January 17, 2003

Mossad assassinations on American soil? Say it ain't so….

I was working out in the gym the other day, when Richard Rodriguez, a friend of mine, came in, greeted me, and remarked: "I told some friends of mine about your book on the Israeli connection to 9/11, and do you know what they told me?"

"Uh. Nope."

"They said that you'd better watch your back."

I laughed. But Richard looked dead serious.

A couple of days later, I stumbled on a UPI story that made me think of Richard's comment in a new light: "Israel to kill on U.S., allies' soil."

Say, what?!

UPI intelligence correspondent Richard Sale reports:

"Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International….

"The Israeli statements were confirmed by more than a half dozen U.S. foreign policy and intelligence officials in interviews with UPI."

If the Israelis are now killing people on the soil of "friendly" countries, just think what they might do in enemy territory. To call this "a more aggressive approach" is putting it mildly. What it amounts to is a declared strategy of international terrorism as an instrument of Israeli foreign policy. It is, in effect, a declaration of war on the whole world. So what is the response of U.S. law enforcement agencies to this threat to commit mayhem on U.S. soil? UPI reports:

"'Mossad is definitely being beefed up,' a U.S. government official said of the Israeli agency's budget increase. He declined to comment on Tel Aviv's geographic expansion of targeted killings.

"An FBI spokesman also declined to comment, saying: 'This is a policy matter. We only enforce federal laws.'"

So how about enforcing federal laws against murder? I suppose it's too much to expect the Keystone Kops of our FBI to protect us against any sort of terrorism, including the Israeli variety, given their record on this score. You would think that our politicians would at least make some pretense at protesting the declared intent of a foreign power to turn the U.S. into their happy hunting ground. But no dice:

"A congressional staff member with deep knowledge of intelligence matters said, 'I don't know on what basis we would be able to protest Israel's actions.' He referred to the recent killing of Qaed Salim Sinan al Harethi, a top al Qaida leader, in Yemen by a remotely controlled CIA drone.

"'That was done on the soil of a friendly ally,' the staffer said."

So because we targeted enemy terrorists in Yemen, Israel now has the right to target anyone it chooses in the U.S.? The logic of this syllogism is elusive, to say the least. If that anonymous staffer is at a loss to explain how we could possibly protest the killing of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by agents of a foreign power, then perhaps his "deep knowledge of intelligence matters" is more than balanced by his sheer ignorance of other matters. Such as the primary responsibility of the U.S. government – which is to guard the integrity of its own borders, and protect its citizens from foreign invaders.

The UPI story, if true, is bone-chilling in its implications. Will we now have the Mossad rampaging through the U.S., eliminating the alleged enemies of Israel, with an increasingly nutty and desperate claque of Likudniks acting as judge, jury, and executioner? It's unthinkable – isn't it?

I'm not so sure. UPI cites a source in the Israeli government who claims

"In the past Israel has not staged targeted killings in friendly countries because 'no one wanted such operations on their territory.'

"This has become irrelevant, he said."

The denial of past instances of Israeli terror on "friendly" soil rings false. Surely the ghosts of Robert Maxwell, the British publishing magnate many suspect was offed by the Mossad, and Gerald Bull, the Ontario-born scientist and U.S. citizen who worked on Iraqi arms production and was killed in Belgium, are crying out in protest. There can be no doubt that "no one wanted such operations on their territory," but one has to wonder how and why this has suddenly become "irrelevant." Is it because these "friendly" countries are proving their friendship by agreeing to it – or because they have no way to prevent it?

The new thug-in-chief of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, nicknamed "the gun," seems ideally suited to implement this new policy of kill-at-will:

"Former Israel Defense Forces Lt. Col. Gal Luft, who served under Dagan, described him as an 'extremely creative individual – creative to the point of recklessness.' A former CIA official who knows Dagan said the new Mossad director knows 'his foreign affairs inside and out,' and has a 'real killer instinct.'"

This is the man who has given himself carte blanche to pursue "terrorists" and carry out assassinations on American soil. A creative killer, and reckless to boot, stalking Israel's enemies in America, both real and imagined. And our government has "no comment" on this "geographic extension of Tel Aviv's targeted killings." It would be funny if it wasn't so sinister. UPI cites another former Israeli government official who averred that, under Sharon,

"Diplomatic constraints have prevented the Mossad from carrying out 'preventive operations' (targeted killings) on the soil of friendly countries until now. He said Sharon is 'reversing that policy, even if it risks complications to Israel's bilateral relations.'"

Beleaguered politically, facing a possible delay in the much-anticipated Iraq war, and increasingly put on the defensive by an organized opposition in the U.S., Sharon cannot afford to have any compunctions about offending his allies. Nor does he have much reason to worry about "complications" that might arise from American displeasure at such illegal activity. That's what the "special relationship" between the U.S. and Israel is all about: we'll cover their asses no matter what.

Widespread reports of an Israeli spy ring that may have been tailing the 9/11 hijackers and simultaneously penetrating U.S. government facilities, were denied by the Department of Justice, disdained by U.S. government spokesmen as an "urban myth." This denial occurred as a 61-page report by the DEA's internal security bureau detailing the activities of hundreds of Israeli spies was circulating among journalists and over the internet. Our media was no less opaque. As Jane's Intelligence Digest remarked at the time:

"It is rather strange that the U.S. media, with one notable exception, seems to be ignoring what may well prove to be the most explosive story since the 11 September attacks – the alleged break-up of a major Israeli espionage operation in the United States which aimed to infiltrate both the justice and defence departments and which may also have been tracking Al-Qaeda terrorists before the aircraft hijackings took place."

Look, I suppose that a book reporting and expanding on this story – that the Mossad knew more about the 9/11 conspiracy than they ever told us – might make its author a target. Not of violence, necessarily, but of a smear campaign, especially given Dagan's inclinations. As part of the new policy, and aside from purging moderates and packing the highest echelons of the Israeli spy apparatus with like-minded hard-liners,

"Dagan is also urging that Mossad operatives rely less on secret sources and rely more on open information that is so plentifully provided on the Internet and newspapers. 'It's a cultural thing,' one former Israeli intelligence operative explained. 'Mossad in the past has put its emphasis on Humint (human intelligence) and secret operations and has neglected the whole field of open media, which has become extremely important.'"

Israel's above-ground amen corner in America has been among its most valuable assets, and Dagan wants to make more use of it. Character assassination, and not physical assassination, is the preferred method when dealing with Israel's American antagonists. You don't kill an author – just his book.

So, no, I'm not afraid that they'll get me in an alley somewhere. After all those hours in the gym, I'm pretty buffed out, bud, and those muscles aren't just for decoration. But, just in case this UPI story is true – and Dagan "the gun" is more "creative" than I'd like to think – I'll be watching my back all the same….


Okay, so I've been critical of the leadership of the antiwar movement, especially the A.N.S.W.E.R. group, but I wouldn't miss Saturday's demonstration for the world. I know, I know, I once wrote that "I ain't marchin' anymore," but my regular readers know me well enough to realize that nothing – not even a mild case of the flu, or a looming book deadline – is going to keep me from being where the action is. Besides, when the speakers start droning on about Mumia, or blaming capitalism for the war, you can always put on your headphones and break out the picnic basket.

It's important that the media and the politicians begin to realize that the antiwar movement in this country is not only strong, but getting stronger even as the prospects of war loom larger. So, get out your "Patriots for Peace" placards, guys and gals – all out on January 18!

– Justin Raimondo

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.

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