on the plane. The nature of the information was such that it gave us a solid basis for our decision to intercept ... It turned out to be a mistake."

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin said, "We did not find what we had hoped to find."

While all this was going on, I was still on the PT boat headed for home. I soon learned the Mossad officials were blaming me for the debacle, and to make sure I wouldn't be there to defend myself, the captain of the PT boat, a man I knew from my own days in the navy, was ordered to develop "engine trouble" about 11 miles off Haifa.

When the boat stopped, I had been drinking coffee. I asked the captain what he was doing.

"I've been notified I have engine trouble," he said.

We sat there for two days. I was not authorized to use the radio communications, either. In fact, the captain was actually the commander of a small flotilla of 11 PT boats, but had been sent specifically for this job. I guess they thought I could intimidate a young guy.

Not much frightened this captain. He had made his name years earlier on a foggy night when he saw a "skunk" on his radar screen. It seemed his radio wasn't working properly. He could send but not receive. As the shadow got closer and closer, he warned over his PA system, "Stop or I'll shoot." Just about the time he was ready to blast away with the small, anti-aircraft cannon at the stern of his boat, a mammoth Nimitz class aircraft carrier came out of the fog and turned its floodlights on him. He was ready to open fire. The anchor on the Nimitz was bigger than his PT boat. People used to really laugh about that.

Nobody was laughing about the intercept embarrassment, however - except the Arabs and Palestinians - and when I finally was allowed back on shore, Oren Riff said to me, "You blew it this time."

I started to explain to him what had happened, but he said, "I don't want to hear it."

I kept trying to talk to Nahum Admony, the head of Mossad, but he wouldn't talk to me. Then I was told by manpower head Amiram Arnon that I was going to be let go. He recommended I resign. I said I wasn't leaving and Arnon said, "Okay, so you get your pay."

I went to Riff and said I still wanted to speak with Admony. Riff said, "Not only does he not want to talk to you, he doesn't want you to stop him in the corridors or on the elevator. And if you try to stop him outside the building, he'll regard that as a personal attack." Which meant that his bodyguards would shoot.

I talked to Sherf, who said there was nothing he could do, either.

"But this is a setup," I said.

"It doesn't matter" Sherf replied. "There is nothing you can do."

So I quit. It was the last week in March 1986.

The next day a friend of mine from the navy called to ask why my file had been taken from the special holding place where they are kept so that Mossad officers won't be called up for the reserves. (Most people in Israel serve 30, 60, or 90 days a year in the reserves. That includes unmarried women and all men up to age 55. The higher the rank, the longer the service.)

Normally, if you left the Mossad, your file was put back in the regular reserve file, but with the order that this person was not to be assigned to front-line activities. That was because they knew too much. And so, my friend, blissfully unaware of the internal problems, wondered why the file had been transferred. He assumed it was something I had requested myself, because it usually took five or six months after leaving the Mossad for the file transfer. I had been gone one day. Worse, the file carried a request to transfer me to liaison with the Southern Lebanese army, as good as a death warrant for an ex-Mossad man.

I figured this had gone too far. So I talked to Bella, packed my things, took a Tower Air charter flight to London, then TWA to New York. After a couple of days there, I flew to see my father in Omaha.

The day after I left, a recruiting order was hand-delivered to my house in Tel Aviv. Normally that process would take about 60 days, with another 30 days to prepare.

Bella accepted the order. But the next day, the phone started ringing, with officials demanding to know where I was. Why I hadn't shown up for service yet. She said I was out of the country.

"How could that be?" the official said. "He didn't get a release from the army."

Actually, I did. Well, not exactly from the army. I made my own release, stamped it myself, and then flew the coop.

I went to Washington for a few days, in an attempt to contact Mossad liaison. But I wasn't successful. Nobody would come on the line, and I didn't want to say where I was. Then Bella flew to Washington, while our two daughters flew to Montreal. We settled finally in Ottawa.

* * *

I'm not sure my entire problem was only talking. They would have used me as a scapegoat and left me, anyway. It's one of those things.

But remember that Palestinian in Cyprus who told me about the trick? He said something else even more shocking. He said he had two friends who spoke Hebrew like Israelis, Arabs who grew up in Israel, who were setting up a security company in Europe as if they were Israeli security types, and recruiting Israelis to help write manuals on how to train clandestine groups. It was all a fake. All they were doing was getting information - getting Israelis to talk freely, as they do when there is no one else around. When I mentioned this to several people in the office, they told me I was crazy, that it couldn't be, and that this couldn't get out because it would cause havoc. I asked them what they were talking about. We should warn people, I said. But they were adamant.

The Palestinian probably opened up to me because he knew it was late the night before the operation; we were in a hotel bar in Larnaca, and what was I going to do, anyway? Incidentally, the combatant in Tripoli did see the PLO heavyweights board the private jet. What he did not see was them getting off, with the plane being reloaded behind-a hangar en route to its take-off position.

They should have let me pursue a whole operation with that Arab. Obviously he knew things. But I never got the chance. If this had been a normal situation, since I was a katsa, after my phone call they shouldn't have let personal information interfere. We could have saved ourselves some embarrassment and even double-tricked the other side.

We should have seen it coming. These were the men who were scared shitless of us. Yet we thought five of them would board a plane together? These were men who normally hid under rocks. They were sophisticated, experienced. We should have known it was a trick. The Mossad didn't need some middleman in Cyprus to pass a message, either. What they needed was a scapegoat. And that's what I turned out to be.

My problems had begun when I was a cadet, but the instructors apparently hoped I would grow out of it and adapt better to the system. I was good at the job and they had made a big investment in me. Not everyone was against me, either, so it took some time to reach the stage where it was finally decided that I was more trouble than I was worth. My problems with Jerry are likely what brought matters to a head. Obviously he had a powerful horse working for him. And against me.

Clearly the Mossad does not appreciate people who question the system, or those who operate it. They prefer people who obediently accept it as is and even use it to their own advantage. As long as they don't rock the boat, no one seems to care.

Even so, I learned enough during my extensive training period and brief career as a katsa to keep a diary and collect extensive information on numerous Mossad operations.

Many of the training courses were taught by those who had carried out various Mossad operations. The trainees studied these operations in minute detail, reenacting them, having every detail explained. In addition, my open access to the Mossad computer allowed me to build up a vast knowledge of the organization and its activities, many of which you are now going to read about, and much of it for the first time.
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:38 am

PART III: BY WAY OF DECEPTION

9. Strella


ON NOVEMBER 28, 1971, four terrorists brazenly assassinated Jordanian Premier Wasfi Tell as he entered the Cairo-Sheraton Hotel. Tell, a pro-Western Arab intent on negotiating with Israel, thus became the first target of a murderous band of Palestinians called Black September, or Ailut at Aswad in Arabic, which took its name from the month in 1970 when Jordan's King Hussein crushed the Palestinian guerrillas in his country.

Easily the bloodiest and most extreme of the fedayeen an Arabic word for guerrilla fighter - Black September quickly followed up Tell's assassination by murdering five Jordanians living in West Germany whom they accused of spying for Israel. They attempted to assassinate Jordan's ambassador to London and they set off damaging explosives in a Hamburg plant making electronic components for sale to Israel, and in a refinery in Trieste that they claimed was processing oil for "pro-Zionist interests" in Germany and Austria.

On May 8, 1972, a team of two men and two women seized a Sabena jet with 90 passengers and 10 crewmen at Tel Aviv's Lod International Airport, trying to force the release of 117 fedayeen imprisoned in Israel. Next day, the two male terrorists were shot dead by Israeli commandos, the women captured and sentenced to life in prison. On May 30, three machine-gun-toting Japanese radicals, paid by the Fedayeen, opened lire in Lod Airport, killing 26 tourists and wounding another 85.

Then on September 5, 1972, at the height of the XX Olympiad in Munich, a Black September team stormed the Israeli compound in the Olympic Village, murdering 11 Israeli athletes and coaches. The resulting standoff with German police was televised live around the world. The group already had members working in Germany, and the week before the Olympics began, several Black September members had headed For Munich, traveling separately, bringing with them an arsenal of Russian-built Kalashnikov assault rifles, pistols, and hand grenades.

Three days later, Israel had reacted to the atrocity by ordering about 75 planes - the heaviest raids since the 1967 war - to bomb what Israel said were guerrilla bases in Syria and Lebanon, leaving 66 dead and scores wounded. Israeli jets even shot down three Syrian planes over the Golan Heights, while Syria downed two Israeli jets. Israel sent ground troops into Lebanon to light Palestinian terrorists who had been mining Israeli roads, and the Syrian army massed on that country's borders in case the hostilities turned into all-out war.

Israelis, already deeply disturbed by outside actions against them, were literally dumbfounded when on December 7 the country's internal intelligence agency, Shin Bet, arrested 46 people for either spying for Syria's Deuxieme Bureau (B.2) or knowing about the spy ring and not reporting it. What really shocked them was that four of those arrested were Jews and two of them, including the leader, were sabras, native-born Israelis, caught spying for an Arab country.

Right alter Munich, Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered retribution. Then a grandmother in her mid-70s, Meir had mourned the Munich Olympics massacre by publicly promising a war of revenge in which Israel would light "with assiduity and skill [on a] far-flung, dangerous and vital front line." Translated, that meant the Mossad would get them, or as they say: "No one will escape the long arm of Israeli justice." Meir signed death warrants for about 35 known Black September terrorists, including their Beirut-based leader Mohammed Yusil Najjar, known as Abu Yusuf, a former senior intelligence officer with Yassar Arafat's AI Fatah. The group also included the colorful but brutal Ali Hassan Salameh, whom the Mossad called "the Red Prince" and who had masterminded the Munich massacre and was then operating from East Germany. He eventually met his late in a 1979 car bombing in Beirut.

Because Meir had given the Mossad orders to track down the Black September killers and take them out as they found them, she herself became the terrorists' number one target. For the Mossad, that meant unleashing Metsada's assassination unit, the kidon.

Their first post-Munich visit was paid to the PLO's Rome representative, Abdel Wa'il Zwaiter, 38, who was waiting for the elevator in his apartment building on October 16, 1972, when he was shot 12 times at close range.

On December 8, Mahmoud Hamchari, 34, the PLO's principal representative in France, answered a telephone call to his Paris apartment.

"Hello."

"Is this Hamchari?"

"Yes."

Boom! The Mossad team had installed an explosive device in his telephone; when he lifted the receiver to his head and identified himself, it was set off by remote control. Hamchari was badly maimed and died a month after the explosion.

In late January 1973, Hussein Al Bashir, 33, described as head of Palmyra Enterprises and traveling on a Syrian passport, went to bed in his second-floor room in Nicosia's Olympic Hotel. Moments later, an explosion demolished both the room and Bashir, Al Fatah's representative in Cyprus. The killer had simply watched until Bashir turned the lights off in his room, then by remote control detonated the explosive device he had planted under the bed.

In eulogizing his dead comrade, Arafat swore to seek revenge himself, but "not on Cyprus, not in Israel, and not in the occupied territories," a clear warning that he planned an international escalation of the battle of terrorists. Altogether, the Mossad killed about a dozen Black September members in Meir's war of revenge.

To further make its point, the Mossad began running obituaries in local Arab newspapers of suspected terrorists who were still alive. Others received anonymous letters detailing intimate knowledge of their private lives, especially sex-related activities, advising them to leave town. In addition, many Arabs were injured in Europe and the Middle East when they opened Mossad-made letter bombs. Although the Mossad would have it otherwise, many innocent bystanders were also hurt in this campaign of revenge.

But the PLO, also, had been mailing letter bombs: to Israeli officials around the world and to prominent Jewish figures, the letters bearing Amsterdam postmarks. On September 19, 1972, Ami Shachori, 44, an agricultural counselor in Israel's London embassy, died instantly when he opened one. A number of widely reported hits on Mossad men at the time were actually what is called "white noise": the chaff that gets into the newspapers, much of it planted by the Mossad itself to add confusion to the public record. A classic example occurred on January 26, 1973, when Israeli businessman Moshe Hanan Yshai (later reported to be Mossad katsa Baruch Cohen, 37) was gunned down in Madrid's busiest street, the Gran Via, by a Black September terrorist he was supposedly tracking. He was not, in fact, tracking anyone. That was merely what the Mossad wanted people to think.

Another example was the November 1972 death of Syrian journalist Khodr Kanou, 36, said to be a double agent, shot dead in his apartment doorway in Paris because Black September believed he was passing on information about their activities to the Mossad. He wasn't. But that's the way his murder was reported in the media. While much is written about double agents, very few actually exist. Those who do have to be in a stable bureaucratic environment in order to function in such a role.

* * *

In that fall of 1972, Meir was looking for a way to turn Israeli minds from the horrors of international terrorism and the country's growing isolation since the Six Day War. Politically, at least, she needed a diversion. There had been a standing request from Israel for an audience with Pope Paul VI in Rome. And so in November, after receiving a message from the Vatican agreeing to the request, Meir asked her officials to make the arrangements.

However, she told them, "I don't want to go to Canossa," a common saying in Israel that refers to the castle in Italy where Emperor Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire humiliated himself by going as a simple penitent before Pope Gregory VII in 1077. Because he was deliberately kept waiting outside for three days before being granted absolution, the visit has come to symbolize an act of submission.

It was decided that Meir would visit Paris to attend an unofficial international socialist conference on January 13-14 -- a conference that French President Georges Pompidou strongly criticized - then drop by the Vatican on January 15 for one day, followed by two days with Ivory Coast President Felix Houphouet-Boigny before returning home to Israel.

Within a week of her request, the papal audience was formalized, although it was not announced to the public.

Because about three percent of Israel's population, or about 100,000 people, are Christian Arabs, the PLO is well connected inside the Vatican, with sources privy to internal discussions. That was how Abu Yusuf quickly got the news of Meir's plan to visit the pope. He immediately sent a message to Ali Hassan Salameh in East Germany, telling him: "Let's get the one who is spilling our blood allover Europe." (That message, and much of the material appearing in this chapter, was unknown to the Israelis until after they seized a mountain of PLO documents in the 1982 Lebanon war.)

Just how Meir would be killed, and precisely when, was left to the Red Prince, but the decision had been made to strike, and he was determined to bring it off. Quite apart from the fact that Meir was their most visible enemy, Yusuf also saw the strike as a spectacular opportunity to show the world that Black September was still a potent force to be reckoned with.

* * *

In late November 1972, the Mossad's London station received an unexpected telephone call from a man named Akbar, a Palestinian student who used to pick up loose change selling information to the Mossad but hadn't been heard from in a long time.

Even though he was a "stale agent," Akbar had PLO connections and he indicated that he wanted a meeting. Because he had not been active for so long, he would not have had a direct link to a specific katsa, and although his calling names would identify him, he would still have to leave a phone number where his call could be returned. His message would have been something like: "Tell Robert it's Isaac calling," plus the phone number and city, as this could be someone normally working in Paris but now calling from London. The message would quickly be fed into the computer by the duty officer, and in this case, it was soon discovered that although Akbar had actually come to England to study, in the hope of getting out of the intelligence game, he was a former "black" (or Arab) agent. His file would have shown when he was last in contact. It would also have included a large picture of him. The photos were mounted with a large one at the top and three more along the bottom, showing each profile, and the subject with or without a beard, for example.

When dealing with the PLO, no matter how remotely, extra precautions are always taken, so very strict APAM procedures would have been followed before the katsa and Akbar actually met.

Since Akbar did prove to be clean, he went on to tell them that he had been instructed by his PLO contact to go to Paris for a meeting. He suspected it was to be a large operation - that was why someone at his low level would have been called in - but at that point he had no specific information.

He wanted money. He was tense and excited. He really didn't want to get involved in all this again, but he didn't think he had much choice, since the PLO knew where he was. The katsa gave Akbar money on the spot and a phone number to call in Paris.

Because it is difficult, especially on short notice, to call in teams from Arab countries, where people are not used to European ways and can be more easily spotted in a European setting, the PLO taps its supply of students and workers who are already living in Europe and so are free to travel without arousing suspicion or requiring a cover story. For the same reason, they often use the services of European revolutionary groups in their work, even though the PLO neither trusts nor respects them.

Now it was Akbar's turn, and so he flew to Paris for a rendezvous at the Pyramides, a Metro station, with other PLO people. Mossad's Paris station was to have Akbar followed to his meeting, but somehow they got it wrong. By the time they arrived, Akbar and his hosts had gone. Had they monitored the rendezvous and taken pictures, it might have helped in sorting out the complicated web of intrigue that Black September was weaving in its zeal to murder Meir.

As an internal security precaution, PLO operatives traveled in pairs once they had received their instructions, but Akbar managed to make a quick call to the Paris number when his partner went to the washroom. He said there was another meeting scheduled. "Target?" asked. the Mossad katsa. "One of yours," he replied. "I can't talk now." He hung up.

Everyone panicked. Word went out to Israeli facilities around the world that the PLO was planning to hit an Israeli target. All stations went on daylight as everyone speculated wildly as to who the target would be. At the same time, with Meir's trip still two months off and not even publicly announced, no one thought of her.

The next day, Akbar called again and said he would be leaving that afternoon for Rome. He needed money and wanted to meet, but he didn't have much time because he had to head for the airport. He was near the Roosevelt Metro station, so he was instructed to take the next train as far as Place de Concorde and walk in a certain direction, repeating in a different way the earlier security precautions.

They wanted to see him in a hotel room, but here again the seemingly simple act of renting a room is anything but simple in the spy business. To begin with, you need two adjoining rooms, with a camera monitoring the meeting room, and two armed security men sitting beside the adjoining room's door ready to burst in should the agent make a move toward the katsa. The katsa would also be given a room key in advance so that he wouldn't have to waste time at the front desk.

Because Akbar had to catch an airplane to Rome, he didn't have much time, so the hotel meeting was abandoned and he was picked up as he walked down the street. He said that, whatever the operation was, it involved something technical, some equipment that had to be smuggled into Italy. This seemingly innocuous bit of intel1igence would prove to be a key element later on in putting the puzzle together. Because this operation belonged to the Paris station, it was also decided to send a katsa to Rome to act as Akbar's contact.

Two security people were then assigned to drive Akbar to the airport. Both, as it happened, were katsas because of a shortage of available security people at the time. One of them, Itsik, later became one of my teachers in the Mossad Academy. But his actions this day were no model for katsas to emulate. Quite the opposite. [1]

Because they were coming from a secured meeting in a secured car, Itsik and his partner felt they were clean. Still, regulations say that katsas don't hang around airports for fear of being seen and perhaps recognized later in another operation at another airport, or elsewhere. Nor do they ever break cover without cleansing the territory first.

On arrival at Orly airport, one katsa went to a cafeteria for coffee, while the other took Akbar to the ticket counter and baggage check-in, staying with him long enough to make sure he was headed for his flight. They may have imagined that Akbar would be the only Palestinian headed for Rome, but he wasn't.

As the Mossad discovered years later in the documents seized during the Lebanese war, another man, a PLO member, spotted Akbar with the stranger at the airport, then alertly followed the katsa and saw him join his partner in the cafeteria. Incredibly, the two men, who should have long since left the airport building, broke into a conversation in Hebrew, at which point the PLO man headed directly to the phone to call Rome and report that Akbar was not clean. Akbar and the Mossad would pay dearly for the sloppiness of Itsik and his partner.

* * *

Ali Hassan Salameh, better known as Abu Hassan, and called the Red Prince by the Mossad, was a dashing, adventure- seeking character whose second wife was Lebanese beauty Georgina Rizak, the 1971 Miss Universe. As brutal as he was smart, he had masterminded the Munich atrocity. Now, he decided to use Russian-made Strella missiles -- called SA-7 by the Soviets and code-named "Grail" by NATO -- to blow up Golda Meir's plane as it landed at Rome's Fiumicino airport.

The missiles, based on the U.S. Redeye missile system, were propelled at their targets through a 10.6 kg. launcher, hand-held and slung over the shoulder. The 9.2 kg. missile itself has a solid, three-stage rocket motor, an infra-red passive guidance system, and a maximum range of 3.5 km. As missiles go, it's not particularly sophisticated, but it can be deadly, finding its target by homing in on the exhaust pipes of hot engines. When shot at highly maneuverable, fast fighter jets, its lack of flexibility renders it useless most of the time. But when aimed at slow and large targets such as passenger jetliners, it is lethal.

Finding a supply of Strellas was no problem. The PLO had them in 'their training camps inside Yugoslavia, so all that was needed was a way to smuggle them across the Adriatic into Italy. At the time, the PLO also had a modest yacht, with sleeping cabins, anchored near Bari on Italy's east coast directly across the sea from Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia.

Salameh patrolled some sleazy bars in Hamburg, Germany's major port city, until he found a German who knew something about navigation and was willing to do anything for money. He then hired two women he met in another bar, who were also interested in the offer of money, sex, drugs, and a leisurely cruise on the Adriatic.

The Germans were flown to Rome, then to Bari, where they boarded the PLO vessel, which had been stocked with food, drugs, and booze. Their only orders were to go to a small island off Dubrovnik, wait while some people loaded wooden boxes into the storage area, then return to a spot on the beach north of Bari, where they'd be met by some other men and paid several thousand dollars each. They were also told to enjoy themselves, take three or four days, and indulge in whatever earthly pleasures they wanted - orders they doubtless followed religiously.

Salameh had chosen the Germans because, if they were caught, the authorities would be more likely to think they were Red Army or some other organization, rather than PLO-related. Unfortunately for them, Salameh was not in the habit of taking chances with outsiders at the end of a mission. When the Germans arrived back with the crated missiles, the PLO went out in a small boat to unload the cargo, then took the three of them away and slit their throats, punched holes in the yacht, and let it sink about a quarter mile offshore.

The Strellas were loaded into a Fiat van, and from Bari the PLO team drove to Avelino, from there to Terracina, then to Anzio, to Ostia and into Rome, staying off the main roads and driving only during daylight hours to avoid any suspicion, finally arriving at an apartment in Rome where the boxes containing the missiles would be stored until they were needed.

* * *

In Beirut, Black September leader Abu Yusuf had been immediately informed that Akbar was a mole within the organization. But rather than kill him right away and perhaps jeopardize the whole operation, Yusuf decided he'd use this knowledge to throw the Israelis off the track. While he knew they were aware that they'd been targeted, they didn't know how, because Akbar had had only limited knowledge of the operation.

"We will have to do something that will make the Israelis say, 'Ah, that's what it was,'" Yusuf told his officials.

Which is why, on December 28, 1972, less than three weeks before Meir's scheduled January 15 visit to Rome, Black September staged what at the time was seen as an inexplicable raid on the Israeli embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. It was clearly a loosely planned event. They picked the day that Prince Vajiralongkorn was being invested at Parliament House as heir to the throne, and Israeli Ambassador Rehevam Amir, along with most foreign diplomats, was attending the ceremony.

Time magazine described the takeover of the embassy on Sol Lang Suan (the lane behind the orchard): "In the hot tropical sun of high noon, two men in leather jackets climbed' over the wall enclosing the compound, while two others, well-dressed in dark suits, strolled in through the front gate. Before the guard could raise any alarm, he was staring down the muzzles of submachine guns. The Black September Arab terrorist group, perpetrators of the Munich massacre, had struck again."

Indeed they had. But it was strictly a diversion. They took control of the embassy and hung the green-and-white Palestinian flag out of a window. They allowed the guard and all the Thai employees to go free, but kept six Israelis as hostages, including Shimon Avimor, the ambassador to Cambodia. Soon, 500 Thai police and troops surrounded the building, and the terrorists threw out notes demanding Israel release 36 Palestinian prisoners or they would blow up the embassy and everyone in it, themselves included, within 20 hours.

Eventually, Thailand's deputy foreign minister, Chartichai Choonhaven, and Air Marshal Dawee Chullasapya, along with Egypt's ambassador to Thailand, Moustafa el Essaway, were allowed to enter the embassy to begin negotiations. Israeli ambassador Amir stayed outside, installing a telex machine in a nearby office to keep in direct contact with Meir and her cabinet in Jerusalem.

After just an hour of talks, the terrorists agreed to an offer of safe conduct out of Thailand if they released the hostages. They then enjoyed a meal of curried chicken and Scotch whiskey, courtesy of the Thai government, and at dawn they left for Cairo on a special Thai flight, accompanied by Essaway and two ranking Thai negotiators.

The Time magazine account of this event also noted that because of Essaway's role, it was "a rare instance of Arab-Israeli cooperation.... Even rarer was the fact that the terrorists had listened to reason. The incident marked the first time that Black Septembrists had backed down."

The journalists, of course, had no way of knowing that this had been the plan all along. Neither did the Israelis, and with one significant exception - Shai Kauly, then head of the Mossad's Milan station - they believed this was the operation Akbar had tipped them off about.

Just to make sure the Mossad did fall for the diversion, Akbar was told by his PLO associates prior to the Thailand affair to stay in Rome for the moment, but that the operation was slated for a country well outside the usual terrorist battleground of Europe or the Middle East. Naturally, Akbar passed this information to the Mossad, so that when the Bangkok attack took place, headquarters in Tel Aviv was not only convinced that this had been the operation in question, but overjoyed that no Israelis had died or even been hurt. There was quite an uproar within the Mossad over the fact that there had been a warning of such an attack, but the location had not been pinpointed. There was an even larger tremor within the Shaback, which is responsible for the security of Israeli embassies and installations abroad.

Akbar was certainly convinced that Bangkok had been the target all along, so he contacted his katsa in Rome for another meeting. Since Mossad security is so meticulous, the Palestinians would not have risked following Akbar to any of his rendezvous for fear of being seen and tipping off the Mossad that they were on to him. Their main concern was feeding him information to pass along to the Mossad.

Now, believing the operation was completed, Akbar wanted money. Since he would soon be heading back to London, he was told by the London-based katsa to bring as much documentation as he could from the PLO safe house. The meeting would be held in a small village south of Rome, but it began in the usual way - sending Akbar to a Rome trattoria - and followed standard APAM procedures from there.

What wasn't standard, however, was the result of the meeting.

When Akbar was shoved into the katsa's car and his briefcase tossed to the front seat in the usual way, the security man opened it. The car instantly blew up, killing Akbar, the katsa, and both security men. The driver survived, but was injured so badly that he remains a vegetable today.

Three more Mossad men had been following in another car, and one swore later that he had heard, over their communications system, Akbar saying in a panicky voice, "Don't open it!" as if he had known the briefcase contained an explosive device. The Mossad, however, never did determine whether or not Akbar knew his briefcase was booby-trapped.

In any event, the men in the second car called in another team, including a standby ambulance, complete with a nurse and doctor - local sayanim. The remains of their three dead colleagues, along with the severely injured driver, were quickly removed from the scene and later shipped back to Israel. Akbar's badly charred body was left in the wreckage of the car, to be found by Italian police.

As it turned out, the PLO made a mistake by killing Akbar before the Meir operation. They could easily have waited until he had returned to London. Even though the Mossad would have known who killed him, it wouldn't have particularly mattered to them at that point.

In the meantime, Meir had already arrived in France on the opening leg of the trip that would bring her to Rome. Mossad officials chuckled to themselves that Meir did not bring along Israel Galili, a minister without portfolio with whom she had been having a long-running affair. The two used to hold many of their private trysts at the Mossad Academy, making the romance an item of particular merriment around the Institute.

* * *

Mark Hessner, [2] head of the Rome station, had been completely taken in by the PLO's Bangkok ruse. But in Milan, Shai Kauly remained convinced there was something wrong with that scenario. Kauly was a determined, studious man with a well-earned reputation as a stickler for details. Sometimes it was a liability. He once held up an urgent message, for example, so that a grammatical error could be corrected. But more often, his meticulousness was an asset. On this occasion, Kauly's persistence would save Golda Meir's life.

He kept going over and over all the reports concerning Akbar and related PLO activities. It made no sense to him that the attack in Bangkok was the same thing that Akbar had talked about: why would it have involved smuggling technical materials into Italy? Then, when Akbar was killed, Kauly became even more suspicious. Why would they kill him unless they knew he was an Israeli agent? But if they did know, then the Bangkok attack must have been a hoax, Kauly reasoned.

Still, he didn't have anything solid to go on. The office was blaming the katsa from London for the attack, saying that when he had asked Akbar to bring documentation, he did not warn him how to handle himself so he wouldn't be caught.

As for Hessner, his personal animosity toward Kauly would be a serious complicating factor in the unfolding events. When Hessner had been a cadet in the Academy, he had been caught several times lying about his whereabouts - including once by Kauly, his instructor at the time -- when he was unaware of being followed. Instead of going to his assignment, Hessner had gone directly home. When he was asked by Kauly to give a report, he had given one completely different from what really happened. The fact that he was not kicked out must have meant he had a good, strong horse on the inside, but he never forgave Kauly for catching him, just as Kauly never regarded Hessner as a professional.

With Meir's visit so close at hand now, security was particularly tight. Kauly kept reading the reports over and over again, trying to piece together the missing chunks.

* * *

As often happens in such situations, Kauly's biggest break came from a most unexpected source. A multilingual and mega-talented woman in Brussels kept an apartment at the behest of PLO fighters seeking a temporary haven in the ongoing war against Israel. A high-priced hooker, she was an imaginative PLO playmate. Because the Mossad bugged both her phone and her apartment, amorous recordings of her and her friends in various states of sexual ecstasy had become a favorite diversion for Mossad officials around the world. It was said she could moan in at least six languages.

Just a few days before Meir's scheduled arrival in Rome, someone - Kauly thought it was Salameh, although he was never positive - in the Brussels apartment told the woman he had to phone Rome. He told the party who answered to "clear the apartment and take all 14 cakes." Normally, a call to Rome would not have raised suspicion, but with Meir due to arrive and Kauly already suspicious, it was just what he needed to prompt a move.

The German-born Kauly was only about five foot five, with sharp features, light brown hair, and a light complexion. He had a low-key personality and was not given to trying to impress his superiors, which is why he was in Milan, a minor station, and Hessner was in Rome.

When Kauly heard the Brussels tape, he immediately called a friend in liaison, who called his friend in Italian intelligence, Vito Michele, and said he needed an address from a phone number right away. (Because Kauly was in Tsomet [recruiting], he was registered as an attache at the consulate, and therefore did not make himself known as a katsa to local intelligence. He would not have called Michele direct.)

Michele said he couldn't do it without permission from his boss, Amburgo Vivani, so the liaison man said he'd call Vivani, which he did. What channels Italian intelligence went through to get the information was of no concern to Kauly. He knew only that the man in the Rome apartment had been told to leave the next day, giving them very little time to track down the address and determine if it had anything to do with a PLO operation.

Vivani did get the address, but incredibly, the liaison officer in Rome, rather than give the information to Kauly in Milan, sent it to the Rome station, which knew nothing of its significance - or about the Kauly-Hessner feud - and so sat on it until the next day. Finally, Kauly tracked down the address himself and phoned the Rome station, telling them to go directly to the apartment because it could have a bearing on Meir's visit. At this point, Kauly was still guessing, but he was convinced something critical was about to happen.

By the time the Mossad found the apartment, however, it was empty. But a search did turn up an important piece of evidence: a torn piece of paper showing the back end of a Strella missile and several words in Russian explaining the mechanism.

Now Kauly was frantic. With less than two full days before the prime minister arrived, he knew there were PLO operatives all over the place, that there was an operation on, that they had missiles, and that Meir was about to land. But it was only this last he knew precisely.

As a result, Meir was notified of a security risk, but her response to the head of Mossad was, "I'm going to meet with the pope. You and your boys make sure I land safely."

At this point, Kauly went to see Hessner to debate whether or not they should involve local security. Hessner, trying a power play of his own, thanked Kauly for his help, but added, "Your station is in Milan. This is Rome." He told him to leave. As Tsomet station head in Rome, Hessner was automatically in charge. If one of his superiors in Israel wanted to take charge, he would have to come to the Rome station to do so. Then, that did not happen. Today, it probably would.

Still, Kauly was more concerned for the safety of the prime minister than worried over a jurisdictional dispute. He told Hessner to stuff it. "I'm staying," he insisted. Hessner, furious, contacted headquarters to complain that Kauly was causing confusion in command. Tel Aviv then ordered Kauly off the case and back to Milan pronto.

But Kauly didn't leave Rome. He had two of his katsas from Milan with him, leaving Milan empty, and he told Hessner they'd just snoop around and stay out of everybody's way. Hessner wasn't happy with that either, but he'd made his jurisdictional point, so he ordered all personnel out to the airport and its environs to see if they could get a break on the terrorists. The PLO, however, assuming the Mossad might know more about its plans than they did, had taken the extra precaution of moving into the beach area for the night, camping in their vehicles. Thus, a Mossad check of every hotel and rooming house in and around Lido di Ostia, plus all known PLO hang-outs the night before Meir's January 15 arrival, came up empty.

Still, since the Mossad knew the range of the missiles, they at least knew the area to search before Meir's plane landed, although it was a massive area, about five miles wide and 13 miles long, and the problem was compounded by Hessner's stupid decision not to notify the local police about the potential problem. The Strella can be activated remotely. When the target comes within range, the missile has an electric pulse that activates a beeper; once fired, it will trace a target by itself. The terrorists would have a time fix on Meir's plane, knowing from their own agents exactly when it had left Paris, and when it was due to land. And it would be an El AI jet - the only one due at that time of day.

Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport at Fiumicino was called by Alitalia officials at the time "the worst airport in the world." Crowded, confused, airplanes were almost always late, sometimes up to three hours, because the airport had only two runways to handle up to 500 aircraft a day in peak season.

Of course Meir's plane would receive top priority, but the constant confusion in the airport itself was no help to the Mossad officials scurrying around trying to find a group of terrorists and their missiles. They could be anywhere - in the airport itself, the nearby hangars, or in the fields surrounding the airport.

For his part as he was patrolling the airport, Kauly ran into a Rome-based katsa and asked where the Mossad liaison people were. (They were the ones who would notify the Italian police when needed, not the katsas themselves.)

"What liaison?" the man replied.  

"You mean they aren't here!" Kauly was incredulous.

"No," said the Rome katsa.

Kauly immediately called the liaison man in Rome and told him to call Vivani and tell him what was going on. "Pull whatever strings are necessary. We've got to get reinforcements out here."

It seemed more likely the terrorists would be outside the perimeter of the airport within missile range of Meir's plane, since there proved to be very few good hiding spots on airport grounds. Still, they searched everywhere, soon joined by Adaglio Malti of Italian intelligence.

Malti had no idea the place was full of Mossad officers. He was there because of a tip from the Rome liaison officer that, based on reliable information received, the PLO was planning to embarrass the Italians by shooting down Meir's plane over the airport with Russian-made missiles. (That message would have been approved first by liaison command in Tel Aviv before being transferred to the Italians.)

* * *

By this time, the terrorists had split into two groups. One, with four missiles, went to the south of the airport, and the other, with eight, to the north. The fact that two of the 14 "cakes" would be unaccounted for after the operation proved to be significant later on. But at that time, the northern group set up two missiles next to their Fiat van in a field.

However, it wasn't long before a Mossad security man combing the area noticed them. He shouted. They opened fire. The scene was one of great confusion. The Italian police arrived, and the Mossad man - not expecting them, since it was Kauly who had called them, nor wanting them to see him - ran off. In the commotion, one of the terrorists tried to get away, but Mossad officers who had been observing the action soon caught up to him, tied him up, threw him into a car, and spirited him swiftly away to an airport storage shed.

Under brutal and persistent beating, the terrorist confessed that they'd planned to kill Golda Meir, and he boasted, "There is nothing you can do about it."

"What do you mean nothing we can do? We got you!" an officer replied, and the beating continued.

Kauly had, meanwhile, heard over his walkie-talkie that a prisoner had been taken. He immediately made his way to the storage shed. The officers told Kauly they had captured this terrorist, and the Italians had nabbed some more, along with either nine or 10 missiles.

But Kauly remembered the telephone call from Brussels about taking "all 14 cakes." Not only did the Mossad still have a problem, only 30 minutes remained until Meir's plane landed. There must be more missiles. But where?

By this time, the prisoner was unconscious. Kauly threw water over him.

"It's finished for you," Kauly told him. "You blew it this time. She's landing in four minutes. There's nothing you can do about it."

"Your prime minister is dead," the terrorist taunted his captors. "You didn't get us all."

Kauly's worst fears were confirmed. Somewhere out there was a Soviet-made missile with Golda Meir's name on it.

At that, a security man smashed the terrorist unconscious. When they'd caught him, he'd been carrying an explosive device, called a "bouncing Betty," often used by terrorists. It sticks into the ground like a land mine, but is attached to a short stake with a string tied to the pin. They put the device beside him, made a longer string, walked out of the building, then pulled the string, blowing the man to bits.

The tension was incredible. Kauly got Hessner on the walkie-talkie and asked him to radio Meir's pilot to postpone the landing. It's not clear whether he ever did that or not. What is clear is that one Mossad security man, scouting a perimeter highway in his car, suddenly noticed something odd about a food-concession cart standing by the side of the road. He had already driven by it twice, but on the third time, it struck him: there were three stacks poking out of the roof, but only one was smoking. The terrorists had got rid of the cart owner, drilled two holes in the roof, and stuck Strella missiles up through the holes. The plan was that when Meir's plane got close enough and the missile began beeping, all they'd have to do was pull the trigger and approximately 15 seconds later the plane would have been totalled.

Without wasting a second, the Mossad man did a sharp U-turn on the road and drove his car directly into the cart, turning it over and pinning the two terrorists beneath it. He got out, confirmed that there were two missiles all right -- and that the terrorists were trapped. Then he saw police cars heading his way, so he jumped back in his own car, turned around, and roared off toward Rome. As soon as he notified his Mossad colleagues, they all faded from the picture as if they had never been there in the first place.

The Italian police arrested five Black Septembrists, but strangely, considering the fact that they were caught red-handed with the missiles attempting to assassinate Meir, they were released within a few months and flown to Libya.

_______________  

Notes:

1. See Chapter 7: HAIRPIECE

2. See Chapter 4: SOPHOMORES
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:44 am

10. Carlos

ON FEBRUARY 21, 1973, the Israelis sent two Phantom jets out against an unarmed Libyan Arab Airlines Boeing 727 that had been bound for Cairo but strayed off course. They shot it down, killing 105 of the 111 people on board. That came just 12 hours after Israeli commandos had staged a daring raid in Beirut, blowing up various PLO installations, capturing a considerable amount of documentation, and killing several PLO leaders, including Black September chief Abu Yusuf and his wife.

The destruction of the civilian plane was a tragic mistake. At the time, Israel had received threats that an airplane filled with bombs would be flown to Tel Aviv. The ill-fated Boeing was headed directly over one of the largest military bases in the Sinai, and when the chief of the air force could not be found, the decision to shoot was made by a captain.

It would be another six years before the Mossad finally caught up with the Red Prince, but Golda Meir's single-minded personal vendetta against Black September drastically changed the role of the Institute. The PLO became the most important part of Mossad work - not a good situation, because less attention was paid to other enemies, such as Egypt and Syria, who were screaming war - and, in fact, preparing for war; Anwar Sadat had committees all over Egypt actually called "war committees." But the Mossad was spending nearly all its time and resources chasing down Black September terrorists.

On October 6, 1973, just a few months after the Strella incident in Rome, General Eliahu Zeira, head of Israel's military intelligence, was telling a press briefing in Tel Aviv: "There will be no war." In the midst of the briefing, an Israeli major entered the room and handed the general a telegram. Zeira read it and immediately left without saying a word.

The Egyptians and Syrians had attacked, the Yom Kippur War had begun, and the Israeli death count on the first day was 500, with more than 1,000 wounded. A few days later they managed to recover and begin pushing the invaders back, but the war forever changed Israel's image - both for others and for itself - as an invincible force.

Golda Meir was still alive, thanks to the Mossad, but one result of the war was her resignation as prime minister on April 10, 1974.

As for Shai Kauly, he knew there were still two Strella missiles unaccounted for alter the attempt on Meir. However, the immediate threat was over, he was back in Milan, and concerns over the war soon overtook all other problems.

At the time of the airport incident, though, the Italian police had felt extremely embarrassed. Alter all, here was an attempted assassination of a major political figure right under their noses and they had done nothing, other than arrive late and pick up the pieces the Mossad had left behind. Italian intelligence had had no inkling of the plan to kill Meir. While the general public knew nothing of the episode, some of the intelligence community did. And so the Italians asked the Israelis not to make the details public.

The Mossad view was that by helping another party cover up something, it gained a certain advantage. Thus, it was always willing to help someone save face - just as long as that someone knew that, to the Mossad, he was still an idiot.

And so the LAP, or Lohamah Psichlogit, the Mossad's psychological warfare department, was asked to develop a cover story. At the time, the situation between Israel and Egypt was extremely tense, but because the Mossad was so busy looking for the Black September gang, the vital signs indicating war preparation had been missed. With only about 35 or 40 active katsas operating in the world at any given time, concentrating on covering the activities of the PLO -- with thousands of people in Its many factions - could preoccupy the whole force and create a serious gap in the monitoring of Israel's other major enemies.

In any event, LAP invented a cover story for the Italians to make public, at the same time telling the British, French, and U.S. intelligence agencies what had really happened. There is a rule in intelligence called the "third party rule": if, for example, the Mossad gives information to the CIA because the two have a good working relationship, the CIA cannot pass the information on to a third party, because it came from another intelligence agency. Of course the rule can be circumvented by simply paraphrasing some of the information and then passing it along.

At the time of the Rome airport incident and subsequent cover-up, the Mossad frequently supplied the CIA with lists of Russian military equipment being sent to Egypt and Syria, including the series numbers of weapons and individual serial numbers. The purpose was twofold: to make the Mossad look good because they could obtain this information, and to help confirm a military build-up. This would assist the CIA in convincing the U.S. government to increase its support to Israel. The CIA couldn't tell Congress where they got this information, but it did, however, confirm the same information being given to Congress by the Jewish lobby groups.

The Americans already considered Libya's Moamer al Kadhafi a dangerous lunatic, and in the mid-1970s the whole world seemed to be in turmoil, with little terrorist revolutionary groups springing up everywhere. There was Action Directe in France, the Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany, the Japanese Red Army, the Italian Red Brigade (who murdered Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978), the Basque ETA in Spain (which claimed to have murdered Spanish premier Carrero Blanco in 1974), and about five different Palestinian organizations. Even in the United States there were the Weathermen and the Symbionese Liberation Army - the 1974 kidnappers of heiress Patricia Hearst.

In the midst of this upheaval, many synagogues and other Jewish institutions in Europe were hit by bomb attacks, so the time was ripe for the Mossad to blame the Italian escapade on the Egyptians and Libyans, even though they'd had nothing to do with it.

The Mossad did get the list of the Strella missiles the Italians had confiscated. There were still only 12, but they'd worry about the missing two later. The serial numbers of these missiles were added to the lists they were sending the CIA of weapons sent by the Russians to Egypt, even though the Mossad knew from its interrogation of the terrorists that these particular missiles had come from Yugoslavia.

But the story devised by LAP for public consumption in Italy was that the terrorists, who got their weapons from Libya, had left Beirut by car in late December, 1972, carrying the Strellas, arriving in Italy by ferryboat and driving to Rome, supposedly on their way to attack a Jewish target in Vienna. The reason for the circular route, it was explained, was that it is easier to enter one western European country from another than it is to pass through customs coming from a Communist country. The terrorists were "officially" arrested January 26, 1973, by the Italian police for transporting explosives, having been held incommunicado since their failed airport attack while a cover story was concocted by LAP. Incredibly, the Italian police then released the terrorists, first two and, later, another three.

But in the meantime, the Americans were feeding all this Mossad-supplied information into their military computer system. When the Italians finally announced on January 26 that they'd arrested the terrorists and confiscated their weapons, they, too, passed along the serial numbers of the Strellas to the CIA, who in turn gave the data to their military intelligence. Then, when those serial numbers were cross-referenced with the ones the Mossad had included as supposedly coming through Egypt and Libya via Russia, the U.S. computer showed a match. Now the Americans truly believed that the Russians had supplied Egypt, which had, in turn, given the missiles to Kadhafi, who had armed the terrorists - further evidence that the Libyan leader was exactly what the United States believed him to be. Only the Mossad knew the truth.

It seems that the main reason the Italians freed the terrorists was that they were afraid of the case coming to trial, for the truth would have got out: Italian intelligence had allowed a cell of terrorists to come within a whisker of assassinating a world leader. Quite a scandal.

* * *

It still bothered the Mossad at the time that two of the missiles were unaccounted for. But the Italians were happy, since their embarrassment had been concealed, while the Americans thought Kadhafi was behind the whole thing.

While the terrorists were still in jail, security men from the Shaback had interrogated them and found out that Ali Hassan Salameh, the Red Prince, had indeed been involved. Now the Mossad wanted him badly.

The Italian police had allowed the Shaback to interrogate the Palestinians in Rome. In all likelihood, a team of two Shaback men would have come into it room where one prisoner was sitting on a chair, his hands cuffed behind his back; his legs, too, would have been cuffed, with a chain leading to the cuffs. The first thing the Shaback would have done was ask the Italian police to leave the room. "This is an Israeli room now. We will be responsible for the prisoner." The PLO prisoner doubtless would have been horrified. After all, he'd probably gone to Europe to avoid ever winding up in the hands of the Israelis.

After closing the door, the Shaback officers, speaking Arabic, would have said something like, "We are your friends from the Muchbarat." (Muchbarat is a catch-all name used by the Arabs to describe all intelligence. Indeed, many Arab intelligence agencies go by that name.)

They would have wanted to make sure that the prisoner knew exactly who he was dealing with and what his situation was. Next they would have removed the regular cuffs and replaced them with the much harsher type they favor. Made of plastic, they look similar to the plastic fasteners used to attach name tags to luggage, only these are much stronger and have little razor blades to hold the fasteners. Unlike regular handcuffs, which give a bit of room to move, these are pulled tight, cutting off circulation and causing considerable pain.

Then, after cuffing his arms and legs with these, all the while chatting away about his sorry situation, the Shaback officers would have probably placed a jute sack over the prisoner's head. Next, they would have opened his fly and pulled out his penis, leaving him sitting there handcuffed, blindfolded, a bag over his head, and his private parts sticking out. "Now you feel at home?" they would have mocked. "Let's start talking."

At that point, it wouldn't have taken long for the talk to come. In this case, the Shaback unfortunately had no idea the prisoners would shortly be released, and so they asked a lot of questions about Salameh. So many that once they were out, word quickly got back to the Red Prince that he was Mossad's number-one target.

* * *

At the time, Black September was pushing very hard. Letter bombs were still common, and bombings and grenade attacks were being staged quite regularly all across Europe. While the Mossad was extremely anxious to get Salameh, the Black September leaders in Beirut were equally anxious to save him. He was their favorite son. So they warned him to get out of sight for the time being.

But Black September leader Abu Yusuf - who would be killed a few weeks later by Israeli commandos in a February 20, 1973, raid on his Beirut headquarters - decided the organization must replace Salameh, at least temporarily, to handle the European operations. And so they settled on Mohammed Boudia, Algerian-born, and well known in fashionable Paris society. He started his own cell, in his own name: the "Boudia cell."

Boudia's idea was to coordinate all the terrorist groups operating in Europe into one deadly underground army. He arranged for members of various groups to train in Lebanon and, almost overnight, created a major terrorist organization, a kind of clearing house for all the factions. It was a good idea in theory, but the main problem was that the PLO organizations were extreme nationalists, while most of the other groups were radical Marxists, and Islam and Marxism simply don't mix.

Boudia had a liaison man of his own who traveled between Paris and Beirut, a Palestinian named Moukharbel. In the Israeli commando raid on Black September headquarters there, Moukharbel's file, complete with a photo, had been among the many seized and taken back to Tel Aviv.

Enter Mossad katsa Oren Riff. Everything was hot. There was no time for the normal cautious setups. Riff, who spoke Arabic, was told in June 1973 to make a frontal recruitment effort on Moukharbel, that is, simply confront him directly and offer him a deal. (There is much to be gained by this technique: it does sometimes get recruits; if it fails, it might scare a man enough to make him stop working for the other side - or, he's stopped, period, as Meshad, the Egyptian physicist, was.) [1]

Moukharbel was staying at a fancy London hotel. He was followed for one and a half days, and the hotel was cased. Finally, Riff was to go to his door as soon as Moukharbel returned from a walk. His room had already been checked for hidden weapons; there were none and no one else was there. On Moukharbel's way up in the elevator, a man "accidentally" bumped into him, quickly frisking him for concealed weapons as he did so. Since Moukharbel was PLO, he was considered extremely dangerous, but having taken all the precautions the circumstances allowed, Riff waited for the man to go into his room, then went to the door.

Glancing swiftly at the other man to make sure he wasn't going for a weapon, Riff quickly recited Moukharbel's Black September file: his name, address, age - everything it contained.

He then said, "I'm from Israeli intelligence and we're willing to pay you a pretty penny. We want you to work for us."

Moukharbel, a handsome, sophisticated, expensively tailored man, looked Riff straight in the eye, smiled from ear to ear, and said, "What took you so long?"

The two men had a quick, five-minute meeting and made arrangements for another that would be more formal and properly secured. It wasn't so much the money with Moukharbel, although he wanted that, too, but he particularly wanted a double cover so that if something happened to either side, he'd still be safe. It was a question of his own personal survival, and if both sides were willing to pay him, fine.

Right away, he gave Riff most of the locations where Boudia stayed. Boudia loved women and had a number of mistresses allover Paris. He knew he was a target, so he used women's apartments as safe houses, staying in a different one each night. But since Moukharbel needed to be in contact with him, he knew the various addresses. Once Riff passed them along to Metsada, the department began tailing Boudia on his rounds. They soon learned that he was busy transferring some money for an upcoming operation to a Venezuelan named I1yich Ramirez Sanchez, who came from a rich family, had studied in London and Moscow, and was now living in Paris and doing some work for the PLO.

Metsada soon saw that Boudia was a careful man. One thing an intelligence agency looks for in such matters is a constant - something the target does regularly. This sort of work can't be done on the spur of the moment. "There he is: let's kill him!" That just doesn't happen. It must be planned to avoid any complications. The most constant thing about Boudia was that everywhere he went he drove his blue Renault 16. He also had one place, on the rue des Fosses-St-Bernard, which he visited more frequently than the others.

Even so, Boudia wouldn't get into his car without opening the hood, checking underneath the car, looking in the trunk and at the exhaust pipe for possible explosives. As a result, Metsada decided to put a pressure mine inside his car seat. But because they didn't want the French to suspect the Mossad, the bomb was deliberately made to look as if it was homemade, filled with nuts and sharp scrap iron. The bomb was fitted with a heavy metal plate at the bottom so that it would blow up, not down, when pressure was placed on it.

On June 28, 1973, Boudia left the apartment building, performed his usual check, then opened the driver's door and hopped onto the seat. As he was closing the door, the car blew up, killing him instantly. The force of the blast was so strong that many of the nuts and bolts went right through his body and peppered the roof of the car.

The French police, who knew his association with terrorist groups, believed he was. blown up by accident when explosives he was carrying went off, a conclusion often reported by various police departments in lieu of other explanations.

Even though Black September had no direct evidence that the Mossad had killed Boudia, they knew it was so. They ordered the immediate revenge killing of an Israeli. A Palestinian student at UCLA, in southern California, was ordered to get a gun and go to the Israeli embassy in Washington. They reasoned that a complete unknown could do a hit and escape much more easily than someone who had been involved in a terrorist group and might be tailed by U.S. intelligence. And so, on July 1, 1973, an unidentified young man walked up to Colonel Yosef Alon, the assistant air attache at the embassy, shot him dead on the street, and fled. The gunman was never caught. The Mossad learned of this tie-in with the Boudia operation later, from some documentation captured after the Yom Kippur War.

After Boudia's assassination, Moukharbel notified Riff that Black September had brought the Venezuelan, Sanchez, to Paris to run their European operation. The Mossad knew very little about him, but they quickly found out that his favorite alias was Carlos Ramirez - or later, simply Carlos. He would soon become one of the most famous and feared men in the world.

* * *

Ali Hassan Salameh, not a stupid man himself, was busy setting up his own personal security. He wanted to avoid the Mossad and to make Israel look bad at the same time. So he arranged with volunteers to get themselves recruited by the Mossad through two different embassies. Their job was to feed the Israelis a series of dates and locations that would map his movements. Not his real movements, of course, but the ones he wanted them to believe. This eventually led the Mossad to a little town in Norway called Lillehammer, about 95 miles north of Oslo, where a waiter in a restaurant bore an uncanny - and for him, fatal - resemblance to the Red Prince.

Metsada head Mike Harari was in charge of the operation to get Salameh. Salameh made sure that, when the unsuspecting waiter was being watched by the Mossad, some of his men walked over and talked to him, which would confirm he was who the Mossad thought he was. Though he wasn't, on July 21, 1973, the Mossad killed the innocent waiter. Three people went to jail. One of them, David Arbel, [2] talked a lot, and the "Lillehammer affair" became perhaps the biggest scandal and embarrassment in Mossad history.

Back in Paris, Carlos was taking over. The European intelligence community knew nothing about him. He didn't speak Arabic; in fact, he didn't even like Arabs. (Carlos said of the Palestinians, "If these guys are half as good as they say, how come the Israelis are still sitting in Palestine?") But Moukharbel, recently recruited as a Mossad agent by Oren Riff, remained as liaison man for Carlos.

In the process of consolidating the Paris operation, Carlos gained control of the stockpile of Black September weaponry throughout Europe. Among other things, he inherited the two "missing" Strella missiles that had been part of the aborted assassination attempt on Golda Meir.

Moukharbel, in addition to acting as liaison with Black September, was doing the same job for two other Palestinian groups, the Popular Front (PFLP) and the Palestinian Youth Organization. The volume of information coming from him to the Mossad was astonishing, and the Mossad, after chewing it up and keeping what it wanted for itself, began feeding European intelligence and the CIA so much information, they didn't know what to do with it all. It became an inside joke with other intelligence officers, who would ask, "Oh, did we get the Mossad book today?" And liaison with the CIA was so tight then, the Americans would joke about "the Mossad desk at Langley" (CIA headquarters in Virginia). This flooding the market with information perhaps didn't do anybody much good, though at least nobody could say later they weren't told. And it was a system the Mossad later used successfully.

Carlos naturally took an interest in the two leftover Strella missiles in Rome. Apparently, when the two teams had divided them, they'd simply left two behind in a safe house the Mossad didn't know about. Had they not killed the terrorist captured at the time of the assassination attempt, they might have found out. He had been one of the team using that particular house.

Although Carlos had not moved against any Jewish targets yet, the Mossad was beginning to realize he was a dangerous man. They learned of the missiles through Moukharbel, but there was no point in touching them yet. In any case, they couldn't make a move on the house without burning Moukharbel, who was phoning every two or three days with information; at one stage they actually had an operator on call 24 hours a day for him.

Carlos wanted the missiles to be used against an Israeli plane. But he would not become personally involved in an operation that required intricate planning. That was his rule - and part of the reason he was never caught. He would plan an operation, see that it was carried out, but would not participate.

The Mossad had a problem with the missiles. Clearly Moukharbel was too valuable to burn over this one operation, but if ever they let the Palestinians get to the airport with the weapons, they would be able to take out an Israeli airplane.

Oren Riff, Moukharbel's katsa, was running the show. Riff was a straightforward, no-nonsense kind of guy. At the end of 1975, he was one of the infamous 11 crack katsas who signed a letter to the head of the Mossad saying the organization was stagnant, wasteful, and had the wrong attitude toward democracy. It is known inside only as "the letter of the 11," and Riff is the only one of the 11 who survived it. Everyone else was kicked out. He was skipped over twice for advancement, however, and in 1984 when he demanded his file to see why he was not being advanced, he was told it had been misplaced - an unlikely story, since the organization had only 1,200 people altogether, including secretaries and drivers.

As a result of that letter, incidentally, the NAKA regulations were changed so that not more than one other person in the Mossad could cosign a letter.

Anyway, Riff called liaison in Rome and told them to call their friend in Italian intelligence, Amburgo Vivani, and give him the address of the safe house where the missiles were. "You tell him you'll call him at a time when all the people involved are there and he's to come into that apartment only at that particular time," Riff said. "That way he can catch them all."

A unit of neviot men were casing the place for the Mossad and on September 5, 1973, when they saw all the terrorists go in, they called Italian intelligence. The Italians were standing by - so was the Mossad, who saw the Italians but weren't seen by them - and they entered the apartment, arresting five men - from Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Iraq, and Syria - and confiscating the two missiles.

The story given out was that the five had planned to shoot down civilian airliners from the roof of their apartment as they were taking off from Rome's Fiumicino airport. This was a ridiculous story, because the airplanes didn't fly over that apartment. But it didn't matter. People believed it.

At that time, the head of Italian intelligence was very close to the Mossad. In fact, the Italian, carrying a concealed camera, used to travel to Arab countries and photograph Arab military installations for the Mossad.

Even though they caught the terrorists red-handed with two heat-seeking missiles, the Italians released two of the five on bail immediately. Naturally, they left Rome. The other three were released to Libya, but on March 1, 1974, after they had been flown there, the Dakota plane that had carried them blew up on its way back to Rome, killing pilot and crew. There is an ongoing police investigation into that bombing.

The Italians claim the Mossad did it, but they didn't. It was most likely the PLO. They probably thought the crew had seen something when they let them off in Libya, or might recognize them in some other operation. If the Mossad had blown it up, they would have done it when the terrorists were on board.

On December 20, 1973, Carlos was in Paris. He had a place on the outskirts of the city, a storage place for PLO ammunition. The Mossad was looking for a reason to give the address to the French without burning their valuable agent, Moukharbel.

That morning, Carlos performed his own style of terrorist act - his infamous "bang, bang" and get out. He left his apartment carrying a grenade, hopped in his car, and drove down a street, lobbing the grenade at a Jewish bookstore, killing one woman, and wounding six other people. That was reason enough for the Mossad to pass on the address of the ammunition depot, but when it was raided by French police, they found weapons, guns, grenades, TNT sticks, propaganda leaflets, about a dozen people, but no Carlos. He had left France the same day.

The next day he called Moukharbel from London, wanting to meet him there. Moukharbel said he couldn't go because the British police wanted him. The Mossad tried to persuade him to go but he wouldn't, so for a time they lost contact with Carlos.

Then on January 22,1974, Carlos called Moukharbel again. "It's Ilyich," he said. "I'm coming back to Paris. I just have to sign a deal tomorrow or the next day."

All Israeli installations in Britain immediately went on alert. But it couldn't be a visible alert in case the call was simply a test by Carlos of Moukharbel's loyalty. They knew that Carlos was always one step ahead of everybody else.

Two days later, on January 24, a car went by an Israeli bank in London, and the lone man inside the car threw a hand grenade at the bank, injuring one woman.

The next day, Carlos called a meeting with Moukharbel in Paris. He told him that he had to layoff Israeli targets for the time being because things were too hot, but he had some debts to pay to the Japanese and German gangs, which had to be done before he could do anything for the PLO.

That more or less put the Mossad at ease, and it tied in with other information they had. But With Carlos, you could never be at ease for long. On August 3 that year, three car bombs were set in Paris, two outside newspaper offices and one (detected before it exploded) outside a radio station. The French police thought it was the work of Action Directe. It was, but Carlos had helped them rig and plant the bombs. Then he had driven to another part of Paris so as to be far from the actual operation.

The Mossad subsequently learned that Carlos had received a batch of Russian-made RPG-7 rocket anti-tank grenade launchers. The RPG-7 is a compact, easy-to-carry weapon that weighs only 19 pounds and has a maximum effective range of 555 yards on a static target, and 330 yards on a moving target. It will penetrate armor up to 12 inches thick.

On January 13, 1975, Carlos and a colleague, Wilfred Bose, headed for Orly airport looking for trouble. (Bose, a member of the Baader-Meinhof gang, was killed on June 27, 1976, in the famous hostage-saving raid on Entebbe, Uganda.) In any event, the two men spotted the tail of an Israeli airplane on the tarmac.

Carlos drove by again to take another look, stopped the car, and tossed a small bottle of milk onto the road, spilling the liquid as his signal for the spot where he could best see the Israeli plane. With Carlos's feet planted under the roof racks of his Citroen Deux Chevaux, Bose backed down the road, then drove ahead slowly, at about 10 miles an hour. As he approached the milk spot, Carlos rose from his squatting position and fired, missing the Israeli plane, but damaging a Yugoslavian plane and one of the airport buildings. They drove down the road a few yards and stopped the car. Carlos jumped down, got in the passenger seat, and off they went.

When he returned to the apartment, he told Moukharbel what he had done, but Moukharbel told him he'd heard about it on the radio and that he'd missed the Israeli plane. Carlos replied, "Yes, we missed this time, but we're going back on the nineteenth to do it again."

Naturally, Moukharbel fed this tidbit to Oren Riff. Again, they did not want. to burn such a valuable agent, so Riff ordered double security and had all Israeli planes moved to the north side of the airport so that there was just one approach to them, should Carlos fulfill his threat.

Sure enough, on January 19, after the French had been warned there might be a terrorist attack, Carlos arrived with three men in the car. They made three passes and then stopped, but the French police, their sirens roaring, closed in. The men didn't fire. Instead, appearing to throw down their weapons, they ran off, leaving their car behind. Carlos grabbed a passer-by and put a gun to her head. One of his colleagues followed suit. For the next 30 minutes, there was a standoff while they negotiated.

Although no guns were fired, somehow they got away. Their equipment was left behind, and Carlos disappeared. Even Moukharbel didn't know where he was.

* * *

For the next five months, things were quiet. Moukharbel was still supplying valuable information, but he had heard nothing about Carlos. At this point he was becoming nervous, too: friends had told Moukharbel that some people in Beirut were getting suspicious of his activities and wanted to talk to him. By this time, the Mossad had decided to hit Carlos, but all Moukharbel wanted was a new identity and to get out of the game as quickly as he could. He had begun to fear that Carlos was on to him.

Headquarters didn't want Riff to tackle Carlos himself, nor did they want the Metsada to eliminate him, so it was decided that they should leave the whole thing to the French, although they were prepared to help out with some information.

On June 10, 1975, Carlos phoned Moukharbel, who was panicky, telling Carlos he had to leave Paris. But Carlos invited him over to an apartment he had in a house on the rue Toullier in the Fifth District. It was one of those houses that actually sits behind another and can be approached either by going through the house closest to the fronting street and through a garden, or by walking up some stairs and crossing a walkway. With only one entrance, and therefore, only one real exit, it was an odd place for Carlos to be.

Through an apartment sayan, Riff had managed to rent the apartment in the front building that overlooked the courtyard and the Carlos apartment. It was a small place of the sort tourists rent by the day or week, and Riff was in the top-floor apartment looking down on the action.  

The French police were notified that there was one man in the apartment who was in league with a known arms dealer, and another (Moukharbel) who wanted to get out of a tricky situation and was willing to talk. The police were not told it was Carlos, nor were they told that Moukharbel was an agent.

The story Riff told Moukharbel was that he would get the French police to go to him. "You tell them you want to get out and go to Tunis. We'll make sure they have nothing on you. You know you're not safe as long as Carlos is roaming around. They'll show you a picture of Carlos and yourself, and ask you who the other man is.

"Try to wiggle out of it, say he's a nobody. They'll still want to see him, so you'll take them to Carlos. They'll arrest him for interrogation, and then we'll make sure they get the information about him and he'll be locked up forever, while you'll be free and living in Tunis."

The plan had some giant holes, but if it brought in Carlos; the Mossad didn't care.

Riff asked permission from Tel Aviv to transfer most of Carlos's file to the French so that they would know who they were dealing with. His argument was that the Mossad was handing them an agent, and if they didn't know who Carlos was, their agent, Moukharbel, would be in great danger. What's more, he was afraid the French would also be in danger if they weren't properly prepared for Carlos. After all, they still knew very little about him.

The answer Riff got was that liaison would handle the transfer of information when needed, after Carlos was in custody, and depending upon items that were negotiable with the French. In other words, if the French wanted information, they were going to have to pay something for it.

The reason the French were not tipped off about Carlos was a simple matter of rivalries and jealousies between two Mossad departments: Tsomet, or later Melucha, which handled the Mossad's 35 active katsas and was the main recruiter of enemy agents; and Tevel, or Kaisarut, the liaison department.

Tevel was always struggling with Tsomet to give out more information. Their view was the more they could give other agencies, the friendlier they became and the more they would get back in return. But Tsomet always resisted, arguing that information shouldn't be given out easily, that something should be received back directly for everything given out.

On this occasion, however, when the department heads were meeting to discuss the request from Oren Riff (then with Tsomet) to give the French most of the Carlos file, the normal situation was reversed. Tsomet wanted to release details, but Tevel didn't. So the head of Tevel, seizing the opportunity to make an internal point, said, "What is this? They want to give the French information? When we want to give out information, you won't let us. So now, we won't let you." They could get away with it because there was nobody who could look at it later. Nobody they had to answer to. They were a law unto themselves.

On the appointed day, Riff watched Carlos enter his apartment. The liaison officers had spoken to the French and told them where to pick up Moukharbel, which they did: There was a group of other South Americans in Carlos's apartment. They were having a party.

Moukharbel arrived in an unmarked police car along with three French policemen. Two of them stayed with him near the stairs, while the third knocked on the door. Carlos opened the door, the plainclothes policeman introduced himself, and Carlos invited him in. They talked for about 20 minutes. Carlos no doubt seemed like a nice guy, no problems. They'd never seen him or heard of him. As far as they were concerned, they were just acting on a tip. No big deal.

Riff would say later that he was becoming so nervous watching that he wanted to throw the book away, rush over, and warn the police. But he didn't.

Finally, the cop must have told Carlos he had someone with him that he might know. "I'd like you to talk to him. Do you mind coming with me?"

At this point, the cop signaled to his two colleagues on the walkway to bring Moukharbel. When Carlos saw him, he assumed he'd been burned. But Moukharbel's plan was just to tell Carlos not to worry, that the cops had nothing on them. Carlos said to the cop, "Sure, I'll come with you."

All this time, Carlos was holding the guitar he'd been playing when the cop had knocked on the door. The others in the room had no idea what was happening, so the party continued. Carlos asked if he could put the guitar away and get a jacket, and the cop saw no reason why not. In the meantime, the other three men were approaching the door.

Carlos went into the next room, threw the guitar down, picked up his jacket, opened the guitar case and took out a .38 caliber submachine gun. He approached the door and immediately opened fire, wounding the first cop seriously with a bullet through the neck. He then killed the other two cops on the spot, then hit Moukharbel, downing him with three bullets in the chest and one in his head - this last from point-blank range as insurance that Moukharbel was indeed dead.

Riff was hysterical as he saw all this from his apartment. He had no weapons. He watched helplessly as Carlos finished off Moukharbel, then calmly left the scene.

But Riff knew one thing: the French police knew who he was. They knew he had brought their men there, and as far as they were concerned, it would look like a trap. Two and a half hours later, Riff, in the uniform of a flight attendant, boarded an El Al flight for Israel. [3]

The wounded policeman was helped by the people at the party, who called an ambulance. They had no idea who Carlos was. The policeman survived, revealing later that, as Carlos fired, he kept shouting, "I am Carlos! I am Carlos!" over and over again.

Carlos became famous that day.

* * *

On December 21, 1975, Carlos was thought to have been involved in an operation at OPEC headquarters in Vienna where six pro-Palestinian guerrillas burst into an OPEC conference, shot three people to death, wounded seven others, and seized 81 hostages. During the next few years, dozens of bombings and other terrorist acts were attributed to him. In 1979-80 alone-the last time the Mossad heard of him -- about 16 explosions that were attributed to Action Directe had all been done in the Carlos style.

One of the problems with intelligence agencies is that they do things behind closed doors that affect people on an international scale. But because they do it behind closed doors, they don't necessarily take responsibility for it. An intelligence agency with no supervisory body is like a loose cannon, only with a difference. It's a loose cannon with malice aforethought. It can be blinded by internal rivalries.

There was no reason for the deaths of those French policemen, or the deaths of any of the other people killed by Carlos. There was no reason, in fact, for Carlos to be out on the street. What the Mossad is doing, then, because it is not accountable to anyone, is not just hurting the Institute, but hurting Israel.

Cooperation cannot be sustained on the basis of a quid pro quo. Over time, the liaisons of other countries' agencies will stop trusting the Mossad. Then it starts losing credibility within the intelligence community. This is what it is doing. Israel could be the greatest country in the world, but the Mossad is destroying it by manipulating power, not in the best interests of Israel, but in its own best interests.

_______________  

Notes:

1. See PROLOGUE: OPERATION SPHINX

2. See Chapter 7: HAIRPIECE; Chapter 15: OPERATION MOSES

3. See Chapter 2: SCHOOL DAYS  
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:52 am

11. Exocet

ON A RAINY MORNING, September 21, 1976, Orlando Letelier, 44, left his home on Washington's elegant Embassy Rowand, as he usually did, got behind the wheel of his blue Chevelle. Letelier, a former senior cabinet minister under Chile's ill-fated Marxist president, Salvador Allende Gossens, was accompanied by his American research colleague, Ronni Moffit, 25.

Moments later, a bomb, detonated by remote control, ripped the car to pieces, killing both men instantly.

As often happens in these affairs, many people blamed the CIA. After all, the CIA had been credited with a larger role than it actually played in Allende's 1973 downfall, and it had long been a favorite international whipping boy to explain all kinds of violent acts. Others pointed, correctly, to the Chilean secret police, DINA, which was, in fact, disbanded a year later, under considerable U.S. pressure (although it would be reborn under a different hierarchy), by the country's new head, General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.

Nobody pointed the finger at the Mossad.

And while the Mossad had no direct involvement in the hit ordered by Chilean DINA Chief Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, it had played a significant indirect role in the execution through a secret deal with Contreras to buy a French-made Exocet surface-to-surface naval missile from Chile.

The death squad didn't use Mossad personnel in killing Letelier, but they certainly used Mossad know-how, taught to them as part of the deal Contreras made to supply the missile.

In August 1978, a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Contreras, along with DINA operations director, Pedro Espinoza Bravo; DINA agent, Armando Fernandez Larios; and four Cuban exiles who were members of a fanatical anti-Castro organization in the United States. Ail seven were charged with murder.

The key evidence for the 15-page indictment came from U.S.-born Michael Vernon Townley, who had moved to Chile with his parents at age 15, stayed on as an auto mechanic, and been recruited by DINA. He was named an unindicted co-conspirator and cooperated with the prosecution in return for a light sentence of three years and four months. The Pinochet regime turned over the Chileans to U.S. prosecutors - the Cuban exiles escaped, although one was arrested April 11, 1990, while living in St. Petersburg, Florida - but Chile steadfastly refused to give them Contreras, the man who had orchestrated the assassination of Letelier. Contreras was never tried for the crime, although in October 1977, he was forced by Pinochet to resign his post, in an effort to improve the military junta's battered international image.

* * *

Once a year, all the military intelligence organizations in Israel get together to plan upcoming events, one of which is the annual meeting of all intelligence agencies in the country, both military and civilian, called Tsorech Yediot Hasuvot, or Tsiach for short, meaning simply "necessary information." At the meeting, the information customers - for example AMAN, the prime minister's office, and military intelligence units - go over the quality of information received during the past year and what is required for the next year, in order of importance. The document that flows from this meeting is also called Tsiach, and amounts to a purchase order to the Mossad and the other suppliers - for example, the military intelligence corps - for intelligence over the next year.

There are essentially three kinds of intelligence suppliers: Humant, or intelligence-gathering from people, such as Mossad katsas working with their various agents; Elint, or signals, a task done by Unit 8200 from the Israeli army intelligence corps; and Signt, or intelligence-gathering from regular media, a job that keeps hundreds of people busy in another special military unit.

At the Tsiach, the customers not only decide what they need by way of intelligence, but they grade agents based on their performance over the past year. Every agent has two code names, an operational name and an information name. The operational reports, filed by Mossad katsas, are not seen by the intelligence customers. They don't even know they exist. The information report, broken down into various categories, is sent separately.

Based on these reports, the intelligence customers rate agents from Ato E. Actually, no agent rates A, though combatants can. But a B is a very reliable source; a C is so-so; a D, take his word with caution; and an E, don't work with him. Each katsa knows his agents' gradings and will try to improve them. The grade sticks for an entire year and agents are paid according to their grades. If one had been a C for a year, then went up to a B, for example, he'd get a bonus.

When katsas make these reports, they fill in a little two-square box at the top. On the left is the agent's grade, while beside it is a number, beginning with 1, which means the agent heard or saw the item reported himself; to 2, meaning he heard about it from someone reliable but didn't actually see it himself; to 3, meaning he heard it third-hand as rumor. Hence, a report with B-1 at the top would mean it contained information from a good agent who had seen or heard the event in person.

While the head of army intelligence is the senior man in military intelligence, each branch of the Israeli armed forces has its own unit. Thus, there is infantry intelligence, tank-battalion intelligence, air-force intelligence, and navy intelligence. ([he first two are now grouped as ground forces intelligence.) The head of the army, formally called the Israeli Defense Force or IDF, is a lieutenant general, whose shoulder-pad symbol is a sword crossing an olive branch, plus two fig leaves, or falafels.

Unlike the United States, with its separate forces, the IDF is basically one army with various branches, such as navy and air force. The heads of those branches, major generals, wear the sword and olive symbol but just one falafel. One rank below them are the brigadier generals, the heads of the various military intelligence branches. One below that is colonel - my rank when I joined the Mossad and was promoted one rank.

Underlining the importance of intelligence to the Israelis is the fact that the head of the army intelligence corps holds the same rank - major general - as the heads of the navy, air force, field forces, tank battalions, and the military judicial system. The head of naval intelligence is one rank lower.

The head of AMAN, or military intelligence, holds the same rank as the other service heads, but in practice outranks all other military intelligence officers because he is answerable directly to the prime minister in the chain of command. The difference between AMAN and the intelligence corps is that AMAN is the recipient of intelligence, while the corps is charged with gathering tactical information in the field.

In late 1975, naval intelligence went to the annual military intelligence meeting and announced its need for an Exocet missile. The missile, manufactured by France's Aerospatiale, is called a sea skimmer; it is fired from a ship, rises to find its target through a homing device, then drops to level out just above the water line, making it difficult to detect with radar and also to defend against. The only way to determine a defense against such a missile is by testing it.

Israel's main concern was that some Arab countries, Egypt in particular, would be buying Exocets. In the event they did, the navy wanted to be prepared. In fact, they did not need a whole missile to test - only the head, where all the electronic systems are located.

The man selling a missile won't give the buyer the full information about it. He won't test it on the defense side, either, only on the attack side. And even if you did get the specs from a firm like Aerospatiale, they would show the missile's maximum performance. They're trying to Sell it, after all!

That was why Israel wanted to have their own to test, but they couldn't openly buy it from the French. France had an embargo on selling weapons to Israel. A lot of countries still do, because they know that the moment Israel has certain weapons, it will copy them.

The task of acquiring an Exocet head was passed on to the Mossad chief, who in turn ordered the Tevel to take care of the navy's request.

The Mossad already had considerable information about the Exocet, thanks in part to a sayan who worked at Aerospatiale and had passed along details. They had also conducted a small operation, sending a team to break into the plant accompanied by a missile expert flown in from Israel for the occasion. He was taken into the plant "with handles," and materials brought to him for his expert opinion. His task was to determine what they should photograph. The team spent four and a half hours inside the plant before leaving without a trace.

But despite photographs they had taken of the missile and its complete plans, an actual working model was essential. The British had the missile but they weren't about to give one to Israel.

Europe was a dead end for the project, but the Mossad knew that several South American countries had Exocets. Normally, Argentina would have been a good source, but at the time, they had a deal with Israel, purchasing made-in-Israel jet engines, and the Mossad was wary of any operation that might jeopardize that lucrative contract.

The best bet, then, was Chile. As it happened, that country had just placed a request with Israel for training a domestic security service - something in which Israel's special expertise is well known. Israel may not brag openly about it, but it has trained such diverse units as Iran's dreaded Savak, security forces in Colombia, Argentina, West Germany, South Africa, and in several other African countries, including former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's secret police. Israel also trained the secret police of recently deposed Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. [1] In fact, Noriega, who trained personally in Israel, always wore the Israeli paratrooper wings on the right side of his military uniform (they are normally worn on the left). And just to show how nondiscriminatory the Mossad is, it trained both sides in the bloody ongoing civil unrest in Sri Lanka: the Tamils and the Sinhalese, as well as the Indians who were sent in to restore order.

Because of the bad international reputation of Chile's DINA, Pinochet was looking to revamp the service, and he assigned its chief, General Manuel Contreras, to look after the details.

Because Contreras had already approached Israel with this request, the then liaison chief, Nahum Admony, asked his MALAT branch in the liaison department to follow up on the navy request. MALAT, which covered Latin America, was a small branch, with just three officers and their chief. Two of the officers spent time traveling around South America, mainly trying to initiate business ties with Israel. One of them, a man named Amir, was in Bolivia at the time, looking at a factory built by Israeli industrialist Saul Eisenberg, [2] a man so powerful the Israeli government had passed a special law making him exempt from many high taxes so that he would bring his headquarters to Israel. Eisenberg specialized in what are called turnkey operations - building factories, then handing the keys of a completely finished project to its owners.

In 1976, Eisenberg was the central figure in a political scandal and police investigation in Canada after the federal auditor-general's report questioned the payment of at least $20 million to him and his various companies for their role as agent for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in trying to sell the CANDU nuclear reactor to Argentina and South Korea. AECL President L. Lome Grey admitted at the time that "no one in Canada knows where the money went."

Before Amir left Bolivia, all the relevant background information was forwarded to him at the embassy there. It would give him as much information as possible on whom he was meeting, their strengths and weaknesses - anything headquarters believed would help him. His flights, hotel room, and all the necessary details were arranged from Tel Aviv even to a bottle of Contreras's favorite French wine, a label listed in his Mossad computer file.

Amir was told to attend a meeting in Santiago, but not to make any commitments.

Headquarters in Tel Aviv had already replied to the Chilean request for secret-police training, saying they would send Amir, an administrative officer, to discuss the project, but taking care not to suggest any commitments one way or the other. The purpose of the meeting, they said, was simply an initial evaluation.

At the airport in Santiago, Amir was met by an official from the Israeli embassy and taken to his hotel. The next day, he met with Contreras and some of his senior personnel. Contreras disclosed that they had some CIA help at the time, but they didn't think the CIA would assist with certain things they needed to do. Basically they wanted to train an internal security unit to handle local terrorism - kidnappings and bombings - and also to protect visiting dignitaries.

Following the meeting, Amir flew to New York to see the MALAT department head in a house the Mossad had secured there. (It was actually being lent to MALAT by another department, "AI," which works exclusively in the United States and has safe houses there, making it more secure to meet there than to fly another man into Chile for a meeting.)

After listening to Amir's detailed description of the meeting, his boss said, "We want something from these guys. Let's suck them in first. Let's start something and then turn around and make our request. We'll give them the end of the rope, and then we'll pull it in."

It was decided that Amir would meet again with Contreras to work out a deal for training the police unit. At the time, such training courses were offered only in Israel. Subsequently, there have been occasions where Israeli instructors were sent abroad, to South Africa and Sri Lanka, for example. But in 1975-76, the policy was to make trainees come to them.

* * *

Training still takes place at a former British air-force base just east of Tel Aviv called Kfar Sirkin. Israel had used it at one time as an officers' training base, then it became a special-services base, used mainly for training foreign services.

The courses usually last between six weeks and three months, depending on the extent of training required. And they are expensive. Israel at the time was charging fees between $50 and $75 a night per trainee, plus $100 a day to pay for the instructors. ([he instructors saw no part of that money, of course. They still had to make do on their regular army pay.) There were also charges of $30 to $40 a day per trainee for food, plus about $50 a day for weapons, ammunition, and other incidentals. A unit of 60 trainees, for example, would cost about $300 each a day, for a total of $18,000. For a three-month course, that would be about $1.6 million.

On top of that, they would be charged $5,000 to $6,000 an hour for helicopter rental, and as many as 15 helicopters could be used in a training exercise. Add to that the cost of special ammunition used in training: a bazooka shell, for example, cost about $220 a unit, while heavy mortars were about $1,000 each; anti-aircraft guns, some with as many as eight barrels, can fire thousands of rounds in a few seconds - at between $30 and $40 a shell.

It's pure profit. They make a lot of money on these training operations, even before selling any weapons. Then, since these people are trained using Israeli weapons, when they go back home, they naturally want to buy those weapons and that ammunition to take with them.

Amir told Contreras to choose 60 of his best men for the training program. The command would be set up in three levels: soldiers, sergeants, and commanders, with specific training methods for each level. Three groups of 20 would arrive for basic training. Out of that, the best 20 would go on to command training. From that group would come the sergeants and the higher ranks.

When Amir had laid the entire proposal out for Contreras, without hesitation, the Chilean said, "We'll take it." He also wanted to buy all the equipment his men were going to be trained on, and asked for either a small manufacturing plant to be set up, or a shelf stock of up to six years' supply of ammunition and replacement parts.

Having decided to buy the package, Contreras then began to haggle a bit over the price, at one point offering Amir several thousand dollars as a bribe to lower it. But Amir refused, and Contreras finally accepted the price.

Just before the end of the program's basic-training phase, Amir flew back to Santiago to meet with Contreras.

"The training went very well," Amir told him. "We're just about to pick the men for sergeant training. They were very good. We only had to turn away two of them."

Contreras, who had handpicked the men for training, was pleased.

After chatting about the program for a while, Amir finally said, "Look, there's something we need from you."

"What is it?" asked Contreras.

"The head of an Exocet missile."

"That should be no problem," said Contreras. "You hang around your hotel for a day or two while I make some inquiries. I'll be in touch."

Two days later, Contreras called Amir to a meeting.

"They won't give you one," he said. "I asked, but they won't approve it."

"But this is something we need," said Amir. "We've done you a favor with the training. We were hoping you'd be able to help us out now that we need something."

"Listen," Contreras replied. "I'll get it for you personally. Never mind the official channels. You pay $1 million, in U.S. cash, and you've got it."

"I'll have to get approval for that," said Amir.

"You do that. You know where I am," said Contreras.

Amir called his boss in New York and told him about Contreras's deal. They knew the general could deliver, but the branch head couldn't give the go-ahead on his own, either, so he called Admony in Tel Aviv, and the Mossad, in turn, asked naval intelligence whether the navy was willing to pay $1 million for the missile. They were.

"We've got a deal," Amir told Contreras.

"Fine. You bring a man who knows what we need and we'll go to a naval base here. He can show me exactly what it is you want. Then we'll take it."

An Israeli missile expert from Bamtam, Israel's missile manufacturer in Atlit, a town south of Haifa where the Gabriel missile was developed, was flown in. Because they wanted an actual working missile, he insisted on taking one right off a ship - an active head. This way they could be sure they weren't being duped with a phony head or one that needed repairs, and so was not operational.

On orders from Contreras, the missile was unloaded from the ship and placed on a trailer. The Israelis had already paid the $1 million in advance.

"Is this what you want?" Contreras asked.

After the Israeli naval officer had inspected the missile, Amir said, "Yes, it is."

"Good," Contreras replied. "What we're going to do now is put the head in a crate, secure it with wires and clamps, and take it to a room in Santiago. You can guard it if you want, I don't care. But before you take it, there's something I want."

"What?" said Amir, concerned. "We had a deal. We lived up to our part of the bargain."

"And so will I," said Contreras. "But first, you call your man and you tell him I want to talk to him."

"I don't have to do that. I can talk," said Amir.

"No, you tell your man I want him here. I want to talk to him face-to-face."

Amir had little choice. Clearly, Contreras realized that Amir was relatively junior, and he was pressing to take all the advantage he could. From his hotel room, Amir called his boss in New York, who in turn called Admony in Tel Aviv to explain the situation. That very day, Admony caught a flight to Santiago to meet the Chilean general.  

* * *

"I want you to help me build a personal security force," Contreras told him.

"We're already doing that," said Admony. "And your men are doing extremely well."

"No, no. You don't understand. I want a force that can help me eliminate our enemies, wherever they are. Like you do with the PLO. Not all our enemies are in Chile. We want to be able to hit people who are a direct threat to us. There are terrorist groups out there threatening us, just as groups are threatening you. We want to be able to eliminate them.

"Now, we know you have two ways of doing this. You can agree that when a problem arises, your people will do the job. We know, for example, that you were asked by Taiwan to perform this service and that you refused.

"We prefer to use our own men - that you train a group of our men in how to deal with terrorist threats from abroad. You do that, and the missile is yours."

This new wrinkle came as a shocker to both Admony and Amir, and given the nature of the request, Admony told Contreras he'd have to get permission from his own superiors before committing himself.

To do that, Admony returned to Tel Aviv for a top-level meeting in Mossad headquarters. The Mossad was angry that Contreras had added an unexpected rider to the deal. They decided a political decision, not a security decision, was required: that the government would have to rule on whether to give Contreras what he wanted or drop the whole project.

Now, the government was hardly anxious to become involved in this sort of deal, either, so that its decision was the kind that means: "We don't want to know of such things."

A private person would have to be hired to complete the deal. Chosen for the job was the head of a major Israeli insurance company, Mike Harari, the recently retired Mossad department head who had been in charge of the botched Lillehammer hit. As one of dictator Manuel Noriega's most influential advisers, Harari also helped train the Panamanian elite special anti-terror unit, K-7.

In addition to his other attributes for hammering out a deal with the Chilean general, Harari was then in direct business partnership with a large shipping firm, a perfect vehicle for safely, and quietly, transporting the missile head to Israel.

As a Mossad officer, Harari had been head of Metsada, the department in charge of combatants, and its sub-unit, the kidon. He was instructed to tell Contreras he'd teach his special anti-terrorist unit everything he knew. While he may not have taught them everything - he needed Mossad approval for what he did teach, and they prefer to keep some techniques to themselves - he certainly taught them enough to organize a hit against their enemies, real or perceived, abroad. Payment for this training was sent directly to Harari from a slush fund administered by DINA

This special group were Contreras's people. They weren't an official group at all. He picked them. He paid them. They did his work. Maybe their ways of interrogation even went beyond what was taught, but there is no doubt he got his special unit trained and Israel got its Exocet. Harari taught such torture techniques as electric wire shock, pain points, pressure points, and time endurance. The major goal of interrogation is to get information. But the Chileans gave it a special twist. They seemed to like interrogation just for the sake of it. They often weren't even after information. They just loved inflicting pain.

* * *

On that damp Washington day in September 1976, however, when Letelier took his final drive, no one had the slightest idea that the killer had been trained through the Mossad. The connection was never made. And nobody knew Israel had the Exocet, either.

The Israelis tested the missile head by attaching it to the underbelly of a Phantom jet, hooking up all the outlets to a series of sensors that could be read under various conditions, conducting fly-bys and simulating missile flights. They tested how it was picked up by radar, how it could be tracked by the ships, and how its telemetry worked. The testing process took four months and was conducted by jets flying out of the Hatsrim air base near Beersheba.

_______________  

Notes:

1. See Chapter 5: ROOKIES

2. See Chapter 6: THE BELGIAN TABLE
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:59 am

12. Checkmate

AS A YOUNG BOY growing up in Syria, Magid had dreamed of one day playing chess on the world circuit. He lived and breathed chess, studied its history, and memorized the moves of the masters.

Magid, a Sunni Muslim, had lived in Egypt since the heady days of the late 1950s, a time when Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose goal was a broadly based, Egyptian-led union of Arabs, headed 1958's formal union of Egypt and Syria into the United Arab Republic.

Now it was the summer of 1985, and Magid had just arrived in Copenhagen, hoping to set up in business as a private investment banker. On his first day there, he noticed a well-dressed man sitting in his hotel lobby studying a chess book and a board. Magid had been late for an appointment and didn't have time to stop. The next day, however, the man was there again. The board was like a magnet for Magid and he walked over to the man, tapped him on the shoulder, and in remarkably good English said, "Excuse me."

"Not now, not now," the man snapped.

Startled, Magid stood back momentarily, watched quietly for a brief period, then suggested a logical defensive move.

Now the stranger was interested. "Do you know chess well?" he asked.

The two men struck up a conversation. Magid was always thrilled to talk chess, and for the next two and a half hours he and his new-found friend, who had Introduced himself as Mark, a Canadian entrepreneur - a Christian of Lebanese background - talked about the game they loved.

Mark, In reality, was Yehuda Gil, one of a pool of katsas stationed in Brussels and assigned to make initial contact with Magid. Not that It was Magid they wanted. It was his brother Jadid, a ministerial-level official with the Syrian military whom they hoped to recruit. They had tried once before in France, but time had been too short and It hadn't worked. As with most of these operations, however, Jadid hadn't even known the attempt was made - and certainly didn't know that the Mossad had given him the code name "Corkscrew."

* * *

This story actually began on June 13, 1985, when a katsa named Ami, on duty at the Danish desk on the seventh floor of Mossad headquarters In Tel Aviv (then at the Hadar Dafna Building on King Saul Street) received a routine message from the Mossad liaison officer in Denmark. He was forwarding a request from "Purple A," the code name for the Danish Civil Security Service (DCSS), for a check to be run on a list of about 40 people with Arabic names and/or backgrounds applying for visas either to visit Denmark or to move there.

What the Danish public does not know - and only a few Danish government officials do know - is that the Mossad routinely checks all these applications on Denmark's behalf, putting a checkmark next to the name on a copy of the Danish visa application if there Is no problem with the applicant. When there Is a problem, they either tell the Danes or, if it's to Israel's advantage, hold back the application for further study.

The relationship between the Mossad and Danish Intelligence Is so Intimate as to be indecent. But It's not the Mossad's virtue that Is compromised by the arrangement; it's Denmark's. And that's because the Danish are under the mistaken Impression that because they saved a lot of Jews in World War II, the Israelis are grateful and they can trust the Mossad.

For example, a Mossad man, a marats, sits right In DCSS headquarters monitoring all Arabic and Palestinian-related messages coming into their listening department - an extraordinary arrangement for a foreign intelligence service. As the only Arabic-speaking man there, he understands the messages, but sends the tapes to Israel for translation (everything goes through a liaison code-named "Hombre" in the Mossad's open station in Copenhagen). This information is not always shared with Denmark when the transcripts, often heavily edited, are returned. The original tapes are not returned by the Mossad.

Clearly the Mossad does not hold the Danes in high esteem. They call them fertsalach, the Hebrew term for a small burst of gas, a fart. They tell the Mossad everything they do. But the Mossad doesn't let anybody in on its secrets.

Normally, checking 40 names through the Mossad computer would take about an hour. But it happened to be Ami's first time dealing with the Danes, so he began by calling up the DCSS information on his computer terminal. Up popped a letter numbered 4647, marked "secret," a detailed description of the Danish security service's functions, personnel, and even some operations.

Once every three years, Danish intelligence officials go to Israel for a seminar conducted by the Mossad to discuss the latest developments in terrorist activities and anti-terrorism techniques. Through this relationship, Israel receives a complete picture of the 500-strong Palestinian community in Denmark and receives "total cooperation on subject of dance (following people) coordinated when needed with Purple." [1]

The letter listed Henning Fode, then 38, as head of DCSS, appointed in November 1984 and scheduled to visit Israel in the fall of 1985. Michael Lyngbo was second-in-command, and although he lacked intelligence experience, he handled the Soviet bloc for the organization. Paul Moza Hanson was legal adviser to Fode, the Mossad's contact man, who was scheduled to finish his term shortly. Halburt Winter Hinagay was head of the department of anti-terrorism and subversion. He, too, had taken part in the last seminar on terrorism held in Israel.

(In fact, the Mossad holds a series of such seminars, inviting one intelligence service at a time, and consequently generating valuable contacts while perpetuating the notion that no organization deals with terrorism better than they do.)

Another document on Ami's computer screen showed the full name of Denmark's overall intelligence service: Politiets Efterretingsjtneste Politistatonen (PEP). It listed a series of departments.

Telephone tapping comes under Department S: in an August 25, 1982, document, the Danes had told Hombre they were planning a new computer system and could afford to give the Mossad 60 "listenings" (60 locations where they actually installed listening devices for the Mossad). They had also installed a number of listening devices in public telephones "at our (Mossad) suggestion in areas known to be sensitive to subversive activities."

The head of service had to hold the rank of what was called detective inspector - a district-attorney level in Israel. The Mossad report went on to complain that their following unit was of poor quality: "Their people are easy to detect. They do not blend in well, probably due to high rotation of personnel in that unit ... about two years and they go to different jobs."

The police were responsible for recruiting people for the service, but that was difficult to do since there was little room for promotion. On July 25, 1982, Hombre asked about a North Korean secret operation in Denmark, but was told it was being done for the Americans, so "don't ask again."

Still searching his computer for more information, Ami pulled up a sheet called "Purple B," which detailed the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (ODIS), the intelligence arm of the Danish military under direct orders from the head of the army and the defense minister. The service is structured into four units: management, listening, research, and gathering.

For NATO, its job is covering Poland and East Germany and the movement of Soviet ships in the Baltic, with the help of sophisticated electronic equipment supplied by the Americans.

Internally, it is responsible for military and political research, "positive" gathering within Danish borders (information from Danish citizens about what they have seen), as opposed to "negative," which would be getting information from outside the borders. It also handles international liaison and gives national assessments to the government. At that time, it was planning to set up a unit to handle Middle East concerns (beginning with one man working on it one day each week).

The service is renowned for its sharp photographs of Soviet air, ground, and sea activities. It was the first intelligence service to supply Israel with pictures of the Soviet 55C-3 system (or surface-to-surface missiles). Purple B had been headed by Mogens Telling since 1976. He had visited Israel in 1980. Ib Bangsbore was head of the human section, slated to retire in 1986. The Mossad had good sources within the DDIS and also within the Danish Defense Research Establishment (DDRE). Danish intelligence also worked more closely with Sweden (code-named "Burgundy") than it did with its NATO partner, Norway. On occasion, Purple B met with "carousel," the code name for British intelligence, working with them on a case-by-case basis and cooperating in several operations against Russian intelligence.

Ami would retrieve all this information and read it before calling up a reference form, which entails feeding available information into the computer: a name, a number, whatever he had, for a search of the computer's memory bank. If the person in question was Palestinian, and no information appeared on the screen, Ami would transfer the form to the Mossad's Palestinian desk. They might want to check further or simply store the name in the Mossad computer. All Mossad departments are connected to one giant computer in Tel Aviv headquarters. Each night, a hard disk copy of the entire day's information is taken out and put in a safe place.

Ami was just four names from the end of the file he was checking when Magid's name popped up. The family name rang a bell. Ami had been chatting with a friend in the re search department earlier and had seen a photo of a man with that name standing next to Syrian President Hafez al Assad. Many Arab names are similar, but it's always worth checking. There was nothing on the computer regarding Magid, so Ami called research and asked his friend on the Syrian desk to bring a copy of the photo to lunch in the ninth-floor dining room so that he could compare it with Magid's on the Danish visa form.

After lunch, with the photo of Jadid on hand, Ami searched the computer for more details, checking whether Jadid had any relatives, which is how he discovered that he did have a brother whose description and history matched Magid's.

This opened the possibility of a "lead": recruiting one person to get at another, so Ami wrote his report and placed it in the daily internal mail. In the meantime, the Danish form would be attached to the file with no reply on it, meaning the Danes would assume there was no problem with the visa application, or the Mossad would have let them know.

In Tsiach, the Mossad's annual book of "need to know information," Syrian military data has remained a top priority for many years. As a result, the Mossad had AMAN, Israeli military intelligence, prepare a list of what they needed to know about Syrian military preparedness, graded from the most important on down. The AMAN's resulting 11-page questionnaire [2] included: the number of available Syrian battalions; the status of Armored Brigades 60 and 67 and of Mechanized Brigade 87; the number of brigades in Special Forces Division 14; and a whole series of related questions, such as details of the then-rumored replacement of Ahmad Diab, head of office for national security, by Fefat Assad, President Assad's brother.

The Mossad already had a number of sources in place in Syria - what they called their early-warning system - in hospitals and in construction work, for example, wherever people could obtain and pass on snippets of information that cumulatively could tip Israel off about war preparations. For their part, the Syrians have been in an attack formation for years along the Golan Heights, so that current and reliable military intelligence has always been considered crucial - and recruiting a high-level Syrian source would be viewed as a major event.

The Mossad considers Syria a "whim" country. Simply put, this means that since it is run by one man, Assad, he can wake up one morning and say, "I want to go to war." The only way to find out quickly if that happens is to have a source as close to the top as possible. At the time, the Mossad knew he wanted to take back the Golan Heights. Assad knew he could gain ground with a quick strike, but couldn't hold off the Israelis for long; so, for several years in the 1980s, he sought a guarantee from the Russians that they would intervene, through the United Nations or otherwise, to stop any such war quickly. They would not agree, however, so Assad never did send in his tanks.

* * *

This was the delicate situation that made recruiting Magid's brother a top priority, and within hours, Yehuda Gil (Mark to Magid) was heading to Copenhagen to await his man's arrival. Another team was assigned to Magid's hotel room to install the necessary listening and viewing devices - anything to assist in recruiting him and through him, his important brother.

The idea to use a chess game for making initial contact with Magid was Gil's, although it had evolved from a lengthy tension-filled meeting in a Copenhagen safe house.

During Magid's long first conversation with Mark, he must have felt he'd found a friend he could trust. He told Mark most of his life story and suggested they meet for dinner that night. Mark agreed, and returned to the safe house to discuss the upcoming dinner with his colleagues.

Over dinner he would explore what Magid had to offer, how much he knew. In the meantime, Mark would present himself as a wealthy entrepreneur (always a favorite cover story), with access to various buying and selling transactions.

Magid explained that his family was in Egypt and he wanted to bring them to Denmark, although not immediately; he wanted to have a good time first. He was looking for an apartment to rent for the moment; later on, when his wife joined him and they were more established, they'd buy. Mark offered to help, promising to send a real-estate agent over to Magid's hotel the next day. Within a week, Magid had his apartment. And the Mossad bugged it thoroughly, even installing pin-hole cameras in the ceiling.

During the subsequent safe-house session, it was decided that Mark should tell Magid he had to return to Canada on business for a month, which give the Mossad time to use the surveillance equipment to good advantage. They learned that Magid didn't do drugs, but he certainly loved normal sex, and lots of it. His lavish apartment was also cluttered with the latest electronic gadgets: videos, tape players, and such.

Luckily for the Mossad, Magid telephoned his brother twice each week. It soon became dear that Jadid was no angel himself, but was working on some shady money-making deals with Magid. Jadid had been buying considerable quantities of pornographic material in Denmark, for example, and selling it for huge profits in Syria. In one conversation, he told Magid he would be visiting him in Copenhagen in about six weeks.

Armed with that information, Mark set up another meeting with Magid and, playing the role of a senior executive of the Canadian company (never the top boss since that would eliminate buying time to take the proposal to the "boss" -- in reality, the safe-house group), he began pushing him harder to try to set up a business deal.

"What we normally do is to give investment assessments to our clients," Mark said. "We advise them whether or not to invest in a country, so we must gather information on that country. We are almost like a private CIA."

Mention of the CIA had no discernible effect on Magid, something that worried the Israelis at first. Since mentioning the CIA to Arabs usually prompts a violently negative response, the Mossad began to fear Magid might have already been recruited by someone else. He hadn't been. He was just a cool customer.

"Naturally," Mark went on, "we're willing to pay for information that will allow us to analyze whether investments are safe - if they can be guaranteed in various parts of the world. We're dealing with big players, you understand, so we've got to have detailed and reliable information, not just something anyone can pick up on the street corner."

As an example, Mark used Iraq, which is known worldwide for its dates. "But would you order dates with the [Iran-Iraq] war on? Only if you knew a shipment could be guaranteed. Then you'd do it. But to know that, you must bring political and military knowledge to the regular market. That's what we do."

Magid was clearly interested. "Look, this is not really my business," he said. "But I know somebody who might interest you. I can introduce you to him. But what's in it for me?"

"Well, we usually offer a finder's fee plus a percentage on whatever we get. It depends on the value of the information, the countries involved. We could be talking a few thousand dollars, or hundreds of thousands. It all depends."

"What countries are you interested in?" asked Magid.

"Right now, we need to know about Jordan, Israel, Cyprus and Thailand."

"How about Syria?"

"Possibly. I'll have to check on that. I'll let you know. Again, much depends on our client's needs and what level the information comes from."

"Okay, you check," said Magid, "but my guy is very high up in Syria."

So the two men agreed to meet again in two days. Mark, still playing a cool hand, told Magid that Syria was of some interest. "It's not our top priority," he told the Arab, "but it could be profitable if the information is really good."

A day earlier, however, Magid had already called his brother to tell him he'd got something important for him and that he should come to Copenhagen even sooner. Jadid readily agreed.

The day after Jadid arrived, Mark met with the two brothers in Magid's apartment. He did not let on that he knew Jadid's position, but asked a series of questions about the sort of information he could expect from him so that he could assess what his company's offer would be. Mark spoke about military matters, but mixed in considerable nonmilitary information to disguise his focus. After a few negotiating sessions - each followed by reports to the safe house -- Mark offered a $30,000 finder's fee to Magid, $20,000 a month for Jadid, plus 10 percent, or $2,000 a month for Magid. The first six months would be paid in advance, deposited in a Copenhagen bank account Mark would set up for Jadid. If Jadid came out of Syria after that time with more information, then he'd be paid for the next six months, and so on.

The next step was to teach Jadid how to write secret letters using a special chemically treated pencil. He would send them information by this means on the back of his regular letters to his brother.

They offered to give Jadid the working materials to take back to Syria with him, but he refused, so they agreed to have it all sent to Damascus. "You people really do work like an intelligence agency," he said at one point.

"Definitely," replied Mark. "We even employ ex-intelligence people. The difference is, we're in the game to make money. We only share our information with people who are willing to pay for it and use it for investment purposes."

Mark then had to go over the questions with Jadid. Many oddball questions were thrown in: real-estate values and changes in government departments, for example, always to camouflage the questionnaire so that military questions would not dominate. After several trial runs with the special pencil, and assurances he'd be contacted and told where to pick up the list of questions in Damascus, Jadid seemed satisfied that everything was in order.

Throughout the exercise, the Mossad suspected that both brothers knew they were working for Israel, but the game was kept up in any event. However, because of their suspicions, security for the katsa was upgraded.

While the promise to deliver the goods to Jadid sounds simple enough, in fact, it involved an intricate series of maneuvers to avoid any chance of discovery.

The Mossad made use of a white, or non-Arabic, agent: in this case, one of their favorite carriers, a Canadian UN officer stationed in Naharia, a beach city in northern Israel near the neutral zone separating it from Syria. These officers are free to cross borders at will. The Canadian was paid the standard $500 fee to leave a hollowed-out rock containing the papers at a specific spot at the side of the road to Damascus: exactly five steps from a post with a particular kilometer marking on it.

Once the Canadian had come safely back across the border, a Mossad combatant picked up the rock, took it to his hotel room, unfastened the false side, and removed questionnaire, pencil, and some of Jadid's money. He checked the whole package at a parcel station, pocketed the claim check, and flew to Italy. From there, he sent the claim check special delivery to Mossad headquarters in Tel Aviv. They, in turn, put it in an envelope and sent the claim check to Magid who, finally, mailed it to his brother.

So it arrived in Jadid's mail as a normal letter from his brother, with no suspicions aroused. Soon, the letters started coming back, as Jadid went studiously through the detailed questionnaire, telling the Israelis everything they wanted to know about Syrian military preparedness.

This scheme worked well for about five months, with the Mossad convinced they had an unwitting accomplice in high places for a long time to come. Then, as happens all too often in the intelligence business, things changed.

While the Syrians had no idea Jadid was spying for the Israelis, they had been growing increasingly suspicious that he was involved in pornography and drugs. To make sure, they would set him up: Jadid would be arrested by Syrian police carrying a shipment of heroin from Lebanon as he was leaving the country on a trip to several European capitals. He was to be part of a team that would audit the books that recorded the military operations of several Syrian embassies.

Ironically, Jadid was saved from being caught by the greed of another Syrian, a man named Haled, who was assistant military attache at the country's London embassy. Haled had been recruited by the Mossad in an earlier operation and was selling them the embassy code, which changed every month. So it was they could read all messages to and from Syrian embassies worldwide.

One of those messages tipped them off that Jadid was scheduled to be part of the audit team. But another message, sent from Damascus to Beirut, said Jadid would be arrested for smuggling heroin out of the country. The message had serious ramifications for both Jadid and Haled.

The Mossad had to get & message to Jadid. With only three days left before the bust was planned, they sent a combatant in, posing as an English tourist. From his hotel room, the man phoned Jadid, telling him simply that there had been a hitch and he was not to go to the planned meeting with the dealers or pick up the shipment. It would be delivered to him after he arrived at his destination in Holland.

When the dealers did arrive for the meeting, the police were not far behind, and made several arrests. Now Jadid was wanted by the dope dealers, too: they naturally assumed he had set them up.

At the time, Jadid knew nothing about all this. So when he arrived in Holland and was still not contacted about the deal, he called Syria to find out what had happened. It was then he learned that he was suspected by both the government and the dope dealers and had best not return home. So it was that after pumping him for any more information he had - it was considerable - the Mossad set him up with a new identity and relocated him in Denmark, where he still lives.

* * *

In London, Haled was a different story. When auditors arrive, they put a black-out order on an embassy, meaning no communication is allowed with other embassies until it is lifted. As with that of most countries, the Syrians' military side was an operation separate from the diplomatic side of the embassy. As assistant military attache, Haled had free access to the military safe, access he'd used to "borrow" $15,000 to buy a new car. Though he had planned to repay the "loan" from his regular monthly Mossad check, he hadn't counted on a surprise audit.

Fortunately for Haled, the Mossad knew about the audit. But just to be safe, his katsa called Haled on his private number at the embassy, using his regular code name and message to set up a meeting. Haled would know that the signal meant meeting at a certain restaurant - changed regularly to avoid detection - at a prearranged time. He would know that he must wait there 15 minutes; if his katsa didn't show, that was the signal to phone a certain number. If there was no answer, it meant he was to go to another prearranged meeting spot - almost always a restaurant. But if Haled was being tailed, or there was any reason to avoid either meeting place, the katsa would answer the phone call and give him separate instructions.

In this case, there was no problem with the first restaurant: the katsa met Haled, told him a team of auditors was coming the next day, and left when Haled assured him there was nothing to worry about. Or so he thought ...

An hour later, with the katsa back in the safe house writing his report, Haled phoned the special number he'd been given. Though he didn't know it, he was calling a number inside the Israeli embassy (each embassy has several "unlisted" lines). His message in code would have been something like: "Michael is calling Albert." When the man taking the call punched the code into his computer, it showed the request for an emergency meeting. Haled, a colonel by rank, had never used the emergency code in his three years on the Mossad payroll; according to Israel's psychological reports on him, he was extremely stable. Something was obviously wrong.

Since they knew Haled's katsa was still in the safe house, a bodel was sent to him. After making sure he wasn't being followed, the bodel phoned the safe house with a coded message, such as: "I'll meet you at Jack's place in 15 minutes." Jack's place might be a particular pay phone arranged in advance.

The katsa immediately left the safe house and, after completing a route to make sure he wasn't being followed, went to the designated pay phone to call the bodel who, in turn, told him in code that Haled wanted to meet him at a particular restaurant.

At the same time, the other two katsas on duty at the embassy left, did their route, then went to the restaurant to make sure it was clean. One went inside and the other to a prearranged spot so that Haled's katsa could meet him and find out just what was going on. Because Haled was a Syrian and the Mossad did not yet know what was wrong, this meeting was considered dangerous. After all, at the meeting with his katsa only an hour earlier, everything seemed fine.

After speaking with the man stationed outside, Haled's katsa phoned the restaurant and asked to speak with him by his code name - telling him to go to yet another restaurant for the meeting. The katsa inside the restaurant made sure Haled didn't phone anyone before he left for the new location.

Normally, an operation like this would not have been handled by the on-duty katsas, but because this was an emergency, they used a "station work-out" to arrange the meeting: meaning simply that katsas from the station did the work.

When the two men finally met, Haled was pale and trembling. He was so frightened that he defecated in his pants, making a dreadful smell.

"What's wrong?" the katsa demanded. "We just met and everything was fine."

"I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do!" Haled kept repeating.

"Why? Calm down. What's the problem?"

"They're going to kill me," he said. "I'm a dead man."

"Who is? Why?"

"I put my life on the line for you. You've got to help me."

"We'll help you. But what's the problem?"

"It's my car. It's the money for the car."

"Are you crazy? You've called me in the middle of the night because you want to buy a car?"

'''No, no, I've got the car."

"Well, what's wrong with the car?"

"Nothing. But I took the money for the car from the safe in the embassy. You told me they were going to check. Tomorrow morning I'll go to work and they're going to kill me."

Haled hadn't been worried initially because he had a wealthy friend who'd bailed him out of temporary jams before. He'd anticipated borrowing the money only for a couple of days while the auditors were there; after they left, he could take it out again, repay his friend, then gradually replace the "loan" from his Mossad retainer. But Haled discovered that his friend was out of town. Now he had no way to raise that kind of money overnight and replace it in the embassy safe. He told his katsa he wanted an advance. "I'll pay it back over six months. That's all I want."

"Listen, we're going to solve it. Don't worry. But I need to talk to somebody first."

Before the katsa left with Haled, he called his colleague at the pay phone, giving him a coded message that meant he must go quickly to a nearby hotel and reserve a room under a prearranged name. Once in the hotel room, the katsa sent Haled to the bathroom to clean up.

In the meantime, because of the emergency, the station went on "daylight," and Haled's katsa called the station head at the safe house, outlining the problem in general terms and requesting $15,000 in cash. Technically, anything over $10,000 had to be cleared through Tel Aviv, but in this emergency the station head approved it, telling the katsa he'd meet him in 90 minutes and adding, "It's your ass if it doesn't work."

The station head knew a sayan who operated a casino and always had large amounts of cash on hand (they'd used him before and usually repaid him the next day), so he borrowed the money. The sayan even gave him $3,000 extra, saying, "Maybe you'll need it."

In the meantime, the station's second-in-command happened to be meeting with an attack katsa named Barda, who was in London on another assignment. Barda, posing as an officer from Scotland Yard, had recruited the two night guards at the Syrian embassy when preparing for another operation that had involved breaking into the embassy.

Now that they had the money, the problem was putting it back in the safe before morning. Haled, who knew the combination and could make up some excuse for being in the embassy at night if he was seen, was assigned that task.

Barda, for his part, arranged meetings with first one guard, then the other, at different restaurants (each thought the other was still on duty), leaving the way clear for Haled to return the money.

Afterward, back in the hotel room, Haled's katsa told him the money was not an advance (they reasoned that if they paid him an advance he would have no motive to cooperate), but that $1,000 a month would be deducted from his retainer for the next 15 months.

"If you bring something special, we'll double the bonus so that you can pay it off more quickly," the katsa told him. "But if you do anything illegal at the embassy again, I'll kill you. "

Obviously Haled believed him, as he should have. It seems he hasn't "borrowed" a penny since.

_______________

Notes:

1. See APPENDIX II

2. See: APPENDIX III for full questionnaire.
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

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13. Helping Arafat

IT WAS A BUSTLING YEAR, 1981. The same day that Ronald Reagan was sworn in as U.S. president, Iran released 52 hostages after 444 days in captivity. On March 30, John Hinckley shot Reagan. In Poland, Solidarity hero Lech Walesa was pursuing freedom, a pursuit that would help to open the door for the massive political changes in Eastern Europe at the end of the decade. In London, on a bright July 29 morning, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer captured the hearts of romantics and royalty buffs everywhere with a wedding broadcast around the world. In Spain, Basque terrorists fought pitched battles with government authorities. And in Washington, CIA director William Casey was under pressure to resign for supporting failed clandestine efforts to assassinate Libyan strongman Moamer al Kadhafi and for appointing his political crony, Max Hugel, as head of the CINs clandestine operations, even though Hugel had no apparent qualifications for the job. Hugel himself resigned under pressure on July 14 when two former business associates accused him of illegal stock manipulation.

Inside Israel, it was a tumultuous year even by that country's standards. In 1980, inflation had hit 200 percent and was still spiralling so fast, there was one joke that you could buy some cottage cheese with six price increases pasted on the package and the cheese would still be fresh. Now that's inflation!

Prime Minister Menachem Begin, 67, and his ruling Likud Party were facing a severe political challenge from Shimon Peres, 57, and his Labor Party, further complicated by the fact that one of Begin's ministers, Abu Hatsrea, had been caught in an election payoff scandal and sent to jail. The June 29 election, in fact, ended in a 48-48 tie, but Begin was able to enlist the help of some splinter parties to build a bare majority of 61 in the 12o-member Knesset.

Shortly before that, on June 7, Israel had provoked the ire of the United States by attacking and destroying an Iraqi nuclear plant, [1] and the Americans had clamped a temporary embargo on the shipment of F-16s to Israel, even supporting a UN resolution condemning the attack. Israel also stepped up its attacks in Lebanon and, for a time in late July, appeared headed for all-out war against Syria. U.S. special envoy Philip Habib, a retired career diplomat of Lebanese descent, was hopping around the Middle East trying to negotiate agreement on a peace plan. U.S. State Department counsellor Robert McFarlane was sent to see Begin in July to attempt to get him to rein in his war machine.

For the Mossad, this wasn't all bad. The one thing they didn't want to happen was to see peace breaking out allover. So, there was a lot of activity designed to prevent serious negotiations - yet another example of how dangerous it is to have such an organization with no one to answer to.

For Yassar Arafat and his PLO, it wasn't a quiet year, either. In 1974, Arafat had denounced terrorist acts by his organization outside the borders of Israel, chiefly in Europe. And while Palestinian terrorism did continue in Europe, it was conducted by a variety of factions opposed to Arafat. Indeed, outside the occupied territories, Arafat is not that powerful in the Palestinian movement. His strength derives from the West Bank and Gaza Strip where, except with Muslim fundamentalists, he enjoys overwhelming personal popularity.

One of Arafat's biggest problems was the Black June Organization (BJO) headed by Sabri Al Banna, better known as Abu Nidal. The BJO, who are Palestinian Muslims, have a religious fervor that makes them more dangerous than many of the other factions. This organization had nearly been wiped out by a combined force of Syrians and Lebanese Christians in the late 1970s, but Nidal had survived, under a death sentence from Arafat. Any Palestinian deaths that couldn't be pinned on Israel were blamed on Abu Nidal, considered the bad boy of the terrorist world.

It was the BJO's attempted assassination of Shlomo Argove, Israel's ambassador to London, in 1982, that Israel used as an excuse to launch a full-scale war against Lebanon. Begin called it the "War of Choice," meaning that Israel had entered this war not because it had to - as with all its previous wars - but because it chose to. It may have been a poor choice, but Begin's own demagoguery got in the way. In any event, the attempt on Argove left him alive but essentially in a vegetable state. And it was blamed on Arafat, even though he had nothing to do with it.

Before the Argove affair, Israel had negotiated an under-the- table unofficial ceasefire with Arafat's PLO to get them to stop firing their Russian-made Katyusha rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel, a deal that was made to appear as if it was a unilateral one on behalf of the PLO. Arafat was charging around to various East Bloc countries at the time shoring up his support. The Mossad knew he was going to attempt to purchase a large supply of light weapons in Europe and have them shipped to Lebanon. The question was why? After all, he could just go to Czechoslavakia, for example, and say he wanted weapons. They'd say, "Sign here," and send everything he needed. It was like living by a fountain but walking five miles down the road to get water. If you don't explain that the fountain is salt water, it makes no sense.

Arafat's salt water was a 20,000-strong force of well-trained fighting men called the Palestinian Liberation Army, or PLA, headed by Brigadier General Tariq Khadra, who in 1983 would denounce Arafat as PLO leader and formally withdraw his support. This army was attached to the Syrian army, prompting a saying within the Mossad that the "Syrians will fight Israel to the last Palestinian."

The East Bloc countries, always willing to supply the Palestinians with weapons, nonetheless dealt through formal channels. That meant for them that, in 1981, if Arafat wanted weapons they would be sent to the PLA.

That was fine as far as it went. But after the Munich massacre in 1972, Arafat had formed a special personal security force. At PLO headquarters in Beirut, Arafat could reach his special force on telephone extension 17. Hence, the name of this unit became Force 17, at the time headed by Abu Tayeb, and varying in number between 200 and 600 crack fighters. Arafat also relied heavily on Abu Zaim, his head of security and intelligence.

* * *

For the Mossad, the most important player in all of this was a man named Durak Kasim, Arafat's driver and personal bodyguard and member of Force 17. Kasim had been recruited as a Mossad agent in 1977 when he was studying philosophy in England. A greedy man, he was reporting to them almost daily, sending messages through a burst radio communications system, receiving $2,000 a report. He also telephoned information and mailed it periodically, and once even showed up at the "submarine" - the Mossad's underground station in Beirut - a reckless thing to do, and a rude shock to his operator that Kasim would know the address. During the siege of Beirut, Kasim was actually with Arafat, reporting to the Mossad from inside PLO headquarters.

Kasim was Arafat's closest personal aide. He was the one who helped find boys for Arafat. Certainly homosexuality is against Islamic beliefs, but given the way of life, it's not that uncommon. It's not as badly regarded as it is in the West. The Mossad didn't actually have any proof to support the claim that Arafat liked teenage boys. They had no photos, nothing. It could have been just another way to discredit Arafat; they did that with many other Arab leaders, saying how they lived the good life by skimming off the system. But they couldn't say that about Arafat. He actually lives a humble life, with his people. During the siege of Beirut he had many opportunities to escape but he didn't leave until he got his people out, so the Mossad can't claim that he operates out of self-interest, either. Perhaps they used the story about him liking teenage boys as a substitute.

At the time, however, the right-wingers in the Mossad were pushing to have Arafat killed. Their argument was that if they assassinated Arafat, the Palestinians would replace him with someone more militant who would not be acceptable to the West, or to the left in Israel, and therefore there would be no peaceful solution to the problem. Violent clashes and ultimately unconditional surrender were the only way the Mossad could conceive of achieving peace.

The argument against killing Arafat is that he is the best of a bad lot, an educated man, a uniting force among the Palestinians, so that if talks do get somewhere, there will be someone to talk with who legitimately represents the Palestinians. Through intelligence in Israel, both the Mossad and the Shaback know that Arafat is widely respected and yes, revered, in the territories, although they do not transfer that picture to their political superiors.

By mid-1986, this debate was just about over. The right was winning. But Arafat had become too much of a public figure. The Mossad didn't have an excuse to get him. But it's still not off the agenda. The moment it's feasible, they'll do it.

Another major player at this time was Mostafa Did Khalil, known as Abu Taan, head of the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command (PASC), Arafat's coordination group. It used to be called the Palestinian Coordination Council, but after Arafat denounced the use of force outside Israel in 1974, many of the PLO organizations adopted more militant, bombastic names for internal use, to avoid any suggestion they were going soft.

Another group to be kept in mind was the Arab Liberation Front CALF) headed by Abdel Wahab Kayyale. He was assassinated in Beirut in December 1981 and replaced by Abdel Rahim Ahmad, his second-in-command.

In any event, Arafat wanted small arms to expand Force 17. The inevitable power struggles were going on within the organization, and Arafat felt he needed more personal firepower. But when he asked General Khadra, the army chief of staff, he was turned down. Khadra told Arafat not to worry, he'd protect him. Arafat worried.

It was because Khadra controlled the weaponry coming in from the East Bloc to the PLO that all the factional organizations went through other Arab countries, such as Libya and Iraq, to obtain their weapons from the East.

On January 17, 1981, Arafat flew to East Berlin to meet East German President Erich Honecker, who gave him 50 German "advisers" to help train PLO people in Lebanon. On January 26, Arafat again met East German representatives, this time in Beirut, and again asked for weapons, trying to arrange a quiet deal without going through Khadra. Thanks to constant reports from Kasim, the Mossad knew Arafat was deeply worried about problems from within and a possible Israeli attack.

On February 12, Arafat met Vietnamese representatives in Damascus, trying to arrange a deal. They offered missiles, but he wanted small arms. Three days later, he went to Tyre, Lebanon, for a meeting with the heads of various PLO factions, trying to persuade them to stop lighting each other and concentrate on the real enemy, Israel. By March 11, Arafat was becoming increasingly nervous, hoping to get a commitment before the April 15 general PLO meeting in Damascus. On that single day in Beirut he held three separate meetings with the ambassadors from Hungary, Cuba, and Bulgaria, but still failed to obtain any specific commitments.

The Mossad was by now very nervous itself, assuming that eventually Arafat would get his weapons. What really spooked them was that the PLO leader was beginning to say he wanted to have someone meet with Israeli diplomats on his behalf to begin negotiations toward stopping an attack on Lebanon. The Mossad knew the big secret long before the Israeli government did, which was usually the case.

On March 12, Arafat met in Beirut with Naim Khader, the PLO's representative in Belgium, asking him to use his connections there with the Israeli foreign office to get negotiations under way and avoid more bloodshed. The Mossad was very anxious about this. The idea was that if they could get Israel involved in Lebanon to help the Christians, then they could wipe out the Palestinians there. But if the Mossad started talking, they wouldn't get that chance. There was a real undercurrent between them and the foreign office. The foreign office didn't know this, but the Institute was trying to get the war started, at the same time that they were busy trying to avoid it. The Palestinians were trying to find a lead to the Israeli diplomats, and the Mossad was trying to cut it off.

At the same time, the Mossad had learned that Arafat would try to make use of Francois Ganud, then a 65-year-old Geneva banker and financial supporter of Carlos's. Arafat's idea, passed along to the Mossad by Kasim, was to get the money from Ganud to buy weapons in Germany with the help of a group called the Black Bloc, an offshoot of the Red Army Faction (RAF), who in February had received training in Lebanon from the German advisers sent by Honecker.

The Mossad was not happy with U.S. envoy Philip Habib's apparent progress in his peace mission, so their idea was to involve the CIA, telling them the PLO was preparing for war while they were talking about peace, in the hopes that this would kill the initiative, or at the very least stall it. At the time, Begin was running for re-election and had no knowledge of the Mossad plans. The military operation already had a name, "Cedars of Lebanon," and they had begun feeding information to CIA liaison. But on March 30, with John Hinckley's attempted assassination of President Reagan, the CIA became distracted, and that part of the operation was put on hold.

On April 10, Arafat was again meeting Honecker in East Berlin. The next day he was in Damascus at the fifteenth session of the Palestinian Council.

On May 15, the Mossad contacted the German anti-terrorist unit, GSG-9 (Grenzschutzgruppe), which they wanted to bring into the operation for future use.

On June 1, nearly three months after his meeting with Arafat, Nairn Khader made an early morning telephone call from his home to an official In the Israeli foreign office in Brussels arranging a meeting for June 3 to explore the possibility of getting peace talks started. On his way to work, a dark-complexioned man wearing a tan jacket and sporting a pencil mustache walked up to Khader, shot him five times in the heart and once in the head, walked off the curb, climbed into a passing "taxi,"· and disappeared. Although Arafat didn't know it then, the Mossad had struck.

Nevertheless, Kasim was reporting that Arafat was extremely agitated at this time. He couldn't sleep at night. He was run ragged. He wanted protection and really wanted to get the arms deal for Force 17 under way. At the beginning of July, there was a series of demonstrations in Germany against U.S. missiles stationed there. On July 9, Arafat was in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, still pursuing his goal of getting weapons. About the same time, an Argentine plane coming from Israel and loaded with armaments for Iran, crashed into a Russian plane over Soviet airspace. The Americans, angered by the Israelis' selling of arms to Iran, sent Robert McFarlane over to meet with Begin, an event that signaled the beginning of the Iran-Contra affair, which would blow up publicly several years later. [2]

At the same time, the Syrians had brought missiles into Lebanon, precipitating another crisis, and Lebanese strongman Bashir Gemayel was warning Syria that this could lead to all-out war.

The Syrians, incidentally, are always switching their military support in Lebanon from one group to another based on what they call the "balance of weakness." They believe that if one of the fighting factions gets strong, they should back another group to fight it. That way, they keep everyone down and exercise overall control of the situation.

The Mossad was still trying to con the Americans, and Mossad head Yitzhak Hofi ordered the LAP department to concoct a scenario to convince them that the PLO was planning war, not peace. The idea was to justify to the United States an Israeli takeover of southern Lebanon.

LAP produced photographs of all the armament depots of General Khadra's PLA. Since they were a unit of the Syrian army, it was hardly surprising that they had armaments depots for their supplies, but it served to provide convenient "evidence" that the PLA was preparing to attack Israel, even though the Mossad knew about Arafat's frantic efforts to avoid a war.

LAP also showed the CIA documents that had been captured from the PLO, showing actual attack plans of northern Israel. Again, this is neither unusual nor necessarily indicative of an impending attack. In any military base, you could find such detailed plans. Whether the PLO intended to implement them, or whether they had even been approved, was a different matter. But the Mossad had no intention of allowing such considerations to get in the way of their own mischievous plans.

Even before hostilities began, news releases and photographs were being prepared. And afterward it would be easy to come up with documentation to authenticate the "threat" to Israel from the Palestinians.

On instructions from Arafat, Abu Taan, head of his PASC coordination unit, sent two men to Frankfurt to organize the small-arms deal. The man is charge was Major Juad Ahmed Hamid Aloony, a 1969 graduate of the military academy in Algiers, who'd had political training in China during 1978 and 1979, and graduated from a military school in Hungary in 1980. He was joined by Sergeant Abd Alrahaman Ahmed Hassim A1sharif, a 1979 graduate of Cuba's military academy, and of the same school Aloony attended in Hungary.

The Mossad and the federal German police were not on friendly terms. But the GSG-9, who were Israeli-trained, were very cooperative, as were the Hamburg special anti-terrorist police unit, which the Mossad code-named Tuganim, or "French Fries."

The Tuganim would provide Mossad people with identification, just as if they were working for them. The Mossad had trained them, after all. They had even helped them interrogate Arabs.

Because the Tuganim were so cooperative, the Mossad wanted to set up the entire operation in Hamburg. As with the federal police, the Mossad's relationship with the central German federal intelligence was poor. But every German district has its own police and intelligence force, so the Mossad connections are directly with those.

The Mossad also knew that Arafat planned to involve Isam Salem, a doctor, who was the PLO representative in East Berlin, in the deal to arrange a loan with the Swiss banker, Ganud, for the small arms needed for Force 17. Ganud had already been placed on standby in the event the PLO needed an interim loan. Since weapons are considered "hot" items, no one wants them around for long, so large interim loans are often necessary to swing deals quickly.

At the same time, Arafat had decided to bring a large shipment of hashish from Lebanon. A group of Black Bloc members, in return for their just-completed training in Lebanon, would transport the hashish and unload it through the European underworld for cash, then give the cash to Isam Salem. He, in turn, would either pay for the weapons or pay back Ganud if interim financing had been required. Arafat also planned to use these Black Bloc members to transfer the arms back to Lebanon.

All this information came to Mossad headquarters through Yahalomim ("Diamonds"), the department that handles communication from agents. Once an agent goes to a target country, he is not handled any more by his katsa. Rather, communication between the agent and the Mossad is done through Tel Aviv headquarters.

Armed with this information, the head of Mossad sat down with the heads of Tsomet, Tevel, and security operations to map out their strategy. They had four major objectives: to stop Arafat from getting the weapons; to stop the attempted negotiations between the PLO and Israel's foreign office; to obtain the full load of hashish and dispose of it for cash; and to extract the loan from Ganud, leaving the PLO holding the bag. In addition to the obvious political and strategic benefits of this operation, the Mossad at the time had a serious cash-flow problem, as did the state of Israel, and they were always searching for new sources of revenue.

* * *

To prepare for this giant sting operation, a neviot team was sent to Hamburg in May 1981 to begin setting up a secure dock and warehouse. A katsa from the London station was sent in to start setting up the sting.

About the same time, a team from Metsada was assigned to Naim Khader in Brussels to make sure he did not get serious peace negotiations under way. He was to be taken out. How they planned the hit can only be speculated upon, but it was done in a fashion that was the signature of the Mossad: simple, quick, and total; on the street in broad daylight; the more witnesses the better; all that's left as a calling card are some unmarked shell casings and the body.

The assassin would have used a pistol containing nine bullets, with only six for the hit. From the time the hit was dead to the time the killer got in the car, anybody who tried to stop him would have joined the man on the ground.

It was set up so that Abu Nidal of the BJO would be blamed for the hit, not only by outsiders but by Arafat and the Israeli foreign office, as well. Sure enough, not long after Khader's assassination, stories naming Nidal as the world's most dangerous, and wanted, terrorist appeared in the media.

In Hamburg, the five-man neviot team was headed by Mousa M., a relatively new Mossad man who had come from the Shaback and had a history in Unit 504. They stayed in the exclusive Atlantic Hotel Kempinksi, on Lake Alster in this, West Germany's second-largest city.

The Mossad love Hamburg, first for the good working relationship with the local anti-terrorist police and intelligence, and then for the infamous live sex shows and red-light districts where hookers display their charms in the windows or even by walking naked on the streets. Of course, that was for the evenings. During the day, the team was busy in Hamburg's dockland on the south shore of the Elbe River searching for some suitably obscure warehouses that would give relatively easy access and also allow them to observe and take photographs without being seen.

It was quite a leisurely assignment, because at this time, Aratat still hadn't made his weapon arrangements, so Mousa, who eschewed the sex shows and hookers himself, decided to have a little fun with one of his men. Since it was not yet an actual operation, the men were not doing APAM, their normal operational security. Mousa easily followed one of them to' a hotel where the man met a high-class hooker. When his man went to the washroom, Mousa photographed the hooker standing by herself at the bar, then left. The next night, the man met the same hooker and again spent most of the night with her.

The following morning, when he arrived for a meeting at Mousa's hotel room, the other members of the team were already there. Everyone was just sitting around smoking and looking concerned. He could feel the tension in the air.

"What's up?" he asked Mousa.

"We've got an emergency situation here," Mousa replied. "We've got to scour the city. We got a notice from headquarters that a Soviet black agent is masquerading as a hooker and has made contact with a Mossad person. We need to get her and interrogate her, and get him and ship him back to Israel where they'll charge the bastard with treason."

The man was still tired and hung over, but he had no reason to worry. At least not until Mousa gave them all an 8-bylO- inch photograph of the "Soviet agent," at which point his complexion turned positively waxen.

"Can I speak to you a moment, Mousa?" he mumbled.

"Sure, what is it?"

"Ah, privately."

"Yeah, sure."

"Are you certain this is the agent?"

"Yeah, why?"

"When was she seen with the guy?"

"This week, as far as I know," said Mousa. "More than once."

It took several minutes before the man finally confessed he'd been the one with the hooker, but he insisted he hadn't told her anything and that she hadn't asked him anything. He pleaded with Mousa to believe him and help him. In the end, Mousa just looked straight at him and started to laugh.

That was Mousa. Always waiting with something up his sleeve. Others just hope it wasn't their balls.

Eventually, the team did find a suitable warehouse and Mousa notified the London katsa, saying, "You'd better get this done quickly, so I can get my guys out of here before they catch some kind of disease!"

* * *

Through its relationship with Saudi Arabian billionaire Adnan Khashoggi, who had been recruited as an agent, [3] the Mossad knew another Saudi who was a legitimate European arms dealer. He had the rights to supply Uzis and other weapons to the private market in Europe. The plan was to get Khashoggi's friend to provide the necessary U.S.-made arms to fill Arafat's order. They would, of course, be presented as having been stolen from various stockpiles at European military bases.

At this time, Mossad katsa Daniel Aitan, using the cover name Harry Stoler, contacted Isam Salem, Arafat's man in East Berlin. Arafat had not even asked him to get the weapons yet, but thanks to Kasim's ongoing communications, the Mossad knew he would soon do so and decided to get in one step ahead.

The German-speaking Aitan, a straightforward individual, presented himself to Salem as "Harry Stoler," a businessman who dealt in what he referred to as "various equipment and materials." Most important of all, he told Salem, he could guarantee good prices and secure delivery. Stoler also told Salem that while he avoided getting into politics, he thought the Palestinian cause was just, and he hoped to see them succeed.

They made another appointment to meet. Even though Salem was PLO and so considered dangerous, they knew he was not involved in terrorist activities in Europe. The katsa's safety was therefore not in question, and, indeed, Salem fell for the pitch completely.

At the next discreet meeting - called "a meeting in four eyes," or just the two of them - Stoler mentioned that from time to time he learned of "stray equipment" from U.S. military bases in Germany - items with a short-term life on the outside. He said he could also take orders for such "back door" deliveries if Salem was interested.

In the meantime, the Mossad was assuring GSG-9 that they had tabs on the Black Bloc and would notify them when and where they could be picked up with enough evidence to put them away.

As they knew he would, Arafat finally passed on a request to Salem in East Berlin, carried personally by Major Aloony and Sergeant Alsharif, PASe chief Abu Taan's men. They gave Salem the list of equipment necessary for Force 17, with orders that the deal be done in extreme secrecy, that the equipment come from the West, and that Arafat's two messengers deal directly with Abu Taan. Salem was ordered to contact their friends in the RAF (Black Bloc), or any other known source available to complete the arms deal for Arafat.

"We will be sending first-grade 'tobacco' to be used as currency," the order said. "If needed, we can receive interim financing through Abu Taan.

"The carriers of this letter are fresh in the field and so can be used as go-betweens, and therefore put under your command."

When Salem got the message, he naturally called Daniel Aitan, a.k.a. Harry Stoler. Salem said the deal had to be coordinated quickly and quietly and that he would send a representative (Aloony) with a shopping list of the necessary equipment. He wanted to know how long it would take to fill the order and ship it.

Up to now, the Mossad plan had been to appropriate all the PLO money and their hashish by way of clever dealing, but a new piece of information from Kasim alerted them that Arafat had a backup plan.

He had planned a similar arms order with Ghazi Hussein, the PLO representative in Vienna, just in case Salem didn't come through. Another unit was immediately sent to Vienna to keep tabs on Hussein. Vienna was a sensitive area for the Mossad because it was the terminal for Russian Jews on their way to Israel. The ties between Israel and Austria at the time were very cordial. For the Mossad, there was nobody there to talk to. The Austrians took their neutrality seriously. They had hardly any security services at all.

The hashish to be brought in by the Black Bloc terrorists was packed in the usual fashion, a series of bales called "soles" because they look like the soles of shoes. The idea was to ship it by sea from Lebanon to Greece, where the Black Bloc would use its customs contacts to load it into cars, with each of the 25 or 30 European terrorists putting some of it in their cars and driving back through Europe to a warehouse in Frankfurt.

One of them was to handle the sale of the hash and deal with Salem. But the GSG-9, tipped off by the Mossad, arrested him on a trumped-up charge of subversive activities aimed at U.S. bases. The Germans were not told about the hash, but once they had the man in custody, the Mossad was allowed to interrogate him. A German-speaking Mossad man, posing as German security, managed to extract the name of his second-in-command by offering to cut a deal. Then they arranged with the Germans that the man would be held incommunicado until the "deal" was wrapped up.

"I know about the dope," the Mossad man told the prisoner. "If you don't tell me who to deal with, you'll spend the rest of your life here, not because of subversive activities, but for dealing in hash."

And so, with Arafat's shopping list in hand, the Mossad went to Khashoggi's Saudi dealer friend to fill the order. Aloony, a military man, was told he would be responsible for checking the equipment and making sure it was sealed for delivery to Lebanon.

The weapons were brought by truck to Hamburg. The Mossad didn't tell the Germans. But if we had happened to meet them, we would have explained.

In the meantime, Stoler was talking to Salem about a Beirut address to ship the arms to. The idea was just a shot in the dark; at that stage the Mossad did not expect the sting to reach the stage of an actual shipment. But Stoler told Salem the shipment would need a cover of some sort because it had to go through Lebanese customs. In these affairs, such arrangements are wise, simply to make a deal look "legitimate." As for Salem, he said he had a relative in Beirut in the raisin business who might give them a shipping address.

"Raisins from Germany?" said Stoler. "Isn't that like bringing strudel from Senegal?"

Not exactly. It seems there is some exporting of packaged raisins and other dried fruits that come into Germany in large quantities and are then shipped out again at a better price than Greece and Turkey can offer.

So Stoler asked Salem to get him a "legitimate" raisin order. "That way, I can get things rolling," he added.

The idea of this exchange was to get Salem to do as much of the planning as possible so he would not realize he was being led. Next, Stoler said he had no ship available, but Salem told him that would be no problem because it would be a container shipment, meaning simply one extra container joining a shipment to Lebanon.

In the meantime, a Mossad liaison man passed on information from Tsomet to another katsa planning to make contact with the second-in-command from the Black Bloc. He met the man, telling him his jailed colleague got a message delivered to him through mutual contacts in jail. He said the plans had changed. Instead of selling the hashish, it would be exchanged for arms.

The deadline was approaching. The Mossad had already ordered the weapons and they knew Salem would have to get his money through Abu Taan, since now he couldn't get it from the hashish. The Mossad was gaining control of that. Salem wouldn't have been worried. He knew he could get the interim loan, and thought he could pay it back once the hash was sold. In addition, the Mossad promised the Black Bloc some missiles, and planned to deliver some dummies - the plastic, display-style that look exactly like real missiles but won't fire because there's nothing inside them.

The pieces were falling together nicely in Hamburg and Frankfurt, but Ghazi Hussein in Vienna was still a problem. Fortunately, however, he had called Salem when he got the arms order from Arafat. While he'd never admit it to Arafat, he told Salem he had no contacts in this area of activity. Salem said he knew someone who might be able to help. They both knew they shouldn't be liaising on this, but what could they do?

* * *

Mossad security was pulling its collective hair out. Here they were, in the midst of a big operation with the ever-treacherous PLO - and with no security at all. But apart from holding meetings in open courtyards or cafes, and avoiding any c1osed-door meetings with the PLO men, there wasn't much they could do under the circumstances except complain a lot and send messages that condemned such unsecured activities, saying they would accept no responsibility should anything go wrong.

By the beginning of June, the plan had pretty well taken shape. It takes time to gather weapons, but while they were waiting, everyone was getting nervous. In late June, both Hussein in Vienna and Salem in East Berlin notified Arafat that his request had been met and would be ready within two or three weeks.

In the meantime, Major Aloony was becoming rather nervous about the money he'd been expecting from the hash deal. He hadn't heard from the contacts. Nor did he know who, or where, they were. The only contact Aloony had was the address and phone number of one of the Black Bloc men. But the leader was in jail and his second-in-command had been told by the Mossad man posing as a friend to call everybody in the unit and tell them that, in case anybody made inquiries, they were trading hash for arms. If they had any problems at all, or if anybody called about them, they were to call him immediately.

When Aloony finally called his contact, he was told the Black Bloc leader was in jail, but another man was handling the deal. As instructed, Aloony's contact then telephoned the second-in-command. The Mossad katsa working with the Saudi arms dealer was putting pressure on the dealer to obtain the weapons quickly, because someone was rushing them.

Because of Aloony's call, the Mossad knew he was asking questions, but it was no great problem, because he'd got the answer they wanted. The man the Mossad was dealing through assured Aloony it was no problem. Everything was being handled. He had been instructed just to say that, and nothing more, other than that he would let Aloony know as soon as the deal was complete. Aloony understood these deals take time, so he didn't seem unduly concerned. He also knew that in their training camp, the PLO had instilled the fear in the Germans that if they double-crossed the PLO they would be dead, the old saying that you can run, but you can't hide.

It also helped matters that even the PLO players didn't know as much as the Mossad about what was happening. Salem in East Berlin, for example, didn't know the request to Hussein in Vienna was a backup request. It had not been made through Abu Taan, who was dealing with Salem, but by Arafat's personal security chief, Abu Zaim. While Salem knew the weapons. were for Arafat's Force 17, Hussein had no idea what they were for.

In any event, the Mossad man in Vienna and Hussein made their own arrangements for payment and delivery of the weapons. Hussein had a way of transporting goods on Libyan aircraft without their being checked; he did not explain how, only that he wanted the arms in containers, which he would then take to Beirut. The plan was to supply him with some real weapons; however, as in Hamburg and Frankfurt, all the shoulder-carrying missiles would be dummies.

The key was to ensure that everything was synchronized in Vienna, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. If the plan failed in any of the three locations, it could not only ruin the whole scheme, but create considerable danger.

In Hamburg, where the weapons were stored in one of a series of look-alike warehouses, the plan was to show Aloony and Sergeant Alsharif the weapons, stored in a container with the raisins on the top and the bottom. They would then seal the container, lock the warehouse doors, give Aloony the key, and set up an appointment to bring him there the next morning. The container would then be loaded on a truck and taken to the ship for passage to Beirut.

After taking Aloony back to his apartment, the Mossad would go to the warehouse, take the lock and the number off the door, and put them next door on the look-alike warehouse. There they would completely fill another container with low-grade raisins. That was what Aloony would ship off to Arafat.

Stoler (Altan) told Aloony to bring the money with him because he wanted several hours to get away. "No problem," said Aloony. "I'll bring the money. But I sleep with the raisins in the warehouse."

"Okay," said Stoler, his heart stopping for a moment. "I'll pick you up tomorrow at 6 p.m."

"But you said in the morning," said Aloony.

"I know, but it's not a good idea to go in there in the daytime with weapons. Too many people around."

With Aitan and the others all back at the safe house, they knew they had a problem. How would they switch the containers in the warehouse if Aloony was sleeping with them?

Meanwhile, a small, single-family house outside Vienna was now loaded with the weapons Hussein had ordered. The katsa notified Hussein that his assistant would make the transaction, asking him to bring $3.7 million to the meeting place, after which he would be given the key to the house and the address. The plan was that they would pick up one of Hussein's men, then take him blindfolded to the house so he could check the equipment. He would be allowed one phone call to Hussein (then they would cut the line), telling him everything was in place. Next he would be locked in, the money would be transferred, and Hussein would be given the address and the key. Hussein bought it.

It was now July 27, 1981, and back in Hamburg they were still wrestling with the Aloony problem. The weapons to be loaded into a container were inside the warehouse. A duplicate container was hoisted high above it, right up to the ceil ing, on one of those double-track hoists used to cart heavy equipment and crates. In Geneva, Ganud had already provided about $5 million in interim financing for the Hamburg deal and $3.7 million in Vienna.

At 6 p.m. on July 28, AIoony was picked up and driven to the warehouse. He asked to do a spot check of several cartons. Once he was satisfied, they loaded the goods into the containers, with raisins covering them, and sealed the container. Aloony was ready to hand over the money, but Stoler said, "Not here, there are too many people around. Let's go to the car. It's more private."

While they were in the car, Stoler completed a spot check of his own, using an electronic device on some of the bundles to make sure the U.S. dollars were not counterfeit. As that was going on, the duplicate container hooked onto the chain at the top of the warehouse was quickly lowered, and the container with the weapons was hoisted to the ceiling, hauled along to the back of the warehouse, and dropped behind some other containers.

The whole switch took only about 10 or 15 minutes, but when Aloony came back, he saw what appeared to be the identical container with the identical seal. What he didn't see was its new contents. The next day, his raisins safely stowed, Aloony set sail for Beirut.

After Aloony had left, the Mossad men went into the warehouse, loaded the weapons from the first container onto a truck, and took them back to the dealer. As for the surplus raisins, they were sent off to Israel.

The same night, the deal to trade the hashish for the missiles was completed in Frankfurt, and the Black Bloc man was told to bring his team next day to remove the weapons. The hashish was handed over to a man from Panama's F-7 (the special security unit Harari had trained). The hash was taken to Panama in exchange for a credit of about $7 million. The idea was to sell it on the U.S. market where it commands a much higher price than in Europe. Once the Panamanians sold it, they would give the Mossad the $7 million and keep for themselves whatever profit they made.

The next day, when the Black Bloc members came to pick up their phony missiles, the police were there waiting for them. About 20 men were arrested that day.

Also on July 29, three men at the Vienna airport, with a partial load of the weapons from the suburban house, were arrested by local police who had been told by the Mossad that Hussein and his helpers had just arrived on a flight from Lebanon and were smuggling weapons into Vienna to hit a Jewish target. Hussein was later deported. His two helpers were jailed. The bulk of the weapons, still at the house, were recovered by the Mossad. They left some behind for the police to discover when they checked out the story that Hussein had been stockpiling them.

In total, the Mossad pocketed between $15 and $20 million and burned a lot of valuable ground. They had Khader killed, Hussein expelled, his two helpers and about 20 Black Bloc terrorists jailed, and the PLO name blackened in a few countries.

The success was wonderful for Mossad morale. Not only did the PLO lose everything, they still owed everything to their banker. For a time, the sting kept Force 17 short of weapons, and it made the PLO feel really stupid. What happened to the raisins that were shipped to Israel remains a mystery.

* * *

A further postscript to this story is the fate of Arafat's driver/bodyguard, Mossad agent Durak Kasim. He lost a leg in an Israeli air attack on a Tunis Palestinian base. He had been reporting from the camp, but wasn't told about the imminent attack. Furious, Kasim quit both jobs and moved to South America.

_______________  

Notes:

1. See PROLOGUE: OPERATION SPHINX

2. See Chapter 17: BEIRUT

3. See Chapter 17: BEIRUT
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:13 am

14. Only in America

WHEN JONATHAN J. Pollard, 31, and his wife, Anne Henderson-Pollard, 25, were arrested in late November 1985, after a failed attempt to gain asylum at the Israeli embassy in Washington, the predictable political fall-out focused attention for a time on an embarrassing and explosive question: does the Mossad actively operate in the United States?

Officially, the Mossad says no, no, a thousand times no. Absolutely not. Indeed, Mossad katsas are forbidden even to carry phony U.S. passports or use U.S. covers in their work, so delicate is the situation between the state of Israel and its largest and most influential supporter.

How to explain Pollard, then? Easy. He wasn't Mossad. Rather, he had been receiving $2,500 a month since early 1984 from an organization called Lishka le Kishrei Mada or LAKAM, the Hebrew acronym for the Israeli defense ministry's Scientific Affairs Liaison Bureau, and was spiriting secret documents to the home of Irit Erb, a secretary at the Israeli embassy. LAKAM was then headed by Rafael Eitan, who publicly denied any connection, but was a former Mossad katsa who had taken part in the 1960 abduction of Adolf Eichmann from Argentina.

Pollard, a Jew, worked in research at the U.S. Intelligence Support Center in Suitland, Maryland, near Washington, part of the Naval Investigative Service. In 1984 he was switched to the Anti-Terrorism Alert Center in NISC's Threat Analysis Division, an odd transfer given the fact that he had previously been warned by security officials about leaking information to the South African military attache - and his new job gave him access to considerable classified material.

It didn't take long to determine that Pollard was sharing this information with the Israelis, and when confronted by the FBI, he actually agreed to cooperate with them in getting to his Israeli contacts. He was placed under 24-hour surveillance by the FBI, but panicked and sought asylum. He and his wife, arrested as an accomplice, were stopped as they left the embassy.

Naturally, the Americans demanded an explanation. After a telephone call from U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz in California to Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, at 3:30 a.m. Jerusalem time on December I, Peres, who had set up LAKAM himself when he was deputy defense minister in the 1960s, formally apologized: "Spying on the United States stands in total contradiction to our policy. Such activity, to the extent that it did take place, was wrong, and the government of Israel apologizes."

Peres went on to say that if government officials were involved, "those responsible will be brought to account, the unit involved . . . will be completely and permanently disbanded, and necessary organizational steps will be taken to ensure that such activities are not repeated." (All they did was change the mailing address and attach LAKAM to the foreign affairs department.)

But even if Peres didn't really mean it, his statement seemed to satisfy the U.S. administration. Former CIA director Richard Helms said it wasn't uncommon for friendly nations to spy on each other. "You do what you can. Getting caught is the sin," he said.

And while the Pollards were carted off to jail for spying -- the Mossad considers LAKAM raw amateurs in the craft -- Shultz later told reporters, "We are satisfied with the Israeli apology and explanation." After a brief flurry of unhappy publicity for Israel, the controversy died.

Suspicions lingered, of course, about Pollard's exact status, but it seems that even the CIA believes that apart from the odd questionable exercise, the Mossad, except for liaison, simply does not operative actively in the United States itself. Well, they're wrong.

Pollard was not Mossad, but many others actively spying, recruiting, organizing, and carrying out covert activities -- mainly in New York and Washington, which they refer to as their "playground" - do belong to a special, super-secret division of the Mossad called simply Al, Hebrew for "above" or "on top."

The unit is so secretive, and so separate from the main organization, that the majority of Mossad employees don't even know what it does and do not have access to its files on the computer.

But it exists, and employs between 24 and 27 veteran field personnel, three as active katsas. Most, though not all, of their activity is within U.S. borders. Their primary task is to gather information on the Arab world and the PLO, as opposed to gathering intelligence about U.S. activities. But as we shall see, the dividing line is often blurred, and when in doubt, Al doesn't hesitate to cross over it.

To say it doesn't gather information on the Americans is like saying mustard is not the main course, but you do like a little on your hotdog. Say, for example, there's a senator on the arms committee who interests Mossad. Al rarely uses sayanim, but that senator's paperwork, anything happening in his office, would be important information, so an aide would become a target. If an aide was Jewish, he or she would be approached as a sayan. Otherwise, the person would be recruited as an agent, or even just as a friend, with whom to mingle and listen.

The Washington cocktail circuit is very important for that. Certain attaches keep track of it. There is no problem adding someone to that circuit and giving it a legitimate ring.

Suppose, for instance, McDonnell Douglas wants to sell U.S.-made airplanes to Saudi Arabia. Is that a U.S. issue or an Israeli issue? Well, as far as the Institute is concerned, it's Israel's business. When you have something like that in place, it's very difficult not to use it. So they do.

One of the more famous of Al's activities involved the theft of research material from some major U.S. aircraft-manufacturing firms to help Israel secure a five-year, $25.8 million contract in January 1986 to supply the U.S. navy (shipboard) and marine corps with 21 16-foot-long drones, or unmanned Mazlat Pioneer 1 aircraft, plus the accompanying ground control, launch, and recovery equipment. The drones, which have a television monitor mounted underneath, are used in military reconnaissance work. Mazlat, a subsidiary of the state-run Israeli Aeronautical Industries and Tadiran, "won" the contract after outbidding U.S. firms in a 1985 tender.

In reality, Al stole the research. Israel had been working on a drone, but was not nearly far enough advanced to enter this competition. When you don't have to include research recovery costs in your bid, it makes a substantial difference.

After winning the contract, Mazlat went into partnership with AAI Corp. of Baltimore, Maryland, to complete it.

AI is similar to Tsomet, but it does not come under the jurisdiction of the head of Tsomet. Rather, it reports directly to the head of Mossad. Unlike normal Mossad stations, it does not operate inside the Israeli embassy. Its stations are located in safe houses or apartments.

The three Al teams are set up as a station, or unit. Let's say that for some reason relations between Israel and Great Britain collapsed tomorrow and the Mossad had to leave the United Kingdom. They could dispatch an Al team to London and have a complete clandestine setup the next day. The Al katsas are among the most experienced in the Institute.

The United States is one place where the consequences for messing up are immense. But not working through the embassy creates difficulties, especially with communications. If Al people are caught in the United States, they're jailed as spies. They have no diplomatic immunity. The worst that can happen to a katsa in a normal station, because he has diplomatic immunity, is deportation. Officially, the Mossad has a liaison station in Washington, but nothing else.

Another problem that precludes working out of the Israeli embassy in Washington is that it is located behind a shop ping center part way up a hill on International Drive. There is little else around there except the Jordanian embassy farther up the hill, overlooking the Israeli embassy - hardly a good setting for carrying out clandestine activities.

Incidentally, despite rumors to the contrary, the Mossad does not have a station in the Soviet Union. About 99.99 percent of information it gathers on the Eastern Bloc comes through "positive interrogation," which means simply interviewing Jews emigrating from the Soviet Bloc and analyzing and processing that information. Quite a good picture of what's going on in the USSR can be created and put on the face of an intelligence agency actively gathering data there. But it has been too dangerous to work there. The only activity was to help get people out - creating escape routes, that sort of thing. A separate organization under the auspices of the Mossad does that; it's called nativ, which means "pathway" or "passage" in Hebrew. The Eastern Bloc information has a good exchange value. That, coupled with data gathered in other countries - for example, the radar information from the Danes - helps in presenting a picture of knowledge.

The Americans don't realize how much information is given to us through NATO, information that can be manipulated to present a much more vivid picture. In the pre-Gorbachev era, of course, the Soviet news media sources weren't that great, but you could always get data by rumor and word of mouth. Even military movements. Somebody might complain that his cousin was moved somewhere and hadn't been heard from. Even if only 10 people a day were arriving in Israel from the Soviet Bloc, you could still get an extraordinary amount of information from that.

Al's stations, while outside the embassy, still operate like stations for the most part. They communicate directly to Tel Aviv headquarters either by telephone, telex, or computer modem. They do not use burst communications systems, because even if the Americans couldn't break down the messages, they would know there was clandestine activity in the neighborhood, something the Mossad wants to avoid. Distance is also a factor.

Al katsas are the only ones in the entire organization who use American passports. And they are breaking two fundamental rules: they're operating in a target country; and they're using the cover of the country they are in. The rule is that you never play an Englishman in England, or a Frenchman in France. It makes it just too easy for the locals to investigate your documentation. If you hand a Paris cop your local driver's license, for example, he can check it immediately to see if it's valid.

Al gets away with it because the quality of their documentation is top grade. It has to be. In enemy territory, you don't want to get caught because they're going to shoot you. In the United States, the friendliest country, you don't want to get caught because they're going to shoot your whole country. The FBI probably suspects something from time to time, but they don't really know.

* * *

The following story was told to me by Ury Dinure, at one point my NAKA instructor, who was then in charge of AI's New York station. Dinure had been actively involved with an operation that affected U.S. international policy, created a serious domestic problem for then president Jimmy Carter, and stirred up some ugly racial conflict between U.S. Jews and leaders of the U.S. black community. Had the Americans known about the extent and the nature of the Mossad's involvement, it could have jeopardized - perhaps even severed - the historic good relations between the two countries.

First, a look at 1979.

The most momentous event that year was the final outcome of the September 1978 Camp David agreement on a "framework for peace," signed by Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Most of the Arab world had reacted with shock and anger at Sadat. As for Begin, he began to regret the whole thing almost immediately after leaving Camp David.

U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance had tried an eleventh- hour shuttle diplomacy approach to reach an agreement before the December 17 treaty-signing deadline set at Camp David, but that fell apart at the last minute when Begin refused to negotiate seriously, creating considerable distrust between Washington and Jerusalem. Early in 1979, Begin sent his legendary foreign minister, Moshe Dayan, to Brussels to meet with Vance and Egypt's Premier Moustafa Khalil to explore ways of resuming the deadlocked talks. But Begin bluntly announced that Dayan would discuss only "how, when, and where" negotiations might be resumed, rather than discussing the actual content of the Camp David agreement.

In late December 1978, Israel's usually divided Knesset had voted 66 to six in support of Begin's tough position toward Washington and Cairo. As an illustration of their mood, Israel halted a military equipment pullback that had been planned to help speed the Sinai withdrawal following a peace treaty. Israel also stepped up its attacks on Palestinian camps in Lebanon, prompting Florida Democrat Richard Stone, head of the Senate Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, to say that the Israelis appeared to have "drawn the wagons into a circle."

Following the Knesset vote, Begin telephoned U.S. Jewish leaders, urging that pro-Israeli groups launch a write-in and telegram campaign to the White House and Congress. A group of 33 Jewish intellectuals, including authors Saul Bellow and Irving Howe, who had criticized Begin's past inflexibility, sent Carter a letter calling Washington's support of Cairo's position "unacceptable."

In February 1979, hoping to get the talks moving again, the United States asked both Israel and Egypt to meet with Cyrus Vance at Camp David. Both sides agreed, although Israel was angry about a report to Congress on human rights prepared by Vance's department that referred to reports of "systematic" mistreatment of Arabs in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Two weeks before the Washington Post published this report, Israeli army tanks had moved into West Bank villages at dawn and crushed four Arab homes. The government also established a new outpost, the forerunner to a civilian settlement, at Nueima, northeast of Jericho - making it the fifty-first on the West Bank - where about 5,000 Jews were living among 692,000 Palestinians.

In the midst of this chaos, Carter, in March, launched his own six-day mission to Cairo and Jerusalem. Despite the odds against it, he managed to persuade the two sides to agree to a U.S.-written compromise, bringing the two hostile nations closer to peace than they'd been in more than 30 years. The price Carter paid for this was more than $5 billion in extra aid over the next three years to Egypt and Israel. Two of the major stumbling blocks had been oil-starved Israel's concerns about giving Egypt back its captured oil fields in the Sinai and, of course, the still-unsettled question of Palestinian autonomy.

In May, Carter appointed Texan Robert S. Strauss, 60, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, as a super-ambassador for the second stage of the peace negotiations. While Israel formally approved, it continued to launch assaults on PLO bases in Lebanon. Begin's cabinet voted eight to five to establish yet another new Jewish settlement, at Elon Moreh on the occupied West Bank, prompting 59 prominent U.S. Jews to send Begin an open letter criticizing Israel's policy of setting up new Jewish settlements in the densely populated Arab areas.

To further complicate matters, Begin had a mild heart attack, and Dayan discovered he had cancer. Inflation inside Israel was pushing 100 percent. The country's balance-of- payment deficit was approaching $4 billion, and total foreign debt had doubled In five years to $13 billion, prompting a domestic political crisis. This was exacerbated by Jewish outrage at Carter's comparison of the plight of the Palestinians with the U.S. civil rights movement.

Both Sadat and Carter began to pressure Israel to agree to a plan for Palestinian autonomy. The Arab countries favored an independent sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza, home for the Palestinians already there, and the millions in the diaspora. The Israelis were totally opposed to the notion of a hostile state - particularly one run by PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat - sitting on its own border. Israel was suspicious that U.S. reliance on Arab oil was tilting its priorities more toward Arab interests.

In the absence of Begin, who was still recuperating, Dayan was attempting to run the government. In August, he warned the United States against recognizing the PLO or strengthening the chance of a wholly independent Palestinian state's emergence in the West Bank and Gaza. At the end of a stormy, five-hour cabinet session, the Israelis voted to warn the United States to keep its previous commitments, particularly its promise to veto any attempt by Arab states to alter the 1967 United Nations Resolution 242, acknowledging Israel's right to exist. Israel threatened to withdraw from the stalled negotiations over "autonomy" if the Americans pressed too hard to establish relations with the PLO.

What had infuriated the Israelis was an orchestrated power play launched earlier in the summer by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the PLO in an attempt to get things going their way. It began with the Saudis raising their oil production by one million barrels a day in July on a three-month basis, easing the shortage that had sparked long gas lines in the United States during May and June. In addition, the PLO had adopted a conciliatory stance, in public at least, hoping to enhance its rather unwholesome image in the West; Kuwaiti diplomats at the UN were proposing a draft resolution that would tie in Israel's right to exist (Resolution 242) with international recognition of the Palestinians' right to self-determination.

The plan had grown from a June meeting, when Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Fahd had invited Arafat to Riyadh and persuaded him to build a better relationship with the United States, beginning by curtailing terrorist activities, at least for a time. Kuwait was enlisted because of the widely respected diplomatic abilities of its ambassador, Abdalla Yaccoub Bishara, then on the UN Security Council.

To placate Israel, the Americans flatly rejected voting for any draft endorsing an independent Palestinian state, but they did not rule out a possible milder resolution aimed at simply affirming the Palestinians' legitimate political rights, bringing the language of Resolution 242 in line with the Camp David accords.

When Egyptian Premier Moustafa Khalil announced at the autonomy negotiations, held at a Mount Carmel hotel overlooking Haifa harbor, that his country would support a UN resolution on Palestinian rights, Israeli's justice minister, Shmuel Tamir, accused Egypt of "endangering the whole current peace process."

Inevitably, the Mossad was also worried about how events were unfolding, particularly over the growing domestic role of Israeli Defense Minister Eizer Weizman. The Mossad did not trust Weizman, a former pilot who was second-in-command of the armed forces during the Six Day War, a heroic commander and father of the legendary Israeli air force. They regarded him as an Arab-lover to the point of believing he was a traitor. Their animosity toward him was ridiculous. Even though he was the minister of defense, no top-secret information was shared with him. Weizman was a free spirit, the kind of man who would agree with you on one thing but disagree completely on something else. He never toed the party line. He did what he believed was right. Men like that are dangerous because they're unpredictable.

But Weizman had certainly proven himself. In a country where just about everybody serves in the army, military service is important. That's why you end up with a government that is 70 percent generals. People don't seem to understand what's wrong with that - with people whose nostrils flare at the smell of gunpowder.

Even Begin and Dayan were having their disagreements. Dayan, historically a Labor man, had left that party to join the charismatic, right-wing Begin. But the way they looked at the Palestinians was completely different. Dayan, as did most Labor people from his generation, looked at them as an adversary, but as people. Begin and his party, when looking at the Palestinians, didn't see people; they saw a problem. Dayan would say, "I'd rather be at peace with these people and I remember times when we were." Begin would say, "I wish they weren't here, but there's not much I can do about that." That's such a different outlook, it's not surprising there was growing friction between them.

In the midst of all this, the Mossad had made its first contact with the opium growers in Thailand. The Americans were trying to force farmers to stop producing opium and grow coffee instead. The Mossad's idea was to get in there, help them grow coffee, but at the same time help them export opium as a means of raising money for Mossad operations.

One of those operations was the continuing efforts of Al in New York and Washington to undermine Arab determination to enlist U.S. assistance in helping the PLO - or Palestinians generally - achieve a higher status through the UN.

The Israelis were understandably not very happy about that. There had been constant attacks on Israeli villages, massacres, a state of ever-present danger. Even if the shelling stopped for a while, they still felt the same way. Bags were being checked in department stores and movie theaters. If someone saw a bag left on a bus with no one attending it, they told the driver, he'd stop the bus, and everyone would get off. If someone left their attache case somewhere by accident, they could expect it to be confiscated and blown up.

There was a big influx of Palestinians from the West Bank working in Israel. Many Israelis had served on patrol in the West Bank, and they knew the Palestinians hated them. Even if you were a left-winger and you thought they had a right to hate you, you still didn't want to end up in pieces.

It was common for people from the right to express their distrust of Palestinians; they felt that dealing with them was only a vicious circle. A left-winger might say, "Let them have elections," and the right would say, "Forget it. They'll elect somebody I don't want to talk to." So the left would say, "But they've announced a ceasefire." The right would respond, "What ceasefire? We don't recognize the Palestinians as a group that can give a ceasefire." Then the next day something would blow up and the right would say, "See, I told you they wouldn't keep the ceasefire!"

* * *

Al had been operating in New York since about 1978, trying to get a line on Arab activities around the peace talks being pushed by Carter. In September 1975, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had officially pledged that the United States would not recognize or negotiate with the PLO until it affirmed Israel's right to exist. First, former president Gerald Ford and then Carter announced they would uphold that pledge. Still, the Israelis didn't completely believe it.

In November 1978, after the Camp David talks, Illinois Republican Congressman Paul Findley, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had carried a message from Carter to a meeting with Arafat in Damascus, at which Arafat said the PLO would be nonviolent if an independent Palestinian state was created in the West Bank and Gaza with a connecting corridor.

Carter had already called for a Palestinian "homeland" as early as 1977, and in spring 1979, U.S. ambassador to Austria Milton Wolf, a prominent Jewish leader, met with the PLO's representative there, Issam Sartawi, first at an Austrian government reception, then at an Arab embassy cocktail party. Wolf was acting under instructions from Washington to meet with Sartawi, but not to discuss anything of substance. In mid-July, when Arafat went to Vienna to see Austria's chancellor, Bruno Kreisky, and former West German chancellor, Willy Brandt, Wolf and Sartawi held a serious meeting to discuss the negotiations. When news of that leaked out, the State Department said Wolf had been officially "reminded" about the U.S. policy against negotiating with the PLO, but the Mossad knew Wolf had been acting on direct instructions from Washington.

There was a growing momentum in the United States to achieve a certain peace alignment. Even the Arabs had begun to see the advantages of this, and the Mossad, through their network of electronic bugs at the homes and offices of various Arab ambassadors and leaders in New York and Washington, learned that the PLO was leaning to- ward agreeing to the 1975 Kissinger position and recognizing Israel's right to exist.

At this time, the U.S. ambassador to the UN was Andrew Young, a Southern black liberal and close friend of Carter's, who had been one of the president's earliest supporters and was considered the administration's main conduit between the White House and the black community.

Young, an outspoken and often controversial ambassador, was a product of the U.S. civil rights movement and had a weak spot for the underdog, a view that Israel saw as more anti-Israeli than pro-Palestinian. Young believed that Carter wanted a solution, a settlement that would relieve the Palestinians from the situation they were locked into, while creating a peaceful situation in the region.

Young opposed new settlements in the West Bank, but he wanted to postpone the planned presentation by the Arabs of a resolution seeking PLO recognition before the UN. Young's argument was that it would lead nowhere, so it was better to forge a milder resolution that could ultimately achieve the goal but would have a better chance of approval.

Kuwaiti Ambassador Bishara was the driving force behind the Arab resolution and was, of course, in constant contact with the UN's unofficial PLO representative, Zehdi Labib Terzi. Because Al had rented apartments allover New York and Washington and installed numerous listening devices, they overheard a July 15 conversation between Bishara and Young, to the effect that the Arabs could not postpone the Security Council debate on the resolution, but suggesting that Young should discuss it with someone from the PLO.

Young informed Bishara that he "could not meet with representatives of the PLO," but he added, "neither could I refuse an invitation from a member of the Security Council to come to his home to talk business." Bishara, of course, was on the Security Council, and Young added that, in addition to being unable to refuse an invitation, "I can't tell you who you can have in your home."

On July 25, 1979, a cable arrived from New York at Mossad headquarters in Tel Aviv. It read: "U.S. Ambassador to UN to meet with PLO representative to UN." The cable was marked, "Urgent. Tiger. Black," which meant it was only for the eyes of the prime minister and a few of his top officials - probably no more than five people altogether.

It was handed in code to the office of the head of the Mossad, Yitzhak Hofi. Hofi personally took the decoded message to Begin. The senior Israelis were horrified to read that Young was going to meet Terzi. The message also gave the information source as recordings from Bishara's private line in his UN office, revealing that Young had been invited to his house and had accepted.

The question then was whether to prevent the meeting or let it happen. The decision to let it happen would prove that Israeli fears were well founded, that there was a shift in the U.S. attitude toward Israel. This would help prove to the country's American friends in high places that such a danger existed from this particular administration, thereby creating a pro-Israel change. It would show the whole process was jeopardizing Israeli security.

In addition, it would help get rid of Young who was seen as too much of a threat because of his open-minded approach and positive attitude toward the PLO. He didn't fit Israel's needs.

On July 26, Young, along with his six-year-old son, Andrew, walked into Bishara's Beekman Place town house. With the AI microphones picking up every word, Young was greeted by Bishara and the Syrian ambassador. Five minutes later, Terzi arrived, and while the boy played alone for 15 minutes or so, the three diplomats talked and seemed to agree that the Security Council meeting should be postponed from July 27 to August 23. (It was postponed.)

Right after that, Young and his son left. Within an hour, a complete transcript of the meeting was taken by Al katsa and station head, Ury Dinure, aboard an EI Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv. He was met at the airport by Yitzhak Hofi, in response to the cable that had preceded him: "The spider swallowed the fly." The two men then took the transcript directly to Begin. Hofi read it on the way there.

Dinure was in Israel for just six hours before returning with a copy of the transcript to deliver to Israel's ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Blum, a Czechoslovakian-born expert on international law.

Hofi did not want news of the meeting to leak to the media. He particularly didn't want to burn the setup in New York. He argued that Begin could achieve more by going to the administration and talking to them - the same approach they had taken after Milton Wolf's meeting with the PLO in Vienna. Hofi said it wouldn't be good politics in the United States to hurt Young, who was popular among the blacks, and anyway, they could get more concessions from the Americans by working it out behind the scenes.

But Begin wasn't interested in diplomacy. He wanted blood. "I want it out," he said. They agreed there was no point in letting out all the information, thereby running the risk of burning the source, and so Newsweek magazine was told simply that Young and Terzi had met. That, of course, sparked a query to the State Department, and Young was asked for an explanation. His first version was that he had been out for a walk with his son and decided to stop in to see Bishara where, to his surprise, he had met Terzi. He said the two men were involved in "15 or 20 minutes of social amenities," but nothing more.

Secretary Vance, flying back from Ecuador, was cabled Young's explanation. Relieved that it was simply a chance encounter, Vance authorized State Department spokesman, Tom Reston, to release Young's version at noon, Monday, August 13.

Once the whole thing seemed to be blowing over, the Mossad arranged for rumors to be leaked to Young that if he thought Israel was going to be quiet about this, he was gravely mistaken.

Concerned, Young requested, and got, a meeting with Yehuda Blum that lasted two hours. He did not know that Blum had the transcript of his meeting with Bishara and Terzi. Because of that, Blum was able to get Young to admit far more than he had told the State Department.

Blum was not that crazy about Young in the first place. In most of his reports, Young did not get high praise. But Blum was an experienced diplomat. Because he had the transcripts and knew exactly what had happened, he was able to extract the story. That meant they could use Young as the source, so they would not have to expose the fact that they already knew everything.

Young, who still thought Israel's main intention was to get the negotiations going, didn't know he was being set up. After the meeting with Blum, and Young's admissions, the U.S. ambassador to Israel was called by Begin and given a formal complaint. That complaint went to the ambassador and to the media at about the same time to make sure it didn't get lost in the shuffle.

By 7 a.m. on August 14, an urgent cable from the U.S. embassy in Israel to Washington was on Vance's desk, outlining what the Israelis claimed Young had told Blum, which was considerably at odds with what Young had told the State Department, and what they in turn had told the media the day before. Vance went to the White House and told Carter that Young had to resign. Carter tentatively agreed, but said he wanted to "sleep on it."

Young arrived at the White House family quarters at 10 a.m. the next morning, August 15, 1979, carrying his letter of resignation with him. After a 90-minute session, he left for a while, then rejoined Carter. They went into Hamilton Jordan's office, where senior White House staffers had gathered. With Carter's arm around his shoulder, Young told his friends he had resigned. Two hours later, Press Secretary Jody Powell, barely able to keep his composure, announced that, sadly, Young was resigning.  

U.S. peace envoy Strauss, on the plane to the Middle East, said, "The Young affair ... reinforces the unfounded suspicions that the United States is dealing in the dark with the PLO."

Young later tried to defend his actions, saying, "I did not lie, I didn't tell all of the truth. I prefaced my remark [to the State Department] with: 'I'm going to give you an official version,' and I gave an official version, which did not in any way lie."

But the damage had been done. Young had been stopped, and it would be a while before any Americans attempted to deal with the PLO again. And so, Al, through its extensive network of clandestine activity, had managed to end the career of one of Carter's closest friends - but a man seen as no friend to Israel.

* * *

Within a few days of the story's making headlines, Ury Dinure reported that it was too hot to stay around and requested a transfer. All the Mossad safe houses were closed, with the entire New York operation shifted to other apartments. The Mossad was sure there would be a crackdown on them, but it didn't come. It was like listening to the whistle of a bomb when it's falling. You sit there waiting for it to fall, to go boom, but then nothing happens.

The political fallout from this escapade, however, quickly turned into one of the ugliest chapters in Jewish-black relations in the United States.

American black leaders were appalled at Young's departure. Mayor Richard Hatcher of Gary, Indiana, told Time magazine it was a "forced resignation" and "an insult to black people." Benjamin Hooks, executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said Young had been made "a sacrificial lamb for circumstances beyond his control." He said Young "should have received a presidential medal" for his "brilliant diplomatic coup," rather than losing his job over it.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson, who would later be a U.S. presidential candidate, said, "There's a tremendous tension in the air around the nation over the forced resignation." He described relations between Jews and blacks as "more tense than they've been in 25 years."

Young himself said there would not be a polarization between black and Jewish leaders, but predicted there would be "something of a confrontation as friends." He said the black community's evolving attitude toward the Middle East should "in no way be seen as being anti-Jewish. It may be pro-Palestinian in a way that it was not before, in which case the Jewish community will have the responsibility of finding a way to relate to that without being anti-black."

Other black leaders wanted to know why Young got dumped for meeting with the PLO, while U.S. Ambassador Wolf, a prominent Jewish leader, was not fired, in spite of having several meetings with the PLO. The main difference, of course, was that Wolf wasn't caught lying about them.

Indeed, the main winner in this game of intrigue seemed to be the PLO, not Israel, as more and more U.S. black organizations came out in support of Young, and the PLO cause, widely ignored before by the media, suddenly began enjoying more favorable attention. In late August, the Reverend Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, headed a delegation to New York, conveying to Terzi their unconditional support for the "human rights of all Palestinians, including the right of self-determination in regard to their homeland." The next day, meeting with Ambassador Blum, the group said they had "no apologies for our support of Palestinian human rights, just as we make no apologies to the PLO for our continued support of the state of Israel." Blum was quoted as replying, "It's ridiculous to equate us with the PLO. It's like equating criminals [with] a police force."

A week later, a group of 200 American black leaders met at NAACP headquarters in New York and declared, "Some Jewish organizations and intellectuals who were previously identified with the aspirations of black Americans . . . became apologists for the racial status quo ... Jews must show more sensitivity and be prepared for more consultation before taking positions contrary to the best interests of the black community."

A group of eleven Jewish organizations responded that it was "with sorrow and anger that we note these statements. We cannot work with those who resort to half-truths, lies, and bigotry in any guise or from any sources ... We cannot work with those who would succumb to Arab blackmail."

Jesse Jackson was pictured in the October 8 Time magazine embracing Yasser Arafat, part of a self-appointed Middle East mission initiated when Begin refused to meet him because of his sympathy with the PLO. Jackson called the refusal "a rejection of blacks in America, their support, and their money." During that same trip with Jackson, Lowery joined Arafat in a chorus of "We Shall Overcome."

Later that month, National Urban League head Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., attempted to calm the stormy waters in a Kansas City. speech, saying, "Black-Jewish relations should not be endangered by ill-considered flirtations with terrorist groups devoted to the extermination of Israel. The black civil rights movement has nothing in common with groups whose claim to legitimacy is compromised by cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians and schoolchildren."

Jackson, calling the PLO "a government in exile," met Jordan in Chicago and afterward Jordan explained, "We agreed to disagree without being disagreeable."

Not so Moshe Dayan. In October 1979, tired of Begin's hard-line policies in dealing with the Palestinians, Dayan resigned - right in the middle of a Sunday morning cabinet meeting - leaving Begin to take over the foreign ministry himself. In a subsequent interview with Time's Jerusalem bureau chief, Dean Fischer, and correspondent, David Halevy, Dayan said, "The Palestinians want peace and they're ripe for some kind of settlement. I'm convinced it can be done."

Perhaps. But he didn't live to see it.

* * *

The whole thing gave way to quite a few other operations gathering information from senators and congressmen, because it seemed almost to have got the nod. They must have known something about the Mossad's involvement, yet nothing happened. Nobody said anything. In the intelligence game, if you see someone operating and you look the other way, he will be encouraged to try something more daring until you hit him on the hand or hit him over the head, whichever comes first.

Al would have been gathering the recordings from the various homes, getting data from the Senate and Congress, making approaches, mingling, recruiting, getting copies of documentation, opening the odd diplomatic pouch, all the general operations of a station. Katsas were going to parties in Washington and New York. They were all running their businesses. One of them ran an escort service that still exists.

The Mossad still doesn't admit to the existence of AI. Inside the Institute, it's said that the Mossad does not work in the United States. But most Mossad people know that Al exists, even if they don't know exactly what it does. The biggest joke in all this is that, when the LAKAM broke out with the Pollard case, Mossad people always said, "There's one thing for sure. We don't work in the United States." Which only goes to show, you can't always take a spy at his word.
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:17 am

15. Operation Moses

THEY WERE ALL there: foreign diplomats escaping the oppressive heat of Khartoum; tourists from right across Europe anxious to learn diving techniques in the Red Sea, or enjoy escorted tours of the Nubian Desert; and senior Sudanese officials, all relaxing in- the newly constructed tourist resort 75 miles north of Port Sudan across the sea from Mecca.

How were they to know it was a Mossad front? Indeed, on the morning in early January 1985, when the 50 or so customers woke up to find the staff had vanished - except for a few locals left behind to serve breakfast - they still didn't know what had happened. Few people know even today. As far as legitimate tourists were concerned, the resort's European owners had gone bankrupt, as the notes left behind claimed, though they were assured of a full refund (and actually got it). The staff, either Mossad or Israeli navy workers, had disappeared quietly during the night, some by boat, others by air. They had left plenty of food behind, along with four trucks to carry the tourists back to Port Sudan.

But what happened at this camp is one of the great mass-escape stories of history, a story only partially known to the world as Operation Moses: the rescue of thousands of black Ethiopian Jews, or Falashas, from drought-ravaged, war-torn Ethiopia, to Israel.

Many stories, even books, have documented Israel's daring and covert airlift of the Falashas out of refugee camps in Sudan and Ethiopia. A Belgian-chartered Trans-European Airways Boeing 707 was used to fly them on a circuitous route from either Khartoum or Addis Ababa, through either Athens, Brussels, Rome, or Basel, then to Tel Aviv.

The stories - all fed by Mossad disinformation specialists -- claim that 12,000 black Ethiopian Jews were rescued in this short, spectacular operation. In fact, about 18,000 were rescued, and only about 5,000 of those by way of the publicly celebrated Belgian charter. The rest came through the Red Sea "tourist resort."

* * *

At the turn of this century, there were several hundred thousand Falashas in Ethiopia, but by the 1980s their numbers had dwindled to at most 25,000, scattered mainly throughout the country's remote northwestern Gondar province. For two centuries, the Falashas had longed for the promised land, but it wasn't until 1972 that they were officially recognized as Jews by Israel. Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef decreed that the Falashas were "undoubtedly of the tribe of Dan," which made them the inhabitants of the biblical land of Havileh, today's southern Arabian peninsula. The Falashas believe in the Torah, the basic Jewish scriptures; they're circumcised and observe the Sabbath and the dietary laws. Ironically, one of the keys to the rabbinate's conclusions that the Falashas are indeed Jews was the fact that they do not observe Hanukkah. This festival celebrates the victory of Judah the Maccabee over Antiochus IV in 167 B.C., after which the Temple was cleansed and Jewish worship restored. But this was not part of the Falashas' history, because they had left Israel with the Queen of Sheba long before, during Solomon's reign.

As a result of the Chief Rabbinical Council's findings, a government committee then decided that these Ethiopians were covered by Israel's Law of Return, which allows all Jews automatically to become citizens the moment they arrive in Israel to live.

In 1977, when Menachem Begin became prime minister, he vowed to help the Falashas come to the promised land. Ethiopian leader Mengitsu Haile Mariam, struggling with a bitter civil war in the early 1970s, had ordered harsh punishment for any Ethiopian attempting to escape, so Begin drew up a plan for secret arms deals with that country in exchange for covert missions from both Ethiopia and Sudan to rescue the Falashas. Only 122 black Jews had been flown out of Addis Ababa when Israeli foreign minister Moshe Dayan told a radio reporter in Zurich on February 6, 1978, that Israel was selling weapons to Ethiopia. Mariam, who had demanded the deal be kept secret, immediately called it off.

In 1979, when Begin and Anwar Sadat of Egypt signed the Camp David agreement, Begin persuaded Sadat to talk Sudan's President Jaafar al-Nemery into allowing the Falashas to flow out of refugee camps in Sudan into Israel. Over the next few years, a trickle of Falashas, perhaps as many as 4,000, did make their way to Israel, although that plan died, too, when Sadat was assassinated in 1981, and al-Nemery converted to Islamic fundamentalism.

By 1984, however, the situation had become critical. The Falashas, along with legions of other Ethiopians, were suffering horrible drought and famine. Now they began to pour into Sudan in search of food. In September 1984, when Israel's then deputy prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, met U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz in Washington, Shamir asked the Americans to use their clout with both the Egyptians and the Saudi Arabians to persuade al-Nemery to allow a rescue operation under cover of the International Food Aid operation. Sudan, which had its own problems with drought, and with civil war in the south, was not unhappy at the prospect of having a few thousand less mouths to feed. But again, both the Sudanese and the Ethiopian officials demanded absolute secrecy.

Indeed, between November 1984 and January 1985, the operation was secret. During the first week of January 1985, George Bush, then U.S. vice-president, having received al-Nemery's approval, ordered a U.S. Hercules aircraft into Khartoum, where it picked up 500 Falashas and flew them directly to Israel.

This part of the operation was widely reported later in books and newspaper stories. Many people knew about it, including the Americans, British, Egyptians, Sudanese, the Ethiopians themselves, as well as numerous airline officials in Europe. But they all kept it secret until Yehuda Dominitz, a senior official with the United Jewish Agency, told a reporter for Nekuda, a small West Bank Jewish settlers' newspaper, that the rescue operation was on. And that ended not only the operation he was speaking of, but also the secret one organized by the Mossad on the shores of the Red Sea.

As usual in these affairs, the journalism fraternity in Israel knew about the operation all along - or at least, they knew what the Mossad and the prime minister's office wanted them to know - but they agreed to withhold the story until they were given leave to print it. There is a committee of editors, called the Vaadat Orchim, of all the major media outlets in Israel that meets regularly with government officials for background briefing on current events. Israeli television is government controlled, as is all but one rogue radio station, so that broadcasting is never a problem to control.

Journalists are fed these government-vetted stories and made to feel they are part of them. They may even be taken on missions, always with the understanding that when it's in Israel's best interest to release the story, they'll have all the information they need. Some feel this is better than censorship (although Israel does that, too).

Once news did break of the covert operation, Arab reaction was swift and predictable. Libya requested a special session of the Arab League, and newspapers in many Arab countries condemned Sudan for cooperating with Israel. For its part, the Sudanese government denied any role in the airlift, and foreign minister Hashem Osman called in Arab, African, and Asian diplomats to accuse Ethiopia of "closing its eyes" to the Falasha exodus in return for money and weapons from Israel. Ethiopian foreign minister Goshu Wolde replied that Sudan had been bribing "a large number of Ethiopian Jews to flee Ethiopia." Kuwait's Alrai al A'am, in a strongly worded editorial, said: "The smuggling of Ethiopian Jews across Sudan can be regarded not as a passing event but as a new defeat inflicted on the Arab nation."

Think how upset they would have been had they known the whole story.

* * *

At the time of the operation, Prime Minister Shimon Peres declared publicly, "We shall not rest until all our brothers and sisters from Ethiopia come safely back home." In the spring of 1984, with the situation for the starving Falashas worsening, Peres set out to make his dream come true. While talks were proceeding with other governments for an airlift through the Brussels connection, Peres called in Nahum Admony, then head of the Mossad, code-named "ROM," to see if he could come up with a scheme to rescue even more Falashas.

Admony, recognizing the urgency of the situation, got permission from Peres to use resources outside the Mossad if he had to, either civilian or military.

After this meeting, Admony called in David Arbel, then head of Tsafririm, which means "morning breeze," the department whose sole purpose is to save Jews wherever they are threatened. Arbel, as we've seen, had made a name for himself, of sorts, in the Lillehammer debacle.

Arbel's department was responsible for setting up Jewish defense groups, called "frames," or misgerot, all over the world, now including some parts of the United States, where anti-Semitism is regarded as a threat. Often people with particular skills, such as doctors, are on reserve and called in for short periods to help with these frames. Normally, heads of the stations for the frames in the various countries are retired Mossad workers. The job is widely regarded as a sort of bonus for faithful service, a tshupar, the idea being that they've got all this expertise, why not use it?

The main job is to help the leaders of Jewish communities outside Israel plan for their own security. Part of this is done through the hets va-keshet, or "bow and arrow," Israel's paramilitary youth brigades. While all Israeli youths, boys and girls, belong to this eduday noar iury, or "battalion of Hebrew youth," often youths from other countries are brought over to spend the summer learning about security, picking up such skills as completing obstacle courses, pitching tents, and learning how to use a sniper rifle and Uzi assault rifle. Still others learn upgraded security skills, such as how to build a slick, for hiding weapons or documents, when and how to do security checks, as well as the fundamentals of investigation and intelligence gathering.

Any use of the frames other than for self-protection has never been approved by any government official, although Mossad officials all know of such use. Thus, Yitzhak Shamir knew, but Peres, never a Mossad man, would not have known, even though he was prime minister. Israel does not sell the weapons directly to these foreign frames, but it does provide arms indirectly in a round-about arrangement with known arms dealers.

The Mossad does not see these frames as information gatherers, although the station heads know from experience that the shortest route to getting praise is by supplying useful information. Many of the youths trained at the summer camps in Israel later become sayanim, and it certainly provides a strong group of willing helpers, well trained, undaunted by the lingo, who have already shown the ability to take chances. With the exception of Canada and most of the United States, Jewish communities outside Israel have frames, trained and armed, ready to defend themselves if needed.

For this particular operation, however, the Mossad would have to recruit helpers. After his meeting with Admony, Arbel summoned all his senior officials in the Tsafririm department.

"I want an Entebbe for me," he said. "I want my name to go down in history."

Arbel told his officials he wanted as many Falashas out of Sudan as possible: "All of them." Then he told them to figure out how to do it.

Arbel's department usually operated on a shoestring budget, but this time it was clear that whatever they needed they could get. Hayem Eliaze, who headed the division that specialized in clandestine operations to rescue Jews from behind enemy lines, was put directly in charge of this undercover Moses project, with orders to produce an operational plan as quickly as possible

Within three days, Eliaze gathered his team for a lengthy brainstorming session in their offices outside the main Mossad headquarters building, on Ibn Gevirol Avenue, just one floor above the South African embassy in Tel Aviv.

With detailed relief maps on the walls, and the information they'd gathered about Sudan in front of them, each man took turns delivering what he saw as the situation and how best to approach it. For the most part, the Falashas were located in camps in the Kassala and Afatarch areas west of Khartoum, toward the Ethiopian borders. The Sudanese rebels in the south, who'd been fighting the central government for years, could not be counted on for assistance of any kind.

During one session, one of the men studying the map of the area said it reminded him of an incident near Magna, on the northwest tip of the Red Sea, when an Israeli missile boat on its way back through the Suez Canal had developed technical problems with its radar when the gyrocompass got stuck, sending the boat accidentally off course. It had plowed into a Saudi Arabian beach in the dead of night, nearly setting off an international incident.

Miraculously, the missile boat, cruising along at a healthy 30 knots, had somehow found a hole in the coral reefs before ending up on the beach. Within hours, responding to radio reports from the boat, Israeli navy commandos were sent in to take over. All documents were removed, the ship's crew was taken aboard another missile boat, the commandos set up a beachhead to defend their position if necessary, and as the sun rose, there was the bizarre spectacle of an Israeli missile boat, guarded by commandos, sitting smack on Saudi Arabian sand.

Since the two countries weren't actually speaking, Israeli officials requested that the Americans tell the Saudis that it wasn't an invasion but only a mishap, also warning them that if anyone came close to the ship, they were dead. Normally, there would have been no one within hundreds of miles of this remote desert spot, but it happened that a Bedouin tribe was having a celebration about a mile away. Fortunately, they didn't come any closer. The Saudis sent in some observers, and a deal was struck that if the commandos left their fortifications on the beach, the Saudis would leave the Israelis to get the ship back out to sea.

The first plan was to blow up the ship, but the navy nixed that (several of these missile boats, incidentally, were later sold to the South African navy, which uses them to this day). Instead, they brought in a helicopter with a supply of liquid Styrofoam which they sprayed over the entire hull of the ship, hooked a cable harness over the nose to two other missile boats, yanked it off the beach, and towed it all the way back to Eilat harbor.

As often happens in these brainstorming sessions, the retelling of such a story sparks other ideas. During the course of the telling, one man said, "Wait a minute, we actually have passage right next to the shores of Sudan. We can get quite close to shore with our missile boats. Why don't we take the Falashas out by ship?"

The idea was kicked around for a time, but ultimately rejected for a host of reasons. It would simply take too much time to load people onto ships and could never be accomplished without someone noticing. "Well, we could at least have some sort of station there," he said.

"What are you going to do? Post a sign saying 'Mossad Base of Operations. Please Don't Enter?'" one of the men quipped.

"No," he replied. "Let's have a diving club. The Red Sea is a haven for divers."

At first, the group dismissed the idea, but as time passed, and other ideas came and went, the notion of a diving school and club began to take hold. They already knew a man along that beach who operated a so-called club. Although he spent more time diving and lounging on the beach than he did teaching or renting out his equipment, he did at least have an established presence there. With proper planning, and the appropriate approvals from Khartoum, it could be turned into a full-fledged resort.

Arabic-speaking Yehuda Gil, one of their most experienced katsas, was sent to Khartoum to pose as the representative of a Belgian tourist company that wanted to promote Red Sea diving and desert sight-seeing tours in Sudan. Normally, katsas are not sent into Arab countries because of the amount of knowledge they have and the danger that they could be forced to share it with the enemy if they were captured. But because of the urgency of the situation, it was decided to take the risk this time.

Gil's job was to obtain the necessary permits, which entailed bribing several officials, to expedite his company's tourism plans. He rented a house in the upscale northern section of Khartoum, and set about his labors.

At the same time, another Tsafririm man flew to Khartoum, then to Port Sudan, and from there drove up the beach to find the man operating the tiny diving club. As luck would have it, the man was getting .tired of the place. After considerable haggling, it was agreed to send him to Panama (where he still leads the life of the classic beach bum); his club would immediately come under new ownership.

* * *

The Mossad was beginning to see this operation as another "Magic Carpet" (a famous rescue in the early 1950s of Jews from Yemen who were flown into Israel by Hercules aircraft). They had already decided to use the reliable Hercules to airlift the Falashas out, but the tourist camp would have to be drastically enlarged as a cover for the operation. In the meantime, Gil had arranged for the registration of the new company and was already organizing legitimate tours from Europe to bring visitors to the site. Next, they discovered a sunken ship about 100 yards out from shore in some 65 feet of water: it was perfect for shallow diving, and a good tourist draw.

At the site, they began a recruiting drive for workers among local villagers. At the same time, Tsafririm officials in Tel Aviv were quietly recruiting the cooks, diving instructors, and others needed to operate the resort. They wanted people who spoke French or English. Knowing Arabic was an advantage, however, because it would enable comprehension of conversations among Arab diplomats and officials who might be there as guests.

Recruits were drawn from people who had been involved in past operations through Tsafririm, and they went through navy intelligence for the necessary divers to act as instructors for the tourists.

A team of about 35 Israelis was put together to whip the resort into shape. Each had the necessary papers, but because time was critical, they organized the whole operation into teams. For the local construction workers, they had four teams, each working every fourth day. In the meantime, a team of Israelis would come in during the night to expedite construction. Because of the alternating day shifts, however, no one was suspicious when they returned later in the week to find some part of the building completed.

As for the Israeli workers, they were changed regularly, too; rather than going through the process of getting credentials for everyone, they simply had documents made up in a certain name for each; a new team would show up with credentials showing them to be the people with those names.

They could obtain permission to bring in only three vehicles - a Land Rover and two pickup trucks - but they actually had nine trucks. They simply made duplicate license plates and registrations and hid the extra vehicles.

The entire operation almost collapsed because of a silly mistake. Someone decided to ship in a load of turf on a landing craft overnight, so that when a team of local workers showed up the next morning, there was suddenly a large, green lawn where there had been nothing but sand for centuries. How do you grow grass overnight? And even if you explained that it was turf, where could you find that in Sudan? Fortunately, apart from some quizzical looks, the locals just carried on with their work.

In Khartoum, Gil produced brochures showing the club, and had already begun distributing them in travel agencies throughout Europe, offering special individual rates. The re sort did not cater to groups at all, the logic being that groups often know each other already and so are more curious about what's going on around them.

The resort was constructed in about a month. Besides the main buildings for the tourists, the kitchen, the bedrooms, and so on, there were several sheds to house communications equipment and weapons. (The Mossad wouldn't go into a place like that unarmed.) They also sneaked in all the gear needed for lighting up impromptu airfields in the desert: beacons, lights, sidelights, controls, wind-direction finders, and laser distance finders.

Food and other necessary supplies were brought in on Israeli missile boats that came within a few yards of shore about half a mile down the beach. Because a half-dozen locals were working in the place, their whereabouts had to be known before a shipment came in so that they wouldn't accidentally chance upon an Israeli ship being unloaded.

While all this was going on, the other Mossad operation, involving the Belgian charter, was also working, with Mossad officials paying enormous sums to bribe Sudanese officials. One of those, General Orner Mohammed Al-Tayeb, a former vice-president who became chief of security for Sudan under President al-Nemery, would receive two life sentences and a fine of 24 million Sudanese pounds in April 1986, for his part in helping the Falashas escape.

During this period, word filtered back to Mossad headquarters that one of the senior Sudanese officials wanted a 10-speed bike to help expedite moving documents for the Falashas. Because things are usually not what they seem in this business, Mossad officials were perplexed by the request and sent a message back to their contact asking for clarification. Again, the message came that the official wanted a 10-speed bike. Mossad officials tried to figure out what this meant. Did he want the weight of a bike in gold? Was this a code they didn't understand? Still confused, they sent another request for clarification and were told again that he wanted a 10-speed bike, period.

They finally realized that he actually wanted a bike, so they sent him a Raleigh, which was the least they could do.

At the resort, the Israelis were studying intelligence on the Sudanese radar system. Eventually, they found a small hole in that system, only partially covered by Egyptian and Saudi Arabian radar, in the area of Rosal-Hadaribah, a mountainous region near the border between Egypt and Sudan, where a low-level flight could get through without being detected.

So, it was decided that the Hercules aircraft would leave the military base at Eilat, called Uvda, fly over the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea, down all the way to this gap in enemy coverage, before flying back up to landing strips that were being constructed in the desert. To locate suitable landing sites, they brought four Israeli pilots to the resort posing as desert tour guides. That way, they could be driving around the desert legitimately, while marking landing locations on a map. They also explained to other personnel at the resort how to set up the landing strips, and instructed them on dimensions, lighting, and communications.

Even spies have a sense of humor from time to time. At one point, a Tsafririm man took one of the Israeli pilots to Khartoum on business, and they ended up at a villa owned by a local businessman. Gil was also there, and while he and the Tsafririm man both knew what business they were in, the pilot thought Gil was a legitimate businessman. At one point, when the host had excused himself, the Tsafririm official asked Gil about his business, and then Gil said to him, "What do you do?"

"Oh, I'm an Israeli spy," came the reply.

The pilot turned white, but the other men laughed and the pilot said nothing until they were on their way back. Several miles out of Khartoum, he suddenly shouted at his companion, "You idiot! You don't do that sort of thing, even as a joke!" It took the Tsafririm official about 15 minutes to calm the pilot enough to let him in on it.

Getting the Falashas out of the camps remained a challenge for the organizers of this operation. At the time, there were hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian blacks who had fled the war and famine in their own country and spilled over into the Sudanese refugee camps, so the problem was also how to tell the Jews from the rest.

To do that, some courageous Falashas who were already safe in Israel - and would be killed if caught - agreed to go back to the camps to organize their people into groups. Very quickly, word spread about this project among the Falashas, but knowledge of it stayed completely within the Falasha community, and it wasn't long before that phase of the operation was ready.

Around March 1984, the first batch of European tourists had arrived, and word was getting around diplomatic and government circles in Khartoum about this wonderful resort. From the time they opened until the night they left in a hurry, the resort was booked to capacity, a resounding commercial success. At one point, they even toyed with the notion of enticing the senior PLO leaders to hold a convention there. The PLO would have felt perfectly safe in Sudan, across the sea from Mecca, and the proposed plan was to send in the commandos one night, herd the PLO leadership onto Israeli missile boats, and cart them back as prisoners to Israel. It might have worked.

* * *

Now they were ready for the final phase. A landing strip was set up and a desert meeting place determined, where the refugees would be met by the trucks and taken on a grueling six-hour drive to meet the Hercules aircraft. There were only supposed to be about 100 people each time, but often twice as many would crowd onto the trucks, weak, emaciated people jammed under a tarpaulin for a long, rough ride. Hundreds of Falashas, their bodies just too racked by hunger and disease, would die on this part of the trip, and hundreds more en route to Israel aboard the crowded Hercules aircraft, but because they had been identified as Jews they were taken, whenever possible, for proper burial in Israel.

Before each trip, Israeli high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft located Sudanese roadblocks (usually set up in mid-afternoon) and notified the communications center at the resort of their location by digital burst radio communications.

On the first night, everything seemed to be going without a hitch. They'd met at the right spot in the desert. They'd avoided all the roadblocks. And they arrived at the runway well before the Hercules landed, using two strips of light strung out in the desert sand. As the Hercules came through the night, the Falashas, who had never seen such a thing at close range, watched as this giant bird landed against the wind, then turned and came back toward them, its engines roaring, kicking up sand and dust.

Overcome with fright, the 200 Falashas ran off into the pitch darkness, hiding wherever they could find a spot to escape this horrid machine. The Israelis managed to round up only about 20 of them on the spot. After searching for a while longer, it was decided to let the Hercules go. They would have to take the rest of the Falashas the next night.

By morning, they had managed to find all but one of the Falashas - an old woman who miraculously survived a three-day walk back to her camp and went to Israel later with another group. The Israelis decided that from then on, they'd leave the Falashas in the trucks until the Hercules had stopped and opened its rear doors. Then they'd drive the truck right up and load the people directly onto the aircraft.

Until news of the other Moses operation became public, this secret desert airlift proceeded with little problem. They flew most nights, and often would have two or three airplanes working at one time, in order to get as many Falashas out as they could in the shortest time possible.

There was the odd hitch, however. One time an empty truck on its way back ran into a roadblock, and since the driver and passenger didn't have proper identification, they were arrested by the two Sudanese soldiers on duty, tied up, and put in a nearby tent. These roadblocks, meant mainly to track activities of the southern rebels, consisted of only two soldiers with no communications equipment. They were left there for a few days at a time.

When the two men failed to return to the resort, a search party was sent out to find them. Once their truck was spotted, a rescue plan was quickly worked out. The rescuers' truck proceeded swiftly up to the blockade, and the driver shouted at the two prisoners in the tent to lie down. The Sudanese soldiers were just approaching the truck when the back opened and submachine-gun fire cut them down on the spot. The Israelis then set the tent on fire, stuck a rock onto the gas pedal of the other truck, and sent it out into the desert - all to make it appear as if there had been a guerrilla attack. In any event, the incident passed into oblivion.

The only Israeli casualty in the operation was a passenger in a truck headed toward Khartoum. Again, they ran into a roadblock, but when the truck didn't stop, the enemy soldiers opened fire, killing the passenger, while the driver kept on going. The two Sudanese soldiers, with no communications or transportation equipment, could do nothing more than fire until the truck was well out of range.

But then, on that night in early January 1985, the message came from Israel with orders to "fold" immediately. In Khartoum, Yehuda Gil quickly packed a few personal things, plus all his documents, and caught the next flight to Europe, and from there back to Israel. While the tourists slept at the Red Sea resort, the Israelis loaded all their equipment onto ships, loaded a Land Rover and two trucks onto a Hercules, and quietly slipped out of the country unnoticed. Hayem Eliaze, the man who had been in charge of the resort, fell off a truck as it was being loaded onto the aircraft and broke his leg.

Still, two and a half hours later, Eliaze was back home in Israel, enjoying the adulation of his peers, but regretting the fact that a talkative official and a newspaper reporter had put a sudden end to what was perhaps the most successful undercover rescue mission ever.

Unfortunately, several thousand Falashas remained behind, out of reach now of Operation Moses. Falasha activist Baruch Tanga was quoted as saying: "All the years it was hard to leave.... Now, with half of our families still there, they publish everything. How could they do a thing like that?"

It wasn't his sentiment alone.
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:20 am

16. Harbor Insurance

By THE SUMMER of 1985, Libya's President Moamer al Kadhafi had become the devil incarnate for most of the western world. Reagan was the only one who authorized warplanes to attack him, but the Israelis held Kadhafi responsible for facilitating much of the arms supply to the Palestinians and their other Arab enemies.

It is difficult to recruit Libyans. They're not liked anywhere, which is a problem in itself. They need to be recruited in Europe, but they're not big travelers.

Libya has two main harbors: at Tripoli, the capital; and at Benghazi, on the Gulf of Sidra in the northwest. The Israeli navy had been monitoring Libyan activities, largely through regular patrols around the entire length of the Mediterranean. Israel regards the corridor from Israel to Gibraltar as its "oxygen pipe." It's the tie to America and most of Europe for both imports and exports.

In 1985, Israel had relatively sound relations with the other countries bordering the southern Mediterranean: Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, but not Libya.

They had a fairly big navy, but they had a serious problem with manpower and maintaining the navy. Their ships were falling apart. They had large Russian submarines they'd purchased, but they either didn't know how to submerge them, or they were afraid to try. At least twice, Israeli patrol boats came upon Libyan submarines. Normally, a sub would go "ding, ding, ding, ding," and go down. But these subs would steam back to port making their escape.

The Israelis have a listening substation on Sicily, which they enjoy through liaison with the Italians, who also have a listening station there. But it's not enough, because the Libyans, with their support of the PLO and other subversive activities, endanger the Israeli shoreline. Israel regards its shoreline as its "soft belly," the most vulnerable border to attack, home to most of its population and industry.

A considerable amount of the arms and ammunition supplied to the PLO comes via ship from Libya, much of it passing through Cyprus on the way - or going by what is called the TNT route: from Tripoli, Libya, to Tripoli, Lebanon. The Israelis were gathering some information about Libyan activities at the time through the Central African Republic and Chad, which was engaged in serious border clashes with Kadhafi's forces.

The Mossad had some "naval observers," usually civilians recruited through their stations in Europe simply to take photographs while ships were entering the harbor. There was no real danger involved, and it gave some visual indication of what was going on inside the harbors. But while they did catch arms shipments - more by hick than anything else - there was a clear need to have access to specific information about traffic coming in and out of Tripoli and Benghazi.

At a meeting involving Mossad's PLO research department and the head of the Tsomet branch dealing with France, the United Kingdom and Belgium, it was decided to try to recruit a harbor-traffic controller, or someone else working in the harbormaster's office in Tripoli who would have access to more specific information on the names and whereabouts of ships. Though the Mossad knew the names of the PLO ships, they did not know where they were at any given time.

If you 'rant to sink or apprehend them, you have to find them. That's hard with a ship if you don't know its route or exactly when it sailed. Many of them keep close to shore -- the Mossad called it "shore scratching" - and avoid going into open waters where radar can pick them up. It's difficult for radar to locate a ship that's close to shore because the image can be swallowed by the noise of mountains, or a ship may be in one of the many harbors behind the mountains and simply not be seen. Then when it does emerge, its identity may be uncertain. There are a lot of ships on the Mediterranean. The U.S. Sixth Fleet, the Russian fleet, all kinds of ships, including merchant ships from around the world. The Mossad is not free, then, to do anything it wants. All the countries along the Mediterranean have their own radar, so the Mossad has to be very careful what it does there.

Obtaining specific information inside Libya, however, was easier said than done. It was too dangerous to send someone in there to try recruiting, and the Mossad was by now hitting its collective head against a brick wall. At last, someone at the meeting, who had worked as a "reporter" in Tunis and Algiers for Afrique-Asia, [1] a French-language newspaper covering Arab affairs, suggested the best way to begin was simply to telephone Tripoli harbor and find out who had the sort of information they needed. That way, they could at least narrow it down to a specific target.

It was one of those simple ideas that are often overlooked when people become involved in intrigue and complicated operational details. And so, a telephone line was set aside that could be dialed from Tel Aviv but would operate through an office/apartment in Paris, should anyone trace the call. It was attached to an insurance company in France that was owned by a sayan.

Before he called, the katsa had a complete cover built for him as an insurance investigator. He had an office with a secretary. The secretary, a woman, was what is called a bat leveyha, which means "escort" (not in the sexual sense). It simply refers to a local woman, not necessarily a Jew, who is recruited as an assistant 'agent and given a job where a woman is needed. She would be aware that she was working for Israeli intelligence through the local embassy.

The idea was based on the concept of mikrim ve tguvot, Hebrew for "actions and reactions." They already knew the action, but they had to anticipate the reaction. For every possible reaction, another action is planned. It's like a giant chess game, except that you don't plan more than two reactions ahead because it would become too complicated. It's all part of regular operational planning, and it goes into every move made.

In the room with the katsa, and listening with earphones, were Menachem Dorl, head of the Mossad's PLO department, and Gidon Naftaly, the Mossad's chief psychiatrist, whose job was to listen and try immediately to analyze the person answering the phone.

The man who answered first didn't understand French, so he passed the call to someone else. The second man came on the line, gave the name of the man in charge, said he'd be back in half an hour, and immediately hung up.

When the katsa called back, he asked for the harbormaster by name, got him on the line, and identified himself as an insurance investigator with a French underwriting company.

This was their one shot, so it had to work. Not only must the story sound credible, the storyteller must sound as if he believes it, too. And so, the katsa told his listener what business he was in, that they needed to have access to various details about certain ships in the harbors, and that they needed to know who was in charge.

"I'm in charge," the man said. "How can I be of assistance?"

"We know that from time to time ships put in there that their owners claim have been lost or damaged. Now, we're the underwriters, but we can't always check these claims firsthand, so we need to know more."

"What do you need to know?"

"Well, we need to know, for example, if they are being repaired, or if they are loading or unloading. We don't have a representative there, as you know, but we would like to have someone looking after our interests. If you could recommend someone to us, we'd certainly be willing to reimburse him handsomely."

"I think I can help you," the man said. "I have that kind of information, and I don't see any problem with that, as long as we're talking civilian traffic and not military ships."

"We have no interest in your navy," the katsa said. "We're not underwriting its insurance."

The conversation went on for 10 or 15 minutes, during which time the katsa asked about five or six ships. Only one of them, a PLO ship, was there being repaired. He asked for an address where he could send the payment, gave his own address and phone number to the harbormaster, and told him to call anytime he had information he thought would be useful.

Things were going so well, and the target sounded so comfortable, that the katsa felt bold enough to ask the man if he was allowed to accept another job, as an agent for the insurance company, outside his regular work at the harbor.

"I might be able to do some selling," the harbormaster replied, "but only on a part-time basis. At least until I see how it works out."

"Fine. I'll send you a manual and some business cards. When you get a chance to go over that, we'll talk again."

The conversation ended. They now had a paid agent in the harbor, although he didn't know he'd been recruited.

The next task was to summon the business department of Metsada to design the promised insurance manual so that it would make sense and allow them to gather the kind of information they wanted. Within a few days, the manual was on its way to Tripoli. Once you commit a telephone and address to someone in a recruitment process, it must be kept alive for at least three years even if stage one in the recruitment process was never passed - unless there had been a confrontation that could expose the katsa, in which case everything would be closed down immediately.

For the next two months or so, the new recruit reported regularly, but during one of the calls he mentioned that he'd read the manual but still wasn't too clear on what being an agent for the company would involve.

"I understand that," the katsa said. "I remember the first time I saw it, it didn't make a lot of sense to me, either. Listen, when do you have your holidays?"

"In three weeks."

"Great. Rather than trying to sort this out over the phone, why don't you come to France at our expense? I'll send you the tickets. You've already worked out so well for us that we'd love to give you some time in the south of France, and we can combine a little business with pleasure. And I'll be honest with you, it's better for our tax situation for you to come here."

The recruit was thrilled. The Mossad was paying him only about $1,000 a month, while during the time they had him on the string, he made at least three trips to France. He was useful, but he had no real connections beyond his knowledge of the ships in the harbor, so the idea was not to endanger him. After meeting him in person, it seemed the best plan would be to gently drop the attempt to have him do other things, but to continue using him for information on PLO ships.

At first, they asked only about some of the ships entering the harbor, on the pretext that they were the ones being underwritten by their company. Then they devised a plan whereby the harbormaster would provide the full lists of all ships docking. They promised to pay him accordingly. That way, they said, they could supply this information to other insurance underwriters who would be only too happy to pay for the information; they, in turn, could share the proceeds with him.  

And so he went happily back to Tripoli where he continued supplying them with information on all harbor traffic. At one point, a ship owned by Abu Nidal, the hated head of the PFLP-GC faction of the PLO, was in the harbor being loaded with military equipment - including shoulder-carried antiaircraft missiles and many other weapons the Israelis did not want to see ending up in the hands of Palestinian fighters on their borders.

They knew about Nidal's ship through their tie-in with PLO communications, thanks to a slip in Nidal's normally careful speaking habits, and all that remained was to ask their happy harbormaster exactly where the ship was and how long it would be there. He confirmed the vessel's location, along with that of another one also being loaded with equipment destined for Cyprus.

Two Israeli missile boats, SAAR-4 class, appeared to be on regular patrol one warm summer night in 1985, only this time they stopped long enough to unload six commandos in a small, electric-powered submarine with a hood on top, similar in appearance to a World War II fighter plane without the wings - or a long torpedo with a propeller on the back. It was called a wet submarine, and the commandos sat under the hood, dressed for action in their wet suits and oxygen tanks.

After disembarking from the patrol boats, they went quickly to a ship entering the harbor, latched themselves to its hull by magnetic plates, and piggybacked a ride into the harbor itself.

The hood of the submarine provided them with a life-saving protective shield, necessary because the Mossad knew from their conversations with the harbormaster that once every five hours, Libyan security cruised the harbor, tossing hand grenades into the water and creating a tremendous amount of water pressure - enough to finish off any frogman who happened to be in the area. They had discovered this security device one time when the katsa heard explosions in the background and simply asked the harbormaster what was making the noise. It's a routine security measure in most harbors where countries are at war. Syria and Israel both do it, too.

And so, they simply waited in their wet submarine until security made its rounds, then they quietly slipped into the water, carrying their leech mines with them. After attaching them to the two loaded PLO ships, they returned to their submarine. The whole thing took only about two and a half hours. Since they also knew which ships were leaving the harbor that night, they headed for a tanker near the harbor entrance, but decided not to clamp on to it because it would be too difficult to unhook their tiny vessel once the tanker was under full steam.

Unfortunately, they ran out of oxygen in the submarine, and the battery died. There was no point in trying to carry it with them once they were in open waters, so they hooked it on to a buoy where it could be recovered later, attached themselves to one another by rope, and performed what is called a "sunflower." That means putting a blast of air inside their wet suits, which makes them expand like balloons, and allows the frogmen simply to float on top of the water without having to do any work at all to stay afloat. They even took turns sleeping, with one man staying awake on watch at all times. A few hours later, an Israeli patrol boat sneaked in, answering their beeper signals, picked them up, and whisked them off to safety.

At about 6 a.m. that day, there were four large explosions in the harbor, and two PLO ships went down, loaded with millions of dollars worth of military equipment and ammunition.

The katsa assumed that would be it for their harbormaster. Surely the explosions would make him suspicious. Instead, when he called in that day, the man was tremendously excited about it.

"You won't believe what happened!" he said. "They blew up two ships right in the middle of the harbor!"

"Who did?"

"The Israelis, of course," he said. "I don't know how they found the ships, but they did. Fortunately, they weren't any of yours, so you don't have to worry."

The harbormaster went on working for the Mossad for another 18 months or so. He made a lot of money until one day, he just disappeared, leaving a trail of destroyed and captured PLO arms ships in his wake.

_______________  

Notes:

1. See Chapter 3: FRESHMEN
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